It feels so good to be back after two weeks! I have been stock piling recipes during my absence and I’m pretty sure these Brown Sugar Raisin Bagels are the best thing I’ve made in ages!
March was one of the busiest months I’ve had since the holidays. We had a huge joint birthday party for Patrick’s kids. That alone took two weeks planning and 3 days of prep work. I started a new position at work that actually has a better schedule, but it completely threw off the days I usually reserve for pictures. Now I am trying to find ways to use my artificial lights. These gorgeous bagels came to life early one morning so I was able to take advantage of the morning light.
Eventually I will find a way to balance my work and blog, but for today we are just going to dive right into these bagels.
We were grocery shopping a few weeks ago and saw a little tub of brown sugar cream cheese. Now I’m sure I have just been living under a rock, but I had no idea this stuff existed! Here is just a little insight into how my recipes come to be – first ingredient cream cheese. Now what is the best way to savor a spoonful of brown sugar cream cheese? More brown sugar obviously! Next raisins because I wanted a little extra flavor. I wasn’t really sure if I was making a bread or bagels until I got home.
I really wanted a nice crust so I knew it was going to be bagels. These have the perfect chew with a nice crust and more brown sugar crumble. They were pretty much perfect to slather with cream cheese!
Meringue has always been one of those things that intimidated me in the kitchen. I never had a desire to even attempt making a meringue for my pies because I felt like it was sooooo high maintenance. Last week I was testing new recipes and I really wanted a topping that would stand on its own. So I attempted a meringue.
Not only was it just as easy as making my standard whipped cream, but it stood up for perfect. Plus those browned edges look delicious.
You can definitely use fresh eggs, but I had just picked up some pasteurized egg whites and they turned out great.
If you use fresh eggs I do think the mix with firm up a little easier. My meringue was very delicate, but still had a great flavor and was able to keep the shape I formed.
Why German Chocolate Celebration Cake? This cake is made for celebrating! You start with four 6 inch fudge cake layers, caramel coconut filling, a whipped chocolate frosting, chocolate ganache, caramel, and all the trimmings.
I topped everything with a little toasted coconut, a bag of almond joy mix, homemade fudge donuts, and homemade chocolate bark. You can top this with anything. I think next time I may try for a chocolate mocha cake next time.
These cake layers are so moist and really hold up well during decorating. This is a very time consuming design so I recommend baking the cake layers the day before and wrapping them with plastic wrap. If you keep them in the freezer it will help keep the crumbs at bay as well as retain the moisture.
Every Valentine’s Day I sit and contemplate- wine or brownies? I picked up some of my favorite red wine from Trader Joes and I knew I wanted to do a Merlot infused ganache.
Once I started throwing together the brownie batter I drizzled a little more Merlot into the batter. The result was sooo good. The wine brings out the richness in the chocolate while keeping them so fudgey and moist.
These are honestly even better the next day. Enjoy them with a little cocoa whipped cream or on their own!
One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is all the fun desserts. Even after all my brainstorming I still came up with mostly chocolate covered things… I can’t help it! We are a chocolate household. This Chocolate Ganache Cake came just in time!
I knew I wanted something rich with a subtle coffee flavor. First came this extra moist chocolate cake. Not overly sweet. Then a light and creamy cheesecake filling. Dyed pink of course to be extra festive! Then came the whipped ganache.
If you want to skip down to the ganache recipe and eat it straight out of the bowl – that is perfectly ok with me! This whipped ganache is everything I dream of when putting together recipes. It has that really rich chocolate flavor, but the texture is so light and fluffy.
The entire cake is covered with the whipped ganache then topped with a thick dark chocolate ganache. I used a straight spatula to “ombre” the two together. The result is sooooooo good! I’m not going to lie to you. This cake is very time consuming, but I promise it is worth it!
Soft pretzel are one of my favorite go to appetizers. These come together so quickly! They are easy to freeze for later and you can customize them with all your favorite add ins! Bacon cheese pretzel anyone? Today I am sharing my super good buttery soft pretzel recipe. The simplest version perfect for any dips you might be whipping up for Super Bowl!
Do you ever watch them make pretzels at the mall? I am always memorized by how fast they roll the dough. I know if I trying to make my pretzels that quickly I would end up smacking myself in the fast with dough! While I do not know the exact magic that goes into making those beautiful extra large mall pretzels I do know how to get pretty darn close.
These are so easy to make then freeze before baking. Then you have all the hard work finished. You can just pop them in the oven before your event … or snack!
One of the best parts of only giving myself one cheat day a week is having 6 days to brainstorm these concoctions. I’m now heading into my 4th week of eating clean and I am wishing I had thought to remake these cookies. Triple chocolate chip cookies are now a thing in our house. These cookies measure about 4 1/2 inches wide. They are soft, chewy, and oooooh so chocolatey.
I drizzled dark chocolate and white chocolate on alternating cookies. The kids were skeptical at first. They have a hard time believing there is white chocolate. According to them chocolate is brown and anything white is icing. I say that is fair. The white chocolate drizzle does add a really nice vanilla flavor where the dark chocolate adds enough bitterness to break up the triple chocolate inside the cookie.
I scrolled through dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes online that were quoted as “the best”. I know everyone has a different idea of what “the best” is. Patrick thinks a cookie that is super chewy and close to cake-like with lots of melty chocolate is the best. I personally love something a little closer to the classic Nestle recipe. Slightly crispy on the outside and very soft in the middle.
These cookies have the slightest crunch on the very outside, but the rest of the cookie is so soft and soooo packed with chocolate. Using dark brown sugar helps give almost a toffee like flavor which is definitely my favorite!
Something about this time of year always has me craving banana bread. It probably has something to do with the fact that I always try and increase my fruit and veggie intake at the beginning of the year. This year we are going to try out whole 30. I am excited to really clean up our diets and detox, but I’m not thrilled about giving up dairy.
You can obviously skip the dark chocolate to reduce the sugar in this recipe, but I love the way the chocolate melts into the bread. My favorite way to enjoy this bread is toasted with a little butter. There are not a lot of ingredients. I tried to make it as much about the bananas as possible.
Since this bread is so focused on the bananas you end up with a really moist treat. Nothing is worse then a piece of dry breakfast bread. I think next time I might swap the chocolate out for raisins and pecans.
With 2016 coming to a close I wanted to make a fresh citrus cake. I have tons of white chocolate left from my holiday baking so I made some whipped white chocolate buttercream. Usually dark chocolate is my go to, but I really wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. This cake is light and sweet. Perfect for bringing in the new year with some champagne or sparkling grape juice!
This year has been so amazing. I had a lot of great new recipe creations and just as many failures, but I learned so much. Sharing recipes and stories with all of you has been so much fun! Patrick got me a new kitchen aid mixer over the holiday and I have been in the kitchen non stop! Next year is going to be packed full with new recipes!
Sprinkles and edible glitter will definitely be making a big appearance in the upcoming months. Cake decorating has never been my strength. My plans are to try out a lot of new techniques. I love watching videos on different icings or cupcake fillings. If you ever need to get sucked into the Youtube world try looking at Scranline’s channel. He has the most creative sweets I have ever seen!
There is a little story about this royal icing. I decided I wanted to make little cut out cookies for all my friend’s children this Christmas. I started with my gingerbread recipe then my go to sugar cookies. I tried a chocolate chip shortbread and some chocolate shortbread.
Now the night before I knew I wanted to ice these I made sure I had all my cookies ready to go. All separated into little freezer bags waiting to be iced. I woke up extra early and drove over to Michael’s to pick up a few extra food colorings and a few more piping tips. Who knew the craft store would be poppin at 9am. I stood in line with my handful of items for 30 minutes then drove back home. After setting up my sugars and food coloring I realized something… I forgot to buy meringue powder.
There was no way I was getting back into that line so I started browsing the internet. There are a lot of ways to pasteurize your own eggs so I made a very basic icing recipe, but I heated the eggs over a pot of boiling water to help kill off any bacteria.
If I learned anything this weekend it is definitely to plan ahead when making an iced cut out cookie. There is so much time in drying each layer. A few times I tried to rush and my icing would just melt into another color. Do one batch at a time. Have all your piping bags ready. Icing colored and covered with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it. It takes forever for each layer to dry, but some how they dry so fast when you need to sprinkle. So definitely have all your accents ready to go.
You can see with my gingerbread men there is a slight variance between some of them. I made the icing way to thick my first go and the next morning I made another batch thinning out my flood icing. The hard part is finding that perfect consistency that can make a border then still have enough liquid to very quickly fill the border. Practice and patience are huge here. At one point a was working on the very last color in my icing layers and Patrick watches me and says “hmm it looks so easy in all the videos.” That is so true. All the research I did before trying these out and that is definitely what I took away from it all – it is not easy. Once I got the hang of it I really was on the finally touches. The little red scarves. I had the perfect consistency on that red and the red sugar held it together so nicely.
Patrick and I did go to a friend’s birthday party while all my little cookies were drying. We had a great time and it was really nice to have a reason to dress up a little. By the time we got back all my cookies were dry and ready to be packed away.