Baking Secret Weapons

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At least, I’m hoping they’ll become secret weapons in my kitchen.

Vanilla Bean Paste is something we all should have and I finally bought myself a small jar and love it. The smell alone is worth opening it up. I do love the flecks of vanilla beans when it’s mixed into frosting or cookies. (more…)

Holiday Baking and Homemade Gifts

It looks as though the baking aisle in every grocery store in Charlotte has exploded onto my kitchen island. I think I have more chocolate chips than Nestle and Hershey’s combined. I have nibs, pieces, chips, sprinkles, icings, and drops. I have flour, flour, and more flour. Sugars and spices and butter and eggs and a 2 quart jar of homemade vanilla extract. (more…)

Books ‘n Baking #1

inthekitchen320This is an idea I’ve been pondering for a while. It’s not about writing a book or changing the world. It’s about having fun, doing something I love (aside from writing), connecting with readers, bloggers, other authors who might enjoy it too.

I’m going to start a baking group called Books ‘n Baking. Sort of a take on Julie and Julia and sort of a take on an idea that a food blogger I follow is doing, but with my own spin. (No, we’re not going to bake our way through a Julia Child tome, I promise.)

The premise is, we take a cookbook (a general baking one) and bake our way through it for a year. One recipe a month. And then, we blog about it. The why, the what, etc… (more…)

In The Kitchen With…Lissa

InTheKitchenI was supposed to have a release this week, Love and Tattoos. However, some family things have come up that have pushed it back a few days. I hope to have it out to my readers within a few days, no later than Tuesday, October 29th.

When I’m upset, for whatever reason I am, I cook or bake. This week was no different.

One of the recipes I made, Graham Cracker Streusel Coffee Cake. It’s delicious and a definite family favorite.

Ingredients:

For Streusel…

1 pkg graham crackers, (9 full ones)

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick, plus 3 Tbsp melted, unsalted butter

1½ cups pecans (optional)

2 tsps cinnamon

For Cake…

1 box (18¼ oz) white cake or French vanilla cake mix

1 box of instants (3.12 oz) French vanilla pudding

3 eggs

¼ cup oil

1 cup water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350

Streusel: Put your graham crackers in a Ziploc bag, close it and roll with rolling pin until crushed, put in large bowl. Add other dry ingredients for Streusel. Melt butter pour over and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Cake: Beat ingredients for cake together until thoroughly mixed. Pour half into a greased 13”X9” baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top of the streusel and then top with remaining streusel. I usually like to swirl the topping into the batter

Bake 30-45 minutes. Test with a cake tester or toothpick.

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If you try it, let me know!

~lissa