Last weekend was full of baking! It began with the Harvest Apple Cupcakes which were a big hit! However, the baking bug was not satiated, so I had the urge to make cookies. Plus, what else is there to do on a gloomy fall Sunday afternoon?
I knew cookies would be far less time consuming than something like cupcakes. Plus, leftovers are much easier to transport since they can be easily packaged and I wouldn’t have to worry about frosting getting messed up. So, thumbing through the MBC, I decided on the Cracked Sugar Cookies.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I am lucky enough to have off on Fridays. While this is great for practical reasons like doctor’s appointments and getting my car’s oil changed, it also allows me enough time to actually do something I enjoy: bake. This past Friday, I was still riding the apple wave that started the weekend before when I went apple picking with some friends.
I knew I wanted to work with apples this week, but I also wanted to make something different. I was tired of just making cookies or brownies. It seems that I had been making a lot of those lately. Then I remembered that there was a “harvest-themed” recipe in the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. After looking it up, I knew that this was the recipe I had to make this week.
There were a few reasons why this recipe spoke to me this week.
Friday was the first day of October, and to be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better Fall day! The sun was out, but it was a cooler day, and the air was nice and crisp. After taking my usual morning walk, I had the urge to make yummy Fall treats. I was craving the scent of pumpkin spice, warm baked goods, and maybe even chocolate!
Over the Labor Day holiday, we had some people over the house. It was mainly just family, but, as you could have guessed, I had to make the dessert. I was really in the mood for banana pudding but I also wanted to make something beyond the traditional vanilla –especially since most of the people who came to the little get-together are chocolate-lovers.
It took me almost no time at all to realize that the Magnolia Bakery Handbook had a recipe for chocolate banana pudding and I was sold! Simple and delicious, but also something a little different than the regular banana pudding.
In the recipe, it asks you to use the chocolate Nilla wafers, but I wasn’t able to find them, so I used the regular vanilla and it worked just fine. Plus I find that store-bought, chocolate cookies are not really chocolate-tasting. So, for me, personally, the vanilla Nilla wafers probably were for the best. Since the chocolate Nilla wafers would have added a bit more chocolate flavor, I did use extra mini chocolate chips.
Also to bring out the flavor of the chocolate, I took a page out of Ina Garten’s cookbook and added about a half teaspoon of espresso powder to the whipped cream. This provided a subtle hint of coffee-flavor, but not too much to overwhelm the flavor of the chocolate. And better still, the caffeine didn’t keep anyone awake past their bedtime!
Since I’ve made banana puddings a couple of times before, Ina’s recipe and one from the Magnolia Bakery Handbook, I didn’t take too many pictures. But, I do highly recommend this dessert. It’s the perfect twist on the classic, but without changing too much or making you go crazy. As usual though, banana pudding won’t keep in the fridge for more than 2 days. After that the wafer cookies become too soggy — but, to be honest, I’ve never had my puddings last longer than a day after being served!
This time, I was in the mood for brownies but I wanted something a little bit fancier than your usual brownies. So, I decided to make the brownies fit for the rich: Billionaire Brownies. A shortbread crust drizzled with some caramel then topped with a lush fudge brownie sounds like heaven, right?
Well, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Here’s what happened.
I had a few days off from work this week. I didn’t go anywhere, I was able to take some time for myself. While I didn’t get everything done that I wanted (mainly due to my own laziness and poor planning skills…and the fact that I took a nap one afternoon), I did spend the majority of Tuesday in the kitchen making something tasty.
I also took the time to try and take some halfway decent photos of what I made, which you can see in this post! I am really working on upping my photography game.
So what did I make?
It appears that I am on a Magnolia Bakery kick lately. I’m not sure if it’s because of an article about their vanilla cupcakes is making the rounds online or I’m still just infatuated by the cookbook itself. Whatever the reason, I decided to tackle a recipe from the Icebox Desserts chapter this week.
Last week, I came home from work and was in the mood to bake. But, by the time I got home, ate dinner, and did some chores, I was not in the mood to go to the store. So, I had to pick a recipe that called for ingredients that I already had on-hand.
Enter Brown Sugar Cookies from the Magnolia Bakery Handbook. I recalled that this recipe was in the book and they looked interesting, so I seized this opportunity to make them. The only downside was the recipe required that the dough chill for at least 30 minutes before baking. Ms. Lloyd says that her cookie recipes should actually chill overnight before baking, but 30 minutes will do. In fact, I let this chill for a little over an hour before I started the baking process.
Over the weekend, I was finally able to see some friends for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Both of these friends were former co-workers who have moved onto bigger and better opportunities. It is so strange, sometimes. You go from seeing certain people almost every day for years then suddenly overnight it’s over. It’s the same thing with graduating high school and even college.
We still keep in touch and had plans to see each other regularly, but the pandemic kind of put those plans on hold. We are now hoping to restart our regular visits.
We decided that I would host the little get-together, so naturally, I made a couple things. I made a lovely dip as an appetizer. In fact, it was Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) Eight-Layer Dip. But the star of the show was the dessert!
This dessert is featured in the Banana Pudding chapter of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Banana Pudding seems to be their signature treat at the bakery. The chapter contains variations on the basic BP recipe: salted caramel, java chip, peanut butter, etc.
All of them look delicious. So, I figured combining the deliciousness of banana pudding with Nutella would be a hit! And it was!
But, I will say, I think the recipe for Banana Pudding that I made from Ina’s Garten’s cookbook tasted better. Maybe next time I’ll try that recipe with the Nutella addition!
I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’ve made a recipe out of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Almost two months! Where has the time gone?
A few weeks ago, my family hosted some family members for a little get-together. It was the first one since the pandemic started and since we all had become fully vaccinated, and it was held outdoors, we felt safe enough.
I was asked to provide dessert for the occasion, which of course, I jumped on! I made two desserts. The first one was Ina Garten’s Boston Cream Pie and the second was these Peanut Butter Icebox Bars. I really liked this one since this was a no-bake recipe so it made my life a bit easier.
This recipe was one of the easiest ones I’ve ever made and the result? Decadent peanut butter clouds that were a huge hit!
While they were tasty and well-received, I did taste a little too much cream cheese for my liking. If I made them again, I will probably use more peanut butter or a little less cream cheese — or maybe both! Also, I ended up using way more caramel sauce than called for. I probably needed double the amount in the recipe to “thinly coat” my 9×13 pan.
The only other downside to these was the fact that they would “melt” quickly. There is no gelatin in these bars, so in order to stay firm, it relies solely on the cream cheese consistency. Once they are held in your hands, from either just handling them or eating them, they do warm up a bit and start to lose their shape. Leaving them out on a hot day? Forget about it, they will start to spread.
But have no fear! I’ve found a solution — well actually, my mom did. She froze some of the pieces. When we tried them a few days later, they tasted even better and stayed firm which I think improved the taste a bit. Thanks, Mom!
Cut these on the smaller side since they are quite rich. The crust alone was a treat!
My counter while the crust was cooling. I was anxiously waiting to do the next step of the process!
I tried to take a close-up shot and be artsy. I only realized when I went to upload it to the blog that this photo has the tray in focus and not the topping, which is what I was going for. *sigh*
Completed and chilled! Nom…nom…nom! It’s going to be a bit warm today. I wish I had one of these frozen to snack on later.
I recently completed my Master’s degree. So of course I had to celebrate the achievement! For me, celebrating includes baking and decorating a cake….and of course eating it! So, naturally, I turned to a recipe out of my favorite baking cookbook: The Magnolia Bakery Handbook.
I had been eyeing this recipe for quite sometime. I loved the idea of banana in a cake and combined with chocolate chips I thought “How bad could it be?” Plus it used one of my favorite ingredients. Nutella! I swear, I think Nutella was originally designed for the Gods, but it somehow made its way to Earth. Luckily for us, we now get to taste this wonderful ingredient.