f Sarah Lynn's Sweets

Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples

If you've read my blog very much, you know I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman! I've tried a ton of her recipes including Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, Cinnamon Chip Scones, Steak Butter...you get the point. Well, last weekend I got to meet her! She was the celebrity chef at a food show in the city we used to live in. 

My husband and I bought tickets several months ago, so I've been looking forward to it for a long time! The whole weekend was wonderful; we got to visit some of our favorite local restaurants and places. The actual food show included tons of venders letting us sample delicious treats from all across KY. We sampled ice cream, popcorn, cheeses, country ham, bacon, sauces, and so much more! 

While we enjoyed the show in general, we were most excited about the Pioneer Woman! We showed up an hour and a half before the show started to ensure we were one of the 150 that got to get a book signed by her. It was so crazy to actually meet her, since I watch her show all the time on Food Network. I probably acted a little weird...I was super star struck! She was as friendly and nice as she appears on TV.

The main event, though, was a food demonstration by Pioneer Woman. She cooked, answered questions, and told some hilarious stories! For the cooking demonstration, she did a twist on her pork chops and apple recipe replacing the white wine with a KY staple - bourbon. The food looked (and smelled) delicious, so we didn't wait too long to try her recipe ourselves. 

A few months ago, we made another bourbon pork chop recipe inspired by a Food Network chef - Bobby Flay's Bourbon Ancho Chile Pork Chops. This recipe is different, but just as delicious! Not only are the flavors delicious, but the apples make it a perfect recipe for Fall.
Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples ingredients:
  • 6 boneless pork chops (we used thin breakfast chops)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 whole gala apples
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples instructions:
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium high heat
  • Salt and pepper one side of the pork chops and place in skillet seasoned side down
  • Season the other side of the pork chops
  • Cook each side of the pork chop for about 2 mins to get a nice sear on the chops

  • Continue cooking the chops until they are done, flipping back and forth between the sides as needed
  • Once pork chops are finished cooking, remove from the skillet
  • Leave the butter and oil in the skillet and reduce heat to low medium
  • Toss in the apples and coat them in the butter and oil
  • Pour in the bourbon and apple cider vinegar
  • Scrape the bottom of the of the skillet to mix in the seasonings
  • Cook the apple mixture until the liquid is reduced by half, approximately 5 mins
  • Mix in syrup, salt, and pepper

  •  Add pork chops back into the skillet and simmer for 20 minutes

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball

Ever have to restrain yourself from licking the spoon when making cakes? I control myself (usually) since I bake a lot of cakes, but I love anything and everything cake batter! Up until recently, my favorite way to enjoy the flavor was cake batter ice cream. Lately, though, I've been seeing cake batter dips on Pinterest that make me want to reach into the screen and take a bite! After pinning several and never making them, I finally found one I couldn't resist - Funfetti cheese ball.

This dessert cheese ball (found on What's Cooking Love) is made with cream cheese, granulated and powdered sugar, Funfetti cake mix, and sprinkles. This simple, tasty treat will trick your taste buds into thinking you are eating cake, it is that delicious! Not only will it tickle your taste buds, but it is also festive and adorable with the brightly covered sprinkles.

This cheese ball is perfect for a party or get together, which is probably a good idea - it's dangerously addictive! I made it for a recent get together, and it was a huge hit. There were a few skeptics in the crowd at first, but everyone dug in and said it tasted just like eating cake batter! Even someone who claimed they strongly disliked cream cheese, couldn't stop themselves from digging in for more. For our get together, I served it in a chip/dip platter we had with vanilla wafers and graham cracker cookies.

Here's the simple recipe -

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups Funfetti cake mix (dry)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Vanilla wafers, fruit, graham crackers, cookies, etc

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball directions:

  • Beat together butter and cream cheese until combined
  • Mix in Funfetti cake mix, sugar, and powdered sugar until fully combined
  • Dump the mixture onto plastic wrap and bring up the edges
  • Wrap up the mixture into a ball and fully cover in plastic wrap
  • Freeze the ball for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until it keeps its shape
  • Pour out the sprinkles onto a plate
  • Unroll the plastic wrap and roll the mixture around the sprinkle plate until fully covered.
  • Rewrap in plastic wrap and freeze for an additional 2+ hours
  • Serve with fruit, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, and more (if left frozen overnight, thaw 20-30 mins before serving)

Elmo Birthday Cake

I've decorated quite a few cakes over the past couple years. Of all the cakes I have made, though, the kids birthday cakes have been my favorite! Between bright colors and whimsical characters, it's hard not to smile when you are working on them. While character cakes can be difficult, it's a fun challenge to have.

It had been a while since I've made a kids cake, but I had one last week for a little girl's 2nd birthday. I had previously made treats for her first birthday including a ladybug smash cake and cupcakes. I also made bottle cap toppers for her dad's birthday. 

The girls birthday party was Elmo themed with pink and orange details. I looked around online for ideas and decided to decorate the cake with Elmo, polka dots, and a Sesame Street-style sign with the birthday girl's name and age. The Elmo took a couple tries to get right, but I think it came out looking like the beloved character.

To create this treat, I covered an 8 inch cake with buttercream and ironing it out with a fondant smoother and a non-pattern paper towel. I covered made small marble sized balls of pink fondant. I then created various sized pink and orange polka dots.

The front of the cake was decorated with a Sesame Street-style sign. The name was created with thin ropes of white fondant formed to create letters.

Of course Elmo was the main feature of the cake. He was made with fondant and edible markers. I used a printout of the character to ensure I got the details just right. You really have to pay special attention to even the minor details (for example, Elmo's fur) to ensure you capture the essence of the character.

I have another cake coming up soon, so make sure and check back! I also have some delicious recipes to share this week.