Welp, it’s October. Pumpkin is everywhere. Pumpkin decor, pumpkin patches, pumpkin candy, pumpkin soup…it goes on and on. And then we have baking. The pumpkin recipes never end. You’ve got bars, cakes, ice cream, cookies, fudge, cheesecake, cupcakes and so many other things I’m not even able to think of right now! I of course want an EPIC pumpkin recipe to share with you all but it seems like so many ideas have already been done…but I’m working on it!
In the meantime, I’d like to share this super simple and healthy pumpkin muffin recipe. It’s like pumpkin pie in muffin form with a little chocolate thrown in. I LOVE the combo of pumpkin and chocolate. I first tried it a few years ago when I made pumpkin truffles and wow, the two flavors together are amazing! This recipe from Deliciously Organic was originally grain-free but I only had whole wheat pastry flour on hand so I went with that. I modified a few other things and these turned out fabulous. Super moist and full of pumpkin flavor. And the little touch of chocolate is delicious.
1 c. Canned, Pure Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
½ c. Dark or Bittersweet Chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular muffin tin with 12 muffin liners.
Whisk eggs, egg whites, almond milk, sucanat, vanilla and safflower oil together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon together. Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk until no lumps remain. Fold in pumpkin. Spoon batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container.
Apples are SO good right now. Am I right or am I right? I can’t get enough. And this past weekend I wanted to make a special dessert for a family get-together and of course, wanted to include apples. But I didn’t necessarily want to bake something. Enter the Apple Snickers Trifle. You might have seen a version of this recipe on Pinterest called an Apple & Snickers Salad, made with a pudding/Cool Whip mixture. But first, the name had to go. Salad? It just felt wrong. I mean salads have vegetables and croutons and definitely don’t involve Snickers in any way. Apples maybe but Snickers…no.
Second, I put it in a trifle dish and layered the ingredients instead of just throwing it in a bowl. I think it definitely looks prettier, don’t you? Much better for presentation!
I will warn you: this stuff is good. It seemed a little odd to me at first to mix apples with Snickers but it totally makes sense: it’s like a caramel apple with some chocolate thrown in. Yum! It is VERY rich and decadent and a nice change of pace from apple cake or apple cookies (not that those are bad…they rock as well).
6 c. Chopped, Granny Smith Apples (about 6-7 apples, plus a few for garnish)
10 Regular-Size Snickers, chopped (I froze mine unwrapped in a large plastic Ziploc bag and took the flat side of a meat mallot to them...worked like a charm)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. On low speed, gradually beat in the powdered sugar and then the vanilla. Fold in the Cool Whip.
Stir in the chopped apples, reserving a few for garnish. Stir in 1½ c. of the crushed Snickers. Spoon ⅓ of the mixture into a trifle dish. Sprinkle half of the remaining Snickers onto the mixture. You can also drizzle with caramel sauce, which is what I did, but I thought it was a little too sweet and not necessary and wouldn't do it again. Spoon another ⅓ of the mixture into the trifle dish and the remaining half of the Snickers (save a ½ c. or so for garnish). Spoon the remaining mixture into the trifle dish and garnish with chopped apples, Snickers and caramel sauce. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve (it will probably get a bit runny the next day so I highly recommend making and serving it the same day).
I love fall. Hands down, my favorite season. Leaves turning colors, cooler temps and oh yeah, APPLES. Gorgeous apples from local orchards around town have been showing up at our farmer’s market lately. I absolutely love, love, love apple recipes. As kids, my sister and I knew that fall meant apple picking (can I just say there is nothing like a golden delicious apple right off the tree) and then of course BAKING with those apples. My mom would always make her German Apple Cake (which is still one of my favorite desserts) and an apple crisp! There was nothing like warm apple crisp right out of the oven with a big scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Yum.
So I wanted to do something just a little different and thought these Caramel Apple Sandwich Cookies totally fit the bill. I will say that these cookies are divine by themselves but sandwich them with caramel cream cheese frosting and wow, takes it to a whole other level! You could also sub the apples with raisins, craisins, white chocolate chips, nuts…this is just a very solid oatmeal cookie! Promise, you’ll love it!
1 c. Chopped Granny Smith Apple (one large apple should be enough)
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
¼ Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
2 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
⅛ t. Salt
1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
1¾ c. Powdered Sugar
3 T. Caramel Sauce (I used Smuckers brand)
For the Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, salt and oats. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped apples.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool for two minutes before moving to wire racks and let cool completely.
For the Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and then the caramel sauce.
To Assemble the Cookies
Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the frosting on the flat side of a cookie and place another cookie on top.
Ina Garten does not disappoint. I honestly cannot think of one recipe (dessert recipe, of course) that I have ever made of hers that hasn’t turned out absolutely fabulous. I mean the woman just knows her sweets.
And I’m happy to say that the same can be said for these Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars. Think of the most amazing peanut butter cookie you have ever had, layered in bar form with sweet, gooey jam in the middle and you get these bars. They are rich and thick and completely indulgent. And they definitely require a HUGE glass of milk. I mean HUGE. They come together in a snap and bake up fast but it’s important to let them cool completely, otherwise they will not hold their shape when cut. Just a helpful tip from the first time I ever made them.
I’m thinking these are the perfect school lunch treat for kids! Or husbands even. Or…is that the same thing?? 😉
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed add the eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
Spread ⅔ of the dough into the pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough but not all the way to the edges as the jam will burn slightly if it's touching the pan. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if it doesn't quite cover all the jam; the dough will spread as it bakes. Spinkle with peanuts and peanut butter chips and press down gently into the dough.
Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.
I am so, so, SO excited to introduce the very first fall recipe for 2012 on Desserted Planet–Chocolate S’mores Muffins!! Yes, I know it’s still August but here in Missouri the temperatures have drastically plunged and we’ve been seeing highs in the 70’s and low 80’s and people are more than ready to break out their scarves and throw some chili on the stove. Bring on fall! If only winter didn’t come after it…oh well.
Anyways, back to these amazing muffins. A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I went camping with some other couples and all their cute kiddos. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of camping. I didn’t grow up camping so I think that is part of the problem. I just don’t see how people enjoy being dirty and sweaty and sleeping on the ground and doing their business behind a tree…I honestly just don’t get it! However, this camping trip was a little different so I wasn’t quite a reluctant to go…but reluctant nonetheless. Everyone had a camper, including Jeremy’s brother and his wife so we had somewhere to sleep that was not that ground and it was even air-conditioned! It also meant we had a bathroom. Ok, I could do that.
So after agreeing to go, I began to think about what we should bring to eat. Since we’d only be there overnight and the next morning, I wanted something sweet and appropriate for breakfast. Of course! S’mores! In muffins! Brilliant. And yes, the recipes were already out there. Like this one from Elle’s New England Kitchen. It was pretty much a perfect recipe as is, but not very sweet so I added a bit of extra sugar and doubled the recipe, as the original stated that it only made twelve. They were a BIG hit and pretty much like eating a chocolatey, marshmallow studded cupcake for breakfast. Yes, cupcake. But we didn’t call them that…they are MUFFINS. And that makes them totally appropriate for breakfast. But if you want to eat one for dessert, that’d be ok too…
12 Whole Graham Cracker Sheets, broken into chunks but not too small (for a total of 3 cups graham cracker pieces, with one cup reserved for topping muffins)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 32 muffin cups in a muffin pan.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and both sugars. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry and gently fold until everything is incorporated. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips, 2 cups mini marshmallows and 2 cups graham cracker pieces.
Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cups. Top each muffin with the remaining chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
After baking, cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edges, remove the muffins from the pan and continue cooling completely on the rack. Or eat warm!
VERY IMPORTANT: You MUST remove the muffins from the pan after 5 minutes or they will NOT come out. Also, muffin liners will NOT work with these muffins--they will stick to the liners and be a mess.
I made macaroons for the first time not once, but TWICE a couple of weeks ago. And that’s macaroons, not macarons (which I love dearly). There is sometimes confusion as to which is which, so this article might help clear things up for you if you are not sure on the differences. Not saying you don’t know because I am certain my blog readers are dessert aficianados and semi-experts on all things sweet, but just in case…
Ok. Back to the macaroons. With two o’s.
The first version of macaroon I made was the healthified Quinoa Coconut Macaroon. Totally yummy. Could eat all of them in one sitting. They are decidedly not like a regular macaroon but they are delicious nonetheless. Jeremy even liked them and he despises coconut (so sad). I like that they have protein from the quinoa. Isn’t it amazing what you can put quinoa in?! Of course, I had to add a bit of pure vanilla and almond extract. Makes all the difference, in my opinion.
Later this week I’ll have a little blog post about my sister’s baby shower and the fun, themed dessert table I got to do which included the typical macaroons, along with the recipe!
1 c. Cooked Quinoa (I used quinoa cooked in light, organic coconut milk for even more coconut flavor)
1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ t. Pure Almond Extract
Pinch of Salt
Combine the egg whites and agave in a small saucepan. Over very low heat, whisk the eggs and agave until creamy and warm. Heating the eggs will temper them which will create a nice, crispy cookie exterior. Test with your finger--if they are warm to the touch, they are tempered.
Put the quinoa, coconut and salt in a large bowl and mix in the egg and agave mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet. I actually used a 2 Tablespoon measuring spoon and pressed the mixture VERY firmly against the side of the bowl as I scooped it out and then knocked it against the pan quickly and firmly to get the mixture out. If it starts to fall apart a bit, press it together with your fingers otherwise it will not stick together while baking.
Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes or until completely cool. Store in an air-tight container.
Doesn’t the title of this post make your blood sugar skyrocket just reading it? It does mine! As it should because these doughnuts are loaded with LOTS of sugary goodness. After I made Key Lime Pie, I still had some key lime juice I wanted to use up so it wouldn’t go bad. I really wanted something easy and I remembered the buttercream recipe that was part of my key lime roundup so I thought that would be delicious to try out! Although…I wasn’t feeling cake or cupcakes. Hmm, sandwiched between cookies? Nah, not it. Then it hit me…DOUGHNUTS. I literally felt like I was a mad scientist and brilliance had just struck me! A loooong time ago I had made these super easy doughnuts (notice this was when I was a beginner blogger and wanted to achieve that Bakerella look…and uhh, DIDN’T haha) and they were so dangerously good that we ended up eating an obscene amount within minutes and I had not even dared to make them since.
But the time had come.
So I fried. And powdered. And filled. And powdered again. And behold, deliciousness was born. The key lime buttercream was outstanding. It would definitely be wonderful on cupcakes or cookies. And the doughnuts, well, they were fried to perfection and so wonderfully doughy and warm…ahhhh. My poor husband split a half of one with me and was then tortured the rest of the night with the knowledge that they were just sitting in the kitchen, mocking him. But he resisted and I was very proud of him for that! We strongly believe that desserts should be treats and not something to eat in massive quantities (unless doing bakery research..ahem) but these doughnuts made doing so extremely difficult. Extremely.
In a large skillet, heat the oil to at least 290 degrees. Carefully drop four of the biscuits into the oil and cook on each side for about 1.5-2 minutes until lightly browned on each side. Place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and let cool off. Put a couple of cups of powdered sugar into a large plastic Ziploc bag. Place the doughnuts, one at a time in the bag and shake until they are covered with powdered sugar. Set aside on a large cooling rack.
To Make the Buttercream
Beat the first four ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with key lime juice, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in green food coloring (if using).
With a pastry tip inserted into a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag, fill with buttercream and insert into the side of the doughnut. Squeeze and fill with buttercream. The doughnut will get noticeably "puffier" and expand a bit from the buttercream. (One of mine even burst a little on one side because I got slightly carried away, but that was ok..it still tasted good.) After they have all been filled, dredge one last time in powdered sugar. Eat immediately or store in an air-tight container.
Makes 8-16 doughnuts.
*How many doughnuts you want will depend on how full you fill them. I only made 8 and I had some frosting leftover but if I had done 12 or even 16, I would have just filled with a little less buttercream in each one and it would have filled all of them.
Yes, I know. Another, ooey gooey bar recipe, Sarah?? For real?! Yes, FOR. REAL. I can’t help it! Trust me, this recipe started off as far away from ooey gooey and baked as you can get but somehow evolved to what you now see! I don’t know what happened, honestly. I intended to make a super fruity, summery, refreshing drink for all of you and somehow ended up with my oven on and my KitchenAid mixer going full throttle. Ugh! I seriously racked my brain for a looooong time trying to think of a unique, colorful and delicious drink and all I repeatedly kept going back to strawberry lemonade, specifically a Sonic Lemonberry Slush. Obviously I love the cherry limeades from Sonic but the Lemonberry Slush is a pretty close second. And all I wanted to do was turn it into…cake. Ooey gooey butter cake.
Yes, I have a problem (as documented here, here and here). Sigh.
So, I resigned myself to baking and did I have any regrets? Heck no! These ooey gooey bars turned out awesome! What I really like about these is you could do the lemon cake base and then get creative with the gooey top part. It calls for strawberry pie filling but you really could do cherry, blackberry or even blueberry–they’d all be delicious! Drinks can wait people. Trust me.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat well. With mixer on low, slowly pour in butter. Beat in strawberry pie filling. Pour onto the cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 55 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
I cannot, CANNOT let summer go by without making a key lime pie. It is the quintessential summer dessert, in my opinion. Tart, sweet and creamy with a crumbly graham cracker crust…just divine. The best slice I’ve ever had is at a place called the Donut Hole in Destin, FL (who also happen to have AMAZING doughnuts…duh) where we’d vacation every summer when I was a kid. The anticipation of the one slice of pie was unbelievable and I would savor every last bite knowing I wouldn’t get it again for another 364 days. But now that I’m all grown up I can make my own, wherever and whenever I want! Ah, perks of being an adult.
Now I know many people are big advocates of juicing a bunch of those cute little key limes to get the perfect key lime flavor for their pie, but I happen to really like Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice. I love the flavor it gives my pies and yes, I’ve done it both ways and honestly can’t tell a difference. Maybe I’m just not enough of a snob but hey, it works and this pie gets rave reviews every time I make it. Oh and did I mention it’s a breeze to whip up? Because it totally is! Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime juice and zest, and vanilla. Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Garnish with homemade whipped cream.
For the Whipped Cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until thick and stiff. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Pipe onto key lime pie.
I can’t seem to get enough of the amazing fresh fruit from our farmer’s market this summer. I find myself buying more than I can possibly eat before it goes bad, but I try! Peaches, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon…there’s just so much summertime goodness right now. And I couldn’t let the whole summer go by without making a cobbler! This recipe was super easy to throw together. I had it in the oven in 30 minutes and it only took another 30 to bake up.
I did make a couple of changes. I wanted some oats in my streusel so I cut back on the amount of pecans and also used less blackberries because the ones that I got were so amazingly sweet, I couldn’t bare to use them all in the cobbler. They were way to good just eaten fresh. But I still liked having a few scattered throughout the cobbler. It was perfect, in my opinion and totally hit the spot, warm and gooey out of the oven with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.
5 c. Fresh Peaches, sliced (about 5 large peaches)
½ c. Granulated Sugar
3 T. All-Purpose Flour
¼ t. Nutmeg
1 c. Fresh Blackberries
Lightly grease a 9x9 pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the Streusel
Stir together the brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour, pecans and oats until blended. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, stir together peaches, flour, sugar and nutmeg over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, leave over medium heat until juices have thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in blackberries. spoon mixture into pan. Crumble streusel mixture over hot peach mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
Hi friends! To follow up my majorly delicious (and healthy!) zucchini bread recipe, I thought I’d share even MORE recipes for baking with zucchini! Just in case your garden overfloweth like so many people I know. If you see more than you can bake at the moment, not a problem! Just freeze your grated zucchini and thaw it out at a later time. And I’ve included a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes so there are options for everyone!
One of Jeremy’s co-workers, Amy, just had her baby, Mr. Cannon Bailey Crocker. He is sweet and perfect and mom and dad are soooo happy he finally showed up. Jeremy’s office is pretty much a bunch of guys (with the exception of Amy) and it’s kind of like one big family…we all know each other, hang out together on occasion and when someone in the office has a baby, the wives make food! So we got a meal sign-up sheet together for Amy and her family and I immediately knew what dessert I was going to make her even before I figured out what main dish I’d be preparing. It’s all about priorities, right??
Amy had mentioned not too long ago that she loves lemon bars. Perfect! I already had a couple of recipes that I’d made before but I wanted to try a new one. So I found this one by Ina Garten and it is so, SO good. Definitely the best lemon bar recipe I have tried yet, by far. I love the ratio of crust to filling. Usually it’s half crust and half filling (which is not enough filling, in my opinion) but this recipe was about one-third crust and two-third filling. The lemon filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the crust was flaky and buttery. This recipe is a keeper!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
For the Crust
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Add vanilla. Gather the dough into a ball and press gently and evenly into the 9x13 pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bake the crust for 18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on, set to 350 degrees.
For the Filling
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles or squares and dust with powdered sugar.
My niece is a genius. Yes, she is one of the sharpest, brightest, most creative and beautiful little girls I know. But I’ve now confirmed she is a CULINARY genius as well. My sister-in-law, Rachel, had mentioned a loooong time ago that Joslyn misunderstood something she said once and mistakenly thought that she and Rachel were going to make red velvet funnel cakes, instead of cupcakes. Ummm, can you say brilliant?!? I immediately tucked the idea away in the back of my mind knowing one day I’d get around to it and I am so happy to finally announce that day has come!
Now I’ve only made funnel cakes once in my life when I was a kid and I seemed to remember it being fairly easy and so, so fun and most of all extremely YUMMY. The same can pretty much be said this time around but I must have forgotten how MESSY it was. Umm, yes, this was messy. I’m just going to be honest–get a funnel cake pitcher. There’s a reason they make these, people. Do not attempt to use a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (like I did) or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off. I basically had to hold my finger over the hole of the tip while Jeremy poured the batter into the pastry bag (it turned out to be a VERY loose batter) and then release it into the oil Don’t get me wrong…it worked. Oh it totally worked. But messy? Yes. And I HATE messy. As a matter of fact, you could probably even use an empty, clean ketchup bottle which I know a lot of people do for pancake batter, which has a very similar consistency and would be much more controllable. If only I had thought of that before…
Besides the messy factor, this red velvet funnel cake was super easy to mix up, required an absurd amount of red food dye (eek!) and was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS with a generous amount of powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream and fresh blueberries. And if you want just a plain funnel cake but still want to be patriotic, just dye the basic recipe red or blue and voila! I think it is such a fun dessert for the 4th of July!
Powdered Sugar, Ice Cream, Blueberries, etc for topping
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. And the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until smooth. Add the red food dye until you have the red color you desire (I used about half of a 1 oz. bottle).
Pour the oil into a large skillet. Heat oil until a thermometer reaches at least 290 degrees (even though the original recipe called for 360 degrees, mine only ever got to 290 so I went with it and it worked). Release the batter into the oil while making a circular motion. Mine were pretty large, about 7-8 inches in diameter. Fry for about two minutes until it no longer looks raw. Using large tongs, grab the funnel cake in the middle (NOT the edges..they are crisp and could break) and gently turn over. Fry for one more minute and then place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up additional grease. Dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar and top with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and blueberries.
Makes 5 large funnel cakes.
Note: This is NOT a sweet funnel cake, which is why I recommend topping it with a generous amount of the powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, etc...it pairs perfectly with those things.
Healthy baking has come a looooong way. Especially in my kitchen. I remember back when I did most of my “healthy” baking and it consisted of mass amounts of whole wheat flour, Splenda (God forbid) and tons of egg whites. Thankfully, I now know what healthy really means….REAL ingredients that are not artificial, preservative laden bombs. And most of those recipes honestly, well, they weren’t that great. Let’s just leave it at that.
But the healthy recipes I’m finding nowadays are a whole other story. They are chocked full of nutritious and real ingredients. And I have yet to come across one I did not LOVE. Seriously. Such is the case with these cookies. I found the original recipe on the Texanerin Baking blog and only tinkered with it a bit. Ok, that’s a lie. The first time I made it I messed with the recipe ALOT and while I managed to create what could be considered the most amazingly delicious healthy peanut butter and chocolate chip fudge EVER, they didn’t quite bake up like a cookie. Not to say they weren’t good..just not very cookie like. So I tried the recipe again and stuck as close to the original as possible with only a few minor changes. And they. Were. Awesome.
Don’t let the beans throw you off…it’s amazing how great they work for gluten-free baking and meld seamlessly with the other ingredients. The first time I used beans for these Chocolate Cupcakes with Tart Cherry Frosting, I was highly skeptical, but the recipe turned out awesome and honestly it was one of the best chocolate cakes. In my opinion at least. So give beans a try in your baked goods! They add loads of protein and fiber which our bodies need!
1½ c. (15 oz. can) Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
½ c., plus 2 T. All-Natural Peanut Butter (no oil, salt, sugar, etc)
¼ c., plus 2 T. Honey
1 t. Baking Powder (I use aluminum-free)
⅛ t. Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
⅓ c. Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to get the small pieces of chickpeas and process again until smooth. Scrape into a medium size bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 14, 1½" cookies.
Note: They are best to eat on the first day and are the most like a traditional cookie. The next day they are still yummy but the texture changes just a bit and they seem more like cookie dough.
July 4th is on a Wednesday this year. Middle of the week. No vacation days before. No vacation days after. I’m not liking it. Not one bit. Especially considering everyone in my office is taking off leaving me alone to man the phones and do what else? Hmmm, not sure. I’m predicting a lot of Words with Friends.
Since it’s going to be SO WEIRD to have July 4th in the middle of the workweek, I thought we could use something to get us into the patriotic spirit first thing that day! And that something are these fun star pastry pie turnovers. Made of puff pastry and cherry pie filling (store-bought or homemade) they are the perfect breakfast treat! I would actually liken them more to a turnover than a pie…flaky layers of buttery dough and ooey gooey cherry filling. My only frustration with these things was the amount of cherry pie filling I could fit into each star. I carefully placed four cherries in the middle of each and was able to just barely fit another star over the top and seal it shut. So it’s a little more puff pastry than filling but they are still quite delish.
1 Egg White + 1 T. Water, whisked together (for egg wash)
1 T. Coarse Sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
Flour (for dusting)
Thaw puff pastry on kitchen counter for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of puff pastry. (I did not roll it out any thinner, just unfolded and cut with my cookie cutter, but feel free to do so if you'd like...you might get a couple more turnovers that way.) Using a 5-inch star shaped cookie cutter (yes, you need a VERY large one), cut out four stars from the puff pastry sheet and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush egg wash onto edges of each star. Put one tablespoon of cherry pie filling (I literally picked out four cherries and placed in the middle of the stars..didn't want all that goo oozing out as it baked) in the middle of each star. Unfold the other puff pastry sheet and cut out four more stars. Place on top of the stars on the baking sheet. Crimp edges of the star with a fork to seal (I dipped the tines of the fork into the egg wash periodically). Brush egg wash onto the top of each star and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut a couple of small slits into the top of each star.
Bake for 20 minutes, until tops and bottoms are golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or eat warm.
Makes 4 star turnover.
*There is alot of leftover puff pastry scraps with this recipe. I used a small star cookie cutter and just did smaller star puff pastry bites. They need less time to cook, about 15 minutes.
Can I be honest? If I had the option, I’d make a different kind of ooey gooey butter cake every week. I am totally not joking. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. Who knows, if things got really crazy I might even make TWO different kinds in one week! I just love it so much. But that would bore you, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’d think “Wow, Sarah, seriously? What about cookies and pie and brownies??” Right? Oeey gooey butter cake 24/7?? Boring! And I definitely don’t want to bore you so I will refrain from indulging my ooey gooey butter cake obsession. For now.
I actually realized it’s been about a year since I have posted this recipe for Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake so I thought it was high time I make one. And man, it is such a struggle to make desserts for the 4th of July that are red, white and blue. Let’s face it, unless you go the totally unnatural red and blue dye route, what are you left with?? Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. That’s it! So I thought this cake might be a little different but still incorporate the patriotic tones of July 4th.
And bonus: this cake is AH-MAZING. It was all I could do to keep from eating the whole thing. Poor Jeremy is really cutting out sugar right now and proclaimed that he would be relinquishing his duties as my official taste-tester (I know, I know…how dare he?!!?), but he could not resist having a bite of this cake. It is so good. Whatever get-together you have coming up, take this and it will be gone in no time!
5 Drops Red Food Coloring (the cake mix was a bit dark and I wanted a bit brighter red)
Ooey Gooey Filling
1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese
2 Large Eggs
2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
3¾ c. Powdered Sugar
1 Stick Butter, melted
1 c. (11.5 oz.) Blueberry Spreadable Fruit (or jam/preserves)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combined the cake mix, egg, butter, vanilla and red food coloring and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly add in butter. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Stir the blueberry spreadable fruit to get it loosened up and then drop by spoonfuls on top of the filling. Gently swirl the blueberry spreadable fruit with a knife into the filling.
Bake for 42-45 minutes until filling looks set and no longer wet or jiggly. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying. You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps. For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.
They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good. The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit. They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice. All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.
Brunch, it’s what every dad wants. Trust me on this. Sure, when you ask him what he wants for Father’s Day he’ll throw out the usual grilling/golfing/fishing ideas, but what do men REALLY want?? Food. Homemade, from scratch, fill-your-belly FOOD.
Now I know that typically the word “brunch” invokes thoughts of girly tea rooms and fine china and quiche and ya know, things that don’t sound too manly. But throw in a couple meats (bacon, sausage, etc) and some kind of breakfast casserole (one with eggs and hashbrowns and loads of cheese and absolutely NO vegetables…unless it’s jalapenos..those are manly) and brunch is no longer just for the ladies.
And I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t be brunch without something sweet. Luckily, I have a few recipes that would fit the bill for any dad’s mid-morning sweet tooth. Like these Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins.
Or maybe he’s a health nut…this Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola is uber-healthy and most importantly delicious. Great plain, with milk or over greek yogurt with fresh berries. Yum.
I’ve got your dessert for Father’s Day. Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes. Also known as, the manliest of manly cupcakes in the history of mankind. Ok, at least that’s MY take on them. And I think my husband would agree also. And any other man that has the extreme pleasure of tasting one of these amazing cupcakes. They combine what I understand to be essential manly ingredients such as peanuts, pretzels and beer and turn a cupcake into something a REAL man is not ashamed to eat. ‘Cause really…cupcakes are cute! And what man eats something cute?? I know of none.
I will be honest–you could just stop with the chocolate stout cake. The cake recipe makes a little more batter than is needed for the cupcakes so I ended up having five cupcakes that were only chocolate cake and uuummmm, yeah…AH-mazing. I topped one with some simple homemade whipped cream and it was out of this world. Just an idea if you don’t want to bother with the peanut butter cheesecake. But may I suggest you bother?? Because it really is worth it. The combination of the whipped chocolate ganache buttercream, chocolate stout cake and creamy peanut butter cheesecake is just out of this world.
Really, truly the PERFECT treat for any dad on Father’s Day. Make them. You will automatically become his favorite child. Promise.
Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious
Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes
Chocolate Stout Cake
¾ c. Guinness Extra Stout
1 T. Instant Coffee Granules dissolved in ¼ c. Warm Water
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
¾ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 c. White Sugar
1½ t. Baking Soda
¾ t. Salt
2 Large Eggs
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ c., plus 2 T. Sour Cream
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
1 lb. (2, 8 oz. pkgs) Cream Cheese, softened
¾ c. Firmly Packed, Light Brown Sugar
½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1½ T. Pure Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1½ c. Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Chips
1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened
½ c. Crushed Pretzels
½ c. Chopped, Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 35 regular size muffin tins with cupcake liners.
For the Chocolate Stout Cake
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout, coffee and butter to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sour cream just until blended.
Add stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just combined, taking care the stout mixture is cool enough that it will not cook the eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
For the Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, heavy whipping cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined.
Place a scant 2 T. peanut butter cheesecake in the bottom of 30 of the muffin tins. Top with 2 T. of the chocolate stout cake. Bake for 20 minute or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
Place the chocolate chips in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate chips and let set for one minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is smooth and melted completely. Stir in vanilla. Beat the chocolate mixture on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.
Frost each cupcake with a VERY generous amount of frosting (I did a very thick layer of frosting) and top with crushed pretzels and chopped peanuts. Refrigerate overnight and let set out at least 5 minutes before eating.
Makes 30 chocolate stout and peanut butter cheesecake cupcakes and 5 chocolate stout cupcakes.
Note: I made the chocolate stout mixture first, then the cheesecake and then finished the cake, just so the chocolate stout mixture had time to cool adequately.
Two things were in my mind when I came up with these brownies: 1. Father’s Day and 2. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. I actually made these a couple of weeks ago for a Memorial Day get together with my family and because I knew my parents would be making and bringing their famous homemade vanilla ice cream to the dinner, I wanted something super chocolate and decadent to go with it. And I knew Father’s Day was around the corner and what dad doesn’t love chocolate?? I don’t know any.
I didn’t do much searching before I came across a recipe from Betty Crocker for Milk Chocolate Malt Brownies. I rarely search for something online and choose the first thing that pops up but with these I thought, why not? I didn’t want to spend hours looking for what I thought might be the “perfect” recipe and it’s Betty Crocker…how can you go wrong? Of course I made a couple of minor changes and topped my brownies with a super decadent dark chocolate malt frosting. If you’re thinking, “Wow Sarah, these sound rich and ridiculously good”…yes, you’d be right. They are ridiculously good. A little goes a long way, trust me. And I will tell you the longer these set, the softer/better they become. Although the malt balls on top do get chewy…but I kind of like ’em like that.
These are great for your dad, your uncle, grandpa, brother, nephew…whoever you know and love who also happens to be a dad! Nothing says love and thanks like homemade brownies!
5 oz. Whoppers or other Malted Milk Balls, coarsely chopped
For the Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Melt the chocolate chips, butter and instant coffee granules in a large bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, baking powder and salt and gently fold into the chocolate mixture, just until there are no white streaks and the flour mixture is incorporated. Pour into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Malt Frosting
Beat the butter at medium speed until smooth. Slowly beat 2 cups of the powdered sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in 3 tablespoons of the milk or heavy whipping cream and the vanilla. Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar and milk/heavy whipping cream. Beat in the cocoa and malted milk powder at low speed and then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Spread frosting over cooled brownies and sprinkle with chopped Whoppers or other malted milk balls.
Makes 12-15 brownies.
*This makes a very thick layer of frosting so if you'd prefer less, I'd suggest making half of the frosting recipe.