Funfetti Truffle Bars

I ran out of sprinkles.

I could barely make this funfetti dessert which obviously would have been a huge shame because sprinkles and funfetti are life. I didn't even have enough to douse the top with frosting which bummed me out SO much because everything looks better covered in colorful sprinkles. So yesterday, when I got home from work, the first thing I did was go shopping for sprinkles. They are a necessity in my house. 

Thankfully, I had enough sprinkles for the truffle layer because, you guys. I can't even handle how much I LOVED this truffle layer. In fact, I think truffle layers are my favorite dessert thing of all time now. To make your own truffle layer, simply smash together a package of cookies and a package of softened cream cheese in a stand mixture until it's smooth. I did golden Oreos for these bars, but I've done shortbread cookies previously [see these twix brownies]. 

In addition to the truffle layer, there's a layer of funfetti shortbread on the bottom. It's simple and slightly crisp and provides the perfect sturdy base for the truffle. On top of the truffle is a layer of whipped frosting. I used canned frosting [probably for the first time in my life]; you can use whatever flavor you'd like, but I would recommend a white/vanilla flavor. The kind I got was "whipped white frosting." It's flavor is like buttercream frosting, but its texture is light and airy like whipped cream and it's ridiculously delish. 

I could probably write a book about the frosting. But instead, I'm just gonna put it on my truffle bars and eat whatever is leftover straight from the can with a spoon. I suggest you do the same.

Funfetti Truffle Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup colorful sprinkles
1 package (15.25 oz) Golden Oreos
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tub of white/vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" pan; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, butter and 1/4 cup sprinkles to form a dough. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
In a stand mixer, add Oreos (save 4 or 5 for the top) and cream cheese and blend together until mostly smooth. Mix in 2 tablespoons sprinkles. Allow the shortbread to cool for 5 minutes, then spread the truffle mixture on top evenly. Chill for 15 minutes. 
Spread the frosting on top of the truffle layer, then decorate with remaining sprinkles and chopped Oreos, if desired. Refrigerate the bars for two hours, then cut and store in an airtight container until serving. YIELD: 16 small bars

(adapted from: tastes of lizzy t)

I'm pretty sure the day I made these was the first day I ever consumed a golden Oreo.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Breakfast is calling.

And I am happily answering. The only thing that got me out of bed this morning [other than the fact that I have to go to work in a few hours] was the fact that I knew there were muffins in the kitchen. So I worked out [how ironic] and then ate muffins for breakfast. Well, ok. I had one muffin for breakfast along with an apple and one of those little Jif peanut butter to-go packs because I'm a tiny bit obsessed with how cute they are. 

Remember on Friday when I shared those amazing maple pumpkin cinnamon rolls? Remember how I said at the end of the post that you should be prepared for at least one pumpkin recipe a week until we hit December? Well. I wasn't kidding. These muffins are your pumpkin recipe of the week for this week. And I'm already thinking about what delicious pumpkin recipe I can share with you next week! [except I might need more pumpkin because I'm pretty sure I cracked open my last can for these muffins].

You guys. The moisture in these muffins is out of control. I realize that the word "moisture" is completely unappetizing, but you should realize that there really is not other word. These muffins are just moist. Oh and flavorful. They're so flavorful. Pumpkin + chocolate just can't be beat. I wanna snack on these muffins all day lonnnnng [and I probably will end up doing that. oops.]

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two muffin tins with liners; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and canola oil until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; slowly add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop the batter into the liners, filling each about 3/4-full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. YIELD: 2 dozen muffins. 

(adapted from: the girl who ate everything) 

Chocolate in your breakfast is the way to go.

Monster Cookies

This is one of those recipes where the name doesn't apply at all.

And I hate that because I like descriptive names. But there's SO much going on in these cookies that it would be hard to name them something that wasn't ridiculously long. Peanut butter, chocolate, oats and m&m's are all wrapped up in one little cookie. So I really have no idea where the name "monster cookies" came from because none of those ingredients are even remotely monstrous. Quite the contrary, actually. All those ingredients are really great.

Turns out, great ingredients make great cookies. While I was making these cookies, I realized that no matter what, cookies will always be good [well, at least for the most part]. What makes a good cookie great is its texture [at least in my opinion]. These cookies have phenomenal texture. SO thick and chewy and moist. Plus remember all those ingredients I named above? Well, they make a super flavorful and hearty cookie. Don't miss these! 

Make make make!

Monster Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and oats; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Mix in chocolate chips and mini M&M's. 
Roll the dough into balls, about 1-1/2 tablespoons each, and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set and edges are just beginning to brown. Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

(adapted from: the girl who ate everything)

mini M&M's are so much tastier than the regular sized ones. 

Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

My family loved these rolls.

I can't believe that I got my family to eat - no, wait, to devour - an entire pan of these maple pumpkin cinnamon rolls because they sound so complex and so fancy and they sound like something that my family would never eat. 

It's just that all of these flavors mix so well. Pumpkin and cinnamon is a no-brainer. But pumpkin and maple just sounded so seasonal and so autumn and really warm and comforting, so I went with it. And the result was fantastic. Some of the best cinnamon rolls I've ever made! And you know that I love cinnamon rolls and make them as often as possible because they're on my list of favorite foods. #1 - pizza, #2 - cinnamon rolls. 

But it'll take me too long to write out the whole list, sooooo.

Cinnamon rolls! They make for the very best breakfast, a really great snack when warmed up and a pretty amazing dessert for after dinner. I totally encourage eating these all day long. Of course, they're best fresh from the oven and still warm so that the glaze gets all gooey and melted and wonderful, but honestly, if you heat 'em up in the microwave for a few seconds, they're still pretty darn incredible. 

So let me tell you about them! I made pumpkin dough. It was delightful to make and work with - the dough was so soft and pliable and incredibly easy to shape and roll and cut. It was amazing! Then I filled it with the usual butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture. I topped the whole thing with a maple glaze which is the glaze that I use on my all-time favorite cinnamon rolls and you can find the recipe for those HERE. The whole combo, gah! So good!

Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg, lightly whisked

4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix together until combined. 
Add the buttermilk and pumpkin to the melted butter in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds and stir until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, then add the lightly beaten egg. Knead the mixture on low speed for about 7 minutes (add more flour if necessary to form a soft, smooth dough). Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 
After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle, about 14" x 20". Smear the softened 4 tablespoons butter all over the rectangle. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon and then evenly sprinkle over the butter. Roll up the rectangle, starting with the longer side, to form a large log. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 20-24 rolls. Arrange the rolls in a greased 13" x 9" pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes. 
Prepare the glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, melted butter, maple syrup and milk in small bowl. Spread or pour over the warm rolls. Best served immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

(dough adapted from: averie cooks)

you should probably expect a pumpkin recipe at least once a week until December. 

Candy Corn Chocolate Cookie Cake

I finally gave in and bought a bag of candy corn.

Candy corn is up there in the list of favorite candies - just below m&m's but above milky way bars. I look forward to them every fall! They give me one more reason to adore the season of autumn. Oh! And those little baby pumpkins that taste just like candy corn ... I love those too!

Now, trust me, I could probably consume at least half a bag of candy corn in one sitting [I can't help that they're the most addicting candy on the planet!], but I try to restrain. Even though I eat a ton of candy corn every autumn, I've never baked with candy corn before. Obviously I need to remedy these types of things. 

My remedy was a giant chocolate cookie full of candy corn.

The only bad thing about this cookie cake was the fact that apparently about 75% of my family thinks that candy corn is disgusting. WHAT. Who are they? Candy corn is bomb and I will love it forever. Anyway, I had to eat approximately 75% of the cookie cake to make up for the part that my family didn't eat. That was great for me. Well .... good for my taste buds, bad for my health. 

The cookie cake was phenomenal - moist, fudgy and flavorful. The cookie cake was somewhere between cookie and brownie, so really, you can't go wrong. Oh and the candy corn adds really interesting and unexpected flavor and texture. Everything here is good. Except the nutritional value. That's not good at all...

Candy Corn Chocolate Cookie Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup candy corn
chocolate frosting
candy corn for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9" cake pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and candy corn. Dough will be thick. 
Spread the dough evenly in the prepared cake pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate the completely cooled cookie cake with frosting and candy corn, if desired. 

(adapted from: life, love and sugar)

I used a little bit of this chocolate frosting for my cookie cake. 

Funfetti Cookie Dough Truffles

Funfetti used to be one of those things for me.

I could take it or leave it. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It wasn't my first dessert choice, but I wouldn't turn it down if offered to me [mainly because I wouldn't turn down any dessert offered to me]. But I made these funfetti cookie dough brownies a few weeks ago and they have converted me into a funfetti lover. 

Maybe I don't love funfetti cake or everything funfetti, but I for sure love this funfetti cookie dough and I'm making a personal effort to use that funfetti cookie dough in as many different desserts as I can possibly make. These truffles are the first of those desserts and they're a really fantastic start. 

I don't love making truffles because dipping each truffle in chocolate is a tedious and tiring job. BUT. I always love the outcome. They taste delicious plus they're really cute because it's just about mandatory to decorate with sprinkles. Also, I mean, the center of these is straight cookie dough and what's not to love about that!?? 

Seriously. Make some cookie dough [I'm thinking that funfetti is my favorite, but you could go with chocolate chip cookie dough or peanut butter cookie dough or really any kind of cookie dough that you love!], roll in balls, chill, dip in chocolate, add sprinkles. Then devour as many as you can. Or you can share them with people that you kinda like. 

Funfetti Cookie Dough Truffles

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups funfetti cake mix
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
3 teaspoons colorful sprinkles
3/4 cup chocolate chips

2 cups chocolate chips
2-4 teaspoons canola oil

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla extract and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add in the cake mix, flour and milk and blend until combined. Stir in the sprinkles and chocolate chips. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 15-25 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough into 1" balls and place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill for at least 2 hours. 
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30-second increments. Add the canola oil and stir until smooth. Dip each chilled ball into the melted chocolate and then place back on baking sheet. Immediately add sprinkles, if desired. Repeat this process with each ball of cookie dough. Let all the truffles sit until the chocolate is completely set. Serve immediately or place in airtight container and refrigerate until serving. 

(adapted from: life, love and sugar)

so pretty and colorful, right!?

Classic Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cupcakes

I haven't made cupcakes in forever.

And I honestly kind of just missed the whole process and I really wanted a cupcake. I don't often crave a simple cake + frosting combo, [I usually crave stuff like chocolate covered pretzel caramel stuffed brownie supreme] but I missed eating simple desserts. So I baked some yellow cupcakes and covered them in the best chocolate frosting I've ever made. 

I get a little bit frustrated when I make frosting sometimes, though, because one batch comes out perfectly - fluffy and perfectly chocolatey - and the next batch comes out sub par. Even though I use the same exact recipe, I can never seem to get them to taste exactly the same. It can be incredibly disappointing. For example, this frosting is absolutely delicious. I was practically eating it by the spoonful. But I'm afraid to attempt it a second time and be disappointed if it doesn't come out as perfectly as it did the first time around. 

BUT. You have to make this frosting. You absolutely have to. And you have to make the cupcakes too so that you have the perfect base for your pile of frosting. And then you've gotta eat as many as you can without getting a stomachache. 

That may or may not have been what I did. [no seriously, I loved these cupcakes so much that I ate my weight in them, just about. I really think you should make these cupcakes asap because they're the perfect classic yellow cupcake with the most perfect fudgy chocolate frosting. and what could be wrong with that!?]

Classic Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cupcakes

1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, sour cream, heavy cream and water and beat until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients slowly and mix just until combined. 
Fill the cupcake liners a little bit more than halfway full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 
To prepare frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add water and beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Use the frosting to frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with colorful sprinkles, if desired.

(adapted from: life, love and sugar)

I'm gonna eat a few more of these cupcakes for breakfast...

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Good pumpkin bread can be a life saver.

And let me tell you, this pumpkin bread is fantastic and it basically saved my life yesterday. Yesterday was one of those days. Everything went wrong. Even the pumpkin bread. I pulled it out of the oven and it looked beautiful. But when I turned it out of the pan, it fell apart and was gooey in the center. Thankfully, I was able to put it back together and salvage it somewhat. Then I sliced a piece and I stood on my back porch and I ate it and I didn't think about anything.

I didn't think about the fact that my laptop was not working, I overslept, my to do list was [and still is] astronomical and the pumpkin bread looked disastrous. All I thought about was how delicious the pumpkin bread was. It was so good that I literally forgot about all the bad stuff because all I could think about was obnoxiously good the bread was. 

Chocolate and pumpkin is such a winning combination.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a loaf pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together pumpkin, canola oil, eggs, water and cinnamon until smooth and combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with a few additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before turning the bread out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

(adapted from: what's gaby cooking)

make sure you make this bread for your next disastrous day. 

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Brownies

This had to happen.

These are my two favorite desserts of all time. I love all desserts, but usually I have to be in a certain mood for a certain dessert. Like, I don't always feel like having cheesecake even though I do love it. But chocolate covered pretzels and brownies are two things that I'm always in the mood for. So, naturally, I combined them. 

I made a pan of these this past weekend and they were supposed to be our dessert after dinner last night. Right before we sat down to dinner, I glanced at the pan and realized that there were about four brownies left in the pan. I was mildly annoyed, but mainly just flattered and I guess that I'll have to start hiding desserts. Thankfully, my mom and sister made homemade cream puffs as a little weekend project, so we ate those for dessert instead. They were incredible!

I've wanted to top a pan of brownies with chocolate covered pretzels for a long time, but since it is now October and the daylight leaves by 5 or 6 pm, I have much less time to photograph my stuff in natural light, so I'm always looking for the quickest way to make something. Painstakingly dipping a ton of little pretzels in melted chocolate isn't quick or easy. Or fun. 

So instead, I made a pan of my favorite brownies and topped them with a ton of mini salted pretzels and drizzled lots and lots of melted chocolate over the whole thing. I actually think it looked pretty this way - it was kind of rustic looking! The only bad thing is that the brownies are a little bit difficult to slice with the pretzel topping, so we were kind of just eating them straight from the pan with forks. Difficult to serve, but they're worth it because they're soooooo good.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups mini salted pretzels
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla extract and eggs and mix until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Top the cooled brownies with half the pretzels. 
In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30-second increments. Add canola oil and stir until smooth. Drizzle half the melted chocolate over the pretzels, add the remaining pretzels on top, then drizzle with the rest of the melted chocolate. Let chocolate set completely before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

(brownies adapted from: life, love and sugar)

the sweet & salty combination is out of this world! 

Frosted Apple Bundt Cake

Apparently, I'm only baking with pumpkin & apples this autumn.

Seriously. A few weeks ago, I made these chocolate chip pumpkin bars and I can't stop making them. In fact, I haven't even made a batch of just plain chocolate chip cookies or bars, I'm only making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies/bars. I think it's the only way to go. The pumpkin just makes the cookies or bars SO much chewier!

BUT. I should probably tell you about the dessert at hand. This cake. You guys, this cake! It's so ridiculously good. It was dense and moist and chewy and SO flavorful. Apparently, I'm all about the caps today. But delicious food calls for caps & exclamation points!

The original recipe called for browning the butter to make a browned butter glaze/frosting, but honestly, I was feeling a little lazy and was short on time (I started a new job this week, so I'm working two part-time jobs plus doing the blog thing), so I went with a simpler buttercream frosting. It was fantastic. Though it was a tiny bit heavy (I've scaled down the recipe below so that it won't make quite as much frosting as I had), it complemented the cake really well and all together, this make for the perfect autumn dessert. I love it.

Frosted Apple Bundt Cake

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups chopped, peeled apples

1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 12-cup bundt pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and flour and mix slowly just until combined. Mix in chopped apples. Fill prepared pan with cake batter and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a butter knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn the cake out onto a plate to cool completely.
To prepare frosting, beat butter, powdered sugar and heavy cream together in a bowl until fluffy. Use to frost the cake after it has cooled completely. Slice and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

(adapted from: cookies and cups)

I used Macintosh apples, but you can use whatever you have on hand!

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I probably should have waited till November to do pumpkin pie.

But I got inspired recently. I took a little road trip up to New York with my brother and his girlfriend to visit family for a weekend. We had breakfast with my aunt, uncle and cousin at the little diner in their town [best cheddar + broccoli omelet I've ever had], lunch with my grandparents [cold cut sandwiches are a tradition when visiting my grandparents] and we did authentic New York pizza for dinner.

We watched plenty of football because my family is a sporty family and we even hung out in a really beautiful mall. Everything was expensive. It even smelled expensive. And of course, we had a great time catching up with family.

The whole thing reminded me of Thanksgiving because every year, my aunt hosts Thanksgiving and it's my favorite day of the year: Thanksgiving in New York.

And nothing screams Thanksgiving like a pumpkin pie, right? It's the classic Thanksgiving dessert. And oddly enough, I really hate it. I love pumpkin desserts, but I don't like the pie at all. It tastes like a vegetable. But my pumpkin pie loving family loved it, so I think it's good enough to share with you. It was super creamy and velvety smooth; it looked beautiful and it smelled fantastic. I just can't get past the taste.

Hopefully, however, you can. Because I think this recipe is a good one. If you like pumpkin pie, make it and tell me what you think! Perhaps I'll bring it to Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9" pie crust
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
In small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 2 minutes. Add the sugar mixture and pumpkin and mix thoroughly until combined.  Pour in the evaporated milk and stir to combine. 
Press the pie crust into a 9" pie plate. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately with whipped cream, or refrigerate until serving. 

(adapted from: libby's) 

look how cute the little mini pumpkin in the pictures is! I love it!

My Mom's Banana Bread

It's the best.

I mean it. The best of the best. This banana bread is probably my favorite thing, ever. And it is, for sure, my favorite thing that my mom makes. And that's saying a lot because my mom makes lots of delicious stuff including a really thick and hearty beef & barley soup and the best tacos. Plus she makes orange cookies and the best chocolate cake.

But this banana bread. It's ridiculously good and frankly, I'm at a complete loss for words. This is one of those things that is so tasty that there's no way to accurately describe just how phenomenal it is. And really, it's just banana bread. There is no chocolate, there are no nuts - just straight & simple banana bread. But it's moist, dense, rich and almost fudgy and as a bonus, it smells absolutely out of this world while it's baking.

Wanna know why it's so good? My mom uses bananas that are so ripe that they're completely black on the outside. No yellow should be visible at all. I know it sounds a little gross, but hey. It works! And it works well.

my mom's banana bread

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add oil, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until thick and pale yellow in color, about 2 more minutes. Slowly add in flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and beat just until combined. Add the bananas and mix until no large lumps remain. Pour the batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans. Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. 

If you slather your slice with a little butter, it's even better!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

I'm doing the pumpkin thing. Finally. 

Truthfully, I'm not huge on pumpkin flavor, but I love baking with pumpkin in autumn because it's so seasonal and poetic and it just makes me happy. Plus it smells delightful. Though I have to say, the more I bake with pumpkin and the more pumpkin desserts I consume, the more I like the taste of pumpkin. It's growing on me. 

And now, these pumpkin bars have turned me into an actual pumpkin lover. They're ridiculously good. 

I always thought that chocolate + pumpkin was kind of a strange combination, but I was willing to try it out because hello, chocolate. I'll add chocolate to anything [just about...], so I've added chocolate to just about every pumpkin dessert I've ever made and I've loved it every time. So I'm a fan of the chocolate and pumpkin combination. And these pumpkin bars ... I'm a fan!

These are so fantastic, I can't handle it. I baked them in a small-ish pan [if I'm honest, the pan was probably too small for the amount of batter, but I was feeling a little lazy and I didn't want to have to pour the batter into a new pan and have two pans to wash. oops.], so they were super thick and they didn't really bake all the way through, so they were a little bit gooey and kind of fudgy! I love fudgy/gooey bars! LOVE. 

I'm maybe a tad overly excited about these bars, but they really were delicious. Everyone loved them and I've decided that they're my favorite pumpkin dessert, ever. You've got to make them! 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1-/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 11" x 8" OR 13" x 9" pan; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix until smooth (the mixture may look curdled - don't worry!). Slowly add in flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes (depending on the pan size) until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

I really wanna make a pumpkin pie next.

Funfetti Cookie Dough Brownies

These brownies were so pretty and so tasty.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.
And I couldn't stop eating them.
But I had to narrow down to just a few pictures [five, to be precise].
And eventually, the brownies got finished and there were none left for me to eat.

These brownies are the mother of all brownies. They're the best of the best. The cream of the crop. They have everything going for them. I mean it. Everything.

We start with a pan of brownies. They're super fudgy and just chocolately enough and this recipe has officially become my favorite brownie recipe. It's perfect and no-fail and I have just about memorized the recipe because I've made it so many times in the past few weeks. 

OH and the cookie dough! Let's talk about the cookie dough. I've done cookie dough brownies before. I've even done peanut butter cookie dough brownies. But this! It's funfetti cake batter cookie dough and I loved it so much that I practically ate the whole bowl before I smashed it on top of the brownies. And obviously obviously obviously, I added chocolate ganache and plenty of rainbow sprinkles. I love this whole thing so much, I can't even describe it.

Funfetti Cookie Dough Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups funfetti cake mix
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
3 teaspoons sprinkles
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil
additional rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" pan; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until smooth and combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth, mixing with a wooden spoon. Add cake mix, flour and milk and mix thoroughly. Add sprinkles and chocolate chips and mix gently. Press the cookie dough on top of the cooled brownies in an even layer. 
Melt chocolate chips and canola oil together in the microwave in 30-second increments. Mix until smooth and completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookie dough brownies and sprinkle with additional sprinkles, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

(adapted from: life, love and sugar)

 I can't even tell you how much I want a brownie now.

Apple Crumb Bars

Welcome to another installment of how to eat pie without actually making pie.

These crumb bars have all the flavors of a delicious apple pie without actually being an apple pie. Instead of pie crust, there is a shortbread layer. And a crumbly streusel topping because that's so much better than pie crust.

I really like the idea of pie because it has such a poetic feel to it. It seems like something that is served with tea at cute little restaurants that are in the middle of a beautiful city lined with brick sidewalks and decorated all over with plants. But I can't make pie crust - or rather, I guess I should say I've never made pie crust because I'm too afraid that it's not going to work. So instead, I stick with the stuff I know - shortbread bars with fruit fillings and streusel toppings.

The base of these bars is something that you may be familiar with because I've used it before here with these blueberry bars and here with this strawberry pie. The original recipe is for the blueberry bars and it's one of my absolute favorites, so I've practically made it a goal at this point to recreate it with every fruit that I love. And it's September, so it's prime apple season.

I made these bars a little bit differently - I made my apple filling with brown sugar instead of white and I added some cinnamon for a little bit of spice. The brown sugar/cinnamon combo gives these plenty of fall flavor, so I'm kind of obsessed. I'm now officially ready to break out the pumpkin! It's time.

Apple Crumb Bars

1 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten

juice of one lemon
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups apples, peeled & chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13" x 9" pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined. Add the butter and egg and use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer half of the mixture into the prepared pan and press down into an even layer.
To prepare the filling, combine the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the chopped apples and toss to coat until the apples are coated thoroughly. Pour over the crust and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the apple to cover.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are bubbly. Let bars cool completely in pan. Once cool, remove from the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate if desired. 

(adapted from: tracey's culinary adventures)

I used yellow delicious apples, but you can use any kind you'd like!

Candy Bar Cookies

I have a small problem.

About 8 years ago, my family moved into a big old house on the corner of the main street in a little town. The town is completely cute and I adore it. Right behind our house, about half a block away [if that], was a small market. The town loved it. Sadly, it closed a couple of years ago and the town was kind of heart broken. A few other stores opened up in the location here and there for a few months, but none of them were successful.

At the beginning of this year, Dollar General [please tell me that that is a nationwide thing and you guys know what I'm talking about! if not, it's a dollar store] bought the location, renovated it and opened up in mid-August. Here's where the problem comes in. I can't stop shopping there! It's clean and small & cozy, they have everything and I'm already on a first name basis with the girl who works the register. It's bad. My wallet hates me. I no longer even look at my bank account. I'm serious.

I bought the candy bars for these cookies at that dollar store. I was planning on simply buying the Hershey's cookies n' cream candy bars, but I got distracted and came home with 3 Musketeers, Twix Bars and Butterfingers. And no cookies 'n cream candy bars. 

It all worked out, though. The 3 musketeer cookies were especially a hit. The other two were loved, but not quite like the 3 musketeer cookies were loved. The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute any kind of candy bar you'd like. Or you can substitute none at all. Or you can use three different kinds of candy bars on one cookie. These cookies are totally customizable. You can make them however you'd like or not like. Do your thing.

Candy Bar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 snack size candy bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to creamed mixture and beat just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop tablespoons of dough out onto the prepared baking sheets. Press a few pieces of chopped candy bars on top of each cookie. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container. YIELD: about 4 dozen cookies

(adapted from: dessert now dinner later)

candy on your cookie is a really great thing.

Peach Crumble Tarts

I made little baby pies!

Aren't they adorable?! I prefer all of my food to be as cute as possible. It's a total bummer that there is so much ugly food. AND, a lot of the time, the ugly food is the best tasting food. I think it should be illegal for good food to be ugly. Actually, it should be illegal for food to be ugly at all!

These little tarts, just like the truffles that I shared on Wednesday, were made many weeks ago. I was anticipating being in school and being extremely busy, and I thought it would be great to have a couple of recipes all baked and photographed and ready to go, in case of emergency. You know, in case there was a week when I was slammed with homework and studying. But, I'm not in school and I have more time on my hands then I ever expected to have. 

And somehow, I'm less productive than I've ever been. This happens to me all the time. It's frustrating and confusing, so I'm drowning my troubles in food. Like always. I only wish that I actually had one of these little tarts, but like I said, they've been gone for months. If I'm recalling correctly, the tarts were delicious. Sweet and fresh with a nice crumbly topping. OH, and they were really phenomenal with a little vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Peach Crumble Tarts

6 mini graham tart shells
2 cups diced, peeled peaches
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons quick oats
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart shells on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a bowl, combine peaches, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch; toss to coat evenly. Divide the filling into six portions and scoop each portion into a tart shells.
In another bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, flour and oats until combined. Add melted butter and mix until moistened and coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the tarts. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on the pan. Serve warm or cool.

I love a good cute lil tart like this one! 

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles

Every time the season changes, I make a big deal about seasonal ingredients.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles.JPG

Obviously, we're well into September now, so I feel like I should be baking with pumpkin and squash and lots of oatmeal and nuts or at least some apples. But I have chocolate. And peanut butter. Is chocolate seasonal? I mean, it doesn't really seem like a "fall" thing. But it's not really a winter, spring or summer thing, either. However, I enjoy chocolate year round. So I'll blog about chocolate year round. 

Oh, and by the way, I did end up cleaning my front porch a few days ago [my entire body is literally still sore from all of the things I carried/moved] and then I went down to the dollar store that was just recently built right behind my house [I can't stop spending money there; it's bad!] and bought a ton of autumn decorations to add to my collection and then I decorate. I do this every year. It's pretty much a tradition at this point. You can see a picture here.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles (2).JPG

These truffles are not very festive. They definitely wouldn't be considered an autumn dessert. They're no bake which pretty much screams summer in my book because no bake = no oven which = less heat. You know? Well, they scream summer because I made them in the summer. I brought them to a cookout back in mid June, I believe. It's a little bit difficult to accurately write about/describe something that you ate over 3 months ago. 

In this recipe, a simple peanut butter truffle gets taken way over the top by the addition of rice krispie cereal. It adds excellent texture plus the essence of a rice krispie treat which is the ultimate no bake dessert. The truffle is creamy and crunchy and smothered with smooth milk chocolate. You really can't beat creamy + crunchy or chocolate + peanut butter. These truffles have it all.

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
2 cups chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth and combined. Add the cereal and mix just until combined. Chill for 1 hour. Roll the chilled mixture into 1-2" balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Chill for an additional hour. 
Melt chocolate chips and canola oil together in the microwave in 30-second increments. Stir until smooth. Dip each chilled truffle in the chocolate then place back on baking sheet. Drizzle with a little melted peanut butter, if desired. Let dry completely before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Crispy Peanut Butter Truffles (4).JPG

so delicious.

Lemon Ricotta Cookie

My ode to summer ends right here with these cookies.

When I was making these, I needed to refill my sugar jar, so I grabbed a bag out of the pantry and found about five cans of pumpkin hiding out behind my sugar bags and I realized something. I am 5000% ready for pumpkin baking and fall and pretty mums on my front porch. As a matter of fact, I'm going to clean and decorate my front porch this weekend because it's pretty much my favorite thing to do. I look forward to this all year long. 

[I have no friends. No biggie.]

Speaking of sugar, these cookies contain one of my favorite things in the entire realm of baking. I was first introduced to lemon infused sugar at the beginning of the summer when I made these blueberry crumb bars, and I am now thoroughly intrigued with it. You have to sort of massage lemon zest into a pile of sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. You'll then cream that sugar with the butter. The sugar smells SO amazing and flavors the cookies in the most elegant and understated way possible. I don't really know how to describe it, but it's good.

When I took these cookies out of the oven, I was really discouraged because the texture seemed ... off. It was spongy, and much more like a cake than a cookie. And cakey cookies aren't really my thing. But I went with and let them cool and then dunked them in a lemony glaze [the glaze is so good, I wanna take a bath in it] and let it all set up. And it was magical. The cookies firmed up a bit and became dense, chewy and sweet!

It was fantastic! I ate practically a hundred of these because they're little and cute and so irresistibly pop-able and very addictive. Even my sister who "hates dessert" and "just doesn't really like food or eating" loved these! She added them to her list of foods that she likes enough to eat until she's sick: mcdonald's, laffy taffy candies and these cookies. I feel honored. And a tiny bit disturbed. But the cookies are fantastic!

So please, bake away.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

2 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Mix/massage with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and lemon sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add ricotta cheese and lemon juice and beat for 1 -2 minutes, until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. 
Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie on to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and the edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing.
Once all the cookies are cool, prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Dip each cookie in the glaze then place on a wire rack and allow glaze to harden before serving. Garnish the cookies with a little lemon zest, if desired. Store the cookies in an airtight container. YIELD: 4-5 dozen cookies

(source: My Baking Addiction)

next week will probably include at least a little pumpkin.

Layered S'mores Bars

I'm not one of those people who wants summer to stay forever.

Summer is actually one of my least favorites seasons. Like many other girls, I'm mildly obsessed with autumn. But summer seemed to fly by this year, and I didn't accomplish everything on my bucket list and I didn't even read all of the books on my summer reading list! [most of them, but I've still got a couple which I'm trying to finish up .... hopefully by the end of this month.] So I'm sort of trying to hold on to summer for just a little while longer by baking all of my favorite things of the summer.

I started with those super sunshiney lemon bars on Monday and now I've got these delightful layered s'mores bars because everyone knows that s'mores are the food of summer. They just are. Summer is not complete until you have roasted a marshmallow over a bonfire until it's nice and toasty and mashed it between two graham crackers with some milk chocolate. I did that this summer on numerous occasions. It was great.

Since my bonfire/roasting marshmallow days are over for the year, I have to go back to recreating s'mores in my kitchen. Obviously, I don't really have a problem with that because, hello, baking is what I do and it's what I love. What I don't love is attempting to layer the second half of the cookie dough over the chocolate and marshmallows. It's such a pain, but I think the end result is worth it.

Other than the layering [and maybe that's just me, maybe the rest of the world likes layering desserts and I'm the only one who hates it and can barely do it], these bars are a cinch to throw together. The cookie dough is made with a generous amount of graham cracker crumbs and is the perfect complement to the creamy milk chocolate and fluffy marshmallow filling. It's like a s'more inside of a really chewy cookie bar. Basically, it's awesome.

Layered S'mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (4.4 oz) Hershey's milk chocolate candy bars
12 marshmallows, sliced into thirds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat for an additional minute. Slowly add in flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined. Split the cookie dough in half and press half of it onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with milk chocolate candy bars. Top the chocolate with the sliced marshmallows. Cover with the remaining cookie dough, evenly covering the marshmallows as much as possible. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

(adapted from: Cooking Classy)

delicious.