pumpkin cookies with browned butter & choco chips

Most cookies fall into one of three categories: chewy, thin (crisp & flat), or puffy (cakey).  This is from the bible of Alton Brown, who has a recipe to satisfy each preference.  If forced to choose, I am chewy ALL THE WAY!  I usually avoid cakey cookies like the plague (well, I mean, unless there are no other cookies around, in which case I’ll partake without hesitation, because just about any cookie is always better than no cookie).  But I do LOVE my pumpkin treats in the fall — pumpkin pie, pumpkin whoopie pies, harvest squares (my favorite) and even the the oh-so-puffy, the unavoidably cakey, pumpkin cookie.  However, when I recently learned that by using pudding mix and browned butter I could combine pumpkin and cookie into something that transcended both the fluffy and the chewy, a texture that melts in your mouth, and a flavor that screams autumn for days, well, I knew the holidays would never be the same.  MAKE THESE!

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chocolate & peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate pb ganache

When a dear friend requested that I bring something peanut butter-chocolate to her baby shower, I immediately thought of this recipe. Anna and I made it last year as an 8-inch triple-layer cake, and I adapted the recipe to make two dozen cupcakes. I was a little concerned that these might be too rich for some people, but they ended up being a big hit at the shower! Every component of these cupcakes is delicious–the cake is moist, the peanut butter frosting I could eat by the spoonful (and did, for breakfast the next day), and the chocolate-peanut butter ganache ties it all together. Whether as a cake or as cupcakes, this recipe is great for a crowd!

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butterscotch banana blondies

Our first  post after more than a month is a lot of pressure!  I confess to major baking burn out after the holidays.  I had a few large orders to fill, not to mention the extreme baking done for family, friends, teachers, neighbors, and, well, you get the picture.  I enjoyed it thoroughly up until the very end, and then I crashed.  Took me a long while to detox, but I’m on the mend!  Read more…


triple choclate cupcakes

I can’t believe it has taken me an entire year to post these cupcakes. I made these last Christmas for a fancy tapas dinner party thrown by my sister-in-law, Linsey.  The party was seriously magical! (I posted a picture below, taken by my friend Mara.) Guests were asked to bring small plate dishes, so I brought these cupcakes in mini version. Obviously these cupcakes are a chocolate lover’s dream, but if you’re not so into rich desserts, you might prefer to make them as mini cupcakes too.  Read more…


pear pie

This is our family’s absolute favorite pie.  If you’re looking for something a little different this Thanksgiving, but still full of fall flavor, and super easy to make, look no further!  You may have noticed I’m not much of a pie maker, but every time I eat this pie, I have to wonder why we don’t have it each and every day.  By the way, we totally had this pie for breakfast as kids.  It’s not terribly high in calories and, like I said, so simple to throw together.  So take it to a brunch, or a Thanksgiving feast!  Read more…


monster cookies (with brown butter)

Never, ever, ever, let me buy my trick-or-treating candy ahead of time again.  Because it’s half-way gone.  And it’s only been three days.  I can see the way the scales are turning this week.  So, I’ve surrendered to the inevitable.  It’s better just to finish the bag off quickly, right?  The faster you eat, the fewer the calories?

Well, as long as we’re stuck inside waiting for this big storm to come and go, I thought I’d get rid of some of the candy by baking and sharing these monster cookies.  They are really just a fabulously rich and chewy recipe for brown butter chocolate chip cookies, one of my new favorites!  (Brown butter should be added to the ranks of chocolate and bacon, it can make almost anything better.)  So, throw in some Kraft caramels and some orange m&ms and you’ve got a real, bona fide Halloween treat!   Read more…


caramel apple cake

Well, if you’re gonna take a whole month to post, you’d better come back with something as fabulous as this Caramel Apple Cake!  September is always a super busy time — getting the kids back to school, soccer, PTA, scouts, lots of football to watch, etc.  In the meantime, Ashley’s no help at all this fall, she just started law school at Brooklyn Law!  (How cool is she?  But busy, very busy.)  Anyway this cake was worth the wait, promise!  The recipe is slightly adapted from Baked Explorations, which we trust fully.  The cake was so moist and dense, it could have been enjoyed with no frosting at all (not something I say often).  And wow, the Caramel Buttercream!  Read more…


chocolate oreo (birthday) cake with cream filling

Happy Birthday, Sam! My little boy turned 9-years-old last week, can’t believe how time flies. Naturally, I love every family birthday!  I am always excited for an excuse to bake the most fabulous cake my loved one can possibly imagine. We spend lots of time during the year dreaming up complicated, exotic, and decadent variations. So what did my sweet little Sammy request this year? My most creative child, with the seemingly limitless palate? “The white bread cake with white frosting, please.” Yup, that translates to white cake with whip cream on top.  Hmmmmm… not so exciting. Especially since Ashley, along with other long-lost family members, was coming to visit for the week. We had the chance to bake together in the very same tiny kitchen, and he requests white.   Read more…


cinnamon sugar doughnuts

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I love doughnuts–the Tres Leches doughnut at Doughnut Plant? The Miss Shortcake doughnut at Gourdough’s in Austin? I die. (For fellow doughnut aficionados, I highly recommend the special “Doughnut Paradise” on the Travel Channel. Seriously.)

So my super-thoughtful brother gave me the cookbook Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts last Christmas and a doughnut pan to go along with it, and we thought it’d be fun to make some doughnuts together while he was visiting me last week. This simple cinnamon sugar doughnut recipe did not disappoint.   Read more…


ice box cake

Once it gets hot outside, I’ll do anything to satisfy my baking itch without turning on the oven–our tiny NY apartment heats up so fast that it’s just not worth it to bake cookies. I may never have tried this classic if not for my mother-in-law, who loves to order it at Magnolia Bakery. I’m so glad I did: It totally satisfied my baking itch and my sweet tooth.

One more thing: If you’re skeptical that four ingredients can magically turn into something rich and delicious overnight, I hear you. I was skeptical too. But I shouldn’t have been! Let’s just say my skepticism vanished when I ate my first piece for breakfast. And another for lunch. And then maybe at 2 a.m. for a late night snack . . . and then for brunch the next afternoon.
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