DESSERT SPOTLIGHT: BRIBERY BAKERY (AUSTIN, TX)

As I’m getting to know my new city, I want to share my finds with y’all along the way! I first visited Bribery Bakery in November way before I knew I was moving to ATX.

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I saw their fabulous Instagram pictures and the wonderful reviews and knew I had to go. The dessert queen could not miss the opportunity to experience one of the cutest dessert stops on the planet!

Obviously the aesthetics are adorable, perfect for grownup dates and play dates alike. They nailed all the details, from the colorful coffee cups to the sprinkle shakers on the table. They serve coffee, tea, and speciality cocktails. I ordered a giant cinnamon roll and a whiskey cocktail. They tasted great separately, but I would not recommend ordering these together, I felt sick for hours after from all the sweetness. Yes, even I experience sugar comas. They have a little sandwich menu too so you can have a full meal here if you really wanted.

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Bribery is really known for their pies, especially around the holidays. While I haven’t tried a slice yet, judging by the insane amount of orders they had for Thanksgiving I imagine they are as delectable as they look.

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They have two locations, one in Mueller and the other in Wells Branch. I’ve only visited the Mueller location, but I’m eager to see the other one too. If you stop here during your next visit to Austin you must take a picture in front of the “Eat Dessert First!” wall simply because it’s true.

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I’m looking forward to trying as many dessert places as possible in Austin and let me tell you, it’s going to take me awhile to get through the list. There are new yummy spots popping up every week!

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If you have any recommendations please comment or email me, I’m always eager to try new places.

 

10 Insta Worthy Desserts in Orange County

After thousands of calories consumed and countless pictures later, I present the ten most insta worthy dessert places in Orange County! It was a lot of hard work eating all of these desserts over the course of six months, but I don’t regret a minute of it. Kidding of course, but I love the variety of desserts in OC. From Japanese inspired gelato to over the top donuts there is something sweet to please everyone’s taste buds. There are new, trendy places popping up all the time like #3 which just opened last month. If you have any recommendations please comment below and let me know what else I need to try!

 

  1. Crepe Coop at Anaheim Packing District

2. Popbar at Anaheim Packing District

3. The Loop

4. Eiswelt Gelato

5. Ruby’s Shake Shack – So many shakes to choose from, but the best part about this Ruby’s is you get dessert AND a view. 

6. Sidecar Doughnuts – Consistently my favorite donut spot. They release new flavors each month. Definitely a “must have” if you’re coming to Newport Beach.

7. Cauldron Ice Cream – Don’t forget to order a puffle!

8. The Dirty Cookie – They have their own homemade vanilla cream, chocolate, cream, and cold brew coffee on tap.

9. Afters – Several locations in Orange County, the original is in Fountain Valley and they have chocolate milky buns.

10. Pressed Juicery – Only select locations have the Pressed Freezes.  

Chicago Food Guide

The best part of any trip is trying all the great food the city has to offer! I love going on Instagram and screenshotting unique dessert places that come up on my feed. Prior to going to Chicago I started following popular food accounts like Chicago Food Authority and Eater Chicago. After about a month I had a whole collection of places I knew I wanted to check out.

chicago food guide the sweetest escapeMy friend Baker also had a few places in mind and our favorite restaurant of the weekend was actually one he took us to! We didn’t have a single bad meal while we were visiting. Every coffee, donut and pizza slice was pure perfection. With that said after all the eating we crammed into two days we were hurting. I had to make a CVS pitstop on Saturday afternoon for Tums because my body was on cheese and donut overload.

There are so many restaurants we unfortunately didn’t make it to, but we have them on out list for next time. Besides it wouldn’t be fun if we knocked everything out in one weekend, we have to have reasons to go back!

Here is a list of all our stops organized by desserts, dinner, and drinks. To read about the other activities we did check out my “48 Hours in Chicago” post from earlier this week.

Desserts

Firecakes Donuts 

They had a truck at the Taste of Chicago so we tried the mini vanilla donuts. They are known for the donut ice cream sandwich!

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Glazed and Infused

They were rated the best donut shop in Chicago for four years in a row! Very fluffy and thick, almost like a croissant donut.

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Eli’s Cheescake

Also at the Taste of Chicago we tasted the original cheesecake and it was great, but nothing to write home about.

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Caffe Gelato

Also at Taste of Chicago, we tried all three sorbet flavors available including lemon, pineapple and blood orange. My favorite was the blood orange.

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Lunch/Dinner

Homeslice

This was our favorite restaurant of the weekend (if you couldn’t tell by the number of pictures we took!) The brunch was unbelievable, we got a breakfast pizza and spiked coffees. Baker’s bloody mary even came with a pizza slice on top! The backyard reminded me a lot of places in Austin with the airstream, neon signs and garden lights. I highly recommend this one, Baker says he always takes guests here and it never disappoints.

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Bernie’s Lunch and Supper

Unbelievable burgers with an even better rooftop view!

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Giordano’s vs. Lou Malnati’s

This is probably one of the most controversial posts I will ever write and…. The great Giordano’s vs. Lou Malnati’s debate. While both places were beyond delicious, Jen and I preferred Giordano’s because of the crust-to-cheese ratio and the crust thickness.

The pizza at Giordano’s was like eating a piece of flaky, rich pie. It was very thick with tons of cheese. I’m of the mindset that you can never have too much cheese, if you wanna put five pounds of cheese on a pizza you won’t hear me say no. Going to Giordano’s is definitely an experience so plan accordingly. It was an hour wait just to get seated and you have to order your pizza ahead of time because it takes 45 minutes to bake.

This is not to say that Lou Malnati’s is not good, because it definitely is. It really just depends on your preferences. Their crust is a little crispier and thinner than it’s rival. I’ll end the discussion on this note, deep dish pizza is in a class of it’s own and both places are fantastic. Then again I’ve never said no to pizza before because I think it’s all great so you might just have to make a trip to Chicago and decide on your own!

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Lou Malnati’s

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Lou Malnati’s

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Giordano’s

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Giordano’s
Drinks

The Hampton Social

The coolest bar we went to in Chicago, everything is nautical themed and I felt like I was in a Jimmy Buffett music video. They have a really photogenic wall in the back with a neon “Rose all day” sign. Look it up on Instagram, I swear everyone takes a photo here!

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Intelligentsia Coffee

The best iced vanilla latte I have ever tasted.

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That wraps up all of our meals for the weekend!  I hope you are impressed with the amount of food we ate because writing this post made me feel sick all over again. Give me a couple more days and I’ll be ready to fly back for round two!

Travel Well,

Kayla

Outdoor Eating in Austin

Everyone knows I’m a dessertie, but occasionally I have to eat other food too. Here are some of my favorite outdoor restaurants around Austin. I love everything about eating al fresco, the picnic tables, sunsets, twinkly lights and these places have all of the above! 

 1. Salt Lick BBQ (18300 FM 1826 Driftwood, TX )

My favorite BBQ place in all the land! It’s old-school, meaning cash only and a simple menu. Be prepared to wait two hours if you go on the weekend. There is plenty to do while you wait though they have an outdoor bar and a live band most nights. salt lick bbq austin texas sweetest escapesalt lick bbq austin texas sweetest escape

2. Lucy’s  (2900 Ranch Road 620 N Austin, TX)

Perfect view of Lake Travis and some of the best friend chicken I have ever tasted. Such a cool vibe and amazing summer sunsets as you can see below!

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3. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza (13187 Fitzhugh Rd Austin, TX)  

Literally a barn converted into a pizza place and brewery. Eating brick oven pizza on a farm what’s better than that?! There are so many cute picture spots here and the pizza was great too. 

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4. Oasis (6550 Comanche Trail Austin, TX)

Mediocre Mexican food, but another spot with a great view of Lake Travis. The Oasis is not accessible by boat, it’s almost like a small town with shops and other restaurants around. 


5. Angel’s Icehouse  (21815 State Highway 71 W Spicewood, TX) 

I was in a food coma after the brownie sundae and queso. Their story is pretty cool as well, definitely a spot worth checking out. 

BONUS!! 

Voodoo Donuts has a location in Austin right on 6th Street! The line is insane, but it’s a must-see place for the decor and the sweets. The doughnuts are so soft and fluffy. Worth the wait because these babies will melt in your mouth and they have the coolest flavors! 

Peach Pie with Pecan Streusel

My mom and I got into this big debate yesterday about the difference between open-faced and double crusted pies. We came to the consensus that double crusted pies are just way better and everyone that believes differently is wrong. Although this pie is not double crusted, the pecan streusel gives it a great taste and texture. I found this recipe on CHOW, but Southern Living has an equally delicious recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

(I cheated and used a pre-made frozen crust from the grocery store. I swear it still tastes great, but here are the ingredients to make your own crust)

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter(1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter(1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest(from about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 pounds ripe but firm peaches(about 10 to 12 medium peaches)
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

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Whisk the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until combined.

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Finely chop the pecans and cut the butter into small pieces.

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Work the pecans and butter into the mixture using your fingers. This may take several minutes, but be patient until all the flour and grainy pieces are kneaded in and the streusel becomes crumbly.

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Cover and put in the fridge until later.

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Place 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, the lemon zest, juice, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined.

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Now for the messy part. I bought these peaches at the Temecula Farmer’s Market earlier on in the day and as you can tell they were on the verge of going bad. This makes for the sweetest peaches though so don’t let the outsides fool ya!

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Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and cut the fruit into small slices. Add to the bowl with the sugar mixture and stir until well coated. Set the bowl aside for 15 minutes, toss the peaches, and set aside another for 15 minutes.

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There should be a good amount of liquid syrup after the peaces have been sitting in the sugar for awhile. Drain the liquid and put the peaches back in the bowl.

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Now the recipe wasn’t super clear when it came to this part. It said to put the peaches in the remaining sugar and then add cornstarch, but there was no remaining sugar mixture? I just mixed 1/4 cup cornstarch with a little more brown sugar and granulated sugar then coated the peaches.

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As you can see there is a slight glaze after adding the cornstarch and sugar. Like I said I’m not sure if that is exactly what you are supposed to do, if you have a better way of doing this please share with me!

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Fill the crust with all the yummy peaches and spread them evenly. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes then remove the pie from the oven.

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Add the streusel on top and return to the oven at a reduced temperature of 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Don’t forget to put the pie on a baking sheet covered in foil because juice leaks out EVERYWHERE and you’ll have a big sugary mess on your hands if you don’t.

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And here is the finished product! Doesn’t it look beautiful?! Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think it turned out pretty dang good. If you have any suggestions or other recipes I should try please let me know in the comments!

  

Knock You Naked Brownies

I have a huge sweet tooth, so much so that my nickname ever since I was little is “dessert queen.” Surprisingly I am very picky when it comes to brownies though. I’m not a fan of the pre-made brownie mix and I always thought it was too difficult to make homemade brownies until I found this Knock You Naked Brownie recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I am in love with the Pioneer Woman. I want her life, her kitchen, and her ranch. Can I just be her? Anyways these brownies are delicious and every time I make them they don’t last very long.

Ingredients

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk

One box German chocolate cake mix

1 stick melted butter

1 cup finely chopped pecans

60 caramels

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.

2. Pour 1/3 cup evaporated milk into a bowl with the cake mix.

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3. Add the stick of melted butter.

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4. Add one cup of chopped pecans.

5. Mix everything together, it should be pretty thick. Separate the dough in half with the spatula.

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6. Flatten half the dough in the pan to make the first brownie layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

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7. While the first layer is in the oven, unwrap 60 caramels and mix with 1/2 cup evaporated milk and begin melting on the stove over medium heat.

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8. Sir constantly so the caramels don’t burn.

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9. Pour the caramel over the first brownie layer.

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10. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel.

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11. Take the second brownie layer and carefully place it on top. It’s best to flatten the dough while it’s chilled so it doesn’t break as you are arranging it over the other layers.

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12. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, remove from the oven and let the brownies cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to finish.

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My Favorite Lemon Bars

I made my favorite lemon bar recipe by Paula Deen last week for a little Bachelorette premiere party at my friend’s house. Lemon bars are the perfect dessert for summertime if you’re looking for something a little sweet and fruity. This recipe isn’t too tart and has the perfect crust to filling ratio! I just love this recipe, but there are no step-by-step pictures on the Paula Deen site so I thought I would walk y’all through the process!

I’ve made these several times and they are nearly impossible to mess up. Your friends and family will be kissing you after one bite of these babies!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, for crust, plus 6 tablespoons for filling
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan.

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Begin making the crust by combining 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

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Cut both sticks of butter into smaller portions. Make sure the butter is room temperature, if it’s too cold it won’t mix well into the dry ingredients.

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You can cut the butter in with a pastry cutter, I use my hands to make sure the crust is as even as possible. Plus I don’t have a pastry cutter!

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The crust should be crumbly like the picture above, but mixed enough so that the dough sticks and you can flatten it in the pan.

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TA-DA!

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Pop the crust into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. While it’s in the oven begin the filling by cracking 4 eggs into a new bowl.

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Add 2 cups granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons flour and 6 tablespoons lemon juice.

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Make sure to use fresh lemons and squeeze the juice over a fine mesh strainer so seeds don’t mix into the filling.

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Whisk the filling together, it should be a smooth, thick, liquid. (At this point you can taste it and if you would like the filling to be more tart go ahead and add more lemon juice.)

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Take the crust out of the oven. It’s the perfect golden brown!

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Pour the filling right on top of the crust while it’s still hot and put it right back into the oven for an additional 25 minutes.

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This is what they look like right out of the oven!

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Let them cool then sprinkle with powdered sugar for extra sweetness.

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And here’s the finished product! These truly are one of the simplest desserts to bake and perfect for this time of year. Since they are pretty heavy I would recommend cutting them into small squares to serve more people at a party or BBQ.

Troubleshooting:

If the lemon bars don’t seem firm after the additional 25 minutes then keep them in the oven until they are totally firm and a little golden on top. The temperature of your oven might not be hot enough, I’ve had that problem in the past so I just set the temperature to 50 degrees higher than the directions call for. 

If you are worried they will get stuck to the bottom of the pan, lay a piece of parchment paper down in the pan then bake as normal. This is nice because you can just pull the paper right out of the pan and all of the lemon squares are even!

If you have any questions or comments drop me a line, I’d love to hear your favorite recipes!