Decadent Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

These chocolate banana cupcakes are insanely delicious.  Moist banana cake dipped in dark chocolate then topped with chocolate almond buttercream and a banana chip.  After getting rave reviews for these Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes, I put my thinking cap on to see if I could come up with a new take on the chocolate-covered cupcake.  This was a no-brainer.  My family says that these are the best cupcakes I have ever made.  They look so appealing and the two kinds of chocolate take it to the next level.  It’s like a decadent version of the classic chocolate chip banana bread. Continue reading “Decadent Chocolate Banana Cupcakes”

Mind-Blowing Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

These chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes are a valentine favorite at our house.  The strawberry buttercream is insanely delicious and loaded with real strawberry flavor.  Because the cupcakes are made from a mix and the tops are dipped in dark chocolate candy melts they look fancy but are pretty simple to make. Continue reading “Mind-Blowing Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes”

Rice Pudding with Chocolate-Tahini Sauce and Black Sesame Praline

My younger sister Eva, who I adore, has been living with us for four months and just returned to Olympia last week.  It was so lovely to spend all that time together and have an extra set of hands around to help with the kids. But one of THE BEST things about having Eva around was having a new chef in the house.  I’m pretty handcuffed when it comes to family dinners.  The kids seem to eat only things from two food groups:  beige and tube-shaped.   Continue reading “Rice Pudding with Chocolate-Tahini Sauce and Black Sesame Praline”

Mezcal-Chili Dark Chocolate Truffles

I’m still making my way through a bottle of mezcal (a smoked tequila) that a dear friend sent me when I was having a rough day.   Now that the New Year is upon us, I’m ready to celebrate past and future and it always puts me in the mood to go all out and be decadent. These Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with mezcal and dusted with cayenne powder are so rich and wonderful.  They have a nice snappy chocolate shell and a soft, melting, smoky center.  The heat of the cayenne comes through right at the end.  And of course they’re topped with a bit of edible gold leaf.  Because DECADENT. Continue reading “Mezcal-Chili Dark Chocolate Truffles”

Negroni Cake with a Campari and Blood Orange Filling

There’s something really unique about the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I’m all the sudden sick of christmas, red and green, and all things nostalgic and traditional.  All of the sudden I’m ready to be fresh and modern and try new things.  I was pondering what I might make for New Year’s Eve and every single idea I had involved alcohol.  Go figure. Negroni Cake   Continue reading “Negroni Cake with a Campari and Blood Orange Filling”

Beer Gummies-Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Gummy Bears

Beer gummies are my new favorite party trick.  I have a whole post here about the agony and ecstasy of my boozy gummy bear journey.  But this post is all about my new favorite gummy.  My husband had a particularly choice bottle of Bourbon County Stout from 2013 that needed drinking.  Unfortunately he happened to mention that right at the exact moment I was trying to figure out what type of alcoholic gummy bears I wanted to make for New Year’s Eve.   Continue reading “Beer Gummies-Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Gummy Bears”

How to Make Koeksisters-Fried South African Mini Doughnuts

I got lucky at a garage sale a few years ago and scored a wonderful table top fryer from the sixties.  It’s built like a tank, still has the original cloth cord and had never been used.  I had never really done any deep-frying so I was a little nervous.  But it turns out that with a bit of practice it’s very easy and super fun.  The kids love it when I make frites or chocolate donut holes but I haven’t experimented with it too much.  Then I saw a delicious looking, teensy little braided donut from South Africa called a koeksister.  Finally, a treat worthy of a Deep-Fried Experimentation Project.  New band name, I called it!  Read on to learn how to make koeksisters. Continue reading “How to Make Koeksisters-Fried South African Mini Doughnuts”

Buttery Sugar Cookies-Perfect for Rolling Out and Decorating

This is my basic roll-out sugar cookie recipe.  There are a lot of recipes out there for roll-outs.  Some can be baked without chilling.  Some have the soft texture of grocery store sugar cookies.  Some don’t spread even an iota.  But none of those recipes hold a candle to these buttery sugar cookies.  The reason is two-fold:  Flavor and texture.

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Chocolate Woodgrain Cookie Plaques

I’m a little obsessive about baking.  You may have noticed.  I’m also a little obsessed with woodgrain.  You can’t throw a rock at my Pinterest page without hitting something woodgrain.  And I think I finally baked up something deserving of my two loves.  Look, I made a diagram:Woodgrain Plaque Cookies

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Tinsel Tree Sugar Cookies

I am a sucker for mid-century Christmas crap.  I love the fake trees, gilded barware, and felty stockings.  This year, instead of trying another version of a traditional Christmas tree cookie, I decided to recreate my favorite holiday tree.  The big fake white tinsel tree with giant ball ornaments.  The lack of fullness and the awkward placement of the ornaments just really makes my socks go up and down.

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