Peanut Butter Cup Bars

August 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

These peanut butter bars taste just like peanut butter cups.  Nothing more to say except make them, love them, share them.

You need:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended.  Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased (or lined) 9×13 inch pan.

In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Spread over the prepared crust.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Gooey Toffee Bars

July 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

These little bites of heaven are one of the many versions of “gooey butter cake” – a name that can be very misleading to a Southern girl like me!  Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the midwest.  It is a flat and dense cake made with cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powdered sugar.  They are generally cut and served like brownies – so that’s why I’m calling them bars – these aren’t like any cake I’ve ever made!!

I think you’ll love these rich treats – they’re a little non-traditional, but they taste amazing!  They are definitely one of the best desserts I make!

You need:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (fine to substitute vanilla extract)
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup Heath bits
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 13×9 baking pan.

Combine cake mix, 1 egg, and 1 stick of butter and mix well.  Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth, then add the eggs and vanilla bean paste.  Add the powdered sugar and beat well.  Next, slowly pour in butter.  Lastly, fold in the toffee bits.

Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly.  Bake for 40 minutes – but don’t overbake!  Your center should still be “gooey” – mine only took about 30 minutes!


Remove from oven and cool – then cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Jungle Safari Diaper Cake

July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Surprisingly, the most popular post on my blog is consistently the monkey diaper cake I made last year – something which is not even edible!  So as I made another diaper cake this week for another friend’s baby shower, I made better notes of the details that went into its creation.

I used a pack of Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers, size 1.  These are good because they are very white.  The top layer had 12 diapers, the middle layer had 27 diapers, and the bottom layer had 43 diapers.

I used my large saute pan for the bottom layer, and tied the diapers together tightly with ribbons.

Repeat for the remaining layers (I used 10 inch and 6 inch cake pans for the layers).

Decorate as desired!

Peach Frozen Greek Yogurt

July 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow – it’s been a long time!  I guess home ownership and wedding planning have really been keeping me from this blog – but not from the kitchen.  I have a lot of recipes and photos ready to go – just need some free time to start posting!

So lately I have really been loving greek yogurt.  (I’m a bit late to the trend, I know.)  I thought it could add a really unique twist to some frozen yogurt, and I needed an easy dessert in a pinch (without stopping at the grocery store), so I came up with this.  It was great!

Ingredients:

  • 2 32 ounce cans of peaches, pureed in the food processor
  • 12 ounces of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of cointreau (optional)

Combine all ingredients in the food processor.

 

Add mixture to the ice cream machine and freeze as directed.  Transfer to another container to allow the yogurt to harden.

Scoop and serve.

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

May 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My dear boss, a recovering Diet Mt. Dew addict, recently retired, and in his honor, I wanted to make Diet Dew Cupcakes.  A little browsing on the web led me to this recipe (and wonderful blog), Nothing But Country – and I duplicated her recipe, only replacing the regular Dew with Diet Dew.  And they turned out great!  I also didn’t think my frosting turned out as pretty as hers, so I also tried mixing the colors into the frosting, then adding them in layers in the piping bag, and that turned out pretty as well.  Enjoy!

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 box of instant lemon pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of Diet Mountain Dew
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix cake mix, pudding and eggs well.  Add oil to the batter and mix for 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in your soda and mix for another minute.  Beware – it can get pretty foamy!

Add to cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees for 13-17 minutes, when the cupcakes are golden.

I almost let these get too brown, but they were still very moist.

Frosting:

  • 4 cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup approx of Diet Mountain Dew
  • 1 T of lemon juice

Beat the butter well till smooth.  Slowly add in 1 cup at a time of confectioners sugar, followed by the juice and soda.  Add all of the sugar and check for thickness of the frosting.  (If it is too thick, add a teaspoon at a time of soda until you reach the correct consistency to pipe or frost your cupcakes.)

Here’s my attempt at duplicating the blogger’s frosting technique:

 

And here’s how I filled the bag for my second decorating method:

 

 

Best cocktail ever – the BOA 405

April 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I love Las Vegas.  I have eaten at some truly amazing restaurants there.  One of those amazing spots is the BOA Steakhouse in the Forum Shops at  Caesar’s.   It probably doesn’t appear on the standard “Top 10 Steakhouses in Vegas” lists, but that’s because Vegas does steak very well – and this place is no exception.  It makes a great steak.  But it is also the first place I tasted Wagyu beef and the first place I ever saw a Caesar salad made tableside (order that)!

What’s really great about it, though, is that it doesn’t have the stuffy, “boys club” feel of many of those places – it’s not all leather bound books and rich mahogany – it’s modern, it’s sexy, and it’s exceptional!

And if I haven’t convinced you to stop there the next time you are in Vegas, I’m about to.  On my first trip to BOA, I was introduced to the BEST COCKTAIL I HAVE EVER HAD.

The BOA 405.

But don’t take my word for it.  The 405 is Boa Steakhouse’s most popular cocktail on the menu and is served there more than WATER.

It’s so unique, it’s so different.  Balsamic vinegar, strawberries, black pepper.  You have to make it!

You need:

  • 2 strawberries, hulled and halved (or 3)
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 11/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • ice
  • large pinch of coarsely cracked black pepper

And here’s what you do:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries and Simple Syrup.
  2. Add the vodka, lemon juice, vinegar and ice and shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the pepper.
Thanks for indulging my craving, MK!

Easy Easter Desserts

April 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There are plenty of options out there for elaborate, Easter themed desserts, but this year, I’m making desserts I know we love and decorating them with Easter candy – couldn’t be easier!

Vanilla bean cheesecake topped with Cadbury mini eggs:

 

cupcakes topped with Peeps!

Samoa Brownies

March 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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After making homemade Samoa bars, I had all the ingredients left to make another batch, but wanted to try something different.  The coconut/caramel layer was without a doubt the best part of the bars, so why not recreate that layer – on top of brownies?!  Right?  Right.

So you need:

  • 1 regular package of brownie mix (the kind for an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, except you’re going to spread it thin) plus ingredients as needed on package
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Following the directions on the package, make the brownies and bake in a 9×13 pan.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 300.  Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden.  Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt.  Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt.  When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the brownie layer and spread into an even layer.

Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over coconut layer.

Cut into squares of deliciousness!

Cake Batter Dip

February 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I saw this recipe, and of course, had to make it.  But I had to make a much, much larger amount.  So I’m not sure my amounts are accurate – but my recipe works, and it’s very convenient.  ENJOY!!!

 

Combine one small container of thawed Cool Whip, one 6-oz container of vanilla yogurt, and one half a box of funfetti cake mix.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – with graham crackers or animal crackers – and prepare to  be addicted!

Homemade Samoa Bars

February 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I saw this recipe over at Baking Bites, and I thought – fabulous.  Let’s do this.

So, I did it.  Now I wish I could say, who needs Girl Scouts when you’ve got this recipe?  But you still need them.  These are very good, but not perfect.  The shortbread layer was a a little too thick for my liking, so it tasted more like a shortbread cookie with a coconut topping.  Still good though!

Cookie base:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand.  Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned.

For the topping

  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 10 oz. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300.  Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden.  Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt.  Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt.  When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base.  Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer.

Let topping set until cooled.  When cooled, flip the bars over upside down and place them back in the pan, coconut side down.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl.  Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching.   Pour the chocolate over the top (which is now the shortbread) – but save a little for drizzling over the bars.

Once the chocolate has cooled, flip the bars over and cut them into squares.

Drizzle with remaining chocolate.

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