Friday, October 28

A Video - {For Those Who Missed It}

Hey guys!

No recipe today, but I wanted to share a little video I was fortunate enough to host thanks to Rice Krispies and The Motherhood! Check it out if you're looking for some quick Halloween treat ideas, especially if you want to get your kids in the kitchen to help. Both projects (which are quite similar) take only moments to prepare and are fun to do. Be sure to check out both the Rice Krispies website and the Rice Krispies Making Memories Page on The Motherhood for more ideas and inspiration.

Happy Halloween!


Watch live streaming video from themotherhood at

Tuesday, October 25

Dream - {Cinnamon Graham Cupcakes with Mixed Berry Filling and Swiss Meringue}

It happened suddenly and involuntarily. One second I was asleep and the next I wasn't; instantly transported from the field of my dreams into my too-hot and too-small bed of reality.

I've forgotten what it was, exactly, that I'd been dreaming of. I don't think that I even knew at the time, but that doesn't surprise me. It seems almost a rule that my sleeping and stimulation-deprived mind escapes and runs off when I'm not conscious enough to control it. A straight-forward fact that results in me almost never being able to recall the events of my dreams.

But, honestly, that usually doesn't bother me a bit. Dreams aren't really "my thing," and figuring them out just doesn't interest me like it does for some.

Except for this week. I wish I remembered something from those hours - anything - to clue me in on why it is that I keep waking up in a panic. Being torn abruptly from my sleep without explanation is both terribly frightening and frustrating, particularly when it happens multiple times per night.

Last night, for instance, was a gem. The shades were down, of course, but an unfortunately placed streetlight outside my window casts a subtle glow through the cracks. The light was just enough to define the silhouette of my robe hanging at the foot of my four poster bed, which, naturally, was the first thing I saw when I woke with fear-widened eyes. After having recently used my knowledge of internet memes to accidentally frighten a friend (to whom my meme knowledge pales in comparison), it was a rather brutal transition into consciousness to awake thinking a certain tall and slender being was so near to me.

I cursed aloud and surveyed the room, damning myself for leaving not just one, but both closet doors cracked. Without looking, I extended my arm to pat the surface of my nightstand for my phone which I had, of course, situated as far away from myself as possible that night before falling asleep. Eventually successful in my search, I fumbled frantically with the device between my fingers, attempting, with little luck, to turn on the display as quickly as possible. But, of course, turning on the display made things immediately worse as it prompted me to envision the white glow on my face as a target for whatever the hell it was that was surely lurking in the shadows of my room.

I pressed the lighted display to my blanket-covered chest, feeling intensely vulnerable. I briefly considered turning on my ceiling light, but the thought of being able to plainly see what I was so inexplicably sure was hiding about in my room made me nauseous.
However, being now more than a few seconds into the realm of consciousness, rationalization was starting to kick in.

I was still feeling disturbed (a word Jaclyn of Food + Words so appropriately used this morning to describe the feeling), but I knew that my robe was not Slender Man, that the shadows were empty and that the bright-white display on my phone would do no harm to me besides hurt my night-adjusted pupils. I realized that falling back asleep would not only be safe, but wise and that the only other living thing in my room was, perhaps, the growing but harmless pile of dirty laundry trying to escape from my hamper.

But the most important realization of all was this:

If I was smart, I would stop watching zombie movies right before bed.

But that probably won't happen.

Cinnamon Graham Cupcakes with Mixed Berry Filling and Swiss Meringue
These cupcakes are not overly-sweet, very light and pleasantly moist. Make them with whichever fruits you have on hand, fresh or frozen, and serve without telling your guests about the surprise inside.

Printable Recipe

Cinnamon Graham Cupcakes
This recipe made 9 which I realize is an odd yield, but that's what happened, sooooo.... Yeah.

3/4 c (105 g) flour
1/4 c (35 g) whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c (107 g) brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, room temp
3/8 c (90 ml) warm water
3/8 c (90 ml) buttermilk*
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) and prepare one cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Whisk together the flours, cornstarch, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. After combining thoroughly, make a well in the center and add all of the remaining ingredients. Whisk just until smooth.

Portion batter into the pan, filling cups 2/3rds full and bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Cool, in pan, on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on the rack before filling and frosting.

*If you do not have buttermilk, pour about 1/2 tsp of vinegar into your measuring cup and fill remaining measure with regular milk. Let set five minutes at room temp before using (milk should curdle slightly).

Mixed Berry Filling
The exact ingredients and ratios for the filling aren't terribly important. Use the fruit you have in the quantity you like and cook until thick.

2 handfuls of blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 handfuls of raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until reduced and thick. Press through a strainer to remove seeds, if desired. Let cool.

Swiss Meringue

3 egg whites
3/8 c (75 g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Heat a pot of water to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites and sugar in a bowl large enough to sit over the top of the pot of simmering water (like a double boiler). Once the water has come to temp, reduce the heat to medium-low and set the bowl containing the egg whites and sugar on top. Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is quite warm.

Remove from heat and beat on high speed until cooled to room temp, about 10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and frost cupcakes immediately.


Core the cooled cupcakes by cutting a circle (about 1" in diameter) on the top of the cupcake with a sharp knife. Cut straight down as deep as you like and use a spoon to help gently scoop out the core. Carefully trim part of the core off and discard (ie: eat) the bottom part, reserving the top. Fill the cupcake with a scoop of the filling mixture and top with the reserved piece of cupcake, pressing gently to seal. Repeat for all cupcakes, then frost. Toast topping with a kitchen torch to brown, if desired.

Sunday, October 16

Crumble - {Chocolate Stout Cupcakes}

It feels heavy between my nervous white knuckles, this too-new pie tin, piled high with fruit and a mountain of pressed oats, almonds, flour, sugar and butter. Under cover, the berries mingle with a few gentle squeezes of lemon juice and a sprinkling of thin, stringy zest for a tart zip. A pinch of salt eases the sweetness and a few drops from a bottle of almond extract lace the dish with just a little bit of uniqueness.

The ingredients are simple, but the message is not.

I made the crumble while on the bad side of a childish argument with a friend. The fight involved yelling and tears, ultimately ending with a deafening mid-sentence click from the other line. I held the stunned silent receiver in my hand, questioning the worth of the relationship.

I made the crumble before the resolution, hopeful that a well-placed apology would warrant a visit to my friend’s place. I had visions of him opening the door to find me on the porch, crumble in hand, and just smiling; relieved, I would hope, that things could be so easily fixed.

I baked it to solidify my emotions and my feelings into something tangible. I wanted to present it to him and show him that I cared that much. That he meant that much.

And so I did. The apology was placed and accepted. The delivery was received, the smiles were shared and the crumble was divided.

It should have, by my own calculations, been “right” at that point. But it didn’t feel that way.

I had thrown everything that I had into the friendship, but it wasn’t enough. There was a lingering guilt in the air; an unforgivable hurt on either side that carved hallowed and pained faces on each of us. He had asked too much of me, selfishly considering my unwillingness to fall as a sign of disrespect and indifference. And I, selfish in my own ways, refused to change my mind.

Trying to fix the friendship wouldn’t help because we had different ideas of what “fixing it” even meant. To salvage or to heat up were our only options, and neither seemed mutually attractive to both parties.

I sat at his kitchen table with a smile painted on my face, fearful for the days ahead.

Things had changed, we realized, and both of us knew that it was finally time for it all to crumble.

Which, in the end, was the best thing that could have happened.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes adapted from Chow
I made these for my brother and was surprised at how much I liked them! This is a wonderful recipe.

Printable Recipe

2 1/2 c (313 g) flour
2 c (400 g) sugar
3/4 c (64 g) cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness stout
1/2 c (118 ml) milk
1/2 c (118 ml) vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temp
3/4 c (177 g) sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two muffin tins with liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely incorporated. Mix in the sour cream.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding to combine. Divide into the prepared tins.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Set pans on a wire rack to cool completely before removing the cupcakes from the tins.

Simple Bailey's Buttercream

1 c (227 g) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup (95 g) shortening
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 lbs (6 cups or 678 g) confectioner’s sugar
About 4 Tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream, mint or other flavor

Cream together the butter and shortening until lightened, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the powdered sugar in about 1 cup additions and beat well before adding the next portion. After all the sugar has been incorporated, begin adding the Bailey's, on tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Friday, October 14

Rice Krispies Video with TheMotherhood

Hey guys!

I just wanted to let you know that I will be doing a video with the lovely ladies over at TheMotherhood tomorrow at 1PM EST. I'll be demonstrating some fun, kid-friendly, Halloween-themed Rice Krispie Treat recipes for you to share with your family. I'd be totally thrilled if you'd join us!

Please click here to sign up for the video and chat. If you're unable to watch it live, I'm quite certain that there will be a video posted afterward and I'll let you know where you can find it when it's up!

I hope to see you then!

Have a lovely weekend,

Sunday, October 9

Eat - {Red Velvet Cake}

Dry rye.

The toasted triangle pushes a pool of runny yolk; unyielding and rigid in my hand. Contained by a slick dam of homefries, the streaks of yellow gel begin to coagulate and harden, not only incorrigible, but inedible, too.

Across the table is Dad's plate, the contents of which have been reduced to a scattered mess of cubed corned beef and hashbrowns.

I've always considered my dad a fast eater, a thought clearly evidenced by today's empty plate. As a child, I remember sandwiches of potato bread - often stacked thick with peanut butter and jam - disappearing in a matter of bites. His bowls of soup emptied almost as if by straw, bags of popcorn were devoured in moments and coffee cups drained like ice water. Without a doubt, his plate has always been empty long before my own - a true fact for as long as I can remember.

But I realized something that day as I peeked down at my half-emptied plate between sentences. Having lost interest in the potatoes, they'd been poked and muddled across the plate over the course of the meal. Bits of smooth white lay strewn among the dried painted stripes of yolk; the separate toast plate now holding only crumbs. I'm not done, but I'm finished, and Dad's beaten me again - as expected. But I know now that I've not offered any competition, today or any other day. I almost wonder how I've managed to eat anything at all amid relaying what I've just realized to have been an absurd amount of stories and information to the poor guy. Perhaps I took a bite after the story about my exam? Or maybe a swig of coffee after telling him a little about my roommate?

I know half the stuff I've told him isn't even important. Hell, I'm being generous - maybe it's more like three quarters of what I've told him. But he listens anyway, offering advice and nodding politely even if he's maybe-kinda-sorta tuning me out a bit - which I'd forgive him for. His stories are much more thought-out than mine, but that's what you're to expect when you've got a daughter of any age - right? Sometimes I feel like what I've got to say is useless and completely pointless, but it's nice to just talk to (or perhaps at) him for a bit, especially after not seeing him since the beginning of the semester and spending so little time with him over the summer.

Not a whole lot has changed in my life over the past few months. It's been good, and it's been simple. But even so, over a puddle of coagulated egg yolks and greasy slices of potatoes, I brought Dad up to speed on all the little details.

I talked too much about too little.

Like usual.

And as he listened, he ate, and finished his meal before me.

Like always.

Red Velvet Cake adapted from Stella Parks at Gilt Taste

Printable Recipe

Stella wrote a great piece about the history of red velvet that you should really check out before making this cake. It's not your typical red velvet, and her article explains why. The wine adds a great depth to the cake (I used Sweet Cakes Sweet Red Wine), which everyone who tried it really enjoyed. I can't wait to make it again! This recipe will make three 8-inch layers or around 40 cupcakes.

2 3/4 c (340 g) flour
1/2 c (57 g) natural cocoa
2 c (454 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 Tbsp safflower oil or other neutral flavored oil
3 c (510 g) moderately packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, preferably freshly ground
Scrapings from two vanilla bean pods or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
6 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c red wine (Zinfandels work especially well)
3 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F and oil and line three 8" pans.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder to remove lumps, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla bean seeds. Let the mixer run for about 10 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.

Turn the mixer speed down to medium low and add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Again, be sure to scrape down the bowl.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour/cocoa mixture and red wine in 3 alternating portions, scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the vanilla at the very end, then shut off the mixer and fold the batter a few times to ensure an even mix.

Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans (25 ounces each).

Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cakes have domed but retain a slight impression if touched gently with a fingertip. A toothpick inserted into the very center should have a few moist crumbs still attached.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes then invert and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 or 3 hours.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz (227 g) cream cheese, room temp
8 Tbsp (114 g) butter, room temp
4 1/3 c (676 g) confectioners' sugar, or more if desired
1 Tbsp vanilla

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Cream together until smooth and lightened. Sift in the powdered sugar about a cup at a time, then beat in high speed until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Beat in the vanilla.


For detailed cake filling instructions, click here.

For detailed cake frosting instructions, click here.

Trim the domes off the chilled layers of cake, if needed. Spread with a generous amount of frosting, then top with another layer of cake. Spread with more frosting and add the top layer. Crumb coat the entire cake with a small amount of frosting, then frost and decorate as desired.