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Cookies N’ Cream Macarons

22 Jun

Cookies N Cream Macarons 2

Now that I’ve learned to love making (as much as eating) macarons, I thought I’d share them with Adam since he’s never tried them. I told him to choose any flavor he liked, and cookies and cream was decided on. Oh, I was excited! And thankfully, he enjoyed them.. or the few that were left by the time they arrived.

I made these macarons by mixing in oreos with the almonds, and using the oreo filling as a component in the cream center. It tasted very similar to an oreo cookie, with a much different and in my opinion more pleasing texture.

Cookies N Cream Macarons

For the macarons:

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup oreos (cookie part only), finely ground; about 3-4 oreos
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • about 12 oreo centers
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • confectioners’ sugar

In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, oreos, and confectioners’ sugar. Sift into a mixing bowl and set aside. Cookies N Cream Macarons 4

In a medium mixing bowl, or stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy and soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar and continue to beat until the meringue becomes shiny and stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue, about 1/3 at a time. With a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until just combined before adding in the next third. When all the dry ingredients are incorporated, continue folding until the batter flows from the spatula in ribbons. Try not to under or over fold the mixture.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a wide, round tip. Pipe the batter into small circles (about 3 cm in diameter) spaced about 1 inch apart. Beat the baking sheet down against the counter to release air bubbles and to help the macarons form their “foot”. Sprinkle tops with crushed oreos, if desired. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to form a crust. You should be able to touch the macarons lightly without getting batter on your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the macarons in the bottom middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully peel macarons off the parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool, make your cream filling. Beat all ingredients together adding in sugar and extra cream to achieve the flavor and texture you desire. Match cookies up by size and sandwhich together with cream. Enjoy!


I sincerely hope you try your hand at making these and that you enjoy them as much as I did. If you’re having trouble with your batter, try using weighted measurements. Don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect size on every macaron when piping them. Simply match up the sizes when sandwhiching them together.

Also, a BIG thank you to SnazzyBiscuits for awarding me the Versatile Blogger award. It’s much appreciated, and I’m very thankful for all my readers and supporters!

Salted Caramel No Machine Ice Cream

17 Jun

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

There’s a frozen yogurt shop down the road from my house that I often visit. And when I say down the road, I mean I can walk there (which won’t be good for my thighs in the long run). They recently started serving a salted caramel flavor and my, oh my, did I fall in love! Over a big, heaping bowl one day I exclaimed to Adam that I was going to figure out a way to make it.. and I did!

When I say I did recreate it, I mean I made it in ice cream form. The tanginess of the yogurt in homemade froyo isn’t appealing to me, but sweet ice cream can brush my tastebuds any day. And being that I’m broke and don’t own an ice cream maker, I made this wonderful stuff without one.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream 2

For the ice cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup caramel bits
  • 3-5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoons salt

In a microwavable bowl, melt caramel bits with salt. Stir in 3 tablespoons of milk, adding more as needed to achieve a fairly thin substance. Let it cool completely. Meanwhile, whip the two cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir the salted caramel into the sweetened condensed milk until completely combined. Fold in the whipped cream, put in a freezable container (tupperware works fine), and freeze! 


As the temperature’s get hotter, this ice cream becomes more and more delicious. And it’s so simple. I adapted my no machine ice cream recipe from here.

English Breakfast Tea Cookies

7 Jun

English Breakfast Tea Cookie

I got very excited when I saw A Lot On Your Plate was hosting a bake-off this month for cookies, and of course I had to join in! The goal was to make the cookies as simple as possible so I went on search for the perfect recipe. I considered no-bake cookies because I love them oh so much, but figured that’s been done time and time again. Thankfully I happened upon this recipe that sounded equally delicious as it was easy.

I’m a sucker for hot tea. That’s probably why I get giddy when looking at tea pot/cup sets. After doing a research paper on the health benefits of tea my freshmen year, I became obsessed with the stuff. After finding this recipe for cookies with tea leaves baked right in, I knew I had struck gold. And simple.. you bet!

For the cookies:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon black tea leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon water

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Option 1:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, add all the dry ingredients and pulse until the tea leaves are finely ground. Next add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until a dough begins to form. On a sheet of wax or parchment paper, roll out your dough into a log. Wrap the paper around the log to smooth it out. At this point you can freeze your dough for later use or chill for 15 minutes before slicing into 1/3 inch pieces. Bake for 12 minutes or until sides begin to brown.English Breakfast Tea Cookie2

Option 2:

If you don’t own a large enough food processor there’s still hope! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and tea leaves (make sure the leaves are finely ground by pulsing them in a food processor if necessary). Beat the butter and granulated sugar together in a large bowl until combined. Beat in your vanilla and water. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. On a sheet of wax or parchment paper, roll out your dough into a log. Wrap the paper around the log to smooth it out. At this point you can freeze your dough for later use or chill for 15 minutes before slicing into 1/3 inch pieces. Bake for 12 minutes or until sides begin to brown.


English Breakfast Tea Cookie5

I love the little specks of black the tea leaves form in these cookies. Don’t worry if you think you must purchase full leaf tea for this recipe. Pop open a tea bag and it works just as wonderfully. They go nicely as a snack with afternoon tea or a large glass of milk and they work great for cut-out cookies as they hold their shape very well. Be adventurous and try flavored or green teas as an alternative! I found my recipe at TheKitchn. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

*Update: I recommend using strong brewed tea in place of the water to give it an added tea flavor.

S’mores Macarons

4 Jun

Okay, I did it. I broke down and jumped on the macaron bandwagon (not to be confused with the coconut-y macaroon treats). And, all I have to say for myself is that I’m glad I did!

After hearing and reading horror stories about making these little French delights, I was nervous to say the least. Here I’m going to take a second to brag and say that my macarons turned out on the very first try! That just means if I can make them, so can you! Maybe it helped that I had this little guy tagging along in the kitchen.

Paxton1

My pretty Persian, Paxton.

For my first batch, I decided on a s’mores flavor. It’s summertime, s’mores are fun treats, so why not turn them into macarons? I started with a basic chocolate macaron and added a marshmallow and graham cracker filling. They turned out quite tasty, and I found myself continually going back for seconds.

There are many little tips and tricks to making the ‘perfect’ macaron. I’ve read where you should use weighted measurements for best results, but lacking a kitchen scale, I used regular cups and tablespoons and still came out with great results.  It can all seem overwhelming, but it proved very fun once I got into the swing of it! With tons of flavor combinations to mix/match and choose from, macaron making is going to be a new favorite of mine. I’ve got my eye on cookies & cream next!

smores macarons

For the macarons:

3/4 cup slivered almonds, finely ground

2 extra large egg whites, at room temperature

Scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the filling:

2 cups marshmallow fluff

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature (optional)

graham crackers, crushed

Before starting, separate egg whites and let stand in a bowl covered with a paper towel until room temperature; about 2 hours. Let cream cheese come to room temperature as well.

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. In a small mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add in cocoa and whisk to combine. Add the powdered sugar mix to the almonds and process until blended. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, or stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy and soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar and continue to beat until the meringue becomes shiny and stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted.

Sift the almond mixture and discard any fine parts of almond left. Add the almond mixture to the meringue, about 1/3 at a time. With a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until just combined before adding in the next third. When all the dry ingredients are incorporated, continue folding until the batter flows from the spatula in ribbons. Try not to under or over fold the mixture.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a wide, round tip. Pipe the batter into small circles (about 3 cm in diameter) spaced about 1 inch apart. Beat the baking sheet down against the counter to release air bubbles and to help the macarons form their “foot”. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to form a crust. You should be able to touch the macarons lightly without getting batter on your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the macarons in the bottom middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully peel macarons off the parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool, make your marshmallow filling. If you want to cut the sweet, add the marshmallow fluff and cream cheese together and stir until well combined. If desired, simply use marshmallow fluff. Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin (or your hands). What to do with them is up to you! I incorporated them into my marshmallow filling, but you could also roll your finished macarons in the crushed crackers so they’ll stick to the filling that may spill out the side.

Match the macarons by size, pipe filling onto flat side, and push together to form tiny sandwich cookies.

smores macarons3


If you’re unsure how to get the correct size circle when piping your batter, you could trace out the circle size onto your parchment paper or dip the correct size cutter into powdered sugar and tap into circles for guidelines. I found all my tips, tricks, and the chocolate macaron recipe in this book.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies

28 May

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie

Confession: I’ve never been a major chocolate eater. But that didn’t stop me from buying four (yes, 4!) bars of chocolate recently. The chocolate isle must have cast a spell over me because I absolutely couldn’t resist. After getting home and eating the red velvet cake flavored bar, I moved on to devouring the black currant and almond one, which happens to be my new favorite. With my chocolate sweet tooth satisfied and two bars of chocolate left, what was I to do? Turn them into brownies, of course!

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie 3

I’m sorta picky when it comes to my taste in brownies. I don’t like them too rich or too gooey. After searching and searching, I finally found a recipe I thought would be to my liking, and they did turn out delicious! If you enjoy a mix of sweet and salty flavors, this one’s worth trying.

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie 2

For the brownies:

7 oz dark chocolate, chopped

-I used Lindt Dark Chocolate with a Touch of Sea Salt and Ghirardelli 72% Dark Chocolate.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into quarters

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1  1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a double boiler or a pan set over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate stirring occasionally. Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk until combined. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until just combined.  

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of crumbs stuck to it. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Remove brownies from pan using the foil, cut, and serve!


I had added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to my batter but found the crunch and super salty bites were too much for me. If you would like the added salt, feel free, although I believe the salt amount would be just perfect only using the sea salt chocolate bar. For those of you who really enjoy the dark chocolate flavor, using dark chocolate cocoa powder and a higher percentage dark chocolate bar would work. I rolled a few of mine in crushed pistachios for serving. I adapted my recipe from Annie’s Eats.

Limoncello Italian Ice

22 May

Okay, okay, so this recipe doesn’t use actual Limoncello, but it’s delicious all the same. I remember as a kid I used to get all giggly and excited over Italian ice from the summertime vendors that would pop up around town. The bright colors and exotic (to me) sounding flavors were so tempting, though, never fail, I always chose plain ole’ grape. Thankfully my taste buds have developed since then yet I still crave that Italian ice when the summers get sweltering hot (as they already are in Florida). Simply mixing fruit juices with simple syrup and throwing it in the freezer only gives you a hunk of flavored ice. When I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats I was ecstatic! The addition of a tad of sweet, white wine makes this freeze up just enough while still being icy, since alcohol doesn’t freeze.

This recipe is highly adaptable, and could be made with any flavor fruit juice or soda you’re craving. I first tried it with pomegranate and was very pleased. I thought I’d share my attempt at trying it with a soda. Limoncellino Sorrento-style Soda to be exact, which I found at World Market. It’s similar in taste to a slightly sour lemonade but with carbonation.

Limoncello Italian Ice

For the Italian Ice:

1 cup juice/soda of choice

1/4 cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons sweet, white wine (such as Moscato or Riesling)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of the juice/soda with the sugar and heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in remaining juice/soda. Stir in the wine. At this point you can either chill the mixture in the refrigerator and then freeze it in an ice cream maker, or simply put it straight in the freezer, covered (like I did since I lack an ice cream maker).


Freezing the mixture in an ice cream maker will probably produce a smoother texture, but simply freezing mine gave it the icy consistency of Italian ice which I love. Using the Limoncellino soda gave this a nice, crisp flavor making for a wonderful daytime snack or after dinner dessert. And no worries, the wine doesn’t make it inedible for kids.

Simple, Healthy Chocolate Muffins

2 May

When I first tasted these muffins, I instantly loved them. Once I learned what they were baked with, I was amazed! And trust me when I say “simple” is an understatement. Instead of the usual oil, eggs, and water, these little jewels are baked with pumpkin making them much healthier and, in my opinion, more moist. The best part is, people will never know! Adam ate his fair share before I informed him of the pumpkin baked inside and he still came back for seconds.

You will need:

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used devil’s food)

1 can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Simply mix the canned pumpkin with the dry cake mix (don’t add the oil, eggs, and water). Once well combined, scoop mix into muffin tins (I made mini muffins). Bake according to directions on box, or around 15 minutes for minis.


I sprinkled the tops of mine with powdered sugar but they could easily be iced for making cupcakes or baked into a cake. A spice cake mix could also be used in place of the chocolate for a more fall inspired treat. These are a much healthier alternative to regular cupcakes/muffins, and are very kid friendly. If I remember correctly, I was told this is a Weight Watcher’s recipe.

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