Thursday, October 14, 2010


My officemate loves cookie dough not cookies but cookie dough. For my birthday she made me one huge cookie and undercooked it since she loves the cookie dough taste. So for her birthday I decided I had to do something involving cookies and my usual cupcakes. I just got back from 5 months in Japan so my officemates were salivating/demanding my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes but I told them it was time to expand our horizons and boy were they happy to! These were a huge hit and were excellent! I made the cookie dough the nite before and left them in the freezer until the next nite. I don't usually like using box cake but I figured there was enough "homemade" stuff that it was okay. I used tried and true chocolate frosting!



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs


- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 egg and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls; place onto a baking sheet, and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

- Beat 3 eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer to break up. Add the cake mix, water, and canola oil; continue beating for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each 2/3 full. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.

- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion of the cupcake (not the cookie dough ball) comes clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.




2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk (I used regular milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


- In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar. ( I used more milk)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Excuse and Travel Food!

Okay so I have been an AWFUL baking blogger lately, okay for awhile. It is a two part excuse, one part I have no idea maybe I haevn't been baking as much maybe I am lazy?!?!! The other part of the excuse is real......I was in Japan for almost 5 months and while I was there I baked a little (mostly old favorites) and I promise I will blog about the new recipes soon. But I was also doing a blog for my family and friends about my travel and that just took a longggggggggggg time. Now that blog is done, so is my trip, so maybe I can concentrate on this blog again!

Here is a food post from my travel blog.

Seriously why has it taken me so long to do this post. Unfortunately, not all the food I love is featured here but needed to show a few things. I will be honest and say that I have packed on a few pounds since I have been here; actually, every time I have lived abroad I have gained weight and I think that is because of being a vegetarian and compensating with carbs. Being a vegetarian can be hard, think about it if you aren’t eating meat what are you eating when you travel? In the states I have the lovely Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck as my dad calls it) but I always have difficulty outside of my comfort zone. Now this is where I could get extremely frustrated because my pants just don’t fit but I recently read something in a magazine that put it all in perspective (parphrased) “Instead of worrying about those last 5 pounds think about all the fun you had and the great food you ate to gain those 5 pounds.”

In Kyoto - I had some fantastic pees that were in this crunchy dough and some fantabolous dried fruit, seriously dried kiwi and strawberries!

OMG the fruit in Japan is HUGE! This asian pear was the size of my head, their peaches are the same way. The really cool thing is that they are sold with a foam protector.

On my last day of work in Sasebo Kaori bought me this awesome mini cake (even had its own ice pack with it!)

When I was in Korea Ryan and Holly introduced me to Tom n Toms Coffee, it is a Korean chain and o.......m...........g.............. this might be better than Starbucks! I know blasphemy but they have these pretzels that are made to order and the one below was sweet potatoe and cheese - I am salivating just thinking about it!

One nite when we were going back to the hotel Ryan, Holly, and I decided to stop and get a snack. Well I saw this ice cream that was "Sweet Corn" and I just couldn't say no because I was so intrigued. It tasted just like frozen sweet corn but honestly, I could not decided if I loved it or hated it and Holly was the same way. We both kept taking a bite and going hmmmmmmmmmmm not sure let me try it again!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When life gives you lemons.........

I have been so busy in Japan but when I first got here I was invited to my coworker's house for dinner. I have limited baking stuff here (no mixer!) but still seem to be doing just fine. It is super hot here in Japan but I will take it because that means it is not currently raining!!!! I decided to try something different and went with Lemon Bars. They were really good my one thing would be to decrease the cooking time. I did 15 minutes for the crust and they were still pale but it was good enough!

(Source: allrecipes)


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (I used the lemon juice in the bottle)
1 tablespoon lemon zest


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Mix 2 cups of flour and confectioner's sugar together. Cut in the butter or margarine. Mix well until the dough resembles pie dough consistency.
- Press the dough into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. (I baked for 15 minutes and it was still pale)
- Beat together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and lemon rind for at least 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
- Bake the bars another 20 minutes, or until the lemon topping has set.
- Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar when cooled.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A little bit out of the comfort zone...........

Wow let's talk about being MIA.........the past few months have been absolutely crazy. I am actually living in Japan right now, I moved here in the beginning of May and will be here until the end of September. I am living and working on a military base and so we had a potluck at work for the 4th of July. They decided to center the meal around KFC chicken and as we all know I don't cook! I am always the dessert lady; however, those options were already taken so what was a girl to do! I decided to make a salad and biscuits. They both came out excellent and I even put the leftover biscuits in the freezer. Delicious!

The biscuit recipe says it makes 8; I doubled the recipe and definitely got more then 16 but I also don't think I made them as big as the recipe calls for. Don't forget you can always freeze them and defrost them later because they are absolutely amazing warm!

The nite before the potluck, I got all of the ingredients for the salad ready but then prepared it right before the potluck at my desk. Therefore, I was stuck with my bowl and so I probably didn't make it to all of the measurements listed but it is a salad so you don't really need to follow a recipe - I just liked having one to have some guidelines.




2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt


- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine baking mix, Cheddar cheese, and garlic powder. Stir in milk. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Brush biscuits with melted margarine, and sprinkle with parsley and garlic salt. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. (I am getting used to a new oven so I subtracted about 1 minute from each of the times).



8 cups baby spinach leaves(I used 1 bag of spinach and 1 bag of 50/50 leaf mix)
1/2 medium red onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained (I think I might have used a can and half)
1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries (I used craisins)
1 cup honey-roasted sliced almonds
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, or to taste (I put it on the side)


- Put the leaves in a bowl and sprinkle a little bit of all the ingredients, while carefully tossing, and just keep mixing everything in. Beware, the almonds and cranberries will go straight to the bottom of the bowl!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baking with Kids!

This past Wednesday I baked with my 4th grade CCD students. Thankfully 2 of the moms helped me, otherwise I would not have survived baking with 10 - 10 year olds! The reason for this madness was Operation Baking Gals. This is my second time doing this and I think this is a wonderful organization since I love to bake and now I can do it for a good cause. I hope the solider Tim and his friends enjoy the boxes of cookies and the cards that they made!

All the cookies packed and ready to go. Also, the cards that they made.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (recipe below)



1 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( I left the walnuts out)
1/2 cup golden raisins (I used regular raisins)


- In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts and raisins.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Black and Whites AKA NY Cookies!

I am from New York and haven't lived there for over 11 years but I still miss the great food! A fantastic cookie from NY are the Black and Whites, I love these even though they are dryer then your normal cookie. When looking at recipes I learned that people actually called these NY Deli Cookies, who knew! For the office Cookie Swap I decided to go out of my comfort zone and to try a new cookie. Hey with a room full of guinea pigs I couldn't resist.

My first batch came out better then my second batch, when I tried to make them thicker and a little less dry they just came out huge and flat; sort of like a pancake. I got the recipe from All Recipes and part of the reason why I love that website are the comments from other bakers. Based on numerous recommendations I changed the original recipe and I think it came out pretty well. Next time I might change the chocolate a little bit but everyone loved them.



1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt

Frosting: * You will halve the recipe for white and black frosting

6 Cups confectioners sugar
4 Tbsp light corn syrup (for consistency)
2 TBSP butter (for shine)
3 tsp clear imitation vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/3 C. cocoa powder (recipe called for Dutch processed I used Hersheys)
Water for consistency


- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk, vanilla, and lemon extract. Combine cake flour and all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually blend into the creamed mixture.
-Take 1/4-1/3 of a cup of batter and drop them on the sheet. Take back of a spoon to swirl it into a nicely formed circle about 1" thick. Bake for about 11-14 minutes. Cool completely.
- Brush off all excess crumbs from bottom of each cookie. (over sink)

- Make frosting in 2 batches, white being first: 3 Cups confectioners sugar, 2 Tbsp light corn syrup, 1 TBSP butter, 1 1/2 tsp clear imitation vanilla extract, and enough hot water to achieve desired consistency. Mix with a wire whisk until smooth. Ice slightly over 1/2 of each cookie; you can spoon the icing and then use an offset spatula to ice) and let set until firm (approx. 20 mins.).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What to do with all of those cookies??

It's that time of year again! The time of year when you get suckered by cute little girls and buy more cookies then you ever need..........yup it is Girl Scout Cookie time!!!! I have a soft spot in my heart for Girl Scout cookies, I used to be a Girl Scout (I actually have my Gold Award). I was an extremely successfull cookie seller because when people told me that they couldn't buy them because they were on a diet I would tell them that they froze very well and they could have them after diet was over! OOOO how sweet I was!!

So now I am the one who is being suckered and I decided instead of sitting down with a box of Thin Mints and polishing them off in one sitting I would bake with them. So after doing a google search I found some great recipes, especially from the Girl Scouts of Kentuckania.

I am in love with this recipe, Mint Delight! It is fantastic and delicious - I actually froze it inorder to bring it into work and when it was frozen and defrosting it was good but once it defrosted it was AMAZING!! I was not a fan at first but after it was completely defrosted I totally was.

I am not a purist, to my mother's chagrin, and when I can I use low fat or reduced fat ingredients and it worked really well in this recipe. I forgot the recipe when I went into the store (not the first time and not the last time) and I had to guess the package sizes. I knew I needed the large box of chocolate pudding; however, the large size at the store was 5.9 oz and not 8 oz, it worked out well. Also, I wasn't sure how much cool whip I needed so I bought a large 12 oz and a smaller container. It was still frozen when I needed the first cup and I ended up using the large and a little bit of the second smaller container; however, I think if it was actually defrosted I could have gotten away with one.

This recipe is fantastic, it doesn't seem like it is going to work out when you are making it but as they say the proof is in the pudding!!

This is what it looked like frozen

(Source: the Girl Scouts of Kentuckania)


1 pkg. of Thin Mint cookies (crushed)
3 tbsp. butter or margarine (melted)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
2 pkgs. (5.9 oz. size) instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk
4 cups whipped topping


- Combine cookies with melted butter or margarine, (save ¼ cup of cookies for topping). Press cookie mixture on bottom of 13” x 9” pan. Chill.
- Combine cream cheese with 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over cookie mixture. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Prepare pudding with 3 cups of milk and pour over cream cheese mixture. Chill for 1 hour or until ready to serve.
- Top with remaining whipped topping and Thin Mint cookie crumbs. (I put this on top and let it sit in the freezer over nite)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting Back On Track With Soup!

A fact about me is that I don't cook and I don't like to cook, baking is where it is at for me. However, I was just away for a week for work and every morning the lovely Hilton would leave newspapers for us. So as I drank my Starbucks and waited in the lobby a recipe caught my attention and I thought hmmmmmmm I could make soup and it could help me get back on track. I liked the soup a lot and it was super easy! I didn't add the optional sour cream or the garnish but sprinkled a little cheese on top instead.

(Source: USA TODAY)

1 Tbsp. canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 small onion, chopped (I used half of a medium/large onion)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lime juice
4 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
- Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
- Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution with when pureeing hot liquids).
- Stir the puree back into the saucepan.
- Serve soup garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baking for a Good Cause!

Awhile ago I came across this wonderful group called Baking GALS. This group is run by Lyndsay and she gets group leaders to host soldiers who are deployed abroad. Each host recruits up to 20 bakers and in a week to two week period everyone ships out their goodies and then bombards the soldier with baked goods. So many goods he or she has to share with their fellow troops.

I wanted to do this for awhile and thought that this would be a great thing to do with my 4th grade religion students; however, 2 weeks of snow in DC changed that plan! So I baked these on my own and will sign up for a future round to bake again.

This was my first time baking for soldiers so there are some things I will do differently next time. For now I hope the Lt in Afghanistan, who is responsible for Logistics and Transportation, and the soldier from Indianapolis, whose second was born while he was away, enjoy the cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Molasses Cookies (nonvegan version)

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cabin Fever Deliciousness!!

After being snowed in all week I was actually excited to go to work today, sad I know! But I was also excited because it was one of my good work friend's birthday and my friends get to request what type of birthday cupcake they want. My friend requested Red Velvet Cupcakes and I made them last year for Valentine's Day and for another friend's birthday but I didn't love that recipe, even after tinkering with it. But after all the reviews today I think this is the recipe!!! So easy and delicious a definite home run! I used my trustworthy cream cheese recipe! These are perfect for Valentine's Day so enjoy and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

(Source: Allrecipes)


2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
1 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food color
2 tspns pure vanilla extract


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat.
-Spoon (or an ice cream scoop) batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. (Don't worry batter is thick)
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. 19 to 20 minutes was perfect for me.
- Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.



1/2c. of unsalted butter (softened)
2- 8oz. packs of cream cheese (softened)
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of vanilla extract.


- Cream the butter and cream cheese together and then add the powedered sugar and vanilla.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Better Late then Never.......

For Thanksgiving I made Katie's Fall Harvest Bread as part of our appetizers. It was delicious!!!! It was also perfect because I hae some little cousins and this was a hit with the 2 year old!

(Good Things Catered)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 can (or 7.5 oz) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium apple (I like granny smith) peeled, cored, and diced
1 c. fresh cranberries (I used the packaged craisins)
1 c. chopped pecans (I think walnuts would also work well)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Prepare 9x5 loaf pan or 5 mini loaf pans(or can sub muffin pan or double recipe for cake/bundt pan).
-In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and whisk to combine.
-In another large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla and stir to combine well.
-Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just barely blended..
-Fold in apples, cranberries and pecans.
-Spoon batter into prepared pan (it will be all lumpy - don't worry).
-Bake for 60-70 minutes (35-40 minutes for mini loaves) or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
-Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
-Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack completely (makes the slices much more clean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gigantic Deliciousness

For a long time I lusted after the giant cupcake pan and I finally got it! It was fantastic! I made my Devils Food Cake and my begged for Peanut Butter Frosting recipe. Before I put the top on I injected some frosting into the middle of the bottom part and it was delicious!

One of the hints from the manual is to cook the bottom at first for a little bit longer then add the top so they cook evenly. THe only other problem I had was transporting it, with all the frosting on top I couldn't get my cake carrier to close.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm back and with a fantastic cookie!

WOW!!! I haven't blogged in almost a year - 2009 was CRAZY!! I don't know if anyone actually reads this blog but in the past year I realized this blog is really helpful to me to get some of my favorite recipes when I am on the road. I might not be blogging as much as in my heyday but here we go again....................

One of the tasks that kept me busy in 2009 was a Holiday Cookie Swap at work that I was in charge of. My favorite recipe from the swap was my boss' cookies who are named after her aunt. I love these and made them for some Christmas Cookie gifts. They are supposed to be a little logs but my batch came out flat on the bottom. Enjoy!!!!!

Right out of the oven:

Coated and looking pretty:

Packed up with some truffles



2 1/4 cups of sifted flour
1/2 tspn salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, softened (I used butter)
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tspn vanilla
1 (6 oz)pack semisweet chocolate chips (mini chocolate chips work really well but you can use others)
2 cups chopped walnuts (you can also use almonds)

1 large (12 oz) package of chocolate chips
1/4 cup margarine (I used butter)


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix flour and salt
- Beat margarine, sugar, egg, vanilla in large bowl until well mixed
- Blend in flour, then stir in chocolate chips
- Shape dough into 2 by 1/2 inch logs (use a little flour on hands if dough is sticky)
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes
- Cool on wire rack

- Once cookies are cooled then melt 1 large package of chocolate chips (12 oz) and 1/4 cup margarine
- Dip ends in chocolate coating and roll ends in nuts.
- Place on wax paper until set.