Billionaire Bars

So this recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen. They have a recipe for millionaire’s shortbread. Why do I call mine Billionaire instead? Because I’ve bumped it up a notch and made it more decadent. I added some Bourbon to the caramel and some flake sea salt to the chocolate topping. Enjoy!

Billionaire Bars

Cookie Bottom:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Caramel Middle:

  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cron syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. Bourbon

Chocolate Topping

  • 9 oz chopped chocolate
  • Flake sea salt


Pre-heat your oven to 350° and place the rack in the lower-middle position. Take a 13″ x 9″ baking pan and line it with a foil sling. Having heavy aluminum foil really helps here. Line it the long way first, then another sheet the short way. This makes getting the bars out super easy. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray, this helps getting the foil off the bars.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and combine until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Press into the pan until you have an even layer. It helps to use a flat object, like a measuring cup, to press the dough down. Take a fork and prick the dough all over. Bake until light brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool until it’s barely warm.

For the filling, combine all of the ingredients except the salt in to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is between 236 to 239 degrees. A candy thermometer really comes in handy here. This will take 20 or so minutes. Keep an eye on it, the bottom can scorch really quickly if you don’t stir enough. Once it reaches temperature, take it off the heat and stir in the salt. Pour, carefully as it’s molten, over the cookie bottom. Allow to cool completely (about 30-45 minutes if you put it in the refrigerator).

Once it is completely cool, put the chopped chocolate into a microwave proof bowl. Nuke for 20 seconds at a time. Stir in-between nukes and let it set for 5 minutes between. Keep nuking until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour ontop of the caramel and smooth out. An offset spatula really helps here. Sprinkle with flake sea salt and allow to cool complete.

Once completely cool, use the foil sling to remove it from the pan and carefully peal the foil away from the bars. Double check to make sure the foil didn’t rip and that you have pieces stuck to your bars. No one wants a bite of foil!

Carefully cut into bars, the cookie portion can be very crumbly.

Bourbon Eggnog Cake

Sometimes you come across a recipe that sounds amazing but when you go to make it, it falls short of your expectations. This is one of those recipes for me. The original had 4 layers, and nice Bourbon custard filling, and an eggnog buttercream frosting.

First, there was no way it could ever make 4 layers. I barely got 3 out of the original recipe. The custard came out so thick I had a hard time spreading it on the cake without tearing the layers to pieces. And I’m not a fan of buttercream so I went with a cream cheese frosting instead. So I turned to Google, looked up a couple of other eggnog cake recipes, and cobbled this one together. Had to make it a couple of times until it came out the way I wanted. Enjoy!


Bourbon Eggnog Cake

Bourbon Custard:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 large egg yolks (keep the whites)
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon

Bourbon Eggnog Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 egg whites (4 from the custard)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Eggnog Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 lbs cream cheese (16 oz), at room temp
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3 tbsp. eggnog
  • 3 tbsp. bourbon
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


In a medium pot, I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch oven, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add in the half-and-half and egg yokes. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat (whisking constantly) until it starts to bubble, about 7 or 8 minutes. Cook for another minute or two. It will get thick but keep cooking until it seem impossibly thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tbsp. at a time until melted and smooth. Whisk in the Bourbon. Transfer to a medium bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 3 round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with the non-stick spray as well.*

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the sour cream and beat until light and fluffy again.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

Combine the eggnog, milk, Bourbon, and vanilla in a measuring cup.

On medium-low, add in the egg whites one at a time. Beat until combined and the batter is smooth. Add in half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add in half the eggnog mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat.

Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Turn down the mixer to low and slowly add in the eggnog and bourbon, beat until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until smooth and all of the powdered sugar is well incorporated. Then turn up to high and beat until smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Assemble the cake. Take 1 cake and put it on a cake plate. Evenly smear the top with 1/2 the Bourbon custard. This is easier if you take it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before had to allow it to warm up slightly. Place the 2nd cake on top and smear it with the rest of the custard. Now frost it with the cream cheese frosting. I grated some fresh nutmeg on top of mine to make it look nice. Eat it.

*I have always had issues with my cakes being domed, meaning the middle of the cake was always higher than the sides. A total pain when frosting as the top was never even. Then it came to my attention that you can actually prevent this by using bake-even strips. They’re basically oven proof strips of material that you soak in water before using and then they wrap around the outside of the cake pan. Works like a charm! You can find them on Amazon, of course: Wilton Bake-Even cake strips.

Gingerbread Cookies

Tis the season and this last weekend I got the hankering for some good old fashion gingerbread cookies. So I turned to my favorite cookbook and it didn’t disappoint me. I did modify this recipe just a tad, added some ground cloves and used butter instead of shortening. They turned out pretty darn good! Warning, this recipe makes A LOT of cookies. Enjoy!


Gingerbread Cookies

  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark molasses, I use blackstrap
  • 1/2 cup espresso
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


Preheat your oven to 400°. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the molasses and coffee. Add in the flour and beat until mixed well. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough until about 1/4″ thick. Cut out the cookies with a cookies cutter. I used a 2″ round but you can use whatever you like. Bake for 8 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and eat.

As this recipe makes a lot of cookies, make sure to put the dough back in the refrigerator between batched to keep it chilled.

Lemon Tea Bread

I got this recipe from that country cookbook my mom gave to me years ago. Even though it’s called bread this is more like a pound cake. Delicious, light, and a good lemon flavor. I only modified it slightly, added a little lemon extract and some other things. It originally called for walnuts too but I didn’t think that would go well with lemon. Enjoy!

Lemon Tea Bread


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest


  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of above lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar


Preheat your oven to 325°.

In a medium bowl beat together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one and a time and beat until smooth.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the zest of the lemon.

In a small bowl or measuring cup; beat together the eggs, extracts, and milk.

Alternating, add in the flour and milk a little at a time. Beat until just combined.

Spray and line a loaf pan with parchment paper and non-stick cooking spray. Pour in the batter. Bake for 70 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and cream of tartar. Pour over the loaf, it will soak in. Eat.


Vodka Cranberry Cake

So one of my coworkers challenged me to make a vodka cranberry dessert. I was like, game on! So I found a recipe for a basic cranberry cake and proceeded to modify it to meet my needs. So here it is, the Stefanico (as I’m going to call it). Instead of fresh cranberries I used dried but I re-hydrated them in a bit of cranberry vodka. Used the left over vodka to flavor the cream cheese frosting. I think it turned out pretty well. Enjoy!

Vodka Cranberry Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup vodka (I used cranberry vodka)


  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp. vodka


Preheat your oven to 350°.  Spray a 9″ x 13″ cake pan, or 2 round 9″ cake pans, and line the bottom(s) with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, soak the cranberries in the vodka for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is best.

Shift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add in the sugar and stir to combine.  Beat the eggs until smooth. Add in the milk and melted butter. Fold into the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t over stir!

Strain the cranberries making sure to save the vodka that’s left over. Fold them into the cake batter. Pour into your cake pan(s) and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes our of the center clean. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add in 2 tbsp. of the reserved vodka and beat until smooth. If it’s too loose add in more sugar until it’s the right consistency. Spoon over the top of your cake and smooth out. Then eat!

Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s show on PBS. I liked it because it’s 1) quick and 2) gluten free. He made his with blood oranges, which I may try sometime in the future, but I had lemons handy and coworkers who love them. So I mixed it up a bit and changed out the syrup that goes along with it. Enjoy!

Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds


  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar, brown or sugar in the raw if you have it
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Preheat your oven to 325° and line a 8″ springform pan with parchment paper, spraying it with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract.

In a small bowl combine the polenta, lemon zest, almonds, and baking powder. Fold this into the butter/egg mixture. Pour into the springform pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and a toothpick comes our clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a small pan, heat together the honey, water, lemon zest & juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer until it’s reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

Take a skewer and poke a bunch of holes in the cake. Pour the syrup over the top, it will soak in. Allow the cake to completely cook before removing from the pan. Flip it over carefully, as it’s a bit fragile, and remove the paper from the bottom. Slice and enjoy!

German Chocolate Pie

I came across a recipe for this pie and it immediately caught my attention. Mostly because I have a good friend who loves German Chocolate cake; in fact, I made one for him for this birthday one year. So I thought I would give it a try. I only modified it slightly. Used my own pie crust recipe and added some good Dutch-processed cocoa. Warning! This is really rich so a little goes a long way! Enjoy!


German Chocolate Pie


  • 4 oz sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat your oven to 400°. Roll out the pie dough using my recipe (which will make 2 pies) and line a pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Line the pie dough with parchment paper and pie weights (I just use dry beans). Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully take the weight and parchment out and put it bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Put the chopped chocolate in a microwave bowl and nuke to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool slightly until just warm to the touch. Whisk in the milk, yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool, combine the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. In a small bowl whisk the yolks. Slowly whisk in a small amount of the hot sugar/cream mixture. Pour the yolks into the remaining sugar mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the mixture is thick. Stirr in the coconut ad vanilla, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the pie filling and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bars

So this recipe is really similar to the Bourbon Pumpkin cake recipe I posted earlier. The big difference is no Bourbon. Still super moist and flavorful though. I modified the original recipe that this is based on. It called for a few ingredients I didn’t want to use and I substituted ones I did want to use. Easy enough. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk


Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Spay a 9″x13″ baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth. Combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & soda, and salt. Gradually beat into the pumpkin mixture on low speed. Pout in to the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool. Once it’s cooled flip over onto a board or plate and remove the parchment. Flip it back into the baking pan.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and butter until smooth. Add in the vanilla and milk, beat until smooth again. Spread onto the bars, cut, and eat.




Maple Shortbread Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle. It’s cooler, rainy, the leaves are changing color, and it’s getting dark earlier. Therefore it’s been inspiring me to make fall like things. Such as the Bourbon pumpkin cake I posted earlier and the soon to be posted pumpkin bars, which to be honest are almost the same as the cake only without the Bourbon. And this recipe. Apparently there are Canadian cookies similar to this that I’ve never had. I’ve upped this slightly by added a Bourbon maple frosting to it, which I used some Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and some Bourbon. I’ve got to use up that Bourbon somehow (other than drinking it)! These cookies are pretty delicate and crumbly because of all the butter so be warned. I may try modifying it in the future to see if I can cut down on this. Enjoy!

Maple Shortbread Cookies


  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon


I used a food processor but you can use a bowl and beater. Combine the butter, sugar, and cornstarch. Add in the maple flavoring. Gradually add in the flour and combine until smooth. Roll out into a lightly floured board and shape into a log, I make mine somewhat rectangle as that’s how I like my cookies. Note: You could make this into a disk and roll out to use a cookie cutter after it chills if you wanted. You’d need to re-refrigerate the dough again if you wanted to roll it out again after making the cut outs with the cookie cutter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1/4 in slices if not using a cookie cutter.

Pre-heat your oven to 325°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookie 1″ apart from each other. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges a light brown. Cool.

In a small bowl beat together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and Bourbon. Spread over the cookies and let set until the glaze dries. Eat.

Lemon Cream Pie

A coworker of mine LOVES lemon. She’ll eat fresh lemon every day, pretty much. So she was having a bad week and I decided to make something lemon for her to cheer her up. I had a bunch of mascarpone cheese and some leftover lemon curd. So I decided to make her a lemon cream pie. This is one of those recipes that I completely made up, which I don’t do a whole lot. But it turned out perfect. Added bonus? No baking! Enjoy!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 5 oz package of graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see my recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 pkg Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


Put your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer. This will help with the whipped cream.

Melt the butter in a microwave dish, about 20 seconds at a time. I usually cover mine with a wet paper towel, just in case it “pops” and splatters the microwave. In a food processor crush the graham crackers until they are fine. Combine with the melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into a pie or square cake pan, whichever you prefer.

In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone cheese and lemon curd.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and hot water. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Add into the cheese/curd mixture, beat until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Pull out your bowl and whisk from the freezer. Beat the heavy cream, starting out slow and increasing the speed as the cream thickens. When it has soft peaks slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Beat until firm peaks form. Spead on top of the lemon pie mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour and then enjoy it.