Last week I bought a tin of hibiscus tea, and the moment I looked into my first freshly brewed cup, I knew it was destined to be a star ingredient in something sweet!

I recently read that infusing loose tea with butter creates a strong flavor for use in baked goods. So, my first order of business - make hibiscus tea butter. It was so easy and turned out beautifully! It's hard to explain, but there was something very special about preparing the tea butter. I immediately wanted to use as much of it as possible. My first thought - shortbread.

As I mixed the magenta-hued butter into sugar and flour, I witnessed a magical color transformation from bright pink-red to purple. This kind of surprise is the best kind of surprise.

“I remember when no one was looking
I was puttin' peanuts in my Coke.”
             - "I was country when country wasn't cool."

We all have food traditions that are specific to our geographical location.  I am a citizen of the Southeastern United States, and my residence is just outside the Great Smoky Mountains. I could tell you about a number of traditional and odd-sounding foodstuffs that I grew up on; eggs scrambled with crumbled cornbread, cushaw pie, chocolate gravy...  but this post is dedicated to a simple southern snack that I remember fondly: peanuts in Coca-Cola.

When I was a kid I would ride to the gas station with my dad in his old beat-up work truck.  While he filled the tank, I’d go inside the mini mart with a few dollars he’d given me and get a couple of Coca-Colas (in glass bottles) and two bags of salted peanuts. The cashier would remove the bottle caps with the opener mounted on the wall behind the counter.

Once back in the truck, the ritual began. A couple of swigs were taken to make room for the peanuts, then the entire 2 oz. bag emptied into the mouth of the bottle. And finally, the all-important last step - an extra tap-tap-tap on the end of the upright turned peanut bag to make sure all the salt made it into the soda.

I still find this snack oddly delicious, and there's something about the saltiness of the peanuts that makes the cola taste even sweeter.
Make a wish... 
My love of strawberry milk is well documented in the pages of this blog, and no matter how hard I try, sprinkles are never optional when it comes to using this nostalgic flavor in my baking.  With its graham-sprinkle crust, this cheesecake looks like a party and I wouldn't hesitate to make it in place of the usual birthday cake for a special celebration.

This is such an easy little project.  I made these nests with the Easter holiday in mind, but I think they'd make cute place card holders for a wedding reception.  They'd even make an elegant table decoration for Mother's Day brunch.

Remember the chocolate bowls I made way back when?  Well, this project is very similar, and I might say - even easier! The nests will need to dry for 24 hours, so plan ahead.  They solidify to a hard candy finish, and remind me of delicate porcelain.

Before I get to the details of this cool minty mousse cake, I'd like to introduce you to someone.

This is my friend, Morgan. She's pretty much my favorite photographer in all the land.

She makes me look cute in pictures.
Trust me -I don't always look cute in pictures. 

I recently asked her if she'd be interested in helping me put together a book trailer. Now, this was no small request and I was afraid she's say no, but she didn't! (You can read her recount of this here). One Saturday last month, she drove from her home in Alabama to my home in Tennessee and we got started.  

It's definitely not the expected book trailer, which is usually presented in an earnest tone and with mentions of accolades -and there's nothing wrong with that!  In fact, that's what we had in mind at first, but my editor (the best editor in all the land, ahem...) asked, "where's the fun?"

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Very lighthearted, very SprinkleBakes. - thank you Morgan!

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