My littlest brother is 17 and getting ready to finish his junior year in high school. He’s in the jazz band and wind ensemble where he plays the sax. 13 years ago when I was a freshman in high school the band started a tradition of having a cake auction at the last concert of the year to help raise money for the next year’s band. Every year of high school I made a cake that was auctioned off. This year I helped my own brother make a cake. I chose a recipe from Heather at Sprinkle Bakes because 1) it was full of chocolate and 2) it had basic techniques I thought my brother should know. The recipe sounds complicated, it’s a Chocolate Mousse Cookie Dough Bombe, but if my brother can do it I assure you that you can too.
We started by assembling the brownie layer. We wanted to make sure it had time to cool before we packed it away to rest overnight before we assembled it the evening of the concert. While making this layer my brother started sharing what he called “Legit bro tips” or what he thought were helpful tips about baking and cooking. I’ll share them just as I promised. His first legit bro tip- “oh year we made brownies, I made them when I was 8. I think I know what I’m doing” which I’m sure is his way of saying easy enough.
Next we assembled the cookie dough layer. This layer is made by stirring up the ingredients in a mixer, then pressing the mix into a plastic-wrap-lined bowl. This prepwork will make it easier at the end. You don’t want to leave gaps because this will become your dome when you flip the cake over. My brother’s legit bro tip- “real easy, can’t mess this up.” This layer also leaves some leftover cookie dough which is wonderful because there are no eggs and no baking in this step so it’s safe to munch on.
Next up was making the mousse. This was the most educational portion of our day in the kitchen. I taught my brother how to separate eggs (legit bro tip- Make sure to break that in half) and how to temper eggs. He didn’t believe that the mixture had thickened enough to cover the back of the spoon as instructed so he learned another legit bro tip- don’t be afraid to pull out a spoon and test. Then he was introduced to the Kitchenaid mixer and its ability to whip cream. He saw most of the stages and learned the difference between soft and stiff peaks (legit bro tip- those are the hard ones). We mixed the chocolate and cream together and then the dish started coming together. We poured the mousse into the cookie dough, then covered it in plastic wrap and froze it overnight.
The next day we took off the plastic wrap, placed the brownie layer on top of the mousse, and trimmed the remaining cookie dough. Then we flipped it. It was the moment of truth- would all our hard work pay off?
Now this is where the cake gets its death by chocolate reputation, you cover this massive treat with a chocolate ganache. We quickly whipped that up and my brother poured it on.
We sent the cake off to the cake auction and a lovely buyer bought it (aka our mom- do you think she would let her son’s first homemade cake go to someone else?). She was kind enough to share it with us on Mother’s Day though there was very little left the way the family had devoured it.
Doesn’t that look amazing? It somehow tasted even better than it looked. We’ve come to our final legit bro tip- “It’s bombastic.”
If you’re looking for the recipe, make sure to check Sprinkle Bakes. It’s absolutely worth it.Pin It
The best thing about March has to be Thin Mints. It can’t be the weather (high was supposed to be 60 and I saw snow) and it can’t be the days off work (that would be 0) so it has to be the Thin Mints. Last year I celebrated with an alcoholic overture to the cookie but this year I made a chocolate bark.
Place a single layer of pretzels in a pan lined with wax paper. Melt your chocolate in 30 second intervals until smooth when stirred. Repeat this process with the candy melts. Pour the chocolate on either end of the pan and pour the candy melts into the center of the pan. Swirl the chocolate and candy melts into a pattern. Toss on crumbled Thin Mints and sprinkles. Place the pan in the fridge for about 20 minutes before breaking apart the candy bark and enjoy!Pin It
It’s time again for another cookie recipe. This one happens to have just 5 ingredients thanks to starting with a cake mix.
These chocolate fudge crinkles are a new recipe in my house but they went over so well I wanted to share them. I used a Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix but I think this would go over great with the other cake mix flavors like strawberry or even yellow cake mix for a gooey butter-like cookie.
The secret to these cookies is to make them quite big before rolling them in powdered sugar. Don’t be tempted to make a ton of cookies since these get the best rise and crinkled effect if you just make 1 cookie sheet of cookies from this recipe. The double rolling in powdered sugar also makes sure the final cookie gets the maximum color contrast for that snow-dusted cookie effect. These cookies are very rich so make sure to eat them with some milk!
- 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Stir together the cake mix, oil, water and eggs until it forms a very thick dough. Chill in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour.
- Remove dough from fridge and quickly scoop into 1-inch balls. After shaping each ball, roll it in powdered sugar and let it rest on a cookie sheet.
- Once all the balls have been shaped, roll each ball in powdered sugar for a second time.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The centers of the cookies should be slightly gooey. Cool for 5 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack until completely cooled.
I’ve noticed people seem to have a lot of peculiarities about their chocolate chip cookies. Some people like thick chewy ones, others want a crunchier bite. Some people add in ingredients like peanut butter or pumpkin to the batch and some like it straight off the bag.
This recipe appeals to the first crowd. The Chewy is a chocolate chip recipe with a fluffy dough that rises thanks to some instant vanilla pudding in the batter. It’s a very cake-like cookie which should come as no surprise since so many cakes have pudding in them as well. The mix of white and brown sugar also leads to a very soft cookie.
This cookie is all about the texture. It’s also great for freezing. I made this at the same time I made my M&M cookies and I froze 4 dozen of these cookies and 3 dozen of those cookies. I may have sampled some in the meantime and I promise you I gobbled them up all too willingly.
- 2 cups butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 (3.4 ounce) packs instant vanilla pudding
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 20 ounces milk chocolate chips
- Cream together the butter, sugars, and pudding mix. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Combine the flour and baking soda. While stirring, add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet ingredients.
- Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Most people seem to think pie is the perfect Thanksgiving dessert but when it comes to pumpkin, I tend to think the flavor is best featured in a cake. Yes, that may be blasphemy to you but if you’re ever going to give it a shot, this is the cake to do it with.
This cake starts in a bundt cake pan (mine is cathedral shaped because why not?) and there’s no need for a heavy frosting, just a glaze. The original Gourmet recipe called for solely a buttermilk glaze but I got a little crazy and added in some maple flavor.
Since this is a bundt cake, it’s easy to see where to cut the cake and it’s a gorgeous piece to serve. I topped my cake with some crushed pecans and my slice got a sprinkle of coconut too. You can easily make this cake up to 3 days before your big Thanksgiving meal so it works great with my Thanksgiving cooking timeline.
I found this recipe via Gourmet Magazine's 2005 Thanksgiving edition. I've made a few changes (specifically doubling spices and adding a maple glaze) but the cake itself is a warm spicy flavor perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (less than a 15-ounce can; not pie filling)
- 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Grease a bundt cake pan generously and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and salt in a bowl. Stir together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in a mixer on medium until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.
- Spoon batter into pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.
- While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk, maple extract and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.
I’ll admit that sometimes in life, I can go a little overboard. I mentioned before that I had some eggs to use up before I left town for my vacation and the apple bread just didn’t cut it. I decided this would be the perfect time for me to get ready for Christmas. That’s right, back on September 12 I decided to bake 11 dozen cookies for Christmas. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip ones (recipe coming soon!) and 5 dozen of today’s recipe, M&M cookies.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I did in fact bake 11 dozen cookies and packed them away in 3 separate containers. One container was eaten in the week before my trip. It held 2 dozen cookies. The other 9 dozen were split between 2 more containers and one is still safely tucked away for Christmas. The other has been eaten in the month since I returned. This is how I roll. I bake a bunch of cookies, eat most of them and save a couple dozen for Christmas. Over the next few months I’ll stock it with some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread and sugar cookies (undecorated), and some double chocolate chip ones. The ones I don’t eat by Christmas become a January snack, though to be honest I’m usually cookied-out by then.
I store my cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight stackable container already cooked. I just pull them out about 90 minutes before I eat them and they’re perfect.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tablespoons vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons water
- 5 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
- 10 oz mini M&Ms
- Cream together the sugars and the shortening. Blend in the eggs, vanilla, and water.
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and gradually add them to your wet ingredients.
- Gently stir in your mini M&Ms (regular will work as well) and bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.
If you’re still looking for the perfect potluck dessert for a Labor Day weekend barbeque, look no further than the cookie delight. It’s tasty, doesn’t require a lot of prep and it’s very kid-friendly. The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home Magazine and I’m always finding my new favorites from them. This recipe is perfect right out of the box with one little exception.
Start by baking a tube of cookie dough (or about 16 oz of your favorite homemade recipe) in a baking pan for about 15 minutes. Let this layer cool for about 45 minutes-1 hour before continuing.
You’ll need two separate bowls for the next step. Bowl one will be your creamy layer, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a portion of Cool Whip for this layer. Bowl two will be your chocolate layer, mix together your puddings and milk for this layer. You’ll layer these onto your cookie base, first the creamy layer, then your chocolate layer.
Now add your remaining Cool Whip and here’s that important little change– sprinkle the top of the dish with mini chocolate chips. This is key to the whole dish being a success. There’s nothing more fun than eating mini chocolate chips as a kid so just sprinkle away.
You’ll want to chill this dish about 8 hours at this point so this is a great dish to prepare the night before or the morning of a barbeque.
- 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 carton (12 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
- 3 cups milk
- 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Press cookie dough into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1-3/4 cups whipped topping. Spread over cookie crust.
- In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
- Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until firm.
Is anyone as obsessed with the Olympics as I am? Back in 1996 I watched the Atlanta games obsessively. I still have a tote bag my mom bought me with the logo on it. I wrote a report on the US Women’s Olympic gymnastics team, nicknamedThe Magnificent Seven. I wrote to all the women on the team and just this week I broke out the 5 responses I received (I’m still waiting on you Shannon Miller and Dominique Moceanu). My husband wasn’t sure whether to be amazed at the stuff I hold onto or disturbed about my fandom until I broke out my books published back then. I didn’t even show him the poster I had!
In an effort to show off my super nerdy side, I made a dessert perfect for your Opening Ceremony party. What’s that you say, you aren’t having an Opening Ceremony party? IT IS NOT TOO LATE! You are so lucky I’m here. Do it for America, do it for me, do it for your love of all things miniature, or do it because cherries are on sale this week. You need these mini cherry pies and any reason will do.
These mini cherry pies use a store-bought pie crust for convenience but you can easily use your own favorite recipe. You might just need to adjust your filling levels to fit. The filling I use here comes from Recipe Girl and it’s a great tart base. You could go with a premade cherry pie filling but you’ll have a sweeter final result and fresh cherries are so worth it.
I used a small star cookie cutter to cut out some star designs and I rolled some dough out and cut it with a pizza cutter to form stripes. Have fun with these designs and sprinkle them with plenty of sugar before baking.
- 1 package of ready-made pie crusts (or make homemade)
- 2 1/2 cups pitted & halved fresh sweet cherries (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
- coarse grain sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 of your cups in a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Roll out the pie crust into a thinner layer. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out 5 inch rings. You'll want to cut out 8 rings. Set your extra crust aside.
- Line your 8 prepared muffin cups with the dough starting from the center and pulling up the sides.
- In a large bowl, stir together cherries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt. Spoon mixture into your pie crusts.
- Use your leftover pie crust to cut out designs. Stars and stripes are perfect!
- Combine your egg yolk and milk/cream to form an egg wash. Brush the wash lightly over your pies and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake 20-25 minutes (watching carefully) until crusts are browned and the filling starts bubbling.
- Cool at least 15 minutes before eating. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
I mentioned last week that I’d made two blueberry cheesecake dishes and one was a White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake for my husband. The other is today’s recipe, a Blueberry Cheesecake Pie. The recipe comes from Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. This cheesecake doesn’t even require a springform pan or a water bath so it’s a very easy recipe to make.
This dish is a perfect summer dish. Blueberries with cheesecake and lemon are pretty much the best thing ever. It’s a smaller portion than the cheesecake I made and a lot easier if you’re looking for a no-fail cheesecake. This recipe has more of a lemon taste and the blueberry flavor comes from a jam you make for the top of the dish. You bake the crust, then the cheesecake, and then pour warm berries on the warm cheesecake so it sets in one big pie. My dad sure gobbled it up. (That’s him holding his piece below)
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
- 9 large rectangular graham crackers, crushed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter.
- Pat the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes at 325 degrees. Let the crust cool completely.
- After the crust cools, zest your lemon into a medium bowl. Add in the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice and and beat until smooth. Mix in the eggs until just combined.
- Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees.
- While the custard is baking, combine the berries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and cool until the mix is warm but no longer hot.
- After the cheesecake is finished, leave it out until the berries are warm. Spoon the berries over the cheesecake and chill for 1 hour.
It’s almost time for the 4th of July and if you’re anything like me you hardly need the holiday to make a dessert. I love making a jello poke cake for the 4th of July because I always associates poke cakes with summers and being a kid. Food seems to connect us back.
This is a simple enough recipe. You prepare a box of white cake mix (or your favorite recipe) into two round pans, bake, and cool. You can poke holes in the cakes with straws or toothpicks- I like to mix it up. Then you chill the whole thing before assembling with cool whip as your frosting.
- 2 (9-inch) round white cake layers, baked and cooled
- 2 cups boiling water, divided
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Jello
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Berry Blue Jello
- 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
- Prepare your cake if you haven't already. Bake and let cool according to box instructions.
- Pierce the top side of the cake with toothpicks or a straw, about 1/2 inch apart.
- Pour each Jello flavor into its own bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water to each bowl and stir for 2 minutes until the Jello is dissolved.
- Gently spoon the strawberry Jello over one cake and then spoon the berry blue Jello over the other cake. Chill cakes for 3 hours.
- Dip the bottom of the cake pans in warm water and gently remove the cakes from the pans. Place your blue cake on a serving plate and top with cool whip. Add the red cake and finish icing the cakes together with cool whip. Chill 1 additional hour before serving.