Happy day friends! Hope all of you had a great Mother’s Day!! We have been busy bees here and recently had the amazing opportunity to appear once again on the Daytime morning show. I love the platform that Daytime provides and as much prep that goes into each segment, I have to say that this part of my life and work is truly one of my favorite things.
Enjoy friends–and note, even though, this is “Mother’s Day,” a lot of these ideas can easily be translated to Valentine’s Day, birthdays and even Father’s Day (that is quickly approaching).
Can I get an Amen for Friday?!
Hope all of you are having a great week! Wanted to share a segment we taped for the Daytime (WFLA) morning show, covering Springtime Celebration ideas. It’s always an amazing pleasure to work with the Daytime staff who are always so gracious and patient (especially for somebody that doesn’t go on television too often).
Despite the nerves I have to say it’s always fun when I get on set and I never get tired of it–I seriously could just stand there and watch all the different television personalities–Cyndi Edwards and Jerry Pennacoli–they are so funny!!
Enjoy friends! And if you work from home and have a chance to catch the show on a regular basis, it’s a must. Daytime Morning Show (WFLA, channel 8). In Tampa/Sarasota/Clearwater, it’s on channel 8, after the Today Show.
LINK BELOW (Set to the Chic Sweets You Tube Channel where you can also see our previous Daytime Segments).
Hello everyone!!! Hope all of you enjoyed the Holiday/Easter weekend! We hung out, just us, no extended family which is a bit odd for us–we are always surrounded by lots of loved ones, but this time around, I have to say it was nice to be just us. Going to church…delicious brunch and then spending time watching movies and being lazy. Yup. Pretty much a perfect Sunday in my book.
So for this post, wanted to try to keep up something different for this year by including dessert recipes that we love. Baking is something I truly enjoy to do and if I can bring myself to do a quick and delicious dessert that I can share with others, nothing makes me more happy.
Limoncello Mini Cakes (or Cupcakes) with Limoncello Glaze
These are absolutely delicious and there is nothing I love more than making an adult-inspired dessert. Sorry kiddos.
Serves: 12 (or 24 if you are making cupcakes) Prep Time: 25-30 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 cups All Purpose Flour (unbleached)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Sticks of (unsalted butter), Softened
Lemon Zest from 1 Lemon (1 Tbsp. at least)
5 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed Lemon juice
1/2 cup of Limoncello
2 cups of granulated sugar
For the glaze
1 cup of powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons of Limoncello
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your mini bundts pan or cupcake pan with baking spray, or of course, flour and butter work just as well.
2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest for a 5 to 8 minutes, until smooth and light. Stop every now and then to scrape the bowl/paddle attachment.
4. Slowly add one egg at a time, again, stopping periodically to scrape the bowl (I have my mixer at medium speed during this time).
5. Drop the mixer down to low (unless you want to be covered in a white powdered mess) and add in the flour mixer slowly. I add the flour mixture in three additions (add, scrape bowl, add, scrape bowl), until the entire mixture is well incorporated.
6. Add the Limoncello and lemon juice. Blend again.
7. Bake the mini-bundt or cupcake pans anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. I find especially, for the mini-bundt cake pans, they really due tend to cook quickly.
For the glaze: Warm the Limoncello in the microwave and then slowly whisk the powdered sugar in. This part is really to your liking–the more powdered sugar you put in, the thicker it will be. Feel free to adjust according to your taste.
1. Mini bundt cake pans can be found readily at Walmart, Target and even Michaels. Would love hear what other recipes you all of done with them. I’m a little hooked on how adorable they came out.
2. Kid friendly alternative: If you feel inspired to turn this into a kid-friendly lemon cake, just omit the lemoncello and replace with 1 cup of milk (I use 2 percent). For a topping, sprinkle powdered sugar.
3. I have a bottle of Limoncello sitting in my refrigerator…hmmm…any creative ideas or other recipes I should try? As you can see I’m on a big lemon kick over here! Would love to hear your thoughts!
Hello friends! Hope all of you are having a great February! We are gearing up for a Valentines Day inspired dessert table this week so right now we are in a sea of golds….pinks…reds….and a whole lot of love. Today I’m thrilled to share a recent wedding we had The Renaissance Vinoy in St. Pete with an absolutely stunning couple, Catherine and Peter. There is something about getting married at The Vinoy–everything just has this romantic and elegant feel. It truly feels like walking in another world when you step inside their ballroom!
This beauty was shot by K&K Photography, based out of Tampa. We’ve known Jeff and the K&K team for some time and we always feel honored when they shoot our table. Their approach to capturing the details is something that I’ve always loved! They even shot one our all time Day of the Dead inspired shoots a few years back!
Thanks again to our lovely couple, Catherine and Peter, The Vinoy and of course, K&K Photography. And a special shout out of love to my girl Crystal from Cuppy Cakes–one of the kindest souls I know and are go-to person for the special cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies you see on today’s table.
Have a wonderful week, friends!
Update: Don’t forget, we have our Valentine’s Day candy boxes, ready to ship out! This Thursday is our last shipping day! Link on our Home Page.
IMAGE CREDIT: K&K Photography
Hello friends! First post of 2015, here we go! I don’t believe in having resolutions (I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure with those), but I do believe in keeping goals that will always ground me (my faith, family, health, friends, and business). Never easy sometimes, but I’ve learned to appreciate the times with my family so much more than I did in the past. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, (haha…and wiser) but this past year I’ve really challenged myself to carve out more, intentional time for my family, my husband, which as silly as it does sound, feeds my soul and in turn, I find that my work is better, more focused and everything just flows. Wow, didn’t think I was going to take it there to start out 2015, but I guess it is natural for all of us to take this time, especially January, to reflect.
One of our final shoots to wrap up 2014 was in partnership with Southern Weddings, a publication and blog I hold near and dear to my heart. They were working on a Holiday Dessert Round Up, and they wanted me to share some of my favorite recipes. I thought this would be hard for me–I mean, I love to bake, but to come up with two recipes I thought readers would connect with, was not as hard as I thought.
Thankfully Shay Cochrane from Shay Cochrane Photography, is an amazing commercial photographer, that I’ve had the pleasure working with on more than one occasion and has an uncanny ability to take my vision, props and work her usual magic. Shay, if you are reading this–thank you–you are an artist!
Happy 2015 friends! I hope it’s a great one!
Southern Newlywed Series: Dessert Feature
Heart Shape Strawberry-Nutella Filled “Mini-Pies”
These pies are delicious and once you get a good feel for the recipe, there are endless variations to it, which is really fun (hellloooo–Valentine’s ideas!). The prep time may seem a bit long, but this is one recipe that never “feels” long since the steps are fairly easy. This particular recipe has been tweeked a bit between me and my mom. The two of us love to work on this one, together! We don’t get to spend as much time as we like, together so this time is especially sacred between us.
Serves: 12. Prep time: 40 minutes. Cook time: 23-25 minutes
1 pie crust dough (feel free to use store bought or if you have time, from scratch. There are some really, easy pie crust recipes out there!).
2 cups of strawberries, cut very small
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of strawberry jam
1 ½ teaspoons of Nutella
Flour (for the dough)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten, with a splash of water.
Heart cookie cutter, recommend 2 ½ to 3 inch size
Candy coated wafers, for dipping. Optional. *See RECIPE NOTES
Sprinkles, optional. *See RECIPE NOTES
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take a large, baking sheet and cover with parchment paper, with a very light coat of non-stick cooking spray.
- While oven is pre heating, start rolling out your dough (with flour) until it is nice and smooth (approximately ¼ thick). When your dough is ready, begin to use your cookie cutter—in this case, you should be able to get out at least 18-20 hearts. I always take scraps, and recombine them to squeeze out a few more if I can.
- Now in a bowl, take your strawberries (diced very small), sugar, strawberry jam and Nutella, and combine all together. The jam is great in this case because it cuts the tartness of the strawberries for a more balanced flavor.
- Once you have all your ingredients combined, take teaspoon and put a dollop of filling in the center of half of your hearts (the other half will be reserved for the top of the heart!). The first time I went through this part I was very worried about putting too much filling, or too little, or that they wouldn’t look totally perfect. Do not worry! The beauty of this recipe, and pies, is that they don’t have to look perfect—just think if it as (cough, cough), more “rustic looking!”
- When you’ve put your filling on top of your hearts, lightly beat your egg wash and with your finger or a small brush and slightly brush the heart border which will act like a glue for the heart topper.
- Then take the reserved, half of hearts and place on top, carefully. Use a fork to pinch the edges together and make them look all pretty.
- After placing all your hearts on your baking sheet, I will brush all of them lightly with the egg wash—this gives them that golden, crusty “I should work for Better Crocker” look to them.
- Before placing in oven, I quickly take my fork and puncture them right in the middle, to act as a vent when they start baking.
- These will then back anywhere from 23 to 25 minutes, until they look nice and golden. I usually will set my timer to check them out at the 20th mark and then adjust my time from there, depending on how they look.
- Don’t have strawberries? Don’t worry! Just eliminate the strawberries and substitute with one of your favorite jams that you may have on hand in your pantry.
- Pie on a stick? At “Step 4,” after you have put the filling on half of hearts, gently place a lollipop stick at the bottom of the heart—be careful when pushing the stick so it doesn’t come through. Anything on a stick always creates that “oohhh…ahhh” factor!
- There is nothing I love more than chocolate and strawberries. After your mini pies have cooled, I take one (1) bag of white, candy coated wafers, melt as directed and half dip my pies, then add sprinkles. I recommend, Merckens white candy melts. For sprinkles you can use holiday inspired (as shown), Valentine’s Day mix, or your own special mix.
White Chocolate Hot Cocoa
Serves: 12 cups. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 2 hours
Can you think of anything better than pies and white chocolate hot cocoa? Nope. I couldn’t either. During the holidays, when it’s late at night, my family isn’t much into drinking coffee so we started making this recipe and it’s always a great hit. This also gives me a great reason to take out my crock pot/slow cooker which receives no love from me, for most of the year.
- 16 ounces of white chocolate (if you can, try to go with a premium brand)
- 4 cups of whole milk
- 4 cups of heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon of pure vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- Garnish ideas: whip cream, crushed peppermints, white chocolate chips, nutmeg, caramel sauce and Pirouettes (Pepperidge Farm is my favorite). *See RECIPE NOTES
- Place your white chocolate in the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients. I keep my slow cooker at the “hot setting” and once the chocolate starts to melt, I drop down the “warm setting.”
- Cover and simmer for at least two hours, stirring every 20-25 minutes, or so. There will be skin that will form at the top of your hot cocoa, just take a whisk, stir and it will go away.
- This can stay warm for up to several hours.
- I’ve been asked this before, but you can substitute the whole milk with a low fat version if you wanted to lighten it up a bit.
- When serving, I will take my garnishes and put them in small bowls and guests can help themselves. I love this part!
- If you would like to spike your hot chocolate, I recommend going with a nuttier flavor like a good Amaretto, Bailey’s or Brandy. They have very fancy vodka’s now, but with this recipe I find that the nuttier base goes lovely with the hot chocolate.