Category Archives: Sweet Stuff

Cookies baked in a car and other hot weather favorites

homemade ice blended coffee and a pudding pop

When it gets very hot outside, it’s tempting to turn on the air conditioning and pour a big glass of icy cold lemonade, then simply sit around and enjoy the respite from the heat. I’m all for this approach but there are many other ways to take advantage of the summer heat. I’ve covered a number of my favorites on this site already and decided ... Read More »

Starbucks Sorbetto and Vivanno, reviewed

Banana Chocolate Vivanno

I think it’s safely established that I drink a lot of coffee – much of it homemade and some of it when I’m on the go. In summer, I tend to cut back on hot drinks in general and look for other options for refreshment. Last week, Starbucks launched two new drinks and I made it a point to try them to beat the heat. ... Read More »

Cakes by Me, reviewed

Safari Cake

Over the past few months, I’ve made quite a few birthday cakes. More than usual were for children. My usual cake decorating style is pretty simple: casual frosting application and a bit of chocolate to write happy birthday with. Piping, let alone the creation of more complex themes, are not always my favorite things to do. But kids really like their cakes to look fancy ... Read More »

Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, reviewed

Trader Joe's Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate chips are a staple in my kitchen, as they are in almost any kitchen that is equipped with a functional oven. I keep a wide assortment of other types of chips and chocolate chunks, as well. These always include dark chocolate, milk chocolate (as opposed to the semisweet chocolate of “standard” chips) peanut butter, white chocolate and butterscotch, though I often will try out ... Read More »

Trader Joe’s Vanilla Marshmallows, reviewed

Trader Joe's Vanilla Marshmallows

A few months ago, Trader Joe’s jumped on the gourmet marshmallow bandwagon and started selling peppermint marshmallows for the holiday season. They were pretty awful – overly sugary and aggressively minty – and it’s no surprise that they didn’t last long. Because of my previous experience, I was a bit apprehensive about trying out their new Vanilla Marshmallows when I saw them this week. My ... Read More »

Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Vanilla Bean Crush

Sonoma Syrup Co.'s Vanilla Bean Crush

In spite of the fact that the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen has assured us that imitation vanilla extract is at least as good as the real thin in most baked goods, I still use real vanilla extract the majority of the time. My favorite vanilla extract is Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Vanilla Bean Extract Crush because, in addition to being a very high quality extract, it ... Read More »

Circus Animal Cookie Cutters

Circus Animal Cookie Cutters

Barnum’s Animal Crackers, small animal-shaped cookies that come in a distinctive circus car-shaped box, have been around for over a century. They were first introduced in 1902 when they were known simply as “Barnum’s Animal” and were sold in bulk, the boxes sold as optional extras. Now, they’re made by Nabisco and have a lot – to say the least – of nostalgic value since ... Read More »

Trader Joe’s Ultimate Vanilla Wafers, reviewed

Trader Joe's Ultimate Vanilla Wafers

I used to love Nilla Wafers as a kid. It’s not that the cookies themselves were so amazing, though. The thing I liked about them was that they are vanilla flavored and, up until the last couple of years, vanilla wasn’t usually a flavor highlighted in storebought cookies . Most cookies were butter cookies, chocolate cookies or chocolate chip cookies – and for a kid ... Read More »

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