Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Children's Book Cookies

Today's post doesn't have a recipe. I love decorating with royal icing and have been fortunate enough to make cookies for many special occasions. The problem is that I usually don't get to pick the theme when I make cookies for other people. This past weekend, I decided to decorate cookies just because.

I think my love of books started from birth. My parents tucked me into bed with a story every single night of my childhood and some books just take me back to those lovely memories. I have been wanting to do a series of cookies based on my most beloved children's books for awhile and came up with these.

 It was difficult to narrow down the list of favorite books so I ended up choosing some I thought would make really great cookies. I did some Dr. Suess, Wheedle on the Needle, Where the Wild Things Are, Falling Up, and the Tale of Peter Rabbit.

 The "Where the Wild Things Are" cookies were my favorite.

I used this royal icing recipe and this cookie recipe.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chocolate Lava Cake

A couple of months ago, I had an intense desire for something gooey and chocolaty. I came across this recipe for lava cakes and I have been hooked since. These are incredibly easy to make but will impress your guests. These cakes are deeply chocolaty with a gooey center that goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Lava Cake


1 stick (4 oz.) butter
6 oz. good quality dark chocolate
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

Confectioners sugar to garnish (optional)
Chocolate espresso beans to garnish (optional)


Grease four, 6-oz. ramekins with butter and dust with flour; set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring between increments, until butter and chocolate is melted. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until fully combined and thick. Stir in vanilla. Fold the melted chocolate mixture, flour, and espresso powder into the egg mixture until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared ramekins.

Arrange ramekins on a baking pan and put into oven. Bake 12-13 minutes until the tops are done but the centers are not set. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in the ramekins for approximately 1 minute. Flip the ramekin upside down onto a plate and gently tap the bottom until cake is released from mold. Repeat for the other 3 ramekins. Top with powdered sugar and chocolate espresso beans if desired. Serve immediately.

Source: Recipe from Food and Wine

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Typically, I stick to a smoothie or the occasional bagel for breakfast. However, on random Saturdays, I wake up with a craving for something more over the top. These pancakes fit the bill perfectly. They have a delicious peanut butter banana combo in the batter. They are topped with wonderful, local maple syrup from my neighborhood farmer's market, and then topped with grilled bananas. They are decadent, easy to make, filling, and so crave worthy that I would break up my routine to make them more often. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small, very ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Maple syrup for serving
  • Sliced bananas for serving


Add butter to a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in peanut butter and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In another bowl, mash the banana with a fork or potato masher until nearly smooth. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla to the banana mush and stir until well combined. Add the banana mixture and the butter mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined (batter will be a little lumpy). 

Preheat a lightly greased griddle or a large skillet over medium heat.  Drop 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle or skillet to form a pancake. When the mixture begins to bubble (about 2-3 minutes), carefully flip over and continue to cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining batter. 
When all pancakes are made add banana slices to the griddle or skillet. Cook 1 minute on each side. Top pancakes with maple syrup and grilled banana slices. Yields approximately 8 pancakes.

Source: Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats; originally from William Sonoma

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Buttered Pecan Ice Cream

The weather is finally showing signs of spring. My husband and I were so excited about the weather that we spent most of the weekend ripping out the old landscaping and putting in the new. While I never thought I would be excited about ripping up old dirt and spreading mulch, I was surprisingly overcome with joy during the project.  It feels good to work in the earth and to make our home reflect our tastes. Of course it was wonderful finding any excuse for being out in the gorgeous weather after an extremely long winter. In honor of Spring finally making her grand entrance, I give you this ice cream recipe. I made this a few months ago in the dead of winter at my husbands request. Butter Pecan has never been one of my go to flavors for ice cream but this was so much more incredible than any store bought version I have had. The simple flavors of butter and pecan pair well with the creamy ice cream. I imagine that we will be out in the warm weather with this ice cream on many occasions. Enjoy!

Butter Pecan Ice Cream


1 tablespoon good quality butter
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
3 cups half and half
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the buttered pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter. Toss the pecans in the butter and spread over a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring at least once during baking. Let the pecans cool completely. 

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Place a smaller bowl over the ice bath. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the remaining half and half and the vanilla extract into the bowl. Place egg yolks in a separate small bowl, set aside.

In a small saucepan warm 2 cups of the half and half, sugar, and salt. While whisking, slowly add the warm half and half mixture into the egg yolks. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook on low heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow to boil! Pour the custard mixture through the strainer into the bowl set over the ice bath. Stir until the mixture is well combined and has begun to cool. Chill in the refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Churn according to ice cream maker instructions. When ice cream is finished churning, stir in the pecans.

Source: Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Friday, March 8, 2013

Blood Orange Cocktail

I love blood oranges. When I see these glorious little creations appear in the grocery I buy pounds of them at a time. I have been working a lot lately and the weather has been blah and cold. A couple of weekends ago I decided that I needed something to help me unwind. I saw my fruit bowl overflowing with these beautiful oranges and decided to make a cocktail out of them. I threw together a few things I had on hand and my husband and I went wild over them.  I promptly bought more oranges so we could make them again the following weekend. It is sweet and tangy and dangerously smooth. There isn't a whole lot of alcohol in them and I'm sure they would be just as delicious if you wanted to omit it.  Cheers.

Blood Orange Cocktail


3/4 cup blood orange juice (about 4-6 oranges)
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 cup good quality vodka
Orange slices for garnish


Combine orange juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and vodka in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until mixed and pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with orange slices. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

I found a program called Foodie Pen Pals coordinated through the Lean Green Bean blog. Basically it where foodies and food bloggers sign up to send sweet little treats to each other. You get matched up with another person and they send you unique treats from their area or some of your favorite foods. On the 28th of the month, if you have a blog you post about what you received.  Lydia from Buffalo, NY was my foodie pen pal this month and she sent me some wonderful things. I received Biscoff cookies, which are always delicious and many products from Buffalo. The Truffalo bar was absolute heaven. It was like a truffle with smooth chocolate outside and creamy chocolaty filling inside but in candy bar form. I snacked on the organic bars for lunch all last week and I can't wait to try the other things. Thank you so much, Lydia, for the wonderful gifts.  If you are interested in learning more about this program and possibly participating visit The Lean Green Bean Blog.