Eat More Dessert Book Tour

My sweet friend, Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies, has a brand new book out… Eat More Dessert: More Than 100 Simple-To-Make & Fun-To-Eat Baked Goods From The Baker To The Stars (Page Street Publishing; April 2014).  Have you seen it yet?  It’s AH-MAH-ZING!

Eat More Dessert by Jenny KellerI met Jenny a few years back in Seattle when she helped out with the Cupcakes Take the Cake 6th Birthday Bash by donating a gorgeous cupcake tower and matching cookies.  And although I’ve moved across the world, we’ve been able to keep in touch through our love of baking and I’m thrilled to be a part of her Eat More Dessert Book Tour!

Eat More Dessert: More Than 100 Simple-To-Make & Fun-To-Eat Baked Goods From The Baker To The Stars (Page Street Publishing; April 2014) by Jenny Keller

Eat More Dessert is filled with the most amazing party dessert tables I’ve ever seen, including this one for a baby shower! I absolutely love the creativity and simplicity used to put these tables together.  And actually… that’s my favorite part about Jenny’s book.

It’s simple.  Beautiful.  And totally do-able for the home baker!

Eat More Dessert: More Than 100 Simple-To-Make & Fun-To-Eat Baked Goods From The Baker To The Stars (Page Street Publishing; April 2014) by Jenny Keller

Jenny includes easy recipes to make her cookies that include box mixes and supplies easily found in grocery stores.  No fancy equipment necessary to recreate these cookies, cakes, cake pops and more!

I am absolutely in love with Jenny’s cookies.  A lot of people use royal icing to decorate their sugar cookies… but not Jenny! She uses a simple recipe for buttercream that includes an ingredient that might surprise you… but I’ll let you get her book to find out what that is! The piped buttercream on Jenny’s cookies create a unique look that is simple and so adorable! LOVE!

Eat More Dessert: More Than 100 Simple-To-Make & Fun-To-Eat Baked Goods From The Baker To The Stars (Page Street Publishing; April 2014) by Jenny KellerIf you haven’t already… order a copy of Eat More Dessert: More Than 100 Simple-To-Make & Fun-To-Eat Baked Goods From The Baker To The Stars (Page Street Publishing; April 2014).  You are really going to love re-creating Jenny’s desserts!

GET YOUR COPY HERE! 

And as a special treat, we’re giving away a copy of Eat More Dessert to one JavaCupcake reader!  Simply fill out the form below to be entered!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake

This British-inspired Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake is my spin on the a classic.  It includes layers of cake filled with rich vanilla pudding, strawberries and topped with fresh whipped cream and is the perfect Sunday afternoon treat or Spring-time dessert!

Victoria Sponge sandwich cake with vanilla pudding & fresh strawberry filling topped with fresh whipped cream, lemon zest and more strawberry! | JavaCupcake.com

Easter is a holiday that I just can’t seem to decide how I want to celebrate.  I grew up Catholic, so that part of me knows the “real” meaning of the holiday.  Jesus gave his life for us and on Easter He rises to Heaven.  It’s some pretty amazing, deep stuff to think about… and should be celebrated!

But, since I’m not a practicing Catholic anymore, I find myself questioning the reasons to celebrate Easter.  I am not the type of parent that can rationalize spending tons of money on an Easter basket for my kids full candy and toys they’ll probably never play with.  And I just don’t think that visiting the Easter bunny at the mall for some cheesy staged photo is worth my time.  I just can’t wrap my brain around all the hype surrounding Easter when the focus isn’t on the true meaning.

So, what’s left?

Family.

Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake with vanilla pudding & fresh strawberry filling topped with fresh whipped cream, lemon zest and more strawberry! | JavaCupcake.com

If I’m not going to celebrate Easter for it’s true meaning and I’m not filling my kids with Easter candy… I will use this day to spend quality time with those l love, to cook and bake for them and to enjoy their joy when we share a meal together.

This year, my family includes my husband who is recently home from Afghanistan and my best friend Chasity and her family.  Chasity is moving soon so this may be our last holiday together.

Victoria Sponge sandwich cake with vanilla pudding & fresh strawberry filling topped with fresh whipped cream, lemon zest and more strawberry! | JavaCupcake.com

 

I knew that I needed to make something amazingly delicious for dessert this year.  Chasity requested strawberries & cream to be included in the dessert so I started researching recipes to use.  I have always wanted to try Mary Berry’s recipe for Victoria Sponge, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity!

This Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake has two layers of Mary Berry’s cake recipe.  Since this is a British recipe for cake, I knew it wouldn’t be like the American cakes I was used to eating.  Mary’s cake is less sweet but perfect when paired with the pudding and strawberries of the filling.

A traditional sponge cake is just filled with jam and topped with powdered sugar.  But, I wanted to liven things up a bit, so I filled my cake with jam, berries and pudding then topped it all with whipped cream and more berries.  SUBLIME!

Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake with vanilla pudding & fresh strawberry filling topped with fresh whipped cream, lemon zest and more strawberry! | JavaCupcake.com

Matty loved it.  He was first at the table to get his slice!

When I served the cake, my family requested more of the filling to pile on top of their slice!  So make sure you reserve the extra fillings after you assemble the cake to serve with the finished cake to your guests!

I will definitely make this cake again… I think next time I may even try a blueberry filling.  Yum!

Happy Baking!

Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 8in 2-layer cake
Ingredients
Victoria Sponge Cake
  • 225g (about 1 cup) unsalted butter, soft
  • 225g ( about 1 cup) granulated or caster sugar
  • 225g (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 5 medium eggs or 4 large eggs or 8oz eggs
Vanilla Pudding Filling
  • 1 package Jell-O Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding (NOT instant)
  • 3 cups heavy cream or half & half or whole milk (NOT skim, low-fat, 1% or 2% milk)
Strawberry Filling
  • 3 cups strawberries, cleaned and quartered before measuring
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup sugar (or more if you like it more sweet!)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of ½ large lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 5-6 strawberries, stems removed & sliced (reserve for assembly)
Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp granulated or caster sugar
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 5-6 whole strawberries with stems/leaves (for garnish)
  • Lemon zest (for garnish)
  • Powdered sugar( for garnish)
Instructions
Victoria Sponge Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 355F degrees.
  2. Grease & flour 8in cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  3. Measure/weigh your ingredients and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy - about 3-5 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt 3-4 times until completely incorporated.
  6. Add the flour to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined.
  7. Mix in the almond extract.
  8. One at a time, add the eggs and mix well after each addition.
  9. After all the eggs have been added, mix about 2 minutes on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything has been incorporated.
  10. Divide the batter evenly and spread into prepared pans.
  11. Bake about 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. NOTE: DO NOT open the oven to check on these cakes. Let them bake the entire 25 minutes before opening the oven to check done-ness. The cakes will collapse if a sudden rush of cool air hits them before they are fully baked.
  12. Cool in pans for 1 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.
Vanilla Pudding Filling
  1. In a medium pot, combine the contents of the vanilla pudding package and the heavy cream.
  2. Prepare as directed on the package.
  3. Pour into a glass bowl and place in the refrigerator until set - about 2 hours.
Strawberry Filling
  1. In a large pan over medium, mix together the prepared strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, spices and vanilla.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the berries until only small pieces remain but most are broken down.
  3. Stir & cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove about ¼ cup of the juice from the pan and place in a small bowl. Add the corn starch to the liquid and mix until smooth. Pour this mixture back into the berries and mix until incorporated.
  5. Cook strawberries another 1-3 minutes or until it has thickened.
  6. Remove from the pan into a glass bowl and place in refrigerator until cool - about 2 hours.
Whipped Cream Topping
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour in the heavy cream.
  2. Turn mixer on medium-high and beat the cream for about 30 seconds.
  3. One tablespoon at a time, drizzle in the sugar. Mix in the extract.
  4. Continue to beat on medium-high until soft peaks form and the cream holds it shape.
Assembly
  1. Once the cake layers are cool, the cake can be assembled. Place one layer of cake on a cake stand.
  2. Spread a layer of strawberry filling across the top of the cake, leaving ½in of cake uncovered along the edge of the cake. You'll use about ⅓ cup of strawberry filling. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of the filling and gently press down.
  3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M star tip with the vanilla pudding. Pipe a layer of pudding over the strawberries. Use an offet spatula to gently spread the layer smooth.
  4. Place the second cake layer, top side down, onto the filling and GENTLY press.
  5. Dust the entire cake and cake stand with powdered sugar.
  6. Place a generous amount of whipped cream on the top of the cake in the center.
  7. Zest a lemon over the top of the whipped cream and cake.
  8. Arrange 5-6 whole strawberries on edges of the whipped cream to garnish.
  9. Keep cake chilled until ready to serve.
  10. Serve cake slices with extra vanilla pudding, strawberry filling and whipped cream topping.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Mary Berry

11 Baker & Blogger Cookbooks I Love

11 Baker & Blogger Cookbooks I Love | JavaCupcake.com

I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to baking books… I love to collect them! I have a big stack of my favorites displayed on the sideboard in my dining room so I can see and enjoy them every day!

I am so incredibly grateful to know so many bakers and bloggers who have written or are writing a cookbook so I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you!  Enjoy this collection of 11 Baker & Blogger Cookbooks I Love!

Enjoy!

Currently on Bookshelves

The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America’s Favorite Desserts
by Jessie Oleson Moore (CakeSpy)

secretlivescovermay

Trophy Cupcakes and Parties!: Deliciously Fun Party Ideas and Recipes from Seattle’s Prize-Winning Cupcake Bakery
by Jennifer Shea (Trophy Cupcakes)

trophy cupcakes and parties book

Bake It in a Cupcake: 50 Treats with a Surprise Inside
by Megan Seling (Bake it in a Cake)

tumblr_n33ufkQVwO1qdw1ubo1_500

Gourmet French Macarons: Over 75 Unique Flavors and Festive Shapes (CD Included)
by Mindy Cone (Creative Juice)

Gourmet French Macarons by Mindy Cone

Party Food for Girls: Lovely and Luscious Recipes, Party Ideas, and Styling Tips for Your Next Event
by Mindy Cone (Creative Juice)

Party-Food-For-Girls-Cookbook-feature-photo-550x550

Eat More Dessert
by Jenny Keller (jenny cookies)

Jenny Keller - Eat More Dessert

Surprise-Inside Cakes
by Amanda Rettke (i am baker)

SurpriseInsideCakesCover12

Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix
by Sally McKenney (Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Sally's Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix

For Pre-Order

Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies Into Amazing Treats
by Christi Johnstone (Love from the Oven)

Smart Cookie by Christi Johnstone

Dessert Mashups: Tasty Two-in-One Treats Including Sconuts, S’morescake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie and Many More
by Dorothy Kern (Crazy for Crust)

Crazy for Crust

The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More
by Katrina Bahl (In Katrina’s Kitchen)

The-Biscoff-Cookie-and-Spread-Cookbook-by-Katrina-Bahl-Coming-2014

Apparoo App of the Week: Tic Toc Time

This is a sponsored post.
Although I was paid to post the content, the opinions expressed are my own.

Apparoo logo with tagline

Trying to find great apps for moms or kids can be hard with so many available. That’s why I’ve partnered with Apparoo – the app discovery service for busy moms. Each week I’ll be sharing the ‘Apparoo App of the Week’ with you which will bring you some super fun apps at heavily discounted rates and sometimes even free! The best part… all the apps are geared toward busy moms! YES!

If you didn’t already know, I’m kind of a tech nerd. You can blame my husband for that… he got me hooked! So, when the opportunity came to work with Apparoo, I was super excited that I’d get to bring blogging and my love for tech together! I’m very excited about this and welcome your feedback on the apps you decide to install.

Apparoo App of the Week: Tic Toc Time

Tic Toc Time, an award winning app that teaches kids to tell time, is normally $3.99. Download it here now for just $.99! (For a limited time)

Apparoo App of the Week: Tic Toc Time - Only $.99 - For a limited time!  From a kid’s perspective, time is a bizarre concept: there are 60 seconds and 60 minutes, but 12 hours… unless there are 24! And phrases like ‘a quarter til’ and ‘half past’ that we take for granted just seem to make their brains melt. Tic Toc Time takes a holistic approach to teaching time; a family of beavers leads a progression of fun games that first explain using a compass and the movement of the sun and shadows before logically arriving at both digital and analog time-telling. A good time is guaranteed for all! Download it here now.

Download it here

Apparoo App of the Week: Tic Toc Time - Only $.99 - For a limited time!

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers

Never buy store bought graham crackers again!  Instead, use this simple recipe to make your home Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers!

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers - Perfect for s'mores! | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve had the idea to make chocolate graham crackers for several weeks now, but the timing to make them never seemed perfect.  I wanted to make them on a day where I could take the bake chocolate graham crackers into the back yard, roast marshmallows, and make s’mores! But, the weather has been yuckie and I was a little busy welcoming home my soldier from Afghanistan!

Finally, we’ve got a 4-day weekend, the weather is perfect and my husband decided to break out the firepit and picked up some wood from the store.  The perfect conditions for s’mores in the back yard.

These Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers made the most amazing base for our s’mores.  The dough came together incredibly easy in the mixer and baked up so crisp.

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers - Perfect for s'mores! | JavaCupcake.com

The sweet taste of the honey comes through in these crackers just enough to add the perfect amount of sweetness to compliment the dark chocolate flavor.

Unfortunately, I don’t own a square cookie cutter.  So, instead I used a spring themed flower shaped cutter.  Which worked out pretty well actually.  Any shape cookie cutter could be used as long as it didn’t have any pointy edges, like a star does.  You want the crackers to bake evenly without any of the tips burning.  Soft edges are best.

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers - Perfect for s'mores! | JavaCupcake.com

To build these s’mores we simple roasted marshmallows over the hot coals of our fire until they were golden brown.  Then added a chunk of Lindt dark chocolate to one of the chocolate graham crackers, put the hot marshmallow and another cracker on top and smushed it all together.

Oooooooooh yes.

So gooey.  So delicious.  So good.

I’ll take three, please!

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers - Perfect for s'mores! | JavaCupcake.com

I think this summer, I’ll make regular honey graham crackers and homemade marshmallows and use super fancy dark chocolate to make s’mores.   Gourmet s’mores!  Yum! I can’t wait for that!

Until then… I hope you make these chocolate graham crackers!  They’re so easy and so good! Your family will love them!

Happy Baking!

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3+ dozen crackers
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold & cubed
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, very cold
Instructions
  1. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine on low speed the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated thoroughly and that no lumps are visible.
  3. Add the cubed cold butter and continue mixing on low speed until the butter has broken down into very small pieces.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the honey and cold heavy cream. Add this to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until a dough ball forms. If you dough is too dry and does not come together after 2-3 minute of mixing, add 1 additional Tbsp of cream.
  5. Separate the dough into two balls and place one on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to about 1/16in thickness.
  6. Using a cookie cutter, cut 2-3 inch shapes out of the dough and place on prepared baking sheet. You could use a square, circle, rectangle or a flower shape.
  7. Use a fork to poke holes into the top of each cracker.
  8. Repeat until all the dough has been used. Chill on baking sheets for about an hour in the refrigerator.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  10. Bake each sheet for about 15 minutes.
  11. Cool on the pan for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Use these graham crackers to make s'mores, dip in chocolate or eat as a snack!
  13. Store in an air tight container or a ziplock bag for up to a week.
Notes
Recipe highly adapted from Happy Food Happy Life

5 Food Bloggers I Love

Today’s post is a special one… there’s no recipe.  Instead, I’m sharing my friends.

5 Food Bloggers I Love | JavaCupcake.comThere are hundreds of food bloggers in the world.  And realistically, that number is probably closer to thousands of food bloggers. I have the privilege of knowing several them in person and online and am honored to call them my friends.

Today, I am going to share with you 5 of my favorite food bloggers.  These bloggers come from all corners of the world and produce such amazing content for their blogs that they inspire me daily with their creativity.

I hope you take a few minutes to check out each of their blogs… I’m certain you’ll love them as much as I do!

Toni Miller of Make. Bake. Celebrate.

Toni Miller is the owner of the baking blog, Make. Bake. Celebrate. where she shares her recipes for desserts that are creative, easy to make and geared towards serving at parties or events.   Her blog is bright, colorful and so incredibly fun to read!

One of the things I love most about MBC is that Toni has styled each and every photograph of her recipes in the same style, creating a consistency across her blog unlike any other food blog I’ve seen.  Her photos are simple, yet stunning and are just fun to look at!

Most recently, Toni joined forces with Better Homes & Gardens to create two fun cupcakes!  First, were these Garden-theme Cupcakes… which are so perfect for Spring!  And second were these fun Banana Split Cupcakes!

Garden-themed cupcakes by Make. Bake. Celebrate for Better Homes & GardensBanana Split Cupcakes by Make Bake Celebrate for Better Homes & Gardens

Not only is Toni a blogger, she’s also an Army Wife like me!  Although we’ve never met in person, we chat online almost daily and share a bond that few can say they share.  We’re Army Wives and Food Bloggers.  It’s a pretty amazing, crazy-stressful but so much fun life we live!  I’m so thankful to have Toni in my life!  It’s a blessing to have someone understand two of the most important part of my life.  <3

Make sure to check out Toni on her blog or on social media!

Blog: Make. Bake. Celebrate.
Facebook: http://facebook.com/MakeBakeCelebrate
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ToniMillerMBC
Instagram: http://instagram.com/makebakecelebrate

Kimmie Schiffel of Bake. Love. Give.

Kimmie Schiffel is the creative genius behind the blog, bake. love. give.  When I first met Kimmie online more than 4 years ago, we were both new bloggers.  To be honest, I’m not sure when the first time was that we interacted in the food blogger world, but I do remember how she stepped up to make hundreds of cookies for the Cucpakes Take the Cake 6th Birthday Bash I threw in December of 2010.  I knew then that she was simply amazing.

Cupcakes Take the Cake cookies by Kimmie of bake. love. give.

Over the past 4-5 years, I’ve been able to watch Kimmie’s blog grow into the amazing collection of recipes and inspiration that it is today.  Recently, Kimmie completely overhauled her blog design and launched a new visual recipe index (which I am completely jealous of!).  Her blog is clean, classic and features the photos of her food so that they are the star of her blog!

Animal Cookies by bake. love. give.

Recently, she posted these super adorable Spring Circus Animal Cookies.  Seriously some of the cutest cookies I’ve ever seen!  Kimmie’s creativity inspires me with each new recipe she posts!

Make sure to visit her blog and check out Kimmie on social media!

Blog: bake. love. give.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BakeLoveGive
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/bakelovegive/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/bakelovegive/

Amanda Rettke of i am baker

Amanda Rettke, if you don’t know her… you’re missing out!  Amanda is the inspiration behind the blog, i am baker, where she shares her passion for baking! She is the baker who created the “Rose Cake” tutorial and who has made the “Surprise-Inside Cake” famous with her new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra Inside!

Bunny Surprise Inside Cake by i am baker

Amanda not only has a passion for baking, but she has a passion for her family.  I watch as she has worked hard over the last year to create and launch her book and I am in awe of how she was able to keep it all together.  Juggling her family, faith, book and blog all at once is no small task, but Amanda has done it with grace, sophistication and has earned my respect in the process.  I strive to be a better person by witnessing her road to success.

rainbow pancakes by i am baker

Not only does Amanda post about cakes and cupcakes, but she has an entire section of her blog dedicated to pancakes.  I especially love her Rainbow Pancakes… because really, who doesn’t love rainbows… and for breakfast? Yes, please!

So please, support my friend Amanda, buy her book (if you haven’t already) and make sure to visit her blog!

Blog: i am baker
Facebook: http://facebook.com/iambaker
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/iambaker
Instagram: http://instagram.com/iambaker

Carrie Fields of Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff

Carrie Fields is the heart and soul of the blog, Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff.  And Carrie isn’t kidding when she says ‘other good stuff’ either! I met Carrie online a few years ago when I ordered a care package of home-baked desserts (which included this Red Hot Fudge) from her to send to my husband who was serving his first deployment to Iraq back in 2010.

Red Hot Fudge by Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff

Since then, she’s become not only become a great friend, but someone who I often go to as a guide for baking and blogging! For a while… we even lived in the same part of the world when she was living in Greece with her husband while he was stationed there.  We “almost” got to meet! hehe

Roasted Mango & Gin Sorbet by Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff | JavaCupcake.com

Carrie is back in the USA now where’s she’s working as a pastry chef and an ice cream maker in Montana as well as keeping up her blog!  Doesn’t that Roasted Mango & Gin Sorbet look amazing?  Man… I wish I lived in Montana!

Stop by Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff and share the love with Carrie… or go eat some of deliciousness the next time you’re in Montana!

Blog: Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FieldsofCake
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fieldsofcake
Instagram: http://instagram.com/fieldsofcake

Erin Dee of Texanerin Baking

Erin Dee runs the healthy baking blog, Texanerin Baking.  I love her blog because she creates desserts that are like fake-outs!  They’re made with whole grains, low sugar and reduced fat… but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the taste!

Healthier Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies by Texanerin Baking

I know first hand how amazing her creations taste!  Earlier this year, I went to visit Erin in Berlin where we put ourselves to a little baking challenge.  I made brownies with full fat and sugar and she made the healthier version.  Her husband was the judge and he said both were amazingly delicious!

It’s been really great having another American food blogger here in Germany to get to know!  Erin and I experience a lot of the same baking challenges living in Europe… including not being able to find the ingredients we need or not being included in advertising campaigns from American companies because we’re here in Germany.  It’s been great to have someone local to bounce ideas off of and get to know!  I am hoping that we’ll be able to bake together again this Spring when Erin comes down to Bavaria to visit me!

100% Whole Grain Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting by Texanerin Baking

It’s hard to imagine that these Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting are made with 100% whole grains!  Don’t they look amazing?

To see more of Erin’s healthy baking, visit her blog or find her on social media!

Blog: Texanerin Baking
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/texanerin
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/texanerin
Instagram: http://instagram.com/texanerin

Homemade Nutter Butters

Enjoy the flavors of a childhood favorite cookie without leaving your kitchen with these Homemade Nutter Butters! Homemade Nutter Butters - Step by step tutorial to create your favorite peanut butter cookie at home! | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve been holding on to this recipe for a few weeks now… waiting for the right moment to share it with all of you here.  I’ve been so busy with family, life and dealing with reintegration, I knew that after my soldier came home I wouldn’t be up or much baking.  So, I made these Homemade Nutter Butters and saved the recipe to share with you today!

The process to make these cookies was pretty easy. Roll a ball of dough in sugar, flatten it, press fork marks into the top then squeeze the middles.  Easy peasy.

Homemade Nutter Butters - Step by step tutorial to create your favorite peanut butter cookie at home! | JavaCupcake.com

Who doesn’t love Nutter Butters?  Okay, maybe those few people who are allergic to peanut butter or who don’t like peanut butter (my husband hates peanut butter!).   Nutter Butters are one of those cookies that are just timeless.  They’ve been around for decades and as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved eating these delicious peanut shaped cookies!

Homemade Nutter Butters - Step by step tutorial to create your favorite peanut butter cookie at home! | JavaCupcake.com

My version of Nutter Butters aren’t exactly like the store-bought cookie.  My version is bigger… a lot bigger!  And they’re a bit softer.  My Homemade Nutter Butters are chewy with a rich peanut butter filling.

Don’t worry though… all that great peanut butter flavor that we love in Nutter Butters is still in my homemade version!

Homemade Nutter Butters - Step by step tutorial to create your favorite peanut butter cookie at home! | JavaCupcake.com

The filling for these Homemade Nutter Butters is based on my favorite peanut butter buttercream recipe.  However, I didn’t want the filling to be quite as smooth and fluffy as my favorite pb bc.  So, I used less butter, more sugar and less cream to create a thick, rich filling… just like the original cookie! So good!

So, if you’re looking for a peanut butter cookie that is reminiscent of your favorite cookie from your childhood, try these Homemade Nutter Butters!

Happy Baking!

Homemade Nutter Butters
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 dozen GIANT sandwich cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar, for rolling
Filling
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat on high for 2 minutes or until it's light and fluffy.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour.
  4. Add the flour to the mixing bowl and mix on low until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on medium high speed until the dough has come together.
  5. Cover and chill overnight or 8 hours.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Roll 2-3 Tbsp of dough into a 2-3 inch log and roll in sugar. Place the log on the prepared baking sheet. NOTE: For smaller cookies, use only 1 Tbsp of cookie dough and reduce baking time by 1 minute.
  8. Gently press the dough log flat with your fingers. Press a fork into the dough to create a cris-cross pattern. Squeeze the center of each log to create a the Nutter Butter shape.
  9. Bake 7-8 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  10. Cool on the pan 3-4 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
Filling
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  3. Add the vanilla and milk and mix until the filling forms a ball... about 30 seconds.
Assembly
  1. Spread a generous amount of filling onto the flat side of one cookie.
  2. Gently press a second cookie, flat side down, onto the frosting.
  3. Eat!
Notes
If made as directed above, recipe yields GIANT cookies. If you want cookies closer to the size of actual Nutter Butters, use only 1 Tbsp of dough when rolling and shaping the cookies and reduce baking time by 1 minute.

Cookie recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

He’s home!

I have great news!  Last night my husband, Dave, returned home safely from Afghanistan! This was his third deployment since 2007!

The Eves Family - Afghanistan Homecoming 2 April 2014 - Vilseck, Germany | JavaCupcake.comAt exactly midnight, almost 150 soldiers walked into the gym at USAG Bavaria – Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany to greet stands full of cheering friends and family!

I was at the gym with my daughter, Emily and my son, Matthew along with my best friend Chasity (who was behind the camera taking all the pictures!)  As the soldiers began walking into the gym… my heart started racing, looking for my soldier!  Finally, my daughter whispered to me, “I see Daddy!”

2CR Homecoming - Vilseck, Germany - 4April14 - JavaCupcake.com

And there he was in the front row, directly in front of us!  You can see in the picture above that he’s standing to the right of the soldier wearing the Stetson hat in the front row!

We were minutes away from our reunion and I could hardly contain my excitement!  Even though I’d gone through this ceremony twice before,  seeing my husband standing there gave me chills and brought extreme joy to my heart!

The Chaplain said a prayer and a high ranking Colonel in the unit said a few remarks.  And after 2 short minutes… the soldiers were released!

Me and the kids waited at our seats for the crowds to pass and for Dave to walk over to us.  But, my daughter Emily could hardly container her emotions.  She was so happy, elated, emotional that tears instantly started flowing as she ran to and hugged her father.

Emily welcomes home her Father after his 3rd deployment | JavaCupcake.com

This was Dave’s third deployment, and the shortest.  His first was 16 months to Iraq, second was 12 months to Iraq and finally this deployment was 7 months to Afghanistan.  Although this was the shortest deployment, it was definitely the most difficult.  I was in Germany while he was at war… far away from my family and friends.  And I now had a toddler and teenager to raise on my own.  Challenges I never imagined being able to tackle without my husband.

Welcome Home Kisses  | JavaCupcake.com

But, the moment was finally here.  The moment our family would be together again. 7 months had gone since I had held my husband in my arms.  7 months had passed since I had felt his arms around me.  7 months since I felt the love in his kiss.

Once Matty got a hold of Dave… he wouldn’t let go!  I snapped this picture just as we were heading out of the gym… So precious.

Matty doesn't want to let his Daddy go! | JavaCupcake.com

My husband is home.  My family is together again.  And I am so filled completely filled with joy!  These next few months of our lives together are going to be so amazing.

The Army has allowed Dave to take 4-day weekends between now and Memorial Day and then in June he’ll get 22 days off!  We plan to travel, spend a lot of time together and enjoy our time here in Europe!

Welcome Home to my Soldier! 3 April 14 - Vilseck, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported me though out this deployment.  I truly appreciate your kind words of encouragement and support!  It has truly helped get me through it!

My family together at last! Welcome Home to our Soldier! 3 April 14 - Vilseck, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

As you might imagine, I’ll be spending the next week or so glued to my husband.  So… I’ll be taking some time off from baking and blogging.  Have no fear though! I’ve got two of my great friends and bloggers filling on JavaCupcake for me!

Toni of Make Bake Celebrate and Erin of Texanerin Baking will be here next week bringing you some super sweet treats!  Make sure to come back next week to see what they’ve got baking for you!

And just for fun… here’s a look back at the Homecoming Ceremonies from all three of our deployments! Boy has my family changed!

The moment my husband returned from each of his deployments | JavaCupcake.com