No-Bake Deconstructed Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

You guys, I am so very excited about this. It’s definitely not healthy at all, but if you need a nice delectable dessert for a dinner party… or to eat all by yourself… this is where it’s at. At least, as long as you like chocolate and peanut butter and cheesecake.

Best part? It’s EASY. Traditional cheesecake is normally pretty tricky (having to bake it in a water bath and getting all those air bubbles out and having it just the right consistency… it’s tedious business!) but this one is NO BAKE and NO STRESS!

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

You’ll use the same cheesecake base for both flavors, so you can make that all in one batch. Using a stand mixer, beat together 1 cup of sour cream and 16 ounces (that’s two 8 oz blocks) of softened cream cheese until they are beginning to stick together, then add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. Beat this on high speed until it’s well combined and there are very few lumps left. Turn the mixer down to medium-high and then slowly pour in one (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula routinely throughout the mixing process!

Once this is all mixed together, ta-da, you have a basic vanilla cheesecake batter!

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

Now comes the fun part. Pour half of the batter out into a medium mixing bowl and set that aside. Then, to the batter remaining in the stand mixer bowl, mix in 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter to make the peanut butter flavored half of the batter.

Then, melt a cup and a half of milk chocolate chips (I usually do 30 seconds in the microwave, stir them, and then an additional 30 seconds) and then fold the melted chocolate into the reserved batter in the other bowl to make your chocolate half of the batter.

Using a table spoon, evenly divide the peanut butter batter between 8 single serving dessert dishes.

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

Then, on top, evenly divide the chocolate batter. Use your spoon to smooth it out to the edges.

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

Cover, and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 to 3 hours.

When you’re ready to serve them, you can make the graham cracker topping! Just melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl, and then add 5 sheets of crushed graham crackers (that’s 10 squares) and a table spoon of sugar. Stir it all together before topping the cheesecakes.

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Crushing them by hand is best, because then you’ll get a lot of different sized pieces!

Once the cheesecakes are topped, serve & enjoy them right away!

No Bake PB Cup Cheesecake

This dessert is sure to please all tastes and ages! It’s classy enough for adults, but sweet and fun enough for kids. Honestly, the kind of dish you serve it in is really all you need to determine how fancy (or not!) this is!

Full Recipe:

No-Bake Deconstructed Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Yield: 8 servings


1 cup sour cream
16 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 & 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips, melted

5 sheets (10 squares) graham crackers, crumbled by hand
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp white sugar


1) In a stand mixer, combine sour cream and cream cheese until just starting to combine together, then turn mixer up to high and add in sugar and vanilla. Mix until well blended, with almost no lumps left. (Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.)

2) Turn mixer down to medium-high and slowly pour in condensed milk. Allow to mix until fully combined.

3) Pour half the batter into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

4) Add peanut butter to batter still in stand-mixer bowl and beat in until combined. Evenly divide peanut butter batter between 8 dessert dishes.

5) Fold in melted chocolate to reserved batter, and then divide on top of the peanut butter batter in the dishes.

6) Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to set.

7) When ready to serve, combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbles, and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle graham cracker topping on top of each mini cheesecake before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie Bars

In my neck of the woods, it snowed ten inches yesterday. Naturally, there’s only one thing to do when the flakes are falling down from the sky at such a steady pace… Bake! I created these beauties yesterday afternoon as an idea for a super versatile dessert – whether giving to your kids in a bagged lunch, serving at a party, or just having on hand around the house when your sweet tooth comes knocking!


This recipe turned out perfectly to make 8 bars, but feel free to double it to make more!

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees and spraying mini loaf pans with cooking spray. I have a nifty set of 8 that are all connected, kind of like this one.

Like most cookies, these start by prepping dry and wet ingredients separately. In a medium bowl, combine 1 and 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt. Then, in a stand mixer bowl, cream together 1 stick of softened butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.


MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Remember that “creaming” together butter and sugar should be done at a high speed for at least two minutes! Start at a low speed to get things starting to break down, and then kick it up to medium-high until the mixture is smooth.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in one egg. Reduce the mixer speed to “stir” and slowly combine in the flour mixture. You’ll probably need to use a spatula at the end to fold in the last bit of flour and make the dough into a nice ball.


Fold in a heavy 1/2 cup each of dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries until they are distributed throughout the dough. Divide the dough evenly between 8 mini loaf pans and then bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.


Once they come out of the oven, allow to cool in the pan for a minute or two before using a metal spatula to help remove them cleanly from the pan. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely… but feel free to enjoy while they are still warm!


These are perfectly sweet, so one bar should be plenty enough for one person! You may want to cut them in half for the kiddos.

Oh, and you’ll DEFINITELY want to serve these with some cold milk!


Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as my house did – 24 hours later, they are already gone!!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie Bars

Yield: 8 bars


1 & 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Heavy 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Heavy 1/2 cup dried cranberries


1) Preheat oven to 375 and spray 8 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

2) In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

3) In bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on with paddle attachment medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.

4) Scrape down sides of the bowl and then beat in one egg to butter and sugar.

5) Reduce mixer speed to “stir” and slowly combine in flour mixture a little at a time. Turn off the mixer and remove paddle to allow you to fold in the last bit of flour by hand at the end and create a neat dough ball.

6) Fold in chocolate chips and cranberries until well distributed throughout the dough.

7) Divide batter evenly between 8 mini loaf pans and bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan slightly before using a metal spatula to remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

If you are not a chocolate lover, please feel free to leave this blog post. I won’t be offended, I promise.

Now that I have the full attention of the remaining chocoholics: You. Will. Love. These. Brownies.

They are RICH.

They are DECADENT.


And they are NOT AT ALL good for you. (Diabetics, beware!!)

Best part? They’re EASY!


There are a few things that make these extra awesome, so pay close attention!

Start by preheating your oven to 375 and coating a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray. Next comes the first deviation that makes these extra delicious – a sweet “crust” that goes on the bottom of the brownies! Crush up 4 graham cracker sheets and 15 Nilla wafers and add them to a medium bowl, along with 4 tbsp of melted butter and 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir this all together and then dump it into the baking pan.


MAKE OR BREAK TIP: It’s best if there are crumbs mixed in with bigger chunks, so don’t use a food processor! Crushing with your hands works great.

Level it out with your hands, and then use a drinking glass to tamp the crumbs down to form a firm, even layer.


Once the oven is preheated, bake the crust BY ITSELF for 10 minutes.

Now, if you’re feeling a little lazy, you could totally skip this step and just bake the brownies on their own in the pan without the crust. But for real, I think the crust is definitely worth it!

While your crust is baking, get the batter together:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar.


Say what? Cream cheese? That’s right. Cream Cheese. Another one of the things that makes these brownies extra awesome. Not butter, not oil. The fatty component necessary for any brownie recipe comes from the amazing kitchen wonder that is cream cheese. And boy does it make them rich!

After you’ve creamed this together, beat in two eggs until well combined.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Scrape down the sides of the bowl FREQUENTLY. As in between each and every addition of anything. It’s super important!!!

Once you’ve beaten in the eggs, melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, 30 more seconds) and then stir an additional 1/4 cup of room temperature dark chocolate chips into the melted chocolate to temper it. Turn your mixer on medium-low and use a spatula to scrape the chocolate slowly into the mixing bowl. This is chocolate #1!

Once the melted chocolate is mixed in, lower the mixer speed to “stir” and add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder a 1/4 cup at a time. (Chocolate #2!)

Once the cocoa powder is combined, add 3/4 cup of flour (while the mixer is still on) 1/4 cup at a time.

At this point, it should look like brownie batter:


Brownie batter is notoriously thick, so don’t let that concern you! Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and then fold in 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips by hand with a wooden spoon. (Chocolate #3!)

Spoon the batter into the pan on top of the crust, spreading it carefully so you don’t pull the crust off the pan. (The batter is really sticky!) Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out MOSTLY clean. There should still be some crumbs sticking to it, but no visibly wet batter.


Using all of the self-restraint you can muster, allow the brownies to cool for at LEAST a half an hour before attempting to cut into them!


If you’ve REALLY got a sweet tooth, it’s great served with ice cream, too! I used Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, in keeping with the graham cracker crust and cream cheese content of the brownies – but just about anything would be fabulous!


Full Recipe:

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies


4 graham cracker sheets, crumbled
15 Nilla wafers, crumbled
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 375 and coat the bottom and sides of a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, stir together crumbled graham crackers and Nilla wafers with melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Pour this into the baking pan and then level out and tamp down with a drinking class until a cohesive, firm crust is formed. Bake crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

3) Using a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and 1 & 1/2 cups sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in two eggs. (Scrape the bowl again.)

4) Melt 1/2 cup of the dark chocolate chips in the microwave, and then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips to temper. Turn the mixer on medium-low and scrape the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl.

5) Once the chocolate is mixed in, scrape the bowl again, and lower the mixer speed to “stir” and add cocoa powder, 1/4 cup at a time. (Scrape the sides of the bowl!) Then, add the flour 1/4 cup at a time. Once all the dry ingredients have been mixed in, turn the mixer off and remove the bowl from the stand. (Batter will be thick.)

6) Fold in 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips by hand with a wooden spoon, then pour batter on top of the prepared crust, carefully leveling it out to the sides and corners without pulling the crust from the bottom of the pan.

7) Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs still stuck to it. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

French Toast Bread Pudding

So, a few days ago, we had a nice Italian dinner with home-made garlic bread. You know, the kind where you buy the uncut loaf from the store and slice it yourself and coat it in garlic and Parmesan goodness and then bake it. We had so much bread left in the loaf that we had French toast the next morning for breakfast.

And then there was STILL some leftover…

I didn’t want to have boring old French toast again, but the bread really needed to be used up, as it’s really only good for a couple of days, so I got to thinking, what if I made a hybrid of French toast… and bread pudding? I mean, are they really all that different?

And thus, this dish was born.


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Take three 1 inch slices of Italian bread and cube them into 1-inch cubes. (It should end up being about 2 cups of bread.) Then, dice up 1/2 a granny smith apple and slice 1 banana into 1/4 inch slices.


In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon. (If you like, you can also add 1/2 tsp of almond extract, and/or use almond milk instead of regular milk.)


To this, add your bread cubes and gently fold them into the egg mixture until they are all coated, then fold in the apples and bananas.

Split 2 tbsp of melted butter between two ramekins and brush it over the bottom and sides, then spoon the bread pudding into each ramekin. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.


Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and apples have softened. Serve immediately!


Full Recipe:

French Toast Bread Pudding

Yield: 2 servings


Three 1-inch slices of Italian bread, cubed (about 2 cups)
1/2 granny smith apple, diced
1 medium-large banana, sliced

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (or almond milk)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

2 tbsp melted butter
Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and extracts.

3) Fold in the cubed bread to the egg mixture first, then fold in the apples and bananas.

4) Split the melted butter between two ramekins and brush to coat the bottom and sides of each.

5) Spoon the bread pudding into each ramekin and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and apples have softened. Serve immediately.

*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Martini / Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! As a finish to my Valentine’s Day themed week, here’s two fabulous sweet, chocolatey drinks that are sure to be a fabulous cap to any romantic evening. (How convenient that Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday so I could finish off with my weekly Friday drink post!)

Of course, if these sound like too much effort, a shared bottle of wine wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

First up is the strong one, for you dessert drink lovers. I really like this blended, but it’s easy to make as a shaken cocktail, also!

Finished Text

If you want to be really fancy with it, rim your glasses with a mix of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. (A teaspoon of each should do.) Mix those up in a shallow dish wide enough for your martini glasses and use a spoon to make a ring of it that’s about the same size as the rims of your glasses. Dip the glasses in a shallow dish of water (only a fraction of an inch in), shake off the excess, and then dip the glasses in the cocoa mixture.

Rimming 1

Turn them right side up and set them aside while you make your drink.

Rimming 2

In a blender, combine 1 scoop of chocolate ice cream, 1/2 cup chocolate milk, 2 ounces RumChata, 2 ounces Creme de Cacao, and 2 ounces Kahlua. (You could also replace the RumChata with Bailey’s, which I think might be a more popular liquor in most households.) Blend for a few minutes or until it’s well combined and there’s no chunks of the ice cream. Pour into 2 martini glasses and serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of the cocoa mix you used to rim the glasses!


If you’d rather have a shaken drink, replace the ice cream with an additional 1/2 cup of chocolate milk and shake everything together in a cocktail shaker instead.

Next up is the hot chocolate mix!

Finished Text

This is a recipe for a dry mix that can be stored for up to three months and makes about 6-7 servings or so. I typically make a bunch of it starting around Thanksgiving and always keep some on hand throughout the whole winter! If you don’t have any candy canes left over from Christmas you can always leave them out, or buy some generic peppermint candies at the grocery store.

In a food processor, add 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 2 candy canes (or 10 round peppermint candies) that are crushed into small pieces. Pulse it together until everything is combined and the white chocolate chips and peppermint candy pieces have been ground up finely.

When you’re ready to serve, put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug and heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate cup. Pour the hot milk overtop of the mix, stir, and serve! Top with whipped cream and a candy cane, if desired. You could also add an ounce or two of Baileys, which I have found tastes fabulous in peppermint drinks. (A peppermint latte with Baileys – heaven!)

Finished 2

Full Recipes:

Blended Chocolate Martini

Yield: 2 servings


1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup chocolate milk
2 ounces RumChata (or Bailey’s)
2 ounces Creme de Cacao
2 ounces Kahlua


1) Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a shallow dish, making a circle with the mixture about the size of the rim of your chosen glasses.

2) Dip the rim of a glass in the water about 1/4 inch, shake off the excess, and then dip it in the cocoa mixture. Repeat with second glass, then set aside.

3) In a blender, add ice cream, chocolate milk, RumChata, Creme de Cacao, and Kahlua. Blend 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with whipped cream and leftover cocoa mixture!

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: About 6-7 servings


1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 candy canes (or 10 peppermint candies), crushed


1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

2) Pulse until combined and chocolate chips and candy pieces are finely ground.

3) Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To serve: put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug. Heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate container. Pour the hot milk over the mix, stir well, and garnish with whipped cream and a candy cane.

*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Mousse

Okay, so I’m breaking the Valentine’s rules here a little and doing a recipe that isn’t for exactly two servings, but this mousse is so good you might just eat it all between the two of you anyway!

There aren’t many more decadent, Valentine-y desserts than the sweet, dark, rich concoction that is chocolate mousse. And sure, you could buy one of those little boxes from the store where you just add milk and whip it up, but this is sooooo much better, and doesn’t require all that much work!

Finished Text

Start by putting your mixing bowl and beater(s) into the freezer to chill them. (This is important, trust me!)

What makes this mousse so chocolatey is the fact that it uses real melted chocolate for the bulk of its flavor – NOT cocoa powder! So, start by melting 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave. (30 seconds, stir, 30 more sections, stir. If it still isn’t all melting together after that, do another 15 seconds, but remember that the heat from the melted chocolate will help to melt any remaining chunks as you stir it!)

Melted Chocolate

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: The better the chocolate, the better your mousse. Nestle semi-sweet chips are great and work fine, but if you really want to kick it up, use a brand like Ghirardelli or Godiva.

Once your chocolate is melted, stir in 2 tbsp instant coffee and 2 ounces of RumChata (or a dark spiced rum). Set this aside so it cools a bit.

Take 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a glass measuring cup and add 1 teaspoon of raspberry gelatin powder to it. (You could use unflavored gelatin as well, or orange flavored, but I really feel like the slight hint of raspberry gives great depth to the finished mousse!) Let this stand for about 10 minutes on the counter, and then microwave it for a minute or so to heat it up. (Make sure the cream doesn’t boil!)


Stir the cream & gelatin together to combine, and then fold this mixture into your melted chocolate and transfer the new chocolate mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Take your bowl & beaters out of the freezer and add 1 cup of chilled heavy cream. (If you’re using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.) To the cream, add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Put the mixer on a medium to high speed and whip for about 2 minutes or until the cream has solidified to stiff peaks.

Whipped cream

**Fun fact, this by itself is simply a chocolate whipped cream and is fabulous on top of a myriad of desserts, from hot chocolate to ice cream to cake!**

Once the cream is done, carefully fold it into your melted chocolate mixture in 3 batches.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: “Folding” is done by using a spatula; you move it down into the chocolate, across the bottom of the bowl, and then back up out the top. This allows the mousse to remain airy and fluffy. You might still have a few streaks of the cream visible, but that’s okay – you don’t want to over-work it!

Once you have everything folded together, spoon it into 6 dessert dishes and refrigerate for an hour before serving.


Between the coffee, rum, and raspberry gelatin, this mousse goes from good to fabulous! It has so much depth, so even though it takes a little bit of work, it’s very, very worth it!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Mousse

Yield: 6 servings


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 ounces RumChata or dark spiced rum

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp raspberry gelatin powder

1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder


1) Put a mixing bowl and mixer beater(s) in the freezer to chill. (If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.) In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Then for another 30 seconds, and stir again.

2) To the melted chocolate, add 2 tbsp instant coffee powder and 2 ounces of RumChata or dark spiced rum. Set aside to cool.

3) To a glass measuring cup, add 1/4 cup heavy cream and raspberry gelatin powder. Let stand for 10 minutes, then microwave for about 1 minute. (Don’t allow the cream to boil.) Stir to combine.

4) Fold in the cream-gelatin mixture to the melted chocolate.

5) Remove your chilled bowl and beaters from the freezer and attach to stand mixer. To the bowl, add 1 cup chilled heavy cream, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Beat on high for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

6) Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 3 doses. (Don’t overwork it.) Spoon the mousse into 6 dessert glasses and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Parfait with Rum Whipped Cream

Happy Valentine’s Week! This week is dedicated to decadence and romance, since Valentine’s Day is this Friday! These recipes are of course good the rest of the year, too – but for a day that practically worships chocolate, I’m focusing on that delightful sweet dessert ingredient all week!

I’m kicking things off with a recipe that can actually prove to be very versatile, as the two components of the recipe (the chocolate cake and the whipped cream) can be used by themselves elsewhere, or together in other combinations than what I’ve given here.

Finished Text

I truly feel like I’ve stumbled onto a gold mine with this mini chocolate cake recipe. It’s just enough batter for two light, fluffy, and moist cupcakes – and it’s decadently dark and rich!

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and putting two cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 cup milk. Slowly pour in melted butter, whisking steadily while you’re pouring. Once this is combined, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and stir in your flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Once it’s combined, pour into the two cupcake liners.


If you’re like me and can’t resist having a bit of the batter while you’re mixing, it should fit nicely into two cups. If you do have a little extra, then just bake three cupcakes instead of two!

Bake them for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Once they have cooled, take a serrated knife (a steak knife works great) and slice each cupcake into 3 even layers.


Place the layers on a dish lined with parchment paper and pop them in the freezer, along with your stand-mixer mixing bowl and whisk attachment, for ten minutes or so.

Once your bowl and whisk are chilled, attach them to your stand mixer and a 1/2 cup of chilled heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and one tablespoon of RumChata (or another favorite rum). Beat this on a high speed for a minute or so, then add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.


Once the whipped cream is done, you’re ready to assemble! Make sure your glasses are wide enough to accommodate the width of your sliced cupcakes. Start with the whipped cream, add a layer of cake, and then topped with whipped cream. Continue until both glasses have 3 cake layers with whipped cream at the bottom and the top. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve!


If you don’t wan’t to be so fancy, you could also just make the cupcakes and frost them with the whipped cream, or even pipe the whipped cream inside them!

*You could also make chocolate whipped cream by swapping out the rum for chocolate liqueur and adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Parfait with Rum Whipped Cream

Yield: Two parfaits


Chocolate Cupcakes:
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp RumChata
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with two cupcake paper liners.

2) Melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.

3) In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4) In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Slowly pour in butter, while whisking continuously.

5) Once wet ingredients are combined, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and stir in flour mixture to wet ingredients.

6) Pour finished batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

8) Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut them with a serrated knife into 3 layers each and place them on a parchment paper lined dish in the freezer, along with your stand mixer’s bowl and whisk attachment, for 10 minutes.

9) After the 10 minutes has passed, attach the bowl and whisk to the stand mixer and beat heavy cream, RumChata, and vanilla on high for about a minute, then add powdered sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.

10) Layer whipped cream and cake layers in parfait glasses, so there is whipped cream on the bottom, top, and between each cake layer. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Milkshake

Happy Friday! This delightful little treat has all the goodness of a sweet shop ice cream sundae blended into a portable shake! Even better, it’s very easy to make this either alcoholic or virgin!

Finished Text

All you have to do is combine 2 (hefty) scoops of chocolate ice cream, about 1/3 cup of frozen cherries, and 1/2 cup of milk in a blender and blend until smooth! It’s that simple! (For a thicker shake, use less milk.)

If you’d like to make it alcoholic, reduce milk to 1/3 cup and add 1 ounce of cherry rum (or vodka) and 1 ounce of creme de cacao!

That’s it! Enjoy!


Italian Amaretto Cappuccino/Latte

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m still getting over all the snow that was dumped on us a few days ago, so it’s only fitting that today’s weekly Friday drink is a warm and comforting one. In my humble opinion, there is no better hot drink than coffee, and no one does coffee better than (you guessed it) the Italians.

Finished Text

This is an alcoholic drink, but it’s also very good without the liquor as well, if you’re looking to have it before work in the morning! I’ll give fair warning, this one probably uses a lot of things you don’t already have, but I’ll make sure to link you to where to buy everything, and give potential substitutes, as well!

Start off by making your coffee. This recipe makes two cappuccinos, so you’ll need 2-3 shots worth of espresso (or 3/4 cup of very strong coffee). I like my coffee strong, so I always use 3 shots to split between two drinks.

I make my espresso using what’s called a Moka Express by Bialetti. I bought mine in Italy, but you can buy direct from their website or from Bed Bath and Beyond. Mine is the 3-cup style; just remember, “cups” means “servings,” not actual 8 oz. cups (a measurement that they do not use in Italy, since they have the metric system!) – instead, a “cup” is equal to one “shot” of espresso. It technically works with any kind of coffee, but I prefer Lavazza espresso ground coffee. (I get mine from Wegmans.)


You can read more about how they work on the Bialetti website, but the end result is that the coffee ends up in the top. Alternatively, if you have a Nespresso machine, you can make your espresso shots that way. If all you have is a regular old coffee maker, use 2-3 tablespoons of coffee for only 1 cup of water to make very strong “American” coffee. It won’t be espresso, but it will be strong enough coffee to handle everything else going into it.

At the same time that you start making your coffee, you’ll want to heat up 1 cup of milk. I do mine on the stove using a milk frother, since I’ll be foaming it later. Mine looks like this one (meant for the stovetop) but there are other options available at places like Bed Bath and Beyond where you would heat the milk elsewhere (such as in the microwave) and then transfer it to the frother. If you don’t have a frother and don’t want to buy one, just use regular old hot milk without foaming it. It just won’t be a cappuccino since the milk isn’t foamed, but it will be just as delicious 😉

In order to make this a truly Amaretto coffee, you have to use an Amaretto liqueur. A very good Italian amaretto is Disaronno. You’ll need 2 ounces of that, along with 1 ounce of Kahlua.


Put half of each liquor amount (1 ounce Disaronno, 1/2 ounce Kahlua) into the bottom of two coffee mugs. I like Irish coffee mugs for photos, but white cappuccino mugs are much more Italian. 😉


Once the coffee is done, split it evenly between the two glasses. This would also be the time to add any desired sweeteners. I like 1 tsp of sugar per cup and a 1/2 ounce of french vanilla flavoring syrup. (I use Torani.) To still get the hint of vanilla without using the syrup, just add a few drops of vanilla extract instead.


Once you’ve stirred in your sweeteners to the coffee, add in the milk, going back and forth between the cups to make sure each one gets equal foam.

Add Milk

It will be layered because of the different liquid consistencies, so make sure to stir before drinking, but it does look so pretty while it’s layered! Top it with whipped cream and cocoa powder, if desired, and serve!

Finished 2

If you’re on the fence about buying a Moka Express, I’m telling you, the $30 you’ll spend is an extremely worthwhile investment. I have a Keurig machine and I used to use it every day, and then I brought home my Moka from Italy. I hardly touch my Keurig now – the 5 extra minutes it takes to brew true Italian coffee every morning is so worth it for real coffee lovers! (You might never go to Starbucks again!)

Full Recipe:

Italian Amaretto Cappuccino

Yield: 2 cappuccinos


2-3 shots of brewed hot espresso
1 cup hot milk
2 ounces Disaronno
1 ounce Kahlua
2 tsp sugar
1 ounce Torani French Vanilla syrup (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
Whipped cream & cocoa powder, for garnish


1) In two mugs, split the espresso, Disaronno, Kahlua, sugar, and vanilla flavoring evenly. Stir each well to combine.

2) Foam the hot milk in a milk frother, then pour it evenly between the two mugs, alternating back and forth to ensure equal amounts of foam.

3) Stir well, then garnish with whipped cream and cocoa powder and serve!

Frosted Lemon Coconut Cookies

The last time I was at the grocery store, I ambitiously bought an entire bag of lemons. “I always think of ways to use lemons and I never have any,” I thought. “I’ll easily tear through this bag of at least a dozen lemons in less than a week.”

Well, a week later, I was staring at the still unopened bag of lemons trying to decide how on earth to use them, because no random recipes or drinks calling for lemon juice or zest or slices or any other variation had dropped into my head at all. (*Note, this was before yesterday’s pasta in a lemon blush sauce!)

And then out of nowhere I got the craving for cookies. (It’s dinner time. DINNER time. And suddenly my mind seems to be overwhelmed by the insatiable desire for SWEETS.) And then… it just came to me. Lemon Cookies. Sweetened with coconut. And frosted. Yes, absolutely, frosted with sweet lemon coconut icing. Bam.

Finished Text

So yes, I am unashamed to say that on the night of the creation of these fabulous little beauties, I had cookies for dinner. And milk. And then a few more cookies.

Don’t judge me.

Finished 1

Anyhow… as per just about every cookie recipe in existence, start by preheating the oven (350 degrees), lining two baking sheets with parchment paper, and combining your dry ingredients. For these, it’s 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking POWDER, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking SODA. The distinction is important.


In a stand mixer (because now you have one, ever since you read the butterscotch chocolate chip cookie recipe, right?) cream together a stick and a half of butter, 4 ounces cream cheese (which is just 1/2 of an 8 ounce block), and a cup and a half of sugar.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Remember, it’s important that the butter and cream cheese are soft, NOT melted! 20 seconds in the microwave should be good enough to soften the butter and cream cheese, if they aren’t already room temperature. Cream them together with the sugar by starting on “stir” for 10-15 seconds, and then kicking it up to a medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Cream Butter and Sugar

To this, add in one egg and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Combine these on a medium speed, then add the zest and juice of half a lemon and 3/4 cup coconut flakes and keep the mixer on medium until everything is incorporated.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: The easiest and most efficient way to zest any citrus fruit is with a zester (mine is by Microplane and they aren’t that pricey), but you can also use a regular cheese grater or even a vegetable peeler. Remember to only just take the color off. Once you get to the faded white-ish part (the pith), the flavor becomes bitter.

After you’ve added all your flavor components, then, little by little, add your reserved dry ingredients until the mixture has formed into a dough. It’ll be pretty stiff once it gets close to the end; you might need to stop the stand mixer and do the rest with a spoon.


Drop by rounded spoonfuls (or use an awesome one ounce scooper) onto your prepared baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Once they’re done, let them cool completely and then store them until you’re ready to frost them.

Cookies on tray

The frosting might be the most delicious part of this cookie, for real. I’m not normally a fan of iced cookies, but this really makes these go from “good” to “fabulous.”  And it’s SO easy. Just cream together half a stick of butter, 4 ounces of cream cheese (again, 1/2 of an 8 ounce block), and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and then add one and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 of a cup at a time. Once it’s combined, kick the mixer up to a medium high speed and let it whip up for a minute or two, then add the zest and juice of half a lemon and 1/4 cup of coconut flakes. Mix until just combined and then it’s done!


Scrape this out into a smaller bowl and then use an icing knife to frost each cookie. Yes, you could just use a table knife, but I like the control I get from an icing knife.

Put the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate them for about a half hour to set the icing, and then store them in an airtight container. Truthfully, I really think these are best when they are cold from the fridge, so feel free to store them there!

Finished 2

These are definitely not your average cookie – they’ll go fast!

Full Recipe:

Frosted Lemon Coconut Cookies

Yield: About 50 cookies


For the cookies:

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) of butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup coconut flakes

For the frosting:

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1& 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut flakes


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3) In a stand mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, and white sugar.

4) Add in egg and vanilla. Mix on medium speed to combine, and then add lemon zest/juice and coconut flakes. Mix until just combined.

5) Slowly mix in dry ingredients, with mixer set to “stir,” until everything is combined and a dough has formed.

6) Scoop one-ounce balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool completely on wire cooling racks.

7) For the frosting, cream together butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Add powdered sugar 1/2 of a cup at a time until combined, and then mix on medium-high for 2 minutes. Mix in lemon zest/juice and coconut flakes until just combined.

8) Once cookies have cooled completely, frost each one and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

9) Put frosted cookies in the refrigerator for about a half hour to set the icing. Once the icing is set, store them in an airtight container.