Buttercream’s Bakeshop


Hello out there! I realized recently that it had been a while since I made a stop on the NC Bakery Tour. Coincidentally, we had plans with our friends Sam and Ashley, the latter of whom loves desserts as much as I do.

I had never heard of Buttercream’s Bakeshop in Apex, but I was more than willing to give it a try. Side note: We went to Anna’s Pizzeria for lunch before dessert, and I’ve officially found my new favorite pizza place. Their ziti pizza was crazy good. (If you’ve never heard of ziti pizza, it’s exactly what it sounds like – carbs on carbs, aka heaven.)

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Foster’s Market and Cupcake Bar


When people think of Durham, North Carolina, they generally think of Duke University. There’s good reason for that – between the hospital and the basketball team, who won the NCAA championship this year. Durham is known as the City of Medicine, but I think it could just as easily be called the City of Food.

My latest stops on the NC dessert tour were both in Durham. The first was Foster’s Market, a small, local market/cafe. My sister, husband, and I went for dinner, but we couldn’t resist staying for dessert. And yes, we got three different desserts. You know, for research.

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Blackberry Peach Cobbler Bars


I always thought that summer would stop going by so quickly when I wasn’t in school anymore, but I was wrong. The weather here in North Carolina is going to stay warm for a while still, but we all know that September is the unofficial end of the season.

In an attempt to hold onto summer a little longer, I used one of my favorite summer fruits to make this tasty treat – peaches. I actually pulled this recipe out of Southern Living last summer, but never got around to making it. I decided to make a few small tweaks to turn this recipe into my own!

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Maple View Farm


A belated Happy National Ice Cream Day! Actually, July is Ice Cream Month, so I’m not late yet! Whew!

We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in North Carolina, also known as summer. But when my friend Lori invited me to an ice cream celebration at a dairy farm in Hillsborough, I couldn’t say no. Standing outside in the heat and humidity is much more bearable when there’s ice cream involved.

A dairy farm is not a bakery, so I suppose technically this shouldn’t count for my NC bakery tour, but it’s still dessert, so I’m counting it anyway. Although they do make waffle cones and bowls. Loophole?

Anyway, I don’t normally get more than a single scoop in a cup or sugar cone (NEVER a cake cone. Yuck.), but in the spirit of adventure and research, I splurged on a two scoop waffle bowl. Oh, and also because WAFFLE BOWL.


Unfortunately, you can’t see the difference between the two flavors I got. I decided to switch it up from what I would normally get. Again – spirit and adventure. I spotted Honey Almond sitting right below my favorite Butter Pecan, and decided that sounded delicious. When I finally got up to the counter, I asked the girl taking my order which flavor would play well with the Honey Almond, since I couldn’t decide. She told me that most people go with one of the fruit flavors, so I chose peach.


For the purposes of a photo, Lori’s choices were much better. She got chocolate and a flavor called Carolina Crunch, which is vanilla ice cream with different kinds of candy bars mixed in. The third member of our group, Julianna, stuck by her favorite flavors of cookie dough and coffee. Lori was slightly disappointed by the Carolina Crunch and wished she’d gone with another chocolate flavor, but the rest of us were thrilled!


I loved their collection of ice cream scoopers! Totally retro, and the decor outside matched! We managed to snag three seats on old-fashioned wooden rocking chairs on the porch outside the store, and ate our ice cream while watching a southern summer thunderstorm. The large number of other people around killed the atmosphere a little, but the whole experience hearkened back to a simpler time.

I wondered if I’d actually be able to taste the honey in the honey almond flavor, but I wasn’t disappointed! It came through perfectly, and the almonds were a nice textural element. I was also happy with my second choice of peach. It was smooth and creamy, without having an overwhelmingly fruity flavor. It also didn’t have huge chunks of peach in it, which I loved.

In case you’re wondering, the girl behind the counter gave me the right advice on pairing a fruit flavor with the honey almond! Beyond that, I think that I made the right choice in peach because it complemented the honey without overwhelming it. I think blackberry (my second choice) might have been too much.


Since we were at a dairy farm, there were options besides ice cream, and I couldn’t resist the quart of chocolate milk in a glass bottle. Husband has recently been creating his own chocolate milk out of the skim milk and chocolate syrup we keep in the fridge on a regular basis, so I gave him the task of comparing this to his usual creation.

His response was that the Maple View milk had a better consistency since the chocolate was mixed in well (better than what he could do with a spoon, obviously), but he would prefer if it were something other than whole milk. Can’t please everyone, I guess!

I’m excited to go back to Maple View Farm this summer! Next stop on the bakery tour – Winston-Salem. Where should I go?

Chicken Fried Rice


Time for another savory post on Dessertaholics! I don’t normally order fried rice from the Chinese restaurant when husband and I decide to eat it for dinner, but I’ve made it for dinner because it’s a great one-dish recipe. I don’t remember where my previous recipe came from, but now that I’ve found this recipe from Gimme Some Oven, I’ll never make another one!

Ali’s original recipe is for plain fried rice with no protein; I added the chicken. I also made her already simple recipe even easier, and sized it down for only two servings. I apologize in advance for not having step by step pictures of my dinner-making process, but trust me, you don’t need them!


Gimme Some Oven Fried Rice, Alyssa Method

1 egg, beaten
1.5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 package of instant rice, chilled (2 cups)
Soy sauce to taste
Splash of sesame oil

If you’re adding a protein, make that first and set it aside. I diced up two chicken breasts and stir-fried them in soy sauce. If you want to make this recipe even easier, use pre-cooked chicken! Then microwave the veggies according to the directions, and put them in a bowl.

Put a little bit of butter in the pan and melt it, then scramble the egg. When it’s finished, put it onto a small plate and set it aside.

Add more butter to the pan and stir-fry the garlic for a few minutes, then add the veggies. Put in another sliver of butter, then add the rice and soy sauce. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes to make sure the rice gets nice and fried. Then stir in the eggs (and protein, if using) and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.


I’m reposting these helpful hints from the Gimme Some Oven page, because I think they’re key to getting this dish right.

1. Use cold rice

I don’t know why it works better, but it does. I microwaved my rice a few hours ahead of time and put it in a bowl in the fridge, but you don’t need to do it more than 15-20 minutes in advance. Just make sure it’s not warm.

2. Use butter

Don’t be afraid of the butter! You don’t need to use very much, and the flavor is much better than oil. I think using oil instead of butter is one of the reasons my previous fried rice attempts didn’t come out quite right. Those hibachi places know what they’re doing!

3. Don’t leave out the veggies

I LOVE frozen vegetables. It doesn’t get much better than fresh, ready-made veggies that you just have to nuke for a few minutes. Ali’s original recipe uses onions, peas, and carrots, which I’m sure is delicious, but I generally don’t cook with onion (for a few reasons), and a bag of frozen mixed veggies has carrots, corn, peas, and green beans! Colorful and yummy!

4. Take time to actually fry the rice

My previous recipe had you merely add the rice to the pot at the last minute, stir it around, and then call it done. Don’t fall into this trap! Just take three or four minutes to fry the rice along with the other ingredients. It changes both the taste and texture of the dish.

5. Use sesame oil

Ali says to use oyster sauce as well as sesame oil, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel the need to buy it, since I don’t know what else I would use it for. But I had sesame oil from a previous recipe, and let me tell you, it makes a HUGE difference.  This is the last thing that was missing from my previous fried rice attempts! It really pulls the dish together and gives it that Chinese takeout feeling.


And that’s it! Let me know if you make it, and what tweaks YOU made to the recipe!

Duck Donuts



It’s been too long since the last entry of the North Carolina dessert tour, so I thought National Donut Day was the perfect opportunity to jump back in!

Duck Donuts is technically a franchise, but the original location is on the Outer Banks (in Duck, NC), so this definitely counts as an NC bakery! Plus, it was recommended to me by Greg Cox. For those of you not in the Raleigh area, Greg Cox is the food critic for the local newspaper. When I say that he recommended this place to me, I mean that the man himself told me personally to go there, not that I read a review he wrote.

In case you’re wondering how the heck that happened, Greg does a Saturday morning radio show at the station I work for occasionally. So not only do I actually know the man, but he has eaten – and enjoyed – my food!

Anyway, the main appeal of Duck Donuts beyond the fact that it’s not Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme (although it is alliterative) is that the donuts are made to order. You tell them exactly what kind of donuts you want, and they make them for you!

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New York, May 2015


You know I can’t take a trip to New York without blogging about the food afterwards.

The above is a photo of food not just eaten in New York, but also made in New York. I went for the purpose of going to my friend Laura’s bachelorette party, but I also spent some time with my parents. Before I went to the city for the weekend, my mom requested that I make some red velvet mini cupcakes for a party my parents were having.

During the process of making the cupcakes and the icing, I learned that baking without all of my various kitchen toys is very difficult. For example, a cookie scoop. If you’ve been making cupcakes without the aid of a cookie scoop, buy one! I promise, your baking will never be the same.

Anyway, moving on to the food I didn’t make!

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