Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

It's peanut butter, jelly time!!!

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts (Honey roasted was awesome!)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup jam (your favorite flavor-I used Concord Grape)
  • Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe below)
  • Optional: Blackberry Jam
    Peanut Butter Frosting:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla, milk and peanuts. Add dry ingredients slowly. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
4. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Frosting Directions
1. Cream the butter, peanut butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

To Assemble
1. When cupcakes are cooled, using a small paring knife, cut out a small hole in the top of each cupcake; discard crumbs (makes good fat kid snack!).

2. Fill a Ziploc bag (or piping bag, if you have one - with a round tip) with the jam. Insert the tip into the center of the cupcake and squeeze the jam inside (you’ll want to apply a decent amount of pressure) until the hole is filled. Repeat until all the cupcakes are filled.

3. Pipe or spread the peanut butter frosting on each cupcake. Optional step: to pipe blackberry jam spirals on top for an extra berry kick! Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days. Makes approx. 18 cupcakes.

Mango Sticky Rice

This is, hands down, my biggest weakness when it comes to the Thai cuisine: the mango sticky rice! Like many desserts, I want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes, I just want the mango sticky rice when I order Thai food, and nothing else. But when ordering Thai food, it’s a hit-or-miss on the dessert being freshly made…and if you haven’t tried this dish, freshly prepared mango sticky rice is 10^2 times better! The exotic flavors of the coconut and mango are fresh and enticing, and the ingredients are so simple! I had to test it out in my own kitchen, and it was a win:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 mangos, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While the rice cooks, mix together 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. Stir the cooked rice into the coconut milk mixture; cover. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
  3. Make a sauce by mixing together 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
  4. Place the sticky rice on a serving dish. Arrange the mangos on top of the rice. Pour the remaining coconut milk over the mangos and rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bacon Bourbon Truffles

This was a tedious attempt at a recipe contest (Great Sugardale BAC-ON contest). I didn't get anywhere with it because this is not an easy recipe. However, I got nothing but great feedback regarding the truffles :) If time is your friend and you've got some determination (and patience), then I highly suggest trying these - plus, you get to eat some sizzling bacon and will get a new bottle of bacon bourbon!
Serves: ~30 Truffles

      1. Candied Bacon

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
      2. Bacon Bourbon "Ganache"

  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Bacon Bourbon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, ground
  • 2/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean 
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • Sweet bacon grease (from Candied Bacon)

      3. Maple Caramel "Glaze"

  • 1/2 cups dark maple syrup (Grade A)
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
     4. Maple Bacon Truffles
  • 11.5oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Drop Liquid smoke 
  • Sugar Crystal sprinkles
  • Sea Salt 

1. Candied Bacon

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Slice bacon into 1/2 inch strips and dredge in brown sugar until 
thoroughly coated. Crumple aluminum foil to allow for grease drainage and place it on a baking 
sheet. Lay out the bacon on the aluminum foil, making sure not to overlap pieces.
Bake until crispy. Allow to cool and harden before chopping in to bits. Set aside the tin with the 

sweet bacon grease for bacon ganache.

2. Bacon Bourbon "Ganache"

Creamy bacon bourbon ganache filling.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Stir often to keep the chocolate from 
burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese, maple 
syrup, Bacon bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla bean (scraped), maple extract, salt, and leftover 
bacon grease (from Step 1) and and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl 
and then cover and chill to firm up (about 1-2 hours).

3. Maple Caramel "Glaze"
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, bring maple syrup and half-and-half to a simmer. 

Continue simmering the mixture until it reaches 239F on a candy thermometer. Pour the maple caramel 
into a shallow baking dish and set whole dish in a larger baking dish that is filled with warm water, to 
slow the hardening process.

4. Maple Bacon Truffle Set-up
Melt liquid smoke and chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Paint chocolate in truffle 

molds and set in freezer until firm. Carefully remove the chocolate “shells” from the mold, fill with 
chilled "ganache" leaving some room at the top, and then fill remaining truffle area with chocolate. 
Place in freezer to set. Remove truffles from freezer and stretch some maple caramel on top, along with 
candied bacon bits and sprinkle with sugar crystals and sea salt crystals (50/50) on top.

Enjoy! Goes well with some bacon bourbon on the rocks ;)

Office Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • ½ cup Almond Milk (or any other milk)
  • 2 tbsp Pumpkin, canned
  • 2 tbsp Agave nectar
  • ½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 oz Espresso or ½ cup coffee (Espresso blend, if available)
  1. Stir almond milk and pumpkin together in mug. Microwave for 1.5-2 mins.
  2. While the milk is microwaving, grab a separate, sealable cup (ie, a to-go cup, jar, or a blender) and pour agave and pumpkin pie spice in. Set aside.
  3. Make your espress/coffee, or set prepared coffee aside.
  4. In sealable cup, pour the hot almond milk mix and shake (or blend) for ~1 minute. Pour in to your empty mug.
  5. With a spoon, hold the milk foam back and pour hot coffee in. Sprinkle with a little more Pumpkin Pie spice or cinnamon and enjoy :)
Note: It might be Starbucks perfection with a little whipped cream on top!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup w/ Sweet Potato Chips

I saw butternut squash for sale the other day and figured if the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s are back, that I would stop fighting the transition in to fall season and enjoy the fall foods! I found a popular butternut squash soup recipe on and made a few changes. I removed the half & half unknowingly, as the recipe was so smooth and “creamy” that it didn’t occur to me that any dairy needed to be added when I was done cooking.  I was also cooking with my immune system in mind (had a cold), so I substituted the sweetness of 1 apple for 2 tbsp of raw honey, added the sweet n spicy bite of fresh ginger, and added cinnamon at the end for extra fall flavor! Almond Milk makes a healthy and tasty alternative to half & half, if you prefer a creamier soup. I also just had sweet potato chips handy, but they were a perfect sweet and salty crunch to complement this comforting soup! Not too sweet, not too squashy…it’s just perfect.

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs., peeled, seeded & cut into 1” cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet curry (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste (optional)
  • Almond milk (optional)
  1. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, melt butter and sautee’ onion, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the squash and broth, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
    Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Add chopped apples, curry (if desired), nutmeg, ginger, and honey.
    Simmer until the apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth.
    - Be extremely careful not to overfill the processor/blender container which could cause severe burns.
  4. Return the soup to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with Sweet Potato Chips and add a dash of cinnamon, if desired. If you prefer the creamier version, stir in Almond Milk :)
Number of Servings: 12
Recipe adapted from SparkPeople user DONNAC1188.