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Genesis of a Cook

Updated: 2018-03-06T04:28:02.360-05:00


Oatmeal, Banana and Cherry Muffins


1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup mashed banana (about 2-3 bananas)
1 large egg
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup cherries, pitted and halved

Cherries are in season. So of course when asked what to do with them, I would answer without hesitation to make them into muffins. Muffins are what I love to bake the most of.. With these little snacks, there is a bonus. They are actually healthy ! Got the idea for the muffins from bloggers Honey, What's Cooking ? and Joy the Baker. If your looking for muffins that taste good and make you feel good, these are it !


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; whisk together. In another bowl, combine the egg, yogurt, brown sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add to flour mixture. Add the mashed bananas and halved cherries.

Divide the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until browned. Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple, Cinnamon and Fig Muffins


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk
1 large egg
8 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup peeled and chopped apple
1/2 cup dried figs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; whisk together. In another bowl, combine the milk, egg, melted butter, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the apples and figs.

Divide the batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until browned. Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pizza Stuffed Pretzels



The name itself is drool worth ! Pizza stuff pretzels.. Mmmmm ;3 ! The beauty of these easy pretzels is that you can be creative. Whether it be a pretzel with alfredo and chicken, or bacon and bleu cheese, or like I did, with pepperoni, marinara and mozzarella. It's all up to your taste buds really !

Recipe can be found here.

Neapolitan Cheesecake


Summer vacation comes to an end..

For the Chocolate Crumb Crust

Vanilla Wafer Crumbs (about 45 wafers)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup melted butter

For Cheesecake Filling

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed, drained
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red food color (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. For the chocolate crumb crust, in a small bowl, stir together 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers), confectioners' sugar and cocoa; stir in melted butter. Press mixture firmly onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes; cool slightly.

3. In blender container or food processor, puree strawberries to yield 1/2 cup; set aside.

4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, sour cream, 3 tbsps flour, vanilla, 1 tsp. vanilla bean and salt; beat until smooth.

5. In separate bowl, stir together 1-1/3 cups cheese mixture, strawberries, remaining 1 teaspoon flour and food color, if desired.

6Carefully spoon 2 cups vanilla batter over prepared crust. Pour strawberry batter over vanilla batter; smooth surface.

7. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue baking 55 to 60 minutes or until center of cheesecake is almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool 30 minutes. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Classic Coffee Cake



For the Topping

16 tbsp butter, cut up
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 2/3 cups flour

For the Cake

3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
12 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla

1. For the topping, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir, pressing when necessary, until there are no lumps of sugar. Add the flour and mix until well blended. Set aside.

2. For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13" baking pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.

4. Pour the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and gently stir just until blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Break up the topping mixture with your fingers into medium sized pieces and sprinkle evenly over the cake batter to form a generous layer.

5. Bake until the cake springs back lightly when pressed in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Me and my boyfriend ;3


Banana Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing


"Still hard to believe that my high school life is coming to an end in the next couple days.. Honestly, it's really hard. Extremely hard. I didn't have much of a high school life for a long time, being that I had several health issues that were holding me back. I missed out on a lot, which also made me rebel a lot.. I don't know if I'm really ready to let go of it just yet, though I know that I'm going to have to.. In the end though, I know everything is going to be fine. I don't regret anything. My senior years could have been better, but I loved every bit of it and I wouldn't take back anything if it meant changing how I am now. Everyone that I've met and everything that has happened to me in these past couple years has really shaped me for who I am today. I have really the best boyfriend I've ever had, and new friends that I really love being with. I'm finally getting my head situated and my goals in go, and I'm finally waking up in the morning with a giddy smile on my face and a desire to do anything. I'm definitely looking forward to the years to come and my new school life ahead..Aside from that, I noticed that a few of our banana's were going bad, so me being me, I always find the need to drop what I'm doing and put those banana's to good use. The recipe is a real simple one. It's the icing that really adds to these. OH do I love this icing! I saw this icing on these cupcakes and decided to try it on a basic banana cupcakes. I think it really complimented these moist cupcakes, as it would with ANY cupcakes I must say! It was just simple really good.RecipeCupcakes1 1/2 cups flour3/4 cup sugar1 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. baking soda1/4 tsp. salt1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)2 large eggs1/2 tsp. vanilla extractCinnamon Cream Cheese Icing2 sticks (1 cup) butter, slightly softened12 oz cream cheese6 cups powdered sugar2 tsp. vanilla1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In the well, mix together the butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture, being sure not to over mix. Spoon batter into muffin cups.3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.4. T H E I C I N G; In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until everything is combined. Add the vanilla and the cinnamon. Ice the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!Makes 12 cupcakesSummer of 2009 is just around the corner! OH YEAH![...]

Peanut Chocolate Chunk Blondies



"What are blondies? I've never had one." asked a little friend of mine. "No.. no way." I said, "I can't believe you've never had a blondie! Your... your missing out!" "What are the exactly?" she asked. I simply answered, "I'll show you."

I was inspired to make these for a friend whom has never had a blondie before. I was going to make my favorite blondies, but since I was at it, I decided to try a new recipe for a blondie, and one with nuts (for what ever reason, I've been going nutty for some reason).

They came out pretty good. My friend really liked them. I'm going to make my favorite ones to give her the better experience of the blondies. These blondie don't beat my favorite blondies :P But, these are really chewy, delicious. I think it's best warm, and of course, with a scoop of ice cream!



2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
10 tbsp. salted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz. roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and a flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugar to blend. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.

3. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the chopped chocolate and nuts.

4. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 24 bars

Also, go see Slumdog Millionaire. Quite possibly the best movie I've ever seen.


Banana Muffins w/ Streusel Topping



Muffin lover here.

I've come to realize that when it comes to baking lately, I'm always wanting to make muffins. Though, I don't necessarily find that to be a bad thing. Muffins are amazing!! I guess I'd prefer portion sized treat compared to craving tall, calorie filled cakes... which sounds good, now that I'm thinking of it...

The weather is starting to rise here (or should I say, it's gradually getting hotter and hotter here in Floirda!!) and we've bee stocking up on our fresh fruits and veggies. We've been buying tons of bananas more so compared to everything else (my mothers on this banana diet, strange as it might sound). So, me being me, taking any opportunity to bake with bananas, I decided to make Banana Muffins. I came across this post for Banana Muffins with a streusel topping not to long ago. Decided to give it a try to day.

What really makes these muffins is the topping. Oh the topping is so good! I could use this topping on other things (which I'm going to) and it'd taste fantastic! These are a must make when bananas are ripe!




1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp.freshly grated nutmeg
2 medium mashed ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/2 cup half-n-half or whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with liners.

2To make the streusel, in a medium sized bowl, stir together walnuts, oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt, until well combined. Knead in butter using fingertips until well combined and clumpy; set aside.

3.To make the muffins, in a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together banana, egg, half-n-half, butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well combined; whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.

4Divide batter into muffin cups and evenly top with streusel. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and well risen. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 10 muffins

My reaction once I tried these muffins...


Chocolate Valentino


One of my favorite Daring Bakers Challenge, I must admit. Really simple, and really good. That's all I really have to say.RecipeFebruary’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef WanWhat we Want You to Do:-Use the following recipe-Serve with - The original recipe calls for the cake to be served with whipping cream. BUT we decided to make this more of a challenge and ask you to make your own Ice Cream – a first for the DBrs. You can choose any flavour you want and any recipe although we provided two vanilla ice cream recipes. But we are giving you a little freedom here and will allow whipped cream as a topping as well or of course non-dairy whip. Be as creative as you want with your topping. Any fruit puree or sauce would be lovely with this cake.- Use your favorite chocolate – the finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate, if you like a sweeter cake use milk chocolate or a combination of the semisweet and milk chocolate. If you like bittersweet chocolate use that and add sweetness by mixing the semi sweet with bittersweet. If you are daring, try white chocolate. (Dharm used all bittersweet and Wendy used a half bitter/half semi sweet chocolate).- A higher cocoa percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.-Equipment - it is optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.-An instant read thermometer highly recommended.Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.-The top forms a light crust kind of like a browniePosting Date: February 28, 2009Printable Recipe:Chocolate ValentinoPreparation Time: 20 minutes16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter5 large eggs separated1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.[...]

Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins



Caffeine was in need today! I use to be a non stop, coffee everyday kind of person. I was one of those people that didn't think having coffee at 10pm was strange (but it definitely explains why I never slept!). Though I may not drink coffee as much as I use to, I still love coffee. Sunday mornings are the best times for coffee. Just waking up, don't have to do much, switch that coffee maker on and... relax.

But, this isn't coffee. Oh no. This is something better, I guarantee. A sweeter substitution for coffee, or, just a great accomplice to your morning jo'. These muffins are really simple to make, as any muffin really is. I used mini chocolate chip instead of regular chocolate chip, mainly because it was all I had. However, I've tried this recipe with regular chocolate chips and I'd recommend those over mini. Either way though, these muffins will turn out spectacular and start your morning off with you smiling!



3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 tbsp. instant espresso
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whole plain yogurt
2 large eggs
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line or grease 12 muffin cup pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, and instant espresso together until smooth. Gently fold yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just combined, then fold in the melted butter.

4. Divide batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing.


Vanilla Bourbon Bread with Walnut Coffee Crumble



It's pretty hard to start this.. I don't know if there are really any words to say to state how much I've fallen for this simple quick bread. It's... ridiculously scrumptious and delicious. Moist and sweet, great with adding icing or a cup of coffee or tea... I got the idea while trying to find something to make in the small amount of ingredients that I had.

I didn't have any granulated sugar, so I decided to try using powdered sugar and brown sugar together (which turned out to be really good) and used a bunch of vanilla. I wanted something simple. I got the walnut coffee crumble idea from here off of a banana bread recipe. I thought that it'd be a perfect topping to a simple bread; and it indeed was.

This has become my new favorite quick bread recipe for this year, no doubt.



For Crumble Topping

1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. cold butter
1 tsp. instant coffee
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

For the Bread

2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
2 tbsp. bourbon
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble; set aside.

3. In a large bowl combine flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. With electric mixer at low speed, beat until well blended. Add the cream, eggs, bourbon and vanilla. Beat at low speed until dry ingredients are evenly moistened and smooth.

4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Top the batter off with the crumble. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until bread tests done.


Coffee Cake Muffins



It's been awhile since I've posted anything, has it not!? Life got in the way, honestly. Way to many things going on that I really have no found the time to bake and/or cook at all. From family issues to friend issues, to relationship issues to illness issues, it's been really nonstop in the life of Tarah. For the past week though, slowly but surely, things have been starting to slow down. Not so unbalanced as it was last month.

Really, it all started getting worst once Christmas came around. It seemed like everything was headed straight down the gutter. Nothing seemed to be going right, no one knew what to do. The whole time threw all this chaos, I've been staying away from the house. I felt it'd be better that way. It was a good things I did, honestly.

The whole time I spent my time with my boyfriend, who really always up-ed my mood. It became hard for me to even be negative after being with him, even when I came home to news I really didn't want to hear. I've just been telling myself "Think of the beauty still left around you and be happy." I started to cherish everything a bunch more, and stopped looking at the negativity of things. I almost feel like a new person, I guess you could say.

"You have to put up with a little rain to get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."



For Streusal Topping

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

For Muffins

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a muffin pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture.

5. Divide half the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with half the streusel mixture, then remaining batter, and top with streusel. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Sugar Coated Doughnuts


For the past few days, I've had a cold that just doesn't want to go away. It's driving me crazy. Coughing, sneezing, coughing, sneezing; it never ends. Whats worst is that the family keeps getting the cold, giving to someone else, then it coming back. Just a back and forth kind of thing. Even though I was kind of sick, I wanted to have something homemade and something that would really make me feel good (if just a little). I had my little brother do a lot for me (being that I'm sick) and he did a pretty good job if I say so myself.You know, It's always good to have something that you love to eat (even if you've eaten thousands of times!). These doughnuts have a sugar coated that really makes these so delicious! If you wanted to, you could change these into cinnamon sugar doughnuts by replaces 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of cinnamon (a lot of cinnamon, I know). Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts are just as good as these. However, we made these, and they made me feel a little better :]Recipe2 1/2 tsp. yeast1 cup water at 120 degrees F (use a candy thermometer)4 1/2 cups flour10 tbsp. butter, softened2/3 cups sugar3 eggs2 1/2 tsp. vanillaZest of 1 lemon1 tsp. saltCanola or vegetable oil for frying3 1/2 cups sugar (for coating donuts)1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast on the water and let stand for 5 minutes, or until bubbles form. Combine the yeast mixture with 1 cup flour, stirring until mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm place for 30 to 60 minutes, until mixture has risen.2. Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment or dough hook of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla, zest, and salt to butter mixture. When yeast and flour mixture has risen, add to the butter mixture in the mixer and slowly add the remaining 3 1/2 cups flour. Combine until dough forms a ball on the paddle or dough hook (the dough should pull cleanly from side of the bowl). Place dough in a stainless steel bowl for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and allow to double in size.3. Punch down dough and place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours. Turn chilled dough out onto well-floured board. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out donuts with 2-inch round cutters. Use a 1-inch cutter to cut out center. Let cut doughnuts rest on a floured board for 30 minutes or until soft and puffy.4. Fry until golden brown in a cast iron skillet, electric frying pan, or portable deep fryer in 2 inches of oil heated to 350 degrees. Turn the doughnuts only once (it will take a much shorter time for the second side to turn golden brown).5. Drain on paper towels, then dip both sides in sugar. Serve right away.[...]

Carrot Bread


Around here, it's been pretty hectic. First, my birthday just passed. The 18th. I'm eighteen now. My parents feel like they're ancient now and I never stopped to kid with them with how old I've gotten. So with that, my entire family has been trying to do something with me. From going to the movies to dinner with each one, it's tiring. My friends wanted to celebrate with me as well. For fun, we decided to go to the first showing of the movie Twilight. Yes, I am one of those Twilight fans. As a matter of fact, I'm a bit obsessed. It's a hands down amazing book. I remember when I first read the book Twilight by Stephenie Meyer; Couldn't stop. I read the entire book in one day (as did I with all the other books to the series). The movie was amazing! I'll admit that I don't like some of the characters and how they are picture (I have my own image as to what the characters look like) but they really did a magnificent job on the movie! Robert Pattinson and Kristin did great as the characters Edward and Bella. I'm even more excited to of heard that they are in fact making the second movie, New Moon! I'm thrilled!!Enough of my fan girl moment over my movie. I had the time to bake something but I didn't want to make something extremely heavy (Thanksgiving is right around the corner!!). We had some carrot in the fridge and originally what came to mind was Carrot Cake, which, wasn't something I really wanted though since that would be way high in calories. Then, bread came to mind. It sounded perfect. It turned really good and it was well loved. I bit dense, but nice and moist. I really wish now though that I had some kind of cream cheese spread (I don't know how I didn't think to make some!). Believe me, it would have been perfect for this!!RecipeFor Bread3/4 cup whole wheat flour3/4 cup all-purpose flour1 1/2 tsp. baking soda1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon1/2 tsp. salt1 1/2 cup shredded carrots1 1/2 cups chopped nuts1 cup vegetable oil3/4 cup sugar2 eggs1 tsp. vanillaFor Glaze1/2 cup powdered sugar1 tsp. grated lemon peel1 tbsp. lemon juice1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan.2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, mixing until moistened. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into loaf pan.3. Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely. 4. For the glaze, shift the powdered sugar. Add lemon peel and juice. Drizzle over top of cooled bread. Store i fridge. [...]

Pumpkin Doughnuts


Pumpkin still remains in my mind during this lovely fall season. Nothing better than the smell of pumpkin and aromatic spices to make you smile when it's nice and cool out. Like on this beautiful morning!The idea just really pop to me. I mean, seriously, whats not better than doughnuts in the morning? I mean, doughnuts aren't something that should necessarily be eaten everyday, but it's always good to have one from time to time, yea? To make it a better and much more satisfying choice for breakfast, make it into one that for sure will leave you thinking of fall! I found the recipe from a site I like to visit often, It's really a must try recipe. Would make a great morning treat during this season. So do try! It's a recipe everyone in my house loved!RecipeDoughnuts3 1/2 cups all purpose flour4 tsp. baking powder1 tsp. salt1 tsp. ground cinnamon1/2 tsp. ground ginger1/2 tsp. baking soda1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg1/8 tsp. ground cloves1 cup sugar3 tbsp. butter, room temperature1 large egg2 large egg yolks1 tap. vanilla extract1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. buttermilk1 cup canned pure pumpkinCanola oil (for deep-frying)Powdered Sugar Glaze2 cups powdered sugarWhipping cream1. For the doughnuts, whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin in 4 additions. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.2. Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.3. Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.4. Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F. Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. 5. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely. 6. For the sugar glaze, whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Add doughnut holes to bowl of spiced sugar and toss to coat. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.[...]

Pumpkin Bread Pudding



Fall is here! Even here in Orlando, Florida you can feel it! We reach our newest lows for the season; Lows of 36 degrees and highs of 65. It's been so beautiful out for the past couple days! I love the cool weather! Makes me wonder some times as to why I'm living in Florida..

I actually plan to move soon once I start attending college. I really want to go live on NY. I've always loved it up there, so why not live there? I love the city, the scenery, the people; I love so much about it. Whether I move there soon, or a few years from now, I know that I want to live there.

But anyways, a bit of topic! To celebrate the fact that fall is here, I decided to bake something that just screams autumn; pumpkin. What better than a comforting pumpkin bread pudding to celebrate with, yea? I've been holding on to this recipe that I found not to long ago, waiting for the right time to try it out. Let me tell you, it didn't disappoint.



1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp. bourbon
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle.

2. Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.

3. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.


Sausage and Ham Pizza


Honestly, I wish I was more creative with this month. Sadly, by that time I realized that the challenge was done, I'd done nothing creative for pizza. I've already seen other Daring Bakers Pizza, and some of them just wow me to no end. Some sweet ones that I really never thought about. Daring Bakers never cease to amaze me..I've been rather busy, so I decided to just go the simple route. Sausage, Pepperoni, Ham, etc. The usual's. To be blunt, I was kind of disappointed in a way with this months challenge. It's not that I don't like pizza, I mean, I love pizza. It's just, I'm still waiting to get a challenge where I'm just so excited to trying. I mean, I make pizza dough all the time. It's how my family likes pizza; homemade. Though, I know there are many that don't do this, so this months challenge might of been pretty exciting for some. I want to try something I've never done ;PAll in all though, it's always fun to make pizza from scratch. Can't wait to see the next challenge!Daring BakersRecipeMakes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter)4 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled1 3/4 tsp salt1 tsp instant yeast1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil1 3/4 cups water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)1 tbsp sugarSemolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dustingNOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.Or2. Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.DAY TWO8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm i[...]

Pineapple Bundt Cake



Before summer officially ends in my book and I let the wonderful fall season roll on threw, I had to bake something that had a summer sense to it. The heat is still already looming around in Florida (no surprise), so it really does feel like it's summer still (which, honestly, kind of sucks).

My boyfriends has been wanting me to bake a Pineapple Cake forever. I just haven't had time for the past couple weeks. I've been so busy that I never have to much time for myself, sadly. School is getting pretty hectic and it doesn't help that I'm attending night school as well. So I'm always at school.

Since I had a little time at hand and I too was craving sweets (since I've been on the school diet!!), I finally came around to bake the Pineapple Cake that someone has been nagging at me to bake. I didn't do the traditional Pineapple Cake, I guess you could say. Honestly, I don't like the idea of Pineapple on top. I much preferred the idea of the Pineapple being inside the cake. So I used shredded pineapple.

The cake was dense, but moist and sweet. Really great with morning tea (which is what I've been doing for the past couple morning). A great way to end the summer and let in the flavors of fall crawl in.



Pineapple Cake

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites
2 tsp. lemon extract
1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until soft. Add cinnamon and salt. Add eggs, egg whites. Add lemon extract. Beat together until fluffy.

3. In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Slowly, combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir in pineapple. Pour into greased bundt pan.

4. Bake at for 55-60 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool. For the glaze, get a small bowl. Sift the powdered sugar. Add milk and lemon extract. If needed more, add in small drops (1/4 to 1/2 tsp. drops). Drizzle over cake.


Chocolate Pistachio Cake


Remembering birthday is something most of my family does not seem to know how to do, for it seemed everyone almost forgot about my Nana's birthday. My dad is the worst at remembering birthday. Sadly, he'll forget mine, my moms and my brothers from time to time. I try my best not to forget birthdays. I feel horrible if I forget one. I feel as though that I need to have they're birthday to be a great day!My Nana's didn't want much for her birthday. She really just wants to ignore the fact that it is her birthday. I think anyone that gets older and older doesn't want to get older and older, you know? Any who, all she wanted to do was have a family get together. Which included her sisters, my grandfathers brothers, her son (my dad) and his family, and a handful of her friends. I adore my Nana, really, I do. So I wanted to make a nice cake that I know she'd like. She loves chocolate (any woman would) and she's a big pistachio eater. She always has some around the house, ready to be snacked on.When I came across this recipe on Jens blog at use real butter, it was perfect! It was absolutely perfect for her! And she agreed. She loved it. As well as everyone else. It has a nice salty addiction to it (and we all love salt) and it was just an overall huge hit with everyone. Not to sweet, soft and had enough in each bite.RecipeChocolate cakeMakes one 9×3-inch round cake. Double this recipe to get a 4 layer cake.1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa1 tsp. baking soda1 tsp. salt1/2 cup butter, plus extra for greasing2 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces1 cup sugar2 eggs1 tsp. vanilla extract1 tsp. red raspberry vinegar1 cup water Pistachio Vanilla Buttercream8 oz egg whites16 oz sugar1 lb butter, room temperature2 tsp vanilla extract1.5 cups shelled pistachiosGanache6 tbsps heavy cream4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a sifter and sift onto wax paper or a bowl and set aside. Coat 2 9×3-inch round pans with butter on the base and sides. Place circular parchment in the bottom and brush with more butter.2. Melt the unsweetened chocolate over water bath or in the microwave (be suer to keep stirring to prevent burning). Set aside. 3. Beat sugar and butter together in mixer fitted with paddle. Beat on medium for 1 minute, then on high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and beat on high for 15 seconds after the addition of each egg. Add vanilla and vinegar and beat on high for 20 seconds. Add the melted chocolate and mix on low for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 4. Boil water and operate the mixer on low while adding the sifted dry ingredients. Mix for 10 seconds. Carefully add the boiling water and continue to mix on low for 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 seconds. Pour batter into pans. 5. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick test is clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in pans for 20 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.1. For the pistachio and vanilla buttercreams, combine egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk constantly over a bain marie until 140F is reached. Place on mixer with balloon whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while - should be cooler than your hand). 2. Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add vanilla. Blanche the pistachios in boiling water for 3 minutes, then d[...]

Lavash Crackers


For whatever reason, blogger hates me. I had a long, elaborate post about these crackers. I come to see my post and discover that it's not there. I had it on a timed post. I don't think I'll ever do that again... Since I'm a bite crammed in work, I'm going to make this quick, nice and sweet. This months Daring Bakers Challenge was Lavash Crackers. These crackers were a bit... annoying, if you ask me. I'm a perfectionist, and they were rather, well, rugged most of the time after baking. But, I made several batches of these being that the taste was delicious! I chose to use sea salt, rosemary, black pepper and garlic for these crackers. They're all pretty much my favorite spice, so I thought I'd combine them all for these crackers. I also wanted to try and get fancy with these crackers. I poke holes into them. I try to make all of them even (I even measured because I wanted to have them all perfect!) and I poked 7 in each cracker. I was a bit nervous how they would turn out... I was unsure as to how they would bake. Whether they would rise or not. But, they turned out great. And these will be something I know I will make time and time again. RecipeLavash CrackerThe Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter ReinhartRecipe 1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour1 tsp salt3/4 tsp active dry yeast1 tbsp. sugar1 tbsp. vegetable oil1 tbsp. sesame seed1 tsp ground cumin1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb water, at room temperaturePoppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings1. Put the active dry yeast with the water and let it sit until it bubbles, about 5 minutes.2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the yeast mixture with the flour, salt, cumin, sesame seed, sugar, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. If your ball is dry and not wet enough, add in some water by the tablespoonfuls. 3. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. 4. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).5. Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. 6. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, [...]

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies



One the course I choose to do this year for my senior year in high school was Nutritional Living. Reason being was, well, I thought it'd be good to learn more about healthier foods and healthier ways of cooking. I mean, I'm a junk food, meat, sweet addict. To learn how to have meat as well as sweets in a healthier way, I thought it'd be good for not only me, but for the people I cook and bake for, you know?

This class is about health foods. So, I found it kind of funny how the first thing we we're going to make were Peanut Butter Cookies. Go figure. Not that I'd obey though. Since peanut butter cookies happen to be one of my all time favorite cookies! Peanut butter cookies are the best cookie choice for milk. Well, that's just me though. Most like chocolate chip cookies or, the famous one, Oreos. But I'm a peanut butter cookie girl ;]

The recipe we made in class was a basic peanut butter cookie. The same recipe I've used many many times with my mom and my grammys. It's a classic. Classics are the best!



1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine shortening, peanut butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs. Stir thoroughly till combined.

3. In a medium bowl, shirt flour, powder, soda and salt. Slowly, add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture.

4. Roll into 1 1/4 inch bolls and place on baking sheet. With a fork, make a criss-cross pattern on the top, flattening it slightly.

5. Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Once done, let sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Yields 6 1/2 dozen 2 1/2 inch sized cookies



Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake


Football is back. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of football. I'm more of a baseball kind of girls. However, here at my house, football is everything. My father is obsessed with football and has since he was in high school to college. You'll definitely know if footballs on or not with him here. You'll hear him screaming at the top of his lungs going "Go, go, go, go!!!" or "What was that!?", and of course, "Yea!!!!!!"We're FSU fans here. Go Seminoles. I usually watch the big games with my family when they're on. It can be pretty entertaining. Especially when you see the coaches faces turn red from anger. Or when the ref just does a horrible call. I get a kick out of it. I find it funny to see how everyone reacts. It's usually the same. Everyone yells.Anyways, for the fact that football is coming back, my dad decided to have a family BBQ on Saturday. I wanted to do something to. So I baked. I was going to do a Carrot Cake, but then I came across this recipe over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and decided to try it out. I've never never gotten a bad recipe from her site. All her recipes are fantastic and they never let me down. They're all just amazing. And so was this. I decided to switch the dates that she used and added dried cranberries instead. The smell of is was lovely. Moist and dense and so mouth watering delicious.RecipeFor the Cake1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature1 cup sugar2 large eggZest of 1 medium orange1 tsp. vanilla2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 tsp. baking soda1/2 tsp. salt2/3 cup buttermilk1 cup dried cranberriesFor the Glaze1 cup powder sugar1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice1 Tbsp. grated orange zest1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 10-12 cup Bundt pan.2. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed about 1 minutes, until fluffy. Add the sugar and cream on medium-high speed about 30 seconds. Add the eggs all at once and continue creaming for one minute. Add the orange zest and vanilla; beat until combined. 3. Add about half the flour, the baking soda, and the salt; mix on medium-low speed until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix on medium-low speed until just combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the dates.4. Spoon the batter evenly into the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Invert it onto a rack and cool at least 20 minutes before glazing. Transfer cake to a serving plate.5. For the glaze, combine the ingredients together and whisk until it becomes a creamy orange color. Pour glaze over cake.Serve at room temperature.[...]

Chocolate Chunk Coffee Cake



During this time of the year, when summer is slowing starting to traverse into fall, that I start to get tired of eating anything light and want something a little more heavy. Not so heavy that I feel like I'll gain weight from eating, but heavy enough to where I feel more satisfied about what I just ate. Having to avoid all the sweet I did, it gets rather depressing.

I love eating coffee cake. But its something that I don't care to eat till fall and winter are here. It like how I don't really enjoy pie unless it's fall, or smoothies unless it's summer. I'm pretty picky as to what I eat and when in the year I eat it. It's just how I've been raised I guess.

I didn't come up with this recipe. I found this fabulous recipe from Pete at The only different that I did from his was I did chocolate chunks aside from chocolate chips. Chocolate chunks just sounded better to me at the moment. I also added nutmeg to the cake batter and salt. I thought it would give it more of a tasty kick.

The cake was very enjoyable. The was chocolate chunks to every bite (which I really liked!!). It turned out so light and fluffy and just melt in your mouth delicious. It made a very delicious breakfast with coffee.



1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. water
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup chocolate chunks

1. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chunks. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter, 1 cup white sugar, and eggs. Add the sour cream, vanilla and water.

3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, soda, nutmeg and salt. Combine into the wet ingredients.

4. Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon, sugar and chocolate chip mixture on the batter. Pour in the rest of the batter and top with the rest of the cinnamon, sugar and chip mix.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let it cool for at least an hour before cutting into it, or the chocolate chips will be too melty and it will be hard to get out of the pan.


Chocolate Éclairs


Eclairs were this months Daring Bakers Challenge has come. I was quite excited about this months; as I am with any of them. I had decided to do this months challenge at the beginning of the month for I knew that I wouldn't be able to do anytime later. I would've never had to time.I've never made Eclairs before. I've also understood the name of Eclairs. It's means "flashing." I wonder what that has anything to do with food. Nonetheless, Eclairs are awesome and I was quite excited about actually making one myself. I've always heard that they're hard. I don't know why people think this. It's kind of like cream puffs. People make them out to seem so difficult when in fact, they're not that hard at all. Making Eclairs isn't that hard at all. You just have to take the time to try.These were pretty rich. One was enough for me. My little brother, the pickiest person in the house, even liked them. He saw them and actually asked me if he could try one! It took me by surprise, that's for sure. He's an honest kid, like me, so he'd tell me the truth. He said they were really great. He wanted me to make more. He loved the filling and I have to say, so did I. They were great all together. This was a great challenge!RecipePierre Hermé’s Cream Puff DoughRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)1/2 cup whole milk1/2 cup water1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces1/4 teaspoon sugar1/4 teaspoon salt1 cup all-purpose flour5 large eggs, at room temperature1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to theboil.2. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to mediumand start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together veryquickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. Youneed to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the doughwill be very soft and smooth.3. Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using yourhandmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again donot worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time youhave added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted itshould fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.4. The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.Notes:1. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.2. You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined bakingsheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer thepiped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.Chocolate Pastry CreamRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé2 cups whole milk4 large egg yolks6 tbsp sugar3 tbsp. cornstarch, sifted7 oz bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.2. Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks [...]

Tuscan Garlic Chicken


Finally back to my blog! I knew that this month would be a pretty busy one. I had a gut feeling that it would keep me from cooking and baking for awhile. Unfortunately, it did. This month was just a very, very busy month for me. It usually is. Towards the beginning of this month, I left for a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I use go as a kid, so I was very excited. It was such a fun trip! It was so beautiful! I didn't realize how much I missed being around to so much land! Being in Orlando, I'm so use to all the tall buildings and compacted buildings and homes stacked on top of each other. It was such a great thing to go do. Something I don't get to be around all the time. I enjoyed each and every minute of the trip with my family. I really didn't want to come home, but, the time came and it was time to leave dream land..As soon as the trip was over and we were back home, we were heading right back to school. I had 2 days to get ready for school. Obviously, I was not ready to go back to school. After rushing to get all my things for school, I'm told we have a hurricane coming our way. Great. I went to school for one day before they had to cancel school. Fay, the hurricane, ended up weakening to a tropical storm. However, the storm decided to party over Florida for about a week. It rained and rained and rained non stop. I feel so bad for the people in the other county's around me. I live in Orange County, and in the county's next to Orange, Brevard and Seminole, they got flooded so bad! This storm broke records. They got somewhere to about 4 feet of water in the streets. It's horrible! Homes flooded, cars can't move, people traveling by little boats... It's really sad. I hope those people are able to get things situated. I'm just glad that it's gone and that the sun has actually been starting to come out. For about 2 weeks, we didn't see blue sky's or sun at all. Totally uncommon for Florida. I mean, we are the Sunshine State! I was so glad to just get out of the house. Went to the movies, saw Tropic Thunder (hilarious!), and me and my boyfriend went to Olive Garden last weekend. Something I hadn't gone to in some time. I knew what I wanted. I always love to get the same thing. What happens when I get there? They took my dish off the menu! I was so bummed! They had this awesome dish, Tuscan Garlic Chicken. Honestly, in my opinion, best meal ever. I love it. It really depressed me to see that they took off such a delicious meal from the menu.When I got home, I decided to go on their site to see if it was true. Sadly, it was. After I let that sink in, I decided to see if they had the recipe for the dish on their site. Ta-da! They did! I was so happy to see that. Since I had to time today, I decided to make this for everyone to have and make up for the fact that I didn't get to enjoy it last weekend. Turned out just as I remembered it. I a very happy girl today.Recipe4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tbsp.1 tbsp. salt2 tsp. black pepper2 tsp. Italian seasoning1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked according to package directions5 tbsp. olive oil1 tbsp. garlic, chopped1 red pepper, julienne cut1/2 cup white wine1/2 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed2 cups heavy cream1 cups Parmesan cheese, grated1. In a shallow dish, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook[...]