Secret Ingredient Boxed Cake Cupcakes

Two posts in one week! I’m killing two birds with one stone because I missed a post last week, and I’m coming to you live with a clutch recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day. This recipe is so simple, yet it is one that my friends continue to request I make for parties, picnics, or random get-togethers. It’s so simple that it’s not really a recipe. I’ll call it a non-recipe for the fellow food bloggers out there.

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Don’t hold back on the Valentine’s Day decorations like I did…

I first discovered this recipe hack on Pinterest when I was in undergrad, back when I had even less free time than I do now. This non recipe first trended because it reduces the amount of fat that is usually present in a boxed cake mix. Instead of adding oil, eggs, and water to a dry cake mix (store bought, sorry Ina!), you add a can of soda or seltzer water.

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Red Wine Brownies and a Scientific Theory

I recently realized that my three most beloved desserts begin with the letter B: bourbon pecan pie, baklava, and brownies. On Friday, I created a poll via Instagram story, so I could decide what to write about this week. The participants indicated they wanted me to post a recipe. There’s no Electoral College equivalent here, so I’m giving the voters exactly what they want, an original recipe for one of my favorite desserts. Obviously it contains alcohol, and also obviously, it pairs wonderfully with more alcohol!

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My best friend Meredith and I clearly share a serious love of red wine.

Wine and chocolate combine to create the most stereotypical and appropriate girls’ night feature, so this recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day this week. Not only do these treats complement each other individually, they also play nicely together. The red wine in these brownies brings out the sweet flavor of the chocolate, while adding an overall richness to a typical brownie.

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Biscuits and Biffles

This week was weird, but in a good way. I did not count down the days until the weekend, and I did not breathe a sigh of relief when I woke up Friday morning. If you’re thinking that I must have had a fabulous week in the windowless abyss that is Hamilton Hall (sidenote: if you don’t go to UNC, look it up online-I would bet *a small sum of money* that your office sucks less), you’d be incorrect. The cause for my appreciation of the workweek was my friends’ visit to Chapel Hill. They arrived early Tuesday morning (like 1:00 am early) and left this morning, and y’all, they drove 18 hours from Dallas just to hang out with me in the dead of winter. Friendship goals, amirite?

 

Just like any good staycationer, I used my friends’ visit as an opportunity to explore the Triangle food scene and begin my 2018 Triangle Biscuit Tour. This week, I had the pleasure of trying two delicious biscuits at Rise Carrboro and LaPlace Louisiana Cookery (in Hillsborough, so technically not the Triangle, but it’s close enough). We had a blast and made the most of our days together.

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Spicy Harissa Pizza

Instagram is my preferred social media site because I would rather spend the mornings scrolling through pictures of my friends (and let’s be real: their food!) than reading people’s arguments on Facebook. However, Instagram told me some news this week that made me feel less than ideal: it’s been 20 years since the Spice Girls released their cinematic masterpiece, Spice World. I’ve always joked that I’m a 70-year-old lady at heart because I could spend all day watching The Golden Girls, and my dream car is a white pearl Cadillac DeVille. But, the news of this anniversary made me truly feel old. I believe my first CD was the Spice Girls’ first album, Spice, and I actually enjoyed their movie when it premiered, which signifies my maturity level at that time. Instead of continuing to reminisce about my elementary school days and discuss the treasure that is 90s music, I decided to spice up my life (and now yours, too!) with a new pizza sauce recipe.

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Triangle Biscuit Tour 2018

2016 was a whirlwind of a year to say the least. As a political science PhD student, I noticed how this last presidential election produced a more intense discourse among the mass public than prior races. I love a good argument, but some of the dialogue I observed in person and in the media left me feeling overwhelmed, concerned, and for the first time, truly afraid of how our country would fair if someone outside of my political party won. Thus, I found myself seeking alternative topics to discuss, even though I was elated that so many of my non-political science friends were paying close attention to current events and taking their decision more seriously than in the past.

However, I read about one 2016 dispute that provided me with feelings of excitement rather than anxiety. Apparently, Kevin Gillespie (a chef from Atlanta) and Jennifer V. Cole (a food writer and editor from Alabama) engaged in a contentious debate over the ultimate southern side: biscuits v. cornbread. Continue reading “Triangle Biscuit Tour 2018”

Betty’s Beer Bread

I promise I do cook and bake food without alcohol, but I thought I would continue the trend and post another one of my favorite recipes that also happens to include beer. Could you make truffles and bread without beer? Sure, I suppose. But the beer just takes this bread to the next level. Unlike last week’s post, this recipe is one that I make on a regular basis. Beer bread is technically a “quick bread,” which means you can let the beer act as a leavening agent and save time waiting for the bread to rise. I love making a fancy loaf of homemade challah as much as the next person (because I am a challah-back girl, ya feel me?), but I do not always have the time to devote to bread making.

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Texan Truffles

Almost two years ago, I entered a baking contest at Steel String Brewery, one of my favorite local establishments. Judges from surrounding bakeries judged contestants, as they created original desserts that contained Steel String’s Thick Freakness Imperial Stout. While I was a bit nervous to participate in my first culinary competition, I was excited by the challenge to include one of my favorite beers in a sweet treat. I ended up winning the contest, and I’m now stoked to share my recipe for Texan Truffles with y’all.

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