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The mac and cheese at Panera is ridiculous. I’ve only had it once, on a chilly evening in Baltimore on a dinner date with Val. The best way to describe it: A bowl of cheese sauce with some noodles in it.

Now, if you can stop drooling for a sec, I’ll tell you that I recently found the recipe online (Thanks Kho!). I followed the recipe EXACTLY. For those who know me well, you know how hard that was.

You can find the recipe here.

Now, I’ll tell you what I would do with this recipe next time.

1. You don’t need that much flour. Yes, you need to make a roux but not that much. I’d use 1/4 cup of flour only.

2. Add more milk. Ultimately, you need less flour and more milk because the sauce is just too thick. (Did I just say that?! Yes.) I actually ended up adding more milk than the recipe called for, and next time I would add even more. Probably about 3 1/2 cups. (Also, I used half 2% and half whole milk.)

3. No mustard! That mustard was all I could taste. Thommy said he didn’t taste it. So I’m leaving it out next time. (It may be because I used a “country” dijon, and we country folk like our mustards overpowering)

That’s it! Otherwise it’s a perfectly perfect recipe for mac and cheese. And the best part, it took more time for the water to boil and the pasta to cook then it did to make the sauce. Definitely getting a spot in the dinner rotations because of that.

This is an adaptation of what is clearly an old recipe. The original recipe is for “tiramisu” cupcakes and I think it came from The Cake Doctor. As you can also see, my recipe writing clearly has not changed much from pen & paper days. This piece of paper has another recipe on it, which apparently calls for lemon and almond, although I have no idea what that recipe actually makes.

So, on to it!

Latte cupcakes

cake:

1 box of french vanilla cake mix (yes, I used a cake mix. Don’t judge)

1 pint coffee ice cream, completely melted (completely. Practice patience!)

3 eggs

Mix all until thoroughly combined. Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

icing:

8 oz (or half can) of cream cheese frosting (again, don’t judge)

1/4 cup of sour cream

3 Tablespoons soft butter

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Cream frosting, sour cream, butter and vanilla. Then slowly mix in powdered sugar.

dusting:

Once I iced the cupcakes, I dusted them with:

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon Starbucks Via (decaf)

1 Tablespoon hot cocoa powder (I used Bellagio Chocolate Truffle…thanks Robb!)

Add each of these to a sifter and gently sift a bit over each cupcake.

drizzling:

Not done yet! Once I iced, then dusted, I drizzled each cupcake with:

Stonewall Kitchen Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce (again, thanks Robb!)

Voila!

I surprised Mom with a batch of these this afternoon at the art supply store where she works, so she and her work friends could have a cupcake birthday party! HBD Momma!

[Her shop is right next to a Starbucks so I did have a latte for the drive home. Fitting.]

How adorable are these!?!

What a pleasant way to spend a day. I made lots of these little origami stars. I wrote a little note inside each one before I wrapped it up and puffed it into a star (Here’s how). I think I’ll send off a few love bombs full of these sweeties….I have a few people in mind who could stand a little magic.

Btw, I found this idea on Pinterest, which is the greatest site known to man. Safe to say I’m a little more than obsessed. You can find me here.

I love LOVE love when my family comes here for Christmas.

We are just plain silly!

Nana made Alex special super star ornaments, which he loved to put IN the tree. And take out. And put back in. And take out...

Storytime, excellent!

 

Uncle Thommy made Alex the most amazing wooden blocks. He loves stacking them up and then knocking them all down (so did his dad). (Poor old Sam, boy he was pissed!)

More storytime, excellent! Alex LOVES reading.

The following is an accurate account of the events that took place Dec 17, 2011 in the small New England town of Groton, Mass. (As far as you know…)

The littlest Lefkowitz is all grown up now, but look at her when she was just a little flowerbud! Happy birthday little flower princess fairy girl!