#EasterSweetsWeek Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Cannoli

I created this recipe for #Eastersweetsweek and I was sent samples by some of our sponsor companies but as always, opinions are 100% my own. 

Welcome to this year's #EasterSweetWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. We’re so glad that you’ve joined us for this week long event of Springtime and Easter dessert recipes! We're sharing tons of treats this week plus a few fantastic giveaways! You’re going to love what we have in store for you.


So, my food quirks are aplenty. They somewhat drive my husband batty but at this point, he has learned to put up with them. For example, I love a cannoli but not the traditional cannoli made with sweetened ricotta. I prefer my ricotta in savory dishes. A few years ago I stumbled upon a small bakery and they used mascarpone in their version and my cannoli fandom was officially born. This is slightly blasphemous to Italians but that's ok, my mister eats them anyways;) if you can't find mascarpone, cream cheese will work as well. 



I absolutely adore pistachio in desserts. Cookies, ice cream, cupcakes. You name it, I want it. This divine mashup of pistachio and dark chocolate is the perfect combination and will be a fabulous option for your Easter table or any time of the year!  


I have made these a few times and there are two ways you can make these, with mascarpone and whipping cream or a more mousse-like texture you can just use whipping cream. I used to make my own cannoli shells but then I found out our local grocer offers them and since I usually request them empty, they give me to them half price. I will link to my favorite cannoli recipe (and then just dip them in dark chocolate or serve them in the traditional cannoli shell) or you can see if you can find some locally like me!


Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cannolis


Filling

4 oz mascarpone
1 pack pistachio pudding mix
8 oz heavy whipping cream 

cannoli shell (recipe)

dark chocolate melting wafers

Directions

melt the package of dark chocolate wafers. Once totally melted. Dip the cannoli shells in the chocolate and let harden.  set aside. 

For Filling:


in a bowl, place the softened mascarpone, whip till fluffy. Add in the pistachio pudding mix and pour in the whipping cream, a little at a time. Beating on low till all combined and thickened. 


Place in a piping bag ( I usually cheat and use a large ziplock and clip off a corner, works just as well) Fill the cannoli shells from each side. This will typically yield 12 large or 18 small cannolis. If there is any filling left over, I love to use it as a dip or a frosting!


This year we have are 28 fantastic bloggers participating in this year’s Easter dessert event! Throughout the week we’ll be share tons of great Springtime and Easter themed dessert recipes with you. With over 75 sweet dessert recipes being shared this week we just know that you’re going to want to save some of these recipes to make again and again! We even hope that some of these recipes end up in your Easter recipe keepsake collection! Plus, don’t forget that we have 5 (five) great giveaways for you this week thanks to our amazing sponsors!


Scroll down to take a look!

Check out the amazing #EasterSweetsWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

Candy and Fudge:
Cookies:
Baked Desserts:
No Bake Desserts:

PRIZE #1

Prize #1 — Dixie Crystals is giving away one (1) Instant Pot (8 Qt) to one lucky winner!

PRIZE #2



Prize #2 — Adam’s Extract is giving one (1) winner 5 different extracts including a bottle of Pure vanilla and a color pack.

PRIZE #3

Prize #3 — Rainier Fruit is giving one (1) winner a box of Apples and some wonderful Apple themed goodies from Sur La Table

PRIZE #4

Prize #4 — Anolon is giving one (1) winner a Anolon® Vesta™ 9-Inch Square Baker in Cobalt Blue

PRIZE #5

Prize #5 — Microplane is giving one (1) winner a Twist & Zest, grip & strip and a classic zester/grater
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older.. All entries will be verified. No PO Boxes Please. Prizes will be sent directly from sponsors to winners, bloggers are not responsible for prizes. This giveaway runs from Marh 26th - April 1st at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterwards and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week long event, #EasterSweetsWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Rainier Fruit, Anolon and Microplane! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #EasterSweetsWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.

#EasterSweetsWeek Maple Bourbon Carrot Cake Bars

This post and recipe was created for #EasterSweetsWeek. I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine. This recipe contains alcohol but the alcohol is cooked out so it should be fine for children*

Welcome to this year's #EasterSweetWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. We’re so glad that you’ve joined us for this week-long event of Springtime and Easter dessert recipes! We're sharing tons of treats this week plus a few fantastic giveaways! You’re going to love what we have in store for you.




Easter and carrot cake go hand in hand, kind of Spring besties if you will. This is when I should admit that I am not a fan of carrot cake. I think it may be a texture issue for me. I don't necessarily dislike it I am just not prone to go out of my way and order it. These maple bourbon ooey gooey bars may have changed all that. Oh my goodness. Perfect pairing! These are Ooey Gooey Bars but you may have heard of them as a myriad of titles: Chess Bars, Neiman Marcus Bars etc. Whatever you call them, they are decadent! 



I am so psyched to be participating in Easter Dessert Week with a bunch of lovely (and talented) bloggers. I have seen what everyone is making for you all and you will not be disappointed! I just wanted to thank our amazing sponsors again and hope you enjoy my recipe!

Cake:
1 box carrot cake mix
8 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
Filling:
1 8 oz pkge of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
16 oz Dixie Crystal powdered sugar
1/2 oz Bourbon
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
Candy Eggs for decoration (optional)


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cake mix, egg, butter and mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs, maple syrup, and bourbon and beat together. 
Next, slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix well.  Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey. Let cool for about 20 minutes before you cut. These are really sweet, like overly sweet and so I usually serve them with ice cream to cut the sweetness but they are so delicious!





 Check out the amazing #EasterSweetsWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

Brownies:
Cakes:
Candy:
Cookies:
Baked Desserts:
No Bake Treats:

PRIZE #1
Prize #1 — Dixie Crystals is giving away one (1) Instant Pot (8 Qt) to one lucky winner!

PRIZE #2



Prize #2 — Adam’s Extract is giving one (1) winner 5 different extracts including a bottle of Pure vanilla and a color pack.

PRIZE #3

Prize #3 — Rainier Fruit is giving one (1) winner a box of Apples and some wonderful Apple themed goodies from Sur La Table

PRIZE #4

Prize #4 — Anolon is giving one (1) winner a Anolon® Vesta™ 9-Inch Square Baker in Cobalt Blue

PRIZE #5

Prize #5 — Microplane is giving one (1) winner a Twist & Zest, grip & strip and a classic zester/grater
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older.. All entries will be verified. No PO Boxes Please. Prizes will be sent directly from sponsors to winners, bloggers are not responsible for prizes. This giveaway runs from Marh 26th - April 1st at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterwards and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week long event, #EasterSweetsWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Rainier Fruit, Anolon and Microplane! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #EasterSweetsWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.

AC Hotel: Raleigh, North Hills

A few weeks ago we were able to enjoy a staycation at the lovely AC Hotel by Marriott in the North Hills section of Raleigh. This is the perfect spot for a weekend of fun and with the addition of the AC Hotel to North Hills, you can now stay and play with the added bonus of parking your car and not needing it again til you are ready to check out.  This is one of the best ways to weekend. Raleigh has long been overdue for a boutique hotel with panoramic views. 

The AC Hotel is conveniently located for anyone traveling to Raleigh for business or pleasure. Locals will also love it for its access to all the shopping, dining, and nightlife that is North Hills.  The hotel is a quick drive to downtown and is situated in the heart of the Oak City so you can easily get to wherever you need to be in no time. The rooftop bar is the perfect spot for European inspired tapas or craft cocktails with stunning views. 


We chose our staycation on a Friday in December and our room was the perfect place to unwind and relax after a long week at work. The lobby was all dolled up for Christmas and the tree was gorgeous and over the top gold and I totally loved it! The AC Hotel is sleek and modern but with a homey feel. The beds are so comfortable I had a hard time getting up to indulge in breakfast the next morning. I love that the floors aren't your typical hotel carpeting but a more urban feel with hardwoods. The tv is massive which made my husband rather happy and probably my favorite part of the rooms is that each bed has a light for reading which I love. I almost always fall asleep after indulging in a good book and often hotels have the huge lamps that light up the whole room and these small reading lights let me read and my husband sleep. Way to score some points with me! 


Friday night we lounged in our room for a bit, we had the upgraded king with an additional sofa which offered us plenty of space to relax for a time before we headed upstairs to Level 7, the gorgeous rooftop bar located on the 7th floor. We had originally planned to have dinner at one of the many restaurants located in the bustling North Hills but we were so satiated from our many dishes that we ended up catching a movie at the theater instead of having dinner somewhere else. 

You can read my previous post here about our meal and cocktails at Level 7 but keep in mind it is a fabulous option for an event; large or small. Birthday parties and girls weekends will be made better with a stay at AC Hotel and Level 7!

The hotel comes with a gym on the first floor along with a small library. I really love the local touches that the hotel offers. Off of the lobby is a small shop with wine, drinks, a few snacks and, best for last: Lumpys Ice cream! Lumpys is known for the decadent homemade ice cream. I also love that they offer these hand poured candles that you can purchase and they are made by a local Raleigh girl. She makes each one herself! They are a very soothing teal color that reminds me of the ocean. 





Tony and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about our stay at The AC Hotel in North Hills and I am already looking for dates to have a girls weekend this spring! This winter weather we have recently had has me dreaming of spring nights on the rooftop with breathtaking sunset views!

This post was done in a sponsorship with AC Hotel Raleigh but all opinions are my own. 

Level 7 Rooftop: Libations & Tasty Tempations

North Hills in Midtown Raleigh is one of my favorite areas of the city. There is so much to do and see.  You can grab a bite, shop at many of the boutiques, catch a movie at the theater. One of the options that was missing from North Hills was a really good rooftop for views and drinks with friends. Level 7 rooftop fulfills this need and more. We have been a few times and always enjoy ourselves, especially if we are able to catch the sunset. Level 7 is located in the sleek AC Hotel by Marriott. The hotel is fabulous and perfect for if you are visiting Raleigh and want a central location. The AC is hip without being overly sterile as some newer hotels can be and that is most likely due to the European inspired design that was used in building this lovely hotel. 





When you take the elevator and get out on the 7th floor you are met by an open space with lots of windows, numerous seating options and a fun, colorful bar area. If you are able to arrive and catch sunset, you will not be disappointed! The outdoor seating is spacious and the perfect gathering spot with friends before a night out. They also have heaters on the patio so you can enjoy the view for more than one season.   One of my favorite aspects of Level 7 is that they create quality cocktails in a fabulous ambiance. They truly have put thought into each of their cocktails and the tapas menu has a variety of options for just about everyone's palate.


I am a bourbon girl and that is what my taste buds gravitate towards.  My bartender asked me a few questions and led me to order the Level 7 Old Fashioned. This is typically one of my go to cocktails but I was slightly skeptical as it is made with Rye and I am not usually the biggest fan of Rye. Wellll, this drink changed that. I also loved the final touch of the cinnamon stick as it added a slight hint of favor that enhanced my drink. My husband is more of a gin fan and would normally go for simple and order a gin rickey or gin soda but went with the midnight martini. 

We were somewhat hungry and wanted to check out the tapas menu and ended up ordering a variety of plates. My husband really enjoyed the charcuterie board. He loved the quality of the cheeses and meats.  He added the olives and more than once commented how he appreciated that the olives were pitted, this always garners points from us when a restaurant serves them this way.  We also ordered the crisp potato wedges (these aren't your mamas potato wedges;) and the roasted wings.  The potatoes were perfectly cooked and had just a subtle flavor of olive oil, truffle and salt. So decadent.  The major hit for me however was the wings. They were so good I could have ordered more but decided to try and pretend to be classy while indulging at this trendy spot;) 







Level 7 is also a fabulous location to host your next gathering. They have plenty of space for a small get together or a larger event. They can stage the lounge to meet whatever your need is. They are more than willing to walk you around the space and work with you to get the most out of their location so that it works best for whatever event you may be planning. Just be sure to invite me as well. That seems fair. 

If you find yourself in the North Hills area, are looking for a place to plan a staycation or have friends/family visiting and looking for a place to stay that will double as your entertainment for the evening, check out the AC Hotel in North Hills and the Level 7 Rooftop . Be sure to follow along on their social media for any upcoming events they have planned! 

www.twitter.com/level7roofbar
www.instagram.com/level7rooftopbar
www.facebook.com/level7rooftopbar

Kiss My Boots

 A few weeks ago I took the quick trip from Raleigh to the small and charming town of Wendell to check out a distillery, Oaklee Distilling and their new release; Boots Vodka Troop Strength. Their space is small but the product and equipment used in the process is of highest quality. Obviously, if you follow my blog at all then you know my love language is bourbon. I enjoy a quality vodka in a cocktail but I have rarely sipped a vodka and found myself enjoying the flavor profile. Boots changed all that and I believe it is due to many reasons but the two main ones would be this is a much higher proof vodka at 90 proof and the fact that they use a "hybrid" of sweet potatoes and corn.  Lee was so pleasant and helpful and you can tell how much love and passion is behind this spirit. In 2018 Oaklee plans to release a gin and bourbon as well. I cannot wait to try them out as I know they will be outstanding. You know I'll be the first in line when the bourbon is released!



To find out even more, check out their website that offers a more thorough backstory and information along with a video. I am really excited to bring you guys this holiday inspired cocktail and I think you will really enjoy it. Boots pairs really well with the flavors I chose but Boots will serve you well as the vodka choice for any cocktail you make!




I chose to name this fun cocktail "Kiss My Boots"

This is a simple cocktail with a twist on typical holiday variations but one that goes down easy (maybe a little too easy so watch how much you pour in grandma's cup;) I used cranberry pomegranate but if you cannot find them together. just buy them separate and use about 1 1/2 oz of each. You should be able to find pear nectar in most grocery stores. I added a little more flavor by making my ice cubes of the cranberry pomegranate juice so not to water the cocktail down as it melts.


Kiss My Boots

*Makes 2 servings

3 oz Cran/Pom juice
2 oz Pear nectar
3 oz Boots Vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Ginger Beer

In a shaker with ice, combine the first four ingredients and shake vigorously. Fill two glasses with ice and pour the cocktails in the glass. Top each one with ginger beer and serve. You can also use Sprite if you are not a fan of the spice of ginger beer.

I *may* have enjoyed this tasty libation this while watching a Hallmark movie and wrapping presents.

Have a very Merry Christmas and I definitely recommend you purchase a bottle of Boots to ring in the New Year or even just 'survive' the holidays;)




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