Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Tag Archives: Dessert

It’s a big day in the U S of A today – Election Day.

Go vote, will ya?

In the mean time, drool over these patriotic dishes that are totally stolen from some of my favorite Food Bloggers 🙂

The Classic “American Flag Cake”, made every 4th of July by my very own cousin, KB Murphy – the recipe is really intricate – see below:

Krissy:  its just a reg cake and strawberries and blueberries in a flag or funfetti

I love a chef that shares their secrets 🙂

American Flag Cake

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of blueberries and rasberries….”

This Cute as can be AND healthy Patriotic Fruit Trifle from the lovely Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny


Easy, fun and frozen on a stick – Red White and Blue Ice pops from My Recipes – meant for kids, but could be made for adults by adding some booze!

redwhiteblue pops

Red, white and blue…and on a stick

And the best for last, naturally…

A slew of Red, White and Blue cocktails from Real Simple because by the end of this day, we’ll surely need a cocktail 🙂

red white blue cocktails

Cheers everyone 🙂


Pecan Sandies

Oh what a week it’s been!  I must apologize for the lull in posts – I wish I had a good reason (well I kind of do)  After 4 days at home and a shoddy internet connection, I’m back in the office with fully functioning internet (don’t worry HR, I had these posts ready to roll in word docs – psssssh) and  it’s  lights, camera, BLOG ACTION.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the name Sandy in the last week or so.  Monday afternoon, Hurricane Sandy swept in and caused some serious damage along the eastern seaboard, and while Dave and I and the majority of Boston missed the brunt of the storm, never losing power (at home anyway) and passing the time  with ‘hurricane beers’ at our favorite bar down the street, it wasn’t nearly the flooding, damage and devastation that was seen in other areas along the East Coast, so to those of you out there who are just starting the rebuilding process, hang in there!

I had some serious time to toil over recipe options, and don’t cry, but I gave pumpkin and fall themed fun a break and went with the first thing that came to mind – Pecan Sandies – so cliche, I know.  She may have been a bitch of a storm, but her namesake cookie is actually pretty tasty 🙂

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies
*Adapted from

(Halved from the original recipe – yields about 3 dozen cookies)

   1/2 cup butter, softened

    1/2 cup vegetable oil

    1/2 cup white sugar

    1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

    1 egg

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup chopped pecans plus extra for the tops of the cookies

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2) In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, white sugar and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla.

3) Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice and stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans.

4) Take 1 tbsp of the dough and roll  into balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.  If you’d like, place a whole pecan in the center of each dough ball.

5)  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Pecan Sandies

I gotta say, these were a tad off.  Perhaps it’s cuz’ I halved the recipe.  Or that the original called for cream of tartar, which I didn’t have, and after doing some research online, it seemed as though if I left it out, it wouldn’t make a huge difference.  I added the pumpkin pie spice hoping to add some fall flare, but I think I would have needed maybe a tablespoon or 2 of it vs. just 1.  I think the bottom line is that I’m just more of a straight up chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven kind of gal.  But if you’re into pecans, give these a try!

I hope everyone is safe and taking things one day at a time – and to Hurricane Sandy – thanks for the unexpected vaca 🙂

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

It’s Friday! Woo Wooo Yeahh Yeahhh Woo Wooo Woooooo!

Pumpkin Cheesecake BrowniesI’m extra excited for this coming weekend because:

1) Tomorrow a WEDDING is happening!

2) I get to spend time with these clowns – a.k.a my family – a.k.a the farkles.  Don’t ask.

My cousin Allison is getting married to Neil.  They’re story is one of my faves.  Al moved to Dublin to channel her inner Irish self a couple years after college – she met Neil, a legit Irishman who might be one the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life – they fell in love – last year they got engaged in Budapest (NBD) and tomorrow they’re getting married! I’m picturing a lot of jigging on the dance floor and a lot of guinness consumption, but mostly, lots of laughs and fist pumps with family and friends!Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I’ll be honest – there’s no correlation between Al and Neil nuptials and these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies, but nevertheless, they were amazingly easy to make (primarily cuz’ I cheated – cheaters DID prosper in this case!) and amazingly delicious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
*Cheescake portion adapted from A Taste of Home


Your favorite boxed brownie mix, prepared according to instructions

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or whatever temperature the box says)

2) Prepare your brownie batter and set aside.

3) For cheesecake batter, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined.

4) Line a 12-muffin tin with paper baking cups.  Fill the bottom about 1/3 of the way with brownie batter.  Then place another 1/3 of pumpkin cheesecake batter on the top, and then top the last 1/3 with the brownie batter.  Take a knife and swirl the pumpkin cheesecake and brownie batter together so they look ‘swirly’.

5) Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

*You could also make these as just a standard pan of brownies by again, following the instructions on the box for the different pan sizes and following the same method of brownie batter/pumpkin cheesecake layering and swirling.

My only change would be maybe alternating the pattern and doing cheesecake/brownie/cheesecake next time, as to make them a little more pumpkin flavored.  But it’s totally up to you, depending on what flavor you prefer.

Next week is Halloween – BOOOOO!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Pumpkin Shaped Whoopie Pies

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “oh my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “there are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “but we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
OOOhh OOOhh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight….

….or into my belly

When I first saw these, I thought “OMG – these are WAY too cute to actually eat” – but I got over that real fast 🙂

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Cookies & Cups

*yields 14-18 whoopie pies


2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup room temp butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

Orange food coloring

   Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

    1/2 cup butter, room temperature

    1 tsp vanilla

    2 cups powdered sugar

*mini pretzels

*green frosting

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

3) In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together then add egg and vanilla & mix until combined.

4) Mix your dry ingredients together.

5) On low speed add 1/3 of your dry mix, then 1/3 of your buttermilk…continue adding in this order until all your dry ingredients and milk are mixed in and smooth.

6) Now add your food coloring.  You can use the Orange gel type, or I just used the red and yellow from the little 4 pack you can buy at the grocery store, alternating between the 2 until I got the right color (or until I ran out of yellow haha).

7) Mix on low to combine the food coloring, scraping the sides until color is even.

8) Place about 2 tbsp. of batter onto your baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  If you want them to really look pumpkinesque, you can place the batter in a ziplock or piping bag and pipe the  batter onto the sheet in a fat heart shape.

9) Bake for approx 6-8minutes until they are set and spongy to the touch.  Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

10) In the mean time, prepare your cream cheese filling by creaming together your butter and cream cheese until smooth. On low speed, add in your vanilla and powdered sugar.  Turn speed up to medium until combined, scraping sides of bowl when necessary.

11) Place about 1-2 tbsp. of filling on one side of the pie.  Break off a a piece of a mini pretzel and place it in the frosting at the top to make your ‘stem’.  Cover with the other half and pipe your ‘leaves’ onto the pie with green frosting.

I have  a confession to make, that I actually make an oops when making these and added 2 sticks of butter vs. the 1 that was called for in the pie batter.  I realized it when they came out of the oven without that puffy, cakey look that whoopie pies have.  But, after several samples, I discovered that they were still pretty damn good! They took on more of a dense ‘cookie’ texture than the cake-like texture of a standard whoopie pie.

Regardless, this may be my favorite fall recipe yet! Go get your pumpkin on!

Pumpkin Shaped Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Donut Holes

What a BANNER WEEKEND it was!

Here’s my weekend cliffs notes:

1) It was the most perfect fall weather, the kind that you dream about in the throws of winter, when it’s dark at 4:30 and the snow starts to pile up outside your window.  Sunny, blue skies, big puffy clouds, and just the right temp to blow the dust off your favorite fleece jacket.

2) An outside beer festival – 3 blocks from our apartment – and a truck with beer taps attached to it.  Nuf said.

Pumpkin Donut Holes

3) An ENGAGEMENT! Now, it should be said that I get excited for random strangers when they get engaged. Being able to relive that feeling of excitement that you only get to experience once in your entire life, why it might be almost MORE exciting than when it happens to you! And it couldn’t be more true than for Dave and I, and two of our bestest friends, Meghan and Adam, who took a weekend off from home renovations and got engaged on Saturday afternoon, under a willow tree in the public gardens after a quick swan boat ride. Move over William Shakespeare.

Pumpkin Donut Holes

4) A brunch with my best friends from High School. We grew up together in a small town, shared the ups and downs of our adolescence together, went off and did our own things through college and post-college, and now, 10+ years later, it’s like picking up where we left off in homeroom.  Only people have babies now.  Minor detail 🙂

Pumpkin Donut Holes

All week, I thought to myself  “Ooooh so many amazing fall recipes to make for brunch! Which will I choose?”  And after tossing in my sleep trying to nail down the perfect one, I decided on these Pumpkin Donut Holes.  I went out and bought all the stuff.  I couldn’t WAIT to show up on Natalie’s doorstep with them Saturday morning…

But, I showed up with store-bought muffins instead.

You know those weeks where the days just get away from you? Welp – it was one of those – and the store bought muffins were delish – but not as good as these bad boys.  The recipe looked so good that I couldn’t not try them, even if I missed my brunch deadline.

If you don’t have the ingredients for this, run – don’t walk – to get them – because these donut holes are like crack – dipped in butter and coated with cinnamon and sugar.

Pumpkin Donut Holes
From Domestically Speaking


1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 pumpkin puree

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1) Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk till combined.

3) In another bowl, mix together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix till it’s just combined (you don’t want to over mix).

4) Fill your mini tins with about 1/2 tbsp. of batter.

5) Bake for 10-12 minutes.

6) While they’re baking, melt your butter and in a small bowl combine your sugar and cinnamon.

7) Once the donuts have cooled a bit, dunk them in the butter and then the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  If you want to make them a little less sugary, you can just dip the top in the butter and cinnamon/sugar.

Pumpkin Donut Holes

This recipe AND this weekend – definitely one for the books 🙂

Pumpkin Oreo Truffles

There’s this crazy little truffle movement going on out there – where creative combinations of cookies and cream cheese, food processed together into oblivion, rolled into balls, and covered in chocolate is making dessert the easiest it’s ever been, and the most delicious!

These Pumpkin Truffles are no different.  I’m pretty sure you could blend oreos with dishwashing soap and it would still taste like heaven.  But I thought “hmm, how can I get as much pumpkin into my diet as possible” – and this was the answer 🙂

Pumpkin Oreo Truffles
*Pumpkin Cream Cheese Recipe taken from Skinnytaste


1 block (8 oz) 1/3 fat cream cheese

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. agave nectar

1 regular sized bag of oreo cookies

8 oz. milk/dark/or white chocolate

1) Combine the first 7 ingredients in a mixing bowl, beating until smooth.

2) Place oreo cookies in a large ziplock bag and crush lightly.  Then place oreos and pumpkin cream cheese in a food processor or standing mixer and combine until a dough-like ball forms.

3) Chill the dough in the fridge for about 1/2 hour, to let it firm up a bit.

4) Roll tbsp. sized balls of the dough and place on wax paper.

5) In a double boiler, melt your chocolate.

6) Once the chocolate is melted, dip each ball of dough into the chocolate until fully covered and place back on the wax paper to dry.  Sprinkle with oreo crumbs if you wish.

The pumpkin flavoring is slight, but you know it’s there.  Of course, if you wanted a more pumpkin’y flavor, you could try using less oreos.  But for me personally, it was a perfect ratio.  And I used white chocolate vs. dark or milk for 2 reasons:

1) I had some in my cabinet

2) I honestly felt that the white chocolate would help the pumpkin flavor to come through vs. the milk or dark which might make them overpoweringly chocolatey (not that I think that’s a bad thing!).

So here’s an easy, poppable dessert for your next fall gathering – and they’re puppy approved 🙂

Pumpkin Oreo Truffles

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Brownies

Goat Cheese Brownies

sticks make great snacks


Yesterday marked our one month anniversary with Hairy (aka Hair Maclare, Hair Bear, Bubba, Bubbaloo, Bud, Buddy – he’s definitely having an identity crisis).  And luckily, there wasn’t much on the agenda for this weekend, so we got to spend lots of  time with him after being away last weekend.  Lots of walks – an outside beer in Davis Square – a trip to the park – and getting to meet his Auntie Ash and Uncle Sean! They were nice enough to invite us over for dinner so we could catch up and so that they could meet Hairy before he morphs into a 100 lb. monster.

Goat Cheese Brownies


Ash and Sean are fab cooks – they always try new things and somehow I get the sense that in all their attempts at new recipes, there has never been a disastorous outcome.  Their recipe selection and cooking skills are just that good. Sean made this fantastical Lobster Ceviche and Ash concocted a light and delcious corn chowder and Arugula Salad (another recipe that I stole from her) that were perfect compliments to the meaty steaks we had.  A fantastic meal!  And, they are such good hosts that when Hairy piddled on their really nice rug, Ash didn’t even bat an eyelash, but quietly cleaned it up while Dave and I (worst puppy parents ever) enjoyed our cocktails out on the porch.  Ooops.  Ah well, at least he’s cute right?

In addition to Ash’s delicious pie crust french fries with blueberries (GENIUS), I made Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese brownies.  The Vermont Brownie Company  has a version of these that I’ve had a few times and thought “Wow – who ever would have thought cheese would be good in a brownie!”.  There’s lots of recipes for them out there, but this one from My Fancy Pantry stuck out quite frankly because it seemed really easy and really delicious.  And it was.  Oh and they were.

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Brownies

Goat Cheese Brownies
*My Fancy Pantry

*yields about 2 dozen small/1 dozen large brownies

 1 batch of brownies, prepared–but not baked
(I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudgey Brownie Mix)

 1 large dark chocolate bar- cut into chunks

 8 oz. goat cheese

 2 tbsp. honey

 1 tbsp. all purpose flour

 2 tbsp. cream cheese

 1 egg

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your baking pan (I used a 9×13).

2) In a large bowl, prepare your favorite brownies–homemade or from a mix–and stir in the dark chocolate chunks.  Set the brownie mixture aside.

3) In a separate bowl, combine the chevre, honey, flour, cream cheese and egg.  Beat the ingredients together until the mixture becomes nice and smooth.

4) In the greased baking pan, add half of the brownie mixture.  Spread it out so that it covers the entire bottom.

5) Now, add spoonfuls of the goat cheese mixture on top of the brownies you just spread in the pan.  Spoon the rest of the prepared brownie mix on top, as well.

6) Using a plastic knife or a butter knife, make swirls and zig-zags throughout the spoonfuls of chevre mixture and brownie mix, creating a pretty swirled pattern.

7) Bake the brownies in the pre-heated oven until the center is set but still quite fudgy.  (Follow the baking directions for whichever brownie mix or recipe you used– I baked for about 25 minutes).

8) When the brownies are finished, remove them from the oven and let them cool.  Once they’re completely cooled, remove from the pan and freeze–or cut and serve.

The fudgey factor of these is beyond – they are so stickey and gooey that I would highly recommend keeping them frozen, or at least chilled (definitely not out at room temperature for too long).

Hopefully, these were good enough to cancel out the trail of puppy pee 😦

Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Brownies

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