Totally Homemade Smores

26 May Totally Homemade Smores


I am not a camper, but I can totally get down with s’mores, especially if they’re made with ooey-gooey homemade marshmallows and crispy from-scratch graham crackers! That’s right – mine are totally homemade smores and crazy delish! You don’t even need a campfire!

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Totally Homemade Smores
Graham Crackers
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add half of flour mixture and beat until partially combined. Add the wet ingredients and beat until fully combined. Add the rest of the flour and and beat until fully incorporated, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Divide the dough into 2 disks about 1 inch thick and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Dust the countertop generously with flour and roll one disk of dough at a time to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut into squares and pierce with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes to help retain their shape. Bake for 14-18 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies darken slightly.

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Nonstick spray

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. pan completely with shredded coconut, leaving no bald spots.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Uncover,the pot and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (softball stage), approximately 7-8 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to low speed to break up the set gelatin. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. When all of he syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and whip until the mixture cools to lukewarm, about 15 minutes. It will become more voluminous, thick, and very sticky. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts during the last minute of whipping. Pour the mixture into the coconut lined pan, using wet hands to spread it evenly. Sprinkle additional coconut over the top to cover the marshmallows completely. Let them sit uncovered for at least 4 hours to set up. To cut, gently loosen the sides of the marshmallows from the pan before removing the entire sheet. Spray a pizza wheel with nonstick cooking spray and cut into large squares. Dip the sticky sides into more shredded coconut. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

How to Make an Easy Smash Cake

20 May easy smash cake

easy smash cake

Every birthday deserves a great cake, and first birthdays are no exception! Smash cakes have become so popular for 1st birthday parties, so when I was invited to a party for my friend’s 1-year-old, I knew I had to make an easy smash cake for the birthday girl. Watching a baby dig into a cake with their tiny hands, smearing frosting all over their faces and tasting the sweetness for the first time is magical. But since the cake is going to get demolished anyway, why spend a lot of time or effort? It doesn’t take much skill to make this fluffy, cute easy smash cake. To me, the soft colors and texture resemble a cuddly baby blanket.

The nubby texture is easily made by piping buttercream with a tip 233, also known as the grass tip. Watch how easy it is to decorate – well worth the time to see the baby dig in on her special day!

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Lemon Cake with Sugared Flowers

6 May Sugared Flowers

crystallized flowers

Sugared flowers look beautiful and impressive as cake decorations, but they’re very easy to make. Many larger grocery stores stock edible fresh flowers in the herb section of the produce department. They come in plastic clam shell packaging, just like the other herbs. Opening up a package is a bit like Christmas morning – you’re not sure what’s going to be inside, but expect vibrant colors and a great variety of shapes. Common edible flowers include nasturtium, marigolds, geraniums, and lavender.

Making sugared flowers is simple. All you need is a pasteurized egg white, a splash of water, some granulated sugar, and a small brush. The result is a sparkly, crystallized effect that is gorgeous on top of a baked treat like this little cake. After the crystallized flowers dry, they have a slightly crunchy texture and a very mild floral taste that pairs perfectly with lemon. That’s why I showcased my sugared fresh flowers atop this homemade lemon cake.

Mother’s Day is this weekend. and I think that this is the perfect way to celebrate your Mom or the other fabulous women in your life. A homemade cake AND fresh flowers? What mom wouldn’t love that?

Here’s how easy it is to make!

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Perfect Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

27 Apr

Vanilla SMBC Title Card

I love Swiss Meringue Buttercream so much that I’ve already blogged about it. It is my absolute favorite frosting recipe, the one I turn to 99% of the time I make cakes or cupcakes. I’ve made this basic icing recipe so many times that I no longer need to reference the recipe during cooking. I have it memorized. I wonder how many times I whipped it up before it became stamped in my mind forever…that’s a lot of frosting…

For all of you visual learners, I’m now sharing my SMBC* love via video. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help you out!

*SMBC is what all of us “serious” cakers call Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Because who’s got time to say all 7 syllables when there’s cakes to be baked, and stacked?

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
2-3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, granulated sugar and salt. Set over a double boiler over simmering water and whisk frequently until the mixture reaches 150°F on a thermometer.

Whip the hot mixture at high speed with an electric mixer until the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch. Switch to paddle attachment on mixer. While beating on medium-low speed, add the butter, one chunk at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat until well combined.

How To Make An Easy Princess Leia Cake

28 Jan Princess Leia Cake Princess Layer Cake

Princess Leia Cake Princess Layer Cake

I love puns! I love them almost as much as I love cake, so when it was suggested that I make a Princess Leia Cake to play on the phrase “layer cake,” I knew that I had to do it. It was just to punny to pass up!

This is a silly, fun little project that anyone can bake. It’s a great tribute for Star Wars fans, for a Star Wars themed birthday or a movie viewing party. Please share this video with the Star Wars enthusiasts in your life – we all have at least one, right?

Easy Princess Leia Cake

In full disclosure, I have gone 36-1/4 years without seeing any of the Star Wars movies! How is this possible? The Star Wars culture is so permeating that even without seeing them, I know what a Wookie is, I know that Darth is Luke’s father, and I know all about Leia’s amazing hairdos. But tell me Star Wars aficionados, which movie should I see first? Where should I start? What’s your fave Star Wars film?

Please share this video, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and may the force be with you!


I’m Sorry

27 Aug

Yet another t-shirt I should add to my collection, because no one gets more hangry than me. It’s borderline belligerent, and apologizing afterwards is so awkward. Might as well just be upfront about it.


The Secret to Making Vegetables Taste Good

28 Jul

Kale and Kohlrabi Ingredients

I participate in a community supported agriculture program, or CSA for short. It’s a weekly parcel of produce from nearby farms. Most of it is organic.

I love being a part of a CSA. The fruits and vegetables are fresh and delicious and I get a warm fuzzy feeling from supporting small businesses and farmers. But the best part about subscribing to a CSA is the surprise of what will appear in your weekly box of  seasonal goodies.

My CSA program started in May, and throughout the weeks, I’ve gotten fragrant garlic scapes, delicate lettuces, crunchy cabbage, and the most flavorful, tiny strawberries I’ve ever eaten. It’s awesome watching the progression of the growing season through my weekly produce share, except for one thing.

The kale. It won’t stop coming. It is the only thing that has made the CSA cut every week, a curly, leafy invader that just won’t quit. I’ve had 13 straight weeks of kale bunches, and frankly, I’m sick of it. I’ve made Baked Eggs with Sausage and Kale for breakfast. I’ve made Roughed Up Kale Salad for dinner. I’ve snacked on crispy kale chips. But damn, it’s a lot of greenery, especially from a vegetable that up until 2 years ago could only be found state-side in overly-salted canned Italian soups.

Luckily, I won’t drown in this never ending sea of kale because I know how to make vegetables taste good. It’s a simple trick, and one that’s easy to master. It’s so easy that you may already know it and not even realize it.

So what’s the magic trick for making vegetables delicious? It’s salt, pepper, and olive oil. That’s it. Every fresh vegetable is elevated by that threesome. You can roast, saute, steam, and in some cases, even eat veggies raw if you just add olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s the lazy cook’s dream come true!

When you want to up the ante, saute some chopped onions and minced garlic in your olive oil until just golden. The flavor will infuse the oil, and when it coats your vegetables, they’ll be saturated with flavor. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top of your veg to add freshness and a hint of acidity. Sprinkle on something crunchy, like toasted nuts, seeds, or breadcrumbs to add another layer of flavor and texture.

Warm Kale and Kohlrabi Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Warm Kale and Kohlrabi Salad with Sunflower Seeds

That’s exactly how I cooked this warm kale and kohlrabi salad, a tasty and easy way to get through one more bunch of CSA kale. If I get it again next week, I’ll start with my basic threesome of salt, pepper, and olive oil and go from there, building flavors and textures into something delicious.

I’ve become a bit obsessed with photographing the contents of my weekly CSA. Follow me on Instagram to see what’s arrived. And tell me, what’s your favorite way to prepare fresh vegetables?





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