Two best friends, baking and blogging across the miles

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm craving...breakfast!


Your next challenge (after you post your wonderful Halloween craftiness) is to make (from scratch) one of the following breakfast items.

Your choices are:

  • Doughnuts (baked or fried)
  • English Muffins
  • Bagels
  • Hot Cross Buns
  • Danish or Strudel
  • Croissants

Enjoy an extra one for me!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lime and White Chocolate Cookies

Luisa challenged me to make something tropical inspired.

I tossed around many ideas for desserts starring mango and guava. My mouth was watering!

But living in PA I couldn't find any extracts or concentrates for these fruits.

So I settled for cookies inspired by Legally Delish.

She created lime white chocolate marshmallow sandwich cookies to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

I started by following her original recipe, but ran into trouble when I began to sandwich the cookies. The cookies crumbled apart.

So I sacrificed the sandwich idea and dipped them straight into white chocolate and sprinkled them with lime zest.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Double Trouble Part 2: Chocolate Avocado

Awhile back Lu gave me an either/or challenge but I like both options to much that I decided to try them both. The first, a coconut macaroon cookie came out wonderfully.

The second option was to make something combing both chocolate and avocado. I drooled over chocolate avocado cookies, milkshakes, cakes and truffles. I settled on truffles because I took a clad in Scotland and I haven't made them since I left (the word left just triggered a tear!).

The recipe I used is :

And I hated it. Okay....let me explain.

The recipe calls for way to much powdered sugar. Way more than you could ever combine into the other ingredients. I improvised an added some melted butter. I was able to get most of the sugar worked in. The rest that didn't blend went into the trash.

The usable portion did taste good. I used the truffles as 2 layers in a peanut butter chocolate trifle and received good comments on the "really rich bits of chocolate".

Lu challenged me to make something tropical inspired for my next challenge.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Passion Fruit Challenges

On one of my last days in Boston I went to the Danish Pasty House (the one mentioned in my last post!) and in my state of sadness about leaving I ordered a big slice of their passion fruit cake. And it was the BEST slice of cake I've had in a loonnnng time. There's something about the tartness of the filling that makes it very appealing to me, probably because it's not a taste that I've had much exposure to. Anyways, when I got back home I couldn't stop obsessing about the cake so I decided to try and make my own version.

This recipe for Six-Layer Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Filling comes from Food&, and it is by far one of the more complex recipes I've tried. There were a lot of ingredients involved and a lot of time periods where I was just waiting (for the cakes to cool, for the filling to firm up, for the frosting to firm up as much waiting!) The other reason this was tricky for me was because it was supposed to have SIX layers, and it was challenging for me to cut through the three original cakes I had made without cutting the layers too thin, because then they would fall apart as I would move them...So as you can see, the six layers were reduced to three because I was much too panicked that I was going to ruin the cake. However, the downside to only having three layers is that each layer was heavier than it was supposed to be, meaning the filling would come out down the sides (!!!)

I'm usually pretty laid back in all aspects of life, but not with my baking. And I was probably the most Type A I've ever been while baking this cake (my family and boyfriend evacuated the kitchen because I was just awful!) I get very bossy and very irked when things don't go my way, and in addition to the layer trouble I also had some challenges with the frosting, which I may have overwhipped because it was a little difficult to spread. But overall, the cake turned out well given all the challenges! I do wish I had made the filling a little sweeter because it was a little more tart than expected, but the cake itself without anything added was soooo delicious, it was moist and soft it's a good recipe to hold onto for other baking challenges.

I added some toasted coconut on top and ta-da! It was well worth the headache.

My next challenge is to make a dessert that is "wet and cold" and dense, like a tres leches cake or something along those lines...Rachel sent me some recipes so I'll decide soon!

2 Baking Challenges...One Post!

So, my banana bread challenge was from Pinterest challenge in May and I gave myself a "wet and cold" challenge for here they are all together all at once, in order to make up for my procrastination!
However, first I wanted to mention some fun baking-related adventures I had in Boston, since they were delicious and fun memories that I would like to preserve and share with others.
If anyone is ever visiting Boston and wants to try a deeeelicious bakery, one great one that I visited was Flour Bakery + Cafe. There are several locations, with the original being in Boston proper and the other in Cambridge, which is the one I visited. My roommate and I had heard great things about their sticky buns so we ventured out one Sunday and were lucky enough to grab some seats and sticky buns! They lived up to the hype and were incredibly messy!
The other place I wanted to mention isn't as popular as Flour because it is in Medford, which is several miles outside of Boston and right down the street from my apartment! The Danish Pastry House was a really cute cafe that I would go to frequently while I was at Tufts, and while their danishes and kringles were always yummy, my favorite thing to get there was their carrot cake:
The decoration is wonderful, which is something about my own baking that I would like to improve on. Their frosting always looks neat and smooth!
Okay, so now for my challenges:
Challenge 1: To make a variation of banana bread
Result 1: I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of the outcome, but I made this banana bread back in April one one of the weekends when we were STILL getting snow! I got the recipe from My Baking Addiction for Rum Coconut Banana Bread (!) and it turned out very well for me. Rachel and I are two rum lovers and the taste of the rum was subtle but still present in the bread. It was a really cool twist on traditional banana bread that gives it a tropical flavor, which was really neat. 
Challenge 2: To make a recipe off of Rachel's Pinterest Board
Result 2: For this challenge I chose to make Cheesecake in Jar, which is one of the challenges I saw Rachel had pinned. This dessert was so simple and truly adorable:
I just realized I must be a fan of My Baking Addiction, because that's where this recipe came from too! I would recommend using smaller mason jars than the ones I did...I'm on a poor girl's budget and had to make do with what I had! Additionally, I like my cheesecake with caramel or fudge...something wet on it. That's just personal preference but I would recommend including that, and also using graham cracker crumbs in the recipe because I think some crunch always makes things better. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Homemade Nutter Butters

I came across a pin of these last week and knew I had to make them. I traced the pin back to its original source and, lo and behold, it came from one of my all time favorite websites- Kitchen Belleicious.

I just love her motto "Fearless in the kitchen." And it pays off so well for her too!

So I challenged myself to be fearless and to make a batch of homemade Nutter Butters, a cookie that I adored as a child and that my mom uses in her banana pudding. Her website cautions against making the full batch of cookies as it makes so many. So, I decided to make banana pudding to use a good many of the cookies and then I took the rest in to work today. Boy did they fly off the plate!

They weren't as cute as I'd hoped but they tasted AWE-SOME. Way better than actual Nutter Butters.

They aren't as crunchy, but you could use crunchy peanut butter in your filling to give you more of that effect. The recipe can be found on her website, but I'll share my pictures with you here.

Make logs and roll in sugar

Use a fork to make the crisscross pattern

Pinch the middles to make the peanut shape.

Bake, fill and EAT!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fresh Peach Turnovers

Oh man!


Luisa challenged me to make a turnover, my choice of flavor. I looked at nutella, blackberry, apple, cherry and mango recipes.

And then I walked through Aldi and could smell the fresh peaches. I had to have them. I had to have them seasoned with nutmeg and enveloped in warm flaky dough.

holy moly

I would make these just to be able to drink the "juice" from cooking the peaches in nutmeg and cinnamon. Mostly the nutmeg. I love that stuff.

I am also a huge fan of using fresh fruit whenever possible. It is so much...well fresher.

I used my handy dandy "empanada maker" to shape the pastries and it worked fabulolusly.

You can find the recipe here:

PS: these are 17 year old nephew approved. (not saying much since the kid puts sugar in his grits!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Double Trouble: Part One

This go-around Luisa gave me an OR challenge, that I am turning into an AND challenge because I love both ideas so much.

Option #1 was to make chocolate kiss macaroons. I used this recipe from Taste of Home. These cookies are so fragrant (thanks to the fresh squeezed OJ and almond extract. I could seriously make myself high off the extract-it smells THAT good.)

It made approxamently 40 cookies and after the Women's Assoc. potluck tonight, I have three left.

Clean plates make me happy :)

The Recipe Behind the Challenge

A few months ago I tried a super yummy banana bread recipe that I found on Pinterest.

It was so moist and did the hula in my mouth, I knew I wanted Lu to share in the deliciousness. You can find the recipe that inspired the banana bread challenge at The Baking Robot

I followed the directions, except instead of savind kiwi slices to decorate the top with I chopped it all up and added it to the batter. It turned out beautifully.

Sunday, March 17, 2013



Your next challenge is to make a variation of banana bread. It can be boozy, filled with flavors like chocolate, caramel or peanut butter or use other fruits with the banana. You could even make cupcakes, bread pudding, muffins, or bars. The possibilites are endless!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Valentine's Day The Coconut Way

Luisa offered me a choice of two recipes for Valentine's Day and I (uncharacteristically) chose the recipe  that did not include chocolate (as I gave up chocolate for 40 days to help me grow closer in my walk with the Lord).

I made this recipe: for our monthy potluck luncheon at work.

It was delicious!

If you love coconut, which I do, then this is the pefect treat for you.

These four pieces are all thats left from the lunch:

Hey Lu! What's my next challenge?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chocolate Filled Valentine's Day Challenge!

My most recent baking challenge was perfectly timed for Valentine's Day, which I very much appreciated because I needed an excuse to indulge! This was my first Valentine's Day without my close friends and special someone nearby to celebrate so I needed a lot of chocolate as a pick me up! I found a recipe for a delicious Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake made with Ghiardelli Chocolate. The recipe was very easy and VERY rich, and I would very much recommend it because of how simple and sweet it was. It involves milk, semi-sweet and white chocolate topped off with a chocolate ganache. Additionally, this recipe involves using a water bath, which is something I use when I make my Cheese Flan and other desserts that don't need direct heat and are more delicate, like cheesecake and other custards. Enjoy the pictures below! I also added one that includes some Birthday/Valentine's Day love, which I greatly appreciated! Can't wait to see Rachel's coconut challenge!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

PB Butterscotch Chips Coconut Bars

I think these babies may be my new favorite dessert. I like them better than brownies.

Thats not entirely fair. I usually don't like plain chocolate brownies, they have to be s'more or peanut butter or some other tasty combination. But they do contain chocolate so that usually puts them one step ahead on the dessert ladder when it comes to bars.

The recipe is a tweak on a recipe I found on pinterest. You can find the orginal recipe here.

Here's what I did:

Cream 1/3 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of pb and 1 cup of sugar. (And it is possible to cream with out an electric mixer, just takes a bit of elbow grease.)

Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Mix in 1 cup flour until combined.

Stir in 2/3 cup coconut and 2/3 cup butterscotch chips.

Spread into a buttered 8X8 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle (a heavy, even coat) with powdered sugar.