Apple Pear and Cherry Chai Pie

Serves 8-10


  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pears (Anjou or Bartletts), peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 (9 inch) frozen pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  1. Heat apple juice in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals until very warm, but not boiling. Add chai tea bags, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and chop apples and pears, tossing them in a bowl with lemon juice to keep from browning.
  3. Combine cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper for spice blend in a small bowl.
  4. Combine apples, pears, frozen cherries, apple juice-chai tea blend, the spice blend, brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit begins to soften, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer 1/4 cup of the warm apple liquid from the pot to a small bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk until completely dissolved into the liquid and no clumps remain. Stir mixture back into the pot. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Pour the filling into a bowl and set aside to cool, about 1 hour.
  6. While filling cools, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Press one of the thawed pie doughs into a pie pan.
  7. Pour filling into the crust. Do not overfill the crust or it may leak in your oven while cooking.
  8. Press the other crust dough over the top or cover your pie filling or create a lattice top.
  9. If covering without gaps in the crust, cut a small, shallow slit in the top with a sharp knife.
  10. Gently brush beaten egg over the top crust. Top with coarse sugar crystals if desired. Cover the outer edges of the pie with aluminum foil to avoid burning.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (place a pan below the pie to catch any drippings.
  12. Gently remove foil and continue to bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Allow the pie to cool until the pie is warm, but not hot, before serving.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here.


Mummy Cupcakes

Serves 36 standard cupcakes


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 300g cherries in Kirsch
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tsp cornflour- cornstarch mixed with 3 tsp cold water
  • 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream


  1. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
  2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
  5. Pour into cakes pans and bake at 300 degrees for about 38-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  1. Cook cherries and almond extract over stovetop on low temperature, when bubbling, stir in cornflour mixture. Allow cherries to continue cooking over low for about 10 minutes. Once compote has thickened, allow to completely cool down before filling cupcakes.
  1. In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add in room temperature unsalted butter. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally. The butter will be light, fluffy, and pale in color.
  2. Add one half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low until incorporated.
  3. Add almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.
  4. Increase speed to medium on the mixer and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
  5. Turn the speed on the mixer to high and whip for an additional 3-5 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  6. If desired, switch to a paddle attachment on the stand mixer and mix buttercream on low speed for 2 additional minutes to remove air bubbles to create smooth frosting.

Note: This buttercream makes approximately 4 cups. It will ice approximately 3 dozen cupcakes.

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled, core them with a cupcake corer. Fill each cupcake with the cherry compote.
  2. Place the candy eyes on the cupcake to create a pair of eyes.
  3. Ice the cupcakes using a #44 icing tip to draw thin strips across the cupcake in various directions. Avoid covering the eyes.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here and here.

Halloween Menu

Finding Halloween dishes that are not only delicious, but kid-friendly was a challenge for me during the planning for my son’s first birthday. He was born on October 23rd, and I’m assuming every year that birthday plans will include something surrounding fall or Halloween. This year I decided to do a “Monster Smash”, with the consideration that most first birthday parties include a smash cake.

A monster themed cake and cupcakes was not that difficult to find, but kid-friendly foods that I could pull off myself, was a bit more challenging. So, after hours of planning and executing (a pretty awesome party), I decided to write this post in the hopes that others would benefit from it.

I also included a few dishes I put together the week of Halloween that might be tasty to include in your next 31st get together or family meal, enjoy!

Spooky Spiderweb Seven Layer Dip

A spooktacular dish to have at your next Halloween bash. Easy to throw together and delicious. Unfortunately there wasn’t any left because it was so darn yummy. Happy Halloween! Recipe here.

Wrapped Up Mummy Dogs

Wow these went quick at my last get together. Easy, delicious, quick, and kid-friendly! A perfect appetizer or pairing for a main dish during an October get together. Let us know how it goes. Recipe here.

Mummy Cupcakes

Cute and delicious! Dark chocolate cupcakes with a cherry compote filling and almond buttercream! Recipe here.

Monster Mac and Cheese

This recipe is simple, yes… but it just makes sense. Kids love mac and cheese! This recipe is easy and my suggestion is to make one box per 4-6 guests depending on whether it is a main dish to fill people up or if it is more like a side. If you want to save yourself some time and prep ahead, make this dish and put it into a crockpot on warm until guests arrive. Recipe here.

Halloween Candy Nachos

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy, make dessert nachos! A good mix of sweet and salty in a fix. Recipe here.

Chocolate Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes

Servings: 14



  • 130 g flour 
  • ½ cup dutch processed cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar 
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Filling and Frosting

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ¼ cup icing (confectioners / powdered) sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup thickened (heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 85 g unsalted butter, softened (¾ stick)
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt



  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  5. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined.
  6. Now add half of the buttermilk, mix gently again. Repeat until all the flour and buttermilk is combined. (Do not over mix to avoid dense cupcakes).
  7. Fill cupcake liners about halfway full. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven half way through to make sure they bake evenly. When a toothpick inserted comes out clean they are ready.
  8. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Make sure they are completely cool before frosting.

Filling and Frosting

  1. For the cheesecake filling, add the cream cheese, cream, vanilla and half the icing sugar to a bowl and beat using a handheld beater until smooth and creamy.
  2. Use a sharp knife or cupcake corer to cut a hole in the top of each cupcake, then fill each with around 1 teaspoon of the cheesecake filling. Set aside the rest.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter and remaining sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the leftover cheesecake filling, cocoa and salt and beat just until smooth.
  4. Pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes.
  5. Optional: Top with graham cracker crumbs, cookie crumbs, or chocolate almond raspberry bark.

Thanks to the original recipe found in here.

Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip Mega Cookies (GF)

Servings: 8 (6oz.) Cookies


  • 300 grams gluten free flour
  • 30 grams cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100 grams light brown sugar
  • 115 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 425 grams mixed chocolate
  • 150 grams toasted pecans
  • Optional: sea salt, caramel drizzle


COOKIE DOUGH PREP (12 hour minimum)
  1. Combine gluten free flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer (using paddle attachment), combine the butter, both sugars, vanilla extract, and salt.
  3. At a low-speed mix to combine, increase the speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy (4-6 minutes).
  4. Mixing on low, add the egg and the egg yolk one by one.
  5. Mix in the flour on low. Once fully incorporated, add the chocolate and nuts.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and portion the dough in 6oz cookies using your kitchen scale. Wrap the sheet tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12hrs. Don’t skip this step!
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Arrange 4 cookies on your parchment-lined sheet pan and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
  3. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes, rotate the tray and reduce the temperature of your oven to 350F.
  4. Bake for an additional 6-9 minutes until they have crispy edges, look puffy, and still look slightly underdone in the center.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet tray for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Move to a cooling rack and top with caramel drizzle.
  7. Repeat with the rest of your cookie dough or freeze for future cookie cravings.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

A couple friends of ours went into labor two weeks early. A food train was quickly organized for their first weeks home and I jumped on board to help. I wanted to include a special dessert to go along with the meal I was providing. Immediately, I thought of a big cookie because when I had my first, one of my favorite things at the hospital was the cookie that came alongside my dinner service. There’s nothing better than a warm chocolate chip cookie, it always feels like home.

My challenge was to produce a cookie that would fit the needs of the new momma. She happens to eat gluten free. Gluten free and baking can sometimes feel intimidating but not with this recipe! I guarantee most people who try this baked deliciousness, would never even know it was gluten free.

Happy Baking!

Black Forest Cupcakes


  • 1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 3.9oz package Jell-O Instant Chocolate Fudge Pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Cupcake Filling
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional toppings: fresh black cherry, chocolate shavings


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a cupcake pan with 24 liners.
  2. Combine all cupcake ingredients in a large stand mixer or bowl and beat until smooth.
  3. Fill each liner with cupcake batter 1/2 – 3/4 full or use a #20 scoop.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and then let cool completely.
  5. While cupcakes are cooling make cherry filling.
  6. To a saucepan add cherries and syrup. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thickened and able to coat the back of a spoon. Let filling come to room temperature.
  1. Add heavy cream and instant pudding mix to mixer, mix on medium speed for two minutes.
  2. Turn off mixer and add in sugar and vanilla extract. Beat slowly at first and then increase mixer to medium speed until frosting becomes light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  1. Core cupcake center using a corer, knife, or the back of an icing tip.
  2. Fill each cupcake with prepared cherry filling.
  3. Pipe frosting over the filled hole and then in a circular motion to cover the cupcake top.
  4. Option to add a fresh black cherry and/or chocolate shavings.

Thanks to the recipe which inspired me here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

For my husband and my, first child, we had an Oktoberfest themed baby shower thrown by my amazing older sister. The food menu was out of this world. Although my sister did not want me to lift a finger for the party, I really wanted to contribute. So I asked her if I could make dessert.

When brainstorming what German dessert I would put together, black forest cake continuously kept coming to mind. I knew wanted to have individual desserts at our baby shower (especially during COVID). So I decided on cupcakes.

A combination of recipes came together and a little inventive experimentation resulted in this extremely moist cupcake that falls apart and melts in your mouth. Maybe even a little too moist, according to my husband but I don’t believe that is possible when it comes to dessert.

Cinnamon Apple Rose Pastries


  • 3 apples
  • 2 sheets of puffed pastries thawed
  • 6 tablespoons of apricot preserves
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice and peel shavings
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  1. Allow puffed pastries to thaw (according to package directions).
  2. Prepare 12 muffin tins with cooking spray and a light dusting of flour.
  3. Slice apples in half from top to bottom and remove cores.
  4. Slice apples into very thin slices.
  5. Fill a large bowl halfway with water.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl of water.
  7. Place slices of apples into the water. Microwave uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Drain apples.
  9. Set oven to 375F and prepare a floured surface for pastries. Lay thawed pastries flat on floured surface. Slightly roll the pastries out further with a rolling pin.
  10. Cut each pastry into 6 equal slices.
  11. One at a time, spoon apricot preserve mixture onto a slice of pastry. Place 7-9 apple slices on one half of the pastry. Apple slices should be peel side facing out.
  12. Fold the pastry in half, overtop of the apples.
  13. Starting on one end, roll the pastry and apples and then place each pastry into the prepared muffin tin.
  14. Continue with the other pieces of pastries until you have 12 apple roses.
  15. Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over pastries.
  16. Shave half of a lemon rind onto pastries.
  17. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of oven so the bottom of pastries do not burn.
  18. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Top with powdered sugar. 

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

In 2018 I was lucky enough to go to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. My husband and I were gifted tickets to see the snowboarding competition at Phoenix Snow Park and were able to see Shaun White win gold on the men’s halfpipe.

The night before the competition we arrived and wanted to visit the olympic village. With below temperatures and icy sidewalks, we shivered our way throughout the streets looking for a local restaurant to warm up.

We ended up in a little coffee shop where we had a beer and delicious pastry.

I was so inspired by the pastry, that I set out to find a similar recipe to make at home. While it takes a little time and delicate execution, the pastry really is pretty simple and they turn out beautiful. Serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat!

Chili Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Makes: 40 Cookies


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Prepare baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together at a high speed until nice and fluffy.
  4. Beat in cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper until well blended.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Then beat in vanilla extract.
  6. On low, slowly beat in unsweetened cocoa and flour just until combined.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  8. Grab a small scoop of cookie dough. Use the palm of your hands to roll the dough into a round ball. It should be about 1 inch in diameter. 
  9. Continue rolling all of the dough out, placing each ball onto a clean plate. 
  10. Then roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Using the back of a spoon gently flatten the middle of the cookie.
  12. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the cookie pan halfway through the cooking time.
  13. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  14. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.