Apple Cinnamon Mini Muffins

Make these this weekend! We picked a ton of honeycrisp and McIntosh apples (whatever that big bag is…a bushel, a peck?) and needed to use them up! This recipe takes fresh apples and cooks them down so you can pack the muffin batter with a lot of apples. I have been serving 2 or 3 mini muffins per kiddo for breakfast and they love them! I store them in an airtight container for a few days, and if they last longer than that, put them in the fridge and either microwave for just 15 seconds or toast them up to bring them back to perfection. Also, feel free to use the apple saute method to have a generous helping of those around. Freshly sauteed apples make a great side dish with pancakes, pork, chicken, really just about anything.

Apple Cinnamon Mini-Muffins

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free!)

One of our best friends eats a gluten-free diet and I really wanted to make a fun dessert for a potluck dinner we were doing together. Enter these cookies: They are made with just a few wholesome ingredients, and they are chewy, salty and satisfying. I then made them for her baby shower when she was carrying twins, and even in all the activity of that day, she made sure she got a few of her special cookies! You can easily multiply this recipe to make several batches, and you’ll need to because they will disappear quickly. You don’t even have to announce that they’re gluten free unless you want to.

Peanut Butter Cookies 

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Chocolate Mousse

It’s actually easy to make velvety smooth and rich chocolate mousse, and it is a fantastic dish to serve for parties because you can make it in advance and have it waiting for your guests! Take your time and temper the eggs slowly–I will walk you through this step–and you will have perfect mousse every time. Great garnishes include mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel, chocolate-covered espresso beans, shaved chocolate…the possibilities are endless!

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Apples with Toffee Dip

This is one of the simplest recipes ever, but sometimes the simplest combinations make the tastiest food. This dip is a great addition to an appetizer or dessert buffet. Creamy, crunchy and sweet, enjoy this dip with sliced Granny Smith apples that you toss in a little bit of lemon water. My sister-in-law Erin originally made this dip many years ago and I knew I needed the recipe upon first bite! 

Apples with Toffee Dip

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

There is a reason peanut butter and jelly make such a classic combination–because salty and sweet together equals happiness! Try making this cake the next time you are celebrating something (like a Friday), and do your best to let your guests try it too. The cake itself is light and fluffy, the icing salty and full of crunchy peanuts, and the filling rich with tangy-sweet raspberry goodness. Oh, and I took some shortcuts to make it very easy to prepare, so you can thank me later!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I have made this cake a few times, and each time I am so thrilled with the result and how my guests enjoy it. I first made it to bring into the office for coworkers during the holiday season, and then made it again years later to bring to Easter brunch. Both times people loved the combination of a coffee cake and cheesecake, with ribbons of tangy-sweet raspberry throughout. I suggest cutting it into small pieces so people are willing to try it without committing to a big piece…you’ll see them heading back for seconds!

Sorry it took me so long to post this recipe, Auntie Jan!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

 

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Spice Cake

Though I want to believe that spring is on its way and the snow and ice will soon be distant memories…so far, no dice. The good news is, you are still totally appropriate if you want to bake up this simple and amazing cake just to warm up your house and fill it with the smells of gingerbread. When you curl up with a slice of this and a cold glass of milk, spring can wait for just one more day…

Spice Cake

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Erin’s Take 5 Cake

My mom has made the desserts for our family birthdays and holidays forever, so in truth, I was never much of a baker until I had my own kids. Let me tell you, I have big shoes to fill and because of that, I am really picky about which baked recipes I would bother making again. This recipe, however, made me so thrilled because I came up with the idea and everyone loved it. The birthday girl might not have been super ecstatic about her will-go-unnumbered birthday this year, but her cake made her smile! 

Have you ever had those Take 5 candy bars? That’s what this is based on: the five ingredients of chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, peanuts and pretzels. It’s salty and sweet with some crunch, you have to make this recipe! Oh, and notice I took a little help from the grocery store, I am not ashamed and would do it again!

 

A candy bar in a cake...you're welcome.

A candy bar in a cake…you’re welcome.

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Banana Streusel Bread

Banana bread was one of the first things I ever baked when I was little. My mom bought me a set of Sesame Street books, and the second volume, for the letter B naturally, included a recipe for “Big Bird’s Banana Bread.” I was thrilled for the chance to mix things up and bake something in the oven, and thankfully my family supported the endeavor and loved the bread! Now I make this different version of banana bread, as Ina Garten would say…it’s with the volume turned up. This one is straight from mom. The streusel on top is crunchy and sweet, and the bread itself is moist but not too dense, so the pieces just tend to disappear! You can also make this into muffins, I have done that before and may even like that better.

This bread will be a hit in your house. Adorable child not included.

This bread will be a hit in your house. Adorable child not included.

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Pumpkin Raisin Bread

This marks my first sweet recipe on the blog! Those who know me know I am ten times more likely to reach for a bag of tortilla chips than for a cookie, but the more years I am married to Mike, the more I find myself loving desserts too. Thanks, hun! We received two sugar pumpkins from our farm this year, and I roasted and pureed one of them to make this bread. But canned pumpkin (not pie filling) works perfectly too. The sweet scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger will waft through your whole house while it’s baking, and it is just as good toasted (with a little butter, I know…I’m bad!) for breakfast as it is for dessert with a cold glass of milk. And it’s so simple to make, my kind of dessert. Omit the raisins or add nuts, it’s up to you. My little guy, Cole, only accepts bites with raisins…he takes after my mom.

So difficult to let it cool before slicing into it.

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