S’Mores Ice Cream Cake

S'Mores Ice Cream Birthday Cake

This year, Jake knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday.

It was s’moresy. It had ice cream. It was a layer cake.

I had never made an ice cream cake before, but it turns out that it isn’t hard! Also, it turns out that Jake is once again a dessert genius, because this birthday cake was phenomenal!

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Challah

Challah

When I was in high school, my best friend and I liked to take walks through Carytown. We almost always started our jaunts at Montana Gold Bread Co., where we would snag a free slice of challah and slather it with butter before venturing out to a bench to people-watch and pretend we were cool.

Challah has always been a little amazing to me. It’s stunning, with an intricate braided pattern, as well as soft and chewy and a little sweet: everything that a great bread should be.

Until now, I’ve been a little afraid to try baking it on my own. I worried that braiding the bread would be messy and awkward and, well, hard.

But when I was assigned Oh! You Cook! for the June Secret Recipe Club blog exchange, I knew it was time to go for it.

Dena has devoted her blog to kosher cooking. I have only the barest grasp on what it means to keep kosher, but at its most basic level, it requires avoiding certain types of animal meats (famously, pork products, but also shellfish and a few others) and completely separating meat from dairy (both in what you eat when and in how you prepare foods). Dena has shared many traditional Jewish dishes that look interesting, but since I am a vegetarian and a baker, I knew immediately that I wanted to try her challah recipe.

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Malted Milk Chocolate Chip and Oreo Cookies

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Oh boy.

Taste buds, get ready for a treat! It’s cookies. Cookies with everything good in them: cookies filled with more cookies as well as cream cheese and milk chocolate and malted milk powder.

These are sneaky, late night, guilty pleasure cookies. These cookies are the masters of the school yard, and everyone else might as well just go home.

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Milk Bar Funfetti Birthday Cake

Milk Bar Funfetti Birthday Cake

I like to call people up on their birthdays and sing to them.

So someone call me up and croon a little tune, because this blog is FIVE YEARS OLD! And I just can’t believe it.

Naturally, to mark the occasion, I baked a cake. Because what good is a birthday celebration without cake?

Happy birthday to Smells Like Brownies! Here’s to five more years of doing things deliciously (and making my family and friends wait around to eat until I finish staging a hundred photos).

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Easy Cheese Danish

Easy Cheese Danish

My husband has been asking to make cheese danish for years.

You’d think I would have taken him up on that right away! I love to bake. I love to be bossy in the kitchen. I love cheese danish.

But for some reason, I felt intimidated. Do you ever feel paralyzed by the desire to do something absolutely perfectly the first time, to find the right recipe and execute it just right, and make the most delicious thing anyone has ever tasted?

I had made croissants exactly once: they were a lot of work, and in the end, they were only fine. Fine! How dare they. I knew that cheese danish was in danger of turning out the same way, so I put them on the back burner.

But this month, when I was cruising through Renee’s Kitchen Adventures for my Secret Recipe Club challenge, I spotted a cheese danish recipe…and I knew I would have to go for it. This recipe is somewhat unusual, as it uses puff pastry instead of a typical laminated, yeasted dough! This had the potential to be way simpler, and equally as delicious. Plus, I have been all about puff pastry lately.

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Nutella Breakfast Strudels

Nutella Breakfast Strudel

I know you are probably getting sick of sweets from me. And I was all geared up to share a few simple savories…but then I realized it’s going to be Valentine’s day very soon.

And I have a long tradition of covering you in chocolate for Valentine’s day. Chocolate is, after all, one of my first loves.

So here we are. And you may, if you have been tracking with me for a while, notice something special about the amazing pastries I am sharing with you today: they are full of BUTTER!

Woot! Caitlin’s pediatrician cleared me to eat dairy again. This may or may not have happened two days after I had a small psychotic break and ate a cupcake that I totally meant not to eat.

Anyway. You better believe I have been loading up on all the cheese and butter and cream I have been craving for the last few months. Because as delicious as food can be without dairy, it’s hard to achieve true decadence in the absence of butter.

So I decided this year that we would indulge in breakfast instead of saving all our chocolate for dessert. (Though, let’s be honest, these strudels make an amazing dessert if you have the patience to wait for dinner time!)

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Prosecco-Poached Salmon

Prosecco-Poached Salmon

Do you know what the definition of craziness is? It’s when you do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Let’s be honest: I have a preschooler and a baby, so my behavior may often seem quite insane, if you are watching.

But this amazing salmon marks an end to one particular crazy thing I’ve been doing for years! You see, for years I have been trying to make this perfect salmon poached in apple cider. It sounds amazing, right? Perfect for Fall! But it’s so sweet. It’s genuinely weird. And yet every year as the leaves start collecting on the ground I whip out the same recipe and take another whack at it.

Crazy.

But this month, as I was making plans to go buy some cider from my local pumpkin farm and hop on my regularly scheduled crazy train, I happened to find a recipe that made me breath a huge sigh of relief. Because prosecco!

It just sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Poaching salmon in a fizzy broth of sparkling wine and shallots! And let me tell you, it was absolutely perfect! Everything I’ve always dreamed poached salmon could be.

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