Smashing | Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Deep and rich, this Peppermint Chocolate Cake gets a cool, refreshing burst from both peppermint extract and schnapps. Topped with peppermint ganache and crushed candy canes, it’s a breathtaking holiday dessert.

Peppermint Chocolate Cake | Flour Arrangements

Much to my kids’ dismay, I rarely frequent the candy aisle at the grocery store.  I bake too much cake and pie to want to mess around with candy most of the time, but I needed some candy canes to crush as topping for this Chocolate Peppermint Cake the other day.  As I marched into the sugary confection section, I learned something completely astonishing:  broken candy canes are totally a thing you can buy.

I have to hand it to those candy makers.  Imagine the sheer mass of candy cane wreckage piling up in their factories.  I wonder who first thought, “Let’s market the broken stuff to all those people crushing up candy canes for their peppermint bark and other holiday treats”? Good on him or her.

Peppermint Chocolate Cake | Flour Arrangements

Here’s the thing, though.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.  I don’t often get to smash things, and I wanted to smash my own candy canes, dammit.  It’s so satisfying, especially if you remember to do it in a plastic bag so the candy shards don’t go flying all over the kitchen.

I came home with two packages of candy canes. My kids had asked if we could hang some on the tree, which really means they hope to snack on this Christmas tree fruit when I’m not looking.  Good on them.  Sometimes I can be nice. [Read more…]

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Muffin Makeover | Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins

Full of aromatic rosemary, salty prosciutto, and mozzarella cheese, these savory Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins are great for snacking on or for nibbling alongside a warm bowl of soup.

Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins | Flour Arrangements

Have I mentioned that my kids refuse to eat sandwiches in their lunches?  Their elementary school doesn’t allow peanuts on campus, and this means the beloved peanut butter & jelly sandwich is totally off limits.  Sure, I could send ham & cheese or tuna sandwiches along with them, but they’d never eat them.

Since I’m the one who suffers when my daughters come home starved and crabby, I’ve had to get creative with their lunches. Not cutesy Bento box creative, mind you — I’ve just had to come up with ways to pack my kids full of protein without the simplicity of the peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

Enter Rosemary & Prosciutto Muffins.

Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins | Flour Arrangements

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Cream of the Crop | Creamed Turkey and Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles

Creamed turkey and thyme-cornmeal waffles combine their warm, comforting flavors in a simple, satisfying meal. Topped with cranberry sauce and green beans, this dish is a perfect use for Thanksgiving leftovers!

Creamed Turkey with Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles | Flour Arrangementsd turkey with waffles-5

Leftovers are one the best parts of Thanksgiving.  Of course I love spending time with family and friends and gathering around a big table for an awesome feast, but Thanksgiving leftovers draw out my feelings of gratitude for days and days.

As I indulge in a plate of leftover turkey loaded with all the traditional fixings, I can’t help but feel grateful about having a family of friends and friends who are like family.

Creamed Turkey with Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles | Flour Arrangements

And while I could cheerfully eat turkey dinner day in and day out, it’s hard not to see Thanksgiving leftovers as creative opportunities.  Roasted turkey, especially, is like a blank canvas with endless culinary possibilities — pizza, pot pie, enchiladas, salads, soups, you name it.  And here’s one of the best things about creating meals with leftovers:  since the main ingredients are already prepped and ready to go, these recipes are that much easier to prepare.

In anticipation of all those leftovers-to-come next week, I did some experimenting with Creamed Turkey and Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles.  My family already loves eating breakfast waffles for dinner, so it was about time we added savory waffles to our repertoire.    [Read more…]

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Sweet & Sour | Brown Sugar-Cranberry Tart

Brown sugar’s sweetness tempers the tangy, slightly bitter edge of cranberries in this Brown Sugar-Cranberry Tart.

Brown Sugar-Cranberry Tart |Flour Arrangements

Cranberries get lots of love at Thanksgiving.  Roast turkey with sweet, tangy cranberry sauce plays a central role in the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  I love eating turkey with cranberry sauce, but the bold tartness of these little berries adds bright flavor to anything from skillet meals to breads to salads to  cakes.  If you’re not thinking beyond cranberries as a condiment yet, I recommend starting now!

I’ve made all kinds of recipes with cranberries, and I think I’ve finally found my favorite in this Brown Sugar-Cranberry Tart. I can’t get enough of its perfect blend of sweet and sour:  brown sugar and bright, sassy cranberries are a perfect match!  With warm cinnamon spice from the tart’s simple pat-in-the-pan crust and a hint of vanilla from lightly sweetened whipped cream, this assertive sweet treat is destined to wow any holiday crowd. [Read more…]

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Classic with a Twist | Cardamom-Lime Sweet Potato Pie

A holiday classic with a twist — brighten your celebrations this season with Cardamom-Lime Sweet Potato Pie!

Lime Cardamom Sweet Potato Pie | Flour Arrangements

Have you ever squeezed lime juice over a roasted sweet potato?  With a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and a pinch of coarse salt, it makes for an amazing flavor combination.  This sweet-sour obsession  was rattling around my brain when I set out to make sweet potato pie the other day — and am I ever glad.  Instead of adding a splash of vanilla and the usual spices, I opted for lime juice and cardamom. [Read more…]

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Hail, Caesar! | Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

This simple Caesar salad recipe packs serious garlic-lemon-umami flavor along with great crunch from homemade croutons.

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons | Flour Arrangements

Public service announcement: if you’re not slicing up stale bread to freeze for later use, you’re missing out on some serious food opportunities! Thanksgiving’s almost here, and bags of cubed, frozen bread are great to have on hand for making amazing stuffing.  If you haven’t started stockpiling, it’s time to get on it!

But wait, there’s more! You can turn cubed bread into HOMEMADE CROUTONS any day of the year, and you should because it’s so easy.

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons | Flour Arrangements
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Cookie Monster | Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Tart

 A thick layer of chocolate chip cookie dough — made with cream instead of eggs — is sandwiched between a delicious chocolate shortbread crust and dark chocolate ganache in this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Tart

chocaChocolate Chip Cookie Dough Tart | Flour Arrangementsolate chip cookie dough tart-1

Whenever anyone decides to bake chocolate chip cookies at my house, I transform into a cookie dough ninja.  I swoop in and grab dough off the cookie sheet when the baker’s back is turned.  At one point, my husband thought he was losing his mind rather than his cookie dough. This is a testament to how fast and quiet I can be when it comes to stealing dough.

While I’m a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie, I have to admit it:  a hunk of chocolate chip cookie dough beats a chocolate chip cookie hands down.  Am I alone, here?  I don’t think so, but I can never tell.  Some people freak out about the raw egg thing, but I never let that bother me.

I’m the kind of person who makes chocolate chip cookies for the sole purpose of eating as much dough as I can before it hits the oven.  Its sweet vanilla flavor, its buttery richness, its satisfying sugar-crunch between my teeth, and all those bursts of deep, dark chocolate turn me into a compulsive eater:  a ball of dough for the baking sheet, a ball of dough for my mouth and so on and so forth.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Tart | Flour Arrangements

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Ghoulish Grub

Spooktacular Halloween Meatloaf Cupcakes and a giveaway to boot — enter to win a $200 Zappos giftcard!

Halloween Meatloaf Cupcakes | Flour Arrangements

I‘m constantly reminding my daughters not to play with their food. They’re forever up to mischief — waving around olive-topped fingertips or turning asparagus spears into light sabers. I knew I was asking for it when I made these spooky Halloween meatloaf cupcakes since they’re an invitation for dinnertime antics, but I just couldn’t help myself — it’s almost Halloween!

In addition to creating an easy, holiday-themed dinner, this goofy, spooky meal provides the perfect solution for my long-standing meatloaf conundrum.  I love meatloaf — its comforting heartiness, its simple preparation and easy clean-up, and its versatility of ingredients — but I almost never make it because it feels like it takes forever to bake.

Halloween Meatloaf Cupcakes | Flour Arrangements

Meatloaf cupcakes, though? They bake in about 25 minutes.  This means you can have dinner on the table from start-to-finish in less than an hour.  Since these little cupcakes are so easy to make, conjuring up some mashed potato ghosts is a simple step that adds, quite literally, the icing on the cake!

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