Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sure wish I shoulda-woulda-coulda tasted one of these cookies.  Okay, I could have, but didn’t.  I made a big batch of these using My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe—you know—these--

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this wild idea to make cookies with Almond Joy in them.  It was Kevin’s 40th birthday recently and I surprised him and had many friends over, some that he hasn’t seen for years and some of his favorite people, as well as some of his current friends.  He had no idea.  He just thought we were having our usual celebration of goodies with two of his sisters and their families.  It was such a fun evening and worked better than I thought it would. 

I also made some peanut butter overload cookies using the same recipe, but with lots of peanut buttery add ins, like chopped up Nutter Butter cookies, Reese’s pieces, and peanut butter chips as well as some chocolate chips.  Stay tuned for a post for those cookies!

Kevin loves Almond Joy cookies and likes pretty much anything with coconut, so I knew he’d like these and that others would, too.  

I’ve mentioned and posted before (link above) about my favorite chocolate chip cookies, they are my take on the famous Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies, I’ve made a few slight changes, but a few things that make those cookies so good is that instead of all purpose flour, they have cake flour and bread flour.  I really think that these flours make all the difference in how the cookies come out, besides using the best chocolate chips you can find (I use Ghirardelli 60% chips, which are bigger and flatter, like the disks of chocolate Jacques uses).  I have had friends and family rave about my chocolate chip cookies for years, so I’m sticking with this recipe.  It’s worth it to me to always have bread and cake flour on hand.  As often as I make these cookies, I decided it was time to try them with other things added to them.  Yep, they turn out perfectly!  So I’m telling you, try the chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Once you do, you’ll never go back to another recipe. ; )

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

8 ½ ounces cake flour (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) (lightly spooned into the measuring cup and swept level with a knife)

8 ½ ounces bread flour (1 and 2/3 cups) (lightly spooned and swept)

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) light brown sugar

8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 ounces (1 cup) dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips are what I always use)

11.3 ounces (1 bag of fun size, or the equivalent) of Almond Joy candy bars, roughly chopped

1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

(I was out of almonds, but would have added some more chopped, toasted ones if I’d had them)

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Then add the vanilla and combine.  Scrape the sides of the bowl. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Put the mix-ins in the bowl and carefully fold together with rubber spatula just until combined.  You don’t want to overmix the candy bars.  Scoop with a 2 ounce (1/4 cup scoop).  You should get 24 scoops.  Put them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Cover with foil and freeze (or refrigerate).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and put the cookies on an air bake sheet, only 5 cookies per sheet.  Bake from frozen for about 12 minutes.  Check the cookies, remove from the oven and with the sides of a metal spatula, if any of the cookies are misshapen and not nicely rounded, push the spatula lightly on to the cookies where they need rounded around the edges.  Decide if they need another minute or two in the oven.  Sometimes I think they do, sometimes they are perfect.  Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool until you can’t stand it anymore and have to taste one.  (If you have a convection oven, you can bake 2 or 3 cookie sheets at a time.  Every oven is different, but even though baking on convection you should lower the temperature 25 degrees, I still leave mine at 350 for these.)  Test yours for best results.

Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie

These turned out just as I’d hoped they would!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Apple Crisp at Baking and Boys!

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

After seeing Mary at Bunny's Warm Oven recently post her Crock Pot Apple Crisp, I NEEDED to make it gluten free so I could have some!  It wasn’t that hard to recreate with gluten free oats and a little gluten free flour.  I changed up a few other things and this made for a delicious treat for days.  I might have even had some for breakfast one day. ; )

There’s nothing quite like the fall aroma of baking apples with cinnamon and nutmeg!  I love that it was slow cooked, which made the smell go on longer.  The apples cooked perfectly to my liking, not too crisp and not too mushy.  Whether you make this with Mary’s version or my gluten free version, you will love it.  Of course all crisps are great with vanilla ice cream, but for me, it was perfect on its own and I didn’t need to make sure I had some ice cream I could eat.

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Apple Crisp at Baking and Boys! 2

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Apple Crisp, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

Apple filling:

5-6 large apples, or 8 small-medium sized (I used 5 large organic Fuji apples), peeled, cored and cut into chunks 

1/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crisp topping:

1 cup gluten free flour blend

1 cup gluten free old fashioned oats

1/3 cup organic light brown cane sugar, lightly packed

1/3 cup organic coconut palm sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

1/3 cup coconut oil, chilled for a few minutes if it’s not solid

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Put the cut apples in the bowl of a slow cooker.  Add the sugar, honey, cornstarch, spices, lemon juice and vanilla and stir to combine. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugars, spices and salt.  Work the coconut oil into the mixture, kneading it together with your fingers until it is all well combined.  Stir in the pecans.  Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the apples.  With the lid on the slow cooker, cook on high for 2 hours.  Remove the lid and cook for another hour.  Serve warm.  Or cold for breakfast the next day! ; )

GF Apple Crisp

So good, even right out of the slow cooker!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon (2)

I wanted to wish my friend Shelby from The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch a Happy Birthday today!  You might recall at the beginning of this month when I participated in my last Secret Recipe Club assignment, I got to make something from Shelby’s blog.   And at that time, I decided to go all out and throughout the month since getting my assignment, instead of making one thing, I cooked and baked from recipes on Shelby's blog and made a dozen things instead of just one.  So I wanted to post another one of those recipes today in her honor. ; ) 

Who can resist a cinnamon roll?  Not my family.  Shelby’s cover photo on her blog are these cinnamon rolls.  It seemed wrong to not make them since they were right there every time I turned to her blog and seemed so right to try these because I knew they would be a big hit here.  While eating them, Sam could be heard saying, “These are the BEST cinnamon rolls ever.”  While that makes me feel a little sad because I already have a tried and true family favorite recipe for cinnamon rolls that I’ve been making forever, these ARE really good.  They look awesome and are huge, which is what makes them most like a Cinnabon roll. 

This Cinnabon clone recipe isn’t too far off from the size of ingredients of mine when I usually halve it.  But the reason they are like a clone is because the recipe only makes eight rolls!  I’ll definitely make these again because the boys all really liked them.  I made a few small changes (I used 2% milk instead of almond milk and butter instead of margarine) to the recipe Shelby posted, so I’ll post mine here. 

Clone of a Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch

For the rolls:

1 cup warm milk (I used 2%, you could use any kind you’d like)

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup butter, melted

4  1/2 cup bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2  1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2  1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, softened

For the icing:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Put the milk, eggs and melted butter in the bowl of a mixer.  With the dough attachment, mix together.  Add the bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast (adding the yeast last).  Let the mixer stir the mixture together on low until all combined into a dough.  With the mixer set to about medium speed, knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Turn off mixer and let the dough stand for 10 minutes.  Turn mixer back on and knead for another 5 minutes.  Put the dough in a bowl that is lightly greased and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let rest in warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into about a 16-21 inch rectangle.  Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup softened butter.  Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar, then cinnamon.  Roll up dough and cut into 8 rolls.  (I rolled from the short side of the dough, but you could roll the long way and get even bigger rolls.)  Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan.  Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake rolls for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  While rolls are baking, beat together 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar,  salt, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Add a little more milk until it is the consistency you want.  When the rolls are somewhat cooled, spread the icing over them.  Serve! 

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon

Hope you have a wonderful birthday, Shelby!  I’m sure you will, since you get to be with your boys!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Peach Mango Cinnamon Ice Cream, Dairy Free and Refined Sugar Free

Peach Mango Cinnamon Ice Cream, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free

I made this Peach Mango Cinnamon Ice Cream, though it’s dairy free (made with coconut milk) and instead of sugar I used raw honey.  It might not be all that pretty, but it sure is tasty!  I have made peach mango “ice cream” before, but this one is a little different. 

I had recently bought some of those fruit pouches, that are perfect for kids lunch boxes.  My boys really like them.  Apparently their favorite is the plain applesauce or applesauce with cinnamon.  But I’ve got some of the other flavors here and there to see what else they might like.


Apparently these Fruit and Veggie ones from Del Monte are not a favorite.  The boys weren’t eating them.  I kept seeing them in the pantry.  They are all real fruit with juice and veggies added.  Peach mango, hmmm?  I checked to see what veggies were in them and it’s just a little pumpkin and carrot juice.  Ding!  These needed to be put to use.  This dairy free ice cream was created using seven pouches.  Here’s the recipe.  Get a box of them and try it out. 

Peach Mango Cinnamon Ice Cream, Dairy Free and Refined Sugar Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

7 Del Monte Peach Mango Fruit + Veggie Squeezers (1 Box is 8 pouches, you could use all 8)

1/4 cup raw honey

1 can lite coconut milk (or regular is fine, I just had some lite on hand)

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (to taste—I added 1/2 teaspoon, but ended up putting in a bit more)

couple pinches of fresh nutmeg

Put all the fruit and veggie mixture from each pouch in a large bowl.  Add the honey and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the coconut milk, then add the almond extract, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk until all combined.  Pour the mixture into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker and church according to manufacturer instructions, about 20 minutes.  Serve ice cream soft serve immediately or put in an airtight container in the freezer.  To serve frozen ice cream, let sit on the counter for 15 minutes for easier scooping.

Peach Mango Cinnamon Ice Cream

Peach is definitely the dominant flavor in these pouches and in the ice cream.  The cinnamon is a perfect autumn addition.  You’ll love it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Cookies—Gluten Free

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Who said gluten free can’t be good?  These cookies, while a bit of a splurge for me, were heavenly and so worth it!  I often change up lots of things in a recipe, like replacing the butter with coconut oil, using coconut sugar for granulated sugar, and using gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour.  This time, since it wasn’t that much butter, I left the butter.  I also used organic cane sugar, which is still a cheat for me, but it made these so good.  I won’t make cookies quite like this very often, but these sure made for a heavenly chocolate treat for a few days when I did make them. 

The recipe I adapted these from is on Anna’s blog, Cookie Madness.  She received the recipe from someone named David who told her these were the best cookies he’s ever had.  They looked so good.  When she mentioned that he told her they were also good gluten free, I knew I had to make them.  So glad I did.  These will be a definite splurge for me when I make them again. 

For the chocolate, which is melted with the butter (and I must say, that sure is a heavenly scent-chocolate and butter melting), I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which are dairy, soy and nut free and made with evaporated cane sugar.  So really, these are a healthy treat.  Right?

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Chocolate Fudge Cookies, Gluten Free (optional), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

8 ounces Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (or any chocolate you choose)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons gluten free flour blend (or all purpose flour)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or any chocolate chips)

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the top of a double boiler, add the 8 ounces of chocolate and the butter and melt it over simmering water.  (This can also be done in a microwave safe dish in the microwave set at a lower power level, stirring every 30 seconds).  Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly.  Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat until thick and pale.  Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Stir it into the chocolate mixture.  Fold in the extra chocolate and nuts.  Let the batter sit until it’s completely cooled, about 15 minutes, but the batter can also be chilled for 30 minutes or so.  Using a medium sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon, put the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies

You know you want a bite!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ann Romney’s Peanut Butter Oat M&M Cookies and My Gluten Free Version of Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ann Romney's Peanut Butter Oat M&M Cookies

Over the weekend I made Ann Romney's M&M Cookies, which I’ve made before (linked here).  I made them for a family get together but I made a few slight changes and wanted to post my version of the recipe.  Though you can find the recipe on my first link here to Family Circle Magazine that has the recipe posted.  As well, you can find the recipe in Ann’s wonderful cookbook, The Romney Family Table.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I sure love Ann and her family and all that they stand for in life.  Not to mention, she is an LDS mother of all boys who has MS—we are twins! ; )  Though I would die if my husband ever decided to run for president!

For this recipe, I used less sugar and I added salt.  I also used milk chocolate chips, though her recipes doesn’t say which kind, she probably uses semi-sweet.  The reason I decided to make these cookies was because I had a bag of mini M&Ms to use.  These came out a little thicker than the first time I made them, which is actually what I wanted and worked because I used less sugar.  Sugar melting in a cookie is one of the things that make them spread more.  Everyone who ate the cookies at the family gathering said they were great!  I felt a little jealous that I didn’t get to eat one.

Ann Romney’s Peanut Butter Oat M&M Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (not packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1  1/2 cups peanut butter (I used smooth, Ann uses crunchy)

1 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4  1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk chocolate chips

2/3 cup mini M&M’s candies (or regular sized ones)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter, sugars and corn syrup.  Beat until well combined.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the baking soda, salt and oats and mix until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and M&Ms with a spatula.  Drop dough (with a cookie scoop about 2 tablespoonsful) onto baking sheets leaving about 2 inches between each.  Bake for about 14 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Ann Romney's M&M Cookies

I decided these cookies would and should be made gluten free (after all, they don’t have flour in the first place).  So I made some for me!  I used coconut oil instead of butter.  I also used coconut sugar and a little organic brown cane sugar instead of granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Raw honey replaced the little bit of corn syrup.  Gluten free oats and organic natural peanut butter along with some Enjoy Life chocolate chips rounded out my version.  Yay, they’re good!

Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup organic cane brown sugar

3/4 cup organic natural peanut butter

1/2 tablespoon raw honey

1  1/2 large eggs (for 1/2 an egg, whisk the egg then measure out 2 tablespoons)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2  1/4 cups gluten free old fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, coconut sugar and brown sugar.  Mix together well.  Add the peanut butter and honey.  Stir together until well combined with a spatula. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Fold in the oats, baking soda and salt.  Next fold in the chocolate chips.  Scoop dough onto baking sheets.  Bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown.  Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 18 cookies.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Happy me!  Happy you if you make either one of these cookies!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Butter—No Sugar Added

Apple Butter 9-9-14

If I wasn’t such a lady, I’d have eaten all 32 ounces of this apple butter by myself.  Who says apple butter has to be for spreading on bread?  I don’t eat bread anyway, or at least I don’t have any gluten free bread right now.  I’m sure it’s delicious on bread, but try not to just spoon too much of it in your mouth straight from the pot.

This couldn’t be any easier to make, the hardest part (though it’s so worth it) is waiting for it to cook in the slow cooker.  That is the main reason most of its cooking time was overnight and while I was gone to my  doctor’s appointment this morning.  Perfection when I returned! And sure smells great!  I’ve made an apple butter before, but also used some pears since I didn’t have enough apples.  So this one is pure apple butter, with no sugar.  It does not need sugar!  Chop the apples—I used my Vidalia Chop Wizard (As Seen On TV, but available in many stores now and only about $20).  Love this thing.  It has two different sizes for chopping.  I chopped these with the smaller one.  Added a little lemon juice, some yummy spices and a little apple juice and let it cook away.

Apples for Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Easy Apple Butter, No Sugar Added, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

12 apples, your choice, but something like Gala, Braeden, red or yellow delicious, or Fuji, or any combination (if you use Granny Smith apples, you might need sugar), peeled, core removed and chopped

juice of 1 lemon

1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1  1/2 cups 100% apple juice

Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a slow cooker, stir together until combined.  Cook on low 12 hours, perfect for overnight.  After about 10 hours (in the morning), blend the apples until smooth (I used a handheld blender right in the slow cooker, but you can carefully transfer the apples to a blender, in batches, too.).  If you don’t blend it too much, you can just call it applesauce, but keep blending until is a super-smooth consistency and it becomes a nice apple butter.  Once blended, you can let it cook another couple hours, but you don’t have to.   Let cool, store in jars in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.  Makes 32 ounces (4 half pints, perfect gift giving homemade item).

Applesauce, almost apple butter


Almost there, blend a little longer.  It will become silky smooth.

Apple Butter

Apple Butter, no sugar added

You will want to dive right in.  I’m planning for some of this to go in these Apple Betty Bars I’m going to make this weekend for a family get together.  But I’m also thinking this would sure make some delicious dairy free apple ice cream, maybe even with caramel (vegan, refined sugar free) swirled in, and some pecans.  Okay, yum!  Deal.  Working on it. 

Slow Cooker Apple Butter, No Sugar Added

*Note, the strange discrepancy in colors in the photos is because it’s quite a rainy day here today!  It does look most like the first and last photo here on this post. ; )