All Posts By Amanda Rettke

Amanda is a wife, mom, baker and creative force behind iambaker.net. She homeschools her four children, lives in the land of 10,000 lakes and is self-appointed president of the Committee to Get Ina Garten on Twitter. (Amanda tweets at @iambakertweets)

Holiday Entertaining Made Easy: Wake Up to Breakfast Cookies

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 16th, 2014

Breakfast CookiesI find that breakfast is one of the hardest meals to plan for in entertaining. People seem to get up at different times, and coordinating a delicious treat for everyone, no matter the time they wander into the kitchen, is a never-ending struggle. Well, it was before I stumbled upon the idea for scrumptious breakfast cookies.

What makes the perfect breakfast cookie? After performing a very informal poll, I determined that people like a low-sugar cookie. They also seem to really like the addition of oatmeal. Most folks feel that cookies without oatmeal are like a regular cookie and therefore a bit to decadent for an early morning treat. As far as the addition of chocolate, it was determined that less is more. While everyone loves an ooey-gooey chocolate cookie in the afternoon, a morning cookie should utilize a hint of chocolate, so it is more of an accompanying flavor — not the star of the show.

I am sharing three recipes for breakfast cookies that are easy to make, assemble and serve. These are not your average oatmeal-and-raisin cookies. These unique flavors will delight the taste buds and are the perfect complement to all holiday entertaining.

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One Recipe for Brownies, Five Fun (and Easy) Ways to Jazz Them Up

by in Recipes, May 3rd, 2014

One Recipe for Brownies, Five Fun Ways to Jazz Them UpBrownies: Whether cakey or fudgy, milk or dark chocolate (or blondies), they’re a treat even the pickiest of eaters can get behind. The next time you whip up a batch, think outside the box. Use your favorite brownie recipe (or try one of Food Network‘s) and check out these five ways to keep brownies the main event at the dessert table.

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How to Make Candy Corn Hi-Hat Cupcakes for Halloween

by in Holidays, October 15th, 2013

Candy Corn Hi-Hat CupcakesHi-hat cupcakes are one of the most beautiful and decadent ways to enjoy a cupcake; while they can seem intimidating, they are actually very easy to make.

I am a big fan of surprise-inside treats and my cupcakes are no exception. These hat cupcakes hide a sweet fall-inspired surprise that replicates the colors of candy corn.

Find out what you’ll need to make these cupcakes

Mardi Gras Hi-Hat Cupcakes for the Entire Family

by in Holidays, February 9th, 2013

Mardi Gras Hi-Hat CupcakesThere is something so appealing about a hi-hat cupcake. It brings me back to childhood summers when we would sit outside the ice cream shop and desperately try to lick up the ice cream as it melted down our arms. Cherry-dip was always my favorite, but I was always outnumbered by the chocolate lovers.

With Mardi Gras around the corner, I thought I’d bake up something the whole family can enjoy. New Orleans is known for many institutional cocktails, but these sweets will allow the little ones to participate in the fun too. You can’t go wrong with a delectable yellow cupcake covered in sweet clouds of frosting and gently dipped in chocolate. That first bite is transcendent, the second so satisfying.

Get the recipe

Easy Halloween Bark

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 23rd, 2012

easy halloween bark recipeI recently came across Food Network Magazine‘s article about Mix-and-Match Chocolate Bark and was inspired to whip up something spooky for Halloween. The ingredients were simple, the directions were easy and the result was mouthwatering brilliance.

I decided to adapt the chocolate bark for the fall season and Halloween. I chose a dark-chocolate cookie with orange cream filling. You could use candy corn, orange marshmallows, orange-colored candy melts or any other Halloween-inspired treat.

Halloween Bark

1 (12-oz.) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
15 Halloween-themed cookies (like Oreos), chopping each cookie into four pieces

Keep reading for directions

Breakfast of Champions: Olympic Ring Pancakes

by in Events, Family, July 26th, 2012

olympic pancakes
I love the idea of using food to help teach my kids about life and culture.

My family recently learned about the history of the Olympics. The symbol of the rings, which is five interlocking rings on a white background, represent the “Five parts of the world, which were won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition” in 1914.

According to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who designed the infamous Olympic symbol, “The ring colors with the white background stand for those colors that appeared on all the national flags of the world at that time.”

I also stressed to my children the importance of eating foods that are good for you and provide energy. After asking my kids what their favorite event was, we talked about how athletes need the best possible “fuel” for their bodies. Wanting to create a special breakfast for them in honor of the Olympic games, I thought all-natural whole-wheat pancakes was a great way to kick off these summer games.

For this recipe, I used an all-natural pure maple syrup and found it to be a great way to talk about the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Get the recipe

A Chocolate Shamrock Cake

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 16th, 2012

chocolate shamrock cake
While St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday geared toward adults, I think it’s fun to make sure that what I make is also kid friendly.

This cake is a perfect compromise for adults and kids alike. Big people get a decadent piece of cake, while little people take part in a scavenger hunt.

What’s the best part about this cake? Wondering who will get the “lucky” piece or the piece with a four-leaf clover on it.

Learn how to make this simple cake

Last-Minute Super Bowl Cupcakes

by in Holidays, February 5th, 2012

football cupcakes
I can’t help it. As much as I want to deny it, Super Bowl Sunday for me is, well, not about football. Its about the food. It’s quite possibly one of my favorite get-togethers because people focus on two things:

1. Food that is easy to eat

2. Food that is delicious

No one is counting calories or worried if someone eats with their hands, it’s just all-out food fun.

I made these cupcakes with that in mind. They’re easy to make, so if you’re still looking for a last-minute dessert that you can make for your party, this one is a crowd-pleaser. I wanted to personalize them for the big day, but still make something that people can stuff in their mouth on a moment’s notice if the referee makes a horrendous call.

Find out what you’ll need to make these cupcakes »

A Holiday Surprise Cake

by in Holidays, How-to, December 22nd, 2011


I don’t know about you, but I love to make people happy. I strive for that moment in presentation when you hear an audible gasp of delight and surprise.

If I could, I would spend hours in the kitchen slaving away over a special dessert, but I can’t. And I am betting your time is valuable as well.

So that is why I could not be more excited to share this cake with you. It takes less than an hour to assemble, including prep. This stunning cake is so easy to make, but it can make a huge impact on your family and friends. They will be talking about it for years to come.

Let’s put it this way, if you can play with Play-Doh, you can make this cake.

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