Snickerdoodle Zucchini Bread

This bread is the BOMB!

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite

Cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite in general, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn to this recipe.  It’s all the best things about my snickerdoodle bread (which is amazing, but also will make a major dent in your calories for the day), combined with a bit of whole wheat flour and fiber from zucchini.  Make no mistake, this is definitely a breakfast dessert, but it’s now only a bit of splurge rather than a complete diet derail.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...plenty of sweet, with a bit of healthy mixed in

The hardest thing is finding the cinnamon chips—if you see them, buy like 6 bags!  (Though this may be part of the scarcity problem…).  I think Hershey’s discontinued theirs, so I’ve been buying them on the Amazon black market, and will need to look elsewhere soon.  Cinnamon chips are seriously the best, and appropriate in all manner of delicious breakfast and dessert recipes.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread

This was a hit at work.  And I had trouble keeping my hands off it.  I had a piece with my morning espresso, but went back several times throughout the day for another bite.  I probably had three pieces total, one bite at a time! [Read more…]

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Birthday Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Every year (minus last year), I make myself a special birthday cake.  I try to pick something that’s really captured my imagination, that seems a bit fancy and more complex than I’d usually convince myself to tackle.  Something special.

This year, for reasons I can’t even quite explain to myself, I made a vanilla spice Coca-Cola cake with salted peanut frosting.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Frosting

Yes, you read that right.

It’s kind of conceptual…while I’m not a fan myself, boiled peanuts in Coke is considered a Southern delicacy.  Consider this the deconstructed cake version.  But without the weird texture issues.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-sliced

It was really a gameday decision.  I’d pored over my whole Pinterest dessert board and nothing was really jumping out at me.  But then I finally got it into my head that this vanilla spice Coke cake was going to be my base.  I’ve never had a traditional Coca-Cola cake, but my understanding is that it’s almost always chocolate.  When I ran across this recipe from Local Milk, I was intrigued…the way the flavor profile was described so beautifully, and as an interesting transition into fall,I decided it had to happen.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting

But the frosting that went along with it was just way too finicky for my exhausted and busy self to deal with.  I looked at tons of different recipes but nothing really felt right, until I saw this salted peanut frosting.  Since I love all things peanut butter, I was on board right away, and I thought that it would be a fun complement to the cake.  While this was a bit overly sweet for my tastes (or maybe that was because I also ate a gallon of queso, so I felt a bit ill), the flavor was bomb and the cake was insanely moist.

I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe down the road, and not just for a special occasion—the cake base itself (minus frosting the layers) was super easy and fast.  As you can tell, frosting cakes is not my particular skill set.

So happy birthday to me, and cut yourself a huge slice of cake and pour a Coke! [Read more…]

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe.  These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting done

Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them.  I mean, it would be rude.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough.  I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting lemons

And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening.  The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late.  Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting finished

Right call.  The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate.  Even without the icing they’re perfection.  But the icing is a work of art itself.  Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.

In other words, you should make these TODAY. [Read more…]

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice

But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead.  And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)

banana cake with caramel frosting sugar butter beat

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter).  But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake.  The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice2

This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake.  And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.

I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions.  This is a thing everyone does, yes?

Humor me… [Read more…]

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake

There is no such thing as having too many coffee cake recipes.  That’s like having too much cheese, or too many raw sugar packets, or too many pairs of shoes.

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake

Honestly, I have one coffee cake recipe (a cinnamon-streusel one) that is the best in the world, and my go-to under any and all circumstances.  And I’m just now realizing that I’ve never posted it.  So…that will need remedied.  But in the meantime, this one—if you like the combo of espresso and chocolate—is definitely a keeper.

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake slice

The sour cream gives this a lovely moistness and a dense but somehow light crumb.  Everyone at work totally raved about the taste and the texture, so you could probably switch up the toppings if the chocolate/espresso flavor combo isn’t for you.

espresso chocolate coffee cake ready to bake closeup

The original recipe (link at the bottom) calls for you to split the topping and batter, and have a layer of topping in the middle.  Since I was using a big springform pan I definitely didn’t have enough batter or topping to make this work, but if you go the bundt or tube pan route, you may want to give this a try.  Either way, the melted chocolate, deep espresso notes, and little spikes of cinnamon make this worth getting up in the morning. [Read more…]

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt

In general, puppy chow is at the top of the list of “foods I’m never, ever allowed to have in my house”.  Because I will eat it ALL—I love it.  But I think this specific recipe may literally be my favorite food in the world.  It is that good.  Life-changing, even.

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt

When I first saw this recipe on Food 52, I was obsessed, and couldn’t wait to try it out. The dark chocolate twist was right up my alley (I’m definitely dark vs. milk), and I knew the sea salt would add a perfect balance to what can sometimes be an overly sweet snack. I also made a few changes based on my own preferences…I decreased the amount of powdered sugar and increased the peanut butter (and the chocolate chips, a little) to tailor it to my exact tastes.

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt done

And I done good. Now *this* is what I call a Sunday night…

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt finished

I took this into work (okay fine, what I hadn’t already eaten the night before) and we devoured it in no time flat.  [Read more…]

Dutch Baby (or German Pancake)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last! Things have been nuts with work, and some travel as well. While I haven’t cooked much, I actually have a backlog of recipes that I just haven’t been able to find the time to put together and post.

Dutch Baby

July has been a whirlwind. My mom came for a visit, which was great. We cooked an awesome dinner one night, but I also talked her into getting burgers, Thai, and Chinese takeout. Which was bomb. Then last week I was up in New York for work, then spent a long weekend in L.A. with a bestie hiking the Hollywood Hills and drinking copious quantities of wine. On top of insane work hours, what few minutes of free time I can squeeze out are taken up by the last stages of planning for our Scotland trip right now (!!).

Dutch Baby Pancake

But I realized last night that I’d never posted this dutch baby recipe, which is practically criminal. These things are awesome. These aren’t something I grew up with, but it was the recipe for apple pie german pancakes that gave me the idea. I had some leftover batter, and so I looked up what to do with it. I effectively made one of these, and have been hooked ever since. They’re easy, fast, incredibly versatile, and delish! [Read more…]

Healthy Apple Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

Crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.

Crunchy. Cinnamon. Sugar. Topping.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Basically, that’s all you need to know about this recipe. But I guess I could mention the fact that they’re mostly whole wheat, low in sugar, and full of wholesome fruit. I mean, if that kind of thing’s important to you.

healthy apple cinnamon muffins apples whole

When you make this, the batter will worry you because it is crazy thick. Like, bread dough thick. You won’t pour or spoon it into the muffin tins, you’ll kind of awkwardly drop it in there and kind of smoosh it. Don’t try to smash it into the muffin cups, just kind of drop it and it will expand as it bakes to fill in the gaps. And despite the thickness of the batter and the density of the baked muffins, they’re super moist! [Read more…]

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

Cookie cakes are a big meh for me usually. One time my co-worker had this incredibly detailed dream, and part of it was that I got married at work (like seriously, back in the open-office plan desks) and there was a cookie cake.

And I was like, “Well, that’s how you should have known it wasn’t real! I hate cookie cakes!”

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

I don’t know what possessed me to try this deep-dish cookie pie originally. I was home for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a whirlwind of giant family meals, needing to feed 15 people, 25 people, 35 people. Lots of dishes. Loading and unloading things from the car. Figuring out what gaps there are in the list of food everyone’s bringing. So I vaguely remember needing to throw together a dessert last-minute, so it needed to be simple, a crowd-pleaser, and ready to walk out the door in under an hour.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie done

The result was WAAAAAYYYYY too sweet for me, but I could see the seeds of something good and easy in there, so I shelved it until I could play around with ingredients a little. Now, three or four batches later, I love the result.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie finished

By decreasing the sugar significantly, substituting some whole wheat flour, adding peanut butter and dark chocolate chips instead of just semi-sweet, and throwing a sprinkle of sea salt, the resulting skillet cookie is sweet but not cloying, a little denser, and offers infinitely more complex flavors (also healthier, but that wasn’t the main point). If an achingly sweet version sounds good to you, don’t fear—the original is linked at the bottom of this post. But this version is much more up my alley, and has been pronounced AMAZING by some of the dudes in my life, so it’s still a major crowd-pleaser.
[Read more…]

Churro Popovers

Oh my word, THESE POPOVERS.

Churro Popovers

These are heaven. They are light, puffy, buttery, cinnamony-sweet heaven. And they’re so fast and easy!

Churro Popovers done

I halved the recipe, since I was only cooking for me (yes, it still made 7 popovers, DON’T JUDGE ME). It’s so insanely fast, you just blend up the ingredients in your blender (or with a whisk) while the oven heats up, and like 20 minutes later you have piping hot popovers. It’s impressive, really. [Read more…]

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