Category Archives: food

Churro Waffles with Chocolate Ganache

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In college, Cinco de Mayo was one of my favorite ‘holidays’..it was kind of the last hurrah before everyone goes their separate ways for summer break. Even now I get excited about it even though, we don’t really do anything to celebrate..maybe a burrito bowl for dinner, maybe a margarita, but that’s about as far as we’ll go for the holiday these days (at least when it lands on a weekday). This year I decided I wanted to make something a little creative and fun, and so, the Churro Waffles were born!
Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

My first thought was to brush the waffle in butter then dip in the cinnamon sugar, but that mostly just made a mess of the cinnamon sugar mixture and really didn’t stick all that well anyway. Turns out it was easiest to either just sprinkle a super generous amount on, orrrr you can sprinkle it all on when you add the batter to the waffle iron..you really can’t go wrong here! Either way you end up with a delicious cinnamon sugar concoction that although not a churro at all, it is quite reminiscent!

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

The chocolate sauce and whipped cream are MUSTS though! They definitely take these Churro Waffles out of the breakfast category and into dessert, but that’s just fine with me. Sometimes you need a little sugar to jump start your day 😉

Churro Waffles | Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Feel free to use any waffle recipe you want for your Churro Waffles, but I highly recommend this Yeasted Belgian Waffle recipe from King Arthur Flour. I have yet to find a waffle recipe that even comes close to the crisp outside that this one produces!

Churro Waffles

For waffles:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup granulated sugar
2 ts cinnamon

For Chocolate Ganache:
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream

To make the waffles:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, that leaves room for the mixture to expand. It’s ok if mixture isn’t perfectly smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, at which point the mixture will have begun to bubble. Either cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook next day.
When ready to cook, preheat the waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray. Pour ⅔ to ¾ cup batter into the center of the iron and cook according to manufacturer instruction. I find 5 to 6 minutes is usually good.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve topped with a generous coating of cinnamon sugar, a drizzle of chocolate ganache, and whipped cream. Ice cream is never a bad idea, either.
Alternatively: Once pouring the batter into the waffle iron, sprinkle a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar over it before closing the lid and cooking as usual.

To make the chocolate ganache:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% or on defrost setting, removing to whisk every 30 seconds for approximately 1:30, or until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted.

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Do you have anything excited planned for Cinco de Mayo? Or are you more excited for the Derby coming up this weekend?

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake

I’m pretty picky when it comes to bananas. Once they have a single spot on them any chance of me eating them is pretty much gone…they can either go into a smoothie or a baked good. This means a LOT of banana bread, muffins, scones, etc. I usually try to stick with things that are somewhat healthy that I can eat on my way out the door in the morning, but sometimes I want something a little more decadent.

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

This coffee cake is probably one of my favorite banana recipes. It’s ridiculously moist and flavorful. It’s got plenty of banana flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. I’ve tried many different combos and never get tired of it.,,if you really want to amp it up, I recommend chocolate chips instead of the blueberries 😉

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

 

 

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For Topping:
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • For Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 ts baking soda
  • 3/4 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tb buttermilk
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups overripe bananas, mashed (approx 3 bananas)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a springform pan or 8×8 metal baking pan.
  2. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half the batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half the blueberries and half the topping. Repeat with remaining batter, followed by remaining blueberries and topping.
  6. Bake about 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool coffee cake in pan on a rack, remove outside of pan if using a springform.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos

My first thought after making this recipe was “Why have I been buying these all this time?!?!” which was quickly followed by “What else can I pickle?!” Not only are homemade pickled jalapenos way better than store bought, they’re also highly addictive. I find myself ‘sampling’ one or two here or there and telling myself that I’m just checking to see how they’re progressing.

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

For the first batch I only made one jar, but I definitely plan on making more next time…I’ve already got a few requests from people who would like a jar of their own.

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Since they’re pickled, they’ll last pretty long in the refrigerator, just be sure and tell anyone you give them to to keep them refrigerated.

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

So far I’ve eaten them alone and on a burger, but I’m definitely looking forward to finding new ways to enjoy them!

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Homemade Pickled Jalapenos

from: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
4-4 large jalapenos, sliced in rings
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
2 Tb white sugar
1 Tb kosher salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 ts Italian Seasoning

Prepare jalapenos and put in an 8oz jar.
Mix water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a rolling boil, pour over jalapenos. Let sit until cool, then move to the refrigerator.

*If you don’t like them too spicy, I would recommend increasing the amount of sugar.

Have you done any of your own pickling?

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

I think I’ve found my favorite cookie recipe! I made these while my mom was visiting and we absolutely loved them. I think the only downside to this cookie recipe is that it doesn’t make quite as many as the recipe I usually use. I definitely will double the recipe next time so I have more to share!

I decided to make these with browned butter and highly recommend doing so! It really added an amazing depth of flavor to them, and now I want to go back and make all of my favorite cookie recipes with browned butter!

You could make these without pecans and have a wonderful chocolate chip cookie, but I personally love the addition of pecans. I’ll admit that I totally forgot about my first batch of pecans, and they got fried. I played it safe by lightly toasting the second batch, and they turned out perfectly!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 10 tbs butter, melted and browned
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, kosher salt, and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. Brown the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugars. Pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature before whisking in the vanilla extract, egg, and egg yolk.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  5. Drop cookie dough onto the baking sheets, leaving a couple inches between. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and store in a cookie tin.
Notes
adapted from The Messy Baker

 

They’re also FABULOUS with a scoop of ice cream…2013-07-15 20.07.58-2

 

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Today happens to be what is, in my opinion, the very best of all the “National Food Days”…it’s National Ice Cream Day! To say that Paul and I love ice cream would probably be an understatement. We always have at least one kind in the freezer, and it’s usually our first choice over any other desserts.

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When I heard it was National Ice Cream Day, I decided it was time to try my hand at making it myself. I have never been able to commit to buying an ice cream maker, so one of my coworkers was nice enough to lend me hers…now I’m thinking it might be time to invest in one for myself, because there are SO many other recipes i want to try out!

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I have a huge bag of limes that I need to use, so Key Lime Pie ice cream seemed more than fitting. My favorite part of this is the crushed graham crackers mixed into the ice cream. The graham crackers in store bought ice cream just don’t have the same crunch, which contrasts the creamy ice cream very nicely.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Author: Life, Love, and Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tb cornstarch
  • ⅛ ts salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ts lime zest
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup crushed graham crackers
Instructions
  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in the milk and half-and-half, and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks until they have thickened slightly. Take a cup of the milk mixture, and slowly add it into the yolk. Add the yolk mixture into the rest of the cream, whisking constantly.
  2. Cool the mixture, then chill for overnight, or up to 24 hours.*
  3. After chilling, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer, and then into your ice cream maker. Freeze according to your machines instruction. Halfway through freezing, stir in the lime zest and juice.
  4. Wait until there are about 5 minutes left to stir in the crushed graham crackers.
  5. Spread ice cream into an airtight, freezer safe container, and freeze until the ice cream set.
  6. Top with more crushed graham crackers to serve, and enjoy!
Notes
adapted from Southern Living

 

Whole Wheat Gnocchi

The first time I ever tried gnocchi, I have to admit that I was not much of a fan. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I had GOOD gnocchi at a restaurant in Atlanta, that I realized what I’d been missing out on. When my boyfriend suggested making a soup with gnocchi for dinner last night, I decided it was time to try them from scratch. These are SO worth the little bit of extra time and effort, and honestly they’re pretty simple.

 

I decided to switch up the recipe a bit and do half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose, but I think next time I might do all whole wheat. I threw half of these in the soup (which I’ll be sharing the recipe for next week) and the other half went into the freezer. The frozen ones just might end up in a cheese sauce…can you say heavenly?

Whole Wheat Gnocchi
adapted from ‘Italy, The Beautiful Cookbook’
2 pounds russet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour

Bake or microwave potatoes until tender. Peel the potatoes and grate or mash in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg and salt, and mix well.
Add the flour a little bit at a time, until the dough is workable. The original recipe called for a 1 3/4 cups of flour but I only need a cup in total. Knead the dough for a few minutes and form it into a smooth ball. Cut into smaller pieces and roll out into long sausage shapes. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces. You can also use a fork to create the traditional ridges, but I skipped this step. Drop into salted boiling water and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.
Freezing: lay out on a baking sheet and put in freezer, once frozen transfer to freezer bags. When ready to cook, drop straight into boiling water until they float. Do not let them thaw or they will stick together.

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Watermelon Margaritas

So today.
Today might have been the worst day I’ve had at work..ever. By the time I got home I was ready to paint my nails and have a drink! A glass of wine after work isn’t unusual for me, but today definitely called for a margarita.

 

I’ve been totally obsessed with watermelon this summer and like to snack on it when I get home, so a watermelon margarita sounded perfect. After browsing Pinterest for recipes I decided to just wing it, and I must say it was delicious! I will definitely be saving this recipe!
Watermelon Margaritas
Serves 2 (1 if it was a REALLY bad day)

2 cups cubed watermelon + any excess juice
3 oz. tequila (I really like Camarena, but any silver tequila would work)
Juice of 1 lime
Agave, to taste (really depends on the ripeness of your watermelon and personal taste)
Salt, for garnish (or sugar if that’s your preference)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy over ice in a salt rimmed glass.

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A Tourist for a Day

Today the boyfriend and I decided we wanted to head down to Fort Myers Beach and essentially be tourists for the day. It was way to cold to actually lay out on the beach, but we grabbed some coffee and walked the beach, and all over the northern end of the island. We did a LOT of walking, but really enjoyed visiting places we had always kind of always overlooked.

We even took silly face in hole pictures..
There are brightly painted adirondack chairs all over the island, so of course I had to take a picture with one!
We saw them preparing a historic pirate ship to set out:
And we had a pretty freakin delicious seafood lunch! I went with the Mahi Mahi tacos!
Do you ever take days to do touristy things in your own city? We had a lot of fun visiting places we often overlook and stopping to take silly tourist pictures!

Heart-shaped Strawberry Whoopie Pies

When it comes to desserts I’m definitely a chocolate person: chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate moose tracks ice cream..all that good stuff! I thought my boyfriend was on the page, until he requested a strawberry cake for his birthday in December…I tried to convince him that he would prefer chocolate with peanut butter frosting or any other delicious combination, but he only pointed out that I had said I would make whatever he wanted and he wanted strawberry! So he got his strawberry cake…and I have to admit that I totally loved it as well, so much so that when I saw a recipe for Strawberry Whoopie Pies, I knew I needed to make them heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day..without him even requesting!

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Stawberry Whoopie Pies with Lemon-Strawberry Buttercream
adapted from Oprah.com, Servings: about 2 dozen pies

Ingredients:
For Cookies:
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) stemmed and halved strawberries
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek, strawberry would also be good)
  • 2 large eggs
  • For Frosting:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tb. lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Directions:
    To make cookies: Put strawberries in a food processor and pulse in short bursts until they are in small pieces, but not pureed, then set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, and set aside.
    Put brown sugar and oil in a large bowl and mix well, using the back of a spoon to break up any lumps in sugar. Whisk in chopped strawberries and yogurt until combined, then whisk in eggs, one at a time, just until combined. Fold in flour mixture in two parts, being careful not to overwork the batter. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 350°. Pipe batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, or for round pies, drop a heaping tablespoon of batter onto parchment paper.Bake until cookies are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven; cool completely.

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    To make buttercream filling: Puree strawberries in food processor, then add butter, vanilla, and lemon juice and puree completely. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add powdered sugar one cup at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency*. Pipe onto cookies, stick them together, and enjoy!
    *I live in a very warm climate and we keep the house warm, so I find that I usually need quite a bit extra powdered sugar to avoid buttercream with a melty consistency..you may need more or less that the amount specified.

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    I’m still a little surprised at just how much I love these, but this recipe is definitely a keeper!! I’m sure I’ll be making these again come summertime!

    Are you a fruity dessert fan or do you prefer chocolate?

    WILW aka My Target Obsession…

    I had high hopes for today, since it’s my day off and I really just wanted to relax and enjoy it. But then this morning I got a rather disappointing email that put me in a bad mood…can you guess what that means?? Shopping! Thankfully Target pulled through for me today and put me in a better mood (doesn’t it always??)  🙂

    boots After loving it last year, Paul and I bought the Country Music Megaticket for West Palm Beach again for the summer. It’s basically a package of tickets to 8 awesome concerts from March to October..so of course I was quite excited to find these boots on sale for just 25 bucks! Even if I only wear them to concerts, I’ll definitely be getting my money’s worth!!

    2013-02-06 21.40.18 Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea..I could never find this in December, but spotted it on a random shelf with a clearance sticker on it! It soooo good with a little bit of almond milk!!

    2013-02-06 18.42.56Oh Martha, how I love thee <333