Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake

I’m been teaching my students about the good, the bad and the ugly of social media. As you may already know, there is a lot of bad and ugly on social. But, every once in awhile you find a gem, such as these baby emus chasing a piglet.

And this recipe for chocolate peanut butter poke cake, which my friend Christy shared on Facebook.

When I first saw it I thought it might be too much: too much chocolate, too much peanut butter. Then I realized what a silly thought that was. Can you ever have too much chocolate or peanut butter? Riiiiiight.


For the cake

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 cups peanut butter, melted
  • 2 cups Reese’s peanut butter cups chopped

For the frosting

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 10 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Heat your oven to 350° and either grease and flour or line a 9-x-13 pan with parchment paper. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions and pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Poking holesLet cake cool completely.

Using the back of a wooden spoon or other similar kitchen tool, poke holes all over cake. Then pour melted peanut butter over the entire cake, filling the holes. Set aside.Pouring Peanut butter

For the frosting, cream together the peanut butter and butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in cream to get the right frosting consistency.

Spread the frosting on the cake and top with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.Dropping peanut butter cups

I also microwaved a quarter cup of chocolate chips then drizzled  them over the top. Just because I could.

Finished cake


S’mores cookies

I’m always looking for delicious recipes that are easy. I mention delicious first because, well, whatever I make has to be delicious. But, if the recipe is also easy, that’s a bonus.

So, when I saw on Facebook recipes from BuzzFeed  that used cake mixes  as the basis for cookies, I thought, “What the heck. I’ll give it a whirl.”

A couple of the recipes were for cookies I already have great recipes for, such as chocolate chip cookies, but I saw a couple recipes that were intriguing and worth trying.

And, since I’m teaching a Social Media Communication class this fall, I thought it would be a perfect time to try out a recipe on the class then blog about it, particularly since I’m requiring my students to blog all semester. Think of it as blog solidarity.

Anyway, my students were willing to be guinea pigs one Monday night when I tried S’mores cookies on them. I told them if they liked them, I would share the recipe. (Of course, I think they had wished I also had brought some milk because the cookies are mega-chocolately.)

So, here is the recipe. Easy-peasy and delicious.


  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines because I think it’s the best brand. No, Duncan HIngedientsines is not paying me to stay that. But if they want to …)
  • ¾ cup mini marshmallow
  • ¾ cup crushed graham crackers
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

The more time you spend in the kitchen, the more you can tell just by reading a recipe that it will either be terrific or terrible. In this case, when Josh, one of my students, mentioned this recipe, I knew from the title — Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles – that I was going to be making magic by making these.

Pumpkin? Yes. Cheesecake? Definitely yes. Snickerdoodles? Hell to the yeah.cookiefilling

And , while you may think that these cookies will be teeth-achingly sweet, that’s not the case at all. Despite all of the sugar – sugar in the cookies, sugar in the filling and more sugar on the outside — they’re not too sweet. Really. I also was surprised by how light and fluffy these cookies are.

So, celebrate the coming of autumn with these delightfully delicious cookies. Or, if you know someone who has some culinary talents,  pass this recipe onto him or her.

You won’t be sorry.


For the cookies:

  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of allspice


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the butter and sugars on medium high speed until fluffy about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Blend in pumpkin puree, beat in egg and then add vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients on low speed just until combined. Cover and chill dough for an hour. You want the dough cold when you work with it. While the cookies were baking, I put the batter back in the refrigerator to stay cool.
  4. To make the cream cheese filling, blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Chill for an hour. You want the filling to stay cold as well, so when the cookies are in the oven, pop the bowl back in the refrigerator until you need to fill more.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices for the coating and set aside.
  6. To make the cookies, first, spray you hand with nonstick cooking spray. This will make it easier to manipulate the dough.
  7. Take about 1/8 of a cup of cookie batter. Flatten it like a pancake and place a 1/2 teaspoon of the cream cheese in center. Fold the cookie over at the top to cover up the filling completely and seal all the edges. Then roll it into a ball.
  8. Roll in the cinnamon sugar coating and place on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart.
  9. Gently press down on the cookie balls to flatten then slightly.cookiesbeforebaking
  10. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until the tops start to crack. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!

If you make these, let me know how much you loved them.bakedcookie


Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

The other day, He Who Must Be Fed brought home a surprise – a pound of honey from a local apiary.  He was all excited with his proffered gift.  “Look,” he said, as if I had never seen honey before. When he saw my puzzled expression, he added, “You can put it in your tea.”Honey

I was puzzled, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all that honey. I don’t cook a lot with it. (And I don’t put it in my tea.) I could only think of two recipes that require honey: lemon cookies and baklava pie.

Then, I remembered I had found a recipe a week or so ago for sticky honey garlic chicken wings.


I’ve made these twice now. Once with the first batch of honey my honey brought home. Then with another darker, richer batch from the same beekeeper who said the darker honey was a result of his bees nibbling red bamboo. That richer flavor made these wings even more delicious than before.

Heat your oven to 450°. Line a baking pan with foil then place a rack on top. This prevents your wings from cooking in their own juice and getting soggy. You want them crispy, after all.

Place the wings in a large bowl and toss them with 1½ teaspoon each of sesame oil and sea salt  and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Put them in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they’re beautifully golden brown.

About 10 minutes before the wings are done, make the glaze. Add all the ingredients into a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Boil rapidly for about 5 minutes or until the glaze is reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat.Boiling

Remove the wings from the oven, put them in a bowl and toss them with the glaze. Put them on a plate and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

Be careful! You’re going to want to let them cool before you try and eat them. The hot honey is like lava. Trust me on this one. I have the burns on my fingers and tongue to prove it.




  • chicken wings
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

 For the glaze:

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes


Black and white cake

So, what are you giving your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? (You do know it’s tomorrow, right?)

Sure, you could buy a big box of chocolates or a huge bouquet of flowers. Maybe some aftershave or a big honkin’ piece of jewelry. But what says “I love you” more than making something with your own two hands?

He Who Must Be Fed is getting this black and white cake, a recipe I found in the Food Network Magazine.  I happen to know he’ll love it. (I know because I made it a couple of weeks ago. I don’t like to take chances with Valentine’s Day, my friends.)

The cake was moist and just chocolate-y enough without being overbearing. The frosting was light and creamy, but had rich undertones of white chocolate. I think it’s the best white frosting I’ve ever tasted.


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Shaved dark chocolate, for topping

Heat your oven to 325°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture, then stir in the flour mixture in two additions until just combined (it’s OK if there are a few small lumps).Frosting

Divide the batter between the prepared pans; tap the pans against the counter to remove any air bubbles.BatterInPansBake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth, then let cool. Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (Your frosting may be too soft to spread – mine was – so chill it about 15 minutes.)


Frost your cake and add shaved white and dark chocolate. Then present it to your sweetie and be prepared for an onslaught of love in appreciation.



Happy Valentine’s Day.

Best Potato Soup Ever

Make. This. Soup.

I love soup, particularly when the weather here is hovering around 20 degrees (or lower) and I need something to warm my soul. I’ve shared several great soup recipes with you, from clam chowder to sausage and lentil.

But this one, my foodie friends, is awesome. I got this recipe  from my friend Patty, who loves to cook, so I knew it was going to be a winner. And it was. He Who Must Be Fed and I ate every last bit and were left wanting more.



  • 1 pound of bacon (you had me at bacon)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minces
  • 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside.  Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease. Cook celery and onion in reserved bacon drippings (hmm bacon drippings) until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add cubed potatoes, and toss to coat.PotatoesForSoup

Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Return bacon to the pan, and add enough chicken stock just to cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender.

RouxIn a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and tarragon. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Puree the soup in batches and return to pan. Salt and pepper to your taste.

If you try this let me know if you loved it. I really want to know.



Full-recipe disclosure: If you access the original recipe, you’ll see it suggests pureeing only half of the mixture and returning that to your pot with the diced potatoes. As I mentioned, I pureed it all, and it had a lovely, smooth consistency. (Oh, and I didn’t add any cilantro. He Who Must Be Fed isn’t a fan.)

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know that January isn’t the best time to indulge in something deliciously decadent. So, if you’re one of those folks trying to refrain from excess in 2015, save this post for another time. However, if you’re one of my faithful foodie followers who says, “Bring it on,” then I have something wonderful for you.

I found it on BuzzFeed, in an article titled, “19 cookies with a life-changing secret.” C’mon. How can you not check out an article with that headline?  I double-dog dare you.

Anyway, there I found this amazingly decadent, naughty recipe for Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. What, you say? Oreos inside chocolate chip cookies?!?! Yes, my fingers didn’t slip on the keys. A delicious cookie within a delicious cookie.


  •  2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10-to-12-oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies, I used the regular kind (but imagine the possibilities if you tried other flavors)

Preheat your oven to 350°. Cream you butter and sugars until well combined and fluffy. Add your eggs and vanilla until well combined.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.

You can use a cookie scoop, but I just used a generously filled tablespoon, to place dough both on the top and bottom of each Oreo. Seal the edges together by pressing and cupping in your hand until the Oreo is enclosed in the dough. OreoStuffedCookiesonTray

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies about two inches apart and bake for 11 to 15 minutes until the cookies are baked through. Let cool for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Pour yourself a big glass of milk and enjoy. Let that triple-cookie goodness wash over you like a warm, sweet blanket of love. (Keep in mind that one of these cookies is really like three, just in case you don’t want to totally overdue it in 2015.)OreoCookieCropped


Cream Cheese Crescent Dessert

I love social media. Well, I love the bright side of social media. (We all know social media has a dark, very dark side.) Anyway, one of the bright aspects of social media is the sharing of recipes. (Such as this blog, for example.)

The other day on Facebook someone had posted a recipe for an unnamed creation that caught my attention because it featured some of my favorite things: Cream cheese. Butter. Crescent rolls. Sugar and cinnamon.

And the recipe delivered. It was easy. Delicious. Decadent. And it went from an idea to our mouths in just a bit more than 30 minutes.

Try it.


  • 1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls (I used the seamless dough sheet, which was easier to use.)Crescents
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 cup butter, melted
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350°. Unroll the crescent rolls (or seamless dough sheet) and cut in half. Spread half on the DoughandCreamCheesebottom of an 8×8 baking pan. Mix softened cream cheese, ½ cup sugar and vanilla. Spread over the dough. Top with the remaining half of dough and spread so it covers all of the cream cheese filling.

Melt your butter and pour over the top of the dough, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown.BeforeOven

Drizzle with a little honey.

Let cool for at least five minutes so the cream cheese doesn’t ooze out when you cut them. I didn’t wait, and my cream cheese did a little oozing (but in a good way).



Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

Potatoes are big in our house. He Who Must Be Fed is the quintessential meat-and-potatoes guy, so I make them a lot. I’m always looking for new ways to make them so it doesn’t get boring. (After cooking for this man for 29 years, I gotta jazz it up sometimes, right? Sure don’t want him eating in another woman’s kitchen.)

I’ve been wanting to make these Bacon Hasselback Potatoes for some time but, for whatever reason, never got around to it. Until now.

These are delicious. Absolutely delicious. Just keep in mind that if you’re going to make these, you’re going to need some time. You won’t be able to make these on the fly. But, they’re worth the wait. Truly.


  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut into 9 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.

RawPotatoesAdd the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly. Pat the potatoes dry, then insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 5 tablespoons butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 2 hours, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

When the potatoes are almost done, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and mix with the scallions, parsley and garlic. Spoon over the potatoes and roast 5 more minutes. Transfer to a platter and season with salt and pepper.


Full-recipe disclosure: Since I was cooking for just the two of us, I made four potatoes, not 12. But, I used the same amount of everything else.  After all, you can’t have too much bacon.  🙂


Sweet Cashew Clusters

We’ve talked before about combining sweet and salty and how much we love, love, love it. Add this recipe for Sweet Cashew Clusters from the Food Network Magazine to your list of must makes.

The cashews are delightfully salty and mix so well with the sugary, buttery coating. You’ll love these.


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups salted cashews

Place sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. You’ll want to occasionally swirl the pan – don’t stir the sugar – until it’s a dark amber color. It’ll take about 10 minutes.SugarForCashewsCookings

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cashews.

Pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and separate into clusters with two forks. Let harden. Enjoy the salty-sweet goodness.