Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coconut Rice Krispies Treats and a Run Down of All the Treats I’ve Made in the Past

I’ve done it again with the Rice Krispies Treats.  I’ve had fun making all kinds of these easy, yummy treats over the last few years and I’m bettin’ I’ll be making more, like these newest creations, Coconut Rice Krispies Treats!  Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane (well, only if you want to, I wanted to.)

There’s these Halloween Oreo Rice Krispies Treats as well as these popular Halloween Oreo Caramel Rice Krispies Treats.  Oh, let’s just keep going here—I’ve made Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Rice Krispies Treats to start the whole caramel thing.  These are SO good!

But there’s more--Peanut Butter and Chocolate Multi Grain Jumbo Krispies Treats (love the Jumbo Multi Grain Krispies!)  What about Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Rice Krispies Treats, somebody stop me!  I actually didn’t realize I’ve made SO many variations of these over the last few years!  Shall I keep going?  Okay, playing around with some other cereal, I came up with these, Cookie Crisp Rice Krispies Treats.

Sigh.  I need to open a Rice Krispies Treats store!  I’ve been festive at times with Red, White and Blue Rice Krispies Treats.  What about my Almost Sugarless Rice Krispies Treats that I made using agave nectar to make homemade marshmallow, huh, what about that! ;)  I had fun with these making the marshmallow pink and shaping the treats as hearts for Taylor’s preschool treats last year for Valentine’s Day and using the Jumbo Multi Grain Krispies.

We’re nearing the end of the list, but certainly can’t forget the Triple Decker Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats I came up with all the way back in May of 2008—so good!  And these beauties--Laffy Taffy Strawberry Banana Rice Krispies Treats.

Today’s treats, if you love the Almond Joy/Mounds candy bars, are just for you and you can choose, because you know, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t!


There’s a lot of coconut flavor (as well as actual coconut in there).  Don’t like nuts?  Have it your way.


Coconut Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina Smith

13 ounces mini marshmallows

3 heaping tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup unsweetened, reduced fat, organic coconut flakes (you could use sweetened)*

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon pure coconut flavor (optional)

6 cups (162 grams) Jumbo Multi Grain Krispies Cereal (Rice Krispies Cereal is fine, too)

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and melted

1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray.   In a large microwave safe bowl (or a saucepan on the stove), melt the marshmallows and coconut oil in 30 second intervals, stirring between each time (only takes about 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave).  Once melted, stir in the coconut flakes and flavoring, then add the cereal and mix well.  Spread the mixture evenly in the pan, pressing down to make it compact.  Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the top (or half, which is what we did), press down on them so they stick.  Then drizzle the melted chocolate over all the treats.  Let sit for about an hour, remove from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Cut into desired sizes.


I had me a cute, lil’ helper with these.  Use a potato masher to press the treats evenly in the pan.


These have a GREAT coconut flavor and chew from all the coconut  (I added some of the sweetened coconut just for that texture.)  You can use all sweetened or any kind you’d like.  Add more or less, if you’d like as well.  If you really want that covered candy bar, you can also use a little more chocolate and spread it all over the top.  De-lish!


Could he BE any cuter?  (Yes, Mother, I know he needs a haircut, but sometimes that’s what makes him all the more cute!)


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TWD—Cocoa-Nana Bread (Muffins)

It’s Tuesday’s With Dorie time again. Steph of Obsessed With Baking (yummy blog!!!) chose our recipe this week.  She chose Cocoa-Nana Bread.

I decided to make muffins.  I like quick breads, but I like muffins better—they’re quicker!  That and you don’t have to slice muffins.  I always seem to have a hard time getting nice slices of bread.  My momma always teased me that I can’t cut worth a darn because I’m left handed.  I don’t know if that’s really it, but I still don’t cut/slice things very nicely.  This recipe worked out just fine as muffins, although it made a ton and I probably should have halved it.


I took some of the muffins (mini ones) to a baby shower brunch I went to on Saturday, but we actually still have some of the regular size muffins I made left here.  The muffins are best the day they’re made, even warm from the oven.  They are a bit dry now.  And I really can’t believe there’s banana in these.  It’s hardly noticeable.  I would actually make these again (possibly) and double the amount of banana.  I like-a a banana in just about anything, you know.  Oh, of course, I added a few things to these.  (I don’t know why I simply cannot just follow a recipe to save my life!  I even did that with a recipe I was making for dinner tonight and before I knew it, I was adding this and that and it was totally different from the original.)  I wouldn’t call these muffins “changed” from what the cocoa-nana bread is supposed to be, just added upon.

This full recipe made 24 mini muffins and 10 good sized regular muffins.


I know you’re wondering what that is inside the muffins.  Well, let me tell you.  It’s chopped milk chocolate , toffee bits, and chopped, toasted almonds.  The best part of these is getting a bite of that toffee!


Oh, one thing I forgot to mention was that as I set out to make these, I realized I didn’t have a whole cup of cocoa that they called for.  So I used 1/2 cup cocoa and 2 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate.  Then I used 2 1/2 tablespoons less butter than called for in the recipe.  I also ended up having to make homemade buttermilk.  I sure thought I had some in the fridge, but didn’t realize until I’d already started this that I didn’t have any.  You know the old trick, add a little lemon juice or vinegar to some milk and let it sit 5-10 minutes—buttermilk.  It’s never as good as the real thing, but this is what I had to do.  So there you have it—Cocoa-Nana Muffins with toffee and almonds!


Gotta go check out what the other TWD bloggers did with this bread!  And come back soon for another yummy, yummy treat I’ve got for you!  Let me just say….sometimes you feel like a nut…..

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fudgie Wudgies Recipe

After being really good all week and only eating the Raw Cal-mond Cookies I posted in my last post for treats, I was in a real chocolate mood.  It really was more that I was looking to bake something and Megan told me I could/should and I really should do what Megan says, you know, well, just because she’s a pretty smart woman! ;)  So I flipped through some of my cookbooks.  And I found Fudgie Wudgies.  Say it a few times.  It’s fun and just saying it made me really want to make them.  I found these in Rosie’s Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam Filled Butter-Rich No-Holds Barred Cookie Book, by Judy Rosenberg.  THIS is a great book FULL of cookies—that’s my kind of cookbook!


Judy says her son, Jake, came up with the name for these chocolaty, fudgy cookies.  These cookies are basically an almost flourless brownie cookie.  As much as I love playing around with mix-ins in brownies, I can see these cookies being fun to try all kinds of good things inside.   Brace yourself for this though, I’m a little shocked about it, too, but I followed Judy’s recipe pretty much exactly.  I know, I can’t believe it either. 

These brownie-like cookies have that shiny, crispy exterior and super fudgy middle, just like brownies.  These have pecans and chocolate chips inside.  If you’ll recall my somewhat recent Almond Joy Coconut Brownies (that are gluten-free), I think I’ll try these cookies with coconut flour and the almond/coconut mixture.  Can you see me trying caramel hiding inside, toffee bits, some new candies I found, endless possibilities?  Some tart dried cherries would also be really good.  Ooh, if I don’t stop there, I’ll be back in the kitchen whipping up some more of these right away.  They were gobbled right up by everyone here in less than a day.   I probably got 24-30 cookies from the recipe (Judy suggests 20 big ones.).  Here’s her recipe, adapted very slightly by me, mostly because my baking times for things are never as long as a recipe suggests.

Fudgie Wudgies, adapted by Katrina Smith from Judy Rosenberg, Rosie’s Bakery

6 ounces (1 cup) plus 4 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray if no paper). 
Melt the 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the butter in a glass, microwave safe dish in 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted.  Allow to cool 5 minutes.  Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt together in a small bowl using a wire whisk.                                           

Beat the eggs and vanilla with a wire whisk until combined.(or an electric mixer, but these were easy to do all by hand).  Add the sugar to the egg mixture and blend until the mixture is thick, about 1 minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the melted chocolate and whisk together well.  Scrape the bowl again.  Add the flour mixture and blend just until combined.  Stir in the 4 ounces of chocolate chips and the pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls, or with a cookie scoop onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart (I only did 8 to a sheet as they spread a bit).  Bake the cookies until they form a thin crust (Judy suggests 14-16 minutes.)  I only baked mine 11 minutes.  If baking for 11 minutes, let sit on baking sheets for 3 minutes, the remove to a wire rack to cool.  If baking for the longer time, remove from sheets immediately. 


I just need to say it again—Fudgie Wudgies!  Mmmm!

Ooh, before I forget (and I most often do-so sorry to anyone I may have forgotten to thank), but I received a lovely award, the Happy 101 Award from Mimi at Mimi's Kitchen and just wanted to thank her for thinking of me!  So nice to be loved! ;)  Thanks!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cal-Mond Cookies Recipe (Raw Food Cookies), Healthy and Delicious

Here’s the  healthy cookies I mentioned in my last post that I was going to tell you about soon, Cal-Mond Cookies!  Oh, I know, after seeing those Tuesday’s With Dorie Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars that I made with pecans and Rolo candies, there just can’t be anything better.  Well, for me, these are.  Why?  Because I can eat them without the extreme guilt I feel with just a bite or two of the Almost-Candy Bars. 

My sister-in-law recently sent me a bunch of raw foods recipes.  No, I’m not going all raw food, vegan, healthy on you.  But I do like when I can still have a treat and I don’t feel so guilty about it AND it’s good!  These aren’t really anything new, I’ve actually made some similar cookies before, but it was a long time ago and I was happy to be reminded of these.


Cal-Mond Cookies, source unknown, but adapted by Katrina

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw walnuts

dash salt

2-4 tablespoons agave nectar (I only used 2)

1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup dried tart cherries (or raisins)  The cherries are awesome!

1/4 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

First grind the 1/4 cup almonds in a food processor until finely ground.  Remove from processor to a small bowl.  Add the coconut and mix together.  Set aside.

Grind the almonds and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add the chopped up pitted dates, salt, vanilla and cherries and process until it starts coming together.  Add 2 tablespoons of agave until mixture is well combined.  Add a little more if necessary.  Form dough into one inch balls.  Roll in almond/coconut mixture.  Flatten slightly and lay them on waxed paper.  Keep the cookies chilled.


Now I’ve got to tell you something rather funny, sort of.  I’ve bought chopped dates before.  But when I saw Medjool dates in the store recently, I grabbed them as I’ve never tried that kind and have wanted to.  So I set out to make these cookies and for some (dummy me) reason it just didn’t cross my mind that these big, beautiful whole dates have the pits still in them.  I threw them in the food processor with the ground nuts and started it a whirring away.  I was really surprised that there was such the loud noise coming from the processor.  Do you think that stopped me?  Oh no.  I just let it keep going.  Are you laughing yet?  You better not be, yeah you, I’m pointing to you!  When the mixture was all ready to form into balls, I began doing so.  Then I saw a brown thing in the dough and pulled it out thinking “That’s strange, one of the almonds didn’t chop up.”  And get this, I popped it in my mouth and chomped down on it.  That dadgum thing was the rock hardest almond I’d ever eaten.  Friends, Family, Whoever, I STILL hadn’t thought about those pits!  I took the “almond” out of my mouth and examined it, it didn’t really look like an almond.  IT WASN’T!  Then it just hit me, you know, like waking up in the morning hits you, “That’s a date pit!”  I began looking through more of the dough and I found all those little buggers, still completely whole!  THEY were what was making so much noise in there! 

Yep, I’m just not all here sometimes, Folks.   That said, I carried on and made these delicious little, healthy treats!  They are sweet and nutty and “Hey, Katrina, what’s that chocolaty looking thing there in the middle?”  Why, I’m glad you asked and really, did you have to ask, it’s me here—it’s chocolate!  Raw chocolate.  And guess what—it’s really good.  And I made it.  Months ago.  Homemade raw chocolate chips have been in my freezer, sort of forgotten about.  I remembered them after I made these cookies and thought how good just a little bite of chocolate would be with these. 

I found these little gems on Angela’s blog, Oh She Glows.  If I was ever going to be a raw foods, vegan, 100% organic, dairy free, refined sugar free kind of gal, THIS is who I’d want to be.  Check out her blog.  I think she’s pretty amazing!  So after she posted about this raw chocolate chip and raw chocolate chip cookies, I was intrigued.  So I made them.  I’m not sure why I never blogged about them.  The cookie dough is made with mostly ground up cashews, much like these Cal-Mond Cookies.  But she also shares a recipe for raw chocolate chips.  Her recipe says to use 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 cup carob powder, but that all cocoa is okay, so that is what I did.  If I remember correctly, I may have needed to use a little more agave until it all came together. 

Raw Chocolate Chips, adapted from Angela at Oh She Glows by Katrina

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup carob powder (I used all cocoa powder)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

4 tablespoons agave nectar

2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all chocolate chip ingredients together in a food processor. Roll the dough out onto parchment paper and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes after 15 minutes., flip the chocolate sheet over for even freezing.  When chocolate is frozen, cut into chips using a pizza cutter.  Store in a plastic bag in the freezer.

That’s all, go eat a healthy chocolate chip cookie!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TWD—Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

Kevin really doesn’t like raisins.  I say that nicely, but he really doesn’t like them.  I knew if I was to make these “candy bars” and have any hopes that he and even the boys would eat them that I would not be making them with raisins.  Lillian of Confectiona's Realm chose our recipe this week for Tuesday’s With Dorie.  She chose Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars on pages 114-115.  They have an oatmeal cookie layer with peanuts, then a fudge layer that has raisins and more peanuts.  Oh, did I mention Kevin doesn’t really care for the peanut chocolate combo either.  Nope, not gonna fly here. 

Here’s what I decided to do.  I made half the recipe—we certainly didn’t need a 9x13 pan of these no matter what I put in them!  I was all set to make them in an 8x8 inch square pan, then I found some little heart shaped pans at World Market and decided I’d make a couple in those pans and didn’t know exactly how much would be left, so I put the rest in an 8x4 inch bread pan.  But what did I do since you now know I wasn’t planning on raisins and peanuts?   Hmmm?

Does this help?



Well, I guess not really, you still can’t tell what’s hiding inside.  Let’s see, what other pictures do I have?


I did not put nuts in the oatmeal cookie layer, I lined them up on top.  Hmmm?  Pecans.  What else goes with pecans and chocolate?  Anyone?


Well, that’s not very pretty, what in the world is it?  Why it’s mashed Rolo Caramel Candies, it is.  Yep, I went with pecans and caramel instead of peanuts and raisins.  Turtles, anyone?  So, while the Rolos aren’t that pretty, I went with them because they are a softer caramel (and I’m too lazy to make my own).  I made some other cookies during the holidays that had a Kraft caramel in the middle and while they were really good, after the cookies sat for a time, the caramel inside got really hard.  So I decided to use Rolos.  Then I covered the pecans and caramel with the chocolate/fat free! condensed milk mixture (I always use fat free condensed milk—you know, to make a much healthier bar ;)).  I like to do this kind of thing in a piping bag—it makes for more easier, even distribution.  I used some chopped milk chocolate as I think that milk chocolate goes better with the pecans and caramel, in this case anyway.  Oh, I also left the cinnamon out of the cookie dough.


Cookie Sprinkles.


Cool time.  Cut time. And, photos!


Holy cow!  These are REALLY good.  Like scary good.  Like, “Hey-everybody-eat–these-quick-good.”

And so, they did.  The boys really like them.  I’m pretty sure Kevin likes them.  I know he’s eaten a few.  I have tasted them, but sworn off eating too much of them.   I actually took that first photo, then decided to cut them each in half.  About a one inch square is puh-lenty!


Then try not to eat three, four, five of them! ;)

The bars that were made in the bread pan are a little thick on the bottom cookie layer.  The ones in the heart pans are perfect.  In the photo above, these were cut right after chilling them for a few hours, as Dorie said they are best chilled.  Well, that was if they had raisins and peanuts.  The caramel was a little to hard to bite with the chilled bars.  At room temperature, they are much, MUCH better!


Ooey, gooey chocolaty caramel, pecan nutty goodness with wholesome oats!  Sigh.  What’s not to love?  Thank you, Lillian (great, yummy blog, by the way!).   That’s all for today.  Next up, I’ve got more delicious healthy treats to share with you!  I’ve gotta keep it real here.  I love baking.  I love TWD.  I will keep baking.  But I’ve got to NOT eat so much of this stuff.  So I’ve been looking for healthier alternatives.  And I’m finding lots of great things.  Check out the Almost Vegan Spelt Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies on my last post if you missed them.  I’ve got more.  I’ll try to get them posted soon.  Hey, check out the other TWD bloggers to see what they did with these bars, I’ve heard talk of dried cranberries instead of raisins, or butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips or…..well, just check them out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Almost Vegan Spelt Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did you get all that?  I could throw Stevia in to the name, but nahhh!  I made these cookies three times in one evening.  The recipe is pretty small and super easy to mix up with just a bowl and a wooden spoon.  I’ve been enjoying playing around with Stevia In the Raw after using it with the Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt I made recently and trying it in different things.  I wanted to try it with my favorite—a chocolate chip cookie, but I wanted it to be a rather healthy version of the chocolate chip cookie.  After somewhat of a search I found  these cookies at Sweet + Natural.  They are a Dreena Burton recipe who bakes and blogs vegan and has a cookbook or two out.  You can find the recipe I adapted from on the link above for “these cookies”.  I’m calling them Almost Vegan because my point was for a healthier cookie, but I just used regular chocolate chips.  Without further ado—here’s the Almost Vegan Spelt Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I think they’re really good.  I had to keep tasting to see if they were and after three batches (about 60 cookies later), I decided they were good!  (No, I didn’t EAT 60 cookies!  Sheesh. ;) )


Almost Vegan Spelt Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted by Katrina Smith from a Dreena Burton recipe

1 cup spelt flour (4 1/2 ounces) (I also tried them with 1/2 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour—equally good and you could probably just use any flour you’d like)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw (also tried 1/4 cup Turbinado Sugar—also good.  Dreena uses Sucanat)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Dreena uses grain sweetened chips)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, “sugar” and salt.  In another bowl, combine maple syrup, molasses, vanilla extract and canola oil and mix until well combined.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Place spoonfuls of cookie dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 8 minutes.  I got 21 cookies, Dreena only gets 12!


The pictures of the cookies look slightly different because the top ones are with the mix of spelt flour and white whole wheat flour with turbinado sugar instead of Stevia and the bottom picture are the ones with all spelt flour and Stevia.  Both good but I do like the ones with turbinado sugar better, but if you’re going for less calories, try the Stevia.  The Stevia has just a slight aftertaste, but to me, not as unpleasant as other sugar free sweeteners and though I haven’t totally studied up on Stevia, it’s all natural and comes from a plant and has no calories. 

That said, I have also recently tried it with a brownie recipe I got from the Stevia website and I didn’t like those at all.  The brownies were very dry and cakey and I kind of knew while putting the recipe together that they just weren’t going to be very good.  They actually sat here for a few days, then I threw them out.


I should have tried Stevia in my favorite brownie recipe to replace some of the sugar.  I’ll probably still try that sometime.  I also made some peanut butter cookies (the almost flourless kind) and replaced some of the sugar in them with Stevia and I didn’t care for those either.  But I think that was more just the whole recipe and that I used a totally all natural peanut butter, which made the cookies really not very sweet at all.  Interesting thing was I personally didn’t like the cookies, but the kids ate them up!


That’s all for now!  Catch ya later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TWD—Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben

TEANNA (name in all caps because I think she’s awesome!) from Spork or Foon? chose this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie recipe for our lil’ group.  She chose Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben (pages 157-159 in the book).  What in the world is scherben, you ask?  I’ve made them now and still don’t really know.  Dorie calls them cookies.  They are NOT cookies.  They are just a simple dough, cut into small pieces and fried.  It’s fried food!   I don’t really hardly ever eat fried food.  But since I’m in this group, I had to play along.  Besides, I was intrigued.  Are these really good?


Well, consensus after everyone ate this for Family Home Evening tonight was that they are pretty good—it’s fried food!  Really, we weren’t sure what to think of them.  So everyone kept eating another and another to see  what we really thought.  Are they the greatest thing ever?  No.  But they were fun to munch on and a little dangerous to have around because they were too easy just to keep popping in your mouth.

“Hey, Katrina, some of those are round,” you’re thinking.  Why, yes, they are.  Just thought I’d be a little different. (And we liked how puffed up the round ones got.)  And “wow, you got so many more than I did,” you complain.  That’s because I doubled the recipe.  The second batch I made, I added some cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and 2 tablespoons of crystallized ginger to the dough.  The ever-so-kind Mike, at Living Out West recently sent me a big ol’ bag of crystallized ginger because I’d mentioned on here that it is near-to-impossible to find here in these parts.  How totally nice of him.  (Thanks again, Mike!)  So for fun and a little kick, I thought I’d spice things up a bit with some of these. 

I doused those (and some of the regular batch) in cinnamon and sugar.  Some I just dusted with powdered sugar and others I made a mixture of powdered sugar and a little cocoa. 


This is the plate of ginger-spiced scherben.


“Plain” scherben with cinnamon and sugar.


“Plain” scherben with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  And the best thing we had with these—though the photo looks like, sorry, a pile of poop—was some whipped cream with cocoa powder.  You know, I’ve mentioned a number of times that I don’t really like whipped cream very much.  (I, shhh, prefer Cool Whip.)  But this little addition of just a little cocoa to the cream was awesome.  Loved it!)


So there it is, scherben and poo whipped cream! ;)  Sorry.  I’m done now, I just didn’t realize the picture I’d taken of it was so horrible until we’d eaten almost all of it.  What about a drizzle of chocolate ganache, or just some for dipping?  Ooh, I gotta make these again, ‘sides, I hear they’re pretty good baked.  But thanks, Teanna, for the very fun, super easy pick this week!  Now what to do with the big pan full of oil I’ve got sitting on the stove?  Check out everyone else’s scherben this week over at the TWD blog.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Recipe and Giveaway Winner!

I wanted to make something from the signed copy of Rocco DiSpirito’s book, Rocco Gets Real that we were given for attending the “Night in Napa” at St. Supery winery, that was sponsored by Bertolli Frozen Meals back in September, in honor of the giveaway I had from them.  We got the book back in October and, well, I just hadn’t even had time to do so much as flip through it yet.  I intend to just sit and read all the cookbooks I have, but seem to make more time for blog surfing.  Sigh.  So for this Bertolli sponsored giveaway, I looked through Rocco’s book and wondered what to make. 

The book is geared toward healthy eating.  Hey, believe it or not, I’m all for that.  Then I saw it—on pages 192-193—Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt.  Now we’re talking!  Actually with all my ice cream making escapades this past summer, I wanted to find a lower fat, but still tasty frozen treat.  This just might be it.  While I didn’t follow everything exactly as written in Rocco’s book (shocker, I know!), I pretty much followed it and this is good stuff!


Hey, wait, aren’t we hear to announce the winner of the giveaway?


Oh, yes!  I’ll get to that recipe in just a moment.  We did like we’ve always done for the giveaways I’ve had (although we didn’t take pictures this time!) and we (my family) put all the names of all the people who entered the contest in bowl.  Then each of the boys (including Kevin), that’s five, blindly drew out a name from the bowl.  Then from those five I blindly drew a name.  We have more fun that way than if I just did a random generator.  Thank you all for entering, this was a fun contest.  The winner chosen was Megan of My Baking Adventures.  I’ve come to just adore Megan since getting to know her through Tuesday’s With Dorie and our love of all things chocolate—especially chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  Check out her other blog, The Brownie Project!  Congratulations, Megan.  Your goodies for a “night in” from Bertolli/Ogilvy Public Relations is on its way!

Okay, the frozen yogurt.  I will use this recipe/method many times from now on.  I love me some ice cream, but don’t mind when it tastes a little healthier and for sure when I KNOW it’s healthier, but I’m still getting a treat.  This definitely tastes like yogurt, to which Kevin doesn’t really care for, but I say that’s O.K.  I’ll have the frozen yogurt and he can have the ice cream.  This one happens to be Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt, but it can be adapted with all kinds of flavors, I’m sure.  Add some broccoli, whatever you like.  Ha!!

Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt, adapted by Katrina From Rocco DiSpirito’s book, Rocco Gets Real

2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

1  3/4 cups skim milk

1/2 cup Stevia In The Raw (Cup for Cup) (Rocco’s recipe uses 1 cup of Splenda)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

17.6 ounces Activia Vanilla Fat Free Yogurt (Rocco suggested Total 10% Fage Yogurt)  I agree that a Greek Yogurt would be great!)  Activia is just what I happened to have.

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3-5 drops of green food coloring

3 tablespoons mini semi sweet chocolate chips

1 ounce 70% dark chocolate, chopped  (You could use any chocolate you want and/or just mini chips, too)

Cocoa nibs for sprinkling, optional

In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of the milk.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1  1/4 cups skim milk with the Stevia and sugar over medium heat until boiling.  Stir frequently.  Remove from heat when it reaches a boil, pour into bowl with milk and gelatin and stir with a whisk until gelatin is dissolved.

Stir yogurt in to gelatin mixture.  Add peppermint and food coloring.  Chill in refrigerator 2-3 hours or overnight.  The mixture will be set like a creamy gelatin, Rocco did not do this, he put the hot mixture right in the ice cream maker!  I decided to chill it.  The next day the mixture was just like a set yogurt.  After whisking it all together, put it in the ice cream maker and churn it about 20 minutes.  During the last few minutes, add the chopped chocolate.  Perfect!  Eat immediately or harden in freezer for a few hours.  Serve with some more chopped chocolate or a sprinkling of cocoa nibs.  Good stuff!  Makes about 2 quarts.

***Update:  I’ve now officially had some of this after it was in the freezer for hours.  I decided it has a little to much chocolate.  Probably just 1/4 cup mini chips or 1 oz. chocolate chopped is plenty.  It’s still good though!  When I first put in the 3 T. of mini chips, it didn’t seem like enough, which is why I added more.  Add as much as you’d like!


Fat free frozen yogurt, it’s creamy and delicious and even lower in sugar.  What is Stevia In The Raw?  Stevia is an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener derived from the leafy green foliage of the Stevia plant, native to South America.  It has been used as a sweetener for over 400 years.  (I was not asked by Stevia to review their product and am not being paid to do so.  I just discovered it, tried it in a number of recipes and I like it, so I wanted to share with you about it.)  The nice thing about Stevia In the Raw is that it measures cup for cup with sugar—but it’s all natural and has zero calories!


I will review a couple more recipes that I’ve tried using Stevia with in the near future, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

TWD—Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake AND Tarte Tatin and a GIVEAWAY

Today marks two years since Tuesday’s With Dorie began!  Although I didn’t start baking with the group until October of 2008.  I have had a wonderful time in the kitchen being part of this fun group.  Our leader, Laurie of slush, had an online vote for which recipe we should do today.  Tarte Tatin was picked by a landslide.  Laurie SO wanted cake to be our two year celebration recipe.  So she decided we could make either one or BOTH. 

I made both.

First, I made the Tarte Tatin (pages 313-314, Laurie will have the recipes available).  I wanted to make this because I had never made something like it AND when I saw that Dorie suggested using a cast iron skillet for it, I couldn’t pass it up.  Kevin just gave me a cast iron skillet for Christmas, so what a wonderful thing to use it for for the first time.  I made it with apples, as suggested.  I thought the apples were a little soft when all was said and done and I also thought they were a bit too sweet, that being said, I still really liked the tarte and so did the others who tasted it.  I made this on New Year’s Eve, hurried and took a few pictures of the whole tarte (and they don’t look very good). 

Okay, I just looked at my pictures of the whole tarte again and they really look so bad that I can’t even show you (let’s blame it on really bad lighting).  But I did snap a few shots later of just one slice of the tarte and they don’t look so bad.  I cooked the apples in the skillet and threw in some cranberries just for color.


I used puff pastry for the crust.  Hmm, still don’t love the pictures.  Well, I have to say, this isn’t the prettiest looking thing.  But, again, it was good and it was fun to make something new.


Okay, let’s move on to CAKE.  Laurie’s choice was the Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake (pages 256-257).  I made half a recipe and that made 10 cupcakes.  I didn’t change a thing with the recipe (SURPRISE!) and I did add the two extra ounces of melted chocolate.

We had company over for dinner and cupcakes for dessert.  While everyone ate them and said they were good, they sure left a crumbly mess all over!  I tasted one and thought they were okay.  I want a really chocolaty, moist cake, these just seemed a little dry and crumbly, but even Kevin (the “cake hater”) ate one and said it tasted pretty good, then even he made a little mess on the floor! ;)  The best part was the frosting and I actually made that up (didn’t use a Dorie recipe), the reason being more because I was a little pressed for time, so I just whipped up some frosting.  I didn’t use a recipe, but here’s the simple, duh, things I used, sometimes I don’t even measure, so here’s a good guess.

Katrina’s Quick Chocolate Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

4 tablespoons half and half (that’s just what I grabbed in the fridge, milk would work fine)

Beat all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer except the half and half.  Mix that in one tablespoons at a time until frosting is desired consistency.  Scrape sides of bowl and whip for a good two minutes.


Don’t let me fool you, that’s a pretty nice picture there.  I really stink at piping icing on cupcakes!  I only did a few, then just spread it on the “old fashioned” way with a butter knife.  I think part of my problem is that I don’t have the right size tip for my piping bag.


I kept wanting to try all week to make a cute snowman cake or something, but it just didn’t happen.  I was happy to just get the cupcakes done and the tarte tatin.  I’m glad I was able to do both.  Thanks again, Laurie, and all of the TWD group.   I’m having  such a great time with this and thank ya’ll for stopping by and cheering me on!  Now……it’s GIVEAWAY time!

Check out this giveaway.  Ya’ll will remember (You remember, right? ;) that back in September when I went to the Food BlogHer conference in San Francisco, I also had the opportunity to attend a Night In Napa at the St. Supery Winery.  This was sponsored by Bertolli Frozen Meals/Ogilvy Public Relations.  Oh, and Rocco DiSpirito was there, too!  While I don’t drink wine, I was really glad I got to attend this wonderful evening, meet lots of fun bloggers, and taste some of Bertolli’s Frozen Meals. 

I think it’s okay to choose sometimes to have “a night in”, rather than dine out.  I also think there are times in our busy lives where certain convenience foods are necessary as well as pretty darn good.  Bertolli thinks so, too, and they want to reward one lucky reader some things so you can create that stay-at-home evening with your significant other.  Here’s what you will win!

  • Cuisinart Skillet
  • KitchenAid Countertop Oven
  • 2 Riedel wine glasses
  • 1 bottle of St. Supery wine
  • 2 sets of Emile Henre plateware
  • 1 year supply of Bertolli Frozen Meals


    Leave me a comment letting me know what you would do if you had a night-in with your significant other.  I want to know by this Thursday, January 7, 2010 (9 p.m. CST).  This contest is (sorry) only open to US residents ages 21 or older.  Make sure in your comment you leave me a way to contact you, should you be chosen as the winner.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  Sorry, Rocco DiSpirito not included. ;) 

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    Almond Joy Coconut Brownies Recipe (Gluten Free)


    I started playing around with my favorite brownie recipe the other day after chatting with Alta of Tasty Eats At Home and came up with these delicious Almond Joy Coconut Brownies.  She mentioned her favorite brownies as one of her best recipes of 2009.  As I looked at her brownie recipe, I realized it’s very close to my favorite brownies, both of which are slightly different versions of Katharine Hepburn’s “famous” brownies.  Not sure anyone really knows exactly what her recipe was, but one of the keys to her gooey, perfectly chocolaty brownies is the small amount of flour that is used.

    Alta cooks/bakes gluten free and mentioned that her brownies are even great with gluten free flour, like rice flour.  So I wondered and asked her about coconut flour as that is the only gluten free flour I have right now.  She thought that would make great brownies, especially if you like coconut.

    Well, I LIKE coconut.  Kevin likes coconut.  One of both our favorite candy bars to snitch from the boys at Halloween are Almond Joys and I’ve even posted a recipe I made for Homemade Almond Joy Candy that uses mashed potatoes in the recipe.  They are really good and you’d never know there was mashed potatoes in them.

    Back to the brownies.   Oh the brownies.  They are really, really good!  Just to play with the flavor, I used coconut oil in place of the butter and I used coconut flour in place of the all purpose flour, but of course, you could do these either way and they’d still be great.  One thing Alta’s recipe uses different from mine is chopped unsweetened chocolate and Dorie’s Tribute to Katharine Hepburn brownies that I use now as my go-to brownie uses cocoa powder.  So I decided to try the unsweetened chocolate.  There really isn’t much of a difference, but it is hard for me to really say that, since I also made these with coconut oil and coconut flour.  Just trust me that this is a very easy recipe to adapt.  Along with the coconut flour and oil, these have a delicious layer of sweetened coconut and almonds and it really makes these brownies!

    Almond Joy Coconut Brownies (Gluten Free), by Katrina Smith

    2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (could use 1/2 cup cocoa powder)

    1/2 cup coconut oil (could use 1 stick unsalted butter)

    2 large eggs, room temperature

    1 cup granulated sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup coconut flour (could use 1/4 cup all purpose flour)

    1/2 cup sweetened coconut

    1/3 cup toasted, chopped almonds

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 8x8 inch square baking pan with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray.

    Melt chocolate and oil in pan over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Whisk together well.  Let sit 3 minutes.Whisk in eggs one at a time.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Fold in salt and flour until combined.  Spread half the batterevenly in pan.  Sprinkle with almonds, then coconut.  Press down carefully.  Put remaining batter in zip top plasticbag.  Snip off corner of bag.  Drizzle remaining batter over the coconut/almond layer. (This ensure more even spreadingof the remaining batter.)  Smooth carefully with a knife once the batter is drizzled.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick insertedin center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Let cool on cooling rack to room temperature.  Then chill for a few hours.  Cutinto desired size bars.  These are good and more gooey just slightly rewarmed but cut better chilled! 


    What?  You didn’t think I’d just stop there, did you?  I had to try these with a ganache on top!  These are such perfect little decadent bites.  I cut the brownies about 2x2 inches, then I cut some of them in to four pieces.  I made a quick ganache with 3 ounces of milk chocolate and 3 tablespoons cream.  Heat the cream in the microwave just to a boil (this only takes 20-30 seconds).  Pour the hot cream over the chopped melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute.  Then slowly whisk the chocolate and cream together until shiny and smooth.  Place a piece of the brownie on a fork and drizzle the ganache over the brownie.  Carefully scoot the chocolate covered brownie off the fork using another fork.  Place a sliced almond on top.  Let the ganache harden.  This ganache was a bit sticky, even after chilling, but it sure tastes good!

    These brownies, and really any brownie, with all kinds of mix-ins would be delicious to make Chocolate Covered Brownie Bites.  You need to try these.  I love that these particular brownies are gluten free.  Now, if I could just figure out how to make them sugar free (without using sugar free sweeteners)! ;)


    Did you see my recent post about all the snow we've gotten?  Check it out!

    Happy 2010! Catch Up Photos.

    Happy New Year to all.  Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!


    A couple days ago after the Christmas Eve blizzard, it snowed again another 3 inches or so.  This snow was a little more workable and fun and the temperature wasn’t too bad, in the 30’s.  Parker and Taylor set out and built a great snowman.  They worked really hard to get him just right.  I think he’s pretty cool (ha, cool, get it.? aheh, I’ve been cooped up too long!)

    DSCF1534-1 DSCF1531-1

    Here is snow plowed on  a sidewalk near our home.


    It’s up over 4 feet high in some areas.  They must have plowed the road, then after the big piles of snow piled up on the sidewalks, plowed the sidewalks!  We took lots of pictures, but still can’t get the full affect.



    Sam has really been loving the Geo Trax train he got from Santa for Christmas.  Although, we spend time setting it up for him, then he plays it for mere minutes and tears it apart, then wants it put together again.  Over and over and over!


    The other boys have been having fun with it, too!  Even Scott.  Shhh, don’t tell him I posted this picture.


    Looked in Sam’s room the other day, where all the children’s books are---on shelves.  Here’s what I saw.


    He was just sitting there leisurely reading with ALL the books off the shelves.  SIGH!  There was probably a couple hundred books on the floor!  (Thank you, Kevin, for being the one to pick them up!)

    Here’s Sam completely engulfed in something on tv. 


    Until he realized the camera was on him.  (Flash didn’t work right on this picture, but he’s darn cute!  For the record, Kevin took the picture. hehe)


    Then he’d had enough.


    Stay tuned.  I’ll be playing catch up on some yummy things I haven’t posted yet!  Hope ya’ll have a wonderful year ahead!