Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Biscotti



I'm on a biscotti kick lately. I have so many idea for different kinds to make! 
Sometimes I wish I could shut my brain off... It's exhausting to be me.


haha.


I think everyone in the world loves cinnamon rolls. And if you're a coffee drinker, you know there is pretty much nothing better than a fresh, hot cinnamon roll with a fresh hot cup of coffee. So it makes sense that there should be a cinnamon roll biscotti.


I feel like this was maybe a stroke of genius.


Cinnamon Roll Biscotti
Pre-heat oven to 325


Combine dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt


In an electric mixer:
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. butter, softened
Beat until smooth.


Hand mix wet and dry ingredients.






On a lightly floured surface, press dough flat, about 1/2 inch thick.








For the sugar/cinnamon filling:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix.


Pour mixture over dough evenly, reserving a couple tablespoons.




Roll dough a couple times, and shape into a log about 3 inches wide, and 10 inches long.


Place dough on either a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.






Place log on pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes, flip over and bake for 10 minutes more.




While your biscotti is baking, make your glaze:


1/2 Cup white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. butter
3-4 tsp. milk


Combine all ingredients in a glass microwave safe dish.
Microwave for 2, 30 second intervals.
Stir vigorously til smooth. 
Add milk a teaspoon at a time, until you have a smooth, good dipping consistency.


When your biscotti is done baking, remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.




Dip each biscotti into your glaze, and sprinkle with leftover cinnamon sugar mixture.






Store in an airtight container.



Best Chocolate Chip Muffins I Ever Had!


This morning, I made these muffins....




All I have to say, is that they are the best chocolate chip muffins I ever had.




Amen.




Please make these?


Best Chocolate Chip Muffins
thanks to Bakerella
Makes 12 Muffins


Pre-heat oven to 350.
Grease a muffin pan, or line with cupcake liners. I didn't have any, so I just greased mine.


Mix together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


In a separate bowl, mix very well:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups Semi Sweet chocolate chips


Combine dry and wet ingredients. Don't over mix or else you'll have rubbery, not soft, muffins.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide evenly between muffin pan, filling up about 3/4 of the way.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for a few mnutes before removing.
Best eaten fresh outta the oven!




Enjoy and Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Donut Hole Brownies



In case you haven't noticed, I'm all about excess and overload when it comes to dessert.




Thankfully I married a man shares with my sweets overload tendencies. We are a good match. We both have the biggest sweet tooth's in the universe. There has never ever once in our marriage been a time that he ate something ridiculously sugary, and said, 'this is too sweet'.


We have the ability to polish off an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, and frequently eat the desserts I make in one day. Sooometimes they last for two. But it is rare.


I love that man. Not only for this sweet tooth we share, of course. But that certainly helps.




I do try to make things a little lighter though when I cook/bake.


Like I'll use 35 calorie plain almond milk in recipes that call for cream or regular milk. Mr. husband is a 'man food' kind of guy, and he has never ever EVER noticed.


Another thing I do is replace oil with applesauce, always, except for bread. Duh.


And lately, I've been cutting the sugar in half in most desserts, and doing the other have Stevia. 


When I tell Mr. husband about that after he eats something he always tells me he had no idea...But then he thinks that since it's 'healthy', he can eat 3 times as much. But so do It. And this is why we're married.




I don't put these sneaky little tricks in the recipes though, because:
a) people will get freaked out, and never make or eat anything in my blog.
b) who keeps a big bag of stevia around, anyways? 
c) and if you're gonna have dessert, HAVE DESSERT.
d) also, sometimes it does change the texture a teensy, weensy, tiny bit....and although me and husband don't care, and it still tastes amazing, I don't want to give you a recipe that isn't what you were dreaming it would be.


So, that's my story.




These brownies though are pretty impossible to even try to healthify. I mean, they have donut holes in them...so.....
They're also pretty impossible to resist, and they are the easiest things in the universe to throw together.








Donut Hole Brownies
 Prepare a 8x8 pan by greasing very well.
Pre-heat oven to 325.
Your favorite brownie recipe. I used this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.
A package of Glazed Donut Holes with at least 12.

Prepare brownie batter.
Spread a little less than half the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Press donut holes into the batter, and pour remaining batter evenly over them.

Bake for about 25 minutes. 
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then dump out onto a plate.

For the Ganache:
1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips (milk or semi-sweet)
3 Tbsp. Milk

In a pan, over medium/low heat, combine choc. chips and milk.
Stir constantly untl chocolate is smooth and melted.
Be careful to not over heat! I shut off the burner right before all the chips were melted, cause it keeps melting from the heat of the pan even after you take it off.

Pour ganache all over your brownies.
Let it set for 20 minutes and dig in!




Enjoy!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oatmeal Cream Pie Cake!


I don't think I ever met someone that didn't like Little Debbie snacks.
The only bad thing about all those yummy, pre-packaged treats is those darn trans fats! When I was in my teens (so long ago), I used to buy the boxes of  Little Debbie Fudge Rounds, and Oatmeal Cream Pies and eat them all. The whole box. In one sitting.
How do we eat such horrible things in our teenage years and not die from artery's clogging and diabetes?


I'm all about the living it up, and having a 'who cares' kind of attitude when it comes to good food once in awhile. Okay, fine, almost every day. But seriously, when the world ends, I am convinced we could survive anything if we just build a force field of Twinkies and Cream Pies around our homes.


Oh, and just kidding about the world ending part. Personally, I think it's a bunch of silliness. So stop worrying, you worry-ers.


And go make this cake. It's so good. So, so good, in fact, that I made a whole cake 2 nights ago, and by the next morning, this piece was the only one left after what I ate for breakfast.






It was a nice change from chocolate cake, or anything super rich like I usually seem to be drawn to making.


The only thing I would probably change next time is the filling. I think I'd make it fluffier. It was quite runny,because the original recipe I was following called for shortening, and I didn't have any... but it was still ridiculously tasty. Like a massive, ooey-gooey Little Debby Oatmeal Cream Pie.


Oatmeal Cream Pie Cake


Pre-heat oven to 350.


For the cake, cream together:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
Mix together:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
Slowly mix in flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, and fold in oats.

Grease and Flour 2, 9" round cake pans.
Divide batter between pans.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out fairly clean. It's okay so long as the cake is jiggling in the middle.

Allow cakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting!
  • 1, 14 oz jar fluff (or 2, 7 oz.)
  • 1, 8 oz package of cream cheese
  • 2-3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
Beat all ingredients together on high for 2 minutes.
Place one layer of cake onto a plate, and frost with half the frosting. Place second layer on top and frost with most of remaining frosting...you will have some leftover.
sprinkle with a few dashes of cinnamon.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coconut Biscotti



The best mornings are when I get up with my husband, before the baby wakes up, and get to spend a few minutes with him and a cup of coffee before he heads out the door for the day.


We both love coffee, and things that pair well with coffee. Like chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls and biscotti.


This is some of the best biscotti I have had- perfect for dunking in your cup o' joe. And it goes amazingly with this:



The combination is to-die-for good! Probably the most perfect way to start the day. Try it.

Coconut Biscotti
Inspiration:Annies Eats
Pre-heat oven at 300.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix together.

3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 Cup flaked, sweetened coconut
3 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate

Beat sugar and eggs for 2 minutes, til thickened.
Add in extracts.
Mix in dry ingredients just until combined.
Fold in coconut.

Turn dough out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I didn't have any, so I just greased mine and it was fine!
Divide dough in half, and make two logs about 1 inch deep, and 4 inches wide.
Leave room between the logs as they will spread while baking.

Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut diagonally into 7-10 biscotti per log.
Turn slices onto their side, and return to oven for 10 minutes.
Flip onto the other side, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Melt chocolate at 20 second intervals in microwave til smooth.
Drizzle over biscotti and allow to cook until chocolate is set.
Store in airtight container.


Enjoy!



Monday, February 20, 2012

Pumpkin Dream Cake


I saw this cake awhile ago on pinterest and have been dying, DYING to make it!
But, I couldn't.
I was sad. I cried, I whined, I had a tantrum.


Why, you ask? 


Wait, which part are you asking about- the tantrum, or the part where I couldn't make it?


The part where I couldn't' make it...where the heck are ya gonna find pumpkin pudding in February?!

I feel like it's so unfair for us pumpkin people. It's almost like we're supposed to curb our desire for anything pumpkin all year until it comes out those highly anticipated 3 months. 3 months, if you're lucky.


And I threw a tantrum, because you would too if you heard this cake was originally called 'Pumpkin Lust Cake', saw the beautiful photos of it, and were having MAJOR withdrawals! The pumpkin kind. Don't go starting rumors and making up crazy stories, now.


BUT, a dear friend found the pumpkin pudding jackpot while shopping last week! I'm pretty sure she bought them out. She called me, and told me about her find, and asked "How many do you want?!!?!" I almost peed myself with excitement! We've only been talking about making this cake FOREVER!



I told her to get 15! I'm starting to regret not having her buy more....the stuff is killer, man!


So, I'm sorry I have to tell you about this cake, while we're not in pumpkin season. But you can totally make it with chocolate or vanilla pudding and it would be AH-MAZ-ING. Just not as amazing as if you had pumpkin pudding.
Just save this recipe for the coming fall cause you need to make this stuff.

Oh, and I halved this recipe and it turned out perfectly perfect, so if you don't want to be  "stuck" with a 9x13 inch pan, halving it and using a pie plate works just as wonderfully.


Pumpkin Dream Cake
Pre-heat oven to 375

Crust:
1 Stick Butter (I used Earth Balance Spread)
1 Cup flour
1 Cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. sugar

Mix all together well, and press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes.

Cream Cheese Layer:
1, 8 oz. package of cream cheese softened
1 Cup powdered sugar
2, 8Oz containers of light cool whip (or 1, 16 oz. divided in half)

Beat Cream Cheese with powdered sugar. Fold in cool whip and mix til completely and very well combined.

Pumpkin Pudding Layer:
2 (3.4 oz) Packages Pumpkin Spice Pudding
3 cups Cold milk ( I used Almond milk)

Whisk pudding with milk very well till there are no lumps and pudding starts to thicken.
Put in refrigerator for 5 minutes.

Over your cooled crust, spread out the cream cheese layer.
Spread Pumpkin Pudding layer over that, and top with remaining container of Cool Whip.
Lightly sprinkle with Nutmeg.
Keep in the Refrigerator.



Enjoy!











Loaded Banana Bread


Growing up, for a snack my mom would often make me and my brothers 'ants on a log'....I think that's where my love for peanut butter and banana and peanut butter and chocolate came from. Usually, we would just get raisins on our banana log....but sometimes, my dear mother would replace the raisins with chocolate chips.

Lots of them....The more the better. 


This would take it from a healthy, afternoon snack, to a not so healthy snack. (I have a way with words)


But when you're 10, who cares of such things? When you're 21, who cares of such things?


Awhile ago, I saw somewhere in the blog world, this amazing idea of putting chopped Reeses in your Banana Bread. BRILLIANT, I tell you!
But I forgot about it.



UNTIL, that day I had a big bag of Reeses in my cupboard, lots of Peanut Butter, a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips  leftover, and some squishy bananas.

What could be more obvious than to make the best ever loaded, banana bread???



Loaded Banana Bread
Pre-heat oven to 350
Grease a loaf pan.

Combine:
2 Cups flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Tsp. baking soda
1/2 Tsp. salt
Set aside.

Beat together:
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
3 Very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 Cup sour cream
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 bag Reeses, halved
1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips
1/2 Cup smooth peanut butter


Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and stir just until combined.
Fold in your Reeses, Chocolate chips, and swirl in the Peanut butter. 
DON'T OVER MIX!

Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 45- 60 minutes, or cooked through the center, but if a little comes out on your poking device, that's okay cause you still want it to be moist!
I like mine a little gooey, so I did 45 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before dumping out on a wire rack to cool completely.



It's amazing cooled, but even more amazing right when you take it out of the pan-
 Fresh from the oven!


Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Butterfingers! YES!



A couple things are on my mind this morning.


1) Why don't babies love sleeping as much as real humans? 
I am soooooo tired and the coffee maker is being a tease and taking FOREVER to brew. Do you ever feel like that on extra sleepy mornings?! I feel like a drop an hour is coming out. It's torture.
My daughter has taken up this new thing of singing in her sleep. We've been watching American Idol lately, so maybe she's been inspired. Cool. NOT at 3 am though, honey.
It is adorable to hear her little voice making song like noises whenever she hears music. But when she wakes you up in the middle of the night to do so, not so adorable. Especially when you roll over and see that she is dead asleep. Greeeeat...How do I stop this thing???!!
So, needless to say, I'm tired.
And my coffee is finally done brewing. *singing songs of joy*


2)another thing:
Have you been watching American Idol this season???
Man are they cruel to those kids! Me and Mr. Husband felt for them as they completed their song for the day and were passed through to the next round, only to be kicked off at the end of the day cause the judges passed too many people through, so they had to do more cuts. AFTER THEY TOLD THEM THEY WERE THROUGH!!! Is it just me, or is that just downright cruel?!


3)Also, what is it with guys calling each other 'bra'?
Is it really that hard to say the "o"? It sounds so lazy. And also, It's part of our undergarments. 
How dumb would that be if us girls called each other "boxer"? Or, we could just shorten it to "box"....that's much easier to say.
I just hate hate hate improper and lazy english. 
Like the There, They're, and Their's. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE GET THOSE STRAIGHT?!
Or when someone says "I aint sayin' nothin'". What exactly does that even mean? Cause what you're actually is saying is that you are saying something, because your 'aint' negates your 'nothing'. And you know 'aint' isn't even a word and never should be used because when you type it out it gets underlined with the red squiggly.


4)So go learn your English grammar and make Butterfingers.
Which is another thing I've been thinking about. 
HOMEMADE BUTTERFINGERS!
Can you even believe It?!
Something about butterfingers makes me so happy...I'm usually a chocolate, chocolate on more chocolate kind of girl...But for some reason I love these things. And the homemade taste pretty much identical to the original store kind! How dangerous is that? 
They're a cinch to make, and ridiculously amazing.
Did I mention they're healthy? They have a whole jar of peanut butter in them- which means they're protein packed!
Actually, if that jar of PB wasn't in there, we'd all die from sugar overdoses...seeing as there is a whole bag of candy corn in there too. But the protein makes our blood sugar not go crazy and kill us, or something like that. 
I'm not a doctor, okay?






Butterfingers
adapted from Plain Chicken
1, 16 oz. can of Peanut Butter
1 Bag (16-19 oz.) Candy Corn
1 Bag Milk Chocolate, Semi-sweet chocolate chips/Melting chocolate
2 Tbsp. Shorteing (For melting, if using chocolate chips, which I did)

Melt candy corn in microwave at 30 second intervals.
When completely melted, stir in Peanut butter.
Mix til completely incorporated and smooth. It might look like the mixture is seperating, but don't worry...It's fine.
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper so it comes up the sides of the pans. this just makes for easier cutting at the end.
Cool completely.
Lift out bars from pan, and cut into desired size.
Dip in chocolate.
Done, time!


Enjoy :)

*I let mine sit in the fridge for 4 hours before cutting them, so they were pretty hard and more broke off into chunks. Which is fine by me cause they still tasted like heaven, but for presentations sake, they weren't the most gorgeous looking things. So be smart and don't let them sit in the cold for too long!




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Homemade Pop Tarts


Buying pop-tarts is a thing of the past. 

You can make them in 10 minutes, even with a fussy, over-tired baby on your hip. 

Think about all those nasty Trans fats you're doing without! These things are 6 billion times better than the 10 year old boxed stuff- and they're fun too cause you can make them however you want with whatever fillings you want! Don't you love smart people like me?

I could have been more domesticated and made my own pie crust.....but it's Valentines day. So, that's that.



Homemade Pop-Tarts

1 Box refrigerated Pie crust (2 crusts)
Real fruit jelly of any kind (I used Smuckers Strawberry Naturals)

Glaze:
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
10 Drops red dye (to be romantic)
3 Tsp. Milk/Water
SPRINKLES!

Pre-heat oven to 425.

Roll out crust, and with a pizza cutter, cut off the round edges so the dough is a square.
Set edges aside.
Cut dough down the middle, then cut into whatever size rectangles you want.
Place 1-2 tsp. Jelly in the center of rectangle and place another piece on top, pressing edges together with a fork. 
Make sure the edges are sealed all the way, cause of a few of mine weren't and the jelly overflowed a bit out. 
I may have gotten over zealous and tried to put too much jelly inside. 
Whatevs.

Place pop tarts on an ungreased pan and bake for 7-8 minutes, til golden brown.

When cooled, glaze and sprinkle!





Monday, February 13, 2012

Red Velvet Pancakes


Happy Valentines day!!

I'm not a big valentines day person, but I'm not gonna lie...I won't turn down a nice date, a big box of chocolates or a dozen roses.

All or one of those things is just fine by me anytime.

My husband is very thoughtful though, and regularly  surprises me with flowers and we have monthly date nights- So I've decided to keep him.
Also, He has this thing for red velvet...like for our wedding he really wanted our cake to be red velvet. So it was, and it was super duper yummy and moist and wonderful.

 Just the one thing I can't get past is the dye factor.

But, being valentines day, everything you eat must be either pink and red, and have chocolate in it. So we'll just not think about anything except love and flowers and rainbows.

I did cut back on the recipe though, doing only 1 tsp. of dye instead of 2!

This recipe makes a lot of pancakes. Well, a lot for me and Mr. Husband dear.
I ended up with about 12 normal sized pancakes- not those super lame silver dollar sized things. But you could easily halve the recipe... I wouldn't recommend it though. You will want all 12.
These are the perfect way to start out your day with the love of your life! And even more perfect if you top them with mom's hot fudge sauce. Seriously. The 2 of them should be married. 

Red Velvet Pancakes
Makes about 12 normal sized pancakes

Mix together:
2 Cups Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Salt
6 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder

In another bowl, combine:
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Sour cream, or yogurt
1 Tsp. Red Food Coloring
4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup White Chips 
(Obviously you can do more of either kind of chip if you so desire)

Combine two mixtures together, fold in Chocolate and White chips.
Pour about 1/3 Cup batter into a heated (on medium/high) and greased pan.
I sprinkled extra chips onto my pancakes after I poured the batter. And I don't regret it one bit.

Flip over when underside is lightly browned.

Serve up with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, or syrup.
 Enjoy, and have a Happy Valentines Day :)






Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nutella Cookie Pie



I need to share this yummy little recipe real quick.


I'm on a Nutella and PB kick these days. Don't judge. 


This is also Gluten AND dairy free! I made it for after church fellowship time today and it was gone faster than I could say Nutella Cookie Pie. And it was loved by non gf/df folk. Success!


But, aside from the fact it is super good- It's even more super easy to make. 

Nutella Cookie Pie

Pre-heat oven to 350

For the Cookie:
1 Cup Nutella
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg

Topping:
3/4-1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter 

7 oz. Jar Fluff
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Non-Hydrogenated Shortening
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix cookie part together very well, by hand or in mixer.
Spread into a greased pie plate.
Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes.

When pie is mostly cooled, spread PB on top, evenly.

In a mixer, beat fluff, shortening and vanilla together very well, till fluffy. 
On low, mix in powdered sugar . Beat on high when combined, and miux very well. 
If mixture is too thick and difficult to mix, add in a little milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
I did a little swirl on mine, but I would recommend covering the whole top withe frosting.
If you do just want the swirl, fill a ziploc bag with frosting, and cut off a little from the corner and slowly go around the pie.






Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cranberry Pear Salad



No, I'm not sick.

I just need to share this salad with you, cause it's super delightful and has the best sweet n' salty combo going on. 

I got this cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar from my mom and ever since then, I've been dreaming about ways to use it cause it is soooo good. I want to drink it.
This is one of the ways i've been using it lately...as a salad dressing. Boring, yes. Yummy? Triple yes.
I would highly recommend getting some of this divinity. And you can order it here. Or go to Le Roux next time you're in Portsmouth and get it there. Please???

I didn't measure anything really, but here are approximations. So just have fun and throw everything together how you like it! Cause making salad is so fun.

Cranberry Pear Salad

Spinach (2-3 cups)
Pears (2), very ripe
Pecans, halved (1/4 - 1/3 Cup?) and toasted.
Cranberries (1/3 Cup)
Feta (1/3 Cup - feel free to add more! I love me some cheese.
Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar

Toss Vinegar and spinach together really well, til all the leaves are completely covered. I did a lot.
Cut up the 2 pears into 1/4" slices and toss with spinach, very well.
Lay spinach and pear out on a plate, and sprinkle with toasted pecans, feta and cranberries.
Ta-da!

Super salad.

Enjoy!

Don't worry- I have Twinkie Tiramisu coming up soon.