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Secret Kisses Cookies

12 Jan

A couple of weeks ago I made secret kiss cookies as part of a belated Christmas gift for my best friend and her husband. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to bake more. I’ve tackled the buying and eating desserts concept well so I figured this would give me a new challenge. No worries though, I fully intend to still do reviews of local bakeries and dessert places! ๐Ÿ™‚

These little babies were so good that my dad starting snagging some when they came out of the oven. I ended up giving him his own little stash so that my bestie and her hubby would actually have some left! They are basically Italian wedding cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle. They’re very rich and twice a good with extra powdered sugar plunked on top.

Secret Kisses Cookies (Makes 3 dozen cookies): Recipe taken from “Hershey’s Cookbook and Recipe Cards”

  • 1 cup (2 sticks margarine, softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds (I used almonds for mine)
  • 36 Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates or Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds (I used the traditional Hershey’s Kisses)

1) Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed in large bowl until fluffy. Add flour and almonds/walnuts; beat on low speed of mixer until well blended. Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to handle.

2) Remove wrappers from chocolates. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using about 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, shape dough for each cookie, shape dough around each chocolate; roll in hand to make ball. (Be sure to cover each chocolate piece completely.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned. Cool slightly; remove to wire rack. While still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Roll again in powdered sugar right before serving.


The Cupcake Shoppe – Raleigh, NC

27 Dec

While at home in NC over winter break, I went to see some of my friends in Raleigh. One of my favorite cupcake places and probably the best known place in the city for cupcakes is the Cupcake Shoppe. The have a smaller menu than many of the places that I’ve been to in DC but they also have a good number to choose from and more traditional options. Some of the best flavors in my opinion include the coconut, cookie monster, peanut butter cup and black and white cupcakes.

During the holidays, they have some options that are not only seasonal but delicious. They include peppermint patty, eggnog and gingerbread. I’ve had their gingerbread in the past and it’s always a winner. The cake is gingerbread of course, the frosting is vanilla and is topped with a hot cinnamon candy. (Sorry for not posting a picture of it by the way! I took it to go and it didn’t exactly travel well. Oopsies!)

If you’re in the area stop on by. You won’t be disappointed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Location: 104 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27603; Price: $3/cupcake or $33/dozen; Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10am-8pm, Friday-Saturday: 10am-11pm, Sunday: Closed.

Cupcake Places Helping Save the Boobies!

19 Oct

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I wanted to praise some very awesome cupcake places that are helping the breast cancer awareness cause. They have also created cupcakes specifically designed with the signature pink ribbon. Enjoy the pictures below and if you’re a local, please pick one up! Also, if you needed an excuse to eat a cupcake…I just gave you one. ๐Ÿ™‚ In addition, I want to list my favorite cupcake places in both my hometown of Raleigh, NC and my faves in DC thus far. Enjoy this list for easy access to dessert eatery links:ย  NC/DC Dessert Eatery Faves.

Crumbs Bake Shop (The Pink Ribbon)

Crumbs Bake Shop โ€“ The Pink Ribbon – Vanilla cake filled with vanilla buttercream topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting edged in pink and white sprinkles with a frosted pink ribbon. A $1 donation for each of our Pink Ribbon cupcakes sold will be made to the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC).

Sprinkles (Pink Ribbon Cupcake)

Sprinkles Cupcakes โ€“ Pink Ribbon Cupcake โ€“ Alright, missed the boat on this one but from Oct.1 โ€“ 7 Sprinkles donated the proceeds from its Pink Ribbon cupcakes to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund. Since 2005, Sprinkles Pink Ribbon cupcakes have raised $150,000 for Women’s Cancer Research. Their donations are funding EIF’s Biomarker Discovery Project, a multi-year effort to isolate a unique protein that would reveal the presence of breast cancer in a blood test and provide early detection of the disease.

Georgetown Cupcake (Pink Ribbon)

Georgetown Cupcake โ€“ It is an official sponsor of the 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cureยฎ. In addition to sponsoring our Team Georgetown Cupcake at the 2011 Race on the National Mall, Georgetown Cupcake donates 100% of the purchase price of its special Pink Ribbon Cupcake to Susan G. Komen for the Cure with a guaranteed minimum payment of $50,000. These “Pink Ribbon” Cupcakes are available by pre-order, walk-in purchase, and via national shipping.

Top Sweet Eater Tweeters

5 Oct

This week I looked at the most influential tweeters who tweet about sweets. My research proved to be quite interesting. Three out of the five top tweeters I found wrote exclusively about cupcakes. Therefore, I decided to change my search to cupcakes since that produced the most accurate search results. Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising since cupcake shops tend to be popping up everywhere now. Seeing that the most influential dessert tweeters are cupcake tweeters just proves that cupcakes are king in the world of desserts!

#1 – Cupcakes Take the Cake (14,637 Followers) – This tweeter is most famously known for its blog, which also has the same name. Therefore, most of their tweets take you directly to specific blog posts. Most of their blog posts are about great cupcake recipes, cupcake bakeries and cupcake decorating tips. On their Twitter page, they also post about news in the cupcake world. Most of their followers must also follow the blog because the tweets themselves are not very interesting.

#2 – Cupcake Ideas for You (6,540 Followers) – Cupcake Ideas for You tweets about cupcake ideas from around the world. They also post pictures of wedding cupcake ideas, birthday cupcake ideas and vegan cupcake ideas too. They are most famously known for their website and blog though. Their followers send them cupcake photos to them that they’ve created, which they then tweet. They could do a better job asking their followers for direct input but their casual, fun tweets gives a much more human side that makes their Twitter page fun to read!

#3 – Cupcake Project (2,576 Followers) – This tweeter is the author of Cupcake Project. Her goal as stated on her blog is “to master the cupcake one unique recipe at a time.” This Twitter page was by far my favorite of the top 3. What I really liked about this Twitter page was that she didn’t justย  post the link to her latest blog post as some of the others did. Instead she uses her Twitter page to interact directly with followers and invites questions that prompt a higher response rate.

Crumbs Bake Shop – Arlington, VA

28 Sep

This kind of cupcake assortment is a sweet lover's dream come true!

Sweet lovers out there…Ever get tired of the same old red velvet or vanilla cupcake? Look no further for a creative spin on cupcakes than Crumbs Bake Shop. I can honestly say I’m in love with this place! Their cupcakes creations are innovative and even though they’re a far cry from traditional, they do non-traditional oh so well. So far (on several different visits) I’ve tried the milkshake, s’mores, cookies and cream, rocky road and the squiggle.

Emily and Meghan eating a cookies and cream cupcake!

Coming in this place with several customers inside is a somewhat entertaining experience. People pace back and forth several times trying to make their decision, deep in thought. There is a lot to choose from here. In addition to the ones I’ve tried, they also have ones like apple cobbler, chocolate sundae, cotton candy, cookie dough, peanut butter cup and even a cosmo cupcake, just to name a few. However, don’t worry if you lean toward something plain. Crumbs has options like vanilla with sprinkles, red velvet and carrot cake for you!

On my most recent trip to Crumbs, I had the great company of two lovely ladies, Meghan and Emily. Both have a love for sweets – Meghan’s obsession is frosting and Emily’s is cake. Therefore, I knew they’d be the perfect duo to critique these cupcakes with me. They shared the cookies and cream cupcake while I tried the squiggle. Meghan, the frosting lover, was a little disappointed their wasn’t a frosting center but she loved the frosting on top. The frosting was a little too sweet for my taste but the cake portion was perfect.

The Squiggle!

Now for the squiggle…So remember those Hostess cupcakes your mom packed in your lunch box as a little kid? Try the squiggle cupcake and you’ll think you’re eating the grown up version of it. It’s truly amazing. The squiggle is definitely a winner but my favorite by far though is the rocky road cupcake. While it might look a little over the top on the surface, it surprisingly isn’t. The marshmallow frosting is very light and there is a pleasant marshmallow surprise in the middle. It is sprinkled with walnut shavings on top and little mini marshmallows. To date, this is my favorite cupcake place. I give it a solid A! ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, while poking around on the Internet this week I came across another interesting dessert blog called Dessert Girl that I thought I’d share. ๐Ÿ™‚ The writer is a self-proclaimed sugarholic as well but posts pictures of both uniquely designed and beautiful desserts. My favorite was the embroidery cake blog entry. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

“You Gotta Treat Cake Like a Lady!”

27 Sep

(Left to Right) Ang, Me, Katrina and Lauren (the bride ๐Ÿ™‚ )

As Vince Vaughn famously said in the movie Wedding Crashers, “You Gotta Treat Cake Like a Lady!” Well said Vince, well said. This quote is a tribute to one of my favorite movies and is also a tribute post to one my very good friends who got hitched this past weekend. Congrats Lauren!! ๐Ÿ™‚ You were such a beautiful bride! I can honestly say that she and her new husband Josh did a very good job at cutting the cake…They know how to give cake that R-E-S-P-E-C-T that it deserves. Vince would be so proud!

So for a little bit of background – Lauren is one of my two roommates from college and one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. She had a love affair with cupcakes long before I did – and also long before they were in vogue. So that being said it didn’t surprise me at all that she decided to have cupcakes at her wedding this past weekend in Raleigh, NC. And they were delicious. See the carrot cake cupcake and vanilla cupcakes below! Yum, yum, yum!

Had such a good weekend catching up with college friends and being a part of truly beautiful wedding!

Vanilla Cupcake (Choosing plain never tasted this good!)

Carrot Cake Cupcake (So good we forgot to take the picture before eating it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Old Ebbitt Grill

27 Sep

Outside of Old Ebbitt Grill

Old Ebbitt Grill is a well-known DC landmark for spotting politicians, journalists and other famous people in the political realm. So for me, going there was like playing the childhood game “Where’s Waldo?” I was hoping to see a famous political couple like James Carville and Mary Matalin or some famous journalist like Suzanne Malveaux.

While I was a little disappointed that I didn’t find ‘Waldo’, the dessert I got was out of this world. I got the creme brulee and my aunt got the peanut butter pie. The creme brulee comes in a manageable portion and is not overly sweet. It was light, creamy and perfect. Eating it made me want to buy one of those mini blow torches from William-Sonoma and make it myself. The peanut butter pie was extremely rich, but if taken in small doses is delicious. It is coated in whipped cream and chocolate sauce and sprinkled with both chocolate and peanut chips. It’s a peanut butter lover’s dream come true! ๐Ÿ™‚

The restaurant itself is very fast-paced, busy and a little claustrophobic until you get into the dining area. However, once you’re seated and you get the chance to look around, you’d think you’re at dimly lit country club. Old school looking trophies, stuffed mallards and dark wood line the walls. However, the decor somehow seems perfectly appropriate for the famous clientele its known to serve. I’d give Old Ebbitt Grill desserts an A-!

Delicious Creme brulee!

Rich and dreamy peanut butter pie!

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