The 5th grade teachers planned a little pot-luck lunch this past Friday, and the theme started as Italian so I thought a tiramisu would be a good dessert to bring.  This Italian theme changed to salads (pasta salad, fruit salad, etc.) but I had my heart set on tiramisu, so I stuck with it.  I began searching for a classic tiramisu recipe.  I found a site devoted entirely to tiramisu, heavenlytiramisu.com, which had a plethora of information about the ingredients in tiramisu and many different kinds of recipes.  After searching through this site, epicurious and foodnetwork, I chose David Rosengarten’s recipe for Basic Tiramisu.

When you use 2/3 of a carton of eggs in one recipe, you know you’re in for something special…and a little decadent.  Did I mention that there is also a cup of heavy cream, and a pound of marscapone in this recipe?  I know it seems excessive, but if you’re going to do it, do it right.  This recipe came together fairly quickly, but I did have to use quite a few bowls and make a good sticky mess on the counter.  I used frangelico instead of the brandy called for in this recipe.  One thing I would change is to make more layers of soaked lady fingers in between the layers of cream.  I would also use more shaved chocolate in between each layer.  Other recipes I read recommended letting the tiramisu set overnight in the fridge, so that is what I did.  I set aside a little bowl for myself at lunch and planned to eat it that night after dinner.  It was still pretty tasty, but the ladyfingers had started to disintegrate a little.  So, I would not recommend more than 18 hours of sitting time.  I think most people enjoyed the tiramisu at our teacher pot-luck, so I will consider this a success.


  • EGGS, 8, with yolks and whites separated
  • SUGAR, 1/3 cup
  • MASCARPONE, 1 pound
  • HEAVY CREAM, 1 cup
  • ESPRESSO COFFEE, 2 cups cooled
  • BRANDY, 2/3 cup
  • BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE, 2 ounces grated
  • COCOA POWDER, Dutch process, sifted, for garnish


  1. Mix the sugar into the egg yolks, blending well.
  2. Add a little Mascarpone at a time to the egg yolk mixture, and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set this aside as well.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
  6. Spread about 1/3 of the cream mixture of a 4-6 quart glass baking dish or serving bowl.
  7. Place expresso coffee in a large mixing bowl, and combine with the brandy.
  8. Dip a lady finger into the expresso, lay it in baking dish on cream mixture.
  9. Top with grated chocolate.
  10. Continue in this manner, laying lady fingers side by side to cover the bottom.
  11. Place another 1/3 of cream mixture on top of soaked lady fingers.
  12. Cover this with another layer of expresso-soaked lady fingers.
  13. Top with remaining cream mixture and grated chocolate.
  14. Dust final layer with grated chocolate and cocoa powder.
  15. Chill 2 hours to set.

Chocomallow Krispies

What can you do with $0.68 clearance chocolate flavored bag of marsh- mallows?  Chocolate Rice Krispies, of course.  I had to buy two bags of these when I saw them at Target.  I knew that I was going to make Krispy Treats the moment I saw these Chocomallows.  But how was I going to make them better than regular Krispies?  The culinary wheels begin turning.  So, I know I can’t use this “margarine” that crazy people speak of.  It has to be butter, no substitutes.   I melted 3 tablespoons of butter and the entire package of mallows in a saucepan.  There are microwave directions on the bag, but I am not a microwave woman so I melted them in a saucepan.  I addded 6 cups of crispies and mixed my heart out.  At this point I hadn’t had any bright ideas about what to add to make these treats special.  The time has come…I needed to do something.  So, I chopped up about 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate and mixed that in to my krispie mixture.  So, this wasn’t expert culinary genius, but they were pretty yummy.

An Apple Cupcake a Day…

I received a cookbook a few months ago, Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse, that has some of the cutest little cakes and cupcakes I’ve ever seen.

However, most of them require an incredible amount of time, experience and ingredients.  I found these popcorn ones to be especially cute.  You actually have to make the little cups from chocolate with those silicone cupcake cups and paint the red stripes.  Who has that kind of time?  One cupcake did jump out at me, a basket-full of apples.  The outside of the cupcake is piped in a basketweave and then you pipe and pile little apples on top!

They would be great “back-to-school” treats, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off at the beginning of the school year without pulling my hair out and driving myself crazy trying to get them perfect and finished.

I wanted to do something with an apple theme to give my co-workers to start the school year.  I remember seeing an apple cupcake in a Martha Stewart magazine a while back that was iced in a vibrant red and boasted a chocolate covered pretzel stem and a cute green candy leaf…but I couldn’t find an article on how they were made.  I finally came across a blog by a woman who’d also seen the magazine, but I didn’t get much more help except that I found out that Martha used green sour tape candy for the leaf.  I couldn’t find the candy, so I figured that I try my hand at using fondant.  My sister Sarah had conveniently planned a trip to Waco on Saturday, so she helped me create these adorable cupcakes!  We baked the cupcakes (from a mix…yikes!) the night before.  In the morning we made the House Buttercream from the Whimsical Bakelouse cookbook.  Sarah and I were both surprised by the method she uses.  Can anyone explain to me the purpose of adding boiling water?  Anyway, We colored the frosting red.  Ok, so we tried to color it red.  I used quite a bit of my Wilton no-taste red color gel but it never got to the vibrant apple red I wanted.  It also got a little streaky in color.  But we decided that they looked like galas and therefore more authentic.  I frosted the cupcakes normally.  Then we stuck chocolate covered pretzel sticks in the center as a stem.

Now for the leaves.  I bought white fondant and colored it with Wiltons leaf green gel and added a bit of almond extract hoping to help the flavor of the fondant…no such luck.  It still tastes like stale sugary icky paste.  We rolled out the fondant and used a small leaf cookie cutter to make the leaves.

Sarah placed all the leaves in a lovely artistic manner on our little creations and they were complete!  I could not stop looking at them and thinking about how cute they looked all together.  Is it bad to be proud of something like this?

Candy Corn Kisses and Halloween Dreams

Imagine my surprise as I walk to the checkout at Target (arms loaded with goodies since I refused to get a basket thinking that would keep me from over shopping…silly me) and I see a special on Hershey’s Kisses.  I approach the display and see the original Milk Chocolate Kisses, Milk Chocolate with Almonds and then I see it…new candy!  The heavens opened and angels sang from above.  I love new candy flavors and Hershey’s Kisses always seem to have something special surrounding every holiday.  But wait, it is August.  The last time I checked the First Day of School is no holiday and Labor Day doesn’t deserve a special edition candy.  They were…brace yourselves…HALLOWEEN CANDY!  Two months early.  What is this world coming to?  Nonetheless, I take a look at the new flavors.  One is Pumpkin Spice and the other is Candy Corn.  Intriguing.  This mysterious candy hooked me and impulse beat up will-power and common sense with one blow.  I bought them.

I love candy corn.  I will eat them until I am in a sugar induced coma.  A friend in college introduced me to the candy corn and peanut mix.  The sweet and salty combination aids in reducing my sugary sickness.  Enough about my love for a pretty disgusting candy…more about the Kisses.  The wrapping on the Kisses is cute.  Silver, orange and yellow just like a candy corn!  Ingenious.  I proceed to unwrap this little 4.5 gram wonder and the Kiss is also candy corn colored and layered!  Adorable.

I am a bit nervous about tasting this candy, so to postpone the inevitable I smell it first and then shove it in Ben’s face so that he can give me his opinion on whether or not to consume it.  It smells sickeningly sweet.  We agree on that.  Ben refused to try the Kiss because he truly hates candy corn.  I am a brave woman who enjoys a challenge, so I take a bite.  The texture is much different than a true candy corn; much creamier and softer.  The taste…definitely not candy corn.  Not like white chocolate either.  Kind of an artificial honey and butter flavor.  Not too great.  But, like other weird tasting foods, they draw me back for more.  I think this was partially due to the fact that I could not pin down their flavor.  It’s just so dang sugary.  Too sugary for my liking and not enough like my love, the original candy corn.  Are they bad enough to throw out?  Probably so.  Are they still in my pantry?  Yes, they are.

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Being a lover of coconut, I have been wanting to find a coconut cupcake recipe for a while now.  I found two recipes that sounded equally delicious, how is a girl to choose?  I chose based on the fact that I had all the ingredients for one recipe, and not for the other!

I also liked that this recipe uses coconut milk which adds an unobtrusive yet rich coconut flavor. 

There is sweetened dessicated coconut in the batter that adds some texture to the cake itself which is a nice contrast to the smooth icing.  I toasted some coconut to sprinkle on top of the cupcakes.  The toasted brown color visually contrasts the bright white icing and creates yet another layer of texture in each bite.

The cake itself has a dense almost poundcake like texture.  This may be due to the fact that I committed a culinary sin with this recipe; I failed to read through the recipe before beginning.  I began as I normally would with a cupcake.  Cream butter, add sugar and cream…now this is where my brain decided that “cream” meant coconut milk instead of cream as in “To rub or work soft butter, sometimes with sugar, against the sides of a bowl until creamy or fluffy.” As I add in the milk I start to think to myself, this doesn’t seem quite right.  This is the time (too late) that I read through the recipe and realize my fatal error! Here is the batter at this point…

I make the decision to keep going and challenge this baking rule of mixing technique.  If I’d followed the recipe correctly I might have ended up with a different cupcake…but these were just fine!

This recipe is written as it should be.  If you’d like to try my method, I’ve included that as an alternate set of instructions below the recipe.

Coconut Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 1/2-1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut toasted for sprinkling


1 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream till light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing.

3 Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in one bowl. In another add 1 cup of a well shaken can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix, then add 1/2 of the wet ingredients. Continue alternating with the wet and dry mixtures, ending with the dry. Stop mixing once just as the ingredients become incorporated; do not overbeat.

4 Fold in the coconut. Scoop into cupcake papers about one half to three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15 to ensure even baking. Be sure to check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, then they’re ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


1 Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Scraped down the sides and bottom.

2 Slowly add the powdered sugar, taste as you go adding more sugar until you have reached the desired sweetness.

3 Spread onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top and serve.

Makes 18-20 cupcakes.

“Carrie can’t read the directions” Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and coconut milk and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing.

3 Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in one bowl.  Add dry ingredients and mix on low.  Stop mixing once just as the ingredients become incorporated; do not overbeat.

4 Fold in the coconut. Scoop into cupcake papers about one half to three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15 to ensure even baking. Be sure to check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, then they’re ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Accidental Peach Cobbler

I bought peaches for a dinner party a few nights ago.  My plan was to cut them in half, remove the pit, sprinkle with some brown sugar, broil them and serve with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream…tada!  The easiest dessert next to scooping ice cream from a carton into a bowl!  I will have to try this another time. Due to the extreme fun of the evening as it progressed, dessert became an afterthought and I found myself with 6 beautiful peaches and not a thing to do with them.  The wheels start turning and I raid my kitchen…a container of blackberries…butter…sugar… it shall be a COBBLER!  I usually end up making crisps, with oats and pecans.  I wanted to try more of a cake or biscuit type topping for this dessert just to shake things up.  After all, I am a culinary rebel.  I referenced a few different recipes and came up with this one.  I must admit, this was delicious despite the fact that I kinda burt the topping 🙂  Here are the changes I would make for future cobbler endeavors.

1.  Add 1 more containers of blackberries unless you don’t like seeds, just add more peaches

2.  A teaspoon or so more cornstarch to counter the slight soupiness

3.  Don’t let Ben have any…more for me

Peach Blackberry Cobbler

4-6 fresh peaches peeled, pitted and sliced

1 (or 2) containers fresh blackberries

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 t lemon juice

3 t cornstarch (will try 4 next time)

1/2 t cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 2 quart casserole.  Cook for 10 minutes in 400 oven.

1 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar (or use half brown, half white)

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

6 T cold butter cut into cubes

1/4 cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients through salt in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut butter into flour mixture until the butter is in small pieces and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Mix in water until just combined.  Take casserole out of the oven and drop dough on top of the fruit in mounds.  Sprinkle top of cobbler with a few tablespoons of white sugar and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Top should be lightly browned and fruit bubbly.

Dinner Party

What I had envisioned as a quiet evening for two became a dinner party for 6 in about half an hour this past Sunday evening. When I am having people over for dinner I like to put quite a bit of planning and thought in to the meal. However, as of noon on Sunday I still had not decided what to make for dinner! I finally decided on steak and a bread and vegetable salad. Ben is the steak master, and I’d had the salad at a cooking class with Rebecca Rather at Central Market earlier this summer, so I felt like it would be a nice and fairly easy meal to put together. I decided to make prosciutto wrapped parmesan breadsticks from a Giada DeLaurentis cookbook. Ben suggested that we also have some port salut cheese and crackers. We went to the grocery store together which is a rare occasion. Having a grocery partner is much more fun than going alone! I’m including the salad recipe below. I would include the steak recipe as well, but it’s Ben’s secret and I am not even allowed within 5 feet of the kitchen when he makes it…ok, not really. I just don’t know exactly what he uses. The meal ended up being pretty delicious. I would recommend tossing the salad just an hour or so ahead and try not to have leftovers or overdress it. I found myself with an unsalvagavle bowl of lovely vegetables tossed with soggy, deteriorating bread cubes at the end of the night. I hate throwing food away, so next time I’ll either make half the recipe or just toss half the veggies with half the bread and save the rest for the next day.

Summer Vegetable Bread Salad
1 loaf sourdough cut into 1-inch cubes and toasted
4 ears of corn cooked and taken off the cob
3 large heirloom tomatoes cut in wedges (I used 8 campari tomatoes)
1 large cucumber sliced and seeded
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 bell peppers cubed (I used 1 yellow and 1 orange)
1 T each roughly chopped basil & parsley

2 t minced garlic
2 t dijon mustard
6 T red wine vinegar
2 t honey
1 t salt
1/2 cup good olive oil

Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil. Drizzle in oil while whisking dressing until combined.

Toss all vegetables except for herbs in a large bowl. 45 minutes before serving, toss vegetables, herbs, bread cubes and vinaigrette. Let sit at room temperature until serving.


I came across this site again today after many months of neglecting it.  Here are a few of the ones that made me laugh out loud.  Can anyone explain to me why exactly I find these so humorous?  I don’t think I would find it as funny if the cats were replaced with dogs.  I am a bit embarrassed that I am so amused by them…but alas, I cannot deny that I am easily entertained.  Give me a silly animal picture and slap a few words on it and you’ve got me hooked.

more cat pictures
more cat pictures
more cat pictures
more cat pictures