S’Mores Cups

Don’t these look just divine?  When I first saw these in the new Simply Sweet Cookbook from The Pampered Chef, I was immediately drawn to them and began to reminisce about my days as a Girl Scout.  We consumed many, many S’Mores in our day and usually, someone’s marshmallow would become a flaming ball of molten sugar as some point.  Some people liked them extra crispy, but I preferred to have mine just barely golden brown and melty.  That makes a perfect S’More in my opinion.

These included all of the classic S’More ingredients.  Graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars and marshmallows, but they didn’t require a fire and were slightly less (alright, way less) messy to eat.  They were pretty awesome!

Click HERE for the recipe.

Cookies ‘N Cream Cheesecake Bites

Just the thought of these made my mouth water.  How could you go wrong combining Oreos and cheesecake?  These were awesome little bites of goodness, I just wish they were a little less time consuming to make.  You have to break apart all of the tiny Oreos and place them in the mini muffin tin without letting them fall over.  After all that work, I just wanted some cheesecake and they definitely satisfied that craving.

I made these for my Open House as well and they were a hit!

Click HERE for the recipe. 

Strawberry Cream Cupcake Desserts

These were like the ultimate strawberry shortcakes. I love that the bottom of the cupcakes have a pretzel crust and that there is sour cream in the batter for the cupcakes. The pretzel cruse adds just a slight bit of saltiness to the sweetness of the cupcake and filling. I also love that the recipe utilizes strawberry ice cream topping.

These were pretty awesome and I had lots of good reviews. I will definitely be making them again.

You can find the recipe HERE.

Berries ‘N Cream Wonton Cups

This is the other recipe I made for the Weight Watchers Open House on February 27th.  These were amazing!  They’re not as pretty as they were originally because I fell and dropped them in the parking lot on the way home, but they still look alright. 

The cream is made from strawberry low fat yogurt and Cool Whip.  Awesome!

For the recipe, go HERE.

New York Times 12-Layer Cake

Josh was reading an article in the New York Times about a month ago about this county in Alabama where the women make this amazing cake that has 12+ layers to it.  He sent me the article and told me that I should think about making it for an upcoming function.  By that time I’d already decided what I was going to take to all the family Christmas celebrations, but I didn’t have any plans for New Years, so I decided that was as good a time as any.  We didn’t have big plans for the night, but were planning on stopping by our friends’ Bryan & Umut’s house for drinks before we went to dinner, so we did have an excuse to not eat the entire cake ourselves.
 
This thing was a monster.  It was an amazing cake, but it took SO much effort.  I admire the little old ladies of Slocomb, Alabama.  Some of them make as many as 10 of these cakes every Christmas.  I think it’s crazy.  I think it would taste alright with fewer, but thicker layers, but it’s not my cake. 
 
For the recipe, click HERE.  If you try this yourself, you won’t be disappointed, I assure you.  And when they tell you to line the cake pans with parchment paper, and to butter the pans, they’re not kidding.  Follow the recipe exactly, or your layers will fall apart.  Pam or another non-stick spray won’t do.  It’s got to be BUTTER!

Doesn’t it look awesome?

Christmas Desserts

We had several Christmas celebrations with family this year.  Our first stop, on December 19th was my cousin and her husband’s house in Mission.  Here’s the dessert spread:

Grandma ordered a couple of pies from the Brandon Woods (Retirement Complex she lives in) bakery.  This one is a raisin pie.  I’ve never seen so many raisins crammed into one pie in my life.  It was super sweet – almost too much, if that’s possible.

The other pie she ordered was blueberry and it was very good.  The crumble topping had ginger in it.

My aunt brought a couple of fruit cakes.

And my cousin made some turtle candies.

We also ate my chocolate covered cherry pie at this celebration.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Pie

Now that I’m finally caught up with vacation posts, it’s time to move on to the holidays.  This was my favorite dessert from the holidays.  Josh’s cousin even called it the best dessert she’s ever had.  I would have to think about it for a bit, but I think she’s right.  This thing was AMAZING!  It doesn’t look super-impressive in these photos because I didn’t take any photos after we cut into it, but take my word for it.  You’re missing out if you don’t go make this RIGHT NOW!

 

(Recipe from Southern Living)

Ingredients
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 (6-ounce) ready-made chocolate crumb piecrust
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
16 maraschino cherries with stems
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preparation
Microwave morsels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 to 2 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Whisk in butter until smooth. Let cool, whisking occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches spreading consistency. Spoon half of chocolate mixture into piecrust. Cover and chill remaining chocolate mixture.

Spoon cherry pie filling evenly over chocolate mixture in piecrust. Place piecrust on a baking sheet.

Beat cream cheese and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over cherry pie filling. (Pie shell will be very full but will not overflow when baking.)

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Drain maraschino cherries on paper towels; pat dry.

Microwave reserved chocolate mixture at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute. Remove from microwave; stir until spreading consistency, reheating if necessary.

Dip cherries in chocolate mixture, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper; chill 15 minutes. Spread remaining chocolate mixture evenly over top of pie. Spoon 8 dollops of whipped topping around outer edge of pie; place 2 chocolate covered cherries in center of each dollop.

Warm Nutty Caramel Brownies

Oh wow!  You have no idea how good these were!!!  This is the first Pampered Chef recipe that I tried before my first cooking show and they were a hit.  I wanted to be sure that I didn’t run into any problems with the recipe before I had to make it in front of a bunch of people and it turned out perfectly.  Josh and I each sampled it and then I took the entire rest of the batch to Bryan and Umut.  We can’t have this sort of thing in the house or it will all be gone before we know it.

For the recipe, click HERE.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

These were another batch of cookies that I made for the same package to send to Iraq, and like the chocolate peanut butter cookies, they came back in crumbles.  Before I packaged them though, they were awesome!  Of course, I don’t have the recipe to share, but I would imagine that a quick Google of "Lemon Sugar Cookies" would turn up any number of good recipes for you. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

These are some cookies that I made to send to one of my best friends, who just happens to be stationed in Iraq right now.  He’s coming home (to Denver) in a couple of weeks for 2 weeks of R&R, and will then be returning to Iraq for another 5 months of duty.  He’ll be coming back to the United States just in time for my wedding in May and I’m excited that he will be able to be there. 

Unfortunately, these cookies never made it to him.  Apparently, the USPS decided that my package was not good enough to get to Iraq (although I think it did get all the way over there because it was gone from my house for a month before it showed back up again).  Kevin’s name was scratched out and there was no indication of why it never made it to its final destination.  I know that Kevin is just fine because I have talked to him several times since I got the package back.  But, needless to say, even the best vacuum bags in the world couldn’t keep Kevin’s batch of cookies from returning to me as a crumbled and dried out disgusting mess.  Better luck next time, I suppose.

Anyway, these Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies are my version of some that were featured on Picky Palate a while back.  I thought they looked awesome and wanted to give them a try.  The cookies were very unique and I think a lot of people would have enjoyed them if they had actually gotten to the soldiers.  For the recipe, click HERE.