Category Archives: Sweet Treats

Chocolate Oat Dulce De Leche Bars


It’s not just one thing about these bars, it’s everything.  Starting with the rich espresso-spiked chocolate crust to the creamy caramely center and ending with a gooey chocolate top.  AKA a chocolate lover’s dream.

I made these bars last weekend when we road tripped it back to my old stomping grounds in Ohio to visit the fam.  I knew if there was anyone who would love an insanely decadent dessert more than myself, it would be my family (it’s no mystery where my sweet tooth came from).

I wanted something that would hold well for travel and that was easy for me to throw together in the busy day of packing and working prior to leaving.  These were perfect.  I used a can of dulce de leche, which you can usually find in the Mexican section of your grocery store, but I also have a recipe to make your own below. Either way, I’m fairly certain you will die very happily after trying these.

Chocolate Oat Dulce De Leche Bars

You can buy cans of dulce de leche, usually in the Mexican aisle, at the grocery store, or below is a recipe to make it yourself  from a can of sweetened condensed milk (not to be confused with evaporated milk).  It’s simple to make, but if you do make it, just allow yourself plenty of time for it to bake and cool before you start the bars.

Recipe adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • Dulce De Leche (recipe below) OR  1 13.4-ounce can dulce de leche
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together (microwave for 1 minute or until butter and chocolate are melted, stir and then continue with 30 second intervals). Add the melted butter mixture into dry ingredients and mix with a fork until crumb forms. Reserve 1/2 cup of crumb mixture. Place remaining crumb mixture in a greased 8×8-inch pan and press down evenly. Bake crust at 350˚F for 10 minutes.

Combine dulce de leche and milk in a small bowl and mix well until smooth. Spread dulce de leche over partially baked crust and then top with chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate crumb mixture. Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour at room temperature and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into 16 bars and store in the refrigerator.

Dulce De Leche

  • 1 13.4 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish and add a pinch of salt.  Cover with foil. Create a water bath by placing the dish into a larger sized dish and fill it with water, so that it reaches half way up the side of the smaller dish with the sweetened condensed milk. 

Bake for about 1-1 1/2 hours or until it becomes nicely browned.  You may have to check occasionally while baking to see if more water is needed (if it has evaporated).  Let it cool and stir until smooth.



Filed under All Posts, Great for a barbeque, Recipes, Sweet Treats

Kentucky Bourbon Balls



Believe it or not, I learned most about stereotypes long before I moved to New Jersey (surprising, I know!). 

As a native Ohioan, or more suitably I should say Cincinnatian, we have a serious love-hate relationship with Kentucky.  Depending on the situation, we will either turn up our nose and clearly make known, with all of our stereotypical glory, that the Ohio River creates a solid state line separating modern civilization with that other state.  Followed by some type of joke about cousins marrying cousins.

And then in other cases we’ll proudly proclaim that it is our sister state, our comrade, our next door neighbor that produces arugably the world’s best whiskey, hosts infamous horse races, and is home to the cowboy hat wearing, gun-slinging Mr. Raylan Givens (for all you Justified fans). 

In this case I think it goes without saying that Kentucky would be our friend.  Our close friend.  Dear friend.  Our great Makers Mark-producing, Knob Creek-making, cousin kissing friend!

In honor of the Kentucky Derby coming up I wanted to share these, but they are a really delicious treat for any type of party.  Make them ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks, sometimes I add coconut, sometimes I dip them in an extra layer of chocolate, and sometimes I just nibble on them with a glass of red wine.  Truly an easy and succulent treat.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Cookies Cookbook

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

  • 1 box Vanilla Wafers, crushed
  • 6 oz dark, or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup Kentucky Bourbon (or can substitute other bourbon)
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt

Begin by crushing the vanilla wafers in a food processor (or by placing them in a large plastic bag and crushing them with the back of a spatula or rolling pin).

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave for 30 minute increments, stirring in between.  Remove the chocolate from the heat and add brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon and salt.  Next, stir in the vanilla wafers and half of the pecans.

Measure out 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Roll the ball in the remaining half of pecans.  Refrigerate the cookies for at least one day prior to serving to allow flavors to merge.  




Filed under All Posts, Great for a barbeque, Happy hour anyone?, Holidays - 4th of July, Holidays - Christmas, Holidays - Easter, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Ohio, Recipes, Sweet Treats

Easy Easter Cookie Pops


These are just too great not to share.  Inspired by my 60-Second Cookie, it’s a similar concept – buttery crackers, creamy peanut butter, and smooth white chocolate.  They are just as delicious as they are simple to make.  

They are perfect to make with kids, you can use them as favors, create a centerpiece display, or just eat them all before anyone else has a chance to try them (oops).  Luckily they can be made in a snap. 

  • Buttery Crackers (like Ritz)
  • Peanut Butter
  • White Chocolate for Dipping
  • Lollipop Sticks
  • Styrofoam board
  1. Spread Peanut Butter between crackers and insert stick.
  2. Place the cookies in the freezer while you are melting the chocolate so that the peanut butter hardens and your stick doesn’t fall out while dipping.
  3. Once your chocolate is melted dip the cookies into the chocolate.
  4. Insert the lollipops into a styrofoam board for chocolate to set. Decorate as desired.


Filed under All Posts, Great for a barbeque, Holidays - Easter, Recipes, Seasonal - Spring, Sweet Treats

Nutella-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


These are officially the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.  Pretty bold statement, I know.  But it is so true. 

Besides the fact that they are really, really, REALLY good they transport me back to my days of living in Paris.  I was a young, (and poor) college student living off two dollar ham & cheese crepes made from the street-side crepe truck by my flat.   I think “Je voudrais un crepe” was the first thing I learned to say (and may have been one of the only things I learned to say behind je voudrais un baguette and je voudrais que vous coupiez ici, but that’s a whole other story).  Back to the crepes.  That little crepe cart was where I discovered the insane combination of Nutella and coconut.  My daily jambon and fromage was soon replaced with coco and nutella.  And on days I wanted to be more healthy I would eat the crepe with coco, nutella AND banana.

Second, anything that is “filled” (or stuffed) is just better.  There is something about that feeling of sinking your teeth down into a creamy center that oozes out onto your tongue.  Mmmm!

Lastly, it’s chocolate.  Rich, deep, dark… bold chocolate.  Just the way I like it.  (If you are a chocolate lover like myself you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

I’m pretty sure this one is going down in cupcake history, folks!


Nutella-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Chocolate Cupcakes
  • One small jar of Nutella
  • Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 16 cupcakes

  •  1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

(You can use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe or this recipe for chocolate cupcakes derived from Joy of Baking)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16 – 20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. ( These cupcakes are best the day they are made, but can be covered and stored for a few days.)

Once the cupcakes have cooled, with a pairing knife, cut out a hole in the center of the cupcake.  Pour a spoonful of Nutella into the center and then frost with coconut frosting.  Top with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 32 oz bag powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

In bowl of electric mixer cream butter and cream cheese.  Slowly add powdered sugar by the cup until incorporated.  Add extract and blend well.  Fold in coconut.  You may have to add a splash of cream to losen the consistancy to spread.


Filed under All Posts, France, Recipes, Sweet Treats

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows: Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane and Chocolate with Sea Salt



Marshmallows may just be my new favorite thing.  Not just any marshmallows, but the big fluffy homemade kind that are bursting with that ooey gooey creaminess in every bite.  I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making them for quite some time and all it took was a casual phone conversation with my sister.  The next thing I knew I was up to my ears in powdered sugar (literally).

It was somewhere between her telling me how she drops them into big mugs of hot cocoa to soak up all of the warm chocolatey goodness and how her kids go absolutely nuts over them on a regular basis, that I began planning out all of the mouth-watering variations I wanted to create with these little gems.  At the top of my list: Chocolate Dipped with Sea Salt and Chocolate Candy Cane. 

Both equally delicious, the Chocolate and Sea Salt (not pictured) was incredible just by itself and the Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane was the perfect addition to my cocoa-sipping, tree-decorating, christmas-caroling Friday night! 

Next on my wish list:  Toasted Coconut and Pumpkin Spiced. the m!

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

(Courtesty of Joy of Baking)

  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 – 1/4 ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • about 3 cups confectioners sugar for garnish
Lightly butter or or spray the sides and bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Then sift about 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar onto the bottom of the pan.
Place 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of your electric mixer that is fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy two quart saucepan, place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let boil for about two minutes to allow any sugar crystals to dissolve from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the lid and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and stiff, about 10 minutes (looks like thick marshmallow cream). Add vanilla extract and beat to combine, about 30 seconds longer.

Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a damp or oiled rubber spatula. The mixture is very sticky so just smooth it out as best as you can. Dust the top of the marshmallow with another 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until set, about 12 hours.

Remove the marshmallow from the pan by first running a small sharp knife around the edge of the marshmallow to loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar. You might have to use your fingers to help loosen the marshmallow from the pan (the marshmallow will be sticky). Dust the top with more confectioners’ sugar. Cut the marshmallow into squares using clean kitchen scissors, a pizza roller or a sharp knife. Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows in additional confectioners’ sugar. Shake off excess sugar and store the marshmallows in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to two weeks.


Filed under All Posts, Holidays - Christmas, Recipes, Sweet Treats

Maple Pumpkin Butter

We’re back in the saddle with our monthly Really Healthy recipes over at The Magazine of Yoga and this month is the perfect way to throw a little balance into your turkey-filled Thanksgiving week.  A nice twist on your classic pumpkin butter.  No heat necessary — just mix in creamy greek yogurt for a festive and healthy spread!  Check out The Magazine of Yoga for the complete recipe.

Wishing you all a wonderful and delicious Turkey Day!



Filed under All Posts, Appetizers and the likes, Breakfast; the most important meal of the day, Fruity Flavors, Healthy Options, Holidays - Thanksgiving, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats

Cinnamon Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Filling

I knew I was setting myself up for a challenge after creating a title like this one.  What else could I possibly say after uttering the words pumpkin, cream cheese and white chocolate all in the same sentence?   Oh wait.  I forgot shortbread too.  Mmm, the buttery soft sweetness of my all-time favorite cookie.  How could you go wrong?

Well, other than telling you that these are seriously addicting and that this filling is what I consider spoon-worthy the only thing left to say is that your Fall just got a whooooole lot sweeter!


Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

(You can use your favortie shortbread cookie recipe for these and add a tsp of cinnamon.  My favorite recipe below is from the The Joy of Baking)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.  

Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch thick circle.  Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for about 8 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack

Pumpkin White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Melt white chocolate slowly in a double boiler over low heat.  Once chocolate is melted add the remaining ingredients and incorporate well.  Cool completely in the refrigerator until the consistency is spreadable.   Spread between two cookies and enjoy!


Filed under All Posts, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats