Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

These major chocolatey chocolate chip cookies actually came from a mix. But not just any mix.

Master Pastry Chef and Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres now has a convenient way to make his famous chocolate chip cookies.

I was excited to give them a go because I use his scratch recipe all the time and it is one of my absolute favorites. Check out this older post I did on making them and trust me when I say that they are ridiculously good. The original recipe just takes some time (overnight chilling), more than one kind of flour, giant chocolate wafers to bake inside. So, I don’t always have the time to plan to make them or the right ingredients on hand.

That’s why this little mix came in handy to curb my cookie cravings. You just add butter and eggs. I was a little skeptical about the kind of chocolate that would be included in the bag because when I pressed around, it didn’t feel like it would have the big wafers I am used to with his recipe.

But oh boy … was I wrong. They are ginormous and bigger than the big ones I usually use. Here they are next to regular size chips on the right.

And here they are in my hand. Yes and yum. These are the kind of chocolate chips …I mean chocolate wafers that I can get behind. Or maybe even chocolate saucers, they’re so big.

Spoon, please!

Okay… this is what I’m talking about. Look at all that warm chocolate spilling out when you take a bite. So good.

A couple of things to note about these cookies… The mix is a little pricey. Like $18 for the bag. So I will probably stick to making them from scratch, unless I want to give the mix as a gift. That being said, the chocolate and ingredients I buy to make his original version ends up being around the same price when everything is said and done.

Also… if you do buy the mix and make them, let your dough chill for a while so they don’t spread as much. My cookies went a little flat.

And not quite like his scratch recipe cookies. Photos below are for reference from an older post. Check it out here.


See what I mean. These are insane.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

And pretty!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You really have to make them one day! Here’s the recipe for his famous cookies:

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Very Sweet Vegas

A few weeks ago I went on a super fun girls trip to Las Vegas planned by my sweet blogging friend Jenny of Picky Palate.  I loved hanging out with these girls … especially since they love sweets as much as I do. And, we had a blast trying as many treats in three days as we could.

L to R: Shelly of Cookies and Cups, Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, me, Shawn of I Wash You Dry, Stephanie of Plain Chicken, Lauren of Lauren’s Latest, Jenny, and Amanda of Kevin and Amanda.


After landing in Vegas, we met up at Yardbird for lunch. We started the weekend strong with Chicken and Waffles followed by a few desserts to share. This s’mores brownie was served up in a cute little skillet.

We had fried Oreos, too… but the chocolate chip cookie sandwich with peanut butter ice cream and bananas was by far my favorite. Definitely off to a good start.

We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel and enjoyed dinner at their restaurant Verandah. So amazing.

By the way… LOVE the Four Seasons Hotel. I’ll definitely want to go back. It sits on the top floors of the Mandalay Bay, but has its own private entrance free of all the noise and smoke and slot machines. Not that I don’t love slot machines. It was just nice to go back to the hotel and have a break from all the craziness. But then the elevator too conveniently stops on the casino floor to give you access to the Mandalay Bay Casino which I may have taken advantage of more than I should.

The next morning we headed over to Hash House a Go-Go and you guessed it. Kept eating. this Brown Sugar Banana Pancake was as big as a pizza. But all their dishes are ginormous. You’ll feel guilty when you leave. But your tummy will feel happy.

Okay, in full disclosure. I did not eat all of this.

That’s because … I had to try this tower of chocolate waffles, ice cream and chocolate syrup … and it stole my heart.

We all totally shared, though. I don’t think I could finish even one of their dishes.

Also devoured by the group were Banana French Toast, Chicken and Waffles … (again), and Kristan ordered the Man vs. Food dish that helped make Hash House so popular.

We don’t hold back.

Here we all are at the Wynn Hotel entrance. Such a pretty hotel.

For lunch we slowed down a little bit and just ordered a few French Fry Sampler platters and washed them down with custom milkshakes at Burger Bar. I had the middle one… and it was amazing!

I love this Kate Spade window display. I mean, even our shopping adventures were sweet.

But not as sweet as Jenny was for surprising us with a bunch of amazing goodies to go home with. A big thanks to the brands who helped her make our trip so special: 
Four Seasons Las VegasSabra HummusPetunia Pickle BottomMZ WallaceTieksLulu FrostLoren HopeMiranda Frye JewelryMinted.comTokyo MilkHello ApparelBella Cotton Candy MakerP.J. SalvageKitchenAidRetro BakeryTillamookNestlePlantersBon Apetit Pizza and Martha White.

That night we met up with Miss Brit. She totally wanted to hang out with us.

But she was busy dancing her butt off. Such a fun show.

The next morning we had brunch buffet back at Veranda in the Four Seasons Hotel. It’s most definitely worth going to. There is soooooooo much yumminess to choose from. I mean they have everything!

And how can you not love a place with their own adorable doughnut bar.

After brunch we hung out at the pool and enjoyed doughnuts in our cabana.

Okay… we also had nachos. But, let’s talk about these nachos. They are one of the best things I had all weekend. And maybe some of the best nachos I’ve had ever. I did not want to stop eating them, but my bathing suit said otherwise.

Later that afternoon we stopped by Hershey’s Chocolate World. Such a happy place.

Look at this giant chocolate chunk sandwich cookie. It makes you smile doesn’t it.

Saturday night we had cupcakes from Retro Bakery. My favorites in Vegas.

Get the Hopscotch in the above photo  and you won’t regret it.


Sunday morning called for Banana Waffles from Bouchon Bistro …delicious. I was sad to leave and drowned my sorrows in a river of maple syrup.

But these warm spiced beignets with Nutella cheered me right up. They were to die for delicious!!!

And now for a delicious end to a very sweet trip with a couple more over the top desserts from Serendipity 3. I didn’t make it here before I left, but Amanda and Shawn did and sent these photos and I cried.

This Party Like it’s Your Birthday Cake!!!

And this Deep Fried Oreos and Ice Cream Sundae!!!!! And now I know my first stop the next time I’m back in Vegas.

Do you have any favorite sweet stops we should try next time?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cake Popalooza!

Today is the 5-year anniversary of my first book. I can’t believe it!

How could five years have gone by so fast?!? It’s just crazy and to celebrate, I’m giving away a bunch of Cake Pops goodies below. YAY! I created cake pops and first shared them on the blog back in 2008 and by September 8, 2010, Cake Pops by Bakerella was released in stores and online. So much has happened since this book made it in to peoples’ homes and hearts all over the world.

Businesses have been launched and products have been created to help make them, shape them, display them, and decorate them. Cake Pops have become regulars at coffees shops, bakeries, birthdays, weddings and more. They’ve helped raise money for charities, inspired creativity, spread joy and probably some frustration, too. Dipping can be tricky to get on the first go. But through the last several years, I know one thing. They have brought endless smiles to so many.

The photo above is from the Walnut Creek Williams Sonoma in San Francisco. P.S. If you attended one of the signings back then you might find your photo here.

When the book debuted, I had the incredible opportunity to travel around the country to meet you guys. It was and still is one of the best experiences of my life. We laughed and cried and hugged and talked dipping and candy and you guys showed me your designs and it was unbelievably exciting to meet everyone who shared the same passion for cute and cake. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for you guys. I can’t tell you how much your support and encouragement means to me.

I have to give a little shoutout to these cupcake pops, too. It was these cuties that I first posted on the site in February of 2008 that unknowingly started a cake pop phenomenon. These were my first shaped pops and I could have never guessed how much people would love them and want to learn how to make them back then. It was your enthusiasm for these tiny treats that sent me on a mission to see what else I could to with a little ball of cake on a stick and some candy. I had to know how many ways I could make them and make you smile. And now I know the answer is endless.

These are some of my favorite pops from the first book and today I want to say YAY and celebrate the anniversary of it’s publication with a knock down all out Cake Popalooza Giveaway of the products that I’ve worked on over the last several years.

Some you may know about … and some maybe not.


This is my second book… Cake Pops Holidays… and it may just be my favorite.

When I was working on it, I started getting a little nervous that it might not be as cute as the first book because there weren’t as many animal designs, but in the end I think it turned out even cuter than the first book. And I fell in love with the smaller size, too.

With a Holidays book, how could I not do a Cake Pops Halloween themed book, too… especially with so many frightfully fun character possibilities.

I mean how can you not smile at those spooky sweet faces.

Besides the books, I created a few gift items with my publisher Chronicle Books. They’re the best at making super cute stuff.

Here’s the Cake Pops Kit. It comes with a small book, treat bags, treat tags, ribbon, cake pop sticks and a cute paper cake pop stand.

And these are four different mini kits, each with treat bags, ribbon, tags, and cake pop sticks for specific projects.

These are notecards printed with cake pop photos from my first book. A cute little way to send someone sweet nothings.

Oh…… and the toy! It was available at Toys R Us for a couple of years and I only have a handful of them left. Sad face. It has a cake crumbler, mixing bowl, dipping bowl, cake pops tray, cake pops stand, cake pop sticks and four fun molds to help you shape cake pops.

I also partnered with Make’n Mold for this Bakerella line of products to help you make cake pops and sweet treats. Candy wafers, candy molds, decorettes, pastry bags and more. You can see all of it online here.

Okay… let’s wrap up and celebrate with this Cake Popalooza Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win the following:

  • Cake Pops
  • Cake Pops Holidays
  • Cake Pops Halloween
  • Cake Pops Kit
  • Cake Pops Mini Kits
  • Cake Pops Notecards
  • Cake Pops Toy
  • PLUS a Bakerella for Make’n Mold $100 Gift Card

To enter:

  • Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite cake pop design or book.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, September 10 at 8:00 pm ET. Sorry! Time’sUp. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post sometime Friday.

Good luck and yay for cake pops!!!




It’s time to announce the winner!! I’m so excited. But first, can I say how much you guys made my day with all your favorite pops comments. You guys are awesome and it was so much fun reading all of them. Okay, help me congratulate Commenter #444. YAY Mary!!! I hope you enjoy all the cake pops goodies.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Ripple Ice Cream

I’ve been playing around more with some more “no-churn” ice cream after making this Butterfinger Crunch batch the other day and I love how easy it is to whip up. This time I decided to mix in two of my favorite things.

Creamy peanut butter and…

And chocolaty brownies! These are just little bitty brownie chunks that I cut up from some leftover brownie cookies I made recently. But make things even easier with brownie bites from the store if you don’t have any extra brownies hanging around the kitchen. Because let’s be serious. A batch of warm brownies really doesn’t stand a chance of making it into another dessert before I devour them.

For the vanilla base: I combined sweetened condensed milk with whipped cream and vanilla and then stirred in brownie pieces.

For the peanut butter ripple: I mixed sweetened condensed milk with warmed peanut butter before adding the whipped cream.

Layer all this yumminess in a 9X5 loaf pan or a container like the one I used above with a lid.

Try putting the peanut butter mixture in a piping bag (I used one of my handy pink ones) so you can easily swirl it in around the vanilla ice cream base.

Once the container is full, just drop it on the counter a few times so all the ingredients get packed in. Then freeze away and wait.

Peanut Butter Brownie Ripple Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups small brownie pieces

  • Chill metal mixing bowl and metal whisk attachment in freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • Whip heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, about three minutes.
  • Warm peanut butter in the microwave and stir with 1/3 cup of the sweetened condensed milk. Fold in about a third of the whipped cream until completely combined.
  • Fold in the remaining sweetened condensed milk with the remaining whipped cream. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Fold in brownie pieces.
  • Fill ice cream container or a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan alternating with spoonfuls of the ice cream mixture and piping swirls of the peanut butter mixture. Mix in any remaining brownie pieces.
  • Freeze for at least six hours.

Scoop and enjoy!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Snoopy!

Snoopy Cake Pops

It’s everybody’s favorite beagle’s birthday! And I’m celebrating with the sweetest Snoopy Cake Pops for his special day. It’s a big year for Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang because they make their big-screen debut this November in 3D animation for The Peanuts Movie and I can’t wait.

Shaping Snoopy

If you’re excited and want to make Snoopy, too… then check out my complete instructions for making Basic Cake Pops.

Once you have round uncoated cake balls, keep reading to find out how to decorate these lovable pup pops.

Shaped Cake

Reshape the round balls to make Snoop’s head. I made two different versions because I wasn’t sure which one I’d like best once they were decorated.

  • One version is made by shaping the cake pop mixture into a somewhat flattened kidney shape (on left in above pic). This Snoopy is more like the cartoon drawing where his facial features appear on one side. You’ll just need one ear for this one.
  • The second version is made by shaping the cake pop mixture into more of a rounded light bulb shape (in middle in above pic). This Snoopy needs ears on both sides since it is more three dimensional.


For the ears I used almonds and they turned out to be perfect. YAY! I love it when I find candies or edible add-ons that are just the right size and shape.

Dipping Snoopy

Attach almonds to Snoopy’s head with a little bit of melted white candy coating to act as a glue. When dry, dip the shaped cake pop in the melted coating and gently tap off any excess. Let dry completely in a styrofoam block or cake pop stand.

Drawing Snoopy

When dry, use an Americolor black edible ink writing pen to color in the ears, draw eyes, eyebrows and a big smile. When using the pens, draw on as gently as possible. If you press down, candy residue will clog the tip.

For cute little noses, use coated black sunflower seeds and attach them in position with a small dot of melted white coating. For the best noses, sort out the ones that are more rounded from the ones with a pointed end.

Draw on collars with a red edible ink pen.

Snoopy Cake Pops

So so cute. But it’s his birthday and I think he needs to celebrate with cake and party hats, too.


See. All smiles!!!

I like this cartoon-inspired version the best because you can have more fun with his expressions.

Birthday Cake Pops

  • To make little layer cakes, shape cake pop mixture into a marshmallow shape… OR you can use marshmallows : )
  • Dip in melted candy coating in your favorite cake color and let dry.
  • When dry, use a toothpick to draw a line around the middle with white candy coating. Let dry and then dip the tops in more white candy coating. Use a toothpick dipped in coating to make waves in the top layer of frosting.
  • Top off the cake with tiny candles and multi-color nonpareils.

Party Hats

  • The candles I used are super skinny. I just cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Make sure you take them out before eating though.
  • For the party hats, I didn’t have a candy shape on hand. No worries, I just made tiny cones from the cake pop mixture and used a toothpick to dip the tops in coating.
  • When dry, attach them to Snoopy’s head with a dot of melted coating and then draw a line around the base of the hat with more coating.
  • Sprinkle with nonpareils and use the side of a toothpick to straighten the line if needed. The benefit of doing this is that it camouflages the gap where the hat meets Snoopy’s head and makes it look like it seamlessly sits sweetly on top.

Snoopy Cake Pop

Here’s the second version. They’re cute, too. Snoopy Bitten

So cute I want to bite their noses off.

This post is sponsored by the #PeanutsMovie coming to theaters this November.

Watch the movie trailer here.

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