Let’s be super cute for a minute.

 

I found something on pinterest the other day and I swooned. Like, instantly. They were these super cute s’mores snacks and they had *sprinkles.* You can find the original post inspiration here. The difference, I believe, is that I’m not using marshmallows – I’m using marshmallow fluff!

S’mores + Sprinkles = YES.

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I’ve had this obsession with marshmallow fluff for a while, which I haven’t kept secret, but that meant I had a jar of fluff on hand. You can see evidence of the start of my obsession with my cereal bars.

I will need to buy another jar of fluff…I have a recipe in the works that I need to tweak (thinking here, chocolate chip fluff bars…but they just aren’t there yet) and with less than half a jar of fluff, I wanted to play with these cute s’mores snacks.

My niece had a field trip day, and I volunteered to pack her lunch for the trip. I really just wanted an excuse to make these treats!

There isn’t a “recipe” per se for these, just a sort of, “do this, then that” and you’re done. Super. Easy.

For reals.

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For starters, you’ll need graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, melted chocolate (I used Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips), and sprinkles!

Break the graham crackers in half, then in half again. You’ll end up with four sections. Spread a good dollop of fluff on one graham cracker, gently smoosh the other on top…dip in melted chocolate, place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper, toss on sprinkles and chill.

Done!

Told you it was easy.

The most difficult part may be not eating them all.

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S’mores Cereal bars

This post has been a long time in the making. Like, literally the whole summer. I made these months ago, and still think about them! They photographed beautifully and tasted just as yummy.

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I haven’t made cereal bars in forever, and let’s face it, the classic Rice Krispie treat is amazeballs. But what I really love about cereal bars is the ability to customize them. Throw in my latest love, also known as Marshmallow Fluff, and you’ve got an easy, tasty and kid friendly snack!

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But then I started thinking that with summer happening, s’mores sounded yummy…I had marshmallow fluff on the brain, a box of Golden Graham cereal, and chocolate chips…do you see where my tummy was going?!

When thinking about these bars, I totally overthought the concept, but I’m really excited by how thick and marshmallowy they turned out. I threw in extra marshmallows when I added the chocolate chips and I think that helped create pillowy pockets of marshmallowy goodness within the s’mores bars.

 

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These cereal bars are super easy to make but I do recommend refrigeration.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (1 cup for melting, 1 cup for after)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 6-8 cups Golden Grahams (I used closer to 8 but it’s definitely your preference!)
  • 1 jar (13 oz) marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Look at your oven and say, “Not today, Homeslice!”
  2. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with Pam (or line with parchment paper).
  3. Pour cereal into large bowl, set aside.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 1 cup marshmallows and melt, stirring frequently until smooth.
  5. Pour melted marshmallow over cereal, then add in the fluff.
  6. Stir gently. Add in the remaining cup of marshmallows and stir to combine.
  7. Sprinkle in half a cup (or so) of chocolate chips and store to distribute throughout. You can kinda eyeball it at this point, if you want more chips, add more.
  8. Press into the prepared pan, but don’t beat it down, just gently press. I don’t like compacted bars…
  9. Sprinkle extra chips and marshmallows over top. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  10. Cut into bars and enjoy!

 

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and I have to giggle. You guys have obviously seen those super cute, perfectly put together blogs, where they expertly arrange photograph sessions, everything is beautiful and they always have *the best* props?

I was just excited to have a green/white striped straw that I swiped from the toddler’s drink cup! HA!

Brown Sugar Cookie Bars

I’m way behind on my posting. So awful! I have a ton of reasons, and they’re all fantastic, but I will, however, spare you and jump right in.

I recently tried a new recipe, it’s Pioneer Woman, so you *know* it will be superb. I dawdled on making this recipe for a while, because I love to make my own recipes. But lately, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t created anything new and really wanted a quick treat.

I didn’t want cookies (I know, blasphemy, right!) but I really wanted that brown sugary goodness of a chocolate chip cookie.

Enter the “Spreads” from Pioneer Woman. The lady is brilliant.

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Even Mr. Coconuts was enthusiastic about the recipe but he requested that I do the chips the way “He likes them.” To keep you from too much suspense, I have a canister where I blend together semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips. Nothing fancy, I just pour both bags in, then shake the container. Voila. He loves it, haha.

I happily whipped up this recipe (SO easy!) and was thrilled with the results. I ended up doing two batches because the first one disappeared rather quickly.

Even the Littlest Coconut loved the Spreads, reaching as tall as possible to beg for more (I’m laughing quite happily at the memory!).

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So I must say, this recipe would is a perfect treat. It’s easy, yummy, and soooo satisfying. Plus, these bars are easily customizable – you could add pecans/walnuts, white chocolate, peanut butter on top or even in the bars. I chose to follow the original instruction, the only difference is that I added a mixture of semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips on top.

Plans are already in the works to make a batch of these bars next week. We have some very special, much loved guests coming to stay for the summer and I can’t wait to spoil them with some baked goodness!!

Brown Sugar Cookie Bars
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 -1 cup chocolate chips (any mixture/variety you wish!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. These don’t need to wait or chill or any of that impatience-ness.

In a medium bowl, quickly whisk the flour and salt together.

In a mixer, beat brown sugar and butter. Add egg, followed by the vanilla. Slowly combine the wet with the dry (i.e. put in the flour/salt mixture).

Make sure to mix well. I used my mixer for most of this process, but after adding the flour I switched over to using a sturdy spatula and my good old fashioned arm muscles to ensure a well blended mass.

Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Using a spatula (I used one with a flat side, like a scraper) spread the dough onto the sheet, until it is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thin.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are a nice light brown.

Pull it out and immediately sprinkle chips over the top, I wanted a nice coverage so I used quite a bit. Put back in the oven for a minute or so (just long enough to melt the chips).

Pull back out and gently spread the melted chips over the bar, carefully smearing chocolate all the way to the edges (chocolate coverage, amiright?!).

Now comes the hardest part – the chocolate needs to set before you can touch it. So put in fridge for at least half an hour. Then you can cut/devour.

Just like that, super easy and DELISH!

brown sugar cookie bars

I must apologize for the photos. The Littlest Coconut decided that my nice camera was a great toy, and sadly, he dropped it when pulling it off the table. It’s been toddler-fried.

Hopefully these photos will make do until I can get better…

 

Irresistible. Chocolate. Cake. 

You guys know that I am a cookie lady. I love cookies. Love creating new recipes and sampling them (even the failures).

But lately I’ve been in a rut. A cookie rut. I never thought that I’d ever say that…but it’s true, and I took a break.

I’m currently working on a new recipe, but it hasn’t panned out yet. Think cinnamon imperials, sugar cookies…right now they’re just hot messes, haha.

But today I decided a cake was in order.

A from scratch, chocolate, homemade confection topped with a generous layer of my momma’s homemade chocolate frosting.

chocolate cake

 

It was the mother in law’s birthday after all.

A special occasion.

A nice excuse to try my hand at caking it up. Just don’t overbake it like your friendly neighborhood Coconut 😆

This cake is so moist and chocolately without being overwhelming.

 

It’s delightfully chocolately without being too chocolately, while still managing to be light and fluffy.

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The frosting is one that I grew up with, and it brings back all these memories of my momma singing along to Meatloaf while hand mixing a huge bowl of this scrumptious chocolate deliciousness. I would always hover, waiting so impatiently, for a taste! I so loved to lick the spoon!

 

This cake and my momma’s frosting is a match made in proverbial heaven.

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For the record, this is not my original cake recipe,  I found this chocolate cake recipe from Nelliebellie.com the chocolate icing is a family recipe that I tweaked to fit my tastes (and trust me, I’ve had a lot of tastes!!).

If you look closely, you’ll recognize it as the same chocolate frosting I used for Baby Coconuts’ first birthday party, in my Birthday on A Budget post.

This frosting is one that I’ve used quite often, since it is so easy to whip up. Even easier with a stand mixer!

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⇒ Chocolate Cake ⇐

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp (1 and a half sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease bottom of baking pan (I used two 9″ round pans).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and a prayer for our first homemade cake. Set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, generously beat the butter (don’t beat it like you’re sending it to the hospital, just, ya’know, whip it. And whip it good.) After about 30-45 seconds, add in the sugar, just a little at a time, allowing it to blend together.
  4. Pour in the vanilla. Blend well.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Don’t let any shells in. That sucks.
  6. Now slowly add the flour mixture, making sure to combine it thoroughly. (The mixture was thickish at this point. I had to stop the mixer, lift the lid, and use a spatula to physically pull the bottom to the top and blend to ensure it was mixed properly).
  7. Very carefully pour in the milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition. You’ll know when the batter is ready. It will be smooth and dreamy. Like Luke Cage.
  8. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes. It is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely. Then smother in the deliciousness that is chocolate frosting!
  11. EAT.

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I think this is my first time sharing two recipes in one post. It’s kinda exciting. Daunting at the same time. But fun!
This recipe is The Best.
Make a bowl of it and just eat it. But don’t get sick and blame me. Have some self-control, love.
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⇒ Momma’s Chocolate Frosting ⇐
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp (I like to use sticks)
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (more or less on taste!)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (more or less on taste!)
  • 2 tbsp milk (or half and half)

Directions

  1. Beat the butter until it is super fluffy and smooth. Don’t give me side-eye, just do it. You’ll see it change and you’ll be so happy!
  2. Add the cocoa and combine well.
  3. (This part is important) Add the confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup at a time, thoroughly beating the ingredients and tasting after each addition. If the frosting still tastes like butter, add more sugar.
  4. If the frosting gets too thick, add a few splashes of milk to loosen it up.
  5. You can play with it, adding more or less cocoa, confectioner’s sugar and milk until you get the taste and consistency that you want.
  6. There really is no way to ruin this frosting. Trust me, you can’t go wrong!

 

Now combine the two and tell me how yummy they are together!

But seriously, let the cake cool enough before frosting. Or else you get disappearing frosting between the layers. It’s a divine smooshery of cake and frosting melting together, but I like how cakes look when they have that thick layer of frosting between the cakes parts.

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Overall, this was a hit. And it kinda makes me want to bake more cakes. From scratch. Like, on purpose and stuff.

 

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My favorite chocolate chip cookies…

I am so excited to share this chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know it’s just another cookie recipe, but seriously, this is THE cookie recipe.

Coconut dark chocolate chip cookies

I took a big hiatus from baking (what with the move and unpacking, it was just not feasible to spend all day baking) but recently came back to it after suffering a minor heartbreak.

When your heart is demolished, freshly baked cookies can help.

Except I ruined them. In my doom and gloom I created an awful batch of cookies. I was so embarrassed.

Luckily I always keep baking supplies in hand, so I just put on my big girl undies and forged ahead. Only this time I sat down with my collection of recipes and tweaked, poked and prodded my original recipe until I came up with one that I wanted to experiment with.

It was a great experiment! I absolutely love how these cookies turned out, but I will admit that the hubby did not like the chips I used.

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These are dark chocolate coconut chip cookies with semi-sweet chips added for good measure (so what is that… Dark Chocolate Coconut and Semi-Sweet Chip cookies…that’s a mouthful!).

Unfortunately, even though they’re Nestlé, hubby does not care for the “strange, fake aftertaste” courtesy of the coconut in the chips. So after taste testing, and liking the texture, the soft center with the perfectly crisp outside he requested a second batch, but without the icky coconut chips.

The batch made for hubs. Dark chocolate and semi sweet chips

The batch made for hubs. Dark chocolate and semi sweet chips

I happily obliged and can attest to the repeatability of this recipe. I followed it exactly, and I was able to replicate the delicious results. My second batch consisted of semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips. The husband gave it two thumbs up and the seal of “regular rotation” approval! Even the littlest coconut loved them, begging for a second cookie (you know how 11 month olds beg? By staring at the cookie headed to your mouth, while their own mouth hangs open… Kinda hits you in the guilt spot, haha).

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But trust me when I say that this recipe is a keeper, and is truly the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need, ever again.

It’s incredibly versatile. My first batch included coconut-dark chocolate chips, while my second batch had two different types of chocolate chips. You could realistically include any combination of chocolate chips or add ins that you want, and the cookie should still come out beautifully.

chocolate chip cookies

An addendum to keep in mind, too, is that I chilled these cookies for 12 hours. I wanted to see what would happen, and this is what I will do from now on.

It actually helped my poor joints doing it this way. I made the dough, cleaned up, then the next day, I was able to bake without much mess. It was lovely!

When preparing them for refrigeration, make sure you use enough flour that your dough isn’t sticky, then roll it up in plastic wrap. When ready to bake, unwrap and slice. With your hands, roll the dough into roughly 1″ balls, making them taller than wide, and flattening the bottom.

Slice the chilled dough, and flatten the bottom of the cookie dough balls

Make the cookie dough balls taller than they are wide

This method helped my cookies bake evenly and look like gorgeous bakery style cookies!

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And the taste…oh, heavens to be, these cookies will make your knees buckle from joy! If you don’t believe me, come over and have a few!

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Another view of the second batch, with the dark chocolate and semi sweet chips…you can drool, now!

Without further ado, the recipe!

Honey’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup your choice chocolate chips (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, etc)

Directions:

  1. Do not preheat your oven, these cookies need to chill for at least 2 hours up to 12 hours.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Gently whisk with a fork to combine.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or handheld mixer) beat together the butter, and both sugars until light and fluffy. Then toss in the vanilla, followed by the eggs.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture, on low speed and gently mix until combined.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Lay out sheets of plastic wrap, and using the same spatula, spread the dough on the wrap, rolling the dough and covering it. Once covered and in a log-ish shape, pop it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  7. Once ready to bake – preheat oven to 350° and prepare two baking sheets with either silpats or parchment paper.
  8. Unwrap the chilled dough, slice sections off and using your hands, roll the dough into 1″ balls. Flatten the bottoms (as seen in the above pictures) and then mold the balls to be taller (more of a mound vs round).
  9. Place dough balls on baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, depending on your oven.
  10. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before removing.
  11. Enjoy!

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Dark Chocolate M&M cookies

I am watching my nephew and niece over the summer while their mom works, which is fun because it gives Ethan other little shorties his size to tumble with. The best part is that they get along so well, and I know when one is quiet, they’re all cooperating in shenanigans (haha) but no, seriously, my favorite part of it is making memories with all of the kids (one day I’m sure I will hear, “Aunt Trina, remember when…” and my heart will melt all over again). So in the spirit of giving them something to remember, I decided to throw together some cookies as a treat.

I have to uphold my status as the Baking Aunt, haha.

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Since these were for the kiddos, I wanted to make something fun and yummy, but also easy and quick. That’s why I opted to make a batch of cakemix cookies.

No joke, cakemix cookies are probably the easiest cookies you’ll ever make. 3-4 ingredients (depending on if you want chips or mix-ins!) and you’re good to go.

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Usually my go-to cakemix cookie are funfetti M&M cookies, but this time I had a Dark Chocolate cake mix on hand so I used that with the M&M candies.

The kids really loved these cookies and I adored the pop of color provided by the mini Ms! The color contrast between the dark chocolate cookie and the brightly colored candies was heaven to my heart. And it certainly didn’t deter the little fingers from snatching some!

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There were two left when I heard E say, “I’m gonna eat my dinner and then eat that!”

These are definitely the cookie to make if you want to impress the kiddos. They are very moist and thick, almost reminding me of a brownie! It was like eating a brownie cookie with M&Ms – so decadent.

While I am sitting here describing this cookie to you, I have to admit that I actually only had two of them. I still have a hard time eating too much chocolate (but don’t worry, I have another cookie recipe that I am super excited to share – soon!)

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These cookies are rich, full of chocolate yumminess, and seemed to disappear pretty quickly… Which is why I’m so proud that I actually got some pictures taken! It was fun, trying to photograph a few cookies with three littles following me around asking me what I was doing with the cookies!

This recipe is so easy, they can absolutely be made quickly in a pinch!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cake mix (I used Pillsbury Dark Chocolate cake mix)
  • 1 bag mini M&Ms (I can usually find these in the candy section of Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, never in the “official” baking section, fyi)

Steps:

  1. Combine oil, egg and cakemix, mix thoroughly.
  2. Using a spatula, gently fold in 3/4 of the M&Ms.
  3. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350º and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  5. Pour remaining mini M&Ms into a bowl.
  6. I used my larger cookie scoop on these, (but you can realistically make them any size you want) and scooped them, rolled them into balls, then pressed the cookie balls into a bowl of M&Ms; place about 1″ apart on the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-11 minutes; when done, pull out of the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet slightly before transferring to cooling rack.
  8. Watch as they disappear!

Didn’t I tell you it was easy?!

I wasn’t joking! On top of being easy, look at how pretty they are…

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The possibilities are endless for cakemix cookies, too. This is just one of several variations that I’ve played with. What are some ideas that you have for cakemix cookies? I’d love to hear!

Hello there, Puddin’

I’ve been horribly lazy of late. It’s not that I haven’t created anything interesting or lovely, it’s just that I’ve been terrible about photographing and sharing them…

Seriously, I’ve made some fun stuff!

Monogrammed my cricut… (slapped a cute little kitty on it, too).

Did some zentangling…

and most recently, E and I made (from scratch) Banana Pudding.
We’re talking no box, for real,  with eggs, sugar and vanilla, creamy, and indulgent from scratch.

Ohhh, it is soooo yum!

I adapted the recipe from the Food Network, it’s from Trisha Yearwood. Her version calls for meringue on top, but c’mon, you just need good ol’whipped topping! I followed her pudding recipe, but instead of making meringue, I used Cool Whip and layered it – pudding, banana slices, whipped topping, repeat.

The recipe is so simple, even E was able to easily help me, although his favorite part was eating it, rather than making it. There is no “trick” to it, and I honestly find it just as easy to make pudding this way as it is to use a box mix.

It did my heart good to hear him proudly tell everyone that he helped make the pudding.

I’m going to share the recipe, for sure, but in terms of photos, you won’t really get much – maybe a scraped bowl photo – because I so lost track of pictures and then it was all gone!!

  Proof is in the pudding, right? Haha

(I don’t know why the color is so off, sorry!)

  Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Box of vanilla wafers
  • 3-4 bananas

Directions

  1. First, we need to separate the yolks in three of the eggs. So in a separate bowl, place the yolks, then break one whole egg into it. The bowl will contain three yolks and one whole egg. Make scrambled egg whites with the rest of the other eggs, it’s what we did, haha.
  2. In a pan, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Stir in the eggs, and then the milk. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the pudding thickens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla (don’t forget this step, or you’ll have no flavored pudding!)
  4. Take the pudding off the heat to cool, but try to consistently stir it, to prevent the pudding from gooping up. While the pudding is cooling, since the bananas.
  5. Once cooled, layer the pudding in a bowl – pudding, banana slices, cookies, whip topping, repeat. If you put it in a clear or glass bowl, it looks so pretty.
  6. Once you reach the final layer, which is whip topping, I would hope, I like to sprinkle crushed wafers and place a line of wafers along the outer ring. It just looks adorable that way.

I have some other posts that I am planning, that should have more photos (haha!!) 

You can find the original recipe from Trish Yearwood here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

After making this pudding, I started thinking about variations on a theme (so to speak) and I want to try this recipe with coffee creamer – I was curious about whether flavored coffee creamer would bring another level of flavor to the pudding. I was thinking about half milk and half creamer – how yummy would Coconut Cream or Snickerdoodle creamer be?? 

If you make one of the variations, let me know!!