Hello Dollies…With Dates…And With Chocolate Chips

Hello Dollies With Dates
Hello Dollies With Dates

Hello Dollies are the one dessert we can all agree on…as long as I make two flavors!!

You may also know Hello Dollies as Magic Layer Bars or 7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars. The Hello Dolly name seems to be a reference to a scene from Hello Dolly on Broadway. You can read more in this article here.

The classic Hello Dollies recipe includes a graham cracker crust layered with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, nuts, and condensed milk. Eagle Brand shares their recipe on their site but I’m sharing a few twists here. These bars are absolutely delicious, decadent, and soo easy to make!!

Hello Dollies With Chocolate Chips And Butterscotch Chips
Hello Dollies With Chocolate Chips And Butterscotch Chips

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Easy And Delicious Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Banana Bread

Banana Bread recipes have got to be some of the most popular breads circulating on social media right now! Spending time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic means that many of us are cooking and baking more. I have seen many versions and recipes of banana bread, but the one I’m sharing here is truly delicious!

I have no idea what recipe I followed prior to this one – that’s how good this recipe is. My dear friend made this banana bread for me one day when I went over to have coffee with her. It’s her mom’s recipe and I had to have it right away. It’s got 1/2 a cup of oil in it and uses no butter. I have to say that I’m not a fan of cakes that uses butter because I prefer the lightness and airiness of oil-based cakes.

It’s optional to add the walnuts, but I find it tastes that much better when you do add the nuts. Feel free to add a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter. You can also add a sprinkle of coconut flakes or banana chips on top.

Banana Bread
Banana Bread

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The Best Carrot Cake, Ever!

Best Carrot Cake, Ever!
Best Carrot Cake, Ever!

Gonna brag, because my carrot cake recipe is truly world famous! Everyone who tastes it, loves it. It’s the most requested cake by my family and friends. It’s always the birthday cake of choice for my youngest daughter. And, when my neighbor found out he had to follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, the first thing he thought about was missing my carrot cake!

You know what they say about needing 10,000 hours to perfect something? Well, I’ve put in the hours because I’ve been making this cake since I was 15. My roommate in high school’s mom made this for us when we first visited and I had to have the recipe.

What makes this carrot cake delicious is the simplicity of the ingredients (the only add-ins are carrots; there are no pineapples, walnuts, raisins, or coconut) as well as the generous 2 cups of grated carrots. It’s also made with 2 cups of sugar, so it’s sweet and moist. I’ve tweaked the original recipe by using 1/2 a cup of yogurt and 1 cup of canola oil, instead of the 1 1/2 cups of oil the original recipe calls for. I think this makes the difference in how moist the cake is. You can, of course, use 1 1/2 cups of oil if you don’t have yogurt on hand (and, if you want to keep the cake portion dairy-free.)

Best Carrot Cake, Ever!
Best Carrot Cake, Ever!

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Easy Chocolate Bark!

Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Bark

There is nothing easier to make than chocolate bark, period. Chocolate bark is one of those desserts that you can make for any occasion: birthdays, holidays, graduations, confirmations, teacher gifts, office treats, hostess gifts, etc. All you need is baking chocolate and your choice of toppings. If you want to be extra fancy, you can use food coloring, different grades of chocolate, and unusual toppings.

With Passover and Easter this week, I thought I would post some fun recipes to make with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. This Easter white chocolate bark is made with Baker’s White Chocolate, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Sweetapolita Sprinkles, and fresh pistachios. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish. The hard part is waiting for it to firm up!

Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Bark

Here’s how I made this Easter-themed White Chocolate Bark.

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Vegan Chocolate Fudge – Made With Dates!!

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Made With Dates
Vegan Chocolate Fudge Made With Dates

My first taste of fudge was when I moved to North Carolina to attend boarding school, in my sophomore year of high school. It was then that I fell in love with this North American dessert, at first bite!

I have a major sweet tooth, and it’s satisfied by super sweet North American and Middle Eastern desserts like: Texas Pecan Fudge Pie a la mode (specifically from House of Pies in Houston), pralines, fudge, cookie dough, Hello Dollies, knafeh, baklava, nammoura, and super sweet meghli. The last four are Middle Eastern and I make most of them at home when I can. Look for the meghli recipe in the next few weeks.

But…I digress. These days, fudge comes in many forms and is used to describe many cooked as well as no-bake desserts. There are variations that include melting chocolate and adding a can of condensed milk. There are variations that include tahini and coconut oil, like this recipe that I have shared in the past. And, there are recipes that are made with dates as a base, like the one I’m sharing today. Continue reading

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Perfect Fluffy Pancakes

Perfect Fluffy Pancakes
Perfect Fluffy Pancakes

I’ve been making pancakes for my oldest daughter for years now, and I’ve finally perfected the recipe for fluffy pancakes!

Given that it’s Mardi Gras tomorrow, I thought I would share my recipe with you.

The key to fluffy pancakes is not to over-mix the batter. It’s okay to have some lumps. They will eventually settle and won’t show up in the cooked pancakes. Over-mixing the flour activates the gluten, which is good for some applications, like bread, but not for pancakes because we don’t want dense pancakes! All you have to do is mix the ingredients until combined, about 15-20 stirs around the mixing bowl.

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7 Of My Favorite Christmas Cookies – With Links To Recipes!

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies

I love to bake for Christmas! It’s that time of year when I spend a few days in a row baking my holiday goodies. There are some recipes that are always on the list, but each year I add a couple of new ones. With Christmas one week away, I thought I’d share the cookies I made this year, with tips and links to the recipes. Recipes are listed, clockwise, starting with the gingerbread men. Continue reading

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3 Easy Christmas Treats To Make With The Kids

 

3 Easy Christmas Desserts
3 Easy Christmas Desserts

(This post is sponsored by Kitchen Stuff Plus. As always, all opinions are my own.)

It’s the holiday season, which means lots of festive decorations, tableware, and food! Adults and kids love the special desserts that come with Christmas, and it’s even more fun when they’re simple to make and decorate. The important part is being together, so here are three easy-to-make suggestions for home or school: gifts made with brownie squares, puffed rice cereal wreaths, and a tree made out of cupcakes. You can make the base of the treats in advance and save the decorating for the kids. The best part is that it’s all edible!

Brownie Gifts

Brownie Gifts
Brownie Gifts

For these palm-sized brownie gifts, you will need: a brownie pan, packaged brownie mix and icing, mini candy canes, and holiday sprinkles of your choice.

To make these brownie gifts into perfect squares, use a tray like this one, from Kitchen Stuff Plus. This brownie pan is perfect because many people like the edge pieces and, with this pan, everyone gets one! I like the stability and the clean edges of these perfect squares. Continue reading

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Witch Hat Halloween Cupcakes

With Halloween less than a week away, I thought I’d share this easy and fun Halloween cupcake idea: Witch Hats!

Making a witch’s hat out of Oreos and Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses is something I’ve seen in magazines and online for many years. Putting them on top of cupcakes is something I decided to combine because I wanted a ‘wow’ cupcake for a party we were invited to.

To keep this dessert simple, I recommend that you buy the cake mix, a tub of icing for the cupcakes, and a tube of icing to make the witch hats. It doesn’t make sense to try to make any of the icing at home. You just won’t get the right consistency and the clean-up is easier with store-bought icing. Buy any combination of sprinkles you’d like to use from the bulk food store or from the grocery store.

Here’s how I made the Witch Cupcakes: Continue reading

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Blueberry Peach Crumble

Blueberry Peach Crumble
Blueberry Peach Crumble

I love fruit crumbles! They are easy to make, forgiving, and always a popular dessert. You can top them with whipped cream, ice cream, or some milk. And, you can easily warm them up the next day: they taste just as good as freshly baked.

I’ve written about crumbles, cobblers, and crisps before, and you can check out one of my earlier posts, here, to learn the difference. Because I love oats, I always make crumbles. And, because I always seem to have overripe fruits hanging around in the summer, like peaches and blueberries, this blueberry peach crumble is on repeat at our summer BBQs.

Blueberry Peach Crumble
Blueberry Peach Crumble

The thing about adding blueberries to a crumble or any pie is the beauty of the dark purple caramelized fruit that bubbles around the edge of the dish. It spells summer. Even my youngest guests love watching the fruit bubble on the sides of the baking dish!

Because the best part of any crumble is the thick oat topping, I’ve adjusted the measurements of my original recipe to make a generous topping. I hope you enjoy making it.

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