Tag Archives: baking

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread


Craving something cinnamon-y, chewy, creamy and comforting during this holiday season? (Not to mention simple, affordable and easy to make!) I’ve got the perfect solution for you. You only need six basic ingredients! CREAM CHEESE MONKEY BREAD. It will make all of your dreams come true.

I think I spent a total of less than $6 to make these. Spectacular right? The biscuits and cream cheese were majorly on sale at the time, which made a huge difference, but I can’t imagine having to spend more than $10 total any given day. It’s basically a quick and easy trick for a frosted cinnamon roll craving. It tastes just a Cinnabun but without all of the yeast rising waiting business. I bought a new bundt pan especially for this recipe, but I’m sure you could just as easily glob the biscuits together in a round springform or cake pan. This is amazing heated up for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee, but especially straight out of the oven!

You’ll sleep good the night after you eat this!

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

Serves 12

Recipe adapted from Pip & Ebby

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • Two 12-ounce tubes refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
  • One 8-ounce package neufchatel cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes
  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and spices; set aside.
  2. Slice 10 discs of dough from each tube of biscuits. Set discs on a flat surface and set one cube of cream cheese in the center of each piece of dough. Wrap edges of dough up and around the cheese so all that is visible is the top side of cream cheese cube. Place 10 dough-wrapped cheese cubes, cheese-side-up, in bottom of prepared pan. Top with half of the sugar mixture and half of the butter. Top with the remaining dough-wrapped cheese cubes, cheese-side-down, the remaining sugar and remaining butter.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and serve!

Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Are you drunk enough on pumpkin yet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. At least, your answer should have been no. I am here to change that.

Yes kitten! I made this batch of cookies just for you!

This is the second batch of cookies I have baked with a stout beer in the mix. It gives the batter an interesting fluffy texture and makes the cookies poof up in the end. You can smell a hint of it when you bite into these, especially with the added in fleur de sel to enhance the chocolate notes. Think of a pillowy pumpkin raisin cookie but with chocolate chunks, pumpkin seeds, and salt chunks instead.

I had to do quite a bit of tweaking with this batch, but it all worked out in the end (as it usually does). I had to be conservative on the liquid, and add in a bit of whole wheat flour to soak up the excess moisture. Additionally, I would recommend sticking the bowl of batter in the fridge for about a half hour to make it easier to scoop up the batter and form the shape you want. I obviously didn’t do that, but feel free to do whatever you please. I’ve become way less OCD as of late.

Eat these with a glass of pumpkin beer! You’ll get drunk off of drunken pumpkin goodness for sure!

Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 30 cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin flavored syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup stout (ie. Guinness, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal)
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
  • fleur de sel, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 325° with rack in the oven’s center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin syrup, and beat on low speed until combined. Add dry mixture until combined, then add stout in small amounts. Mix in seeds and chocolate chunks.
  5. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle a few chunks of fleur de sel on top of the cookies and bake about 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Soft Chocolate Stout Cookies


If you’re anything like me, you too probably have hundreds (or maybe even thousands!) Pinterest recipes pinned onto your boards. My baking board has 224 pins on it at the moment, and the general food(ie) category… 484.

Someday I will make all of these recipes, yes? (psst, here are my boards if you’re interested–let’s be pinning friends!)

I know you’re just as highly ambitious as I am.

That being said, fall is here. And it’s time to get down to business. This is my absolute favorite time of year to cook and bake, so I have a feeling I’ll be chipping away at a majority of those recipes in these upcoming months.

Here’s one that I found over the weekend when I was in the mood for chocolate, and perhaps the easiness and simplicity of baking a batch of cookies. Chocolate cookies with stout in them. Y-U-M.

I had all of the ingredients on hand (also a huge plus when I’m trying to decide on what to make) so I went ahead and did it, and absolutely do not regret it. Between my boyfriend and I, we’ve eaten over half the batch in two days.

The stout adds a spectacular new dimension of flavor, almost something you would never expect. I’ve done chocolate stout cupcakes before, but typically those recipes only call for about 1/4 cup of beer or so, nearly undetectable in the floury texture of the cake. But not in this. 3/4 of a cup, baby, chock full of chocolatey stout goodness.

Definitely a keeper, I’d say. Next time I can’t wait to try it out with a pumpkin stout and add a bit of spice to the mix!

Soft Chocolate Stout Cookies

Adapted from Butter Me Up, Brooklyn

Makes 18-24 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal stout, ie. Samuel Smith’s (my absolute FAVORITE! plus you’ll have some leftover for drinking, too ;))
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, baking powder and chocolate chips. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, vanilla and egg and beat well. Alternate the flour and the beer with the egg mixture until combined.
  2. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes, or until it has firmed up enough to scoop out cookies, and meanwhile toward the end of chilling time, preheat the oven to 350° F. Scoop on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched. Cool completely and devour.

Owl Pumpkin Cakes


What happens when you combine owls and pumpkins? A massive explosion of love and goodness happens.

At least in my eyes…

More like these mini owl pumpkin cakes. But really, a massive explosion of love and goodness, too.

Owls and pumpkins are meant to be together. Especially at this time of year. And they happen to be two of my favorite things that exist on this planet.

When I found this owl mold “muffin” tin at Cost Plus last week, I was ecstatic. I had no idea what in the world I would do with it, but I knew it would be something good. Chocolates? Cakes? Muffins? Jello? The possibilities are endless.

It’s hard to beat hand-held bite-sized pumpkin bread loaves shaped into a little owl, though…

Perfect for a Halloween party, crafting party, owl-themed birthday party, or any reason at all!

Owl Pumpkin Cakes

Adapted from BHG Pumpkin Bread, Fall Baking 2012 Issue

Makes 24 mini loaves

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 7-8 oz. (about half a 15 oz. can) pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cooking spray on the owl pan; set aside. In an extra-large bowl combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs; beat well. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and the water to the sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Beat in pumpkin.
  3. Drop batter evenly into pans, about 2/3 full (will puff up a lot!). Bake 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. You will only be able to make 12 the first time, and then make the remaining after the first batch is done (that is, of course, if you only buy one pan).
  4. Flip pan over onto wire racks and let cool. Store in an air-tight container!

Olive Oil Fig Cake


Sometimes, when you have somewhat of a crappy week, not even for any real good reason, it’s nice to have some help along the way. Sometimes you need a good book, a cozy nap on the couch with a warm quilt and your kitten, or a slice of this olive oil fig cake. I’ll take all of the above.

I saw this recipe that Tracy (Shutterbean) posted last week via Instagram and instantly began drooling. My original plan was to make a loaf of pumpkin bread that day, but that ended up being pushed aside (sorry pumpkin, I still love you!). Figs. Almond. Citrus. Olive oil. YUM. YES. PLEASE.

The flavors are wonderful. Lemon and orange zest, ground almond flour, extra virgin olive oil, and succulent figs roasted in honey on top? Hellomylifehaschanged. I even swapped in a bit of lavender sugar for a bit of the regular granulated kind. It reminded me of a “healthier” version of pound cake upgraded to autumn-status. I urge you to make this while fresh figs are still in season. You will not regret it.

Olive Oil Fig Cake

Makes about 6-8 slices

recipe adapted from Tracy Shutterbean & Jamie Oliver Magazine

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup lavender sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange (original recipe called for 2)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 5-6 figs, quartered
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Place the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder in a bowl and mix together.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add the citrus zest and juice, then stir in the olive oil and milk. Gently fold in the flour mixture then pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Push the figs into the top of the loaf. Drizzle with the honey and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the top is caramelized and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Rosemary Apricot Bars


I’m a California girl. Well, at least I was. I’m slowly getting used to the way things run around here. I don’t mind being converted into an Oregon girl, it’s just a bit different. Different customs and regulations. I’m not used to someone else pumping my own gas. You see, I feel like half of the reason to go and get gas is to get out of the car, get some fresh air, stretch your legs for a little bit. But no. Oregon doesn’t let you do that (well, I’m sure you have the freedom to get out of your car, but as far as the gas goes, it’s the law.) It’s weird, I tell you. Another thing I’m definitely not used to is having to drive specifically to a liquor store to buy liquor. You can’t just waltz into a Safeway or Fred Meyer and pick out a bottle of Jack Daniels. Coming from working at a grocery store that had the entire store lined with wine, beer, and booze right behind the register, it’s taking some adjusting to. You have to hunt down one of the (few) liquor stores around here, even if you just want a little mini bottle of brandy to put in your baking recipe.

That’s what I had to do for this. Oh, the sacrifices…

I’ll tell you what I do like though. NO TAX. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll end up paying for it someday, somehow, but in the meantime, I must admit it’s quite refreshing. I’m adjusting to that quite nicely.

Anyhow, I don’t know about you, but rosemary makes my dreams come true. Especially if apricots stewed in white wine, brandy, and honey are involved in the mix. Add some butter and flour to make a shortbread, and basically this is what you get.

I hope I’ve convinced you already.

Unfortunately for some reason these bars turned out a bit too dry for me. I think I put them under the broiler to crisp up a bit too long (you’ll see around the last few steps). They didn’t resemble the color and moistness this photo demonstrates, but that’s ok. They were still delicious. The apricot filling was delectable. If I make this again, I will definitely put a bit more rosemary in the shortbread dough. I could taste it, but it was a bit too subtle for my liking. Like I said, I adore rosemary, and I love the flavor to really shine through. Trials and errors in baking, it’s oh so much fun!

Rosemary Apricot Bars

Recipe from Savory Simple

Makes about 9-12 large sized bars

 For the rosemary dough:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

For the apricot filling:

  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (omit if using California dried apricots)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • pinch of salt

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed


  1. Grease the inside of  a 9×9 inch pan with baking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan (I didn’t do this, and that may have been my problem).
  2. To make the rosemary shortbread, cream the butter, powdered sugar and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and rosemary, then lower the speed and gradually add the flour until the dough is smooth.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan.  Take some time to do this nicely so your layers are beautiful and clean.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Make the apricot filling by combining all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Allow to cool and then puree in a food processor until smooth.
  7. Make the crumb topping by combining all ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until the mixture is just combined and crumbly.  Don’t over-mix, you want texture.
  8. Spread the apricot paste evenly on top of the shortbread.  Make sure it’s level!
  9. Sprinkle on the topping evenly and gently press it into place.  Again, make sure it’s level; when you cut the bars you want three even levels.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is brown.  I turned on the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to get the top extra crunchy.  If you do this, watch carefully to avoid burning.
  11. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.