This is my cookcabulary

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Baking category.

Chocolate Berry Cobbler – Gluten and Dairy Free!

Hi.  Do you remember me? I’m still here. I can’t believe its been 4 months since I have blogged … but in that time I have given birth to a beautiful and spectacular baby girl and been busy at home raising, burping, feeding, changing and playing with her!  We’re really getting into a routine now, she’ll be 10 weeks on Sunday, so I am finding time to cook and bake again.

The other night I made a fantastic seasoned roast – Sam actually said, “I hope you are back in your cooking mode.” Ha! I’ve been in the cooking/baking mode – just a dormant mode I guess?

But anyway, my work Christmas party is tonight and I am in charge of bringing dessert – the only thing I am good for apparently.

Due to exclusively nursing my newborn and my husbands on going wheat intolerance, I decided to make something without dairy or wheat. Cobbler. Perfect.

Here is the recipe adapted from

For the filling:

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen raspberries/blackberries
  • 2 T. white sugar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 12 oz. chopped dairy-free dark chocolate

For the topping:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix:
    • Combine 1/2 cup rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • ¼ cup pure cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ T baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 6 T. lactose and soy free butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened plain soymilk or milk substitute

We start with the filling. Place the berries in a pot over medium heat with sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Then mix cornstarch with equal parts water, until dissolved, and add to berries. Allow to thicken, about 6 or so minutes. Take the heated berries and place in greased 9″ pie plate, add chocolate.

In a food processor, combine all the remaining dry ingredients. Add butter and pulse until coarse. Gradually add milk, while the food processor is on, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides.

Mine happened to get super liquidy, so I added more dry ingredients until I had the appropriate consistency. I think it was due to the butter I used, soy and dairy free. I think it looses its “strength” when warmed and whirred.

Add dough, by the spoon full, to the filling. Spreading the dough around. Don’t worry about it laying perfectly, you want sporadic puffs.  Sprinkle with sugar … alllll the sugar you want!

Place in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes until bubbly and cooked through.

Once the cobbler was finished, I started to look at it, and totally realize it would not feed any more than 6 people. I have 8 coworkers and some of them have spouses, pretty sure this cobbler is not going to feed all of them – plus Sam and me! So, with the left over filling (I made about 8 cups in the beginning) I thought – cookies! And I would just compliment the flavors in the cobbler somehow. What about a basic chocolate cookie and then a dollop of this delicious berry mixture?

I pulled out the festive red KitchAid mixer, and got back to work.

Chocolate Cookies:

  •  2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

This is just a basic cookie recipe, I then substituted butter for my dairy free version, but decided to keep the flour incorporated.  I have found the recipes I have used for cookies are exactly delicious when made gluten free, and for the ones I do like – I’m not certain others would enjoy the different flours on their palette. So, Sam can have cobbler. :)

Pretty simple, combine butter and sugars in mixer until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. When I use cocoa powder, I like to sift all my dry ingredients.  It really helps with all the clumping. Slowly tap the bowl of dry ingredients into the mixer until all is combined.  Make sure to be scraping the bowl through the whole process to make sure the sides and bottom are incorporated and there aren’t butter chunks. Gross!

I then, with my trusty ice cream scoop I always use, plopped spoonfuls onto a baking dish. 

Oh! But before that I added cut up chocolate that I had leftover from the cobbler.

Ok, so plops of dough. Then I used a 1/2 tsp … scooped up some left over berry mixture and pressed it into the middle of the cookie. Yea buddy! Yum.

Place in a 350 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool on rack.

I have to admit I d how they look, theyre a little flat for my liking – but again, I really think its the butter I use. It must not be able to stand up to the heat during baking. Oh well – flavor is still there.



Gluten Free Lemon and Almond Meltaways

I had dinner last week with my awesome friend Bess – we caught up over antipasto salad and pizza at Bazbeauxs.  This seems to be our spot, as we always tend to schedule dates sporadically.  We never know where to go, but Broadripple is smack dab in the middle, and that dang antipasto salad is always calling our name.  Needless to say we chatted, laughed, and shared stories of the prior weeks since we had last seen each other.  Have I ever mentioned that Bess and I used to be Pen-Pals? Yea! It started when I was in 3rd grade (and living in Oregon) … our dad’s traveled together for work, but we began writing each other . I would send her my Lisa Frank and Sanrio stationary (I was obsessed) and she would write back all the way from good old Shelbyville. So fun. Anyway, this recipe comes from her.  Because she knows me so well, its contains 3 things I love.  1 – Lemon, 2 – Gluten Free, 3 – a totally cute blog I can now follow.

So thanks Bess.  They turned out wonderful, for gluten-free cookies!

Gluten Free Lemon & Almond Meltaways; courtesy of Cannelle et Vanille.

  • 115 grams butter
  • 95 grams powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 grams sweet rice flour
  • 40 grams cornstarch
  • 35 grams sorghum flour
  • 20 grams amaranth flour
  • 20 grams almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

As you can see, everything is in grams! At first I freaked out. Wondering how I would pull this off! Then, I realized I have a food scale – duh! I was then really excited – these were exact measurements! If you go online and convert grams to ounces – NONE of the above quantities equal exact amounts. I loved it. You might find that weird, but I understand that baking is a science, and this recipe is exact!

And, surprisingly – I had ALL the ingredients except for one.  I might add that after I seriously went to 6 stores to find sweet rice flour (this was a looooong time ago), it was finally suggested to me by an adorable little vegan guy in dreads and stellar ink to check a chinese grocery. And he was right! So, if you can’t find it at your local grocer, try the Chinese locations.  However, it was over a year ago I was looking to purchase this particular flour and Gluten Free flours have come such a long way I bet it’s around and more convenient. 

I had to go out and buy the amaranth flour – this was actually one I had never heard of. But I called Wild Oats after my local health food store didn’t have it, and it was in stock at Wild Oats. So, I had Sam pick some up on the way home.

Anyway, the recipe is super easy!

Cream butter, powdered sugar and lemon zest in mixer.  Add lemon juice.  Combine all the dry ingredients and add them to the mixer slowly.  Cream until well combined.

Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment paper (I used wax) and shape into a log that has about a 2″ diameter.  Use the paper to tighten the log and form a nice cylinder.  Don’t stress if it isn’t perfect.

Place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remove from fridge and cut into 1/4″ thick disks. I then used my spiffy new fluted cutters and salvaged the scraps to put back in the fridge and made even more cookies.  Place these on a baking sheet (it says to line with parchment paper, but I just sprayed with Pam) and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

When they have cooled slightly, and are still warm, dredge the cookies in powdered sugar.


 Sam loved them, so thanks again Bess.

Oh, and thanks to those of you who have subscribed to my blog – I actually have “followers”!!!!

Rocky Road Brownies and Lemon Tartlettes

This past week we had a party at work for our most favorite clients! We chose to have a post-holiday party instead of one during the Holidays and it turned out to be a great success! We served assorted wines, all types of cheese, brie, and then I made two baked goods!

My thought process behind everything was to make sure whatever I made was finger-friendly.  Meaning, if they didn’t want to use silverware, or even a plate, they wouldn’t have to.  That only seems logical to me at a party where Hors d’œuvres are being served.

I knew instantly that one item would be Lemon Tartlettes with Fresh Fruit, and the other I needed a little help from Marta Stewart on. I browsed her website looking for the perfect item, and voila! Rocky Road Brownies.  I could cut them up into bit size treats and the chocolate would pair perfectly off the lemon! Yes!

So on to the baking!

Rocky Road Brownies came first. This makes 16, but I cut super small bites and probably got double that.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut into pieces plus more for pan)
  • 1 bag (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour – leveled
  • 1 c mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts such as cashews, pecans, walnuts (I used just walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 8″ square baking pan, then line with parchment paper, leaving two sides to over hang and then butter the paper.

Ok, and as a side note: I ALWAYS use wax paper, forgetting it’s not parchment paper. And half way through the baking process I smell the hint of smoke from the oven.  Then I realize, oh crap – I used wax paper again! Ha-ha. So, if you do use wax paper, its ok – but please be careful – it can ignite.  And I would actually recommend Pam, or a LOT of butter. The edges of the wax paper really stuck to my brownies.

Ok, next we need to melt the chocolate and butter to get a base for the brownies! Set a heat-proof bowl OVER a saucepan that is simmering with water.  Make sure bottom of bowl does not touch the water.  Combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted, 3 – 5 minutes.

Remove mixture from heat and stir in sugars, salt, then eggs – and finally the flour. Stir until combined, do no beat.

Then pour into our prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.  You will know its done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs.  I cooked mine more on the 25-30 minute side to create more of a “fudge” effect, feel free to play around with this.

Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips.  Be careful to spread them evenly as they will start to melt immediately (at least the minis did). Then, add marshmallows then nuts.  Bake until chocolate is nice and shiny and marshmallows are puffy – about 5 minutes.

Here they are pulled fresh from the oven:

Let them cool completely and then use the over hang to lift from pan. Cut and serve!

I’ll show you the final product after we go over the tartlettes!

Now, I mentioned I wanted to do something that was finger-friendly. Well, I am all about baking from scratch, but I needed a little help this time as I had to bake everything on a Tuesday night and didn’t have time to make personal shortbread trays for the tartlettes. So, I went to the grocery and got those great little Keebler mini graham cracker crusts.  Well turns out they cannot be removed from their tin pan with out crumbling to pieces in your hand. 


Sad I know! At least they are super cute right?! Unfortunately I had already started pouring my custard into the shells when the thought to spread butter and bake them came to mind. That might have given them more stability.  But anyway, it was too late.  It turned out they were very easy to eat with spoons…

Let start with our ingredients:

 Makes 2 cups (I needed 24 tarts, so I doubled everything)

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tblsp butter, melted
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • juice and finely grated rind of 2 lemons (grate first, then juice)
  • Seasonal fruit (i used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)

Here are the directions directly from my mom’s email!

“Beat the eggs into the melted butter; then stir in the sugar.  Beat until thoroughly combined.  Add the lemon juice and rind gradually.  Cook in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until thickened, stirring constantly.  I strain it while it is still warm – this strains any bit of cooked egg so your curd is nice and smooth.  Place plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and put in fridge to cool.  You can make this ahead and store in fridge for up to one week.”

You’ll know the custard is chilled with it has thickened even more in the fridge and, of course, cooled completely.  I used my hand dandy ice cream scoop and put one spoonful is each crust.  Then I cut up my berries and placed accordingly.

Can we say yum? Oh, and did you notice – curd (or I call it custard at times) is Gluten Free

Here are pics of the final product at the party, and all the food trimmings! Enjoy!


Cheers! Hooray! Whoopie!

Of those three words, only one can be consumed.

A whoopie pie my friend.  Before I even get more into this blog can we all agree that Whoopie is super fun to say, and you can’t say it normal. It has to be exciting and playful! Forsuuure.

Ok, so we all know I had an amazing adventure at William Sonoma. What else was I going to make this weekend other than whoopie pies!? I havent a clue myself! So, I knew just the woman that needed to teach me that ways of the whoopie. (Whoa, we’re not makin’ that kind of “whoppie” here guys … don’t be alarmed). But who other than Martha! Martha Stewart, I summon you. Yea.

Oh, and I also went to Joann’s and got some super! cute treat boxes at an excellent price! Score!

I begins with a spatula. And not just any…. my Hello Kitty spatula.  Props to my mom, err, I mean Santa for a most excellent stocking stuffer!

Ok, let us list the ingredients.  Straight from

For the Cookies:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-process
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Filling:

  • 2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Coarse salt, optional
  • Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. Sifting is so towards the top of my list of things I enjoy while baking. I just love how everything combines into a fluffy powder of perfect. I love it.

    Put butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high-speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

    Oh and I also LOVE how perfect packed brown sugar looks – its flawless. Do you ever notice these things … I totally do.

    Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. (Or you super cool new whoopie pie baking sheet!!!) Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

    Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high-speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners’ sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.

    Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    I made mini ones too, using those new cutters I got as well!!! :)

    Stop it, they’re so cute!

    On a side note, I am seeing an old highschool friend and her new husband tomorrow night.  She lives out in Arizona but is in town for a couple nights – her husband is playing the Pacers tomorrow.  She was sweet enough to call me and ask to get together for dinner, and then take us to the game.  Its been at least 10 years since I have seen her, I cant wait!   I thought a little home-made treat would help her and her husband feel welcome to the Hoosier state! (Hopefully she doesn’t read this before I see her tomorrow night! Oh well if she does ;), it’s something to look forward to and I couldn’t wait to post it!)

    Chocolate Cheesecake with Ganache

    Hello my fellow blog readers! This is my first post to the 2010 year! Whoop whoop!  I wish I had something grand and marvelous to show you, but its only chocolate. 

    …lots of chocolate.

    Chocolate cheesecake with ganache on a chocolate cookie crust.

    …maybe it is marvelous afterall!

    But first, I must apologize. This blog may or may not be detailed.  I just got back from Hawaii Sunday night and apparently the jet lag is totally hitting me.  I woke up at 3:32 this morning and never went back to sleep. So I ended up going to the gym at 5:00.  Going to the gym was great – I could make a blog of that on its own, but the waking up at 3:30 was just annoying! I don’t know how I am still function now at 9:18! I am just trying to get back on my schedule. Which is bedtime at 10-10:30.

    Back to baking!

    This cheesecake was so fun to make, mostly because I had the help of a dear college friend – Ian! (meep!!). Ian is my friend from college with whom I had just about EVERY single class with.  We obviously both majored in Interior Design and while he headed off to the west coast after graduation, he has since moved to the UK and is working in London. So, it’s always fun to hear his European tales and catch up!  So, this was a special time in the kitchen for me – nothing better than gabbing with your friend over chocolate!

    (it was late and the lighting was awful, so the pictures aren’t as fabulous as the cheesecake)

    Here is what you will need: (Recipe from

    Chocolate Cheesecake:


    1 1/2 cups (150 grams) chocolate wafer crumbs

    1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted


    12 ounces (340 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    24 ounces (680 grams) (3 – 8 ounces packages) full fat cream cheese, room temperature

    1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

    3 large eggs, room temperature

    1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1 cup (240 ml) full fat or light sour cream, room temperature


    4 ounces (115 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream

    1 teaspoon unsalted butter, room temperature

    We start with the crust, as always! We’re using some delicious chocolate wafers! Ian and I nibbled on the left overs, for sure!

    Begin by crushing the crackers.  I used my hand-held cuisinart, but you could put them in a bag and roll them/smash them if you don’t have the right machine. When the granules are nice and small, all you do is add the butter (mmm, butter) and press evenly into your spring form pan. P.S. you NEED a spring-form pan for this – I don’t think you can make cheesecake with out one!

    …grease your pan WELL before pressing in the cookie and butter mixture!

    …place in fridge while you are making the filling.

    Kimoni stopped by to tell us a thing or two. Just so you know.

    Ha, silly little fuzzball.

    Now for the filling!

    Melt the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl ( I used glass) over a pan of simmering water – making sure the bowl is not touching the water.  Stir until smooth and set aside to cool. 

    Next, with your electric mixer (or hand mixer) beat cream cheese, on medium low-speed, until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Dont forget to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl occasionally, or as needed. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat until thoroughly incorporated. 

    It’s now time to remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling. Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven in case you accidently have a mess.

    Bake for about 50 – 55 at 350 degrees minutes or until firm.  The center of the cheesecake will still look a little uncooked and be wobbly. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (this also helps to prevent cracking as it cools). As it cools, place in fridge with some plastic wrap.

    Now the ganache!

    Take the remaining chopped chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, but be careful not to burn the milk! Immediately pour cream over chocolate and let stand for a few minutes. Stir until smooth. After is has cooled slightly, pour it over the cheesecake. Take a spoon or spatula and evenly spread the ganache around on the cheesecake. Cover and return to the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The recipes says it tastes better after a day in the fridge!

    This cheesecake was made specifically for our work Christmas party! It turned out excellent! Although, my tip would be to let the cake get to room temperature (a couple hours) before cutting! It will really help!

    And as a treat, I want you all the know I have begun to think of my signature and original, baked good! There is an industry event every October where designers submit and then sell their home-made items – it is my goal to create something made to order.  So my wheels are turning, I have some ideas, and I will keep you all posted, but I wont reveal what is until I have it perfected! I can’t wait – I’m pretty excited!

    Bring it on 2010 – I’m going to be a blogging ‘fene!

    Key Lime Pie

    Tomorrow is Monday, oh Monday. We all return back to our offices, our workstations, or mundane life of the “real world.”  But tomorrow at my office we celebrate a birthday! Betsy (my bobbsey twin) had a birthday on Thursday and with so many people out of the office last week, we waited to celebrate until tomorrow.  This could only mean one thing – I made her something! So, while tomorrow I will get up at 5:45 and arrive at the office by 7, go to a few meetings and do some red-lines, and put in my 10 hours – its will all be worth it because come early afternoon, Im eatin’ some pie! Wooo.

    I told Betsy to pick anything she wanted and I would make it.  So, she came up with Key Lime Pie.  Good choice I told her.  I’ve never attempted key lime pie, but I was excited to tackle it! She had a recipe that was like double the crust, but couldn’t find it. So I told her I would find one and just double it myself.  Here is the recipe I followed out of my Better Home Cookbook

    We start with the crust (I think I always say that, don’t I?!) Anyway, this recipe calls for pastry crust but I wanted to make graham cracker crust.  So I took about 12 whole graham crackers and put them in my super-cute mini cuisinart and ground them to a beautiful powder. Don’t be shy here – were making crumbs and we don’t want big chunks.  Small morsels are more fun to eat and stay together more when cutting/eating.

    This makes about 2 cups of crumbs.  Combine crumbs with a heaping half cup of sugar and a whole stick of melted butter. Yum! Then, take a 9″ pie pan and press crust into pan, making sure to get the edges. I sprayed my pan with Pam beforehand just to be on the safe side. The butter in the crumbs should be enough though.

     Sorry for the awful pictures. I’m working on getting a new camera. And by working I mean constantly reminding Sam that I want one. Ha.

    Throw the graham cracker crust in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 4 minutes. When that 4 minutes hits, your kitchen will smell like sweet.buttery.goodness!

    Next we move onto the key lime filling! :) Separate 3 eggs yolks into a bowl, but save the whites for later.  Those will be used in our meringue.

    After you’ve beaten the eggs with a fork, pour in the condensed milk and continue to mix.

    After that is combined, add your lime juice.  I opted to add fresh lime juice as opposed to the plastic lime things.

    Your mixture should have a nice full consistency and a warm yellow color.   You can choose at this point to add green food coloring if you wish.  Go ahead now, pour it in your graham cracker crust.  Did you remember to get it out of the oven?

    Bake for 15 minutes at 350.

    Now the fun part.  This is where I got a little concerned I would mess up, but I handled myself well I think. Follow these steps and your meringue will turn out just like mine!

    In a bowl, beat egg whites, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until stiff peaks.  You will know you are there when you pull the beaters out of the egg whites and the peaks curl over towards the beaters.

    Then, 1 tbsp. at a time, gently pour in 6 tbsp. of sugar until the mixture becomes glossy and smooth.  The meringue with be done when peaks are formed that stand upright.  Be careful not to add too much sugar at one time, this will ruin it and overbeating will cause sweating. So, be patient. Here’s what it should look like.

    One way to make sure its done in addition is you want a creamy SMOOTH mixture.  Taste the meringue on the beaters and if you can feel the sugar granules, it’s not done, beat it a little more.  Also, you want to time everything just right so that when the filling is done, from being in the oven, you have just finished the meringue and can spread it on the hot pie immediately.

    Make sure to spread the meringue all the way to the edge of the crust to eliminate any separation while its in the oven.  I just “plopped” the meringue on with a butter knife, and then spread it. 

    Time to throw this bad boy in the oven.  Lower the temp to 325 and cook for 15 minutes.

    Golden brown – I hope Betsy likes it! I can’t wait to bite into it tomorrow.  I’ll take a pic at the office of the slice and post it later.

    Oh, and I ended up getting a LOT of limes and made some Lime-Ade.  It’s super easy!  Take equal amounts sugar and water, to create simply syrup, and heat on stove until sugar is dissolved.  Pour into glass with ice and fresh lime juice. Voila – LimeAde! (P.S. – This totally reminded me of my Aunt and Uncle in Oregon. When we visited this summer she had home-made LimeAde as well and it was yummy! I think hers was much better than mine!)

    Bowden Thanksgiving

    As promised, I have lots of pictures to share from Thanksgiving at my parents house!

    ..and I did end up “making” something.  I think I mentioned I bought cookie dough from my little neighbor next door, yup – that box of sugar came in handy.  I made about 2 dozen Mint Double Chocolate cookies, they were gooooood. 

    There were a lot of reasons for me to enjoy Thanksgiving this year, but a big one was that my Aunt and Uncle from Detroit were going to be spending the day with us! Which meant I got to see my cousin! Last time I saw him was at my wedding 2.5 years ago, and that was not quality time, and before that it had been a year at my brother’s wedding.  In any event, the kid is so cute!  He would die if he saw I was writing about him, but it was so nice to see him all grown up! I am sure he is so tired of hearing all about that! He’s 15 now, made the basketball team at school, is almost as tall as me (actually, he might be) and he has a gf! ooooo! Ha.  And the kid can text.  You think your fast – no way.  FastfingerDrew over hear has got you BEAT! Anyway, my point was that it was so nice to spend the day with my family that I truly love – it was such a great night of playing rock band and stuffing our faces!

    I started out helping mom in the kitchen! She was a trooper and let me take pics of everything, and even took a few herself.  Here I am helping to perfect the gravy.

    Fun fact about my mom: she plans the meal. I mean PLANS! She has a menu, and it corresponds to what bowl the food goes in.  She even sets the table beforehand with the serving-ware.  There is no room for confusion in this kitchen, I love it !

    The time was getting close – the potatoes were mashed, the turkey and ham were done. Final preparations for the bread, veggies and salad were to begin …

    It was time to get all the food in it appropriate dish!

    ..and dish up a HEAPING serving of everything.  Let the game begin!

    Do you see the Turkey shaped butter? Ha – so cute! 

    The food was fantastic! All of it! We had so much fun, passing the bread, making fun of how much food Drew got, laughing at Aurora, telling old stories – all while Sam and I consumed the entire bottle of Martinelli’s sparking cider.  It wasn’t on purpose, we just never passed it around :) good think we bought 4 to bring for the evening, haha.

    After we ate and had some quite conversation over coffee and Sam took a nap, we got out rock band.  2 guitars. 1 drummer. 1 singer.  We had “the whole band” as Kimball put it. From there the night just got hilarious. Aurora got on the mic, mom tried to tambourine by clapping her hip and not the mic, batteries died due to excessive playing, and good times were just had by all. It was great.

     *video not uploading, will try again later – maybe* 

    I think Aurora can sum up the night in one face …

    Ha, she got de-lirious being up 3 hours passed her bedtime! So worth it though.

    So I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving! I know I am so blessed to have an amazing family, awesome husband, adorable niece, and readers who care (even if it’s a little bit) enough to read my blog.



    *Don’t forget to leave any comments or suggestions of foods you would like to see me attempt! You can comment on the blog or email me @*

    Pumpkin Pie Oh My!

    Last week Sam needed a pumpkin pie for the pie pitch in at his work.  I feel like every other week that boy needs something for work.  Every month they do a pitch-in to celebrate birthdays but it really feels like he always needs something, and last-minute.  And of course, I would never allow him to go to the store and just pick something up – I need to make it.  Those boys in his department need some good ‘ol home baking in their bellies.  It’s only right! Ha.

    Ok, so pumpkin pie.  Let me start with this story.

    I had decided the night before that since one Libby’s pumpkin mix was enough to make two pies, I would make one pie for Sam, and lots of mini pumpkin pies for work – to then give to a client.  On the way home form work, I go to the store and get a couple key items I need to make the pies and purchase a cute little mini muffin pan at Home Good.  (such a great stop for cheap items, I love it!!) Well, I get home from all of this and I realize, by reading the label, I don’t have enough evaporated milk.  So,  like the awesome husband he is, I sent Sam to the store (I had already gone, so he was willing to go).  And, at this point, I wanted a back-up pumpkin can so as to have stock, so I told him to grab another Libby’s can. 

    He returns and as I start to line up all my ingredients, as I usually do, I read the label on the can of Libby’s he bought to make sure I have everything.  And I am immediately confused.  This can called for almost half the evaporated milk as the other can did.  Weird I thought.  I look at both the Libby’s cans closer and realize Sam accidently got the “Easy” recipe.  All the spices are already added in for you.   Which, is so not what I wanted.  I would’ve just made a pie from a box (if that were possible) if that were the case.  Call me a from-scratch-snob, but there is no joy in cooking or baking for me if most of the work is done for you when I actually WANT to do the work.  I’m weird, I really enjoy the tough labor of it all.

    At this point, I still don’t have enough evaporated milk to make both Sam’s pie and the mini pies … and 3 trips to the grocery store is just annoying.  So, here comes the mom call – I always call mom when I get confused (which is often, ha!).  We agree that I have enough ingredients to make one pie, so a half recipe – but I had promised my boss I would bring mini pies for her. So, we decided to just use regular milk.  I ended up being maybe a 1/3 cup short on evaporated milk, so the different was regular milk.  And … I don’t think it made too much of a difference in the end.

    SOOOOO … long introduction, but these pies are truly made with love! I was up late drizzling chocolate on the mini’s!

    Ok, first we start with our crust.  Sam loves Pamela’s Bread mix, and it just so happens they have a crust recipe that we had used before that we liked! So, for the crust – gluten-free ….


    Easy Pie Crust (I used a half recipe since I only wanted one pie)

    1 bag Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix (do not use the yeast packet)
    2 sticks (16 TBSP) unsalted butter, chilled
    7 to 8 TBSP ice cold water

    Yield: two, 9-inch pie crusts

    In bowl, cut butter and shortening into Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives until small pea sized pieces form.


    Why am I using two different knives, I have absolutely NO idea! I think I was cutting the cold butter with the steak knife. Oh well.

    Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 teaspoon additional water if dough is too dry. Hint: Use ice cubes to chill water.  I used my skull and cross-bones ice cubes that my lovely friend bought me on my birthday!


    This is how the dough should look, not sticky but not dry.  As you are mixing the water in, you will start to feel the dough come together in a ball and shy away from sticking to the outer edges of your bowl.  This is how you know it has enough moisture.


    Do not over handle dough either, we’ve had this discussion before remember? Roll out half the dough (or in this case all of it, since I did half a recipe) between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish. Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Bake unfilled crust in a 350° oven on bottom rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, bake filled with your favorite filling by following pie recipe directions. Dough can be frozen for later use, wrap in plastic and freeze. But make sure it is completely thawed.  Before I rolled out my dough, I stuck it in the freezer to chill out for a bit.  The butter had become room temperature at this point and this can just cause a sticky greasy mess! 

    For the filling, just follow the recipe on the back of Libby’s Pumpkin mix! Here is a picture of it in case you are curious, and the infamous evaporated milk!


    and, here are my dry ingredients.  The perfect blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves – and of course sugar!


    Mix this with your pumpkin and evaporated milk, and you’ve got your filling!


    Pour this into your pie crust, bake, and voila! For some reason, I stopped taking pictures at this point until I made the mini’s.  But – check on your pie at the minimum time allotted on the recipe.  Use a bitter knife and insert it directly into the middle of the pie, if it comes out clean – its finished! However, if the pie still looks jigg-ly, like jello, it’s not done.  Give it a few more minutes, and check again with the knife.

    Now on to the minis.  In the essence of time, and length of this blog. I will give you the condensed version.

    I used this dough from the food network:

    1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon sugar

     1/2 teaspoon salt

    6 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled

    2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I didnt have this, so I used allllll butter baby!!)

    5 tablespoons ice water, or as needed

    And I tried Bakerella’s recipe for the filling:

    8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    And here are pics of me in the process of it all! We begin with the pie crust (so it can chill in the freezer while I make the filling)



    Now for the filling! :)




    Now we get the dough from the freezer and roll it out – make sure to sprinkle that counter AND roller!  No need for wax paper this time, your counter works fine.


    Then find something small enough to cut out the perfect little circles.  Were using a mini muffin pan, so just look around the kitchen.  I ended up using the cap from my little hand help food-processor thingy. A cup would work perfect, but all of mine were too small.  Then, just drop them into the mini-muffin pan just like you would a pie pan.  Had I though about it, I would have smoothed the edges down – but it was nearing midnight and details like that were not important at the time.  However, looking at the pictures now, and how they turned out – I would recommend it.  Feel free to add little pieces for pumpkin stems!


    I then spooned in the filling and baked them for about 7-10 minutes.  While the last batch is baking, you can melt some chocolate to drizzle on top.  I am LOVING this melting chocolate thing, I might be obsessed.


    They are so cute and tiny! The perfect bite size treat!

    You can drizzle chocolate on them all, or leave some plain.



    And there we have it – total pumpkin overload.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake – yum.

    Last weekend we had Sam’s family over for his mom’s birthday. Then, the following night – we headed to our friend’s house for a riveting game night for Halloween.  Which only meant one thing – I needed to make something that would work for both nights.

    And by the way, I need to tell you about game night.  We headed over to Katy and Sean’s house and since I couldn’t find our favorite game (Catch Phrase) I brought Yahtzee.  Which to be honest, I have no idea how to play.  We got it as a wedding present and haven’t played it yet.  In any event, we played one round of Apples to Apples, which was good.  But then we play Mad-Gab. Oh man, our teams were boys against girls and that … was a bad idea.  Somehow the boys kicked our butts! They were able to sounds those cards out so well and just keep moving through them.  Our team, the girls (obviously) would try to sound them out, yell and shout, guess awkward answers and just generally freak out.  We were awful.  Or I should say I was awful.  But towards the end of the game, when there was no chance of us winning I realized that girls can’t play this game as a woman would.  There’s no time to think about the answer and sounds it out slowly…you just need to say it fast, and spit out your answer! And when I realized this, it was on.  I was rolling through those cards towards the end.  But, no one seems to remember that – they just remember by how much the girls lost. Ha.  But next time – next time we’ll show them!!

    Back to baking! So I needed something that would last for both nights.  I had seen a recipe online with brownie mix and cookie dough, and I attempted the same thing! I had a left over box of cake mix and a can of frosting. 


    So all I had to do was make the cookie dough, which was super easy.  I used a simple recipe out of one of my cookbooks


    And, like I usually do, I was baking late and didn’t want to run to the store to get extra ingredients. 2-1/2 cups of flour is a lot, and I was a little worried. This is all I had


      Doesn’t look like much does it? Well, I barely made it! I put 2-1/2 cups in my bowl and this is all I had left:

    Coast is clear – time to keep on baking!

    And first things first – I love using my crate and barrel mini-bowls! They are PERFECT for baking!


    We begin with dropping our butter into the mixer, (which should be at room temperature, not fresh out of the fridge).  Let it get nice and creamy.  (The recipe calls for 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup butter, but I used all butter, totally acceptable!)


    Then I added my sugars and baking soda


    When that gets combined, add in your eggs, incorporate them – then dry ingredients.  Oh, eggs at room temperature too!! You need to set them out a good hour or so before you start baking. Trust me, it makes a difference.  Then, tap in your remaining dry ingredients into the mixer.  Don’t forget to give the bowl a good scrape to get everything off of the sides.  (*Note, I completely forgot to scrape edges, which it totally weird for me, so – my apologies for telling you to do something and not doing it myself!)


    *Chocolate chip note: I didn’t have any morsels, just left over chocolate from a previous recipe – so I just chopped them up into perfect little morsels myself!



    Time for some chocolate cake.

    Basically just dump the mix into a bow, add eggs, oil, and water!



    Beat ingredients with a hand held mixer for a good 3 minutes.  Make sure there are no lumps and everything looks nice and smoooooth.


    I then poured the cake batter into a 9×13 pan, which I did spray with a little Pam. Then the fun part! Scoop up the chocolate chip cookie dough and “plop” it randomly into the batter.  When you’re finished, you may lick the bowl.  Actually, you can lick both bowls now!


    Getting excited?! Oooh yea, I know I was!

    Then we pop it in the oven, and I believe I just followed the directions on the cake box.  It was probably 350 for about 23 minutes or so.  Same rule applies here – poke cake with toothpick and when it comes out with small crumbs, youre done!

    It smelled so good, Kimoni wanted in on the action!



    When the cake has cooled, spread your frosting. 

    I had some leftover cookie dough, so I baked a giant cookie while everything was cooling, and my intention was to totally eat it – but then I had an idea.  My cookie cake needs a topping.  So I crumbled the cookie on top of the cake, and with left over chocolate, drizzled it right onto the bad boy! Oh man, I could NOT wait to eat it!




    It tasted as good as it looked. And warning – not a good snack for diet-ers. Ha!

    But, I noticed something almost immeadiatly…the cookie dough sunk to the bottom of my cake. And, I know why – cake mix.  I’m pretty sure the density the brownies have allow for more support – as in, they dough and batter would have been evenly distributed.  Cake batter is so thin that when the dough melted it just sank to the bottom. This didn’t affect the taste, but – aesthetically, it wasn’t the looks I was going for.  Next time – brownies will be my base. 



    A gluten free experiment

    So the other weekend I had bought those cook books on sale right? And when I got home, one of the books had gluten-free recipes in the back, do you remember this? Well, I found a little recipe that I thought Sam would enjoy! Carmel Corn Flake bars.

    This particular recipe called for GL Flour Mix.  Well it just so happens I was fresh out!


    But thanks to I was able to log on and use their flour recipe.  You see, you can’t just substitute 2 cups regular flour for 2 cups brown rice flour, or whatever gluten-free flour you have. Sometimes its a combination of 4-6 types of flours, and sometimes it is just brown rice.  But it’s never an equal substitute of regular flour. And it’s always an experiment for me! You truly never know how it is going to turn out.  So, with this recipe, I thought I would give it a go.

    Makes 12 – Pre heat oven to 375 F and proceed to line a shallow cake tin/dish/whatever you have on hand with baking parchment or wax paper.  (Allow paper to be wider than the tin so you can lift the finished product at the end).


    • 3/4 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2-1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour
    • 1 egg, beaten

    For the topping:

    • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
    • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 6 tbsp sour cream
    • 2 cup cornflakes
    • option – confectioners’ sugar

    We start by making the crust.  Melt butter in a pan, then remove from heat.  Combine sugar and flour in bowl and add beaten egg and melted butter and mix well.


    The mixture is not going to be like most traditional crusts you’ve made.  It’s more gritty and crumbly.  This recipe worked well in the fact that you didn’t have to add water until it was the appropriate consistency, so just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine.  When everything is combined, press firmly into your baking dish.

    A hint I have: when using GF flour – thinner equals better. Which is REALLY hard for me.  I love nothing more than biting into something with crust, and the crust being thick and flaky and wonderfully butter-tasting.  But that is not the case with GF crust.  It cooks entirely different and the flavors are so unique, you really want to thin it out.  Otherwise it can come out cooked uneven and have the consistency of a yeast roll.  Which is just really awkward and disappointing. So – thin is in with the GF.


    Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown – and I like to hear a nice sizzle! :)

    For the topping, heat syrup, condensed milk and butter over low heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir it occasionally and let it thicken up.  Be careful not to burn your milk! I have done this before and its AWFUL!  Keep the heat low and be verrry verrry patient.  Love your carmel sauce, work with it…

    While that is heating, I took my cornflakes and smashed the crud out of them.  Ok, not really that much – but if you need to vent any built up frustration, this is a good point in the recipe for you.  I figured the corn flakes would go farther and feel better to bite into if they were smaller.  I didn’t smash them into super tiny pieces, I just squeezed and broke the flakes up a little bit.

    When your sauce is ready, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  At this point your crust should be out of the oven, and you are ready to pour your sauce alllll over it!

    My camera was not working with me on these steps (or I just didn’t know what I was doing.  Let’s be honest – I love photography, but my little Fuji Film just aint cuttin’ it!)

    When you pour your sauce, sprinkle with the corn flakes and add the confectioners’ sugar if you so desire. And bada-boom – your done! Now, leave it to sit for a bit! Don’t go cutting into it right away.  That sauce needs to chill out.



    There we have it kiddo-s!

    So, how did it taste you ask … a little “meh” for my liking…

    I know! I’m disappointed! The cornflake and carmel-y sauce were an awesome combination, I really enjoyed the topping.  But both Sam and I agreed the crust was … too thick. Which is why I need to reiterate to make it thin.  Sometime i get excited and think I can make a nice thick GF crust, and I just cant.  Not with that recipe (from  The GF Flour I used calls for a lot of brown rice flour and the rice was such a prevalent flavor that it was really all you could taste.  So, Sam and I just picked at the topping for a couple days; seeing as this baked good was not a treat to be brought into work!

    But don’t you worry.  I made a pumpkin pie for Sam, for his work pie pitch in – with a GF crust – and it was amazing.  The crust was awesome. But that blog will be tomorrow. It’s my time to decompress, watch So You Think You Can Dance on my DVR, and cuddle with my man, Kimoni. Ha.