If you secretly make trips to Red Lobster just so you can stuff your with their famous, melt-in-your-mouth buttery Cheddar Bay Biscuits, here’s some good news for the new year: now you can make (and enjoy) them in your own home! (Recipe here.)
9. Slutty Cheesecake Bars
A thick layer of chocolate chip blondie, rich cheesecake on top, and whole Oreos crammed all throughout give these infamous bars their name. One of the very first recipes that I posted on Wallflour Girl (note the tacky rainbow wrapping paper backdrop) and still one of the most popular after five years! (Recipe here.)
8. Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies with Kahlua Icing
I’m not a booze kind of girl…usually. But put a plate of these extremely fudgy Kahlua brownies (and maybe a White Russian!) in front of me and they’ll be gone before you can say “boozy.” (Recipe here.)
7. The Very BEST Tiramisu (from America’s Test Kitchen)
My shortlist for best recipe sources is, well, short–but I would trust America’s Test Kitchen with my first-born baby. This simple but authentic tiramisu recipe is the best that I’ve ever made and constantly requested at family functions! (Recipe here.)
6. Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Bars
Here’s an idiot-proof recipe that you can hand off to even the most baking-illiterate of your friends! These one-bowl, dump-and-stir chocolate chip oat bars are healthy, too, making them perfect for kicking off a brand new year. (Recipe here.)
5. Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake
This recipe holds a special place in my heart: inspired by one late-night, post-movie dinner conversation at Lenny’s Deli, my ex shared his fond memories of a dessert known as Chantilly cake.… Read more
The holidays are here! Sorry for the shortage of posts lately: I spent the last few weeks braving REAL winter and cavorting through the chilly climes of Cancun…
Just kidding! Cancun, as you can probably imagine, was amazing, winter weather included. We spent our early December days simply basking under the tropical sun at our seaside resort, dipping our feet in the warm Caribbean waters, and trekking through some of the gorgeous intra-cavern rivers that wound their way through the old Mayan ruins in Xcaret. Needless to say, I was spoiled silly and am making a rather graceless transition back to my California reality even as I type.
The beachfront view from our resort in downtown Cancun.
Now that I’m back and bundled up again in this nippy weather, though (yes, east coast folks, you may now roll your eyes), nothing sounds better than curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Nothing, that is, except maybe freshly-baked chocolate muffins in the wee cold hours of the wintry morning, which is exactly what I’m sharing with all of you today. What I love most about this recipe is that it skips all of the tedious separate-and-mix steps required in most muffin recipes: all you need to do here is whisk together dry ingredients, whisk together wet ingredients, fold them all together, and throw that batter into the hot piping oven!
As if simple baking couldn’t get any better, these muffins are perfect for the chocolate lover in your life. The unique combination of yogurt AND milk in this recipe keeps the muffin absolutely moist and fudgy with a hint of cakiness, while the extra chocolate chips that you toss in right before baking add morsels of molten chocolate richness in every bite. Not bad for an innocuous-looking breakfast food!… Read more
So remember how last week I wouldn’t shut up about this Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake (a.k.a. “Magic Cake”) that I made, and then some of you tried making it right away and it was a total hit?
This week I made the chocolate version (AGAIN–yes, this is a repeat recipe, it’s that friggin’ good) and nobody else who tried it will shut up about it, either. So really, I’m just the messenger here, and all chocolate lovers in your life will thank you for it. Cue the Chocolate Souffle Custard Cake choirs!
For those of you who are wondering why this recipe is called “Chocolate Magic Cake,” let me sum it up for you: one simple batter -> pan -> magic happens in oven -> three-layered dessert. Cake on the bottom, creamy chocolate custard in the middle, and a pillowy chocolate souffle on top! If that isn’t science magic, I really don’t know what is.
This Chocolate Magic Cake, which I also adapted from the wonderful Jo Cooks, holds a particularly dear spot in my recipe file. The first time I made it, I shared it at a friend’s farewell party before she left the States and headed home for Spain. The second time was this past weekend, when a huge group of us gathered for a Friendsgiving party filled with dance battles, a wooden table groaning under dessert dishes, and one very boozed-up Mannequin challenge. And now I’m making it for our Thanksgiving family dinner, alongside the original Magic Cake that will forevermore remain in my top 10 favorite desserts.
What makes each of these experiences so beautiful for me (besides the obvious fact that they involve a chocolate dessert!) are the incredibly mixed feelings of love that I associate with them. I miss the old days when I would bake the same recipe over and over again because it was a significant other’s or close friend’s favorite dessert ever, but sharing this single cake with so many amazing people in my life recently has been a whole new kind of blessing: it has been a reminder to me that as we grow older, we continue to love in new and even bigger ways than we ever imagined possible when we were young.… Read more
I can’t talk about my time in Ireland without talking about Guinness. I might as well have eaten at a Michelin-star seafood restaurant and told you all about the bread basket.
According to the friend I was visiting in Cork, there are two things you cannot visit Ireland without trying: the chocolate, and the stout. Now, I was all for the chocolate (obviously), but Guinness? Beer? Stout? Hops? Imperial pints in the UK/Ireland are huge and I had never drunk so much as a can of beer before visiting Europe (the taste of beer reminds me of that nasty Chinese herbal medicine we used to drink as kids), so I felt a bit nervous about what I’d do when faced with a whole glass of that dark, intimidating liquid. All the same, I certainly hadn’t come halfway across the world to sip on sparkling water–so when Alex proposed that we go out for a couple of rounds at the local pubs, I was ready to give Guinness my best shot.
Verdict: Turns out, I am actually a fan of the well-poured Guinness! Alex explained the process to me while we waited for our bartender to finish pouring,* then we found seats outside and enjoyed the live music wafting through the town streets while we sipped on glasses that were nearly overflowing with creamy white head. We later met up with a group of his school and university friends, who were probably the friendliest folks in the northern hemisphere and made me feel absolutely welcome. Of course, the second pint of Guinness probably helped! Best of all, Alex and I got home the first night at 1 AM, poured ourselves some cereal with milk, and watched Louis Theroux documentaries into the wee hours of the morning before we were too tired to stay up any longer.… Read more
In England, where I started my 3-week Europe trip, I was stunned by the sheer variety of food that I encountered. Okay, so maybe the fish-‘n-chips and beer British stereotype I had always entertained wasn’t exactly a fair one–though they do like their beer–but I wasn’t ready for the amount of GOOD STUFF I inhaled during my 6 days around Kent, London, Oxford, Cambridge, and York. From tea time scones & jam to gratins and savory pies, there simply was no shortage of perfect nibbles to fuel our packed daily schedules.
By far my favorite eateries to visit were the pastry and bread shops. There’s something infinitely comforting about the smell of freshly baked goods wafting in the air as you peruse shelves with strange, quaintly British names like “Bakewell Tart” and “Eton Mess” scribbled underneath them. Even familiar-looking desserts had unfamiliar names: biscuits for shortbreads, knickerbocker glory for a particular type of ice cream sundae, and puddings for desserts in general.
Though I didn’t encounter this particular dessert in the UK until we arrived in Edinburgh after our England tour, the Millionaire’s Shortbread–or what most online recipes would just call Millionaire Bar–was one of those known-yet-unknown foods that I felt I was meeting for the first time halfway across the world. We were at the Edinburgh Castle whiskey gift shop, where we had just finished sampling two extremely disappointing creme-flavored whiskeys, when I spotted these little gems sitting on a white tray next to the castle-themed hip flasks: just a scant layer of caramel sandwiched between an even scantier layer of chocolate on top and a hefty, THICK slab of shortbread on the bottom. The caramel and chocolate looked thinner than the woefully optimistic sundresses and cardigans that I had brought with me to the freezing, wet city.
The boy (who, by the way, is originally from England) came over and laughed when I expressed my surprise at these Frankensteinian versions.… Read more
Posts might be sparse around here these weeks, but food is most definitely not in short supply! Part of the reason for this is because I just got back from a Charles Dickens conference in Santa Cruz, where 300 Victorianists from all over the world congregated to discuss Dickens’ 1848 novel Dombey and Son and lament the dining hall food in tearful, poetic unison. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our week-long stint, it’s that no academic event is complete without good, old-fashioned booze–and lots of it! Which, of course, makes these booze-soaked chocolate Kahlua rum balls supertopical and super-duper intellectual.
As we say in the academic world: don’t be simplistic, but do be simple. While not every lecture during this conference adhered to this rule (though the wonderful majority of them did!), you can bet your Victorian ball gown that this simple chocolaty, silky, boozy dessert does. (Have I mentioned that it’s no-bake?) All you need are five minutes and six ingredients: crumbled brownies, walnuts, light corn syrup, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and–oh yeah–lots of rum. Rum to your heart’s delight. One days, two days, rummy days. Rum, Forrest, Rum!
Meanwhile, I’m off to recover from the, er, festivities, but never fear–I’ll be back soon! After an entire week of 18-hour days, Victorian-themed (dance) parties all night every night, and endless socializing with some of the most amazing people on this planet, though, I’m ready for a bit of well-earned R&R. Not that you’ll miss me much: just make sure you make these silky chocolate bites every few days or so and I’ll be back before you notice!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteSizedBitsOfJoy #CollectiveBias
My favorite phrase of the year: oldies but goldies!
As the de facto ancient dinosaur/matriarch of every one of my friend circles–I’m officially like a 22nd grader or something this year–I now love this phrase because it makes me feel…classic. And let’s be honest here: some things really do get better with age. Wine, cheese, dad jokes…my students’ end-of-year evaluations, which from now on I will only read while I am double-fisting these gorgeous White Chocolate Cookie Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies, because these retro treats make everything better.
Why retro? For one thing, these rich morsels are no-bake and take only 5 minutes to make, which is for some reason something that I imagine saying when I’m wearing a 50’s sweetheart red-and-white-polka-dotted apron and heels in my kitchen. For another, I was browsing the cookie aisle at Ralph’s last week when I stumbled upon an entire shelf of these classic gems:
KEEBLER!!! To my five-year old self: you’re so welcome.
Growing up, Keebler was the eye candy of the TV commercial world. The food porn before food porn was a thing. The sacred key to unlocking my refined preschooler palate.
There are, however, definite perks to revisiting these cookies as an adult. The biggest perk is, without a doubt, that you get to enjoy all of the stuff that you loved as a kid, except now you can eat it at any time of day for any meal you want and your parents won’t pounce on you in the kitchen to tell you that you’re going to spoil your dinner, and nobody else is allowed to judge you because you’re an adult, dammit, or do I need to bust out my snazzy driver’s license and show you that I am a real bona fide grownup?… Read more
For anyone who is currently sitting in an office, classroom, library, or other public setting, you may want to bookmark this page and come back to it later…unless you don’t mind running the risk of accidentally salivating onto your keyboard in front of your boss. If that’s the case, then by all means: scroll on!
I was editing the photos for these treats this weekend when the boy poked his nose hopefully over my shoulder and stared at my computer monitor. “What are those?” he asked with an air of studied nonchalance that wasn’t fooling anyone. When I told him that they were caramel shortbread cocoa krispies bars, he asked whether I had made them earlier that day and was disappointed to find that I had not.
“Yesterday, then?” he prompted expectantly.
” I made these last month.”
“Oh.” Pause. “Sooo….I suppose that means there aren’t any left?”
Sadly, if you’re asking the same question as you sit there drooling at your screen in your office right now, I regret to inform you that these bars are long (I mean long) gone.I brought them to a class film screening back in April and they were gone lickety-split. With a buttery layer of shortbread, rich oozing caramel, and fluffy rice cereal infused with marshmallows and chocolate, these bars are pretty much one of the most amazing things you’ll ever try.
And hey, never fear–the recipe is here! (Er, below.) Happy Tuesday to you!
What about you: do you know someone who always wants to know where the sweet treats are at?
These bars are insane--and insanely delicious! Start with a buttery shortbread crust, topped with gooey rich caramel, and topped off with a surprisingly fluffy layer of rice cereal and marshmallows infused with the deep tones of chocolate.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone grocery shopping at an absurd hour of the night. Say…..4 AM? No? Anybody?
I realize that there are a lot of things that I take for granted as an unmarried, mostly unemployed, highly mobile grad student. Free pool access, on-campus groups, friends living within walking distance, and yes–spontaneous 4 AM grocery shopping trips, apparently. Which may or may not be coupled with–ahem–the 5 AM baking sprees that yielded these chewy, amazing chocolate chip toffee walnut cookies.
On Sunday night, that’s exactly what I did. My friend and I had stayed up late talking about life things, and after all of that emotional cogitation, we were starving. So–bless our fatigued minds–we decided to strap in and drive to the store at 4:05 AM and buy ourselves some groceries, along with some much-needed post-midnight snacks. It was a testament to my tired brain that I had to walk back to the cereal aisle four times–for my friend’s cereal, then peanut butter, then the oats, then…well, I dunno why we walked back that last time. But I also made sure I grabbed a bag of toffee bits because things were getting real, and cookies were on the mind…
“Nothing good happens after 2 AM”–but apparently very, very good things happen after 5 AM.
Let me tell you about these cookies: the dough, which bakes up soft and chewy but lightly crispy-edged, is based on my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I didn’t feel like making plain old chocolate chip cookies though–go big or go home at 5 AM, I say–so I decided to throw in a generous stash of walnuts and toffee alongside the chocolate chunks before folding it all into the fluffy dough.
5 AM baking, guys. It’s totally worth the half-exasperated, half-“omg is this what it’s like to date a baker” bleary look that your significant other will give you when s/he trundles into the kitchen amidst your banging pans and mixing bowls.… Read more
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasterSweets #CollectiveBias
It’s funny what small things can make an ordinary week great! Aside from a smattering of rain (which caught us as we walked back from Spotlight on Saturday night–and okay, it’s pouring outside right now but I love it), the weather here has been beautiful and the days have been a real lark. There’s been quite a lot of baking going on, not to mention lazing around and generally being as sloth-like a creature as humanly possible–which, if you know my track record with stress and manic workaholicism, is nothing short of a miracle.
On Wednesday, I decided to do a bit of impulse shopping and ended up walking out of Target with a big, beautiful woven Easter basket lined with yellow and pink cloth. Even better, I got to say “no” to the cashier who asked if I needed a bag–“nope! I’ve got a basket,” I informed him–and skipped out of the store carrying a basketful of Easter goodies, all the while feeling like Little Red Riding Hood on her way to her grandmother’s house. Word to the wise: if ever you need a pick-me-up for an otherwise gloomy day, try carrying a bright cheery basket! There’s nothing equal to it (well, except some chocolate and maybe these cookies, which I’ll get to in a sec).
As you can see, I decided to raid the candy aisle at Target quite thoroughly in preparation for assembling the most epic Easter basket to date (pictured above), which included an adorable DOVE Milk Chocolate Bunny, Starburst Sweet & Sour Jellybeans, Starburst Original Jellybeans, and a bag of M&M’s White Strawberry Shortcake for good measure, since it’s only being sold for a limited time (and exclusively!) at Target.… Read more