Tag Archives: dessert

All-Natural Coconut Bars

Olivia and I first had these coconut bars at her “best friend’s” birthday party. (Yes, she has a best friend- two actually, and she will tell anyone who will listen that “Addy and Bridget are my best friends.”)

Addy’s mom made these coconut bars for dessert, and I was in heaven! They remind me of the Neapolitan-colored coconut ice candy I used to eat as a kid, only these are all-natural and a lot healthier. Each bar is around 100 calories.

Coconut Bars
From Chocolate-Covered Katie 

Makes 12-14 bars

2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup agave or pure maple syrup
4 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pour into a small casserole dish (I used an 8×8 inch) and refrigerate for an hour before cutting. If you are in a hurry, you can also put them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set before cutting. Bars can be stored in the fridge or freezer for a couple of weeks.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Update: Since I bake these bad boys every year, and my photography skills have greatly improved over the past 12 months, I figured I’d give this post an upgrade. Same amazing recipe. . . WAY better pictures.

Ok, I am admittedly not a big cookie baker—I don’t even eat cookies very often. In fact, these cookies are the only ones I have ever made that weren’t cut from a log or broken off in a neat little square from a block. But they are, by far, the best cookies I have ever had. The tartness of the cranberries with the sweetness of the chocolate chips and the moist chewiness of the oatmeal—they are pure heaven!


White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
(Makes 36 cookies, technically, but I usually manage to get about 48- maybe I make them on the smaller side) 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter , softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar , firmly packed

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups quick-cooking oats

6 oz white chocolate morsels

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350°. Whisk together the first four ingredients and set aside. Cream together the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla) using a hand mixer on low speed. Slowly increase the speed until the mixture lightens in color. Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture until it is all completely absorbed and combined. Try not to over mix, as that can result in a tough cookie. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and cranberries.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Using a cookie scoop or a small spoon, drop cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden and just set (the cookies will still look slightly moist on top). Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving to a wire cooling rack.

Crazy Easy Monkey Bread

For those who don’t know what monkey bread is, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! This is a Christmas morning tradition in my family because you do all the work the night before, it’s simple, and it’s DELICIOUS.

I know there are lots of different ways to make monkey bread, but this is how my family does it, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. Since I am taking over the Christmas hosting duties this year, I’m going to put my own little spin on this recipe by substituting the raisins and pecans for dried cranberries and pistachios for a little festive color!

Monkey Bread

18 frozen Parkerhouse rolls
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 pkg vanilla cook & serve pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Soak the raisins in water for about 10 minutes to plump them up.

2. Butter a bundt pan (angel food cake pan works well also).

3. Sprinkle the raisins and pecans along the bottom of the pan, and place the frozen rolls on top in a single layer.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla pudding mix, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and then sprinkle it evenly over the rolls.

5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn, and then pour the glaze over the rolls.

6. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or wax paper and allow it to sit out overnight.

7. In the morning, preheat oven to 350°. Bake the monkey bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

8. Place a serving platter upside down on top of the pan and then turn everything upside down. The monkey bread will turn out of the pan and be right side up on the plate, ready for you to serve. Just pull apart the sweet rolls and enjoy!

Top 5 Fall Pumpkin Treats

I scoured Pinterest to bring you my top 5 favorite fall pumpkin treats. And despite the fact that I just ate AND a cookie, my mouth is watering as I am looking through these images! While it’s hard to pick an ultimate favorite, I have to say that the pumpkin spice latte cupcakes are to. die. for. Seriously, you need to make them. {And to my coworker Steph, who made them for my birthday last year, just a friendly reminder that my birthday is in two weeks. Just sayin’.}

So without further ado, let’s bring on the pumpkin-y goodness!

Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats
From Cookies & Cups
















Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles
From Erin’s Food Files
















Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches
From Pennies on a Platter















Petite Pumpkin Spice Donuts
From Blue-Eyed Bakers 



















Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
From Annie’s Eats

Mom’s Key Lime Pie

Literally, this is my mama’s recipe, and it is one of my favorite desserts ever! I cannot go a summer without having some of this pie. Luckily there’s going to be one of these bad boys waiting for me when I get back from the beach, which will make going back to work after vacation at least a tiny bit easier.


1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime juice
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp lime zest


Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands.  Press the mixture firmly into a 10-inch pie pan and bake until brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325°.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, eggs, and 1 tbsp lime zest.  Whisk until well-blended and pour the filling into the cooled pie shell.  Bake for 15 minutes and then allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream, powdered sugar, and the rest of the lime zest. Spread the mixture over the top of the pie using a spatula.  Put the pie back in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours and then serve chilled.

Plum & Nectarine Crisp

Last week’s box from Washington’s Green Grocer included a bunch of plums and nectarines. Since I still had some ripe black plums left over from my previous trip to the grocery store, I knew I had to make something with all this fruit before it had a chance to go bad.

I threw together this crisp for dessert the other night, and not to toot my own horn, but it was flippin’ fantastic! I love fruit desserts, and this one made me think of fall and football. The tartness of the fruit was the perfect complement to the sugary crumb topping. Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and you’re in business!

Plum & Nectarine Crisp

3 nectarines, pitted and cut into small pieces
5 plums, pitted and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and spices; add fruit and toss to coat.

In a second large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Pour in melted butter and stir.  Add eggs and incorporate, using your fingers to mix well.

Pour the fruit into a 9 x 13 casserole dish and spread out to create an even layer. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, and bake for 25 minutes.

S’mores Cupcakes

So after looking at all of the cupcake pictures for yesterday’s Kids’ Cupcakes post, I was naturally craving cupcakes. I decided to consult my Pinterest board to choose what type of cupcakes I would make. I ended up combining several different ideas into one cupcake. Behold, the S’mores Cupcake!

I used a box mix (I know, not from scratch, blah, blah, blah—it’s easy and delicious, so sue me), and tried this little trick for filling the cupcakes with chocolate. Then I topped them off with this cloud frosting recipe. I sprinkled them with crushed graham crackers (Olivia’s Annie’s Bunny Grahams to be exact) to top off the look. They turned out fabulous! I am tweaking the frosting recipe below from the original because it made WAY too much frosting for 24 cupcakes, and I found it a bit too heavy on the vanilla extract. Other than that. . . HEAVEN!

One tip regarding the frosting: you will want to use a stand mixer for this one because you have to beat the frosting for about 15 minutes at high speed. You can probably do it with a hand mixer, but it is definitely easier with a stand mixer.

S’mores Cupcakes
Yields 24 cupcakes 

1 box devil’s food cake mix (you may need eggs, oil, etc., depending on the mix)

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

24 Hershey Kisses

1/2 cup crushed graham crackers


Mix the cupcakes according to the directions on the box, and bake for 5 minutes. Take the cupcakes out of the oven and place one Hershey Kiss in the middle of each cupcake, pushing down slightly. The Hershey Kiss will sink down into the middle of the cupcake as they bake, giving you a chocolate center. Continue baking the cupcakes until they are done, and allow them to cool completely.

Bring a small amount of water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Combine the sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar in a glass mixing bowl, and whisk until foamy. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan on the stove and whisk until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl on the stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 12-16 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Using a decorating bag with a 1A decorating tip or a freezer bag with the bottom corner snipped off, pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle each cupcake with crushed graham crackers.


Kids’ Cupcakes (That the Average Parent Can Actually Make!)

We’ve all seen them—those amazing cupcakes on Pinterest that you decide you just HAVE to do for your child’s birthday party. Until you try to actually make them and they turn out like this:

For the record, those aren’t my cupcakes nor is this my picture, but it made me laugh out loud because it’s so true! Oh, I am still going to try to make the Cookie Monster cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday Sesame Street party, so we’ll see which of these pictures I get closer to.

But for the average parent (i.e. those of us who aren’t professional bakers or even good amateurs), here are some adorable cupcakes that are actually DOABLE. Enjoy!

By Good Housekeeping

By Frilly Milly Events

By Better Homes and Gardens

By Disney Family Fun

By marthastewart.com

By Better Homes and Gardens

By Disney Family Fun

By Better Homes and Gardens

By ericasweettooth.com

By justcallmechris.blogspot.com


Firecracker Frosted Sugar Cookies

My husband loves the soft, frosted cookies you can pick up at the grocery store, so I decided to make a version for the Fourth of July. To up the festive-factor of my cookies, I mixed Pop Rocks into the sprinkles, hence the “firecracker” part.

They were quite a hit at the Fourth of July barbecue we went to, especially with the kids. The Pop Rocks, sadly, weren’t as poppy after spending the night in the refrigerator—they were a lot more firecracker-ish the night before—but they were still delicious! As yummy as these were, I don’t think I’ll be making these on a regular basis. I had no idea how much work cut-out cookies were! But for a special occasion, they are definitely worth the effort.

Firecracker Frosted Sugar Cookies
Yield: Five to six dozen cookies


6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream


1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp heavy cream
5 packets Pop Rocks candy


Cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream, and beat at low speed until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients, and beat at low speed until combined. The dough will be a little sticky. Divide dough into two sections and wrap each with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours until firm.

Preheat oven to 425°. Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Working with one batch of dough at a time (leave the other in the frig until you’re ready to roll it out), flour one side of the dough and turn it out onto a hard surface. I used my kitchen counter, covered in plastic wrap. Dust the other side of the dough with flour and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter, cut the cookies out of the dough and transfer them to the baking sheets. If you do not have a round cookie cutter, you can always use the rim of a glass—works perfect!

Bake the cookies for about seven or eight minutes or until pale golden. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time.

In a bowl, mix together the sprinkles and the Pop Rocks. Once the cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container.

Banana Cream Pie, Mmm Mmm Mmm

This has got to be the easiest, most delicious summer dessert ever. My husband isn’t a huge dessert person (especially ones that don’t involve chocolate), but he requests this at least a few times every summer. Plus, it’s a huge hit with my daughter, who asked for “mo nana pie peese” after dinner tonight. (See, it’s so good, it’s inspires full sentences from 21-month-olds!)

Banana Cream Pie

1 package Banana Cream Jell-O Pudding

2 cups milk

2 ripe bananas

1 Nilla Wafer crust

1 tub of Cool Whip

*To make this healthier, I buy the sugar free, fat free pudding mix, use skim milk and buy fat free Cool Whip. I also occasionally make my own Nilla Wafer crust using the reduced fat cookies and light butter.

Add milk to pudding mix and whisk for two minutes. Allow to set in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When the pudding has set, add about two cups of the Cool Whip to the pudding and mix well. Place a layer of sliced bananas on the bottom of the crust, and then top with a layer of the pudding. Alternate bananas and pudding until you reach the top of the crust. Top the entire pie with more Cool Whip, and you’re done!