Circus Mouth Cupcakes

July 15th, 2012

Yesterday was the 5th Annual Cupcakes Take the Cake Cupcake Picnic.  I attended the event for the first time 4 years ago (time flies!) and introduced my Cupcake Kebab and it went viral! Although I could never live up to that unexpected response in future years, I’ve still used the event as an opportunity to share new creations like the Sangria Cupcake Stack, Dirt and Flower Cupcake and this year…Circus Mouth!

Circus what?! Allow me to explain…

I knew I wanted to make something colorful this year – and I also wanted to try baking something in a cake.  So, I went to the source and looked for inspiration at Bake It in a Cake!

Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cupcakes in progress…

I found a recipe for Circus Animal Cupcakes and my creation inspiration had begun! I wanted to incorporate 5 layers to honor 5 years of the picnic and use all “circus food” related flavors (popcorn, licorice, cotton candy, candied apples, etc).  So I needed a filling, frosting, garnish and topper. And have all the flavors actually taste good together!

Red Licorice Filling setting up.

I found the perfect filling thanks to Cupcake Wars and their Red Licorice Filling Recipe  (ALWAYS use Red Vines – NO Twizzlers).


The frosting would come from a recipe I’ve been using for years – Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting.

Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting

And then it was time for the garnish…I found inspiration from a Popcorn Cake Recipe but rather than form it into a cake I simple placed it on my cupcake and used Pretzel M&M’s and chopped up Circus Peanuts in place of regular pretzels and M&Ms.

Caramel Apple Mini Cupcakes getting ready for the oven. Note: I learned to use less caramel per mini next time!

My original plan to make a Candied Apple Mini Cupcake as my topper was thwarted by the lack of red hots in the many stores I stopped at to find them.  So it became a Caramel Apple Mini Cupcake instead.  I used the caramel topping (minus nuts) used in this Betty Crocker Recipeand then added a Baked Apple Donut Hole Batter on top.  I learned a critical lesson in this step…USE LESS CARAMEL! As it baked, the caramel began to overflow which in turn caused it to land on my stove floor and set off my smoke alarm. Oops.  Thankfully not all the caramel was lost and the minis didn’t burn!

Center L-R: Cupcake filled w/ Red Licorice Filling, Plus Cotton Candy Frosting, Plus Popcorn Garnish and finally the Caramel Apple Mini on top!

After everything was cooled it was time to assemble! I originally placed vanilla wafer sticks in the center of the Caramel Apple Minis but they proved to be more trouble than they were worth as they began to wilt by the cake’s moisture and also caused some cakes to split. I decided the cakes were okay on their own!

And finally…the finished product. Circus Mouth Cupcakes – Your mouth will be full of circus food flavor w/ every bite! 🙂

Presenting the Circus Mouth Cupcake!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 7

November 20th, 2011

In this episode I create a treat based on The Band Perry’s favorite snacks.  Perry Pieces are so good, they may make you want to sing! 🙂

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 7, Sweets to Sing About…

Inspired by White Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookies from and The Band Perry Official Fan Club,

Perry Pieces Ingredients

Perry Pieces

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, slightly crushed up

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

12 oz pkg Mini Peanut Butter Cups, chop each cup in fourths

2 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies

12 oz Dark Chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cake pan and set aside.

In small bowl beat margarine and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla until well combined.

In large bowl combine flour, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, baking powder and salt. Slowly add wet ingredients along with Mini Peanut Butter Cup chunks until just combined.

Spread mixture evenly into cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown.

Let cool. Then crumble bars. Place half of the crumbles in a bowl. Spread the other half over a wax paper lined baking tray. Set tray aside.

Add Cocoa Rice Krispies to bowl and mix with crumbles. Then add  Dark Chocolate until mixture is coated.

Spread Dark Chocolate mixture evenly and firmly over crumbles on tray.  Place tray in refrigerator to let mixture harden.

Once mixture is hardened, break into pieces and Enjoy!


Aimee Todoroff

And here’s info on the “Before They Are SuperStar’s Taste Tester”, Aimee Todoroff‘s theatre company fundraiser

Elephant Run District “Babes in New York” Fundraiser

Monday, November 21, 2011 – 7-10pm

Please join us for an evening celebrating the first year of the Elephant Run District and fundraiser for next year’s production of “Rabbit Island,” a Coney Island themed comedy about fitting in, freaking out, and becoming a “real” New Yorker.

We’ll be having fun raffle prizes, amazing silent auction items, and some stellar performances by some of New York’s most talented transplants.

Hosted by Chad Lindsey, featuring Adam Wade, Cathryn Lynne and Laura Butler.

$30 suggested donation at the door.

If you are unable to attend, or would simply like to support the work we do, please make a 100% tax deductible donation through our profile with The Field:

Thank you and Much Love from The District.

PS- Please “like us” on Facebook-

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 6

September 5th, 2011

Now you can celebrate #Jerzday everyday with this Snooki inspired recipe on this episode of “Celebrity Nibbles by Nora”!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 6, Tastes Like Jersey Shore …

Inspired by Savory Cornmeal Cookies Recipe from and “Snooki Cookies” suggestion from youtube viewer, Lola801.

Snooki Cookies

Snooki Cookies  

About 3 Dozen Cookies


1 cup white cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa*

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp chili or cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon*

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese (shredded)

1/2 cup dill pickles pulp (chopped well in blender)

2 Tbsp margarine (melted)

1 egg

1/3 cup dill pickle juice

1/4 cup water



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease baking sheet(s).

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, chile/cayenne and black peppers. Stir in cheese and dill pickle pulp. Then add melted margarine, egg, pickle juice and water. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes or more to let batter firm up a little.

Drop rounded Tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet(s).

Bake on top or center rack in oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.


Note: Leftover Snooki Cookies can be stored in an airtight containers for up to 2 days.


And here’s info on the “Before They Were SuperStar’s Taste Tester”, Zach

Zach McCoy

McCoy‘s Show that he’s in, “The Birthday Boys”.

ArtEffects Theatre Company Presents:

The Birthday Boys By Aaron Kozak

Directed by: Montserrat Mendez

Winner of the 2010 Hollywood Fringe First Award (world premiere) and the LA Fringe Award (LA Theatre Review Critic’s Choice).

“A high-tension, clock-ticking-away dramatic thriller.” —

Three Marines captured by insurgents during an unheard-of infiltration of the Al Asad green zone struggle with the horror of captivity and their unknowable fate. But what first appears to be a kidnapping unravels an emotionally complex trio of characters dealing with major values such as honor, good, evil, commitment, ethics, God and country. Tense, hilarious and frequently heart-wrenching, The Birthday Boys keeps us guessing on the edge of our seats, as we barrel towards a shocking climax.


Kristi McCarson

Phil Newsom

Stage Manager: *Mary Spadoni


Lowell Byers

Walker Hare

Zach McCoy

Abraham Makany

Jevon McFerrin

Patrick Cann

Roland Lane

(*courtesy of actors equity, an equity approved showcase)

PR/Marketing: Lanie Zipoy

Graphic Design: Theresa Evangelista

Lighting Design: Porsche McGovern

Set Design: Jason Bolen

Sound Design: Patrick Metzger

Costume/props: Rebecca Snyder/ Kristi McCarson

Performance Dates:

Thurs. Sept 15th, 8pm

Fri. Sept 16th, 8pm

Sat. Sept 17th, 8pm

Sun. Sept 18, 3pm and 8pm.

Wed. Sept 21, 8pm

Thurs Sept 22, 8pm

Fri, Sept. 23, 8pm

Sat, Sept 24, 8pm

Sun, Sept 25, 3pm


Access Theatre

380 Broadway (at White Street)

New York, NY 10013 (2 blocks South of Canal)

4th Floor

Tickets price: $18

Purchase online at

or Reserve tickets at:

Discounted tickets available for military personnel and Veterans for $10 (Please email for details).



Cookies & Booze

July 3rd, 2011

For a looong time now I’ve used Yelp reviews to find the best restaurants, doctors, places to visit when traveling, etc but it wasn’t until recently I decided to become an active participant in Yelp and start contributing my own reviews.

When I officially became a “Yelp” member I made a new discovery. Yelp is also a forum (like Meetup) to post activities.  And the first activity I spotted? Cookies & Booze 9!  Once I knew that this event was in fact open to anybody I then had to decide what cookies to make!

Since I had leftover dried cranberries from my B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcakes, I began to sift thru my numerous cookbooks to see what I could find for inspiration.

Inspiration struck in the form of  “Cappuccino Spice Cookies” from 100 Best Holiday Cookies and I began tweaking.

My initial thought was to halve the recipe but then I mis-calculated how much coffee to add. Oops.

After several minutes of panic, this mis-calculation ended up being a happy accident.  (Phew!)  However, I was a bit concerned about how much the cookies would spread if baked individually so I decided to corral them (and save time scooping) in a circular cake tin to make “Giant Coffee Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

You can see some photos from the event on my Facebook Page and you can get the recipe below!

Giant Coffee Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Coffee Cranberry Chcolate Chip Cookies



1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 cup boiling water
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla*
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
â…› tsp ground nutmug
â…› tsp ground cloves
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

*If you use flavored instant coffee, you can omit vanilla extract. You can replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you prefer.


Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.

Dissolve coffee granules in boiling water. Beat margarine and sugars in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, coffee and vanilla*; beat until well blended.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves in medium bowl; gradually add to margarine mixture until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

If mixture seems a little too gooey, place mixture in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to firm it up.

Prepare circular cake pan (about 8” x 2”) by placing aluminum foil around the inside with enough leftover at the top so you can pull the cookie out when it is done baking. (You will need to do this for each cookie.)

Spread a thin layer of cookie batter in the bottom of the cake pan, making sure it’s spread evenly.

Place in oven for 10-12 minutes or until set. Let cookie stay in pan for a few minutes then carefully pull it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack in the aluminum foil.
Prepare the pan with aluminum foil again, spread cookie batter inside and so on until you have used all of your batter.

Once cookies have cooled completely, carefully peel away the aluminum foil and serve!


Note: They do have a bar/cake like quality to them. I’m not sure if they’d bake well if a thicker layer was used to make them an actual bar or not but if you try it, let me know how they turn out! 🙂


Former Recipe Contest Addict

July 3rd, 2011

The results are in for the Lucky Leaf  “Made With Love” Recipe Contest aaaaand my submissions did not make the top 3.  According to their site, they will be posting the full top 10 but I’m assuming I would have heard if I would have made that, right?!

At any rate, I thought I would share my non-award winning recipes with you here.  They do sound unusual but they tasted good to me! :)  If you do decide to use one of them let me know if you add your own tweaks to it as I know everyone has a different preference when it comes to spices and whatnot.

Here ya go!

Cherry Cornbread Casserole Kicker


1 21-ounce can LUCKY LEAF ® Lite Cherry Pie Filling

Cherry Cornbread Casserole Kicker

1/2 cup salsa

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained

1 ½ teaspoons cumin

*optional* 4 links chicken sausages, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (approx. 2 cups) or a similar meat preference

1 box cornbread/muffin mix

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add Lucky Leaf Lite Cherry Pie Filling, salsa, black beans, tomatoes/chiles, cumin and chicken sausage to large sauce pan. Stir ingredients over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, until mixture is incorporated warmed through. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Pour cherry mixture into 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread spoonfuls of the cornbread mixture evenly over the cherry mixture.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, checking to make sure cornbread is done.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Blueberry Meatloaf Muffins


1 21-ounce can LUCKY LEAF ® Premium Blueberry Pie Filling

½ cup ketchup

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef or turkey

1 egg

3 – 4 whole-wheat bread slices, torn into pieces

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin by coating with cooking spray.

Add first 3 ingredients to large sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat stirring frequently, about 5 minutes until mixture is incorporated and starting to thicken. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Then add 2 cups of the blueberry mixture to the bowl and mix. Start dividing meat mixture evenly among muffin tins – makes approx 16-20. Top each mixture with a spoonful of remaining blueberry mixture.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Check center of one of the muffins to make sure it is browned through. Let cool slightly before serving.


Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 4

June 27th, 2011

Episode 4 of Celebrity Nibbles by Nora – just in time for the 4th of July!

And here is the recipe for the B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcakes…

Inspired by Beer Spice Cake Recipe from, Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake Recipe by Ina Garten from and Pretzel Icing Recipe from

B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcakes

B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcakes

Makes 13 Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

1 Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored and diced)

6oz dried cranberries

1 Tbsp orange zest

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

***Use 2 oranges for zest/juice***

1 cup beer

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients (fruit and beer) together and set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the margarine and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add flour mixture alternatively with beer mixture and mix well until combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake about 20 minutes. Cool.

Pretzel Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1 cup pretzels, crushed into crumbs/smaller pieces

16 oz cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup milk


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Then add sugar until well combined, followed by vanilla and then pretzel crumbs/pieces.  Add milk a little at a time to get the right consistency. ***You can always add more but it’s hard to remove if you add too much.  With this in mind, you may not use all of the milk.***


Once Cupcakes have cooled, generously frost them with the Pretzel Cream Cheese Frosting. For an additional patriotic touch on top of your B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcake you can add pretzels dipped in red, white or blue candy melt and add the same colored sprinkles (see photo and video). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.




John Gallop III

And here’s info on “Before They Are Superstars Taste Tester” John Gallop III’s show, The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for the Pig.

SoHo Think Tank/Ohio Theater’s ICE FACTORY presents

Untitled Theater Company No. 61’s production of the English-language premiere of The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig

A theatrical-musical-technological-gastronomic extravaganza text by Václav Havel adapted for the stage by Vladimír Morávek

Featuring music from The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana

Translation and additional text by Edward Einhorn

Direction and musical arrangements by Henry Akona

With: Katherine Boynton, Elizabeth Figols Galagarza, John Gallop, Andrew Goldsworth, Robert Honeywell, Michael Hopewell, Jenny Lee Mitchell, Mateo Moreno, Phoebe Silva, Moira Stone, Terence Stone, Michael Whitney, Sandy York

Accordianist/Assistant Music Director: Melissa Elledge, Cello: Michael Midlarsky, Violin: Amanda Lo

Choreography/Assistant Producer: Patrice Miller, Set Design: Jane Stein, Costume Design: Carla Gant, Lighting Design: Jeff Nash, Video Design: Kate Freer and David Tennent, Dramaturg: Karen Lee Ott; Assistant Director: Joe Pikowski, Stage Manager: Elizabeth Irwin

Wed June 29 – Sat July 2, 7pm

Václav Havel needs a pig he can slaughter and cook for a party with his dissident friends. An American journalist arrives for an interview. The villagers have a pig to sell, but where is it? And why is everyone singing The Bartered Bride? Food, drink, song, video, politics and celebration collide in this adaptation by experimental Czech director Vladimír Morávek of Havel’s text and Smetana’s music. Untitled Theater Company No. 61, the company that brought you The Havel Festival, presents the English-language premiere of this theatrical-musical-technological-gastronomic extravaganza, translated by Edward Einhorn and directed by Henry Akona. Celebrate the 4th of July by joining us at a Czech zabíjačka feast. Reserve a table and enjoy a meal or just sit back and enjoy the party.

Tickets $18/$35 with meal. Buy them here:

Limited seating, so purchase your tickets early!

Three Legged Dog (3LD)

80 Greenwich Street

New York, NY

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 3

June 4th, 2011

For those that missed it, here’s a link to the third episode!

“Celebrity Nibbles by Nora – Team ShortyNache Scores!”

And here’s the recipe for the Razzle Razz DWTS Edible Scorecards…

Inspired by Shortbread Cookie Recipe from and Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Recipe from

Razzle Razz DWTS Edible Scorecards

Razzle Razz DWTS Edible Scorecards

Makes 12 Edible Scorecards

Shortbread Cookie Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


Beat butter in bowl until smooth. Then beat in sugar, vanilla & salt until smooth. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or until firm.

Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

On a lightly floured surface roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out circles no larger than 3 inches across. (A larger biscuit cutter works nicely.) Place circles on baking sheet and place baking sheet in refrigerator for 15 minutes. (This will help dough maintain shape while baking.) During this time preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Ingredients

10 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped and melted

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup raspberry jam


Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until well mixed. If frosting is too thick to spread easily, add a little cream.

Additional Item/Ingredients for Assembly

1 1/2 lbs White Chocolate, melted

12 Wooden Craft Sticks

2 tsp vanilla extract

Gold Disco Dust

1 Red and 1 Black tube of Wilton Sparkle Gel OR Royal Icing (see NbyN Recipe #2) colored Red and Black


Spread ganache onto the bottom of a shortbread cookie, then place a craft stick in the center making sure there is enough ganache to hold it in place. Add another shortbread cookie on top of the ganache and stick. Place in refrigerator for several minutes to let ganache harden.

Prepare cookie sheet(s) lined with wax paper. Begin dipping cookies in a shallow pan of melted white chocolate (see video). Use a spatula to assist with evenly distributing the white chocolate on the sides and all around. Place on cookie sheet and put back in refrigerator until white chocolate has hardened. Once hardened, you can use a knife to assist with rounding out edges that may not be perfect.

Mix vanilla extract with a couple dashes of disco dust – a little goes a long way! Flip the cookies so the side that was on the cookie sheet is facing up.  Using a  pastry brush, spread the disco dust mixture on the top of each cookie. Then add numbers and outer circle (see photo) using red and black gel/icing.


And here’s information on where you can see “Before They Are SuperStars Taste Tester”,

Jessica Ritacco

Jessica Ritacco in the sketch comedy group, Desperate Times.

Upcoming Desperate Times performances:

—MAY 11th, 9pm, SKETCH BLOCK at Under St. Mark’s Theatre, 94 St. Mark’s Place. Desperate Times will be one of many hilarious sketch teams performing at the popular monthly sketch extravaganza: Sketch Block!  Tickets are $8.

—MAY 14th, 8:30pm, The Living Room, 154 Ludlow Street. Desperate Times will be one of several featured performers at “Got Greek?  A Fundraiser for the Euripides Series Summer 2011”.   Reserve tickets for $12.50 online at or pay $15 at the door.

—MAY 15th, 8pm, The Creek and Cave Restaurant and Bar, 10-93 Jackson Ave in Long Island City.  Desperate Times will be opening for the awesome improv team FRODUCE.  Free admission!

—MAY 18th, 8pm, Burning Bridges Comedy at McSwiggans Bar, 393 2nd ave (corner of 23rd st.) Desperate Times will be featured performers at a new weekly comedy show Presented by Ray Field & Todd Montesi!

Great Drink Deals and no Cover! (1 drink minimum)

More information can be found at


Celebrity Nibbles By Nora, Episode 2

May 8th, 2011

Time for another episode of Celebrity Nibbles by Nora – A Royal Treat!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 2 – A Royal Treat!

And here’s the recipe for the “Will & Kate 4Eva Shortbread Tarts”.

Inspired by Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling Recipe on and Emily’s Famous Chocolate Shortbread Cookies on

Will & Kate 4Eva Shortbread Tarts

Makes 12 Tarts – using regular sized muffin tin

English Breakfast Tea Shortbread Tart Shell Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

4 tsp English Breakfast Tea (from tea bag)

1/8 tsp salt


2 Tbsp Corn Syrup

Silver Dragees & Edible Silver Glitter


Beat butter and sugar together in bow. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cornstarch, tea and salt and mix just until incorporated.

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and place one ball of dough in the center of each muffin tin. With your fingertips, press the dough up the sides of the individual tins so there is an indentation in the center. Once filled, place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the shortbread can become firm. (This will help to prevent the shortbread from puffing up during baking.)

Bake for approximately 18 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned. About halfway through the baking time, lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread, with the tines of a fork, if they have puffed up. Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. (If they have puffed up again, take the back of a spoon and press the center down again while they are still warm.) When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the muffin pan.

Optional-Once tarts are cooled, take a small pastry brush or clean paint brush and spread corn syrup around the rim of the tart.  Then sprinkle edible glitter/sparkles and place dragees around the rim.

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients

4 oz Cream Cheese – softened

7 oz of sweetened condensed milk

Juice & Zest from 1 Lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract


Royal Blue Food Coloring


Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until fluffy. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, vanilla and food coloring and process just until smooth. (Do not over process or the filling will be too runny.) Cover the bowl and refrigerate until serving time. (It is best to make the filling at least a day in advance to give it time to become firm and for all the flavors to mingle)

Cadbury Royal Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies Ingredients

Note: Recipe will make more than a dozen cookies, but you can freeze leftover dough to use for later! 🙂

1 cup powdered sugar

3.5oz Cadbury Royal Dark Chocolate Bar (melted)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

9 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, melted chocolate, flour and salt until well blended. Cut in the butter until lumps are no larger than peas. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until a stiff dough forms.  If dough is somewhat sticky, put in the refrigerator for a while to firm.

Once dough is firm, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and use small heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake about 8-10 minutes or until surface appears dry. Allow cookies to cool, frost w/ Royal Icing (see recipe below). Once Royal Icing has dried (put in refrigerator for a while to speed this up) you can personalize with edible markers, gel or frosting.

Royal Icing Ingredients

1/4 cup meringue powder

2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsp Water – Add more if necessary to get correct spreading consistency

Beat all ingredients together in bowl until desired consistency is reached. If you add too much water, add 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar at a time until mixture thickens again.


Right before serving, fill tart shells with cream cheese filling and place shortbread cookies in the center of the cream cheese filling to garnish.



And here’s information on the reading “Before They Are SuperStars Taste Tester”, Rachel Dart, is directing!

Rachel Dart

Book: Zac Kline

Music: Mark T Evans

Lyrics: Eric Kubo

Musical Director: Mark T Evans

Director: Rachel Dart

On Easter Sunday 1967, Jim Thompson, an American businessman credited with revitalizing the Thai silk industry, mysteriously disappeared while taking a walk in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia – to this day he has not been found.

Performed by:

Al Bundonis*

Steven Eng*

Anthony Holds*

Jaygee Macapugay*

Andrew Redlawsk*

Megan Stern*

Sandy York*

Katie Zaffrann

*denotes member of Actors’ Equity

Tickets at

When: Sun May 8th  8:00 pm

Location: TADA! Theater, 15 W 28th St, 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10001

Tickets: $10

More Info: “I Am Jim Thompson” is part of Notes from a Page – Emerging Artists New Works Series.


Remember to email your celebrity suggestions to!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 1

April 7th, 2011

While awaiting results for the last recipe contest I entered (check back in early May), I decided it was time for a new baking related challenge: creating a baking webisode.

So last weekend, armed with my Flip Camera, tripod, various brainstorm scribbles & props and a friend who was game to be my taste tester, I began putting the pieces together and by the wee hours of Monday morning, the first episode (Return of the Foo) of  “Celebrity Nibbles by Nora” was posted on YouTube.

Rather than blather on about it, I’ll just let you watch the episode of Celebrity Nibbles By Nora – Return of the Foo!. Click Here.

Red Hot & Rockin' Foo Cookies

Here’s the recipe for the “Red Hot & Rockin’ Foos Cookies.  (Inspired by Black & White Cookie Recipe on

Bake a batch while you listen to their new album! 🙂

Red Hot & Rockin’ Foo Cookie Recipe

Makes 6-8 Cookies

Cookie Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup margarine, softened

1 egg


Preheat oven at 350 degrees F

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in separate bowl.

Beat together margarine and sugar in large bowl until pale and fluffy. Then add egg, beating until combined. Mix in flour and buttermilk mixture alternatively. Keep mixing until smooth.

Butter baking sheet. Then spoon 1/4 cups of batter onto baking sheet spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are puffed and pale golden. Let cool.

*Quick Tip* Use a biscuit cutter to make your cookies perfectly round after baking

Icing Ingredients

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup Cinnamon Red Hots


1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Red food coloring (optional)*


Pour red hots into small pan and add just enough water to cover them. Then place the pan on the stove and warm to medium heat. Continue stirring red hots until dissolved. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, vanilla and 4 Tablespoons of liquid Red Hots. Stir until smooth.

Transfer half the icing to another bowl. Add cocoa powder and 3 Tablespoons of liquid Red Hots. Stir until smooth.

*You can add red food coloring to the other half to achieve the red color in the photo

Icing Cookies

Turn cooled cookies flat sides up, then carefully spread red icing over half of each cookie and chocolate icing over the other half.

*Quick Tip* If you want to add a Foo Fighters logo to the cookies, put them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden the frosting.


And here’s info on “Before They Are Superstars Taste Tester” Bill Bria’s show, Killing Time.

Bill Bria

Tom Slot’s original play “Killing Time” will be making its world debut at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Spring Playfest 2011 this April.

A prostitute, a Star Trek fan, a mute math Teacher, and a tree lover seek to discover why they are trapped in the afterlife together while a cop and a Jersey girl fall in love at Starbucks. Killing Time is an absurdist dramatic comedy that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions of the ages, like will we ever get the hoverboards from Back to The Future II?


Written and Directed by Tom Slot

Technical Director and Stage Managed by Amanda Raymond.

Starring Nicole Balsam, Milee Bang, Bill Bria, Paul Caron, Sheila Griffin, Sharon Pinney, Nishi Rajan, Jordan Swisher, and Stephen Thornton.

4/27/2011 – 9 PM

4/29/2011 – 9 PM

5/1/2011 – 8 PM

Tickets $20.

For ticket reservations call (646) 329 – 6588.


Be sure to email with celebrity suggestions for a future episode!

Pom Wonderful Valentines Cupcake Contest Recipe

March 30th, 2011

Another recipe contest caught my eye via Pom Wonderful and I was admittedly hesitant to enter because the winner was determined by number of votes online – which made it more of a popularity contest than about quality of recipe.  BUT since every entry equaled a dollar donated to the American Heart Association, I decided to give it a shot anyway!

The recipe submitted needed to have a Valentine theme and include Pom Wonderful juice in the recipe.  So this  is what I came up with while watching Gwenyth and Cee Lo shake it at The Grammys. 🙂

Honey, Pucker Up! Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 oz Bottle of Pom Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1/4 cup Lemon Juice

Frosting Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cupcake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 1 muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, Pom Wonderful and lemon juice.

Stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Fill each cupcake liner ¾ full. Bake about 30 minutes. Makes approximately a dozen cupcakes.

Frosting Directions

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix until there is a good spreading consistency.  Add more powdered sugar if necessary. Spread generously on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Alas, I didn’t get enough votes to get in the top 3, but when I shared this creation with the guards and maintenance crew  at work, they gave it a thumbs up and I think you will, too! 🙂

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