favorite recipes, products

 Favorite healthy recipes

 Favorite baked goods recipes 

  • Banana bread w/ chocolate & cinnamon sugar (Orangette)
    • I bake a lot of banana bread. Like pumpkin, banana makes baked goods soft and gooey, a texture I enjoy. I’ve made dry breads, underbaked breads, complicated breads – peanut butter pumpkin banana bread and PB&J bread, and exotic green curry banana bread. However, I came to the conclusion that banana bread is best melded with chocolate chips and a crunchy topping to even out the texture of soft bread.
       I baked this bread one night while friends went to a party and I was home caring for sick Kyle. I surprised our friends with a plethora of goodies when they came home in the middle of the night. Though they preferred the salty stuff, Kyle and I loved the bread. He hoarded all the leftovers.
  • Favorite ginger tea bread (Bake It Pretty)
    • I had heard of Bake It Pretty, an online purveyor of baking decorations, and thought it was kismet that they opened up in Asheville, North Carolina. The shopfront wasn't open for long but I frequented the store, got to know the owners, and tried their ginger tea bread. More than the taste are the memories of a true wintery Christmas encompassed in this bread.
  • Figgy buckwheat scones (101 Cookbooks)
    • I frequented tailgate markets in search of baked goods. One Wednesday at the West Asheville Tailgate, a local bakery – Local 336 – sold fig buckwheat scones. I had seen a recipe for the same thing online when I became interested in figs. I loved the one I tried by Local 336 and decided to make my own. I used a fig preserve instead to make it easier thus yielding a sweeter taste. The scones have a shortbread texture. Co-workers enjoyed it but some were scared of such a thing.
  • Homemade pop tarts (Smitten Kitchen)
    • Who knew pop-tarts could be so easy? I can never bring myself to buy Pop Tarts. They’re so bad for you. I ended up not just making pop tarts, but they also became Hot Pockets. I had so much fun with this recipe as I added everything I could find in my fridge from pesto to tomato sauce to preserves. There is so much room for creativity.
  • Orgasmic cinnamon rolls *vegan 
    • Cinnamon rolls are my vice. I love the ooey gooey Cinnabons but oh dear, they're no good for anyone. I tried many times to make cinnamon rolls at home and failed that many times. Till this one. Try it.
  • Perfect pumpkin bread (Hungry Girl)
    • I love fall for pumpkin recipes and I’ve made quite a few. I’ve made complicated versions of pumpkin bread, but this is an easy favorite and it’s not too bad for you. I sliced the loaf in eight slices and ate this for a week. The cranberries go great. The recipe is fail-proof.
  • Pumpkin garlic knots
    • In an attempt to add more pumpkin to my diet, I made pumpkin garlic knots. Yeast breads are tough, but these don’t require a lot of time. The dough rolled out into long snakes and formed knots easily. Yancey loved them though he preferred them with marinara sauce. I liked them either way, but you must make the garlic topping. As for whether this really requires pumpkin, not really – the pumpkin flavor gets lost. Nonetheless, this is still a quick and easy appetizer.
  • Strawberry shortcake (Momofuku)
  • Baked brownies (Baked)
  • Brownies (Sugarbomb Bakery) *vegan, gluten-free
  • Key lime coconut blondies
    • When I saw this recipe, I thought of my favorite co-worker Ms. Karen. She makes key lime filling regularly to satisfy her sweet tooth. She also appeared to like coconut cake and gave me a coconut cake recipe. I have yet to get around to making another coconut cake since my first two came out disastrously. I just don’t like the texture of dried coconut shreds. Using moistened and sweetened coconut and key lime gives the blondie, a Yancey favorite, a tropical edge. I hope she likes it.
  • Mexican chocolate brownies
    • I decided to make brownies for a whole week to find the best brownie recipe. Many times I had to melt chocolate with a double boiler. Brownies aren’t good enough for them to be so complicated, or at least I don’t like them enough. This recipe, however, was the easiest. I melted the chocolate in a saucepan and added all the ingredients before putting it into the baking pan. Easy. The hardest part was finding IBARRA Mexican chocolate, but it’s worth it. The cinnamon taste of the chocolate makes this brownie unique.
  • Japanese cheesecake
  • Pastel de tres leches (Taqueria Los Hermanos)
    • Yancey loves tres leches and I had yet to find the perfect recipe. Often, they would be too dense because of all the eggs and therefore, would not soak in all the milks. I found this recipe in Atlanta Classic Recipes and it comes from a restaurant called Taqueria Los Hermanos. They use a cake mix. I don’t like cake mixes, but hell with it, I decided to make it for Thanksgiving 2010. I made the cake the night before and let all the milk soak in. Letting it soak made the cake super soft. The next day, I combined the two layers with canned whipped cream and threw on tons of pineapples and strawberries. My friends who normally don’t eat my baked goods devoured the cake.
  • Tiramisu cake (Dorie Greenspan)
  • Triple-lemon blueberry layer cake (Sweetapolita)
    • Sweetapolita's cakes are legendary. They are beautiful and I never thought I could recreate one until I tried one of her recipes. I was in awe at the magic of directions when the final product turned out tasty and pretty.
  • Banana chip cookies (101 Cookbooks)
    • For a week, I wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies and find the best recipe. I could have add-ins as long as they didn’t melt into the actual cookie. Since I was working at a nut-free school, I couldn’t add any nuts to add texture to cookies. In addition to chocolate chips, this cookie has banana chips. I made a banana stuffed peanut butter cookie in which the banana took over the cookie, but since this required banana chips not real bananas, the cookie was unaffected. The taste, however, was surprisingly delicious.
  • Browned butter chocolate chip cookies (Joy the Baker) 
    • Browned butter changed my cookie making game. I had no skillz. My cookies always turned out cakey rather than chewy. I made these once for my students and was asked to make another batch. I have never been so proud, and this cookie hater became a cookie lover.
  • Chai snickerdoodle cookies
    • For Christmas, I decided to bake all my co-workers at the preschool cookies. I found chai perfect for the holidays. The dough ended up being just the right consistency for cutting into shapes yet when baked, didn’t come out too hard. The specks of tea in the cookie added to the aesthetics. The chai taste shown through.
  • Chocolate chip cookies (Babycakes NYC) *vegan, gluten-free 
    • I looked like I was nine months pregnant for awhile. I decided I must be gluten intolerant so I finally picked up the Babycakes NYC cookbook, which I borrowed from the owner of a baking supply store, Bake it Pretty. The cookies beat regular cookies in that they were crunchy enough, soft enough. Perfect.
  • Cream cheese rugelach (Dessert First)
  • Coconut oil chocolate chip cookies (How Sweet Eats)
    • I don't buy butter unless I'm baking and I ran out of butter. Conversely, I never run out of coconut oil and love it for its various uses. Since chocolate chip cookies became my favorite dessert to make and eat, I gave this a shot. It looked worthy and boy was it worthy of the calories. The cookie is chewy like browned butter cookies. I tasted the coconut oil and those who didn't know about the secret ingredient had no idea.
  • Eggnog thumbprints
  • Elvis peanut butter whoopie pies (Peanut Butter & Co)
    • Be warned. These are decadent. Essentially, it's portable, handheld banana bread.
  • Jewel heart cookies (Jewels of New York)
    • A couple of classmates from high school has a sister who went on Martha Stewart to show her how to make their famous cookies. I used a heart-shaped pancake cutter. At the time, keeping the heart shape intact was difficult, but I’m sure I could do better now. The cookies have a shortbread consistency. The flavors and colors of lychee and raspberry
  • Peanut butter sandwich cookies ('wichcraft)
    • I’m no good at cookies. They usually end up soft. So I’m good at making those soft whoopie pies. I found the secret to crunchy cookies: oats. Depending on the amount, they can end up chewy like a granola bar. This recipe doesn’t call for as much and the cookies end up crunchy. Soft is okay, chewy is preferable, but when it comes to peanut butter cookies, to experience the mild peanut butter taste in a cookie, the cookie needs to be crunchy.
      The filling was glorious because I used my favorite peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Company. It’s a simple mix otherwise and makes for good cement for the cookies.
      I ate most of these pretty little sandwiches.

  • Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (Joy the Baker)
    • I won’t bake many things, if any, more than once. I’ve made these cookies three times now. It’s something I bake for myself. Usually, I like to try new recipes, but I found the perfect vehicle for pumpkin in these. It’s also fast and I can bake smaller amounts easily.
      I bake these on nights alone and eat them warm. I rarely share unless I make them specifically for others, which I only did the first time.
  • Sparkling ginger chip cookies (101 Cookbooks)
  • Cranberry corn bread
    • For my second annual Friendsgiving, I slaved away in the kitchen for 6 hours. I made everything except the turkey. I picked recipes with a twist and though it took awhile, cranberry corn bread was my favorite dish. Toast it in the broiler extra for a nice crisp.
  • Jalapeno-cheddar corn bread (Babycakes NYC)

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