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Chocolate Stout Cake with Dark Chocolate Bourbon Ganache & Potato Chips

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01My husband Brian is turning 35 this week! It’s hard for both of us to believe how fast time flies. It feels like just a few years ago we would flirtingly stare each other down in the hallways at Conway High School. It’s not the typical “high school sweetheart story” though. We dated for a few months and when he graduated, we agreed to go separate ways. Two years later, we ended up at a mutual friend’s house while I was visiting from Springfield, MO where I was living at the time, and we exchanged email addresses and a few weeks later I moved back home (for other reasons, but I can’t lie and say he wasn’t a catalyst), and the rest is history! Now we’ve gone through quite a bit to be where we are 13 years after that night we exchanged emails, with several moves, two young kids, a blooming eye care practice, a dog, and a 60’s modern split level house that we’ve been working on for the last 3 years. It’s been quite the adventure, and although it’s not perfect, he still somehow ends up deserving a big ol’ chocolate cake for his birthday.

I was at the liquor store a couple weeks ago and while I was grabbing some Sam Adams Cold Snap for him, I noticed Shiner had a “Birthday Beer” out. I thought it’d be fun to surprise him with some for his birthday, so I grabbed the sixer they had and hid them in the pantry. I didn’t even notice they were a chocolate stout until I got them home. I knew then that some would have to be made into his birthday cake! The Beeroness is an amazing resource for cooking with beer, so I knew I’d find a great starting point on her blog. This cake is adapted from her recipe for chocolate stout cake. I wanted to put my own spin on it, so I decided what a better pairing then beer and potato chips?! Salty + sweet is the yin to the yang, so it was a no brainer for a man’s birthday cake! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Dark chocolate ganache is probably my favorite frosting to work with- it’s just so easy and the absolute perfect amount of sweetness + smoothness + richness. The vanilla and bourbon added to it were just for the sake of the indulgence that are Birthdays!

The batter made SO much, so I ended up just filling two 9 inch cake pans and making a 2 layer cake, and 12 cupcakes. I froze all the cupcakes for later, because ain’t no way I need a birthday cake AND a dozen cupcakes lingering around the house. This way I’ll have a fantastic last minute dessert when company comes over next! But if you’re having a party, make a 3 layer cake with 3 9-inch pans. Or you can make a ton of cupcakes and put one chocolate covered chip on each cupcake. I’m doing that someday… maybe 6 years from now when I work off the calories from this cake!

I made the dark chocolate covered chips the night before and put them in the fridge to see if they’d stay crispy to let you know how far ahead you can make them. They were super crispy and delicious almost 36 hours later! So feel free to make these ahead of time. Also, feel free to make more than the cake needs so you can snack on them, because they’re magic! I thought about making a gorgeous decoration by sticking them in the cake halfway in a spiral pattern, but I thought “It’s for a man.” A messy pile of chocolate covered potato chips on top of a dark chocolate stout cake is exactly what he never knew he wanted! The crushed chips along the bottom were just because I couldn’t help myself. It begged for them. It evened out the texture as far as styling goes.

Guys, this cake is rich. Oh so rich. If you serve it cold like I did, it becomes a smooth, non-crumbly mouthful of perfectly sweet-salty goodness without overtaking the back of your teeth with sugar. It’s indulgent in the exact way it should be.

On another note, the Birthday Beer alone is seriously good! It tastes like a Tootsie Roll, but less sweet, and in a good way, if you can possibly imagine that in a beer. I’d recommend one for a fun birthday treat!

Happy birthday to my husband, my partner in crime. He’s the salty to my sweet. The dark chocolate to my potato chip. Now excuse me, I have to go sneak a chip off the top of that cake in the fridge. Click the link below the pictures to steal this recipe! You’re going to want to, believe me.

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CLICK HERE TO STEAL THIS RECIPE!

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Coconut Citrus Tea Cakes

_MG_0289-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Happy New Year!  A little late.  It should be fitting that my first post of the New Year is my first cheat from my Resolution, right?!  I’ve been doing so well with clean eating, and I have a lot of recipes to share, but this afternoon was the first chance I’ve gotten to spend time photographing all the steps, and the first time I thought to myself “I NEED SOMETHING SWEET.”

I was scrolling through a few blogs for some inspiration last night and found myself loving so many things on La Gallette’s beautiful blog, and then after about about 10 minutes I looked at her “about” section and saw that she’s only 17!  Then I thought “HOW do I not have it more together at 32??” When I was 17 I was waiting tables and loving food and cooking, but blogging wasn’t really a “thing” yet, I had hardly any money for rent much less props for styling, and I still had a 35mm SLR.  At this point in my life, I’m just beginning to be able to carve out enough time for myself to occasionally post recipes without having to worry about a dining room wall covered in permanent marker or a toilet filled with… well, use your imagination.  Archer is 3 and Violet is 5 and they’re at a point where they play together without constant need for hovering supervision *mostly,* and when Archer starts pre-k this August I have so many plans for my time!  I have to work on being able to focus my time and attention wisely.

So back to La Gallette’s blog… I noticed a particular recipe that substituted ground coconut flakes for powdered sugar and I wanted to hug her!  What a fantastic idea!  I don’t have a coffee or spice grinder, so I had to make do with my food processor, but a grinder is on my list of things to get soon so I can do this more often, and top desserts with it rather than powdered sugar.  I decided to try using ground coconut and ground almonds in place of some flour in a little treat!  These little tea cakes are so good.  The texture is like a muffin or a cake doughnut, but the shape of the mini bundt cake, the airiness from the egg whites, and the delicate glaze makes these feel more “feminine” than a plain ol’ muffin.  But if a muffin tin is all ya got, they make great muffins too!  I’d even say they’d make for a great glazed bread!  I wanted to make this without any processed sugar, but after tasting the finished cake it really just begged for the glaze, and it’s surely less than a teaspoon or two on each cake.  It goes from being not quite sweet enough to being the perfect amount of sweetness without your teeth hurting!

I’ll admit I did overfill the tins- they rose more than I expected them to!  So look at the photo of how full I piped them into the tin, and scale back a bit if you want a flatter bottom. I didn’t mind it though, as it created a little pool in the middle rather than a hole so the extra glaze got stuck in there.

I hope you make these soon and enjoy them as much as we did!  If you love them, post a photo on instagram with the hashtag #stoleyourrecipe!

Click the link under the photos to view the printable recipe!

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND/OR PRINT THE RECIPE!

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Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01So here me out.  I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving.  But look, you can make these now and keep them in the freezer so when parties and cookie exchanges and teacher gifting time sneaks up on you and you’re dizzy from shopping, you can rest assured knowing that you have something mouthwatering without much time or thought at all!  Also, you can send the cookies off with the recipe to let them steal it and pass it on!

This recipe was adapted from an almond orange shortbread recipe I found several years ago in one of those small Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazines (do they make them anymore? I loved them!).  I love this recipe because you can swap out or add so many things!  The original recipe included orange zest and almonds.  I kept the orange zest in these, as well as the almond extract, but added festive red and green through the pistachios and cranberries.  You can swap out the orange zest for lemon zest with almonds, or lime zest with macadamia nuts and dried mango (ohhhh that’s my next one), or use raisins and pecans with a dash of cinnamon and use vanilla instead of almond extract… the possibilities are endless!  They’re buttery, crumbly, and just sweet enough without being so overly indulgent.  Violet insisted that she didn’t like cranberries until I made her eat one of these.  As stubborn as she is even she couldn’t pretend not to love them!

I made the dough at night and stuck it in the freezer until morning.  It needs to stay in the freezer for at least 45 minutes, but if it’s been in there for longer than a few hours, let it sit out for about 30 minutes or so to prevent it from crumbling as you slice the cookies off the log.  I ran my knife under hot water and wiped it dry between each slice and it made it a lot easier.  Slice slowly and it shouldn’t crumble on you.

If you switch up the recipe and find a killer combination, let me know! I’d love to steal it from you. Find my printable recipe under the photos.

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT RECIPE

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Oscar Deviled Eggs

logo devilled eggsGraphicSpoonCMYK-01A couple years ago, a local kitchen store hosted a deviled egg competition, and I didn’t enter because I was out of town. But I couldn’t stop thinking of what version I would create if I’d have entered.  I thought about one of my favorite dishes- beef tenderloin “Oscar style” (topped with crab, béarnaise and asparagus), and I thought maybe it would work to make deviled eggs Oscar style.  Since béarnaise is a luscious butter and yolk sauce, it seemed like it could be great!  I finally came up with a version for lunch today and it’s more delicious than I imagined it would be.  I made the béarnaise sauce super lemony, then added some into the mashed, cooked yolks, then piped it back into the whites, then topped that with some crab meat that I tossed in some lemon juice and some crushed kettle potato chips (I know!), then a hefty drizzle of the béarnaise, then some shaved raw asparagus spears, and then some more crushed kettle potato chips.  I ended up making some grilled bread to go along with this, and it’s the fanciest and most fun little appetizer/brunch/light lunch there ever was!  It’s unexpected and the flavors are just spot on.

I used a refrigerated jar of back fin crab meat from the grocery store.  So besides boiling the eggs, all you have to do is make the béarnaise sauce, which isn’t hard, but you do have to focus.  It’s not so much the “make while your toddlers are in possession of markers in the dining room” dish if you know what I mean. And if you’re wondering if I have the magic equation to ensure that all eggs are peeled flawlessly for deviled eggs, I may come up short.  I do know that fresh eggs tend to be harder to peel, so you should aim to buy eggs a week before you plan to make deviled eggs.  Also, some say that adding salt to the boiling water helps too, but I haven’t noticed a difference (although I still do it just in case).  To boil, I barely cover the eggs in cold water in a pot, then set over high heat.  Once the water starts to boil, I turn the heat off, cover with a tight lid, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Soft, creamy, bright yellow yolks every time (thanks Alton!).  Then I drain the water, add a bunch of ice, put the lid back on, and shake it around gently to crack some of the shells.  I feel like this “shocks” the membrane away from the whites and helps it peel more cleanly, and I always peel under a small stream of water.  Do you have any secrets for flawless egg peeling?

I adapted my béarnaise recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.  I halved the egg, butter, vinegar and tarragon, but kept the lemon and shallot at the full recipe amount.  I simply didn’t need as much, but wanted it to be lemony and with full flavor.

The shaved raw asparagus adds some nice crunch to this (use skinny asparagus, by the way- it’s more tender), but it needed just a bit more crunch, and a bit more salt, so the crushed kettle cooked potato chips were absolute perfection!  Don’t skip this ingredient!

Make them soon!  They’re not your parents’ 70’s dinner party deviled eggs, I promise.

Click the link below photos for full recipe.

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CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE

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Vegan Spring Rolls

_MG_0421-1_edited-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01When I was pregnant with Archer, I just couldn’t get enough of the Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls from Pei Wei.  I’ve had on my “Kitchen Bucket List” to make some version of them at home for a while now, and noticed the rice paper at the store and decided to give them a try, and I’m so glad I did!  These might be eaten at least once a week from now on.  Not only are they super healthy, they’re so colorful you can’t help but be happy eating them.  The other great thing about these is that you can’t go wrong with the filling!  These are vegan, but they’d be fantastic with some chicken or shrimp in there as well.  Or even diced boiled egg!

The paper is delicate, but after the first wrap, I figured out how full to fill it and how tight to wrap it.  If this is what your first attempt looks like, don’t worry, you’re not alone:

_MG_0436-1And hey, that one still made it in my belly just fine!

These are the ingredients I went with: purple cabbage, cucumber, carrot, mango, avocado, bean thread noodles, cilantro, lime juice (not the whole slice!) and peanuts.  You can use anything you want, but try to get as many different colors as you can in there- that’s half the fun!

_MG_0345-1The bean thread noodles and rice pancake sheets are found at most grocery stores in the Asian food section.

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Julienne all your veggies, and have them ready to go when you’re ready to fill and wrap the rolls, as the rice paper needs to be handled quickly.  Dip each sheet in water for about 20-25 seconds, then carefully lay it flat on a clean wet dish towel.  Fill it one layer at a time with your fillings, then roll it up like you would a burrito: one flap up, then the sides tucked in, then roll all the way.

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Again, it may take a try or two before you get the hang of how tight and full to fill them, but you can open the paper up and start again with a new sheet.

Plain Jane is delicious, but my favorite dip for these is a mix of sweet chili sauce and chili garlic paste (love the sweet & spicy with this combo of flavors).  A peanut sauce would be great too, or even simple soy sauce.  Three of these rolls are so satisfying without leaving your belly heavy.

I hope you make them soon!  Let me know what you fill yours with!

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Grilled Cheese Tomato and Pepper Soup

 

 

_MG_0094-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01This, guys.  This!  I’ve been imagining this in my head for a few weeks now, and the end product did not disappoint.  I know this is the second soup in a row I’ve posted, but it’s that good.

I like french onion soup.  I do.  But when I’m being honest, the whole reason I like it is because of the toasty, melty, oozy cheesy cheese toast on top.  And I thought “Why does french onion soup get to have all the cheesy fun?!”  Tomato soup is a perfect candidate for this because of the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese combo we all know and love.  But it’s not just a “grilled cheese and tomato soup” flavor.  It almost tastes like deep dish pizza.  Just trust me and make this soon, please. I know you’ll enjoy it.

I don’t like my tomato soup very brothy (it needs some body to hold up the toast), but simply add a bit more broth if it’s too thick for you.  Homemade broth is a special treat to use for soup if you have some in your freezer.  And don’t forget to salt this without abandon.  Tomatoes beg for salt, and it just won’t taste right if you don’t use enough.  I used a mix of smoked provolone and smoked cheddar on top.  If you can’t find smoked cheese, regular will work, but try to use smoked if you can.  It makes it special (as does the smoked paprika vs. regular paprika, and those sun dried tomatoes for added earthiness).  Another important note is to use a good crusty bread (no plain ol’ sandwich bread!), and make sure to toast it nice and dry so it won’t turn to mush.  Using a cast iron isn’t necessary- any oven safe bowl will work (but how cute is this personal size cast iron)?

The recipe is linked at the bottom of the post!  Enjoy!

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 VIEW AND PRINT RECIPE HERE!

 

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Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage and Bacon

 

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01This was my “Okay Fall, I’m giving up on Summer- I’m all yours” meal.  We had the best summer, browsing the farmers markets, picking berries and peaches until my freezer filled, staying up late, and waking up slow.  I love Fall, but this year it has some big shoes to fill with how great our summer was (my daughter Violet started full-time pre-k last year so you could say it was our first “official summer” and we took advantage of the fact that it was to end)!

This soup certainly reminded me that Fall has it’s perks.  Even though here in Central Arkansas we don’t many year-round farmer’s markets, the grocery stores around me always do well with getting fresh seasonal produce, we have a great “you pick” apple orchard, and a pecan grove that lets you keep half of what you pick for free!  I’ll finally admit, I’m ready for winter squash, and I’ve already broken out the can o’ pumpkin stash from last year.  Fade my tan and fill my belly!

This soup is so easy and comforting!  I adore bacon occasionally, but so rarely cook with it.  This soup is one of the few dishes that I would strongly recommend using just a few slices.  If you really don’t want the added calories or want to make it vegetarian, use chopped sun-dried tomatoes (and fry the sage in olive oil).

Scroll down for a printable link to the recipe! I hope you give it a try!

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Click here for the PRINTABLE recipe! 

 

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Welcome to my blog!

GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Hi! Come on in. Stay awhile.

I feel like since we may have just met, I should introduce myself! My name is Kerry. I started this blog because I love cooking, photographing, writing and sharing. I love the way I feel when I feed my loved ones. I love the way it feels when someone says “that was the best <insert whatever they ate> I’ve ever had!” I love the way it feels when I get in the kitchen, get to work, and everything else in my head takes a rest while I focus on creating dishes that may cheer up a sad friend, help celebrate a festive occasion, or calm a new mom by giving her one less thing to do.  Food does so much more than feed our bellies.

I’d been in the restaurant business (in some way) since my first job at 16 (which entailed being part of the opening crew for a new restaurant-  a priceless experience). Even though I’ve always loved to cook, my jobs were always in the Front of House, waiting tables then eventually management, but I always tried to learn everything about the food, the way it was made, and why it needed to be made that way (I did prep some and learn a lot about catering while managing at a local favorite restaurant here in Little Rock). It’s hard not to develop a passion for food when you work so closely with it. Now fast forward to today, where I’m happily and passionately focusing about 99.99999736% of my time and energy into my two kiddos, with a side portrait photography gig forcibly nudged in there somehow to protect some semblance of a Self other than Mom. I’ve always shared food related posts casually, and kept a Blogspot blog on and off, but I plan for this site to be a much deeper effort to organize myself somewhere in the culinary world, because I feel like I’m home here.

I chose “Steal My Recipe” because I want you to take them. Take them all! But then, when you’ve made it, I want you to change it somehow (use a different fruit, a different flour, a different cooking method, etc). Make it your own, and put your name on it. That’s the joy of sharing our recipes so freely online- we can be inspired by each other and come up with better, more creative dishes that way. I don’t know about you, but that sounds great to me. I’m here to share what I have to give, and hope that it proves useful and delicious to you!

Thanks again for visiting. I hope to see you here often!

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