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

Rainbow Cake

The minute I came across this recipe on Whisk Kid’s blog, I just had to try it.  I also had the perfect occasion to do so – Charlie’s 1st Birthday!  Not only does the cake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting taste amazing, but it’s also such a fun cake!  The professional photos are courtesy of super talented photographer, Beth Ludwig of Ludwig Photography, who took Charlie’s 1 year photos.  She did an unbelievable job capturing his little personality.  I really felt like I had accomplished something with this cake, and hope that Charlie likes it enough to want it on his birthday every year!

*You could definitely try to do this with boxed white cake and store-bought frosting, however, I think that the density of this particular cake and most definitely the frosting is what gives it its structural integrity and makes it look so perfect.  With that said, I won’t judge…



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 egg whites, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, warmed for 30 seconds in microwave to bring to room temp
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple GEL food coloring
    • Liquid will not be vibrant enough!
To fill and crumb coat:

  • 9 egg whites
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used the artificial clear vanilla extract to be sure the frosting stayed as white as possible)

To frost:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil and line how ever many 9” cake pans you have (I have four and I just reused them)
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Cream the sugar and butter, then add the egg whites (I cracked them all into one bowl) and add them a little at a time.
  • Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Then, alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.
  • Divide the batter amongst 6 bowls (it’s about 1 cup each)
  • Whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl
    • Keep in mind that the color of the unbaked batter will be the color of the baked batter.
  • Pour into the pans and bake for approximately 15 minutes each
  • When you remove them from the oven, let them rest on the cooling rack, in the pan, for ten minutes. Then flip, wrap in plastic wrap, and stash them in the freezer to cool quickly


  • Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has reached 160°F
  • The sugar should be completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done)
  • Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp.
  • Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next (count to 10 in between each piece)
  • After all the butter has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and whip until it has come together, about five minutes
  • Add the extract, beat briefly and then use
    • If the buttercream seems soupy after all of the butter is added and does not come together after whipping, refrigerate for 5 to 7 minutes and continue whipping until it becomes fluffy and workable.
    • Here are Whisk Kid’s step-by-step directions for making this frosting, I strongly recommend reading this over thoroughly before attempting it!


  • Stack the layers in your preferred order and fill and frost as you would any other cake – make sure you have a good amount of frosting in between each layer so you get the right visual effect
  • Once frosted, the cake can be left on the counter without any problems, but you can also refrigerate it.
  • Just be sure that the cake is at room temperature when serving or the frosting will be hard, not smooth


Egg Biscuits

I’m a huge fan of egg biscuits anytime of year – but especially around Easter.  I’m pretty sure that eating light, fluffy cookies topped with pastel sprinkles puts anyone                       in a good mood.



    • 4 cups flour
    • 4 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Approximately 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp anise extract (you could also use lemon or vanilla extract)
  • Milk



    • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and sugar
    • In your mixing bowl, combine the oil, eggs, milk and vanilla extract
    • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
    • The dough will be VERY sticky!  DO NOT add more flour
    • Dip your fingers in flour and roll the dough into balls of desired size – these will grow, so keep it close to the size of a walnut
    • Place on a greased or parchment paper lined pan and bake at 375°F for approximately 7-10 minutes
      • The tops will be white and the bottoms will be golden brown
  • Place the confectioners sugar in a small mixing bowl and add milk to the sugar 1 tbsp at a time
  • Whisk the milk and sugar together until you reach your desired consistency
    • You don’t want the glaze to be too runny, but you also don’t want it to be thick – somewhere in the middle is just right
  • While the cookies are still warm, dip them into the glaze – store the cookies in an airtight container (this will get them to be moist)

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!

Biscotti di Vino

Biscotti di Vino is really just a fancy name for wine biscuits.  I love these little treats with a cup of coffee in the morning or as a snack in the afternoon… they always seem to hit the sweet tooth spot.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  Optional: 1/2  – 1 1/2 tsp  ground black pepper
    • Adds a nice little bit of spice – but if you’re making it for kids, I’d leave it out
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark red wine, the darker the better
    • You could also use white, but I think that the red gives them more flavor


  • Combine the dry ingredients
  • Add in the oil and wine and mix until it just forms a dough
  • Roll a small ball of dough out into a small cylinder and tie into a knot or just pinch into a round circle
  • Line up the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart
  • Bake on the middle oven rack at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown

Classic Baklava

This is my mom’s recipe for classic baklava.  It’s not drenched in syrup and it’s not overly nutty – it’s just crunchy, sweet and perfectly balanced. 


  • 1 lb. filo dough
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lb. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice



  • Process the walnuts in a food processor until they’re finely ground but not too powdery (keep checking the consistency so you don’t over process) – you could also do this with a nut grinder if you have one
  • Mix the walnuts with the sugar, rose water and melted butter – start with 2 tbsp of butter and add in the 3rd if you think the mixture needs more moisture to stick together
  • Pour the water into small sauce pan over medium-high heat
  • Add in the sugar, keep stirring and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat, add in the lemon juice and keep stirring over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and become syrup-like
  • Be careful not to burn the syrup, it should remain a light color like light corn syrup, not golden brown like caramel or maple syrup
  • Add the rose water in and blend well – take off the heat and allow to cool
  • Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and cover the stack with waxed paper and a damp towel – this will prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle (you don’t want the damp towel directly on the dough because it will ruin it)
  • Lay out a sheet of filo and brush it generously with butter
  • Lay another sheet on top of that one and brush it with butter (repeat this until you have a total of 4 sheets)
  • Place an inch wide strip of walnut mixture along the bottom edge of the filo dough rectangle (make sure you place the walnuts along the longer side of filo)
  • Roll the filo dough around the walnuts, pinching it to make sure it’s tight, and roll it up totally
  • Cut the roll on the diagonal into pieces about 2 inches long (you should get approximately 10 pieces per roll)
  • Repeat this process until you’re out of filo dough sheets (you should get 4 rolls)
  • Place the pieces onto a greased baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
    • Makes approximately 40 pieces
  • While the baklava is warm, drizzle it with the cooled syrup
    • Brush a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter
    • Layer 6 sheets of filo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Spoon the walnuts over the filo
    • Cover with 6 more sheets of filo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Score the top 3 sheets with a knife
    • Bake at 350°F for approximately 40-45 minutes or until golden brown
    • Cut into pieces of desired size and drizzle with the syrup while still warm