Fill in the Blanks

Happy weekend! Here are the fill in's from Lauren at The Little Things We Do. Check her out!

1.   My favorite color is       pink! standard for a girl, i know. it is just such a happy color. yellow and teal are also good colors.

2.  My travel destination of choice is    punta mita, mexico. my perfect escape  .

3.  My favorite  food is     chocolate somethings or fresh bread and caprese .

4.  My happy place is   the beach .

5.  My favorite saying is      "be kinder than necessary, everyone is fighting some type of battle" its the truth .

6.  My dirty little secret is      I'm a clutter bug sometimes. organized piles is considered organized right?!   .

7.  Something friends might say about me is that I       am a total dork  . 


Braided Almond Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is a breakfast staple. I love it but it is always super heavy and extremely sugary. Not that heavy sugar is a terrible thing but lets be honest, sometimes it is just toooo much in the morning.

I found a photo and recipe for this beautiful braided pastry and the picture alone made me decide: "this is my next creation!".

It turned out so gorgeous and is the perfect breakfast coffee cake. It is light and fluffy, still has the coffee cake taste but is filled with almond filling and topped with almond slivers. This recipe is a little bit more difficult and time consuming to make but the finished product will impress your friends and family so much! Having brunch soon? Give this recipe a try! You will have everyone raving and thinking you are a professional!

Dough Ingredients:
1/2 cup warm whole milk
1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cold large eggs
3/4 cup cold whole milk
3 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into slices (long ways)
1/4 cup AP flour

Dough directions:
(this is great practice if you want to make croissants sometime!)
1. Pour the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk in 1 teaspoon sugar. Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks bubbly.
2. In stand mixer, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, eggs and cold milk. Whisk the yeast mixture into the egg mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Attach the dough hook and mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough 3-4 times to finish bringing it together. The dough will not be smooth or elastic, it will become fully kneaded and sooth during the rolling and turning process. Don't overwork the dough now.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
4. Make the butter block. Toss strips of butter with flour and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Dust your work surface with flour. Set the dough in the center and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough into a 15" x 12" rectangle with a short side parallel to the edge of your work place. Gently pull the edges to make straight corners and edges. Visually divide the dough into 3 equal sections, 5" wide. Spread the butter strips evenly over the top two sections, leaving the bottom section empty.
5. Fold the empty bottom section up and over the center third of the dough. Fold the top section down over the center section. Pinch together the seams along the bottom and sides. Roll your pin across the top of the dough lightly and gently 3-4 times to seal the dough. That is your first turn. If the dough has become warm, cover and place in fridge for 30 minutes. If not, continue with the second turn.
6. Roll the dough out into a 20"x12" rectangle. Fold the dough using the "book fold method". Fold the two short end sections in to meet at the center of the dough. Leave a small 1/4" crevice between them. Line up the edges and square the corners. Now fold one side over the other, as if you were closing a book. Seal the seams and roll the pin over it again.
7. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Repeat step # 5 and # 6. Your dough is complete!!

Almond Filling Ingredients:
4 ounces almond paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 large egg
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons AP flour

1. Cut the almond paste into pieces and put into a food processor. Add the sugar and mix until the paste is cut into small pieces. Add the butter and process until well blended. Scrape down and add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla. Finally, add the flour and mix again.

Other ingredients:
1 egg
confectioners' sugar
slivered almonds

Coffee Cake Assembly:
1. Dust your work surface with flour and place the dough in the center. Roll into an 8"x12" rectangle. Transfer to your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Note: this might be too large for one baking sheet, so cut the dough in half and make two!
2. Mark a 2 inch wide strip right down the middle of your dough. This is where the filling will go. On either side of this filling area, make diagonal cuts in the dough about 3" long and 1" wide.  
3. Spread your almond filling down the middle.
4. Braid the dough by crossing alternate strips starting at the top and moving down. Press the ends to seal it and tuck them under slightly.
5. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
6. While it rests you can combine confectioners' sugar and water to make a glaze for the danish when it is finished.
7. Put dough in freezer to firm up the butter for 10 minutes.
8. Brush dough with and egg wash and sprinkle slivered almonds over the top.
9. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.



I did it...

I joined twitter.

Totallyyy gave into that one thing I always made fun of other people for.

Psh, look at me now!

On twitter? Follow me and show me the ways of this new world!

This little baby is sleeping on my lap. So sweet.

Goodnight friends!

Baby Ducks

Actually it is a baby boy (soon-to-be anyway). A friend of my mother was in need of some type of dessert for a baby shower she was throwing for someone. She needed individual pieces of dessert to help them celebrate. Naturally, this is code for cupcakes. 

This is something that remains true no matter what age the boy is - they are the HARDEST things to shop/create for!! Us girls, we hand it to them on a platter. We are happy with anything! As long as it comes from the boy, we are happy, right girls? 

So I had a really hard time thinking of a design for a boy baby shower. Girls I can do anything from hearts to flowers to pearls to butterflies. Boys....hmm....drawing blanks...

It came down to rubber ducks, bottles, or baby faces. Obviously, rubber ducky wins that one. Psssh.

First things first - I made my own fondant for the first time and let me tell you...IT IS SO EASY! It is easy and pie and so much more cost effective than buying it from the store. If you use fondant, please tell me you will try to make your own and I promise you will be converted for life.

1 bag mini marshmallows
food coloring
confectioners' sugar

Put marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl. (I used about 2 cups but you can use however much depending on how much fondant you need). Coat the marshmallows with a little bit of water and toss to make sure they are all covered. 

Put the mallows in the microwave for 1 minutes. They will come out looking big and fluffy. Mix with a wooden spoon that has been coated with shortening or butter to prevent sticking. Once it is a smooth mass, begin adding confectioners' sugar.

Continue mixing and adding more sugar until the fondant starts coming together and is a pliable mass. Add as much sugar as needed until the fondant is the right consistency. Knead in your food coloring. Use gel colors.

That is it! Cover completely and there you go :)

Ok, back to the cupcakes. So I made ducks out of fondant and made some blue buttercream so it looks like the ducks are floating in water! I also made a batch of chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes because I feel like brown is a boy color.


World's Best Candybar


I turned it into a cupcake!

My co-worker's birthday was a few weeks ago and her sweet treat from me was some reese's cupcakes. I had to make an extra "secret stash" for her because everyone else at work quickly devoured the majority of the cupcakes. 

I hope she enjoyed them and had a wonderful birthday!

What is your favorite candy bar? It can be my next undertaking!

From Ina Garten:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 17-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

In a stand mixer (or hand mixer) beat butter and peanut butter until smooth. On low speed, gradually add confectioner's sugar until smooth and completely combined. Change mixer to high speed and slowly add the milk. Beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes. Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired!


Friday Fill-in's are Back in Action!

I took a little break from fill-in's because, to be completely honest, by the time I remembered it was already Tuesday again. 

Here I am, back on track. Mike and I are having a Dexter marathon. Season 3 with two episodes left! I have already seen (and love) all the seasons but it is just an addicting the second time around.  Any Dexter fans out there???

I have the day off tomorrow and can't wait to sleep in and cuddle with Tay, have a hard workout, lay at the beach and then see HARRY POTTER! Woohoo! 

Have a great Friday everyone!! Keep that smile on your face!

1.   I am a (morning, evening, middle of the day person)       middle of the day person. I can't wake up in the mornings and am not super active every night but I love the middle of the day. Good lunches, sunshine, beach time...all the good stuff happens in the bright daylight  .

2.  My favorite Pandora stations are    Taylor Swift (go figure!), James Taylor, Temper Trap..   .

3.  3 of my "must-have" songs for a road trip playlist are     Red Dirt Road - Brooks and Dunn, Summertime - Kenny Chesney, Where the Boat Leaves From - Zac Brown Band    .

4.  My favorite pattern is   polka dots probably? I love lace...is that a pattern? 

5.  My favorite perfume is     very hollywood by Michael Korrs. D&G light blue has been my go to for years too  .

6.  Rules are      sometimes legit and sometimes the dumbest crap I have ever heard. Seriously, google some of the random laws and rules in other states and you will be shocked!  So crazy!

7.  My most overused phrase or punctuation is       I would say "good talk, see you out there" but I asked Mike and he says "love you to death" haha . 


Have a Berry Happy Day!

Nerd alert! I know I am a cornball but hey...cut me some slack eh? :)

My family from the east coast is here visiting for two weeks. We get to see them usually twice a year and it is always nice spending time together.  This past weekend we had a BBQ at my grandparent's house which was perfect because I had spent the day baking a pie for no reason what-so-ever.

BBQ was a perfect occasion for Mr. berry pie to make his appearance.

Homemade crust makes ALL the difference! This is a simple recipe and it is light, flavorful and crispy! Give it a whirl and let me know what creation you come up with this summer!


1 stick unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2'' pieces
3-4 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Process for a few seconds to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse 6-10 times until the butter and flour looks like crumbs.

Transfer the mixture into a stand mixer (or large bowl - you can do this by hand or with a hand mixer). With the speed on low, gradually add 3 tablespoons of cold water until the dough comes together. 

Roll dough out onto a floured surface and kneed 5-6 times. 

Form dough into a 6'' disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After thirty minutes, roll out dough and form into your pie dish. Fill and design your pie and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes before you bake at 400' for 50 minutes!

*notes: to make a design on top of the pie or cover it completely you just need to make this recipe twice! One for the bottom crust and one for the top.

Remember, you can fill a pie with pretttty much anything you want. So, get creative!

Happy Baking! :)

Note the picture of little Tay in the background. Haha, such proud grandparents!

What's Your Vote?

I stumbled about this article last night while doing my standard google-ing of all things cakes and pastry.  Last night's search was for the most popular cake flavors and fillings. This article is dated to 2005 (oh so long ago..) but I think these all sound pretty scrumptious.  Thoughts?

What is your favorite cake and frosting combo?

Some of the top picks were:


Chocolate (obvi..and my personal favorite)

Devil's Food





PS- the giveaway winner is...Meri from Meri-Goes-Round! Congrats! :)


Last Chance...

To enter the GIVEAWAY!! I mean...free goods!!

I'll give you all til Friiiiday :)



My little brother did it!
He graduated from high school last week and we are all very proud of his accomplishment! 

We celebrated with a BBQ at my parent's house with a bunch of family and friends. 

I became a bit ambitious and attempted my first multi-tier cake for his graduation party. Their school colors are white, red and blue (reallll original!) so here is how it turned out:

Congrats Ryan! On to the next big thing.. :)

PS- don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! :) Few more days...