Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

I like making people happy with desserts, if you haven’t figured that out already. Friends, family, co workers, strangers – it doesn’t matter. Nothing makes me happier than hearing the “mmmms” and seeing the grins on their faces after eating a cooking/cupcake/other sugar laced deliciousness.

Sometimes it feels good to make the furry friends happy too, like these guys!

And they even let me share some with this little cutie & a few other friends.

Seriously, those puppy dog eyes are too precious.

I was at Sur La Table the other day wanting to buy everything in site, as usual, and saw this adorable little fire hydrant cookie cutter! I figured making fire hydrant sugar cookies without being friends/knowing a fire fighter seemed kind of strange, so dog treats it was!

Also, I feel kind of bad for the little guys who sit by my feet as I bake, hoping that I will drop scraps of deliciousness on the floor for them. Usually I do, but unfortunately for them I make a lot of chocolate things so you’ll generally find me yelling “DON’T EAT THAT!” and dodging to grab it before they slurp it up. So here you go my little pups, homemade peanut butter doggy treats!

Oh, and did I mention that they’re made with whole wheat flour? Healthier than the cookies I make for humans, I know, crazy. I’m not going to lie, I tried a tiny bit of these cookies. I mean come on, I had to…right? Note to future self: Don’t try dog treats. They’re not yummy for humans, but the dogs sure did like them! :)

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats


  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water (more if needed)


  1. In a mixer, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add in eggs and peanut butter, then slowly pour in oil. Add enough water until dough is smooth.
  2. Cover and let dough rest for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375ºF.
  3. Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cookie cutter and place on baking sheet. These cookies don't spread so feel free to keep them close to eachother.
  4. Bake until slightly browned, and fairly hard, 20-30 minutes.


Madeline & los perros


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Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart {And A Fabulous Friday}

Delicious food, amazing people, princess tiaras, and fabulous news. I had a seriously great Friday.

Reason #1.

My best friend of almost 13 years had a lovely birthday lunch that was so over the top girly and pink it was the almost to the point of ridiculousness, but managed to pull itself off quite nicely. I’m not a pink kinda gal, but in honor of such an awesome friend I embraced it and made some princess tiara sugar cookies for the party, as well as a Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart.

The lunch was hilarious. Six chicks sitting around socializing, drinking champagne, and acting like wearing a tiara at 1pm on a Friday was normal.

Oh, and mister Stormtrooper made an appearance and met his new best friend, Stormtrooper alarm clock. It was a normal afternoon if you ask me.

Reason #2

This Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart was amazing! I’ve been flipping through Joy the Baker’s new cookbook pretty much everyday. I fantasize about shutting myself off from the world and staying in the kitchen until I make everything in that cookbook. If you don’t already have it, go on Amazon or out to Barnes and Noble and you buy it right now!! It’s rare that I find a cookbook with so many recipes in it that I love that I don’t even bother Post-it noting it because there would be a note on every page!

The recipe is pretty basic, which was perfect since I made it at 10am for a 12:30 lunch. It’s funny how simple desserts like this always look so impressive and taste so good, but require hardly any effort.

The ganache is silky smooth, and it’s dark chocolate which is known to be good for you! So this is kind of good for you. :)

The crust of the tart was so quick and easy to whip up because it’s a press in crust so nooooo rolling!! It has a bit of cinnamon in it which adds a nice flavor to the always mouthwatering combination of chocolate, whipped cream, and fresh berries.

Reason #3

It’s been two years since I left UCR to take a different approach to my college experience, and it’s been a long two years to say the least. I am proud to say that I just received my first acceptance letter into UCSB’s Geography program :). See picture below for how happy I am.

Side note: For some strange reason I do not have a 9inch tart pan, only a 10 inch and a large rectangular one, so I opted to use a spring form pan instead. I suggest using the tart pan, but just know that you could use a cake pan if you dont have one!

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart


1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 1 - 9 inch tart

A deliciously simple dark chocolate ganache tart from lovely Joy the Baker


    For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • For the ganache
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut in half
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, cut in half


    To make the crust
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and spices. Cut in butter with fingers until well incorporated. Some butter chunks will be the size of small pebbles, others will resemble oatmeal flakes. Once incorporated, add the egg yolk and bring mixture together with a fork. Dump mixture into a 9 inch tart pan (or 9 inch spring form pan) and press the crust into the sides and bottom with your fingers. Place in freezer for about an hour.
  2. To make ganache
  3. Place chopped up chocolate in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan over medium low heat to a very low simmer. Pour half of cream on top of chocolate and let stand for about a minute, then whisk together. Add in the rest of the milk and butter. Stir until butter is melted. Place in the fridge and stir every 10 minutes until it sets up a little bit.
  4. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a piece of foil and place butter side down on top of chilled tart. Bake for 20 minutes, then take foil off and bake for another 15, or until golden brown.
  5. Allow tart to cool completely before filling with ganache.
  6. To make topping
  7. In a medium bowl, whip together heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread chocolate ganache in tart, then top with whipped cream and berries. Serve immediately. (Can stay in fridge for 3 days)


Recipe seen in Joy The Baker's cookbook



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Posted in chocolate, pie, Stormtrooper | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes life surprises you. You’re just going about your normal routine, and then adorable 7 year olds completely make your week, and your cupcakes taste infinity times better than you thought they would.

We taught an incredibly sweet group of 2nd graders this week at the beach. Just imagine smiley, super excited but well behaved little munchkins listening to everything you have to say like its just the most incredibly thing they’ve ever heard. If that in itself wasn’t enough to make my week, I may have fallen in love with a 2nd grader. This little boy followed me around, asked me lots of questions about the ocean, invited me over to play with his pet sand crab sometime, and told me that I’m beautiful. I mean seriously? When this kid grows up, he’s going to be such a heartbreaker.

To top it off, two days later we taught another class of 2nd graders, from that same school, and one of the girls came and told me that my little man went back to school and told everyone how pretty I was. Seriously?! I can only hope my future children are as sweet as you, little man.

Now let’s talk about cupcakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a fan of vanilla cupcakes. And by not a fan, I mean I just plain don’t like them. I’d rather not eat a cupcake at all if it’s going to be vanilla. I’ve tried a few recipes, and I’ve had them from cupcake shops, but they are never as satisfying as chocolate. Team Chocolate!

And frankly, I’m not a huge coconut person either!

So why did I make coconut vanilla cupcakes? I have no idea.

I was thinking about what I wanted to make and for some reason this popped in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I’ve never even had a coconut cupcake! But you know what? These were SO GOOD! How good? I averaged about 2-3 a day for 3 days. I’m half ashamed and half proud about that last statement.

If you’re not a vanilla person, or a coconut person, I think these would change your mind. The cake has vanilla & almond extract in it, as well as some toasted coconut mixed in. So the cake itself is not so much coconut as it is almond/vanilla, but the coconut in the batter adds a nice texture and flavor to it. I toasted the coconut instead of leaving it raw, which I think was a fabulous decision. The tangy but sweet frosting is a cream cheese frosting with vanilla & almond in it to compliment the flavor of the cupcakes, and don’t forget the layer of toasted coconut on top! Mmmmm, yes.

I never thought I would crave a vanilla cupcake…until now. I hope you guys had a week that was as lovely as mine :).

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

45 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes

Yield: About 24 cupcakes


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (To make your own, add 1 tbs of white distilled vinegar to 1 cup of milk, let sit for 5 mins, then use)
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 - 8oz packages of cream cheese (I like using mine cold)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Aprox 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 325º F.
  2. Spread out your coconut onto a sheet pan and pop into the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until toasted. Set aside half of it for the topping, and use the other half for the batter.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner slightly below the top with batter. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  6. For the Frosting
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
  8. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.


Adapted from Ina Garten



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Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies

Once upon a time, I was a Girl Scout. I was a smiley, loud, bow in the hair, Girl Scout. I started out as a Brownie and even made it up to a Cadette. One of my favorite parts of being a Girl Scout though, hands down, had to be cookie season. There was nothing more exciting than having cases of Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas in your garage.

Unlike the Girl Scouts I see today, eight year old Madeline & friends sold these cookies. And when I say sold, I mean that chick in the picture went door to door, counted money, made change – the whole shabang. So I found myself a little sad when I came out of the grocery store and saw that table full of cookies, only to find those adorable little Brownies off to the side talking about Justin Bieber and making their Mom count the change for my three boxes of Tagalongs.

As much as I’m a little disheartened with how Girl Scouts may not be as wholesome and girl empowering as it was when I was in it, I still have really fond memories that make me glad I was a part of it.

For one of our badges, we had to cook a meal. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this isn’t Boy Scouts people, we learned how to cook, clean, set tables and act like a lady. My future husband will thank me, and so will you when you come over for a dinner party. Your welcome.

Always posing for pictures

After that one encounter with the Justin Bieber GS cookie girls, I did not see one GS cookie stand ANYWHERE! I even downloaded the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder App for my phone. It had alerts for when cookies were near you – genius. But alas, here we are and I don’t have any cookies.

So instead of being depressed that I didn’t get to buy 15 more boxes of Tagalongs, I set out to make my own.

No more longing for tagalongs in mid September. I could not be more thankful for Jessica at The Novice Chef for posting about these. I think I may have been lost without them.

Which Girl Scout cookies are your favorite?

Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies

Yield: Slightly under 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • generous pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Coating
  • About 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • Heaping tablespoon of coconut oil (or vegetable oil/cocoa butter)


    For the Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In your mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed. Mix in the vanilla and milk until it comes together into a soft dough.
  3. Take a tablespoon full of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a silipat/parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. The cookies don't spread so feel free to place them under an inch apart.
  4. Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.
  5. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use the back of a spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the Filling:
  7. Stir together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until it is soft. Working carefully with the warm filling, transfer it to a pastry bag and pipe a generous dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint”.
  8. Chill filled cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm.
  9. For the Coating:
  10. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small, heat-resistant bowl placed over a small saucepan filled with simmering water on the stove.
  11. Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to set (or put in the fridge to set up quickly).


As seen on The Novice Chef, originally from Baking Bites.



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Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Happy Pi Day everyone. I thought about making a pie, I really did, but I’ve been craving cheesecake for weeks, so forgive me. Cheesecake is kind of like pie, right? Forgiveness shouldn’t be too difficult after I show you how amazing these cookie dough cheesecake bars are.

Let’s start at the bottom, with a buttery graham cracker crust scattered with mini chocolate chips that lends itself beautifully to the creamy layer of cheesecake, topped with some delicious cookie dough. At first I was kind of bummed about the small amount of cheesecake that was in the bar, but once you take a bite you won’t even care anymore. It is perfection.

What I loved about these bars was that it didn’t require all of the time spent in the oven and then in the refrigerator. Normally, cheesecake requires almost an hour in the oven and then a good 6+ hours to refrigerate. This does not work in my book. These guys only need 30 minutes in the oven and then just an hour or so in the fridge.

The one thing that upsets me about this recipe is that it doesn’t make nearly enough for how much you’re going to want to eat. Next time, I’m doubling this!

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 bars


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cookie Dough
  • 5 tbs unslated butter, room temp
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cheesecake Filling
  • 10 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Butter a 9inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper (or foil if you don't have parchment). Butter parchment paper.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs & butter unti crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. Cookie Dough
  5. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease speed and add in flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside
  6. Cheesecake Filling
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by the teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to rack to cool. Once cooled, put in fridge for about an hour, or until cooled completely.
  9. Using the edges of parchment paper, lift bars out of pan and cut into squares.


Recipe from Bake or Break, from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook



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Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I set aside a chunk of my Friday morning to read Confections of a Master Closet Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. I thought I would lay out in the sun for a little (oh how I love southern California) and just read for 20 minutes, but that turned into 2+ hours. After having to force myself to put the book down, the little voice in my head (not that crazy one, but the other one) that says “I’m going to be a baker!” was jumping around and going nuts saying “go bake, go bake, go bake!”

If you like baking, you should read this book. Gesine, unfortunately known to many just as Sandra Bullock’s sister, was a hollywood executive that gave up the high-paid LA lifestyle to pursue her true passion in baking. It’s a hilarious and inspiring memoir. I’ll share with you just this one bit from the book, and then we’ll get to the cookies:

“I didn’t want more stuff. I wanted to be more happy. I wanted to be good. I wanted to stop hating people and start understanding. And the only way I knew how to feel like a good and kind person was through baking.”

I swear, as I read this book I have to stop and put it down for a few seconds every so often because it feels like she is reading my thoughts out loud.

I just want you guys to eat the desserts & food that I make. Plain and simple. I’ll have one, and you have the rest. Well, maybe I’ll have 3, and then I swear you can have the rest.

Those preschool teachers have it right I tell you, sharing is caring.

Here we go – I made some Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I know “chunk” is a funny word, but I don’t use chocolate chips anymore in cookies so I would feel as if I am leading you down the wrong path if I said chips – there is a huge difference I tell you! If you haven’t made the switch to chopped up chocolate in your cookies, you need to now. You know those delicious cookies you get from a bakery that when you break them in half the chocolate just comes oozing out. That’s because they’re not using chocolate chips, which have stabilizers in them to keep their shape. Grab the bar of chocolate and take out some stress on it. Your cookies & taste testers will thank you.

I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie, but after looking through way too many “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes I decided that there was just too much pressure on something so simple. So I took a different approach. These are like a “look at me I’m all grown up” kinda cookie. They remind me of my Oatmeal Cookies a bit because of the cinnamon that is in it. Overall, they were a nice alternative to the everyday chocolate chip cookie.

Lastly, can we just talk about how ridiculously adorable my little niece is. She says my name now, without me tricking her by repeating it over and over. I swear I will do anything and give her anything she wants as long as she comes running towards me saying “Madddy Madddddy” – my heart is melting just thinking about it…sighhhhh.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

The perfect cookie to eat with a nice cup of coffee


  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted & then cooled a bit
  • 12 oz. of dark chocolate (or semisweet/bittersweet), chopped into chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In a small dish, dissolve espresso powder in Kahlua; set aside.
  4. In your mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add Kahlua mixture, eggs and vanilla; beat until thoroughly combined. Add slightly cooled, melted chocolate and continue to beat until it’s mixed in. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until all flour is incorporated into the dough, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in chocolate chunk.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoon sized balls of dough 2-inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.


Ever so slightly adapted from RecipeGirl.com



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Pac-Man Sugar Cookies

Who doesn’t love Pac-Man? Honestly. If you tried to convince me that you don’t like Pac-Man right now, you would just be lying to yourself. It is the ultimate mindless and addictive videogame and I’m now wondering why there isn’t an iPhone app for it…or is there?

I’ve been dreaming about making these cookies for weeks and I was 5 seconds away from clicking “Add to Cart” on Amazon for the pack of Pac-Man cookie cutters. Then I realized I was about to pay $25 for 3 identical colored ghost cookie cutters and a Pac-Man. Why did I need 3 of the same cookie cutter? That’s just redundent and a waste of my precious money that could be going towards more chocolate.

So what does this crazy sugar fiend decide to do? Whip out the markers and scissors!

The Pac-Man was simple – a circle cookie cutter and the point of a heart cookie cutter. Boom, done.

The ghost? Not so much. I got out the markers and drew a Pac-Man ghost shape onto a thick piece of plastic (the lid of an oatmeal container), cut it out, then used it as a stencil for cutting out the ghosts. I know, I may be crazy.

After finally finishing cutting/baking/decorating these cookies I had a little trouble letting go of them. As much as I wanted to keep these forever, or yell at people to enjoy them because I put so much time into them, I didnt.

The best part of baking for me is sharing it with my family, friends and co workers. I love making other people smile with desserts, it makes my days & weeks 5 million times better.

You are never too old to play with your food. Ever.

Oh no!! Pac-Man eats Stormtrooper!

On another note, today was a really great day at work. Have I told you I work on the beach, teaching really excited children about the ocean. Seriously…that’s my job. The most rewarding job you could ever have. So I will leave you guys with this picture of me and my co worker this morning. When your job doesn’t feel like a job, you’re doing something right.

Recipe Here.



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Cinnamon Rolls {You Knead To Make These}

I have been thinking about making cinnamon rolls for months. I would find a recipe, drool over the pictures, and then read how it needs 2+ hours of waiting for the dough to rise at different stages. The thought of getting up at 5AM to make cinnamon rolls on a Saturday seemed silly, right? Maybe if I was trying to impress someone, then I would take the time to get up early and knead dough with one eye open, but that’s not the case right now.

I found this recipe in one of my new cookboks, Home Baked Comfort, and there was a little note off to the side saying that I could pop them into the fridge before I do the last step of rising. WHAT! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before!

After you roll up the cinnamon rolls, cut them up, and put them in your pan, this is where you’ll place them in the fridge for the night. Putting them in the fridge stops the dough from rising temporarily. In the morning, take them out of the fridge about an hour or so before you want to bake them. They need to come back up to room temp and then puff up so that they look like this:

They’re ready for the oven!

The hardest part about making these the day/night before is knowing that after you spend all of your time kneading and rolling, you don’t get to eat them until the next morning. It was torture! I wanted to go to bed at 8pm so that I could just wake up and eat them already.

Oh they smelled sooooo delicious.

I had extra Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting left over from my Stout & Bailey’s cupcakes the other day so I used that on top. It really did taste quite delicious, the Bailey’s is so subtle but it adds a nice flavor. I included the Bailey’s in the recipe, but feel free to completely leave it out, it will taste just as good.

You don’t need to be an expert baker to make these, you just need a little time and patience. According to the recipe, you can do all of the kneading in your mixer with a dough hook. I tried that approach and just wasn’t getting the results that I wanted so I took it out at the end and kneaded it for a minute or two by hand on the counter top. Don’t be afraid of kneading dough, seriously! It sounds intimidating but it’s nothing crazy, just get into it, it’s fun!

Must. Make. To. Top!

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 16 Cinnamon Rolls


    For the dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed (110 degrees F) (microwave 30 sec intervals)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp, cut into chunks
  • For the filling
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter, room temp, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp of water
  • For the frosting
  • 4 oz. (1/2 a package) of cream cheese, softened but still cold
  • 1/2 a stick (4 tbs) of unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbs of Bailey’s Irish Cream (completely optional)


    For the dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, and let stand for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, eggs, 4 1/2 cups flour, and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed until the ingredients come together. Toss in the butter and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 7 minutes. (If your dough isn't coming together fully, take out of mixer and knead on a floured surface for about a minute until fully combined.)
  2. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball, put into the oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper, then butter parchment paper.
  4. After the dough doubled, punch it down and then place it on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half.
  5. Roll out 1 dough half into a rectangle about 9x14 inches. Spread with half of the butter, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (or more if you desire). Starting at the long side clossest to you, start pinching and rolling the dough away from you, forming a log. If you don't pinch it down while rolling the cinnamon roll will likely fall apart. Cut the log into 8 equal slices. Arrange the slices in pan, 4 across. Repeat the same process with the other half of the dough.
  6. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight (or if you are baking right away let stand in a warm part of your kitchen for about an hour).
  7. The next morning, take pan out refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the buns lightly with the egg and water mixture. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 20 minutes. (While baking, skip ahead and make the frosting.) Let cool for about 5 minutes, then spread the frosting on them while they're still warm. Pull the rolls apart and enjoy!
  9. For the frosting
  10. In a bowl cream together cream cheese and butter with a hand held mixer. Add in confectioners sugar, blend until creamy. Add in vanilla and Bailey's (if adding).


Adapted from Home Baked Comfort



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Stout & Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes {Sea Monster Edition}

A lovely friend from New Zealand, who has an up-and-coming microbrewery in Wellington called the Garage Project (go check them out!), was in town this week and brought lots of beer. I knew I had to revisit those Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes I made last year and test it out with one of the stouts he picked up along the way.

The beer in these cupcakes is an Imperial Stout from Ballast Point called Sea Monster. What an awesome name, and logo. My ocean-loving self is a big fan of the Angler Fish on it. As soon as I opened it up the intense smell of beer filled the kitchen. I was a little worried that this was going to be too overpowering for the cupcake, but they turned out amazing. There is no noticeable beer taste in the cupcake, it just accentuates the chocolate and gives it a unique delicious flavor.

I changed up the recipe this time by using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, which gives the cupcake a deeper chocolate flavor and a seriously dark color. I also used a dark chocolate for the ganache in the center. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate (although you should be, it’s better for you. Any excuse to make chocolate good for you and Ill take it) you can use bittersweet or even milk, just depends on your taste. It all comes together in the end where the sweetness of the frosting balances out the darkness of the cupcake.

I hope everyone I shared these with enjoyed them!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes {Sea Monster Edition}

Yield: 24 Cupcakes


    For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened extra dark cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • For the ganache filling:
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tsp. Bailey's Irish cream
  • For the frosting:
  • 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened but still cold
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 3-5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the Ganache
  5. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it is just about to simmer, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for about a minute and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and Bailey's and stir until combined.
  6. Place ganache in the fridge to set up, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  7. Cut out a cone shape from the center of the cupcake using a pairing knife. Once the ganache has set up enough that you could pipe it, transfer it into a piping bag. Pipe ganache into center of cupcake, then replace the cone you cut out. (If it does not fit back in, cut the extra cake off and just replace the top of the cone piece of cake.
  8. For the frosting:
  9. In the bowl of a mixer, add the cream cheese and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add in the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Slowly drizzle in the Bailey’s, more or less depending on how boozey you want the frosting, and beat until completely incorporated into the frosting. Transfer to pipping bag, or spoon onto cupcake.


Adapted from Annie's Eats & Nook and Pantry

Enjoy :)


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Introducing The Secret Foodie Life of a Stormtrooper & Our Trip to Huckleberry

I have to admit something to you guys. I recently have fallen in love with Stormtroopers. I can see your face right now, head tilted to the side, eye brows scrunched up. Madeline what’s happened to you?

I don’t know. I just don’t know. It is like all of my upbringing filled with videogames and legos finally set in. I resisted it at first, but that could only last so long.

I’m going to share with you possibly the best picture of me ever taken. Ever.

So now that my big secret is out, I need to introduce you to Stormy, the Stormtrooper. He has come into my life so that we can explore different bakeries, restaurants, and food outside of my kitchen. He is extremely photogenic, so beware.

First on the list: Huckleberry. Located in Santa Monica, California.

This charming bakery & cafe is nestled in between a variety of little shops on Wilshire Blvd. Owned and run by a hubby & wife team, they offer a huge variety of freshly baked pastries, breads, as well as sandwiches and a little bit more.

We went there around 11AM on a Saturday and my oh my was this place packed. The line was out the back of the place! I had heard a few good things about this place, but had no idea that everyone else had too.

Not thinking clearly, I ate breakfast about 45 minutes before we left to go here, so I wasn’t up for a big breakfast. I got a chocolate croissant, but not just a normal chocolate croissant, a Valrhona chocolate croissant. The creme de la creme of chocolate.

It was enjoyed by both of us.

Overall, this cafe is definitely worth the trip. You’ll stand in line and chat with friends, or maybe make some new ones with the people around you. The food is rustic and delicious and the variety of pastries could please anyones sweet tooth, big or small.

 The next day….

I went to the store and saw what I have been waiting for for 8 months – Girl Scout Cookies. I know I can make a better quality cookie in about 30 minutes, but these are so near and dear to my heart. I hardly share these with anyone, including best friends & loved ones. With that said, I’ll leave you with this picture.

"I didn't do it!"


Madeline & Stormy

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