Best Wedding Favors Ever? These “Best Day Ever” Wine Stoppers are definitely a finalist!

Share your enthusiasm with your wedding guests by giving them these charming Copper Best Day Ever Wine Bottle Stoppers:

best wedding favors ever

Each high quality copper metal topper reads Best Day Ever accented with a heart design attached to a copper metal base . Each measures approximately 4.25″ x 1.5″ and comes ready for gift giving in Burlap gift bag and item comes with a matching For You tag.

Please visit Diva Entertains to see all of our Wine Wedding Favors!

The Best Monkey Bread Recipe (IMHO)

best monkey bread recipe

If you’ve never had Monkey Bread you are in for a treat.  It is ooey-gooey and oh-so-delicious.  And ridiculously easy.  The ONLY problem with this recipe from the Pioneer Woman is that it is so darn hard to stop eating it!

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of Pioneer Woman.  For her wonderful photos and step-by-step instructions – click here.

Easy Snickerdoodles (as well as a Traditional Recipe)

easy snickerdoodles

In my quest for the best Snickerdoodle cookie it was the recipe from the Milk & Cookies Cookbook by Tina Casaceli that was the clear winner! Great taste and great texture. (Everything in this bakery owner’s cookbook has been stellar!).

The third time I made them I was in a hurry and decided to forgo the roll of the cookie balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and instead included the mixture in the recipe instead; eliminating that last step. Well, I also streamlined a lot of the recipe.  I’ll be darned if it wasn’t still a GREAT cookie!

So below I give you two choices: the traditional Snickerdoodle recipe and my easy Snickerdoodles!

Okay – now for my EASY version!

Caramel Cake – My New Favorite Cake!

how to make a caramel cake

 

I am absolutely swooning over this cake.  It is 5 star all the way.  And easy….so easy.  Once you make it I guarantee you’ll make it over and over again.

This recipe was mentioned in an Oprah magazine as the best caramel cake ever and I certainly agree.  The recipe comes from Danielle’s Desserts in Washington D.C.  The only thing I changed is I swapped out the whole milk originally called for in the cake recipe with buttermilk.  I almost always do that – it makes a much moister and flavorful cake.

Best Christmas Cake

 

christmas cake ideas

To say that your guests will love this cake is an understatement.  I served it and gave it as gifts throughout the 2012 holiday season and I’m already getting requests for it again this year!  For the cake layers I used my recipe for the Best Dark Chocolate but you should feel free to use any cake, from scratch or from a box, as the foundation of this terrific Christmas dessert recipe.

To create the crushed candy canes, I unwrapped a box of them (typically they have 8 to 10 to a box for under $2) and put them in a ziploc bag and used my meat pounder to crush them.  However, you can also use the bottom of a heavy pan, a rolling pin or a food processor.

I used less than 1 bag of Hershey’s® Candy Cane Kisses® to decorate the top of the cake.

Peppermint Candy Christmas Cake

  • 2 or 3 cake layers* (Diva Entertains Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe, if you’d like)
  • white buttercream frosting, recipe below or prepared frosting
  • 8-10 candy canes, crushed
  • 1 bag of Hershey’s® Candy Cane Kisses® (you will not use the entire bag), unwrapped
  • Wax paper strip

White Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 (32 oz.) package of powdered sugar (2 lbs)
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6-7 Tbsp. of milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Put powdered sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use handheld electric beaters).  Start on low speed and beat sugar and butter together for 1 minute.  Add  vanilla extract and 4 Tbsp. of milk or heavy cream and turn mixer up to medium high for one minute.  Continue adding liquid, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until you achieve the frosting consistency that you desire (I like mine a bit on the thick and heavy side).

To Assemble and Decorate Cake:

Place one cake layer on plate or cake pedestal.  Place several dollops of frosting on layer and then spread to have a even layer (about 1/4″ thick).  If frosting is difficult to spread, run frosting spreader or knife under hot water and then flick to remove dripping water, then try frosting again.  The heat from the spreader will make the frosting much easier to spread.

Place second layer on top and proceed to frost top and sides with remaining frosting.

Once frosted, take a strip of wax paper (half the width of the side of the cake) and press it against the sides from the middle of the cake to the top so that the top half of the cake is covered.

Using your hands, press the crush candy canes against the lower half of the frosted cake.  When pieces fall on the plate/pedestal below the side, use your frosting spatula to lift and press into cake.

Place Hershey Kisses on the top of the cake in any pattern you’d like.  Press down gently to adhere Kisses to top of cake.

*I like to freeze my cake layers prior to frosting them as it makes them much easier to frost (barely any crumbs).  Once you have put on the desired  amount, remove the wax paper strip. You made need to smooth out the frosting that was hidden. To do so run frosting spreader or knife under hot water and then flick to remove dripping water, then smooth frosting.  The heat from the spreader will create a smooth finish.

 

 

Best Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (IMHO)

peanut butter cookies with chips

Today I have another fabulous recipe from my favorite cookie cookbook* for you.  We will start off with the bakery’s base cookie dough, which in my opinion is the best peanut butter cookie recipe I’ve come across.  One that you will use over and over again.  And to it we we’ll add chopped salted peanuts and chocolate chips.  And we’ll put a Dove chocolate candy right in the middle!

how to make peanut butter cookies (1)

* Milk & Cookies: 89 Heirloom recipes from New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery.  I purchased my copy from Amazon.

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Pie

peanut butter pudding dessert

This rich chocolate peanut butter dessert is over-the-top delicious!  With an easy homemade pudding recipe that just takes moments to make.  And although I made it with a homemade pie crust next time I’ll use a graham cracker crust.  So much easier and it will taste just as good (maybe even better)!

This recipe was based off one found in a Saveur magazine but I forgot to add the whipped cream to both puddings to lighten it.  What a fortuitous mistake!  So much richer this way.

 

 

Best Cookie Dough EVER!

 

good cookie recipe

I checked out Milk & Cookies: 89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery from our local library and am I ever glad I did.  I kid you not when I say that this is the best cookie dough ever.  So much so that I can’t stop eating the cookies I made.  They are in my freezer but I’ve been going there all hours of the day and night and breaking off a little bit here and a little bit there.

What’s so great about this cookie dough recipe, in addition to its taste, is that it is a vanilla cookie dough base that begs for you to add your favorite ingredients.  Here I’ve added dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and dried cherries.

I think the secret to this amazing recipe is a combo of adding finely ground old fashioned rolled oats to the batter (you wouldn’t actually know there is oatmeal in it) and the right combination of granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract.  Give them a try – you won’t regret it! I’ve adapted the recipe a tad to make it easier for the home cook.

Chocolate Caramel Brownies!

how to make caramel brownies

Many thanks to my friends Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake for these fabulous photos and Danielle at Hugs and Cookies XOXO for the recipe – both are fabulous bakers and I am honored that they let me share their skills with you! Please check out their sites for more fabulous recipes!

Brownies from scratch are simple to make as shown in the recipe; but if you’d like to use a brownie mix instead feel free to.