Recently we were browsing Instagram and stumbled upon a photo that would change the way we looked at desserts forever. It was one of those moments where the whole world seemed to stop, everything fell silent, and all that existed in that very second was this magnificent dessert staring back at us like love at first sight. It was a No Bake Cookies-N-Cream Cheesecake, perfectly swirled into a mini-glass cup speckled with oreo crumbs and crowned with an oreo cookie. This was our first time ever hearing of a no-bake cheesecake and we immediately headed over to Angela’s Mind Over Batter website to learn more about the source of this intriguing creation. What we found there, in addition to her delightful recipe, was a gorgeous site filled with stunning photography, writing so funny that we couldn’t get through a post without laughing out loud, and yes, even more imaginative flavors of no-bake cheesecakes: Lemons-N-Cream, Pumpkin Pie, Blueberry Lavender Cream, and Strawberry Vanilla. This holiday weekend, we wanted to share an easy dessert that would be romantic, beautiful, and something that you could quickly whip up in less than thirty minutes, so we created these no-bake strawberry cheesecake parfaits inspired by her site: a crunchy graham cracker crust is topped with the most silky and rich vanilla cheesecake, then layered with fresh strawberries and drizzled with a tangy strawberry puree. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and should truly be recognized 365 days a year, and we promise we are not just saying this just as an excuse to eat this picture-perfect dessert every day!
Peanut butter and banana is one of the best combinations. We both grew up enjoying it on sandwiches, and it’s still one of our go-to lunches when we go hiking. It is delicious on pancakes and waffles, and makes a healthy and indulgent smoothie. Recently, we even made an incredibly rich banana chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting for a friend’s birthday. We just can’t get enough! So when we were brainstorming simple dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day, we decided to take this classic combination and turn them into cookies! We took our favorite four-ingredient, one-bowl peanut butter cookie recipe, indented the middles like thumbprints, placed a thick slice of banana in each one, and sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar so they caramelize in the oven and come out glistening like sweet amber-colored jewels. These chewy, moist cookies are full of rich, creamy peanut butter flavor and the sweet glazed bananas are the perfect addition. You can whip up this easy-to-follow recipe in less than 30 minutes, leaving you a long romantic evening to spend with your Valentine.
Little did we know that starting this blog just eight months ago would completely change our lives in so many ways. Last year around this time, if someone were to predict that in 2016 we would be spending our days taking pictures of peanut butter banana smoothies and key lime pies, we would have thought they were completely crazy. But here we are, loving every second of this new adventure exploring the infinite nature of food from all around the world, discovering new recipes, cooking with exotic spices that we have never used before, and broadening our knowledge in the kitchen. We love the spontaneity of every day, like waking up to find out it’s National Chocolate Cake Day and changing our plans from making a vegetarian soup to a decadent cake topped with a rich caramel whiskey sauce, or being invited to participate in making fancy avocado toast or a chia pudding party! The constant variety keeps the process fun and exciting, and each day brings something different, like this momentous dessert we are thrilled to be sharing today! We had been dreaming about trying the mouthwatering apple cider caramels from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for our next post, but at four thirty in the morning, fate was kind enough to wake up Adam with the idea to replace the apple cider with blood oranges. He was considerate, and waited for the sun to rise before waking up Ryan with his early morning suggestion. With a well-rested mind, and building on Adam’s unexpected citrus concept, Ryan added some tasty suggestions and these extraordinary treats were born. Before we knew it, we were in the kitchen making something entirely different than originally planned. These rich and chewy seasonal caramels are soft, sweet and buttery, bursting with fresh blood orange flavor, and so addictively delicious that you might wake up at 4:30am thinking about them too.
What has four ingredients, takes five minutes to make, is rich, warm, chocolatey, and even better than a cup of hot cocoa? Allow us to introduce you to this glorious and comforting drink: hot Nutella with toasted marshmallows. Our original plan was to post a fancy layered holiday cake today, but as we learned this weekend, it still needs work before we can share it. We spent all of Sunday baking, then ended up throwing the entire failcake in the trash after taking just a few bites, so it will have to wait till next year! When deciding what to make instead, the thought of something quick and easy sounded most appealing after this long and disappointing cake fiasco. We were in the kitchen discussing ideas, and in a moment of inspiration, Adam suggested, “What if instead of hot chocolate… it was hot Nutella?” We knew immediately that this was the ideal treat to share with you this week: simple to make, sweet, indulgent, and perfect for the holidays. With quick and easy toasted marshmallows—it takes literally 30 seconds in the broiler—and an option to spike these hot drinks with a splash of liquor, they satisfy adults and kids alike!
There are two types of people in the world: those who like nuts in their chocolate chip cookies, and those who do not. For our entire lives we have always preferred them without, until one momentous night a few months ago when our good friend Gabe brought us this exceptional batch that changed our minds forever. And we are not the only ones! Last night we took a platter of these cookies to a holiday singalong party, and witnessed the miraculous conversion of several friends who had never liked nuts in their cookies before. So what is it about them that is changing people’s hearts and minds, especially on such a serious and potentially divisive issue? It could be that they are loaded with big chunks of dark chocolate. Maybe it’s the extra splash of vanilla, or the higher amount of dark brown sugar. Or perhaps the perfect texture: chewy and moist with golden crispy edges and a rugged crunchy top. Whatever the reason, these rich and chocolatey jumbo-sized cookies have made converts out of us, and we have embraced the delicious power of walnuts in baked goods. One bite, and you just might become a believer too…