Featured article


Today, we are re-issuing our only baked-in stuffed cupcake (Week 46 from our Stuffed In the Middle  cookbook). Grab spice cake box mix, can of pumpkin and some cream cheese at the grocery store and you've got another item checked off your Thanksgiving to-do list!
IMG_0380_edited-2 IMG_0382_edited-2 IMG_0387_edited-2


A can of pumpkin puree is a healthier substitute for oil and water in this recipe, creating a dense, spice-filled stuffed cupcake just in time for the holidays.



Demerara sugar is a large-grained, somewhat crunchy raw sugar with origins in Guyana.  It tastes a lot like brown sugar. The crystals give the cupcakes a nice crunchy texture. Look for it in the bulk food section of your local grocery store. 

Baked-In Stuff
Pumpkin Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

1 package spice cake box mix
14 oz. can of pumpkin
2 cans cream cheese frosting

2 Tbsp. baking unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt

Demerara raw sugar
chocolate jimmies

1. Empty the dry Spice box mix into a bowl and add one can of pumpkin puree. Mix together completely.  Do not add any of the ingredients listed on the box.  The batter will be very thick.  Set aside.

Prepare filling: 
2. In a separate bowl, with a mixer, cream together cocoa, cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg and salt.  Mixture will be slightly lumpy.

3.  Scoop cupcake batter into cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop.  (Try to make nicely rounded scoops as this batter is so thick it will come out of the oven looking almost exactly as it does before it goes in.)  Make a deep well in the center of scooped batter with the back of a spoon sprayed with cooking spray.   Then fill centers with about a teaspoon of chocolate cream cheese filling mixture.

4.  Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes.  A toothpick test on this cupcake will not come out clean at 15 minutes but if you leave the cupcakes in for longer they will burn.  Remove them from the oven and leave them in the pan for about 5 minutes to let them finish cooking.  After that, you can remove them and let them cool on the counter or a cooling rack for about 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Once the cupcakes are cool, fill a pastry bag containing a 1M tip with cream cheese frosting from a can.  Circle frost the cupcakes.

6.  Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and/or chocolate jimmies.

Print Friendly

For detailed, illustrated technique instructions about needed toolsassembly, fillingpreparing a pastry bag and circle frosting, see our drop-down HOW-TO menu at the top of the page.

wicked witch cupcakespmwords

Here's a super-fun cupcake to make with the kiddos for Halloween this year. Use a cake mix, canned frosting and four, dollar-store ingredients to make them. Soon, you'll say, "I'm MELTING!" Hope you enjoy them as much as we do. (For a video tutorial, see the link below.)
♥ Holly

Wicked Witch Stuffed Cupcakes & Cookie Treats

1 white cake box mix
Eggs, oil & water (per box directions)

1 (17.5 oz.) jar red jam of your choice (We used raspberry.)

2 cans green frosting (or vanilla frosting tinted green)
1 package fudge-striped cookies
1 small bag of Bugles™
1 small bag of Haribo™ raspberries
1 container of Pirouline™ cookies (flavor of your choice)



  1. Prepare white cupcakes per box directions, but only bake for 18 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness; when it comes out clean, remove from oven. Let cool fully.
  2. Core cooled cupcakes. Using a teaspoon, fill center with red jam.
  3. Insert 1M tip into chosen pastry bag. Fill bag with green frosting, cut opening and circle frost cupcakes.
  4. For directions on making the "witch", see our video on Youtube.
  5. Garnish with witches hats, legs & ruby slippers.



Use four, dollar-store ingredients to make adorable witch-hat cookies and legs.


Use candy raspberries for the ruby slippers!



Print Friendly

 For detailed, illustrated technique instructions about needed toolsassembly, fillingpreparing a pastry bag and circle frosting, see our drop-down HOW-TO menu at the top of the page.
Photos by Holly Haber
Photos by Holly Haber
What do you do when you've bought the jumbo size jar of cherries for a party and forget to use them? You make Chock Full O'Cherries Stuffed Cupcakes, of course! This cherry stuffed cupcake is reminiscent of a Shirley Temple because we add in just a little bit of Cherry 7-Up. This turned into a super fun afternoon with my daughter and her friends. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
♥ Holly
Yields 24 cupcakes

1 white cake box mix
27 maraschino cherries, roughly chopped
1/3 c. maraschino cherry juice
2/3 c. Cherry 7-Up
Eggs & oil (per box directions, OMIT WATER)

24 maraschino cherries, whole

2 cans chocolate white frosting
Pink, red & white nonpareils
24 maraschino cherries with stems

There are 3 different size jars of maraschino cherries I've found, 6oz. = 18 cherries, 10oz = 30 cherries, & 72oz = 218 cherries. This recipe calls for 75 cherries...you can buy any combination to suit your needs.

1. Add 1/3c. maraschino cherry juice, 2/3c. Cherry 7-Up and oil into white box mix, stirring per box directions. Once combined, fold in the 27 chopped cherries. Scoop into cupcake liners but only bake for 18 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness; when it comes out clean, remove from oven. Let cool fully.

2. Core cooled cupcakes. Insert 1 maraschino cherry into each cored cupcake.

3. Insert 1M tip into chosen pastry bag. Fill bag with white frosting, cut opening and circle frost cupcakes.

4. Sprinkle with pink, white and red nonpareils and top with a stemmed cherry.

Print Friendly

IMG_6401pm2Julie's friend Michelle from Minnesota shared her cake box mix lemon cookie recipe with us, her kids' "absolute favorite." She's talking our language with easy and good. We made two batches -- one lemon, one strawberry -- and then adapted it to create a new Stuffed in the Middle treat. The recipe makes 15 sandwiched pies or about 30 single cookies.  ♥ Holly & Julie

Spring Whoopie Pies

1 lemon or strawberry cake box mix
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of water
1 stick of butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar for rolling

1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème

Pastel sprinkles
1/2 c. pistachios, finely chopped
Pink sparkling sugar

1. Mix first four base ingredients together.

IMG_6302pmIMG_6323pmIMG_6346pm 2. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough, and roll them individually in powdered sugar; they will be sticky. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

IMG_6363pm3. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven when outer edges are set or just golden brown. Let cool fully.

IMG_63744. Spread a thin layer of marshmallow cream on the bottom of one cookie, and sandwich another on top.

IMG_6390pm5. Roll edges into desired topping
6. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. The marshmallow filling will slide if kept at room temperature.

Note: If you choose to serve these as individual cookies, Michelle has also shared her Lemon Glaze recipe:
½ stick of butter, softened
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

1. Mix ingredients well. Ice cookies while hot.

Print Friendly

PB Cup Stuffed Cookies
So along with their chore chart this week, my kids could choose from a list of age-appropriate life skills to work on, and  baking cookies is something 8-9 year olds can do. After buying peanut butter cups yesterday, I found this easy recipe on allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-butter-cup-cookies/). I can hardly believe I've never made these before, or the similar cookies where you smoosh chocolate kisses into a oven-fresh cookie. No coring, and STILL a stuffed-in-the-middle treat. That rocks! ♥ Julie

IMG_6089_edited-1Did you know that if you follow recipes on an iPad or other tablet, you can check off ingredients as you measure them in? Sure beats trying to remember if you already added the salt!

IMG_6054_edited-1pm So, put on your apron ...


IMG_6069_edited-1pm Measure your ingredients ...


IMG_6079_edited-1pm Get a trusted puppy friend to supervise ...

IMG_6105_edited-1pm2And as they say on the Great British Baking Show ... BAKE!


We recommend you:  1. Freeze the peanut butter cups while making batter; 2. Gently remove finished cookies with a spoon; 3. Refrigerate finished cookies so melted PB cups re-harden.



And don't forget the best part of baking ... licking your fingers. Enjoy!



Print Friendly

brioche MainMy daughter, Franki, is not normally a baker. She enjoys making a few specialties in the kitchen; chocolate chip cookies, apple almond cake and Grandma's rum balls, but that's about it. She doesn't typically take an interest in cooking because her brother and I do a lot of that kind of thing. However, last week she tried something new...and WOW, was it good!

She had seen a post about making a Nutella Brioche Flower. She mentioned to me that she had seen it and was thinking about making it. So I encouraged her to go for it. She went to the store an collected the items that we didn't have and began her quest. It's interesting to watch someone do something they haven't done before. She was at different times, excited, frustrated, worried and in the end, overjoyed and confident in her abilities because it turned out great! I was able to walk her through things that she hadn't done before, i.e. kneading and rolling out dough, allowing it to rise and cutting and shaping the dough. She was certain she was doing it wrong and I had to offer encouragement and reassurance. I was surprised that I hadn't taught her those things before and I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in what I'm doing/making that I don't always share my experiences and knowledge with my children. I was pleased that she was still looking to me for guidance, even though she's an adult now.

In my efforts to try new things with my family and friends this year, it was through my daughter's adventure that I learned more about myself. How I want to strive to share my knowledge but even more so, my time, with the ones I love. I hope you'll find that special time with someone you love today...maybe making your own Nutella Brioche Flower.

Nutella Brioche Flower

Here is the link to the original recipe but we've included the converted directions (it was metric before) on our site, as well, for you to enjoy. There is a very helpful video on the original site.

2 c. All-purpose flour
3/4 c. lukewarm milk (temp between 110 -115 degrees F)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
2 eggs
Zest of a lemon (this gives it a very floral taste, cut down zest to half of a lemon if you choose)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried yeast

Nutella spread

Topping (we omitted this)
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. water
confectioner's sugar

brioche last


  1. Mix the yeast and the sugar with the milk. Leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly.
  3. Mix the flour, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, eggs and yeast/milk. Mix to a soft dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes then form into a ball and place in a lightly-greased bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until the dough has about doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, cut out a circle of baking or greaseproof paper about 12″ in diameter. Place the paper on a baking sheet.
  6. Once risen, turn the dough out onto a surface, knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each piece into a ball.
  7. Roll a ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 10″ in diameter. The dough should be about 1/8″ thick. See assembly pictures below.
  8. Place the dough onto the baking paper and spread on a layer of Nutella, leaving a small gap at the edge. Don’t make the layer too thick but be sure to evenly cover the dough.
  9. Roll out a second ball of dough, place it on the first layer and spread with Nutella. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough but do NOT spread Nutella on the final layer.
  10. Place a glass in the center of the stacked dough and press down slightly. Just enough to leave and indent in the top layer of the dough. Leaving the center uncut, cut the brioche into 16 segments around the indented dough circle.
  11. Take a pair of adjacent segments. Lift and twist them away from each other through 180°. Lift and twist through 180° again, then twist through 90° so that the ends are vertical. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat this process for all pairs of segments. (it's very helpful to watch this part of the video on the link provided.)
  12. Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled film. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours to proof.
  13. (We omitted this part - it was plenty sweet without it) Brush with the glaze then bake at 320°F convection oven, 360°F conventional oven for 20-25 minutes. (We used a convection oven and it baked for 35 minutes).
  14. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with powdered sugar (we omitted this step too).

brioche collage





Print Friendly

The charcuterie case at Market of Choice in Cedar Hills Oregon (photo by JMetz)

I was inspired by our latest field trip to Market of Choice to assemble my own charcuterie tray for an informal happy hour with our friends, Jen & Erik, this weekend. So, I thought I'd share some of the basics of a charcuterie platter (including the definition) and then tell you how to make your own.

First, let's start with the definition, as defined by Merriam-Webster...
charcuterie (shar-coo-ter-ee): a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes; also :  the products sold in such a shop

So, essentially, as many amazing "stuffed" cured meats as you can fit onto a board or platter to serve up to your friends. As you can see from the pictures below, our friends assembled a beautiful tray of cheeses and apples to pair with our meats and we also had a large tray of assorted crackers, mini French bread loaves and petite toasts to enjoy with our fare as well. I recommend a sweet white wine, a Riesling or a Moscato d'Asti, to pair with these salty meats to balance your palate. If you're not a wine fan, try an Amaretto sour with this and use the Amarena cherries - they're a chewy, candied-type cherry that we all loved! They're scrumptious!

charcuterie pic monkey
Photo by HHaber

Here's a list of items that we had on the board but there are so many varieties, choose items that are intriguing to you. Be adventurous, try pate'. I tried to get several pork items, which are traditional but then made sure to have a beef option as well - the Mocetta Bresaola - which I enjoyed very much. It is also traditional to add a few sweet and sour items to balance the board so we added the cherries, pickles, olives, almonds and honeycomb. I've indicated the highlights of the night by starring the ones that we just couldn't live without if we do this again.

Creminelli Sopressata - pork and spices in a beef casing - found at Fred Meyer
Mocetta Bresaola - beef eye of round - found at Whole Foods
***Duck & Morel Mousette - velvety smooth pork and duck with Madeira wine and morel mushrooms - crafted by Market of Choice
Country Pate' - seasoned ground pork and duck with port wine & pistachios - crafted by Market of Choice
***Mitica Maximum Edendi - Pure Natural Honeycomb - found at Whole Foods
Cornichons - a sour gherkin - found at Fred Meyer
Gherkins - a sweet petite pickle - found at Fred Meyer
Stone ground mustard - found at Fred Meyer
***Marcona almonds - no papery shell, nicely salted - found at Fred Meyer
Roasted Garlic - found at Fred Meyer (in the olive bar)
Feta and olives in olive oil - found at Fred Meyer (in the olive bar)
***Amarena cherries - found at Whole Foods
Gourmet Assortment Pack by Daniele Inc. found at Costco, which includes:
***-Capocollo Del Duca

The cheeses we enjoyed were:
Smoked Gouda
Pepper Jack

In this new year I'm striving to share new experiences with my friends and family and turn an ordinary night into an adventure. It's fun to try new things, especially when it involves food! Try something new this week and let us know what your new favorite is...or isn't. My new favorite is Duck & Morel Moussette - who knew??  ♥Holly

cheese pic monkey
Photo by HHaber

Print Friendly


20150115_100348pm2Good Morning!
Julie and I went on a field trip this morning to the newest grocery store in the area, Market of Choice, in Cedar Mill, which had its grand opening today.

It's similar to Whole Foods but bigger, and we received superb customer service in all departments. Felt like we were in Selfridge's of London (circa 1910) as depicted in the PBS show. Love it! And we got interviewed on camera about our opinions of the store, so we'll share the video when we find it.

If you're looking for that one ingredient you just can't find ... you'll likely be able to find it here. The store is amazing, and the selection is extensive (hence the name?) and varied (we even found Western Family brand cake box mixes.) Also, the displays are so pretty; food porn everywhere you look.

Here are a few of our favorite finds:

Quirky little books like this in the homegoods section:
cat book
I Knead My Mommy: And Other Poems by Kittens  by Francesco Marciuliano
"A book of confessional poems about the triumphs, trials, and daily discoveries of being a kitten."

Huge wine selection:
 20150115_103144pm2Look at all that beautiful wine!

20150115_103228pm... and some old, $1K bottles ... like 1911 old! Of course, there are also $10 bottles available too.

Produce - Bright & Beautiful:

20150115_101118pmFresh and tidy. Look at these tubers and roots! I really have never seen this many different types of potatoes in one place.


20150115_104045pmNeed I say more? Look at that beautiful selection of cheeses!

Pate' & Charcuterie - Scrumptious

20150115_104442pm We recommend the Duck & Morel Mousette or the Country Pate' with ground pork, duck & pistachios - made on-site ... ask for a sample 🙂

Baking aisle:

20150115_102404pm - totally inspiring. Look at this gluten-free section!

20150115_102253pmSo many sparkling sugars ...

Now on to the bakery - Lovely

Dreaming of Paris anyone? Perhaps Italy?

And perhaps our favorite? The spinning gelato freezer (it's at the bakery).

Then our checkout lady shared with us, "Have you seen the test kitchen upstairs?" No we haven't, and yes, we'll be back. Hopefully with our cookbook on your shelves and teaching a class about how to stuff cupcakes in your kitchen!

So stop by and see what they have. Take your girlfriends and visit the growler filling station or taste some wine. We plan to take our husbands back for date night. Enjoy!

♥ Holly & Julie

Print Friendly

Good Morning!  Julie and I are spending the morning drinking gourmet coffees and inspecting our latest cookbook shipments...let's just say there's still some kinks to work out. Ugh!

We have a kitchen lined up for us to bake our samples for our Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble book signing coming up on Feb. 7th, 11:30am. We're planning to demonstrate how to make our Aztec Chili Chocolate Stuffed Cupcakes & our Strawberry Stuffed Heart Cakes - just in time for Valentine's Day!

New today, you can subscribe to our blog posts by entering your email into the Subscribe box on the right side of the blog page, just above the Search button. Now you can receive tips, recipes and updates on our progress. Unsubscribe at any time.

coffee syrups pic monkeyABOUT THAT COFFEE
So, we bought a new coffee maker for my husband for Christmas, a Nespresso Vertuoline Coffee Maker. I'm pretty sure we'll never use anything else. I gotta say the crema on top and the optional foam maker is the bomb! Add in a few flavored syrups to the coffee and you get dessert in a mug - for breakfast no less!  ♥Holly

Print Friendly

(Photos by Holly Haber)

We made Peppermint Mocha Stuffed Cupcakes & Spiked Eggnog Stuffed Cupcakes today. You can find the recipes in our new cookbook or you can get one of them free here.
We tried a new topper technique today, an idea we got from our friend Kristie Hauss!

White Christmas Tree Pretzel Pics
1. Heat white almond bark in the micro until completely melted.
2. Pour melted almond bark into a decorating bag.
3. Lay pretzel sticks on a piece of parchment.
4. Cut a small hole in the decorating bag and drizzle across pretzel stick, making it look like a Christmas tree.
5. While almond bark is still wet, sprinkle with gold sparkling sugar or colored sprinkles.
6. Let dry for 10 minutes.
Perfect as cupcake toppers or a sweet and salty treat.

Print Friendly