221 Baker Street Mandarin Orange Vanilla Bean Scones

221 Baker Street Mandarin Orange Vanilla Bean Scones

You guys, I spent at least 30 minutes trying to think of a different was to say just how excited I am about this scone recipe! I realize I say this often when it comes to my baking, but I truly mean it, every single time. You see, I find incredible joy in creating recipes, and testing them for weeks, months and even years sometimes to create the perfect bake. The effort in this case was so worth it, as this Mandarin Orange Vanilla Bean Scone is magical. Not too dry, but not too wet either. Not too sweet, but just sweet enough. Best of all, the mandarin orange and vanilla flavors, which were inspired by a certain sleuth, are balanced, without overpowering each other. 

Old School Coconut Macaroons

Old School Coconut Macaroons

 

Don’t get me wrong, I adore a fabulous French pastry as much as the next dessert obsessed baker, but sometimes you just gotta’ go old school!

So, you know that classic candy bar with the soft, sweet, yielding coconut center that is enrobed in a bittersweet coat of perfectly paired dark chocolate? Well, this is an easy-peasy cookie version of that candy that’s put together in minutes, and dare I say, tastes even better than the gas station staple.

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Meringues

The holidays mean family, friends, love, peace, joy and cookies! Cookies in all shapes, sizes, colors, flavors and origins. These easy peppermint meringues are some of my favorites this time of year and they look and taste like the holidays. While some consider meringues to be a bit finicky, just follow these simple steps and I promise they will be perfection!

Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse

Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse

This is my seasonal obligatory pumpkin creation. Please don’t get me wrong, lest this sound like a task I begrudgingly embark on, nothing could be further from reality. This is a yearly right of passage into fall that I happily embrace for I adore pumpkin desserts. This year’s inspiration however, bypassed the oven and ended squarely in mousse territory, and this Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse is not only all kinds of pumpkiny goodness, but it’s also quite simple to make.

Bake to School Banana Chip Cake

Bake to School Banana Chip Cake

There are two kinds of people in life: ones that love ripe bananas, and everyone else that cannot bear the sight of even a fleck of a brown spot, or a bit of a bruise. Our family falls into that second set, and so we often have bananas that are immediately rejected and shunned at the first hint of over-ripening. So when life hands you over-ripe bananas, you of course make…banana chocolate chip cake!

I created this recipe to use up our ripe banana for a low sugar, low-fat breakfast for the children, and with school back in session, it’s the perfect back to school bake!

Citrus Berry Naked Cake

Citrus Berry Naked Cake

I am not from the South, so I never knew there were varying degrees of nakeness! A few years after moving to my adopted home state of Tennessee, a kind and sweet as back porch iced tea, Southern, young-at-heart friend explained that there most certainly are.  

“Now dear, there’s “naked” and then there’s “nekked,” she explained with an oh so lovely drawl that toggled on that line between sincerity and syrupy sweet Southern sarcasm. There was no mistaking here, she was down right serious. She continued, “naked is when you don’t have clothes on, and nekked, well…nekked, is when you don’t have clothes on and you’re doin’ something you’re not supposed to be doin’!” I am not exactly sure when the snorting laughter ensued, but at one point I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and distinctly remember thinking that her explanation made perfect sense.  That is the moment my friends, I knew I was a Southerner at heart.Citrus Barry Naked Cake (4)

The moment I began thinking of making this recipe for you all, I thought of this story and knew this cake had to be the perfect combination of “naked” and “nekked.” Classic enough to be presentable, but with just a bit of sass to make you wonder! A cake where you can see all of the beautiful baked cake layers, stacked high with perfect pillowing frosting peeking through and crowned with an indecent amount of seasonal fruit.

Roasted Milk Ice Cream

Roasted Milk Ice Cream

Sometimes I feel like the boy who cried wolf. At the time I create and blog about a recipe, I am beyond excited and want to share it with the world.  I promise, that fervent energy is genuine and in that moment, I feel like it’s the most remarkable pastry.  So, when I create a recipe that I categorically, emphatically and truly believe is just the best ever, I can imagine you all silently rolling your eyes and thinking, “I’ve heard this before.” But this recipe, really is special. This is also one of those moments in recipe development where I think to myself, holy moly, me oh my, Roasted Milk Ice Cream! What?

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Homemade Cherry Preserves

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Homemade Cherry Preserves

I love to bake. I seriously, really, honestly love to bake. It brings me immeasurable joy and it’s a passion I happily dwell in, often at the expense of a good night’s sleep!  But, when the temperatures begins to rise and the most chic accessory I’m wearing is sunscreen, I look to our garden and the farmer’s market for culinary inspiration, and it often does not require turning on the oven. So, on days like today with a high of 91°F and 71% humidity, a lush, cool, creamy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta topped with seasonal cherries is the most perfect end to a hot, muggy day.

Cherry Preserves

Cherry Preserves

Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my tendency to wax poetic about virtually anything within the realm of the baking and pastry worlds. However, there is beauty in brevity, and this Cherry Preserve story is the epitome of that notion. So basically, I saw this heap of bright ruby sunshine at the market and could not resist turning them into preserves. The End. Okay, maybe just a few more details…