Friday, July 03, 2015

Easy Cake Mix Cookies (Devil’s Food or Any Flavor)

Cake Mix Cookies 7-1-15

Cake mixes are not my favorite thing.  I try not to use them.  That said, when they are on sale, I get some to have in my pantry.  Since I eat gluten free and sugar free and no processed foods, I don’t eat these kinds of things, but many do and when you’re in a pinch for a super simple, quick treat, these cookies are a great option.  Also when my boys want to make something in the kitchen, a cake mix is the best way to go!

I have looked online and found thousands of recipes for cake mix cookies, but this one is from a friend of mine in Arizona.  Most of the ones I looked at online have TONS of oil, not enough eggs and/or added sugar and other things.  I was bummed that in all my searching through my recipes, and knowing the one from my friend was on a recipe card, I couldn’t find it!  But I persevered and kept looking and I found it!

Cake Mix Cookies (Any Flavor and Add Ins), by Cori Peterson (She might have gotten it somewhere else)

2 boxes cake mix (any flavor), I used Devil’s Food chocolate

5 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable/canola oil

1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, etc.

Sprinkles, any color, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Add both cake mixes, the eggs and oil to a stand mixer.  Beat until all combined.  Scrape sides of bowl making sure it is all mixed well.  Add the chocolate chips (or nuts or any mix-ins you’d like, including M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces candies).  Scoop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 tablespoonsful size dough balls, spaced about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with rainbow sprinkles or colors of your choice.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let sit on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Cake Mix Cookies

These seriously only take minutes to mix up and before you know it you have dozens of cookies to take to any event for any occasion.  I thought the colorful sprinkles were great for the 4th of July, just around the corner.  Of course, red, white and blue sprinkles would be great, too!  You have your freedom, I have mine!  Happy Independence to everyone!

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Berry Shortcakes Franco American Style—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Strawberry Shortcakes Franco Amercian Style--TWD

Today’s post for Tuesdays With Dorie--Baking Chez Moi are Strawberry Shortcakes Franco-Amercian Style (pages 338-340 and 424-425).  They are basically a ladyfinger dough, piped onto a baking sheet.  Two cookies/cakes are sandwiched with fresh whipped cream and berries.  Dorie’s recipes has a great filling with a strawberry compote as well as another option for roasted strawberries.  My family likes fresh berries, so I made the cakes, whipped some fresh cream and washed some berries—raspberries, blackberries and strawberries and let everyone choose what they wanted.

It was fun to make the ladyfinger batter, which I hadn’t done before.  The simple dough is made with whipped egg whites added to minimal ingredients of the yolks, a little flour and sugar and some cornstarch.  So easy and I liked doing something new.  The dough is put in a piping bag and piped into three inch circles and baked for a short time.  The cookies are tender and cake-like.  I tasted a little piece of one.  They could easily be made with a gluten free flour and organic sugar.  I will try that next time. 

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If I have learned anything from all my years baking from Dorie’s cookbooks with TWD, it is mise en place—everything in its place.  I love getting everything ready to go before I begin assembling a recipe.  The parchment is ready to go and the piping bag.

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Quite the simple batter and piping is easy—don’t be afraid of it.  Yes, filling the bag gets just a little messy, but that’s what baking is all about, right?

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Baked to a perfect golden color, the shortcakes are ready to go with whipped creamy goodness and fresh berries!

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I set up a quick dessert station and let my family have at it.

Berry Shortcakes Franco-American StyleGlad I participated in this one.  Check out the other bloggers’ posts for their shortcakes here.  Who knew that ladyfingers dough/cookies were so easy?  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (Gluten Free)

Gluten Free No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I know there are some great health benefits to having raw honey in your diet each day.  A friend recently told me to just add some honey to some warm water in the mornings.  I did that.  And had to really choke it down, then ended up adding a little lemon juice and ice just to finish it.  So I decided to come up with my own way of getting some honey in everyday.  I put together these easy no bake granola bars and they have been my dose of daily honey for the last week or so.  Happy me!

These are perfectly sweet and just a little bar does me in for that little bit of sweetness I sometimes think I need.  No guilt since they are gluten free.  If you don’t want the chocolate chips, leave them out, they’d still be a great peanut butter and honey granola bar.  Because there isn’t a bunch of other sugars, you can really taste the honey, which I like.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 cups gluten free old fashioned oats

1 cup gluten free crisp rice cereal (I used Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Koala Crisp, mmm)

2/3 cup raw honey

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Line a 9 inch square pan with nonstick foil.  Cover lightly with coconut oil.  Put the oats and cereal in a bowl and stir to combine.  In a microwave safe bowl or a small saucepan, put the honey and peanut butter in and heat just until barely heated enough to whisk together.  It only took 30 seconds in the microwave.  (If it gets too hot, let it cool slightly, you don’t want it to melt the chocolate chips—although that wouldn’t be the end of the world.)  Stir the vanilla into the honey peanut butter mixture.  Pour over the oats and cereal mixture and stir until all of dry mixture is moistened.  Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips and fold together until they are well mixed.  Spread the granola bar mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly.  Refrigerate the bars for about an hour.  Remove from the pan using the foil edges.  Peel the foil off the bars and cut into rectangles (I cut them into 12.)  Keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge (they stay perfectly firm and chewy).

GF No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This potato masher is the perfect way to press down on things like these granola bars, or my other favorite—Rice Krispies Treats.  I just coat it with a little cooking spray or in this case, coconut oil (I don’t use cooking spray on things I eat), then tamp down all over the bars until they are even.  I find that it reaches in the corners better than a glass would or something like that.  And whenever I use my hand, I don’t like the sticky.  Try it sometime.

potato masher

 Have you had any raw honey lately?  Don’t buy the commercial stuff, even though the label doesn’t say, many are filled with more than just honey.  Get ones that saw raw and unfiltered on them.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Brownies—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

TWD--Chocolate Cherry Borwnies

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

These Chocolate Cherry Brownies we made for Tuesdays With Dorie as our pick today from Baking Chez Moi were pretty easy, are super fudgy and dare I say it—delicious.  I mean, I wouldn’t really know how good they are, since I didn’t eat them, but just look—perfectly fudgy brownies and in my opinion, you can’t go wrong adding cherries to chocolate! 

I followed Dorie’s recipe exactly, except instead of red wine or port added to plump up the dried cherries, I used POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice.  I think any red juice would work just fine.  These are a “traditional” brownie with chocolate and butter melted together, the sugar and eggs added, then the salt, pepper (wait, pepper is not so traditional, but a fun addition), and flour.  Stir in some cherries and finely chopped chocolate and bake.  Easy!

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Dorie suggested cutting these brownies when they are just warm or barely at room temperature.  Normally I chill brownies before cutting, but I did what she said and these cut just fine.  I saw others in the group mentioning their brownies needed a much longer bake time than Dorie suggested, but mine were perfect at 28 minutes.  The bottom of the pan was still slightly warm when I cut them and they were easy to cut!  Dorie did suggest cutting them into 25 squares and I only did 16.  My oldest said these were great.  I have a feeling he’ll be eating at least 95% of the brownies (or all of them).  Kevin doesn’t like fruit with chocolate.  (Crazy, crazy man.)  Winking smile 

I didn’t want to feel left out this week, so I made a gluten free, organic sugar version of these with half a recipe in a 9x5 inch bread pan.  I even used apple juice sweetened cranberries (all pomegranate juice, instead of half juice half water).  I used an organic 70% dark chocolate and I used some gluten free pastry flour.  I think they are great!  Mine are a little more crumbly.  They might be perfect if I’d have checked them earlier and only baked them about 20 minutes.  I took them out of the oven after 23 minutes. 

TWD Chocolate Cherry Brownies

I’m happy.  Scott is happy.  (Parker is at scout camp this week, and the other two boys cringed when they heard they have cherries.)  If you’re looking for a super easy, but slightly changed up brownie with cherries added, try this recipe.  Oh, you’ll need to get Baking Chez Moi for the recipe!  If you’re interested in my gluten free version, let me know and I’ll send you my version of the recipe!

GF Chocolate Cranberry Brownies

Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Check out the other Tuesday With Dorie participants’ Chocolate Cherry Brownies for more chocolaty goodness!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi (Gluten Free, too!)

Gluten Free Upside Down Rhubarb Brown Sugar Cake (TWD)

Look at this cake—it’s gluten free.  For Tuesdays With Dorie this week we chose the Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake.  I didn’t think it would be very fun to make a cake that I couldn’t taste.  So I decided to halve the recipe and make two cakes in six inch pans.  One is gluten free and made with organic sugars and the other is done as the recipe is written by Dorie.  Win—win. 

Even to make mine gluten free, I didn’t change the recipe except I used a gluten free pastry flour blend instead of all purpose flour.  And I used organic cane sugars and two whole eggs instead of 1  1/2 for the half recipe.  My gluten free cake is just a little dry, but maybe it just needed taken out of the oven a couple minutes before the other.  I baked both six inch cakes for 21 minutes when a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean.  I was happy with how I did do the butter and sugar and caramelizing of the rhubarb in the little baking pans on the stove rather than in a saucepan and pouring it into the baking pans.  I measured everything in two separate batches and had both going at the same time.  I don’t get to do that kind of thing as much as I used to and it was fun and I’m glad it worked out to be able to do it on Sunday.  I used some smaller cut rhubarb I got last year and put in the freezer.  Perfect.  I just thawed it first, then had it sit in the sugar syrup.

Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake 5

The big test—would the cakes come out of the pans without any trouble or sticking?  I was happy to see that they did!  Just as Dorie said, turned upside down and letting them sit for a minute to let gravity (and a little steam) take its course, out they came!

GF (orange plate) and Upside Down Rhubarb Brown Sugar Cake

I really didn’t think the boys would eat the cake, which is mostly why I decided to do two smaller ones, which included a gluten free one for myself.  Within a very short time, so short that I didn’t get any more pictures of the gluten cake, this is what I saw and was left with photographing on the plate--

Upside Down Rhubarb Brown Sugar Cake

And even before I knew it, Scott came and scooped up that last piece as well.  Actually, I think it’s safe to say he ate at least half the cake.  I know, it was only a six inch cake, but still.  I guess he really liked it, especially with a little whipped cream on top. 

Because I thought my gluten free cake was just a little dry, I doused it with a spoonful of the leftover rhubarb sugar water (from my organic cane sugar).  This would definitely be good with a little whipped cream on the side, but I only had the Reddi-Whip kind, which I don’t eat. 

Gluten Free Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake

Scott will most likely be happy to polish off my gluten free cake as soon as I give the okay.  I don’t want to say I ate a whole cake by myself, you know. ; )

If you have learned anything from me and my blog over the last seven plus years, it should be that you should have all of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks if you are looking for some delicious recipes and food.  Definitely including Baking Chez Moi.  I am loving baking through this one with the rest of the Tuesdays With Dorie group, a little gluten can’t stop me.  Check out the others’ Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake.  

On a different note, today is World MS Day (Multiple Sclerosis).  Check out the link.  Become aware, millions worldwide suffer with this MonSter, including me.  sigh  Someday, someday we have hope for a cure.  Until then, wear orange, color your world orange, (today especially) in honor of someone you might know who has MS.  (I didn’t put my gluten free version of this cake on an orange plate by accident.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day—My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies!

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  Probably my favorite treat, although now I usually make healthier versions, like these Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Danielle at Against All Grain.

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies

or these Grain Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is just nothing quite as satisfying as a chocolate chip cookie.  Want something a little different?  Add other fun things to the mix, like these--

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Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Hunky Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Overload Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Overload Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I mean really, could there be anything better? 

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I almost always have chocolate chip cookie dough balls in the freezer ready to bake.  You just never know when you’ll need a few to give to someone for a thank you gift or birthday or when you’ll need to pop a few in the oven for chocolate-hungry family.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies-ready to freeze dough

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

This link is an older post for these cookies that I make ALL the time.  Not the greatest photos on the post, but the recipe you NEED.  I could make these cookies in my sleep, they are often highly requested by family and friends.  Heck, if I could have a blog and just keep posting these cookies over and over, I would, but that would get a little old.  Anyway, today is the day—make chocolate chip cookies!

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

S’mores Rice Krispies Treats

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats (2)

I posted about making these on Facebook about two weeks ago and mentioned that I’d post them soon.  I have felt bad that I’ve not done it yet until now.  But I keep thinking about them.  This is the kind of things I’m sad to not get to eat sometimes.  I like Rice Kripsies Treats of all kinds.  And S’mores are fabulous in all their ooey-gooey glory.  Oh, I’m sure it’s been done before and maybe even with Golden Grahams cereal, but one day I was looking for a treat to make for the family and just happened to have Golden Grahams (something we don’t very often have around here).

I did measure the ingredients just so if these turned out great I would be able to share the recipe with you, but I really just started dumping things together.  I simply just melted marshmallows and butter, added the cereal, stirred it together, then put a layered milk chocolate in the center before finishing with another layer of marshmallowy cereal and more drizzled chocolate on top.  Anyone can make these!

Smores Rice Krispies TreatsS’mores Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

16 ounces marshmallows

3 oz. butter

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

3 cups Golden Grahams cereal

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup marshmallows

2 ounces (1/3 cup) milk chocolate chips—melted

½ teaspoon shortening or oil added to melted chocolate

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick foil, spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a large microwave safe bowl (or in a large saucepan on the stove), melt the marshmallows and butter (1 minute in the microwave, then stir with a wooden spoon and melt for another 30 seconds or so (depending on wattage of microwave)—it doesn’t take long!  Once the marshmallows are melted and the butter incorporated, add the Rice Krispies and Golden Grahams and fold together until everything is covered evenly with the marshmallow mixture.  Immediately spread half the mixture into the prepared pan and tamp it down evenly.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the first layer, then add the extra cup of marshmallows.  You could put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to get toasty marshmallows, but I chose not to.  The heat from the warm marshmallow treats begins to melt the chocolate and extra marshmallows.  Add the rest of the cereal mixture to the top and spread evenly.  Use a potato masher lightly sprayed with cooking spray to press it all down evenly.  Melt the extra chocolate chips in a small glass bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each time.  Add the shortening (or oil) to the melted chocolate and stir together until it’s glossy.  Put the melted chocolate in a plastic sandwich zip top baggie, cut a small corner from the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the treats.  Let sit until cooled, about an hour.  Remove treats from the pan by using the foil edges, peel of the foil and set the treats on a cutting board.  Cut into desired sized pieces.

Smores Rice Krispies Treats   Man, I wanted a bite of these!  I think Parker ate 3/4 of the pan of treats.