Showers for Brides and Babies

A very dear friend of mine got married this month and I had the honor of not only being a bridesmaid but also making her wedding shower desserts. When I initially asked her what her favorite flavors were, she panicked and could only think of chocolate and peanut butter (not a bad flavor combo to have in your back pocket…not literally though). She later emailed me with a list of favorite flavors and dessert ideas having perused this very blog. I decided to go with Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting, English Toffee Blondies (the groom is a Brit, after all), and Tiered Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies. I was quite proud of my handmade cupcake toppers — brown paper bags are a great secret weapon when it comes to crafting. I just punched out scalloped circles, stamped them with a heart on one side and ‘I Do’ on the other, taped them to toothpicks and tied them with a little red bow. I need professional help.

Word of my dessert-making prowess has spread through the land (yay!) and I actually got commissioned to make treats for an old high school pal’s baby shower. This was very exciting because it is essentially my dream come true to make desserts for a living. The mom-to-be requested an autumnal theme to her baby shower desserts, so I went with Applesauce Spice Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting and a Gingerbread Cookie Topper (marked with a ‘B’ just like the old nursery rhyme…and it’s the baby’s initial! Kismet), Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and the classic standby Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chunk Blondies. Those blondies are like the that crowd pleasing third cheese on a cheese plate that balances the whole thing out. Always a good choice.

So happy to celebrate these momentous occasions with sweet treats!

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Sweet Disguises

You know what’s better than a boring old cliché Halloween costume? An EDIBLE costume. That’s right, mustache cookies exist. Is it a disguise? Is it a chocolate-y treat? It’s both! I made these cookies last year for a best pal who needed them for a work event. We found these nifty mustache cookie cutters in one of those adorably quirky Brooklyn shops where you expect to see Zooey Deschanel working behind the counter.

The cookie cutters are actually kind of cool (besides being shaped like mustaches which makes them inherently cool, duh) because on one side they cut the cookies into mustache shapes, but the other side has the mustache detail imprints that you press into the mustache-shaped dough.

A good chocolate sugar cookie dough recipe would be perfect for this type of project. So if you need a last-minute costume or just a sweet treat, whip up a batch of mustache cookies!

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Today is Dessert Day!

So apparently today is National Dessert Day, which is just ridiculous because, come on, every day is dessert day. If you’ve got yourself a bag of Oreos and a jar of peanut butter, boom, it’s dessert day.

But it did inspire me to share some photos from the wedding shower for my brother and his lovely wife. Yes, they were married in August, and yes, the shower was in June, but we’ll just call it a laterblog or something catchy like that. The delayed timing also accounts for the abundance of fresh berries and general lack of pumpkin.

Enjoy the eye candy consisting of Buckeye Brownies, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, and the Berries and Cream tartlets. Happy Dessert Day!

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Birthday Cake Wishes and Swimming Pool Dreams

IMG_0814This summer we threw a surprise birthday pool party for my friend Katie’s awesome little sister Niamh (pronounced ‘Neeve’ — it’s Irish and beautiful, get used to it). It was a blast, even if it did make me feel old because these 10-year-olds are way hipper than I have ever been.

To celebrate, I made a massive and decadent chocolate layer cake complete with a handmade Happy Birthday flag banner. We served it with little plastic cups of vanilla ice cream — the perfect poolside treat!

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Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

993967_759564350012_2053122254_nIt’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s chocolaty…what’s not to love? I prepped a batch of this Pinterest classic for my book club this week and let me tell you, it was a hit. The book? Not so much. I mean, the book we chose (Poisonwood Bible) is wonderful…so I hear…my book clubbing compatriots and I didn’t get around to finishing the epic tome. But we did manage to polish off the pretzel bark…

We used to make a version of this confection growing up, but my whole family called it “Mystery Brickle” mainly because the star ingredient was a quote/unquote mystery. SPOILER ALERT: it was saltine crackers. The pretzel version gets topped with a sprinkling of sea salt rather than chopped nuts, but either would be delish. Here are both recipes, so you be the salty/sweet judge…

Mystery Brickle

48 saltines

1 1/2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

18 oz (3 cups) chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Line a large baking sheet (with sides) with foil and spray with Pam. Line crackers on pan. Bring butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Pour this mixture over crackers. Bake at 350  for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and crackers float. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pop back in the oven for 1 minute to soften chocolate chips. Spread chocolate chips to cover. Sprinkle with nuts. Cut when cool.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

1/2 bag of pretzels (the square/waffle kind work best — use enough to line the pan in an even layer)

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Maldon sea salt (kosher salt or another brand of sea salt will work, but Maldon is flaky and magical)

Line a large baking sheet (with sides) with foil and spray with Pam. Line pretzels on pan. Bring butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Pour this mixture over pretzels. Bake at 350  for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and pretzels float. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pop back in the oven for 1 minute to soften chocolate chips. Spread chocolate chips to cover. Sprinkle with sea salt. Once cooled, freeze the pan for at least 2 hours. When frozen, snap the bark apart into squares or shaggy pieces. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

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Sometimes You Just Need a Super Chocolatey Cookie…

photoI mean, right? A craving like that must be satisfied and these Outrageous Chocolate Cookies from good old Martha did just that. They may look like cookies, but they are basically dense, chewy brownies disguised as cookies with little bombs of dark chocolate studded throughout. The recipe calls for chocolate chunks, but I used those fancy Ghiradelli 60% cacao baking chips for some extra depth. Chocolate lovers, rejoice.

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Happy Bastille Day!

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Aujourd’hui, c’est La Fête Nationale en France…er…sorry, got a little too authentic there for a second. Today is Bastille Day! Also known as La Fête Nationale in France. Come on, you took a history class (or at least saw Les … Continue reading

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Good morning, America! Celebrate our glorious nation and start your day off right with these delicious Lemon Blueberry Muffins. They’re sweet, citrus-y, and bursting with fresh blueberries. It’s just what you need before a day full of barbecue and picnic fare.

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Smashed Dots

Smashed Dots

Practicing my new favorite cake decorating trick, gracefully dubbed the ‘smashed dot technique.’ Because, you know, it involves piping dots and smashing them.

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Happy Third Blogiversary to Me!

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I just realized that three years ago today, I started writing about all these Good Things to Eat. It’s been a delicious ride and I hope it continues for many sweet years to come!

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