Valentines Day Cookie Cake

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Happy February! The month of L.O.V.E.

Valentine’s Day can elicit a wide range of emotions. If you are single, it’s a day you dread – you may end up ordering pizza, watching Netflix, and eating a tub of ice cream (the complete opposite meaning of “Netflix and chill”). If you are dating, it’s a day for which you might spend an insane amount of money to show how much you love someone. Aaaand if you are married, you may celebrate the weekend before to avoid the crowd or at home with something low key.

This year we opted to hang out at home and do something low key. Yes, my husband and I will get each other cards – my husband’s is always funny and inappropriate and mine is always reallllly ridiculously deep. We will most likely sneak away for dinner weeks later, but for now we were perfectly okay with staying home in our PJ’s and watching a movie. And by movie, I mean 30 minutes of the movie at a time because we had to keep pausing to tend to the small human we so lovingly refer to as “the Boss.”

I may have jumped the gun with the Valentine’s Day plans with my little love…I wanted to bake with Avery, I wanted to craft with Avery…and then I remembered – she can’t even walk yet and she would be more interested in throwing flour around the kitchen than actually baking anything edible.

I thought it would be fun to attempt a giant cookie cake – that way when she gets older, I’ll know how to make one and she’ll most definitely think I am THE best baker in the world.

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I found this fabulous recipe on Life, Love and Sugar. What did I do with the leftover dough? Make cookies, of course!

While my Valentine’s Day wasn’t particularly exciting or full of bouquets and fancy dinners, it was perfect for where we are in life. I hope that yours was perfect as well! And if it wasn’t – just make this cookie cake and that will most certainly redeem it! Check out this simple recipe below!

Valentines Day Cookie Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.
  5. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Spray a coat of baking spray to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Spread the dough out into the cake pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool

Recipe adapted from Life, Love and Sugar

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Peach Cobbler

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Costco did it again. Every time I walk in to purchase two measly items, I walk out with $200 worth of food. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

And I’m usually okay with that when I’m walking out with my shopping cart bursting to the seams. The guilt doesn’t hit me until I get home and have to look for places to store five gallons of iced tea or a six foot box of oatmeal that I just bought on a whim.

Well, on this trip I thought it would be a good idea to buy 12 cans of sliced peaches. I had a vision while walking through the peach aisle (possibly a delusional one) of all the amazing things I could make with those peaches. All 12 cans. In my defense, I was starving when I walked into Costco, and that made me vulnerable and weak.

By the end of the trip the score was Costco – 1, Me – 0.

So after putting away $250 worth of food in the pantry, I started researching Peach recipes and came across this delicious Peach Cobbler recipe that is ridiculously simple to make.

I gave it a shot, and honestly, it was the best way I could have found to get rid of one can of peaches and to impress my husband all in one night. His reaction after his first bite tells me that I will be making this recipe often.

1 can of peaches down, 11 more to go.

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Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled, sliced peaches (5 medium peaches or 2 cans)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided use
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Put the butter in a 1.5 quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
  4. Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt and flour until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top and gently pour in syrup. Again, do not stir. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. **If you do not have self-rising flour, simply add ½ teaspoon of baking powder to your all-purpose flour.

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Pecan Crunch Grape Salad

 

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Have you ever eaten so much food that you feel like you’re going to explode? I usually stuff myself to the point of oblivion at family parties because there is always an incredible assortment of appetizers, side dishes, and main courses to chose from. I never save room for dessert. It doesn’t matter how delicious the dessert bar looks, I always make impulsive decisions and end up regretting it. I’m weak.

In my final weeks of pregnancy, we decided to have a few friends over for a pre-summer BBQ. After all, it was already 78 degrees in June. I figured we needed to show our poor, neglected pool some love. I wanted to find a dessert recipe that would be light enough for us to eat after a fantastically filling meal. This pecan crunch grape salad has just the right amount of sweetness to qualify as a dessert and is full of fabulous flavors. Summer has arrived in sunny California and it’s time to embrace it!

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Pecan Crunch Grape Salad

Ingredients

  • GRAPE SALAD:
  • 2 cups green seedless grapes, washed & stemmed
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, washed & stemmed
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • PECAN CRUNCH TOPPING:
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. In a large sized bowl, mix sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
  2. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour into large serving bowl.
  3. MAKE TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chopped pecans, and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle topping over top of grapes.
  4. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from deliciouslysprinkled

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Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

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If a recipe has the word gooey in the title, you know I have to try it. I stumbled upon this little gem while browsing through Paul Deen’s recipes. No surprise, then, that the title has the word butter in it. She loves using butter, and I can’t blame her. Butter is fabulous in pretty much everything, right? (Except your arteries.)

And not only is there butter in this one, there’s pumpkin. I love everything pumpkin in the fall— pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins. And, of course, the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. A big thank you to Starbucks for creating that perfect little slice of Autumn heaven.

So if you’re a Fall pumpkin-a-holic, like me, you’ll be in love with this recipe. Not only is it delicious, this recipe is super simple to make. If you get assigned to bring a dessert to a holiday party, I highly recommend bringing this one! It’s buttery, creamy, and decadent — all in one bite.  And don’t worry about the calories. It’s the holidays, after all (so they don’t count, right?)!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this recipe.

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Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
  3. To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.
  4. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen


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Orange-Apricot Muffins

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Guys, these muffins…there is so much to say about these muffins. Not only are they one of the most delicious pastries your taste buds will ever experience, they also have nostalgic value to me – which will obviously bring about a more delicious muffin for you!

Santa Barbara is a really special place to me. Bobby and I got engaged on a Santa Barbara trip in 2011. We drove in for Valentine’s Day weekend, checked into a quaint hotel on the beach, and walked to Butterfly Beach to watch the sunset. Then my husband made the best decision of his life (at least, in my opinion) – he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I cried, laughed, and then called everyone I knew.

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On Saturday night we went to The Palace Grill, which serves both traditional and unique New Orleans-inspired cuisine. There is always a line, but the wait is eased by live jazz music. We sipped hurricanes, checked out the seafood on the menu, and basked in the glory of being engaged.

Then a heavenly tray appeared, containing a variety of mini-muffins. Each one was special and unique. First, there was jalapeño cheddar corn, followed by a delicious banana walnut. They kept getting better and better. The next one was my absolute favorite and the inspiration for this post: orange-apricot muffins. They were served warm, with homemade butter. Thanks to the fantastic generosity of The Palace Grill in the form of cookbook, I can now share the recipe with you.

Orange-Apricot Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 T flour
  • 1 1/4 cups
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine first 3 ingredients in large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl combine remaining ingredients.
  4. Combine dry and moist ingredients together. Mix well.
  5. Spoon into greased or buttered muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool slightly before removing from muffin tins.

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Carrot Cake

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I am slowly turning into my mother, no matter how much I fight it.

I find myself quoting her at least a couple times per day. I especially find myself using her little phrases. You know, like, “If it were a snake, it would have bitten you,” or “You can’t judge a book by its cover!” Yup, it’s happening.

They are apart of my everyday vocabulary. I also find myself saying “shoot” and “darn it” every now and then. Funny how things work out. I thought we were so opposite back in the day, but it turns out we are so much alike. I never thought I would love to craft, watch romantic comedies, or clean. But…I do.

I love spending time with my mom.  As I get older I am sure I will catch myself naturally using even more of her famous mom sayings. Now, while I have some slight difficulties accepting the fact that I talk like my mom, I have absolutely no shame in the fact that we share the same taste in cake.

I never order carrot cake in bakeries or restaurants because I feel like I’m always compromising. Plus, the majority of the group tends to like classic white or chocolate so I don’t even bring it up.

Since my mom was the birthday girl, we had to respect her wishes. I found a recipe on The Pioneer Woman and made it happen the night before her birthday party. This is a basic carrot cake recipe so it’s quite simple – don’t be freaked out by the rumors that fly around about how difficult it is to make carrot cake!

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Carrot Cake

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 12

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots
  • _____
  • For Icing
  • 1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
  • 1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely

Instructions

  1. Cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joyed) pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake at 350F until done, 25 (sheet cake) to 50 (Bundt pan) minutes, depending on the pan you use.
  4. Cool completely.
  5. Icing:
  6. In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. Spread on cooled carrot cake.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

 

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It was fabulous. No one could complain about the cake. We finally got the cake that we wanted and we didn’t have to compromise with anyone! Just a queen and a princess – with two forks eating their carrot cake. We were in HEAVEN.

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