Apple Buttermilk Beignets and New Orleans Originals

jtb x nydj

Buttermilk Apple Beignets (1)

I‘m really excited to spend my first holiday here in New Orleans.  There’s a chill and a palpable spirit in the air.

New Orleans is such a unique place, it’s only natural that I would want to dive all the way into the holiday spirit here.  I’m hitting the streets to put together a casual holiday gathering with my friends at NYDJ.  In order to make it feel as special as New Orleans, I’m stopping in at some of favorite local shops:  LoomedNOLA for sweet and cozy gifts, Keife & Co for amazing wine, and St. James Cheese Company to make the perfect cheese plate.

No New Orleans gathering at my house would be complete without freshly-fried beignets.  They’re best enjoyed from scratch with your friends gathered around a heaping plate of fresh fried dough and powdered sugar.

I hope you find loads of holiday inspiration here!  Add a little New Orleans spirit to your holiday!

zNola Originals

Loomed Nola is my favorite textile store in New Orleans.  They sell lovely Turkish cotton kitchen towels, scarves, and blankets.  It’s the perfect place to shop for a thoughtful hostess gift or a comfy treat for your best girlfriend.

Keife & Co. is my go-to spot for wine in New Orleans!  Not only is it stocked with really unique bottles, the brothers that own the shop are more than willing to find the perfect bottle of bubbly for your holiday party without totally breaking the bank.  No pretension, just great wine and bubbles!

One of my favorite stops in New Orleans is St. James Cheese Company.  Step inside and the staff will dazzle you with cheese knowledge and let you sample your way through your cheese purchase.  Putting together a cheese plate can feel rather daunting but St. James makes it easy… and it’s always fun to eat all the cheeses before you buy them!

jtb x nydj (3)

I set out into the streets of New Orleans sporting my favorite pair of NYDJ jeans.  Super flattering, fitted, slimming, and real.  They’re perfect for jaunting around town in style and hoping in the kitchen to get down with some beignets.  My style also has to be functional.  I want to feel pretty, stylish, and I definitely need plenty of room to fry up and eat my fair share of New Orleans treats.

This holiday I’ve paired up with NYDJ to bring you flattering comfort, radiant style, and a big bundle of holiday inspiration and confidence.  Let’s look great, eat well, and entertain in easy style!  Here are all the recipes you need to do it!

nydj + jtb holiday party originals

jtb+nydj holiday recipes:  for cocktail, salad, and gifting inspiration!

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Let’s Leftover!

mashed potato waffles

Thanksgiving leftovers

The day after Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite day to eat… Chinese take-out food.  Anything that I didn’t boil on a stove or bake in the oven myself, please.  Anything that doesn’t taste like sage or pumpkin, please.  No pie, thank you.  I can’t with the cold gravy, ok?  Chinese take-out all the way.

If you, however, are the kind of resourceful and reasonable person that is  lovingly committed Thanksgiving leftovers, might I suggest a few things?

•  First.  Waffle the heck out of your mashed potatoes.  Melt cheddar cheese on top.  Sprinkle chives.  Take all the credit for potato genius.  Go on go on!  Mashed Potato, Cheddar and Chive Waffles!

•  Second.  Dutch Baby it!  This super simple, puffed, buttery, almost doughnut-y breakfast pastry is fantastic topped with any sort of fruit you have on hand.  I’m thinking cranberry sauce, orange segments, and a sprinkling of ground cloves!  Berry Dutch Baby Pancake!

Thanksgiving Leftovers

•  Third.  Sweet and salty grilled cheese with creamy brie cheese and leftover cranberry sauce pretty much hits the spot.  All of the spots.  Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese.

•  Forth.  On the train to Leftover Town there are several stops.  This turkey, bacon, brie, and avocado situation is savory and satisfying and just about as ultimate as it gets.  If you were to add stuffing to this sandwich you would be a hero to many.  The Ultimate Turkey Club.

My work here is done.  Your leftover work is just beginning.  God speed.

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Inside the Baker’s Kitchen + Creamy Spiced Squash Soup with Parmesan Thyme Popovers

creamy spiced squash soup

creamy spiced squash soup

I‘ve been thinking a lot about comforts.

As I’m preparing to host my first Thanksgiving in New Orleans, I’m thinking a lot about exactly how to make my guests feel comfortable.  I’m thinking beyond moist stuffing and sweet cranberry sauce, because comfortable house guests require much more than one fancy meal on a Thursday.

I’m gathering baskets filled with filtered water, fancy soaps, good hand cream, extra toothbrushes just in case, extra blankets for the bed, a lavender spray for the bathroom, and a refrigerator full of snacks and comforts.

It’s essential and ultra luxurious… and since I don’t often host a house full of family (loud, hungry, crazy crazy family), it would be fair to say that maybe I’m going a bit overboard.

I’ve made a giant batch of this creamy squash soup and added a bit of ground clove and freshly grated nutmeg to highlight the sweet squash.  Salty pancetta breadcrumbs add a bit of crunch, and the whole deal is waiting in the refrigerator for a Thanksgiving week lunch.

I expect to feel proud and accomplished, until I run out of popovers and someone asks for more.

inside the baker's kitchen

We’re back in the kitchen with KitchenAid and it’s time to work these shelves.  It feels like I’m going to have every pan and every appliance on their job this week.  For this creamy soup and crispy popovers, I’m using a few new favorites:  the 7-speed Hand Mixer which is a savior for quick baking jobs, and the Pro Line® Series Cordless Hand Blender for the smoothest, creamiest blended soups.

If you missed our first Inside the Baker’s Kitchen, be sure the check out these sweet and savory biscuits!

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Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Well… I mean… once you have half a bag of fresh cranberries sitting in your refrigerator, you really can’t ignore them.  Technically, you can ignore them until they soften and just about turn themselves into something between wine and jam… but that takes months and is not listed among ideas that are good.

These particular fresh cranberries were left over from the Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie:  a good idea that I will continue to support.

It’s the weekend which means it’s time for warm things straight from the oven, preferably covered in maple syrup.

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Mushroom and Mash

Mushroom and Mash

Mushroom and Mash

I just realized something essential to my next week.  Um… this is my first Thanksgiving!  This is the first year, of my 33 years in the world, that I’m hosting my first totally-grown, matching-casserole-dishes, not-paperplate, make-all-the-pies THANKSGIVING at my New Orleans apartment with aaallll of my family.

I’m pretty sure this is a big deal.

I need a plan.  I really need a plan.

Nervously tapping my foot, biting my nails, and drinking toooooo much coffee is not a plan, right?  It’s the opposite of a plan.

I’m putting together a meal that is simple, casual, non-traditional, and filled with sides and pies.  I’m not cooking a turkey… which either makes me THE WORST person, or a genius.  Probably the worst, but even knowing that, I’m still not doing it.  We’re going to enjoy a giant pot of gumbo and aaalll of the Thanksgiving sides, including these fluffy and earthy mashed potatoes.

The plan is coming together (and also includes a triple batch of this Mac and Cheese).

Mushroom and Mash

Being bigtime thankful is also part of the plan.  Thankful for New Orleans, and visiting family, and warm gumbo, and mashed potatoes with roasted mushrooms.  Thankful for all of the good and the gnarly and everything in between.

The Internet wants us to succeed next week:

•  I’m definitely into group games… unless I have to act something out and hope people guess it:  10 Thanksgiving Games To Make The Holiday Fun For Everyone

•  These Molasses Spice Cookies are developing quite the reputation here in New Orleans.  I also love Jessica’s Thanksgiving Dos and Don’ts.  

•  I’m not making a turkey BUT I am ordering aaallll of the gumbo from Cochon Butcher.

•  Dijon Maple Green Beans sound like juuust the ticket.  They also have bacon and feta!

•  Deb’s Pretzel Parker House Rolls!  Just pretzel everything, thanks!

• Tracy’s Creamed Spinach should be an everyday thing, don’t you think?

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Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

I’ve set out on the very serious task of brainstorming ALL of the Thanksgiving pies.  Good reason.  I’m preparing the welcome most ALL of my family to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  There will be no turkey in my oven.  There will be no stuffing.  Green beans and cranberry sauce are a major maybe.

There will be a tremendous amount of gumbo and an equally tremendous amount of pie, Apple Cranberry among them.

In addition to a bounty of gumbo and pie, I’m also prepared for a week full of (ohhh gosh) family fun with a detailed week-long itinerary, a bull horn, a few bottles of bourbon, and a whistle.  I mean… right?

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Send help.

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Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

These November days are quickly running away which can only mean one thing:  we’re going to need to think about Thanksgiving and let’s try not to completely freak out about it.

It’s possible… the thinking without the freaking out.  We’ll make a plan.  We’ll ask someone else to roast a turkey.  We’ll cross our fingers a few times.  It will all work out.  Part of our success includes roasting aaalll of the sweet potatoes and adding oats and pistachio.  We’re making a play on Sweet Potato Pie:   no crust, extra crumble, easy and delicious!

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

When in doubt, can we just go ahead and add an oat crumble?  Hearty and sweet, buttery and spiced.  The oats make for a wholesome crumble that is both comforting and substantial.  We’re going to need the hearty oats to stand up to the butter and not shy away from the spices and sweet potato.  Balance, you know?

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Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies (10)

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies (9)

My food brain dreamed up these shortbread cookies with creamy pumpkin caramel back in June when the rest of you were thinking about watermelon and Jell-O shots, and bikini tops, and summer sunsets, and all of the amazing summer things.  I was sweating it out in my kitchen, covered in pumpkin puree, completely confused by the smell of holiday spices.

It’s about time these cookies make sense!  I mean… I’m wearing a scarf for goodness sake.  A scarf!

better homes and gardens

I made these cookies back in June for this month’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  These cookies are just one of a good handful of pumpkin recipes that fill the pages.

All I’m saying is… this is really good news on the pumpkin front.  Because there is a pumpkin front…. we’re looking right at it.

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Candy Bar Cookie Bars

Candy Bar Cookie Bars (7)

Candy Bar Cookie Bars

This is me finding a solution to your Halloween candy dilemma.  It’s a problem, right?  I mean… how are we supposed to live surrounded by the mini Snickers bars?  It’s entirely distracting. Snickers breakfast lunch and dinner.  Let’s not talk about it.  Instead, let’s add butter and flour and disguise our Halloween stash into chewy sweet and salty cookie bars… all suited and booted for sharing and giving.

Suit and boot.  That’s what we do around here.

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Apple Snap Cocktails

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

It’s time for a new go-to cocktail.  This summer’s negroni and sangria indulgences are long past me.  I’m looking for an Autumn cocktail that feels ample and cozy… but nothing like mulled wine or syrupy sweet pear drinks.

Has there ever been a tasty mulled wine?  I think no.

Apple Snap Cocktails

I wanted to combine the sweetness of fruit with the spiciness of the season.  Apple juice.  Fresh pressed and unfiltered.  Bourbon, naturally.  Lime and bubble water.  But spiiiiice! Needed and necessary.

Have you heard of Art In The Age?  They make the most lovely, unique organic spirits.  My favorite this season is SNAP, inspired by old school Pennsylvania Dutch ginger snaps.  Yessss, right?

SNAP is made from a neutral alcohol, molasses, ginger, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, tea, and sugar.  So so good!  Pairs perfectly with bourbon (yes!) and fresh apple.  I’ll be sipping on this SNAP all winter and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep a bottle or two around for hostess gifts.  It’s a treat.

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Fresh Juice and Sweet Tea Shot Bites

Ginger Lemonade Shot Bites / joy the baker

Fruit Juice Shot Bites / joy the baker

My mom taught me the valuable lesson of never taking candy from a stranger.  I’m pretty sure she never said anything about taking Jell-O shots from a stranger.  Technicality?

I should preface this introduction by saying… don’t be like me.

A few weekends back I was celebrating Jazz Fest with some friends.  There’s a certain spirit here in New Orleans that I’ve never encountered anywhere else. As we left the all day music festival… dusty, sun-tired, and thirsty, we found ourselves smack-dab in the center of an epic neighborhood block party.  Backyard gates were open to reveal full bands playing to the street, people set up folding tables with steaming crock pots selling gumbo, grills racked with meats for sale or not sale, and…. in the midst of the happy chaos… a girl in a neon wig selling Jell-O shots off of a simple plastic tray.

I was like a moth to the flame.  Again… don’t be like me.

It took a whole 2.2 seconds of deliberation before one of my fine friends offered up dollars for the little novelty shots… from a stranger… in the streets.

It was good.  It was green.  It was Jell-O.  The moment felt exactly as it should, so right with a splash of reckless.

My block party Jell-O shot got me thinking about how I could fancy up Jell-O + vodka.  Oh the possibilities!

Would it be too soon to say I’ve found my new calling?  How about… I’ve found my Memorial Day Weekend calling:  super couture Jell-O shots, sans jello, added cucumber and gin.


fancy juice and tea shot bites / joy the baker

Notice that I’m calling these treats Shot Bites and not Jell-O Shots.

While they are small and jiggly and boozy, they are made from unflavored gelatin and not Jello-O brand stuffs.  Using unflavored gelatin give us some breathing room to create flavor combinations that move beyond the Jell-O box.  We really need to move beyond beyond beyond the Jell-O Box.

We’re talking about fresh cucumber juice, lots of lime juice, fresh ginger, strawberry puree from sweet strawberries… we’re going all out!

For these four recipes I used a few different ice cube trays:  

Hexagon Ice Cube Set.

Heart-Shaped Ice.

The Perfect Cube.

You might also consider mini disposable cups, or a mini muffin tin.  Choose your path.

Everything I learned about fancy Shot Bites I learned from The Kitchn.

Here are the basics:

Fresh Juice and Sweet Tea Shot Bite Math

1 cup liquor + 1 cup non-alcoholic liquid + 2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

Let’s talk about this math.  This formula represents the maximum amount of alcohol we can use to create these shot bites.  Any more alcohol will mess with the gelatin and our Shot Bites won’t set up properly.  Heed the math.  For each of these recipes, I used about 3/4 cup alcohol because I tend to like a less boozy bite (aka college was ten years ago).  We can just replace any of the missing alcohol with whatever non-alcoholic liquid we’re using. On that note, you could leave out the alcohol completely to make these bites family-friendly.  Remember, 2 cups total liquid meets 2 envelopes of gelatin.  With that math, you can make so many delicious things!

Sweet Tea, Bourbon, and Lemonade Shot Bites // joy the baker

First up!

Sweet Tea.  Ginger Lemonade.  Bourbon!

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Classic Mint Juleps

classic mint juleps

classic mint juleps

Let’s throw the best Kentucky Derby Party around!  This… coming from a California girl curiously living in the Deep South.

In my mind, throwing the best Derby Party has everything to do with buying all of the mint and all of the bourbon.  With those two staples… everything else will fall into place.  This… coming from the California girl (who really likes bourbon).

A big hat is important.  A television that plays the races is pretty essential.  Red roses are a nice touch.  Fried chicken will keep the masses contented.  A Derby Pie (totally in our near future) is above and beyond, and totally major.

All of the bourbon, though.  First we’re really going to need all of the bourbon.

Classic Mint Juleps

Adorning our bourbon is also pretty important.

Silver Mint Julep cups are classic.  I have friends so serious about the Kentucky Derby, they bring their very own Julep Cups to Derby parties (ahem Ms. Whitney).

 I went with a more colorful Julep cup.  This… coming from the girl from California.  These floral enamel tumblers from MacKenzie Childs are full of charm.

Horse racing cocktail spears found here!

Classic Mint Juleps

With all the bourbon and all the mint, here we are… OFF TO THE RACES!

(I had to.)

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Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

double crust chicken pot pie 1

double crust chicken pot pie 1

I have my routines.

I get my oil changed every three months.  I get my hair cut every eight weeks.  I feed my cat every day at 5pm.  I drag my butt to bed every night at midnight.  Routines.  Structure.  It all feels good… like strapping on a bra in the morning.  I know I’m good to go.  (Totally an analogy I should have kept to myself…)

Also in the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this PIE.  Every three years I make this Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.  Only every three years.

Every three years I over-indulge in this pie and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more present/pressing/monthly routine…. then I remember all of the onion chopping and carrot slicing and roux making.  It’s a process. Worthy, still… but it remains my every three years pie for all of it’s butter cutting and onion chopping.  I feel like I savor it more with the years in between.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Can I just say, after slicing my way through most of an onion, I get to the butt end of the onion and I’m like… I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! WHY ARE WE EVEN DOING THIS!? I begin to question everything.  It’s a really weird place to start a cooking endeavor, but it happens to me every time.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Clearly I was meant to work with pastry… not onions.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

This pie is rich, creamy, full of Spring vegetables, and tender chicken.  The crust is buttery, flakey, and otherwise perfect.

Invite a friend.  Share the chopping duties.  There’s no reason to freak out about the onion alone.  This pie is worth every slice and dice!

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Strawberry and Chocolate Butter Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

strawberry and chocolate sandwiches

Strawberry and Chocolate Butter Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

Remember that time I was like, “Hey you guys, let’s totally make ice cream sandwiches out of savory butter crackers!”

You were like, “Um… that sounds pretty weird.  Are you sure?”

And I was like, “Come on, this is going to be awesome!”

And you were like, “Ok, but we still think you’re weird.”

Remember that?  Well… we’re doing that all over again, this time with strawberry ice cream, melty milk chocolate and coconut oil, and a happy dash of sea salt too!

The result is something sweet, something chocolate-y, something crunchy, something creamy, and something salty!  It’s everything in one!  Well… everything except meaty. We can only go so far.

Strawberry and Chocolate Butter Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

Considering the crackers and the ice cream are store-bought, this recipe is so thrillingly easy!

Start by lining up butter cracker rounds, and topping them with small scoops of strawberry ice cream.  I used this perfectly portioned cookie/small ice cream scooper.

Finish this ice cream and cracker  homage by topping the ice cream with another butter round.  Inevitably you’ll find some cheese in the refrigerator… at which point you’ll stand in your kitchen eating cheese and crackers for the next twenty minutes.  I know.  It’s a thing.

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Salty Honey Pie

salty honey pie

Salty Honey Pie

Happy New Year my friends!  It’s just about time to tie a pretty ribbon on this year.  A wrap.

But… not before we make a Honey Pie.  It’s been a sweet year.  I mean that most literally.  It feels like we should wrap the year up with pie, because I’m pretty sure my heart is part muscle and part pie.  I’m also fairly certain that honey runs through my veins.  And so here we are… with Vanilla Sea Salt in tow.  

Let’s make a pie and call it a year… almost almost.

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Bonkers Awesome Mushroom and Onion Shells and Cheese

shells and cheese

Bonkers Awesome Mushroom and Onion Mac and Cheese

This is the second time in a week that the Pioneer Woman has me bringing down my Dutch oven from the top kitchen shelves.  First it was the Pistachio, Orange, and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls… and now it’s this extra rich caramelized onion and mushroom Shells and Cheese.  Pasta and cinnamon rolls came successfully come from the same pot?  Gosh… it’s a good life.

These creamy Shells and Cheese are inspired by Ree’s Fancy Mac and Cheese.  Ree adds just about every cheese in the book to her mac and cheese.  Bacon, too.  Because, duh.  We have another Bonkers Awesome episode to prove it!  It’s Part II of my visit to Ree’s Oklahoma ranch.  Can I  tell you a secret?  I forgot my belt in Los Angeles for my visit to the ranch, and my boots still have mud on them.  That’s just real life.  Also in real life?  Ree’s totally ridiculous Fancy Mac and Cheese that I wanted to take on the plane home with me.

Bonkers Awesome Mushroom and Onion Mac and Cheese

Let’s talk about my interpretation!

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Chocolate Peppermint Icebox Yule Log Cake

icebox yule log cake

Icebox Yule Log Cake / joy the baker

It’s really not Christmas until we make a cake shaped like a log, and prematurely plow through the chocolate treats in our Advent calendars.  Well… consider it Christmas because here we have A LOG (that’s really just a cake made of whipped cream and cookies) (and the Advent calendar is loooong gone)!

I made a Yule Log-type Cake a few years ago.  It had a soft (gluten-free) chocolate cake filled and rolled with peppermint whipped cream and topped with chocolate ganache.  So light and fluffy!  Dreams, really.

This year’s Yule Log Cake is beyond clever.  We’re stacking thin chocolate wafers with peppermint whipped cream and topping it with chocolate whipped cream.  It’s an Icebox Cake!  No-bake.  Minimal fuss.

Joy the Baker Icebox Yule Log Cake from Joy the Baker on Vimeo.

Because the cake was such a cinch.  We made you a Christmas video, too!  We were feeling cheeky and we like to play with our food.  Thank you to the creative mind of Hilton Carter and the reliability of the Canon 6D for this video.  I’d like to pat myself on the back for making a giant stable mountain of ‘whipped cream’ out of meringue and foil.  Take a look!

Icebox Yule Log Cake / joy the baker

This genius recipe is inspired by America’s Test Kitchen.  Do you know the hardworking people at America’s Test Kitchen?  They’re a wonderful recourse for great recipes and amazingly sensible kitchen techniques.  I love their cookbook The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook.

Now let’s stack these cookies and call it a cake!  It’s definitely as easy as it seems.

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Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate

cinnamon hot chocolate

Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate

I manufacture a million ways to ensure that I get my chocolate fix every day.  I sneak chocolate hazelnut spread into my coffee some mornings.  I eat chocolate chips by the handful.  Did you know you can make your own hardening chocolate ‘magic shell’ for ice cream with coconut oil?  Chocolate in my cookies.  Chocolate in my pancakes.  The only thing I don’t put chocolate in is salad.  And hash browns.  And quiche… anyway.  I get my chocolate fix in… we’ll leave it at that.

For some reason, my chocolate habit doesn’t usually include a mug of hot chocolate… mostly because I’m usually shoving it in my face as fast as possible.  These cold cold days have had me craving a cup of creamy chocolate.  This is that, with extra cinnamon, because because.

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Gingerbread Speculoos and Dark Chocolate Cake

gingerbread cake

Gingerbread Cake with Speculoos and Dark Chocolate

You can’t show up to my family holiday gatherings with just any dessert.  There better not be a wiff of boxed cake mix nor a hint of shortening in the pie crust.  All real.  All butter.  This is a place where we come correct!

I come from a legacy of legendary home bakers.  Am I bragging?  You bet your sweet pants I am!  My mom makes the best Peanut Butter Balls (you might call them Buckeyes, right?).  My dad (as I’ve told you ad nauseum) is known for his Sweet Potato Pie.  My grandmother makes the best Banana Bread in the entire world… she probably invented it, so.. there’s that.

Believe it or not, I’m feel like I’m still trying to find my footing in my family when it comes to legendary baking. I’m not sure what my specialty will be, so I’m looking for a bit of inspiration in the holiday season.  The inspiration for this holiday gingerbread cake comes from GODIVA Chocolate. GODIVA has chocolate-legend status on lockdown (amiright?). This particular cake was inspired by GODIVA’s Gingerbread Cookie Legacy Truffle:  gingerbread spices, and Speculoos mousse wrapped in chocolate.  Yes… someone finally worked Speculoos into a decadent chocolate candy.  Thank heavens.  Seriously.

This Gingerbread Cake with Speculoos and Dark Chocolate really ups the ante. It’s perfect for the holidays.  Actually… it’s perfect for most every night between now and late February.  This cake might just be the one that makes a name for me. Fingers crossed (with a mouth full of chocolate).

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Your Hostess Gift!

hustle jtb lip gloss nail polish deb
statement necklace mr & mrs glasses ny notebook
jtb cranberry cake cat dish towel drip mugs
gold french press candle jtb vanilla salt


I have a hard time buying gifts for holidays.  It feels like a lot of pressure.  I have to find the right scarf, in the right cashmere, in the right color, on sale… and stand in the right line at the right time and… please I’m mostly just scared. Gift receipt please!

My strengths lie in the Host / Hostess Gift.  Yes!  Invite me over for wine.  Invite me over for cheese.  Invite me over for pie and gin.  Heck… just answer the door when I knock and I’ll have a hostess gift at the ready.

The hostess gift is so great because it’s unexpected.  It’s a bonus.  It’s a peace-offering for the frazzled hostess to enjoy at her leisure.  A hostess gift is as wonderful to give as it is to receive… mostly because you receive wine after handing it over.

Here are some of my favorite hostess gifts this year.  They range in extravagance from kitten kitchen towel to golden mugs.  Be thoughtful and kind when purchasing a hostess gift.  Get your girl something that you’re tempted to keep yourself.  Don’t you dare keep it yourself.  And don’t you dare show up at a party with fresh flowers that need to be trimmed and put in a vase… that’s the worst thing, it really is.

Let’s gift!

1. HUSTLE Print •• because we could all up our hustle-game.

2. Joy the Baker DIY Lip Gloss •• because we’re impressive like that.

3. Glitter gold Nail Polish •• because we’re just thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve like it ain’t no thang.

4. Statement Necklace •• because we can never have too many.

5. Mr & Mrs Cocktail Glass Set •• because we’re clever in our thoughtfulness.

6. City Notebook •• because we want to inspire travel and memories.

7. Joy the Baker Cranberry Orange Pecan Coffee Cake •• because we bake, duh.

8. Kitty Cat Dish Towel •• because we’re cat people.

9. Reiko Kaneko Drip Tease Mug Set •• because we’re fancy.

10. Gold French Press •• because I said we’re fancy!

11. Vanilla Bean Candle •• because we don’t always have a cake in the oven.

12. Joy the Baker Vanilla Salt •• because we are well seasoned and refined.