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Mini Meyer Lemon Coconut Scones | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

There are so many reasons why I love what I do, this crazy-fun food blogging thing — including the fact that I get to make and eat things like mini Meyer lemon coconut scones, take photos of them, write about them and share the recipe with you (and if I could actually share the scones with you in real life, maybe in my living room with a cup of coffee in hand, too, that would MAKE MY DAY). But I also love it because of the people I’ve met and the wonderful community of food bloggers I get to call my friends.

One such dear friend is getting married in just a few short weeks. And so when this community can’t be there in person to celebrate our friend, we instead rally with an online bridal shower of epic proportions. I might be bringing these scones, but they are only a small portion of the mouthwatering yums that are being brought to the virtual table. And the love we all have for this lady is pretty epic, too.

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Cream Cheese Swirl Carrot Coffee Cake | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

I have some pretty horrible memories of coffee cake – you probably do, too. Something along the lines of a stale, crumbly pastry filled with some gelatinous mixture reminiscent of cream cheese and a gloopy fruit layer, with a cloyingly sweet glaze on top? Ring a bell? Been there? Yeah, me, too. Let’s not go back there again.

Instead, let’s make new coffee cake memories, starting with this recipe for cream cheese swirled carrot coffee cake = a.k.a., a carrot cake-flavored coffee cake with a decadent cream cheese filling and a delightful streusel topping. And glaze. But not the kind that will make your mouth pucker with the sweetness; rather, it’s the kind that will make you shovel forkful after forkful of this goodness into said mouth again and again.

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Irish Brown Bread | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

If there is anything the Irish know best — well, besides a well-brewed pint of beer and how to make cabbage actually taste good — it’s their bread.

I say this not even being a huge fan of soda bread. It’s just too dry and boring for me, and I’ll always associate it with that one time in fourth grade that I tried to make it for a school project (about… the Irish? I don’t even know) and it baked like a solid rock (and tasted like I’d imagine one would, too). I won’t even talk about that other time in eighth grade when I tried making kimchi. Oy.

Now I know (I hope) my skills in the ways of bread baking have come a long way since my preteen days, but it’s just one of those memories I can’t shake. So when I decided to give Irish brown bread a try, I did so with much trepidation.

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Caramelized Shallot and Smoked Gruyere Gougeres | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

I refuse to talk about the weather. How winter’s chill has officially cut to the bone, how I can wear a full down jacket with a furry hood, a scarf that wraps around my neck 100 times, extra-thick mittens, fleece-lined leggings, leg warmers and snow boots and STILL shiver me timbers, how all I want to do these days is sit wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace with an oversized mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top cupped in my hands and watch the snow fall against the gray sky and reminisce about those dreamy days back in July when I, if I can even believe it, wore flip flops outdoors and my teeth didn’t chatter incessantly. The wonder!

But like I said, I refuse to talk about it. So let’s talk about these tasty caramelized shallot and smoked Gruyere gougeres — a.k.a. perfect little puffy bites of cheesy, caramelized deliciousness — instead.

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Glazed Grapefruit Poppy Seed Muffins | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

So. These were not the muffins I intended to post.

The ones I intended? They were healthy. They were made with 100% whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt and less sugar and topped with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. And those muffins, when they came out of the oven, looked like craggy rocks and tasted like cardboard. Boo hiss.

Instead, I give you these glazed grapefruit poppy seed muffins! The final product. The BETTER product, trust. The product that still has some whole wheat flour in it and less sugar and reduced fat milk but also, all the yums (like that grapefruit glaze, yeahhhhh). Which is really what I was going for all along.

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15 Holiday Bread Recipes | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

The question you should be asking yourself is not if you’ll be baking any holiday bread recipes, but rather which one. I KNOW — it’s a tough decision. But not to worry, as I’ve compiled a list of not one, not five, but 15 solidly awesome and delicious options for you to choose from. Hooray for the holidays! Also, hooray for bread.

(FYI, there are eleventy billion more options here, here and here, should you decide this list just isn’t enough. I completely understand).

Wheat Brioche Danish with Honey-Glazed Apricots | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

The only thing I love more than one of these Wheat Brioche Danish with Honey-Glazed Apricots is two of them. Preferably devoured all at once.

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Cinnamon Rolls | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Cinnamon Rolls, a.k.a., can my pillow be made of these?

Oatmeal Pan Rolls | girlversusdough.com @stephmwise

These Oatmeal Pan Rolls called and they want to be a part of your Christmas dinner plans in a big way.

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