Wild Blueberry Donuts

A few years ago homemade baked donuts were all the rage. I definitely think it was due to the availability of donut pans. You no longer needed to roll out dough and cut it to make a donut shape that would then be fried. You could simply pipe batter into a pan and pop it in the oven and within 20 minutes you had delicious homemade donuts. Recipes were popping up everywhere. I definitely jumped on the bandwagon as well. Nowadays I don’t come across as many new recipes and I probably only use my donut pans 2 or 3 times a year. That doesn’t mean I don’t have recipe/flavor ideas swirling around in my head. One of my favorite donuts is a Blueberry Donut from The Doughnut Plant in NYC. This year in honor of National Donut Day I decided to create my own version, Wild Blueberry Donuts.

While using fresh blueberries would have probably given my donuts a nice blue hue I decided to go with dried wild blueberries since their flavor is consistent and they worked so well in my Blueberry Crumb Cookies last year. I didn’t want to have too many donuts, so I decided to make a small batch – only 6. It was the perfect amount. And once they cooled, I added a blueberry glaze that wasn’t too sweet and did give them a nice blue hue!

Happy National Donut Day!

Wild Blueberry Donuts

For the donuts:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup dried wild blueberries

For the glaze:

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 6-cavity donut pan with baking spray and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt & nutmeg – into a medium bowl.

In another medium bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, buttermilk and egg until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together until just combined. Fold in the dried blueberries.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag (or a resealable bag) and snip off the end. Pipe the batter into the donut pan about three-quarters full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze: Place the blueberries in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30-45 seconds. Just to get them warm, but you don’t want them exploding. Transfer the blueberries to a fine mesh sieve and then mash them over a medium bowl to get the juices out. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar to the blueberry puree, stirring between each addition. Continue adding the sugar until the glaze is pourable but thick. Drizzle the glaze over the donuts or dip the top of the donuts in the glaze. Let set and then enjoy!

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Mixed Berry Crumble Pie

This weekend, Memorial Day weekend, is the unofficial start of the summer. Bring on the BBQs, warm weather, and all the other fun things associated with this time of the year! One thing I personally love about this time of the year is the in-season fruit and veggies. Yes, you can get most fruit and vegetables year-round, but certain ones just taste better now. Especially berries! Today I am sharing a pie that is perfectly patriotic for your Memorial Day & July 4th celebrations, but, truth-be-told, perfect for all your summer get-togethers… A Mixed Berry Crumble Pie. It’s also super simple to put together and perfect for a last-minute dessert.

I started off by making the crumble topping since I needed to refrigerate it for a few minutes before sprinkling it on the pie. In a medium bowl I whisked together old-fashioned oats, flour, light brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Then, using my hands, I mixed in cold butter that I cut into small pieces. If you are averse to using your hands you could also use a fork or pastry cutter. You want the butter to be completely incorporated into the mixture. Once its ready the ingredients should easily clump together. While the topping chilled, I prepped the rest of the pie.

As I am sure I’ve mentioned before I normally use store-bought pie crust. It’s fool-proof and it saves time. Before making the filling, on a lightly floured surface (my countertop) I rolled out a store-bought pie crust and an extra inch or so. I then placed it in a 9-inch pie dish and crimped the edges. To make the filling, I gently mixed fresh blueberries, blackberries and raspberries together along with light brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and salt. I started off using a wooden spoon but quickly switched to a rubber spatula to avoid breaking up the berries. I wanted most of them to remain intact during baking so the pie would still look appealing once done and have some texture to it. 

I transferred the berry mixture to the prepared pie dish…

And then sprinkled the crumble topping on top before baking in a 375 F preheated oven.

I checked on the pie after 25 minutes and noticed that the edges of the crust and the topping were beginning to brown, so I tented it with a piece of aluminum foil until to prevent it from burning. After about another 40 minutes the pie was ready. The crumble topping had a nice golden color and the filling had just started to bubble.

After letting it cool it was time to enjoy a piece and it was DELISH! Not too sweet and some of the berries were still intact.

Mixed Berry Crumble Pie



For the Crumble Topping:

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Pie:

1 single pie crust (either store-bought or homemade)

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups fresh raspberries

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375 F.

For the crumble topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon & allspice. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (or much easier your hands), until everything is well combined and the mixture clumps together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pie: Roll out the pie crust to about 10-11 inches and then place in a 9-inch pie dish and crimp the edges. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl gently mix the berries, both sugars, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together until well combined. Transfer to the pie dish and then sprinkle the crumble topping on top.

Bake in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the filling just begins to bubble. If the edges of the pie and/or the crumble topping begin to brown too quickly tent with aluminum foil.

Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Fig & Brie Croissants

I love a good croissant, especially a good almond croissant. Now, I don’t think I would ever attempt to make croissants from scratch since they do seem a bit labor intensive and it’s possible (and easier) to buy them. I did make these Almond Croissants that were easy and delish, but I used plain croissants as the base and doctored them up a bit. I did attempt to make almond croissants using puff pastry once and it was a fail. They never even made it into the oven! Something was off with the puff pastry, and it never thawed properly.  Recently on Instagram I saw a video of someone making Ham & Cheese Croissants using puff pastry. Which gave me the idea to make Fig & Brie Croissants. Thankfully this time the puff pastry thawed properly, and the croissants actually made it into the oven. 

To thaw the puff pastry I removed it from the packaging and let it sit at room temperature for about 40 minutes. When it was ready, I was able to easily unfold it, but it was still a bit cold/frozen. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and unfolded one of the sheets on top of it and brushed it with an egg wash, reserving the rest of it. Each column of the puff pastry makes three croissants, so next I dropped a teaspoon of fig jam in the center of each croissant and then topped it with brie cheese.

The day I made these I was trying to do too many things at once, so I completely forgot to snap a picture of what they looked like before going in the oven. Basically, I topped it with the second pastry sheet and gently pressed the two sheets together removing any air from each square. I then sliced the croissants and separated them on the parchment paper about 2 inches apart. While the oven heated to 400 F I placed them in the refrigerator to ensure that the pastry would be flaky. Since I did handle the puff pastry a bit it could have warmed, and this would definitely affect texture of it. Puff Pastry is made with butter and the cold butter in the pastry is what gives you the flaky layers.  After baking for about 25 minutes, I had golden flaky fig & brie croissants to eat.

I let them cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into one to enjoy and it was delish!

And yes, I did try making the Ham & Cheese one’s I saw as well with a few tweaks. I opted to use spicy mustard and Swiss cheese in lieu of whole grain mustard and gruyere cheese and they were just as good as the Fig & Brie ones.

Fig & Brie Croissants


1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed per directions*

1 large egg, beaten

3 tablespoons fig jam

9 pieces of Brie cheese, cut from an 8oz. wheel of Brie about 1/4-inch thick

*I used Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and gently unfold one of the puff pastry sheets on the parchment paper. Brush with the egg wash, reserving the remaining egg wash for the top of the croissants.

You will have a total of 9 croissants, 3 from each column of the puff pastry. Visualize each column of the puff pastry sheet divided in three and drop a teaspoon of fig jam in the center of each. Repeat for the other two columns. Then place a piece of brie cheese on top of each teaspoon of fig jam.

Gently unfold the other puff pastry sheet and place on top. Use your fingers to press the two sheets together, removing any trapped air from each square. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel or pizza cutter to slice into 9 squares. Separate them leaving about two inches between each and cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate while the oven preheats to 400 F.

Once the oven is ready, bake the croissants for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before enjoying.

To make the Ham & Cheese Croissants swap out the fig jam & brie cheese for spicy mustard, 5 slices of deli ham cut in half and folded, and 3 slices of Swiss cheese cut into quarters. Drop a teaspoon of mustard onto each croissant and then top with a folded half slice of ham and a quarter piece of the Swiss cheese. All other directions are the same.

Mango Citrus Tart

I’ve owned a tart pan with a removable bottom for years and have only used it a handful of times. I believe I bought it to make a frangipane tart over 10 years ago. If you search my blog, you can find the recipe. The pictures are so bad from that post that I will refrain from posting the link.  In case you are wondering though, frangipane is basically as an almond tart. You can use almond flour, almond paste or ground almonds to make the custard filling and it usually has a fruit added in as well. I got to dust off my tart pan to make a Mango Citrus Tart I recently came across in an issue of Food Network Magazine. And don’t worry, you don’t have to peel or chop any mangoes to make this tart, you simply use frozen mango pulp thawed as the base for the filling.

Before I made the filling, I made the crust for the tart. In my food processor I processed graham crackers until they were finely ground before adding in melted butter. Once the mixture was combined, I pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. To make sure the crust was even and compact in the pan I used the bottom of a glass to press and smooth it down. After baking the crust, I let it cool on wire rack while I made the filling.

To make the filling I combined the mango puree with eggs, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lime and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. After whisking everything together until it was combined, I used a rubber spatula to stir it while heating it on medium-low heat until it was slightly thickened. Don’t make the same mistake I did, I stopped stirring for a few seconds and the mixture immediately started to bubble. Thankfully nothing bubbled over, and it didn’t scorch.  I removed the filling from the heat and stirred in unsalted butter until it melted.

Once the filling was ready, I placed the crust on a baking sheet and strained it through a fine mesh sieve directly into the cooled crust.

I then placed it in the oven for about 30 minutes. I ended up baking it a few minutes too long as the filling ended up cracking in a few places…

But it was nothing that a little whipped cream and lime zest couldn’t cover up and besides it didn’t alter the flavor of the tart one bit. It was delish! Not too sweet and the mango flavor was spot on!

Mango Citrus Tart


For the crust:

14 whole graham crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 14oz package frozen mango puree, thawed*

6 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch of kosher salt

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed

*To thaw the puree I placed it in the refrigerator overnight

For the topping:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lime


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For the crust: Break the graham crackers into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Process until the crackers are finely ground. Add in the butter and pulse to combine. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven until the crust is golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling: In a medium saucepan whisk together the mango puree, whole eggs, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, lime juice, lemon juice and salt until smooth and combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the butter and stir until the butter has completely melted.

Place the cooled crust on a baking sheet. Strain the mango filling through a fine mesh sieve directly into the crust. Bake until the filling is set but the center is still a bit jiggly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 4 to 6 hours.

For the whipped cream: Combine the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

Prior to serving the tart top with the whipped cream and sprinkle zest on top.

Recipe from Food Network

Chocolate Dipped Churro Cookies

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! I’ve made all kinds of desserts to celebrate the day, but never a cookie! Truthfully, I had no clue what to make this year. The idea for a cookie came to me from wondering what I could make with a box of French vanilla cake mix (besides a cake). Yup, it’s another cake mix cookie. And as with the Chocolate Salted Caramel Chip Cookies I posted a few weeks ago today’s Chocolate Dipped Churro Cookies were also a big hit. Yes, I turned a cake mix into a cookie reminiscent of fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar! YUM!

So, how did I turn a French vanilla cake mix into a churro cookie? To start, I added vanilla extract and cinnamon to the dough and then rolled scoops of the dough in a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking. A couple of things to note. If you’ve ever made a cake mix you know that water, oil and eggs are the key add-ins to the mix. To turn cake mix into cookie dough you don’t want to add as much liquid to the mix. So, I omitted the water, reduced the eggs and swapped the oil for sour cream. You could use oil instead, but that will change the texture of the cookie. Not in a bad way, they just won’t be as soft. Now, even though I did refrigerate the dough for an hour it was still quite soft. So, instead of having a sticky mess of dough on my hands, I dropped the scoops of dough directly into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat it before rolling the dough into balls and placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet. And after baking I let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes so they could set.

These cookies were delish as is and incredibly soft, but, since I like dipping my churros in chocolate sauce, I decided to dip the cookies in melted chocolate.  And that kicked these cookies up a notch or two! And yes, I will say that they look like Snickerdoodles, but they don’t taste like them.

Chocolate Dipped Churro Cookies

  • Servings: 18 Cookies
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For the Cookies:

1 15.25 oz box French Vanilla cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1/3 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For Dipping:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped), melted


In a large bowl beat together the cake mix, sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon with a hand mixer on medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar coating.

Use a cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) to scoop the dough and drop into the cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough around to coat then use your hands to gently roll the dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. It’s best to roll the dough in a ball after it’s been coated as the dough will be quite sticky.

Bake in the preheated oven 10-11 minutes, until the cookies are set. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To melt the chocolate… Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Dip one side of each cookie in the chocolate and then place on a wax paper lined baking sheet so the chocolate can set. To speed up the process of the chocolate setting place the cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Malted Chocolate Brownies

I’ve made quite a few desserts with malted milk powder as the star ingredient, and I must say none have ever disappointed. My favorite by far are the Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies I shared over 10 years ago and still make to this day – thankfully my pictures have improved since then! Today’s Malted Chocolate Brownies are a very close second though. These brownies are rich and decadent, but not overly sweet. The malted milk powder really enhances the chocolate flavor in them.

To start, I heated butter and sugar together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar mostly dissolved. I didn’t want to leave it on the heat too long and end up with the beginnings of caramel sauce. In a large bowl I whisked together eggs, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, salt and baking powder. I slowly poured the butter mixture into the egg mixture and stirred everything together until it was smooth. I then stirred in the flour and finally folded in milk chocolate chips. I transferred the batter to a 9×13-inch baking pan I lined with parchment paper. And finally, I topped the batter with chopped malted milk balls (i.e. Whoppers).

After baking for about 35 minutes they were done. The malted milk balls on top ended up with a nice caramel color and some of the pieces that were still decent size after chopping them gave a nice malted milk taste to the brownies. Just a quick note in case you are thinking of doing the same, I actually didn’t slice these brownies the same day I baked them. I wrapped them in plastic wrap and kept them at room temperature and then sliced them the following day to try to keep them fresh an extra day or two. And, I will point out, as with most brownies, you should warm your knife under hot tap water before slicing. You will get cleaner slices that way.

If you are looking for more recipes with malted milk powder, check these out:

Malted Brownies

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Malted Chocolate Brownies


2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup malted milk powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups flour

1 11.5 oz. bag milk chocolate chips

1 5 oz. package malted milk balls (Whoppers), roughly chopped or gently crushed in a resealable bag


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a medium saucepan heat the butter and sugar on medium-low heat until the butter melts and the sugar has mostly dissolved.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in the cocoa powder, malted milk powder, kosher salt and baking powder.

Gradually stir the butter mixture into the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Add the flour and stir until just combined. And finally, fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared dish and top with the malted milk balls, pressing them lightly into the batter.

Baked in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature then slice. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Real Simple

Blueberry-Almond Quick Bread

Today’s post prompted me to do a little research on the difference between a quick bread (i.e. pumpkin or zucchini) and a loaf cake (i.e. a marble loaf cake) and what I ended up finding was some conflicting information. A few articles said quick breads are usually savory and often call for buttermilk (not entirely true) and then there was some baking science information regarding baking soda. What it comes to in basic terms is that quick breads are denser than loaf cakes. Something I completely agree with!

One of the best things I found about making this quick bread, a Blueberry-Almond Quick Bread that is, is that I didn’t have to break out my hand mixer or pull my stand mixer out from the corner of my kitchen counter. I simply used one whisk to whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then used a rubber spatula to fold everything together. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Initially I thought the recipe may have called for too many blueberries as the first few slices were heavily laden with them and there was barely any bread/cake, but after a few more slices the blueberries appeared to be more evenly dispersed.

And while this bread is dense, it is incredibly moist. The reason for both of those things, using oil instead of butter in the batter. Oil tends to result in a cake that has a more even crumb that can stay moist for days. So, why aren’t all cakes made with oil then? Well, because cakes made with butter tend to taste better. That should in no means deter you from making cakes with oil though. You just have to balance the flavors and add a little extra of this and that (spices, extracts and nuts) to get the flavor you want.

One last thing about this quick bread, it’s the perfect treat for any time of the day. Be it breakfast, brunch, an afternoon treat or a yummy dessert! Personally I had a piece for breakfast one day and dessert on another.

Blueberry Almond Quick Bread


1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan with cooking or baking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour (1 1/2 cups), sugar, almonds, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined and then fold into the flour mixture until just combined.

Toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour and then fold into the batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour and then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

Chocolate Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

You may have noticed that I have been experimenting with cake mixes recently. I posted three recipes in a row that used cake mixes as their base – a Banana Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake, a Chocolate Crumb Cake and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake – and today I am sharing with you a recipe for cookies that uses a cake mix as their base. A Chocolate Salted Caramel Chip Cookie.

Cake Mix Cookies aren’t anything new. If you do a quick Google search for “Cake Mix Cookies” you will have your choice of recipes to try. I remember trying a recipe years ago and I just didn’t like it. I followed a recipe from a fellow blogger who ranted and raved about them, and I found the cookies to be flat and lacking flavor (they quickly went into the trash). Granted, from what I recall they didn’t do much to alter the “cake mix” flavor or texture. In other words, no add-ins like chocolate chips, vanilla extract, sprinkles, etc. Those small things go a long way in flavor and texture!

So, what made me want to try my hand at these cookies again? Well, not too long ago I bought two bags of Caramel Sea Salt Chips from Trader Joe’s. I knew I wanted to make a chocolate cookie with them, but I didn’t really want to follow the recipe that was on the bag. I am making a conscious effort to create recipes myself for the different things that pop into my head – I am still trying recipes I rip out of magazines and come across on social media and online that I will be sharing though. So, I did some brainstorming and decided to try my hand once again with cake mix cookies. I added in vanilla extract and coffee to help bring out the chocolate flavor. And I ended up with a cookie that was flavorful and thick. Definitely one that I will be making again and now that I have a good ratio of what to mix with the cake mix, I may experiment with other cake mix flavors!

A quick note, if you cannot find sea salt caramel chips you could use butterscotch chips instead and sprinkle the top of each cookie with sea salt prior to baking. One of my friends loved these cookies because of the sweet and salty combination but I told him not to get too attached since I did purchase the caramel chips from Trader Joe’s and things get discontinued there out of nowhere (I went to buy some spices a few weeks ago and all of a sudden they are no longer carrying ground ginger – HUH!?!). Thankfully Hershey’s makes their own version and butterscotch is a good alternative. 

Chocolate Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 2 Dozen Cookies
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1 15.25 oz. box chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food)

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup salted caramel chips**

*I used Cafe Bustelo Instant Espresso.

**I used Trader Joe’s Caramel Sea Salt Chips. Hershey’s brand also sells Sea Salt Caramel Chips.


In a large bowl combine the cake mix, instant coffee, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer on medium speed and beat until well combined. Stir in the caramel chips.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. This will help to prevent the cookies from spreading while baking since the dough will be soft after mixing it together.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake 10-11 minutes, until the cookies are set. The center of the cookies will look underbaked, but they will firm up as they cool. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.


If you cannot find Salted Caramel Chips, you could use Butterscotch Chips and sprinkle the top of the scooped cookie dough with sea salt prior to baking.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Yarn WIPs & Yarn Stashes

I’ve seen quite a few jokes about crocheters/knitters and their WIPs (works in progress) and yarn stashes.  I used to be guilty of both of those things. As for the latter, I’m sure my stash wasn’t (and isn’t) as big as others, but I did have a lot of scrap balls – yarn that isn’t enough to do anything with but enough to wind into a ball. And then there was yarn that I didn’t like working with or couldn’t for the life of me remember why I ever bought it. I didn’t want to get rid of any of it because I thought the perfect project would come along for it. Ultimately, I got into a purging mood (I get those from time to time when things begin to feel and look too cluttered) and I realized that holding onto these yarns that served no purpose was hindering me from seeing and organizing the yarn I did want to keep. I can now easily close the two extra-large bins I keep my yarn in and have room to buy more yarn that hopefully won’t become a victim of one of my purges.

As for WIPs, I’ve always been pretty good about working on one project at a time (except maybe around the holidays), but there have been quite a few times where I just didn’t like the project I was working on. It could have been because the yarn wasn’t easy to work with (too thin, unraveling, etc.…) or the pattern itself wasn’t one that I liked. I used to muddle through for longer than I should and would finally throw in the towel after being thoroughly frustrated by the project. I used to feel guilty about it but recently when I gave up on a project using a yarn that I had wanted to try for a while but ended up not working up the way I thought it would I realized that there was nothing to feel guilty or bad about. That hobbies aren’t supposed to annoy and frustrate us – challenge us yes, but those things aren’t the same. You should feel happy about the item you’re creating when working on your given hobby, but, if that feeling turns negative it’s time to reevaluate and realize it’s okay to let it go and move on to the next thing. We’re taught that we shouldn’t give up on things but sometimes we must do that in order to learn something new and find joy in what we’re doing. Whether I’m making jewelry, cards, decorating a cake, crocheting or knitting I like to take a few moments while doing so to appreciate what I am making. And if I am feeling frustrated by it that’s not going to happen.

As I mentioned I recently gave up on a project I was working on because the yarn was just not working for me. It was a simple scarf, and I was following a pattern I had used before. I must have started the scarf 3 or 4 times each time casting on a different number of stitches in hopes that the scarf would start to look like what I had envisioned in my head. It never happened. So instead of giving it another go I decided to scrap it. I thought about saving the yarn, but it had annoyed me so much I ended up tossing it. Thankfully it wasn’t expensive. I tend to stick with yarns that I can purchase at my local craft stores so they are all affordable (especially when they are on sale, or I can use a coupon!). Hence me not being that upset about my yarn purge! I still had the itch to knit something, so I headed to a local craft store, and I found a different yarn that I had wanted to try was on sale. O’Go yarn! It’s been around for a few years, but it wasn’t until recently that this particular craft store started carrying more colors and varieties of it. What’s special about this yarn is that instead of it being wound into the typical ball/skein it’s shaped like an “O” and has a plastic string through it. When you open it, you just snip the fastener of the plastic, pull the yarn and start working. It’s a yarn that is tangle-free and provides a quick start. It you have ever had to stop mid project to work out a tangle or knot in your yarn you will greatly appreciate this yarn. It also eliminates the need to wind your yarn into a ball prior to working with it. I ended up picking up a few colors of the O’Go yarn since the sale was too good to pass up. I’ve been wanting to make an infinity scarf in a cream color (thanks to a blue coat I bought back in the Fall) and as luck would have it, I was able to get that color. I am still working on that scarf and probably won’t get to use it until next winter, but I did finish an infinity scarf in different shades of purple for a dear friend. When I am working on something for myself, I tend to drag it on for a bit since I know there’s no real rush in getting it done. Once I am finally done with my scarf, I will probably start working on some Fall projects, specifically Bobble Stitch Pumpkins. I’ve learned (the hard way) that it’s never too early to work on something for the following season.

Cheesecake Marbled Carrot Loaf Cake

With Easter a few days away, you may be dusting off your recipe for Carrot Cake to bake for the holiday. I did a little research to figure out why carrots in general are popular this time of the year. And while I didn’t get a concrete answer it’s pretty much what I figured (and what I have possibly written before), it’s because of the Easter Bunny. Children would leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny to thank the bunny for their Easter Baskets usually filled with chocolate treats. Not a bad trade off if you ask me. And while I do like carrot cake itself – that wasn’t always the case, a few office birthdays turned by taste buds – I will admit the best part is the cream cheese frosting. So, when I came across a recipe for a carrot loaf cake that was layered with a cheesecake filling in the recent issue of Food Network Magazine, I knew I had to try it ASAP!

Now, normally when I make carrot cake, I grate the carrots using the shredding disc of my food processor. For this recipe it specifically stated that the carrots needed to be finely grated and I just didn’t feel like doing it by hand using a box grater (which the recipe suggested), so, I grated the carrots first using the shredding disc and then inserted the s-blade (the standard blade of most food processors) and pulsed the carrots a few times to get them finely grated. This saved me a lot of time and pain. One other extra step for this cake was toasting the pecans. If you like, you could swap the pecans for walnuts. I normally use walnuts when I make carrot cake, but I had some pecans in my refrigerator that I wanted to use before they expired.

Once the carrots were shredded and the pecans toasted, it was time to make the cake. I started by making the cheesecake filling. I whisked together cream cheese, an egg, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt until smooth and refrigerated it until I was done making the batter. I made the batter by whisking together the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another and then combining them and finally folding in the carrot and pecans. One thing I left out from the original recipe was crushed pineapple. I was concerned that leaving it out would result in my cake being a bit dry but that wasn’t the case at all. To get the marbled effect I alternated layers of the carrot cake batter and cream cheese filling in a 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan.

After baking and cooling the cake it I topped it with a cream cheese drizzle. And then it was time to enjoy a slice and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a quick and yummy alternative to your traditional carrot cake.

Looking for a more traditional carrot cake recipe, check these out:

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake for Two

And a recipe for Carrot Cake with a Moroccan flair:

Spice Market Carrot Cake

Cheesecake Marbled Carrot Loaf Cake


For the Cake:

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups finely grated peeled carrots

For the Filling:

1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

For the Icing:

2oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan with cooking/baking spray and then line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on all sides.

Spread the chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the pecans are a shade or two darker. Allow to cool completely.

For the Filling:

In a medium bowl whisk the cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, egg, vanilla and salt and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cake:

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together both sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix everything together with a rubber spatula until mostly combined. Add in the carrots and pecans and fold until just combined.

Spread a third of the cake batter (about 1 cup) into the prepared loaf pan. Dollop and spread half of the cream cheese filling over the batter stopping about a 1/2-inch from the edges. Repeat with another layer of the carrot cake batter and the remaining cream cheese filling and then top with the remaining carrot cake batter. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles and then bake in the preheated oven for 75 to 90 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool for 1 hour inside of the pan and then use the parchment paper to remove the cake and place on the wire rack to cool completely.

For the Icing:

Whisk the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a piping bag (or a resealable bag with a corner snipped) and pipe the icing on the cooled cake.

*The original recipe also called for an 8oz can of crushed pineapple (drained) added to the cake batter which I omitted.

Recipe from Food Network 

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