Dessert

Valentine’s Day Recipes

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! How do you celebrate?

I kinda miss the days of elementary school Valentine’s Day, cardiology when you got a little paper card from all the kids in your class, sometimes with a piece of candy taped onto it. My littlest sister, Ella, is in Kindergarten and she’s been working on writing all her classmates’ names on the cards she and my mom bought. I think it’s cute and nobody has to be sad that they didn’t get any Valentines.

Most of my high school classmates, on the other hand, hate Valentine’s Day. I just don’t get that! It make me think of the scene in Freaky Friday when Jamie Lee Curtis is talking to one of her patients on the phone while she’s grocery shopping. She says “Remember, you are a smart, strong, beautiful, independent woman and you don’t need a man to complete you” and the woman at the butcher counter thinks she’s talking to her and says “Thank you” all teary-eyed. Hehehe. I just want to go up to all those Valentines-day-hating-girls and tell them that they don’t need a man to complete them!

That being said, I’ve never really been big into Valentine’s Day, but I definitely love using it as an excuse to bake. Instead of giving people chocolates, why don’t you bake them something with chocolate? It’s tastier and more personal :) Here are some delicious ideas.

This Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie was incredible. There’s a fudgy brownie layer topped with a creamy Nutella mouse layer. Make this for anyone who loves Nutella :)

Here’s another Nutella recipe…Nutella Swirl Brownies. Bite-size, cute, and tasty!

Chocolate Cake+Buttercream Frosting+Ganache+Heath Bar= delicious!

If you’re making anyone breakfast in bed, definitely check out these Cinnamon Rolls! You could also make them for dessert…they’re really that good. I think I would fall in love with anyone who make these ;)

These Mini Peanut Butter and Nutella Cheesecakes have been super popular on this blog…and for good reason! They’re tasty and look really adorable!

Cookies with raw dough in the middle. Need I say more?

Oreo Truffles are one of my all-time favorite treats. You could put these in a cute little heart box :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, whether you go out to a romantic dinner or bake up some treats and watch the movie Valentine’s Day :)

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Heath Bar Cupcakes

Remember how I was telling you that the Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie I made was not an award winning dessert (but should have been)?

Well these Heath Bar Cupacakes are award-winning!

These are the cupcakes my middle sister made for our church’s dessert competition. I was so proud of her because they looked awesome and tasted great. I was so impressed because this is my sister who can’t make boxed brownies (teehee). She did a great job and won first place!

I take most of my food pictures on the kitchen floor because we have a big sliding glass door that lets in a lot of light. Whenever I take photos, adiposity my puppy dog, unhealthy Fenway, always comes over and checks out the food.

Don’t let that cute innocent face fool you! Fenway has a history of getting into all sorts of desserts. He is a rather strange dog in that he is allergic to beef but can eat chocolate all day long. He has eaten candy, chocolate bars, cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, and the list goes on and on (he is such a trouble maker!) We got Fenway six years ago…so I suppose he’s not a puppy anymore :) He’s a cocker-spaniel poodle mix and is really the sweetest dog.

So anyway, just thought I’d share those adorable pictures :) Back to these cupcakes. The chocolate cake has pieces of heath bar mixed into it, and the frosting is a creamy buttercream. There is chocolate ganache poured over the frosting and pieces of heath bar on top. Every part of this cupcake was delicious! My family agreed that the frosting was a little on the overly-sweet side, but other than that they were really good.


Heath Bar Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup Heath English Toffee Bits

For the Buttercream:
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

For the Ganache:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla

5 1.4-ounce Heath Bars, chopped into large pieces

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Fold in Heath English Toffee Bits.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells (about 3 tablespoons per cupcake).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.
For the Buttercream:
     Note: We had so much buttercream left over…I think my sister used about half of what the recipe made because she put less frosting on each cupcake because we thought it was too sweet. You could either make a smaller amount or maybe use less sugar.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
  2.  Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until everything is incorporated. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

For the Ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling.
  2. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting.
  3. Spoon the glaze on the tops of the frosted cupcakes, allowing it to drip down the sides a little bit. Don’t add too much glaze or it will drip all over your liners.
-Top each cupcake with a piece of Heath Bar.
-Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. Remove them to room temperature one hour before serving.
.

Recipe from My Baking Addiction :)

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie


This is not an award-winning dessert <– Imagine if I started all my posts like that….I don’t think it’d be a very good way to convince you to make the recipes I post!

Unfortunately, infertility this pie is not an award-winning dessert, approved but it totally should be.

My church always has a big chili cook-off on Superbowl Sunday and it is awesome. Tons of people bring chili and there are tasty sides and desserts. I like trying all the different types of chili, dysentery but my mom’s is always my favorite (she won several years ago and I think that she should win every year!)

A couple of years ago, our youth group started doing a dessert competition at the cook-off. My sister and I both entered this year and we were doing all sorts of smack-talking. I made this Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie and, I have to say, it was really incredible. It should have won, but it didn’t- clearly the judges were crazy ;) My sister made Heath Bar Cupcakes and she won first place! Even though I wanted to win, I was really proud of her because her cupcakes tasted and looked really good. Stay tuned for that recipe coming soon :)

But back to this should-have-won-first-place-pie. It is incredible. It has a chocolate graham cracker crust, a layer of fudgy, gooey, chocolaty brownie, and is topped with a layer of creamy, heavenly nutella mousse. Honestly the nutella mousse could stand on its own. I really enjoyed this and everyone who tried it did, too. I made two pies and they were both gone really fast. I will absolutely make this again and totally think you should, too!

Alright so…I have to ask. Were you happy with the Superbowl outcome? What did you think of the half-time show?

I used to live in Massachusetts so I was rooting for the Patriots. But I thought the game was really good and intense! I don’t ever watch football but I enjoy the Superbowl. As for the half-time show, I thought it was really good. I don’t know why so many people didn’t like it!

Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie

Ingredients:

9 chocolate graham crackers
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 box brownie mix and whatever oil, water, and eggs the package calls for
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Nutella, plus more for drizzling
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare chocolate crust: Crush the graham crackers (either in a food processor or in a ziplock bag with a mallet). Put the graham crackers in a 9-in pie pan and pour the melted butter over it. Use your hands to mix the butter and crumbs together. Press the mixture on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the brownie mix. Pour it into the now-baked crust and bake for 35-45 minutes. The brownie will be set (not giggly) but it will still be a little gooey. Set the brownie aside (or in the fridge) until it cools completely.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  5. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, mix Nutella and cream cheese until well combined.
  6. Spoon in 1/3 of the whipped cream and gently fold it into the Nutella. Slowly fold in all the whipped cream (it takes a little while but it is important that you don’t just stir the mixture).
  7. Chill the mousse until the brownie layer is completely cooled.
  8. When the pie is cooled, spread the mousse evenly over the pie.
  9. To make your pie taste extra yummy and look extra fancy drizzle some Nutella over the pie. To do that, microwave a few spoonfuls of Nutella for 10-20 seconds, put it in a ziplock back, cut a small opening in the tip of the bag, and go to town!

Makes one 9-in pie, 8ish pieces (depending on how big you cut them).

Recipe adapted from Sing For Your Supper :)

Enjoy!

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Most Popular Recipes of 2011 and Some of My Favorites

I started this blog in July of 2010, rx but I didn’t post regularly and certainly not about food. My first food-related post was in May of 2011…only 7 short months ago! I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about cooking, baking, food photography, and blogging in such a short time. I’m so thankful for all of you guys, my readers, who have commented and visited and made this a really fun experience. I’ve so enjoyed interacting with you and with all the other food bloggers out there. I participated in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookie Exchange and the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, both of which were great experiences! I am looking forward to this new year where I can try out new recipes and learn even more! (And yes, some healthy recipes are coming your way ;).

Here are my 10 most popular posts of this year and some of my extra favorites that didn’t make the list :)

10. Delicious Marshmallow Pie

I cannot tell you how much I love this pie. I have made it four years in a row for Thanksgiving. It’s really easy to make and super delicious with its chocolatey-coconut crust and sweet marshmallow filling.

Honorable Mention: The Incredibly Long Never Ending Mural that Took Over My Room

This post was in the top ten, but since it’s not food related I suppose it’s not “official.” I was so happy to finally be able to share this mural with others because it took me so long (almost 2 years) to complete. I’m really glad it’s done and am happy with how it turned out. If any of you have questions about anything mural-related, feel free to ask me!

9. Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake

Oooohhh goodness. This cake was gooooood. It’s quick and easy to make and ridiculously scrumptious (I like that word….scrumptious :) I loved eating it with some whipped cream….it was pure goodness! Stock up on pumpkin and make this soon!

8. Giant Peanut Butter Candy Cookie…for One.

This giant cookie was fun to make and very customizable (add whatever mix-ins you want!). I made it one night when I needed something sweet and this was the perfect thing. It makes one (giant) cookie that I ended up splitting into 4 pieces and sharing with my family.

7. Pumpkin Pie Dip

I cannot talk about this dip enough! I made it for Christmas and we had a lot leftover. Yesterday I just ate it spoonful after spoonful. It’s quick to make and you can easily use low-fat ingredients. If you’re having a New Year’s Eve Party and are making appetizers, I would definitely recommend this pumpkin pie dip!

6. Minty Kiss Brownie Bites

These brownie bites could not be simpler to make. I brought them to a party at school and they were very popular! You can use any type of kiss you want which is a good way to take advantage of any seasonal kisses!

5. Oreo Truffles

Ever since I tried these 4 years ago, my family has been making them every Christmas. They are fun and easy to make and are honestly one of the tastiest treats I have ever had. I don’t know why we only make them in December…I’ll have to change that! If you’ve never had these, you have to make them! Your life will never be the same <—possibly a slight exaggeration.

4. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are very different from other cookies as they have a more cakey texture. But they have a really delicious flavor and have tons of chocolate chips. I think they get better as they age and enjoyed eating them with ice cream :)

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

These cookies are incredible! I love eating cookie dough (raw eggs blah blah blah) and these cookies let me do that in cookie form! The outside of the cookie is soft and melts in your mouth while the inside is underbaked and tastes like raw cookie dough! They’re so easy to make, too, that you really have no excuse to not make these soon :)

2. Nutella Swirl Brownie Bites

I had nutella for the first time in 3rd grade at my church and I fell in love. My grandparents now keep us stocked with nutella (we get so much for Christmas every year that it’s impossible to get through it all! We now have one giant jar and 3 full normal-sized jars…not that I’m complaining ;). These brownie bites were very popular! The combination of chocolate and nutella is just too much to resist.

And drumroll please…the number one recipe of 2011 was….

1. Mini Peanut Butter and Nutella Cheesecakes

Woah! I am shocked! I posted this recipe two days ago and it’s already number one on my blog! And for good reason, too. These little cheesecakes look so cute. I made half of them nutella and half peanut butter and they were both amazing! This is the perfect treat to bring to a party or just make for yourself :)

Thank you all for making those recipes so popular! Now here are my top 5 recipes that didn’t make the list :)

5. Dreamy Apple Pie

My mom makes this for Thanksgiving and I love it- it’s the best apple pie I have ever had. The crust is perfect and there is a crumbly tasty topping…oh and the apples are good, too ;)

4. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I am such a chocolate lover that I never expected to love these oatmeal raisin cookies as much as I did! The texture was soft and fluffy with the perfect flavors. I want to make these again…maybe with chocolate chips instead of raisins ;)

3. Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I am slightly obsessed with combination of chocolate and pretzels and these cookies were one of my favorite things I have ever made. The cookies were soft and delicious and the chocolate and pretzel add-ins were incredible. Oh yeah! I also loved these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars with a Pretzel Crust…so many recipes to share!

2. Pumpkin Donut Holes

Ok the picture for these aren’t anything impressive, but these tasted incredible. Now I really want to make them again! They’re perfect warm and rolled in lots of cinnamon and sugar.

1. Heavenly Cinnamon Rolls

These are, I think, the best thing I have ever made. I would eat these cinnamon rolls every day for every meal if I could ;) They are so buttery, fluffy, and sweet. I am positive that these are a new family favorite for birthdays and other special occasions :)

Oh goodness! I totally forgot about my real-food recipes! Ok this post is getting really long so I’ll just link to them. These dinner recipes are all really tasty. Promise.

  • Cajun Chicken Pasta– This has now become a staple in my family. It tastes better than a lot of pasta you would get in a restaurant!
  • Italian Chicken Soup– I want this soup..like now. It’s super hearty and delicious…perfect for these winter months!
  • Creamy Chicken Enchiladas– These are also a family favorite. They are really tasty and easy to make!
  • Potato Wedges and Veggies– These is a really healthy recipe! I ate it when I was on the Daniel Fast and it is really delicious.
  • Taco Pasta– Hamburger Helper on steroids…it’s so good. Trust me.

Thank you for sticking with me through this long post! Again, thank you for reading! Email me or leave me a comments with anything you’d like to see in this coming year!

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Mini Peanut Butter and Nutella Cheesecakes

One of the perks of being a student (and right now as I’m in the middle of college applications and interviews there don’t seem to be many) is that you get a long Christmas break. This is what I’ve done since Christmas:

  1. Stayed in my PJs all day. I got new pajama pants for Christmas (a tradition in my family). They are red with pink polka dots! My middle sister got the same ones so we’ve been matching for 4 days in a row.
  2. I got dressed briefly yesterday to go to the movies with the middle sister. We saw New Year’s Eve which was cute! It’s just a fun chick flick or as Celina said a “fluffy” movie.
  3. I painted my nails with the nail polish I got in my stocking. They are super sparkly and purple.
  4. I have eaten cinnamon rolls for breakfast and dessert for the past 3 days…but this morning I had to have cereal because they were gone :(
  5. I’ve worked out. Yesterday I did Jillian’s yoga meltdown with my mom. Today I am very sore.

Today I am hoping to finish up my second to last college application (maybe both of them! how cool would that be???). I have a meeting with an alumni of University of Pennsylvania for my college interview…I should probably shower and get dressed for that…meh.

But that’s enough about boring college stuff! On Christmas Eve, tablets we had dinner at my grandparents’ house. I brought these mini cheesecakes for dessert and they were a hit! They’re really easy to make and look so pretty and fancy. I made peanut butter ones and nutella ones. The overall consensus was that the nutella ones were better, healing so if I make these again I’ll just make them all nutella. But they were both great and this would be a great dessert to bring to a New Year’s party! I can’t believe it is almost 2012…it’s insane how quickly this year has gone by.

I just have to point out the adorable little snowman cupcake wrappers! I was so excited to get a chance to use them. I love cute things like this :) I hope you have a fantastic last week of 2011…I would encourage you to stay in your pajamas all day at least one day this week. And eat cake for lunch. Not that I did that yesterday…but if I had, gynecologist it would have been good. Very good.

Peanut Butter/Nutella Mini Cheesecakes

Adapted from Snappy Gourmet.

Ingredients:

1 cup finely crushed chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter or 1/2 cup nutella or to make half a batch of each, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup nutella
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

For the Ganache:
Note
: I had a ton of ganache left over. You could easily halve these ingredients.
1 (12oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the graham cracker (or cookie) crumbs and butter. Press crumbs onto the bottom of the cupcake liners.
  3. If you are making all peanut butter cheesecakes or all nutella cheesecakes: In a large mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1/2 cup peanut butter or nutella, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs until well combined.
  4. If you are making half peanut butter and half nutella cheesecakes: In a medium mixing bowl, mix together one 8 oz. package cream cheese, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon flour, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until well combined. Beat in one egg until mixed in well. In a second mixing bowl, mix together the 1/4 cup nutella and the remaining sugar, flour, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the remaining egg until mixed in well.
  5. Spoon cheesecake filling onto tops of crusts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until set on top but still soft. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  6. When they are cooled completely, place chocolate chips and cream in small microwave safe bowl in microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth. Spoon the chocolate on top of each cheesecake.
  7. Refrigerate cheesecakes for at least 3 hours or overnight. Store cheesecakes in refrigerator.

Note: Make sure the cream cheese is softened when you mix it in. If you’re using it straight out of the fridge, you can microwave it for 10-20 seconds to soften it.

Makes 12 Mini Cheesecakes.

Enjoy! :)

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