Pistachio Nut Bundt Cake

I don’t think of myself as someone who leans toward pistachio flavored things, but when it comes down to it, pistachio really has a similar flavor to almond extract which I LUURRRRVVVVV. So I guess that means I’m a pistachio flavor lover too? Anyways, this Pistachio Nut Bundt Cake has that old school appeal with the green color and the bundt cake style and it was different from my normal chocolate calling so I got the ingredients and tried it out! Find the recipe here!

I found the recipe from Pinterest. I thought it was interesting that instead of water it called for club soda (that was a new one for me), and it also used pudding mix in the frosting (something I’ve always wanted to try), and something called Dream Whip which is super grandma-y to me and feels nostalgic even though I’ve never used it before!

The recipe called this cake Watergate Cake which I wondered about. I gave a slice of this cake to my friend and she did some digging on the name.  She found out that pistachio pudding came out around the time of the Watergate Scandal and some people started calling the cake that name because it was filled with nuts and fluff like the Nixon Administration.

The bottom line is this cake is delicious and you should definitely make it!!

Find the recipe here!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Homemade Hamantaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim was this past weekend and we “took part” in the celebration by making these delicious homemade Hamantaschen cookies. Even if you are not Jewish, you should totally make these because they are THAT good! You could even make these into thumbprint cookies instead of forming them into triangles. They are traditionally filled with poppyseed, fruit preserves, or chocolate. I used strawberry preserves that I had on hand and put some semisweet chocolate chips in others (yummm!).

If you have never heard of Purim, don’t worry – I hadn’t really either until I started attending basic Judaism classes. The holiday is unlike the other Jewish holidays because it is very carnival-like; there are costumes, drinking, noisemakers and booing at specific parts during the reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther) at synagogue, and giving gifts to the poor. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this website.

Here’s how to make these awesome cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
  • Filling of your choice, canned or homemade (I realized afterward I totally could have used lemon curd that I had in my fridge…guess I’ll just have to make more!)

Directions:

  1. Line unrimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until lighter in color and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix just until the mixture starts to hold together.
  5. Very gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 10 strokes or until the dough is smooth and holds together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (preferably for 30 minutes or more).
  6. Roll the dough out on a board that is lightly covered with flour or confectioners’ sugar. Note: The sugar will slightly glaze the baked cookie and make it a little sweeter. (I used the confectioners’ sugar and in my opinion it did not make them taste too sweet, which I was nervous about!)
  7. Preheat the oven now to 350 degrees
  8. Cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch circles, and place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Don’t roll the dough too thin or they are hard to shape. My second round came out better when I rolled the dough a bit thicker. (between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick)
  9. Shape into triangles by using your thumbs to push up from the bottom of the circle and your forefingers to pull down from the top sides. Pinch the top seams of the dough well to securely enclose almost all of the filling. A little should peek through the top of the opening.
  10. Pinch the dough together so that the filling is exposed only at the top of the cookie.
  11. Bake the hamantaschen in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden.(mine took about 12 – 13 minutes. Store in a plastic bag or container when cool, or freeze for later use.

    my first batch had some that didn’t hold up so well!
  12. Enjoy your cookies! They’re really good with a cup of your morning coffee!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Pillowy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

PUMPKIN? Yes, you read that right. I know it’s January, but it’s a grey, rainy day here in Houston and I have had the ingredients to make these cookies foreverrrrrrrr, so today’s the day! We’re called Perfect and Flawed, not Perfect and Perfect-Because-We-Make-Seasonal-Recipes-in-Season-only. 😉

You only need three ingredients to make these Pillowy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. They aren’t too pumpkin-y and have the perfect amount of chocolate chips in them (aka a lot LOL).

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Use a cookie scoop to place dough “balls” onto baking sheet (you could also use a spoon to make little cookie mounds)
  4. bake for 8-10 minutes (I did mine for 9 1/2 mins and they were perfect; 8 mins was a little underdone in the middle)

Try not to eat them all at once! I would love to try this idea with a different cake mix, but not sure what to sub out the pumpkin puree for…..any ideas???

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Easy Oreo Truffles

These Easy Oreos Truffles are just that, and you’ll be lucky if you have any leftover after you put them out for your guests! Some of my friends thought these were cake balls, but I’m here to tell you they’re even simpler than that. You don’t even need to turn on the oven to bake a cake for these bad boys! I’m practically drooling just writing this post. Yes, they’re that good.

Heres what you need:

Ingredients:

  • one package of Oreos
  • an 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips (for melting)
  • white chocolate chips (for melting)
  • toothpicks

Directions:

  1. in a food processor “purée” 36 oreos (the whole package) into a fine cookie crumb mixture. I did this in batches as I don’t have a full size food processor.
  2. if you have a normal size food processor, add your cream cheese to your cookie crumbs and pulse until fully blended OR put your Oreo crumbs in a large bowl and mix the cream cheese in by mashing it together with a fork. If you use this method, be patient. It WILL come together!
  3. take a Tablespoon to portion out your truffles and roll them into balls. Place them on parchment paper or silpat mat and put them in the fridge for at least  20 minutes.
  4. Melt your semi sweet chips in the microwave in small time increments (so you don’t burn the chocolate), stirring in between OR do the double boiler method.
  5. Once your chocolate is melted take your truffles and dip them into the chocolate, holding them by a toothpick inserted into the top. I swiped the extra chocolate off the bottom with another toothpick so the chocolate didn’t pool around the bottom and take away from the nice circular shape.
  6. Melt your white chocolate chips and use it for dipping as well, or make a drizzle over the tops of your truffles. It feels scary to put a spoon in white chocolate and wiggle it like mad over the tops of your beautiful truffles, but trust me, if you keep wiggling you won’t have blobs of white chocolate scattered about!
  7. Put your truffles back in the fridge to set until ready to serve. They’ll be gone in no time!!! (I used fancy DIY Pom Pom skewers I had from our wedding that I used to dress these up for a New Year’s party we went to. It was very appropriate!)

I can taste these just looking at the pictures!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Happy Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, everyone!! I’ve been wanting to try out my Hanukkah cookie cutters for far too long (I’m talking years, people), and decided to amp up the traditional sugar cookie by making Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies! I didn’t decorate mine with icing because I was too lazy, but you totally could or I even entertained the idea of melting chocolate and drizzling it over the top. Laziness won and I left them plain. They’re still really tasty though with a glass or milk, eggnog, or even your morning cup of coffee. Hey, cookies don’t care what time it is when you eat them! My belly doesn’t either. Lol.

I was hobbling around my kitchen when I made these as I was recovering from foot surgery so I didn’t bother taking pictures of the process for you. And I used a recipe from here at Sally’s Baking Addiction that is very simple and straightforward. I had all the ingredients on hand already so I didn’t need to make a trip to the grocery store to get anything.

Have fun making these into whatever shapes you desire!! Happy baking!

Use this recipe.

love & cupcakes,

Katie

Ps- do you spell it Hanukkah or Chanukah??!

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Homemade Italian Cream Soda

This is such a fun drink that really tastes like a special treat but isn’t too terrible for you calorie wise. I made these Homemade Italian Cream Sodas when we had a girls Pinterest night and they were a big hit! If you wanted to, I think these could easily be made into “adult friendly” cream sodas, if you know what I mean. And not only do they taste good, are really quick to make, but they look really really pretty too!

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Here’s how to make them!

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Ingredients:

  • ice
  • Torani Sugar Free Syrup in Black Cherry (or any flavor you prefer)
  • your favorite fizzy water
  • half and half (I had heavy whipping cream leftover in my fridge that needed using up and it worked perfectly!)

Directions:

  1. Pour your fizzy water over iceimg_7649
  2. add 4 pumps of the flavored syrup (use more or less to alter how sweet you want it)img_7651
  3. add a splash of half and half (or heavy whipping cream)img_7655img_7661
  4. mix it together and enjoy!img_7665img_7667

Does this sound like something you would make for a girl’s night in? If you’re thinking you would only have one use for these flavored syrups, try one that would also be good in your morning cup of coffee! Mmmmmm, talk about a special morning pick-me-up 🙂 And lastly, since we’re using sugar free syrup, the majority of the calories/fat is coming from the splash of cream, so it’s not that terrible at all. Live a little! LOL

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love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Easy Tres Leches Cake

img_7071My husband’s birthday was two weeks ago and one of his favorite desserts is Tres Leches. We first were introduced to tres leches when we lived in Miami, and as we have moved around the country we have discovered that of all places, Whole Foods makes a mean tres leches! Who knew?!

I’ve wanted to make a tres leches cake for about 3 years now, so I figured I was finally going to do it! If you decide to do this yourself, may I suggest doing it when there is a crowd to feed, because it makes a lot of cake!

The hardest part of making this cake is planning to do it the day before so it has time overnight to soak up all the leches! And then having the self control to not eat it before it’s time to!

Ingredients:

for cake:

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1 T of vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional, but it gives a subtle, delicious taste)
  • 4 eggs

for the “tres leches” part:

  • 1 C. milk (recipe said whole milk, but we had 2% Lactaid on hand)
  • 1 can (140z) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

for whipped cream topping:

  • 2 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C. sugar (you can do less if you want since the cake itself is so sweet)

Directions:

  1.  Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom and sides of 13×9 inch pan.img_6978
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, vanilla and coconut extracts, and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. The full two minutes really makes a difference because the batter gets nice and fluffy and increases in volume (a good thing for soaking up all the milk later).img_6979
  3. Pour into pan.
  4. Bake as directed on box for 13×9 inch pan. (I did mine for 30 minutes and it was perfect). Let stand 5 minutes. Poke top of hot cake every 1/2 inch with long-tined fork, wiping fork occasionally to reduce sticking.img_6982
  5. In large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, regular milk and evaporated milk. Carefully pour evenly over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.img_6983
after soaking up the milk
after soaking up the milk

6. Whip whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla together until thick. Spread

over the top of cake once all the milk has been absorbed overnight.

7. If you wish, cut up some strawberries to serve over top, or fresh      

          blueberries taste great too.

      8. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, and serve it when it’s nice and  

          COLD!img_7072

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Excuse the blurry pic, but I was too excited to devour it!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Cute n Mini Lemon Tarts

img_7073Ever get invited to a dinner and want to make something so you don’t show up empty handed, but you’re just not sure what to bring?

That was me when I made these little cuties!

These Cute n Mini Lemon Tarts are nice bite sized desserts that really please a crowd (and that’s saying something coming from someone who prefers her dessert to be made of chocolate!)

I found this recipe for the “perfect sugar cookie”, according to crazyforcrust.com. And I have to say, it’s pretty darn good! You can check out her recipe which I used here. You can always use store bought, but I had all the ingredients on hand and I knew I would like the homemade version better.

Ingredients:

  • Sugar cookie dough (store bought, or made from scratch from here)
  • 2 jars of lemon curd (you’ll have extra)*
  • fresh fruit and whipped cream for topping

*You can substitute any kind of curd if you prefer something other than lemon curd. I even thought that a version of these with nutella mixed with homemade whipped cream as a filling would be DELISH. Maybe that will be my next baking project!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your mini muffin pan with non-stick spray
  2. Make the sugar cookie dough and drop it by tablespoonfuls into each mini muffin
  3. Press the cookie dough up into the sides of each mini muffin wellimg_7076
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until they get a little golden
  5. Because the dough has risen during baking, take your round tablespoon and press down into the warm cookie dough to re-create the divot for each mini tart. Don’t be afraid to press down – you want to make it deep enough to hold enough lemon curd.img_7075
  6. Wait a few minutes for the tarts to cool and remove them from the mini muffin pan. If you gently push on one side of the tart it will tilt out of the tray easily so you can grab it and put it on a cooling rack.
  7. Take your lemon curd and put it in a ziplock baggie that you have lining a bowl or tall glass. Snip the corner off of the baggie.img_6609
  8. Pipe the lemon curd into each mini tart, top with fresh fruit and/or whipped cream. *Serving suggestion: if you are using whipped cream from a can (no shame in that), wait until you are ready to serve the tarts to put the whipped cream on because it “deflates” and doesn’t look as pretty!

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Aren’t they so cute? And because they’re bite-sized you can eat more! haha 🙂

Do you think you would make something like this?

love & cupcakes,

Katie

 

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Summer Coconut Pavlova with Almond Cream and Strawberry Sauce

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If you’re looking for a red, white, and blue something or other to bring to your Fourth of July picnic, look no further!

This dessert is a show stopper, and looks WAY more difficult than it is. Not to mention it looks a heck of a lot classier than so many 4th of July themed foods. You can be proud to add this to any spread, and I have made this on many other occasions and it gets rave reviews every time!

I went with strawberries and blueberries for this one, but you can use any red and blue fruit you want – red and black raspberries, pomegranate aerils would look extra fancy….

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Here’s what you need: (recipe adapted from here & here)

  • 4 large egg whites (@ room temp)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 lb of strawberries chopped (aka a normal container of strawberries you buy at the store)
    • reserve a few whole strawberries for the top
  • 1 pint of blueberries

Whipping cream:

  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sugar (sweeten the cream to your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 drops of almond extract (a little goes a LONG way)

Strawberry Sauce:

  • a handful of chopped strawberries
  • a splash of water
  • 1/8 C. – 1/4 C. of sugar (depending on how big your handful of strawberries were)

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Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Beat the egg whites + pinch of salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Then add sugar in small increments, incorporating it fully before adding more until the meringue forms stiff, shiny peaks. Add the vanilla extract + coconut extract. By hand, fold in the cornstarch and vinegar with a rubber spatula.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat mat. Spread the meringue with the rubber spatula in a circle about 9″ in diameter. Make the edges higher than the middle (think of it like the shallowest meringue soup bowl ever) so it can hold all the fruit, cream and juices. Mmmmmmm!

Bake the meringue for 60-75 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it cool fully while inside the closed oven! When it’s done it feels firm to the touch, and as it cools it crackles all over, leaving the inside nice and marshmallow-y!

While the meringue is baking, make your strawberry sauce. Take a handful of chopped strawberries, with the water and sugar and put it in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat so it simmers – you want the strawberries to soften and the sauce to thicken. Let it cool completely.

Next make your whipped cream. Whip the heavy whipping cream on high and add the 2-3 Tbsp. to taste. (remember, the strawberry sauce is very sweet, so you may not want the whipped cream very sweet too).

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It’s important to know that you must assemble this just before serving or it will get soggy after a few hours.

 

 

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Spread the whipped cream on the pavlova, followed by the strawberries + blueberries, then drizzled with the strawberry sauce. Adorn the top with the whole strawberries you saved! Voila!

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Get ready to hand out the recipe to everyone….they’re gonna want it!

What’s your favorite 4th of July food or dessert?

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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