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Marshmallows, Maca & Moroccan Spice


One of the first things I noticed at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show were delicious tasting marshmallows. There have been “gourmet” marshmallows in the past, but frankly, I haven’t been very impressed with them. The ones I tried this year were much better. There were three brands that stood out. 

Smashmallow has very unique flavors like Root Beer Float, Strawberries & Cream, Meyer Lemon Chia Seed and Roasted Coconut Pineapple. Dandies offers all natural vegan marshmallows with a very light fluffy texture in vanilla, vanilla peppermint and pumpkin. Another discovery was Madyson’s Marshmallows. They offer various flavors but also marshmallows stuffed with chocolate and peanut butter chips. I can only imagine how good they would be toasted over an open fire! 

Moroccan spice is nothing new, but it does seem to be showing up in new ways—as a flavoring for popcorn, crackers, chips and peanut butter. I didn’t try each of these but I found them interesting as a developing trend. Have you had any outstanding Moroccan spiced foods? 

Maca is a Peruvian plant becoming more and more common as a healthful “superfood.” It has fatty acids and amino acids and is used for a variety of ailments. In Peru it’s roasted. While added to everything from granola to energy bars and powder you can add to smoothies, I liked it best in Macaccino an organic roasted maca drink mix that provides energy without caffeine.

As is often the case with ingredients marketed as superfoods, not all maca products taste great, but Macaccino does. It’s earthy and a bit reminiscent of roasted grain beverages like roasted malt or chicory. It’s blended with cocoa, mesquite powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and comes in three different formulations original, magical mint and black reserve which includes black, red and yellow maca. 

The Weekend Dish: 2/4/2017


The Weekend Dish

Happy weekend to you!

I hope that you had a great week and that you have some fun planned for the next couple of days. I am *SO CLOSE* to being finished getting my pantry in order, and hope to knock that out today. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl! What are you planning to eat? I have a sudden craving for Rice Krispie treats; I may have to sneak those in if I have time!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week, the most shared recipes, my Sunday dinner menu, and recipes I’ve bookmarked from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut with Beer & Brown Sugar – This slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut is flavorful and made with just the addition of beer and brown sugar – easy, delicious and perfect for parties!

This slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut is flavorful and made with just the addition of beer and brown sugar - easy, delicious and perfect for parties!

Antipasto Appetizer Squares – This easy antipasto appetizer bake features layers of Italian meats and cheese, sandwiched between layers of crescent dough. Great for parties!

This easy antipasto appetizer bake features layers of Italian meats and cheese, sandwiched between layers of crescent dough. Great for parties!

Dill Pickle Dip – A must for any pickle fan! Loads of pickle and dill flavor and it’s perfect for dipping pretzels, chips, crackers, or veggies.

Dill pickle dip is a must for any pickle fan! Loads of pickle and dill flavor and it's perfect for dipping pretzels, chips, crackers, or veggies.

Friday Things – Dominic turns 4 months old, shoes, bagels, blankets, beach houses, and more…

Joseph - 2 years old

Top 5 Most Popular Posts This Week:

1. Red Velvet Cheesecake

2. No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies

3. Slow Cooker Spicy Beef Queso Dip

4. Snickers Cheesecake

5. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sunday Dinner Menu

My father-in-law’s birthday was on Friday, so I had him pick our menu!

Fettuccine Alfredo
Sausage and peppers
Caesar salad
Tiramisu trifle

What I Bookmarked This Week

Recipes and posts from other blogs that I thought looked especially delicious and that I thought you would like, too:

I am 100% positive that these Swedish meatballs would put IKEA’s to shame.

If Joseph is ever cleared of his peanut allergy, these loaded peanut butter monster cookie bars will be the very first thing I make.

The chocolate layer on this Boston cream pie icebox cake takes my grandma’s icebox cake to the next level!

Peach chipotle chicken wings would be perfect for your Super Bowl party.

The best chocolate chip cookie cake? I’m willing to eat as many as necessary to reach a scientific conclusion!

Have a delicious weekend!

The post The Weekend Dish: 2/4/2017 appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel


Coffee cake is the kind of dish that you usually save for brunch, bookmarking recipes in your favorite books and tucking them away for just the right occasion. Over the years, I have come to realize that as much as I love brunch, you certainly don’t need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy a streusel-topped coffee cake. This Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel is a great recipe that is quite easy to make if you already have some blueberries on hand in your kitchen. And since you can use fresh or frozen berries, you should always be prepared to whip this up.

I used fresh blueberries in this coffee cake. You need to be careful when incorporating fresh berries because it is easy to squish them accidentally as you fold them in, so be gentle as you work. Frozen blueberries can be used instead of fresh. If using frozen, do not defrost the berries. Simply toss them in a few teaspoons of flour to help prevent their juices from dyeing the batter, then fold them in. Blueberries are often sold in 6-oz containers and that will give you a nice distribution of berries throughout the cake. That said, I prefer to use 8 oz if I have a larger container of blueberries to to work with.

The cake has a wonderfully soft crumb and just the right hint of butteriness to it. The tight, dense crumb is strong enough to support the weight of all those berries, so they will be well-distributed in the cake after baking and not in a layer on the bottom of the pan. I kept things simple by only adding a splash of vanilla to the batter. A few teaspoons of lemon zest could make for a very nice variation, however. The cake is topped with a brown sugar streusel. It’s crisp, sweet and addictive.

The cake can be eaten as soon as it has cooled, though I have been known to cut into it even while it is still slightly warm. I typically cut this into 9 generously sized pieces, but you can (and probably should) get 12 servings from this recipe.

Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6-8 oz blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain visible. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar and salt. Add in softened butter and cut in using a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand. Grab the streusel mixture in your hands and squeeze to create clumps of streusel. Sprinkle streusel mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool before slicing

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Wordless Wednesday: First Halloween





Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Preserves


The holidays are over but we still have a pumpkin and a butternut squash sitting on our kitchen counter, waiting for their turn to become something delicious (unless they’ve gone bad already).

I will most likely make them into sweet preserves, in which chunks of squash are cooked with  sugar until golden and tender. They are so good! Serve them as your dessert with a cup of tea, slather on your toast for a quick breakfast (your toast will never taste the same!) and why not spoon it onto your ice cream, too. Endless possibilities for curious minds and palates.

Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Preserves continue reading

The post Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Preserves appeared first on AZ Cookbook.

All About Caviar


I’m pretty sure the first time I had caviar was at a wedding. It was years before I ate it again. I was in the lobby of an opera house in Budapest during intermission. There I encountered an incredible spread of elegant hors d’oeuvres, many topped with Russian caviar. I drank a Soviet version of Champagne and felt very posh. It left a more memorable impression than hearing Carmen sung in Hungarian!

According to the dictionary, caviar is the processed salted roe of large fish, typically sturgeon. Sturgeon take 10 years to reach reproductive age and are in danger of extinction in the wild. While Russian caviar is most well-known, I’m going to focus on American caviar since it is more sustainable, readily available and less expensive. American caviar was once a huge industry. In the early 19th century caviar was harvested so heavily in the United States that sturgeon almost disappeared completely. 

Recently American caviar has made a return. Today sturgeon are farmed by companies like Tsar Nicoulai outside of Sacramento, California. Their products are free from mercury found in large fish in the wild, and their production takes pressure off the wild population. While caviar is synonmous with luxury, salmon roe, trout roe, whitefish and tobiko (flying fish roe) are even more economical options than the classic sturgeon and are all very delicious. You can find seven varieties from Tsar Nicoulai at Whole Foods Market. No matter which you choose it is a splurge, so consider it for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day (brunch!) Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries. 
Different grades of caviar are going to have slightly different flavors and textures. Tsar Nicoulai’s most expensive caviar is their Reserve Caviar, the individual beads are creamier in texture and mild flavored. Their California Estate Caviar is my personal favorite. It tastes like the ocean and has a firmer texture. Tsar Nicoulai’s Classic Sturgeon Caviar is the least expensive, but has a brinier, fishier flavor and a brighter acidity. 
Salmon caviar has large juicy salty beads, other deliciously enhanced varieties to consider included smoked trout roe and truffled whitefish roe. 
Have you ever wondered why mother-of-pearl spoons are used with caviar? It’s because they will not alter the flavor. A plastic spoon is fine too. Caviar is delicious on its own, or served traditionally with blini, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy it. Once you open a container be sure to use within 24-48 hours.

Here are a few ways to enjoy caviar or roe:

* Top deviled eggs with caviar
* Use on savory corn, potato or crab cakes
* Dollop caviar on an omelet or scrambled eggs 
* Serve caviar on sliced raw sea scallops
* Decorate a smoked salmon and cream cheese dip with caviar
* Add caviar to pasta with shellfish such as lobster, crab or shrimp 
* Serve it on potato or vegetable chips with or without sour cream or creme fraiche
* Fold caviar into hollandaise sauce and serve on eggs, asparagus or on poached seafood
* Use caviar on slices of cucumber or baby potatoes 
* Top raw or cooked oysters with caviar

* On top of steak tartare

Disclaimer: My thanks to Whole Foods Market for hosting a caviar tasting and providing me with samples. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. 

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards (Unofficial Cookbook)


With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie. With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart, Harry’s favorite dessert Molly’s Meat Pies, Mrs. Weasley’s classic dish Kreacher’s French Onion Soup Pumpkin Pasties, a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you’ll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure to make even Mrs. Weasley proud.

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti


Mexican chocolate is an ingredient that I keep in my pantry so that I can make amazing hot chocolate any time that I get the urge. The chocolate is sold in thick tablets and has a unique texture and flavor that sets it apart from other types of chocolate. Mexican chocolate is made with sugar, cacao nibs and cinnamon, which gives it a little spice. These ingredients are ground together to create a chocolate with a deep roasty, dark chocolate flavor and a gritty texture. The texture comes from a generous amount of coarse, undissolved sugar in the chocolate. I know that this might sound a little odd at first, but this unique chocolate is incredibly flavorful and very delicious.

While I often use it to make hot chocolate, you can use the chocolate in other ways. These Mexican Chocolate Biscotti are loaded with chunks of spicy, rich Mexican chocolate and toasted almonds. Despite what you may thing, the Mexican chocolate is not overly sweet and that means that these biscotti aren’t either. They’re ideal for pairing with a mug of hot chocolate, in fact, and you could also pair them with coffee or a cocktail.

The most difficult part of making this recipe is cutting the Mexican chocolate into chunks. The chocolate tablets are very thick and it requires quite a bit of effort to break them apart. I use a chef’s knife or a chocolate chipper when breaking them down into chunks, and I do so very carefully so as to avoid any knife-slippage on the thick tablets. Once the chocolate is chopped, the rest is easy. The cookie dough is shaped into logs and baked once, then cut into individual cookies before being baked a second time. As with most biscotti recipes, these cookies keep extremely well once they are cooled and crisp, so store them in an airtight container and you’ll have sweet snacks on hand for a long time.

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sliced, toasted almonds nuts
1 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (about 1 tablet)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the egg white and vanilla extract.
With the mixer on a slow speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in almonds and chocolate.
Divide the dough in half. Shape one half of the dough into a log about 2-in high and 8-10-in long (log should be quite narrow) on the prepared baking sheet (dough will be quite sticky; use a spatula or bench scraper, or lightly flour your hands to make it easier to shape). Dough will spread, so repeat the process with the rest of the dough on another baking sheet.
Bake logs for about 30-35 minutes, until golden and set. Cookies will spring back when lightly pressed in the center.
Allow dough log to cool on a wire rack for 20-25 minutes, then slice into cookies 1/2 inch thick using a sharp chefs knife or serrated knife. Arrange flat on baking sheet.
Turn the oven down to 325F, bake cookies a second time for 10 minutes, then flip the cookies and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned on the sides and slightly crisp. The cookies will firm up more as they cool.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

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