Tag Archives: Desserts

Baking Break

4 Sep

I love to bake, but I haven’t had a chance to do too much of it lately. I’ve been busy with back-to-school & cooking dinner every night, so there isn’t much time to break out the mixer & bake my favorite cookies/cakes/cupcakes/etc.

Well this afternoon I was working on stuff for school & got the urge to take a break & bake! I figured I deserved the break, seeing as I have a long weekend, & there isn’t too much to do for school just yet. I better get some baking in now, because things will start to get crazy-busy soon.

At my bridal shower this past June, I received a cookbook compiled by a local church, filled with members’ of the women’s society recipes!

I flipped through the desserts section, looking for something that I had all the ingredients for. I’m so excited to pass this recipe along because it is simple, perfect for fall, & turned out to be delicious. (And thank you to Carol Travers, whoever you are, for this awesome recipe!)

Fresh Apple Cake

Yields 12-18 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups diced apples
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Mix the sugar, apples, & eggs together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the oil, vanilla, & nuts together. Add to the sugar, apples, & eggs.
  • Mix the flour, cinnamon, salt, & baking soda together. Add to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13 inch pan & bake for 50-60 minutes. You want the top to be golden brown. (Mine took exactly 50 minutes.)

Like I said before, I think this recipe is perfect for the fall season! It’s also a great base recipe; you could easily sub in another fruit (I’m thinking blueberries or peaches!) for the apples.

I enjoyed mine ala mode, with some Phillies Graham Slam!

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What’s your favorite “fall food”? I know so many people get seriously pumped for pumpkin this time of year!

PS – You can now “like” For the Sake of Cake on facebook! Just click on the facebook button on the right sidebar! 🙂

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Farmers Market Finds

26 Aug

Today is my last official weekday off before school starts. (Although we have next Friday & the following Monday off for Labor Day, so I can’t complain!)

So on my last carefree day, I decided to do a little back-to-school clothing shopping, then hit up a local farmers market. I had been to the Shillington Farmers Market once before, but on that visit I was there strictly for cupcakes. Today, I wanted to stock up on fresh fruit!

I was able to purchase 6 oranges, 4 Fuji apples, strawberries, 2 lemons (to use in a dinner recipe next week) & 1 avocado for $15.00!

I was a little shocked to arrive home from my errands & find this:

That would be a rather well-stocked fruit drawer! Chris usually eats a ton of fruit during the week, so I was surprised to see that we were actually good to go for a while yet.

What to do, what to do? I had recently won a giveaway on Chelsey’s blog for Clearly Fresh produce storage bags. According to the website…

“Clearly Fresh® bags are large clear zip bags (12” X 14”), with a breathable 3 inch square membrane on one side. Each pack contains 10 bags. These bags enable you to keep your fruits and vegetables fresher longer for less waste and more savings. Its large size, allows you to store an entire bunch of bananas or a whole head of lettuce with room to spare. PLUS the bags are re-closeable and recyclable.”

I packed up 2 Clearly Fresh bags with my extra apples & oranges, & I guess we’ll see what happens! 😉

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Backtracking to last night, Chris & I enjoyed another crock pot chicken meal that I’d like to share.

I modeled this dinner off of Campbell’s Slow Cooker Chicken in Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, but made quite a few changes (sun-dried tomatoes are kind of expensive, in case you didn’t know!).

Slow Cooker Tomato Artichoke Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup
  • About 1 cup white wine (I just “eyeballed” the amount I added)
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts (drained & chopped)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Basil

Directions:

  • Combine the soup, wine, garlic powder, artichoke hearts, & tomatoes in a slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken, & turn to coat the chicken with the soup mixture.

  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours (I did 8, but 7 would be plenty).
  • Serve chicken on a bed of brown rice, & top with extra soup mixture & basil.

This was a delicious & very filling meal. I actually couldn’t finish my portion, even though I really wanted to! (Stew wanted in as well!)

And I can’t forget to make mention of dessert – a peanut butter cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen!!! Heavenly.

What’s your favorite ice cream “treat”? Blizzards are pretty high on my list, but I love a good sundae too!

The Honeymoon, Day 5

24 Aug

If you’ve missed any of the other honeymoon re-cap posts, you may find them here (day 1), here (day 2), here (day 3), & here (day 4)!

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For our last full day in Disney, we decided to take it easy & visit Downtown Disney for a little shopping. It was a nice way to end the vacation!

Display in front of the Lego store!Eventually, we stopped somewhere for lunch. I believe I got some sort of wrap (I can’t remember anymore), but I was really excited to try a cupcake from Babycakes NYC (they had a tiny bakery area set up in the place where we ate).

Babycakes NYC cupcakes are refined sugar-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan cupcakes! While I’m not vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, I’ve still heard of these cupcakes before & was excited to give them a try! I went with the red velvet:

Babycakes Red velvet

It was good, but I could sort of taste that this was a “healthified” cupcake. That didn’t stop me from eating every last bite though! 😉

After our walk around Downtown Disney, we ended up returning to our hotel & lounging around & napping! (Napping is the best, isn’t it?) I did not want to get up, but our dinner reservation at California Grill was calling our names!

California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort & has really awesome views of the Magic Kingdom. There was actually a storm rolling in the night of our reservation & we could actually watch it progress closer & closer as we were eating our dinner!

I went with the scallops for my entree:

ScallopsI ate every last scallop, but not too much of the vegetables underneath. They had absorbed a lot of oil & I just wasn’t feelin’ it!

For dessert, I ordered some sort of banana caramel deliciousness!

Dessert  Afterwards, Chris & I spent a few minutes on the observation deck, & snapped a few pictures of the Disney property below:

Magic Kingdom Space Mountain Disney

Ferry boat Cinderella's castle

The following morning, it was time to head back home to PA! We had a wonderful time & a great honeymoon!

Heading home   Lucky for me, as our plane was landing in Philly, I was able to snap a few pics of Citizens Bank Park (go Phils)! 🙂

Home sweet home!   Phillies!

Do you enjoy traveling? I enjoy getting away, but I’m always happy to come home again!

A Wedding Dress & Ice Cream for Dinner

2 Aug

The title explains it all, but here we go…

I started my morning with a 6:00 BodyPump class. I’m trying really hard to keep my normal gym routine this week, even though I’m busy with last minute wedding details.

My mom & I had to head to Kleinfelds today to finally pick up my wedding dress. If you’re interested, here’s a a recap of my last fitting.

We left PA around 9:30 & made it to the city by 12:00. We were told to be at Kleinfelds around 1:00, so we decided to grab lunch at our old stand-by, Telegraphe Cafe! (We ate there when we first picked out the dress & just a few weeks ago at my final fitting.)

Telegraphe CafeToday I went with a half sandwich of prosciutto, brie, grilled peppers, tomato, & lettuce with an Italian dressing on multigrain bread (I asked them to hold the olives; I’m not a fan). It was delicious, as always. This place was a good find!

My sandwich Take a bite! Afterwards, we headed over to Kleinfelds, picked up the dress, & were back on the road in no time.

Our trip home was taking longer than expected, & my mom suggested a quick stop at a dairy not too far from home. She quickly followed the suggestion up with something about not spoiling our dinner. Hmmm, what to do, what to do?! Ice cream for dinner, of course! 😉

We made a pit stop at Longacre’s Modern Dairy & each ordered a “small” cone. Apparently, small at this place is about 4 scoops, but that’s perfectly fine with me!

Longacre's This dairy has countless flavors, but as soon as the word ice cream was brought up in the car, I knew I wanted cookie dough!

This was one delicious cone & the perfect summer “dinner” after a long day in the car.

Cookie doughWe just arrived home a little while ago, & now the dress is in my possession, resting in its new home for the next few days…

No sneak peeks!There are few more wedding tasks on today’s to do list. I’ll be back tomorrow with my last “real” post before the wedding!

Do you ever have dessert for dinner?

Grandma’s Butter Pound Cake

1 Aug

My Grandma was an amazing woman, & I’m so happy to share this recipe with you all today. (Thanks again for passing along another great recipe, Aunt Tisa!) Sadly, my grandma passed away when I was in the sixth grade from breast cancer. Happily, her recipes live on & it’s a way for us to still feel her presence.

A thing of beauty   I mentioned yesterday that my uncle is visiting PA from Florida, so my aunt baked up my grandma’s delicious butter pound cake for us to all enjoy for dessert.

(Disclaimer: They don’t call it pound cake because it’s healthy!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter (not margarine)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (like Crisco or Wesson)
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. milk (not low fat or skim milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. of almond, lemon, or rum extract (my aunt noted that my family prefers almond)

Directions:

  • Cream together butter, oil, & sugar.
  • Add the eggs.
  • Sift together flour & baking powder.
  • Gradually add flour to the butter/egg mixture.
  • Next, add the milk.
  • Lastly, add the vanilla & almond/lemon/rum extract.
  • Pour batter into a greased & floured angel food pan (you can also use Pam baking spray).
  • Bake for 90 minutes at 325*; cool the cake upright in the pan for about 30 minutes before turning over onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Finished cake   With toppings

My aunt included a few “hints” when sharing this recipe:

  • Use a wooden skewer (instead of a toothpick) to test for doneness.
  • Combine the ingredients using a standing mixer because this recipe makes a large quantity of thick batter. (Can’t wait to try this out with my new KitchenAid mixer!)
  • While baking, this cake will develop a crunchy sugary, top crust. (Also known as, the best part!)
  • When you remove it from the pan, you will need to flip the cake over so that it is standing on its flat bottom. (This cake will not help you achieve a flat bottom yourself, however!)
  • A “serving suggestion” from my uncle: Toast a slice of the cake & top with butter!

We topped our slices with so fresh fruit salad & Cool Whip… perfection!

My slice    Topped! Delicious!

Let me know if you try this recipe & how it turns out! Like I mentioned above, I’ve got a brand new (pink!) KitchenAid mixer, so I’ll have to try it myself soon! I also remember a fantastic homemade brownie recipe of my grandma’s, so I’ll have to track that down & share that as well.

What’s your favorite “family recipe”?

Sister Knows Best

26 Jul

So here we are folks…

SAMSUNG            My mom made me this countdown calendar almost a year ago! I can’t believe the number has dwindled down from 365 to 11! 11! Seriously… 11 days!!!

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This morning I headed to the gym bright & early for the 6:00AM BodyPump class. I stayed for a quick 15 minutes on the elliptical before my growling stomach told me it was time to head home. I even made it all the way home today without a stop at DD for an iced coffee… I’m trying to break the habit.

My sister had been raving about one of her “go to” breakfasts recently… a bagel thin + peanut butter + banana + chia seeds + honey! I’d seen similar breakfasts floating around the blog world & decided to give it a try, especially since I had my new peanut butter!

Well, now I see what my sister was talking about! I toasted up a bagel thin, added pb, sliced banana, chia seeds, & a drizzle of honey… yum! And so simple, too! I enjoyed it with a mug of hot coffee for a change!

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My afternoon was spent doing a little wedding crafting, then running more errands (like dropping my engagement ring off to get “re-conditioned”!), & finally a stop at the apartment to drop off some clothing.

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When I returned home, I needed an afternoon “pick me up” & decided to try out the Single Serving Peanut Butter Cookies posted on Chocolate Covered Katie today!

I followed this recipe exactly, but quickly discovered that we were out of applesauce! I know applesauce is usually the “stand in” for oil in recipes, but I figured since such a small amount was called for in the recipe (1 tsp.) I could substitute something of a similar consistency. Enter…

SAMSUNG

Snack Pack!

I remembered I had some leftover pudding from Chris’s birthday cupcakes & figured that would do. Ok, I know these probably don’t have the best nutritionals, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get her cookie fix! 😉

I ended up getting 2 cookies out of the recipe & ate one hot out of the oven! I saved the other for my mom; she did make me that wedding countdown calendar after all! 😉

SAMSUNG            SAMSUNG            I’ll leave you with your daily dose of dog! Stewie is obsessed with belly rubs, as evidenced below! And Tobey… well if you can’t tell by the look of guilt on his face, he was caught somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be! 🙂

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Do you have a “go to” breakfast? It’s always so tough for me to break from my normal routine, but as the post title says, “sister knows best” & I really enjoyed today’s breakfast!

Ready to Go!

21 Jul

After today, I feel completely ready to go for the big day! Of course there are still things to get done, but I had my second dress fitting, & the dress fit perfectly (with the exception of a tiny bit of additional hemming – I’m short!) & it made me so excited to wear it for a whole day, rather than just a quick half hour! I can’t wait to share it with everyone after the big day.

I took lots of pictures, so let’s get going with today’s recap, shall we? 🙂

We arrived in New York City around 1:00 & my appointment at Kleinfelds was at 2:00. I was with my sister, Corinne, & one of my bridesmaids, Sara. We decided to pick up a quick bite to eat at Telegraph Cafe in Chelsea. My mom, sister, & I actually ate there when I first said “yes to the dress” last year! I went with 1/2 a caprese sandwich – tomatoes, mozzarella, & avocado with an Italian dressing! It was a scorcher in NYC today, so I only went with a 1/2 sandwich since I didn’t know what I could handle in the heat. I also enjoyed an iced tea on the side. Oh! And I have to share that today was my first time trying avocado, & I really, really liked it!

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Next was the fitting, & I think I’ve summarized pretty well how that went! It made everything much more “real” to have my dress on & to have it fitting without clips holding it together! We took a few commemorative pictures outside of the store, as our final pick up will probably be our last visit there! (Until my big sis walks down the aisle at least! ;-))

Sara & I        Corinne & I

Next, we were on a mission – a very hot, sweat-dripping-down-your-face mission… cupcakes!!! My first Crumbs cupcake was had back in February when Chris & I went to New York to see American Idiot on Broadway. Why are these stores so inconspicuous?! I had difficulty finding the store both in February & today (different locations), but the hunt is so, so worth it! (I know both Tina & Gabriela can vouch for how amazing these cupcakes are!)

Cupcakes! We’ll get back to these later…

We had finally had enough of the heat, & caught the train that would take us back to Trenton, then we’d hit the road back to PA. Of course we had to end our day with a dinner stop, & where better than The Cheesecake Factory? I started with a piece of their yummy bread with some butter.

Bread & butter For my entree, I chose the 4 cheese pasta. I have no idea why I always seem to choose this there – it’s obviously something I could make at home – but of course it’s much more delicious when someone else makes it for me! Also, after our sweaty trek around the city all day, I was really craving carbs. And carbs I consumed!

Pasta bowl the size of my head! Sara & I Corinne

Of course, there were some leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Doggie bag Finally, it was time. Time to dig into one of those big cupcakes that had been staring me in the face all afternoon! I had bought 4; I still don’t know why, because I can’t imagine eating 4 of these very rich cupcakes in the next few days, but stranger things have happened…

I decided to go with the “Happy Birthday” cupcake — “vanilla cake mixed with rainbow sprinkles filled with vanilla butter cream mixed with rainbow sprinkles topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting edged with rainbow sprinkles and yellow rosette in the center.”

I cut myself half, because I certainly ate a very rich dinner! It was so, so, so good!

Cupcake Cupcake

Cupcake All gone!

And with that, I’ve got a perfectly-fitted wedding dress, a full tummy, & several reasons to hit the gym hard tomorrow morning! 😉

Enjoy your evening!

Is it H-O-T where you live?!

I can’t complain because I love summer & much prefer being hot to being cold!

The Birthday Month

14 Jul

Hi everyone! It’s Thursday… only one more day until the weekend. (Which means nothing to me since I’m a teacher on summer break, but I know the rest of the world feels differently! ;-))

First, a little recap of yesterday’s wrapping extravaganza…

An entire roll of wrapping paper later…

Wrapping         Chris’s presents were all set to go…

Presents     I’ll let you know how he liked everything in tomorrow’s post!

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I was up & at BodyPump for the 6:00AM class today. I stayed after & completed 20 minutes on the elliptical. (I knew there would be spoonfuls of chocolate frosting consumed some special birthday festivities tonight, so I figured a little extra activity would be a good idea!)

This afternoon, I headed to my wedding hair & makeup trial. Of course I don’t want to reveal any shots of the “final do,” but I’ll share with you all one of my favorite “inspiration” photos that I brought with me…

Wedding hair 1 (source)

I knew I wanted it up (it’s likely going to be hot) & off to the side… as far as the rest, you’ll have to wait until after the big day to see! 😉

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After my appointment, it was time to get crackin’ on Chris’s birthday treat – Boston Cream Cupcakes! (Enter copious amounts of chocolate frosting consumption; why is it so good?!) Chris loves Boston Cream Pie, & when I saw this recipe in one of my Hungry Girl e-mails last week, I knew this would be what I’d make him for his birthday. You can find the original recipe here & my (few!) adaptations below:

Boston Cream Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 c. water
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Chocolate syrup
  • 1 vanilla pudding snack
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350* & line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Combine the cake mix, eggs, & 1/2 c. water; whisk; distribute into muffin pan.

Ready to whisk

  • Bake for about 20 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean).
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
  • Combine chocolate syrup (2 tbsp.) with chocolate frosting (3 tbsp.) until smooth; cover & refrigerate.

Chocolate glaze

  • When cupcakes are cool, insert a hole in the center of each.

Cut-out cakes

  • Place contents of the pudding cup (mixed with vanilla extract) into a sandwich bag; snip a small piece of the corner off, & pipe the pudding into the cupcakes.

Filled cakes

  • Spread frosting/syrup mixture over cupcakes.

Finished product

  • Enjoy! And refrigerate any leftovers! 🙂

Not surprisingly, I had an “assistant” again today:

"I'll taste-test!"    A dog can dream!

I sampled one of these (as the baker always must) & it was delicious! I’ll let you know tomorrow if the birthday boy approved! 😉

Mmm        Mmm Good!

Speaking of tomorrow… the 15th is my dad’s birthday! Oh, & the 23nd is my mom’s birthday. And my aunt’s is the 24th! This is seriously the birthday month in my family! That’s fine by me; it just means lots of celebrations! 🙂

I’ll be back tomorrow with a re-cap of Chris’s birthday. Enjoy your evening!

When’s YOUR birthday?

Mine’s February 5th… any birthday twins out there?

Full House

11 Jul

We’ve got a full house this week!

Full House (source)

No, not that kind of Full House! This kind of full house:

Tobey Tyson Stewie

You see, Tobey is my parent’s boxer (& of course I consider him my boxer too!). We’ve had him since the summer between my junior & senior year of high school. If you notice in the picture, his tummy is a little “bulgy” & he isn’t in the best medical condition right now, poor guy. But, he loves to sit outside & enjoy the sunshine… even in the intense heat & humidity we’ve been experiencing in PA!

Next up is Tyson. Tyson is my sister’s boxer. We call him “Skinny Minnie” & I think you can see why from the picture above… he’s all skin & bones! He’s staying with us for the week.

Last is little Stewie who has been living at my parents house since I moved home last August.

It’s certainly a full house when these three get together! For the most part, they get along fine, but there’s a little friendly fighting that goes on as well. 😉

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This morning I headed to the car dealer bright & early to get my car’s oil changed & tire’s rotated… exciting stuff! 😉

I came home, did some work for school, then was off to the gym.

Today’s Workout

  • Arc trainer – 15 minutes
  • Elliptical – 30 minutes

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Last evening, I was reading Tina’s blog, & saw her recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The recipe was easy, & I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I figured I’d give them a go this afternoon.

I followed this recipe very closely, but here are the changes/additions I made:

  • Substituted 1/3 c. peanut butter for 1/3 c. almond butter
  • Added 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • Added about 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Ready to mix Ready to bake!

I thought I’d have a few “baking assistants” but apparently something interesting was happening out back!

DoggiesThis cookies turned out great! Definitely a step up from last week’s “Magic Walnut Cookies” . These are very hearty, filling, & healthy-tasting, but still delicious! 🙂

Finished productI realize this is the third dessert recipe I’ve posted recently & I’m starting to think I should have named my blog “For the Sake of Cookies”! 😉

Now I’m off to keep a watchful eye over the pups!

 What’s your favorite thing to make for dinner? I need to change up the recipes on here! 🙂

Failure or Success?

7 Jul

I love to bake. In fact, I’ll take baking over cooking any day, but I think I’ll have to learn to love cooking soon when I become a newlywed!

I had some Trader Joe’s walnuts to use up, plus some chocolate chips from last week’s chocolate chip cookies.

I visited Supercook.com, where you can enter ingredients you have on-hand & a list of possible recipes is generated. I was immediately intrigued by these cookies – dubbed “Magic Walnut Cookies.”

I followed the instructions pretty closely. First, I chopped up my walnuts. I think one of my first “failures” was chopping instead of grounding them (I think a super-fine texture would have worked better to achieve the cookie effect).

Walnuts Next, I mixed the chopped walnuts with 2 egg whites. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but I used a little less than that & a squirt of honey.

I dropped the “dough” onto a cookie sheet, & baked them for about 8 minutes.

Ready to bake Ready to bake

As the cookies were baking, I melted about a cup of mini semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave. I usually don’t have much luck with this melting method, but luckily I didn’t burn anything today – success!

Yum!Well, I should have known from some of the “reviews” on this recipe, but these little walnut dollops did not bake like a cookie. I let them cool for about 2 minutes, but when I tried to move them from the baking sheet, they came apart & were pretty much the same consistency as when they went in the oven – fail!

I tried desperately to make these cookies a success by “reforming” them into a cookie shape, dropping a spoonful of chocolate on top, then toping with an additional walnut “cookie.”

Ready for the freezerTo help them solidify, I popped them into the freezer for a few minutes.

The end result was very, very sweet; dare I say too sweet? I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, so if I’m saying these are too much, there’s a problem.

I’ll definitely give them another chance, but if I try this recipe again, I’ll definitely cut back on the sugar & not pretend that I’m going to end up with real cookies in the end! 😉

Finished product  Not so bad after all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you consider yourself better at cooking or baking? What’s your favorite thing to cook/bake?