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Key lime cheesecake pie

Two of my favorites rolled into one. You can’t go wrong with this one!



  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake layer

  • 1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Key Lime layer

  • 1 – 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 oz key lime juice (I use Nellie and Joe’s)
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature


For the crust, mix ingredients and press into 9 inch pie plate (spray with a little non-stick spray).

Mix cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and vanilla well. Pour into uncooked pie crust. Put in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Beat 4 egg yolks and condensed milk. Slowly add key lime juice. Pour on top of cheesecake layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Top with whipped cream.

Apple & Vanilla Tart

I’ve come out of summer hibernation… finally. Fall is here and the cooler temperatures have inspired me to get back to the kitchen.

Your freezer section does most of the work for this fast & impressive dessert. If you have a mandolin – it makes the process even faster for slicing the apples. For something so easy to put together (and the oohs & ahhs that followed from the tasters) I think I’ll stop spending hours on dessert!


  • 1 whole sheet Puffed Pastry, thawed & cut in half
  • 4 whole Granny Smith apples, cored, halved & sliced (but not peeled)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apricot or pear jelly


Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Place puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray. Add vanilla, lemon juice & salt to apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

Arrange apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Dot the top with the butter and sprinkle with Muscovado or dark brown sugar.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Warm the jelly and brush over the apples and pastry edge. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.

Lemon Yogurt Cake with Blueberries

Lemon and blueberries are a beautiful combination not only in color, but flavor. This lemon cake inspired by The Barefoot Contessa is perfect for breakfast, a middle of the day snack or after dinner sweet fix.

I won’t say it’s guilt-free, but for a cake it’s healthier than most. It’s not overly sweet and the yogurt makes the cake super moist. If you want the blueberries laced throughout the entire cake, toss them with a tablespoon of flour (to keep them from sinking) and fold in gently.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle blueberries on top of the batter. Bake for about 50 – 60 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

Pear & Dark Chocolate Turnovers

Café Soufflé is my pit stop in Montreal for all things delicious in the morning. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s 4 doors down from my favorite resting place, Urban Haven. Café Soufflé seems to have mastered the art of variety. With each stop you never know what treats will come out of their kitchen that day… but lucky the day I walked in and found warm out-of-the-oven pear & chocolate turnovers.

This Montreal coffee shop has become my model for when I save enough money to open up my perfect little coffee shop in Dallas. One that is known for the FOOD as much as their coffee.

Maybe I’ll add these to my coffee shop menu… they are divine.


  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets per box), thawed overnight in refrigerator
  • 3 pears – peeled, cored & cubed into 1/2 dice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2-3 ounces dark chocolate bar, broken into chunks (i prefer a 54-60% chocolate bar)


Combine all ingredients (except chocolate) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook for about 5 minutes or until pears are just tender (you don’t want them mushy). Cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each puff pastry sheet into 4 squares (8 total squares).

Brush the edges of each square with egg wash and place about 1/8 of the pear mixture on one side of the square. Top with dark chocolate chunks. Fold the pastry diagonally and seal the edges using a fork. Place these on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and brush the top with egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

Lemon Bars

LOVE lemon bars… and this recipe from The Barefoot Contessa is fail proof. The shortbread crust is flaky and buttery and comes together quickly. The lemon filling is a perfect balance of sweet and tart and oh so creamy.

There are a few tricks to this recipe that will help you make it successful. First, the eggs: must be extra large and room temperature. If you are making this last minute, throw your eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes and you will have room temp eggs. Second, give the flour time to do is job: after you whisk the filling together let it sit for 10-15 minutes before adding to the cooled crust.


For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Let the filling sit for 10-15 minutes. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes with Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Glaze

My sweet tooth is fairly tiny which makes these mini bundt cakes perfect for my house of one. Mostly everything from my kitchen goes out the back door to neighbors and friends so these made cute little packages to give away. These are super moist cakes and are super cute when you mix the glazes and toppings. If you want one big cake all to yourself, by all means just bake it longer (see directions below).

On a side note about using good ingredients, this recipe is one you can really make special. Valrhona Cocoa Powder and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract are 2 ingredients I splurge on because they have a long shelf life and taste delicious.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons cream or milk

Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend, adding more milk by 1/4 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle.

Related posts: Coffee Subscription: 80+ coffees from small batch roasters.

Chocolate glaze:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chop chocolate and put in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining the heavy whipping cream, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Cook the mixture, stirring, until mixture boils. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature then spoon over the cooled cake. If too thick, thin with a little more cream.


Preheat oven to 350. Spray your bundt pan with non-stick baking spray (with flour) or butter and dust with cocoa powder. The batter is very wet and dusting with cocoa powder will prevent sticking. Trust me on this, I only buttered my first pan (no flour or cocoa) and it wasn’t pretty.

Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer on low speed add the milk, coffee, canola oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix until everything is incorporated. With the mixer still on low speed slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once all of the flour mixture is added, mix the batter for a full four minutes on medium speed.

Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. If using a mini bundt pan, bake time is 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cool, drizzle cake with icing and top with chopped nuts or mini chips if you desire.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

What I love the most about this recipe is the resulting size. You don’t need a pound of butter, sugar and a giant bundt pan. I shared this with my best friend Jen and her sweet grandmother – and there were only a few crumbly slices left after gossip and coffee.

I used a smaller spring form pan so the ratio of crumbly topping to cake was vast. I like lots of streusel topping. Use a loaf pan, brownie pan – whatever you’ve got.


For the streusel topping:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Sponge cake batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 8 inch square pan or small spring form pan.

For the streusel topping: Mix together the flour, sugar and ground cinnamon. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in with a fork. This mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. If the mixture is not dry enough, add in more flour. And then set aside.

For the cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until light yellow and creamy with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat with hand mixer. Mix in the flour and milk in alternate steps. (flour – milk – flour – milk).

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the blueberries on top of the batter. Top it off with the streusel.

Bake for 50 minutes. When a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean – it’s ready.

Pots de Crème with Fleur de Sel, Lime and Dark Chocolate

Montreal is a dream inspiration for this foodie. I always come home with a ton of ideas and can’t wait to recreate flavors I’ve experienced.

This recipes is inspired by one tiny little chocolate from Marius et Fanny, a chocolate shop on Rue St-Denis in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood. I found this cute little place on my first trip and I’ve continued to stop in every visit since. I always get the same exact luxury: Chocolate Caramel and Lime chocolates.

The French classic, Pot de Crème, was the perfect choice to infuse with these unexpected combination of flavors. You get that amazing creamy and dense feel – just like the oozing caramel middle from the sweet little chocolate.

Sometimes a little decadence is all you need.


For the custard:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 limes zested
  • 1 tsp Fleur de Sel (French sea salt)

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 4 ounces high-quality bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Place six 2/3-cup soufflé dishes or 3/4-cup custard cups in large roasting pan. Combine sugar and water in heavy large saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 6 minutes. Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups cream and milk (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until caramel dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add lime zest. Let cool for 10-15 minutes to avoid scrambling your egg yolks.

Whisk egg yolks in large bowl until foamy. Gradually whisk in cooled caramel. Strain into 4-cup glass measuring cup. Divide among dishes. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes. Cover pan with foil. Bake until custard is just set at edges but still moves in center when shaken gently, about 1 hour. Remove from water; cool on rack. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.)

For the chocolate sauce, bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Top each pot with a layer of chocolate and return to refrigerator until set.


Fresh Apple Cake with Hot Butter Sauce

I was a very lucky kid. I grew up in a house where the entire family ate dinner at the table every night. My parents both worked full time but somehow my mom pulled off a real meal 7 days a week. I have them both to thank for many things, but many thanks to my beautiful mother for never chasing me out of her kitchen.

This sinfully crispy and buttery apple cake has burned a memory in my stomach. It was 1997 and instead of sitting through college graduation I was having one last party with my friends… and this cake was my final request from her kitchen.

Make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even better make it on some random Wednesday and share it with people you like to see smile. Trust me, it works.

** The Vanilla, Butter and Nut extract is available at Kroger. If you can’t find it, use vanilla… but it’s just not my mom’s cake without it.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnaomn
  • 3 medium apples (peeled, cired and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, butter & nut extract (KROGER)


Cream butter and sugar and beat until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and do not over mix. Gradually add other ingredients except apples and nuts. Stir in apples and nuts. Turn into a buttered 9X13X2” pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 70 minutes.

Combine sugar, butter & milk in small sauce pan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot (starts to rise up pan). Remove from heat and and stir in extract. Puncture cake with large fork in spots and pour hot sauce over cake. Serve with whipped cream.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These cookies are dead simple and the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. Yes, I always have Valrhona cocoa powder in my pantry – who doesn’t???

The egg whites do not have to be whipped into a froth – just lightly beat with a fork. You can use any combination of nuts and substitute cocoa nibs for the chocolate chips if you can find them!

The bowl is definitely worth licking.


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (Valrhona is the best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup each of toasted pecans, mini chocolate chips & toasted almonds (chopped)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder


Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt using a whisk. Add in nuts and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites and vanilla and then pour into the nut, cocoa& sugar mixture. Give everything a good stir until everything is well combined.

Line cookie sheets with parchment or silpat and then drop batter using a tablespoon. Make sure that there is at least 2 inches between each cookie and that you have no more than 8 cookies per sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes. You will know that they are ready when the cookies lose their shine and become matte. Use a spatula to carefully lift each cookie onto a cooling rack. Makes about 24 cookies.