Category Archives: Dessert

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Banana Bars


One of the best things I have found that has come about in the age of the Internet is the ability to reconnect with people from your past.  As a person who is a few *ahem* years past school age, I had grown out of touch with a number of high school friends.  Not that long ago, most people would only see those that they went to school with every 10 to 15 years at their high school reunion.  Now I’m wondering just what I’m going to talk to people about at my next reunion as we have all been Facebook stalking each other for years.

This recipe came from one of those reconnections to the past.  Erin posted this herself a while back and I knew that I had to try it.  I did make an addition of peanut butter chips simply because peanut butter and banana is a marriage made in heaven.  That mixed with the milk chocolate chips……  

I don’t know which is better, the soft slightly gooey center section or the lightly caramelized edges.

I dare you to eat just one.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
slightly adapted from The Flaming Toaster

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan); set aside.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat till combined. Beat in the egg, bananas, and vanilla till combined. Beat in flour till combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream


I love homemade ice cream but don’t always have the time and patience to do the egg separating, egg tempering, whisking, blending, cooking that many of the recipes require.  I made a batch of kick butt tin roof the other weekend but it took about an hour to get everything done and that didn’t include the chill time.  Between juggling the baby and the 3 year old, and finding time to do something/anything on the property that hour just isn’t always available. 

This recipe however is wonderfully quick and easy.  It uses chocolate milk as a base which is great for ease of use and it means you have a few extra cups of chocolate milk in the fridge that might just have to be shared between you the toddler that will give you cute puppy eyes as soon as she sees it.  You won’t want it to go to waste.

Those chunks of marshmallow and chocolate you see in the picture are simply chopped Mallowmars (I used the cheaper ValuTime brand and it worked great) which gave me marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers all in one.  Can’t go wrong there.  Plus, as with the chocolate milk, there is extra.  Bonus!

Don’t worry about getting the cream cheese completely mixed in.  Mine has little pebbles floating throughout (you can see them in the picture above) and I found that it gave a rich cheesecake flavor.  You can use regular cocoa powder as well I liked the depth of flavor the dark chocolate gave the it.

Sure the weather is getting a little cold to think of ice cream but I say so what, just eat it inside by the heater.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from

8-oz. cream cheese, softened2 cups 1% chocolate milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Fudge Marshmallow Cookies, coarsely chopped (Both Mallowmars and ValuTime work great)


1. Place cream cheese in a large bowl; slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Whisk in remaining ingredients except cookies; cover and chill until very cold.

2. Whisk mixture again. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove paddle and stir in cookies. May be served immediately or cover and freeze until ready to serve. Best if left at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften before serving.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pullapart Bread


Isn’t this a thing of beauty? Tender gooey flakes of cinnamon and sugar deliciousness draped in a sweet vanilla glaze.

When various versions of this bread started to pop up around the blogospher, I bookmarked one (yes I know bookmarking is old school but this was before I discovered Pintrest), noting to myself to make it soon. A few months later I was planning out the dessert to make for a girls night and I came across the recipe again and knew it would be perfect.

We ate it fresh out of the oven with a glass of sweet dessert wine while watching cheesy romantic comedies. Perfect.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

The Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) rapid rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
The Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted until browned
1/4 tsp salt
The Glaze:
 1/8 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs.

2.  In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

3.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.   Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky.

4.  Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5.  While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for the filling.

6.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.

7.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

8.  Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.

9.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

10.  Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

11.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

12.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up. 

13.  Whisk together milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the bread with artistic swirly flourishes.

Due to the layers being exposed to the air, this bread is best the same day.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes

Lemon Zest Shortbread



When my friends invited us over for a summer BBQ in their backyard I knew this was the recipe to make.  Light buttery shortbread with a hint of lemony summerness.
Cut into thin wedges, it was the perfect handheld dessert to munch on while watching the little ones chase each other around the yard with the wild abandon only the young can truly embrace.  I left the last few pieces at the party when we left and got the evil eye from Steve when I got home and he found out that it didn’t come home with us.
I don’t remember which cookbook I copied it from but it seems like it was Martha Stuart or Williams Sonoma.  Either way, it’s quick, easy and totally delicious.

You can also add a little pink gel food coloring and wala, pink lemonade shortbread. Perfect for a little girls tea party.


Lemon Zest Shortbread
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbs for sprinkling
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degF.
2.  In a food processor, combine the flour, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and salt.  Pulse briefly to combine.  Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a rough ball.
3.  Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 10 inch springform pan.  Press the tines of a fork around the edge to form a decorative border, and then pierce the surface every 2 inches with the fork. 
4.  Sprinkle the surface with the 1 Tbs of granulated sugar.
5.  Bake until lightly golden at the edges and the center is firm to the touch, 45-50 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
6.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Using a long sharp knife, score the shortbread into thin wedges, and then let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

These came to me in a dream.  Literally.  I was dreaming that I was working in an office with Dwight and Jim from The Office. (I had just watched the latest episode) Dwight was running around trying to run the office like a crazy guy and Jim was trying to keep everything calm.  (I think I have seen the show too many times)  Dwight asked me to make something for the staff to eat so I went into the kitchen area and found a can of crescent rolls, butter, sugar and cinnamon.  “I know!”, I thought.  “I’ll make up some quick cinnamon rolls!”  Then I woke up to my daughter calling my name as (heaven forbid) it was 6:30am and she wasn’t up eating breakfast yet.
When I came downstairs and opened the fridge I saw that I had everything I needed to make what I thought up in my dream.  And they were every bit as easy and good as I thought they would be.  Start to finish, including baking, these took me 15 minutes.

To be fair, most likely I have seen these somewhere on the internet and buried them deep in my subconscious until my sleeping brain brought them to the forefront.  I had been trying to think of a use for the can of crescent rolls in my fridge.  Yay for brain power!

You don’t need to melt the butter, very soft butter will do.  I just didn’t want to wait for it to warm up as I didn’t have any already out.  I also used my staple Vanilla-Butternut extract from King Aurthur Flour instead of vanilla in the glaze.  It’s wonderful with cinnamon rolls but vanilla will work just fine as well.

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

1 can crescent rolls (qty 8 rolls)
2 Tbs butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup powedered sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp milk
1.  Heat the oven to 375F.
2.  Open the can of crescent rolls and separate them into individual triangles.
3. Brush the butter on each of the triangles.
4.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle an even amount onto each triangle.  You can put as much or as little on as you like depending on how cinnamony you like things.
5.  Roll up each triangle to form the crescents and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
6.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
7.  While the rolls are baking, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together to make the glaze.

8.  Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes then drizzle with the glaze.  Serve to your family and friends, making sure to let them think it took you hours.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies


So yaaaah, I looked back at when I last posted a recipe on this blog and it was approximately 9 weeks ago, right when I found out I was pregnant and immediately began the morning sickness cycle which has prevented me from wanting to cook or bake anything.  However, things are a little better, and in a moment of feeling good, I signed up for a blogging cookie exchange.  I’m glad I did as it forced me to bake again, which I love, and I have gotten two packages of the yummiest cookies.  I can’t wait to get the recipes!

I got Festive Itailian Cookies from Carol.  These are sweet and crumbly and oh so very good.  Perfect with a cup of tea.  Or coffee.  Or milk.  Or by themselves.


I also received some of the best and softest gingerbread men I have ever had.  When I took this picture there were already half missing.  These are from Elena.


I also just received some Spiced Cookies filled with cranberry jam from Erin.  I haven’t had time to photograph them yet but let me tell you, they are as beautiful as they are delicious.  Take a look at the link to see them in all the beauty.  They put my misshapen cookies to shame.  🙂

For my cookies, I baked my Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These are the cookies that I fall back on every time when I have a huge chocolate craving.  These are  soft and oh so chocolaty.  They take a little bit of effort but are soooo worth it.

And I learned something about myself when making them.  While I am an engineer, a hands on perfectionist I am not.  While the dough logs I made looked nice and symmetrical, the cookies came out all sizes.  I never claimed to be Martha Stuart!

The picture above was the original batch of cookies I made for the cookie exchange.  Somehow, either the way I weighted the packages or how the terrible printer at home printed the labels, it looks like the packages are floating around the post office system somewhere.  I just made another batch and sent them out, this time going right up to the post office window and having them figure out the postage.  Lesson learned!  I am so sorry to all my cookie recipients out there.  I hope you get your cookies soon!

I did change up the recipe a little for the next batch and decided to make them a little more Christmas like.  I thinned out the log to about 1.5 inches, lowered the cook time to 11 minutes and plopped a candy cane Hershey Kiss on top once they were out of the oven. Yum!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Ghirardelli

1 bag 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

1.  In a double boiler (or a bowl sitting on a sauce pan of simmering water), melt the bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.

2.  With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick.  Stir in the chocolate mixture.

3.  In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and espresso powder.  Stir into chocolate mixture.

4.  Gently mix in semi-sweet and white chocolate chips.

5.  Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long.  The dough will be very soft so use the plastic wrap to aid in making the logs.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.   It also freezes well at this stage.

6.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Unwrap dough and with a sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch slices.  Place 1-2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

7.  Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until a crust forms on top of the insides still look gooey.  

8.  Let cool on the cookie sheet.  Enjoy with a big glass of milk.


Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

Pecan Coffee Cake


This recipe comes from my hubby’s grandfather’s friend Vaughn.  She was visiting a few years ago and made this for us when we stopped by for dinner.  Once I ate it I knew I had to have the recipe.  I was especially pleased when I found out how darned easy it is to make.  It’s a dump dump dump mix bake recipe.  Have a box of cake mix in the pantry?  Have some pecan’s in a frost covered bag in the freezer?  Have some leftover sour cream languishing in the back of the fridge?  Done!  Love those!!  It’s sweet, cinnamony, pecany (is that a word?) and very moist.

Pecan Coffee Cake

1 box Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 heaping Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

2.  Mix all ingredients except brown sugar and cinnamon together.

3.  Pour half of the batter into a greased bundt pan.

4.  Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the batter.  Swirl gently with knife.

5.  Pour remaining batter on top of the mixture.

6.  Bake for 1 hour or until it is golden brown and slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan.

7.  Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a plate to cool completely.

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Strawberry Banana Cookies

Even though Rose is only 2, and her hand eye coordination leaves a little to be desired, baking with her is a fun Mommy/Daughter pass time.  These Strawberry Banana Cookies came about after I wanted to try a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Pink Parsley.  They were originally strawberry only cookies but since Rose and I shared too many before I started baking I substituted some bananas to make up the difference.  A fabulous idea if I do say so myself as the strawberry/banana combo, much like mother/daughter, is a classic that never goes out of style.

Combine strawberries, banana, lemon juice, and 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

“One for the bowl, one for Rose, one for the bowl, one for Rose.”


Whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.


Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter to the flour mixture until coarse crumbs are formed.
Rose suggests using your fingers.

Stir in the heavy cream until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in strawberries and bananas.  Using a 1-1/2 inch cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets, evenly spaced apart.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.

While they are cooking, clean up the mess and hope that the large amount of flour that didn’t make it into the dough due to toddler enthusiasm didn’t adversely affect the cookies.


Transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Strawberry Banana Cookies
adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cups)
  • 1 cup diced banana
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine strawberries, banana, lemon juice, and 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter to the flour mixture until coarse crumbs are formed.  Stir in the heavy cream until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in strawberries and bananas.

Using a 1-1/2 inch cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets, evenly spaced apart.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Smore Bars

You know smores, the ones where you need to build a fire, burn it down to coals, stick a marshmallow on a stick, put the marshmallow over the coals while turning your face left and right in an effort to provide some kind of relief to the burning heat, blow out your marshmallow that just caught on fire, create a sandwich with the now burnt marshmallow with graham cracker and chocolate, then make a huge mess trying to eat the thing as the chocolate is hard, the graham cracker is crumbly and the marshmallow is gooey.  But oh do they taste good!

Want in on a secret?  You can make smores at home without the mess and burned face.


Blend up two packages of graham crackers into a powder.  If you don’t have a food processor you can do this in a blender or put it in a large ziplock and whack at it with a rolling pin.

Mix in salt, sugar and melted butter.
Press the moistened graham cracker, withholding 1/2 a cup, into a pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray then bake until lightly golden.Smore+Bar+4

Melt 3 cups of milk chocolate chips and spread them over the graham cracker layer.

Press 3 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows into the chocolate and sprinkle the withheld graham crackers over any visible chocolate.  Put the whole thing under the broiler for 20-30 seconds until the marshmallows are light to medium brown.  Seriously, watch those marshmallows closely.  My last batch of these literally caught on fire in under a minute.  🙂

Put the bars into the fridge for at least 2 hours to cool the chocolate.  Then lift out and cut into bars.

Patriotic Smores!


Smore Bars
adapted from Anne Thornton


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 18 plain graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal. In a large bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, salt and melted butter. Set aside a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Put the crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown,12 to 15 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the chocolate.

Melt the milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Or, you can microwave the chocolate on low power, stirring after 2 minutes.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. Broil the bars 6 inches from the broiler until the marshmallows are golden brown, 20-30 seconds.

Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard about 2 hours. Lift out of the pan and cut into 24 squares.



Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

Lemon Bars

Nothing says summer like the tartness of freshly picked lemon.  The bright yellow color and shinny glowing skin that almost glows from within makes me think of sitting on the porch swing in the cool of the shade, watching my daughter splash with joy in her wading pool.  One of the best things about our property is the huge Eureka lemon tree that gives us oodles and oodles of lemons each summer.  Many an hour is spent at my Kitchenaid juicing the beauties and freezing the bounty to be enjoyed throughout the summer.
Lemon bars are a delicious way to enjoy the tartness of a fresh lemon while balancing it with enough sweetness to keep the mouth from puckering.  I like my lemon bars with about a 50/50 ratio of shortbread crust to custard.  Mostly because I’m not a fan of things that are too gooey.  Too much custard means to much gooey which, much like my aversion to all fruit seeds, makes my mouth go ‘yuck’ despite the taste. The mind is a mysterious thing.

Lemon Bars
from Alpineberry

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large eggs
1 cup superfine or bakers’ sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

To make crust:
Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside crust. 

To make filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in lemon zest and juice until well combined. Pour over crust (it’s okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

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