Toast St. Patrick's Day with this rich and decadent Irish Cream Coffee Milk Punch. It's an easy fix that tastes like a grown-up version of your favorite sweet iced coffee drink. 

Irish Cream Coffee Punch

Next week ushers in a whole new month, and along with it, a couple of occasions worth celebrating. St. Patrick's Day will be here before you know it, and the spring equinox follows just three days later. I'm excited to plan an Irish meal with all the fixin's, and the promise of some sunshine? Count me in!

This milk punch is a delicious way to celebrate St. Paddy's, but it would also be welcome long after the holiday when warm weather truly sets in. It's a real treat for any iced coffee lover.
This homestyle cake is a family recipe made of two soft banana layers loaded with black walnuts. Old fashioned caramel frosting makes it a true southern favorite. 

Tennessee Banana Black Walnut Cake

Here it is, my favorite homestyle cake - my mother's recipe. The last time I had a large family dinner (remember those?) I made a different black walnut cake from a fancy cookbook, and from the author's confidence and praise of her own cake, I felt so sure it would be just as good as this one. It was not. 

I often spring new recipes on my family, and some are better than others, but this time I was embarrassed. The cake looked beautiful on the outside but it was a huge disappointment flavor-wise and dry.  Sooo dry.  I already had the best black walnut cake recipe from my mom, and I should have just made it instead. 

Cute sheep sugar cookies are extra sweet and so easy to decorate. Nonpareils give them a 'wooly' appearance and add sugary crunch.

Fluffy Sheep Sugar Cookies

They say that inspiration has to find you working, and that's how these cookies came about. I was asked to make an array of decorated dog breed cookies for a food styling gig last November, and during that endeavor I found that a simple sprinkle of nonpareils over royal icing made a fluffy, almost curly-looking dog coat. I bookmarked that idea in my brain for a different kind of cookie, and here they are. Cute, wooly sheep cookies for spring!

I've been longing for spring this week because we've had mostly dark, damp, and slushy days. These cookies cheered me right up, and made me look forward to sunnier times. I noticed that Easter comes early this year, and I think these would look extra cute in an Easter basket.

Rich merlot wine adds fruity notes and deep red color to soft butter caramels. One batch makes plenty to share, or gift them for a special occasion. 

Red Wine Soft Caramels

I have been working on this red wine candy caramel recipe since last December, and at long last - it's finally ready to share! I had hoped to have the formula finalized and the recipe posted here before Valentine's Day, but it needed a few more small tweaks. It would have been perfect for a sweetheart gift, but it's a good candy to enjoy year-round.

The first thing you'll notice when eating this candy is its brown sugar caramel notes, then immediately following is the flavor of tangy red fruits and grape notes. It's not so much boozy as it is complex. All of the characteristics listed on the wine bottle, such as flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and plum are all brought forward in this candy.

Stir up the delicious flavors of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in a mug of hot cocoa. Hot cocoa bombs are spheres of chocolate that hold instant hot cocoa inside. Simply drop one into a large mug and add hot water or milk to enjoy.

Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa Bombs

At long last, I've joined the hot cocoa bomb craze! I've been wanting to make my own version ever since they became popular last year, but I couldn't settle on a theme or a flavor. I wanted something that was different and fun, and this year inspiration finally struck. 

It's hard to beat the flavors of chocolate and peanut butter together, so I altered my favorite scratch-made instant hot cocoa recipe with the addition of Reese's peanut butter chips.

Cozy up to a warm bowl of gooey cheese fondue accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetable dippers. It's easy to make at home for a special night in. 

Classic Cheese Fondue

This is a bit of a departure from the mostly sweet menu here on the blog, but I've always loved a good fondue and this is my all-time favorite cheesy recipe. The melted wine and cheese concoction along with the right other ingredients (dippers!) makes a lovely, intimate meal. It is easily made at home for a fraction of the cost that you'd pay at a fancy fondue restaurant.

If the lack of a fondue pot is keeping you away from this heavenly indulgence, then I'm happy to say you don't really need one to start. A regular saucepot and dinner forks will do just fine. And if you find that you enjoy fondue-ing as much as I do, then that's when you should shop for your own dedicated fondue pot with a burner. I couldn't resist using my most beloved fondue pot for this post, which was given to me as an anniversary gift from my husband years ago.

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