Year in pictures?

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here. And rather than try and write detailed posts for everything I’ve done since January, I’m just dumping a bunch of pics and one liners about each item and if anyone wants a recipe let me know and I’ll provide the link, this way I can start fresh going forward into holiday baking season!

Is anyone listening to me (if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis). And I just lost my last reader to that somewhat obscure reference.

Here goes (and not even necessarily in chronological order because lord knows how my computer decided what order to load these)…

1. Spritz Redux: We remade the spritz that got jacked in the prior post for New Year’s Eve. Made in yellow with gold sprinkles. The 4 year old (at the time) was super excited about a cookie gun. Sigh.

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2. Chocolate cream pie – this was for New Year’s Eve too. It was awesome.


3. I don’t even remember what I made these for but I think they were cake batter cookies. They were good.


4. Superbowl Sunday football cupcakes. Nothing special, just chocolate cupcakes but frosted in football shapes.


5. Valentine’s Day sugar cookies with my makeshift royal icing (I never have meringue powder on hand and am too squeamish for raw eggs so I usually just mix milk and powdered sugar). We used these for teacher gifts for preschool.


6. Valentine’s Brownie Pops. Red velvet brownies cut into heart shapes, frosted with buttercream then shoved onto sticks. Except they were too heavy/dense to keep on the sticks and would roll over as soon as you picked them up. Tasted good though!


7. St. Patrick’s Day thumbprint cookies. Just your typical chocolate cookies with hershey’s kisses, we just made them holiday appropriate with green sprinkles. I actually found them pretty blah.


8. Chocolate chip cookie dough pie. The crust is a giant cookie. YES.


9. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. OMG this frosting. I can’t share these recipes because they were from a dear friend who owns a bakery in California and is sweet enough to share recipes with me to use for the birthday of our twins we lost to prematurity. But this cake and frosting especially was AMAZING.


10. Passover macaroons. Nothing special/fancy about these but we liked them. They’re not burnt, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate.

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11. Matzo crack. Like Christmas crack but made with matzo. I used sliced almonds for the topping.


12. Easter cookies to follow Passover. Yeah, we’re confused. Just regular sugar cookies with royal icing but I got meringue powder and made real royal icing this time. It was a pain in the ass.


13. Easter nest carrot cake cupcakes. These were all about presentation but also yummy! We brought them for Easter brunch at our best friends’ house.


14. Purple cake. This was just a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, purple because it was the day of our annual March of Dimes March for Babies (and their trademark color is purple).


15. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are from just a week ago. I intended to just make soft pumpkin cookies and ice them but they were so cake like they reminded me of whoopie pies so I found a cream cheese frosting recipe and sandwiched them. BIG hit.


16. Halloween cupcakes. Recipes from my bakery owner friend, both vanilla/almond cake (I tend to swap vanilla extract for almond) and the orange had vanilla buttercream, purple had almond buttercream. Monster and bats.

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17. Tart cherry cobbler. We stupidly signed up for a fruit/veggie CSA this summer (stupidly because we don’t have time to cook all the obscure things they sent and the kids wouldn’t touch most of it). But we did get nice fruit for baking. I had helpers.

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18. Chocolate cake with salted buttercream frosting again. Remade this for Gammy’s (my mom’s) birthday.


19. Peach cobbler muffins. Another made with CSA haul, we got SO many peaches.

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20. Memorial day berry trifle. Not really “baked”, especially since we used store bought angel food cake for the cake part, but it looks pretty and is a prepared dessert?


21. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were more of a regular cookie (vs cake) consistency than the other pumpkin cookies we used for the whoopie pies. Delicious.


Ok. Hopefully I’ll remember to post after each treat going forward so I can include more info. Thanks if anyone is still checking here ever!!!


I won’t share the full details since I’ve made and blogged this before, but just in case anyone thought I no longer had the more than minor mishaps, may I present Ex-spritz-it A:



I think it was a combination of being on too low a rack in the oven and that for some reason the recipe I’d printed last year said 12-15 mins baking when it really should have been 8-10 (as I found when I googled and found another blog with the same recipe). Not sure why last year they were fine but whatever.

God Bless America

It’s time for Apple pie! Personally, I think only pumpkin oriented desserts are Thanksgiving appropriate, but my husband loves apple pie so I decided to make one for him. It is, after all, the American dessert and Thanksgiving is our quintessential America holiday (except doesn’t Canada have one too?).

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I used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen – it’s a doozy and a lot of work. As usual, because I’m a lawyer and wary of copyright infringement accusations, I’ll mostly just summarize the process and let you link back to the source for real instructions.

Dough Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached flour
shortening (not a fan – but every crust recipe I found used it so I just did it
unsalted butter, chilled,
ice water

In a food processor combine dry ingredients (I only have a tiny food processor so I used a pastry blender instead) – then add shortening and continue processing (or blending, in my case). Add butter, cut in to crumb consistency. In medium bowl, sprinkle w/ cold water, fold in until sticks together as a dough. Divide into two pieces, flatten, cool before rolling out.

Roll dough to 12-inch disk. Transfer to pie plate and press in. Refrigerate.

At this point, the source didn’t include the specific lattice top instructions, and I got irritated with most of the web tutorials so I pretty much played it by ear. It’s not rocket science. I cut it into many strips, laid one across the top, another perpendicular, then alternated adding strips in each direction and weaving under/over the previously placed strips as necessary.

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Only thing I’d do differently is more strips and closer together.

Filling –

3 Granny Smith apples (about 3 medium)
4 McIntosh apples (I couldn’t find these so I used honeycrisp)
1 lemon (for juice/zest)
cinnamon (don’t even think of puttin’ that stuff in…actually, do – I’m quoting song lyrics…just to be clear)
nutmeg (sweet, sweet NUTMEG)
allspice (you know it leaves me cold as ice)
1 egg white

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F.

Peel, core and cut apples into quarters then slices,  toss with lemon juice and zest. Mix part of sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss with apples. Put into pie shell. Put on the lattice top per my prior note. Lower oven to 425, put pie on heated baking sheet and bake about 25 mins, rotate and reduce to 375, bake another 30-35 minutes (until bubbling and crust is golden brown).

Cool on wire rack at least 4 hours. Place next to your passable pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!


YUM (aka chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow filling and malted chocolate frosting)

This was my “Happy Birthday to Me” cake – as it was for the source blogger, Brown Eyed Baker. Recipe in its entirety at source here:

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It was labor intensive, and decadent, AND I ended up having to make it twice because something went awry the first time.

Ingredients: (specifics at source)

Dutch-process cocoa powder (I just used Hershey’s)
baking soda
baking powder
strong black coffee
vegetable oil
vanilla extract

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling:
powdered sugar
unsalted butter
vanilla extract
Marshmallow Fluff

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:
unsalted butter
powdered sugar
Ovaltine Classic (I actually got malt powder – I wanted more malted flavor than from ovaltine)
vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
semisweet or dark chocolate chocolate, melted and cooled
heavy cream

So, I’ve spent enough of my life on this cake that I’m not spending as much blogging it. LOL. So, to summarize -Mix dry stuff for cake and wet stuff separately, slowly add wet to dry and mix 2 minutes. Pour equally into three round cake pans (I think recipe called for 8″, we used 9″. Bake approximately 32 mins. at 350 (rotate at 20 minutes).

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Toasted marshmallow filling – oy. You’re supposed to broil the marshmallows until brown then flip them. Um, no. Mine spread and flattened and were too sticky to flip. They then congealed into a sticky/crispy/solid-ish mess that was impossible to mix into the powdered sugar/butter/fluff mixture.




Then, the frosting. Typical buttercream with powdered sugar and butter, plus melted chocolate chips and malt powder, and heavy cream.



After all that, to assemble, you have the slice each cake in half to make six layers, then put the marshmallow filling between them, then frost with the frosting.


(Does that look like three layers, not six? Congrats, you just passed preschool math. More on this later.)

Final product, first try.

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So – looks good right? Except the husband and I return from birthday date night, cut in, and he finds a little chunk of glass that he bites down on. EEK. Not sure where it came from but we were both too freaked out to eat any more after that, so we tossed it. I was sad. So two three days later when home from work with the kids I remade it but only did 3 layers to make it easier.





It was really good – but I think the combination of wasting all the time making it twice plus the sheer richness ended up in me not adoring it. The cake part was amazing. And the frosting was amazing. But together, I think it kind of overwhelmed me. Not so much that I didn’t take sveral bites every time I opened the fridge until it was gone, though.


Pumpkin Cake!

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My brother’s birthday often coincides with our annual Halloween get together, so it seemed only fitting that he get a Halloween themed cake. I went with something that looked cute but wouldn’t have me up until 2am baking entirely from scratch so I decided on a bundt cake from cake mix. Didn’t really use a specific recipe other than borrowing from numerous things I saw on Pinterest.


  • 2 boxes cake mix (I used chocolate – accidentally used 2 different mixes. Sigh. Different shades of brown).
  • Ingredients box mixes call for (typically eggs and oil I think).
  • Buttercream icing (powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, food coloring). I have any number of recipes on other posts for it. Do NOT used shortening because (a) it tastes bad (meaning you’ll have to start over with real butter if you’re like me), and (b) it says this on the box which is terrifying:photo 2
  • Glaze – I don’t even remember the recipe I used but I think it was mostly cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar. Sorry, I’m lazy, but you can google glaze recipes.
  • One green ice cream cone.

Bake the 2 cakes according to package instructions. Note that I used a shit-ton (technical term) of cooking spray to ensure clean removal from Bundt. Here I am with my weapon and wearing the awesome R. Kelly “Hot and Fresh out the Kitchen” apron the husband got my for Mother’s Day.

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Stack one cake on top of the other upside down to make a pumpkin shape. Drizzle with the glaze, then decorate detail with buttercream. Stick ice cream cone in middle for stem.

Mine was kind of a hot mess, but it tasted good!

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Brownie Oreo Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly. I have only one word – OMG (ok, that might be three words, but whatever). I saw these on pinterest, linked back from a blog, but it’s not even really a recipe so I think I can just instruct you here.


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Get a pack of Oreos.

Spread about a TBSP of peanut butter atop two Oreos and stack them inside a cupcake liner in a muffin pan.

Prepare boxed brownie batter. Pour 2 TBSP of prepared brownie batter over each Oreo stack. Bake for about 20 minutes (probably about time on package).

Enjoy the deliciousness. These were SO rich but probably one of my favorite things I’ve made and so 1

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Pumpkin Truffles

These were good – we broke in the fall season with these as our first pumpkin based treats. Easy to make and yummy!



Recipe via Pinterest/Blog “Simply Designing”. Not much to even repeat (and specific amounts, instructions, at source site, ingredients as follows:

  • white chocolate chips (or white Candiquik which we used and worked just fine).
  • canned pumpkin puree
  • cream cheese, softened
  • gingersnap cookie crumbs (I beat the crap out of them in a ziploc).
  • graham cracker crumbs (see note above re: crap, beating out of)
  • powdered sugar
  • orange zest (I skipped this – not worth the effort)
  • ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Pretty much melt a bit of the white chocolate mix that melted portion with everything else other than a small amount of graham cracker crumbs set aside, put in fridge to set, roll into balls, dip in remaining melted white chocolate and sprinkle remaining crumbs atop.


Chocolate Banana Truffles

It pains me to say this, but the fact that we made these 5 days ago and there are still some in the fridge doesn’t bode well for how this recipe fared in our home.


Recipe from Domestic Rebel:

After a prior issue with Candiquik they very nicely offered to send me some free to try again, so I searched for some truffle recipes to try. This sounded great, but I think maybe the inside was just not interesting enough?


Essentially, it’s banana pudding mix plus butter, plus powdered sugar. Roll into balls, freeze, dip in chocolate, top with a nut.

Ingredients in full:

  • 1 pkg. banana instant pudding mix
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 & ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ pkg chocolate almond bark or Candiquik
  • About 15 halved walnut pieces

More specific instructions at source. I will say that the mixture was WAY too soft to make into balls so I had to refrigerate for a while first. THen made these:


Then I melted the Candiquik, with MUCH better results than prior attempts, and poured into a bowl so it was deeper for dipping.



Had better luck dipping than my prior truffles at least, and hubby to help with putting the nuts on top for each one. They came out well, I think, but just missing something and wasn’t too excited about end result.


Next attempt will be Pumpkin Truffles with the white Candiquik!!!

Cheddar Beer Bread – now, with BACON!!!!

And yes, you can read “BACON” like those old dog treat commercials.

Super easy. Recipe from


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used Cheddar, but a mixture with Monterey Jack and Colby included would be great)
12 ounces beer
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (1/4 c real bacon bits)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Not much to do besides mixing it all together and baking – specifics at source link. DELICIOUS. We used the husband’s fancy St. something or other beer and it tasted more beer-y than usual, but kids still liked it too.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles


Oh my dear lord. These are one of my FAVORITE things I have made. Recipe from Annie’s Eats: There are others on the web but this was the one I’d pinned and it was amazing.

Pretty easy to make , too, although mine never look as nice as the source.

creamy peanut butter
confectioners’ sugar
unsalted butter, at room temperature
crushed pretzels
bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (i used Ghirardelli chips actually)

Specific amounts at Annie’s link. Pretty easy to make – mix PB, sugar, butter and pretzels together. I had to use my hands though to kind of massage it, just mixing didn’t work that well. Then roll into balls and freeze for a bit. You can see here where 90% of the butter is embedded in that one ball up front/right.


Meanwhile, melt the chocolate.


Dip the balls in the chocolate (I don’t think it’s possible for me to post about making truffles without saying – “I wanna dip my balls in it“). Yes, I’m (a) old, for remembering the State, and (b) immature).


Then make the drizzle from PB, sugar and milk, and drizzle atop it. Eat. Repeat (the last step, that is). Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get the picture.


YUM. I could not stop eating them.