My fascination with Christmas cookies started as a child when my elderly neighbor used to bring over a tray of her homemade Christmas cookies every year. I loved the moment where I got to choose a cookie from the beautiful, interesting selection. In my humble opinion, I think a holiday cookie should be something special. It should be something that you don’t eat on a regular basis, maybe because it seems fancy or requires a little extra work to make. Or maybe it has a special meaning or a fond memory. These Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Tartlets check all the boxes for me. They have that something special a cookie needs to be the star of the holiday cookie tray…tender jam-filled chocolate dough, dipped in shiny chocolate with a pretty pop of red.
This perfect pumpkin cake brings back so many memories. The tender, moist texture reminds me of the pumpkin cake bars I used to make in junior high. I got the treasured bar recipe from an old children’s cookbook. I lent the cookbook to a neighbor and never saw the book or the recipe again. Through trial and error, I came up with this cake, which I think is even better! It’s so delicious it doesn’t need frosting, but the classic pairing with cream cheese frosting takes it over the top.
Every peach season, I get excited by the abundance of peaches at my local farmers market and I end up buying way too many. So if you’re like me and you have ripe peaches sitting on your counter, turn them into peach purée. I love adding peach purée to my iced tea or adding it to desserts like this moist, tender cake. This is one of my most popular cake recipes on social media, and for good reason. It does not disappoint! To watch the TikTok video, click here.
I had pineapple smoothies two days in a row. There’s something so vibrant and refreshing about pineapple. It feels sunny and tropical. Should scones ever feel sunny and tropical? I’m going to say yes! Scones deserve a summer vacation too. They can take a break from tea parties and coffee shops and enjoy a little sunshine.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you experience your first bite of a scone with a burst of pineapple flavor. I immediately thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” There are probably other pineapple scones out there in the universe, but they’re definitely not well known, like the very popular blueberry scone for example. I’m going to go so far as to say, pineapple scones are better than blueberry scones. There, I said it. (And this is coming from a person who loves blueberries.)
I can honestly say that cinnamon buns are one of my favorite foods ever!!! Yes, this statement required three exclamation points. Bring on the cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon twists. I love them all. I’m especially fond of this recipe because it never disappoints. The brioche dough is soft, fluffy and easy to work with. I love that it contains cornstarch, which is a decades old secret to tender dough. I chose this recipe to share with you because you’ll have a very high chance of success with it. Yeast can be moody, but she’s always in a good mood when I make these buns.
I topped these cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, but you can top them with fruit, nuts, honey or a simple vanilla glaze instead. They’re amazing topped with peaches and cream too.
May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.
I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.
In early September, I saw someone announce the fall season on social media. In addition to people pointing out that it was too early for the announcement, the word police corrected the person with the word autumn. Since both terms are correct, we can call the season whatever we prefer. I think autumn is a pretty sounding word, so I’ll use it for the rest of this post. Whatever you call it, these Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves are a perfect little celebration of the season. They have just the right amount of pumpkin spices, making them so fragrant that your kitchen will smell like cozy autumn heaven.
I call them loaves because I originally made them in mini loaf pans. They’re so cute and delicious that I often give them as holiday gifts. This year I decided to try them in ramekins and I loved the results! I used 6-ounce ramekins, but you can use 8-ounce ramekins, any size mini loaf pans, a muffin pan or even an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. Keep in mind that baking times will differ. To find the ramekins I used, click here.
Each spring, I look forward to the sight and fragrance of beautiful botanical blooms, especially cherry blossoms. Inspired by the beautiful pink trees, I baked some cherry blossom cookies just in time for Mother’s Day. These perfectly pretty, pink cookies are easy to make and fun to decorate. You can sprinkle sparkling sugar on them before baking and call it a day or you can make some pink cherry icing and add sugar pearls or sprinkles. Either way, they look beautiful and taste delicious!
Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead of perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!
I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.
Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.
If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!
It’s Fall 2020. We need chocolate! We need pumpkin spice! And we need it drenched with caramel! These satisfying brownies check all of the boxes with multiple layers of comfort. A rich chocolate brownie is the base. The next layer is heavenly pumpkin cheesecake. The topping is a buttery crumble that rivals the best crumb cake. Finally, as if that isn’t enough, it’s drizzled with caramel sauce!
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not. Each layer is super easy to make. You can use your favorite store bought caramel sauce to top it with. Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream are optional, but highly recommended toppings also. Just saying.
The layers go unexpectedly well together and make the perfect dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I’m even going to add these beauties to my Christmas dessert table this year. Enjoy! You deserve it.
Purple is passionate. It’s mystical. It’s regal. Don’t we all know someone whose favorite color is purple? It’s painfully obvious. They can’t hide it. They don’t want to hide it. They can’t just be friends with purple. They’re in a relationship with purple. The first time I made this Purple Berry Cake, a purple lover I know said that when she saw it, it spoke to her soul. This cake is, what I like to call, a double-take cake. People stare. They can’t resist it’s charismatic charm. Once they stop staring and taste it, they fall hopelessly in love.
Fresh berry purée is added to the batter, creating a soft, moist cake. The layers are brushed with berry syrup, which helps keeps the cake moist and gives it a nice punch of berry flavor. I used blackberries and blueberries, but you can use any combination of purple berries that you like. After baking, the color of the cake layers will be a brownish gray with a hint of purple, depending on your berries. I think I need to come up with name for this color. How about Silverberry? You can see tiny flecks of the berries in the cake and I think the color is lovely, especially with the lavender frosting. If you want a more purple cake, feel free to add some gel food color to the batter. I used Wilton Violet gel food color to achieve the pretty lavender cream cheese frosting. The extra butter and the addition of heavy cream makes this frosting silky and spreadable.
I’m obsessed with edible flowers lately, so I garnish my baked goods with them whenever I can get my hands on some. I found these pansies in the produce department of my local food market. If you can’t find pansies, pesticide free violets or rose petals would also be pretty. Make sure to apply them to your cake right before serving, since they are delicate and will wilt over time. Brush some of your berries with a little dab of edible gold luster dust for an extra regal touch.
I was seriously happy when I started seeing donuts appearing at weddings, bridal showers and occasions other than work meetings. I’ve always felt those sweet, fluffy rings of dough had a higher calling. They had such potential! And honestly who doesn’t love donuts? They’re delicious, but they can also be beautiful. These Lemon Buttermilk Donuts could certainly win a beauty contest. They would make a gorgeous edition to any breakfast, brunch or dessert table. The fresh lemon zest and the earthy flavor of honey will bring springtime right into your kitchen.
If you’re on the lookout for a Mother’s Day recipe, any mom will love these pretty, fragrant treats. This is a very easy recipe and the donuts bake up quickly, so you’ll have time to fix mom a cup of her favorite tea. If you don’t have a donut pan, and you’ve been reluctant to buy one, I can honestly say I love mine. It was very affordable and I’m pleased with the performance and ease of clean up with the pan I purchased. To find the donut pan click here.
In keeping with the springtime feel, I decorated my donuts with pesticide-free edible flowers. I used pansies, but if you’re unable to find them, you can substitute pesticide-free rose petals. I found these edible pansies at my local food market in the produce department, near the fresh herbs. You can also find edible flowers at farmers’ markets and online. For a list of edible flowers, click here. Note: The above pictured orange ranunculus flowers on the table are not edible.