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A traditional pineapple upside down cake has a layer of caramelized pineapple sitting atop a sponge cake or a vanilla cake. These relatively “plain” cakes are a great base to show off other flavors, including pineapple, but you don’t have to limit your upside down desserts to only one type of cake, as extra layers of flavor are rarely a bad thing. This Pineapple Upside Down Banana Cake is even more tropical twist than your average pineapple upside down cake, with a sweet layer of banana cake underneath a topping of caramelized pineapple pieces.

I always describe the cake batter as being the “base” of an upside down cake because it is the base when the cake is served. When you are assembling the cake, however, a layer of butter, sugar and pineapple is placed into the pan as the literal bottom of the dessert. That mixture only becomes the topping when the cake is turned out for serving. The topping mixture of butter, sugar and brown sugar helps to caramelize the pineapple pieces as the cake bakes. Canned pineapple is a perfectly good choice for this recipe, so you don’t have to run out to get a fresh pineapple if you don’t already have one sitting in your kitchen!

The cake is a moist, fluffy banana cake that is scented with cinnamon and vanilla. While you might not think of...

You can’t go wrong with a fruit crumble when you want a simple and satisfying dessert. Fruit crumbles fall into the comfort food category to me, largely because they were a staple in my house when I was growing up. I’ll make small-batch crumbles for myself as a treat and bigger ones when I’m entertaining. This Apple & Blackberry Crumble is a good option any time of the year and this recipe makes enough to share.

The amount of fruit that you need to make this crumble is not set in stone. I wouldn’t recommend using less fruit than I suggest in the recipe, but you can fit in more if your baking dish is deep enough. There is plenty of crumble topping to accommodate a lot of fruit! As it stands, I recommend using 6-7 large apples and 2-3 cups of blackberries. There is a small amount of sugar in the filling. If you are using very tart apples, consider being a bit more generous with the sugar.

Though I tend to make it throughout the summer when blackberries are readily available, you can make this crumble all year round using frozen blackberries. The frozen berries work just as well as fresh in a crumble like this one. Apples, of course, are best when they are fresh. I peel and cut the apples into 10-12 slices, then cut the slices in half...

Creme brulee is a dessert that we all love to indulge in from time to time. The delicate custard combined with a crisp, caramelized sugar crust is a match made in heaven. Often, creme brulees are served with a few berries and a sprig of fresh mint on the side. Berries go well with cream, so why not bake the berries right into the custard in the first place? This Raspberry Creme Brulee has fresh berries baked right into a vanilla custard, and it’s topped with a perfectly caramelized sugar crust.

While there are plenty of recipes where frozen and fresh raspberries can be used interchangeably, this is not one of them and you really need to use fresh raspberries here. The fresh berries hold their shape well during baking and don’t release too much liquid into the custard during baking, so you end up with tender berries and a silky-smooth custard. The custard is flavored with vanilla, which really contrasts well with the sweet-tart berries as you eat.

Creme brulees are often baked in shallow ramekins to allow for the maximum caramel-to-cream ratio. These dishes don’t work quite as well for this version of the dessert, since you really want the raspberries to be almost completely covered by the custard. Instead of shallow ramekins, use 6-oz or 8-oz ramekins for this recipe. You will be able to make 5 portions of the dessert...

Rolling pins are an essential piece of kitchen equipment for a variety of different cooking tasks. You need them to roll out pie dough, puff pastry and cookie dough for cut-out cookies. They can also be used for other kitchen tasks, like crushing nuts, pepper and ice, or tenderizing meat. You may not need it every day, but the “kitchen hacks” that suggest using a wine bottle or other object just don’t get the job done as easily and efficiently as a real rolling pin.

But there is more than one type of rolling pin out there – so how do you pick one out? There are two main properties of a rolling pin that you need to take into consideration – the shape and the material it is made out of – but you will also need to consider what you’ll be using the rolling pin for when picking one out.

Rolling Pin Shape

There are three main types of rolling pins: tapered rolling pins, straight (cylindrical) rolling pins and rolling pins with handles. Tapered rolling pins are generally considered to be the best choice for rolling out pastry and yeasted doughs. The ends of a tapered pin are easy to grip and make it easy to move the dough around your work space, stretching it as you go. You can get a little more aggressive with a dough that...

Honey roasted peanuts have long been a favorite snack food of mine, though I admit that I don’t have them all that often. The peanuts have crisp coating that is both salty and sweet, making them downright addictive. These Honey Roasted Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies offer a salty-sweet twist on a classic chocolate chip cookie by incorporating both peanut butter and honey roasted peanuts – along with plenty of chocolate chips, of course!

You’re going to need a generous amount of honey roasted peanuts for this recipe, but you probably have all the other items that you need in your kitchen already. The peanuts can be whole or halved, but they don’t need to be chopped up any smaller than that. Even a whole peanut (shelled, of course!) is about the size of a chocolate chip, so the two ingredients mix in surprisingly well as you put the dough together. The dough starts by creaming together butter and a small amount of peanut butter, then adding in ingredients like brown sugar and vanilla to give the dough a great flavor base. There is just enough peanut butter to help highlight the peanuts without making these feel like regular peanut butter cookies.

I made these cookies a little bigger than average, though they’re not the jumbo bakery-style cookies you’ll see at some places. Each ball of dough was a very generous...

The most popular meal for Mother’s Day is brunch, and even restaurants that don’t usually offer a brunch menu tend to roll one out just for that day. Brunch is a fun meal, one where you can eat cake (coffee cake) alongside savory dishes in a way that you don’t usually do at lunch or dinner. The lines are long when you go out for brunch on Mother’s Day, however, so I recommend staying home, buying flowers and whipping up a batch of one of these amazing pancake recipes for everyone to enjoy.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chunk Pancakes  – More indulgent than your average pancake recipe, these fluffy pancakes are packed with chunks of dark chocolate. The chunks of chocolate melt while the pancake bakes, giving you a gooey and delicious finished product. Top these with powdered sugar.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes – Made without any wheat flour, these tender pancakes will give you a great base recipe if you are cooking for friends and family that don’t eat gluten. Adapt the recipe for different flavors by adding chocolate chunks (as above) or fresh fruit!

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes – A twist on a classic cake recipe, each one of these...

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast foods. Not only is it delicious, but there are an almost endless number of variations that you can put on the basic combination of eggs, milk and bread. This Lemon Vanilla French Toast is designed with springtime brunches in mind. It has just the right hint of citrus and vanilla that makes each bite feel just a little bit more indulgent than your average french toast recipe.

The batter for this french toast starts off very simply, with milk and eggs. A generous amount of lemon zest and a splash of vanilla extract are added to the mix. The zest is the colorful outer part of the peel of a citrus fruit and it is packed with flavorful oils, so you get a lot of lemon flavor from it. You don’t want to add lemon juice directly to the milk mixture because it could cause the milk to curdle, taking away from the texture of the dish. If you let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes after whisking it up, you’ll give the milk a chance to pick up more of the oils from the zest.

French toast batter isn’t always sweetened, since the toast is typically served with syrup or confectioners’ sugar to sweeten it up once its on your plate. I added a touch of maple syrup to the mix here,...

When I think about breakfast foods, I think about something that is relatively easy to make. When I think about brunch foods, I think of dishes that are a little bit more time consuming to make or a lot more impressive to look at. These almost-too-pretty-to-eat Puff Pastry Egg Tarts are the best of both worlds and I’m sharing the recipe for how to make them over on the Craftsy blog (it’s free!!).

The tarts start with a puff pastry base. You can use homemade puff pastry or store-bought, and you’ll get good results with both options. The tart cases are partially baked, then and egg and a few other ingredients are added before they return to the oven to really crisp up. It’s quick enough for a breakfast (especially if you are using store-bought puff pastry), but has a real wow-factor as a brunch dish. The thing that I really like about them is that this style of tart is incredibly versatile. You can add a wide variety of veggies to the tarts along with the eggs – and you can even add meats, like bacon or chopped up sausage. The options are endless and every variation will be just as delicious as the simple one I show in the Craftsy post.

The post Baking Bites for Craftsy: Breakfast Puff Pastry Egg Tarts appeared...

Key lime pie is a wonderful summertime dessert that I always enjoy making. Not only is it easy to put together, but the zesty and creamy filling is completely satisfying with every bite, thanks to its combination of sweet and tart flavors. These Key Lime Pie Bars are a little bit easier to make than a traditional key lime pie and are the perfect option for a summer treat when you’re entertaining.

Key lime pie is often served in a graham cracker crust. The only problem with graham cracker crusts is that they can get soggy more quickly than some other types of crust, so I opted to use a shortbread for the base of these bars instead. The buttery shortbread is made with brown sugar and cinnamon to bring in some extra flavor and contrast more with the key lime filling. The base could easily be used for other bars, too, even when you’re not baking key lime pie.

Although I made a slightly less traditional crust for this recipe, the filling is very traditional. It combines sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and egg yolks. Key limes are smaller and more acidic than their larger counterparts, so they really deliver a tremendous amount of lime flavor. If you can find the at your local market, you’ll probably need about 12 key limes for this recipe. If you can’t...

A mint julep is a classic cocktail that has become one of the symbols of the Kentucky Derby, largely because it has been the official drink of the race for nearly 100 years. The cocktail is made with bourbon, sugar and mint, and it comes in a silver cup that is packed full of crushed ice. The finished cocktail is not unlike a very adult sno-cone – but one with a real kick to it.

Juleps were originally made with a wide variety of spirits, including gin and brandy, but bourbon is what most of us associate with them because of the Kentucky Derby tradition. The drink is so simple that all the elements in it are equally important: the mint and ice make it cool and refreshing, the sugar takes the edge off the bourbon, while the bourbon provides a kick. It was served in peweter or silver julep cups, which have a foot at the bottom and a tall rim. These cups allowed the drinker to hold the cup from the very top or bottom while displaying the frosted sides of the cup. The julep was considered to be a drink that was considered to be a very refreshing option for the refined drinker when it came into popularity in the South, so there is little doubt that the julep cups were something of a status...

Cinco de May has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture – including the food and drinks of our southern neighbor. Mexican restaurants are usually packed and lots of both restaurants and bars offer margarita, mezcal and beer specials to those wanting to celebrate. Cinco de Mayo can be a little bit busy for me when it falls on a weekend, so I usually mix up some margaritas and other treats at home. If you’re planning your Cinco de Mayo menu, too, you can’t go wrong with these favorites.

Margarita Cheesecake Bars – These luscious cheesecake bars are gobbled up in minutes every time I make them. The filling is made with tangy cream cheese, accented with lime, orange liqueur and tequila. It sits on top of a graham cracker crust that has a salty sweet finish – just like the salt on the rim of a margarita.

Tequila Sunrise Muffins – You don’t need to wait until the sun goes down to start celebrating. These cocktail-inspired muffins are made with fresh orange zest and have a cherry twist to them. There is a bit of tequila in the mix, too, but you won’t catch a buzz even if you eat the whole batch. Serve them up with homemade Tequila Sunrise Cocktails to start the day right!

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles – If you enjoy...

Coffee cakes are a wonderful category of baked good because they give you a license to eat dessert for breakfast. Coffee cakes are not typically frosted, instead they are frequently topped off with streusel for extra sweetness and texture. This Blackberries & Cream Coffee Cake is a perfect weekend coffee cake that skips the streusel in favor of a vanilla cheesecake topping that is the “cream” to contrast with the sweet-tart berries.

The coffee cake starts out with a simple vanilla cake batter, which a generous amount of blackberries are folded into before it is poured into a baking pan. You can use fresh or frozen berries in this recipe. If you are using frozen berries, do not defrost them before stirring them into the batter. You may also want to prepare the topping first so that the cake doesn’t have to sit out for too long before going into the oven. Fresh berries are a great choice when they’re in season.

The topping is a cheesecake-like batter that is poured in a thin layer over the batter before baking. The ingredients are the same as those that you would find in a cheesecake, but it is much thinner than an actual cheesecake filling would be. This allows the cream cheese layer to be poured evenly over the cake batter and not to sink down into it during baking.

Since the...

Brown sugar can become hard when exposed to air, making it difficult to measure and to incorporate into recipes. As delicious as it is, you don’t really want to find a chunk of unincorporated brown sugar in your next cake or cookie! Brown sugar’s high moisture content is what keeps it soft and that moisture begins to evaporate when exposed to their air, causing the sugar to harden. The sugar granules in brown sugar are coated with molasses – that’s what gives it its color and flavor, if you want to try making your own – and as it dries, that coating becomes very sticky, creating the clumps that you just don’t get in white sugar.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep brown sugar soft and fresh until you’re ready to use it.

How to Store Brown Sugar

The best way to store brown sugar is in an airtight container, which will trap all the moisture in the sugar and keep it soft. I like to transfer mine to a more solid container from the plastic bag that it comes in, as the bags are susceptible to small rips that can let in air. If you don’t have a container with an airtight lid available (some containers seem to lose their airtightness over time), place a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the container before pressing the...

When warmer weather rolls around, I find myself making smoothies and milkshakes on a regular basis. They’re not only a delicious way to cool down, but they’re filling enough to stand in for a meal when you don’t really feel like cooking. That being said, I usually opt for smoothies during the day and save the milkshakes for the evening. My favorite smoothies are fruity enough to be served for breakfast, but sweet enough to make a satisfying dessert any time of day.

This Pineapple Julius Smoothie is inspired by a smoothie that I used to get at Orange Julius shops when I was a kid. The eponymous Orange Julius smoothies were a favorite of mine and I have been making a homemade Orange Julius recipe, as well as other julius variations, for many years. This pineapple version is made with fresh pineapple, pineapple juice and orange juice as a base, but the thing that really sets this smoothie apart from other fruit smoothies is the addition of an egg white to the other ingredients.

The egg white in this recipe gives the smoothie a very light texture and creates a creaminess, even though there is no dairy present! You can use a fresh egg white or a pasteurized egg white from a carton (which is very safe for all ages). Packaged egg white substitutes (many of which are simply...

Macadamia nuts and white chocolate are a match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. Macadamia nuts can go well with a wide variety of ingredients, of course, but their buttery nuttiness pairs perfectly with the creamy vanilla of white chocolate. Anyone who has eaten a good white chocolate macadamia nut cookie can confirm this, as it is one of the most popular ways to use macadamia nuts in the kitchen. As good as they are, those cookies aren’t the only option for baking with macadamia nuts and these Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Tea Cakes are a great way to start expanding your repertoire.

The tea cakes are similar to cupcakes, but they’re a touch sweeter than your average cupcake and don’t need any frosting to finish them off. These start with a batter made with ground macadamia nuts. You can grind them into meal – just like almond meal or flour – in your food processor in just a few seconds. I recommend starting with toasted macadamia nuts (they’re most often sold toasted), since they have a greater depth of flavor than untoasted nuts, but both will work. The ground nuts are combined with flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla to make the rest of the batter. White chocolate chips are folded in before baking.

I didn’t include any chopped nuts in the cake batter because I...

There are all kinds of flours to choose from when it comes to baking, and what you have in your pantry will largely be determined by the types of treats that you bake. All purpose flour is a staple because of its versatility, while cake flour tends to be a must-have for cake-lovers and whole wheat flour is a mainstay for many who bake yeast breads – and that is only skimming the surface on the wide variety of flours out there. Pastry flour is something that I keep in my pantry and over on the Craftsy blog (it’s free!!) , I’m going over How to Use Pastry Flour.

Pastry flour is a lower protein flour that is perfect for producing lighter and more tender baked goods than you can with all purpose flour. It is higher in protein than cake flour, so it’s a lot more versatile. In the Craftsy post, I’ll go over how to use it and how to make substitutes for it when you don’t have any (or only have it but have a recipe that uses another type of flour). For me, pastry flour is easy to work with and yields great results in all kinds of recipes. You can usually find it at well-stocked grocery stores and places like Whole Foods, as well as...

I enjoy any cookie that includes oatmeal in the dough. Oatmeal is wonderfully nutty that adds an extra layer of flavor to a dough, as well as adding texture to finished cookies. These Cinnamon Raisin Granola Cookies use granola instead of oatmeal to put a twist on a traditional oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.

You’re going to need about 2 cups of granola for this recipe. I recommend having a little bit extra on hand because, if you’re like me, you’ll probably snack your way though a handful or so while you put together the cookies. There are many kinds of granola out there to choose from. While I used an easy homemade granola, you can certainly use store-bought granola in this recipe. You simply want to look for a granola that is oatmeal-based or at least features lots of oatmeal to get the texture right. I prefer one made with dried fruits and nuts, though a granola with chocolate bits in it is not a bad idea either.

Since my homemade granola includes both raisins and pecans, I added more of those in this dough. If yours includes dried cranberries, for instance, you might want to use more dried cranberries instead of raisins. The vanilla and cinnamon tie in well with just about any flavor of granola that you might happen to use, although you can spice things up a bit...

As the days get longer and we get closer to summer, I find that I get up a lot earlier in the morning than I do in the winter. This is in part because it is light out so much earlier, but also because I like to beat the heat when it comes to outdoor activities. Getting up early on the weekends means that I have plenty of time to make tasty brunch dishes. Weekdays, I prefer a grab-and-go option when I’m literally trying to get out the door as quickly as possible. This Skillet Granola is an easy option for a quick, delicious and relatively healthy (at least, compared to a stack of waffles!) breakfast or snack option.

Most granola recipes are baked in the oven to dry out the ingredients, turning plain oats into crispy granola. In this recipe, an oat mixture is cooked in a skillet to produce similar results in just minutes. To make it even more delicious, I start the granola with a little bit of browned butter, which amplifies the natural nuttiness of the oats and helps them to crisp up as they cook.

As a sweetner – because ever granola needs a little bit of sweetener – I use a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup to give the granola a nice flavor profile while adding a little complexity, since both sweeteners have very...

Lots of kids looked forward to a big glass of chocolate milk as a treat when they were growing up. While I liked chocolate milk, I preferred to sip bright pink Strawberry Milk when I had the chance. I loved the sweet berry flavor and the oh-so-pretty color – and I’ll even have the occasional glass to this very day, though I make my all natural Homemade Strawberry Milk instead of opting for the store-bought powder.

This year, Baileys released a Strawberries n’ Cream liqueur that definitely brings back memories of my childhood favorite – even if it is in a much more adult package. The creamy liqueur is similar in consistency to Baileys classic Irish Cream liqueur, but it is a soft pink color and has a soft strawberry and vanilla flavor to it. It tastes a lot like strawberry ice cream, but with a hint of alcohol at the end. It’s sweet, but very tasty, and it inspired me to get a little creative in the kitchen to see how else I could use it besides in a cocktail.

These Baileys Strawberries n’ Cream Cupcakes use a very generous amount of the seasonal liqueur in the batter and are topped with a Strawberries n’ Cream...

Back when I started blogging in 2004, blogs tended not to have all that many frills. We felt great if we got up a single photo with our content! A comment section where you could ask questions and a link to a blogroll to find other food content were the two most desirable – and only – features to have. As blogs got to be a little more sophisticated, we started to add features like print buttons and links to social media accounts, followed by feeds from social accounts and newsletter signups. As we utilized newer features, some of the older ones fell out of favor. Most sites still have comment sections, but print buttons and blogrolls have largely been left in the dust.

I can’t point to a single date when print buttons on blogs (and other sites) started to become less common, but they have definitely become far less common as mobile devices became ever more popular. Part of the reason that some bloggers eliminate them is to help streamline their site design and leave room for more social links. Another reason is that they simply aren’t utilized as much as they once were.

A very significant portion of my traffic, for instance, comes from mobile devices like phones and tablets. Since you can take your phone or tablet into the kitchen, many...