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Showing posts from 2017

Old Fashioned Christmas Sugar Plums

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You have probably heard of the famous Christmas poem by Clement Moore describing the magical silence, joy and reverence of quiet Christmas Eve night. You have also probably heard of Sugar Plum Fairy dance made famous by the Nutcracker Ballet, but I am willing to bet that you have never actually heard of a Sugar Plum. If you have, you are one of few who know what this special Christmas treat is. Any guesses as to what they are? If your answer is plums coated in sugar, unfortunately, you would be making a common mistake. So what are they?

Well... since you asked so nicely.... The most simple answer is that Sugar Plums are a mixture of dried fruit and nuts, combined with a variety of spices, honey or molasses, which is then rolled into balls and coated in raw sugar. The processing of the dried fruit gives the sweet a purplish hue closely resembling that of a plum and lends them to the name Sugar Plum. Not what exactly what you thought? You wouldn't be alone!


The history of the Sugar…

Fried Crab Cakes and Pineapple Coleslaw

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Due to the rigors of finals week, so its been a week or so since I last posted a recipe, but I am glad to say I am finally done! It may take me a few more days to come down from the caffeine high, but that's nothing a little R&R can't fix. Today I wanted to share with you a versatile little dinner recipe that can be made for any occasion and any celebration. I know, I know, I usually post about desserts, but a girl can't eat sugar ALL the time, right? Right??! Plus, with the holiday season upon us its nice to have a refreshing, healthy meal or two to give us the energy and vitality we need to power through the rest of the year!


Now that I am living on the East Coast, I am really getting into this fresh seafood thing. Sure, my palate is still a little limited, but I am expanding my horizons and enjoying the heck out of it. Most recently I have been experimenting with crab. Crab dip, crab puffs, crab cakes- its definitely starting to be come one of my favorite dishes! …

Italian Wedding Cookies (aka Snowball Cookies)

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I am so excited to share with you today one of my favorite holiday treats! For those of you who may not have tried these cookies before Italian Wedding (or Snowball) cookies are made with butter, powdered sugar, almond extract and a few other ingredients that create a truly blissful experience. I first tried these when I was a little girl living in England and I immediately fell in love with their melt-in-your-mouth flavor. When we moved back to the U.S. a few years later, I sad to see that they did not appear were not for sale in any stores around Christmas time. I guess they just weren't as popular as fruit cake and eggnog!


Anyway, quite a few years passed, but I still could not get the desire for these cookies out of my head every Christmas. Yes, they are that good! One year, driven mad by cravings buttery almond goodness I decided that if I could not buy them, I would just have to make them myself! So I embarked on a week's long internet journey to find the recipe for th…

Fudgey Chocolate Espresso Brownies

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Considering the amount of chocolate I consume on a daily basis, I am fairly surprised that I have not posted a recipe like this sooner. Over my Thanksgiving break I finally had some free time to bake and it was the most wonderful thing ever! All in all I made two pumpkin pies from scratch, a very large batch of butternut squash sausage stuffing, 3 dinners and these fantastic brownies. It was glorious. Now, I have to make this very clear, these are the real deal brownies. Unlike the kind you get from a box mix, these brownies use 3 types of chocolate to create a deep, rich and positively decadent chocolate flavor.


I am not sure if you can tell how thick the ganache is just by looking at these photos, but believe me, it is HEAVY. So heavy in fact, that when I foolishly placed these brownies on a wire cake rack to cool the weight of ganache almost pressed the whole batch right through the bars!! There was a horrible, heart stopping moment when I opened to fridge to discover great big gl…

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

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Before I even begin to talk about this recipe I have to send a huge shout out to the people in my life that made this post even possible. It was a hell of a week and I am pretty lucky to have met some really great people in my program. First goes out to Mern, thanks so much for encouraging me to make this pie-it is fantastic just like you said! Second goes to Nouran, thanks for the braiding crust idea! And last but not least goes out to Aaron, who miraculously saved my computer after a vanilla coffee tsunami almost cost me my term paper, sanity and the ability to write this post. Now my computer works great and my house smells pleasantly of vanilla when my laptop starts up. You guys rock!


Accolades aside, this is an amazing recipe.Before today, pumpkin pie was never my favorite dessert. I mean, I'll eat it, but if there is pecan pie or something with chocolate instead, you can bet I will be getting seconds. Now, since this recipe strolled into my life, my traditional dessert prof…

Blackberry Crisp for Two

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This week I was delighted to find that blackberries were only $0.88 at my local grocery store! What a deal right?! In honor of the season and my savvy purchase I decided to share a well loved recipe that I make often during the fall. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it mainly gets its sweetness of the fruit itself, instead of adding large amounts of sugar. I have used this same recipe for apples, peaches and blueberries in the past and it works equally well! 


These blackberry crisps are insanely easy to throw together as a late night treat while listening to Pentatonix Christmas on repeat. What's that? Too early for Christmas songs you say? Blasphemy! It is never to early for Christmas carols and NEVER too early for Pentatonix. It's my Christmas and I will carol if I want too!


Anyway, this recipe is designed for two separate crisps, but can be scaled up or cut in half to feed the appetite of one... or many! If you don't have small single serving pans, …

Apple Walnut Hand Pies

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In recent years, the heavy marketing of pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin filled treats has caused the humble orange squash to skyrocket in popularity, and to eventually become the celebrated symbol of fall. While I will not argue that pumpkin does not have its place in the season, it is the every day apple that has truly holds the seasonal spot of honor. Fall is not the same without the apple. Pumpkin I could do without, but the season would simply lose its magic without hot apple cider, apple pies and apple crisp. So in honor of this humble fruit, I decided to try my hand at making apple walnut hand pies this year!


Before we get much further I have to confess, I am not, or have I ever been, a pastry chef. This was the first time that I made my own pie dough. Because I believed that it was difficult to make, I usually bought boxed pie crust mix or frozen pie dough. Even then I had a very difficult time making it look pretty and presentable. I envy bakers who can make perfect folds an…

Wicked and Sweet Halloween Treats: Chocolate Toads and Oreo Black Cats

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Halloween is almost here and the witching hour is near! Because we have lived in apartments these last few years, where few trick or treaters come to visit, I always make some spooky treats for us to enjoy during chilly and haunted nights. This year, I wanted to make two types of sweets, one easy and one original, to fit every schedule, budget and ability. Originally, I was going to make cute little m&m spiders with googley eyes on top of peanut butter cookies... adorable right? But my baking associate Tommy told me that was too cutesy and boring for Halloween. He asked me instead to find something more sinister and grusome to make this year. Well sir... challenge accepted!!
So I set about coming up with some spooky sweets that would meet both my cutness quota and his need for candy gore. I had a frog chocolate mold leftover from making Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs last year, so I decided to make slimy witches toads complete with oozy purple filling... creepy! As for the cutness …

Boozy Brandy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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I love creating new recipes and that is one of the reasons why I am so excited to share this recipe with you today! Don't let the name fool you, it is not as complicated as it sounds and I have filled this post with lots of tips and tricks to make baking these a breeze! The last 3 weeks of my life have been focused solely on midterms and I had to devote some serious time to studying. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had to opt out on a lot of the early fall festivities in my area. Such is graduate life. But after midterms finished last week, I was finally free to enjoy all the pumpkin, fall flavors and treats that October has to offer! I was also in desperate need of a stiff drink... So naturally, I set off on a quest to make a pastry that contained all the fantastic fall flavors that my heart desired. It took a  bit of tinkering, but after a little research and a few momentous conference calls with my baking associates (Tommy and my mom), during which we heatedly debated th…