Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've moved!

Although I had a great time breaking into the food blog world on this site - it's time to beef up my bloggins skills & I'll be doing that here ---->
Please keep in touch and spend some time on the new site, decemeber updates to come this week.
Happy Holidays from Nilla Rose :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mid-November Single Serve Desserts

Lots of little things to bake this month...

Last weekend was my mom 's quilting retreat and she wanted an easy, packable, low fat dessert and found a pretty easy and pretty delicious recipe for cherry brownie muffins. They started from a fat free brownie mix, and included cherry pie filling and a bit of FiberOne cereal for an added crunch. It might not sound too great, but take my word for it - the batter was just as good as any.

Next I had a little "job" for Melissa from high school. She is throwing her boyfriend a surprise party today and needed some musical desserts: music note sugar cookies, Oreo "drums" and some marshmallow ganache cupcakes, which I couldn't decorate musically because nothing would stick to the frosting, but they'll be delicious and they look cool in the foil cupcake liners - so I hope they work out! Theme decorating was fun and I have fallen in love with sprinkles due to the music notes. I am extremely looking forward to sugar cookie day for Christmas this year.

Covering the Oreos in ganache was actually easier than I thought, but next I think I'll make sure to be chewing gum... I definitely consumed too much leftover ganache that day, but I hope the party guests think they look like drums and not like some kind of insect.

Brownie cupcakes always turn out delicious, but this time I thought it would be fun to try layering some flavors. So these brownies are topped with a layer of (super sticky) marshmallow glaze and then covered in semi-sweet ganache ---> almost a too sticky emergency, but Alton Brown's ganache saved the day... again.

Bridgie's Bday Big Cookie a.k.a. Sale Halloween Candy at its finest :)

What do you get when you have loads of extra Halloween candy? A giant, brightly colored cookie cake!

Ok, I'll be honest, I actually went out and bought on-sale candy, we didn't have any leftovers - but you could use whatever candy or mix-ins you have on hand. This was actually an amazingly easy recipe - no mixer needed.

I found the recipe here --> and probably used too much candy (which led to it needing to be cooked an extra 15 minutes or so) but it still turned delicious and was thoroughly enjoyed by Bridget & company as a birthday dessert!

The recipe required simple melted and mixing over the stove and then a pop in the oven. I think I'll probably stick to my cookie recipes that involve creaming the butter and sugars in the future though, I think melting the butter is what made the cookie take so long to bake and made me nervous that it was undercooked - no worries though, a scrumptious success.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

H A double L O W double E N spells Halloween!

Halloween! One of my favorite times of the year - full of candy & desserts, of course! I had quite a field day this year, lots and lots of baking went down this week, and almost all on the same day.

Started off with a spider cheesecake for my mom's quilting friends. A weight watchers recipe, I wasn't expecting amazement, but I received rave reviews from everyone, including Dad and Michael so it must've been good. I don't really like cheesecake, but I didn't even get a chance to refuse a piece because I was at work all day and missed it.

Next I tackled Cakespy's Candy Corn Nanaimo Bars I'd made the traditional Nanaimo bars a few Christmases ago, so I decided to try my hand at these festive little squares. Plus, now that Dad spends most of his time in Canada, maybe he'd have something to talk to them about up there! The bars are a simple (but lengthy) three step process:

A chocolate coconut layer,

Followed by a custard like layer - I made mine banana flavored

And finally the melted candy corn topper
It was kinda fun to melt the candies, though it took a bit longer than I expected

Ended in success, of course - so cute!

On to my third experiment -- Reese's Puffs Cereal Ghost balls also super cute. Basically crushed cereal, cream cheese and peanut butter scooped into balls and covered in white chocolate with little ghost faces, a really big hit, though I don't eat peanut butter so I'll just have to take everyone's word for it. These were very similar to the cake balls I make for mother's day - I'm thinking they would be fun to make again for christmas... trees? santas? elves? candy canes?

Finally, I stuck with my usual Halloween brownie cupcakes - I always seem to throw these in for the holiday, I think because I don't like to make chocolate cupcakes but vanilla isn't right for the day. Also, years ago my mom bought me way too many Halloween cupcake liners, so I always try to use a few when I can. I played around with designs, from simple sprinkles to candy corn colors - using my colored sugars was a fun addition.

I also tried the new Pilsbury Brownie Minis for Madeline (and my mom). I was surprised by how small they actually were, and they weren't really worth the price ($2 something) because the whole box only made 12 mini bites, that were truly bites. They are super simple because they only require an addition of water - no eggs or oil - and they include the pan, but I don't plan on buying them again, I can make my own for much cheaper.

Of course, they still turned out cute!

Hope everyone had a fun and deliciously sweet Halloween!!!!

Weekend Treats

What would a weekend be without some baking?
These two treats were definite impromptus, first some spooky ghost and pumpkin chocolate chip cookie shapes

And last weekend, another 1am cupcake excursion at Elizabeth's. This time following her brother's lovely wedding. The cakes were from a box, but the frosting homemade and delicious. I decided to decorate them with add-ons I found in her cabinets - chocolate chips, pretzels, marshmallows, rice krispies, oatmeal cookies and some maple pecan cereal - yum!

Marilee Desserts

For the past four years, my sister's birthday has fallen on my Fall Break from school, so I always make it home to celebrate, but sometimes this means she gets a quick cake that is not up to par for my usual desserts. This year, I wanted to make sure she got something she'd enjoy, so I make her a caramel cheesecake and pumpkin dip, followed by pumpkin bread muffins later in the week. Even though I don't like cheesecake or pumpkin, I tried everything and was surprised that I actually enjoyed the few bites I had. I'm either dealing with changing taste buds, or extreme hunger these days.

The cheesecake was based on a recipe from Kraftfoods, and I used an Oreo crust, of course.

I found the pumpkin dip recipe at and the pumpkin bread was another Kraft success - with a few changes of course.

I learned that canned pumpkin doesn't last too long after opened (hence the quick need for muffins) and that with enough sugar, I can enjoy a sliver of cheesecake - only with the Oreo crust and Heath bars on top!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Festive Fall Food

This week was a busy one for me... seeing that I've been out of work for a month, a week of full-on waitressing was killer. Yesterday I finally had the whole day off and of course, I spent most of it in the kitchen.

Every day I get the Martha Stewart "daily cookie" email, and I am pretty sure I've never actually made it - until yesterday. I was looking for something different to make, and Martha provided! The daily cookie was carrot cake cookies and they were so simple and cute. The batch turned out great both in taste and appearance. 17 little carrot cookie duos with cream cheese frosting smashed inside - an ode to a favorite fall cake.

But one sweet recipe wasn't enough for my morning. My other recipe was a take on a cereal granola bar. I don't even remember where I found the recipe, but my mom has been wanting to get rid of some of the cereal in the cabinet that's been sitting for a while, so I took the Smart Start Healthy Heart flakes, mixed it with sunflower seeds and a handful of butterscotch chips as the granola base. Next came a boiling concoction of brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and craisins. Finally peanut butter ws mixed into the bowl and ta-dah - a no-bake success - and transporable with my dad to Cananda :)

Oatberry Anniversary! 10-02!

Two years ago, I invented a cookie - oatberry yogurt cookies - and they've been super successful ever since. In honor of my yummy invention, I always make sure to bake a batch on the anniversary - October 2nd. I try to make them a few times a year, but I mak it a point to celebrate with 'em on the 2nd.

This year, I decided that in addition to the tradiational cookie recipe, I would develop a healthified version. Now, my original recipe is actually pretty healthy, just a little higher in calories and fat than my mom wanted for her cookies. The originals are full of oats, vanilla yogurt and blueberries - and the new ones kept the same base flavors. To make it a little lighter I swapped some butter and oil for a little more yogurt and a few tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce. Also, I swapped the all-purpose flour for half whole wheat, and lessened the sugar count.

Result: a new wheat-ier oatberry! I was so pleased that the swaps worked, and the new cookie is pretty delicious too... but nothing can beat the original's blueberry muffin-like amazingness. Nothing beats a classic :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Julia Child!

Saturday night... 8 pm.... bored out of my mind = cake baking.

 My new job at cakejournal is fantastic, and also inspiring me! I love that people I don't know - and don't even live in the United States! - are reading my posts and interested in my baking. So one of the readers suggested I make the cake I wrote about from the movie, Julie & Julia. So, I did.

I made the Chocolate and Almond cake -  Reine de Saba - In French, with the Chocolate Icing - Glacage au Chocolat - fantasitc icing, amazing, will make again!

I have to be honest, I was out of sugar and butter and so I had to use Splenda and Crisco, which probably led to my cake being less than perfect, but I saved the few tablespoons of butter for the frosting, which was completly worth it!

I also think I may have overbaked the cake a bit, which is strange considering I'm always pretty positive my oven undercooks things... hmm... always, the frosting made up for the a-bit-too-dry cake and my parents and I enjoyed it at 10:30pm later that night. It was a cute one, as you can see by the pictures. And if you want more info about the cake/recipe, check out cakejournal soon when my post will be up!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can't forget the coffee cakes!

Two more big labor day kitchen developments - monday morning coffee cakes!
I tried to different recipes and was proud to finally open cookbooks. I'm not gonna lie, I generally just google and print but wanted to put all of those bookmarked recipes to use. I chose the "sock-it-to-me" cake from the Neely's new book --> Down Home With the Neely's
Problem is... the recipe called for only 1/4 cups flour... strange and definitely incorrect. I boosted it to 2 1/4 cups and later googled and found the misprint online. It was supposed to be 2 1/4, but the out of order add-in made my cake a little mis-layered, but still delicious.

Not quite as delicious as the other cake from the Deen Bros. Cookbook, their recipe titled: Cherry-Stuffed Pecan Steusel Coffee Cake, but I eliminated the pecans and swapped the cherry jam for raspberry preserves. I'm always looking to make things my own. Aside from being gorgeous, it was fantastic and I might be making it at least every month with different flavor combinations.

And, just for fun - gotta mention the Watermelon Sangria from FoodandWine. Cheers to a lovely end to a lovely summer!

Septemberfest has finally arrived!!! Complete with pink hat sugar cookies!

Labor day weekend is a HUGE deal at my house. We wait all summer for Septemberfest - a three day festival of music, craft fairs, rides, Bingo and a party for lots of friends and family at my house. We live at the end of the street that the fest is on, so we practically live there for the weekend. So of course I needed to provide delicious desserts for the after party. I decided to do single serving snacks this year so that people could enjoy as they pleased.
One septemberfest tradition is my dad's hot pink Old Style hat. He's worn it every day of the fest for at least 20 years and so I decided to take our traditional sugar cookie recipe and make little hat replicas.
It's actually the C&H sugar bunnies recipe for a good 15 years ago:
1 1/2 cupcs butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
The cookies were a hit, as always!

Since sugar cookies are a bit time consuming I wanted to do a few other super easy recipes and chose the recent Kraft Food & Family Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Cookie-Bars recipe, which I didn't eat because I don't do peanut butter, but everyone loved them (and they were so pretty!) - especially my grandpa!

As a third item, I picked super quick and easy golden graham rice krispie treats. Basic rice krispie recipe with the cereal swap out and extra marshmallows and chocolate chips. It's amazing how good such a simple dessert can taste!

I of course, also made my signature jell-o jiggler mini muffin shots. Can't have a party without them!

Happy Labor Day!

Mini Grad Hats!

I've been making graduation hats all summer for my own college graduation party as well as many of my cousins' parties. This time, per request of my Uncle Anthony, I switched up the design a bit and traded in the chocolate covered graham crackers for some ridiculously adorable mini Heath bars.
At first I wasn't sure the new candy toppers would look ok on the peanut butter cups, but I was wrong. The little tops made these treats super cute and almost bite-sized.
As always I glued the peanut butter cups and the candies together with chocolate frosting and added an m&m and a piece of licorice on top for the tassel. And, as always, they were devoured!

Monday, August 31, 2009

August Odds & Ends

I think I has a chocolate overload this month. I managed to mess around with multiple recipes and develop some delicious treats (and find myself hoping for sweatpants season).

Among the desserts I dabbled with were: frozen hot chocolate, heart shaped cakes for dad, a trio of dipping bowls with fruit & pretzels, caramel and rocky road ice cream cakes for camp (Marissa's last day), dirt cake for Michael, a mini yogurt snack for dad, rice krispie treats for the last day of camp, and I finished the month with some super-moist banana bread... whoa, I think that's everything!

I've been slacking - 8/1 - Softball cookies

I just realized I haven't updated my blog in an entire month - whoops, there goes August! I have been a little busy with a different blogging project, but that's complete, so I'm back! We're gonna have to so a month in review here, August 1st - Abraham Softball game.

I was so proud of my organized baking process here -picturesque!

I wanted to have a lot of cookies for the party after the game and they were a success even if they got a little stuck together. We had no leftovers.

The initial cookies were oatmeal chocolate chippers coated with vanilla frosting and a "A" for Abraham. They stuck to each other but were still enjoyed by all.

Except one little blond girl who doesn't like frosting. She was more interested in the milk, white & dark chocolate chip mini's, double-fisting at it's best.