The Cookies & Cups Cookbook by Shelly Jaronsky

Wildly popular Cookies & Cups blogger Shelly Jaronsky’s eagerly anticipated cookbook features all-new, mouth-watering, delectable sweet treats 100% guaranteed to make you want to eat dessert first.
Shelly Jaronsky has a problem. She’s an addict. Of the buttercream variety.
“Chronicling my life in sugar” has been Shelly’s motto since the inception of her insanely frequented dessert blog, Cookies & Cups. With recipes ranging from the deliciously decadent (her S’mores Fudge Bars will make you seriously reconsider everything you thought you knew about baked goods) to the deceptively simple (her Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie will become an instant staple in your baking repertoire), The Cookies & Cups Cookbook truly has something for everyone, from the cooking novice to the seasoned chef.
Now you can bring Shelly’s signature style into your own kitchen with more than 125 no-fail recipes, including some reader-approved favorites and a special bonus section dedicated to the quick and savory side of cooking. Authored in the witty, intimate style of the blog that draws more than three million monthly page views and a social following of more than seven hundred thousand fans, The Cookies & Cups Cookbook is the go-to source for all things flavorful, accessible, and irresistibly tasty.


Available on AMAZON!
Check out the Author Guest Blog post on XOXO After Dark



The lovely folks over at XOXO After Dark like to throw an occasional surprise to those of us on the XOXperts Street Team.  This month they surprised us with this delightful cookbook with all kinds of neat ways to add a little more sugar into our lives.  They challenged us to put our culinary skills to work and try out some of the recipes to share with our followers. 
No, it's not a traditional romance novel.  But, some of us do have a personal relationship with sugar. So, I guess in some ways this could technically fit into the romance category!  :) 
This cookbook not only gives us some delightful desert recipes but also some really tasty ideas for dinner as well.  I decided to try two recipes that fit both of these categories.  I've included pictures from the recipe book so that you can see how well laid out the recipes are AND because I love that they give you a picture to show you what it "should" look like...  because I am a visual person. 

Recipe #1
TACO PASTA

This recipe was incredibly easy to make!  Once all of the ingredients were laid out and chopped, it cooked in less than 30 minutes.  And, the verdict from the family on how well they liked it was...  "This is great mom!".  And, they all went back for seconds.  So, no leftovers usually is a good sign. 
This is a meal that we deemed...  yep, this is a Do-over!

Ingredients: 

1 pd Rotini Pasta
1pd Lean Ground Beef
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup Salsa
1 envelope taco Seasoning OR use the DIY option
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain
3. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, brown the ground beef over medium high heat.  Drain off any excess fat from the skillet.
4.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the crushed tomatoes, salsa, taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.  Add the corn and black beans and stir again to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
5.  Add the drained pasta carefully to the meat mixture and stir evenly to combine. 
6.  Top the pasta mixture with the grated cheddar and bake until the cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
7.  Garnish with cilantro and serve hot. 

After dinner I decided that the next time I make this I will mix the cheese into the pasta instead of sprinkling it onto the top.  That is just a personal choice as I prefer to have cheese throughout the dish.  I will also chop up the cilantro and mix that into the dish as well.  Just a few touches to perfect this to my liking.  I also moved the mixture into a larger baking dish because I cooked a little more pasta than the recipe required and it wouldn't fit into the skillet!  Here are a few pics of the final result: 




Recipe #2
Toffee-Speckled Banana Bread


Banana bread is one of my favorite treats!  So, this recipe was a must have for me personally.  Adding the Toffee bits to this recipe made it even better.  This was another big hit with the family.  Nothing left but crumbs...  :)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1stick) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup toffee bits

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Line the bottom and up the ends of the pan with parchment paper so it's hanging over the pan.  This will make removing the bread from the pan super easy.  Coat the parchment paper with the cooking spray.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the milk, eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
3.  Add the mashed banana, baking powder, and salt and mix until well combined.
4.  Turn the speed to low and mix in the flour until just combined.  Finally, stir in the toffee bits.
5.  Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
6.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 
Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

I did not use parchment paper as I have a non-stick baking pan.  I sprayed it down with cooking spray before pouring the mix into the pan and had no problems with the bread sticking. 
I do not have a stand mixer and was able to make this by using a hand held mixer and a mixing spatula with a flat edge. 
I loved the idea of adding the toffee bits but I also found some milk chocolate toffee bits that I plan on trying next time I make this recipe. 
When you have bananas that are very ripe and you don't have time to cook, put them into a freezer bag and store them in the freezer until you are ready to bake.  I do this quite often. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the final result: 



I had a lot of success with the two recipes I made so I'm happy to give this cookbook a delicious 5 star rating!

Some of my fellow XOXpert Street Team Members also cooked up a few recipes.  Click over to their blogs and see how things turned out for them!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Confetti White Chocolate Bars
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Grilled Pesto Shrimp

Cashew Chicken

Blueberry Cobbler Cheesecake Bars With Macadamia Nut Crust

The Fudgiest Brownies

Art, Books and Coffee
Pretzel Frosting

Book Babes Unite
Over the top peanut butter ice cream pie




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