Paint Spill Sugar Cookies (+ DIY Tutorial)

A healthy alternative for those who love eating lead-based paint. An unhealthy alternative for vegetables and other health-related food items due to the fact that they’re cookies.

The method is simple: alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides.

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Here’s the cookie tutorial!:

For the icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp milk
  • 6 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food dye (I used the 3 primary colors)

1. Whisk together the milk and powdered sugar, then add the corn syrup and vanilla.
2. Divide the icing into 3 portions and dye each with your colors of choice.

Alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides. Use cooled, flat sugar cookies for the best results.

Enjoy! <3, B

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Spiced Orange 6-Layer w/ Rosemary Buttercream

Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.

In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.

Check out the video of my cake process here!

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups room temperature milk
  • 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)

1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.

Enjoy! <3, B

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.

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Fresh Mint & Dark Chocolate Tart

For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.

Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.

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Make the tart:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
  2. To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.

Enjoy! <3, B

Toffee Almond Bark

Your entire life depends on whether or not you foil and grease the pan you’re using to make this liquid gold/drug of a dessert. Don’t learn the hard way. Also, if you’re as impatient as me when it comes to waiting, the bark a few minutes fresh from the oven is equally good spooned over ice cream as it is when it’s solidified in bark form.

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Make the Bark:

Ingredients

  • 20-30 saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of salted butter (1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of whole almonds, roughly chopped
  1. Line a baking pan with foil and grease it. Cover the bottom of the pan with saltines and sprinkle a handful of almonds over the crackers.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together the butter and sugar until boiling. Reduce the heat and let the toffee simmer for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. Once it’s thickened, stir in the rest of the almonds and pour the mixture over the saltines.
  3. Let the bark cool before cutting, or just wait a few minutes and spoon the toffee over ice cream.

Enjoy! <3, B

DIY: Making Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

You’ve probably been there before: the mental debate you have with yourself regarding whether or not making a cake from scratch is worth the time and effort, rather than simply following the 3-step instructions found on every box in probably the most artificial section of the grocery store. There’s always an easy way out, giving in to the oil, egg, and water recipe, but it’s lazy. Then, there’s the more complicated and time consuming way, the eggs, sugar, flour, butter, baking powder, vanilla, etc. recipe, but it’s tedious when you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t settle for the watered down flavor of death, but don’t go to great lengths if the pay off isn’t worth it! Instead, upgrade the boxed cake mix with easy substitutions so there’s a happy medium (or be an overachiever and make a cake from scratch, but no one likes overachievers. How dare you) (But use one of my cake recipes if you decide that’s what you want to do) (no pressure)

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Make the chocolate cupcakes/cake:

Ingredients (depending on the cake mix)

  • an extra egg (I used 4 eggs)
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream (it makes the cake moist)
  • milk instead of water
  • 1/4 cup of coffee (you won’t taste the coffee but it enhances the chocolate)

For the frosting: Beat together 4 oz of softened cream cheese and a can of frosting.

Follow the instructions on the box, but only beat the mix for 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

Enjoy! <3, B

Salted Dark Chocolate & Maple Affogato

If, on any given day, I was posed the question of what my favorite thing(s) is/are, my answer would probably consist of a brief list, and would definitely include both coffee and ice cream (also dogs when they sigh really loud and peeling plastic off a new thing). So when I first heard someone mention the Italian coffee/ice cream-based drink dessert infamously known as an affogato, I said “why would you eat an avocado at this hour?” then someone said, “not an avocado, an affogato” then I said “oh.” It was a life changing moment!

This is my take on a classic affogato (cold ice cream + a shot of hot espresso), but instead of using a scoop of classic vanilla, I encourage you to try this flavor instead! It’s fresh, it’s edgy, it tastes nothing like avocado, and it gives you that dog sigh sentiment that only coffee AND ice cream lovers understand.

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Make the Ice Cream:

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. sea salt (one of the most important ingredients not present in the ingredient picture my bad)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (Grade B is best)

+ one shot of espresso or strong coffee

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in the salt, then the milk, and heat at medium-low, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the maple syrup and cocoa powder (make sure there are no cocoa lumps before refrigerating!)
  3. Transfer the ice cream base to a (preferably metal) bowl, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for at least two hours, or until cold.
  4. Once the mixture is chilled, stir in the heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
  5. When the ice cream is firm, scoop into glasses or bowls and serve with a shot of espresso or strong coffee. Pour the coffee over the ice cream and eat/drink with a spoon 🙂

Enjoy! <3, B

Spiced Blood Orange Bars

And now for something completely different! Normally, you won’t see me using dark colors or spicy flavors during the months of February through July, but technically these still taste summery, despite the deep Halloween-natured blood orange hue (I debated on holding off on posting this one until late August at the least, but all these bars really are is a spin on lemon bars, which I’ve always associated with early July).

Make sure to use ripe oranges to ensure the juice’s dark pigment will dye the filling!

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Make the bars:

Ingredients

Filling:

  • Juice and zest of 1 blood orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, spices, and sugar until a soft dough forms. Press the crust into a glass pan (8×8) and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Beat together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Stir in the orange juice and zest.
  3. Pour the filling into the hot crust when it comes out of the oven, then return to the oven for 15 more minutes or until the bars are soft but firm in the middle.
  4. Let cool completely, and serve with sifted powdered sugar.

Enjoy! <3, B

Lavender Lemon Glazed Donuts

As much as it pains me to say it, simply because I draw a line for how cheesy my content on here can get before exceeding the clichéd and generic white mom style of blogging boundary, spring has sprung (cringe!!).

But despite this awful phrase that needs to die right now immediately, spring is actually here again, which calls for spring flavors and colors. When it comes to April, I’m down for all things floral and light (i.e lavender, lemon, and honey)! Therefore, these glazed donuts are a perfect teatime dessert or springtime breakfast, and really taste like April.

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Make the donuts:

Ingredients

  •  3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup milk, heated
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lavender sugar (divided)
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  1. In a Kitchen Aid bowl, stir together the warm milk and yeast with the dough hook attachment and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in whisked eggs and 3/4 cup of lavender sugar, then add in the butter, lemon zest, and honey. Mix in flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for an hour.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or glass. Punch a hole in the middle with the end of a wide, round frosting tip or small cookie cutter.
  5. Fry the donuts in hot oil (about 350 degrees) until golden brown, for about 1 minute on each side. Let cool, then coat in lavender glaze (3 cups powdered sugar + 5 tbsp. milk + 1/4 cup lavender sugar, all whisked together) and let them sit on a rack until firm.

Enjoy! <3, B

Dark Chocolate Balsamic Truffles

A couple years ago, I decided that making candy store-style truffles at home is impossible. Whenever there’s a recipe online for truffles, what it is actually most likely referring to is a combination of cream cheese (or butter) and chocolate, formed into balls and rolled in cocoa powder, then chilled to firm. At See’s Candies, Lindt, or any shop of that nature, truffles are a creamy filling encased in a shell of hardened chocolate, which is the candy I was always looking to recreate.

The other day I had a groundbreaking realization. If you make a buttercream, pipe it on wax paper in rounds, chill them, coat them in chocolate, then let them sit at room temperature until the insides have softened, you have a candy store truffle. It took me a while to realize this, and it’s probably a method many people use already, but I was still excited about my discovery. To kick things up a notch, I reduced balsamic vinegar to give them a tangy quality (that you wouldn’t normally find in a candy store truffle. It’s the best of both worlds.)

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Make the Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and stir in the corn syrup. When bubbles begin to form around the edges, remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.
  2. Reduce the balsamic vinegar over low heat in a saucepan until it has a syrup-like consistency. This should take about 5-10 minutes, but make sure you swirl it occasionally so it doesn’t burn!
  3. Stir the balsamic reduction into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and beat in softened butter. Fill a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe small circles or squares onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet then chill until firm.
  4. Coat the chilled truffle fillings in melted semi sweet chocolate, then chill and repeat the process. Let the truffles sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving so the filling has time to soften.

Enjoy! <3, B

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Jello

Here’s another holiday DIY recipe that’s perfect for either St. Paddy’s Day or your next LGBT meeting/coming out party :)!

When my mom was little, her mom would use this method of color-blocking jello by tilting parfait glasses in the fridge, alternating between red and green, to jellify each layer of jello before adding the next. This gives the jello a colorful pattern, perfect for what my grandma considered a “fancy” dessert.

This is my updated version, made with only three colors of jello and green tinted whipped cream. They’re adorable in individual mason jars for Tuesday, and so simple to make!

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Make the Rainbow

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet yellow jello
  • 1 packet red jello
  • 1 packet blue jello
  • Heavy cream
  • Green food coloring
  1. Make each jello mixture according to the directions on the box (2 cups boiling water, 2 cups cold water).
  2. Set a small mason jar or juice glass, tilted, in a muffin tin. Pour in red jello about 1/4 of the way up.
  3. Chill the muffin tin to set the red jello. Then add yellow jello with the glasses tilted the other way. Lastly, after the yellow has chilled, add the blue jello.
  4. Whip the heavy cream and tint with a couple drops of green food coloring (optional). Pipe a little decoration:)

Enjoy! <3, B