Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thumbprint (birdsnest) cookies

My mama rules. Like she's the best baker on the planet, hands down, no competition.  She's the best mom ever.  Growing up my mom called these birds nest cookies. Here in America they are called Thumbprints. Whichever name you prefer, is ok with me, because these cookies are so good. They have only a bit of sugar which i love because i don't really dig overly sweet cookies. These cookies are buttery and delicate and so, so good. Make them for your favorite people and go hug your mother :)
And, again, let me apologize for my lack of artistic talent in photos. That is what cybelle is for. Not everyone can be a photographer, and i assure you, i have no qualms admitting that I'm about as bad as they come. Lucky for me, i am a baking goddess (who has a bff who is a great photographer, but she's not here right now)....

Thumbprint Cookies from http://www.thejoyofbaking.com/

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (100 grams) hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup jam  (i used cherry and apricot)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined. If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the chopped nuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the nuts. Place on the prepared baking sheet spacing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make a indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
5. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until cookies are set and the nuts have nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spiced pumpkin butter

I mean, how is anything better than pumpkin butter? It's sweet, cinnamon-y, soft, delicious and perfect in every way. It is like your favorite winter white coat. It's like your favorite knee high boots. It's just the thing that makes you feel so perfect and so girly. I love this stuff. And i am sharing it with you because I want you to share it with the people you love. Merry Christmas everybody :)


2 cans of pumpkin
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.   Cook, uncovered over medium to low heat, stirring frequently, 25 minutes until thick.  You will need to literally stand over this pot for the entire 25 minutes as it needs constant stirring as it begins to spatter almost immediately.

2. Remove from heat and let it cool.  Ladle freezer containers or jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.

These are amazing gift basket stuffers and gifts. Just remember to keep it either frozen or refrigerated until its time to give them away :).  You will get about 2 medium mason jars full.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Granola!

I love getting compliments. I love it. It may make me kind of a d-bag, but i don't care. I made Christmas baskets for my future in-laws (!!!!!!!!!) this year and added this amazing granola ;) It is so good and super easy and i am POSITIVE that it is going to earn me mucho points on the "she's such a great girl" scale! I'm going to put in in really pretty festive bags and tie them with a bow to add to my baskets. It's literally awesomeness in a bag. As an added bonus, your house will smell like french toast. Oh my yum. Make it.


adapted from Sunny Anderson from Food Network

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar Pinch kosher salt
2 egg whites
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup currants


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together the syrup, oil and cinnamon. Cook until it just bubbles. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour in the syrup mixture and toss well. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites to combine. Pour over the granola and toss well. Evenly spread the mixture onto a sheet tray. Bake until golden, turning several times, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven to a serving bowl and cool. When cool add the remaining ingredients and serve.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buttermilk biscuits

Clearly, I have an issue with bread lately. I cannot get enough. CANNOT. These biscuits too. They are amazing and delicious and easy (of course). They are flaky and melt in your mouth, I'm seriously drooling while typing their description.  I cannot say enough. Go make these. Please. Then bring one over to my house :)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
 3/4 cup buttermilk ( approx)


Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.  If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.

If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick.

Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
I made mine into heart shapes and circles!!! Awww!
Enjoy these!
Smooches, gigi

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Best bread on the planet. Truth.

This Thanksgiving my Marko and I were responsible for bringing the bread. He wanted to order it all, but, I, not unlike a superhero, swung into action and offered to bake fresh bread!!
Look, I've said it at least a thousand times, i am terrified of yeast breads. I decided to tackle my fear, and (not unlike a superhero, again), i succeeded!!! My cousin suzy sent me this recipe from a video she watched on the net from the New York Times.
This is truly, unequivocally the best, most delicious and EASIEST bread ever. It is unreal. It is super crusty and crunchy on the inside but super chewy and soft and amazing on the inside. Please please please make this. Thank me later ;)

Recipe: No-Knead Bread Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

1¼ teaspoons salt

1.5 cups water

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1.5 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Let this cool for at least an hour or several hours. Then cut it up (so everyone is watching and can hear the crunchy crust!!!!!!!!!!), sit back and allow them to praise you for being super awesome!!!
Enjoy!!! Smooches!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dinner biscuit (rock'n) rolls!

Sometimes I like to show off. Like, sometimes I want to make homemade bread with my homemade dinner meal.  This time I wanted a quick and easy dinner role recipe that i could throw together in no time.  I found this recipe in my Paula Deen cookbook. Awesome. These are a cross between bread and biscuit. They are quick, warm and best served with a slather of butter. More than that, i looked like a rock star because i made homemade bread. bwahahahha!  Do something extra for dinner and make a batch of these!!! I didn't need 12, so i halved the recipe and they were perfect!

Butter, for greasing muffing tins
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter.
In a large bowl, combine flour and milk, blending with a rubber spatula. Add the sugar and mayonnaise, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve this with your fav meal and look like the superstar that you are!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blueberry muffins with streusel topping

What is more wonderful than blueberry muffins? Blueberry muffins with cinnamon streusel on top. Omg. For these chili fall days, there is nothing that makes you feel more loved and warm than a batch of sweet muffins. Make some for your muffin ;)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (i only had frozen)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2.Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3.To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Serve with a big smile and a warm heart

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jam filled kisses :)

I just love being fancy shmancy sometimes. I wear high heels pretty much every day. I wear super nifty suits to work on occasion and i love mascara. These cookies are the fake eyelashes of cookies. They are so super fancy, but don't require a lot of ingredients, but do require a lot of time. They are however, worth every single second. Both the eyelashes and these cookies :) Like fake eyelashes, these beautiful dolls are sure to get you some attention! The shapes remind me of puckering lips and kisses! aww! So, i guess we are still on the love theme! yayy!! Make these!!!
Jam filled crescents
(adapted from Food TV Magazine - Melissa D'Arabian)

2 sticks of butter - softened
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups of flour
apricot jam
raspberry jam
(any flavor you want jam...i used apricot, cherry and sugar free raspberry)


1.  Beat the butter and cream cheese together until creamy.
2.  Slowly add the flour - do not over mix!
3. divide the mixture into 2 balls and form them into discs.
4. wrap them in saran wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until you are ready.

 Preheat your oven to 375

5. Flour a rolling surface very very well - this dough is very sticky and will stick to any surface if you don't use enough flour.
6.  Roll out 1 of the discs to about 1/8 inch thickness (i totally used a ruler...but it was pink!)
7. Cut out rounds with a 3 inch cookie cutter
8. Fill each round with about a 1/2 tsp of jam
9. lightly brush water on the edge of each round and fold each over to form a crescent
10. take a fork and make indention's so they look pretty.
11. Bake for 22 minutes and allow to cool completely (even over night)
12. When you are ready to serve them, roll them in powdered sugar.

 This is going to be a huge huge huge mess. But worth it!!!


When you are baking them, you'll hear some of the jam leaking out and sizzling, but don't worry! They will be perfect.

 Yum!!! Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple Crisp

'Tis the for apple crisp. Warm, cinnamon-y, deliciousness, topped with vanilla ice-cream that melts and is like gooey lava love. Yeah. I love this season. This was super easy and delish. Just imagine the cool crisp fall air, the leaves falling and having a bowl of this warm goodness, whilst wearing your favorite fluffy socks. Heaven. I know.

5 to 6 medium-size apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices. (About 7.5 cups)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, well-softened
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 cup quick oats

Preheat the oven to 350. Generously grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter.

Place a layer of apple slices in the bottom of the pan and dust with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Continue layering apples and dusting with cinnamon/sugar until done. Toss the apple mixture until evenly coated in cinnamon sugar. The apples should be just about to the top of the pan (they will cook down).

Cut up a bunch of apples, like so:

Then make your topping,

For the topping, place the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and oats in a large bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Take one full handful of the topping and toss it into the sugared apple mixture. Spread the rest of the topping evenly over the apples. (I usually end up with a dough-like topping that I just lay on top of the apples).

Bake the crisp in the dish on a baking sheet on the center oven rack until the topping is crunchy and the apples are bubbling, 55-60 minutes.
And then....mmmm

Whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET ICE CREAM. That would be illegal. It would just be wrong.
Enjoy fall everyone :)
smooches, gigi

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love biscuits.

I'm keeping this love theme going, because its super duper.  Love Biscuits. You read that right.

I have never made rolled out biscuits. I always make drop biscuits. I don't really know why. I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to dough. So weird, but whateves. I was in a mood to bake this week and i thought I'd just keep adding to things I've never made. I'm hard core like that. I'm so hard core that i used a heart shaped biscuit cutter :) hehehehe awwwww!!!!

How adorable are they??? And you get to eat them. Eat your heart out!!!!!! OMG! I totally just made that up right now!!! wowwwwwww! The talent...
Anyway, make these, keep that love theme going and make these and slather them with butter and jam :) then looooooove!!!

2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

1. In small bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. in a separate bowl beat the egg with the milk and stir it into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
3. Turn onto a well floured surface ad knead about 20 times.
4. Roll to a 3/4 inch thickness and cut out hearts :) with a heart biscuit shaped cutter.
5. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet
6. Bake at 450 F for about 8-10 minutes until they are just golden on the top.
7. Serve them warm and with love...

Happy hearts my friends!
love, gigi!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken and dumplings are my new bff's.

So! I had soooo much chicken left over from the ginormous chicken i made in the last post and decided to make chicken and dumplings. Why? Well, first, because i've never had them before (i know, right?!), second, because i heard it was mucho delish, and third because it is getting chilly in Detroit. Ok. fine. I'm totally lying. I made them because my Marko loves chicken and dumplings :) so i thought I'd make something i could brag about forever!! Bwhahahahaha! 
However, all bragging aside...it was soooo amazing. Like, beyond amazing. Like if amazing was earth, this meal is mars (go with it). It was super creamy, spicy, hearty and warrrm. Did I mention super duper easy? It is. Make this. Now. And!!! As a total bonus, this is my gift to all my single peeps! Because, if you don't have a significant other, and you want one - feed them this. Trust me. They will be smitten foreves. It's like a love spell. Truth.

Chicken and Dumplings
re do!

8 cups chicken broth (1 box plus 2 cans) or 2 boxes
1 lb. left over chicken – shredded
1 c. sliced carrots
1 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley)
1/2 tsp. basil
salt and pepper (lots of pepper) to taste
2 14-oz. cans evaporated milk (fat free is fine)
Dumplings: the recipe below

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until translucent. To this add about 3-4 soup spoons of flour to make a roux, which will make your soup thick. Let this cook for a few minutes to get rid of the the raw flour flavor. Next,  and then add chicken broth, carrots, chicken, bay leaf, and basil. Bring to a boil. Cover cook for about 10 minutes and add chopped parsley. Add evaporated milk.

Add the dumplings: 
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Combine the flour, baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock. Use all of the dough.

The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a white gravy. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until thick. Stir often.

This is great right away, but honestly, the leftovers are even better. I don't know why, but once the flavors have a chance to marry, its like angels singing. For realz.
Now go get yourself some lovin!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Whole-y chicken!! hehehe

So, my posse and i went to Eastern Market a couple weeks ago and scored some amazing veggies for super duper cheap. For those of you who dont know what Eastern Market is, it is only the best farmers market on the planet. Truth. Anywhoo, i decided once we got home, i'd try my hand at making a chicken with vegetables. Do you think this is lame? whatevevs. I've never done it before. Everyone has a first time.
SO! moving on....i bought this really super rub spice thingy:
So, i rubbed this rubz guy all over a big chicken, along with some olive oil that i got from the grocery store and added some fingerlings and green beans.  I baked it at 375 for about 1.5 hours and came out with this:

Hey daddy...how you doin??? He was doin dammmmmmn fine. Make this. Its so easy and so good.

1. awesome huge chicken
2. a pound of fingerling potatoes
3. a bunch of green beans
4. a packet of flavored rub
olive oil

Wash your chicken really well and rub it with olive oil.  Sprinkle it very liberally with spice mixture and massage it in. Stick it in a pan and add potatoes that have been sprinkled with spice as well and add the green beans.
Cover it with tin foil and bake at 375 for about 1.5 hours or until the thermometer measures 180 degrees in the thigh.

Enjoy!! Smooches!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quadruple chocolate chunk and macadamia nut brownie cookies.

Yes, the title is correct. It contains the word quadruple.  I love cookies. I could only eat cookies for the rest of my life and be totally ok with that.  I like taking cookies to my friends houses because it makes me feel super cool. These cookies are quadruple chocolate goodness. I'm fairly certain that these cookies will cure every ailment. Each and every bite contains a chocolatey nutty mouthful of love. I mean, they are like, beyond delooosh.  Make these. Do it.

You will need:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup Butter flavored crisco
1 TBS water
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1.5 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips - I used a combination of both!
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

1. Heat oven to 375

2. Place brown sugar, shortening, water and vanilla in large bowl and beat until well blended.
3. Add eggs and beat well.
4. whisk flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl
5. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture and beat at low speed just until blended.
6. Add in chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and mix by hand just until they are mixed in. Do not over mix!
7. Drop by heaping spoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Bake one sheet at a time for 7-9 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely and jump around clapping your hands because you are the coolest person ever.
:-) smooches

Monday, September 20, 2010

Party Spirals

Guess who finally got invited to a party??? MEEEEEEE!! ha! See! I told you i would! Lucky for moi, i am still in the party food blogging spirit? Wanna know what i brought? Puffed pastry spirals stuffed with Parmesan, turkey and cayan pepper. mmmm mmmm mmmm!

This picture is one cookie sheet full.  I ended up with 3 cookies sheets full. Just enough for a party!

You will need:
1 box of puffed pastry
1 egg
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 tsp cayan pepper.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Beat egg and water until blended, set aside. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14x10“ rectangle;cut in half lengthwise. Brush pastry with some of the egg mixture. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. of the cheese and pepper evenly over one of the pastry pieces, cover with turkey slices. Roll up tightly to form a 14” log. Starting at one of the long sides, cut crosswise into 24 slice. Place cut side down on parchment covered baking sheet. Brush with remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 12-14 minutes
Smooches - Gigi

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baked spinach and artichoke dip.

Yup. I'm still in party mode. Why the heck not? I had some of my fav friends over last weekend and this dip was a hit! It is courtesy of Paula Deen, so how could it not be awesome? It is super fancy. super. fancy.  Make this. Trust me. You will be the best party thrower everrrrrrrr! And in case you are wondering, this is still considered a baked good as it comes out of the oven ;-)


1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach

2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup grated pepper jack cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Thaw the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop them up.

Combine all the ingredients except the jack cheese in a large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the jack cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with bagel chips.
Smooches - gigi

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Cake!

I'm still on a party theme. I like to bake stuff and feed it to people. Don't judge me.  In fact, call me when you are hungry for something sweet and then come over. And bring wine :)

Speaking of sweets,  I love this cake. It travels really well and makes people smile. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart (LOVE) except i tweaked it a bit. See, i love desserts and sweets. No lie. I LOVE DESSERTS AND SWEETS. But! Most recipes call for waaaaaaaay too much sugar. I don't really get down like that. Here is a gigi tip: when using fresh berries or fruit in a recipe, feel free to cut the sugar at least in half. Do this. There is no need to send people into sugar shock. This cake was perfectly moist and sweet and light with just a touch of sugar. Oh and look how pretttttttty it is!!!

go and get:
6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for cake pan

1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar (Martha's recipe called for 1 1/2 cups!!! whaaaaaaaaat)

1 tablespoon sugar, for berries

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch cake pan. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla. (i just use a hand mixer)

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered cake pan. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greek Orzo Salad

I love parties. I've never made a secret of this love of mine. I love going to parties that have food. I love to bring food to parties. I troll blogs looking for perfect party recipes. Do you? If you do, you are i luck today my friends. This is the PERFECT party recipe. Easy to make, easy to pack up, travels well and is friggin PHENOM! Make this. Trust me. Then have a party and invite me :)

Greek Orzo Salad

1 pound orzo (1 of those little bags about the size of your hand)
2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 container pitted kalamata olives
1 jar marinated artichokes
1 bottle of Greek dressing.
Juice of 1 lemon

Feel free to tweak the ingredients here. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, use sun dried. If you want to make your own greek dressing, please do (i just don't know how to. yet...)

Boil pasta for 10 minutes until tender. Let it cool off a bit. Then simply toss everything together. Its too easy, i know. But it is so so soooooo good. Please make this and tell me how much you loved it :)
Smooches! - gigi

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

7 layer bars a.k.a Holy Awesome Bars

My aunt's sister in law (i know), used to make these all the time. I LOVE them. They are sweet and pretty and delicious. When i asked her for the recipe, she simply whipped out a piece of paper and 20 seconds later she had it written down and in my hands. It is THAT easy. The best part is that when you get invited to a party without ample warning to run to the store, i am positive that you will have these ingrediants at home. They are a party saver!!!!!
(sorry about the lame pics, cybelle was "busy"....)

You will need:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter - melted
1 bag of chocolate chips (you can use any flavor you like, or even mix it up!)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 to 1 cup of shreddedcoconut

1. Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs so that that they are nice and moist. Pat the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish
2. On top of the graham crackers crust layer the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut
3. Top the entire mixture with the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or unitl the top is lightly brown at 350 degrees.
Let it cool for at least 1 hour before attempting to cut it up otherwise it will fall apart and they will look stupid and you will be cookie-less. Thumbs down.

Now go find yourself a party and share these! Enjoy!!!
Smooches! gigi
Below here is a picture of lola's behind, she was hiding. Why did i take this picture and post it here? Because she's so darn cute!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Hey all! Its garden season! Which can only mean that it is stupid hot outside and that you can bake anything by simply going into your (or your parents, or your friends etc) garden and picking your main ingredient :)
I tasted chocolate zucchini bread for the first time last year. It was like biting into a huge soft chewy melted chocolate bar. I mean seriously, what could be better than that! And!!! It is healthy! ha!! Check it out cupcakes...make this recipe and then invite me over for a piece ;)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (adapted from Eating Well)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts - optional (i opted against this step)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cups sugar

3/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups grated zucchini, (1 medium)

3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips


1.Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

2.Spread walnuts in a pie pan and bake until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. (if using)

3.Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

4.Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate in another large bowl until blended. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.

5.Bake the loaves 45 to 55 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.
This makes 2 loaves and only gets better as it sits so wrap one up and give it to your favs!
smooches! gigi

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

I LOOOOVE coffee cakes, and i love blueberries. After every summer season, i have a freezer packed with frozen blueberries that i failed to use up when they were fresh - which is why recipes like this are perfect! I know it seems like i used a lot of liquid in this recipe, but i made it the first time without the additional 1/3 cup of yogurt and it was super dry, like so dry that it took you a while to swallow. ick. grrrr. Dry + coffee cake = unhappy Gigi. No worries, the extra liquid does the trick.
Now, go blueberry shopping, buy too many, freeze a bunch and make this cake!!!

Streusel -
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Batter -
5 T unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 3/4 cup flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries


Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9-inch spring form pan.

To prepare streusel: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with your pastry blender or fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Set aside.

To prepare batter: Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk or yogurt and milk, afterward, slowly add the dry ingredients until everything is included (except blueberries) in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan and scatter blueberries over the top.

Sprinkle streusel mixture evenly over blueberries. Bake for 1 hour (check at 50 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove side of pan and cool for another hour before serving.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Take a megabite of these chocolate chip cookies.

I know i said last time that i found my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe on my previous post. i lied. i sooo lied. I found this great site http://www.takeamegabite.com/ by a nice young lady named Megan. I asked her for a chocolate chip cookie recipe and she came through. Oh my gosh did she come through. I'm obsessed. I've already eaten 4 and i just took them out of the oven like 2 minutes ago :-/  These are my new favorite. They are the best chocolate chip cookies i have eaten in my life. ever.  Go to her recipe and fall in love.
Here is her website and a link to this recipe:

I'd write more but i'm currently covered in chocolate... Here is the recipe, which i have changed a bit to suit my liking.


1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup butter flavored crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4  cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cholate chunks
(i added hazelnuts to 1/2 the batch...holy yum)


1.Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Using a hand mixer cream the butter, crisco and sugars together until fluffy - about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until all combined.

2.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, in 3 different batches and beat slowely until your ingredients are combined. As always, DO NOT overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips and chunks and nuts if you are using them. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or over night.

3.Place heaping teaspoons of cookie dough a couple inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12  minutes or until the  edges are golden and the center is light still, but no longer shiny. Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack until cool.
I also froze some batter so that i can bake them anytime i want because when you eat them warm, the chocolate ooooozes out. Omg. These are best cookies EVER. Thank you so much for this recipe megan!! go to her site! http://www.takeamegabyte.com/

Friday, June 18, 2010

Melted Butter Cookies hmmm

So, there is this debate about using melted butter vs. creaming butter for your cookies. I'm not going to lie, i have always used the cream butter method - so much so, that i was really quite prejudice against the melted butter method. But, alas, i finally gave in and gave it a shot. What did i find out? WELL! Holy Moley! I LOOOVE chewy cookies. Love them. And lemme tell you, if you want a chewy cookie - melted butter is the way to go. Hands down. No competition. In fact, this is going to be my go to chewy choc chip cookie recipe from now on. I mean? i cannot believe i haven't tried this before! The secret though, is chilling the batter for at least 30 minutes before baking - otherwise you are going to have a mess on your hands.
I used butterscotch chips - which i HATE but, my very  handsome cookie eater loves them, so...needless to say, i was happy to use them. Also, i've seen this recipe a million places but  i've adapted this one from allrecipes.com. Here ya go!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cups butterscotch chips


1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a heavy stainless steel saucepan.

4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

5. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

6. Drop heaping soup spoons of cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. ( I fit about 6 cookies per sheet) Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
7 .Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Now! If you have too much batter for one baking (which i did), simply arrange dollops onto a cookie sheet, like you would to bake them, stick the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take them out of the freezer and pack them into a container, separating the layers with parchment paper, and stick them in the freezer. This way, you can have fresh cookies anytime you want! Impressive or what!!!!!!! Ha!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip & Chunk Awesomeness. Hell yeah.

I have a favorite blog, besides this one. It is run by a lady named Joy, and she bakes. And her blog brings me great great joy.  Her recipe for Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip cookies brought me joy and a whole Lotta my friends Joy.   In fact, i am fairly certain, these morsels of goodness just wooed me into the heart of a very  very good looking cookie eater. SCORE!!!!!!!!!!! Eat them warm because when you bite into them, chocolate just starts oozing out. OMG. They are insane good. Meet Joy and fall in love with her here: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/  Then bake these. OMG. Do it.

I even gave some to Cybelle so she could take pictures for you because they were so good, i didn't trust anyone but a pro to take the pics so you could see the deliciousness that happened in my kitchen today. Thanks Belles (http://www.cybellecodish.blogspot.com/).

 Here is her recipe which i tweaked a bit, and my changes are in the parenthesis.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (i used butter flavored crisco so my cookies would be chewier)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (i totally forgot to add this :-/ )
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (i used 1 cup chocolate chunks, and 1 cup chips)
1 cup chopped pecans

Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl. Beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

(I added a handful of currants to 1/2 of the batch of these cookies. Why? because i had a bunch left from the soda bread i made earlier. And, because I'm a dare devil.)

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans last in 3 separate batches. Go ahead and turn off your mixer and do the last mixing with a wooden spoon.

Dollop by heaping soup spoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 13 minutes or until they’ve reached your desired doneness. I like mine a little underdone and cook them for 10 minutes.
Wrap them up, give them to your friends, neighbors, family and watch their faces fill with smiles :) And! If you have a hunky cookie eater hanging out with you, go ahead and feed him a few of these bad boys. This was a good day :) Thanks Joy!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Crater Cake

My mom rules. RULES. Every time she sees a really neat baking book, new or used, she buys it for me. I have to tell you, i have got one of the coolest collection of baking books on the planet. No joke. This recipe comes from just one of those books. The book is "Hershey's Fabulous Desserts." The book is so old that it even has a telephone number for you to call or an address for you to write to, in case of questions. Brilliant.
Anyway, this cake is awesome for breakfast. So awesome in fact, that you appear to be the awesome-est person in the world when in less than 35 minutes, you go from nothing to this warm delicious chocolaty cake to serve for breakfast. Try, trust me,  you will rule.

2 cups all purpose baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
and topping mix

Topping Mix Ingredients
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup baking mix
1/4 cup butte or margarine softened (i TOTALLY forgot this. :-/ but it still ruled)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
combine all in a small bowl

Heat oven to 350degrees.
Grease an 8 inch square baking pan
In large mixer bowl, combine first 5 ingredients and mix until moistened.

Pour 1/2 of the batter into your baking pan and cover with the chocolate chips. Top with the remaining batter making sure your chocolate chips are covered.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve warm or completely cooled.
Sit back and enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Suzi's herb garlic bread!

I adore my cousin suzi. She's the best. When we were growing up, i used to think we looked like the band Heart because she was blonde and i was a brunette. Well, that and the fact that we were super ultra cool 10 year olds. (She was 10, so i was 8 - you get my drift). And, she makes the BEST bread. She was nice enough to share her delish garlic herb bread with me, and now, i am sharing it with you. It's sooo good. Bake it. Now! :)


Big Big Bread

8 cups (APF) All purpose Flour
2 pkg Rapid Rise Yeast
4 teaspoons salt
4 cups water (110-115 degrees)

Mix flour, yeast, salt together in a bowl. (use your hands or a whisk)

Pour in almost all the water. (about 3 cups)

Knead the mixture for about 15 minutes adding the rest of the water as needed. When your 15 minutes has elapsed, cover with a dry cloth and put it in the back of your dark closet for 1 hour.

After the hour has elapsed, punch dough down and knead it again for just a couple of minutes.

Shape it into 1 Big big bread or 3 loaves.

Put into desired baking dish and cover it again and allow it to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour again, in your closet. When it is time to bake, gently tuck in the sides. Oil the top with safflower oil or olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and herbs (dried).

Preheat oven to 500.

Gently place the bread in the oven and immediatley turn down the heat to 425 degrees. Do NOT slam the door. (Be loving to your bread, and it will love you right back :)

Bake for 25-25min until it is golden brown.

Invite your neighbors or friends over just as you are taking it out of the oven, and they will think that you are the most amazing person on the planet, like i think Suzi is!
smooches, gigi!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Barbie's Made Up Milanos!

This great recipe and the pictures are courtesy of one of my bestest friends Barbie!!!  She did such an awsome job! I cannot wait to try and make these too!!

I love Pepperidge Farm Milanos, I just hate paying all that money for such a simple cookie.

So in my quest to simplify life and save some pennies I put this simple recipe together.

The best part is that there are only 5 ingredients!!

1 cup flour

¼ cup butter (melted) unsalted

1 egg

¼ sugar


Combine the above ingrediants and mix till forms a somewhat crumbly dough.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Take a small bit of the mix and roll the dough in your hands until a small ball is formed

Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough balls on your baking sheet

Place in oven

Bake at 350 F for 6 minuets

After 6 minuets flip the cookies over, and bake for another 6 minuets

The cookies wil be slightly golden.

Let cool completely. Once the cookies are room temp, the fun begins!
Use a table spoon to dollop some of the nutella on half the cookies. Now take the ones that do not have nutella on them and sandwich them together. Let the nutella set and VOILA yummy Milanos!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Irish Soda Bread.


This post is dedicated to my Irish friend Colleen who requested an Irish recipe for St. Patty's day :) I volunteer at a legal aid clinic about once or twice per month. The clinic is located in the rectory of an Irish Catholic Church. Every year around St. Patricks day they have Soda Bread from an Irish Bakery that is located in a suburb of Detroit. I tasted it for the first time about 3 years ago and fell in LOVE. It's dense and chewy and crumbly and sweet but salty at the same time. It is heaven. HEAVEN. I finally decided to make some from myself and found an awsome recipe here:

Special thanks to my friend Cybelle for the amazing photos!!! You can see all her amazing photography at http://www.cybellecodish.blogspot.com/

Wow it is so good. And! SOOO easy. Make this. Immediately!! YUMMMMM!!!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons caraway seeds, optional (i didn't use these)
1 cup currants (the recipe called for raisins but, i dont like them so i used currants and a bit of dried cranberries)
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg


Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and stir well to mix.
Add the butter and rub in until the butter disappears into the dry ingredients.
Stir in the currants and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a rubber spatula.

Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times, shaping it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to one cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered with parchment or foil and cut a cross in the top. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes more, until well colored and a toothpick plunged into the center emerges clean.

Cool the soda bread on a rack. Serve this slathered in TONS of butter to your lovely friends. It is sooo good.