This weekend we celebrated my husband Andy’s 35th birthday! This was really exciting for us as it was the first birthday celebration we were able to host in our own home (our last house was waaaaay too tiny to host his large family all under one roof). It was really great having everyone over for what turned out to be a lovely afternoon spent indulging in entirely too much pizza, ice cream and cake covered with Andy’s favorite frosting: Whipped mocha.
Typically, I pair this frosting with marble cake and an apricot filling but it really does taste great with any kind of cake. Andy actually asked for a devil’s food cake this year and the added chocolate made the dessert extra decadent.
I was really missing the apricot filling though so I decided to also whip up a batch of yellow cupcakes and fill them with apricot preserves!
While I’m still very new to cake decorating, I tried to make both the cake and cupcakes fun by piping details with a star tip and throwing some colorful sprinkles on the cupcakes.
Adding to the whimsy, I displayed the treats on stands. Doing so really helps elevate your display and makes grabbing for a treat extra fun for your guests!
The Pioneer Woman cake stand featured in these photos is so adorable and I honestly leave it out on my counter all the time. Its farmhouse charm adds to my kitchen decor and it is perfect for storing all kinds of goodies including cookies, bars, brownies and doughnuts. I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite kitchen items!
I’m also loving this cupcake stand, which holds up to 13 treats. One thing I especially love about it is that it unscrews into three pieces, making it incredibly easy to store in your cabinets. This also makes it portable for displays on the go! Bring it to parties or family gatherings for a more sophisticated display.
To check out my recipe for whipped mocha frosting, click here. I promise you’ll use it again and again – it’s so tasty!
And to shop the items featured in this post, click on the links below:
Pioneer Woman Cake Stand
Wilton Dessert Stand
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Chocolate cut-outs are admittedly delicious any time of year, but they are extra fun around Valentine’s Day! I made a batch of these decadent cookies this year to give away to my co-workers and family members, and left a few for my husband, of course. 😘
The dough whips up super fast and you can even make it a few days in advance. If you choose to do so, just be sure to wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly to prevent air from getting in and drying it out.
While I’m writing this post for Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to get creative and use this recipe all year round. I love my Wilton cookie cutter set because it allows me to make cookies for literally any occasion.
Christmas, Saint Patrick’s Day, dinosaur day…no wait, that’s not a thing. But it very well could be!
Side note: this recipe produces quite a few cookies so be prepared to be a crowd pleaser!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
- 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white chocolate melting wafers (I used Ghirardelli)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl. Mix in vanilla.
- Gradually mix the dry ingredients.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough into heart shapes.
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 7-8 minutes. The edges should be firm and the centers are slightly sod and puffed.
- Transfer to wire rack to cool.
- Once cooled, melt your white chocolate according to the instructions on the package. Use a fork to drizzle the melted chocolate onto the cookies.
- Enjoy! 😍
Original recipe retrieved from Shutterbean.
I love Valentine’s Day! It’s a great reminder for all of us to take the time out of our day-to-day to show appreciation for those we love most.
Valentine’s Day also means a plentiful amount of one of my favorite things: Chocolate! While I’m always down for a box of assorted truffles, I love using the holiday as an excuse to bake up some delicious homemade goodies.
This V-day I decided to bake up these extra-festive red velvet crinkle cookies. Because of their mild flavor these cookies are perfect for choco-holics and vanilla-lovers alike.
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 & 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick of salted butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. red food coloring (Tip: use gel food coloring for more vibrant color!)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll ball in powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining dough then reroll each ball in powdered sugar again.
- Arrange balls about 1″ apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies have flattened and set in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes
- Let cool on trays 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to let cool completely.
Bake up a batch of these to share with your loved one, your parents, your co-workers, or your friends!
Original recipe retrieved from Delish.
With Christmas less than two weeks away, there’s no better time to inspire yourself and get into the holiday spirit! For everyone who may be feeling a little grinchy this Christmas, here are a few tips and ideas to help you channel your inner Buddy the Elf:
Stir up a Christmas cocktail
Nothing says happy holidays like a stiff, spiced drink! Click here to read more about my favorite Christmas cocktail.
Turn up the tunes
Listening to Christmas music is a sure-fire way to inspire holiday joy. I love listening to it while I’m working on projects in the studio. Bing Crosby on repeat, please.
Get your DIY on
Make a homemade ornament or gift! Words can’t describe how fullfilling it is to make something with your own two hands. And it only gets better when you give homemade goodies away to loved ones.
During this time of year, I also love making wreaths. Check out my tutorial here!
Turn the oven on and open the spice drawer!
Nothing makes me happier during the holidays than baking, especially cookies. This year my family started a new tradition: Christmas cookie baking day! Everyone brought two doughs with them and we spent the afternoon baking and sharing laughs over Christmas cocktails and record music.
Set up your own Christmas cookie baking day! Make up some gingerbread dough, invite your friends over and spend time cutting them out and decorating together. Pour some eggnog (or wine) and enjoy making memories.
Get away from the commercialism by taking a moment to remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for – there is no better time than Christmas! This year I am especially grateful, celebrating my first married year with Andy, and in our new house none the less!
It truly is a wonderful life.
Only 12 days until Christmas!
I’m an avid fan of Food Network‘s Holiday Baking Competition and, as a result, have watched many-a-baker create Mexican hot chocolate inspired goodies. While I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying Mexican hot chocolate, I’m a sure-fire (spicy reference intended) fan of chocolate and pepper combined and have been eager to try out this flavor profile during the holidays.
This weekend I made my first batch of Mexican hot chocolate cookies and it was truly love at first bite!
SO gooey, with a satisfying zip of spice from the cayenne pepper and chili powder. The recipe is also really easy which is another plus, especially this time of year!
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
- 4 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use bitter chocolate chips)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) in 25-second increments, whisking between each interval. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.
- Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and eggs on low speed until well combined. Pour in the cooled chocolate and continue to mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate batter and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches of space between each cookie (they expand!).
- Bake the cookies for approximately 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. The cookies should be puffy and still fairly soft when removed from the oven.
- Immediately slide the cookies, still on the parchment paper, onto a wire cooling rack.
- Enjoy this recipe with friends, co-workers and loved ones this holiday season.
P.S. 13 days until Christmas!
Original recipe retrieved from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/spicy-mexican-hot-chocolate-cookies-1962907#reviewsTop
With every season there are a handful of recipes that are on my absolute must-make list. For fall, we’re talking butternut squash, homemade applesauce, cheesy bowtie bratwurst casserole and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
It’s no secret that pumpkin spice is a an all-time favorite for most (#PSL season started two months ago), and this recipe combines the rich, rustic spices of fall with milk chocolate for a winning combination.
As I’ve mentioned before, I also love this recipe for the cookies’ consistency (think dessert AND breakfast) and love how many batches the dough renders.
And while this recipe is super simple, it’s also quite elegant – great for both cookie connoisseurs and beginning bakers alike!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
- Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
- Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds.
- Stir in the chips.
- Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
- Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks or paper bags.
- Share with friends and family for a hyggelig time!
*Original recipe retrieved from FoodNetwork.com
To celebrate a day of chocolate and romance, I’ve compiled the richest and most decadent recipes found on this site. Enjoy and happy Valentine’s Day!
Chocolate Bread Pudding made with heavy cream and Kahlúa.
Highly-snackable, possibly addicting chocolate Whoopie Pies
Rich and creamy Chocolate Frosting
Growing up, I was very fortunate to come from a food-loving Italian-American family. With homemade meals and desserts set on our table day in and day out, I grew up learning to appreciate food and the culture and traditions that come with it.
While my grandmother is adept at making absolutely every kind of dessert imaginable, one of my favorite treats was always cream puffs. (I think most children could empathize with this).
Below you will find her recipe for pat a choux, a light pastry dough used for making cream puffs and eclairs, among other French-inspired treats.
While the end result of a homemade cream puff is quite impressive, I think you’ll find that the process to making them is actually quite approachable.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup butter to a boil in a sauce pan on high heat
- Once boiling, shut the stove off
- Add 1 cup of flour and stir until the dough forms a ball
- Take the dough off of the stove and beat in four eggs, one at a time
- Use a spoon to drop the dough onto an un-greased baking sheet, spacing them apart. There should be enough dough to make 12 cream puffs.
- Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown
- Allow the pastries to cool, away from drafts
- Once cooled, cut off the tops of the pastries
- Pull out the soft dough in the middle of the pastry
- Fill the pastries with filling (whipped cream for cream puffs– homemade or, if you’re in a rush, store bought)
- Top with powdered sugar
‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and nothing is more decadently delicious than a pumpkin roll!
As I’ve mentioned before, this dessert certainly looks more complicated then it truly is. So if you’re looking to break the usual thanksgiving pie cycle, look no further.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 9 oz of cream cheese
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions to make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
- Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth, using an electric mixer.
- Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined.
- Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan.
- Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel.
- Invert the cake onto the towel.
- Fold the sides of the towel over the cake.
- Roll the cake up in the towel starting with a 12 1/2-inch side. (In other words, roll it “hamburger style”).
- Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake.
- Re-roll the cake and refrigerate until ready to be sliced and served.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
- Enjoy with family and friends!
The original recipe has been adapted by the author, resulting in the recipe above.
In our household, as in most households, football Sundays are associated with cooking tailgate-style foods.
While we try to change it up from week to week, making chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, cheese dip and other assorted goodies, this spicy bean dip has become a football Sunday staple.
Extremely simple to put together and requiring few ingredients, this hot and savory dip is the fastest way to enjoying a perfect game day.
- 1(16 ounce) container of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (Being as I work at Chobani, I use Plain Chobani yogurt instead of sour cream)
- 1(16 ounce) can of refried beans
- 1(8 ounce) package of cream cheese
- 1/3 cup or 1 package of taco seasoning
- 3-4 jalapeño peppers
- 2 cups of Mexican blend and/or cheddar cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix all ingredients except for the shredded cheese together in baking dish. (I highly recommend leaving the cream cheese out ahead of time to soften, making it easier to mix).
- Mix in half of the cheese.
- Slice your jalapeño peppers and lay the slices on top of the dip.
- Spread the remaining shredded cheese on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted.
- Enjoy with tortilla chips!