Pumpkin Seed English Toffee

Pumpkin Seed English Toffee

English Toffee is a holiday staple in our family. This recipe is originally my aunt’s and she generously passed it on to me. Every holiday she arrives with a large platter of this candy and everyone runs to the door. Usually by the time she makes it into the kitchen, the platter is empty.

Shelled Pumpkin Seed English Toffee

Now that our family is so large and the micro families have been formed (i.e. the aunts and uncles have become grandparents and the grandchildren have had their own children), big family get-togethers have become few and far between. This could also be attributed to the fact that I have some really narcissistic insane aunts that makes no one want to be around them. As long as I have the family recipes, good riddance I say!

This english toffee recipe is easy and almost foolproof. Provided you keep the heat low and do not let the sugar burn, your toffee will turn out perfect every time! I love making this recipe with different nuts and seeds. The addition of roasted shelled pumpkin seeds has got to be one of my favorites though!

Perfect for gift giving- Pumpkin Seed English Toffee

English toffee is a great gift. Make this for family and friends this holiday season!

Pumpkin Seed English Toffee


  • 1 lb Plugrá European-Style Butter
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds, shelled
  • 18 ounces good quality chocolate


  1. Butter, or line a 11x18 cookie sheet.
  2. Chop nuts and spread 2 cups over buttered sheet.
  3. Put butter, water and sugar in saucepan and cook over medium high heat stirring constantly until 300 degrees f or crackled stage on thermometer.
  4. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.
  5. Spread mixture on sheet over pumpkin seeds.
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chunks over hot toffee and let them melt for 5 minutes.
  7. Once the chocolate has started to melt, spread with an offset spatula and sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds.
  8. Allow the toffee to cool and harden for 4 hours at room temperature or stick in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  9. Break apart and store in an air tight container for up to two weeks.

Linzer Torte

Linzer Torte

This year I graciously gave up the task of cooking this Thanksgiving. While I love preparing a large meal for family and friends, it is quite the task cooking for 30+ people. Not to mention my kitchen is the size of most people’s master bathroom, which makes cooking for parties next to impossible.

Linzer Torte with Raspberry Filling

I did however, volunteer to make desserts this Thanksgiving since the pies are my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal anyway. I always love creating a spread of desserts. This year, I though it would be fun to create some non-traditional pies.

Linzer Torte Slices

This Linzer Torte is a favorite of mine from my time spent living in Switzerland. The crust is a nutty combination of almonds and hazelnuts as well as chock full of warm winter spices. The raspberry jam filling compliments the cinnamon and cloves in the crust beautifully. The smells of this torte baking are better than any store bought candle!

Homemade Linzer Torte

As with any homemade pie, I highly recommend using my favorite butter of all time. Plugrá European Style Butter is creamy and delicious. The slow-churned process creates less moisture content in the butter which results in a perfectly flaky crust. It is my go to ingredient for all of my cake, candy, and pie making.

Linzer Torte Slice

I hope you enjoy this recipe and add this torte to your holiday dessert table. You will not be disappointed!

Whole Linzer Torte

Linzer Torte

Yield: serves 8-10 people


  • 1 cup almond flour or whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons cold unsalted Plugrá butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for garnish


  1. Using a food processor, pulse almond flour (or almonds) and whole hazelnuts until finely ground.
  2. Add flour, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder and pulse until combined.
  3. In small increments, add butter pieces, pulsing until small pea size clumps form.
  4. Pulse in egg yolks and vanilla and process until just combined.
  5. Once all ingredients have been incorporated, dough should form a ball and no longer stick to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Separate dough into two balls, one 1/3 of the dough and the other 2/3 of the dough.
  7. Roll the small dough ball into small disk in between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Refridgerate for 1 hour.
  8. Press the large dough ball evenly into a buttered 9inch tart or springform pan.
  9. Pour raspberry preserves over dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll out small dough disk into a 1 inch thick round.
  12. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 1 inch strips.
  13. Using an offset spatula, gently transfer the strips to the tart pan. Lay half the strips, evenly spaced, across the torte and then turn the pan a quarter turn and lay the remaining strips across the first strips. If strips break, simply press back together.
  14. Trim the edges of the strips to fit the tart pan.
  15. Bake the torte for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until the pastry is golden brown.
  16. Right before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Hot Chocolate Rolls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeInTheFun #CollectiveBias

Hot Chocolate Rolls

Can you believe that Thanksgiving will be here in less than two weeks?!? After that it is Christmas and poof, the years is done. I seriously don’t know where the year has gone.

Holiday Ingredient List

Last year, one of our family resolutions was to give back as much as possible. It has been an amazing experience and has opened us up to so much more. We have done things such as beach cleanings, volunteering at the retirement home and participated in numerous food drives. Did you know that essential items such as milk are not typically donated to food banks, despite being in such high demand? Since we have a food bank close to our home, every time we are at the store we pick up a couple of extra gallons of milk and drop them off for someone in need.

Hot Chocolate Rolls

If you do not have a food bank near you but you still want to help, for a small donation at pourmilklove.comThe Great American Milk Drive will deliver a gallon of milk. Or, if you are like me and like to create a holiday themed candy bar with M&M’s®, you can simply purchase 2 bags of M&M’s® at Walmart (9.4 oz bags or larger) and up to a gallon of milk will be donated to the drive! There is even a coupon available to save $1.00 off of two packages of M&M’s® Chocolate Candies, 8 oz or larger.

Holiday Candy Bar

My kids decided this year that Santa must be tired of cookies and that we should leave him something else. I think that they are thinking that this may add them some bonus points. So we decided to test out a few recipes and these Hot Chocolate Rolls were the winner!

Cake box chocolate rolls

This roll recipe is super easy to make and tastes just like a cake due to the box of Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix we added. We then coated the dough with melted butter, cocoa powder, and M&M’s® Hot Chocolate.

Rolling out the dough

Once baked, we coated them with a chocolate glaze and of course more M&M’s®! We decided that we will serve Santa a big plate of these rolls and a cup of hot chocolate. To be honest, if I were Santa I think that I may just give them those bonus points 😉

2nd rise Hot Chocolate Rolls

For more fun recipes with these ingredients, go here! Enjoy!


Hot Chocolate Rolls

Yield: makes 2 dozen rolls


  • 5 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 (18 ounce) package Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix
  • 4 and 1/2 teaspoons fast acting yeast
  • 2 1?2 cups warm milk (120 to 130 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup M&M's® Hot Chocolate
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1?4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1?4 cup milk
  • 2 -2 1?2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • M&M's® Holiday Milk Chocolate for garnish


  1. Heat milk to about 120 degrees in a pan or the microwave. You want it warm, but not hot.
  2. Add yeast and sugar, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Once yeast has started to foam, add cake mix and flour.
  4. Using your hands or the hook attachment on your Kitchen Aid mixer, knead dough until it forms a ball that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  5. Generously spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in bowl.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let it double in size (about an hour) in a cool dark place.
  7. Once it has doubled in size, punch it down.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a large rectangle, about an 1/2 inch thick.
  9. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder and M&M's® Hot Chocolate.
  10. Tightly roll the the dough, starting with the long side and pinching the edges together at the end.
  11. Cut rolls into 20-24 slices and place into 2 well greased baking pans.
  12. Allow rolls to rise again in a cool dark place for about 30 minutes.
  13. When rolls have once again doubled in size, bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
  14. Allow to cool while making the glaze.
  15. To make the glaze combine melted butter, cocoa powder, milk, and powdered sugar, whisk until smooth.
  16. Once rolls have cooled for about 5 minutes, pour glaze over rolls and garnish with extra M&M's®.

Walmart M&Ms

An International Christmas Cookie Platter

International Cookie Platter

For years I would try to continue my mother in law’s cookie tradition during the holidays for the sake of my husband, and every year I would hear the same thing, “These are good, but not quite as good as Mom’s.” After hearing this for about 5 years, I gave up and decided to create my own traditions that my future daughter in law would not be able to properly duplicate.

Why am I posting this at the beginning of November you ask? Well, in order to make a glorious platter consisting of new and intriguing cookies, you must prepare. Check out my eBay guide for some tips on essential items that will make your cookie making marathon run as smoothly as possible!

Christmas Cookies

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

One Hour Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

Life has been utterly crazy lately, and with the holidays and birthdays now in full swing, it is about to get even more crazy! Food seems to be the only thing that slows us down and makes us really appreciate life. It is during our meals that we can actually have a non-technology interrupted conversation. My husband and I really look forward to these times, as most of the time we are two ships passing in the night.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Making a gourmet meal that requires attention is next to impossible when you spend most of your day taking kids from point A to point B. That is where recipes  like this become essential…and so do handy dandy kitchen appliances. I tend to wake up at least an hour or two before the kids so that I can have a quite cup of coffee. While I am making the coffee, I will throw the ingredients for these pumpkin cinnamon rolls into my Kitchen Aid mixer, and let the dough hook do the work. About 5 minutes later I have a perfect dough ball that only needs about  15 minutes to rise. Time for that quite cup of coffee. Once I have finished my cup, I preheat the oven, and make the rolls and put them into the oven then sit down for my 2nd cup of coffee.

Icing Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t know what it is about the sweet aromas, but they always seem to wake my family members, and in a good mood no less. When they are ready, we all sit down to a warm roll and a cup of juice. It may be only for 10-15 minutes, but it definitely starts everyone’s day off better. I wish our morning could start off everyday like this, but let’s be real. By the end of the week everyone is tired and cranky and the last thing they want to do is be bothered by conversation before the sun is up!

Mmmm Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

One Hour Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: makes 12 cinnamon rolls


    For the dough:
  • 1/2 cup milk, warm but not hot
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread or all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • For the filling:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the kneading hook), combine warm milk, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes until it begins to flower (foam).
  2. Once yeast is foamy, stir in pumpkin puree and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Gradually stir in dry mixture to the yeast mixture.
  5. Using your mixer's dough hook attachment or manually, knead dough until it forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and coat with a bit of oil. Place dough back into the bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Allow dough to rise for 15 minutes.
  7. Once the dough has risen slightly, roll out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  8. Brush dough with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
  9. Roll dough and pinch the seam shut. Slice into rolls.
  10. Place sliced rolls in a greased 9x13 baking pan and let sit while oven is preheating.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  12. When oven is ready, place pan in the center of the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes.
  13. To make the frosting, melt butter in a small pan. If you would like a more nutty flavor, carefully cook the butter until it begins to brown and smell nutty.
  14. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
  15. Remove rolls from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before glazing them with frosting.

Apple Head Cider

Apple Head Cider Drink

In Southern California, we have to wait until practically the day of Halloween to carve our pumpkins otherwise we will be left with a hot moldy mess when it is Trick or Treating time. I try to explain this to my younger kids, but they just don’t get it. So in effort to hold them over until Halloween, we make Shrunken Apple Heads. The love to help carve out the heads (with a plastic knife of course) and sit by the oven and watch them transform. In the past, we have let the apples dry over night, result in a scary wrinkly face. Since these apples were going to garnish our cider and essentially be rehydrated, we only dried them for about 6 hours.

Carving Shrunken Apple Heads

I am one of those people that are highly energized by scent. Light a Christmas candle in the middle of July and you are guaranteed to hear some Christmas music and eat a fresh batch of cookies by late afternoon. This past week I had a ton of baking to do, so I thought that I would try my hand at some homemade Apple Cider. The aromas were almost as amazing as the flavor!

Making Shrunken Apple Heads

For the Apple heads and Cider I used my favorite new apple variety, Jazz Apples. This variety is sweet and slightly tart with a nice bite. Jazz Apples are a fusion of Gala apples and Braeburn Apples. This is the perfect combination for cider. They are also great for baking and cooking with because they hold their shape well and hold the perfect amount of sweetness!

Homemade Apple Cider

I started the cider early in the morning and cooked it for a good 4 hours. The prep was not more than five minutes and in the end it tasted just as good, if not better than the store bought version!

Shrunken Apple Head Cider

We had some friends over after an evening at Legoland and enjoyed this brew warm  next to the bonfire. I can’t wait to make this again, in punch form, for my mom’s epic Halloween party on Saturday!

Apple Head Cider

Apple Head Cider


  • 6 Jazz Apples for Apple Heads
  • 12 medium Jazz Apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 gallon water or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  2. To make the apple heads, peel the apples and carve out their faces.
  3. Place carved apple heads on the oven rack, face side up.
  4. Dry apples in the oven for 6-24 hours depending on how wrinkly you would like them.
  5. To make the cider, wash and dry apples and oranges.
  6. Slice apples and oranges into four large slices.
  7. Place in large pot and cover with 1 gallon of water or apple juice.
  8. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and whole cloves.
  9. Cook mixture on low for 4 hours.
  10. When done, strain the mixture through a sieve and discard apple orange and spices.
  11. Serve with floating apple heads.

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes

I have clearly passed on my love for the holidays down to my children. Even as a baby, Ben has been mesmerized by all things Halloween, including the scary stuff. This is a big year for him, because for the first time, my late talker will actually be able to say “Trick or Treat!” Being the mother of a delayed speaking child, this is a huge deal and I am so excited!

Fun Halloween Cupcakes

I think because of this, we have really built up the excitement of the big day. We started decorating in early September and have gone to every Halloween related event since the beginning of October. Ben insisted on decorating his room, and we gladly obliged!

Creepy Halloween Cupcakes

Every time we go to the store (any store) Ben asks to go to the “Owlween Yection.” Last time we were cruising around he found some of these gummy cupcake decorations and asked if we could make some cupcakes. I am usually not a huge fan of topping other than sprinkles, but couldn’t resist a fun baking day with the kids.

Halloween Cupcake Toppings

For the cupcake, we used the same recipe as the Spooky Spider Cake. It is an extremely running batter, but always results in a perfect light and airy cupcake. To make the frosting a bit different (and because one kid wanted blue and the other purple) we swirled the frosting together, then topped them with the gummies.

Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes

Baking with kids can be so messy, but it is so worth it. They take great pleasure in helping create something that other people can enjoy. I am really trying to embrace these moments lately as you never know what tomorrow will bring! Enjoy friends!

Fun Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes

Yield: recipe makes 18 cupcakes


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Special Dark cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1?2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1?8 teaspoon salt
  • Blue and purple food dye


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla and mix on low until combined.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in coffee. Batter will be runny.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, beat together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and milk until smooth.
  8. Remove 2/3 of the frosting and color it blue.
  9. Color the remaining frosting purple.
  10. Using a pipping bag, brush strips of the inside of the bag with the purple frosting then fill with the remaining blue frosting.
  11. Frost cupcakes and garnish with Halloween gummies or sprinkles.