Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red, white and ruffled!

Fourth of July Cupcakes

These were soooo fun! I’ve been wanting to try ruffled frosting since I got my hands on Trophy Cupcakes Book. Their vintage ruffle technique is beautiful and I thought the Fourth of July would be a great excuse for me to try piping ruffles … yikes … with three colors!

Cupcakes and frosting

Divide buttercream frosting into piping bags for this tri-colored look, but one color would be just as pretty.


One thing I realized after piping a bunch of these, was that I should not have divided the frosting in equal amounts. The bottom color needs a larger amount, the middle color a little less, and the top color the least. Hope that helps if you decide to try this with multiple colors.

Piping Ruffles

Dive in and start piping around the perimeter of your cupcake with the first color.

Petal tip

Here’s the key (or tip) – Use a petal tip and hold it with the widest end pointing down towards the cupcake when you pipe. Start on the outer perimeter and apply even pressure to the piping bag while rotating the cupcake with your other hand. It took me several tries to get even ruffles and it helps to keep your piping bags about half full so you can pipe with better control.

Now my tip is one of the small sizes (#104) so I ended up with multiple little waves, but Trophy’s cupcakes are made with a larger tip (Ateco #127 – See this old post for an example of their ruffles in the book). I just didn’t have that size so I improvised. I definitely want to make them again with one color and a bigger tip.


But I think the small size worked out great for three colors because I could go around the cupcake two times with each color.

Ruffled Buttercream Frosting

Eeek! Love it. I just need to practice, practice, practice to get them more uniform.

Ruffled Cupcakes

They kind of look like bunting decorations though and I’m giddy about it.

Treat Tags

Oh yeah – I made little tags that you can use for your Fourth of July treats, too! Use them for cupcake picks and cake pop tags!

Here is the Happy 4th of July Treat Tags template you can print out and use with a paper punch.

And here is the cupcake recipe I used and the buttercream frosting recipe, too. Enjoy!

Fourth of July Cupcakes

I hope you have a happy and safe 4th this Friday!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

I’ve been on a little bit of a cheesecake kick the past week or so.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars

It started with these Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars that I made for And they were so good that I had to make another batch.


But this time I swapped the cookies for peanut butter cups. The unopened bag sitting on my counter said they wanted me too. So I obliged.

Graham Cracker Crust

It all starts with a simple graham cracker crust…

Cheesecake steps

Cheesecake bars are super easy. No springform pan. No water bath. No fuss.

After you prepare the crust in an 8×8 baking dish, whip up the batter, mix in cut up peanut butter cups and bake away.

Then cool and cover with chocolate ganache.


And top it all off with more cut peanut butter cups. It’s the right thing.

Peanut Butter Cups

Then, cut them into cute little squares and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Like yum!!!!! These were so good and the perfect sweet snack size.

And you know what… this cheesecake comparison made me realize that as much as I love peanut butter cups, I think I’m an oreo cheesecake girl. But, I kinda feel like I’m cheating on my favorite chocolate candy.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Servings: Makes 20-25 bars


  • Crust
  • 18 Graham cracker squares (1 wrapped package), crushed into crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 24 peanut butter cups, cut into pieces
  • Ganache
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 10-12 peanut butter cups, cut in half


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the crust, stir graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until completely combined.
  3. Using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, firmly press mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, add cream cheese, sugar and flour to a large bowl. Using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat mixture until creamy and combined.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add egg and yolk, mixing until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Gently stir in broken candy cups pieces and pour batter in prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache, place chocolate morsels in a large heat-proof bowl and set aside. Add cream and butter to a saucepan and heat on stove at medium high. Remove just before boiling and pour over morsels.
  8. Let sit for a minute and then stir until completely combined. Add powdered sugar and beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled cheesecake and top with cut candy cups. Place cut side down on top of ganache in alternating directions. Try to arrange them to make it easy to cut into even bars without cutting through the cups. It may be easier to eyeball 4 rows of 5, yielding 20 squares. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Cut into bars and serve.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ice Cream Sunday


Happy Sunday! And Happy Father’s Day, too! I’m giving away something sweet to celebrate summer and of course ice cream.

You know, I think I could eat ice cream every day. It’s always my favorite go-to treat when I travel… but I never really get ice cream at restaurants. That just seems boring. Probably because it’s not as fun as going into a scoop shop and looking all the pretty creamy colors. And I always prefer eating ice cream out of a cup. I don’t like to eat it out of a cone because I’m way messy. So if I do get it in a cone, it’s just so I can snap a picture of it. Then I turn it upside down and dump it in a cup and eat it with a spoon – or better yet – I like to break up the waffle cone (never a sugar cone) and use it to scoop out the ice cream. I may be weird.

Okay, back to the giveaway.

Up for grabs is this Cuisinart 2 Qt. Ice Cream Maker and one of my favorite scoop shops new book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. Yum! If you have her first book, you’ll want to get your hands on this one, too. It’s divided up into sections like ice cream parlor, bakeshop and sundae bar. So fun!

Here’s the sweet scoop for a chance to win them both:

  • To enter leave a comment on this post and share your favorite ice cream flavor and how you like to enjoy it. Cone, cup, bowl… barrel ; ) ?
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm ET. SORRY, Time’s Up! Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening on this post.

Good luck guys!

I’ve been reading all your favorites for the last couple of days and now I need all the flavors! and a big spoon of course.

Okiedokie – it’s ice cream maker winner time!

The winning comment is #1216. Congratulations Angela – I hope you love making your own mint chocolate chip and butter pecan. YAY!



This giveaway sponsored by me. This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Melty! Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my gosh I couldn’t stop eating these cookies! I gave a few to my mom and I was going to give the rest away too, but then… I opened the container they were in to have just one … and then I was like I’ll just have one more … and then there were just too few to give to anyone. Whoops. (wink) … So I kept the rest all for myself.

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread

The dough is kissed with a little salted caramel hazelnut spread. Oh yes!

Chocolate Wafers

But these jumbo chocolate wafers are what make them so irresistible. I love baking cookies with them. It means melty chocolate in every warm little … or big bite.


Mix up the dough, scoop it onto baking sheets and then… sprinkle the tops with a little sea salt to finish them off.


And then bake…

Melty Chocolate Chip Cookie



and bite!

That’s it. I’m done! I just passed out. I think I’ll just need another melty cookie to revive me.

Melty Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Servings: Makes two dozen cookies


  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Salted Caramel Hazelnut Spread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate baking wafers
  • Sea salt for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt together with a wire whisk.
  3. In a mixer, cream butter, sugars, and hazelnut spread until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add flour and mix on low until incorporated.
  6. Stir in chocolate wafers. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Scoop dough onto parchment paper about two inches apart and sprinkle tops with sea salt.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy while melty.
  9. Note: The wafers are made by E. Guittard and the salted caramel hazelnut spread is made by Jif.
Source: © 2014

Update: I accidentally left out the step where you add the flour to the recipe. It’s in there now (#5). : )

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pick Your Mix!

What’s your sweet style? Cakes, bread, confections, cute? What do you guys love or want to learn how to bake?

Check out the 10 books below and pick a mix of your favorite five to be entered for a chance to win them! FUN!!!


Surprise-Inside Cakes
Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – with a little something extra inside
by Amanda Rettke
Photography by Susan Powers

These whimsical cakes are as cute on the inside as they are on the out. The step-by-step photos will inspire you to get creative with layers of cake.


Sweet Paul Eat and Make
Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love
by Paul Lowe
Photography by Alexandra Grablewski

If you love Sweet Paul’s blog and magazine then owning this book is a no-brainer. Beautifully photographed and full of comfort and charm, this one’s a real keeper.




Eat More Dessert
More than 100 simple-to-make & fun-to-eat Baked Goods from the baker to the stars
by Jenny Keller
Photography by KCB Photography

This book will make you want to fill your table with treats… and yes … eat more dessert! Jenny’s easy and adorable recipes are showcased in dessert tables like Spring Garden, Princess Tea Party, Down on the Farm, Vintage Baby and more.



Meringue Girls
Incredible Sweets Everbody Can Make
by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman
Photography by David Loftus

I love how many different ways a basic meringue can be used to create decadent desserts and colorful confections. I made these meringue kisses from the book last week and they were way too fun!



Glorious Layered Desserts
by Glory Albin
Photography by Gene Chutka

Layers of sweets in small jars. I’m in. Pina Colada Cheesecake Mousse, Peach Raspberry Almond Trifle, and Brownie Bottom Coconut Cream Dessert are just a few of the sweets to get you started or use her basic recipes to mix and match and make your own combinations.



The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook
Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival
by Alex van Beuren and Dixie Grimes
Photography by Ed Anderson

This book makes me happy inside. It’s divided up into Breakfasts, Main, Sides, Soups for every Season, Spreads and Sandwich Fixings, Casseroles and of course Southern Sweet Thangs!  You’ll enjoy making this Mississippi Grocer’s best recipes.


Trophy Cupcakes and Parties!
Deliciously Fun Party Ideas and Recipes from Seattle’s Prize Winning Cupcake Bakery
by Jennifer Shea
Photography by Rina Jordan

The famous Seattle cupcake bakery shares some of their most loved recipes along with basics for party themes and tips for entertaining.



Modern Pioneering
More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life
by Georgia Pellegrini
Photography by Georgia Pellegrini

Georgia is a friend of mine and she’s really outdone herself with her latest book. And while it isn’t focused on baking, it’s like an excite-o-pedia of fun projects and recipes to sharpen your skills. Besides red wine popsicles and beet marshmallows, there’s tips on gardening, making preserves, tapping your own watermelon keg and much more.



Pure Vanilla
Irresisible Recipes and Essential Techniques
by Shauna Sever
Photography by Leich Beisch

Okay, vanilla lovers, this book is for you. 80 recipes showcasing this beautiful flavor that usually takes a backseat to chocolate. You’ll fall in love with the Twinkie Bundt Cake, Vanilla Cloud Cake and I dare you not to make someone’s day with the Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts.



Josey Baker Bread
Get Baking • Make Awesome Bread • Share the Loaves
by Josey Baker
Photography by Erin Kunkel

This step-by-step book would be great for the beginning bread baker. Josey Baker … yes his real name… starts you from scratch learning the basics and takes you on a journey through different types of flours to inspire you to have fun with bread.



Pick Your Mix Giveaway for your favorite FIVE (5) books!

  • To be entered for a chance to win, just leave a comment on the blog with your favorite 5 books from the ones above.
  • That’s it. Easy peasy.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, May 29th at 7:00 pm ET. Sorry, Time’s Up! Winner Announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Thursday evening.

Good Luck!!!

* Amazon affiliate links included in this post.


Okay … it’s time to announce the winner.

P.S. – I loved reading all your picks. It’s fun to see what people wish for. I just wish I had an easy way to tally everything up. I get so curious about these kind of things.

And the baking books go to Maggie! Congratulations. I think you’ll have tons of fun baking this summer.



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