In a pot on the stove top over low heat, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips; set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and cooled chocolate, mix until evenly combined.
Add applesauce and vanilla; set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly combined.
Add flour mix to the batter and mix until evenly combined.
Lightly mix in the remaining chocolate chips just until incorporated into batter.
Divide batter evenly between two* greased loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
To Make The Glaze
In a small pot over low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring until evenly combined.
Stir in half and half.
Remove from heat and stir in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Drizzle over warm loaves, or pipe onto loaves using a ziplock bag.
Let the chocolate cool and serve.
If you’d prefer to make one full sized loaf, simply add all the batter to one full size loaf pan. Baking time will take a little over an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Typically the chocolate piping is spread between two loaves so there’s not nearly as much piled on, but the ‘breakfast’ bread I was coerced into making I left glaze free. I didn’t want too much chocolate on my mom-conscience before sending them off for school. All that chocolate on their dessert though was a real treat.
Thick fudgey chocolate brownies are topped with a whipped peanut butter spread and then sealed with a rich chocolate ganache. The classic combination of peanut butter & chocolate, but added to brownies? Well that stroke of genius made these Buckeye Brownies both a thing to behold, to cherish, and to enjoy- whatever the occasion.
I do not like bakery cakes or their frosting. (Gasp)
Shocking, I know, but I grew up never eating store bought cake, not even sampling bakery cakes, or pre-made frosting. Now that I have, I know I wasn’t missing anything.
The few times I attempted to use store-bought frosting for decorating cakes, the results were disastrous. It’s not stiff enough to hold it’s shape, and the addition of any food coloring makes it runny.
With four boys who request custom cakes for their birthdays, this obviously, was just not going to work. That, and I couldn’t stomach paying outrageous amounts of money to a bakery when I was sure that with a little practice, trial, and error I could duplicate their designs.
My Grandma and Mom, made beautiful cakes that always tasted just as good, if not better, than they looked and the frosting was always rich and creamy.
So when I made the decision to give my boys the same kind of catered cake experiences I had grown up with, I just knew I had to have my Mom’s recipe to make it happen.
The recipe for my family’s cake decorating frosting is simple and easy to whip up.
It’s even easier to adjust for stiffness so you can customize and create a simple or elaborate cake or cupcake design that will hold firmly in place, but still taste smooth and sugary when cut.
TIPS & TRICKS For Making The Best Buttercream Frosting
If you’re not interested in a plain white frosting for your cake, add a couple of drops of food coloring until your desired color is reached, and then frost.
If the food coloring makes the frosting too runny, like when you have to add a lot (examples being for true red or true black)- add a little powdered sugar just until it firms back up.
If chocolate frosting is more to your taste then simply add cocoa powder, 1 tbsp at a time, until it tastes chocolate-y enough for you.
A Few Other Pointers For Working With Homemade Buttercream
If your frosting is too stiff, and you’re trying to frost any parts of a cake that have been cut or aren’t browned by the outside of the baking pan, it will pull up pieces of cake and make a mess.
Also, don’t wipe! For a neat look that won’t ruin the cake, gently wipe frosting back and forth until frosted. To achieve a smooth, finished look, smooth over with a HOT knife. Dip the knife in hot water to keep it hot and free of any icing clumps. Otherwise, get your bake-on and frost.
There will be mistakes made along the way, but the results are well worth it!
Practice makes perfect, and nothing beats your child’s smile when they see you’ve managed to create something from their imagination, or yours, just for them.
Just for fun, and hopefully some inspiration, below the recipe card are a few of the various cakes I’ve made for my boys over the years.
If you’ve tried this CAKE DECORATING FROSTING, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
A rich, creamy homemade butter cream frosting that's easy to work with, but holds up when trying to decorate cakes and cupcakes is an essential part of every home baker's recipe repertoire. This is that perfect base recipe.
Mix on low speed until evenly combined. Do not whip!
If the frosting is still chunky add milk, 1 tbsp at a time until it’s mixed smooth.
Alternately, if the frosting is too runny, add more confectioners sugar until mixed to desired stiffness.
If you’re not interested in a plain white frosting for your cake, add a couple of drops of food coloring until your desired color is reached, and then frost.If the food coloring makes the frosting too runny, like when you have to add a lot (examples being for true red or true black)- add a little powdered sugar just until it firms back up.If chocolate frosting is more to your taste then simply add cocoa powder, 1 tbsp at a time, until it tastes chocolate-y enough for you.
I needed something quick to take to a friends’ dinner party, but couldn’t decide between my usual list of go-to favorites.
Everything just seemed boring, or over-used.
Imagine you’re trying to get ready for a night out and staring down the gauntlet that is your own closet. Nothing grabs you, nothing fits the venue just right, etc.
Giving up on finding inspiration within my own pantry, I decided to troll through my browsers bookmarks, and settled on tweaking some Key Lime Pie Fudge bites that I had found on About.com.
The prep was simple, the amount of effort involved was minimal, yet when finished I was left with creamy little bites of heaven.
These are THAT good! This is key lime pie fudge is not your Grandma’s fudge recipe.
Give them a try. You will never think of fudge the same way again.
If you’ve tried this KEY LIME PIE FUDGE, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
We absolutely adore a good dip recipe, whether we’re entertaining guests or just entertaining ourselves at home. This creamy spinach and artichoke dip is a copycat of our favorite restaurant version. It’s quick & easy to throw together, but chock full of flavor- and pairs well with a variety of crispy dipping options. Doesn’t hurt that it helps get me excited about eating more spinach either!
Every time I turn around, it seems like groceries get more expensive and I’m getting less ‘bang’ for my buck at checkout. I have a set grocery budget that must feed six people and I only shop once a month. I’m always trying to maximize the amount I can purchase within that and spread the love to all my families’ meals. I love finding ingredients that can cheaply be used to make multiple things, especially things that are key ingredients in multiple recipes. It makes me feel all giddy. Call it an obsession of mine. I know, I’m weird, and I’m totally OK with that.
One thing in particular I know has drastically gone up at the stores is meat, and I use A LOT of meats. Chicken, especially, has seen a price hike and I haven’t seen great sale prices in quite some time. I’ve always preferred boneless, skinless breasts, simply because I am also lazy, and try to find shortcuts in the kitchen so that making dinner from scratch every night isn’t always an entire evening affair. I do have kids I have to attend to after all. In seeking out cheaper alternatives, on a whim, I decided to buy a $3.00 pack of two bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts about a year ago. I kept them in the freezer for some time since the prospect of de-boning was rather daunting. Finally, I decided to try cooking them like I would a whole chicken, in the crockpot, and the results were life changing! Or at least revolutionary in my kitchen. Enter: Cheapskate Chicken! Now, from only one $3.00 package of chicken, with minimal (and I mean bare-minimum) prep, and just a handful of other kitchen staples, I get enough chicken for 3 meals that will feed all 6 of us, am able to make about a gallon and a half of chicken stock/broth, two packages of carrots, celery, and onions infused with flavor and ready to throw in your homemade soups, and even have meat to add in with our dog’s dry food for 2 weeks at a time. Interested yet?! I’ve never encountered a simpler multi-step process. Here goes.
one package bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
whatever other dry seasonings you prefer
Rinse, and pat dry, both chicken breasts
Place them into the crockpot, skin side up
Liberally salt and pepper the tops of the chicken breasts
Add whatever other dry seasonings you’d like to add a hint of flavor to the meat. I prefer Montreal Chicken seasoning from McCormick. Occasionally, I will add in some minced garlic.
Cover, and cook on high for about 4 hours, on low about 6 hours, or until meat is cooked through
For easier removal from the crockpot (it’s so tender it has a tendency to just fall off the bone) turn your crockpot off and let the breasts cool before taking them out.
Don’t worry about your chicken burning or sticking to the bottom since you haven’t added any liquid. As the chicken cooks, the moisture it expels will collect on the bottom of your crockpot and prevent it. Not to mention the ‘dry’ cooking leaves the skin incredibly crisp and delicious. My kids always argue over who gets to eat the skin when it’s done!
Step 2: Pickin’ your chicken
Remove both breasts from your crock pot and place them on a clean surface, cutting board, plate, whatever you prefer.
Pull all the meat you can find off your chicken, making sure to remove any bones that may come away with it. Place any bones in a bowl, along with the skin if you haven’t gobbled it up already like I do.
Any meat you don’t want, whether it’s dark, fatty, whatever, either add to the bowl with your bones, or if you have a furry friend, place it in a zip lock bag to save for him/her, again being careful to remove any bones.
Once you’ve picked your chicken clean, package up the meat you’ve kept, either in tupperware for the refrigerator or in freezer bags for the freezer in meal-size portions.
If the chicken isn’t shredded enough for you, give it one quick spin in the food processor, or until your desired texture is reached.
Step 3: Homemade Chicken Stock
Your crockpot is really going to get a workout today. You’re all ready to use it again! For this step you will need a few additional ingredients which I’ve listed below.
chicken bones, skin, fat
3 cups of baby carrots
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
Throw your discarded chicken bones, fat, and skin back in your crockpot.
Add in the prepared vegetables.
Salt and pepper to taste, and add in any other spices you think your stock might need.
Pour enough water over the vegetables to fill your crockpot about 1/2 inch from the top.
Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
When cool, pour the contents of the crockpot into a strainer that has been placed inside of a large stew pot. Preferably, one that can rest on the edge of the pot so it’s sits up out of the liquid that separates from the solids.
After draining, remove the strainer from over the pot and pick out all pieces of bones, skin, and fat and discard them.
Package up the veggies to freeze to use as sides for meals, vegetables for soups, stews, and other recipes. Their juicy flavor is incredible, and will enhance any meal.
Add enough water to fill the stock-pot until the desired consistency is reached. Thicker, darker broth is considered ‘stock’ and is typically a little more potent, the more watered-down is broth. Both are good and you will never want to buy the store-bought versions again.
Refrigerate or freeze your broth and use as needed.
I typically keep some broth in the fridge and freeze the rest. I save any old plastic containers, such as yogurt, sour cream, ricotta cheese, etc, with their lids since plastic containers can be re-used, and also allow for the expansion of the liquid when it freezes without breaking, shattering, or cracking.
If you prefer a leaner broth, let the entire stockpot full of broth cool in the refrigerator before packaging until the fat has congealed, or hardened. Using a spoon, skim any fat off the top of the broth. Then package.
Now, sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. Your family will think you’ve slaved away in the kitchen all day and all night, and sing your praises, but (SHHH!) you, your crockpot, and your pocket book will know the satisfying truth.
While I love a traditional lasagna, I don’t always have time for that. Luckily, this lasagna soup is there to save the day. A mixture of ground beef & sausage in a soup pot with lasagna noodles, and all the traditional seasonings- it tastes just like lasagna. Served with a hunk of crusty bread, it’s the real deal.
An easy family meal that cooks all on one pan, this easy Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Sheet Pan Supper features roasted chicken with rosemary Parmesan potatoes, caramelized onion wedges, and seasoned baby spinach leaves. It’s so yummy, the kids will willingly eat their greens!