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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nutella Buttons—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Nutella Buttons

I have something sad to tell you.  I messed up.  While these mini cupcakes, made light and fluffy with whipped egg whites, look great, it wasn’t until they were baking that I realized I FORGOT THE BUTTER!  Even worse, while mixing the dry ingredients with the egg yolks, I thought it so strange that the dough was not coming together.  Dorie mentioned in the recipe that at this point the dough would look like a paste.  Here was mine--

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My already melted butter sad in the microwave, waiting to be put in the mix.  I never once thought about it.  I was perturbed that this wasn’t right.  So my brain decided—add another egg yolk.  Okay, so I added a fifth egg yolk, it was a little better, but I decided to just mix in some of the whipped egg whites and carry on.  It looked like this after a little of the egg whites were added--

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Okay, I decided to just carry on with that and folded in the rest of the egg whites.  And I made the little “buttons” as instructed, including the little dollop of Nutella in the middle of each.  The boys were going to like these!

Nutella Buttons ready to bake

I was excited to see that they baked up nicely and had hope everything would be okay even though I used an extra egg yolk.  While they were almost done baking, it hit me—THE BUTTER!!!  Sigh.  I was worried, but decided they looked good, so I kept my hope.

Nutella Buttons 2

I was even happy that the cake pulled away from the wrapper pretty well.  But all WAS lost—they tasted horrible and were super dry.

Nutella Buttons forgot the butter

I’m not one to just throw things out, I try to repurpose or make things into something else that would work, but these were just not good.  They ended up in file 13 after I took a little taste.  I wouldn’t even let my boys have to eat them.

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What can I say?  You win some, you lose some.  This was just yesterday, so I didn’t have time to make them again, but I plan to sometime.  PLEASE, check out others in the group for Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi, much more successful, and I’m sure tasty, Nutella Buttons.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Coconut Flour Brownies and The Benefits of Coconut Flour and Other Recipes

Coconut Flour Brownies

Do these brownies look gluten free to you, even grain free?  Not only are these refined sugar free (made with raw honey) they are also made with coconut flour.  You know that coconuts are not nuts, right?  With my diet changes of late (gluten free, mostly refined sugar free, mostly processed foods free), I have been using coconut flour (and coconut palm sugar and coconut oil) more and more.  I have really liked the results for all the different baked goods I’ve had when using coconut flour.  I love even more that it’s good for you.  Coconut flour is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.  Check out more info about coconut flour at Nuts.com.  I always have some in stock now and love using it as a gluten free and grain free flour substitute.  Like these brownies.  I adapted a recipe from Empowered Sustenance for these brownies.  Great blog and source of healthy baked goods and other foods!

At first I thought I didn’t like the brownies, they are super dense, but I also thought they were not sweet enough.  I put them in the refrigerator to chill and tried one the next day and the flavor was much better!  I added pecans and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips to them.  These brownie would be great with a healthy ice cream made with coconut milk and a little drizzle of melted chocolate on top!  But they are also great as a quick bite for a treat as-is now and then.  I keep them in the fridge.  I’ve always liked chilled brownies.

Coconut Flour Brownies 2

Coconut Flour Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Empowered Sustenance

10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder

3 large (free range) eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 grams) raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (50 grams) coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/3 cup chopped pecans (could use walnuts)

1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with nonstick foil.  Grease lightly with coconut oil.  In a medium sized glass bowl (microwave safe), melt the butter.  Whisk in the cocoa powder.  Whisk in the eggs until fully incorporated.  Next whisk in the honey and vanilla extract.  Switch to a spoon and stir in the coconut flour and salt.  Then stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.  Spread the batter evenly in the baking pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Remove from pan using foil edges.  Cut into pieces.  (You may chill the brownies, too.)  Keep in an airtight container (I prefer in the refrigerator).

I have plenty of other recipes that use coconut flour as well.  Check them out here:

Almond Joy Coconut Brownies

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Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles or these Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Healthy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Truffles

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Grain Free Gingerbread Blondies with Chocolate Chips

Grain Free Chewy Gingerbread Blondies with Chocolate Chips 12-17-13

Grian Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain Free Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Grain Free Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Bundt Cake 3

These were all fantastic and I’ve either made them numerous times already or will be making them again for sure!  Stock up on coconut flour and don’t run out, it’s great!

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Minute Tapioca Pudding—not really Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi (Dairy Free)

Chocolate Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Today for Tuesdays With Dorie we were to make her Coconut Tapioca from Baking Chez Moi.  I planned to and wanted to, but the recipe called for large pearl tapioca.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  So I went with the only tapioca I could find, which is pre-cooked Minute tapioca.  I felt like using that was such a disservice to Dorie’s recipe that I pretty much changed it and went more off of the recipe on the Minute tapioca box.  Then I changed it up from the box recipes as well.  So I’ll post for you my version of a healthier pudding made with mostly raw honey (and a little organic cane sugar) as well as coconut milk, a little almond milk, I even used a free range egg (does that crack anyone else up, to imagine an egg running free? Okay, it’s just me then, I’ll continue.)—and the healthiest thing of all—chocolate. ; )  Thank you for the three dozen eggs from your little chickadees, Mom!

Chocolate Coconut Tapioca

To be fair and stick with Dorie’s Coconut Tapioca, I did decide to make one portion of regular tapioca, then while the pudding was still hot, I stirred in some Enjoy Life (dairy, egg, soy free) chocolate chips and they melted away.  I definitely like the chocolate version better, I can’t help it.  Minute tapioca is easy to make with just a few, simple ingredients that are cooked on the stove for a short time, then put into dishes to chill.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

I really like adding the nuts, berries and chocolate on top of each serving.  Tapioca has a texture that has not always been my favorite with the little bits of gelled tapioca in the pudding and the different texture and flavor added makes it taste great.  Give me more chocolate, please!

Chocolate Coconut Minute Tapioca Pudding (Dairy Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3 tablespoons Minute tapioca

1 (13.5 oz.) can full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup raw honey

2 tablespoons organic cane sugar (or omit and use 6 T. raw honey)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (and more for sprinkling on top)

berries and nuts of choice (optional)—for garnish

In a medium sized saucepan, add the tapioca, coconut milk, almond milk, honey, sugar and egg.  Whisk together to combine.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  With the heat on medium, stir the mixture almost constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens slightly (takes about 5 minutes).  Pour the pudding into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it over the top of the pudding.  Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Chill in the refrigerator for up to a couple hours.  Stir the pudding and put enough in each serving dish.  Garnish with chocolate chips, berries or nuts as desired.  Makes 4 servings (about 2/3 cup each).

How easy was that?  The main difference between this pre-cooked Minute tapioca and Dorie’s recipe that uses uncooked tapioca is that the pearls are soaked overnight before making the pudding (her recipe used coconut milk as well as some whole milk, which is another reason I just decided to make sure you knew the recipe I made isn’t hers—I forgot to get some whole milk as I’m not against it, but don’t drink milk anymore as I used to do.)  Try this one and definitely get Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi for an amaing cookbook. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Cupcakes—Baking Chez Moi—Tuesdays With Dorie

Lemon Cupcakes--TWD, BCM

These cupcakes were so fun to make and were a hit with everyone who ate one.  Wish I would have doubled the recipe.  It made exactly twelve cupcakes and the frosting was the perfect amount.  Dorie’s recipe was for Limoncello Cupcakes and since that is an alcohol, I made them just using fresh lemon juice in place of the limoncello.  An option was to put lemon (or orange) marmalade in the middle of the cupcakes, but I decided not to do that.  The cupcakes out of the oven are brushed with a lemon syrup.  To make sure the lemon flavor was kicked up enough, I poked holes over the tops of each cupcakes with a toothpick while they were still hot so the syrup seeped into the cupcakes more. 

The frosting was simple and delicious.  Again, I replaced the limoncello with lemon juice and also used a little milk to get the consistency I wanted. 

Lemon Cupcakes

The cupcake batter has a bit of cardamom added, which was a great little addition.  Dorie also suggested in place of that some black pepper.  Both just make you ask, “Hmm, what is in there?”  I received quite the compliments on these cupcakes and even though I didn’t taste them and they didn’t have chocolate (ha), I will use this recipe when I need lemon cupcakes again.

Want the recipe?  Get Dorie’s book, Baking Chez Moi.  I’m loving being a part of Tuesdays With Dorie again.  Good times.  Great recipes and yummy treats to share.  Check out the Tuesdays With Dorie link to see everyone else’s cupcakes this week.

Lemon Cupcakes

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Another pretty darn healthy treat!  Underneath that Enjoy Life chocolate is some pretty darn tasty peanut butter caramel—all natural, no sugar added.  Did you know if you blend dates in a food processor long enough, it becomes like a paste, or even better—like caramel.  No joke.  Sure you might think it’s not the same caramel you’re used to, you know, the kind made with lots of sugar, cream, butter and some kinds even high fructose corn syrup and other unmentionables.  And while it’s not just like your favorite caramel, it’s a darn good and much healthier substitute.

So next you’re thinking, “Ew, dates, I don’t like dates.”  Well, I’m being honest here and telling you if I gave you one of these truffle candies and didn’t tell you what was in it, you’d never know!  I’m super happy about this.  I’d seen a few other places on the internet that have made “homemade refined sugar free caramel” and just used my own decided measurements until I was happy with it.  I’m so happy I might need to forego this post right now and go make some more candy!

Oh, okay, I’ll share it with you first.  So first I made the caramel.  Then I knew I wanted peanut butter involved with the candy, so I added some natural, organic peanut butter.  Then just threw in a little salt, vanilla and coconut flour.  The coconut flour probably wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to make sure it would all bind together and I’d just be able to form the dough into balls.  I am happy with the results, so I plan to just leave it as is.  After the peanut butter caramel balls were formed, they spent a little time in the freezer just to make sure they were good and ready for a quick dunk in a chocolate bath.

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Truffles, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cups pitted dates, soaked in water (not cold, but doesn’t have to be hot) for 30 minutes, then chopped (save the water)

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon water

4 tablespoons natural, unsweetened peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut flour

4 ounces Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Put the soaked, then drained and chopped dates in the bowl of a food processor.  Let the processor go for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Turn it on again and let it keep chopping up the dates.  Add the coconut oil and water and let it process for another couple minutes.  You’ll know when it is a paste caramel-like texture.  (It is not quite as smooth and liquid runny like some caramel, but it’s good!)  Add the peanut butter, salt, vanilla and coconut flour.  Pulse until well combined.  Remove the blade from the processor bowl and scoop the filling into balls.  (I used a small cookie scoop, it’s probably about 1 tablespoon.)  Lay them on a waxed paper lined plate or small baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. 

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl in 30 second intervals on 7-8 power.  Stir after each 30 seconds, it only takes about 1  1/2 minutes, add the coconut oil before the last time.  Stir until smooth.  Let it sit for a few minutes before dunking the candy into it.  Using a fork, set the candy on the fork and dunk it into the melted chocolate.  Spoon chocolate over the top until it is all covered.  Tap the fork on the edge of the glass bowl, letting the chocolate smooth over the surface.  Using another fork, push the chocolate covered candy onto a wax paper lined plate.  They start to harden immediately but once you have the all coated, put the plate in the refrigerator for a few minutes.  Makes about 16.  Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They are great cold, but you can have them out of the refrigerator before serving for a while, too.   

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Make yourself a healthy treat for Easter this weekend—or anytime year round!