There’s only one thing hotter than football this fall…crockpots. Yes, CROCKPOTS. They are blowing up all over the Internet like they were invented yesterday. And there are many reasons to love crockpots…they require simple/few ingredients most of the time, they cook for you while you’re at work and it’s all done in one single piece of equipment. Yay! And there are soooo many recipes that you can make in a crockpot…from apple cider, to mexican casseroles, to appetizers and meatloaf, the possibilities are endless. And I recently discovered another use for my crockpot–cake!
Who would have thought you could make a cake without turning your oven on?? Simply amazing. Now this cake isn’t winning any beauty pageants any time soon, but in the taste department it takes home the gold! I literally threw the ingredients together for this cake in 30 minutes over my lunch break, went back to work for a couple of hours and when I got home my whole house smelled like chocolate. Yeah, I could come home to that smell every day.
It’s an interesting recipe because you make the cake batter and put it in the crockpot and then pour this water/sugar/cocoa mixture all over the cake. I mean, it’s a LOT of liquid! But amazingly enough while the cake cooks, the liquid turns to a yummy fudge sauce underneath. It’s hard to capture the full deliciousness of this cake in a picture just ’cause really, it’s not pretty, but alot of ugly recipes taste the best. This is one of those.
6 T. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used 4 T. regular unsweetened cocoa and 2 T. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
⅔ c. Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1½ sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
1 t. Instant Coffee Granules
1¼ c. Granulated Sugar
⅔ c. Whole Milk
2 Large Egg Yolks
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
3 c. Hot Water
⅔ c. Granulated Sugar
⅔ c. Packed Brown Sugar
⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used half regular unsweetened and half Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Cake:
Coat the inside of a 2½ quart to 5 quart slow cooker or crockpot with cooking spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
In another large bowl melt the chocolate chips, butter and instant coffee granules in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar thoroughly and then the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a spatula. Pour into the bottom of your slow cooker and spread evenly.
For the Fudge Sauce:
Combine the hot water and both sugars and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla. Pour over the cake batter.
Cover the slow cooker with a tea towel and then put the lid on top of that (the towel will absorb any condensation that occurs). Cook for 2½ hours on high. You will know it's ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Let it set for 30-45 minutes and then serve in bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.
I know that I just posted a recipe for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream earlier this week, but the truth is I am already WAY into fall baking mode. After having several days of degrees well above 100 this summer, anything less than that seems cool and fall-ish in comparison even if it is still in the upper 80s! So now that it’s September, I am opening up the flood gates on everything pumpkin, apple and maple and the recipes are gonna come pouring out!
Let’s start with this recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. I initially wanted a chewy cookie but these were some of the puffiest, softest cake-like cookies that I have ever made. And that was ok by me. And they weren’t too sweet which was perfect because the butterscotch filling more than made up for any lack of sweetness in the cookie. I took these to a get-together and they got rave reviews all around and not one made it back home with me. Always a good sign.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Malted Butterscotch Filling
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
1⅓ c., plus 1 T. Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 Large Eggs
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 c. AP Flour
1 t. Baking Soda
1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
½ t. Salt
2½ c. Oats
Malted Butterscotch Filling
1 c. Butterscotch Chips
2½ T. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
⅓ c., plus 2 T. Plain (not chocolate-flavored) Malted Milk Powder
1½ ounces Cream Cheese, softened and cut into chunks
3 T. Milk
1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and oats together. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
Roll dough into 1½-2" balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect for me), rotating pans half-way through. Let them sit on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Filling:
In a medium bowl, microwave the butterscotch chips and butter at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Cool to warm. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and malted milk powder until well blended and completely smooth. Beat in half the butterscotch mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well blended. Beat in the remaining butterscotch mixture and the vanilla until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until somewhat thickened but not stiff. (The recipe then calls for you to beat the filling on high speed until light in color and very fluffy, about three minutes. I accidentally missed that step. Oops. So it's up to you, but I'd recommend NOT skipping that step.)
Spread about 1½ tablespoons of the filling on the underside of half of the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. These can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
I am pretty much LOVING all things key lime right now so I thought I’d “squeeze” (Get it?! Squeeze? Limes?? Umm, never mind.) in one more summertime recipe before the temps start falling and pumpkins and apples become the baking ingredients of choice.
A couple of months ago I saw a recipe from My Baking Addiction for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream and I knew there was no way I could let the summer pass by without making it. And I am so glad I didn’t! This ice cream is awesome and so simple…you basically whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl, put the mixture in your ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing and then transfer to your freezer to harden up. That’s it!
I only changed a couple of things about this recipe. For starters, I wanted a REAL graham cracker crust in my ice cream and let me tell you it is worth the little bit of extra effort to make it. I also thought the mixture was a little too sweet so I doubled the key lime juice to balance out the sweet and tart–perfect! If I do say so myself.
Enjoy this recipe! And enjoy what’s left of summer!
1 c. Fresh or Bottled Key Lime Juice (such as Nellie and Joe's)
½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 (14 oz.) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
For Graham Cracker Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For Ice Cream: In a large bowl, whisk together whole milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, crumble your crust into small pieces and place in a bowl. Set aside.
When ice cream is done, layer ice cream and graham crackers into a freezer-safe container. I had about four layers of each. Cover and freeze for one hour or until firm.
Never heard of a Peach Pile? That might be because I made it up. Yep. See, this weekend for my mom’s birthday I made a very special, ooey gooey, deep dish peach pie that was topped with a buttery, sugary, cinnamony oat topping. It smelled delicious, it looked delicious and I just knew it was going to taste delicious. But there was only one problem–it DID NOT want to come out of its pan. Nuh uh. Wasn’t having it. Absolutely refused to be eaten. Unfortunately we had to get a little rough with the pie and ended up with what I could only think of in my mind as a big ‘ole pile of peaches and crust. See below.
I think part of the problem was that in my haste I didn’t wait for the pie to cool down enough (as in all the way), in fact, it was still slightly hot. So while we didn’t have the massively tall, delicously perfect slices of pie I had imagined in my mind, we still had an amazingly good pile of peaches, buttery crust and oatmeal topping that was everything I imagined it would taste like along with some cold, creamy vanilla ice cream. Oh yes, and I did use a store-bought crust only because I think they are quite good and didn’t want to take the 4.5 HOURS to make the pie that a homemade crust would have required.
I will say that not one person cared about what the pie looked like once they started eating it. We were licking our plates clean with this one.
1, 9-inch Deep Dish Pie Crust (I used store bought)
8 Large Firm, Fresh, Ripe Peaches
¼ c. AP Flour
½ c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
1 t. Cinnamon
⅛ t. Salt
2 T. Cold Butter, diced
Oatmeal Brown Sugar Topping
½ c. Oats
½ c. AP Flour
½ c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
¼ c. (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
½ t. Cinnamon
For the peach filling:
Peel peaches and then cut into ½-inch thick chunks and place in a large bowl. Whisk together flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt and then add to the peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon into the pie crust and dot with the two tablespoons of diced butter. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 and make the oatmeal topping.
For the Oatmeal Brown Sugar Topping:
Thoroughly stir together the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter until well combined. Remove the pie for the freezer and carefully press the oatmeal topping onto the pie.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the pie on top of the cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack and cool two hours before serving or until completely cool.
*I found that for peeling the peaches, a potato peeler worked perfectly. Also, the recipe calls to bake the pie on the lower rack of the oven, but I accidentally baked mine on the middle rack and it turned out fine.
For the past year or two I’ve had a minor obsession with what I call “cheesecake cakes” and it all started when I made Jeremy this Red Velvet Cheesecake for his birthday. He first had Red Velvet Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and absolutely loved it. I have to admit, it was awesome. When his birthday came around I did my best to imitate their version and think I got pretty darn close.
After that, my brain couldn’t help but imagine all the possibilities of cheesecake cakes…I did a vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake combo, a neapolitan with chocolate cake, vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake…you get the picture. While they are delicious to make, they can be somewhat labor intensive and difficult to transport. So I finally had the bright idea to make it into a cheesecake CUPCAKE. Brilliant, right? So much simpler! And that idea led to the glorious recipe offering I give you today…Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes.
I don’t think I need to say too much about these other than they are good ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The chocolate cake is a recipe I borrowed from My Baking Addiction and the cheesecake is a recipe from a friend. I was a little skeptical about the cake since it used a cake mix, but it was actually quite good. It had a more spongy texture than I was used to but was still very moist and had a rich chocolate flavor. And the Oreos…I mean, how can you NOT put Oreos in these? They just send them over the top and transport you directly into chocolate/cheesecake/Oreo heaven.
Make these and share them with the people you love. They will love you back. Promise.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
For the Chocolate Cake: In an electric mixer, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
For the Vanilla Cheesecake: In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla, beating well. Beat in the egg and set aside.
For the Buttercream Dream Frosting: In an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and combine well. Begin adding the sugar, one cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. After all the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold heavy whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, combining well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed for three minutes to reach desired consistency.
To assemble: Use a scant tablespoon full of chocolate cake mix and smooth into the bottom of the muffin tin (I actually used my (very clean) finger to do this). Spoon in just enough cheesecake to cover the chocolate cake. Press an Oreo into the cheesecake and cover the Oreo with cheesecake mixture–just enough to cover the cookie. Top with another tablespoon of chocolate cake and gently spread until even in the tin. (Be careful to do no more than a tablespoon each time otherwise your muffin tin will be too full and the cupcake batter will rise above the muffin tin and “mushroom”) Repeat with remaining muffin tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. Place on wire rack and cool completely. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
After seeing all the awesome recipes last week in honor of National S’mores Day, I was inspired to make my own variation of the classic campfire treat. But what to do? There are so many creative recipes out there! I finally decided I wanted it in bar form and peanut butter was going to be incorporated one way or the other.
So, I found this recipe from Taste of Home that had great reviews. And I now know why! These might actually be one of my favorite things I’ve made thus far and I think it’s the marshmallow creme that really does it for me. I absolutely abhor store bought marshmallows but marshmallow creme…that’s a different story. I might have at one time or another sat down with a jar of peanut butter, a jar of marshmallow creme, a spoon and….well…you can imagine what happened next. Not pretty. Needless to say, this is a little more dignified way to eat all of those yummy ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Set aside 1 cup for topping.
Press remaining mixture into the 9x13 baking pan. Place peanut butter cups wide side down on the crust. Spray a large spoon with cooking spray and spread the marshmallow creme gently onto the peanut butter cups. Crumble the remaining graham cracker mixture over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown (mine were a little dark around the edges at 45 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
Needing some inspiration for breakfast tomorrow morning? Me too! As I was researching some seriously sweet breakfast recipes, I came across so many I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted to share, they all looked so good! So I thought, why not share them all? For me, there is nothing better than actually having time to cook or bake on a Saturday morning and filling your whole house with delicious smells of a homemade breakfast. And since Saturday is usually our “cheat” day around our house, it’s a great time to try one of these not-so-healthy, but oh-so-delicious recipes. Yay!
Every time I walk into the grocery store lately, the piles upon piles of dark red, sweet Bing cherries call my name. And I ignore them. Not that I don’t like them. Oh, I love them. But they are too dang expensive! Until a couple of days ago that is. I walked in and behold, they were half the normal cost! Hello! I immediately bagged some up and high-tailed it home to bake. Naturally.
I already had a recipe in mind: Cherry Crumble Cake. Does that not sound divine? Sweet, juicy cherries mixed into a moist cake, topped with a brown sugar and butter crumb topping…mmmm mmm mmm! And it was very, very good. There were cherries in every bite and their flavor really came through the mild and not overly-sweet cake. Reminded me of my mom’s apple cake that I absolutely love. One thing I didn’t care for was how crumbly the crumble topping was. It just kind of fell off the cake whenever it was cut so next time I think I’ll do a whole stick of butter instead of a half and that should take care of it. I also whipped up some almond whipped cream to go with it, but some good quality vanilla ice cream would be just as good.
If you’ve been wanting to bake with some of those beautiful cherries but not sure what to do, give this recipe a try. Delicious!
1¼ lb. Whole Bing Cherries, stemmed, pitted and quartered
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch round, springform pan (or 9-inch square).
For the crumble topping, in a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or fork (or your fingers--that's what I find easiest), blend in butter until it has the consistency of crumbs. Set aside.
For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
In another small bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat just until combined.
Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold cherries into the batter.
Spoon batter into the pan and smooth the top. Spread half of the crumble topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes.
Stir pecans into remaining crumble topping and spread over the cake. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes more.
I’ve recently discovered these super short, super adorable videos by Claire Thomas of L.A. who describes herself as “a food writer, photographer, enthusiast, personal chef and all round nerd”. More of them will definitely be showing up every now and then on my blog. She also has her own tasty little blog over at http://thekitchykitchen.blogspot.com/. Go check it out! But watch the video first…and prepare to drool.
It’s the start of a new month which means a new “flavor of the month” for most of the cupcake and cake pop places around here (uh, yeah, we have a few). Apparently the flavor star of August is…drumroll please….Key Lime! Can’t say I’m upset about this at all as I heart me some key lime pie. As a matter of fact, I had planned to do some sort of key lime recipe for the last couple of weeks and never could decide if I wanted to do a traditional key lime pie recipe that I have and LOVE or stray from the typical and do something crazy different. Well, I decided on the latter and ended up making some Key Lime Cookie Truffles. These are based off of that famous Oreo truffle recipe…the one people go nuts over that is basically Oreos and cream cheese. Yeah, that one.
Anyway, I used the vanilla Oreos and key lime juice, not fresh squeezed (oh the horror, I know) but Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, which in my opinion is just as good. I also threw in some raspberry jam, hoping to get the perfect mixture of sweet raspberry and tart lime but the jam kind of got lost in the mix and the flavor wasn’t too distinct, which was a bummer. I also think I’ll throw in some lime zest next time for even more of a tart factor. These were pretty delish but I think with a couple of tweaks, they’d be out of this world.
P.S. This recipe makes a TON of truffles, like, 80! I’d suggest halfing the recipe.
4 c. (1 lb, 2 oz pkg) Golden Oreos, crushed (I used my food processor)
3 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs (I used my food processor)
¾ c. AP Flour
¾ c. Key Lime Juice
½ c. Raspberry Jam (optional)
2 lbs. White Chocolate Candy Discs, melted
In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the Oreo and graham cracker crumbs, lime juice and flour. Beat in the raspberry jam (if using). Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
Line a cookie sheet with foil. Roll dough into balls with the palm of your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
Dip into white chocolate and decorate with green sugar, white chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, etc.
Ok, confession time. See, I have this feeling that I give off the impression on my blog that everything that emerges from my oven is perfect and beautiful and rainbows and puppies and all that cute stuff. But the truth is, it’s not. Every now and then I have some serious baking failures and not-so-perfect baking days. Usually when it happens, I can immediately look back and realize what I’ve done wrong or need to do differently. I didn’t go to a fancy, schmancy pastry school (I wish!) or get trained by some world renowned pastry chef; I’m just learning as I go. So, in light of this revelation, I’d like to start off this post for a most delicious chocolate zucchini bread (more like cake, who are we kidding) with a short list of things I did “wrong”:
1. Forgot an egg.
2. Took it out of the oven prematurely, thus causing the middle to collapse upon itself. Lovely.
3. Didn’t line the pan with parchment or foil, thereby making the removal of the bread to a serving plate in one piece, a feat worthy of Houdini himself.
So, there it is. Now, I can’t say that forgetting the egg made any difference and I did manage to throw the bread back in the oven and get it on the more cooked side as opposed to raw and inedible and getting it out of the pan only took one VERY large spatula and some sideways tipping maneuvering. All in all, a good time in the kitchen. Just ask my husband who has to listen to the choice words coming from that part of the house.
Needless to say, this cake…err, bread is one of the most delicious things I have every tasted. It was incredibly moist and dense and formed a beautiful crust on the top. And I loved the hint of cinnamon blended into the chocolate. Also, I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips both in the batter and on top and they kind of disappeared into the batter so next time I’ll use regular size or maybe chocolate chunks. And there WILL be a next time. Cause it was that good.
The word on the street is that 2011 is the year that pie makes its big comeback and replaces the seemingly untouchable cupcake at the top of the dessert hierarchy. Now I hate to be the one to point this out but we’re more than half-way through the year and I still see cupcakes EVERYWHERE. Pie…not so much. It does seem however, that pie sells are up quite a bit according to this L.A. Times article, so perhaps the trend is just beginning. Either way, I have always loved pie and will be glad to indulge in the craze once it hits full force.
Some of my favorite pies are fruit pies…mostly the ones that my grandma would make when we were young with the fruit from her backyard. My grandparents grew everything from gooseberries to strawberries to onions and green beans. They also had pear and cherry trees. So we’d regularly have Sunday lunch at their house and always had a pie. Gooseberry and cherry were my favorites. I also love chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, banana cream pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie…the list goes on. I guess I really don’t discriminate when it comes to dessert–it’s all good!
Check out these pie recipes from some of my favorite bloggers. These are some drool-worthy pictures people…I’m pretty sure I gained five pounds just looking at them!
I’ve been staring at a recipe for Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for a couple months now, dying to make them and yesterday I finally broke down and got busy in the kitchen mixin’ these bad boys up. Yes, I know, it’s about a million degrees outside and who would be crazy enough to turn on an oven??? That would be me! When the need for chocolate calls, one must answer!
Of course, I altered the recipe…I kept finding things in my pantry I thought would be good mixed in! I couldn’t help myself. Here is the original recipe on food.com. I did a butter/oil mix only because I didn’t have enough butter and then threw in peanut butter, oats and two different kinds of Ghirardelli chocolate. They turned out super moist, dense and rich and had a nice balance of salty and sweet to them. Eat ’em with a glass of ice cold milk, it’s a must!
Holy heck it’s hot outside! I’m interrupting this non-stop Florida dessert roundup to bring you guys a deliciously creamy, super dreamy, frozen sweet treat. I know there is someone out there that is dying from the heat and needs an easy dessert for supper that requires minimal oven use or none at all. I have just the thing! This Strawberry Daiquiri Pie has a grand total of seven ingredients (if you make everything from scratch) and the crust only bakes for 10 minutes in the oven. Yay!
The original recipe here on Allrecipes.com calls for a store-bought graham cracker crust and Cool Whip so feel free to use those if you want but if I’m gonna indulge, I want the best possible ingredients! Also, you could easily make this a Pina Colada pie by using a different mixer and pineapple instead of strawberry or whatever flavor suits your fancy. Pina Colada honestly sounded really good but I went with strawberry…I’m a sucker for pretty pink desserts.
A few days ago I got a request from a friend for cupcakes for her daughter’s 4th birthday party. I won’t lie, I’ve had some bad experiences with cupcakes (read here) but I really wanted to help out. So this morning I got up bright and early and made two dozen of the Perfect Party Cupcakes and a batch of Buttercream Dream Frosting I blogged about awhile back. If you need a tried and true vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream recipe, try these two, they won’t ever let you down. Promise.
These particular cupcakes are topped with purple sanding sugar and handmade, pink white chocolate daisies, thanks to my husband Jeremy. He is the artistic one of the two of us (and definitely the more patient one). My only worry was the car ride over…summertime heat makes me nervous when transporting baked goods and chocolate. But they made it safely and were a hit!
As of today I’ve been in Destin, Florida for five days. Surprise! Jealous? You should be, it’s awesome here. Sun, sand, emerald blue water and doing a whole lot of nothing. It’s been glorious. But of course I had to take a little time out of my day and tell you all about a little road trippin’ snack I made.
See Jeremy and I are actually pretty health conscious (despite what I blog about) and have been getting in shape for this vacation for awhile. Knowing that we would be in the car for 12+ hours, I wanted something healthy to snack on should hunger strike. And let’s face it, the healthy options at a 7-Eleven are pretty much limited to the bottled water. We had to be prepared!
So I thought a nice snack would be homemade granola. I’ve seen a few recipes but never attempted it myself, so after doing some research I found one that sounded like it had potential and was super versatile (because no way in heck was I NOT going to change the recipe!). I started with Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes.com. I modified it alot but the bones of the recipe were great…the granola turned out awesome! I could not keep my hands out of it and seriously didn’t know if there would be any left by the time we actually got on the road. And yes, this recipe is healthy. But healthy can taste really, really good. Like, “no way can this be healthy” good. Eat it by the handful or pour some milk over it and enjoy it for breakfast. And DO play with the recipe…experiment with flavors and ingredients!
½ c. 7-Grain Mix (If you can't find it at your local health food store, substitute Wheat Germ or Flax Seed)
2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (I like King Arthur)
1½ t. Salt
½ c. Sugar in the Raw
¼ c. Cocoa Powder
½ c. Chocolate Protein Powder (I like the All Natural Chocolate Muscle Milk)
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
¾ c. Honey
¼ c. Safflower Oil
¼ c. Peanut Oil
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ c. All-Natural Peanut Butter
½ c. All-Natural Dry-Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats and the next 7 ingredients.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the eggs and the next 5 ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly into the cookie sheet, pressing down with the back of a spoon or your hands. Sprinkle the dry-roasted peanuts on top and gently press into the mixture. Bake for 22 minutes and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, or until the granola is cool enough to handle.
Get another cookie sheet and break up the granola into small pieces (the peanuts will probably fall off but that's ok), dividing between the two cookie sheets. Bake both cookie sheets of granola for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight bag.
Apparently ice pops are all the rage right now, from homemade to artisan pops created by companies like people’s pops. And with the crazy hot weather we’re in the middle of, I’m thinking about making some myself. Maybe I’ll start with this recipe from Serious Eats for Peanut Butter Ice Pops. They look and sound cool, refreshing and just the teensiest bit indulgent without breaking the calorie bank (I mean we are in the middle of bikini season after all!). Find the link to these yummy little treats below. Happy Wednesday!
I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under but apparently there was a chocolate chip cookie recipe in the New York Times a few years ago that everybody went crazy over. Who knew? So I finally got around to trying the famous recipe to see what all the hype was about. These cookies are interesting because they call for two different kinds of flours, cake flour and bread flour. Cake flour produces a very tender baked good and bread flour is used for more of a chewy factor. The recipe also called for sea salt sprinkled on top but I omitted that…just didn’t really appeal to me. The cookies are supposed to be huge but I scaled mine down a bit just to make them go further. And finally, the dough has to sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours. I only was able to do 30 hours but I’ve read that the longer, the better.
The cookie was really good. To be honest, it reminded me alot of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that is a regular in my baking rotation. I think I’ll most likely make them again and follow the recipe exactly as written just to see if it makes any difference (you can see the original recipe here). Enjoy!
1 c. each Bittersweet and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Stir in bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
The dough will be quite stiff (I had to use a knife to break mine up). Break off a piece about 1½ in. and use your hands to form a ball. Place on baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating and transferring the pans to different racks halfway through. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.
Homemade candy is one of my all-time favorite things to make. I started making my own candy at home about 5 or 6 years ago and have loved it ever since. In the beginning, I even took a couple of classes through a local college in town, which was a lot of fun and I definitely managed to pick up some good tips that I still use to this day. Part of what I love about making candy (and even baking) is that there really is a science behind it…ingredients have to be weighed and measured properly, mixing of ingredients has to occur in a certain pattern and temperatures have to be just right to get the kind of candy you want, whether soft, chewy, hard, etc.
It all sounds kind of intimidating at first but all it takes is a little reading and testing out a few recipes and before you know it you’ll be making your own homemade caramel, marshmallows, peanut brittle or whatever candy you crave and impressing everyone you know!
So today I’m sharing a very simple recipe for Almond Joy Truffles. This was one of the first things I made in my candy making class years ago and I still love it. These little coconut bites taste just like the candy bar you can get in your local grocery store…only without all the extra junk they tend to put in. I put toasted almond slivers on top of mine but if you’re not a nut fan, sprinkle them with toasted coconut or drizzle with white chocolate. Very pretty and tasty. Enjoy!
Slivered Almonds, toasted (or toasted coconut, white chocolate, etc)
Place coconut in a medium bowl. Bring the corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Pour the corn syrup over the coconut and gently mix to coat. Let this sit for at least one hour.
Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely smooth and melted. Roll the coconut into small balls and dip in the chocolate. Top immediately with one almond sliver (or whatever you are using) and let dry completely on foil.