Category Archives: Dessert

Single Serving Nutella Cheesecake Cups

I suppose I should be posting something Super Bowl-themed. Something smothered in hot sauce, cheese and/or chili. But that’s the beauty of blogging. It’s not a magazine that’s bound to an editorial calendar and government holiday themes. That being said, I think this dessert could fit nicely into a Super Bowl menu to satisfy your sweet-toothed guests.

My husband’s office has (another) potluck lunch today and I needed something easy, able to be made in mass quantities (20-25), easy to transport and fun to eat. I originally saw this recipe on the My Baking Addiction blog and thought it would be perfect. I was introduced to Nutella last year when I took an Italian class to prepare for my honeymoon to Italy. After being out of school for so long, I had forgotten that one of the perks of a language and culture class was sampling the food! When I saw that this dessert used Nutella, I  had to try it.

If I could describe this dessert in one word, it would be decadent. It’s got texture – the dense cookie crust on the bottom, the whipped nutella, whipped cream and cream cheese in the middle and the crunchy chopped hazelnuts on top. It’s super sweet with the edge and richness of the cream cheese throughout. And it’s almost whimsical with the peaks of whipped cream adding height like the turret of a castle. I used disposable clear plastic cups to serve them in since my husband was taking them to work. I also could see them being served in shooter glasses, those miniature tasting bowls, juice glasses or pretty colored glass votive candle holders (sans the wax, of course). I also think that this is the perfect excuse to buy a set of those mini tasting spoons – so cute! Regardless of the way you serve them, I suggest keeping the serving size on the small side. These little guys are packed with icky sticky, ooey gooey sweetness.

I know because I  had one for breakfast this morning. Have a great weekend and may your Super Bowl pick be victorious!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 24 Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups Nutella
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (large 16 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the Garnish:

  • 1 (8 oz.) tub of whipped topping, thawed
  • Toasted, chopped hazelnuts, optional
  • Chocolate shavings, optional

For Serving:

  • Small clear plastic cups or glass bowls
  • Small tasting spoons or plastic spoons

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between the individual cups and press into the bottoms of the cups to form the crust layer.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Then fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.

Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes (I just used a Ziploc baggie and cut one corner. I liked the thickness of the piping. Bonus: I just tossed the bag in the garbage when I was finished!). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Pipe whipped topping into each up and sprinkle on the toasted hazelnuts. You also could add chocolate shavings if you have a giant sweet tooth!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Last fall when my husband asked me oh-so-sweetly if I would bake something for his office, I spent hours looking for the perfect (in other words simple and inexpensive) pumpkin recipe. Martha Stewart came through for me again with her pumpkin cupcake recipe. I made my own cream cheese icing to top them off and added a few sugary sprinkles for some texture. Rumor has it that these cupcakes were a huge hit and I was commissioned (ok, asked again by my husband in that same oh-so-sweet voice) to make them again.

Two weeks ago my husband got a promotion at work and he thought it would be nice to bring something in to welcome his new team. He quickly suggested the pumpkin cupcakes. This time they seemed even easier to make and I swear, they tasted at least five times better than last year! In fact, I might make them again for an afternoon get together this weekend. Not that I ‘m obsessed with them or anything…but really, they’re that good.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar

Directions

  1. Combine butter, cream cheese, add vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, while beating well.
  3. If mixture is too thick to spread, thin to a spreadable consistency by adding a small amount of milk.
  4. Leftover icing can be frozen for up to three months.

Lemon Rosemary Cookies

Happy August! It’s the beginning of the end…of the summer, that is. The sky-high temperatures may make the days seem longer than ever, but the countdown to the end of my beloved favorite season is on. For those of us who plan to enjoy as many ice cold glasses of lemonades and frosty glasses of iced tea as we can before they’re replaced by oversized mugs of steamy chocolate and cider drinks, this recipe is for you. These cookies’ petite size make them perfect for an afternoon snack or a light breakfast and they pair with a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea the way that peanut butter goes with…well, you know where I’m headed with this one. Don’t be fooled by these quarter-sized confections – a full-sized cookie’s worth of buttery lemon and rosemary flavors await you. Trust me – these cookies will make the rest of your summer a little bit more satisfying.

Ingredients

4 oz. (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/3 cup corn flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup turbinado or sanding sugar for decorating

 Directions

1. Beat butter, sugar, rosemary, and lemon zest with electric mixer 3 minutes, or until creamy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Add to butter mixture, and beat until just combined. Shape into 2 1-inch-wide logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Slice cookies into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Place turbinado sugar in bowl and press one cut side of cookies into sugar. Place sugar-side up on baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Summer Fruit Pocket Pies


I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. Between my work schedule and my belated honeymoon to Italy, I don’t think I’ve had very many long and lazy summer evenings this year. Long gone are the days of my teenaged years that I spent in the swimming pool, climbing out only to eat a sandwich or to drip through my mom’s kitchen to go to the bathroom. I miss giggling with my best friend on the front porch, with the crickets and lightening bugs keeping us company. My parents had long since gone to bed and we giggled and talked until we saw the headlights of her mom’s car pull into my driveway. And I can still imagine waking up in the morning to the summer sounds of humming lawnmowers, ticking sprinklers and bouncing basketballs throughout the neighborhood.

To remind myself that it’s summer and that summer is meant for quiet evenings doing nothing but enjoying life, I turn to fruit pie and ice cream. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a steamy August morning, a scorching July afternoon or a muggy Indian summer night, everyone finds the time to slow down the pace for pie and ice cream. This recipe is perfect for making pocket pies. That’s right – everyone gets their own personal pie to bring out to that backyard hammock or front porch swing and watch the world go by and the summer slip away all too soon. Here’s to summer and to savoring every moment of it!

Fruit Pocket Pies (adapted from Williams Sonoma and can be used with their Pocket Pie Mold)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbs. sugar, plus more for sprinkling

16 tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

6 to 8 tbs. ice water

½ – 1 cup frozen or canned fruit pie filling (I use cherry, blueberry or apple)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water

Vanilla ice cream for serving

 Directions:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar sugar until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons of ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out one dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch (2-3mm) thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 1 to 2 tbs. of pie filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes about 8 pocket pies.



Fourth of July Patriotic Berry Trifle

This is my kind of birthday cake! And by birthday I mean our country’s birthday as well as mine! I was born sometime between the fourth and fifth of July (I was adopted from South Korea, so time differences considered, it was  probably the fourth of July here in the U.S.), and Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday. Yes, I love all things fireworks, picnics, American flags and red, white and blue.

This is the berry trifle that I made for my crab feast in the beginning of June, but I think it’s the perfect dessert to kick off the holiday weekend. If you’re trying to find a festive dessert to serve at your Fourth of July picnic, this is it! Not only is it light, sweet and delicious, it serves a LOT of people. The recipe calls for store bought angelfood cake, but I think a homemade angelfood cake would definitely up the wow-factor with your guests. This trifle is originally from Food Network Magazine, but I used regular vanilla extract instead of the almond extract that the recipe calls for. I think it was just as good with the vanilla and I saved myself from having to buy yet another ingredient for my party.

Happy Birthday America (and me, too)!

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups heavy cream at room temperature

2 pints blueberries

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

Directions

Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

 Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

 Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

 Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries.

 Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate one hour.

Hello…oh, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

via Cooking with Chrissy

I’m Kelli and I’m an event planner in Phoenix, Arizona. In my twenties, I was not what you’d call “domestic,” but I think I’ve finally found my way from behind the desk to behind the mixing bowl. I work a lot of long hours, but one thing that I manage to do on a regular basis is cook. Even though my job is planning special events, I still love throwing dinner parties for my friends. I also love to read, come up with decorating ideas for my new(ish) house, play with my puppy (ok, he’s almost four), daydream and read other people’s gorgeous and inspiring blogs. I collect cookbooks from places to which I travel and one of my favorites is called “Quatre Saisons” that I bought at a discount book shop off the beaten path in Paris last summer for three euro. One kind of party that I haven’t planned yet is a baby shower, but I think it would be so much fun!

To start this blog off right, I’m sharing with you a recipe for chocolate peanut butter cupcakes that I recently found on Foodbuzz on the Cooking with Chrissy blog. I’m not advanced enough to create my own recipes yet, so I’ll be sharing my favorites, some of which I have modified. When I do start creating my own recipes, you’ll be the first to know! Besides recipes, I hope to share lots of tidbits about my journeys in decorating my first house, traveling, etiquette (and especially seasonal favorites)…and much more! But for now, enjoy this recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the filling:
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the cupcakes:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup whipped topping

Directions:
Start by preparing the filling. In a medium bowl mix together the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. Shape the peanut butter filling into 24 balls. (Balls will be sticky and don’t need to be perfectly shaped.) Place the peanut butter balls on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin-pan cups with paper liners.

To prepare the cupcakes, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, mix together sour cream, milk, and 1 tsp vanilla, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar and butter on low speed and mix until just blended. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 1 to 2 more minutes until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until ingredients are combined, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Spoon 1 heaping measuring tablespoon batter into each muffin-pan cup. Drop 1 peanut butter ball in center of each cup and top with another heaping tablespoon batter. Bake cupcakes 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-low speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth and blended. Add powdered sugar slowly, incorporating fully after each addition.  Add the whipped topping and beat until smooth and creamy.  Frost cupcakes as desired.