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dessert

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Super Simple Sugar Cookies and A Surprise Shower for Stephanie!

April 9, 2014

Super Easy Sugar Cookies (1) | Espresso and Cream

First off, thank you so much for your kind words about our recent miscarriage. I plan on responding to each and every comment and have done my best to stay up-to-date with e-mails. I so greatly appreciate each word you’ve said to me and cherish each one. This post, a baby shower for my friend Stephanie, was planned months ago. Although the timing feels a bit forced in light of our recent news, I want to be able to celebrate with Stephanie in her time of joy. -Madison

One of my blogging friends turned real life friend, Stephanie of Girl Versus Dough, is having a little baby girl and today I’m getting together with a bunch of other bloggers to throw Stephanie a virtual baby shower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend Stephanie’s real-life baby shower since I was out of town but I wouldn’t miss getting in on the virtual celebrations!

It’s been so great getting to know Stephanie in real life now that we both live up in the cities. She is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest people I know and that little girl is going to be born into such an amazing family!

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.23.09 AM

The cookies I made for Stephanie’s shower are my new go-to sugar cookie recipe. I love baking that doesn’t require a lot of fuss and these cookies certainly fit the bill. One of the things I hate most about sugar cookie dough is the fact that you have to refrigerate the dough before you bake it. I struggle with patience, so refrigerating dough is a challenge for me.

Thankfully, this recipe doesn’t require the dough to be refrigerated before you bake it. Major win in my book! And it requires just a handful of ingredients you probably have on hand, which is another major bonus. For those of you out there who don’t consider yourself much of a baker, I would suggest starting with a recipe like this. Adding a few colored sprinkles on top gives these cookies a decorative touch without much extra fuss.

Super Simple Sugar Cookies (2) | Espresso and Cream

Check out all the other ladies who are participating in the shower:

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes from Sarcastic Cooking

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with Lemon Drizzle from Greens & Chocolate

Super Chewy M&M Blondies from The Realistic Nutritionist

Strawberry Cinnamon Twist Knots from A Kitchen Addiction

Lemon Shortbread with Salted Chocolate Drizzle from The Lemon Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream from A Zesty Bite

Blackberry and Mango Curd Pie from Joanne Eats Well With Others

Pecan Sticky Buns from Warm Vanilla Sugar

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins from Garnish with Lemon

Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Susie Freaking Homemaker

Super Simple Sugar Cookies from Espresso and Cream

Raspberry Acai Frozen Margarita from Nutmeg Nanny

Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt from The Law Student’s Wife

Pretty in Pink Buttercream Cups from Keep it Sweet Desserts

Broccoli Salad with Honey Toasted Walnuts from The Roasted Root

Neapolitan Baked Doughnuts from Climbing Grier Mountain

Giant Pink M&M and Raisinette Cookies from Steph’s Bite by Bite

No-Bake Rhubarb Cheesecake Parfait Cups from Hungry Girl Por Vida

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from A Cedar Spoon

Freckled Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade from Take a Megabite

Vanilla Anise Cupcakes from Blahnik Baker

Mini Vanilla Bean Layer Cakes from The Baker Chick

Mini Blackberry Hazelnut Meringue Cakes from Eat Your Heart Out

Super Simple Sugar Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
This sugar cookies come together quickly and don't need to be refrigerated before you slice and bake them. That's a major win in my book! This makes about two dozen small cookies, but feel free to double if you want a bigger batch!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Colored sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg and beat until just combined. Add in the vanilla, salt and baking powder and beat until combined.
  3. Add flour to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut shapes from dough, rolling and re-rolling as necessary to use up dough. Top dough with colored sprinkles, if desired.
  4. Place cookies on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake 8 minutes or just until light golden brown around the edges. Do not over bake. Remove immediately and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

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Healthier Peanut Butter Pie (175 calories per slice!)

March 30, 2014

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie | Espresso and Cream 1

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I soaked up every ounce of the beautiful weather we had this weekend, and for the first time it felt like Spring really is on its way! We also finally got around to buying bikes! It’s been a long time coming, since my last bike was something purchased in middle school. Since Minneapolis has so many beautiful bike trails, we knew we were missing out.

Moving right along…Let’s talk about pie, shall we?

At our house, healthier desserts will always have a place at the table. I have found over the years that the less sugar I eat, the less I’m able to tolerate super sweet things. That’s not to say that my sweet tooth has disappeared completely. In reality, I find that I need to have a little something sweet every night.

One of my favorite desserts is peanut butter pie. It’s also a dessert that I don’t indulge in frequently because it’s usually quite unhealthy and loaded with fat and sugar. This weekend when the craving for peanut butter pie hit me hard I decided to come up with a healthier version that I could enjoy more often.

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 2 | Espresso and CreamOne of my favorite tricks for making healthy creamy pies is to use silken firm tofu for the base of the pie. Make sure that the tofu you buy is silken firm and not another type of tofu or you won’t be able to blend the tofu as smooth as it needs to be for this recipe. If you’re freaked out about using tofu in your pie, don’t be! I promise you can’t even taste the tofu, and it’s a great alternative to cream cheese or whipping cream.

Each slice of this pie clocks in at around 175 calories per slice, meaning you can have a piece every night of the week without feeling guilty in the least bit. An added bonus of the tofu? It means that each slice of this pie has 8 grams of protein!

One final note: The vanilla pudding and pie filling is really important for this recipe. It thickens the filling slightly and really gives the filling lots of great vanilla flavor. Although I’ve only tried this recipe with vanilla, I’m guessing that chocolate, white chocolate, cheesecake or banana flavors would all be really delicious!

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 3 | Espresso and Cream

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This peanut butter pie is a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. A slice of this pie comes in at around 175 calories per slice, and thanks to a secret ingredient (tofu!) each slice contains 8 grams of protein, too.
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 2 (12 oz) containers silken firm tofu (make sure it is silken tofu for a creamy consistency)
  • ⅔ cup creamy or chunky natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix (just the dry mix)
  • 3 packets stevia or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl combine crust ingredients until well combined. Press mixture into an 8- or 9-inch round pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine all the filling ingredients. Blend 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth or nearly smooth. If you used chunky peanut butter, like I did, the mixture will not be completely smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into 10 slices to serve.

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Yogurt Streusel Coffee Cake

March 7, 2014

YogurtCoffeeCake_1The weekend is almost upon us! For some reason, Friday’s arrival just sort of ambushed me and I am having a hard time believing that it’s Friday. I guess that’s a good problem to have, much better than the week dragging by. We don’t have a whole lot on the calendar this weekend, which I’m totally excited about. A few dinners with friends and family, a couple of lazy mornings, and enjoying the warmer weather with the pups. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

At work I’ve been creating some really fun yogurt cake recipes. And while I can’t share the amazing recipes just yet, I did play around in my own kitchen with a completely different yogurt cake that’s delicious in its own right. My dedicated taste tester, Joe, was a big fan of this cake. Serve it as a coffee cake in the morning or as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. It’s not overly sweet, which both Joe and I loved. But I think the best part is how easy it is to make.

I hope that wherever you are the weather is getting warmer (and yes, 30 degrees totally counts as warm!) and you take some time to relax with loved ones. See you Monday!

YogurtCoffeeCake_2

Yogurt Streusel Coffee Cake
Recipe type: Brunch/Dessert
Serves: 16 slices (2 cakes)
 
I love how easy this recipe is! You use the actual yogurt container to measure out all the sugar, oil and flour, meaning you don't need to dirty measuring cups and you can throw the yogurt container away when you're done. This coffee cake is easily my new go-to for easy, effortless entertaining. Perfect for breakfast, brunch of dessert.
Ingredients
  • 2 containers (5.3 to 6 oz) Greek yogurt (I used a flavored raspberry Greek yogurt)
  • 2 containers sugar
  • 1 container oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 containers all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Streusel
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Icing
  • 1 container powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, sugar and oil. Stir until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to wet mixture, beating with a whisk or electric mixer until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour batter into cake pans.
  5. In small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats and flour. Work the butter in with your fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle streusel mixture on top of cakes.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean (a couple crumbs may remain because it's a slightly moister cake.)
  7. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake. Turn cake out of pans and cool on wire cooling racks.
  8. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cakes. Serve cakes warm or cool.

 

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Rainbow Chip Mug Cake for One

February 15, 2014

Mug_Cake_4I’ve got a serious bone to pick with mug cakes. While I love the concept of mug cakes, every time I went out looking for a recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth, the mug cakes I found fell in one of the following categories:

1. Very super healthy but tasting similar to sawdust
2. Super indulgent, with as much as 2 or 3 tablespoons (!!) nut butter in a single serving, meaning 200-300 calories in nut butter alone

When I’m looking to make a mug cake, I want it to taste great but I’m also not looking to consume a huge number of calories. In that case, I would just make a regular cake or go to Whole Foods for a cupcake. The other week as I was leaving work, I swung by the company store (yes, we have a company store and it’s wonderful) and picked up a box of Betty Crocker Party Rainbow Chip cake mix. We don’t usually have things like cake mix sitting around at home since I’m more of a from-scratch baker, but something about that Party Rainbow Chip was calling my name.

Mug_Cake_1

Turns out I was right. I’ve found plenty of ways to use the cake mix I picked up last week. I was delighted when I figured out that I could make an incredibly easy and tasty mug cake with just a few ingredients. A little bit of cake mix, an egg white and a few tablespoons of milk is all you need to make a mug cake any night of the week. While it’s not exactly health food, it’s certainly healthier than a lot of the mug cakes out there and tastes so much like a regular cupcake! From now on, I’ll be keeping a box of cake mix in my pantry just in case.

Healthier Rainbow Chip Mug Cake for One
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
This is my go-to weeknight dessert when I'm craving something sweet but don't want to totally bust my healthy eating for the day. It's easy and incredibly tasty and has enough protein to keep you full thanks to the egg white.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Betty Crocker Party Rainbow Chip cake mix (or similar cake mix)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk together the cake mix, egg white and milk until smooth. Spray a mug with cooking spray. Pour cake batter into mug and microwave 30 to 40 seconds or until cake is cooked through. It's better to undercook than overcook mug cakes.
  2. Serve cake warm plain or with a dollop of Greek yogurt or peanut butter as "frosting."

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Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar

February 6, 2014

Cookie_Dough_1
By the time Friday rolls around, Joe and I are both in the mood for a low key night, which means a workout together at the gym, eating Chipotle and watching something on TV. Maybe not the most exciting routine around, but I love it so much. Last week when were were watching Shark Tank on ABC, one of our favorite shows, I was drawn to a particular business idea that was being pitched to the sharks on the show. The company, Cookie Dough Cafe, was talking about their line of edible raw cookie dough in a jar. Um, yum!

Although I loved the business idea, one thing that struck me as strange was the fact that they went on and on about the fact that this product was safe because it didn’t contain eggs, meaning no risk of salmonella. However, they didn’t say a thing about the flour that was being used in the cookie dough. What a lot of people don’t know is that eggs aren’t the only source of contamination and that raw flour can also pose a risk of E. coli. I’m assuming that the ladies who own The Cookie Dough Cafe have this figured out and are just not mentioning it, but I thought that I would talk about it briefly. Better safe than sorry, right?

Well, friends, be prepared to have your world rocked by this recipe. If it’s not one of the best recipes to date on E&C, I don’t know what is. To make this Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar, you start by toasting your flour on a baking sheet in the oven. Doing so makes it safe to use your flour in any manner of raw forms, including this recipe. It takes about 10 minutes and doesn’t impact the taste but will give you peace of mind when serving this treat to your friends, kiddos and when you eat it yourself.

Sugar_Cookie_Dough_2

This recipe makes a small batch of cookie dough, about a cup. It’s just enough to keep in the fridge when the craving strikes but not too much that you’ll make yourself sick eating a huge batch at one time. I would suggest, for the sake of your stomach and your waistline, to stick to a spoonful of this magical mixture, then return it to the fridge for safe keeping. For someone who always has to end the night on something sweet, this has proven to be the perfect solution!

Edible Raw Sugar Cookie Dough
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
What most people don't know is that uncooked flour can be a source of E.coli. To make this cookie dough safe to eat raw, toasting the flour is key.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Place flour on ungreased cookie sheet. Toast flour in oven for 10 minutes, stirring twice during baking.
  2. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar 2 to 3 minutes or until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the milk, vanilla and salt until well combined.
  3. Cool flour 10 minutes after toasting. Add to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Spoon into a jar with lid. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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