Friday, December 25, 2009

RAINBOW COOKIES!!!!!!! I did it! I did it! Rainbow cookies are something I always wanted to challenge myself with and I finally gathered up the courage to do so...and it took 48 hours! Woo hoo!

Rainbow cookies have been my absolute favorite for as long as I could remember. Seven layer cookies, as they are also called, contain rich almond cake layers sandwiched with apricot or raspberry jam and topped off with a hard chocolate shell. New York is known for these cookies and they are hard to find elsewhere in the country. As most of you know, I have relocated down south to Memphis, TN for the time being and for the life of me, I can't find any rainbow cookies. My problem was solved when I decided to make them from scratch.
I had heard that the act of making rainbow cookies isn't so much difficult as it is time consuming--and I heard correctly. You need a solid 2 days to make these cookies between the chilling, the sandwiching, etc and let me tell you, it is worth every second. The cake layers are super easy to make, requiring almond paste, amongst other basic cake ingredients. The batter is separated into three separate bowls, each being colored red, green, and one left plain white.
In my case, apricot jam is heated and strained and then spread between each layer. A baking pan is used to weight the layers overnight and then the chocolate layer is spread on the top and the bottom to finish off the cookies. After reading many reviews, I froze the completed, unsliced cookies for several hours before slicing them with a chef's knife dipped in hot water. This method worked perfectly and none of the chocolate cracked on top. I cut them into thin slivers which produced several dozen. You can choose to cut them into 1 inch squares as well, however, traditionally these cookies are served in thin rectangles.

I encourage you all to try your hand at this recipe at least once in your lifetime! It's not as difficult as it seems and if you have the time to spare, go for it! Next time I think I will go with raspberry and apricot jam in between the layers.

Check out smitten kitchen's recipe for these cookies found here.


Wow, I've been making a ton of cheesecakes lately. There's nothing like digging your fork into a cold, creamy cheesecake with a crunchy crust. It's official, cheesecake is by far my most favorite dessert. I love to make them and I love eating them even more!

My boyfriends brother celebrated a birthday a few weeks ago and rather than baking your traditional classic birthday cake, I went with a Reeses peanut butter birthday cheesecake. This cheesecake was unreal. The peanut butter flavor wasn't overly strong and the Oreo cookie crust made for a perfect cheesecake foundation. The chocolate ganache layer on top really put this cheesecake over the edge as my most favorite cheesecake, to date.
This recipe fills is designed to fill a 10 inch springform pan, however, I only had a 9 inch so I had some extra batter leftover which I used to make mini peanut butter cup cheesecakes. Since my boyfriends family are die-hard Tennessee Volunteer fans, I stuck these cute little Vols picks in each mini. They were a huge hit.

Please note that you should plan a day ahead when making this cheesecake. It requires a lot of chilling time and I always find that leaving a cheesecake to chill in the fridge overnight produces the best results.

For The Crust

For The Filling

For The Topping

5 ounces milk chocolate chips
1/4 c. sour cream
  1. Please Note****Plan ahead--cheesecake needs to chill for at least 4 hours.
  2. To Make The Crust:.
  3. Combine crushed Oreo cookies and peanuts that have been ground in a food processor with the melted butter.
  4. Pat the crust mixture onto bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
  5. To Make The Filling:.
  6. Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  8. Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.
  9. Stir in vanilla, then fold in peanut butter cup pieces with a rubber spatula.
  10. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  11. Place springform pan into a larger baking pan.
  12. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.
  13. Bake at 275°F 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.'
  14. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour
  15. you may run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan somewhat.
  16. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is your best bet)
  17. For The Topping:.
  18. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and sour cream, stirring constantly. Spread over cheesecake and return it to the refrigerator to set up.


In addition to passing out boatloads of salted cashew chocolate toffee as holiday gifts, I also made Christmas-themed cupcakes and cookies-n-cream fudge to switch it up a bit.
The cupcakes were half carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and half chocolate cake with vanilla cream frosting. The mini cupcakes were decorated with holly's and the regular sized cuppies had decorated candy canes on top. Super cute and incredibly tasty!
Fudge was a major lesson in the first module of my culinary program. While fudge uses very basic ingredients to make, it can be an extremely temperamental process to produce perfect, creamy fudge.
I realized this after it took me 3 times in school to master making delicious fudge. All the temperatures must be exact for cooking and then the cooling process is very precise. Most recipes require the text book step by step instruction to produce a baked good, however, I found a fudge recipe that completely strays from the norm. This cookies-n-cream fudge recipe is most definitely NOT textbook and cuts all the corners to produce perfectly creamy, half the labor, fudge. Where did I find this, you ask? Nestle's Very Best Baking site. Yep, who would have thought! As long as this post never finds its way back to my module 1 chef instructor, I should be alright. This recipe is simplicity at its best. When there's a will, there's a way...



LINE 9-inch-square baking pan with foil.

COMBINE sugar, butter and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

STIR in morsels, marshmallow crème, finely crushed cookies and vanilla extract. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Gently swirl cookies into fudge using a knife without touching bottom of pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.


I've been food blogging for several years and I'm always seeing various quests for the "perfect brownie". Of course, this is by personal taste because everyone likes their brownies different. Well, if you are at all like me and seek the ultimate brownie to have a cakey yet fudgy interior with a flawless light and flakey exterior than look no further. I have been making Nick Malgieri's Supernatural brownies for years on end and no one can convince me otherwise to make another variation. These brownies have it all. Compared to most other brownie recipes, Nick's brownies contain much less flour allowing for an ultimate burst of chocolate flavor. They are moist and fudge-like but hold a cake-like structure so they don't fall apart to the bite. They are extremely versatile and I've dressed them up with numerous fix-ins such as peanut butter, Andes mints, chocolate chips, and what have you. Trust me people, these are a winner.

Click here for recipe.


This post is way overdue. Believe it or not, this amazingly delicious pumpkin cheesecake was made for Thanksgiving. That's a clear indication how far behind I am, however, the salted cashew chocolate toffee below was from Thanksgiving as well. So, slowly but surely, I'm getting there.

I make this cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving and it has become a staple dessert for years to come. I go for a slice of this before the pecan pie which says a whole lot about this cheesecake. The crust is crushed up gingersnap cookies followed by a creamy maple pumpkin filling and topped off with a brown sugar glaze. The crust to filling to glaze components are perfectly in sync for a blast of delicious flavors in each bite. This truly is my most favorite cheesecake out there and it can be made all Fall through the Winter---not just for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts (feel free to eliminate)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 eggs
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.
2.Using a fork, combine gingersnaps, hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom and two inches up the sides of the pan to form the crust.
3.With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin. Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth.
4.Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until center of cheesecake is set. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes then refrigerate overnight.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Homemade heath bar crunch, if you will--with a little twist. I feel truly guilty for this post. Let me just get that out in advance. Now is your chance to "X" my website out and revisit at a later date; preferably when this post is no longer viewable on the home page. Don't say I didn't warn y'all. Why am I so concerned with your well being, you ask?This salted cashew chocolate toffee is addicting, fattening, waist- swelling, crack. It's chocolaty. It's salty. It's nutty. It's crunchy. It's four million calories and it's worth every single bite.
Of course, if you're not a fan of cashews, you could always go down the traditional route of almonds or even peanuts. Any nut works in this instance--trust me, I've tried them all; take my word for it. If you have absolutely no reason to bring this deliciousness into your household; here's one: make a boatload of these as holiday gifts for your family, co-workers, friends, etc. It may not be a great excuse to stuff your face with them but, however, it is an excuse. I'm just trying to help you out. Seriously, proceed with caution :)

Click here for recipe.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Ok, seriously..this is one of, if not the, best pies I've ever had in my life! A buttery flaky crust meets a cinnamon-spiced apple filling, studded with hunks of gooey, slimy, sweet caramel. Oh my...just the very thought of a slice of this apple goodness is causing a serious build-up of drool! I must stop. This pie is perfect. Ok, I'm done...

Here's the recipe. Make this, ASAP!


How cute is this? Chocolate chip cookie cake. Turkey decoration. Need I say more? Well, more thing: it was "gobbled" up in seconds. True story.

Use your most favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and double it to make a thick 9 inch round cake and if you're reallyyyyyy lucky, you may have some dough left over to sneak in a few cookies. Enjoy!


Welcome back from the seemingly endless holiday of stuffing face! Good news folks, this is only the beginning. Bring on the December holidays as Thanksgiving was merely a warm-up round.
Anyway, on to these cookies. As you can see from my earlier post on the University of Tennessee sugar cookies, I've been on quite a sugar cookie roll. They are super easy to make, fun to decorate, and even more delicious to eat. My boyfriend's company had a big Thanksgiving party so I sent him in with this absolute random selection of cookies; schnauzers, mittens, leaves, and bones. Yep, you know, the usual. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I pulled these 4 cutters from my bag of 1000 but there's nothing wrong with some arbitrary selection from time to time! I wrapped each cookie in a plastic bag with some cute ribbon and got incredible feedback. All 150 cookies were gone within an hour! I also sent him in with about 75 pumpkin spice cake pops but really...haven't y'all had enough of the cake pop posts? I've opted to leave those pictures out and save you from cake pop bombardment. :)