Devil Dog Cupcakes

I’m not ashamed to admit that my favorite childhood treat was (and still is) Devil Dogs.  So when I heard that Hostess (which also owns Drake’s) was filing Chapter 11 – I panicked.  I needed to find a replacement just in case they were really going to be gone forever.  The result is even better than the original, mainly because it’s not so dry you need a drink of water after each bite.  I recommend this recipe for any Devil Dog fan.   

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Strawberry Scones

These scones are ridiculously good. They’re a bit sweeter than traditional scones and the strawberries bring them to a whole new level.  I could pretty much indulge in one of these any time of day.


  • 4 cups flour + 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, very cold and chopped
  • 1 cup dried strawberries, chopped
  • 4 cold eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water (or cream) for the egg wash
  • Sugar for sprinkling


  • Combine 4 cups flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl – mix well
  • Add in the cubed butter and mix on low until the butter chunks are the size of peas
  • Toss the strawberries with 1 tbsp flour and then add them to the mixing bowl
  • Next, add in the eggs and cream and mix just until the dough comes together
  • Flour your hands and roll the dough out onto a well-floured surface – you want it to be 3/4″ thick (you should see chunks of butter in the dough)
  • Using a 3″ round biscuit cutter, cut out your scones and line them up with at least 2″ in between each scone on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  • Brush each scone with the egg wash and then sprinkle with granulated sugar
  • Bake at 400°F for approximately 15 minutes
    • Recipe yields approximately 21 scones
    • These freeze really well – after you’ve cut out your scones, freeze the dough and when you’re ready to bake them just defrost and bake!

*Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Armenian Easter Bread (Choreg)

This light and fluffy sweet bread is a staple in our home around Easter.  It’s definitely worth the effort and you can make it ahead of time and freeze it for the breakfast on Easter morning.  The spice mahleb gives this bread its signature taste – so don’t leave it out.  You won’t regret making the extra effort to find it in a Middle Eastern market.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 5 eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed (I used about 8)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground mahleb (make sure this is finely ground, you do NOT want chunks!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp cream


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. Heat until butter is melted, but do not let it boil. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve 2 tsp of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface, and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and stir a little to break up the yolks. Slowly pour in the heated milk mixture while whisking constantly, so as to temper the eggs and not cook them. Add the yeast mixture and vanilla, and stir just until blended.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, mahleb, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet mixture and the vegetable shortening. (Alternatively, if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, put the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and slowly add in the wet ingredients and then the shortening) Stir until it forms a sticky dough. Pour onto a floured surface, and knead in additional flour as needed to make a more substantial dough.
  • Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, and set in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Separate the dough into 5 even portions, then separate each of those into thirds. Roll each of those into ropes about 12 inches long. Braid sets of three ropes together, pinching the ends to seal, and tucking them under for a better presentation.  (You can also make smaller loaves but you will have to adjust the bake time.)
  • Place the loaves onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  •  Brush the loaves with beaten egg and cream
  • Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely golden brown all over

Garlic Bread

Dressing up a regular loaf of fresh bread makes it that much more irresistible.  I adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and it’s unbelievably tasty and full of vibrant, fresh flavors.  Just don’t make it for a new beau, cause that garlic sure packs a punch.


  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pesto (you could also use plain fresh basil, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened


  • Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced.  Add the parsley, oregano, basil and salt and pepper and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan and add the garlic mixture – saute until the garlic is fragrant – you don’t want to overcook it, you’re just getting rid of the raw garlic flavor.
  • Slice the bread in half horizontally and spread 1 tbsp of butter on each half of bread
  • Spread the garlic mixture evenly on each half of bread (depending on the size of your loaf, you might not need all of the mixture – reserve the extra for another day)
  • Put the halves back together, wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, open the foil up and open the bread so the inside can get a little toasty – bake for an additional 5 minutes

Eggplant Parm Calzone

This calzone combines two of my favorite things: eggplant parm and garlic bread.  These are hard to put down…  


  • 1 lb. bakery dough
  • Breaded eggplant slices (approximately 24)
  • Approximately 1 cup robust red sauce
  • Approximately 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Approximately 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Garlic butter
    • 1-2 tbsp butter, melted
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried parsley


  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 15 in. x 10 in. rectangle (about 1/4″ thick)
  • Place dollops of sauce down the center of the dough, use the back of a spoon to spread it thin
  • Next, place a layer of overlapping breaded eggplant slices down the center of the rolled out dough (about 2-3 slices in each row – depending on size)
  • Top the breaded eggplant with more sauce, make sure the sauce evenly coats the eggplant
  • Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the sauce and repeat until you have three layers of eggplant
  • Pull one side of dough over the cheese and then overlap that by pulling the other side of dough over – fold up the ends and pinch to seal closed
  • Flip the calzone over and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I use Pam with Olive Oil) – brush the calzone with the melted garlic butter
  • Bake in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Let the calzone cool for about 10 minutes (if you can!) and then slice into 1 inch pieces

Mimi’s Spiced Sweet Bread (Kleeja)

This recipe comes from my best friend’s mom.  It’s a Middle Eastern sweet bread that’s perfect toasted up for breakfast or in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea.  Don’t be afraid to “make bread” – it’s really not a hard thing to do!


  • 10 cups of bleached flour (2 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp anise powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar added to 2 cups warm whole milk
  • 1 package of yeast added to 1/2 cup warm water + 1/2 tsp sugar
    • 1-2 egg whites for brushing


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl – mix well (if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, you can place the dry ingredients into the bowl – do NOT use a hand held electric mixer, the weight of the dough will probably break the motor)
  • Add in the melted butter and oil while the mixer is going – if using your hands, get mixin’!
  • Next, add in the water and yeast mixture
  • Lastly, mix in the warm milk and sugar mixture
  • Your dough should be moist, sticky and, well, dough-like – it should not be dry and crumbly nor too wet
  •  Place the dough into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap – place the dough in a warm place away from any drafts for 3 hours so it can rise
    • I always place my rising dough in the cabinet with our cable box, etc. because the equipment gives off some heat and helps the rising process
  • After the dough has rested for 3 hours, roll pieces of dough of desired size into cylinders and twist the dough into a knot (I used a small handful)
  • Place the knotted buns onto a parchment paper lined (or greased) baking sheet and brush the tops with egg whites
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 15 minutes on the top rack and approximately 15 minutes on the bottom rack (next time I make these, I’m going to to cut the time down by a few minutes, so it’s a little bit trial-and-error with the timing)
    • Recipe yields approximately 35-38 buns
    • These freeze really well – once they’ve cooled, just place them in a Ziploc bag and pop in the freezer!

Raspberry Thumbprints

These cookies are always a favorite of mine around the holidays.  They’re light but so flavorful – just the right sweet thing to eat when you feel “to full” for dessert.  


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Approximately 1/2 a jar of seedless raspberry jam (you could also use strawberry or cherry, if you desire)


  • Sift the flour baking powder and salt together into a bowl
  • In another bowl, whip the butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Beat the egg and vanilla into the fluffy butter until just combined
  • Slowly beat in the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated
  • Scoop the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar
  • Place about 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined or greased baking sheet
  • Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2 inch deep (I like to use the back of my 1/2 tsp measuring spoon it makes a perfectly round indent)
  • To fill each cookie with jam, you can either try to carefully spoon it into each indent or you can use a pastry bag or what I do is spoon the jam into a ziplock bag and cut a small piece of the corner off and then squeeze it through the hole – this makes the jam filling process much easier and less messy!
  • Bake cookies at 350°F for approximately 8 minutes or until the bottoms and the edges are golden brown (the tops will remain white)