Giveaway: Win a Personalized Care Package from Wallflour Girl

Enter for your chance to win one of two personalized care packages, as seen on this blog, Wallflour Girl!

To celebrate finally moving and revamping my entire site recently, I’m hosting a second My Kitchen to Yours giveaway!

Have you ever seen a photo or recipe on Wallflour Girl that makes you stop and want to lick the pixels right off your computer screen? Well, now you can! But without the eyebrow-raising that I’m sure your friends and coworkers would give you if you tried to eat your screen… Giveaway Promotional Image 1 This is not meant to be a huge blow-out giveaway. In fact, I rather prefer the idea of a low-key but sincere giveaway to thank you, my valued readers, for being just that: valued readers!

Here’s the deal: Fill out one or more of the entries at the bottom of this post to be entered into the giveaway. Opportunities include liking WG on Facebook, following WG on Twitter, following WG on Pinterest, subscribing to WG’s emailing list, leaving a blog comment…you get the idea. Winners will win one of two personalized care packages. These care packages will be made especially for you.

Because I want this giveaway to be all about you guys (no promotional/sponsored items here!), I will contact winners after they are announced and work with you to create a small but love-filled sweets package of your choice. Factors I will consider include:

1. Dietary restrictions,

2. Up to TWO types of sweet treats (usually 6-8 of each type of cookie/bar, or 14-16 of one type),

3. Flavors (up to two flavor requests for each type of treat, e.g. chocolate and peanut butter for a cookie recipe; strawberry and lemon for a bar recipe), Because I’ll spend ample time developing and making your personalized recipe, which will be featured on a later update from Wallflour Girl, I may ask you more questions as needed or tweak your requests to create a more innovative baked good. Never fear, though–know that everything you receive will still be top-quality WG goods!

I know many of my readers like to hide and read quietly while saving/pinning/printing my recipes–and this is great! However, it’s even more awesome when I get to hear from you guys, so I hope this giveaway will be a chance for me to finally meet your lovely faces ;) (Although I used to be one of these silent readers until I realized how important reader-author interaction is, so I totally encourage you to say hello now!)

Finally, you’ll find that my leave-a-comment entry asks the following question: What is your favorite recipe from Wallflour Girl? Feel free to browse my nifty new visual recipe index for ideas! Here are some of my personal favorites this year:

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie 12--022114 Slutty Cheesecake Bars 2--051913 Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake 7--020514 

The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie 2--030914

Well, what are you waiting for? Get your  hungry on now and enter to win! Can’t wait to start creating some awesome personalized care packages for all y’all :)

IMPORTANT Note: Please note that leaving a blog comment alone does not enter you into the giveaway–you need to click the “I commented” button on the Rafflecopter widget in order to earn an entry. If you’ve already done one of these entries (e.g. you already follow WG on Twitter), you are qualified to enter that category–just click the entry button for it! Entries close on April 22nd, 11:59 PM PST.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under Giveaways

Edible Book Festival 2014–Part I (plus Calvin & Hobbes)

I am so thrilled to be writing today about a big recent event that is incredibly near and dear to my heart…

The annual Edible Book Festival!

Now you can have your cake <–yeah you can still have your cake, and book, and eat them both. And if you think the concept of an ‘edible book’ sounds silly, you can come and eat your words, too. Heh.

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(Above: You can see some of my friends making the most of this event! As they do…)

As an English grad student and avid fan of all things literature, I bet it’s a total shocker that I absolutely adore this eventI’m pretty sure if this event was a hunky-dory man, we’d be in a serious relationship right now.

Once every 365-ish days, I weep with joy over this festival. I am not joking joking. Sort of.

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Lots of the beautiful photos you see here were taken by Jonathan Wilson, one among many of the very talented library staff who helped host this stellar event! And of course, we had a whole panel of talented library folks, as well as judges, here to make the festival a grand success (more on that in a few moments).

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But before I start waxing way poetic about some of the stunning entries I had the pleasure of seeing last week, let me explain how this event works. Because Edible Books–sounds pretty intriguing, right?

The History: This annual event was started in 2000 by Judith A. Hoffberg and Beatrice Coron. It’s basically what it sounds like: it’s a celebration of books, and more specifically it’s a time for all participants–bakers, chefs, and eaters alike–to celebrate the wonderful world of literature-meets-taste-buds.

Leading up to the day of the event, entrants devote their time and energy to creating food-based masterpieces that are inspired by a literary text. The possibilities are quite virtually endless: try taking all the books in the world….and then multiply the possibilities by a gigglepoodle.

(I don’t know what number a gigglepoodle is supposed to be, but it sounds like a happy number because it has the words “giggle” and “poodle” in it, and this many possibilities for edible literature is definitely a happy thing, so that’s how much creativity you can use in this festival. A gigglepoodle of creative options!)

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On the day of the event, entrants bring their edible masterpieces to the masses–that is, to the hungry people of UCLA. At our campus’s specific celebration, we set up in a huge library room called the Rotunda, which is aesthetically amazing and just gorgeous to the Maximus Awesomus.

When I first participated in the festival in 2012, I was absolutely floored by the quality and breadth of entries these talented bakers/chefs brought. Some of the things folks brought you wouldn’t even believe! The themes and books have changed every year since, but my amazement hasn’t. (Like that detailed Three Little Pigs buttercream transfer, shown above, which the artist told me it had taken hours to drawn on with toothpicks…wow!)

(Below: The Cat in the Hat, 2012)


Pictured above is the topsy-turvy six-layer Cat in the Hat cake I entered in 2012. I still love the concept and can fondly remember just how many hours I spent planning, drawing, buying, re-planning, baking, and then working with and decorating this cake! As someone who identifies as a children’s literature researcher by day, big bad bold baker by night, books + cakes = a total sweet spot, and I was amazed to discover how many half-baked ideas I suddenly wanted to try throwing in the oven.

It was also my first-ever layer/fondant cake (as you can tell, I still had a ways to go with my clean-up on that score). And this cake ultimately helped me win my very first food-related award, “Most Creative” at that year’s festival–which was a doubly pleasant surprise, because here’s the catch: when I entered I didn’t even know there were awards! So note to the wise: keep an eye out for those prizes…

Ever since then, I’ve been excited to enter and, more importantly, to really push my creativity to the limits and try something that makes me think, “Wow, that’d be impossible. I want to do that.”

And that’s how this whimsical, comical, and somewhat grotesque Calvin-ball inspired cake came to be. By being impossible.

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Are you guys familiar with Calvin and HobbesI grew up with Bill Watterson’s comics on lazy Sunday afternoons when I would lie on my stomach in the patch of sunlight streaming through the living room window and read about the six-year old kid philosopher and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Like every Calvin reader, I wanted a Hobbes of my own. I desperately needed one. The Doomed Snowman Sculpture Garden pictured above, made of my favorite coconut poke cake recipe with an airy whipped butter-and-milk cream frosting, offers a nostalgic tribute to my very favorite comic strip of all time.

The Story Behind This Calvin and Hobbes Exhibit: Having participated in the festival two years in a row, I had seen plenty of gorgeous towering cakes and fondant molds, cupcake displays and wonderful buttercream transfers. As a children’s literature researcher who has been dabbling in visual media lately, I knew right away I wanted to do something different by using a comic book–because what better book format could there be for showcasing visual eats than the graphic novel? From there, my thoughts immediately turned to my favorite dynamic duo: Calvin & Hobbes. In the spirit of Calvin, it just made sense to make my display interactive–and with the notorious game Calvin-Ball as my inspiration (the only rule is that you can’t have the same rules twice!), I decided to transform ‘food’ into a series of exciting, participation-intensive food adventures.

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If you’ve never read Calvin: a) you really need to (I’d recommend going to your local bookstore and supporting the author by buying a copy, but in a temporary pinch you can probably find some strips online), and b) you’re in for a treat. If you have read Calvin: a) I think we could be BFFL’s, and b) you’re in for a trip down nostalgia lane!

Here’s the instructions sheet that I created for the cake, as well as the comic strip that inspired this particular creation:

Calvin's Snow ArtAbout this particular coconut poke cake–I have tried and tested at least a handful of coconut cake recipes, but nothing compares to this moist, soaked, in-your-face coconutty cake. Still, I was wowed when this cake pulled its weight in the “Best Tasting” category….not to mention “The Best Student Entry” for the overall concept of this design. Wow! And the French Laundry cookbook and The Silver Spoon cookbook they sent home with me? Most definitely going to be put to really good use these next few months. Thank you to the awesome folks at the UCLA Library!

Some of the signs guests made from the paper, toothpicks, and tape I laid out on the table were downright hilarious, and so in the spirit of Calvin! Among my favorites were “Future snow cone,” “God have mercy on our snowls!”, and “Do you want to build a snowman?” (For the record, the answer is YES!) When a little girl came up to my cake and saw that, and when she started singing the Frozen song in a real-life Anna voice, I felt my ‘snowl’ flutter up like a little white bird…

(Psst, do you love coconut or know somebody who does? Make sure you stay tuned for the acclaimed coconut poke cake recipe when I post it next Sunday!).

One of my other entries (not pictured) was an interactive ‘dig site’ made of my favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe–two 9″ moist round cakes crumbled to look like dirt and scattered with buried M&M’s for attendees to dig up…

There's Treasure Everywhere

One of the most fun items to make was this interactive sugar cookie scramble puzzle I thought up–each puzzle consists of 20 sugar cookie ’tiles’ (i.e. a huge cookie slab with a hand-drawn pictures of Calvin and Hobbes that is dried and then cut into smaller rectangles) and could actually be deconstructed and reassembled by guests! I think all the folks had a blast with this one, and not just the kids…

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Sugar Cookie Scramble

Here’s the Hobbes sugar cookie scramble I made, again with black-on-white icing on sugar cookies (don’t worry, I’ll make those again and post that recipe soon, too–I was shocked at how fast people wanted to gobble them up!):

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And here’s a picture of me excitedly explaining my display to eager listeners–I swear I get such a kick out of connecting people with my baking, this should be my new dissertation topic (I mean, it kind of is already):

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Isn’t that fun?

The last item I made (pictured above at the very left) was inspired by Calvin’s great ‘life advice’ series, where he basically stands behind a cardboard box and gives you the most terrible, realistic tips on surviving in a philosophical world imaginable:

Calvin's Spin Wheel

Edible Book Festival 2014 Calvin's Advice Wheel Kahlua Rum Cake 5--041114

This was definitely my favorite cake to design, make, and decorate, despite its apparent simplicity. It’s a rum Kahlua cake, and it tastes incredible. (Yes, the recipe for this will also be posted next Sunday, so don’t forget to subscribe in the upper-right hand corner or follow me on Facebook or Twitter for that! I cannot recommend it enough.)

As you can see, I baked this cake and secured it to a cake decorating table that guests could spin and find out their life advice. It’s amazing to learn how thrilled folks can get about something as simple but unimagined like spinning a cake! Each letter to which the arrow can point has a corresponding little sheet of paper with a comic strip of ‘life advice’ from Calvin, as well as a nifty little ‘business card’ for Wallflour Girl on the back. Tons of tasters were so excited to hear about my blog, I felt really welcomed and inspired to keep working hard at expanding my site afterwards! I hope some of you guys are here today browsing, and that I’ve done this incredible event justice :)

I’ve even uploaded the life advice cards so you can get your advice from Calvin here if you missed out. (Just pick a random letter between A-H, then open the document and see what Calvin has to say to you!)

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 In the end, I was so glad I decided to come back to this festival for the third time. I’ll admit it, I almost didn’t enter this year–I had just returned from a major trip and had caught a bad cold, so I was definitely not feeling up for the 50-odd hours of intensive work that went into designing and baking this Calvin & Hobbes display–but Shannon, one of the wonderful librarians at the Clark, was so enthused about it that I got really stoked, too. And of course, I have to do something if I’m excited about it!

(Good Samaritan note about the picture above: I met the girl on the far right of this picture two hours before the actual festival started, when I was struggling from my apartment with three heavy trays. She offered to help and ended up carrying one huge tray with me all the way to the library! Major gratitude for a wonderful girl–it’s the small gestures that really make or break your attitude to each new day. Thank you!)

Edible Book Festival 14

Something else I haven’t mentioned is that we had some really wonderful judges in attendance this year! I even recognized a few of the faces from previous years…The panel listed on the Library Facebook page says:

Joshua Lu, member of the Bruin Culinary Community
Professor Amy Rowat, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology
Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times restaurant critic
Virginia Steel, University Librarian
Carol Block, UCLA Associate of the Chancellor

Edible Book Festival 19

It was such a blast explaining all of the creative process behind making my entry!

Not to mention, I even got an awesome keepsake out of this photograph, which is of me shaking hands with the self-proclaimed (and widely-acclaimed) “Belly of Los Angeles” LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who I also follow on Twitter:

Edible Book Festival 7

Yeah, I saved that little gem for the end ;) If you’ve ever read his work, you’ll know that he is an extremely accessible writer with amazing talent, and I definitely aspire to continue blogging, writing, eating, and creating because of his work. After I briefly mentioned him on Twitter, he even sent me an incredibly kind message of congrats for my work that day! Inspiration for the future? You betcha.

And so that’s it! After an entire week of prep, dozens more weeks of creative designing and planning, and two fun-filled, excitement-packed hours of really putting my work on display, the 2014 Edible Books Festival has been another amazing success for the UCLA Library. If you think your school or organization might be interested in hosting one, you can visit the official site for more details on how to organize your own Edible Book Festival next year.

And don’t forget to subscribe or follow me on social media so that you can get the awesome (and now award-winning) recipe for coconut poke cake and Kahlua rum cake next Sunday! Quite a few participants who tried the cakes asked for the recipes in particular, so you’ll definitely see them up by next week.

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Here’s to another great year–thanks!

What cool book or design would you want to see at an Edible Book Festival?

I’d love to hear your ideas–I’m sure they’ll be awesome!



© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Uncategorized

Perfect Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies–and My New Site!

I’m beaming with the power of a thousand and fifty-two suns as I type this, so here it is:

Wallflour Girl has moved to a self-hosted site and domain! Ta-da! *drums bells and whistles*

Everything you see here–the new layout, design, even this beautiful new visual recipe index–I created. I know, right? Scary.

So if you were wondering why it’s been so quiet around here lately, it’s because two weeks’ worth of late-night CSS/HTML epic battles were happening in this tiny madhouse apartment. You might like to take some time to browse around all the new menu pages and content, even, if you catch my drift!

***Please make sure you update your RSS feed/email subscription on the right-hand sidebar! I’ve also finally got my social media groove on, so please follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter while your mouse is clicky-clicking over there.*** (I’m especially obsessed with tweeting at the moment, sooo you have been warned #honeymoonphase #relationshipwithTwitter)

Done? Great! Can’t wait to see y’all on the social side–now, read on!

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After nearly two years of blogging, I finally built a snowman up the courage and cyber-smarts to purchase my own domain. My awesome, computer-savvy friend Shawn helped me transfer my site and set up my new self-hosted blog, which has been going through tons of exciting design/format changes these past weeks, as you might have noticed. How do you like them so far?

I especially want to apologize to you fantastic folks who have been emailing me all week frantically asking for recipes since all of my links were down during the crazy domain move. I have to admit, I was panicking a bit myself from all the technological hubbub that tried to eat my brains a la zombie (I’ve survived–barely–thanks for asking). I’m so glad so many of you reached out to me about it, though! That is exactly the right thing to do, and I’m grateful to be reminded just how many eyes come across this blog every single day.

I’m back now and ready to write again, though–boy, am I ever!

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Apart from blogging, there are a few other pretty exciting things are in the works as well that I haven’t told you guys about. Now that I’m finally back at school for good instead of prancing around the globe like a vagabond unicorn, I’ve been spending ample time these days researching and writing papers for not one, but two upcoming children’s literature conferences–which is always a blast because children’s lit scholars really are the coolest kids-at-heart on the block.

This means I’ve been hard at work meeting professors, reading secondary texts, and preparing my critical study of believability, fantasy, and knowledge systems in Stuart Little. I know what you’re thinking. Work, eh? If you said that my job sometimes rocks harder than a 7.1 earthquake, I would have to agree with you 117%.

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I’m also taking my first ever photography lessons from this amazing man Raiko Hartmawho (as it turns out!) actually taught in the same media/digital program I taught two years ago…and I didn’t even remember it. D’oh! Anyway, you’ll want to keep your eyes banana-peeled for some fun shots these upcoming weeks, because the stuff this guy does and teaches is amazing.

The final thing. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on these weeks not only posting recipes, developing recipes, and giving updates on a much more regular basis but praying super fervently to the Cyber-Gods of Everything Internetty brushing up on my web design, social media, content, and marketing as well. Wallflour Girl has been pining away for a makeover since Miley Cyrus chopped off all her hair two years ago. No wait, when was that even? Never mind–I stopped paying attention to pop culture since relevant celebrities suddenly became wayyyy younger than me (see #20 here). I considered hiring a designer for a while, but in all honesty I blog because I love every aspect of it: the writing, the photographing, the baking, and now–designing. I’m fairly new to this type of thing, so I’d love to hear what you guys think as you continue checking back here for more updates!

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Speaking of major excitement, though, it’s high time to share these perfect pudding chocolate chip cookies with you. I know you know that I know that you’ve heard everything there is to hear about the fabled pudding cookie. No? Well, just in case, here’s the run-down…

Puffy. Like, insanely puffy. The dry instant pudding mix acts much in the same way as cornstarch (it does, in fact, contain cornstarch!), making these cookies super pillowy but still…

Chewy. Yeah, no cakiness in this cookie! Even though it’s puffy as heck, not a dry crumb will be found in them cookie parts. Annnd it is also…

Thick. Because are we looking at the same photos here or what.

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It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally caved into the hype and tried making this pudding cookie. Bingo and shebam–knocked the socks and shorts right off my friends. And while I’m still heels-over-head with My Favorite Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, the visual drama of these pudding cookies is great for eliciting those coveted oohs and aahs when you walk in the door with your cookie plate and the Lord of the Rings theme song drumming with all the fury of Mordor behind you. At least that’s how I like to imagine myself when I walk into a room. And these cookies basically taste like what the LotR theme song would taste like if it were edible, i.e. EPIC. So. If you’re like me and have waited all this time as a Pudding Cookie Skeptic, learn from my mistake. Bookmark. Pin. Bake. And bake again. And again. This is for your own good, little Hobbit. As our dear friend Benedict says in his sultry bass voice….Promise.

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Since everything’s been so crazy around here with blog moving and designing, I’m going to let you guys off early as long as you promise to head to your kitchen and make these pronto. Oh, and next week’s post will deal with another pretty big event that happened recently, and that has got me really excited to expand my blog (as well as my baking/blogging resume–but more on that with photos then!). Because you have subscribed, right? Right. Just thought I’d put that out there as a little nugget to look forward to….

^ And okay, I was going to end my post there but couldn’t stop cringing over the dangling participle at the end of that sentence. Because that’s what being an English grad student has done to me. But it would be awkward to say “as a little nugget to which you should look forward,” so now I’m just going to shut up and go back to reading Stuart Little over a pan of these uh-may-zing cookies.

Happy baking!


How do you like my new blog layout? Any suggestions/comments? :)

Perfect Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies–and My New Domain!!

If you love thick, soft, and perfectly pillowy but chewy chocolate cookies, you'd better get on board the pudding cookie bandwagon! The visual drama of these tall soft-baked cookies is sure to get oohs and aahs from your next cookie event audience.


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark (or light) brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional cream cheese filling:
  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes of vigorous creaming by hand).
  2. Add pudding mix and mix until blended in.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in until dry ingredients are just incorporated into the wet ingredients.
  5. Cover bowl with cling wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.*
  6. When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  7. Form 1-inch balls of dough using an ice cream scoop or your hands. Place dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, until the edges have just set and centers are still slightly jiggly. Remove sheet from oven and allow cookies to continue cooling/baking for 20 minutes on the warm stovetop--this will help you achieve that ideal thick, soft-baked quality in your pudding cookies.
  9. Serve these sinfully soft cookies and watch your audience melt like pudding in your talented baker hands!
  10. For the optional cream cheese filling:
  11. If you'd like to add an extra dimension to your standard pudding chocolate chip cookies, cream together all cream cheese filling ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. As you portion out your cookie dough balls (see above), spoon about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling into the center of the dough, then wrap dough around filling to form a sealed ball. Bake dough as directed above.


Be sure to use instant cook vanilla pudding mix, NOT cook-and-serve pudding mix. If you're in a pinch, you can chill your dough in the freezer for 30 minutes instead of in the refrigerator. If you decide to skip the chilling step altogether, note that this may result in slightly flatter cookies than pictured.

© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Cookie Butter Swirl Cinnamon Pound Cake

There are two types of vacationers in this world:

There are the people who ship themselves off to sunny tropical islands like Hawaii or the Caribbean and return as refreshed as a spring pixie…

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And then there’s me.

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My Air Walk sneakers dragged their dirty, sorry-faced soles across American soil once again at around 9 PM last night, when our plane finally landed after a grueling 11-hour stint from Asia.  If you happen to live in my part of the hemisphere and felt the  earth tremble beneath your slippers 18 hours ago, that was probably just my knees giving way beneath me as I staggered off board, luggage clunking mercilessly into the passengers behind me. Somehow, during my last 48 hours in Taiwan, I had devolved into that zombie girl everyone fears is lurking on their flight home–with a sore throat, throbbing head, and a fever to boot, I was a walking contagion apocalypse waiting to bite someone’s head off and hurl it at the next passing aircraft. Yum.

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Though I managed to catch a full 10 hours of much-needed sleep on the plane ride, I was groggily awake by 3 AM today and even more grudgingly out of bed by 7 AM, when my body finally conceded defeat to The Dreaded Jetlag, and my head stopped swimming long enough for me to see straight. Ironically, as I’m sitting at my kitchen table wearing 3 pairs of thick woolly sweatpants and writing about some of the creamiest, most wonderful pound cake I remember tasting, I’ve lost a few pounds as a result of my cold. Like a man-eating shark whose captors have served it a platter of boiled tofu, I’m both extremely hungry and without the least crumb of appetite when food really does mosey my way. Blergh.

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Fortunately, my tummy has had its fill of amazing street food and other sweet treats these past two weeks, which I spent visiting Hong Kong and Taiwan. There, we ate our bellies’ fill of wonderful delicacies such as Peking duck, stinky tofu, green onion pancake wraps, sesame buns, peanut ice cream, marinated tofu, dan dan noodles, and so much more! If there’s one place where it’s worth sacrificing sanitation for awesome grub (and let’s face it–there’s no health rating at these stalls for a reason), I’m putting my vote out for Asia. We also spent our vacation hitting up great scenic points like Ah Li Shan (pics to come!) and the Big Buddha at Lantau Island.

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But let me back up for a second and put that word vacation in big scare quotes: what I really mean is, “VACATION.” Remember how I said in my last post that I was going to spend the next few weeks unplugged? Away from civilization, digital interaction, and all its woe-inspiring burdens?

I will be the first to confess it: I suck at being unplugged. Heck, I knew I was cheating on my plans to disconnect the moment I snuck a great big academic book in my suitcase ‘just in case’ I ran out of things to do at the hotel. Who runs out of things to do in a great big foreign metropolis? I ended up spending most nights frantically sending out school-related emails and researching various faculty/students who might be helpful in shuffling me along in my prospectus writing, and every other night besides fretting about how much future planning I would have to do the moment I was back in the Land of Comfy Sweatpants, a.k.a. home. We spent so much time on our “vacation” running around trying to tally up our sightseeing points (not my preferred way of travel) that between that and catching a cold, it’s no wonder I felt even more wound up after my trip than before it.

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There are two types of vacationers in this world. I am the second kind of vacationer. The moment I get home is the moment I can feel grateful for the peace & quiet of my home again, and really start to relax.

That’s why despite the time difference, and despite my droopy eyelids and aching limbs, I am happy to be sitting at my computer once more simply writing this post. As I’ve mentioned so often, writing and blogging serve me much better than sitting on (what I imagine to be) the creaky, burst-seamed couch at the therapist’s office. In between my increasingly hysterical school emails and summer applications, I’ve allowed myself to dabble in writing a few short stories as well, just to keep my mind focused. And of course, the sweet scents of homemade goods like this creamy, cookie buttery pound cake never hurt anyone. Even on a miserable cold afternoon filled with congestion and fatigue, I can hear the faint crackling of glaze as someone slices into a fresh loaf of this slightly sweet, perfectly cinnamony warming pound cake. I hope that next someone is you, in the quaint quiet of your home :)

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It’s good to be back! Happy baking,


Cookie Butter Swirl Cinnamon Pound Cake

Creamy and subtly rich, just as pound cake should be. The hint of cinnamon and surprise swirl of cookie butter that spirals down the middle of this delectable loaf (which is based off the same recipe as my lemon pound cake) makes a great gift or morning wake-up call!

Yield: Two 9×5-inch loaves, OR One 10-inch tube pan


  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (reduced fat or regular), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup Cookie Butter or Speculoos, warmed in the microwave


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. (Note: You may also use one 10-inch tube pan, but you will need to carefully increase your baking time in Step 7.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until very smooth.
  3. Beat in sugar until very fluffy and pale–I beat it vigorously for a good five minutes by hand to get that great creamy pound cake crumb!
  4. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Carefully mix in flour and cinnamon until just incorporated.
  6. Pour one-fourth of your batter into one of the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pans. Pour 2/3 cup warmed cookie butter in an even layer over this batter, then top the cookie butter with another one-fourth of your pound cake batter. Repeat with second loaf pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, possibly with little crumbs sticking to it. Small crumbs (not raw batter!) are great! They indicate that your cake is baked through but not overbaked. Always err on the side of a little underbakedness. At this point, remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely.
  8. When your pound cake has cooled completely, top with cookie butter glaze (recipe below).

Cookie Butter Glaze


  • 1 cup cookie butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (or more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk or soy milk, as needed


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour over cooled pound cake and allow to harden completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie

You are never going to need another thick, chewy, fudgy, bomb, sink-your-teeth-in rich chocolatey cookie recipe again, so before you read on, you’d better Pin/share/print/make this. Because I’ll be honest, just looking at these photos makes me want to ditch you all right now and hightail for the kitchen. But I won’t because #readerlove.

Done? Good.

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This is the chocoholic bomb cookie. As in, this cookie will explode any attempts to recover from chocoholism, so you’d better watch out.

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I am not kidding. Part of me almost wishes I was, because my chocolate cravings have gotten 10.85743 times worse since I started researching my dissertation prospectus two weeks ago. On top of this, I began playing my first video game in 3 years (note: circa the time I began grad school) and have spent the past 5 nights up at 3 AM, tapping furiously at the tiny bright screen of my Nintendo DS as little Professor Layton puzzles pop up one after another. And by 3 AM my dinner has been long digested, sooo…late-night chocolate cookies and gaming. I can be such a wild child sometimes.

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In celebration of finishing my qualifying exams, I recently made a giant Un-Bucket List of 100 things I want to do by the end of this year. These cookies were on the list–I mean, look at them!–as were a number of other desserts that I have had pinned for ages but never gotten around to trying, like this cake roll or some baked donuts like these. I wanted this post-exam period to be a period of firsts, so these past few weeks have been filled with busy nothings like having a fancy dinner party with my home friends at a French restaurant last night, getting a super-short haircut this morning (I’m convinced I look more like a little schoolboy than a sexy pixie vixen, but whatever!), and having Disney movie marathon nights with about a bazillion friends.

Here’s my list so far: 100 Things I Want to Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree!

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Notice anything weird about the list? It says “100 things,” but no matter how hard I racked my brains, I could only come up with 60+ items. And that’s where you lovely readers come in!

If you were making an un-bucket list, what would you add to it? I’m taking the most fun, whimsical, wacky, and crazy good suggestions I receive and adding them, so please leave your best ideas (however crazy or mild) in your comments! :) I’m honestly asking for your help here, so help a girl out, eh?

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Anyway, one other important item on my bucket list is to simply get away from things for a little while–seriously, I wrote it down in my brain ages ago. So while it breaks my heart to do this, I also know that I need to turn off my internet/social media/other distractions and simply spend some much-needed time getting in touch with myself and my life again. This may or may not involve yoga trips and plenty of beach outings, or both.

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This also means that I do not plan on updating for one or two weeks, depending on how long I need to recharge, but I’ll be back before you know it to say thank you for all your lovely un-bucket list suggestions ;) The past year has been so full of stress and impact on my body, mind, and well-being that I’m pretty excited to do a ‘constantly-connected’ cleanse–and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys on the other side of it!

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Until then, make these cookies, and make them again, and again, and maybe make another batch to send to your favorite chocolate-craving blogger <3 I am pretty sure she’d appreciate it. And don’t forget to leave your un-bucket list suggestions! Cheerios, mes cheris!

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With chocolatey love,


The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie

Adapted from Allrecipes.

If you’re in remission from chocoholism, you may want to run. These chewy, fudgy, sink-your-teeth-in rich (but not overpowering!) chocolate cookies have reached the pinnacle of all things chocolate, and are my favorite chocolate cookies to date. Stuff them with extra chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bars, and you’ll be the readiest chocoholic in town!

Yield: About 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate bars (optional)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until totally light and heavenly fluffy (about 5 minutes of vigorous beating).
  3. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in until just incorporated.
  4. Fold in semisweet chocolate chips and chopped chocolate bars (if you’re using them). If you want to add cream cheese swirls to your batter as I did, simply dollop in softened cream cheese at this point and swirl it through.
  5. Optional but highly suggested: Chill your dough in the fridge for 1 hour (or in the freezer for 30 minutes) prior to baking. This will result in higher, chewier, puffier cookies! If you do decide to chill your dough first, you can wait until later to preheat your oven.
  6. Scoop out medium 2-inch balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake cookies in oven for 8-11 minutes, until the edges have set but the centers still appear slightly underbaked. Remove cookies from oven and allow them to cool at least 10 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire pan. (Allowing them to finish ‘baking’ on the cookie sheet will also help you achieve that great chewy texture!)
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

The Best Date You Will Ever Have: Peanut Butter Larabars

Let’s talk dates for a moment here.

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First thing first: dates. Yes, I’m talking about the edible kind–although the strange, single-as-a-one-digit-number part of me is convinced that dating would be a lot more interesting if my dates really were edible. As in, “Have you met my date, Mister Hot Chocolate? Word on the street is that he can get pretty steamy.

Chances are, you have stumbled across copycat larabar recipes before now. I’m not introducing you to them because they’re new. I’m introducing you to them because they are awesomeand if you are like Me One Month Ago–sitting on your butt ogling at these larabar pictures but also totally doubting the sanity of my taste buds, because how in holy heck could anything with three ingredients actually taste awesomethis is why I’m introducing you to them. Because if you are reading this post and not making these bars pronto, you need to be converted. NOW.

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It’s a running joke among all my friends that I am the most horrendous baker/blogger in existence–75 chocolate chip cookies later, and I’ve eaten what: one cookie? Half of one cookie? Who does that? In my field (that’s English grad school, for those of you who are new to WG) and in my defense, you don’t get by without self-discipline. And I am pretty much a discipline Beast when I want to be, so unless I am on a total emotional spree that afternoon, whatever comes out of my kitchen usually escapes unscathed. (Note: This does not account for the generous portions of batter, ‘crumbs,’ or last-spoonfuls-of-nut-butter-in-a-jar that fill my tummy during each baking session. This is why I totally prefer to bake alone: I’ll pass on the spoon-licking judgment!)

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Not so here. Oho, SO not so!

In the short month since I have ‘discovered’ dates–yes, since I picked up my very first dateful box from the store in February–I have gone through SIX batches of this recipe by myself. SIX. Need I tell you it’s love? These bars are so nutty, flavor-packed without added sugar, simple (three ingredients, two minutes!), and perfectly salty-sweet like a giant peanut butter cookie. I generally avoid pubs since I don’t drink, but if I had any dates-at-pubs experience, I would still have to say that these are probably the best dates I have ever (or never) met in a bar. 

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Hoho. See what I did there? Punny, right?

I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about other date stuff with a lot of text, so if you feel like skipping to the bottom of this post and printing/sharing/Pinning the recipe right now, I won’t be offended. Pinkies!

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This brings me to that second thing I was talking about: dating. Random (and randomly personal) as this topic is, I’ve always wanted to write a post about it, and I thought this entry would be the perfect opportunity because a) it’s pun-derful (hooray for dates!), and b) because as I was writing my epic “100 Things I Want to Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree” list last week, I realized that it’s been a really long time since I’ve been on a really fun dateI mean, I’ve been on dates. Maybe not much since I started studying for exams, and maybe typing out the sentence “I’ve been on dates” on my public food blog has just confirmed for an entire segment of the happy internet world that I have never really been on a date in my life…but I have. I swear. Okay, I’ll stop.

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Well, now that I’m officially done with exams and have regained some semblance of a social life, “go on a fun date” finally made it back onto my list as Item #18 of things to do! I was so excited…..for all of about 0.839273 seconds. And then I remembered why it’s been such a long time since I’ve ‘gone on a fun date.’

Because here’s the thing: probably like a handful of you out there, I am just really, really terrible at dating. I mean, I’m not the food-dropping, frumpy-hair type of date you’d be embarrassed to bring to a fancy restaurant (usually). But 95% of the time I am ‘on a date,’ I am apparently and blissfully unaware of the fact until waaaay afterwards. Which has, as you can probably imagine, its drawbacks and stuff. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, right?

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Have you ever been told after a fun dinner with someone you swear was just a friend five minutes ago that they had a really–stress really–good time tonight? Wink wink nudge nudge elbows? If so, how did/do you respond? I will be completely honest: I am so, so awkward about these moments when they happen, and while I know it’s something everyone experiences at some point or another, somebody out there needs to write a new dating language. And it’s not me. I enjoy being chipper and making sure other people have a good time, all the time. At the end of one ‘date’ about a year ago now, I remembering being completely floored when Dude a) told me that he was usually pretty good at ‘reading’ girls but couldn’t quite tell with me, and b) asked me how I felt about us now that we were maybe dating. As gorgeous and nice as he was, I could only stare at him and wonder if I could get one of those old-school VHS tape rewinder thingies, because what?

This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in dating, and this certainly doesn’t mean I like whoever I happen to be with any less, because that would be silly. But as unfair as this sounds–because I’m not saying it’s easy for others to read my intentions, either–I’d really just like to go on dates that I’m, you know, aware that I’m going on. ‘Friendly’ is a good word for defining my personality in general, and since college/grad school, my friends have picked a nickname for me whenever we discuss our social lives: The Friendzoner.  

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Of course, I felt much better about the name after I read this comic about friend-zoning that just about sums up my view of dating priorities. It’s funny how, knowing me as a complete extrovert, people often expect me to meet a bunch of new people and instantly be interested in them. Not how it works, folks. Extrovertedness does not = Instant RomCom! I am not a Disney princess, yo. The last time I went on a date that I think I knew I was going on was probably two years ago or something, and I had a blast just roaming the streets of downtown. At the same time, simply waiting around and having a blast with my friends in between dating cycles is virtually a non-issue for me, too. And while I will admit that hitting the Publish button on this post feels weird, because it’s not meant to be a deterrent or anything for anyone’s future dating prospects, I am totally in love with my prerogative to shout to the world, “Hey y’all, still having a ball in here!”

Anyway, I hope that by writing this post out with no real agenda, some of you will be willing to share some of your own thoughts or funny stories on awkward dating experiences, no? ;) This is a post I’ve always wanted to write just because #MYBLOG, and I’m still super stoked to get this 100 Things to Do List kicked into gear! Until then, I’m settling down with some more dates with my favorite dates to date, a cup of hot tea, and a cozy book on game theory in linguistics of nonsense literature plenty of “Let It Go” covers on repeat tonight.

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Don’t forget to share the love!

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Dates–any thoughts, folks?


PS–pstttt, Wallflour Girl just hit the 100,000 views mark this week–thank you, readers!!

Peanut Butter ‘Cookie’ Lovers’ Larabars

If you’ve always dreamed of a perfect date that doesn’t require you to change out of your tacky leopard-print purple pajamas, these simple date–the fruit, that is–based larabars are your match made in heaven! With three simple ingredients, 2 minutes of prep time, and virtually endless possibilities, these bars are a favorite in the household (of one) and a heavenly snack, whether you’re at home jamming in those jammies or on the go for a long run.

For the super-easy directions to this recipe, skip to the very bottom of this recipe box. Two steps. I’m serious.


  • 25 pitted dates, any variety (I used pitted deglet noor dates)
  • 1 cup almonds (or your preferred nut)
  • 1/4 cup peanut (or your preferred nut) butter
  • Other mix-ins (see notes below)

Directions Version 1 (Skip below for Super-Easy Directions Version below):

  1. Throw it all in a food processor. In the words of the famous meme, “ALL THE THINGS!!!!”
  2. Select your favorite finger on your favorite hand.
  3. Using the finger you selected in Step 2, press the ‘chop’ or ‘grind’ button on your processor at 30-second intervals until the dough comes together and sticks when squeezed lightly. If your selected finger gets tired while pressing the processor button, try switching to another finger.
  4. Pour the dough out onto a square of aluminum foil and smush the slightly sticky dough until it achieves your desired thickness and dimensions. Really, go wild.
  5. Chill in your fridge for 2 hours before cutting into clean rectangles or squares.* Keep leftovers stored in foil in the fridge.

* As the author of this recipe, I am going to totally disregard my own advice and tell you that these larabars taste amazing as they are–a bit crumbly, a bit warm, and a bit sticky–right after you make them and before you stick ‘em in the fridge.

Super-Easy Directions Version:

  1. Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together.
  2. Pour dough into aluminum foil, smushing dough until it forms a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Chill in fridge until ready to cut into bars.

**Note: This recipe is SO forgiving–WAY more forgiving than your mom or your ex or your last roommate. For fun twists, try the following substitutes:

  • Dates: raisins, any dried fruit
  • Almonds: any nut
  • Peanut Butter: any nut butter
  • Other add-ins (add to food processor): seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), oats, cinnamon
  • Other add-ins (stir into dough by hand): chocolate chips, white chocolate
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Bars, Snacks

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know what’s crazy?

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This week has been. Absolutely. Nuts. <3 Kind of in an awesome way though.

Oh, and these cookies are pretty cuh-raay-zee as well, so let me start with these because I know that’s what really you came here for  (and okay, can I just say that I honestly love the photos you’re about to see: these are such puffy, tall, photogenic cookiesTry and tell me you’re not drooling/pinning/sharing right now as you ogle!).

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My very best friends are also my very best taste-testers. I am particularly lucky in this respect because I happen to have quite a few very best friends–you know, the ones who, when you ask them if they want to try a cookie for your blog, immediately raise their hands and shout with all the bravado of a District 2 citizen, “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!” I’ve gotten at least seven texts this week from friends who, after seeing this post, wanted to know if I had any cookies left on my counter to share, and I can’t blame them…

And thank goodness I can share the pithy grad student wages wealth with so many awesome friends–otherwise, as they never fail to point out after I’ve fed them five variations of my latest peanut butter cookie recipe, expanding jean sizes would definitely be a big problem. Er, bigger than it already is, anyway. (Sorry, guys!)

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So when a few of my friends so graciously ‘volunteered’ to be my taste subjects a few weeks back, of course I had to take full advantage of the opportunity! They call peanut butter their ‘easy win’ dessert ingredient, so I started experimenting with all things peanut buttery and, after many tasty but textually wrong or kind of blah batches, I finally emerged with the victor: these, their and my favorite peanut butter (chocolate chip) cookie recipe. It’s puffy, tall, soft, chewy, not a bit cakey, and–well, everything you see in these photographs, really. 

Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re chock full of peanut butter flavor; I threw in a huge handful of chocolate chips for that great PB-CC pairing, and then….and then….

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Yeah. I did. You obviously don’t have to go the PB&J route if you don’t have these bars on hand or just don’t like PB&J we won’t talk about that, but it’s kind of an awesome surprise addition to your PB cookie recipe if you do.

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Since my first time making these, flocks of friends have come back to ‘volunteer’ themselves for the rigor of taste-testing in the Wallflour Kitchen. Plus, they’re so easy to whip together (you won’t need even a speck of cornstarch in these, although cornstarch really works wonders in My Favorite Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe) and are possibly the prettiest cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure of giving away…although at some point I’m really going to need to start putting out a donation tin, because the term grad school is really a euphemism for state-funded and endorsed poverty.

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Speaking of grad school–ah, grad school. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I just passed a major milestone on Friday and am, one week later, still in full recovery mode. Well, on Tuesday morning at, oh, say, 3:30 AM, I checked my school email (thinking naively that I wouldn’t really need to check it until at least March–ha!) and found an unread message squatting in my inbox with the subject heading: “MEETING SCHEDULED FOR 2/18 WITH ALA S.”

Um. What?

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I won’t bore you with the details of all that happened at that surprise meeting 12 hours later, but basically a) it was a pretty good morale booster–we discussed my exam, next steps for my prospectus, and my promising professional future, and b) I came out of it with a pile of books. Like, enough to last me a month. And I currently have them sitting next to me. Because if my professors used hashtags, they would say that #RelaxationisfortheDeluded, and I sadly wiped away a tear as my 72-hour, short-lived Vacation Time drifted into a distant memory.

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Well, not that distant. I’m clutching pretty hard onto that Vacation Time right now, blogging and whatnot. I have most definitely spent the week eating sweets and ice cream like, well, like the soulfully-undernourished English grad student I am. Ha!

Yesterday, my friend and I paid a dutiful visit to Disneyland, complete with crazy Space Mountain photos and a World of Color showing to top off the night. I’ve also spent the week eating (which is a good thing), cooking dinner for friends, hosting Disney movie nights, eating more (still a good thing), and, of course, baking & blogging. I’ve climbed into at least 5 cars filled with my friends this past week where I was deafened by a roar of congratulations that nearly toppled me out the door. And oh, the fun of enjoying fun again–at one point, the really sweet guys next door even came over at midnight and invited us over for warm homemade banana bread, and we ended up chilling for two hours finally getting acquainted! It’s like a scene out of a Friends episode. I can’t even explain how amazing it feels to be able to ‘do crazy’ without feeling insanely guilty about not burying your nose in a book for enough hours in a day.

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So of course, this week, to thank all of my gorgeous, wonderful very best friends for their support, undying enthusiasm, and taste-testing boldness, I made plenty more batches of my official new favorite soft-baked peanut butter cookie recipe. You’ll want to Pin/Share/print the recipe right this minute, because it’s the best of the very best. Just like my lucky taste-testing pals. <3

And now, if you’ll just excuse me for a moment…

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Make sure you print this recipe!


My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Averie Cooks

You’ll never need another peanut butter cookie recipe after you’ve met–and inhaled–this one! Puffy, soft, and perfectly chewy without a hint of cakiness about them, these mounds of peanut butter goodness are my personal favorite. But don’t take my word for it: my friends have been raving about this recipe as the be-all PB cookie, and I can hardly make them fast enough!


  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup heaping cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened to the point of melting
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, cream the heck out of your egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. The mixture should turn so fluffy you’ll want to die. When this has happened (about five minutes of vigorous beating), scream “It’s so FLUFFY!” and move on to the next step.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, and salt–mix in until just incorporated.
  3. Fold in your chocolate chips like you would fold a baby’s laundry–gently, quietly, and gracefully.
  4. Cover your mixing bowl with cling-wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least two hours prior to baking. Tip: If you are like me and don’t wait for anything longer than it takes to watch an episode of Chopped, you can also stick the bowl in the freezer for 45 minutes prior to baking, watch Chopped, and come back.
  5. After your dough is chillier than a December penguin, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  6. Remove your dough from the fridge and use an ice cream scoop to create 2.5-inch mounds of gorgeous dough. You will want to mound these higher rather than wide in order to create that tall, droolworthy puffiness you desire. Place dough mounds 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cookies in oven for 8-10 minutes, until edges and top of cookies are set but the centers appear slightly underbaked. Remove sheet from oven–allow cookies to cool for an additional 10 minutes on stovetop to create that awesome soft chewiness you’re looking for.
  8. Eat. Eat. Share. Eat some more.
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Cookie Butter Pancakes–And, the Big News……

I can’t believe I’ve waited 8 months to type this.

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I have a Master’s degree in English Literature.

And I passed my qualifying exams.

And while I’m standing here writing “me, me, me,” what I really mean is: thank you, you, you.

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To all who have been a part of my life for the past 8 months: English may be my specialty, but right now words cannot express how absolutely indebted I am to each and every one of you for your support, your encouragement, and your faith in me through this incredibly intense time. Up until 3 minutes before the start of my exam, I was still receiving your amazing, inspiring messages of cheer and kick-butt-attitude, and they carried me through those quals like the eagles flew Gandalf. Well, perhaps not quite so gracefully–but then again, who can compare to Gandalf? If he had a PhD, it would be in Awesome, and I’m not sure I’m there just yet, even if I’m definitely somewhere further along than I was two days ago.

I even copied all of your messages onto a little Inspiration Page so I could carry your thoughts around with me on Friday:

Quals exam good luck notes

Quick note: If my thoughts feel a bit heavy-handed for a while, it’s because a) I was writing at 4 AM and b) writing is my catharsis–I promise it’ll have an positive ending! :)

As I mentioned before, I’ve waited nearly 8 months for the moment when I would be able to look back safely from the other side of quals and type my thoughts, my feelings, my story. Relief, wild celebration, euphoria seeping in at every pore–I was expecting all of these things, and I will be completely honest with you. All I want to do at this moment is lie down in my jammies, put on “Everything is Awesome”, and stare at the ceiling so long that dust accumulates in a little mound on the very tip of my nose.

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Don’t get me wrong–everything is pretty much awesome from this side of the exam. It feels like forever since I have woken up to a bright, sunny morning and thought–well, just thought! Some days during my study regimen, I would go hours without so much as glancing up at the outside world. And it’s definitely been a long time since I watched a movie without the suffocating Guilt of A Thousand Scholars squashing the breath out of me. On Friday night, my friends and I celebrated by watching The Lego Movie and grabbing a V-day dinner at the food court :) which was awesome but probably about as much as my steamrolled psyche and body could handle. By 10 PM I bailed on after-dinner festivities and ice cream, stumbled into my apartment, and then did the very last thing I would ever, ever have expected myself to do:

I threw myself onto my bed and started crying.

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I have been warned by many older graduate students in the past that tears and anticlimax are pretty standard following what is considered the most grueling exam of any PhD hopeful’s lifetime. Until that moment, though,when I closed the door behind me and found myself alone for the first time since I had finished, I didn’t know how exhausted I was–that I have been and am–after so much celebrating and extroverting.

Imagine struggling your way through an ocean of over 100 literary texts in about the same amount of time it takes for a woman to gestate, and then suddenly, just like that–someone sits you down and tells you you’re done. It’s like the concept of a birthday: the world tells you that you are older, but you don’t feel any more twenty-four than you felt yesterday. In fact, you probably won’t begin to really feel 24 until somebody comes by and wants to tell you you’re 25. Even now, writing this entry 48 hours later, I certainly don’t feel done. My appetite is still swinging, my sleep is still way off, I’m still (erk) working really hard, and I still want to crawl into my hidey hole. All the things I had accomplished, all the criticism I had slaved over and all of the readings I had turned into the nexus of my life, all of the interpretations I hadn’t had time in a scant 2 hours to demonstrate I had acquired: the doneness of it all felt surreal And then, in the quiet of my apartment, which I felt like I was seeing–really seeing–for the first time since I had moved in, the doubts and replays began creeping in.

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As with any comprehensive exam, there were undoubtedly high and low points. On the one hand, it confirmed for me that my weakest areas were in the overall contextualization of my historical lists,  which have never come naturally for me. I will be completely honest: even after spending a grueling 12 or 14 hours a day poring over these books and my notes, I’m not sure if any amount of studying could have cultivated my thinking in a way that rigorously engages scholarly discussion in the way that our profession expects. As someone who came in with a minimalist training (not only was I in love with children’s literature, a markedly non-canonical field–I also had no conception until very recently what academia as a path even entailed), I have always felt (or, at least, feel that I feel) much more out of place here than many of my peers do. This isn’t an excuse. It’s simply something that I wanted to do because I loved the challenge and wanted the chance to prove to myself that I could do it. I love to create, to teach, and to share. These are my passions, and being told that I needed to seriously consider where I saw myself headed in the profession really brought my meandering, I’ll-deal-with-it-when-I-get-there mentality to a screeching halt. Already wearied by a Herculean effort of endurance and sheer willpower, I suddenly couldn’t see where the past 8 months had brought me.

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I made myself stop, think, and write. Normally, I am not huge on ‘sharing feelz’ with even my closest friends and family, but there’s something incredibly refreshing about writing this and sharing it with a group of readers who have always known me as something much more than ‘just a researcher.’ On the other hand, I received affirmation of my knowledge on the field with which I am passionately in love and would happily devote my life to expanding: children’s literature. I had done fairly well on that portion of the exam and never once felt at a loss to talk about my ideas–how could I, when I loved every single text? I was assured that all of my reading and work had shone through, because I was able to recall specific moments and details to expand my ideas. And I also left the room without a doubt that every one of my professors believed in, and fully supported, what has been my biggest redemption and passion in my graduate school career so far: teaching. You have shown today that you can be–and having seen you in the classroom, we know you ARE–an amazing teacher. Truly. Amazing. 

I said I’d like to end on a positive note. And here it comes…

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If this exam has taught me two things–and believe me, it has taught me MANY things–they are these:

1. It is ultimately up to me to decide what I want to do. I am responsible to nobody but myself for my passions and my dreams in life. I hope you and I return to this thought in a day, a month, a year, a decade, to think about how we have made the most of every day, without the fear that we have been ‘shuffled into it’ by somebody else’s wants for you. You only live once, and it is not worth sacrificing that for a fleeting expectation, no matter how pressing that expectation may feel in the moment.

2. Family, friends, and everyone in between–cherish them. The toughest times bring the dearest supporters, companions, and–most of all–loved ones that we need to thank, most of all during the difficult periods in our lives, but also each and every day. I may be dead beat, but things will recover…and thankfully, I have friends & family to help me through that! My post-exam calendar is most definitely full  ;)

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So! If this turned out to be a much more reflective post than I had ever imagined it could be 8 months ago–apologies! You have no idea (or perhaps you do?) how amazing it felt just being able to type that out (writing really is a balm for the soul) and to know that I am already my own harshest critic, one who has the unconditional support of so many inspiring friends, family, and readers who keep my gas tank full. And in spite of all I have said here, with all of your amazing love, I am so utterly, completely, and bewilderingly grateful to be done. Finally, done.

So THANK YOU! As a token of my appreciation, I shared these beautiful bite-sized babies with a friend while I was still in the thick of exam studying. I also planned on drawing out this long, mouthwatering description of these Cookie Butter Pancakes that have probably left you cursing at your screen and the pixels that refuse to materialize into actual, fluffy hot hotcakes on your desk at this very moment. Well, I won’t, because if you would just stand up and head to your stove right this minute, you can have your (hot)cake and your cookie butter and eat them and share it with a loved one: so thank you, with my favorite fluffy, cinnamony-packed pancake recipe in the whole world. 

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Now, on that happy note I promised, I’m off at 4 AM (yikes!) to finish writing up my list of 100 Things I Will Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree ;) High on the priority list is hosting a Disney movie marathon night, visiting Ghirardelli Square, and eating chocolate-dipped waffle cones with a double scoop of ice cream from the Main Street ice cream parlor at Disneyland. Any suggestions? 

For now, over and out <3



Cookie Butter Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from Table for Two (guest post at Rachel Cooks)

Get them while they’re hot! Simple to whip up and a delight to serve, these incredibly fluffy and cinnamon-packed pancake bites are the perfect way for you to remind somebody dear to you that you love them. They are infused with a remarkable cookie butter flavor that goes perfect with homemade jam, fresh fruit, syrup, or even more melted cookie butter on top!


  • 1/4 cup cookie butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk; you may substitute 2% or other dairy milk)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, mix together cookie butter, egg, sugar, and melted butter.
  2. Add milk and whisk in until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients and gently mix in until just incorporated.
  4. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Pour a small amount of oil or melted butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Using a tablespoon or other spoon, pour small dollops of batter onto the hot saucepan. Cook them on one side until bubbles begin to appear in the batter; this indicates that they are ready to be flipped. Continue cooking pancakes on other side until golden brown, about an additional 45-60 seconds. (Note: you may also make regular-sized 8-inch pancakes, but note that your cooking time will be longer for larger pancakes.)
  6. Serve pancake bites with fresh fruit, melted cookie butter, or syrup.
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch

My Favorite Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

I am so sorry to do this to you. Really, I am.

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If you are reading this post in a public place where licking your computer screen or sprinting out of the room while making inarticulate animal noises of ravenous taste-bud activation are frowned upon, I am so, so sorry. Maybe you should wait until your boss has stepped out of the room or your meeting has ended before you read this.

Or, you know. Don’t.

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These cookies are really, really good. Did the title give it away? I realize as I’m typing this out that all I really want to do is blubber on some more about my upcoming qualifying exam on Friday. I won’t. It’s tempting, but I won’t. You’ll see me on the other side of Friday and if I’m a melting hot mess–well. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the text I got from my friend right after I sent her home with a half dozen of these cookies. 

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I admit, I nearly had a heart attack when I read the first few lines. She wrote:

Just wanna let u know there may be something wrong with ur cookies…”

In my emotionally reeling brain, I could hear the panicked screams of a fire alarm firing off with every neuron and the crash of self-confidence plunging into the icy deeps below. I had sent my friend home with defective chocolate chip cookies from an original recipe I had carefully tested, re-tested, and re-retested. What–HOW?

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Despairing, my eyes quickly scanned the rest of the message for some redemption, an explanation, a giant pterodactyl that had swooped down from the heavens as my friend was walking home and barfed its Jurassic guts on my precious cookies before time-warping away again, something other than that they were a complete disaster:

Just wanna let u know there may be something wrong with ur cookies…I can’t seem to stop eating them! Just finished my last part! All are vanished in less than 2 hours! Simply Delicious!!!!”

Oh. Thank. God.

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So. If I’ve convinced you in no way about my sanity, I hope I’ve at least convinced you that these cookies are everything my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe should be: thick, chewy, soft, and simply delicious. They are also the first step in my diabolical plan to start transforming this blog into a self-sustaining entity. Have you met Miss Pandakins?

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I joked on my Facebook status yesterday that I had a batch of these cookies sitting on my kitchen counter (they have since been claimed, sorry folks!), and that while the cookies were freebies, Miss Pandakins appreciates visits. Yes, that’s a dime she’s grabbing in the photo. She lives in a mechanized money donation box, and my friend bought her so I could start collecting voluntary ‘donations’ for my baked goods and blog. Mandy Pandakins also greets you in Chinese as she takes your money away from you and stashes it in a safe spot for me. How cool is that?

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All joking aside, my inability lately to focus on studying any more has worked in huge favor of my blog. Operating under a self-imposed sentence of complete hermitage until I take my exam (hey, it’s flu season out there!), I’ve been able to really familiarize myself with my new apartment’s lighting, space, and atmosphere throughout the day, so I know the spot by my living room window is best for soft natural sunlight at 1 PM. I’m also loving the whitewashed walls and new white gloss kitchen table–the blank white canvas frees me up to fiddle with more fun text and effects. Dramatic, whimsical, playful text paired with dynamic photographs are fun, don’t you think? How do you like them so far?

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Miss Pandakins is also helping me collect for exciting things such as buying my own domain and revamping the layout of my blog. As Wallflour Girl has begun expanding and dear readers like you make my heart swell with your heart-warming visits, I find myself spending more and more time developing recipes, doing photoshoots, editing photos, and triple-checking everything before hitting that ‘Publish’ button. So thank you for being here!

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I’ve also had more time to actually experiment with my own original recipes like this one, testing and adjusting and retesting and all that jazz. I love it! It’s not all the time that I’m inspired to spend all day in the kitchen, but the Me Time gives me a chance to unwind from studying and really mull over the Bronte sisters as the wafting aroma of warm, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies peeks over my shoulder.Favorite Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 26--021014

A ton of research went into the creation of these cookies perfectly chewy, thick cookies. Sally wrote a great article last year about how to achieve the perfect chewy texture we all know and love in our chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made her cookies before and they are delicious. Averie also has a great recipe for soft-baked chocolate chip cookies on her fabulous blog. This time, though, I wanted a cookie that looked a little less underbaked and resembled more the bakery-style chewy thick cookies I used to buy from Safeway I used to buy from Safeway–no, I’m not going to apologize for that statement! Those soft, chewy-only Safeway cookies have a special place in my heart, even though I actually think this recipe is even better.  

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Half-melted butter to keep things chewy and not too spready. Extra extra brown sugar for heft. Two whole teaspoons of cornstarch, no less. Chill chill chill. These cookies are chiller than a polar bear in December. All of these extra-chew ingredients allow you to bake a perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie without underbaking it too much. And that’s it: I’ve just told you all the secrets to my very favorite thick & chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe. But you’ll still want to Pin, share, print, and bookmark the recipe below!

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If you’ve reached this part of this post and are still at work/school/public place……I am truly sorry. One of these days, somebody will invent the Willy Wonka television or computer screen into which you can reach and grab a real chocolate chip cookie. Until then, though, I hope you’ll count down the minutes until you can dash out of your cube and back to your oven to make these chewy pieces-de-resistance. And I’ll be counting down the hours until the other side of Friday.

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See you on the other side (hopefully) of sanity and a chocolate chip cookie!


My Favorite Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ever on a quest to find the perfect thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie, this recipe finally hit the ticket. With extra brown sugar, cornstarch, melted butter, and chilling time, this cookie has all the chewy ‘oomph’ and soft bliss of a bakery-style cookie. My friends call this the ‘simply delish!!’ chocolate chip cookie, and we love making our own ice cream sandwiches at home with them!


  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used dark–light will also work)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat your butter on HIGH until it is halfway melted. What this means: half of your butter should be pooled into a buttery liquid, while the other half of your butter should be incredibly soft but not quite melted down. (If you accidentally melt your butter all the way, don’t worry! This will also work, but in this case you’ll want to make sure to chill your dough extra well.)
  2. Transfer butter into a large mixing bowl. Add both sugars and beat in until combined.
  3. Mix in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  4. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon (optional), and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until just incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before baking. Note: I am the world’s most impatient person and have made these cookies after chilling the dough in the freezer for 90 minutes. Whenever possible, though, give your dough a chance to chill until completely firm.
  7. After your dough has chilled: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  8. Scoop out generous rounds of cookie dough (approximately 3-4 tablespoons). Mound them high rather than wide on your cookie sheet so that when they spread, they will remain nice and thick.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until outside has just set (light golden brown) but centers appear slightly gooey and underbaked.
  10. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet, on the stovetop. They will finish baking up, so make sure you don’t skip this step!
  11. Sink your teeth into these a la Dracula. Enjoy with a cup of milk if you wish.
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

These past few months, I have spent a lot (I mean, a lot–like, I-am-sorry-but-I-feel-preternaturally-compelled-to-word-vomit-to-you-guys a lot) of time talking about my upcoming examsSo today, let’s talk friends and the best pound cake you’ve never met instead.

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To begin with my friends: As the weeks wear on and THE date creeps closer, I have noticed an exponential amount of tiptoeing from my friends and family. In my book, there have only ever been four reasons you would have to tiptoe around someone: 

1. The Guilt: You are not supposed to be wherever you are at the moment you are tiptoeing–in which case, #shamingsession.

2. The Terror: You are afraid whomever it is around whom you are tiptoeing is going to explode at the any second. KABLOOIE!

3. The Sympathy: You are at someone’s bedside.

4. The Impending Stardom: You are practicing for your lead role in an upcoming show of “Swan Lake.” Ballerina feet, ladies!

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Now, I know it is not due to the fact that they are  practicing to become world-famous ballerinas, because a) they can’t ALL be leads in Swan Lake, and b) I have not seen so much as a frill of a tutu on any of their persons. Nor can the tiptoeing be attributed to a sympathy-induced bedside manner, because last I checked (granted, this was a few hours ago) I still have a pulse. And finally, I am almost certain that they cannot all be tiptoeing out of guilt, because I have not been lurking around any shady street corners or drug stores lately. Or at least none I’m going to fess up to here.

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So this leaves us with the inevitable truth: I am a ticking time bomb and my friends are afraid of the Big Kablooie. Right?

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^ It’s because of that.

My friend and I recently had the following conversation (and yes, I do actually converse like this when I’m really really really tired–and yes, you should all encourage my friend to become the next A.A. Milne):

Ala: I’ll be in and out
but I just thought I’d say hello :)
fellow human being whom I happen to like <3
Friend: i think they’ve actually invented a word for that
they’re called friends :)
That same day, a friend texted me about a spontaneous Disneyland trip that didn’t pan out but made us feel so spontaneous anyway; a second friend told me just how excited he was to get ‘us time’ in again after my exam; and a third friend paid me a surprise visit in the middle of the night with hot, fresh garlic bread to make sure I had some ‘real food,’ and we proceeded to caterwaul the rest of the night away to the Frozen soundtrack. <3

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I thought this post and these quotes would be the perfect place to publicly declare that my friends are Piglets to my Pooh. They are the strawberry to my lemon pound cake and, to be completely honest, you would probably be reading a lot more crazy stuff (Crazy? I love crazy!<–kinda like that) if they weren’t around to keep me grounded. So if you guys are reading this (and I know you are!), stop being sneaky this one time and leave a comment below before you go back to your tiptoeing so I can APPRECIATE YOU RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW <3

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It has taken eight months, a whole series of events, and unexpected happiness from various little corners of my life for the truth to hit me with the full force of the giant meteor that killed the dinosaurs. Bigger. Valentine’s Day comes once a year–an exam like this might come once in a lifetime–but friends really, honestly, and truly are forever. And even as I make out the faint rustle of the tiptoers all around me, taking care lest they disturb me from the latest writing frenzy that has possessed my flying hand, I can hear their silent cheers of ‘Rah! Rah!’ rising up in proud defiance of a world whose limits seem at every moment to close in on me, and find they cannot.

And this finally, finally brings me back to this pound cake I promised I would tell you about.

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I made loaves upon loaves of this pound cake to share with my friends and to show them how much I appreciate everything they do, from tiptoeing to caterwauling to cheering to reading my blog. They hands down loved it. This cheery lemon pound cake is everything the title/photos say and more: possibly the creamiest, butteriest, moistest pound cake I have ever made. Everything from the melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese in the batter to the fluffiness of the eggs and sugar, as well as the brightness of the lemon and the tanginess of the strawberry jam, make this the ultimate sweet treat to show someone you love them, whether it’s for Valentine’s Day or Friends Day (which is every day in my book!).

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Don’t forget to take a moment this week to appreciate your friends and all the people you love in your life!


Buttery, Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

Yield: Two 9×5-inch loaves, OR One 10-inch tube pan


  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (reduced fat or regular), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional but highly recommended)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup strawberry (or raspberry) jam, warmed in the microwave


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. (Note: You may also use one 10-inch tube pan, but you will need to carefully increase your baking time in Step 7.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until very smooth.
  3. Beat in sugar until very fluffy and pale–I beat it vigorously for a good five minutes by hand to get that great creamy pound cake crumb!
  4. Mix in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  5. Carefully mix in flour until just incorporated.
  6. Pour one-fourth of your batter into one of the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pans. Pour 2/3 cup warmed strawberry preserves in an even layer over this batter, then top the preserves with another one-fourth of your pound cake batter. Repeat with second loaf pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, possibly with little crumbs sticking to it. Small crumbs (not raw batter!) are great! They indicate that your cake is baked through but not overbaked. Always err on the side of a little underbakedness. At this point, remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely.
  8. When your pound cake has cooled completely, top with lemon vanilla glaze (recipe below).

Lemon Vanilla Glaze


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla soy milk or regular milk or vanilla/plain substitute milks of any kind
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour over cooled pound cake and allow to harden completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes