Small Batch Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Small Batch Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy New Year! Now that the first week of January is almost over, does that mean you’ve given up your resolutions yet? No? Good, me either. Believe it or not, this is one of the few recipes on my website that’s not a diet buster. At least, it’s not an “eating everything in moderation” buster, which I’m all about these days. This small batch cookie recipe makes only 5 cookies. Yay for built in portion control! But wait…it get’s even better! *cue Billy Mays*

They’re vegan, and it’s a super simple one bowl recipe. Excited yet? Click on over to Food Fanatic for the recipe.

Herby Shortbread Two Ways- Rosemary Honey and Raspberry Thyme

Rosemary Shortbread

Have you ever used herbs in cookies? I’ve always found the idea intriguing, so when a friend gave me some rosemary from her garden, I thought about using it in shortbread. I suspected that it would be one of those “cool in theory but kind of weird” recipes that at worst would make my kitchen smell nice and at best would make good Christmas gifts, but I never expected them to blog worthy. I like to keep this space for the best of the best and the favoritest of the favorites, and these cookies definitely made the cut.

Rosemary Shortbread
Rosemary Shortbread

I originally started by adding rosemary to my usual shortbread base, but when I came across this recipe, I decided to add some honey. The honey not only added flavor, but made a more tender cookie. I was such a fan of this dough that I made a second variation on this recipe. For the thyme raspberry cookie, I used the same shortbread base, but replaced the rosemary with 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped freeze dried raspberries.

Rosemary Shortbread

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Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Blondies

Hazelnut Blondies

Hazelnut Blondies

Happy week after Thanksgiving! Have you recovered from your food coma yet? I hope so, because I have lots of fun holiday recipes coming your way, so don’t put up your stretchy pants just yet. These hazelnut blondies are my first post over at Food Fanatic, where I’ll be contributing vegan dessert recipes. And you know what they say about vegan desserts- they’re practially salad! Ok, maybe I’m they only one that says that, but they are egg and dairy free and full of toasted hazelnut butter. To get the recipe, click here.

Hazelnut Blondies

We Got Married!

Hello, my cake loving friends! It’s been a looong time since I’ve posted on here. This is probably the longest I’ve ever been away from my blog, but I promise I’ve had good reason. I got married last month, and Aaron and I got back last week from our honeymoon in Turks and Caicos. Let’s just say that it has been a challenge getting back to real life. I still wake up in the morning wondering why there is no view of the beach outside my window and why nobody is handing me a rum punch as I laze by the pool. It was a relaxing vacation, but I’m finally ready to get back to baking!

I don’t share too much personal stuff on this blog, but I wanted share a few unofficial photos to tide you over until the next recipe. Most of these were taken by friends and family (professional photos to come). Keep in mind, my family is Indian, so we had quite a colorful wedding. Aaron and his family were good sports about the whole thing, and in case you are wondering, he is riding a horse in the 2nd picture!

photo 3-4Wedding2WeddingWedding3

Turks and Caicos was the perfect destination for both of our vacation styles. Aaron is a lot more adventurous than I am. He loves camping, hiking, and all things outdoorsy. He’s also a SCUBA instructor in his free time. I’m more of what Aaron describes as an “Eating ice cream on the beach while reading and petting a puppy” kind of girl. While we did get to do all of these things (including pet puppies), we also got to do some diving, which is something I never would have done on my own. I’ve only dived in Texas lakes before, so the blue water was a new experience for me. In honor of shark week, I’ve included a link to my very first shark spotting! See you soon with a new recipe.

19 Random Things About Me

Natasha in Peru

Since today is my birthday, I thought I would take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself. I always wanted to do one of those 25 random things about me notes on facebook, but I never got around to it, so, better late than never! I love getting to know my readers, so feel free to leave a comment with a random or interesting fact about yourself.

1. I was born on February 19th, 1982. That falls right on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, but I’m a Pisces in every way. And I only sort of believe in that stuff.

2. I am a coffee addict. I buy espresso beans from a local coffee shop, grind them fresh everyday, and make a 1 shot, 6 ounce cappuccino with organic 2% milk every morning.

3. I’m a certified scuba diver.

4. I have 2 cats that I love dearly, but I’m a dog person at heart. I hope to adopt one in the near future.

5. Layer cakes are my favorite desserts to make. I find the process of baking, frosting, and decorating them to be therapeutic. That being said, the dessert I crave the most (and make the most often) is chocolate chip cookies. Does that count as 2 things?

6. I’m a night owl, and the only time I will voluntarily get up early is when I have jet lag.

7. I have never liked milk, and the only time I will ever drink it is in my coffee or with warm chocolate chip cookies. I rarely put it on my cereal, and I will absolutely never drink cereal milk.

8. I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t like. As much as I love sugary treats, I also love broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.

9. By day, I’m a musician. It’s not the most lucrative job in the world, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

10. I love British period dramas. I’ve read all the Jane Austen novels, I have a crush on Mr Darcy, and I’m completely obsessed with Downton Abbey.

11. I’m still trying to get my students to teach me how to use Twitter, and I totally don’t get the hash tag thing.  #iamreallyold

12. I’ve been playing tennis since I was a kid, and even though I’m still not especially good at it, I love to play. I’m currently on a women’s doubles team called the Lob Stars.

13. I am a pescetarian, which basically means I’m a vegetarian who occasionally eats seafood. I’ve tried to convince myself that it was because seafood is more sustainable, but really, it’s just because I haven’t found the discipline to give up sushi.

14. The only soda I like is Cherry Coke, and I will only drink it at the movie theater. With buttery popcorn. And Buncha Crunch.

15. I’m not much of a girly girl. I still don’t know how to put on makeup, I can’t walk in high heels to save my life, and I don’t like shopping (unless you count grocery shopping).

16. After grad school, my friend Cat and I wanted to take an international trip. We chose the location by the cheapest plane ticket we could find, and ended up having the trip of a lifetime in Peru.

17. My secret dream is to be a ballerina. I think ballet is an amazing form of art, but I’m way too old and not coordinated enough to take ballet, so I live vicariously through movies and documentaries about ballet dancing. I have seen Center Stage at least 50 times.

18. I turn into a whiny baby when I’m cold. I grew up in Indiana, so I’m happy to be living in a warmer climate now.

19.  When I was a kid, the only acceptable cake for me was chocolate. Now that I’m older, I have a new respect for vanilla, and this is the first year that one of my birthday cakes (I always make 2) will be vanilla. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you!



Mini Funfetti Birthday Cakes


It’s birthday week here at The Cake Merchant, and I can’t think of a better way to start the week than with a post over at Best Friends For Frosting. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I love layer cakes and miniature desserts. These mini funfetti birthday cakes combine both of these things.

Tomorrow is my actual birthday, but I like to prolong the celebration, so this week is sure to be filled with lots of sugar and gluttony! Stay tuned for more birthday cakes, but for now, click over to Best Friends For Frosting for this Mini Funfetti Layer Cake recipe.

Drink Week Part 3: Cherry Limeade Sangria

















A couple of months ago, I stopped by Sonic to get a cherry limeade. It had been a really long day of teaching, and it was just starting to get hot here in Texas. I was grumpy, sweaty, and I remember thinking that I wished that the cherry limeade I ordered was a little bit stronger. Then I thought, hey, I could make something like that! Cherry limeade sangria!
It just so happens to be drink week here at The Cake Merchant, and I had an abundance of limes left over from last week’s local grocery delivery. Since cherries are also in season, my cherry limeade sangria dreams have finally come to fruition.
Although sangria is traditionally made with red wine, I am a total lightweight, and nothing puts me down faster than a glass of red wine. Seriously, one glass and I’m passed out on the couch snoring. It’s not cute. Since this sangria was to accompany our 4th of July celebration, I thought white wine would be the best option so that I could actually be awake to see the fireworks. The fact that it’s cut with a little bit of soda makes it very drinkable. I would go so far as to say it’s dangerously drinkable, but who doesn’t like a little danger in their sangria?

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Drink Week Part 2: Adult Cherry Coke Float

I’ve been in Texas for four years now, and I have yet to feel 100 percent at home here. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things I like about Dallas. There are good restaurants, things to do, and generally nice people. There’s enough diversity here that sometimes makes me forget that I am in Texas. That is, until I get behind the wheel. When I’m driving, I remember where I am, and all of those general niceties are replaced with road rage. In Texas, bigger is better, and apparently the biggest car always has the right of way. This doesn’t bode well for me and my little Hyundai. There are trucks here that have wheels that are bigger than my entire car! Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much.

This drink is bound to sooth even the worst road rage. Cold, sweet, fizzy, with a hint of cherry, and topped with ice cream. What could be bad about that?
















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