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    Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle

    Dive into the cozy flavors of fall with this Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle. It’s here to steal the show at your Thanksgiving feast or any autumn gathering.

    We all know and love those iconic Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. They’re nostalgic, chewy, and have that perfect hint of molasses. I’ve always thought they’d be delicious paired with pumpkin for a fall dessert. Inspiration struck when I found myself with a big box of them leftover from my Dad’s 80th birthday party. They are his favorite snack, so we gave them out to guests as favors.
    Enter the Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle. It’s a heavenly concoction that combines the beloved Oatmeal Creme Pies with pumpkin cream cheese filling, whipped cream, and caramel.

    Make the pumpkin cream cheese filling.
    In a mixing bowl, combine canned pumpkin puree, room temperature cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix it until it’s well combined and velvety smooth.

    The star of the show – Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies!
    Using a large sharp chef’s knife, quarter the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. Half of them will be placed at the bottom of a trifle bowl. This forms the foundation on which to build the whole shebang. I wondered how well the pies would stand up with so many creamy elements layered on top – but they held their shape and provided a nice, chewy/cakey bite. They are just perfect in this trifle!
    After you’ve quartered the pies, whip 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks. To shortcut this recipe, you could use an 8 oz. tub of frozen whipped topping, but the homemade whipped cream really makes a difference in flavor.

    Layer the ingredients.
    This trifle has 8 layers total. First, layer in half of the Oatmeal Creme Pies, then top with half of the pumpkin cream cheese filling. Next, top with half of the whipped cream and spread to the edges. Then, a layer of prepared caramel goes on top. Lately I’ve been loving Torani prepared caramel which can be found in the coffee aisle at the grocery store with the flavored syrups. It’s surprisingly good for something store-bought! However, you could also use Smucker’s hot caramel topping, which is widely available and found with the ice cream toppings (just microwave it for 30 seconds so it loosens). Or, use homemade if you have it.

    Repeat the layers – oatmeal pies, pumpkin cream cheese, whipped cream, and…

    .. more caramel! The best part about this Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle is that it’s incredibly easy to make and assemble. You don’t need to be a baking expert to whip up this fall masterpiece.

    Finish with flair.
    Crumble one Oatmeal Creme Pie and sprinkle it over the whipped cream and caramel. Make sure you don’t crumble it too fine – you want a few larger pieces that are identifiable as Oatmeal Creme Pies.

    This trifle takes a nostalgic childhood treat to a whole new level. It’s like a taste of fall in every spoonful, with the warm and comforting flavors of pumpkin spice and oats. What’s better? You can make it a couple of days ahead!

    Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle is the perfect alternative to traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It’s easy to assemble, looks stunning in a trifle bowl, and the flavors are (*chef’s kiss*) an autumnal dream come true.
    Related recipe: Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffins with Coffee Glaze

    Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pie Trifle

    This no-bake trifle is ready to steal the show at your Thanksgiving feast or any fall gathering. It’s a dessert that combines the nostalgia of childhood treats with the warmth of autumn flavors. It’s as easy to make as it is to devour.Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies can be found at nearly any US grocery store in the cookies and snacks aisle. You’ll need an entire box of 12 for this recipe.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 25 minutes minsTotal Time 25 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 14

    EquipmentTrifle bowlHand mixer
    Ingredients  16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature3/4 cup granulated sugar15 oz. pumpkin puree 1 can1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice2 teaspoons vanilla extract12 Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème pies 1 box1 cup heavy whipping cream beaten to stiff peaks1 cup prepared caramel sauce such as Torani
    Instructions In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. Beat well until combined and no streaks of cream cheese remain. Set aside.Set one oatmeal pie aside for later use. Using a large chef’s knife, quarter the remaining pies. Layer half of the pies into the bottom of a 3 to 4 quart capacity trifle bowl.Top the pie pieces with half of the pumpkin cream cheese mixture. Spread to the edges of the bowl.Top the pumpkin mixture with half of the whipped cream. Spread evenly to the edges of the bowl.Spoon or drizzle half of the caramel over the top of the whipped cream layer.Repeat the layering with the remaining pie pieces, pumpkin cream cheese mixture, whipped cream, and caramel sauce.Crumble/tear apart the remaining Oatmeal Crème Pie and place it on the top center of the trifle.The trifle can be served immediately, or you can make it 2 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
    NotesLittle Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies come in two sizes – you can use either size. The standard size comes in a box of 12 and is carried at most grocery stores. If you find the larger pies (packaged for resale in vending machines) you’ll need 9 for this recipe.
    To shortcut this recipe, you could use an 8 oz. tub of frozen whipped topping, but the homemade whipped cream really makes a difference in flavor. The finished dessert will be sweeter using the whipped topping, because it is presweetened. The homemade whipped cream has no sugar added and relies on the caramel to deliver sweetness. 

    Keyword canned pumpkin puree, cream cheese, fall desserts, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin trifle

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Caramel Apple Hand Pies

    Embrace the cozy flavors of fall with these irresistible Caramel Apple Hand Pies. They’re the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth while savoring the season’s finest apples.

    Ah, September – the time of year when the air gets crisper, the leaves start turning, and apple season is in full swing. I always look forward to this time of year because it marks the beginning of baking season. Homemade apple pie is first on my baking list, but this year I’m taking the apple love to the next level with a sweet hand-held treat: Caramel Apple Hand Pies. They’re like tiny packages of fall goodness, perfectly portioned for a snack or dessert on the go.

    Choosing the right apples.
    Let’s talk apples. For most apple pie recipes, and certainly apple hand pie recipes, I prefer Granny Smith apples. Why, you ask? Well, Granny Smith apples are known for their tartness and firm, dry texture, which makes them ideal for baking. They don’t give off much juice, so that means no soggy pie bottoms. They hold their shape beautifully even after spending some time in the oven. Plus, they add a nice contrast to the sweetness of the caramel.

    Making the apple pie filling.
    The apple pie filling is surprisingly simple to make, but you will do some work breaking down the apples. Start by peeling, coring, and dicing 3 lbs. Granny Smith apples into small even pieces (slightly larger than 1/4 inch pieces). This step is crucial because a uniform dice ensures that your pies cook evenly.
    Once you’ve got your apples ready, toss them in a big saucepan with some lemon juice, butter, sugar, and apple pie spice. This mixture strikes a lovely balance between sweet and tangy. Cook on the stovetop until the apples soften slightly, and most of the juices cook off. It should be a fairly dry mixture.

    Let the apple filling cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about an hour or overnight. Chilling it helps keep the hand pie crusts cold, so they keep their shape while you’re filling them.

    A new gadget – mini lattice pie molds!
    The lattice pie mold is what sets these hand pies apart and gives them that bakery-made look. They are from Williams Sonoma and there are three styles in the box. However, I just used the circle lattice cutter for these pies.
    Now. You could totally forgo the mold and opt for the folded circle & fork crimp method, but if you’re interested in these lattice-style cutie pies – read on. As with any new gadget, there was a learning curve. So, I’m reporting my tips here so you’ll have an edge before you begin!

    A few tips for success.
    Roll out your pie dough (store-bought or homemade – your choice) slightly thicker than the standard 1/8″ thickness, and cut it into circles. The lattice crust needs a little extra heft to hold together during baking. The outside of the mold actually works like a cookie cutter and cuts the bottom plain round crust, and the top round lattice crust.
    Cut the pie dough while it is cold. You may want to roll it out between parchment, refrigerate, and then cut. Cold dough will remove easier from the lattice cutter, which you will have to gently coax out using a toothpick to one side of the edge.
    Use a toothpick to quickly remove the little diamond pieces of lattice dough from the mold. As I picked them all out they threaded on the tooth pick, and I added them back to the re-roll scraps of pie dough.

    Assemble the pies.
    First, add a little prepared caramel to the bottom pie crust. Spread it around on the crust using a spoon within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie. Use your favorite store-bought brand of caramel, or if you have homemade ready to hand – all the better!

    Fill – but don’t overfill!
    Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the apple filing on top of the caramel. It’s important to not overfill the crust, because the lattice top will burst with the bubbling filling. Brush some egg wash around the edge of the crust before you add the top crust.

    No doubt about it – the mold makes a gorgeous little pie! After your hand pies are prepped and looking absolutely adorable, transfer them to the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. This will help the lattice keep its shape during baking.
    Transfer the chilled pies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with an egg wash for a beautiful golden finish. Then, pop them into a preheated oven at 350°F and bake for about 25-27 minutes, or until they’re well browned.

    These little pies are lovely on their own, and believe it or not – they are not overly sweet! That’s due to the tart Granny Smith apple filling. They taste just fine on their own, but I think they are best served with an accompaniment. We love them served warm with a scoop of ice cream.

    And! Even though these pies already have caramel inside, a little pot of caramel dipping sauce on the side is totally appropriate. Sprinkle with a little flake sea salt – it’s too good!
    So, the next time you find yourself with a bunch of Granny Smith apples and a craving for something sweet, give these Caramel Apple Hand Pies a try. They’re the perfect embodiment of fall in every bite – a little tart, a little sweet, and a whole lot of deliciousness. Happy baking, and happy apple season!
    Related recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Hand Pies

    Caramel Apple Hand Pies

    Heather Baird

    These Caramel Apple Hand Pies are the perfect way to celebrate apple season. Whether you’re enjoying them at home with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or packing them for a picnic in the park, they’re sure to be a hit.These pies are made using a special lattice pie mold, which you can find for purchase at Williams-Sonoma (linked in recipe). If you use ready-made pie crusts from the grocery store, you’ll need 4 crusts total (two 14.1 oz. packages). Or, you’ll need two recipes of a homemade double crust. See the recipe notes for my all-butter double crust recipe.This recipe calls for 3 pounds of Granny Smith apples, which is about 8 medium apples.

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    Prep Time 30 minutes minsCook Time 25 minutes mins2 hours chill time 2 hours hrsTotal Time 2 hours hrs 55 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 3 pounds Granny Smith Apples cored, peeled, and diced to 1/4″2 tablespoons lemon juice1/4 cup unsalted butter1 cup granulated sugar2 tablespoons apple pie spicePinch of salt4 pie crusts store-bought or homemade1/2 cup prepared caramel sauce such as Torani caramel sauce plus more for serving1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
    Instructions Toss the apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples, sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Stir together and cook until the sugar is melted and the apples have softened slightly, about 7 minutes. The mixture should be fairly dry and any liquid should be syrupy and clinging to the apples. If mixture seems wet, cook another 2 minutes until dry.Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cool, uncovered, to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.Roll out cold pie dough on a lightly floured surface to slightly greater than 1/8-inch thickness. Using back of the pie mold, cut lattice top rounds; as you cut, pick out the diamond shapes from the mold using a toothpick. Gently coax the lattice tops out of the mold using a toothpick and your fingers to remove it. Reroll dough scraps and cut bottom crusts. Refrigerate if dough begins to get warm and floppy (dough will cut easier if it’s cold).Preheat the oven to 350F.Place a bottom crust into the pie mold. Add about 2 teaspoons caramel and spread over the bottom of the crust using a spoon within 1/2 inch of the pie crust edge. Fill the pie with about 2 tablespoons of the chilled apple filling.Brush the edges with some of the beaten egg and water mixture. Lay a lattice top over the filled crust and hinge the mold closed and press lightly to seal.Remove pie to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining caramel, pie crusts, and egg wash. Refrigerate pies for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the pies with the egg wash.Bake the pies for 25 to 27 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fragrant. Remove pies to a wire rack to cool slightly.Serve pies warm. They are lovely as-is, but our favorite way to eat them is with a scoop of ice cream. They are also wonderful with a side of caramel dipping sauce sprinkled with flake sea salt.
    NotesCan I use other apples? Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious apples can also be used in this recipe.  They may not require as much time in the saucepan, so take care not to overcook them.
    I don’t have/want to use a pie mold. If you don’t have the drawer space for another gadget, you can use a 4 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to make these pies. Cut dough rounds and fill with 1 teaspoon of caramel and 1 tablespoon of filling to one side of the round. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold over to a half mood shape. Crimp the edges with a fork. Coat with egg wash then cut 2 slits in the top of the pie. Bake as directed. Yield will almost double with this method (24 pies).
    All-Butter Pie Crust (yields 2 crusts)
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
    4 tablespoons ice water, additional as needed
    In a food processor combine the flour, salt, and sugar; pulse several times to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining. Remove the lid and sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over the mixture. Re-attach lid and pulse until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, a little at a time, through the feeding tube). Turn dough out onto a work surface and divide in two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

    Keyword apple hand pies, apple pie spice, caramel apple hand pies, caramel sauce, egg wash, fall pie recipe, granny smith apples

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    Caribbean Rum Cake

    Caribbean Rum Cake has a soft, tender crumb, delightful rummy flavor, and billowy coconut cream topping. It’s a slice of paradise!

    Hi friends, – it’s been a while! I took an unintentional break from blogging and social media for most of July and half of August. It wasn’t a vacation- quite the opposite! It’s a busy time of year, where content creators are hard at work collaborating with brands for holiday content. I cannot wait to share all the things I’ve cooked up, baked up, and styled for spooky season, Thanksgiving, and beyond!
    In the meantime, summer is still very present. This recipe fits right into this in-between time. It offers tropical flavors to help prolong the magic of summer. But, Caribbean Rum Cake is also a staple for the holiday season. You can find these cakes lining the shelves gourmet and specialty shops during November and December, because they are often gifted at Christmastime.

    Historians suggest that the roots of rum cake can be traced back to the 18th century when British colonists established themselves on the islands. These settlers brought along a tradition of rum-soaked steamed Christmas puddings, which is believed to have laid the foundation for the rum cakes we know today. This, along with the fact that rum and sugar are great preservers, could be why it’s so popular at Christmas. (However, I’m game for a slice year-round!)

    Reverse creaming.
    First, we should talk about reverse creaming. Cake recipes usually begin with creaming butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Not this one. For this technique, you beat the fat (in this case oil and butter) directly into all the dry ingredients until a dry, crumbly mixture is formed. Next, you beat in the liquid ingredients and magically, the sandy-cornmeal-y stuff turns into a thick, cohesive batter.

    Why use this method? Cakes have a more velvety texture with reverse creaming, and they don’t rise quite as much during baking. This means you won’t have to level the cake before plating it.

    Pudding in the mix.
    This batter has instant pudding added to the dry ingredients. Don’t be tempted to skip this ingredient. I almost did due to lots of box mixes on the market using ‘pudding in the mix’ as a marketing ploy. It truly makes a huge difference in the softness and moistness of this cake. Texturally, it’s one of the best bundt cake recipes I’ve ever made.

    Rum syrup.
    Here’s the good stuff. It’s pretty much the standard for rum syrups, except I swapped in brown sugar for half of the white sugar in the recipe. This tastes really great along with the golden rum I used in the recipe. Speaking of rum! You can use plain rum, coconut rum, golden rum – but for the holidays spiced rum is where it’s at!

    Begin a day ahead.
    After the syrup is cooked, poke holes in the cake. Then gradually pour the syrup over it. Lightly cover the cake with plastic wrap. Then let it stand overnight to infuse.

    Toppings are optional.
    Whip up some easy coconut flavored whipped cream for a summer-appropriate topping. This cake is delicious both cold and at room temperature. I added some shaved coconut, which makes it look extra tropical and it adds another layer of texture. You can find the dried coconut chips with edible brown rind that I used right here.
    If you plan to serve or give this for the holidays, it needs no topping. However, a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar for holiday spice and crunch is nice and the cake still travels well.

    I’m so happy I made this cake, after years of it being on my (lengthy) baking bucket list. It’s a great recipe that I adapted from the trustworthy King Arthur Baking website – totally holiday worthy, and it’s not shy with the booze. However, if you’re avoiding alcohol but would still like to make this rum cake, see the recipe notes for a no-alcohol version made with rum extract.

    Related recipe: Spiced Rum Cake Trifles

    Caribbean Rum Cake

    Heather Baird

    This cake is adapted from King Arthur Baking’s excellent recipe “Caribbean-Style Rum Cake”. The cake portion of the recipe remains largely the same, however I’ve added brown sugar to the rum syrup for a molasses note (my southern slant). Another addition is the coconut whipped cream topping, which is cold and satisfying – really nice in hot weather months. Plus, with the coconut shavings on top, it looks pretty and tastes tropical. However, this cake is also beloved Christmas tradition for many. The rum preserves it well and it’s sturdy enough to travel or ship for holiday gifting.This recipe uses a box of instant vanilla pudding. If you’re on the fence about using it – I’d ask you to make a concession this once. Yes, the cake can be made without it but the texture is firmer and drier. This addition makes a big difference in the tenderness of this cake. Begin a day ahead, the rum syrup needs to soak overnight.

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    Prep Time 30 minutes minsCook Time 55 minutes minsTotal Time 1 hour hr 25 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American, British, Caribbean

    Servings 16

    Equipmentbundt pan 10-12 cup
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cake2 cups all-purpose flour1 ½ cups granulated sugar3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix 1 box2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon fine grain salt½ cup unsalted butter softened½ cup vegetable oil I like grapeseed oil½ cup whole milk at room temperature4 large eggs at room temperature½ cup rum I like golden rum2 teaspoons vanilla extractRum soaking syrup½ cup unsalted butter¼ cup water½ cup granulated sugar½ cup brown sugar¼ teaspoon fine grain salt½ cup rum½ teaspoon vanilla extractCoconut whipped cream¾ cup heavy whipping cream2 tablespoons granulated sugar1 teaspoon coconut extract½ cup dried coconut shavings for garnish
    Instructions CakePreheat the oven to 325F.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the four, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to combine. Add the butter and oil. Mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture has a sandy cornmeal appearance.With the mixer on low speed, add the milk, then the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again. Add the rum and vanilla. Mix until well combined.Spray a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour). Pour the batter into the pan and even the top with a rubber spatula.Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave the cake in the pan while you make the rum syrup.Rum soaking syrupPlace the butter, water, sugars, salt, and rum in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove top. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.Poke many holes in the top of the cake using a skewer. Gradually pour over the syrup a little at a time, pausing to allow the syrup to soak into the cake before adding more. When the all of the syrup is used, lightly cover the cake with plastic wrap and allow it to stand overnight.Turn the cake out onto a serving plate.Coconut whipped creamPlace the heavy cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until the mixture thickens slightly, then gradually add in the granulated sugar. Beat until thick and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and mix briefly. Top the rum cake with a crown of the billowy coconut whipped cream. Arrange dried coconut shavings on top.Loosely wrapped, the whipped cream-topped cake will store in the refrigerator for several days. Without whipped cream, tightly wrapped, it will keep for several days at room temperature.
    NotesWhat to expect: This cake is so tender, moist, and deliciously rummy. Its soft texture makes it 10/10 a special occasion cake.
    Help! My cake is stuck: If you have trouble turning the cake out, don’t try to pry it out. Instead, place the cake in the pan in a preheated 350F oven and warm for 10 minutes. This will loosen the cake and you should have no problem turning it out.
    No alcohol version: Replace the rum in the cake recipe with ½ cup of water with 2 teaspoons rum extract added to it. Do the same for the rum in the syrup.
    Holiday flavor: Use spiced rum for extra warmth and holiday spirit. The cake can also be dusted with ¼ cup cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/4 cup granulated sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon).

    Keyword caribbean rum cake, golden rum cake, golden rum syrup, instant vanilla pudding, mini bundt cakes

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Compost Cookies (to Satisfy Every Craving!)

    Compost Cookies® are loaded with all kinds of sweet and salty snacks. Adapted from Milk Bar’s famous recipe, this version has peanut-ty flavor.

    Compost Cookies. I think we can all agree that it’s not the most tempting name. But don’t let that fool you! These cookies are buttery rounds of YUM. Filled with plenty of mix-ins that include chocolate chips, peanut butter morsels, pretzels, graham crackers, oats, honey-roasted peanuts, and coffee grounds. Yes! You read that right. Not used coffee grounds, but fresh ground coffee. Each bite offers something unique for the ultimate snacking experience.
    The story goes that these cookies were born of necessity due to an ingredients shortage. And sweets chef Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame made something special from what was on hand. They’ve been called Kitchen Sink Cookies and Garbage Cookies due to their impressive amount of add-ins. Tosi says “Call them what you want, and make them as we make them at Milk Bar, or add your own favorite snacks to the cookie base in place of ours”. Which is exactly what I did.

    One special ingredient I added to the base dough is plain yellow cornmeal. This gives the cookie even more creaveable texture. I’ve made these a few times now – with and without – and I love the cornmeal addition. However, if you don’t have cornmeal on hand, it can be replaced with an equal amount of flour. No big deal!
    Get all the dry dough ingredients into a big bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Next, it’s time to raid your snack pantry!
    My suggested mix-ins: broken pretzels, honey-roasted peanuts, broken graham crackers, peanut butter morsels, oats, ground coffee, semisweet chocolate chips.

    Compost Cookie mix-ins.
    The Milk Bar cookie recipe encourages experimentation, which makes me happy. Who doesn’t love a variable recipe where almost anything goes? However, my peanut-ty take was so well-received that I keep repeating the same ingredients. And that was the reason I decided to post the recipe here.
    Gather the recipe’s mix-in ingredients, or whatever mixture of snack foods that inhabits your pantry, and stir them together in a bowl. Set aside to make the base dough.

    Make the base dough
    In the bowl of an electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer) cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add an egg and vanilla extract; blend those together well.

    Add the dry mixture and beat until just combined. Don’t over mix!

    Finally, get all those bits and bobs in the bowl and mix briefly. Beat together for 10-15 on low speed. This should distribute the mix-ins throughout without beating them up too much.

    Look at that gorgeous dough chock full of – everything! All of those additions seem to be held together with a whisper of cookie dough. But in the end, the cookies bake up with a nice balanced ratio of dough to mix-ins.

    The right measure.
    Portion these by the level 1/4 cup measures. Use a standard size ice cream scoop if you have one. Because it’s approximately 1/4 cup capacity. Space the cookies far apart. They will spread a little. If you find they’re spreading a little unevenly, you can gently push the cookie edges into a round shape using a butter knife while they are still hot.

    Add some extras on top! This gives the finished cookies bakery-made appeal. I used broken pretzel sticks on some of the unbaked cookies, and tiny twists on others. Bake the cookies. They should be well browned on the edges and barely set in the centers. About 13 minutes was just right in my oven, but no two ovens are alike. So keep an eye on them as they bake.

    I’m tempted to call these ‘Midnight Snack Cookies’ instead of ‘Compost Cookies’ because they sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, chocolaty, and peanut-buttery all at once. They satisfy every craving!

    This recipe makes about 2 dozen (I got 21 in my kitchen), so there’s plenty to share. Although, no judgment here if you decide to keep them all to yourself!
    Related recipe: 10 Cup Cookies

    Compost Cookies

    Heather Baird

    Simply put, this is a really delicious cookie with a lot of stuff in it. Adapted from Milk Bar’s famous recipe, this cookie has an abundance of sweet, salty, and crunchy ingredients. This rendition of the recipe has peanut-ty flavor with honey-roasted peanuts and peanut butter morsels in the mix. It also has semisweet chips, oats, crushed graham crackers, and ground coffee. A small amount of plain yellow cornmeal bumps up the texture of the cookie dough. If you don’t have any on hand, you can still make this recipe. Swap in 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour for the cornmeal.Be careful not to overbake these cookies. The cookies are done when the edges are brown and the center is just set and still soft and pale. 13 minutes was just right for my oven, but since ovens vary, I urge you to keep an eye on the cookies as they bake.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 15 minutes mins1 hour chill time 1 hour hrTotal Time 1 hour hr 35 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 2 dozen

    Equipment¼ cup measure, or trigger ice cream scoopparchment paper2-4 Light aluminum cookie sheets
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 1 cup all-purpose flour1/3 cup plain yellow cornmeal stone ground1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 cup honey-roasted peanuts1 cup broken pretzel sticks or tiny twists or a combination of the two1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers about 8 squares1 cup semisweet chocolate chips1/2 cup peanut butter morsels such as Reese’s1/3 cup quick cooking oats1 tablespoon coffee grounds1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature1 cup granulated sugar2/3 cup light brown sugar firmly packed1 large egg at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.In a separate large bowl combine the peanuts, pretzels, graham crackers, peanut butter chips, oats, and coffee grounds. Stir to combine.In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat again until well combined.Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat until just combined on low speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed and beat again briefly.Pour in the mixture of add-ins and stir together on low speed until they are all well dispersed throughout the dough, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a large rubber spatula to make sure there are no hidden pockets of plain batter. If you find some, incorporate them using a large rubber spatula.Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper (avoid using dark-coated cookie sheets; light aluminum works best here). Scoop dough by the level 1/4 cup measures and place them on the cookie sheets, well-spaced because these cookies spread. Top with additional chips, nuts, and pretzels, if desired. Chill the dough on the sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 375 F.Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the centers are just set yet still soft. The centers will look underbaked. Let the cookies stay on the pans until they are firm enough to transfer, 5-7 minutes. If cookies aren’t perfectly round when they come out of the oven, use a butter knife to gently push the edges into shape while they are still hot. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.Store cookies airtight for up to 5 days. To freeze cookies, store double bagged freezer bags with the air removed for up to 2 months.
    NotesUse the right pan: Light aluminum pans work best with this recipe, as dark-coated non-stick pans tend to make the edges of the dough spread.
    Anything goes! Fritos, tortilla chips, cereal, nuts, dried fruit – you name it. The original Compost Cookie recipe has potato chips as an ingredient. If you plan to swap in potato chips, choose a thicker cut variety with ridges so they’ll stand up to being mixed into the cookie dough.
    This recipe was adapted from Christina Tosi’s recipe from Milk Bar. 

    Keyword compost cookies, garbage cookies, ground coffee, kitchen sink cookies, midnight snack cookies, peanut butter morsels, semisweet chips

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    Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

    This Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake is a true southern favorite. Moist and flavorful, it’s topped with rich peanut butter glaze.

    I served this cake at our Mother’s Day brunch this year. After the first bite, my mom immediately wanted to know where I got the recipe. It was familiar. No wonder – it’s one of those southern mainstays that makes the rounds in community and church cookbooks. I found it in the latter, although I had never heard of – or attended – the church that produced it. Someone must have gifted the book to me long ago.
    The cake is loaded with peanut butter flavor but it’s not overwhelming. Yes – it’s rich. However, lighter than you might expect. My mother-in-law, who has food allergies was tempted enough to have just one bite. Her mother used to make this cake. When she tasted it and closed her eyes, I could see the flavor was a fond memory.

    Peanut butter cake batter.
    To get started, all of the dry ingredients go into a big bowl, including the sugar. In baking, sugar is considered a wet ingredient because it liquifies in the oven, but – we’ll call it dry here, just this once. Whisk everything together and set aside.

    Next, put a whole cup of butter, water, and just 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter into a saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil on the stove top. When the mixture boils, pour it into the flour mixture and combine it using a hand mixer. Low speed works best. Mix it until just combined and set aside.

    Mix together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in a large measuring cup, and then add it to the peanut butter batter. Beat until everything is well combined and consistent. The batter will be a little viscous and syrupy.

    Bake until golden.
    Pour the cake batter into a greased 13×9 inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. My cake took about 35 minutes. But you’ll know it’s done when the exterior is deep brown and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

    Peanut butter fudge glaze.
    Cool the cake for about 10 minutes before adding the glaze. And. Oh my goodness gracious. The glaze really tastes like peanut butter fudge. To make it, boil butter, peanut butter, and milk, on stove top. Then removed to cool slightly. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
    Because both cake and glaze are warm, the glaze spreads into a thin even layer on the cake. It’s the perfect amount of sweet.

    Add some toppings – or don’t!
    I served this cake without any extra toppings the first time I made it, but for this blog post I added some crushed peanut butter cookies (Nutter Butters). And a few honey roasted peanuts. It’s good both ways! If you decide to add some toppings, be sure to get those on there as soon as the glaze is poured because it sets up quickly!

    It’s hard to believe this cake has only 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter in the cake batter, and another 1/4 cup in the frosting. Yep, just 1/2 cup total peanut butter in the whole cake. This amount imparts bold flavor without making the cake heavy or too thick. It’s just so good, and it stays moist for days at room temperature. My husband’s favorite way to eat it is heated in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream. Which I had to try for myself, and I must say – it is really nice.

    Related recipe: Peanut Butter Pie

    Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

    Heather Baird

    This peanut butter cake is a southern favorite. It has bold peanut butter flavor without being heavy or to sweet. The peanut butter glaze has just the right sweetness, and tastes like peanut butter fudge. I found this recipe in a church cookbook, with the author’s note: “I made this for a church get-together and had many requests for the recipe…so will you!” (So cute!)I added some crushed peanut butter cookies and honey roasted peanuts on top of this cake, but these toppings are optional. The cake is quite good without them. The cake is baked in a 13×9 inch dish; however, you can also bake it as a 15×10 inch sheet cake. See the recipe notes for these instructions.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 30 minutes minsCook Time 40 minutes minsTotal Time 1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Equipment1 13×9 inch baking dish
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Peanut butter cake2 cups all-purpose flour2 cups granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon baking soda1 cup unsalted butter1 cup water1/4 cup creamy peanut butter such as Jif2 eggs well beaten1/2 cup buttermilk1 teaspoon vanilla extractPeanut butter glaze1/2 cup unsalted butter1/4 cup creamy peanut butter such as Jif1/3 cup whole milk3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 16 oz. box1 teaspoon vanilla extract8 Nutter Butter peanut butter cookies optional2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts optional
    Instructions Peanut butter cakePreheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.Combine the butter, water, and peanut butter in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. When the mixture boils, pour it into the flour mixture. Beat together using a hand mixer on low speed until just combined.In a separate bowl or large liquid measure, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the peanut butter batter and mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth.Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is well browned and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean.Remove to a cooling rack and let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the peanut butter glaze.Peanut butter glazeCombine the butter, peanut butter, and milk in a saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture boils, stirring occasionally. When the mixture boils, remove it from the heat and mix in the confectioners’ sugar using an electric hand mixer. Beat until smooth and lump-free. Pour the glaze over the warm cake and spread evenly. Add toppings immediately, if using.Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. This cake stays moist for days after making it.
    NotesToppings: If adding toppings to the cake, have them ready to hand right after pouring the glaze on the cake. The glaze sets quickly, and if you wait too long, the toppings won’t stick.
    Sheet cake version: Use a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan in which to bake the cake batter. Reduce the bake time to 15-20 minutes. Glaze as directed. This version is sometimes called “Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake”. The cake is good baked both ways, but my family prefers the fluffier 13×9 inch version.

    Keyword creamy peanut butter, old fashioned peanut butter cake, peanut butter cake batter, peanut butter glaze, peanut butter sheet cake

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    Peach Bellini Cupcakes

    Peach Bellini Cupcakes are studded with diced fresh peaches, filled with champagne pastry cream, and topped with swirls of fluffy peach buttercream. Cheers!

    Peach season is almost here, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some fresh peaches a little earlier than usual. Once plucked, there’s a short window of time to enjoy them before they wrinkle up and spoil. So, needless to say, I was pressed to use them quickly. As a result, last Sunday we had peach tea with our brunch and Peach Melba for dessert. Then, the idea for these Peach Bellini Cupcakes came to me as another way to use up fresh peaches. However, you don’t have to use fresh peaches in this recipe – canned are fine too!
    These cupcakes taste absolutely celebratory. Champagne (or prosecco) infuses the cakes and their pastry cream centers. Diced peaches float throughout to cake, and a swirl of fluffy peach buttercream is the finishing flourish.

    Make the batter.
    Start by creaming the butter and sugar together. I used a hand mixer and things turned out just fine. Then add flour and champagne alternately. As usual, begin and end with the flour to build the best texture.

    Dice the peaches.
    Chop fresh peaches fine, to about 1/4 inch dice. You’ll need 2/3 cup of diced peaches, which is about 1 1/4 medium-sized fresh peaches. Again, canned peaches are just fine to use here. Just pat them dry before chopping them and adding them to the recipe.

    Add the peaches to the batter and mix them in using a rubber spatula. If using canned peaches, which aren’t as firm, use a folding motion so they don’t tear or break down.

    Lighten the batter with egg whites.
    Yes – it’s an extra step, but whipped egg whites make the base of this cupcake spongy and soft. Fold them in carefully. Hastily stirring them in will deflate the batter and decrease your overall yield. Mindful, careful folding of the egg whites gives the cupcake a sponge cake texture that holds up well to fillings and frostings.

    Line cupcake tins with papers, and then portion out the batter using a trigger ice cream scoop. I ended up with about 18 cupcakes.

    Bake at 350F for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Then cool them completely on a wire rack.

    Champagne pastry cream.
    Ah, my favorite element of this confection! Champagne pastry cream is so delicious and smooth – and it’s not too hard to make. Prepare it a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator, if you have time constraints.
    Core the cupcakes using a small paring knife, and save the cut out piece. Fill each cupcake with about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of champagne pastry cream. Using the same paring knife, cut the reserved cake pieces flat to create a ‘lid’ and cover the pastry cream with it.

    Peachy hues.
    The peach-flavored frosting was a color experiment gone right! I wanted it to not only have the flavor of peaches (thanks to LorAnn peach flavoring oil), but the color variation as well. So I whipped up some orangey-peach buttercream and painted two lines of red gel food color inside a piping bag. After the bag is loaded with the buttercream and piped, it creates a pleasing swirl reminiscent of peach peel.
    See the recipe for further instruction, and for the brand and color of gel food color I used to achieve this effect.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve added white nonpareils for a bubbly appearance (see this Cherry Limeade Cake). It’s just the perfect touch to evoke the feelings of a fizzy drink. Pipe the frosting onto a cupcake, and immediately add the white nonpareils. This buttercream crusts, so you must add the sprinkles immediately. If you wait too long, they’ll bounce right off!

    Inspired by the Venice-borne cocktail made with champagne and peach puree, these Peach Bellini Cupcakes hold the same sparkling flavor. Bellini are often served as an accompaniment to creamy, salty or spicy foods. So these cupcakes would make a fine dessert after a big plate of alfredo pasta with focaccia. Or spicy bucatini. However, I think they go with everything. (Especially brunch.)
    Related recipe: Homemade Peach Cobbler in a Cone

    Peach Bellini Cupcakes

    Heather Baird

    Inspired by the Italian Bellini cocktail, these toast-worthy cakes will be the star of your next happy celebration. The cupcakes are infused with champagne or prosecco, and filled with chopped fresh peaches. This flavorful foundation holds pockets of champagne pastry cream inside. The cupcakes are topped with peach-flavored buttercream in peach-peel hues.This recipe calls for fresh peaches, but if they’re not in season, then canned peaches work just fine!For the frosting, you’ll need to purchase a small bottle of LorAnn peach flavoring oil. See links for resources. Or, instead of the oil, you may use 2 tablespoons of peach schnapps.This recipe yields 16-18 cupcakes, more or less depending on how carefully you fold the whipped egg whites into the cupcake batter.

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    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 22 minutes mins1 hour cooling time 1 hour hrTotal Time 1 hour hr 42 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 18

    Ingredients  Cupcakes6 large egg whites10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature1 ½ cups granulated sugar2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt3/4 cup champagne or prosecco or other sparkling white wine2/3 cup fresh peaches 1/4″ dice or diced canned peaches Champagne pastry cream1/2 cup heavy cream divided2 tablespoons cornstarch1 whole egg2 egg yolks5 tablespoons granulated sugar1/2 cup champagne or prosecco2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon vanilla extractPeach buttercream
    Instructions CupcakesPreheat the oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with 18 paper liners. Set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks; set aside.In another bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In yet another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the champagne. Stir in the chopped peaches.Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until incorporated. Then, fold in the remaining egg whites.Spoon the batter into the prepared cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.Champagne pastry creamIn a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the cornstarch. Whisk in the whole egg and egg yolks. Set aside.Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar, and champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from the heat. Pour 1/3 of the hot champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.Let cool to room temperature. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.Peach buttercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Add milk or cream a little at a time until the mixture is light, fluffy, and of piping consistency. Add the peach flavor and beat again until incorporated. Add 1-2 drops each of the neon yellow and neon orange food color to the buttercream. Beat until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl when necessary. Add more of each color to intensify the color, if desired. The end result should be a vivid orangey-peach color.Fit a disposable piping bag with a large French pastry tip. Squirt a little of the red food color in a condiment cup. Dip a kitchen-dedicated soft bristle brush into the red food color and paint a line of red food color inside the decorator tip and all the way up the length of the bag. Repeat this step directly across form the first painted line (you could use the piping bag seams for a guide, if your bag has two seams directly across from each other).On a scrap of parchment or paper towel, squeeze a little of the frosting out of the bag until the red color starts to show.AssemblyCore the cupcakes by cutting out a small divot in the centers with a paring knife; save the pieces. Transfer the pastry cream to a disposable piping bag and snip off 1/2 inch hole in the end. Fill each cupcake with about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the pastry cream. Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to create “lids” and place them onto the filled divots.Pipe a swirl of frosting onto a cupcake and immediately sprinkle a pinch of the white nonpareils on top. Repeat this process with each cupcake until all of the cupcakes are frosted and sprinkled. Just before serving, add a fresh mint leaf to each cupcake.
    NotesThe cake portion of this recipe is adapted from “Bellini Belle Cupcakes” from the book Intoxicated Cupcakes by Kate Legere (2011 Running Press). The buttercream recipe and champagne pastry cream recipe are both original to Sprinkle Bakes.

    Keyword bellini cupcake, canned peaches, champagne pastry cream, fresh peaches, peach bellini cupcakes, peach cupcakes

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    Croissant Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

    Serve this versatile Croissant Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce for breakfast, brunch, or dessert! It’s everything you love about croissants and chocolate, in one decadent dish.

    This Croissant Bread Pudding has recently become a favorite of mine, and a dish you can invite to any meal. Overnight guests? Prep it the night before, and bake it in the morning for a welcoming breakfast or brunch. Or, serve it after dinner with plenty of chocolate sauce for dessert. It’s the ultimate low-lift comfort food. And it’s even better sprinkled with a bite of fresh chopped strawberries.

    Purchase some mini croissants.
    Begin with mini croissants, also called ‘cocktail’ croissants, found in the deli section at your local grocery store. Large croissants will work too, if that’s what you have on hand (this recipe is a good way to salvage stale croissants). However, the minis arrange neatly in an even layer, in a 13×9 dish. You could leave them whole, but I like cutting them into thirds. This helps the custard to flow around each piece of bread and thoroughly soaks them with the creamy mixture.

    Break out the hand mixer.
    Eggs, butter, sugar, and heavy cream are the base for the rich custard. Combine them with a hand mixer in a big bowl. Then, pour it over the arranged croissants. Some buttery bits will float on top, and that’s perfectly fine. As the bread pudding bakes, the butter melts and bastes all those croissants.

    Bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Then, remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly. You could stop right here, and enjoy this warm on its own, or with a drizzle of maple syrup. But if you’re looking for something extra-special, then try my easy chocolate sauce recipe. It’s almost too easy!

    Make the chocolate sauce.
    Combine 6 oz. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cup evaporated milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, heat the mixture in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until it bubbles. Next, allow the mixture stand for a couple of minutes then whisk the two ingredients together.

    After the mixture is whisked smooth, add 2 tablespoons salted butter. Whisk again until smooth. And that’s it! Pour the sauce into a small pitcher and serve on the side, or go ahead and drizzle a little over the bread pudding if the spirit moves you.
    I should note that this sauce is not thick. It’s more the consistency of maple syrup, and it soaks into the bread pudding much like hot maple syrup would.

    I couldn’t resist adding some chopped strawberries on top. Again, this is optional. But you can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolate!

    Additionally, and for the sake of exploring every option, we lightly sprinkled on some powdered sugar. It doesn’t make much difference in flavor, but it sure does look pretty. With Mother’s Day in just a couple of weeks, I can’t help but think it would be the perfect easy brunch dish to add to your menu.
    Related recipe: Smoked Mozzarella Bread Pudding

    Croissant Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

    Heather Baird

    Flaky croissants and rich chocolate syrup combine in this decadent bread pudding recipe. It’s appropriate for breakfast, brunch, or an after dinner dessert. You’ll need 16 oz. (1 lb.) prepared croissants from your favorite bakery or grocery store deli. I prefer the mini ‘cocktail’ croissants for this recipe, but large croissants can also be used. Just chop each large croissant into 6 pieces before adding them to the dish.The chocolate sauce can be made in the microwave or on the stove top. It’s not a thick sauce, so it soaks into the bread pudding much like hot maple syrup would.

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    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 45 minsTotal Time 55 mins

    Course Bread, Breakfast, BrunchCuisine American

    Servings 8

    Equipment13×9 inch baking dishHand mixer
    Ingredients  Croissant bread pudding16 oz. mini croissants1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature1 cup sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract5 large eggs at room temperature2 cups whole milk at room temperature1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperatureQuick chocolate sauce and toppings1 cup semisweet chocolate chips3/4 cup evaporated milk2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 cup chopped strawberries optional
    Instructions Croissant bread puddingPreheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9 inch baking dish.Cut the croissants into thirds using a serrated knife. Arrange the croissants in the bottom of the pan in an even layer (this doesn’t have to be perfect).In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Pour in the milk and heavy cream. Beat until combined.Pour the mixture over the croissants; press them down into the custard mixture to ensure every piece is covered and soaked with the custard. Allow the mixture to stand for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover the dish and then bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until well puffed with a set center. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.Quick chocolate sauceCombine the chips and evaporated milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture at 100% power in 1 minute intervals until the mixture bubbles (about 2 minutes, more or less, depending on the wattage of your microwave). Let stand 1 minute; whisk well until combined. Stir in the butter and whisk until melted and incorporated.Serve chocolate sauce in a small pitcher or gravy boat alongside the bread pudding. Or, drizzle chocolate sauce over bread pudding and top with chopped berries. Serve warm.
    NotesThe chocolate sauce can be made on the stove top. Combine the chips and milk in a saucepan and bring to a bubble. Whisk together until smooth then finish by stirring in the butter. Sometimes evaporated milk is confused for sweetened condensed milk.
    Be sure to get the right canned milk! Evaporated milk is not sweet and has a thin, pourable consistency like whole milk.

    Keyword bread pudding, breakfast bake, breakfast casserole, chopped strawberries, croissant bread pudding, croissant casserole, croissants, custard, orange chocolate sauce

    This recipe was adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.

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    Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake

    This Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake is bright, zesty, and totally spring-appropriate! Alternating lemon and strawberry sponge cakes are layered with buttercream and crushed Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds.

    Mother’s Day is on the horizon, and my friends at Sconza Chocolates asked if I’d whip up a confection worthy of the occasion. The holiday coincides with the arrival of Sconza’s Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds at Costco stores during the months of April and May. I was delighted to say yes! Everything Sconza makes is superlative, but those creamy lemon candies with crunchy almond centers are my all-time favorite.
    I filled this cake with bright flavors and colors inside and out. Piped buttercream roses bloom on top with Lemoncello Chocolate Almond centers. (You can never go wrong with flowers for mom!)

    Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake

    Make the batter.
    Begin this cake with my favorite White Almond Sour Cream Cake batter. It’s halved and then flavored with lemon and strawberry Jello dissolved in hot water. This not only gives the cakes bold flavor, but also vibrant color! It’s also nice that flavored gelatins can be found at grocery stores everywhere, and you won’t have to order or track down specialty flavorings. (I’ve discovered that no one nearby carries my favorite strawberry extract!) Bake the batters in 6-inch cake pans, which will yield a small yet tall and stately cake. However, you could use two 9-inch cake pans for a double layer cake.

    Build the cake.
    To assemble the layers, begin with a strawberry cake. Then, top it with an even layer of American buttercream (a.k.a. confectioners’ sugar buttercream). Next, scatter on some crushed Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds. Use a food processor to crush the candies fine – it will make short work of the task.

    Alternate the cake flavors, repeating the frosting and filling with the Sconza candies. Finally, end with a lemon cake layer on top.

    Frost the cake.
    This cake benefits from a crumb coat. Little cake crumbs and candy pieces on the outside of the cake need a base layer of frosting to hold them in place. So, cover the top and sides in a thin layer of buttercream and then refrigerate until firm. Then cover it in a second, thicker layer of buttercream and smooth it evenly using a bench scraper or cake smoother.
    Whip up another batch of American buttercream, this time stiff consistency, for the decors. This batch needs to be thicker in order for the piped details to hold their shape. Just add a little more confectioners’ sugar to the base recipe. The swags are very simply piped using a #3 decorator piping tip. As for the flowers, you can see my rose piping video tutorial at this link.

    Pipe the roses.
    Sconza candies are a food stylist’s dream, because each one looks perfect right out of the bag. I just knew they’d make a beautiful center for piped flowers. And, they are inherently bud-shaped! Here’s how to pipe them, from start to finish.

    First, on a parchment-covered flower nail, pipe a dollop of pink frosting. Place the rounded end of a Lemoncello Chocolate Almond into the frosting (pointed end to the sky).
    Then, using a petal decorator tip, pipe layers of pink petals that overlap the candy.
    Pipe on more layers of petals until you reach the desired fullness. (I kept these small, but you could go larger!)
    Slide the flower off of the nail and transfer them to a baking sheet. Repeat the process until you have a baking sheet full of flowers. Then transfer them to the refrigerator to firm.

    After the roses firm, peel them away from their parchment squares and arrange them on top of the cake to one side. Then, pipe a few leaves between the roses to fill in any gaps. (You can find all of the decorator tip numbers and sizes I use in the recipe card.)

    Add some bling!
    Ever a gilder of lilies (or in this case, roses!) I couldn’t resist adding a little shimmer. Brush edible gold paint on the swags. Then, add three gold sugar pearls in a line, where the swags meet.

    The white almond sour cream cake layers take on color so well, and the flavors really shine through. Both the lemon and strawberry flavors are more creamy than tart. Altogether this cake is tender and moist, yet has a surprise lemon candy crunch throughout.

    Be sure to grab a bag of Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds at your local Costco while they last! They’re great all on their own, and they’re an excellent addition to this cake.

    Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake

    Heather Baird

    Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake is bright, zesty, springy, and totally appropriate for any happy occasion. Alternating layers of strawberry and lemon sponge are stacked with American buttercream frosting and filled with Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds. Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds are in full bloom on this cake and in Costco stores during the months of April and May. Or, you can order them online. See the blog post for shopping links.

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    Prep Time 2 hrsCook Time 25 mins2 hours resting time 1 hrTotal Time 3 hrs 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 10

    Ingredients  Strawberry and lemon sour cream cake layers1 small box strawberry gelatin 3 oz.1 small box lemon gelatin 3 oz.1 cup boiling water divided1 box white cake mix 16.25 oz.1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup granulated sugar1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt1 cup sour cream1/4 cup vegetable oil I like sunflower oil3 large eggs1/2 teaspoon almond extractAmerican buttercream and filling2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature8 cups confectioners’ sugar1 tablespoon vanilla extractMilk or cream as needed2/3 cup Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate AlmondsStiff American buttercream and decors
    Instructions Cake layersPlace the strawberry gelatin and lemon gelatin in two separate bowls. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into each of the bowls and stir well to dissolve. Let cool until warm, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the gelatin to begin setting. If it starts to gel, re-heat it in the microwave until liquid.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour pans).In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, oil, eggs, and extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low speed until combined. The batter will be thick. Divide the batter evenly into two large bowls. To one bowl, add the strawberry gelatin; beat with an electric mixer to incorporate. To the other bowl, add the lemon gelatin. Mix well until combined.Divide each batter between two 6 inch cake pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen. They should spring back in their centers when pressed. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely. When the cakes are cool, use a serrated knife or wire cake leveler to level the cakes.American buttercream and fillingIn a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.Add vanilla and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1-2 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy. The consistency should be billowy and easy to spread. Cover the bowl with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out.In a food processor or mini chopper, grind the Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds until fine. Set aside.Begin building the cake with a strawberry cake layer placed on a cake board or serving plate. Fill with a generous 1/2 cup buttercream. Using a spoon, spoon over 1/3 of the chopped Sconza candies. Top with a lemon cake layer. Repeat the frosting and candy-sprinkling. Top with a strawberry cake layer. Repeat the frosting and candy-sprinkling once more. Top with the lemon cake layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream (crumb coat) and refrigerate until firm, about 5 minutes. Frost the entire cake with a generous covering of buttercream and smooth evenly using a bench scraper or cake smoother. Refrigerate until the buttercream firms, 20 minutes.Stiff American buttercream and décorsIn a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.Add vanilla and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is stiff piping consistency (it should hold on a spatula turned upside-down). Beat until well combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel so the buttercream doesn’t crust.Remove 1/3 cup of the white frosting to a small bowl and cover with a damp towel; set aside.Remove 1/2 cup of the white frosting to a piping bag fitted with the Wilton #3 round tip.Divide the remaining frosting into three bowls and tint one bowl using 1/4 teaspoon of neon pink gel food color and 1 small drop of the red food color (this combination matches the strawberry cake layers). Food color brands differ in intensity, so add more if needed but keep in mind that colors will intensify as the buttercream crusts. Mix until a consistent color is achieved and transfer to a piping bag fitted with Wilton #104 petal decorator tip.Tint another bowl with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon neon yellow food color. Mix well and transfer to a piping bag fitted with Wilton #104 decorator tip.Tint the last bowl with the green gel food color and transfer to a piping bag fitted with Wilton #352 decorator piping tip.Measure the circumference of the cake and divide by 8. With a toothpick, lightly mark the placement of where the swags will meet in the buttercream. Pipe eight swags around the top edge of the cake using the bag of white buttercream fitted with the plain Wilton #3 decorator piping tip. Refrigerate to set, about 5 minutes.For the roses, and using the pink bag if icing fitted with the #104 petal tip, place a dot of pink icing on a flower nail, then place a parchment square onto the flower nail. In the center of the parchment, pipe a mound of pink buttercream. Place a Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almond in the center of the mound so that the pointed end stands upright. Next, with the slim end of the petal tip pointing up, pipe four petals around the candy so that it overlaps slightly. Pipe more frosting petals around the candy center until a full rose shape is achieved. Slide the parchment with the rose on it, off of the frosting nail carefully and place it on a baking sheet (9×13 works fine). Repeat this process of making roses using the yellow buttercream also. Vary sizes so that you have some large flowers and some small. Transfer all of the flowers to the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.Using the reserved white buttercream in the bowl, dollop a half moon shape on top of one side of the cake with a spoon. Remove the set buttercream flowers from the refrigerator. Gently peel them from their parchment squares and arrange them on top of the half-moon shape on top of the cake. Place extra Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds around the flowers to fill in gaps. Use the bag of green icing fitted with the #352 leaf tip to pipe leaves into any empty spaces, or to embellish the flowers. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.Brush the edible gold paint onto the swags using the fine –tipped art brush. Carefully add three gold sugar pearls in a vertical line where the swags meet. Do this by gently pushing them into the buttercream.Store the cake in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Keyword american buttercream, lemon cake donuts, Mother’s Day cake, Sconza Lemoncello Chocolate Almonds, spring cake, strawberry cake mix, Strawberry Lemon Cake

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