Savannah Chocolate Chewies

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Savannah Chocolate Chewies.  I didn’t know about them either until a few years ago and discovered them in one of my favorite cookie books, The All-American Cookie Book.  I’ve never had a recipe in this book let me down and this one is no exception!  I actually forgot about this recipe until recently and I am so glad I have rediscovered it!  What I didn’t know a few years back is that this cookie is reminiscent of one of my favorite kinds of cookies today… the French macaron.  These Savannah Chocolate Chewies are made primarily with egg whites and powdered sugar and end up forming a shiny “crust” as they bake, but the inside remains chewy and delicious.  They are perfect for any holiday party you have ever the next few weeks and very simple to make, although beware of the baking time—16 minutes!  But so worth the wait.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Savannah Chocolate Chewies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 2¼ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ c. plus 2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. All-Purpose White Flour
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 oz. Bittersweet (not unsweetened) or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, grated (I just finely chopped 2 T. chocolate chips since I didn't have any bars)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. On low speed, beat the egg whites, one at a time, into the powdered sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and beat for 1½ minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides several times. Fold in the pecans and chocolate until evenly incorporated.
  3. Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet by heaping spoonfuls, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes (mine took 16), or until dry on the surface but soft in the center when pressed. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 24 cookies.

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Christmas Food Gifts

Happy Friday!  In case you’ve been thinking about what you’re going to give to that hard-to-buy for friend or family member for Christmas, why not give them food??  Everyone loves food.  Seriously, everyone.  What I like about these food gifts is that they are not your typical fudge or baked good that will probably get a little stale before you can recover from all the holiday eating.  These can be stored away for a cold winter night (or day) and made or used whenever the urge strikes.

Enjoy!

Minty Hot Cocoa Mix

Personalized Coffee Blend

Vanilla Sea Salt

White Chocolate Cinnamon Pretzels

Peppermint Marshmallow Sauce

Vanilla Coffee Syrup

Cookie Bar Mix

Hot Fudge Sauce

Flavored Popcorn Kit

Homemade Nutella

Holiday Drink Mixers

 

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Christmas Decorations

 

I’ve been busy frosting..errr, decking the halls around our house with all kinds of dessert-inspired Christmas decorations.  From cupcakes on the tree to candy on our front door, it’s a dessert lovers paradise around here!

 

I’ll start first with some cupcake and candy ornaments I found at Wal-mart–aren’t they cute?!  I had originally planned to make the ornaments (see link here) but decided I wanted to make a candy wreath instead.

As for the wreath…I LOVED making this.  I simply bought a wreath form, lots of candy and some ornaments and started gluing away!  I still need to shellac it but I couldn’t wait to put it on the door!  I just love it.

What are some crafty holiday projects you have going on right now??  I’d love to hear!

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No-Bake One Pan Wonders

Things are busy this time of year.  You need something to be easy.  Like 5-minutes, DONE easy.  What about some desserts that require ZERO baking time and hardly any effort?  Maybe you need something for an office party or family get-together or ANOTHER ugly Christmas sweater party?  I’ve got a few recipes that are perfect and done in no time, all in one pan.  They will definitely impress!  And you will be alot less stressed.

Enjoy!

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

No-Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake Brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Chocolate Layered No-Bake Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake S’mores Bars

No-Bake After-Dinner Mint Bars

Nanaimo Bars

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars

 

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Gingerbread Loaf Cake

Believe it or not, I had never made gingerbread until a couple of days ago.  I’m not sure why, maybe because it is not the typical eggnog/peppermint/chocolate holiday dessert that I usually go for but it has so many things in it I love!  To start, it is full of molasses and I absolutely adore molasses.  When I was a kid, I loved eating a bowl of peanut butter with either honey, molasses or sorghum all mixed in.  Yes, I’d just eat it with a spoon.  Healthy, right?  Needless to say, I was a chubby kid.

Anyway, I finally made it and I am so glad I did!  This gingerbread is absolutely delicious and the smell while it is baking–divine!  I looked for some eggnog ice cream to go with ours but for some reason Wal-mart had zero holiday ice cream flavors the day I went so I had to settle for rum raisin.  Which ended up being a yummy choice, especially when topped off with homemade salted caramel sauce…which is exactly what we did.  Mmmmmmm!  Highly recommend!

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Loaf Cake
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. White Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 c. Molasses
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ c. Applesauce
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 t. Ground Cloves
  • ½ t. Nutmeg
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Hot Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan (I did mine in a 6.5x11 loaf pan).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the molasses, vanilla and applesauce and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Blend into the butter mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour (mine took 1 hour and 10 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Notes
-Serves 12. -Best if served the day after..the flavors are more pronounced and the cake is more moist.

 

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Dino’s 24 Karrot Cake Company

In case you don’t live in the Ozarks or anywhere near Branson, MO you might not be familiar with an entertainer named Dino but he is actually fairly well-known for his musical abilities in these neck of the woods.  He is also known for his carrot cake.  Yes, carrot cake.  Supposedly it’s an old family recipe that had been passed down and he decided to open up a bakery featuring the carrot cake as it’s star and of course added a few more tasty cake options.

I had been hearing about this carrot cake from family members who lived around that area but never made it in to Hollister, where his first bakery is located.  So a couple of weeks ago when Jeremy and I were in Branson, I discovered he had opened up a second location at The Landing.  I was so excited!  I’d finally get to try his famous carrot cake!

He didn’t have a ton of options on the menu (which is probably a good thing for me since I can be so indecisive) but what was available all looked so delicious it was hard to decide.  And it’s not like we could order 12 different things…these were cake slices, not little cupcakes, so it was all a bit more pricey.  I think the slices were around $5 and the cupcakes were $2.50.

I decided I wanted to try the 24Karrot Cake (obviously) along with a Pumpkin Cupcake.  The carrot cake, was really good and very rich.  It was super moist and had chunks of walnuts, coconut and pineapple all through it.  It didn’t have quite as much spice as I normally like in carrot cake and it actually tasted a bit buttery to me, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

The pumpkin cupcake was another story…it was absolutely horrible.  We both took one bite and had to throw it away.  The cake was very dry and hardly tasted like pumpkin and the icing was just bland and hardly had any cinnamon in it at all.  It was very odd and I honestly just wondered if something went wrong with that batch.

Jeremy chose the Chocolate Fudge Cake and I have to say it was both our favorite choice by far.  The chocolate cake was divine and it was filled with layers of light chocolate buttercream and the whole thing was covered in chocolate ganache.  It was awesome.   Somehow Jeremy’s choice always ends up being our favorite!

Oh and the cinnamon rolls looked AMAZING and I noticed lots of people buying those and I so wanted to get one but didn’t.  I will definitely try one next time.  If you’re down at The Landing to do some holiday shopping, be sure to stop in and try Dino’s bakery!

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Christmas Wish List

Just a few things I want for Christmas.  I’m sure that my name is at the top of the nice list, so I expect to find all of these under the tree Christmas morning…

 

Adorable Fairy Salt and Pepper Shakers from Chiasso.  I would probably use them for cinnamon and sugar on my oatmeal in the morning–how fun!

This Cupcake Memo Pad is so cute and great for jotting down notes.

Gumball Cookie Jar from Urban Outfitters.

This Cupcake Soap Dispenser belongs in my kitchen.  I need it!

Another great find from Chiasso is this Glass Candy Bag.  So neat!

This knit Cupcake Hat from Etsy is so cute and looks like it would keep your head nice and warm.

I am so in love with this apron from Anthropologie.  I think this is one I would definitely do all my baking in.

What’s on your Christmas wish list??

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A Very Special Bridal Shower

My cousin, Tish, got married last Friday on St. John Island to a wonderful man named Jess.  I can’t express how truly happy I am that Tish found someone who is her soulmate and best friend and will take care of her and her two boys for the rest of their lives.  She deserves all the happiness possible and I can’t wait to see the two of them live their lives together!

About a week before the wedding, I had the privilege of co-hosting a bridal shower for Tish, along with her friend Val.  We had so much fun planning everything!  I just wanted to share a few photos from the day of some of the goodies we had to eat.  So much good food and so many awesome women in one place!  It was wonderful.

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Butterscotch Jumbles

This recipe is perfect for holiday parties, super simple and one that I cannot stop eating!!  I mean seriously, these things are soooo dangerous…I found myself just having one little *nibble* and then another and another and….yeah.  They are kind of an updated version of a candy my mom always made with butterscotch chips, peanut butter and chow mein noodles.  I pretty much threw whatever I had on hand into these and the results were quite amazing.  So if you don’t have the exact ingredients, feel free to get creative although I highly encourage using the potato chips and graham crackers.  And some kind of nut, even if you don’t like peanuts. Just use what ya like!

Butterscotch Jumbles
 
Ingredients
  • 11 oz. Butterscotch Chips
  • ½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 c. Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 c. Graham Cracker Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Pretzel Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Wavy Potato Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
Instructions
  1. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the butterscotch chips in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto the foil lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer or refrigerator for a couple of minutes to let firm up completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 18-20.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Cheesecake for Christmas

I am more excited about this Christmas season than ever before!  And it’s mostly because I will be baking my way through the next 25 plus days and documenting every gloriously sweet moment on this blog!  Since there are so many awesome recipes I want to try right now, I’ll be posting a new one every Monday and Wednesday of the week from now until Christmas.  Most likely one will be something baked (cookie, cake, etc) and one will be unbaked (candy, party mix, etc).

I’ve decided to kick off all the festive baking with this amazing  Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache.  This thing is decadent and rich and worth every single calorie you will have to burn on the treadmill the next day.  You really can’t go wrong bringing chocolate to a holiday gathering because seriously, who doesn’t love it??

The only problem (well, ok there were two) I encountered with this cheesecake is that the butter in the cookie crust started seeping out of my springform pan for some reason (I have NEVER had that happen before–weird!) so I had to put a cookie sheet beneath it to catch it all. And problem number two was that I didn’t realize how much volume adding two cups of melted chocolate chips would add to this recipe so my 9-inch springform pan got very full…TOO full!  I’d advise you to use at least a 10-inch round springform pan.  And don’t freak if the top gets kind of funky and cracked; your just going to cover it with ganache anyway.  I torted mine to give it a nice even surface before spreading the ganache over it and in the end it turned out perfect!

What are you most looking forward to baking this Christmas season??  I’d love to know!

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 2½ c. Oreos, crushed (I did mine in a food processor)
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ c. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
Cappuccino Ganache
  • 9 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Instant Coffee (or 1 T. Espresso Powder)
  • ¼ t. Cinnamon
Instructions
For the Cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crushed Oreos and melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the crust up onto the sides of the pan just a little.
  3. In a small bowl, melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk and then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, flour and cocoa until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate and spread evenly into the springform pan.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door closed for at least 1 hour (I left mine in for 3 but if I'm pressed for time, I take it out at about 1 hour...it's supposed to help prevent cracking, if you care about that). Let cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
For the Ganache
  1. Place the chopped chocolate and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. In a separate bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 3 tablespoons of the boiling heavy whipping cream and then add back to the rest of the heavy whipping cream in the saucepan. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly to barely warm and almost room temperature. Pour over cheesecake by starting at the center of the cake and with a spoon, slowly smooth it out toward the edges and slightly over. Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator. Decorate with shaved white chocolate, if desired.
Notes
Serves 12-15.

 

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Leftover Thanksgiving Pie

If you were one of the crazies up at 3 a.m. (or you didn’t even got to bed!  CRAZY!) to get in line for Black Friday, and had all your shopping done by 7, you’re probably getting a little hungry and thinking about breakfast.  Lucky for you I managed to find a few recipes that put all those leftover pumpkin, pecan and apple pies to good use in some of our most beloved breakfast foods.  Pumpkin pie french toast?!  Umm, sign me up!  I know for some, however, it might be a bit early for Thanksgiving food round two, so I also have some yummy dessert recipes that incorporate leftover pie.

Hope you are having a great holiday weekend!

Pie Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Crepes

Pumpkin Pie Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Pie Brulee

Pumpkin Pie Shake

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pecan Pie Trifle

Ok, I’ve got one more last, LAST minute Thanksgiving day dessert!  It’s a Pecan Pie Trifle–layers of chunked pecan pie, whipping cream/cream cheese mixture, fudge, caramel and toasted pecans.  Doesn’t that sound like pure evil?!  Well, it is!  Very rich, delicious evil.

You can make the cream cheese mixture or go really simple and do just homemade (or even store bought…I suppose) whipped cream, which I think I might do next time to cut back on the richness of it.  And I also did a ganache and homemade salted caramel sauce which I highly suggest doing but when your short on time a store bought, high-quality hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce will work just fine!

Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Trifle
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1, 2-lb. Frozen Pecan Pie, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ c. Chocolate Fudge Sauce (or ganache)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
Instructions
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. In a very cold mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream at high speed until it becomes thick and stiff. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in ¾ of the homemade whipped cream.
To Assemble:
  1. Place ⅓ of the pie cubes in the bottom of a large trifle dish or clear, tall glass bowl. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the pie cubes, drizzle with ⅓ of both sauces and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat two more times, leaving a couple of tablespoons of both sauces and pecans to use for decoration. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the top and drizzle with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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Edible Acorn Treats

If you’re still searching for something sweet and kid-friendly to bring to the family gathering tomorrow, look no further!  These little acorns have been popping up all over Pinterest lately and it’s not hard to see why–they are one of the easiest things to make!  All you need are a 3-4 ingredients:  regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, Hershey Kisses and miniature Nutter Butters.  Melt a few chocolate chips until smooth and use that to adhere the Hershey Kiss and regular chocolate chip to the cookie.  Or you could even use chocolate frosting as “glue”.  It’s been done a few ways so whatever you think will work for you is fine!  Have fun!

Photo courtesy of designsbymcm.blogspot.com
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Pecan Pralines

Mmmm, pralines.  There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the correct pronunciation of these yummy drops of sugar and nuts…praw-lines, pray-lines…how do you say it??  I suppose it depends on where you’re from but I’m sure we can all agree these things are delicious!  I will admit I had never even made them before until my baking buddy Betsy suggested we get together and try a couple different kinds.  She has the best ideas.

I’m not sure how many or exactly what kinds we did that night, but I know we used one recipe that was her grandmother’s and these are the real deal.  Honestly, they are hard to describe other than just yummy pecans and sugar…they almost have a maple taste to them.  Which I love.  They do use a candy thermometer but don’t be afraid!  The candy thermometer is your friend!  All you have to do is watch that little red line get to 236 degrees and bam!  You’re golden and on your way to praline heaven.

Enjoy!

Pecan Pralines
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 3 c. Pecan Halves
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, corn syrup, evaporated milk and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn't scorch, until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees (it will take 8-10 minutes). Once it reaches 236 degrees, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Continue to stir until very thick and dark in color, about 4-5 minutes (it will become somewhat difficult to stir...my arm was tired!) and immediately and quickly begin spooning onto wax paper or foil. Let sit until cool and completely firm.
Notes
Makes about 20.

 

 

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Star Cakes: Cups of Cake

Jeremy and I recently had the chance to sample another new cupcake place in Springfield, MO called Star Cakes: Cups of Cakes that opened just this past September (one of MANY that we have now…although not quite as many as all the self-serve fro yo places…I’ll do a post on that another day).  Their store ran a special deal for buy a dozen cupcakes at half-price so we got to taste a good variety of their cupcakes the day we went.  They also had chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies so I went ahead and got a chocolate chip cookie to go with our DOZEN cupcakes.  It’s a hard job I tell ya.

Anyway, we gathered our bounty and headed home.  The chocolate chip cookie didn’t quite make it to the house…it was a really good, thick, chewy cookie and Jeremy and I both liked it alot!  As for the cupcakes, I chose nine different flavors:  Star Cake a La Mode, Fudge Star, Red Star Velvet, Chocolate PB Star, Strawberry, Hawaiian Star, Pumpkin, Carrot Cake and Milky Way.  You can check out the descriptions of each on their menu here.

Pumpkin
Milky Way
Fudge

Unfortunately, I didn’t really have a favorite out of the group and but you really can’t go wrong with pumpkin and that was probably the one I liked the most, moist and very fall-appropriate with a yummy cream cheese frosting.  The rest, to me at least, didn’t taste quite as from-scratch that I’m used to and it seemed like a lot of artificial flavors were used.  My least favorite was a toss-up between the Hawaiian Star and Strawberry…too much artificial going on for me.

Star Cakes a La Mode

Overall, I think it will be interesting to see who survives the cupcake wars going on in Springfield right now…and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of new cupcake places to come to town!  Just more research I *have* to do!  😉

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Thanksgiving Themed Cupcakes

In case you’re feeling crafty and in the mood for cupcakes this Thanksgiving, why not give one of these so, so cute Thanksgiving themed cupcakes a try!  I think the acorn cupcakes look like something even I could handle!  I’d probably add some chocolate leaves just to give it a little more oomph!

Have fun and get busy baking! 😉

Acorn Cupcakes

Pilgrim Hat and Cornucopia Cupcakes

Turkey and Stuffing Cupcakes

Thanksgiving Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Turkey Cupcakes

 

 

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Sunny Oat-Date Bars

Last week I posted some healthy dessert recipes and I had my eye on a couple to try myself.  I decided to start with the Sunny Oat-Date Bars.  I just happened to have a HUGE bag of dates sitting on my counter that I had been meaning to make into a dessert but had never taken the time to find a recipe.  These bars were the perfect thing to use them in!

I made some minor adjustments to the recipe and overall the results were delicious.  They turned out a teensy bit crumbly so I’d recommend eating them with a fork.  And after I simmered the dates and orange juice, I had no liquid left over to add to the dry ingredients, it just turned into a very thick mixture.  So even though I didn’t have any of the orange/date liquid to add to the oats, it still worked fine. I absolutely LOVED this recipe and found I could hardly stay out of the bars.  The flavors of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and dates was ah-mazing.  Pretty sure a healthy recipe becomes not so healthy when you eat 2-3 times more than you should!  Oh well.

Enjoy!

Sunny Oat-Date Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Very Finely Chopped and Pitted Dates
  • 1 c. Fresh Orange Juice (I used fresh-squeezed)
  • 2 t. Grated Orange Rind
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. Nutmeg
  • ¼ t. Cloves
  • ⅓ c., plus 1 T. Safflower Oil
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 3 T. Pure Grade A Maple Syrup
  • 1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Pecans, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the dates, orange juice and orange rind. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occassionally, until dates are very soft and the mixture has turned very thick (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, mash until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla. Add oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Press ⅔ of the oat mixture into the pan and spread the date mixture over the crust. Stir pecans into remaining oat mixture and drop by spoonfulls onto the date mixture and spread evenly.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Sugar Rush 2011

Last year Drury partnered with some local businesses to bring the first every Sugar Rush event to Springfield, MO.  It’s basically a sampling a sweets made by local vendors and restaurants with all the profits going to Care to Learn, an organization dedicated to meeting the basic social and economic needs of kids in schools across the Ozarks.

I didn’t know about the event last year in time to go and I almost missed it this year but found out about it at the last minute and managed to score two for one tickets!  I asked my friend Robyn (of Red’s Cupcakes!) to go with me and together we ate our way through 25+ vendors and three plates of desserts.  Yes, THREE plates.  There were a LOT of mini cupcakes, some cookies, chocolates and truffles and even doughnuts and frozen yogurt samples.  I can’t say I was terribly impressed with anything but I definitely had my favorites.  I think Robyn and I agreed the front runners were Amycakes (awesome from scratch cupcakes and cookies), Elle’s Patisserie (loved her truffles and pastry), My Mary’s Jellies (truffles filled with wine-infused jelly–omg, so going to be making my own!) and one that I really liked, Granolove (super delicious homemade granola).  These places stood out above all the rest for quality and taste.

It was so much fun and I absolutely cannot wait for next year!  Here are some pictures from the evening-enjoy!

The Cup Pumpkin Cake
The Hot Chocolate Cups
Tea Bar and Bites Pumpkin Cake

Love Bites Truffles
My Mary's Jellies Red Wine Truffles
Tea Bar and Bites Coconut Cream

Granolove Granola
Style by the Slice Vanilla Bean
Sisters in Thyme Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Elle's Patisserie Salted Caramel Truffle
Gigi's Cupcakes Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla
Bambino's Caramel Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Amycakes Red Velvet
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Healthy (yes, healthy!) Fall Inspired Desserts

Believe it or not, there are some people on diets this time of year.  Yes, DIETS, preparing/starving themselves for the two month long eat-o-rama that begins around mid-November and doesn’t stop until somewhere around the new year.  I myself believe in moderation and balance and try to get plenty of exercise and eat an overall healthy diet (I definitely do NOT believe in starvation and “diet” trends).  And I am most certainly planning on indulging during the holidays but in moderation.

So, for those more health-conscious readers out there like myself, I thought I would provide you with some healthy dessert options for you to bring to those family get-togethers.  Some are most definitely more healthy than others; there are low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar, etc.  Options!  That’s what I’m all about. 🙂  I’ll definitely be testing a couple (the Date Bars and Honey-Almond Cake are calling my name!) to see if they are worthy of the upcoming family festivities. I’ll post my results!

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Accordion Bread

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Orange Glaze

Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Scroll a just over half-way down the page to see the recipe.)

Chocolate Cupcakes

Sunny Oat-Date Bars

Apple Dumpling Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

Flourless Honey Almond Cake

Pumpkin Sesame Cookies

Chocolate Torte

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

If you’ve never tried the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, you are seriously missing out.  The first time I ever tried the unusual, but oh-so-delicious pairing was several years ago when I made these Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles.  I was in heaven.  You wouldn’t think that the two flavors would go together but they compliment each other wonderfully.  Throw in some cinnamon and it’s a party in your mouth!   Now, add a cheesecake factor and you have mind blowing AWESOMENESS.  And that is just what you get with these Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies.

These are simple and delicious.  The brownie batter is super thick and doesn’t seem like alot when you pour it in the pan, but after it bakes up, it’s the perfect proportion of brownie to cheesecake.  The only problem I had was swirling the brownie batter into the cheesecake because it was so thick.  It was more just kind of gently mixing it all together with a knife.  But it worked!   And they turned out perfect.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
 
Ingredients
Brownie Batter
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T. Flour
  • ¾ c. Pumpkin Puree
  • ¼ t. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Each Ground Ginger and Ground Cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
For the Brownie Batter:
  1. Beat together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl and then gradually fold into the butter mixture by hand.
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter:
  1. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in remainder of ingredients until smooth.
  2. Spread about ⅔ of the brownie batter into prepared pan. Spread the pumpkin cheesecake batter over top, distributing evenly. Drop the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake batter and swirl together with a butter knife.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and chill before cutting and serving. (They are MUCH better chilled in the refrigerator overnight.)
Notes
Serves 12

 

 

 

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