Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

gallery August 18, 2016 2 responses
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Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

My youngest son Bodee loves, and I mean LOVES pumpkin scones from a super popular coffee chain. I was almost going to make them, but decided to make my pumpkin spice baked donuts instead. They are every bit as pumpkin(y), but even more moist and fluffy than the scones are. Most people shy away from making donuts because it involves grease, frying and a neat little gadget that plops the donut batter into the oil in a perfect donut formation. These are super easy, take less than 30 minutes, and are baked!

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

I needed some carbs. Just yesterday, my oldest went off to college. I was really thinking about her a few days before when I wrote my weekly entry about her leaving the nest. It was really rough when I was coming up with the pictures for her senior party movie a few months ago, but I think I handled the actual move-in day pretty well. Today… we carbed out. First, we went to a local favorite, Taco Republic. AMAZE – btw. Then… we donutted. A lot.

These pumpkin spice baked donuts are so good and so simple to make. My one tip is that you don’t secure these in a plastic bag or cover them for too long. They really need to breathe and they need their own space. If you cover them for too long, they will become a little soggy. Don’t let that happen. You went to all this trouble to make these gorgeous pumpkin donuts – don’t treat them this way. Just kidding. Not about covering them though. Don’t do that. If you want to give them as a gift, put them in a cardboard box, then cover each one with wax paper or tissue paper. Deliver them before 2-4 hours for maximum flavor and texture.

Spice is so nice

They are so yummy. They are pillowy. The pumpkin is J U S T enough where you can taste the pumpkin and spice, but it’s not overpowering. You can also substitute more cinnamon in if you would like. I happen to like pumpkin pie spice, but I don’t want it to be overkill. This is why I use a little nutmeg and a little cinnamon instead of straight pumpkin spice. Play with the flavors and see which combination you prefer! You could also make a sugar cinnamon glaze to pour on top instead of the cinnamon sugar. Both would be just as good on the pumpkin spice donuts.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Donuts


30 Minutes
Serves: 12-18


  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350.

Spray non-stick spray on donut pans. (If you only have one, it’s ok. Just cook one, then cook the 2nd when cooled)

Beat the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, salt, baking powder, and seasonings together until well combined. Mix in the flour until JUST combined.

Spoon in the batter into the donut pan until almost covering the middle section. (a little over 3/4 full if possible). Cook for 15-18 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Dust with cinnamon sugar mixture. (1 tsp cinnamon to 3 Tbsp sugar) ratio. Place in bowl and cover donut completely. Set on plate. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

standard August 7, 2016 Please Comment
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Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust has to be my hubby’s favorite desserts I make. It’s either the top, or in the top 3 for sure. He also loves an eclair cream pie, so I think the cream pies win it for him.

Secret ingredient?

This banana cream pie has a special ingredient in the crust which I never really would have thought to try, but when I think about it, it’s actually pretty genius! It’s banana! You might think it’s something you could leave out, but after having it in it, I wouldn’t dare. I would also note that it is important to wait until the banana is somewhat ripe. It will definitely affect the taste of the recipe if you use a partly green banana.

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

Takes 1 hr + 30 mins
Serves 6-8 people


For banana graham cracker crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mashed up banana
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Banana custard filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn starch plus 3 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract or can use a vanilla bean
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 ripe bananas


    1. In a food processor, take graham crackers and pulse until resembles crumbs.
    2. Put crumbs in a bowl and add sugar and mashed banana. Try to get the banana incorporated throughout as much of the crust as you can. Add in melted buttered stir until all combined.
    3. Place banana graham cracker mixture into your 9 1/2″ or 10″ pie dish using fingers to gently press mixture all around and up sides. Don’t worry if it feels like it may come apart. When it is baked, and sets, it will stay together. Let sit in the refrigerator 35-45 minutes.
    4. In the meantime, in a pot on the stove, combine cornstarch, sugar and salt on medium high heat.
    5. Add whipping cream, whole milk and egg yolks. Whisk constantly for approximately 7-8 minutes or until the custard has a slight boil and thickens. You can turn it down during this process but only if you still have a slight simmer.
    6. Remove from heat & stir in butter and vanilla or vanilla bean (scraped) if using.
    7. Transfer custard to a bowl and cover with saran wrap (on the custard with fingers – not just on the bowl) to avoid lumps or skin forming and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    8. Preheat oven to 350 and take pie crust out of the refrigerator. When preheated, cook crust for 15 minutes. Let cool completely when done.
    9. Take custard out of refrigerator and put 1 cup of it onto cooled crust. Top with a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat with 2 more layers.
    10. Let pie sit in refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours for best results. If you cut it before then, it may not stay set up. Overnight is best.
    11. Top with whipped cream, chocolate, caramel sauce -whatever you like!

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust


Campfire Chocolate Chip Cookie Smores Pie

gallery August 5, 2016 Leave a response
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Campfire Chocolate Chip Cookie Smores Pie

Gather around the campfire and get ready to have some kicked up chocolate chip cookie smores pie! We took the traditional campfire treat and kicked it up just a couple of notches. I’m not the biggest fan of graham crackers. I’m just not. I also am not a fan of graham crackers and chocolate together. Having said that, I came up with a Campfire Chocolate Chip Cookie Smores Pie that will knock your socks off! It still has the yummy chocolate and marshmallow with just cookie instead of the cracker.

First, I made these delicious EASY 30 Minute Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Cups the other night and had some leftover chocolate chip cookie dough.  I also had some marshmallows on hand. The cookie dough was the packaged, pre-made kind, so it was really easy and fast. It makes things super fast when you can use ready made. Of course, I love to make things from scratch, but if time is an issue -pre made chocolate chip cookie dough is totally acceptable.

Remember, you can make any variation you want! Experiment and use what you have on hand, or what flavor combinations you love!


Campfire Chocolate Chip Cookie Smores Pie

Campfire Chocolate Chip Cookie Smores Pie


  • 1 Package of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (brand is your preference)
  • Marshmallows (however many you like)
  • 1 Can of Whipped Vanilla Icing
  • Couple of Hershey Bars (or any brand chocolate bar)
  • More melted Hershey’s chocolate with a little cream added for drizzable (that should be a word) sauce

Takes ,
serves 2-4


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Press your cookie dough into a cast iron skilled about 1/2 inch in thickness. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Check that the cookie is a nice brown color. Each oven varies and of course, each thickness varies in cooking time.
  3. Take out and let cool for 10 minutes. Now, put your oven on broil.
  4. Add chocolate bar and let melt for 5 minutes. Spread all over cookie. Once spread, let cool. Spread vanilla icing on top of chocolate then sprinkle marshmallows all over.
  5. Put into oven and you should most definitely not walk away. It only takes 30-45 seconds for marshmallows to brown. Of course, you could always torch the tops if you have a fancy creme brûlée’ torch.
  6. Finally, remove and top with chocolate sauce or sprinkles.

Enjoy!!! If you make this, please make sure to tag me so I can see it!



EASY 30 Minute Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Cups

standard August 4, 2016 Please Comment
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Cups
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First of all, remember how easy those Lemon Tart Cookie Cups were to make? I love chocolate chip cookies and I love chocolate chip cookie cakes. I thought, why not combine the two AND make it super simple, easy and quick to make store bought cookie dough but in chocolate chip cake cup form? Also, do you remember getting to have a chocolate chip cookie cake when you were younger at parties? Those were the BEST parties.

Let’s talk chocolate chip cookie cakes

It seems like chocolate chip cookie cakes from the mall typically have a white icing and a black icing. However, the mall’s chocolate chip cookie cakes can be a bit pricy. So, I decided to figure out a way to bring the same delicious flavors of the mall’s chocolate chip cookie cakes home where it’s not super expensive either.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Cups

I made one change to the chocolate chip cookie cakes you get at the mall, though. I switched out the chocolate icing for chocolate pudding. You can use regular chocolate pudding, or a dark chocolate pudding. (Your choice) For ease, I used a tube of chocolate chip cookies you find at any grocery store. (Again, your choice in brand) I also used just a whipped, vanilla icing straight out of the can. Chocolate icing would probably be fine as well. Most of all, it is your choice to have fun with. Enjoy being creative!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Cups:

1 package of store bought cookie dough in sheet form (not roll)
A box of instant dark chocolate or regular chocolate pudding
Nonstick spray
1 can of whipped vanilla icing


Preheat oven to 350. Follow your directions on the pudding mix and allow enough time to set up.

Spray mini cupcake pan with nonstick spray. Take each little square section from cookie dough sheet and press down gently with your fingers into a mini cupcake pan. (regular would probably take 2-3 of them) Press until cookie dough is evenly spread out but not too thin where there are holes. Also, paying attention to them being evenly spread out.

Bake in oven for approximately 11 minutes. (check periodically since all ovens are different) They may puff up all over. That’s ok. When they are golden brown to brown, take out of oven. Let cool completely. Also, if you do not, your cookie will not come out of the pan easily.

Only when cooled, take a sharp knife and gently slide in between each cookie cup and the pan, wiggling back and forth to release. Take your hands and gently pull cookie cup out.

Take a small spoon amount of pudding, followed by a small amount of vanilla icing to top.

Finally, you can top with cocoa powder dusting, or you could also top with shaved chocolate.





Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes

gallery July 30, 2016 2 responses
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Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes

Ever really notice..a fresh blueberry is blue, but yet, when you cook them… they turn dark purple??? I’ve noticed this before. I really have, but I guess because I was photographing them I really, really noticed. When I went to take pics of the blueberry baby cheese danishes, the lens definitely noticed.

When I went to photograph the fresh blueberries, they were almost rustic looking. I could picture the fresh blueberries sitting in a crate on top of a worn, white, wood pallet with dark grays, and possibly burlap bows. It was fun to photograph. It was almost effortless, and almost every shot was a beautiful shot. Now… the cooked blueberries on the other hand… was a bit more challenging. Not challenging to eat. Let me make that clear. It was just a bit trickier to get the shots just right.

Coffee anyone?

These Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes are perfect with coffee. It is seriously one of my favorite morning rituals. You could easily swap out any fruit filling. I chose blueberries because I had them on hand. I first started looking for turnover recipes because I wanted to use the fresh blueberries. That’s when I came across Lindsey posted this Easy Cream Cheese Danish recipe that I had to try.

Easy Substitutions:

I did not have the Grands Crescent Rolls and I did not have other fruit filling.  So, I made my Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes with regular Grands Crescents and blueberry. I also prefer my cream cheese filling just a tad bit sweeter, so I added more sugar.


2 cans Pilsbury Crescent Rolls
1 can Blueberry Pie Filling or Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling (recipe below)

8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of sugar

Blueberry Pie Filling:

2 to 1/2 cups fresh blueberries for cooking and 1/2 cup to stir in after

3 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

dash of salt

2-3 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp butter

zest of 1/2 a lemon or 1 tsp


Place crescent rolls into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350.
If you’re making the Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling, you can make it now and save it in a bowl until you are ready to use.

Pie Filling:

Take the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water and stir in a pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of blueberries and bring to a boil. Let cook until it’s thick. (usually 1-2 minutes more) Remove from heat and add butter and lemon zest. Your consistency should be like pie filling consistency. If it’s not thick enough, add a slurry of cornstarch and water 1/2 Tbsp at a time. Let come to a boil again. Remove from heat. If it’s too thick, add a little water. Set aside and let cool.

Cream Cheese Filling:

Take your cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Taste. If you prefer it a bit sweeter, add more sugar.

Take the crescent rolls out of the can. Lay the roll on a cutting board and cut (like you would be cutting cookies off of a roll) about 1/2″ thickness. Make a well in the center of each one. (I used a thin bottle that was around 1 ” in diameter on the bottom, and I also covered it in foil) and pushed down in the center of each one. I used my knuckle to make a defined well in the center.

Take a small spoonful of the cheesecake mixture, then a small spoonful of the blueberry mixture.

Cook for approximately 12 minutes.

Finally, to really seal the deal…. to really bring out the creamy cheese flavor and the succulent blueberry filling… one must have it with a cup of coffee. TRUST ME. Just do it! It is so delicious together!

Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes

Blueberry Baby Cheese Danishes





The BEST Banana Cupcakes Recipe EVER

standard July 24, 2016 1 response
The BEST Banana Cupcakes Recipe EVER
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This is the BEST Banana Cupcakes Recipe EVER.  This was the verdict from my son, anyway. These banana cupcakes are the perfect combination of a muffin and cupcake in one with a delicious banana flavor combined with creamy, rich buttercream icing. So if you want the BEST Banana Cupcakes Recipe EVER … you’ve come to the right place!

For technical folk, this may fall under a hybrid of a banana muffin and banana cupcake. I don’t care if you want to classify it a planet then take away the title decades later then restore it but with a sort of different label….ok…it is an amazing banana thing in some sort of muffin tin thing with a crazy good velvety, creamy, melt in your mouth icing that you could top with caramel, pecans and/or whipped cream. Combine it with coffee – forgettttta-bout it. Game over. So good. Delicious. Talk of the town. The envy of the women’s club at potluck night.

Some banana cupcakes are like a pound cake. They have the banana taste, but they are extremely dry and lack the moist flavor a real banana makes in a recipe. Other banana cupcake recipes are more on the muffin side, where they are extremely dense and heavy. I wanted a banana cupcake that was light but that also packed on as much banana flavor as possible.

Let’s talk icing. Sweet!

That was silly – sorry. Please forgive me. Really. Let’s talk icing.

You could definitely go with the traditional buttercream or cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar and vanilla route. Google buttercream recipes. A dozen will come up and they all yield about the same result  – and they are INCREDIBLE. If you want quick, easy, tried and true….go that route. I was feeling adventurous. I googled “buttercream icing” and I found a Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing recipe. Say that 10X fast! Ok, so it’s not that hard. To make it…however….was a little more difficult than I thought. So, if you’re feeling adventurous – I’ll share with you the recipe I used. Again, if you want tried and true Brown Sugar Buttercream Recipe, then click here. It’s a recipe from The Scran Line that is much quicker than the one I used.

Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

The BEST Banana Cupcakes Recipe EVER


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of sour cream

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3 large (RIPE) bananas (a note on ripe bananas later)


Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, take your butter and sugar and beat on medium high speed for about 1-2 minutes. Add sour cream and vanilla. Turn your mixer down to medium low and add your eggs one at a time waiting about 10 seconds in between each one. Add your dry mix in halves or more until just combined. (do not overmix)

Add your banana and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. (do not overmix)

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full. Try to get each one the same amount. Cook for approximately 15-18 minutes depending on how hot your oven is.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

5 egg whites at room temp

1 1/2 C lightly packed brown sugar

1  C unsalted butter at room temp but not too warm

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Have your egg whites ready and your butter ready.

You will use a double boiler (a bowl fitting inside of a pan-NOT touching the water – on the stove with about an inch of simmering water). In the bowl, you will need the egg whites and brown sugar. I used a candy thermometer for accuracy. While whisking the brown sugar, egg white mixture, watch your thermometer. You want it to come to 160F.

Once the mixture gets to 160, the easiest thing is to use a stand mixer. Transfer the mixture in your stand mixer bowl and turn it up to high. You will want stiff peaks to form (roughly 8 minutes or so).

Here’s the tricky part. If your mixture is still warm, it will melt the butter and your whole thing will melt away. You don’t want that. Wait 15 minutes if you have to.

Add your butter 1 Tbsp or so at a time. Wait until the butter is mixed in, or you will see butter chunks. Butter chunks is usually ideal in other situations…but not this one. WAIT. About 20 seconds I guess. Then add more. Wait. Then add more. Wait. Then add more. (It takes time) Mine looked like it was ruined. Looked awful. I just kept with it. Added all the butter, then the vanilla. Add cinnamon if you want. If it’s too thick, add a bit of cream.[/recipe-directions]

The BEST Banana Cupcakes recipe EVER

Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

**Ripe bananas…. ok, so if you need them to ripen really quickly, you can put them in a paper bag and put in a dark drawer. Or, you can put the oven on 100 and leave them in for about 10-15 minutes. **

Simple German Chocolate Cake

standard July 24, 2016 1 response
Simple German Chocolate Cake
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A simple German Chocolate cake that is quick to make AND tastes like you have been baking for hours? Yes, please!

You can probably find many German Chocolate Cake recipes on the internet made from scratch. You can find plenty of older grannies who swear by their 4 generations, handed down recipes that are opposite of simple to make. I’m sure they are incredible, too! I wanted a German Chocolate Cake that was 1) amazingly chocolaty and 2) amazingly fast and easy to make. I use shortcuts when I can. Sometimes simplicity is a wonderful thing.

I decided to use the same recipe I always use for chocolate cake. It’s the recipe on the back of a Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa box. Simple. Fast. Tried and true. Now, for the coconut frosting, there are a few more steps, but I promise you it will totally be worth it in the end.

Simple German Chocolate Cake Recipe:


2 C sugar

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C Hershey’s baking Cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 C milk

1/2 C vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C boiling water


Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour or cut out a circle of parchment paper and line the bottom of two 9″ baking pans. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on med speed 2 mins. Stir in boiling water. (batter will be super thin)
Bake approx 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the middle.

German Chocolate Cake Coconut Frosting:

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3/4 cups butter

4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

7-8 oz shredded coconut (about 2 to 3 cups)

1 3/4 chopped pecans

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Place milk, white sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla in saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook on medium heat approx 15 minutes or until thick and golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, pecans, and coconut.

I used Baker’s Melted Chocolate to drizzle chocolate on top – found in the baker section used for dipping strawberries. Can ice just in between and on top, or entire cake. Can also use cherries and/or whipped cream to decorate. You decide! Be creative with your German Chocolate Cake!

Simple German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Simple German Chocolate Cake

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups

standard July 18, 2016 Please Comment
Lemon Tart Cookie Cups
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There’s a lemon ice box pie I remember making with my mom and sister when I was little. As I grew older, I would order it from our favorite family-style cafeteria where the meringue was a mile high and the lemon cream was super tart. My mouth completely just watered just thinking about it. I seriously would anticipate how good it was going to be when I would pair it with a strong cup of coffee. Something about the cold, creamy, tart lemon combined with the silky, sweet meringue ~ then washed down with the strong coffee ~ mmmmmm. Yep. Level 10,000 mouth watering going on. These lemon tart cookie cups do not disappoint either.

I am a big fan of when you don’t have a certain ingredient…improvise. This is what happened when I didn’t have any graham crackers and I also didn’t feel like making a pie dough from scratch. I had some sugar cookie dough (Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough) on hand, so I decided to just make little cookie cups. Bonus ** I don’t see why you couldn’t make sugar cookie cups with all sorts of other pies, just like the ones I made with Chocolate Chip Cookie dough.

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups


4 oz of frozen lemonade concentrate (let thaw out) or fresh lemon juice
1 Tube of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
8 oz whipped cream (I used cool whip)
14 oz condensed milk
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 tsp of sugar + more give or take after taste


Preheat oven to 350. I took about a Tbsp of the sugar cookie dough, wet my hands a little with a tiny bit of oil and smushed them down into a cupcake pan. With my fingers, I pressed along the edges to get as much of an even layer all around as i could. It’s ok if they are a little off. It makes them rustic looking! 🙂 You want them thin all around, but not so thin you make holes. Bake them off for approximately 8-10 minutes. They will look like they are puffing up to the sky. It’s ok. They will come back down. Once they are as golden brown as you like, take them out and let them cool completely.

In the meantime, take your condensed milk, lemon juice, and whipped cream and beat with a mixer until just combined. Set inside the refrigerator until lemon tart cookie cups are completely cooled off.

You can also make your meringue at this time and keep in the refrigerator as well. Get a metal or glass bowl (as cold as possible – can put in the freezer for 5 minutes prior) and take your egg whites  and cream of tartar and put them in the bowl. Whip on high until just foamy. Add sugar 1 tsp at a time as mixer is going. Taste. If you like your meringue a little sweeter, add more sugar.

Put lemon cream mixture in the cups and top with meringue. You can bake off the meringue if you’d like, or torch them. These can also be topped with just plain whipped cream to save even more time! Enjoy!!

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups

Lemon Tart Cookie Cups


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