vanilla cream scones

vanilla cream scones | via she likes to eat
one of my favorite memories is my first trip to london with my mom and grandma. my maternal grandparents lived there and my grandma took me there as a gift for my 16th birthday, to share with me a place she loved so much. it was on this trip that i discovered my innate love for rain, a ploughman’s lunch, and the perfect scone. i fell head over heels, to say the least (with the city and the baked good). as the rain would randomly begin to fall, we would quickly duck into the closest cafe and have ourselves warm cups of english tea with milk and platefuls of scones with jam and clotted cream. over the years and several trips, london remains one of my favorite places on earth and a good scone always reminds me of the times i have had there.

scones can have so many wonderful additions like blueberries or strawberries, or made with different spices or glazes. but i am a purist first, and love a basic vanilla scone – one that has just the right amount of sweetness. these are not overly sweet, so you can serve them on their own or with jam. i make them different ways each time, but i love topping them with different kinds of specialty sugars. in the picture above, i used plain turbinado sugar and also espresso sugar. (in that batch i also used strawberry sugar and clove sugar.) if you can find them they are the perfect flavoring, but i think they are just perfect with plain, unflavored turbinado.

vanilla cream scones
adapted via king arthur flour
(makes 13 large scones or about 40 small scones – depending on what size cutter you use)

ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (plus more for brushing)

directions

1. place a rack in the upper third of the oven. preheat to 425. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (if you are making larger scones, you will only need one baking sheet. for small 2 to 3-inch sized scones, you will need at least 2 sheets.)

2. in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. in a small bowl, combine and whisk the cream and vanilla, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, while mixing to form a cohesive dough – but not a sticky dough.

3. lightly flour a clean work surface. place the ball of dough onto it and roll it out to 3/4″ thickness. using a biscuit cutter (depends on what size you desire) cut scones from the dough and place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. brush each scone with heavy cream or whole milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.

4. bake for about 14 minutes for larger scones, and 10-11 minutes for the small scones, until just beginning to golden on the edges. remove from the oven and serve warm.

enjoy!

dark chocolate birthday cake with malted chocolate buttercream frosting

dark chocolate birthday cake with malted chocolate buttercream frosting | via she likes to eat

for her last 2 birthdays, the little she has requested a very specific dessert for her party. she has asked for “chocolate with strawberries“. as you know, if you read this blog, she is carazy about sugar. it has been said that sugar is her love language and i completely believe it.
chocolate is at the top of her sugar list, especially cake and frosting that is of the chocolate kind.

this cake recipe and this chocolate buttercream recipe are my go-tos – i never stray from these when i want chocolate cake and frosting. i have never found better. the cake recipe is a jacked up version of making a box cake – it has a perfect base and then with these add ins, is just as wonderful as made-from-scratch. actually, it’s better.

and this chocolate buttercream recipe is adapted slightly from joy the baker.
you should look no where else EVER when you want to make chocolate frosting. promise me, mmkay?

dark chocolate birthday cake

ingredients

1 box dark chocolate fudge cake mix (i like duncan hines)

3 eggs, whisked

1/2 cup butter, melted (plus more for pans)

1 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

directions

1. position rack in the middle of the oven. preheat oven to 350.

2. coat 2 round cake pans with cooking spray (coconut oil spray is my favorite) or melted butter. line each on the bottom with a parchment round. then spray the top of the parchment round generously with the spray. flour both pans, patting out excess & making sure its covered evenly.

3. add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well. divide batter evenly among the 2 pans and bake for about 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

4. let cool on 2 drying racks for about 10 minutes. then invert the cakes into your hand, remove the parchment, and then return to rack to cool completely.

malted chocolate buttercream frosting
adapted via joy the baker

ingredients

3 sticks butter, softened

1 cup cocoa powder

3/4 tsp salt

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup ovaltine

directions

1. cream together butter, cocoa powder, and salt. scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. as the sugar begins to incorporate, raise the speed of the mixer. beat until smooth.

2.in a 2-cup measuring glass or bowl, stir together heavy cream and ovaltine. pour the cream and ovaltine mixture into sugar mixture in a slow stream, until you have reached your desired consistency. (you may not need all of the ovaltine mixture.)

3. now frost your cake!

enjoy:)

oatmeal biscoff cookies with vanilla-soaked raisins

oatmeal biscoff cookies with vanilla-soaked raisins | via she likes to eat

biscoff is quickly becoming one of my favorite ingredients.
i constantly find myself dreaming of other ways to use the creamy shortbread cookie butter. almost like it’s my job. these cookies were one of the first things i baked with biscoff and they have remained one of my favorites. they have also become my go-to oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. the biscoff makes them ultra creamy and when they are straight out of the oven, ohmy i have a hard time finding the words to explain to you how dreamy they are. on the right day, these hit the spot just as well as some warm chocolate chip cookies, with a glass of cold milk.

if you are unable to find biscoff at your local grocer, you can find it on amazon, or at the biscoff website – it’s actually cheaper here.

the trick to these cookies is soaking the raisins in the vanilla. it keeps them moist and really plump, even throughout baking. (although, for a fun twist if you are making these for an adult crowd, you can soak the raisins in rum instead. just add the vanilla to the batter.) also, if you are like me and have a dear friend who loves oatmeal cookies but doesn’t like the raisins, you can make these cookies minus the raisins. they still turn out perfectly. (just add about 1 tbsp vanilla in with the eggs.)

oatmeal biscoff cookies with vanilla-soaked raisins
adapted via the earnest baker

ingredients

2 tbsp vanilla extract (preferably homemade)

1 heaping cup raisins

2 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, at room temp

1 cup creamy biscoff spread

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

directions

1. in a sandwich-size ziploc bag, place the raisins and the vanilla extract and seal tightly. lay flat on the counter to make sure all the raisins are sitting in the vanilla liquid. about 10-15 minutes later, flip bag to opposite side, to ensure they really soak it up. let them soak for at least 20-30 minutes, or up to overnight. this will make the raisins plump and will stay large & juicy through baking. (while you’re at it, lay out the butter to soften. by the time the raisins are ready, the butter will be too.) do not drain.

2. preheat the oven to 375. line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. in a separate large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars, at about medium speed until light & fluffy. add in the biscoff and mix until completely incorporated. add eggs and mix until completely incorporated. mix at medium speed for about 2 minutes.

4. add in flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. then add in pre-soaked raisins and mix in with a spatula until just combined. using a cookie scoop, place balls of cookie dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

5. bake for 10-11 minutes, until the cookies are beginning to brown around the outer bottom edges. (make sure to not overbake.) allow cookies to cool on the sheet on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes. these babies are best served warm:)

enjoy!

oreo brownies

oreo brownies | via she likes to eat

when i posted my chocolate chip cookie recipe, i said my life had been a quest to find that perfect recipe. like those little chewy wonders, i have also been on a quest for MY brownie recipe, my favorite from-scratch recipe. along that journey, i stumbled upon this genius thought – oreos IN brownies.
shyeah.

DUDEiLOVEoreos.
now i’m proud to say that most of the time i have some self control when it comes to sweets, and eating too much. but with oreos? they are totally my kryptonite. my husband and i can easily and quickly polish off an entire package right after opening one.

this recipe boasts the very best things about brownies: the lightly crispy top, the fudgy inside but still crumbly, and then a rich surprise when you bite into it. (unlike other recipes i found, mine has the oreos crushed or chopped up inside – i preferred this to the whole oreo inside.)

for reals, whoever was the very first to come up with the idea of putting these 2 together is a genius. it’s like wine & cheese, ice cream & root beer, crusty bread & hot soup, or will & grace… SO GOOD TOGETHER.

oreo brownies
adapted from crazy for crust

ingredients

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs, whisked

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 tsp coarse sea salt

1 cup flour

15 (ish) original oreos, chopped (using double stuf oreos makes these oreos super rich)

directions

1. preheat oven to 350. spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray (i use coconut oil spray).

2. put both baking chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30-45 seconds, until chocolate is melted and smooth. pour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. add in eggs, vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt – mix well. add flour and stir to fully combine.

3. spread half of the batter in prepared dish. sprinkle chopped oreos evenly over the top, then cover with remaining batter (easier if you use your fingertips to spread over).

4. bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. these are best served warm:)

enjoy!

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones with cinnamon glaze

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones

this past week was A WEEK. you know?
it feels like we had been snowed in for ages and i had some crazy cabin fever kickin’.
so we have been baking a lot. the little she and me. and it’s so good for me: i have been slowly working through my stress over the mess in the kitchen while working with a preciously clumsy three-year-old tornado.

there is always a stack of recipes i am wanting to try, sitting in a drawer in my kitchen, and we whittled down that stack quite a bit last week.
i ended up making 3 batches of these, messing with them here and there, adding my own ideas to the original scone recipe (from how sweet it is). the final product, i do have to say, is awesome. (they are also delicious without the glaze, so that part is totally optional.)

i have finally given away the last of the RIDICULOUS amount of these that i had in my house, thank goodness. i truly was going to be good this january and lay off so many sweets after some crazy holiday eating, but well… i blame the snow.

*updated march 2016*

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones
makes roughly 25-30 scones

ingredients

3 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon extract

3/4 cup cinnamon chips

about 1/8 cup milk, for brushing

for the (optional) glaze:
1 heaping cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp half and half

1 tsp cinnamon extract

directions

1. preheat the oven to 425. in a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon extract. whisk until well incorporated. set to the side. in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. whisk to combine. cut in butter with a pastry cutter or a large fork (or your fingers) until coarse crumbs are formed. pour liquid ingredients and cinnamon chips into dry ingredients and stir to combine.

2. lightly flour a work surface and turn out dough onto it. roll out until about 1/2 inch thick. using a 2″ round or square cookie cutter, cut into scones. place about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (you’ll need about 2 large sheets).

3. brush the tops of the scones with milk. bake for 10-12 minutes, until the scones have just begun to golden on top.

4. while scones are baking, make the glaze: put all glaze ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. once scones have cooled about 5 minutes or so, drizzle glaze over the tops.

enjoy!

my favorite chocolate chip cookies

my favorite chocolate chip cookies - she likes to eat
as every normal american girl, my life has been a quest.
a quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

it’s not something i daily think about per se, but in the back of my mind, almost subconsciously, i have always been searching for my favorite. as someone who likes to cook, i have tried so many cookies and recipes over my life and loved so many. my grandma used to make some pretty great ones. phoebe’s mom’s friend mrs. nestle tollhouse has a pretty decent one. several of my close friends have really good ones too. but until recently, i wouldn’t have been able to say “i’ve found my favorite”. my go-to for picnics or to take to a friend. my favorite recipe that i always make when i just need some chocolate chip cookies.

this recipe is the one. it is a perfect chocolate chip cookie with a round buttery taste and a bit of saltiness, with just the right amount of chocolate chips that you can still savor the cookie that’s in between. i love adding the depth of the espresso powder but these cookies are just as wonderful if you choose to omit it. (interestingly, the espresso puffs up the cookies a little bit during baking. without it, they are a little flatter.)

recipe edited just a bit on 1.25.2015

my favorite chocolate chip cookies
makes about 30 cookies

ingredients

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp instant espresso powder  [see this page for where to get it]

1 heaping cup chocolate chips

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350*. line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. set aside. in a large bowl, with a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together, until light & fluffy. add egg and vanilla and mix well. add flour mixture and mix with a spatula until just combined. add in chocolate chips. (the batter is quite thick, so using your hands is helpful here.)

3. using a cookie scoop or your hands, form dough into balls and place on cookie sheets. bake sheets one at a time in the oven. bake first sheet for 5 minutes, then take cookie sheet out & bang lightly on the counter (this gives you the yummy-looking lines on top of the cookies). then rotate the pan (so they bake evenly) and put it back in the oven. bake another 4-5 minutes, until the sides are set and golden brown, but the center is still under-baked.

4. repeat with the other 2 cookie sheets. once you remove each sheet from the oven, bang the pan lightly on the countertop to create more lines on the tops of the cookies. cool cookies on wire racks.

enjoy!

recipe adapted from the vanilla bean blog
*sometimes my cookies spread better when cooked at 375 – depends on your oven and how hot it gets.

white wedding cake cupcakes with blackberry buttercream

white wedding cake cupcakes with blackberry buttercream

my closest girlfriends and i threw a little baby shower for our dear friend this last weekend. the nursery colors are white, grey, and pale violet and so we decided to use the same theme for the shower. i was assigned the task (ok, so i begged for it) of the main dessert for the party. i went back and forth between petit fours, a tiered cake, and cupcakes. cupcakes won out, as they usually do for their ease at parties (walk to the buffet, choose the cupcake with the most frosting, stuff into mouth, re-do lip gloss, walk around, greet guests, walk back to the buffet, choose another cupcake, and so on). i made this gorgeous buttercream for it’s color and since my due-in-three-weeks friend was craving vanilla, white wedding cake was made. it truly is a miracle that i ended up with 36 cupcakes, as the recipe said, because way too much of the batter had to be continually checked. you know, for flavor quality control.

oh wait, now i remember i only got 34 cupcakes out of the oven..


white wedding cake cupcakes

recipe from recipe girl, makes about 36 cupcakes

ingredients

1 box white cake mix (i used duncan hines super moist white cake)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups water

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sour cream

4 egg whites

directions

1. preheat the oven to 325. place cupcake liners in cupcake/muffin pans (you’ll need about 34-36).

2. in a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. add remaining ingredients and beat until well incorporated.

3. pour batter into prepared cupcake/muffin tins and fill about 3/4 full max (when you overfill, they’re a little tough to decorate). bake about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (these are truly white cupcakes – they will not golden at all during baking). let cool at least 20 minutes or so, then frost with the blackberry buttercream..

blackberry buttercream
recipe adapted from kitchen trial & error

ingredients
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strained blackberry puree (*see note below*)
1 tsp vanilla

directions

1. beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. one cup at a time, add 3 cups powdered sugar and beat until smooth. add blackberry puree and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. one cup at a time, add the remaining 3 cups powdered sugar and beat until completely blended, about another minute or so.
2. now frost those cupcakes. and lick the beaters.**on making the blackberry puree – you’ll need about 3/4 of a pint of blackberries. just put into a small food processor or blender and blend until pureed. strain mixture through a fine sieve.

enjoy!