Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Congo Bars

Have you ever heard of Congo Bars? either!, ..until just a few months ago, I discovered them, ..when I ordered this baking book called, Fat Witch Brownies, which I love! I stumbled upon a recipe in this book for Congo Bars. The name intrigued me, ..then I looked at the ingredient list (graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, condensed milk, pecans!) and I was intrigued even more! I had to make CONGO BARS, ASAP!

..they are ridiculously yummy! ..and very easy to make.

The first time I made them, I wasn't quite satisfied with the heavy salt hit in the crust, and I found the crust to have too much butter, yes there is such a thing at times, I've adjusted the recipe since then. I do prefer 'my' version! My apologies, Fat Witch, ..but I still love your recipes!
I recently put out a 12-bar platter of these for my family and a few friends, during a hockey game, (Montreal-Boston Game 1) and they were gone before the second period was barely over! The Habs won that game, btw! Sweet!

Congo Bars
Congo Bars, recipe adapted from Fat Witch Brownies
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Bake Time: 30-35 minutes
Amount: 12-16 bars
Level: Easy, Baby

Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup flour, (I used unbleached)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tablespoons, unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans or nuts of choice (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease  and flour an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan.

  • Measure flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Sift them together in a medium bowl.
  • Stir in the graham cracker crumbs and light brown sugar. Mix well using a spatula or large spoon.
  • Drop the butter in tablespoon-fuls and mix into a dough using a fork or clean hands, until the dough is slightly crumbly, but holds together.
  • Spread the dough evenly in a thin layer, in prepared baking pan, pressing with your hands.
  • Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until the crust is slightly golden.
  • Remove crust from oven and let cool.
  • Crust should be soft to touch and not crispy at this point.

  • Mix together the shredded coconut, both white and milk chocolate chips, and the condensed milk, using a large spoon or spatula.
  • Add the pecans or other nut of choice, if desired.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the baked crust.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until top is golden brown.
  • Watch carefully at the end of baking time, and do not let the top become too bubbly or dark.
  • Remove from oven and let cool and set for 2 hours, or until chocolate chips are no longer soft.
  • Cut into bars just before serving!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5 Things Tuesday - Ice Cream Recipes

..I think Summer 'needs' to arrive, NOW! , not only because we are desperate for warm weather 'here', ..also, so that I don't 'come across' in such 'odd' fashion eating ice cream in cold weather, every other day! I know, though, that I'm not alone in my insane love for ice cream. Little Mama and I were just at Dairy Queen the other day, and there was a line up and a half! And it was chiiiiilllyy! It took us at least 30 minutes just to order! It was worth it! :)

I eat ice cream all year long, probably 3-4 times a week! It's another one of my many 'mild', oops I mean 'wild' obsessions!

..and while, I'm being completely honest, ..I run, but I don't only run for fitness and major stress relief, I also run SO I CAN EAT MY ICE CREAM, A LOT! ..and all the other treats I simply find too hard to resist. Everything in moderation, though, right!? Ha! Don't you just love that line!? NOT!

Below are 5 Ice Cream Recipes that have made my taste buds quite happy at one time or another. And I hope these recipes do the same for you as well! Enjoy!

1. Ice Cream Cake (DQ Copy Cat)

Image courtesy of

If you love ice cream, (of course you do!) and if you love chocolate and if you love crunchy Oreo cookies, this is your dessert!  It has it all, and it is delicious! I made this last Summer, for a friend's birthday party and it didn't even have time to melt, ..we all ate it up like there was no tomorrow, which means really, really fast! ..not one piece was left over. Everyone loved it, and it tasted so much like a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake, only cheaper, and dare I say, only better.

FYI: I used Breyer's Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Creams to make this cake, and instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips (as recipe suggests), I used milk chocolate chips) Turned out amazing!

2. Coconut & Almond Ice Cream Sandwiches

Image Courtesy of

Coconut ice cream between homemade chocolate cookies! Yes please! These ice cream sandwiches are amazing! If you love coconut, you will love these! And these cookies, well they simply sandwich the ice cream beautifully. They are a soft cookie but with a nice density, and very tasty! You can use any ice cream flavour that you desire for these. I did mine one time using strawberry ice cream, ..and they tasted great!

3. Grasshop­per Ice Cream Sand­wich With Hot Fudge Sauce

Image courtesy of  
This yummy ice cream dessert combines mint, chocolate, cookies and ice cream! And warm hot fudge! Yep, it's amazing! The cookie for these is really good,'s not too sweet and combines really well with mint choc chip ice cream! I love this combination. I am a huge fan of mint choc chip ice cream, and these sandwiches definitely satisfy my mint choc cravings!

FYI: The dough can be refrigerated on a cookie sheet, covered, up to 1 day.

4. Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pudding Pops

Image courtesy of Baker's Royale
A chocolate and salted caramel unison, in a frozen treat! HE#%Z Yes! They are the cutest things and they are delicious, too. My kiddos love these, and so do I! These yummy pudding pops are super easy to make and even easier to eat! You should have no problem whipping up a dozen or more of these in just under 30 minutes. I am actually making a batch over the weekend, for a mother's day party on Sunday! Can't wait!

5. Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream Recipe
Image courtesy of About A Mom
I love pineapple, I love coconut, I love ice cream, I love this ice cream dessert! LOVE is in the air! I saw this posted on About A Mom's blog last month, and I just had to give it a whirl! And boy did it not disappoint! I will be making this ice cream again and again! It's got such a gorgeous, tropical flavour and is so refreshing and light. I love it scooped into a waffle cone, too! You need an ice cream maker for this one, if you don't own one, get on it, ASAP! ..making homemade ice cream is so much fun. I use this ice cream maker and it is fabulous!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Two Layer Cotton Candy Sprinkles Tie Dye Cake

I was asked to make a cake all about pink and sprinkles for a friend's daughter's 6th birthday party a couple of weekends ago! I mean, seriously, she couldn't have come to a more apropos person to make this cake!, ..because I am wildly passionate about pink, the colour, that is, and not the singer (she's cool, though!), ..and I get extremely giddy when it comes to sprinkles! It doesn't take much, I tell ya!

 I wanted this cake to have a WOW factor, a surprise-inside sort of deal going on! ..So I came up with the idea of a 'tie dye sort of effect' for the cake itself. Stamp of approval from my friend, and away I went with it!

When you slice into this cake, it's absolute colourful-magical-goodness, ..and lots of oohhhs and aahhs and giggles shortly ensue, Scouts Honour!


I was inspired to make this cake by a baking book I purchased called Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke, ..she is also the founder of the fabulous baking blog I used her White Cake recipe from her book to make the cake, and the results, I must say were fantastic! The taste of the cake, the crumb of the cake, the frosting, ..absolutely everything about the cake turned out beautifully. Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

This cake is not that difficult to make and to put together, and anyone with passion for baking, can attempt this cake, ..however it does take a little time to make and assemble, patience is required for this one, my baking padawans (FYI: I'm a bit of a Star Wars geek!)

Ready, set, go!..

Two Layer Cotton Candy Sprinkles Tie Dye Cake

Prep Time:  45 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Amount: makes a 6-inch or 8-inch 2-layer cake
Assemble Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (really depends on skill level or time you want to put into decorating)
Level: Moderate
Printable Recipe
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature (I used 2% milk)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8th of a teaspoon each of Wilton Gel Colours in Golden Yellow, Violet, Teal, Pink)
  • Rainbow Sprinkles (Michael's or Bulk Barn)
  • Pink Cotton Candy (I found mine at Bulk Barn)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton Gel Colour in Pink  
  • Set a rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease and flour, 2, 6-inch or 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Sift together the cake flour, salt, baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer, using paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, using hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • In a large measuring cup, combine milk vanilla extract and almond extract.
  • Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Add one half of the milk mixture and blend until just combined.
  • Add the remaining milk mixture, blend for a few seconds.
  • Add the remaining flour mixture and blend at low speed until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into a large bowl.
  • Clean the stand mixer/batter bowl. Switch in the whisk attachment.
  • Add the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed to form firm peaks.

  • Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter until well incorporated.
  • Take 4 small bowls, and divide the batter evenly between the 4 bowls.
  • Add your Wilton Gel Colours, one colour for each batter, and mix well, using a spoon.

  • Take your two cake pans and scoop 2 tablespoons of coloured batter from each bowl, alternately, until filling each cake pan, evenly, about 1/3 way to the top of pans.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  •  Let the cakes cool completely in pans for about 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove cakes from pans.

  • Set them on wire racks until they reach room temperature.


  • Mix butter and icing sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the salt, vanilla extract and mix for another minute more.
  • Add the whipping cream and mix for another minute.
  • Do not over mix once whipping cream is added.
  •  Measure 2 1/2 cups of frosting and place in a medium bowl.
  •  Mix in Wilton Pink Gel Colour into the frosting you measured out. Make sure gel colour is well incorporated.
  • The pink frosting will be used to frost the outside of the cake.
  • The white frosting will be used to frost/fill between the two layers and to crumb coat the cake.

  • Assemble:
    Even Layers:
    • Before starting to assemble the cake, make sure both layers are even. You may need to thinly cut the tops of the cakes to get your even layers.  
    Crumb Coat:
    • Crumb coating the two layers is in order! Click HERE, to read all about what crumb coating is. It's not my favourite part of building a more complex cake, but it is a necessary step to get a frosting that is 'crumb' free!
    • Start by spreading a thin layer of the white frosting onto the cakes, using a spatula. I normally use a 9 inch angled spatula or a 13 inch angled spatula to crumb coat and frost my cakes.
    • Don’t worry if there are crumbs while crumb coating, this is exactly what is expected. However, try not to get any crumbs in your frosting that is in the bowl, as you need that frosting to fill between the two cakes.
    • The frosting layer when you crumb coat is so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs.

    • Smooth the frosting as best as you can and let it dry.
    • The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on. I let mine sit for about 20 minutes in the fridge. 
    • Once the crumb coat is completely dry, you are ready to continue frosting and decorating.
    • The crumb coat will hold in all of the loose crumbs.
    Filling Cake Layers:
    • Start with the bottom layer of one of your cakes, leveled side up.
    • Using an angled spatula or whatever you are comfortable with (spoon, piping bag with tip), create a dam or circle, using the white frosting just inside the edge of the cake. This should prevent any frosting from seeping out when the next layer is added.
    • Squeeze a circle of white frosting about 3/4 in. high and 1/4 in. from the outside edge of the cake.
    • Fill the center of cake with white frosting and spread it, just to where it touched the frosting rim.
    • Place the next cake layer on top, making sure it is level.
    • The weight of the layer will cause the circle of frosting to expand just right.
    • Place the top layer, leveled side down, so the top of the cake is perfectly smooth and level.
    • Smooth out any excess frosting that may squeeze out through the layer.
    • Let the cake settle at this point for another 15 minutes.
    Frosting Cake:
    • Get your pink frosting raring to go to frost the outside of the cake.
    • Place a large amount of frosting on the center of the cake.
    • Spread the pink frosting across the top, pushing toward edges.
    • Smooth the top using the edge of the spatula.
    • Sweep the edge of the spatula from the rim of the cake to its center then lift it off and remove excess frosting.
    • Cover the sides with frosting.
    • Smooth sides by holding the spatula upright with the edge against the frosting and slowly spinning the turntable without lifting the spatula from the icing’s surface.
    • Return excess icing to the bowl and repeat until sides are smooth.
    • Rotate the cake slightly and repeat the procedure, starting from a new point on the rim until you have covered the entire top surface.
    • Smooth the center of the cake by leveling the icing with the edge of your spatula. For easier smoothing, it may help to dip the spatula into hot water, wipe dry and glide it across the entire surface.
    • Set the cake aside and allow the frosting to crust over for at least 15 minutes before decorating.  

     Decorating Cake:
    • I used cotton candy and rainbow sprinkles to decorate this cake.
    • plopped' a piece of cotton candy to the center of the cake and push in gently so it grips on to the frosting.
    • With your hands, create a slight triangle shape or any shape you desire.
    •  Go crazy with the sprinkles. Concentrate sprinkles to bottom of cake and work around the cake.
    • Scatter more sprinkles over cake and sides of cake, too.
    and Voila!


    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    5 Things Tuesday - Nutella Recipes

    Hi and welcome to another 5 Things Tuesday. This one's all about Nutella, ..baked goods made with Nutella, that is.

    I grew up on Nutella, ..I'm Italian so it makes sense,'s 'normal', wouldn't be 'normal' if we didn't have a jar of Nutella in our pantry. a child, in my crazy alternate world (my brain), I imagined Nutella seeping through my pores, ..'cause I ate so much of it!

    ..and there was only one way I enjoyed eating it, ..with oodles and oodles of it slathered into two slices of the moistest white bread! And always washed down with a tall, cold glass of milk!

    Nowadays, there are several ways I eat Nutella, and several ways I bake with Nutella, too!

    And below are 5 of my favourite food blogger recipes, made with Nutella! There are so many amazing recipes out there made with Nutella, ..these are just 5 that I have made more than once, and find scrumptious!

    1. Nutella Fudge Brownies by Girl and The Kitchen

    Now who doesn't love brownies? ..ok, not many people, so this one is not for the non-brownie lovers (what!?), but for those of us who luuurrve <3 brownies, ..and if you love brownies, chances are you also love Nutella! And let me tell you something, peeps, ..when you bring the two together, Brownie and Nutella that is, ..a very blissful-chocolate-y-amazing thing happens in your mouth! These Nutella Brownies, dear folks are sensational!

    2. Salted Dark Chocolate Nutella Cookies by The Faux Martha


    ..this is a super-delicious sandwich cookie, where the Nutella is slathered between two crispy, dark chocolate cookies! I know! I 'adore' the 'salted' factor added to this recipe, ..the salt cuts, yet heightens the sweetness perfectly, but it also adds another depth of flavour! These are more 'adult' cookie, than 'kid' cookie, but my Little Mama, who is 5 goes nuts for these! I've made them 4 times so far, and they are always a huge hit! Yum, yum, yum!

    3. Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies by Little Leopard Book

    ..I found this recipe back in 2012, on The Leopard Book food blog (love her!) and it's on my favourite of all time 'chocolate chip cookie' list! This is the kid-friendly version from the one above, ..actually it's everyone's version in this house. The amount of chocolate and Nutella in this cookie coupled with the texture, which is chewy and so moist, results in one of those cookies that should have a license to eat them! So good, it's ridiculous!

    4. Chocolate Chip and Candied Bacon Pancakes Made with Nutella Maple Syrup by Evil Shenanigans

    These pancakes are a little, wait, A LOT over the top! I mean, look at the pic above, CRAAZZYY! ..and calorie-laden to the max to boot! Come on, candied bacon, Nutella, chocolate chips, cream cheese (in the batter) and maple syrup are all part of the deal in this recipe! I've made this recipe 3 times so far, and have omitted the chocolate chips the last two times, and prefer it without the chocolate chips. I've made these pancakes for weekend brunches. I was asked to help with a brunch last year, I was given 'pancake duty', and of course wanting to wow the guests I went searching for pancakes that would be the topic of conversation, ..and they sure were! ..I'm narcissistic like that! Anyways, as you can see, these are very rich and decadent, and very scrummy, too!

    5. White Bread Cupcakes With Nutella Buttercream by Life in the Sweet Lane

    ..these cupcakes above are made by yours truly, ..and they evoke such great childhood memories for me. They remind me of the many Nutella sandwiches my brother and I consumed, for after school snacking, was by far the snack of choice in our household, growing up, ..and so being the cupcake and Nutella aficionado that I am, I wanted to bring the two together, and create a White Bread Nutella Cupcake that reminded me of the Nutella Sandwich I am so fond of! And these sure do!



    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    5 Things Tuesday - Beauty Products I'm Loving Right Now

    So besides loving to bake and loving sweets, a little too much, ..I am also a great lover of beauty products. I have a slight obsession with skincare products, especially!

    Ok, it's more like a crazy-mad obsession. And well, I suppose all those years of wearing sunscreen and taking very good care of my skin are paying off, now that I have hit that big number, know the one where inexplicable hormonal changes start to happen, and you are sort of in the midst of a crisis, a middle life one, apparently. I'm personally embracing 40, ..ha! says the one who cried her heart out on her 40th birthday! I'm ok with it now, though, it took me a few months to get over it, ..after all we don't have a choice, right!? ..and getting older is a privilege!, vain side is fervently trying to absorb and accept that last bit!

    But, in all seriousness, I'm very grateful to be here and be surrounded by my wonderful friends and family! And I'm very grateful to have this blog, a place to share my baking passion and sometimes other passions with you all as well. So thank you!

    5 Beauty Products I'm Really Loving
    1. Philosopy - Full Of Promise Dual-Action Restoring Cream

    This product does what it says it does, which is to firm the skin and give it suppleness. It does both, beautifully! 

    "A unique protein-recycling complex powered by proprietary peptides and marine microalgae works to breathe new life into existing proteins, offering your skin protection, restoration, and hydration all-day long. The result: defined facial contours, a healthy boost, and a remarkably youthful glow"

    Before purchasing my first jar of this cream, and I'm on my third jar of it now, I had read a couple of reviews that said it felt waxy on application, And that was the case for me as well, however this happens just on application. The cream absorbs so well and creates a great base for make up application, too. My skin is left feeling very smooth, moisturized and with a sort of 'protected' feeling. I honestly don't know how I lived without it, it's definitely one of the best facial creams I've ever tried. Hooked on this! 

    I buy mine online at either or and it retails for $82 CAD for a 2 oz. jar.

    2. Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil

    ..I love this! I have been using this product every single day since I bought it last month, and it's one of those products I fell instantly in love with! It is the multi-tasker of all time. I use it as a cuticle moisturizer, as a night time facial cream/oil, on my lips, and also to smooth the ends of my hair. And it just works like a charm for all these dry skin and hair conditions!

    "One creamy oil, infinite possibilities. This makeup-artist must-have delivers all the moisturizing benefits of Argan oil in a portable, non-greasy, creamy oil form. The innovative formula starts as a cream and melts into an oil, making your complexion more luminous while tightening facial contours and preventing inflammation. Use it to hydrate and gently soothe under eyes, smooth fly-aways, keep eyebrows in place, and condition lips. Mix it with powder blush or eye shadow to instantly transform it into a cream."

    This retails for $34 CAD for a 2.2 fl. oz tube! ..and a little goes a long, long way! I bought this little beauty, online at

    3. Scentuals Pure Moroccan Argan Oil

    The Beauty World is definitely abuzz with Moroccan Argan Oil and I get why! This amazing oil is one of the rarest oils in the world, growing mainly in Morocco and a few forests in Algeria and Israel. It boasts healing qualities for your skin, hair and body. I've been using 100% Pure Argan Oil as a skin and hair treatment for 2 years now, and I have to say it is one of my favourite plant oils ever.

    I tend to break out very easily, still at this ripe old age, ;) ..and this stuff actually soothes my skin when it's irritated by weather conditions, hormonal changes and/or for whatever reason my skin decides to turn on me. I apply 2-3 drops on clean skin, and massage in from neck to forehead. I also use it as an elbow, knee and foot oil, it helps soothe and smooth these areas of my skin as well.

    For my hair, I apply 3-4 drops of Argan Oil to my damp hair after washing and conditioning it, comb it out, and blow dry it or let it air dry. I then apply a couple more drops of the Argan Oil into hands, and massage through hair once more. Shiny, soft hair at my service! I do not ever want to be without a bottle of this gorgeous stuff!

    "When used on the face and body, it helps maintain elasticity, slows the aging of the skin, fights free radicals and is packed full of antioxidants. Use daily to diminish fine lines, crows feet and combat dry, flaky skin. Argan Oil is high in Omega 9 and Omega 3 fatty acids. When used as a hair oil, these fatty acids penetrate the hair shaft and deliver vital nutrients. Argan oil helps impart shine, smooth frizz and treat damage due to colouring and heat styling."

    I get my bottle of this Argan potion at, and it retails for $14.49 CAD for a 1 oz/30 ml. bottle! Great price, for a superb beauty product!

    4. Sukin Antioxidant Eye Serum

    It's not really an eye serum, but more of an eye cream in regards to the look and texture, and it is fabulous! I discovered this eye cream 4 years ago when residing in Australia. I've been using this product ever since, as an eye cream for the day. I do alternate with other eye products, however this baby is a stable in my skincare regime.

    A light-weight texture and it absorbs quickly, leaving my eye area very soft and supple. It also makes for a great foundation and/or concealer base. It doesn't flake or crumble under make up, either and that's another thing I love so much about this eye cream.

    It has soothing aloe vera, cucumber and burdock to provide the perfect blend of plant proteins to offer deep rehydration to the delicate eye area. Rose hip, evening primrose and borage oils also help to improve skin elasticity and texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

    I get this at and it retails for $23.99 CAD for a 1 oz./30 ml. bottle.

    P.S. I keep my bottle in the fridge and it feels wonderful in the morning to wake up my tired eyes.

    5. Olay Complete Defense SPF30

    Now here is my all-time favourite facial sunscreen! I never leave home without it, ..rain or shine, snow or sleet, it goes on minutes before I get outside! And it wears under make up beautifully, too, ..or without! This facial sunscreen doesn't give my face a super shiny finale, but rather a slight, dewy finish!

    It doesn't break me out either which is always a plus, ..and it's fragrance-free, which is another plus! I normally dislike any type of fragrance in my facial skincare products. Synthetic fragrance in facial products defeats the whole purpose of the products' benefits, in my opinion.

    "This light, non-greasy daily formula replenishes sensitive skin with moisturizers including vitamins while SPF 30 provides UV protection.

    Add Complete Daily UV Moisturizer to your skin care routine to:

    • Moisturize with a light formula you can use every day
    • Help protect skin with SPF 30 UVA/UVB sunscreen
    • Replenish skin with conditioners like vitamins E, B3 and pro-vitamin B5

    Light, Non-Greasy Formula."

    Wal-mart or Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix are usually where I get this beauty, and it retails for approx. $12.99, but prices may vary. I've found it on sale for $9.99 CAD, too! Great, great sunscreen for the visage!


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