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Thursday, September 29, 2011

{ Free! }

If you go to my Facebook page and "like" it, you'll get a set of five printable recipe cards!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

{ So Much Chocolate }

This recipe?

Seriously? So. Much. Chocolate.

I’m pretty sure these cookies are illegal in at least 2 states due to pure abuse of the cacao plant.

Imma bad, bad person.


That’s a cocoa dough, semi sweet chips, milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. Chocolate squared.

It all started with these little boxes.


Rhonda, who I spent 13 years of school with, is currently living in Germany for the year. She talked about this German cocoa, and I immediately needed some.

Not wanted, folks. Needed.

She said she’d bring me some when she came home for a visit. And indeed she did.

Thanks, Rhonda!!

I was asked if this was Dutch Processed or regular.

I have to admit, I had no idea what Dutch Processed was, so I consulted my all knowing friend. His name? Google. 

Google told me to read here. And so I did, and so I learned, and so I became confused.

Do I need to use baking powder in my recipe? But the cookies I’m making don’t take baking powder. Should I add baking powder? It helps with the rising. Do cookies need to rise??

In the end, I did what I do best.

I totally winged it.

I threw in 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and hoped for the best.

It’s alllll gooood, baby.

Let me show you the difference between the two cocoas. It’s quite remarkable.


The German Cocoa (dutch processed) is SO red! Pretty, right?? Makes our stuff look boring. I’ll never look at it the same way again. Oh, sure, I’ll use it, but I remember how much prettier its sister is, and know my feelings have changed toward it. Forever.

I’m vain like that.

For these cookies, I edited this recipe:

The Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie <--------------------read all about it there.

Chocolate Squared Cookies
(4 times the fudgey goodness)
Preheat oven to 325
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour ( minus 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened or dutch processed cocoa
  • (if using dutch processed cocoa add 1/4 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment (I always say ‘yes!’ to parchment)

add sugars and butter to mixing bowl and beat until well combined, then add vanilla, egg, and egg yolk.

Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Slowly add to mixture until well blended. Add chocolate chips and stir.

Drop by 1/4 cup unto cookie sheet. Bake 15-17 minutes or until the edges are lightly toasted. 

Let cool on baking sheets for a 3-4 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. 


Fudgetastic. Way fudgetastic.

Almost like a brownie cookie. A Cooknie.

And once again, you’re welcome.


Monday, September 26, 2011

{ Marshmallows=Good. }

I found this recipe for marshmallows a while back. Instant love. 

I’ve been wanting to try them since. These are pumpkin marshmallows, and now that it is officially fall, I felt I could justify making them.

Also the fact that I had pumpkin leftover from my Pumpkin Juice  & Pumpkin Latte makings didn’t hurt either.
What’s that? You say you don’t like pumpkin?? That’s crazy talk! However, there’s a stopping point to these that would make them.. you know.. just marshmallows.

I found this recipe on 17 and Baking

I’m sorry there are no step by step photos here, but this required boiling/stirring for several minutes and a sticky confection I preferred not to get on my camera.

Call me crazy. 

I think the funniest thing that happened while I was making these was that I had three people say to me, before I was even 1/2 way finished, “I didn’t know you could make marshmallows”. By “you”, they meant anyone. Not just me in particular. At least I hope that’s what they meant.


Here we go.

Pumpkin Marshmallows:
3 envelopes of unsweetened, unflavored gelatin (3 tbsp)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups  sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup  pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of allspice (I didn’t have any allspice, so I threw in a pinch of cloves)

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Powdered sugar and cornstarch, for dusting

For Plain Marshmallows you need:
3 envelopes of unsweetened, unflavored gelatin (3 tbsp)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups  sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Powered sugar and cornstarch for dusting

Well grease a 9x13 glass pan, then dust with powdered sugar.
In mixing bowl, add the 1/2 cup water, then sprinkle the gelatin over. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, (hardball stage). Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
On low speed, start to add the sugar mixture to your gelatin, add salt. Slowly, increase speed, as not to splash out hot mixture. Work your way to high speed, and beat until the marshmallows stop increasing in size.

This was the most fun for me. 

You watched two basically clear mixes puff up and up into white clouds. It made me happy.

This is the point where you will stop if you want plain mallows. Pour them into your prepared pan.

If you want pumpkin, travel on with me.

Whisk the pumpkin and spices together. Fold into the marshmallow mix with a spatula. This will require a little arm muscle and you probably won’t get it fully mixed. You’ll end up with a few streaks, and that is fine. Elissa from 17 and Baking said so. And it’s her recipe.

Pour into prepared pan. 

Let sit, uncovered, overnight.  

Personally, I couldn’t wait that long, and after about 5 hours I cut into mine.


Turn out onto powered sugar coated surface. Cut into squares. Dust the sides with cornstarch til they are no longer sticky. I dusted, then patted to get the excess off.

From there, you can have fun with them. I wanted to have s’mores, like she did (she also made her own graham crackers, wow!) but, it was not in the cards for me that night.


Or make little marshmallow pops


or whatever your little heart desires!

These are the softest marshmallows evah. I’m going to make another batch of plain for my non-pumpkin adoring husband. 

Oh, and they kinda jiggle- which makes me giggle.

Good times.

Be sure to stop by Elissa’s & tell her you saw her recipe here. She has a handy dandy printable for you and everything!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

{ Sweet 'n Sassy BBQ Sauce }

I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but the Mr. in Sugar Bean Bakers is quite a picky eater.

This is the only BBQ sauce he will eat. 

Much to my annoyance.
Not that it isn't good, because it's lick the sauce off your fingers good.

It's just that I have to make it. Every. Time.

When we were first married, I started making this sauce, however, it started with a spice blend from what, to the best of my knowledge, was from Rawleigh. A catalog of products that people used to come around and sell. Does anyone remember this? 

Wow, I feel old. I, mean, I feel like I just said the milk man delivered to our door.

Uh.. he didn't. Just to be clear.
Shockingly, that place is still in business, and has an internet site. They still sell spices, but no BBQ sauce mix.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally did, and for the last umpteen years, I've been making it this way.

This is a SWEET BBQ sauce, not a smokey one.

Sugar Bean's Sweet BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1-2 Tablespoons prepared mustard 
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
a few shakes of black pepper
water to thin

Mix together, starting with 1 tablespoon of mustard. If desired, add the 2nd tablespoon.
Thin to desired. I make mine pretty thick, and probably add only about 3 Tablespoons water.
This makes quite a large batch. Recipe is easily halved.

Then, BBQ to your delight. 
Great on chicken, ribs, hamburgers, and more!

It's sweet & sassy.. like me. ;)


{ Cinnamon Butter Popcorn }

Last night when I was popping some popcorn, this idea suddenly sprang (sprung?) to mind.

Cinnamon Butter Popcorn

 Just melt up some of the Cinnamon Butter from the recipe below & drizzle over popcorn. Top with a few shakes of powdered sugar.

The Bean LOVED it, and promptly took my bowl.


*Must teach child manners.

A little salt, a little sweet. Who couldn't like that?

This would also be great as a Christmas gift, a box of popcorn + a batch of Cinnamon Sugar Butter= an inexpensive gift. Great for teachers.

After years and years volunteering in a school, I know this much is true.
Teachers have enough mugs. And candles. And body wash.

Gve 'em something different this year. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{ Cinnamon Sugar Butter. Oh. Yes. }

 I've been friends with Michelle for 11 years.

But, I've never met her. We've shared so much over the years in the way of milestones, new babies, photos, laughs, joys, Christmas Cards, trials, tears, first days of kindergarten, first days of high school, scrapbook pages and so, so much  more.

Michelle lives in California, and I in Ohio. I guess by way of the internet, that's not really that far, considering one of my closest friends, Lauren, lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

California feels like forever away though.

However, much as we'd like to sit at the kitchen table and share coffee and toast with cinnamon sugar butter, we are thankful that the internet brought us together.

Yesterday, she posted about some store bought cinnamon butter, saying how she loved it.

Well, as a good friend, I couldn't let her do this.

Make your own. Really. It's cheap, it's easy, and it's decadent.

 Toast, elevated. For real.

Use it for toast, of course, bagels, dinner rolls, muffins, pancakes, homemade breads, or even sweet potatoes.

Just mix it up and try not to lick the knife.

If you can accomplish this, I give you much respect.

I do not have such willpower.

This is excellent on the holiday table. Be sure to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas breakfast.
You won't be sorry.

And Michelle, you're welcome :)


Cinnamon Sugar Butter

1 stick of softened butter (yes, only butter will do)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a splash of vanilla

Toss into mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).

That's it!

Shared on It's A Keeper Thursday for 9/22/11 

Shared on Wonka Wednesday at Hugs & Cookies XOXO for 9/28/11 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

{ Pumpkin Latte For One }

Do you all know Mommy's Kitchen?

Check her out here.

The other day, on her Facebook page, she re-posted a recipe from a couple years ago.

Oh, yes, please.

I'd been planning to make this since she posted, but hadn't gotten around to it. After making my Pumpkin Juice for Hermione's birthday, however, I had pumpkin leftover, so the time was ripe.

Do it, baby.

Her recipe was for 2 servings, but I'm the only one here that drinks coffee, so I sized it down.

I tweaked it a teeny bit to my liking.

Here's what I did:

Mommy's Kitchen's Decadent Pumpkin Spice Latte (for one)

1 Level Tablespoon pumpkin puree*
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla*
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of cloves
dash of ginger (my addition)
1 Cup strong coffee
2 Tablespoons Coffee Mate Creamer (I didn't use any)
2-4 teaspoons white sugar
whipped cream

*I went ahead and did a full tablespoon of pumpkin because, well,  I like pumpkin. Her original recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon for 2 servings, so pumpkin to your liking

*again, I used the full amount for the vanilla, it would actually be 1/8 teaspoon halving her recipe
Begin by brewing your coffee. 

In a blender puree the milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, ginger and vanilla. 

Then pour into a saucepan, and cook until frothy. (about 5 minutes)

 Remove from heat. For each serving: Pour 1/2 cup of the pumpkin mixture into your coffee mug. 

Add a generous tablespoons of Coffee mate creamer. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, (I didn't do this) then add 1 cup of brewed coffee.

Add sugar to your liking. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mmm... breakfast.

I think I'll whip up a big batch of the pumpkin mix ahead of time for when my friend or sister in law comes over. Then, all I'll have to do is brew, heat, enjoy!

Thanks, Tina (yes, she's a Tina too) for this yummy treat!


Monday, September 19, 2011

{ Apple Pie Cupcakes & Pumpkin Juice }

So, if you haven’t figure it out yet, I’m a complete and total geek when it comes to Potter.

And other things, but we need not discuss that.

You may, or may not (most likely NOT) realize that today is Hermione Granger Weasley’s 32nd birthday.

I couldn’t let my friend’s birthday pass without doing something, now could I?

As Hermione said herself: "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things -- friendship and bravery."

So, I decided to make her some Pumpkin Juice. Every good wizard loves pumpkin juice.

Also, some Apple Pie Cupcakes with Browned Butter Icing. Apple Pie was served at the very first Hogwart’s Feast that Harry (and Hermione) ever attended:

"When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates, leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding…" Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

It’s also not the “normal” Harry Potter treat. I feel Hermione would be partial to a more Muggle dessert.

I’m sure Ron will end up eating most of these cupcakes I made. After all Hermione always says: “Do You Ever Stop Eating?”


Pumpkin Juice is often mentioned in the Harry Potter books. This is what the Harry Potter Wiki has to say about it:

Pumpkin juice is a cold drink favoured by the wizarding world, and among the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is extremely popular and is very common. It is drunk at any occasion, such as breakfast, lunch, at feasts or on other occasions. It seems to have taken on the same role that orange juice has in the Muggle world. 

Pumpkin juice is readily available, and can be purchased on the Hogwarts Express. Severus Snape threatened Harry in his fourth year that he might slip Veritaserum in his morning pumpkin juice while believing that Harry stole his potion ingredients. Dolores Umbridge offered Harry Potter pumpkin juice in 1996 when she wanted to secretly administer Veritaserum to him, but he chose tea instead. Prior to a Quidditch match in his sixth year, Ron Weasley believed that Harry had slipped Felix Felicis into his morning juice to help him play perfectly. 

Pumpkin Juice

2 Cups Apple Juice
(organic if you are leery because of the recent “apple juice scare”)

1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree

1 Cup Vanilla Cream Soda

1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

3 teaspoons sugar (if desired)

Whisk together & chill. When it is time to serve, you’ll need to whisk it up again, as the pumpkin tends to settle.

This is sweet and lightly pumpkiny.

Browned Butter icing is caramely with a little salty bite. A great topping for a sweet cupcake.

Browned Butter…yum


Browned Butter Icing

1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla

2-3 Tablespoons Milk

dash of salt (optional)

Start by making this so the butter can cool while you make your cupcakes.

In a skillet, add 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup). Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, while stirring. When it turns brown, remove from heat and allow to cool.

My friend Darla of Bakingdom has a great step by step photo tutorial on browning butter.

Once fully cooled, add to mixer bowl with the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons milk. Beat until well mixed. If too firm, add the 3rd Tablespoon of milk.

Beat on high for 5 minutes.

Taste. If you feel it’s too sweet, throw in the dash of salt to tone it down.

If you are planning to frost 24 cupcakes with a large icing tip, this will NOT be enough. Double the recipe. If icing using a knife, you should be fine with this amount.

Apple Pie Cupcakes 

Spice Cupcakes

Can of Apple Pie Filling, (run through the food processor for a few pulses)

Start with baked Spice Cupcakes. Use a box mix (like me!) or a recipe of your choosing. Allow to cool.

Then using an apple corer, or as I showed in this post, a large icing tip.


Then fill with your mashed up Apple Pie Filling


Top with the Browned Butter Icing and serve to Hermione… or you know, someone that actually exists.

I’m pretty sure I need another one of these about now.

Accio Cupcake!


Friday, September 16, 2011

{ Peanut Butter Patties }

I don’t actually know what to call these things.
Peanut Butter Patties?

Sure, that sounds good.
Unless y’all know a better name for them. If so, drop it in comments.


These are quick and easy peasy for a party or bake sale.

Or because you are craving chocolate.
And peanut butter.

Pretty straightforward here.

You’ll need:
Vanilla Wafers
Peanut Butter
Chocolate for Dipping
Chocolate for Decorating (optional)

Choosy moms choose Jif.
Cheap Frugal moms choose What’sOnSale.


Lay down wax paper or parchment paper.
Then spread the peanut buttery goodness on one wafer.


Top with another, then toss into melted chocolate.

Now, when I took these photos I had yet to acquire my new Chocolate Melting Miracle.

So, I used the microwave.

I’ll never go back.


If you dip a lot of chocolate, get one.. now


The Wilton Chocolate Pro. I *heart* it bunches. It runs close to $30, but I used a 40% off coupon at JoAnn’s.

Worth every penny.

Alas… this post
Throw your patty into the chocolate. White or regular. You choose.


Scoop and tap with a fork. More on dipping chocolate in this post.


Pretty soon, you’ll have your own little Peanut Butter Patty Army. Allow them to dry.


Then, melt up a little chocolate of another color (or the same color even looks nice), and place into a pastry bag (or a heavy duty Ziploc). Snip a teeeeny bit off the end, and go to town.



Since I had leftover chocolate, which is criminal, I threw in some marshmallows.

And wouldn’t you know it… THOSE were the hit of the night.

People, I try SO hard.

Alright, with this recipe, I don’t really, but I like to be dramatic.

I can’t help it.

These (including the marshmallows) are also great for Holiday gift giving. Actually the marshmallows would be wonderful tied up with a mug, some hot cocoa packets (or coffee), and chocolate dipped plastic spoons.
Throw a candy cane in there too.


Instant hit.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

{ Cute. Overload. }

I can't even stand how cute these things I ordered today are.

First of all, let me give a shout out to Bake It Pretty.

No, they don't pay me to say that. Or even send me free baking cups.


They don't even know I exist.

Man, it feels like high school all over again!

Wait.. what. Oh, yeah.. baking cups.

Have you seen the baking cups?


So many colors and patterns. I'm a sucker.


However, what stole my heart today were these:

Glass Apothecary Glasses (photo property of )

And.. um.. these:

Small Glass Milk Bottles (photo property of )

Be still my heart, your adorableness has over taken me.

Anddddddd I got some cupcake liners too. Just..a...few. 

(200 is a few, right?)

Uh, did I  mention the teeny tiny forks I bought?

to go along with the "portion cups" I plan to bake cupcakes in?
Yes, I have a problem.

I wonder if they have gift cards.
*scribbles "Bake It Pretty" gift card on Christmas List

Oh, you wanna buy them too? Cannot blame you.

Apothecary Bottles

and check out the baking cups <3!

Watch for all of these things to be used here on my blog soon!

(well, not ALL of the liners. *wishes again*)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

{Chicken Tortilla Soup. Amen}

After 5 days of vacation, and 5 days of eating out, it was good to get home and prepare my own food.

It should seriously be illegal to eat out that often.

So, what did I make 2 hours after returning home?

Chicken Tortilla Soup.


Om. nom.

I’ll get back to the yummies in a minute.

So, how was my vacation?


It rained, every. single. day. all. day.


We made the best of it. We were soaked, we were chilled, we paid $15 for an umbrella that broke within 2 hours.

But, we had fun.

Even if our fingers did turn pruney.

For a minute there, I thought I was Forrest Gump. Remember when he said, “One day it started raining, and it didn`t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin` rain... and big ol` fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.”  

Yeah, it wasn’t four months for us…. but it felt like it.


The Bean took this photo that I really like.


I love the line of umbrellas reflected in it.

Anyway, in case I haven’t made it clear- it rained.

So, naturally, soup seemed like the best thing to make upon arriving back home. Something I’d been craving all week.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cups water
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
1 cup diced onions

Throw all of this into a pot and cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken and shred, place back into pot along with:

1 can diced tomatoes OR crushed tomatoes (depending on how chunky you want your soup- I use diced)
1 can (10 oz) Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can (4 oz) green chilies (optional)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 can chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Bring to boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Check seasonings. Add more to taste.

To one cup water, add 3 Tablespoons flour. Whisk well. Slowly pour into soup to thicken. Allow to simmer another 15-20 minutes.

Top with your choice of the following:

sour cream
diced onion
shredded cheese
tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips

It’s seriously pretty too with all it’s colors.

A fest for the eyes.

And the belly.



Saturday, September 3, 2011

{Pizza Bread}

My friend, Melissa, showed me this recipe the other day.

I knew I had to make it tonight, because my friend Stephanie is coming over to play board games. 

That's board games. Contrary to our husbands' opinions, they are NOT bored games. We are fans.

They? Not so much.

Anyway, this is a modification of the recipe by The Girl Who Ate Everything's Blooming Pizza Bread.

I'll be making this, and chocolate fondue (shown below). Yes, Imma good friend ;)

Melissa, because she is evil, told me to double the butter and garlic.

I also added powdered Ranch Dressing Mix, and instead of Italian seasoning, I used dried Italian Dressing Mix.

For cheese, I used sliced Colby Jack & then also added shredded Mozzarella. Mary.

You'll want to "dice" the bread without cutting the bottom crust, so it stays intact, but is easy to pull apart.

Mix the butter and seasonings in a bowl. Stick the slices of cheese (I cut mine in 1/2 first) & pepperoni between the cuts.

 Pour the butter mix over, evenly.

Wrap in foil and bake for 15 mins. Remove foil, and bake another 10.

Then... well...

Try not to drool, but dive in.


Yes, please.


Pizza Bread
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Here's the breakdown of my version:

1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread
4 ounces Colby Jack, thinly sliced
1 Cup Shredded Mozzerella
1 (3.5 ounce) package pepperoni, halved
6 Tablespoons butter/margarine, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian Dressing mix
1 teaspoon dried Ranch Dressing Mix
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
pizza/marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350
"Dice" the bread without cutting the bottom crust, so it stays intact, but is easy to pull apart.
Mix the butter and seasonings in a bowl. Stick the slices of cheese (I cut mine in 1/2 first) & pepperoni between the cuts.  Pour the butter mix over, evenly. Wrap in foil and bake for 15 mins. Remove foil, and bake another 10.



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