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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Oreo Layer Cake

Oreo Cake

I love it when I’m asked to make birthday cakes for friends. I’ll take any excuse to bake a cake, and it makes me feel special knowing that they trust me enough to make a special treat for them. I made this cake for one of my neighbors. Her husband asked me to make it as a surprise for her birthday, and I definitely think we surprised her. I made this cake the day after Clara’s birthday party, and it was a nice change of pace from the week-long pie fest that was going on at our house.

Since my neighbor loves Oreos, her husband requested that the cake be Oreo flavored. It seems like most Oreo cakes are covered with frosting that has the cookies mixed into it, but I much prefer the look of this one. I used my favorite recipes for chocolate cake and vanilla bean buttercream to create this cake and covered the outside in crushed Oreos to make it more Oreo-like. The chocolate cake is moist and fudgy, and the frosting is light and fluffy (my ideal combination of cake and frosting). I love simple cakes like this and need to make them more often. So, anyone want to share a cake with me?

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Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

Remember when I mentioned that I’d been making a lot of cupcakes lately? Out of all the recipes I’ve tried recently, this one is probably my favorite, which is pretty funny to think about considering I was that girl that shunned chocolate cake and cupcakes pretty much my whole life. I am so not that person anymore. In fact, I modified the method in this recipe to make the cupcakes even more chocolaty. I have a weakness for chocolate ganache, and I couldn’t resist piping some right into the center of these cupcakes.

I knew before I even made these that I was going to love them. Going through my Google Reader (trying to save recipes elsewhere, sniff), I found that I saved this recipe twice. Clearly it was calling to me, and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally try it. These cupcakes are decadent and completely irresistible. The idea to fill them came when I had ganache leftover from piping the edges, and I think it really took these to another level. I’m a sucker for filled cupcakes and chocolate ganache, so that was a no brainer. I didn’t even cone them. Instead I used a little trick I learned working at a cupcake shop – use your finger to poke a hole in the center of the cooled cupcake and then fill as desired. I usually wait for a reason to make cupcakes for people (these were to celebrate two neighbors), but this is one recipe that’s worth making just for the heck of it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

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Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Some type of pasta pops up pretty regularly in our meal rotation. It’s simple enough to make on a weeknight, and everyone likes it. While cream and cheese laden pastas certainly have a special place in my heart, they’re not exactly the healthiest meals to have on a regular basis. So I typically look for lighter pastas for us to enjoy, and this one has become one of our favorites. I’ve only ever made basil pesto, so the thought of turning broccoli into a pesto intrigued me. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, but we rarely eat it as part of a main course. This recipe puts broccoli at the forefront of the meal, and I kind of love that.

When we made this pasta the first time, I sent Annie a video of Clara eating it and enthusiastically nodding when I asked her if she liked it. That pretty much sums up our feelings about this pasta. The broccoli is cooked until just tender and then pureed with a bit of cream or Greek yogurt. You cook the pasta in the same pot you used to cook the broccoli, which obviously makes cleanup a breeze. Easy peasy and so delicious. This recipe makes a ton of pasta, so next time I make it I’m going to cook half the pasta and freeze the remaining pesto.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

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Cheddar Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

You know how there seems to be one song every year that kind of becomes the anthem of summer? For me, there’s usually a recipe that becomes my meal of summer. For the last two years, it’s been this chicken with tomato herb pan sauce, but that recipe has been dethroned and replaced with this one. We made these burgers two weeks in a row, just to give you an idea of how much we loved them. They’re the epitome of my perfect summer recipe, and I seriously cannot get enough.

These burgers are filled with shredded cheddar, jalapeño, onion and cilantro and then served with a generous spoonful of guacamole. Are you kidding me? That’s almost too much awesomeness to go inside of a bun. The original recipe called for sour cream and salsa too, but these were so good with only the guacamole that I totally forgot about those things. I hate to be all “this is the best burger ever so go make it now,” so I’ll refrain from telling you that. However, you should know that I’m totally putting these on the menu again this week because they really are just that good. We made our guacamole extra special by tossing in some grill-charred corn kernels, and it was definitely a good addition. Clara absolutely loved this meal. Corn on the cob is one of her favorites, and she devoured her burger patty. We had extra guacamole and tortilla chips on the side, instead of the usual french fries, and it was the perfect summer meal.

Cheddar Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

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Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
I’ve been a cupcake baking fiend lately, and I have to tell you it feels good. I love staying home with Clara but certainly miss my sweet (pun intended) job working at Richmond’s best cupcake shop. I stop in there occasionally, and the smell always seems so much stronger (in the best way possible) now that I’m not surrounded by it every day. It’s hard to beat the smell of cupcakes baking, and thankfully I’ve had a few events to attend lately, giving me the perfect excuse to bake lots and lots of cupcakes. So don’t be surprised if a few more cupcake recipes show up here soon.

I made these cupcakes for a Memorial Day cookout. Our friends have always enjoyed the boozy sweets I’ve made in the past (especially this chocolate bourbon cake), so I was pretty sure they’d go crazy for these cupcakes. Cupcakes + tequila + fresh strawberries = major win. I considered making these for our neighborhood block party but ended up making piña colada cupcakes instead. I promise the next cupcake recipe I share with you guys will be alcohol free. Anyway, these cupcakes were a big hit with everyone. I never know how cupcakes based on drinks will turn out, but I knew these would be great since my friend Josie is the one I got the recipe from. Most of the margarita cupcake recipes I’ve seen use bottled margarita mix, but this recipe uses all fresh ingredients. The base is a tequila-lime infused cupcake, and the frosting is a Swiss meringue buttercream that has strawberry puree, tequila and lime mixed in. The frosted cupcakes are lightly sprinkled with coarse salt, adding a surprising and totally delicious element. Even though I’ve got approximately 2159 cupcake recipes to try, this one will definitely be made again before strawberry season is over.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

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