Book Review – Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Is there a better smell than fresh baked bread? I think not! Well, probably, but for the purposes of this post, bread is the winner 😉

I’ve never been much of a bread maker. The pre-planning involved seemed too tedious, i.e. you must decide HOURS beforehand to bake some bread, let it rise sometimes twice, then bake, etc. There isn’t always time for that. Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is the answer!

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Mint Chocolate Cream Pie

Fun fact about myself – I’m too cheap to buy cookbooks and only get them from the library. After dog-earring everything that looks fabulous, I’ll make copies to be placed in my TO-BAKE file.

This mint chocolate cream pie came into the world the same way! Being a big fan of Sally’s Baking Addiction blog, I was stoked to check out her book, Sally’s Candy Addiction. Candy recipes galore and even non-candy things like this pie. Right up my alley, as I *ahem* apparently have both a candy and a baking addiction.

This pie has a silky smooth chocolate filling with a crunchy, buttery crust. It also came together quickly and easily; just make sure you leave time for firming up in the fridge. The only bake time is the for Oreo crust, and I even bought mint Oreos to boost the mint flavor. However, this pie had a perfect amount of mint in it. Not at all overwhelming, but you definitely knew it was there.

A few things I did differently: The recipe calls for chopped semi-sweet chocolate added to the custard; I used chocolate chips and they worked just fine. I also prefer to strain my pudding, even though this recipe didn’t call for it. I’m glad I did it anyway because I prevented a whole bunch of little clumpy bits from messing up my smooth pudding.

In the future I’m going to attempt this minus the mint. I think it would make an awesome basic chocolate cream pie.

Check out the book here – or your library 😉



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Book Review – The Sprinkles Baking Book

I’m always on the hunt at my library for new baking books. The Sprinkles Baking Book caught my eye because I’ve TOTALLY HAD A SPRINKLES CUPCAKE!

What is an official sprinkles cupcake, you say? It is an actual confection that either comes out of a Sprinkles store OR comes out of a Sprinkles ATM. You swipe your card, use the touch screen to pick out what you want, and it spits out a little box with a cupcake in it.

To this day, I have never had a finer store-bought cupcake than the ATM cupcake. BTW, sadly no such thing in Pennsylvania 🙁 My most glorious cupcake was enjoyed during a trip with my mom to California a few years back. Seriously – this cupcake has stayed with me all this time. I like to check new bakeries in my area and generally judge one by their cupcake. Usually they are dried out, icing is too greasy, chocolate has no flavor, etc. etc. The sprinkles cupcake was the pinnacle of cupcakes for me!

(Side note: My wonderful mother paid my way for that trip to California and Las Vegas, and my equally awesome aunt and uncle hosted us for that time, showing us around to all the cool places, including a cupcake ATM. How lucky am I??)

Anyhoo, I was excited to read this book! Besides the neat history of the Sprinkles brand, it has beautiful mouth-watering photos throughout (not just cupcakes, BTW) Some recipes I plan on trying:

  1. Strawberry cupcakes
  2. Key lime pie cupcakes
  3. Peanut butter chip cupcakes
  4. Grapefruit curd tart with gingersnap crust

I actually did make her black and white cupcakes tonight (see pic!) and they were DIVINE. A dark chocolate base with a very vanilla frosting. Was it as good as an ATM cupcake? I think so, since it’s fresher. Homemade cupcakes set the bar pretty high compared to store bought. Perhaps the very act of an automated cupcake makes them taste better 🙂

You can buy the book here if you’d like (affiliate link).


Book Review – Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes

Book Review of simply beautiful homemade cakes

Check out the cover on this book! As a highly visual cookbook kinda person, I can say without hesitation that the author nailed the pic on the front. The mouthwatering Neapolitan cake with a super-shiny ganache crowning it – now I want to make it myself! Mission will eventually be accomplished 🙂

The title is apropos, BTW – it really is a book filled with simply beautiful homemade cakes. The author is Lindsay Conchar, blogger over at Life, Love & Sugar. I happened across her book in the library before her blog in the interwebs, but after checking out her blog I think I’m going to subscribe. Her recipes photos are stunning and the recipes look like winners, just like the book!

I got this tome from the library and have dog-eared several pages already (shhh, don’t tell the librarians). Clear instructions and pictures (even some how-tos on decorating) are throughout, which is not always the case in every cookbook I’ve perused 😉

On my to-bake list from Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes –
– Tiramisu Cake
– Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cake
– Cannoli Cupcakes
– Cherry Almond Cupcakes <<<< underrated combination, BTW
– Triple Lemon Cupcakes
– Neapolitan Cake
– Samoa Layer Cake
– Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake <<<< is now a request for my daughter’s birthday and has replaced my own cake 🙁
– Pink Velvet Rose Cupcakes
– Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

Another crappy cell phone picture for your viewing pleasure –

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Icebox Cupcakes

Those are Chocolate-Covered Strawberry-Covered Icebox Cupcakes. Perfect for Valentines Day, right? I have never eaten nor made an icebox cake in my life and I feel incomplete. This is a thing, apparently – layers of stuff not baked and kept cold. I will try it and report back.

I believe at this point I’ve read at the library, and am very pleased to have found this one! Many dog-ears in book = WINNING

Link for author’s blog –