Monday, August 24, 2015

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin bread holds a special place in my heart...

My mom would buy the Pepperidge Farm kind as a "Special" bread. 

We would always eat the loaf so quickly and yearn for her to buy another....

Now as an adult and mom myself, I have bought the Pepperidge Farm kind maybe twice. But each time I do, it transports me back to being a kid again. 

So I was super excited when I found this recipe to make one similar in my beloved bread maker that I received last Christmas. 

It's super easy to make the dough and the only labor is to roll out the door and prep it with the cinnamon/sugar mix and the roll it tight before putting into loaf pan... 

But the results are delicious.... AND it's pretty to look at.... 

I know that most people don't have a bread machine, but I think you should get one just to make this bread. 

It would be SO worth every penny spent....


1 large egg, room temperature plus
1⁄4 cup milk
3⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup softened butter
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1⁄2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1⁄2 cup raisins

1⁄3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1⁄3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 egg white

1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar


Add milk and egg into bread machine pan
Add water
Add the softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast.
Set bread machine to dough cycle.
Add raisins at the beep.
Remove the dough at the end of the dough cycle.
Roll dough to 10x12 rectangle.
Brush egg white on surface of dough.
Brush with melted butter.
Combine cinnamon and sugar.
Sprinkle over dough; leaving about 1 inch on each edge.
Roll from short side.
Pinch where it meets and roll ends under.
Place in loaf pan.
Cover with cloth and let rise for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once the dough has risen, brush top with egg white and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Have a Sweet Day!!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Brown Butter M&M Cookies

M&M and Chocolate Chip cookies are my ultimate weakness. 

Sometimes I find that a Chocolate-with-Chocolate Cookie is a bit too much, so I prefer the complex flavors that go into a vanilla based cookie with some Chocolate in it...

Don't get me wrong, there is Definitely a time and place for an ALL Chocolate cookie, but I like the sweetness with the slight salty that comes from a Vanilla based cookie with chips or M&M's. 

Which reminds me... I should also try this recipe with other varieties of M&M's: 
Pretzel M&M's
Mint M&M's
Peanut M&M's may be a little too much for a cookie unless you chop them up into pieces first. 


Saw this beautiful cookie being on Facebook and knew that I needed to try it out. 

Ashley from 'Baker By Nature" did a terrific post back in December about these cookies. She made them in traditional M&M colors and also in the Red and Green Xmas M&M's. The pictures on her site made my mouth water, so I decided to give them a try. Stop by and see her pictures for these cookies. Absolutely Gorgeous!  

This was the first time I Browned Butter for any recipe and was a bit intimidated and a bit nervous. I love the way it gave the cookie a little something extra and have since Browned Butter for another recipe... Thx Ashley!!! 

I made my cookies with the Spring-colored M&M's and I think they turned out great!


 The original blog post, with recipe, can be found here:

I have also conveniently copied it for you here straight from her blog: 

Brown Butter M&M Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks; 8 ounces) salted butter, one stick melted until browned
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups m&m's
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside.
  3. Place 8 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook for about 2 minutes – stirring almost constantly – until the butter has browned. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter; whisk until completely smooth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator or freezer and bring the butter back to room temperature. *You’ll know the butter is at room temperature when you press a finger into the top and it makes a slight indentation.
  4. Once the butter is at room temperature…
  5. Add the sugars and the vanilla to the browned butter and whisk until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes (you may use a standmixer/ handheld mixer to help if you have one). Add the eggs and beat quickly – for only about 30 seconds – until they’re just combined. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then beat the eggs for another 30 seconds. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, stirring only until the flour begins to disappear. Fold in m&m's.
  6. Roll 3 tablespoon sized balls of dough between your palms to form a ball (they should be big; almost a 1/4 cup), then place on prepared sheet (make sure to leave enough room in between each cookie for inevitable spreading). Continue this process until all the dough has been rolled. Place baking sheets in preheated oven and bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden at the edges but still soft in the middle. Press additional m&m's on top of the cookies right after removing the pan from the oven, if desired.
  7. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Rose Cake

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" 
                                                                   - William Shakespeare

Roses are the epitome of romance and love. What better way to show someone you love them than by presenting them with a beautiful cake decorated ALL in buttercream roses. 

The 'Rose Cake' is a technique that took the baking world by storm in 2011 when the Amazing Amanda (aka "I am Baker") introduced it to everyone on her blog: 

What a genius way to decorate a cake using a tip that most of us already have in our kitchen. And the end result is pure beauty. 

I've used the technique twice already. Once for my beautiful sister's birthday and then she asked me to make one for a dear family member's birthday. I think both cakes came out beautiful and I have a room full of people to back me up on this... :-) 

Birthday Cake for my Sister

A Birthday cake for a Family Friend

It is quite the show stopper and people always think that it was terribly hard to decorate. And now you know that it is not hard to do. It'll be our little secret. 

Here is the original blog post, from Amanda's blog, for the technique:

And also the Youtube video that started it all: 

Hope you guys will try this on your next cake. 
Trust me when I say that everyone will love it!!!

Happy Baking! 
Sweet Smiles!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Butter Pecan Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Happy Easter Everyone!!!! 

The way this cake came about is because my husband is a BIG fan of Butter Pecan. It's one of the only ice creams flavors that we always have in our freezer, besides Chocolate, of course ;-)

So when I saw a Butter Pecan flavor in a boxed cake, I was thrilled!!! 

I then started to think of frosting flavors and decided to try the Salted Caramel Frosting I had just seen on the website: Sally's Baking Addiction

She is one of my favorite bloggers and her book is my dream come true. Pretty, colorful and the recipes are Oh So Gooood!!!!!

Upon baking the cake, my kitchen smelled divine! I was very excited to see how the whole thing would turn out. 

I baked the cake according to the package and then proceeded to make the frosting. 

After the cake was chilled and leveled, I stacked the cake and added the delicious frosting. 
I drizzled some more caramel on top of the frosted cake and also added some crushed pretzels for texture. 

The results were amazing....


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 20 pretzel twists, optional


Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
Make this cake... It's divine!!!!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Sun cookies - Tutorial

I was so happy to have been a part of a set of pretty sun cookies for a Baby Shower my cousin was hosting. 

When I say pretty, I mean, pretty.... Bows and Eyelashes pretty...

My cousin sent me a picture of a gorgeous set of cookies made by The Baking Sheet and I was inspired. 

In order to make these beautiful cookies, I had to sketch them out and then make my plan. 

Items needed: 
  • Favorite sugar cookie recipe
  • Sun cookie cutter and Circle cookie cutter
  • Royal icing for piping and flooding in Yellow
  • Airbrush machine with Airbrush color Orange
  • Royal icing for piping and flooding in Pink
  • Leaf icing tip
  • Royal icing for piping in Black
  • Disco dust

Thank you to The Baking Sheet for the Wonderful inspiration and to SugarBelle for her great Bow tutorial... 

I'm thrilled with how they turned out! 

Try them yourself!!!!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Donating Cookies makes me Smile....

And makes my heart happy......

When I started this baking journey in 2011, I quickly found out that this is truly my passion...

I love the smell of the things I bake, I love the process of making things and the process of turning simple ingredients into not only beautiful creations but also tasty treats. 

As I baked for friends and family, I realized that making other people happy was such a great feeling. 

I briefly thought about having my own baking business, but soon realized, that my current job didn't allow the time to invest in making this a profitable business. So I continued baking for my friends, family and for the occasional donation. 

Through social media, I was able to find out about Organizations that offer novice bakers the opportunity to bake for Charity....

There was the answer....

I will bake for charity and make others happy too with my creations.

I have the honor to currently bake for: 

Operation Cookie Takeover: An organization that asks for cookies to be sent to troops oversees. 

Icing Smiles, Inc: An organization that provides cakes and cookies to families impacted by the critical illness of a child.

This Spring, I will also join forces with: 

Cookies for Kids Cancer: An organization that assists others in holding events in order to raise funds to assist in Pediatric Cancer research.

I am thrilled to be organizing a Bake Sale in Our Town where all the funds raised will be donated to Pediatric Cancer Research. 

Below are the cookies I have donated, so far, to the first two organizations: 
This is the set I sent to a Marine stationed outside the US for Christmas (2014)

I sent this set to a family during the Summer of 2014

This is the set I sent a little girl having back surgery during the Fall of 2014

This is the set I sent two little girls in TX during the Winter of 2015

I hope they loved the cookies, as much as, I loved making them...

Looking forward to more projects and the upcoming Bake Sale!!!! 


Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cake

What is your favorite Chocolate combination?????

Mine are: 

  • Chocolate with Raspberries
  • Chocolate with Cinnamon
  • Chocolate with Strawberries
  • Chocolate with Mint
  • Chocolate with chocolate.....

For this Pre-Valentine's Day Dessert, I wanted to try something new. 

And, boy, Did I....

This cake is deliciously Moist, Decadent and So delicious...

The blend of Cinnamon in the chocolate cake and in the frosting make it something special. 

After crumb coating the cake and working with the frosting, I decided to put Chocolate Sprinkles on the bottom portion of the cake instead of trying to make a fancy design. 

Those who know me know that I have not mastered a smooth buttercream, so I am always looking for alternative methods of decorating a cake. 

To add a little texture to the top of the cake, I decided to use a spoon in order to add peaks to the top. 

Once cut, this cake was to Die For....

If you like Chocolate, then this cake is for you...


Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cake
- Adapted From: The Cake Doctor Chocolate Cookbook
  • 1 package plain chocolate cake mix
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 Milk Chocolate Hershey Bar, Melted
  • 3 large eggs or 3/4 cup Egg Beater
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For frosting: 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 8 Tablespoons boiling water
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners's sugar
  • Dark chocolate candy bar for grating on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9" pans and set aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, oil, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and blend for three minutes, or until well-blended. Add melted chocolate. Mix well
  3. Pour evenly into two pans, smoothing with spatula.
  4. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger. Remove and allow to cool for ten minutes. Remove from pans & then cool for another 30 minutes.
  5. Place the cocoa powder and boiling water in mixing bowl. Blend until combined. Add butter, cinnamon, and confectioners sugar, and finally vanilla. Blend until combined and icing looks fluffy. Add an additional ¼-1/2 cup confectioners' sugar if needed.
  6. Ice cake and press chocolate sprinkles if you desire.  

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