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Are you as smitten with hibiscus as I am? I mean, the color alone is worth swooning over, but I love that tart taste as well. I mainly drink hibiscus as tea, but it was only a matter of time before it found its way into my baking.

*this recipe is sponsored by Imperial Sugar.

You can find hibiscus tea blends easily in the grocery store, but I wanted the straight stuff. I found it on Amazon. Judging from the size of the bag in my pantry, there are a lot more hibiscus creations in my (and your) future.

Not only I am head-over-heels with the tart and sweet lemon squares, but the color is also so precious. It's almost rose-gold in color...soft and sweet. Ballet slipper pink. If you want to bump up the color so that these really SCREAM "hibiscus," add a few drops of pink food coloring to the filling mix.

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

There's almost nothing sweeter than little girls in white dresses and veils and boys in little suits and ties celebrating first Communion. Our nephew Tony made his first Communion over the weekend and, of course, cookies were in order.

I've made communion cookies and here. I love them still but decided to make these a little differently AND make a set of cookies, rather than all one design.

That host and chalice cookie cutter is one of my very favorites. It's so special. You can find it here. The design is supposed to be wheat. Does it look a little like wheat? Also, I couldn't help but add a heart in the center. Aaaaaand, there's a heart on the rosary and a heart on one of the cross designs. (I like ♥s.)

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Don't worry. I have not abandoned food colorings. A girl does like to have some options, though.

Over on The Pioneer Woman Food and Friends, I'm showing some easy (and interesting) ways to color icing naturally. Some of the ingredients you might guess...others, you might not. Hellooooo, microalgae. Yep. I said algae. On a food blog.

I colored royal icing for decorating cookies as well as buttercream. Ah, those speckles!

I LOVE the look of the natural dyes...they're soft, and pretty, and well, natural.

Come read all about them over at Ree's

This pie has been on my mind for a while now. Why I decided to make a chocolate cream pie for the Easter that Mr. E and I were empty-nesters, I don't know. I promise I did not eat half of a pie (in one sitting).

First things first, Mr. E is a traditional fruit pie lover. A Key lime (or not-so-key-lime) pie lover. This pie knocked his socks off.

We're going to start off with a chocolate crust. This is not any chocolate cookie crust. This is a chocolate cookie crust WITH more chocolate stirred in! The entire crust is then...covered in a layer of chocolate ganache.

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!
I've been a fangirl of Jessica from How Sweet Eats for...forever. Pretty much since she started blogging. I love Jessica's voice, her recipes, her photography, her adorable family. Yep. Fangirl.

Her latest book just hit the shelves - The Pretty Dish: More than 150 Everyday Recipes & Beauty DIYs to Nourish your Body Inside and Out. You might notice that I started flagging the recipes I wanted to make...and things got a little out of hand. I was tagging EVERY recipe. And the ones that weren't tagged? Oh, those were just recipes for fall and winter that I plan on making later. You're going to feel the same way!

Let's take a moment to look at these Zucchini Bread Pancakes from the book. Oh, hello.
(More on these in a minute.)

What I've always loved about Jessica's recipes is her knack for combining ingredients in inventive and approachable ways. The recipes in the book are no exception. They're simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner but special enough to serve to company.

Recipes cover appetizers to pizza to tacos to soups to breakfast to desserts. I made the Toasted Garlic Tomato Bisque last night, and it's going into our regular rotation. Here are some more beauties...

I had SO MUCH FUN with this. Have you ever used natural dyes to color Easter eggs? Until recently, I'd never tried it...and now? Well, maybe I think about it too much.

Dyeing eggs with veggies, spices, tea, etc. opens up a whole world of possibilities! It's part holiday prep, part science experiment, and part excuse to make epic egg salad sandwiches.

Over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends, I'll walk you through how to do it, some of my favorites, and even a couple of fails. There's even an unexpected ingredient that makes them look like dinosaur eggs!

Come on over and check them out. Please let me know if you ever dyed eggs this way and what your favorite dyes are! 

If you're menu planning for Easter or charged with bringing dessert, I have a few ideas for you. Obviously, I just posted an Easter trifle, so I don't need to mention that. Wait, I just did. 

Here are 9 more. Click the title to go to the recipe. 

1. Favorite Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is an Easter classic. You cannot go wrong with this one. Two things make this version extra special: fresh ginger in the cake and cream cheese frosting. It's one of our favorite cakes ever.

2. Double-Decker Bunnies

Only the sweetest bunny cookies around. Also, two cookies in one!

3. Bunny Bait

This first appeared on the blog waaaaaay back in 2011! It's an oldie but a goodie....and always a hit!

4. Coconut Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

The cake just screams "spring" to me...the coconut, the icing, the sprinkles!

5. Reese's Peanut Butter Egg-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Why don't I make trifles more often? Why? They're fun to make, can be put together ahead of time, and feed a crowd. Oh, and they happen to be delicious! They're one of those desserts that you bring to the table, and people say, "wow!"

*this recipe is sponsored by Imperial Sugar

If you've never made a trifle before, it's basically cake, pudding, and cream - layered and chilled. Very easily adaptable to pretty much any flavor combination. You'll see brownies in place of the cake portion often, and that's what I did here.

This trifle is inspired by malt ball Easter egg candies. They're so addicting...and so cute. I decided to add a little malt flavor in every layer of the trifle.
(Those little eggs are also quite tricky to chop. You may need to break out the hammer. Just don't do it while your husband is on an important conference call in the next room. Ha.)

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Last month, Mr. E and I went to Austin and ate dinner at a place with killer cheeseboards...and grissini (thin breadsticks). The grissini were light, thin, and crunchy with just the right amount of bacon and parmesan.

I've thought a lot about those breadsticks since we've been home and finally decided to try making them at home.

There's good news and bad news here. The bad news is that I did not manage to recreate the grissini from the restaurant. The good news is...these are pretty darn good. So good that I ate ten (10!!!) before Mr. E even made it home for dinner. Oops.

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Are you on spring break? If you are, I think these muffins are in order.

So homey, so delectable, so...quick to make!

There's just something special about the texture of corn muffins. Add in a little buttermilk, a little vanilla, a little brown sugar and you really have yourself a winner.

That filling of blackberry jam makes them extra special - and there's no need to carve out the centers or anything like that.

I'm sharing my recipe over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends today. ♥ 

Let's get this weekend started off right - with chocolate!

My latest post over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends is Chocolate 101. We'll talk about the different types of chocolate from milk to dark, and even white. Then, there are feves, and wafers, and couverture chocolate. Oh my!

Yep, it's all about chocolate today. Go read all about it...I'll be sitting here snacking on a few chocolate chips. :)

What's your favorite chocolate? 

So, maybe I worked out for an hour, came home, made cookies, and ate three of them (totally ingesting more calories than I burned). Is that SO wrong?

To say that these chewy, chocolatey, spiced cookies are irresistible is an understatement. I am going to have to remove myself from the house for a few hours in an attempt to forget about them...until I get home.

It all started with an email from someone on the Martha Stewart team. (Oh hey, Martha. Sure, I can meet you in The Hamptons for spring break.) OK, it didn't actually go like that. They were emailing to let me know about some awesome new products at Macy's and offered to send me samples of a couple of things. (Twist my arm.)

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Not to sound creepy, but I know what you're doing this weekend. You're making these pretzels!!! are!

Soft pretzels are surprisingly easy to make, and they are just divoon. (Name that movie.)

Be sure to have a thin cookie spatula on hand. The pretzels do tend to stick a bit when baking, and a cookie spatula does the trick removing them from the sheet.

This recipe makes 6. Perfect for a couple of empty-nesters like us, three apiece.

I'm sharing the recipe over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends. Go get it! 

Cookie decorator extraordinaire, LilaLoa, has a new book out and it's not about cookies - it's about popcorn! Gourmet Popcorn: 100 recipes for any occasion by Georganne Bell is a beautiful and fun book full of fanciful ways to dress up popcorn.

You'll find both sweet and savory popcorn recipes inside. I know Mr. E is going to be ALL ABOUT those savory options. You know, though, that I started with sweet. Cookie Dough Popcorn, hello!!!

That Frosted Animal Cracker popcorn is next on my list.

One thing I love about Georganne's book is that she makes popcorn on the stove the exact same way I do. This method truly makes for the best microwave here. (I think I just outed myself as a popcorn snob. I blame my dad.)

Let's make it. First, pop your popcorn.

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

First things first, let me apologize for these photos. They're a little blurry. It's a dark rainy day here, so that could be a contributing factor. Also, maybe my hand was shaking in anticipation of eating the cookie. Either way, I'm sorry!

Alrighty, we're reviewing Trader Joe's Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie. You'll find it in the freezer section; it bakes from frozen. One cookie costs $3.89.

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Do not run screaming from this post!!! Turmeric cake. I know, it sounds a little...different.

You guys, I'm not kidding. This cake is my new favorite. So bright, so fresh, so zingy, so...yellow!

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

(Channeling my inner Sophia Petrillo): Picture it. Valentine's Day 2018. 
Mr. E and I were driving in from out-of-town and I knew I wouldn't have the time (or energy) to bake a Valentine's Day dessert. So, before we left, I bought some chocolate and strawberries to dip when we got home.

Unfortunately, several of the strawberries were mushy and weepy. Not what I had in mind. I dipped the few good ones and then opened the fridge to spy a produce drawer full of clementines. Why not try it?

I've talked before about how I used to have an aversion to chocolate and orange together. I got over it. (PSST...make this, too.)

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

Comfort food at its best!!! I love beer bread. Love. LOVE. Am I being clear here? Beer bread is my spirit animal.

Over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends, we're talking beer bread. What is it? How does it taste? Does the type of beer used matter? How can I jazz it up?

Oh, and there's a recipe for basic beer bread as well as a recipe for Gruyere and Cheddar Beer Bread. (Is it time for lunch, yet?)

Seriously, though...go check it out. You could have a warm buttery loaf on your table for lunch - TODAY! It's that quick and easy. Go! 

...because you NEED one more treat for Valentine's Day. You do!

These peanut butter blossom-ish cookies are made with Nutella instead of peanut butter. There's also a bit of cocoa powder in the dough. Rolled in Valentine sprinkles (nonpareils) just before baking, the cookies have great crunch!

One of my favorite things about peanut butter blossoms holds true here...that chocolate heart pressed on top stays a little soft. So good! So pretty! So Valentine-y!

Did I mention that they're a snap to make? No? Well, they're a snap to make, so if you're looking for a last-minute cookie for lunch boxes, school parties, or to take to the office, you've found it!

CLICK TO READ MORE...more sugar this way!

If you're decorating some Valentine cookies this weekend, how about some Valentine emoji cookies? There's something so irresistible about them.

*this cookie tutorial is sponsored by Imperial Sugar

I chose three faces that I thought captured Valentine's Day: the wink, the kissy face, and the heart eyes. I'll admit to using all three of these on a regular basis.

They're fairly simple to make, especially with one trick I'm going to show you for the base layer. I'll also share the step-by-step decorating instructions, the size cookie cutter for the perfect emojis, as well as recipes. Woo hoo!

It's all happening over on the Imperial Sugar Blog, Sweetalk. ♥  What's your most used emoji? (Mine is the red surprise there.)