Wine and Love #33


This is the first edition of Wine and Love that I’m hosting. The series was originally brought to you by Walking With Nora. Since she’s reached her 52 weeks, I decided to continue this until I reach my 88th Wine and Love. The concept is this – each Thursday you list out what’s driving you to grab a glass of wine and what you’re loving!

Grab the button, and join in if you’d like!

Wine…Wine and Love

* I’ve been so forgetful lately. I leave my retainer out for way too long. Too long = all day because I left it in the bathroom at home. Oops. I also left my phone in the car.

* Is there a way to store wine once it has been poured into the glass? I have a tendency to pour a glass, do something and then forget about it. We tried saran wrapping a glass the other night, but the wine obviously did not keep.


* My first time hosting Wine and Love. My only fear aside from posting every week – nobody participates. Don’t let this be the case!

* Meeting Shutterfly’s Chief Storyteller, Heather Maddan, tonight! We will be chatting about travel over a fancy dinner at the Ritz. I don’t have many more details than that, so it will be surprise.

* Lots of baking last week! I already posted about the coffee cake that fell apart. I didn’t grab a photo of the cookies that I made, but here’s the poorly frosted Bundt cake. It really does look like a giant doughnut.

Bundt Cake

* 34 days until Bloggers in Sin City! My roommate Caryn and I have been doing a countdown!

* Ryan is working on updating my blog layout and theme. Based on what we’ve decided to do, it means I have to go through and sort out my posts – so many posts to look at! It’s a lot of work, but I am excited for the upcoming changes.

What’s on your Wine/Love list this week?


On Patience


When the recipe says to wait until the cake has cooled, it means it. I made my own version of Tracy’s Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake last weekend. My walnut replacement were almond slivers, and I highly recommend that substitution.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I let the cake cool for a little bit, but it wasn’t enough. When we went to flip it back over, it crumbled.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ryan took the cake to work, and from what I hear, despite its unsightly appearance, it was devoured. If only I’d had an extra ounce of patience, it would have been beautiful… I’m learning though. I followed the instructions on waiting for a Bundt cake to cool this weekend, and it was magical.


An Entertaining House is a Clean House


Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On!

December has been a hectic month. Ryan and I have been hosting one crab dinner after another. Had crab been available over Thanksgiving weekend, we would have started the crabby festivities at the end of November. Instead of crab, we feasted on a whole lot of rice dishes [mostly by accident].

The celebration that kicked off the craziness of dinner parties was actually my sister’s birthday at the end of November. Thanksgiving festivities tend to fill everyone’s calendars, and it isn’t as easy of a time gathering for a party. This year, her birthday fell over the weekend, and since she didn’t have anything planned, I took it as an opportunity to throw her a last-minute party at the house. Last-minute = I was texting some friends just a few days beforehand!

With such little prep time, there was still a great turnout, and without much planning on our part, it turned into a rice party. In addition to my wild rice dish, there was fried sticky rice and white rice to go along with curry. All tasty and different!

Rice Party

Rice rice, baby!

I decided at the last minute that there had to be some kind of birthday cake, so it was an absolute blessing to have a box of Duncan Hines’ Double Fudge Decadent Brownie Mix sitting around. It’s not a birthday party until you’re sharing a delicious treat with friends. It certainly helps that something so rich and tasty can be whipped together without too much effort.


Within the hour, it was ready and smelling absolutely divine. The occasion was made even sweeter when a friend misread my text and brought candy instead of candles. We topped the brownie with our birthday candies, and it was a little celebration not to be forgotten.

When you’re in a pinch for time, what are some of your go-to quick desserts?

In the last three weeks, we have entertained five separate occasions. I suppose that is one way to keep the house tidy.

Remember to check out Duncan Hines’ website to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.


Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies w/ Butterscotch Chips


Food Blogger Cookie Swap

It’s time for the grand reveal! For the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2011, I baked truffle chocolate espresso cookies with butterscotch chips using Godiva’s Chocolate Truffle Coffee. We were assigned three lucky recipients each, so that was 36 of these cookies! I didn’t do a particularly good job of portioning out the dough, so the ones I made in the beginning were much larger than the ones at the end. I ended up with just two to sample and make sure they weren’t the worst cookies ever!

Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies

Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies with Butterscotch Chips

8 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butterscotch chips

Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies

What To Do:
1) Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 large heavy baking sheets. I used a Silpat Baking Mat, so I didn’t have to worry about greasing them.

2) Cream the butter and sugar.

3) Add eggs, baking cocoa, and ground coffee. Blend until smooth with the mixer.

4) Into this mixture, add sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into a wet gooey chocolate dough.

5) Stir in the butterscotch chips.

Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies

What To Do [continued]:

6) Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets.

7) Bake in middle of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies in baking sheets 1 minute and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Truffle Espresso Cookies

I sent these out last Monday, and I think all three have received them. Hopefully they weren’t too sweet or too caffeinated. I had a very different cookie in mind, but decided to try this after seeing this recipe. Mine is a simplified version.

On the flip side, I haven’t heard from the folks sending me cookies yet. Hopefully they’re waiting for me at the office. I’m feeling like cookies this week!

If you want to participate in the next cookie swap, fill out your details here to stay updated.


Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries


For Thanksgiving meals at friends’ homes, I decided to bake cookies as my contribution.

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries

I wanted to try incorporating flavored honey cremes into cookies and found a very simple honey cookie recipe online to work with. With just a few tweaks, they turned out quite nicely. The lemon honey flavor was subtle, and the cookie was chewy in texture.

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries [adapted from Food Network]

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs [I used three small ones]
1 cup lemon honey creme
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
dried cranberries

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries

What To Do:

1) Cream the butter and sugar.

2) Add eggs, lemon honey creme, and vanilla. Blend until smooth with the mixer.

3) Into this mixture, add flour, baking soda and cranberries. Mix into a thick dough.

4) Chill dough until firm, preferably in freezer, approximately 2 hours. I didn’t wait that long.

5) When ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6) Pull off small pieces and roll into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

7) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. 12 was my magic number.

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries

If given the opportunity, I think that Ryan would have eaten all of the dough. It was lemony, buttery, and sweet. I left the dough in the freezer for about an hour and a half before bringing it out for use.

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries

Lemon Honey Cookies with Cranberries

I have a few cookie swaps coming up. I might try other honey creme flavors for those! Considering how easy the recipe was, this might become my go-to cookie.

Disclosure: While Honey Ridge Farms sent me free product as part of their “Taste the Love” campaign, I was not compensated for this post. All honey-loving opinions are my own.