Category Archives: Baking

toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars

toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars via Drag it Through the GardenWarning: These toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars are super sweet, super sticky, and super yummy. And they are super easy to bake up. In fact, I baked these before class one morning (which is surprising considering it’s pretty hard to get me to do anything beyond what is necessary in the morning) and then proceeded to daydream about them all day until I finally ate one after classes. And they definitely lived up to my expectations.

It has been a while since my last post. Two weeks. Needless to say, I have been swamped.

Can they just give me my degree already? I am so over school right now. Like, seriously over it. I spent between 15 and 20 hours last week working on a lab report. For a one credit hour course. I have a class that has exams pretty much every Friday (10 for the semester). And they are not easy multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank exams. They’re take-two-hours-and-hope-and-pray-you-gave-the-right-answer kind of exams. Oh yeah, and they are only two questions long. Two hours? For two questions?

Unfortunately, I could probably keep complaining for a long time about school right now. And quite honestly, I am tempted to do it. But, I do not want to bore you all to death. Or make you annoyed with my whiny-ness. Good thing I have a lot of Easter candy in my living room so I have something to stress-eat. Maybe I should bake these lemon bars again.

Not a bad idea…

toasted marshmallow and coconut lemon bars

Makes one 8×8” pan

1 19-oz. box lemon bar mix*
3 eggs
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease an 8x8x2” pan. Press crust (in a bag in the lemon bar box) into the bottom of pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 1/3 cup water and 3 eggs together until homogeneous. Stir in lemon filling mix until smooth. Pour over hot, baked crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows and coconut. Drizzle over sweetened condensed milk. Bake for an additional 14-18 minutes, until lightly golden on top. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil to prevent burning. Remove to cool. Chill in refrigerator for a couple hours to slice easier.

*Baking instructions follow Krusteaz lemon bars mix. If using a different brand, eggs, water, and baking time may need to be adjusted.

Source: Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life



gooey butter cookies

gooey butter cookies | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comIf you are not from the Saint Louis area, you might not have experienced the delicious ooey-gooey-ness that is gooey butter cake. And if you have not yet had the pleasure of that wonderful cake, then I highly, highly suggest adding the ingredients for these gooey butter cookies to your next shopping list (if you don’t already have them in your pantry).

So, I’ve been absent for about a week and a half here, which might be surprising considering I have been enjoying the relaxation of Spring Break.

Scratch that. I have been busy writing my chemistry thesis, my Spanish thesis, a multitude of lab reports, and preparing for a presentation in front of a bunch of professors that I would rather not take part in. But, I also want to graduate, so… I guess I do not have that much of a choice in the matter.

I have been seeing all these photos of people going to beaches and far-away places for Spring Break. It makes me jealous. And here I am sitting on my couch deciding if I calculated the reaction energy correctly or not. I want a tan, too!

Oh well. I guess I’ll just put on some more bronzer than necessary and set my sights on summer.

gooey butter cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 8-oz.package cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 butter yellow cake mix
3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and egg. Add in the cake mix in thirds, mixing until combined between each addition. Chill for one hour to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Place powdered sugar in a bowl or plate. Roll cookie dough into 1” balls and add into the powdered sugar. Cover the dough with sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-12 minutes, until cooked through and lightly golden on the edges and bottom. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comI love breakfast food. (Muffins do count as breakfast food, right?) Maybe it is the carb-overload that happens in a lot of breakfasts or the combination of sweet and savory foods, but I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day. Seriously.

There’s something refreshing about lemon and ginger together. And as a breakfast food? With poppy seeds? Gotta love it.

I have this problem of not eating breakfast on the weekends until about 11. Which I don’t qualify as breakfast any more. It’s either that I start doing homework really early and just buckle down into it to get done as soon as possible or I go to the grocery store.

As many of you probably know, grocery store on an empty stomach never is a good idea. I should probably note the overflow of food in my cabinets at this point. Oops. But something weird happens when I’m hungry and go to look for something to eat. It’s like 90% of my food vanishes and I feel like I have limited options. There must be some science behind that because it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

lemon poppy seed ginger muffins

Makes 16 Muffins

1 large lemon
About 3 inches ginger root, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup powdered sugar
juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 12-cavity muffin tin with 16 liners, if desired, or grease.

Peel off yellow part of lemon (try not to get any white) using a vegetable peeler and chop up a bit. Squeeze lemon juice into a food processor or blender. Add lemon zest ginger, and ¼ cup sugar. Pulse food processor until a fine paste is formed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and remaining ¾ cup of sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and lemon-ginger paste. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in half of the yogurt. Mix in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in the remaining yogurt. Mix in the rest of the flour mixture. Mix in the sour cream. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Evenly distribute the batter among the cups. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out with only moist crumbs. Cool on a wire rack.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Spoon over the top of each muffin while still warmed. 

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes

gooey chocolate chip cookies

gooey chocolate chip cookies via Drag it Through the Garden.

In honor of National Cookie Day (yep, it’s today!), I bring to you this delicious recipe for ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies. I currently have the entire batch—well, minus a few—sitting in my kitchen. And in these days with no roommate, it’s just me eating them… all.

I should probably get in the holiday spirit and give some away. Or maybe I should just (stress) eat them all myself. I’ll have to see how to rest of this week goes before I make my decision.

It’s that last push before finals week. You know, that week where all the professors want to give you an exam… one week before your final? And the last papers. And the presentations. And the projects.

I should not be complaining though. This semester has been a lot better than many others.

But, you know those mild winters? And then everyone says the next winter is going to be horrible? Because they usually are?

That’s this semester—the mild winter.

Next semester, my last semester, will be my blizzard.

gooey chocolate chip cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
3.4-oz package French vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large bowl, cream butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in pudding mix, vanilla extract, and eggs. Beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool for about 2 minutes on the cookie sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

honey white challah bread (and a 1 year blogiversary)

Well… a few weeks ago, I remember telling you that I would try to update more often. And now over a week goes by before I put up a new post.


I guess real life got in the way again, although nothing special really happened this week. Well, besides starting research again and soaking up the sun as much as possible.

Oh, and it was my one-year blogiversary on Thursday. I had all these big plans to bake a special cake and post it on here to celebrate.

Yeah… that never happened.

So, here’s some bread instead.

To tell you the truth, I’ve always been intimidated by challah bread. The intricate braiding. The whole yeast thing. Everything pretty much told me to stay away from it in the kitchen and just buy a loaf off the grocery store shelves.

That’s why I was pretty excited when I saw it was May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge.

And from experience I can tell you for sure that there is absolutely nothing to be intimidated by. Seriously.

Just a sneak peek for what’s in store: bread pudding with the leftover challah. Delish.

(Blog-checking lines: May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.)

Honey White Challah Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

1-½ cups warm water, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons (about 3 packets) active-dry yeast
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-½ teaspoons salt
5 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed (total of about 8 to 9 cups)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to proof for about 5 minutes until foamy.

Add remaining 1 cup of water, honey, oil, eggs, salt, and 5 cups flour. Knead using stand mixer or hands for about 10 minutes, until a smooth ball forms, adding more flour as needed.

Transfer dough ball to a clean and oiled bowl. Flip dough around so all sides are covered in oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.

Punch dough down and divide into two sections to make two separate loaves.

To make a six-stranded braid, divide one dough ball into six equal pieces. Roll to form “snakes” that are slightly thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch all six strands together at the top. Starting from the left-most strand, carry the strand over two strands, under the middle strand, and over two more strands. This will now be the strand that is farthest to the right. Repeat again new strand that is farthest left. Over two, under one, over two. Repeat until strands are entirely braided. Tuck both sides under so that a nice loaf is formed and pinched ends cannot be seen.

Repeat with remaining section.

Place loaves on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Brush risen loaves with egg wash (one egg with one teaspoon water). Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Source: Tammy’s Recipes

german chocolate filled cupcakes

I will admit to you that I baked these cupcakes well before I left for Spain… like in December. Now, don’t freak out. They were all eaten and everything before I actually left. This isn’t some weird thing where I let cupcakes sit for five months before eating them. Yuck.

I baked these for my momma’s birthday way back in December and just never posted them on here for whatever reason, although they were incredibly delicious. Momma’s favorite cake is German chocolate. I really wanted to bake her a whole German chocolate cake, but I didn’t have any way to transfer a whole cake from my apartment (where I was baking it) to my house (where Momma was). So, next best thing that might have actually been better? German chocolate cupcakes with that delicious coconut pecan frosting inside. Perfect.

I would probably make them again right now if everyone around here was not on some freaky no-carb, no-fat, no-yummy-food-filled-with-butter diet. Well, everyone except for me. So, if I made these now, I’d have to eat them all myself. Not that I would be complaining or anything.

German Chocolate-Filled Cupcakes

Makes 24 Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 box any chocolate cake mix
1 4-serving box chocolate pudding mix
Ingredients listed on back of cake mix box

For the coconut pecan filling:
3 egg yolks
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups toasted pecans, chopped (plus extra for decorations, if desired)
2 cups toasted flaked unsweetened coconut (plus extra for decorations, if desired)

For the chocolate ganache frosting:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Prepare cupcakes as described on box, adding the powdered pudding mix to the batter. Let cupcakes completely cool before filling.

In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk over low heat. Stir constantly until butter is melted and mixture is combined. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Add pecans and coconut and stir until combined. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Meanwhile, add chocolate chips and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Increase heat to medium and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup. Transfer to a metal bowl and refrigerate for about two hours.

Remove from refrigerator. Whip with a mixer for about 2-3 minutes. Frosting will increase in volume and become spreadable.

Using a knife, small biscuit cutter, or pastry tip, remove the middle portion of each cupcake. Fill generously with the coconut pecan filling. Cut off the tip of each removed cupcake portion so only a disk remains and place back on the filled cupcake so you can no longer see the filling.

Pipe the chocolate ganache frosting on to each cupcake. Garnish with extra toasted pecans and toasted coconut, if desired.

Source: Back to Her Roots

cinnamon-sugar baked doughnuts

Is it doughnuts? Or donuts? I don’t know. And I can’t say I care about the spelling as long as I have one in hand.

Maybe I should have just sprinkled these with cinnamon and sugar instead of practically dumping as much as they could handle on top. But, in my book, the more sugar, the better.

I say that as I sit here drinking one of those sugar-filled energy drinks. But, hey, I was up for a while during the night worrying about this whole sublessee-turned-nightmare debacle. Then, pretty much as soon as I fell back asleep, the little woodpecker that likes to hang out by my bedroom wall in the early morning came to pay me  a visit. I wish he’d go peck on someone else’s wall.

If only I had one of these doughnuts (donuts?) right now…

cinnamon-sugar baked doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts

2 cup cake flour, sifted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Spray a 6-cavity doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat).

In a large bowl, sift together flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, and 2 tbsp. butter. Mix until just combined. Fill cavities of doughnut pan 2/3 of the way full (if you do not have a doughnut pan, you could pipe circles onto a baking sheet).

Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove.

Mix together remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip doughnuts in melted butter then sprinkle with (or dip into) cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve.

Source: Adapted, slightly, from Wilton