Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodles

Soft, chewy and full of cinnamon goodness, these cookies are perfect for Christmas!


Gingerbread is one of those quintessential Christmas sweet treats. This one is flavorful and a cinch to bake up.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

This recipe makes great cut-out sugar cookies, and the royal icing is perfect for decorating.

Eggnog Cookies

Soft and cakey cookies with the perfect amount of nutmeg and all the flavor of eggnog.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

This recipe is sinfully simple, full of the flavor of Nutella and can be prepared in the microwave (or on the stovetop) in minutes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

Warning: this post contains no chicken. I am a winner though!

About a month ago a group of bloggers including Kristen Duke did a huge giveaway where each blogger purchased and gave away a bunch of their favorite things for summer. I was lucky enough to win Kristen's goodies, and boy was I excited! Luck is never something I've thought I had much of, but I've won a few things here and there lately. Truth be told, I've probably won more lately than I have in my combined 32 years. Nothing major, no cars or anything, but I'm still hopeful that I'll win the lottery one day, or at the very least a brand spanking new Corvette ZR1, well, a Z06 would work too!

Okay, I feel myself getting a bit off track. You're probably wondering about the goodies right? Kristen has some really cool summer favorites, let me tell ya. My favorite would probably be the set of colorful silicone spatulas because I'm a baking nerd like that. Seriously, I can't explain why but I love spatulas. Of course they're a handy tool for baking, but beyond that I just love them for some strange reason. If I see a display of kitchen tools and spatulas are included I make a beeline and am always tempted to buy one or two, no matter that I don't need them. And, I'm totally beach or pool ready thanks to the huge fluffy Nate Berkus beach towel, the cute hot pink sunglasses and the bright orange nail polish. That nail polish is great for a summer pedicure, and bright orange is one of my favorite colors for summer.

Kristen is a pretty awesome photographer and included some little booklets with photography tips, which I surely need! I don't have a fancy camera, but I'm hoping those little books will give me some help too. If you've visited much you know my photos need some work. As you can see in the photo there are tons of other little goodies. Here is the full list of everything that was included, she has even provided prices for each item and a link so you can purchase them yourself. Oh, and I can't forget, another of my absolute favorites was a pack of purple gel pens. I'm something of a pen and marker hoarder anyway, and I love fun colored ink, but those gel pens are a must. I've used them for years, no matter the color.

Check back soon, and find out what Cabot filled my fridge full of! Lots of another item I love.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Perfectly Moist Streusel Topped Banana Muffins

I love muffins. I'll eat them for breakfast, lunch or even a snack anytime of the day. Maybe it's the fact that they are basically a less sweet cupcake without the frosting and usually with fruit added in. No matter the reason I love them. I could use the same recipe to make muffins and a loaf of sweet bread and I'd go for the muffins over a slice of the bread anytime. Please don't ask me to explain that one because there really is no good reason, it's all about the delivery I guess.

Recently I scored a bag of bananas at the grocery for some crazy cheap price like $1.25 for 3 lbs, how could I pass that up? I expected them all to be nearly rotten, which was fine since I wanted to freeze some and bake with the rest, but most were still in good shape, just no longer in bunches. I have a really great go-to banana bread recipe I've taken to calling Bodacious Banana Bread because it truly is. The plan was to make that recipe into muffin form and top it with streusel, but while searching for the recipe I came around a banana muffin recipe I printed from allrecipes.com a long time ago and never tried. It sounded super easy and I had made some notations of reviewers modifications so I was curious. So glad I went with the experiment recipe because these muffins are amazing! They have a great banana flavor, a perfectly moist crumb and the stresel is just the icing on the cake so to speak.

These muffins come together quickly and you don't have tons to clean up, so if you're a morning person unlike me these would be a cinch to whip up for a Saturday morning breakfast, or even during the week if you're not totally pressed for time. The original recipe called for softened butter, but the review I read was from a baker who flubbed and used vegetable oil once and thought they came out even better. Of course I think butter is a heavenly creation, but when baking I like to use shortening or oil where I can simply because the result is often a baked good that stays moist or softer longer. When it comes to the streusel, make sure that your butter is good and soft before you start. Since I was making just enough to top the muffins I started mixing up the ingredients in a small bowl which didn't leave much room for using a fork or pastry cutter to cut the butter into the other ingredients so I ended up just mixing and smushing with my fingers. It got a little messy, but worked fine. I tend to be messy in the kitchen anyway, so I hardly noticed. Ovens vary, mine is a gas convection oven that's only a few years old so it's pretty accurate and even, but keep in mind when baking that it's best to start checking your goodies a few minutes before the bake time provided in the recipe. And, unless your oven is convection it's best to bake on the middle rack and rotate your pans halfway through when possible.

Streusel Topped Banana Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil*
  • streusel topping (see recipe below)

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tins with non-stick spray or use paper liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, sugar, beaten egg and oil. Add flour mixture, and beat until smooth. Scoop into muffin tins. (A regular size ice cream scoop works perfect.)
  4. Top with streusel and bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and standard size muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. (When muffins are done they will spring back when lightly touched.)
  5. Allow to cool 5 minutes in tins then remove to cooling rack.
  6. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Streusel Topping


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cooking Directions

  1. Using a fork, pastry cutter or your fingers (which I find works best for me) combine all ingredients.
  2. When completely incorporated and mixture resembles crumbs, sprinkle over top of muffins before baking.
  3. (If using this streusel for a different muffin or quickbread recipe, use caution that you don't add too much, which could cause the muffins/loaves to collapse.)


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