Category: Dessert

Frozen Yogurt Bark

The holidays are over and I, like many, have felt the need to stop indulging – all the time at least.  I feel that moderation and a healthy lifestyle are key, however I went wild this holiday season gorging on spritz cookies, sugar cookies, haystacks, fudge, caramel corn – you name the cookie/candy and chances are I took a bite.  Same goes for cheese – brie, cambozola, gouda…yum!  I enjoyed every moment, but I feel gross and my jeans are snug.  In an effort to save money and not have to purchase new pants I am breaking out some of my favorite recipes to curb my appetite.  Which leads me to this little gem I wanted to share, Frozen Yogurt Bark, a favorite treat.

Frozen yogurt bark is one of those items that I will eat and eat and eat, then I will forget about it for a while only to come back to this oh so easy concoction.   OK, so Yogurt Bark is crazy easy – just yogurt that you spread onto a piece of parchment paper, then sprinkle with whatever you want to add and then freeze for a couple of hours.  Once frozen, break the yogurt into pieces and enjoy!  The variations are endless since you can use any kind of yogurt you like as well as the toppings.  You can also add no toppings, tons of toppings, you get the idea.

My personal preference when making yogurt bark and I am trying to get back on track, is to use individual yogurt cups that are high in protein.  This way I am sure of exactly what I am eating in terms of carbs, protein, fat and calories.  For the variation pictured I used a mix of goji berries, chia seeds and cacao nibs.  All of these add-ons play double duty in that they are delicious, add tons of nutrients and add crunch.   Another delicious way to amp up the flavor is to add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup, honey or even some chocolate syrup.  Like I said, moderation is key. 🙂  Try this recipe out.  It takes under five minutes and could not be simpler.  Here’s to healthy eating!

Frozen Yogurt Bark
Ingredients
Yogurt of your choice
Toppings (use anything – be creative)

Directions
Line a pan with parchment paper and spread yogurt onto the parchment paper in a thin layer.   Place desired toppings on top of yogurt and freeze for at least two hours.  Break apart and enjoy!

 

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Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

I love a good cupcake.  There is something about a fluffy, decadent, sinful piece of heaven that makes me want to melt and immediately cheat on an otherwise healthy day of eating.  And you know what?  It’s worth it.  Every. Single. Time.  No regrets – ever.  The one time I don’t like to buy those delicious cakes is when I need to bring a lot of cupcakes.  A couple of dozen cupcakes can cost a pretty penny which is why I LOOOOOVE this recipe for Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes.  It is moist, delicious and you won’t believe how easy they are to whip up.

The best thing about this cake is that you can dump everything into a bowl and let the mixer do the work.  There is no butter to cream or no liquid and flour mixture that needs to be mixed alternately.  It is so, so simple.  When baking or cooking anything for a crowd this is a huge bonus for me.  The cake uses oil instead of butter which keeps the cake from being too dry which is the ultimate killer when it comes to any kind of cupcakes or cake.  My favorite way to top these cakes is with my basic buttercream frosting that you can find here.  This is the perfect combination of fluffy cake topped with a creamy, sweet frosting.

So, this is my secret to baking delicious cupcakes for a crowd or anytime you are having a cupcake craving for that matter.  Even though this recipe is simple nobody will ever guess…they are that good.  Try making these, you won’t regret it.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies from the Nordstrom Cafe

Living in the Northwest my entire life, I grew up shopping at Nordstrom and eating at the Nordstrom cafe.  To this day, one of my favorite dishes to get is still the kids grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.  If you haven’t ever experienced Nordstrom’s creamy, slightly space tomato soup – you must try it. I have so many amazing memories being a little girl and cruising through the little girls department with my mom shopping for the latest in Guess Jeans and Esprit sweatshirts after devouring my luscious lunch.

In recent years I have come to love more than just the grilled cheese and have found their Lemon Ricotta cookies.  Nordstrom came out with a  cookbook called the Family Table Cookbook and once while waiting for my takeout order I picked up the book and noticed that the recipe for these delectable cookies were in there.  I was sold!  I purchased the cookbook and the rest was history!  These cookies are so soft and delicious it is almost like having a cake in cookie form.  As you can see from the pictures these are not crisp cookies.  They are soft, creamy and luscious. See inside one…

Now I have to warn you – PLEASE read the directions for these cookies.  The first time I planned on making these cookies I made sure I had all the ingredients but had no idea all the steps you had to take with the dough prior to actually putting them in the oven.  Unfortunately these are not cookies that you can easily whip up in one afternoon – these take planning due to having to let the dough rest, then freeze, etc.   On the plus side, these can be made in advance and you can bake them the day of and have a fresh treat that people will be in awe of.

I hope you try making these cookies.  They are delicious minus the frosting – but if you are a frosting lover like me, frost them and you will find them OUTSTANDING!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cornstarch


I adore chocolate chip cookies, so when I saw the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cornstarch I knew I had to give them a try .

I have made countless batches always searching for the next best recipe.  I am sure I will try other recipes on occasion, however this is hands down a new classic for me.  I got this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction website.  Click here to see her recipe as well as her absolutely stunning pictures.  

There are several differences in this recipe compared to others I have tried – the three being that you use melted butter instead of softened (which means NO mixer needed!!!!), one egg and a yolk as opposed to two eggs that most recipes call for and 1 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch.  I was a bit skeptical at first, however these have come out heavenly again and again.   The recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips.  I like to mix this up with part dark chocolate, part milk chocolate and part cacao nibs (to sneak in a little added health benefits.)

These cookies are chewy, soft and incredibly delicious.  They remind me of a Mrs. Fields cookie, but without the $2 price tag.  I hope you try these out and let me know what you think.  

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES (uses cornstarch) – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
INGREDIENTS
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup  light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, cacao nibs and/or some M&M’s

DIRECTIONS
Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.  

In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.Roll the dough into balls, about 1-2 tablespoons each. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur….I never knew this was something that could be concocted using some pretty basic ingredients, but it is.  I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled onto this super simple recipe on a cold December evening.  I had friends coming over and I wanted to serve some Bailey’s on ice along with some other fun cordials, but when looking for my rarely used bottle of Irish Cream I just couldn’t find it.

So who hasn’t been in this situation…you think you have something on hand, but when you realized you actually didn’t and needed it, was in a bind.  Well that is what happened here and I am not gonna lie, I was frustrated. In this case my husband had been using the velvety liqueur to add to his coffee before his morning golf rounds over the previous months.   Since I rarely drink Irish Cream I understand why he didn’t think to tell me we ran out, but in the moment I was annoyed.

I got over it and since almost ANYTHING can be found on the web I decided to see if there was an alternative and was stupid-excited to find out I could make it at home.   Not only did I find a great substitute from store bought Irish Cream, but I also realized that this would make a great hostess gift. Who doesn’t love homemade items? 

Easy, delicious and can makes an excellent hostess gift. It tastes better than Bailey’s, makes an amazing hostess gift and couldn’t be easier to make.  This recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur is a keeper.