Mom's birthday

This year for my mom's birthday I wanted to do something creative. She is someone who has pretty much everything and the items she does want I can't afford! She is really starting to like succulent plants so I decided to make her a terrarium. It was so much fun to make and it was pretty cheap!

Cracking the code!


I get this craving for the carrot cake from Draeger's Market, once every few months. This carrot cake is so good. I don't know what they do to this cake, but it's to die for! So, last night I decided to try and crack the code of their famous Carrot Cake. There is something about it, it's very simple but SO good! I used the recipe from the "Gourmet" Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl.

The Cake: (this is for half a reipe)
About 1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs
(4-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For Frosting:
4-ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Make the Cake: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
1. Shred enough carrots on smallest teardrop holes of box grater or with fine shredding disk in a food processor to measure 2 cups.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins (if using).
3. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and invert onto rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until frosting is smooth.
Place 1 cake layer bottom side up on a cake plate and spread with some of frosting. Place remaining cake layer right side up on top and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

Juju notes:

I decided to just make half the recipe since there is only two of us in the house.
I ran out of oil so I was only able to use just 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup it asked for when cutting the recipe in half.
I used canned pineapples slices and then blended it so the consistency was very liquidity

Here is a cool trick I just discovered! Add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom before adding the cake mix to the pan. This way when the cake is cooled you can just pull it out without messing up the cake!
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Happy Valentine's Day!


These yummy chocolate marshmallow cups were made for the little girl I babysit. She wanted to give out some candies to her class mates. I thought these would be a HUGE hit, they were! Although they were sticky and messy to make, they were very easy to make! Melt some chococolate add some homemade marshmallow to the middle and you are done!
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Dessert for a dinner party

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Brownies are the one dessert that you can eat plain or dress up and make fancy! John and I went over to my friend's house for dinner last week and I decided to bring brownies. I was looking through Elinor Klivans' book "The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook" and found this great recipe for butterscotch and fudge brownie bars. These brownie bars looked incredible so I decided to give them a shot! But, when I went to the grocery store to pick up butterscotch all I found was artificially flavored butterscotch. That didn't make me too excited to make the bars, so I decided to use white chocolate instead. These bars turned out soo yummy!

Here's the recipe:
Adapted from Elinor Klivan's
The Essential Chocloate Chip Cookbook
from Chronicle Books
Serves 8 to 10

2 1/2 cups (15 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup pocked light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
3/4 cup (13 ounces) coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line the pan with a piece of parchment paper that is long enough to extend over two opposite sides of the pan. Butter the paper.

Put 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over a saucepan of barely simmering water; the water should not touch the bowl. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Set aside.

Put the white chocolate chips in another heatproof bowl and place it over the saucepan of barely simmering water; the water should not touch the bowl. Stir until the butterscotch chips are melted and smooth. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated.

Spoon 2 cups of the batter into a medium bowl. Use a large spoon to stir in the melted butterscotch chips until smoothly blended. Stir in the hazelnuts. Scrape the white chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cups chocolate chips over the white chocolate batter. Stir the melted chocolate chips into the remaining batter in the bowl until smoothly blended. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter over the chocolate chips and then use a metal spatula to spread the chocolate batter evenly over the chocolate chips. Some chocolate chips may get mixed into the chocolate batter-this is fine.

Bake just until the top feels firm when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 40 minutes. If the toothpick penetrates a chocolate chip, test another spot. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Loosen the sides of the brownie from the unlined sides of the pan and use the ends of the paper to lift the brownies from the pan.

CUT into pieces and ENJOY!!!

The brownies can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.