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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls {No Bake}

17 Mar

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
These are my new favorite snack and dessert and breakfast. I’ve pretty much been finding any reason to eat them. So much so that we have gone through 2 batches in less than a week. And Saturday night I was having a major sweet craving and just couldn’t get them out of my mind…so I made another batch.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
They absolutely satisfy your sweet tooth and contain only healthy, all natural ingredients. Major bonus. I’m pretty sure these will become a staple in our refrigerator.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls {No Bake}
recipe from Food Doodles
yields approximately 2 dozen small bites

1/2 cup peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt, if peanut butter is unsalted
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips)

1. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey and vanilla. You may need to microwave the peanut butter a bit so that it’s easier to combine. Stir in the oats, coconut, salt and cocoa nibs. I mixed with my hands.

2. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Roll into balls and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites

White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers

14 Feb

White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers
Looking for a last minute, quick, incredibly easy yet still festive dessert for Valentine’s day? Well, I’ve got you covered. These adorable white chocolate raspberry skewers take less than 5 minutes to put together and are so simple, even a 3 year old can do them (with supervision of course). Literally, Noah did some of these. He was proud that he did them all by himself and he loved “wolfing” them down (his new favorite term when talking about eating). And the sprinkles, forget about it. There was no way I was going to be allowed to help with those.
White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers
So you can also add kid-friendly to the perks of this “recipe.” Oh yeah, and only 3 ingredients are required. Is there anything else I have to do to convince you of the awesomeness?
White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers
Maybe just show you how happy it will make your kids, family or friends. I could only keep him at bay for a few seconds while taking pictures.
White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers
Mommy, that’s enough pictures. I wanna eat one.
Edited-1
White Chocolate Raspberry Skewers

1 pint raspberries, washed and dried
4-6 oz. white almond bark*
sprinkles
skewers

Melt almond bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Thread 4-5 raspberries on each skewer and dip one side in the melted almond bark. Sprinkle with sprinkles and set on parchment or wax paper to set. Keep covered in the refrigerator.

*They would be amazing with dark chocolate too!

Halloween Popcorn Munch

16 Oct

Halloween Popcorn Munch
To continue with my lazy, not so creative Halloween treat ideas, I bring you Halloween Popcorn Munch…a fun twist on cookies and cream popcorn. I don’t know why holiday themed Oreo’s seem to taste better than the regular ones, but they do and I always have a hard time resisting them. So of course I didn’t have any self control and had those darn Halloween Oreo’s staring at me from the pantry, begging to be eaten but I really wanted to so something with them besides soak them in milk and stuff my face.
Halloween Popcorn Munch
Then cookies and cream popcorn, which I have been wanting to make forever, popped into my head. I also had candy corn staring at me, along with Halloween sprinkles that I also couldn’t resist buying (I have a thing for sprinkles too). So I thought I would combine them all into a super-sweet, yummy mix that is perfect for any Halloween gathering.
Halloween Popcorn Munch
It only takes a few ingredients, comes together very easily and is sure to impress. I know you are going to really love me for this one cause the kids won’t be sugared up already from their candy haul. So, your welcome in advance.
Halloween Popcorn Munch
Halloween Popcorn Munch
recipe adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth

1 bag microwave popcorn or 4 cups air popped
12 Halloween Oreo’s, finely crushed
1 cup candy corn
Halloween sprinkles
6-8 oz. melted white chocolate

1. Pop popcorn and remove all unpopped kernels. Mix popcorn, Oreo crumbs and candy corn together in a large bowl.

2. Melt white chocolate at 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and stir until completely coated.

3. Dump onto parchment or wax paper then sprinkles with Halloween sprinkles. Allow to set, about 20 minutes, then break into pieces and enjoy. Store in an airtight container.
Halloween Popcorn Munch

DIY Vanilla Extract

18 Sep

Did you know that besides saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice you can buy? Did you know that it’s super easy and cheap to make yourself? Oh, and it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff.
DIY Vanilla Extract
You literally need two ingredients, good quality vanilla beans and vodka. I get my Madagascar vanilla beans from Penzeys Spices and buy them in bulk (15 at a time) so that I always have some on hand and can have several batches of vanilla brewing at a time. As for the vodka, you don’t need to use top shelf but I don’t recommend the cheap stuff either. I used Smirnoff and was happy with the results.

I use the formula of 5 vanilla beans to every cup of vodka so take that into account depending on how much vanilla you want to make. I started with a 2 cup batch in this fun bottle but you could divide it into smaller batches for gift giving or make a huge batch to keep for yourself. A 750 ml bottle of vodka is a little over 3 cups of vodka so if you want to make things really easy, throw all 15 vanilla beans into the bottle and call it good.

To make your vanilla extract, split open the vanilla bean pods and scrape out the beans with the dull side of a knife. Dump the seeds and pods into your vodka, seal the bottle (mason jars work great if you don’t have bottles) and shake shake shake. Store in a cool, dark spot and shake every couple days (I keep mine in my pantry). Now, for the hard part, wait 2 months. As time goes by, the vodka will turn darker and become a rich brown when it is complete.
DIY Vanilla Extract
If you are making small batches, make sure to divide the vanilla beans and vodka between all the bottles (for example, 1/2 cup vodka and 2 1/2 beans per bottle) rather than making a huge batch at once then dividing it when it’s ready. As the vanilla beans sit in the vodka, they continue to deepen the flavor, even after the 2 months, so you always want the beans in with the extract.

Just a little side note, you can also make bourbon vanilla. I chose to go with vodka because it’s more universal and will be delicious in any recipe. From what I have read, bourbon vanilla is better for recipes involving chocolate. I think I will whip up a batch to have on hand for the times I do make chocolate treats. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you do choose to go with bourbon instead, follow the same steps above.
DIY Vanilla Extract
Once you have used up all your vanilla, don’t throw out the vanilla bean pods! Dry them out and throw them in a jar with some sugar to make up some vanilla sugar.

I started my vanilla making adventures quite a few months ago and have just gotten around to sharing the method with you all, sorry. I’ve actually already used about 3/4 of this bottle! But I wanted to make sure to post this now though so that you can whip up your own vanilla extract in time for your holiday baking or gift giving. It truly does give a richer, deeper flavor to baked goods and whipped cream and saves you lots of cash.

I’ve even looked into other DIY extracts (orange, lemon, almond) and am considering making them too so keep your eyes open.

Lemon Curd

26 Aug

Lemon Curd 1
I love lemon desserts. Besides pumpkin, it is my favorite flavor for sweets. I have always wanted to make a homemade lemon curd but I just never have known what to do with it. Well, I found the perfect reason when my mom’s 50 birthday rolled around. We ordered a cake from our favorite bakery for after her birthday dinner but I wanted to make something homemade to surprise her with at work. And it was so delish! Don’t you want to know what it is? No worries, I will be sharing it with you this week.
Lemon Curd 2
I know lemon is a spring or summer flavor and it’s winding down but my mom feels the same way about lemon as I do so I knew it would be perfect. It all starts with this zippy homemade lemon curd. Although it takes a little bit of time to whip up and you have to allow time to cool, it is so much better than the store-bought version (and a lot cheaper too). Plus, I usually have all the ingredients on hand…can’t really beat that.
Lemon Curd 3
Lemon Curd
recipe from Taste and Tell

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-6 lemons)
zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes

1. Fill a small pot with about 1 inch of water and place on the stove over medium heat.

2. In a larger glass bowl, (you’ll want it big enough to sit on top of the pot of water on the stove without the bowl touching the water), combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs.  Whisk well.  Place on the pot on the stove, and start whisking.

3. Whisking the whole time, cook until the mixture starts to thicken and will coat the back of a spoon.  This will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Once it has started to thicken, start adding in the butter.  Add the butter, one cube at a time, waiting until one cube is almost melted before adding the next.  Once all the butter has been incorporated, transfer the curd to a jar or container and refrigerate until cool.

*Photos updated 6/6/14

Beaches

9 Aug

Beaches 3
This is one of my favorite desserts ever and it’s one of the easiest things to throw together. It’s just one of those nostalgic sweets that bring me back to childhood whenever I eat it. When I was thinking of what to share with you all during Shark Week, I knew this was a must.
Beaches 8
It’s basically the vanilla version of oreo dirt pudding topped with beachy things! Fun, right? It was always perfect in my house with all of us non-chocolate eaters around. I know it seems like a sin to a lot of you but nobody in my family is too fond of chocolate. We used to halve, if not quarter, the amount of chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies and double the nuts. Somehow I managed to marry someone who doesn’t like nuts in their cookies/brownies/desserts…that should have been a requirement. Good thing I like him a lot.
Beaches 2
I got off on a little tangent there. Anyway, this is a really yummy, fun dessert to throw together not only for shark week but any time in the summer. It only takes a few minutes to throw together and is a lot of fun for a toddler who loves to whisk and crush things and eat gummy sharks.
Beaches 7
Let me just warn you, these darn gummy sharks are incredibly hard to find. I went to three different grocery stores and a party supply store and had no luck. My parents were on the hunt for me too and found them at a convenience store. I almost gave up and topped it with Swedish Fish and called it good.
Beaches 4
Beaches

1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip (I used light)
1 (11 oz.) box Nilla Wafers, crushed into fine crumbs*
gummy sharks, fish

Whisk vanilla pudding and milk together until thickened. Fold in Cool Whip. Reserve 1 cup of Nilla Wafer crumbs. Stir the remaining crumbs into the pudding mixture. Pour into a bowl or unused sand bucket. Top with remaining cookie crumbs and gummy sharks and/or fish. Scoop out with a clean sand shovel to make it extra festive!

*You could substitute graham crackers if you want

Double Crumb Coffee Cake

19 Jul

Double Crumb Coffee Cake 8
My little guy turns 3 today…..3!!!!!!! I can’t believe it. We have a special day planned filled with all his favorite things. The pool, putt putt golf and Hu Hot top the list. Hu Hot you ask? It’s his absolute favorite restaurant. Without fail, when we ask him where he wants to go for dinner he always answers with Hu Hot. He is obsessed. One time after church we went out for lunch and he was not pleased with our choice. When he was talking to my mom on the phone later that day he told her “Noah had Red Robin for lunch, not Hu Hot” in the most pathetic, sad little voice I have ever heard. So needless to say, that is where we are going tonight to celebrate. Yesterday was my birthday and he thought we should go there to celebrate my day too. Goof.
Double Crumb Coffee Cake 7
So in honor of my dude’s birthday, I am sharing a recipe that he and his daddy whipped up one Saturday afternoon for me. It was ridiculously decadent and took them three times as long as it would have taken me. But it was so darn sweet and I’m mad at myself for not snapping some photos of the process and aftermath. It literally looked like a tornado went through my little kitchen.
Double Crumb Coffee Cake 3
I knew it would be good since the recipe is from Joy the Baker’s cookbook…no brainer. I have to admit though, I was a little leery of the cocoa powder in the filling but it added a delicious, unexpected layer of flavor to the traditional coffee cake. And the crumb topping is just insane. I love me some streusel and this just goes above and beyond anything I could have dreamed.
Double Crumb Coffee Cake 13
This really is a dessert in my opinion but if you want to be a rule breaker, go ahead and eat a huge hunk for breakfast. We won’t tell.
Double Crumb Coffee Cake 16
Double Crumb Coffee Cake
recipe from Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the topping:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

For the filling:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.

2. To make the topping: whisk together the sugar, salt, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter and stir until it’s thoroughly combined and resembles moist, coarse meal. Set aside.

3. To make the filling: whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

4. To make the cake: in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle mixture, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bowl.

5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk.

6. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the batter. Then incorporate 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Add 1/2 of the remaining flour and mix, then the remaining sour cream. Mix until barely incorporated and add the remaining flour. Finish incorporating flour with a spatula to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.

7. Spread half the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the filling mixture on top. Dollop the remaining batter on top and carefully spread out with a spatula. Use a butter knife to swirl the filling into the batter. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter and bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown. Check doneness with a skewer (it should come out clean).

8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes

28 Jun

4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 2
I shared these pudding pops with you on Monday and well, one patriotic treat just isn’t enough so I’m bring you these beauties today. Can you tell that I’m totally going down the easy route these days? I’m only 25 weeks pregnant but I’m kind of ready to be done already. My first time around was much easier. I could sleep, put my feet up or just relax whenever I wanted but these days my little dude keeps me running. At least I will be in better shape!
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 4
So, anyway I have seen these cute cupcakes floating around the internet for awhile and they popped into my head when I was trying to think of fun and easy treats for the 4th of July. Plus, I don’t think I have ever met a person who didn’t like rice krispies so they will be popular too. They are easily customizable to any holiday, just switch up the sprinkles. And with all the different flavored marshmallows they have these days, you could have fun with flavor combinations too.
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 1
I totally planned on making homemade frosting to top these, but I got lazy. If you are awesome and have way more motivation than me, whip some up on your own. Go ahead and show me up. I dare ya.
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 3
Be sure to check out some past patriotic deliciousness following the recipe!

4th of July Rice Krispies Cupcakes
recipe from side of rice krispie box
yields 54 mini cupcakes

3 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 oz.) bag marshmallows
6 cups rice krispie cereal
2.5 oz. patriotic sprinkles + more for topping
1 can frosting (I used strawberry)
Red or blue gel food coloring (depends on what color frosting you want)

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in rice krispie cereal and sprinkles.

2. Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray then spoon rice krispies into the tins, pressing to form. Allow to cool then move to a platter.

3. Mix frosting with desired food coloring. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe frosting onto rice krispies then top with sprinkles.
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies

Layered Cupcake Tutorial and Finished Product

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn
4th of July Fruit Skewers
4th of July Fruit Skewers

And for a little DIY fun, Cupcake Picks.

Patriotic Pudding Pops

24 Jun

4th of July Pudding Pops 4

Thought you guys would like to know that my computer is back up and running! Yay! I’m pretty sure that was the longest week of my life (dramatic much?). I was getting a bit worried because our Lake of the Ozarks trip is coming up this weekend and I had a lot of new meals ideas/recipes saved on my laptop to try out while we are there. Luckily, my dad saved the day with an extra charger that did the trick. Speaking of next week….

The 4th of July, my favorite holiday, is totally sneaking up on me. I kind of went into a panic the other day when I realized I didn’t have any patriotic treats to share with you all yet. So I got to thinking about everything I love about the holiday. Celebrating our freedom is wonderful but the fireworks totally put it over the top for me! I’m a pyro at heart and fire gives me great joy.
4th of July Pudding Pops 7
And what makes fireworks even better? Well, a strawberry daiquiri but since that can’t happen this year how about some popsicles? They are perfect on these hot summer nights.
4th of July Pudding Pops 3
These pudding pops are incredibly easy to put together and are sure to impress. Instant pudding is mixed up, colored and layered in between fun patriotic sprinkles to make a treat that is sure to please both young and old. And how cute are those paper straws? Noah and I were able to take care of a batch of these on our own in record time. He kind of went to town on them.
4th of July Pudding Pops 1

When I told him he had a blue tongue, he had to go the the bathroom mirror right away to check it out.
4th of July Pudding Pops 2
We will definitely be whipping these up in all kinds of flavor combinations throughout the summer. I’m thinking mix up two different kinds of puddings then layer….mmmm the possibilities!
4th of July Pudding Pops 5
Patriotic Pudding Pops
serves 7

3.4 oz. package instant pudding (something white such as vanilla, white chocolate, cheesecake, coconut cream)
2 cups milk
Red and blue food coloring, preferably gels
2.5 oz. patriotic sprinkles, optional
Popsicle sticks or paper straws cut in half
Small paper cups or Popsicle molds

1. Combine pudding mix and milk according to package directions. Divide equally into three bowls. Tint one bowl red and one bowl blue. I used coconut cream and it was a yellowy color so I added some white coloring to brighten it up.

2. Equally divide the red pudding among the paper cups or popsicle molds (I used cups and got 7 out of this recipe). Top with sprinkles. Repeat with white pudding and more sprinkles. Lastly, top with blue pudding and remaining sprinkles. Place sticks or paper straws in the middle of the cups. Place in the freezer until hardened. Enjoy!
4th of July Pudding Pops 6

Oatmeal Creme Pie Bars

3 Jun

Oatmeal Cream Pie Bars 3
We had our big ultrasound last week and everything went perfectly! Baby measured in at the 49th percentile with very long legs…taking after its daddy already. Baby was a wiggle worm and was constantly trying to suck its thumb. It was just so wonderful to see the little one and have that validation that everything was going well.

Noah went with us and he absolutely loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat. He kept saying “hear the heartbeat again” and the ultrasound tech did three or four separate times for him. She was awesome. On the last one, I recorded it so he can hear it anytime.
Oatmeal Cream Pie Bars 1
So to celebrate the good news, I came home and ate one or three of these. They are one of the most amazing desserts I have made in a long time.

As a kid, I remember my mom loving oatmeal creme pies. We didn’t have them very often but it’s something that always stuck in my mind. So, when I came across this recipe I bookmarked it and kept it in the back of my mind for the perfect occasion. When I was searching for the perfect Memorial Day dessert, I remembered this and knew my family would love it. In a little over a day, we destroyed the entire pan and we didn’t even feel bad about it.
Oatmeal Cream Pie Bars 2
They really do taste like the real thing, just without all the nasty preservatives. I don’t mean to be bossy, but you have to make these. Ok?

Oatmeal Creme Pie Bars
recipe from Heat Oven to 350

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. malted milk powder

Filling:
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
pinch of salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 pan with foil then coat with non-stick spray. This step is important as you have to lift the bars out to cut them in half. In mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in applesauce, molasses and eggs until combined.

2. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, quick oats, cinnamon and malted milk powder in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until combined. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes.

3. Let bars cool in the pan for 5 minutes then gently lift out by the foil and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

4. Once the bars have cooled, combine all the filling ingredients in a mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.

5. Using a long, serrated knife carefully slice the uncut bars in half horizontally. Gently remove the top then spread the bottom half with the filling. Replace the top then cut into bars.

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