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Thursday, April 25, 2013

{Neapolitan Brownie Bites}

This story has nothing to do with anything Neapolitan. 

It's about my Mamma. That's Mam-maw. My grandmother.

You can read more about her here.

Next Monday, April 28, 2013, she will be 93 years old. Yes, Nintey-Three.

She's a spitfire. I love her sooooo much & when I grow up, I want to be just like her.

On Sunday we are having a cookout for her birthday and I'm making her favorite cake- Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I bought her a huge angel for her garden (3'). She loves angels and gardening, so it seemed like a win win. 

I wish you all could meet her. She's just the best. Ever.

And she's darn funny too!

I took this photo of her in December when she was over. She loves my dogs, Jingle and Luna, who she calls 'boys'. She always says, "Oh, I know they are girls, but I just call them my boys!". Hilarious.

I'm blessed not only to know this incredible lady, but to call her my grandmother.

Wishing her the happiest of birthdays!

Also, I made these.

Like I said, they have nothing to do with my Mamma.

Oh, she'd like them, I know she would, but I just had to dedicate today's post to her!

These little gems are white bottom brownies with strawberry buttercream.

Easy & delicious.

This is the most amazing brownie recipe. It's super easy too. They are moist and fudgey, but they hold together well enough for you to cut them however you like.

For these, I cut the brownie into a circle, dipped in white chocolate, and topped with the icing.

Cause yummy.

Want more Neapolitan? You HAVE to go see the totally adorable (and delish) Neapolitan Sugar Cookies Darla made over at Bakingdom!


P.S. If you haven’t already,  you can ‘like’ my Facebook page here, and follow me on twitter here, and you can follow me on instagram here.

Neapolitan Brownie Bites

For the brownies:
recipe by Darla @ Bakingdom

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour and 8 x 8 inch glass baking pan.

Combine the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl; put aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar until combined. One at a time, add the eggs, mixing well after each. Stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the dry ingredients until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow brownies to cool completely before dipping/icing.

After allowing brownies to totally cool, cut into desired shape & dip the bottoms in melted white chocolate. Place on parchment paper/wax paper/foil to dry.

When dry, top with Strawberry Buttercream.

For the Strawberry Buttercream:
Recipe by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup finely crushed berries
1 Tablespoon heavy cream OR 1 Tablespoon melted and lightly cooled white chocolate

Beat butter until fluffy. Add powered sugar and mix well. Beat in the heavy cream, or melted chocolate*. (If using chocolate, be sure to add it WHILE the mixer is going.)  Add in the berries. Mix until combined.

 *the wateriness of the berries tends to 'break' the buttercream. The heavy cream or melted chocolate will bind it back together.

Monday, April 22, 2013

{Star Wars Party}

It's almost that time of year. In just a couple weeks, it will be Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth, the Unofficial Star Wars Day.

I love May the Fourth. I walk around all day saying, Happy Star Wars Day! If I get quizzical looks, I say, "May the Fourth be with you!". Then people realize how big of a geek I actually am and run away screaming.

Nerd alert!

May the Fourth has become pretty popular over the last few years, so more and more people know about it, which to me, is both more fun and less at the time time. I realize I am a complicated woman.

I'm ok with this.

It's been almost an entire year since I threw this party, and sadly, I have no plans to do another this year. May is always crazy busy anyway. This was a very simple party to pull together though. I've mentioned that my parties are often super easy with the occasional one that requires months of planning. This is definitely the former. In fact, I had only a few ideas until the day of. Much of this requires little to no prep.

One of the most important things about this party are the little name signs. You can make them like mine, or just type the name on a piece of paper. If you don't make the signs, your party really loses the impact. Here is the font I used, Star Jedi. It's free at!

There are lots of Star Wars party ideas over at Pinterest. If what I've got doesn't float your starship, head on over there. They have MUCH more complicated parties & different ideas as well. Some of my ideas are from there, but many are my own.

The Food:

Padme's Pizza: Pizza

Pretzel Rods, dipped in white chocolate & sprinkles*

Yoda Soda:
Green Hawaiian Punch, Frozen Orange Juice, 2 Cans of Sprite, Rainbow Sherbet

Coruscant Rolls:
Cresent Rolls

Chewy's Cheese Spread: My 1.2.3. Cheeseball

Qui-Gon Ginger Snaps:
Ginger Snaps (store bought)

Totooine Trail Mix:
Chex Mix (from a bag, in this case!)

Cantina Chips: Tortilla Chips

Wookie Cookies: Cookies (store bought)

Cloud City Cake: Angel Food Cake (store bought)

Ewok Droppings: Chocolate Covered Raisins

Hanburger Cheese Dip:
1/2 Pound Hamburger, browned
1 can Rotel tomatoes & Green chilies, undrained
1 pound Velveeta, cut into cubes

Place all into crock pot on LOW, stir occasionally until melted (about an hour)
Serve with tortilla chips

*the lightsabers would have been much better in chocolate colored red, green, etc, but I didn't have any, and I mentioned, I did most of this day of.

Upon arrival, everyone picked a name tag from the pile (name side facing down). I got this one

Yeah, I'm a total kick butt, take names kinda princess. Let's forget the part where I made out with my twin brother though, eh?

Really, George Lucas? REALLY???

We happen to own Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, so, we played that.

Then we ended our night with our classic Game Night game. Visual Telephone. You can see photos of that here.

So, that was it! Just a quick, fun party for Star Wars Day. This would be great for a Star Wars Watch Party too!

Also, please note my niece's totally cool Lightsaber chop sticks in the first photo. She wouldn't let me keep them. Her heart is icy and cold.

Have a great Star Wars Day everyone! May the Fourth be with YOU!


Friday, April 12, 2013

{Very Berry Milkshake Cookies}

There was a spider in my shower.

A big one. Just sitting there. Looking at me.

Seriously dude? That is NOT cool. You don't see me coming into your little spider bathroom, do ya?



I hate spiders. Like, scream like a little girl hate. I've been known to cry. I realize that I am like a zillion times bigger than them, but NO.

I'm a farm girl. Bugs do not bother me. Bees? Wasps? I don't freak out and run away. When I was a kid my brother and I used to catch garter snakes. I dug worms with him to go fishing. I had a pet bullfrog. And mice, hamsters, and gerbils.

I'm pretty friendly when it comes to other creatures.

Just not spiders. With their creepy 8 legs and creepy 8 eyeballs.

I blame my second grade teacher. In her science class I learned of the extra eyeballs. Folks, it freaked me out. I've never been the same since. This is on your head, Mrs. Yochum!

Anyway, back to my shower. He was just sitting there and I wasn't having in. No one to cry to, I was home alone. I didn't dare leave the room for fear he'd take off and then he could be ANYWHERE. There was nothing to smush him with other than toilet paper and my bare hands. NO.

I squirted him with toilet bowl cleaner. I love you Tidy Bowl!

I'd apologize to the spider for his untimely demise, but NO.

Afterwards, I was emotionally wrought. I needed a cookie.

Luckily, I had these.

I had every intention of calling these 'Lightly Lemon Cookies with Berry Butterceam", then the Bean ate one. He declared they tasted JUST like a milkshake. Later, the husband ate one. He said something like "OMG, he is right. MILKSHAKE COOKIES". My hubs is the normal, "Yeah, that's good", "those are OK", "I like them", or my personal favorite "they aren't bad". Well, YAY, I'm so glad to know they 'aren't bad'. Le sigh. However, he used the word "astonishing" with these cookies. I'm prrrrrrrrretty sure they are going in the Favorites File.

I started off with a recipe for New York Black and White cookies and adapted to what I wanted.

If you've never had a Black and White (and I haven't), they are an amazing texture. Somewhere between a Whoopie Pie & a Sugar Cookie. In other words, perfect. Whoopie Cookie!

One finished, I topped with a Mixed Berry Buttercream, or as it is now known in my house, Milkshake Buttercream.

These cookies are fat, fluffy, tender, and delicious. I hope you all love them as much as my family.

These are a great cookie for summer.

A summer with few spiders, I hope.


OH, and since my kid is weird, here is how he likes his. Gross, right?

He only used a fork because I MADE him. Can you imagine THAT mess? Ahh... teenagers.



Very Berry Milkshake Cookies
Recipe adapted from Black & White Cookies by Bakingdom
Yield: approx 18 cookies

 For the Cookies:
1 cup cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest*
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice*
1/2 cup milk 

*This is a very light lemon flavor, but if you are not a fan you can skip the lemon.

Preheat to 375 degrees F

In a large bowl, mix together your flours, baking powder, and salt.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar in a little at a time, and mix again until light and fluffy. Add the egg & egg yolk. Beat again until fluffy. Scrap the sides if needed. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Follow with half the milk, again mixing until just combined. Repeat process 1/3 of the flour, then the other 1/2 of the milk, ending with the last 1/3 of flour. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix in quickly and lightly. Be careful not to overmix.

Drop the batter onto parchment lined cookie sheets. These are large cookies, I just a 2 Tablespoon scoop. Leave 2" between cookies. Bake until firm and the edges brown. About 15 (to 18) minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to cooling racks. Cool completely before icing.

Milkshake Buttercream
(Mixed Berry Buttercream)
Recipe by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup solid shortening (crisco, etc)
1/4 cup finely crushed berries**
1 Tablespoon heavy cream Or 1 Tablespoon melted and lightly cooled white chocolate

**I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, and blackberries

Beat butter and shortening until fluffy. Add powered sugar and beat. Beat in the heavy cream, or melted chocolate***. If using chocolate, be sure to add it WHILE the mixer is going.  Add in the berries. Mix until combined.

***the wateriness of the berries tends to 'break' the buttercream. The heavy cream or melted chocolate will bind it back together.

Spread on top of cookies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

{Pizza Bites}

The Bean is turning 16 tomorrow!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of that occasion, I'm posting one of his favorite things in the world. Pizza.

The kid would eat it every day if he could. He named off his perfect food day a couple days ago. What he would eat EVERY DAY if he could:

Waffle Crisp Cereal



Ah, such a health nut, I know, I know.

I'm sure you are all quite aware he does NOT eat that every day, much to his despair. Poor mistreated boy. I know you are all so very, very sad for him.

This is the latest pizza treat I've made to feed his addiction.

I'm sure you've seen Pizza Bites before. I've found lots of them made with biscuits & pizza dough. Mine are just a wee bit different. They are made with frozen roll dough. They are SO much better than the biscuit kind and SO much easier than the homemade pizza dough kind!

They are super simple, but take a while to prep because the rolls need to rise. I used the quick rise option on the back of the bag, but they still took over an hour to rise.

Once they've risen, you will take them out of the pan, and cut into pieces. You will get 2 for each roll. There are only 3 of us, so I only did 6 rolls (12 pizza bites). You can make this recipe in whatever size you like!

Let me apologize for the poor photos. We just wanted to EAT!!

Turn your risen dough out onto a floured surface and cut.

Place toppings you want. I just did 1 pepperoni and about a teaspoon of mozzarella. You could add another pepperoni, or a few diced veggies. They won't hold a lot though, of course.

Now, pull and tug, and twist and turn until your toppings are covered. 

Place into greased pan (this is only a 6" pan, so they probably look bigger than they actually are, though they are not tiny!).

Bake. With about 5 minutes left to bake, pull them out and wash with melted butter and spices. You can use garlic and parsley, or an Italian spice blend.

Serve with pizza sauce for dipping!

and... gooey goodness inside....

The Bean very much loved these and said maybe THESE could be his snack every night.

Yeah, I'm feeling a big ole NO on that too.

Happy Birthday to my one and only baby! Momma loves you, Bean.



Pizza Bites
By Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers
Makes 12 Pizza Bites

6 Frozen Rolls
12 teaspoons Mozzarella Cheese
12 Pepperoni Slices
1-2 Tablespoon(s) Butter, melted
Pizza Sauce for dipping
Other fillings, if desired
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder & 1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian Spice blend
Allow rolls to rise.

Turn out risen rolls onto floured surface and work in a bit of flour. Cut into 12 pieces.

Preheat oven to 350* F

Stretch out your pieces a bit and add fillings. Just a little of each. Once filled, work the dough around the fillings to twist and close.

Place these with the seam side down into a greased pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (check at 15). With a few minutes left, take the rolls out and wash with melted butter & spices.

Return to oven until finished.

Serve piping hot with warm pizza sauce.

Monday, April 1, 2013

{Doctor Who Birthday Cake}

The Bean is about to turn 16. Incredible, unbelievable, totally annoying, but true.

My baby isn't a baby anymore.

Every year, as I mentioned in this post, since the family is already here (his birthday is April 9th), we have his birthday get together on Easter Sunday. He has a huge blowout each year in May, when it's warmer, with masses of teens, but the family party is on Easter.

He has declared Doctor Who is favorite show, so, it seemed only natural to make him a Doctor Who cake. I'd considered Harry Potter  & a general "geek" cake (with elements from lots of geek shows/movies), but I went with my first thought of the Doctor.

I've only been using fondant since Christmas when I made my Buche De Noel, so I'm still quite a noob at it.

You can see my tutorial for easy ducks & frogs  here. Do you want to see it after I just called myself a noob? I dunno, but they are SUPER easy, and totally cute!! SO, yes, I think you do.

I set to work determined to make this cake though, and this is the result.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

wibbly wobbly TARDIS. Or, as my friend Lynette so kindly put it, 'artistic and stylized', with a tiny fez.

Fezzes are cool. 

Know what else is cool? Yeah, bow ties.

The TARDIS is fondant wrapped around a Rice Krispie Treat base, the rest of the elements are full fondant. I made the shapes for the door (and yeah, I never got around to the windows, oops) with a piece of thin cardboard folded into a square).  For the dalek, I used tooth picks for his eye and arms with fondant accents and a food writer. The 16 is just rolled fondant, the stars are simply cut with a cookie cutter. The bow tie is rolled, cut, and folded fondant.  Everything is washed with a Luster Dust to give it a sheen.

The cake itself is two 8" layers topped with two 6" layers.

So, there you have it. The Bean's 16th birthday cake. No, the one in May will NOT be this complicated. Actually, it's just going to be cupcakes. Easy and peasy.

I'm not gonna lie, it was super sad to see this chopped up! However, his Facebook comment made it worth the effort.

Thank goodness.


Doctor Who Cake Supplies

2- 8" cake layers
2- 6" cake layers
Rice Krispie Treats
Gel Food Coloring
Small Star Cookie Cutter

*I used almost 2 recipes

** insert into the cake for sturdiness (I used about 8 cut to fit)
and 2 for the stars.


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