Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly Bars

I love a simple, delicious dessert that you can make and bake in less than thirty minutes. Recipes like this are good to have in your back pocket! I baked these with the intention of sending them off to work with my husband, but they ended up being too yummy to part with.

Ingredients

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

1/3 cup melted butter

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13 x 9 baking dish. Combine crushed wafers, melted butter, and sugar. Press mixture into prepared dish. Bake 8 minutes. Sprinkle the nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips on top of hot crust. Pour condensed milk on top and do not mix. Note: the condensed milk may not cover the entire pan. Cover as much as possible but do not worry, it should spread in the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

It’s Fall y’all! (Ok, I know that was cheesy). I was really feeling the fall spirit this weekend and decided to make 2 different Fall treats: an old favorite and these yummy cupcakes. My old favorite is this bread from Baking with Josh & Ange. It is always moist, yummy, and easy! The only edit I made this time around was removing the cinnamon since my mom is allergic.

However, the cupcakes were a different ball game all together! They were quite the endeavor (over multiple days); however, the flavor is unlike anything I’ve tasted before. They were a delicious vanilla/ pumpkin/ chai combination. The frosting is also delicious – tastes like brown sugar and butter. So if you’re like me and are looking for a unique Fall treat that is a bit of a challenge, look no further!

Since I followed the recipe from Half Baked Harvest, I’m just going to link to it here.

Couple of notes…

  • Make sure you only mix half of your spice mixture with the 1/3 cup of sugar – I had to make it twice
  • Keep an eye on the cupcakes baking, I think I slightly overbaked mine. Bake for 18 min and then watch very carefully for the tops to set.
  • If you choose to put the frosting base in the fridge like I did, you’ll need at least 30-40 minutes for it to cool.

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

To celebrate the first day of September and the transition to fall, I thought these Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars would be appropriate! I love these because they’re a little non traditional but super easy to whip up!

Ingredients

1/2 of a 1 lb pack of Nutter Butters, crushed

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 block cream cheese

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

Roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 x 8 in dish with parchment paper. Mix melted butter and crushed Nutter Buttera together until all cookie pieces are coated. Press the mixture into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove crust from oven after 8 minutes but leave oven on.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until smooth, occasionally stopping to scrape down sides. Add egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix or you will be left with a too soft cheesecake. Pour mixture on top of crust and sprinkle peanuts on top. Bake until center is set and top is slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Hope you enjoy! Looking forward to the next several months and all the fall dessert goodness.

xoxo,

Katie

Orange Sweet Rolls

Orange Sweet Rolls

I’m beyond excited to write this post because I finally broke my unlucky streak with homemade dough!! Which says a lot considering I’ve been crying in the kitchen over my failed dough before. I’m going to try to document everything I did very well so next time I make dough I can come back to this post. My next feat to tackle: rolling the dough tightly so they look like rolls when baked, not whatever below is…… Don’t be fooled, they were still delicious! I used this Southern Living recipe but have written it out below with my little tweaks.

Ingredients

1 cup warm milk

1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons fast rise yeast, which is what I used)

1 cup sugar

4 cups All-Purpose flour (+ a couple tablespoons if necessary)

1/4 cup + 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon orange extract

2 large eggs

2/3 cup orange marmalade

3/4 tablespoons cinnamon

GLAZE

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk (more if you want thinner glaze)

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Combine milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl and mix until yeast is dissolved. let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Dough tip #1: once you come back after 5 minutes, make sure your milk mixture has begun foaming. If it has not, the yeast is dead.

Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of butter, salt, extract, eggs, and 4 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a stand mixture. Add the milk mixture and beat on a medium low speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth. Dough tip #2: if your dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour. I ended up adding at least another 1/2 cup of flour so my dough wasn’t too sticky. I used White Lily.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Spray the top with cooking spray, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Dough tip #3: preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, turn it off and let it cool a bit, then place your dough in there to rise. The optimal temperature is 85F.

While dough is rising, make the filling. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, marmalade, cinnamon, and 1/3 cup butter in a bowl.

Once dough has almost doubled in size, punch it down. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Dough tip #4: use your casserole dish to approximate measurements. I was aiming for a rectangle 15 x 12 inches, and my casserole dish was 13 x 9 inches. I aimed for a rectangle slightly larger on all sides than my dish.

Spread the filling onto the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the dough into a log, beginning on a long side. Cut the dough into 12 to 15 equal slices and place into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. Cover the dough and let rise again for 45 minutes.

If you are letting your dough rise in the oven, make sure to remove it before preheating your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Whisk all ingredients for the glaze together until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.


I was so impressed with how these turned out! If you make them I hope you enjoy them too, and feel free to let me know anymore dough tips you have!

xoxo,

Katie

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Believe it or not, this is the very first time I’ve made this cake combination. To be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I made a vanilla cake. But I wanted to go back to the basics this week!

Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

1 box vanilla cake mix

1 box vanilla pudding

3 tbsps AP flour

3 tbsps sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

Directions

Mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add wet ingredients and mix together completely. Split batter between 2 greased 8” cake pans and bake at 325F for 35 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

2.5 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp

5 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Beat butter on electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. With mixer on the lowest speed, add powdered sugar by 1/2 cup at a time. Add cocoa powder and mix until smooth and well combined. Mix in salt and vanilla extract. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. Frost cake once it is completely cooled.


Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Happy day after the 4th of July! If you’re like us, you’re enjoying a low-key day at home recovering from the weekend festivities.

However, this weekend, I made this beautiful patriotic trifle for dinner at a friend’s house. Honestly, it was the perfect 4th of July (or 5th of July) treat. Honestly, you could bring this to any gathering and it would be a show stopper. It is light, fruity, creamy, pretty, and easy!

I started with this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but I edited it a bit so I’m going to spell out my steps below.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temp – I recommend pulling out your cream cheese a couple hours before you plan to assemble your trifle
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 lb of pound cake, cubed – I decided to opt out of making this myself and bought a 3 pack of small pound cake loaves from Costco. I only used 1 of the loaves here, if that gives you an idea of how much you’ll need.
  • ~11 oz blueberries – I opted for extra blueberries instead of blackberries
  • 1 container of strawberries (1 lb) – I actually bought a large pack of strawberries and I was glad I had extras.

Instructions

  • I started the night before by prepping my fruits and pound cake. – I washed all the blueberries and washed/ cut all the strawberries. Then, I cut each pound cake slice into 3rd’s, each way – which resulted in small 1 in. cubes. This made assembly easier the next day.
  • ~ 2-3 hr before, set out your cream cheese on the counter. For me, I have to put mine on top of the fridge to keep a furry friend from enjoying/ stealing it 🙂
  • When you are ready to assemble, mix the block of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium/ high. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • With the mixer on low/ medium, slowly add the 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Then switch to the whisk attachment and mix on medium/ high until soft peaks begin to form. You want the cream to not be runny and be able to stand on its own.
  • Now you are ready to assemble! It doesn’t really matter “how” you do this, just be aware of the edges looking good (if you are using a glass trifle dish). I started with a layer of pound cake, then a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream, then a layer of strawberries. You should then only have room for 1 more layer of pound cake, a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream. Then just decorate the top with whatever you have left.
  • You’re done! This needs to stay in the fridge until serving.

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Peach Butter

Peach Butter

Baking in the summer and fall just feels different to me. It is something I look forward to most about each season. I love incorporating seasonal flavors, so naturally I was inclined to use peaches! I came across a recipe for Peach Butter and I knew I had to try it. Imagine this as Apple Butter’s summertime counterpart.

Ingredients

20-24 peaches, peeled and pitted (roughly 8 cups of purée)

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions

Place pitted and peeled peaches into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a purée. Pour purée into a large pot and add both sugars. Heat to boil on medium high heat and boil until the purée has thickened and reduced by 1/3. Continuously stir while purée is cooking to avoid scorching. Note: my butter never really reduced, but it did thicken. I cooked it for just over 20 minutes. All extra cooking time will do is thicken your butter, so don’t worry if yours does not reduce very well either.

After the peach butter has thickened, remove the pot from the heat, add spices, and mix until combined. Spoon butter into prepared jars until 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe mouths of jars clean and place lids on. If you want your Peach Butter to be shelf stable, you must process the jars in a water bath. Otherwise, keep jars in refrigerator.

I made roughly 4 pints with 20 peaches and just less than 8 cups of purée.


Ways to enjoy your Peach Butter:

– For breakfast slathered on a warm buttermilk biscuit…

– Mixed into some vanilla ice cream….

– As a glaze on pork chops or salmon…

The options are endless! Hope you enjoy this sweet taste of summertime.

xoxo,

Katie

Oreo Pie

Oreo Pie

Happy Sunday! I just love summer weekends. For us, this weekend was full of hanging out with friends and attending our first live sporting event in months! Now, I’m cuddling on the couch with my pup – life is good.

We were planning to host some friends at our house on Saturday night, so I was looking for a quick and yummy dessert that tasted like home. As you all know, my husband loves chocolate. This weekend though, I got a hankering for Oreos – so what better than Oreo pie?

I started with this recipe, but honestly I didn’t love it. I should’ve known better since I usually don’t like recipes that contain Cool Whip. Homemade whipped cream is just so easy to make, so why settle for less? Anyways… I’m going to share some of what I wished I had done in the recipe below…

Here is what you’ll need…

For the crust:

  • ~24 Oreo Cookies (I bought a family-sized package of Oreos and it worked perfectly for what you need for this recipe all together)
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened at room temp)
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • ~10 Oreo Cookies (Honestly, I would just add whatever you have left from the crust in)

Here’s what you’ll need to do…

For the crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 (I didn’t pre-bake the pie crust, but I wished I did)
  • Mix the ~24 Oreos in a food processor – I just used a rolling pin, but I think it turns out better the finer you can get the crumbs.
  • Stir the Oreo crumbs with the 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Firmly press the butter and crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a standard pie dish
  • Bake for ~10 minutes

For the filling:

  • Whip the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream on medium/ high until stiff peaks form – you can use the paddle attachment or whisk attachment on your standing mixer
  • Set aside – then whip the block of cream cheese and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar together on medium/ high until they are smooth
  • Fold in the whipped cream and 1 tablespoon of vanilla into the cream cheese (either by hand or in the mixer) until smooth – go easy!
  • Crush the remaining Oreo cookies and fold in to the mixture – go easy here too!
  • Pour the filling into the pie crust and then let sit in the fridge overnight for best results

This one is definitely a crowd-pleaser! I mean, who doesn’t like Oreos? It is also really easy and only requires a few ingredients too, which makes it perfect for company. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Happy Baking!

Rookie Rating: 5/5

xoxo,
Morgan

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

My dad requested Chocolate Cream Pie for Father’s Day. I usually don’t like to make things for the first time for someone else. I need a trial run. Especially pies that have to set right!!!! But I didn’t want to try this one first and then end up with two pies, so I just decided to go for it.

I used this recipe to start from and I listed my notes below!

Recipe Notes:

– I used store bought pie crust and saved my egg whites to brush the crust so it wouldn’t get soggy!

– I used half milk chocolate baking chips instead of all dark chocolate.

– My pudding was thickened almost completely after the 2 minute cook time. Be careful you don’t microwave it too long!

– I made my whipped cream “weep proof” by taking a tablespoon of plain gelatin, dissolving it in a tablespoon of water and microwaving it to smooth it out, and mixing it into the whipped cream. This should ensure the cream does not begin to run after a day or so.

Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and my pie set beautifully! This is definitely a good Chocolate Cream Pie recipe to start off with of you haven’t made one before like me.

Happy baking!

xoxo,

Katie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread

Hi friends – Happy Sunday! The “Sunday scaries” are real tonight as I start to shift my mind to work tomorrow after being at the beach all week. It was such a great week of family, games, and rest, which makes it hard to go back to reality.

However, as with all good vacations, Dylan and I felt the need to diet afterwards. We made a really yummy dinner of veggies, salmon, and pineapple on the grill tonight. But! Just because dinner is healthy, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get dessert too 🙂

Dylan had requested a chocolate chip “pizookie”, but I wanted to take it one step further. I found this recipe from my friend Sally (maybe one day we will be actual friends!) and it did NOT disappoint. This bread is easy, contains a lot of ingredients you probably already have, AND tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie in cake form. In fact, I even got a “good job honey” from my husband after he ate his second slice. I’m telling you, this is a winner.

Since I followed the recipe to a “t”, I’m not going to write it out, but instead give you a few pointers…

  • She calls for the eggs, butter, and sour cream at room temp; however, I felt a bit weird about leaving the sour cream out. Also, I didn’t feel bad about the sour cream being cold since the milk was going to be cold as well. Leaving the butter out to soften did really help when I creamed it with the sugar though.
  • I decided to not make the chocolate & peanut butter topping and I was glad I held off. The bread is so full of chocolate, you don’t really need anything else.
  • When you get to the part where you add the sour cream, mine definitely looked curdled. She mentions that is normal! My dough all pulled together when I added the dry ingredients and the milk.
  • I ended up baking mine for right at 55 minutes – just be careful when you get close to the one hour mark that you don’t overbake. Mine was perfect – the outside was a little crunchy, but the middle was gooey and moist.
  • The only things I didn’t have in my kitchen were mini chocolate chips and whole milk – honestly, I thought they were both worth the trip to the grocery store and helped the bread turn out so well.

I really don’t think you can mess this one up if you follow the recipe! It is so yummy and easy. Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan