Posts in Food
Yogurt Bark: Tropical & Peanut Butter and Jelly
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Looking for a healthier option to ice cream? Yogurt bark is a frozen snack packed with sweet fruit that takes minutes to make and keeps in the freezer. I love having fun in the kitchen and this is definitely one you can get the kiddos involved!  It starts with the same base-any type of yogurt (I make this with coconut milk yogurt for my 10 month old), maple syrup/honey/agave for a little sweetness, vanilla extract and any mix-ins you want! Use what you already have to keep it easy.  I love to use chopped fruit, fruit purees, dried fruit, nuts, spreads like peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread. Anything you would put in a smoothie or top a smoothie bowl is fair game.  I tend to over buy produce so this is what I do when I have too many strawberries. I ether make yogurt bark or homemade jam.

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So when Home & Family invited me on the show to make a treat, I decided to share two of my favorite flavors. The tropical bark is loaded with mango, kiwi, pineapple and dragonfruit. If you've never seen dragonfruit in your market, ask the produce manager to get you some. Otherwise usually you can find it in speciality grocery stores or in the freezer section in frozen puree packs.

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The pb & j has that classic peanut butter and jelly flavor and is super creamy and addicting. If you prefer almond butter, that works too. I also love to sneak n crushed nuts or even slices of fruit. For this one, I used strawberry jam and added sliced strawberries. 

Let me know what flavor you try to make or if you create your own. Be sure to post your photos on instagram and tag me @BrandiMilloy

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Tropical Yogurt Bark

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups nonfat plain or Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. agave, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • dragonfruit, pieces (you can also fold in dragonfruit puree found in the freezer section)
  • mango, sliced
  • pineapple, chunks
  • kiwi, pieces
  • shaved coconut
  • mini chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread your yogurt mixture about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle toppings evenly. Freeze overnight and then break into pieces and enjoy.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bark

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups nonfat plain or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. strawberry jam
  • fresh strawberries, sliced 
  • chopped peanuts, optional

Directions:

Onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread your yogurt about 1/4" thick. Top with peanut butter, using a knife to swirl it through. Do the same with the strawberry jam.  Sprinkle toppings evenly. Freeze overnight and then break into pieces and enjoy.

 

 

 

A Rainbow & Sprinkles Unicorn Marshmallow Cereal Cake
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I just loved hanging with Erin Robinson on the set of her new show, What the Flavor on ClevverTV. She is every bit relatable, adorable and so much fun to be around. It didn't even feel like we were working.  I just loved showing her how to make one of my favorite treats in cake form-a ooey gooey marshmallow cereal treat cake featuring the A team or your childhood (Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles & Lucky Charms). We made a "cake layer" of each cereal and put yummy frosting in between. Then because we are both living our best lives, decided to hide Skittles and sprinkles in the middle- cause why not. 

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This cake would be perfect for a party especially one where you want to show off how amazing you are. Who doesn't love rice krispie treats and candy? Hello! No one! Be sure to watch some fun behind the scenes we did together below.

Then check out the episode here and then be sure to make the cake and post all your gorgeous photos on instagram and tag me @BrandiMilloy and @ErinRobinson. 

I promise to remake this and post some better pics! LOL This was after we had eaten half of it. Whoopsie.

I promise to remake this and post some better pics! LOL This was after we had eaten half of it. Whoopsie.

RAINBOW & SPRINKLES UNICORN MARSHMALLOW CEREAL CAKE

By Brandi Milloy

  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 9 cups marshmallows
  • 12 cups cereal
  • 1-16oz. container frosting
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles plus more for decorating
  • 3/4 cup skittles or candy of choice plus more for decorating
  • cereal marshmallows

Special tools

8" round cake stand

6" round cake tins/pans

Directions

  1. Into a heavy bottom pot, 2 tbsp. butter on medium heat, being careful not to burn. Once melted, add 3 cups of cereal and mix. Allow to cool slightly and then press into 6" round cake pan that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Repeat step 1 until you've made all three layers of cereal cake. Allow to cool.
  3. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out a hole in the center of each cake. Set aside.
  4. To assemble: spread a little frosting onto your cake stand to keep the cake from moving.  Place one cereal layer in the center of your stand and top with frosting and sprinkles. Repeat with the next two layers. 
  5. Once you have three frosted cake layers stacked on each other, pour your skittles into center of cake and top with a piece of excess cereal to close hole. Frost your cake and decorate with candy, sprinkles and marshmallows. Serve immediately and enjoy! 
Delicious Vegan Queso For Folks Who Aren't Even Vegan
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You don't even know how proud I am of this recipe. I consider myself the queen of dips, the master of appetizers and love greeting my guests with a snack as soon as they arrive. So when we invited our friends over who are vegan, I was met with a bit of a challenge.  I couldn't make my go to buffalo chicken dip or my massive cheese & meat boards. So....instead of serving veggie sticks I decided to attempt my own homemade vegan queso. I've had cashew cheeses before and always liked the flavor and texture so I decided to start there.

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This "queso" has everything its traditional counterpart has including heat, gooey goodness and flavor. I served it with all the fixins for nachos:  homemade salsa (recipe to come!), homemade guacamole (I'll write that one up too!), roasted corn, black beans and jalapeños. For my meat substitute I chopped sweet potato and mushroom and sauteed it in homemade taco seasoning until soft. The entire meal was delish!

If you want more cheesy flavor & color (none of my photos are ever photoshopped cause I don't know how (insert laughing emoji) just add a bit more nutritional yeast.

If you want more cheesy flavor & color (none of my photos are ever photoshopped cause I don't know how (insert laughing emoji) just add a bit more nutritional yeast.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did and I dare you to make it for your next party and we can keep the vegan part our little secret and watch as it gets devoured in minutes! Don't forget to post your photos on IG and tag me @BrandiMilloy and let me know if you're going to try this in the comments below OR if you have a recipe you'd like to see me make! xo

Vegan Queso 

by Brandi Milloy

  • 1 heaping cup of raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I found mine at Trader Joe's-this adds cheesy flavor & color)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. hot sauce like El Pato (you could also seedless jalapeño as desired for heat)
  • 3/4 cup-1 1/2 cups of filtered water (start with 3/4 cup and add as needed for desired consistency)

Directions

  1. Soak cashews in cold water overnight or in hot water for a few hours before making recipe. Drain before using.
  2. Into a high powered blender (like a Vitamix), add soaked & drained cashews, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, seasoning salt, hot sauce and 3/4 cup water. Blend until smooth scraping down the sides as needed.  Add water in 1/2 cup increments until desired consistency. Add salt and other seasoning as needed.  I served my queso with salty sweet potato chips so I didn't need to add more salt. 
Sweet Laurel Classic Vanilla Cake
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Over the weekend we had the opportunity to celebrate the first cookbook behind the the whole foods baking company, Sweet Laurel and what a sweet treat it was!

Milly LOVED the Lemon Cake.

Milly LOVED the Lemon Cake.

All of their recipes are grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo and many are also gluten free, vegan and raw. If your eyes are glazed over simply by reading those words and you're tempted to exit out of this post, stop! The cake you clicked on is most of those things AND delicious. 

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That wasn't just click bait. Would the queen of sweets every steer you wrong? When done well, none of those things have to be bland and flavorless. In fact, when done right, it can be absolutely divine. That's what's so amazing about cooking and baking and the power of creativity when combined with fresh ingredients. 

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The story behind Sweet Laurel is one of necessity. When baker, Laurel Gallucci was diagnosed with an aggressive auto-immune disorder and put on a strict elimination diet, she started experimenting with ingredients she could eat so she could still enjoy the sweets she loved without having to sacrifice flavor.  Because just like most of us, usually gluten free desserts are bland and better used as paper weights.  Using simple, whole ingredients Laurel was able to create baked goods that are tender, moist and full of flavor. Some of them are so simple, they're only five ingredients or less. From there, she partnered with friend Claire Thomas of Kitchy Kitchen and created the Sweet Laurel brand. 

I've already flagged plenty of the recipes in their new cookbook, Sweet Laurel including Summer Strawberry Tart, Vanilla Bean Peach Cobbler and Double Dark Chocolate Cookies. With summer right around the corner, I can't wait to try them. Congrats girls! For the recipe to Sweet Laurel's Classic Vanilla Cake go here. 

With Sweet Laurel's Laura Gallucci and Claire Thomas

With Sweet Laurel's Laura Gallucci and Claire Thomas

Spring Cookie Dough Cones
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Anytime I'm invited on Home & Family (H&F), I get so excited because everyone there is so friendly and really makes you feel like family. The culinary team is absolutely amazing and every producer I've worked with is super organized, enthusiastic and professional.  I was especially happy to meet Ali Fedotowsky, who was guest hosting that day. I love reading her blog and following her journey to becoming a Mama of two. Hopefully you'll see a collab with her very soon. 

For this appearance on H&F I wanted to create a playful dessert for Spring.  We came up with a sprinkled loaded cookie dough...that you eat in a cone (or on a spoon or out of the bowl-no judgement here!).  This raw cookie dough recipe is safe to eat because it features no raw egg and instead using applesauce for a little sweetness and for the right consistency.  Start with the cookie dough base and have fun adding your own mix ins and toppings. Mr. A's favorite is loaded with Reese's Pieces and chopped Reese's Cups with salted almonds. You get the picture. The possibilities are endless.

Go here to watch the video and for the full recipe.

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My Mother's Filipino Adobo Recipe

Adobo was one of my favorite recipes growing up as a kid. It's flavorful, comforting and so delicious. It's also one of those recipes that tastes like it's been cooking all day but it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and about 45 minutes to cook. So if you stop what you're doing right now and make this, you could be eating the most iconic Filipino dishes in about an hour. Scroll down for my Mom's recipe and watch the video here.

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Filipino Adobo 

By Carol Arzaga Milloy

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 lb. skinless chicken
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 bay leafs, crushed
  • 1 tsp. smoked or regular paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. peppercorns, crushed

Directions

  1. Into a pot set on medium heat, add your oil and onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Add in the all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a medium high heat and cover. Leave cooking and covered for 45 minutes. Do not remove cover. Serve with white rice and more soy sauce.
Ooey Gooey Marshmallow Cereal Treats
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Recently I was invited to Home & Family on The Hallmark Channel to make my Ooey Gooey Marshmallow Cereal Treats. I had so much fun cooking in the kitchen with Mark Steines. From his adorable (but questionable) dance moves to talking about our daughters (his daughter, Parker is about the same age as Milly), it was the most I've laughed while working in a long time! You can watch the full segment here. Then scroll down for the most delicious cereal bar recipes you've ever had. I've made sure to pack them with plenty of marshmallow and loads of flavor. You can have fun making them your own by customizing them with different cereals, add ins and toppings! Enjoy!

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Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cereal Treats

By Brandi Milloy

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag Jet-Puffed mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 cups Reese’s Puffs Cereal
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate, melted
  • Fleur de Sel, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1.     Lightly grease a spatula and a 9 x 9” casserole dish.

2.     In large nonstick saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, and stir occasionally until just melted. Fold in peanut butter. Remove from heat.

3.     Add cereal and quickly stir until cereal is well coated.

4.     Pour and press into casserole dish until evenly distributed. Cool before cutting into squares.

5.     Dip each square halfway into chocolate and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set chocolate.

6.     Best if served the same day. Otherwise, store in an airtight container or plastic wrap for up to two days. 

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Ooey Gooey Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats

By Brandi Milloy

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag Jet-Puffed mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups Lucky Charms Cereal
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate, melted
  • Lucky Charms Marshmallows (marshmallows only), for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1.     Lightly grease a spatula and a 9 x 9” casserole dish.

2.     In large nonstick saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, and stir occasionally until just melted. Remove from heat.

3.     Add cereal. Quickly stir until cereal is well coated.

4.     Pour and press into casserole dish until evenly distributed. Using a spatual, spread chocolate on top and garnish with marshmallows. 

5.     Cool before cutting into squares. Best if served the same day. Otherwise, store in an airtight container or plastic wrap for up to two days.

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Ooey Gooey Marshmallow Cookies & Cream Treats

By Brandi Milloy

  • INGREDIENTS
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag Jet-Puffed mini marshmallows
  • 4 cups rice krispie cereal
  • 1 package or about 25 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • White chocolate, melted
  • Mini Oreo Cookies, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1.     Lightly grease a spatula and a 9 x 9” casserole dish.

2.     In large nonstick saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, and stir occasionally until just melted. Remove from heat.

3.     Add cereal, crushed cookies and salt and mix until everything is combined.

4.     Pour and press into casserole dish until evenly distributed. Cool completely.

5.     Drizzle with chocolate on top and garnish with mini Oreo cookies.

6.      Cut into squares.

7.     Best if served the same day. Otherwise, store in an airtight container or plastic wrap for up to two days.

Salmon Avocado Toast
Ripe tomatoes, fresh salmon, creamy avocado.....

Ripe tomatoes, fresh salmon, creamy avocado.....

Salty capers and crunchy bread....

Salty capers and crunchy bread....

This is one of my absolute favorite snacks that you can enjoy anytime of the day. This recipe was inspired by me always ordering something similar at my favorite coffee shop but it became a $12 habit when I knew I could make it at home for a fraction of the cost. I pretty much keep all of these ingredients on hand so it's super quick to make whether for breakfast, lunch or linner!  Skip the salmon and you still have a ultra loaded avocado toast!

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Salmon Avocado Toast Recipe

By Brandi Milloy

  • Butter
  • 1 slice crusty bread
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese (jalapeño cream cheese for extra spice)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • Everything But the Bagel Seasoning (if you can't find this, swap with garlic salt)
  • 3 pieces of smoked salmon
  • 3 ripe cherry or mini heirloom tomatoes
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. capers

Directions

  1. Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Butter your bread on one side and place it butter side down on the skillet to get it nice and toasty. Remove from heat and set aside.  
  2. Spread the cream cheese on the bread. Next, place sliced avocado on top. Sprinkle with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Top with sliced smoked salmon. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and dill. Sprinkle capers on top and enjoy!
My 2018 Food Trend Predictions
Hello Kitty Cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe

Part of being a food reporter and trend expert is studying consumer behavior, anticipating direction and being tuned in to what people are talking about, buying, photographing and exploring.  It's strategically figuring out and studying what people will become obsessed with before we all realize it and basically forecasting what is yet to come.  Actually-that's all BS; I'm just messing with you. These are simply my predictions. They are my own opinions based on what I think people will be eating, making and ordering in 2018. From turmeric lattes to instagrammable eats, I had the chance to be on KTLA and share my 2018 food trend predictions. Take a look at the foods I think will be dominating our dinner plates this year! You can watch my segment here

My Favorite Dessert Gifts to Send

I love sending desserts as gifts-especially to people who are really tough to shop for and seem to have everything! Many of these were on our dessert table at our wedding and friends still talk about how much they loved every single thing.  I get asked all the time what my favorite treats are around the country so I finally compiled my list of sweets that are so much fun to send and receive. Please note, these are in absolutely no specific order. I can't choose favorites because they are all so good! Also, I love that so many are owned by female entrepreneurs. Girl power!

BLISS & BAKER San Diego, CA

I crave these on a daily basis. The sticky sweet treats are cereal-ously delicious. My favorite flavor is their Salty Caramel Crispie but other favorites are Peanut Butter and Sugar Cookie. Started by a mother daughter team, Laura and Natalie, I just love them!

MOMOFUKU MILK BAR New York City, NY

I will never forget the first time I had Milk Bar. I had a slice of their 7 layer birthday cake. It's the yummiest, layered cake filled with cake crumbs that are almost like mini birthday cake truffles, sprinkles and vanilla frosting.  Each layer of the cake is brushed with a vanilla milk "soak" that makes it super moist and delicious. Chef Christina Tosi (who I have a major girl crush on btw) is the mastermind behind reinventing all of our childhood favorites. Other desserts I love from her: b'day truffles, confetti cookie, the list goes on.

EDOOUGHBLE Los Angeles, CA

All-natural cookie dough that's safe to eat! This edible cookie dough is a dream. Enjoy it on ice cream, cookies or just simply on a spoon. One of my favorite flavors is Cookies N' Dream. It's dark chocolate with vanilla frosting and chocolate sandwich cookies. Sometimes I even mix this with Peanut Butta Cup.  This is what you bring to girl's night!

MILK JAR COOKIES Los Angeles, CA

My husband, Mr. Amazing first introduced me to these cookies. He is practically a cookie connoisseur. He's had every cookie out there.  And let me tell you. There is no other cookie out there like this.  Milk Jar Cookies are soft, chewy and so large you can usually 

GARRETT'S POPCORN Chicago, IL

If you like sweet and salty, this popcorn is for you. It's half salty cheddar cheese and half buttery sweet caramel.  I survived on this popcorn when I lived in Chicago. Even if you don't like popcorn, you'll like this. It's like no other popcorn I've ever had.  It's light, fluffy, craveable and a great gift for anyone in your life. 

SUGARFINA Los Angeles, CA

This is the candy shop of your dreams. Sugarfina features delicious gourmet candy from around the world. Everything they have is extremely unique. Some of my favorites are their Atomic Sours imported from France, Champagne Gummy Bears from Germany and their Fruity Loops from Greece.  Their store looks like a jewelry boutique with each candy housed in a clear bento box.  You can create your own box with any of their 120 candies. 

COMPARTES CHOCOLATES Los Angeles, CA

Compartes turns chocolate into works of art. Their handcrafted premium chocolate bars are my favorite. From the beautiful packaging to mouth watering flavors, it's a one of a kind edible gift.  You're not going to find these flavor combinations anywhere else! From White Chocolate Cereal to Salted Pistachio, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Rose and Donuts and Coffee, there is something for everyone!

Old Fashioned Homemade Raspberry Jam
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My mother in law makes the most delicious raspberry jam.  She gave us a jar once and we finished it off in less than a week.  I started craving it like crazy. Every time I saw her I would ask if she made some more (which probably got annoying-sorry). It's just that Mr. A and I make breakfast every morning and typically it involves some form of jam so it's top of mind every day.  And while I love buying fresh jam from the farmer's market, it can get pricey when it really is the simplest thing to make.  Whether it's smeared on sourdough bread under melty brie, bacon and eggs (seriously-try it!!!) or simply slathered on a buttered biscuit-we are jam people, folks. This recipe is inspired by my mother in law's. It takes about 15 minutes to make and you only need two ingredients. If you're like me, I'd make a couple batches as back up cause it's so yummy you'll end up adding it to just about everything you eat. 

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Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping cups fresh organic raspberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup organic sugar

Directions

  1. Place berries in stainless steel pot and bring to a full boil, mashing the berries with a wooden spoon. Boil for 1 minute on high heat, stirring constantly.  Add sugar and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.  Store in mason jar in refrigerator and enjoy!

 

Christmas Pancakes with Milly on the TODAY Show
Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton 

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton 

Being able to introduce our daughter, Milly to the TODAY Show family and the rest of the world during our segment on the TODAY show is a memory I will cherish forever.  It's funny because when I was invited to be on the show I knew I needed to find someone to help with Milly. Our good friend, Maureen aka GMo traveled from Philly to NYC to help us out only for Aunt Hoda to hold Milly while I worked! Baby girl was so excited to be on set and comfy cozy in Hoda's arms.  Check out the entire segment and the recipes here and then scroll down for more photos.

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

What to Buy the Person Who Has Everything
Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Cheesecake Factory. The opinions and text are mine.

I love this time of year-the decorations, the smell of fresh Christmas trees and tons of family time but one of my least favorite things about the holiday season is shopping. Don’t get me wrong-I love giving gifts especially when I know someone wants something and I remembered exactly what they want and when they open their gift the excited look on their face fills my heart with so much joy.  But then there are those people that you procrastinate to shop for because it’s like they have everything. Do you have friends or family like that? And you don’t want to just get them something random, right? One of my absolute favorite gifts to give are gift cards to their favorite restaurant.

Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

One of my family’s favorite place to eat is The Cheesecake Factory. They make everything from scratch -even their dressings.  And right now they are doing a sweet promo. For Every $25 dollars in gift cards you buy at The Cheesecake Factory, you’ll receive a “Slice of Joy” card redeemable for a complimentary slice of their legendary cheesecake from January 1st through March 31st, 2018. The ‘Slice of Joy’ gift card offer is available exclusively at The Cheesecake Factory restaurants or online at TheCheesecakeFactory.com

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The Slice of Joy card is redeemable for any slice of their cheesecake. Personally, depending on my mood my go to is Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake but I also love their Peppermint Bark Cheesecake, especially because it's only available around the holidays.

Photography Credit: The Cheesecake Factory

Photography Credit: The Cheesecake Factory

It's a white chocolate cheesecake swirled with chunks of chocolate peppermint bark, topped with white chocolate mousse and finished with chopped peppermint.  It's just the right amount of peppermint and chocolate and it's everything you love about the holidays on a plate.  Plus for every slice they sell through the end of the year, The Cheesecake Factory will donate 25 cents to the local Feeding America food bank.  So when you order the Peppermint Bark Cheesecake it's a purchase with a purpose.  Now if you love chocolate, another go to of mine is the Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake. It's delicious!  It's Hershey's cheesecake between moist chocolate cake with creamy chocolate frosting and chocolate chips.  

Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

Photography Credit: Cat Clendenning

Oh my goodness I’m salivating just thinking about this. 

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And let’s be honest-who doesn’t want a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory? There’s something for everyone.  I could eat their Buffalo Blasts every day. Oh and when I gave up meat for Lent one year I must have went there every other week for their Asian Lettuce Wrap Tacos (no chicken cause obviously no meat for Lent). That sauce is to die for.  A gift card to The Cheesecake Factory is a great gift for everyone on your list and it’s ok if you’re doing it just to get the free slice of cheesecake. I won’t tell.

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Five Easy Baking Tips for the Holidays
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crisco®. The opinions and text are mine.

I love the holiday season! From the smell of the Christmas tree to wrapping presents while singing Christmas carols and spending time with family-it is such a joyous time of year! But for my family, it’s also the busiest time. We love having people over and hosting parties. From being a new mom and keeping up with work, I’m always looking for ways to save time, especially when it comes to entertaining.  One of my time saving tips is to always keep Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening on hand. You don’t have to let the shortening get to room temperature before using it and since it has a higher melting point than butter, you don’t have to “chill” the dough before baking!  I love to make a large batch of sugar cookie dough the morning before I plan to have people over. Shortly before they arrive I start to bake batches of cookies one at a time.  There’s nothing better than the smell of cookies baking in the oven.  It takes very little effort and instantly makes folks feel welcome. Here are some baking tips for making the dough your own. Plus, scroll down for my Sugar Cookie Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookie recipe.

TIP #1 Get thicker, airy and light-texture sugar cookies by replacing butter with Crisco® All-Vegetable shortening.

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TIP #2 Make a sugar cookie cake/pizza by pressing sugar cookie dough into a cake or pizza pan and baking.

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TIP #3 Before baking, press wooden sticks into center of sugar cookie dough to make cookie pops. Great for holiday party favors or even for milk dunking!

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TIP #4 For quick and easy decorating, add Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening when melting chocolate. This creates a smoother consistency perfect for dipping sugar cookies, fruit and pretzels (add ½ teaspoon Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening per 1oz of chocolate).

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TIP #5 Create your own flavor combinations by adding dried fruits, nuts and/or candies to your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe.

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Sugar Cookie Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies

By Brandi Milloy

Yields 2-3 dozen

Ingredients

3 cups Pillsbury™ BEST™ All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup rainbow sprinkles

1 batch Crisco® Creamy Homestyle Vanilla Frosting

Directions

STEP ONE

HEAT oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl until blended.

STEP TWO

BEAT shortening and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

STEP THREE

BLEND in egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Fold in ½ cup sprinkles.

STEP FOUR 

DIVIDE dough in half. Roll out each half on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 2 ½ inch round fluted edge cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

STEP FIVE 

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom edges are very light brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

STEP SIX 

To assemble sandwich cookie: Frost the bottom of one cookie and press another cookie on top.  Garnish edge of cookies with sprinkles. 

 

Gingerbread Ice Box Cake
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Traditionally, ice box cakes are made with chocolate wafer cookies but I've given one of my favorite desserts a festive twist. Made with six layers of gingerbread, homemade whipped cream, and buttered toffee pretzels this cake is sweet, salty and perfect for the holidays.

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Get the recipe and watch my video on how to make it below plus head to the World Market blog for more of my favorite desserts this season. 

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cheese Board
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Cheese boards are the MOST EASY things to make. Whether you have an unexpected guest or you're hosting a party, they become the place where everyone gathers.  I always have a couple key items on hand so that no matter what-I can host a group of people over in a pinch.  Check out my video for inspo to create your own and then take a look at some of my hostess must haves.

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Curl Up On a Cold Day with These Holiday Cookies
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookie Dessert Cups by Brandi Milloy PHOTO 1.jpg
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crisco®. The opinions and text are mine.

What’s better than warm sugar cookies? How about hot chocolate cookie cups filled with fudgy frosting and topped with peppermint and marshmallows? These are perfect for those cold days when you want to curl up with a warm treat. You guys know I LOVE making cookie cups, but these might just be the cutest creations yet! Watch how to make these adorable desserts below and then scroll down for the full recipe!

These are so much fun to make

These are so much fun to make

Start with your sugar cookie cup

Start with your sugar cookie cup

Fill with chocolate fudgy frosting

Fill with chocolate fudgy frosting

Top with micro marshmallows

Top with micro marshmallows

Sprinkle with crushed peppermint 

Sprinkle with crushed peppermint 

Add your pretzel handle using chocolate frosting

Add your pretzel handle using chocolate frosting

Press on the side of your cookie cup and hold to set

Press on the side of your cookie cup and hold to set

Ready to enjoy!

Ready to enjoy!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups

By Brandi Milloy

Yields 3 dozen

Ingredients

3 cups Pillsbury™ BEST™ All Purpose Flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Pillsbury™ Filled Pastry Bag Chocolate Fudge Flavored Frosting

Crushed peppermint candies, for garnish

Micro marshmallows, garnish

Mini pretzels

Directions

STEP ONE

HEAT oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl until blended.

STEP TWO

BEAT shortening and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

STEP THREE

BLEND in egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture.

STEP FOUR

FORM dough into 1 tablespoon size balls and press into mini muffin tin and up the side to create a cup. Repeat this step until you’ve filled each tin.

STEP FIVE

Bake 10-12 minutes or until very light golden brown. Cool completely.

STEP SIX

To decorate: Pipe chocolate frosting into cups. Sprinkle with peppermint and marshmallows. To create the handle: break off the loops from pretzels and attach to the sides of the cookie cups using chocolate frosting.

Holiday Lights Sugar Cookies

If you’re planning to make a bunch of different types of holiday cookies this season, give my Holiday Lights Sugar Cookies a try – they’re too cute. These fluffy sugar cookies are made with Crisco®All-Vegetable Shortening, topped with crushed candies and strung together with candy string.

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Holiday Lights Sugar Cookies                                                                                                     

By Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

3 cups Pillsbury™ BEST™ All Purpose Flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup Rainbow sprinkles

16 ounces white chocolate morsels, melted

Various hard candies, crushed

Sprinkles

Directions

STEP ONE

HEAT oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl until blended.

STEP TWO

BEAT shortening and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

STEP THREE

BLEND in egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture.

STEP FOUR

DIVIDE dough in half. Roll out each half on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with light bulb cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

STEP FIVE

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom edges are very light brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

STEP SIX

To decorate: frost cookies with white chocolate and sprinkle with candies and sprinkles while wet. Thread candy string through hole to connect.

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The Only Sugar Cookie Recipe You Need: My Salted Butterscotch Sugar Cookies
Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crisco®. The opinions, text and sugar cookie recipe that will change your life are all mine…but it can be yours too. #sharingiscaring

 

When I was a little girl my fondest memories are of baking in the kitchen with my Mom. I’d stand on the chair pushed against the counter and lean over to help. It feels like I learned how to measure ingredients before I could walk.  They were the best cookies and we always used Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening.  They were soft, fluffy and noticeably better than cookies baked with butter. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Crisco

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Crisco

Every year around the holidays we would host a cookie exchange where friends and family would come over and bring several dozen cookies to share. It was the best because we’d get to try tons of different cookies.  And everyone would ask what our secret was to making these beautiful, moist, fluffy cookies and we would tell them it was the Crisco®.

My Mom’s sugar cookie trees were always super popular, followed by her butterscotch bars.  I could never choose a favorite because they were equally delicious!  This recipe is inspired by both of those cookies. It has that warm familiar flavor of brown sugar and creamy white chocolate with the soft light-texture sugar cookie complimented all by fleur de sel which acts like electricity through the entire cookie. It’s one of those cookies you can never have just one.  It’s so good I could cry.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Crisco

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Crisco

It’s like when you run into an old friend and a flood of good memories come back and you wonder why you ever stopped being friends only to discover you can’t remember why and that feeling makes you sad.  If that feeling was a cookie, this would be it.  Yes, I’m being serious. It’s not a sad cookie. It’s like a time capsule cookie that brings you so much joy you just want to hold on to it forever because the feeling is so good and you don’t want it to go away again.  That is this cookie.  This is the only way to describe my Salted Butterscotch Sugar Cookies. You’ll actually want to apologize to it because it’s so good and it did nothing wrong for you to forget it’s amazing qualities, despite never having it before. I’ve never met someone that didn’t love this cookie and try to stuff a couple in their pocket before leaving.  Long after the party is over people will find a reason to bring up this cookie just so they can talk about it and reminisce about how good it is.  I’ve had people offer up their first born child in exchange for this recipe. Ok-maybe not that far….but you get the picture.  This is why this is the only sugar cookie recipe you need. Scroll down to salivating city and then run to your kitchen and bake these immediately.  Be sure to tag me on IG @BrandiMilloy with photos of your Salted Butterscotch Sugar Cookies!

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Photo Credit: Olivia Kuan

Salted Butterscotch Sugar Cookies

By Brandi Milloy

Yields 4-5 dozen

Ingredients

3 cups Pillsbury™ BEST™ All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening (I swear by 1 cup baking sticks and keep them on hand in my pantry at all times)

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

16 ounces butterscotch chips, melted

8 ounces white chocolate chips, melted

Fleur de sel, for garnish

Directions

STEP ONE

HEAT oven to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl until blended.

STEP TWO

BEAT shortening and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

STEP THREE

BLEND in egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour mixture.

STEP FOUR

DIVIDE dough in half. Roll out each half on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

STEP FIVE

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom edges are very light brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

STEP SIX

To decorate: Spread butterscotch on center of cookie. Drizzle white chocolate on top and garnish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.