Category Archives: Dessert

White Chocolate Shortcake with Strawberries, Blueberries and Whipped Cream Frosting


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I’ve been perusing Etsy lately for new cannisters for my flour and sugar and then I started judging the cannisters based on how much rust they had on them. And then I got really self conscious thinking about the fact that I am searching the interweb for a vintage-y kitschy looking tin can and still considering purchasing it from those South Dakotans (yea that’s how you refer to them) who collect these things even though the can has RUST all over the inside of it. And then I took a deep breath and realized I had too much caffeine.

You know, when did the Container Store fall out of fashion and rusty South Dakota cans make a come-back?

Did you guys also love the Container Store circa 2006? It was absolutely the coolest thing to go and get rando trinkets and your day planner from there during summer break. Instead of buying those sleek Oxo bug-proof jars, I’m trying to find a jar with a print not as creepy as a gnome garden yet not as sleek as an Ikea esque white box. The things I do to procrastinate….

Speaking of flour and sugar….THIS CAKKEEEEE. If I had to describe a cake that would connect a wide variety of people’s sweet palettes, it would be this one. I am one to enjoy the most decadent of sweets, with cake layers full of butter and buttermilk topped with headache inducing frostings (and if you’re really lucky, two types of frosting and some kind of caramel brittley thing in the middle). On the other hand, there are those people born without a soul who like the “lighter” side of desserts.

Yes I am speaking to you, tart frozen yogurt lovers, sorbet-orderers, MERINGUE fans, and the worst – those who JUST SAY NO to dessert. This cake will woo even you!!

It’s a cake that is light enough to be dubbed a shortcake, yet dense and moist enough to satisfy the decadent sweets lovers like (hand-raised) me! There’s even some white chocolate chips snuck in there. The white chocolate gives the cake just enough sweetness that you don’t even notice that this frosting isn’t even really frosting at all. It’s whipped cream!

I made this for my office May cookout a few weeks ago with the help of my baking aficionado friend Tim. While I insisted it probably wasn’t the best idea to break into this cake before bringing it to the office, we made a mini version with the overflowing bowl of batter and made sure the recipe was legit. Here are my tips for assembling cakes after my cake-toppling incident a few years back:

Bake your cake layers the night before if you are gonna make this. Then wrap each one in plastic wrap and cover overnight. In the morning, transport the layers and frosting separately if you’re gonna have limited fridge space because this frosting isn’t the greatest for sitting out. Assemble the cake with the frosting and fruit right before eating!

For all of you who want the recipe – buy JoytheBaker’s Homemade Decadence book!!!

Creaming some butter and sugar (view the sweet potato blondies I also made below)

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2015-04-30 21.19.06Here are my tips on getting cake out of the pan. Take your spatula and point it straight down around the edge of the cake. Do this a few times until you know the cake is free from the edges. Then start to go down then under the cake and gently pull up slightly on the cake, but don’t actually try to take the whole thing out. Once you’ve primed the cake, place a plate over the cake and count your self down to a flip (I had Tim help with this). 1-2-3 flip!!! Then tap the bottom of the cake pan which is now facing up as you place the plate down on the counter. This will get any last bit of the cake out. Gently pull the pan up – and there ya go.

If you can feel that the cake didn’t in fact come out of the pan (gasp), just flip it over, look both ways to make sure no one saw you, and give it a few more minutes 🙂

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2015-04-30 20.32.03You know, just use a big pot to make your whipped cream when all your mixing bowls are taken….

2015-04-30 20.32.262015-04-30 20.32.47Watching this progression above, this is what happens when you don’t let your mini cake cool and just drop dollops of whipped cream on top :/

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I buckled it in shortly after. This is my recommended safety position for your cake.
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2015-05-01 12.22.55Shoutout to my coworker Michael who helped put this together!!!

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ohhhhh yeaaaaaa

Challah, Challah Bill Y’all – A Judeo-Christian culinary experience



About a month ago, my expert challah-making friend Kate (who has a laundry list of talents I might add), taught our group of friends how to make challah! In school, Kate made challah every week with an extracurricular group to raise money for hunger relief and let me tell you, it was the highlight of my week. My roommates in our sorority house NOMMED every week on one savory and one sweet loaf – usually some herby garlic, cinnamon raisin, or the cherished pumpkin chocolate chip (life will never be the same without you).

Bringing back the college memories and teaching us a little about Jewish traditions, Kate brought the dough and we contributed the toppings. I learned that in the Jewish tradition, you always bless the bread, hence, the importance of the challah. Shoutout to our snazziest consultant travelling visitor, Chandler who contributed most of these pics. While I didn’t actually make this dough, I can show you a bit about the process and how to get to the pretty part of the challah baking process 🙂

First, we rolled the dough (that had been rising for a few hours), into tiny balls that would later be rolled out


Then, you take two dough balls for your little challah roll and roll them into long thin flat rectangles. This is where you’re going to create a bed for all the fillings. In the pockets, you want to OVERLOAD on ingredients. This is one thing I hadn’t thought of – but apparently when you’re adding filling to these, since the dough expands so much, you always want to put more filling than looks necessary.

In this instance, we made chocolate chip-PB, chocolate cinnamon, sundried tomato garlic basil, peanut butter nutella, and I think cinnamon sugar. Delicious!


After you put the fillings in, you want to start tucking them in. There’s a sort of braiding going on where you tuck the right bottom corner to the left side of the dough and up. Then you go the opposite way and press into the dough to seal it. Do this until the filling is completely enclosed. The one below is sundried tomato, garlic, olive oil, and basil.


imagejpeg_1IMG_0003Once everybody’s sealed up, you want to make an X with the two pieces of dough. Then, carefully wrap the two strands around each other, seal the ends together, and spiral to make a round loaf.



Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for around 25-35 minutes – seems to be an art to this timing! Serve the savory ones with some yummy soup and have the sweet ones for dessert! Here’s to faith-sharing and food. Cheers 🙂


Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies


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My friend JP likes to preface every discussion over which type of baked good to make with, “How about something that makes me feel like it’s really healthy but it tastes really NOT healthy.” Frozen fruit combined with chocolate and oats? I think you’ve found your mate my friend. I’ve always been a huge fan of the trail mix cookie, or as I like to think of it, pantry dump baking. In the past I’ve made popcorn cookies, and dumped graham cracker crumbs, broken pretzel sticks, and granola into my cookies to add texture and flavor to the classic cookie.

At my apartment, we are partial to certain types of baked goods – mostly muffins, bars, and cookies. I’ve made fewer cakes and pies in the past year because they’re not as portable/shareable. Tell me if you agree with me here – a warm plate of cookies or muffins seems more homey and personal when bringing something to a potluck.

I just thought of the play out of a scene (go with me for a second) – you bring a warm plate of cookies to a party and as you set them down, the party-goers/cookie monsters all dive for dessert. The quickest hands grab one or two for themselves and a friend, disappear, and then as two singles go for the last cookie, they graze hands and awkwardly defer to the other. Before you know it, the two sweets-lovers are now sweethearts and you are now responsible not only for their cavities but eternal happiness. ALL BECAUSE of your blueberry oatmeal dark chocolate cookies. It’s hard being you, sometimes, is it not?

So – I’m not going to claim that that’s actually happened to me, but the point is, cookies are a crowd-pleaser and always a good dinner party companion. I brought these to a paella dinner at a dear friend’s parents house, and they warmed our hearts and stomachs on a cold January night.

When you make this for a crowd, will you let me know if you become the cookie match-maker and now have four beautiful God-children and recently find yourself as a main of honor/best man? Because then I’m going to write a match-making cookbook.

Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

adapted slightly from lady and pups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, I used light)

1 large egg, at room temp

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt (fine grain or table salt)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars together until fluffy (like a whipped butter). Then beat in egg and vanilla.

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3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Slowly beat this mixture into the wet ingredients. Stir in oats slowly with a spoon. Then, fold in chopped chocolate and blueberries.

2015-01-19 17.39.41-1I had to put this picture in here because this Penzey’s cinnamon is a GAME CHANGER MY FRIENDS. My friend Mike got this for me for Christmas and it makes the biggest difference in my baked goods. Splurge if you are feelin lucky.2015-01-19 17.39.33

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2015-01-19 17.51.374. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls and space out about 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

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5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest in the pan for 1 minute, then remove and let cool on a baking sheet.


Peanut Butter Cookie Toasted Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches


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Is it strange that I absolutely love the good ole staycation? Otherwise known as didn’t choose a place to drive/fly to/ didnt want to pack clothes for more than five days in a carry on/ needed to detox from deep dish pizza and gelato. Well, all of those might be true except the last one. I don’t think making homemade ice cream is detox from gelato.

I was in Chicago exploring for the first time as an adult and had an absolute blast! Let me tell you the wonderful things I ate: Asian tacos, deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s, BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST GELATO from Black Dog Gelato, really rich chocolate mousse, an entire SLAB of pork belly on a girl date with my biffle Cessie, and a delicious drink with Pisco, St. Germain, basil, lime and some soda-y thing. It was a wonderful trip!

Immediately after returning home, I sniffed out a good ice cream recipe: toasted oatmeal!!!! Ahhh this was my second ice cream adventure this summer and my first attempt without a mixer. I’ve made a few fruit ice creams for my dad, but when it’s just for me, I want chocolatey/coffee/peanut buttery/banana/caramely flavors. And if you can’t tell, I like breakfast!!

My roommate and I were so curious as to how toasted oatmeal could even have that potent of a flavor. Like, would this turn out to be just a cream base with a few traces of grains floating around?? The flavor is definitely breakfast-y, but I’d like to say it’s sort of like a scoop of butter pecan. The touch of cinnamon and nutmeg is subtle, and I think the toasting of the oatmeal really takes this ice cream to the next level.

So I based this recipe almost exactly off of this one from thefauxmartha. I say almost exactly because I tried to but was so excited, I accidentally switched the proportions for heavy cream and half and half. The cookie recipe was very simple and I tried making the ice cream sandwiches with both a chewy version of this cookie and a crunch version.

1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. old fashioned oats
heavy pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
3/4 c. liquid (1 part milk/3 parts water)

Ice Cream
2 c. cream
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. half and half
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. flaky kosher salt
3 egg yolks

Find the peanut butter cookie recipe here

1. Prepare oatmeal: Melt the butter in a skillet or small saucepan, add oats and toast until it sort of smells like browned butter…aka a bit of a nutty flavor. The recipe says about 4 minutes, took more like 5-6 for me. After toasted, pour out the oats. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, a LARGE dash of cinnamon and a small pinch of nutmeg if you’d like. Add liquid and bring to a simmer. Add in oats and stir quickly to make the mixture evenly mixed. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 8 minutes to let the oats absorb.

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2. Make ice cream: Ok, guys. Man your stations, here. You’ve really got to move gracefully through the kitchen during this time. Even when you’re trying to improve your roommate’s parents with your ladylikeness. While hot dairy products are flying all over the kitchen. 

BACK TO BUSINESS sorry….Add your milk, half and half, and cream to a heavy saucepan with the sugar and salt and stir to dissolve sugar. While this is heating, get your egg yolks ready. Whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow and frothy in a small bowl.

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3. Once the cream mixture is simmering (really a pleasant thing, right? hot milk?), slowly temper your eggs. Do this by ladling about a half cup of the hot mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking quickly to mix the two. Once you’ve quickly whisked together the hot milk into the eggs, add the egg milk mixture into the pot and whisk constantly to temper. The recipe said to just whisk until it thickens, but I couldn’t really tell it was thickened, so I’m going to tell you to whisk for about 6 minutes at a low simmer. Then remove from heat.

4. Add your cooked oats to the cream mixture off the heat and let steep for 30-60 minutes (covered)

5. Get your strainer ready over a big bowl. I used a pasta colander. Use a fine mesh sieve if you have one. After the mixture has finished steeping, strain the mixture, using a spatula to press the mixture through the sieve.

6. Cool the ice cream base in the refrigerator until cool. Then prepare in your ice cream maker according to its instructions.

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7. Make your cookies!!!! Here’s how we made the sandwiches: Start scraping your ice cream with a spoon into a small ball – then place on the bottom of one cookie. Use the bottom of another cookie to smush the cookie together. Scream at the top of your lungs before eating this because you are so excited. I dunno it just sounds fun.

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Tell me, are you a crunchy or chewy cookie person?!?! Any recommendations on other ice cream sandwich combos?? 

Banana Trail Mix Muffins


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Have you ever used coconut oil before? This was my first time baking with this lovely substance and it added an AMAZING richness to these muffins. It was a Sunday afternoon, my room was messy, and it was raining. My brain was of course focused on baking. My little teeny kitchen is really not prepared for the amount of mix-ins this recipe calls for, but the mix-ins MAKE the recipe. I’m all about a trail-mix cookie, a blondie with a ton of added crunch, and have been waiting for the day when I make a trail mix sandwich.

The other day our intern at work threw out one of those big Kirkland merchandise bags of trail mix and I thought he was crazy (even after finding out the bag was expired :/). I can guarantee the mix-ins in these pics are NOT expired, for the record. So I was lucky enough to have a taste tester come by to verify that in fact, these WERE good.

I’m a huge fan of cookie+kate and lately have turned to her for more than just recipes. She has some great articles on her site about a whole variety of food topics and lately about cooking tools (I’m totally a drooler over that section). I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for awhile but realized I didn’t have a loaf pan at the last minute! Never fear, the muffin tin always saves the day.

Let me give you some very specific instructions on an appropriate occasion to eat these muffins in case hunger isn’t enough of a good reasons. You need to sit on a very comfy couch with a close friend and catch up on life. You may also need some Norah Jones playing in the background, a rainy backdrop and an open afternoon. On the other hand, they’d make a very appropriate snack for a camping trip. Similar, right?

Let’s bake.

Banana Trail Mix muffins, adapted very very slightly from cookie and kate

3/4 white wheat flour

1/2 cup oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8-1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup dried currants

1/4 cup chopped chocolate (I used a Hershey’s bar with almonds)

1/2 cup almonds and walnuts mixed, chopped

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (this was about 2 bananas for me)

1/2 cup honey

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1. Set the oven to 375 and line your muffin tins with wrappers or grease them.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

3. Then toss in your dried fruit, coconut, choco chips or chopped dark chocolate

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, melted coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and mashed banana until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and gently fold them together.

5. Scoop the batter into your muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full. Bake muffins for around 18-25 minutes depending on your oven, until the sides are just browning and the tops look just firm. Test by using a knife or toothpick, inserting it in the center of the muffins. If it comes out dry, they’re ready.


Serve these warm or cold as a sort of trail mix-y mid-day snack. Or five of them make a snack if you are a certain friend of mine who came over to taste test….I am SO excited about this recipe you guys, please make it! These are super moist yet packed with crunch as well. Who has other ideas for fun snacks/desserts turned into muffins??

I’m off to Chicago this weekend friends – any recommendations?

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