Buttercream’s Bakeshop

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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

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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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Maple View Farm

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

Duck Donuts

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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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Peanut Butter Pie with Cookie Crust

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Happy Mother’s Day! How better to celebrate than with chocolate and peanut butter?

This year marks the first Mother’s Day since 2008 that I haven’t spent any time with my own mother. My parents moved back to New York last year, and it’s still weird that I can’t just drive over and see them whenever I want to. Fortunately, I still have family close by!

This recipe marks another step in my journey to make every Baked recipe. I wish I could say that I’m going in some kind of order, but I’m not. This pie is in the very first Baked cookbook. I was looking for something chocolatey, because when the mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law are involved, it just has to be chocolate.

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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Did you know that yesterday was a holiday?

Yup, May 6th is Hanson Day! Let’s just get the answers to all the usual questions out of the way –

Yes, Hanson as in MMMBop.

Yes, Hanson is still my favorite band.

Yes, Hanson is still making music. Check out newer songs here, here, and here.

No, I’m not the only Hanson fan left. In fact, you can see in the links above that really cool people like Weird Al and Kat Dennings are Hanson fans.

Anyway, to celebrate Hanson Day, I decided to make cupcakes. I thought about making Twinkie cupcakes (if you’re a Hanson fan that makes sense to you), but decided to work with ingredients I had on hand. I also decided to make a one bowl, no mixer required recipe. So now I’ve given you some music education and a great new recipe. You’re welcome!

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Trip to Boston!

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It’s time for another trip post! This time, I went to visit friends in Boston. My friend Shaina and I spent almost all Saturday baking!

First, we made a chocolate birthday cake! It was requested that I somehow merge chocolate and strawberry into a delicious cake, so I found a recipe online and tweaked it. I kept the cake recipe the same, but the middle layer was a strawberry puree. I changed that part, because I’m not a fan of fruit purees in cakes like that. I find that they rarely add anything taste-wise, although they do look pretty.

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