Molten Chocolate Cakes 2.0

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so if your true love is chocolate, put away the boxed brownie mix and whip up these oozy chocolate cakes instead. Seriously – you have to trust me on this one. Super easy to make, and guaranteed to WOW. Plus, they can be prepped up to 2 days ahead and baked right before serving. Continue reading

Craving: Chocolate Chex Crunch

Chocolate Chex Mix Buddies

Maybe you’ve heard of this chocolatey-peanut-buttery snack mix as “Puppy Chow” or “Muddy Buddies” – but I think those are terrible names! So maybe “Chocolate Chex Crunch” isn’t very creative, but at least it’s descriptive (and a little more appetizing). Easier to make than Rice Krispies Treats, this Chex™ cereal recipe should be in every chocolate lover’s repertoire. Truth be told, I can’t stop eating the stuff – to the point where my kids have started to hide the container from me (“for my own good”). I use good-quality Ghirardelli semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, so the addition of vanilla (per the Chex recipe) isn’t really necessary. You can find the original recipe on the back of Chex cereals, or my version below. Continue reading

Almond Scone by Day, Strawberry Almond Shortcake by Night

Almond Scones

It began innocently enough: Demure almond scones served warm from the oven, with a little jam and maybe some clotted cream – perfectly proper fare for breakfast, brunch or tea. A tad decadent, perhaps, but still a fine way to start the day. Then came word of the same almond scones emerging at all hours of the night, dressed provocatively in billows of whipped cream and a slathering of juicy strawberries. When approached for comment, one scone replied: “I may have a soft spot for berries, but I’m no tart.”

Strawberry Almond Shortcake  Continue reading

Festive Peppermint Patties

Festive Peppermint Patties

My Ivy-educated, strawberry-blonde sister-in-law Cele has a dry wit and too many talents to itemize, though right up at the top of the list would have to be baking (which she’d deny) and her signature Christmas Cookie Platter. Such precision! Every cookie is perfectly uniform, as if each dough ball were weighed and measured before being shaping into a crescent or whatever. And for me, the stars of Cele’s famous Platter (and the first to disappear) are her quarter-sized, chocolate-dunked peppermint patties. Continue reading

Dad’s Famous Blackberry Pie

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In my family, nothing says “I love you” like a freshly baked pie. Blackberry pie is my favorite, and my dad knows it. So when I journey back to Tacoma, WA for a visit and there’s a warm, lattice-top blackberry pie on the kitchen counter, the pastry says what words can’t. I love you too, Dad!

Dad with his lovingly crafted lattice-top pie.

Dad with his lovingly crafted lattice-top pie.

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No-Bake Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

A coconut-covered lamb cake sure would be cute right about now, but guess who’d end up eating most of it? Moi. So this year for our spring entertaining, I’m thinking about making Greek Yogurt panna cotta with raspberry sauce. These are cute in their own way, and so good for you they almost shouldn’t be called a dessert. The milk (nonfat!) mellows out the (nonfat!) Greek yogurt’s tang, and the gelatin transforms it all into a giggly, eggless custard. Top with a zingy raspberry purée, and I don’t think anyone will miss the lamb cake. (But I’ll keep some chocolate bunnies on hand just in case.)

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Healthy Cupcakes Take TODAY Show’s Top Prize!

Sue Walter TODAY Show

Can you believe it?? My “Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes landed me on the TODAY Show last Thursday, as a finalist in Joy Bauer’s contest. AND -we won! (We, as in the cupcakes and me, and also as in shared honors with the nervous contestant #1 who fainted right before we went on air.)

Since everyone’s been asking me what the experience was like (and what was in that prize basket?), I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes highlights.

The real stars of the day!

The real stars of the day!

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“Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lighter black bottom cupcake

Can you have your cupcake and eat it too? With these lightened up, nutrition-enhanced beauties, the answer is yes! You don’t have to tell anyone that you cut back on the sugar, or that you swapped out all the oil for fat-free Greek yogurt and puréed prunes. Just don’t do as I did and eat 3 cupcakes in one sitting; that kind of works against the whole “eating healthy” idea. Continue reading