Friday, May 28, 2010

Delicious Whole Wheat Blueberry Lime Scones


I made these scones last Sunday and am super happy with how good they turned out.  I have a more recent love of scones after learning such an easy recipe last year.  The scones are originally made with just cream (no butter).  All you do is mix a few dry ingredients together, then stir in some cream.  Don’t overmix.  Add whatever mix-ins you’d like, just mixing to combine, flatten the dough on the counter and cut.  So easy.  The only other time I’ve ever even made scones were these a year ago.  I don’t know why I’ve never eaten or baked scones before that, but I’m glad I now have such an easy recipe to whip some up when it strikes my fancy to do so.

I must just say that when I decided to try to make these cream scones a little healthier, I was worried what the great Chef Paige would think as I know she doesn’t alter recipes with whole wheat flour and when I went to look up her recipe on her blog, she specifically wrote in the recipe CREAM (no substitutions).  Well, I was all set to see how these would turn out with whole wheat flour and half and half instead of cream.  I decided if it didn’t work, I’d just not tell anyone.  And as much as I make a lot of Paige’s recipe (as written), I’m actually really happy that these turned out so well with the changes I made.  I’ve heard some say that they miss it when there is no butter in a scone, but I don’t know any different, so I’m happy.  Will I always use half and half instead of cream from now on and whole wheat flour instead of all purpose?  Probably not.  But when I’m feeling the need to watch what I’m eating a little bit, these are perfect! You can find the “real” recipe on the link to Paige’s blog.  (Yes, I realize it’s not like half and half is all good for ya, but with me, every little fat gram counts.)  Here’s the recipe for the scones I made.

Delicious Whole Wheat Blueberry Lime Scones, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 cups (240 grams) white whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

zest of 1 lime (1 teaspoon)

1  1/4 cup half and half (plush more for brushing on scones)

1 pint blueberries

Turbinado sugar (optional)


1 cup powdered sugar

1  1/2 tablespoons half and half (or milk)

1  1/2 teaspoons lime juice

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl, add the sugar and lime zest.  Rub the zest into the sugar until well mixed and fragrant.  Add the zested sugar to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour the half and half into the dry ingredients and stir just barely to combine.  Do no overmix.  Add the blueberries and carefully fold in a few times.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times until it’s formed into a ball.  Lightly flatten the dough with your hands, then roll with a rolling pin until it’s about 3/4 inch thick.  Slice the dough circle into desired size wedges.  I made 12, 8 is more traditional.  The dough is a little sticky.  Carefully pick up each piece by scooping it with a spatula and placing them on the baking sheet.  Brush each with half and half, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  (You don’t NEED the turbinado sugar, especially if you’re glazing the scones, but I like the bit of crunch it adds.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove each scone to a cooling rack.  While they are cooling, make the glaze, by adding the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to a medium size bowl.  Stir in the half and half and lime juice and whisk until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones. (Lay a cutting matt or the baking sheet under the cooling rack to catch the drips.)


You could just enjoy the scones like this, but since I was saving so much ;) on fat and calories, I decided to glaze them.


Try not to eat 3-4 of them at once!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies for Cookie Carnival

It’s time for Cookie Carnival again,  a monthly cookie baking group I joined last month.  This month’s chosen cookie is Martha Stewart's Outrageous Chocolate Cookies.  If you’re looking for an easy cookie that is super chocolaty, this could just be it.  The cookies are rich and chewy.  They aren’t crispy and shouldn’t be.  I’d say these are the kind of cookie that are brownies in cookie form.  The recipe says to use a semi sweet chocolate.  I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips and I actually thought the cookies could be a little sweeter, so next time I’d use just a regular semi sweet chocolate.  Super good cookie though!


I think the recipe made about 4 dozen cookies. 


I didn’t take very many pictures of these cookies, so I didn’t have much to choose from.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TWD—Banana-Coconut Ice Cream Pie with Gianduja Gelato

I didn’t follow the recipe that was chosen this week for TWD for Banana-Coconut Ice Cream Pie.  Why?  I love bananas and anything with them in it.  Therefore, I would have eaten MOST of the pie.  That’s just how things are around here.  But I did so some good things.

I made Dorie’s Coconut Butter Thins (page 145 in her book).  We made these last March for TWD.  GREAT cookies.  I made half a batch using all coconut (organic, unsweetened) with no coriander or lime added. 

I decided to make ice cream sandwiches with the coconut cookies, bananas and some killer ice cream I recently made from David Lebovitz’ book, The Perfect Scoop.  It’s his Gianduja Gelato on page 47 of this wonderful ice cream cook book.  I have no idea how to pronounce gianduja or what it even means, but this is really a Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream.  I happened to have some egg yolks multiplying in the fridge, so this was perfect to use them up.

Here’s what I came up with.


And I made these smaller cup size portions, too.  (They have a coconut ice cream that I also made last week and can’t find the recipe—I used a combination of a bunch of recipe with coconut milk.  Maybe I’ll find it sometime.  Sigh.


The boys ate these Sunday night.  The big ice cream sandwich is still in the freezer.  So is this one.


I tasted parts of each (more cookie than I should!).  But I can’t just sit down and have me this much of a dessert.  I wish.  Kevin doesn’t like crispy cookies.  And he doesn’t care much for bananas.  I’ll get these out for the boys after their last day of school tomorrow (Today, Tuesday)!

Sorry to Spike of Spike Bakes for not following along with the exact recipe.  I’m my dream skinny-girl life, I totally would!  She’ll have the recipe on her blog.  I think the coconut crust sounds great!

If you like ice cream (Is there someone/anyone who doesn’t???), you must have The Perfect Scoop.  This hazelnut recipe was actually quite involved, but having found the exact amount needed for this recipe in my freezer, and having egg yolks to use up, I made it and actually followed the directions to a tee.  You can leave the ice cream smooth or drizzle in melted chocolate as it just finishes churning, which is called stracciatella, otherwise known as slivers of chocolate throughout the ice cream.  First the hazelnuts are soaked in some warmed whole milk with the sugar.  Then the hazelnuts are strained from the milk, squeezing them in the strainer to get all the flavor you can out of them.  Then the ice cream is made with some milk chocolate, making an egg custard as many ice creams are made.  After cooling the ice cream custard mixture in an ice bath, it chills in the fridge for a few hours.  Then it’s churned in an ice cream maker and turned in to a fantastic ice cream.

I found the recipe online for you, here.  But you really should just have the book.


When I made it last Thursday, I took most of the ice cream to my friend, Julie’s house, for our girl’s Survivor night where everyone loved it and I allowed myself a small scoop.  The ice cream is rich, so just a small amount will do (especially paired with all the other goodies we had with it!)


Love my Reality Sistas!  Kathleen, Mindy, Julie, Shayna.  (A couple of our “regulars” weren’t there :( )  And now Survivor is over for the season and we’re moving soon.  Sigh.  Whatever will I do?


Maybe the boys WON’T get those ice cream sammies so I can go wallow in my sorrow. hehe


Sam wearing his “helmet”/flat rubber ball.

Trying to get some serious work done on the computer.


This is his new favorite past time—playing games on Dad’s “keyuner”, his favorite being


Go check out some of the other real Banana-Coconut Ice Cream Pies over at TWD.

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Ingredient Raspberry Ice Cream and The Best Granola Recipe

It’s getting kind of boring that I keep saying “we’re still trying to use up things in the freezer”, but we are since we’re moving soon and can’t take any of the frozen food with us.  That being said, I found a whole bag of frozen raspberries the other day.    If you saw my post about One Ingredient Banana and Strawberry Ice Cream, you’ll remember that you just take frozen fruit and put it in the food processor for about 4 minutes, it’s starts out grinding a bit and having a hard time crushing up the frozen fruit, but all the sudden it begins “churning” it and turns in to this amazing “ice cream”.  You need to try it to understand, but it’s delicious and good for you (as opposed to full fat---cream and egg ice cream).


Get a look at that fabulous color and that creaminess!  

This time, we had about two small frozen bananas (cut up in chunks before freezing), so I started those a-whirling, then once they started going, I added the 12 ounce bag of frozen raspberries.  Again, don’t freak out if it’s having a hard time at first, just scrape it down a few times and keep it going and I’m telling you, all the sudden—you have an amazing concoction that you’d never know doesn’t even have any dairy in it.  This time, I could not even taste the banana, but it sure added a great creaminess to the raspberry.  I think I kept this one going so long that it had almost a whipped mousse texture to it.  The flavor was delicious.  Right near the end of the whipping, I threw in a big scoop of chocolate protein powder.  I wish it’d had more chocolate flavor with the raspberry!

I think we’ll make more banana tonight, I froze 3-4 more yesterday.  I think I’ll really bump up the chocolate flavor and add some peanut butter!   The bananas are best when they aren’t too ripe, but have just a few freckles.  Any frozen fruit would work and it’s fun to try different flavors, then you can add banana for that creaminess, or just use any fruit without the banana for more of a sorbet type “ice cream”.  Either way, it’s so good and a great treat!



I have always loved granola.  Would almost say I never met a granola I didn’t like.  But when it comes to homemade, I’ve always been searching for a certain texture and a granola that actually holds itself together in chunks—like the kind you can buy.  I always figured it was because of lots of fat and sugar.  Well, the secret has been figured out.  Not by me.  Camilla Saulsbury (link to her blog and granola post) from Enlightened Cooking did all the work and gets all the credit in my book on this.  If you don’t know who Camilla is, you don’t watch enough Food Network.  She has appeared in many Challenges and won lots of contests for her cooking and baking.  The “secret” to this granola is egg whites.  You know at Christmastime when people give you (or you make) sugared nuts, they usually have egg whites, which helps make the sugar stick and caramelize on the nuts?  That is the concept with this granola.  Not to mention, that egg whites add extra protein.  You really can add whatever you like in your granola.  So I’ve left a link to Camilla’s post about her discovery and great granola.  Here’s what I did, adapting her recipe with what I like and had on hand to make mine.

Ultimate Healthy Granola, by Camilla Saulsbury (link to her website), adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I used 4 cups and ran out, so I used 2 cups quick oats)

1 cup raw nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup raw sunflower or pepita seeds (I used a handful each of roasted, salted sunflower seeds and pepitas and added them at the end)

1/3 cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)

Optional: 1 teaspoon favorite ground sweet spice or a combo, such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, etc. (I didn’t put any in mine this time)

3 large egg whites

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I just used 1/2 teaspoon table salt)

3/4 cup honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or molasses (I used maple syrup this time)

1/3 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup dried fruit of choice (I used 6 dried apricot halves, chopped and about 1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the oats, nuts, (seeds), flax, and (spices) in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy.  Whisk in the sweetener you choose, oil and vanilla until well blended.  Add egg white mixture to the oat mixture and stir together to coat all the dry ingredients with the wet.  Spread the mixture evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. 

Bake for 20 minutes (Next time I will use 325 degrees and stir every 10 minutes as I like that control of its browning better—not that I burned mine though!).  Stir the granola to ensure even browning. Bake another 8-10 minutes until golden.  Let cool completely on baking sheets.  Stir in the dried fruit.  Transfer the granola to an airtight container.  It will keep for 3-4 weeks (or can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Makes about 8 1/2 cups granola. 


Try not to keep snacking on this stuff!  I love it on yogurt and even sprinkled on oatmeal for some crunch!  Thanks, Camilla.  This will forever be my go-to method and I’ll surely be mixing up the ingredients!  It also worked perfectly that I had just used egg yolks for something and had the three egg whites just waiting to be used!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Chocolate Song from You Tube and Nutter Butter Chocolate Brownies


This song is fun and a great boost to your day when you need—a little chocolate!  Make sure you have a bowl of M&M’s or something nearby!

You’ll remember the yummy Cookies-n-Cream Brownies I posted recently.  They were made with a brownie mix and had Oreo cookie crumbs in the batter as well as frosting on top and more chopped Oreos.


Well, for the peanut butter and chocolate lovers out there, I also made Nutter Butter Chocolate Brownies.  Same exact idea.  Followed the recipe on the box of brownies and added 1 cup Nutter Butter cookie crumbs.  Then I made a peanut butter frosting for the top and sprinkled chopped Nutter Butters over it.  GOOD chocolate!

Nutter Butter Chocolate Brownies, by Katrina from Baking and Boys!, adapted from a recipe at Betty Crocker

1 box (1 lb. 2.3 oz) fudge brownie mix

1/4 cup water

2/3 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 cup crushed Nutter Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe to follow)

1/2 cup chopped Nutter Butter Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with tin foil so that the sides hang over the edges.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well mixed.  Add the crushed cookie crumbs and stir to combine.  Spread the brownie batter in the prepared pan.  Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just some crumbs on it.  Cool completely.  Chill the brownies in the refrigerator for a couple hours (This helps made for really fudgy brownies and makes cutting easier.)

To make the frosting, combine in bowl of electric mixer:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk (add last and a little at a time while mixer is beating the other ingredients until desired consistency)

Spread the frosting over the chilled brownies.  Chop up enough cookies to sprinkle over the brownies.  Cut in to desired sized brownies.

*I prefer lining the baking pan with foil as the baked goods lift right out of the pan and never stick.


Gotta have some chocolate!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TWD—Apple-Apple Bread Pudding—or not, or Maybe, Hmmm? Chocolate Cobbler, too.

Early last week, I made half the recipe for this week’s pick by Liz (Luh-OVE her!) at Cake...or DEATH?.  Everything went quick smoothly.  I chose a multigrain boule from the bakery for the bread because that’s the kind of bread I like.  I caramelized the apples. (Yum.)  I spread each slice of bread with apple butter.  Followed along with the recipe nicely.  Then, I played Miss Healthy-Pants and made the pudding with skim milk (I still used the heavy cream though).  But for the eggs, which should have been 1 1/2 eggs and 2 1/2 yolks, I decided to just use 3 whole eggs.  That was close enough.  Right?  I dunno.  Other than that I followed the recipe exactly, but what I ended up with was a not-so-pleasant really eggy goop on the bottom with bread and apples floating on the top.  I already don’t care for most custard/eggy type desserts, bread pudding being one of them, but I was optimistic about this one and thought it sounded really good.  ‘Sides, I didn’t want to skip out on Liz’ pick.

For fun and because I thought it sounded good, I made a walnut crumb topping and sprinkled it on the bread pudding about halfway through its bake time. 


It looks good, huh?

Well, I’ve spared you any other pictures of it because it just wasn’t pretty or edible.  I just cannot eat scrambled egg whites with sweet, carmel apples and cinnamon sugar topping.  ;)  I told myself all weekend that I would make 1/4 the recipe sometime with the remaining bread.  But we were having company for desserts Friday night (the day my bread pudding failed) and I decided to turn to chocolate!

I had seen this really yummy looking Chocolate Cobbler at Pioneer Woman’s blog and besides it looking so good, thought it sounded really fast and easy.  I had made homemade vanilla bean ice cream to go with the bread pudding, so it worked perfectly with the chocolate cobbler as well.  What is chocolate cobbler?  It seems to have many names.  Hot Pudding Cake and Chocolate Pudding Cake to name a few.  The chocolate cobbler version is from a recipe submitter to Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen website.  The dessert was delicious!  The recipe is there on either one of the links here.  Whip it up next time you need a quick, super rich chocolaty dessert in a hurry.  It only has a few basic ingredients that you probably have on hand (It doesn’t even have any eggs!).


This was my first time using real (or fake—hehe) vanilla beans for something.  I used David Lebovitz Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from his book, The Perfect Scoop.  It was really good.



Then, I got this crazy delightful idea today (Monday) to make my own version of apple bread “pudding”.  I toasted a slice of the remaining multigrain bread I had.


Then I spread apple butter on it.


I caramelized some sliced apple and put that on top of the apple butter toast.


Pudding, pudding, hmmm, let’s see.  Aha.  Fat free vanilla yogurt.


After removing the apples from the pan, there was a tablespoon or so of the syrupy caramel.  So I let it caramelize a bit more, then added a touch of cream to it and boom—had a little caramel!


A few walnuts sprinkled on top and this was a GREAT not-so-unhealthy lunch for me!  (Had a little salad a bit later with some salad mix from the farmers’ market.)



Seriously good.  I will be having this again sometime.  Thank you, Liz, I would have never thought about something like this had you not picked the bread pudding for TWD this week.  You can get the bread pudding recipe on Liz’ blog.

And in closing, a completely random picture of Taylor.  He was playing outside, even clear down the street with part of the mop bucket on his head (said it was his cowboy hat).


Ride ‘em, Cowboy. ;)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies—National Chocolate Chip Day

Today, May 15, is National Chocolate Chip Day, so I thought I’d post these cookies I made a week ago.

I got the recipe for these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies when we were in Utah in March.  We stayed with Kevin’s sister, Cindy.  She had a book sitting on the table called A Mormon Cookbook, by Erin Allred.  So I sat flipping through it.  Some of the recipes were interesting and I’d probably never make them, but I found this cookie recipe and I’ve heard of putting an instant pudding mix in chocolate chip cookies before, but hadn’t seen or thought of it in an oatmeal cookie.  So I jotted the recipe down and found it in my purse last week and decided to whip up half the recipe.


The cookies were really good.  I really liked the crisp-on-the-outside texture and the chewy-softness from the pudding inside.  I will make them again soon.  Especially since I halved the recipe and only used half a box of instant pudding.  Here’s Erin’s recipe with my slight adjustments, but I’m going to give the full recipe instead of half like I did.  And I know, it’s National Chocolate CHIP Day and I actually used chopped chocolate for these, but any CHIPS are good.  (Again, I’m trying to use things I have and I have a bunch of chocolate bars from a sale.)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies (aka, Erins’ name for them is Mushy Missionary Oatmeal Cookies, I don’t care for that name—it’s a Mormon thing.), adapted by Katrina from Baking and Boys!

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding

2 large eggs

3 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

1  1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt (the original recipe had no salt, I added the 1/4 teaspoon)

Any mix of chocolate chips, nuts, raisins you’d like (original recipe)

I used:

4 ounces chopped semi sweet and milk chocolate for the half recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the eggs and beat another 2 minutes.  Mix in the instant pudding.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Add the the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate/mix-ins by hand. 

Scoop the dough into tablespoon sized balls on the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool on wire racks. (The half recipe made about 2 dozen.) 


If you didn’t see my last post,  be sure to check out the Best Homemade Play Dough.  If you have kids, they will love it and you will, too!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Best Play Dough!


Last week I saw online a recipe for some homemade play dough.  When we moved to this little rented duplex, we packed everything, almost all the toys.  We have a big supply of Play Doh toys and things, but that was boxed up and is waiting in Utah for someone to play with it.  In the boys boredom of late, I decided to make the play dough.  The recipe I saw called for a TON of salt.  I know there is really salty play dough out there and it’s not my favorite, but decided to give this one a try.   The boys played with it, but it was rather crumbly and started drying out rather quickly.  The table was also very gritty.  A lot of little pieces were being spilled on the carpeted dining room floor (If you own a rental, just a thought, don’t carpet the dining room floor!)

I just happened to be talking to my mom on the phone and telling her about this play dough I made that I wasn’t liking and she reminded me of her recipe for play dough that she’s used for years.   I searched through my old recipe box and found that I’d hand written the recipe probably 20-some years ago.  I knew this was good play dough.  For a time, Mom was making it and selling it in packages with different colors at their farmers’ market.  Kids were going crazy for it there.


So I whipped out a batch of the recipe for the play dough and made four different colors.  THIS is fantastic play dough.  I may never buy Play Doh brand again.  This dough is so soft and perfect and does not dry out.  If you have kids, you must try this dough!  It’s also super easy to make.

The boys (all four of them, yep, even Scottie), have been playing with it like crazy and I don’t even have cookie cutter or fun toys for it.  They’ve been using plastic knives and forks and a couple other random things.




The Best Play Dough, original source unknown, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

Bring to a boil:

2 cups water

1/2 cup salt

(Food coloring)  You can color the water and have all one color of dough, but I mixed the dough first, then divided it and used Wilton food coloring gels and kneaded it in each piece.  This was a little messy, but made nice vibrant colors.  I would choose lighter colors like yellow and orange. The purple one played with on the table left a red hue (that came off with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.)

Remove from heat and add:

2 tablespoons powdered alum (find it in the spice section near the cream of tartar)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2  1/4 cups all purpose flour

The dough is hot, but after a few minutes of mixing it in the electric mixer, it’s manageable to knead by hand.  We put plastic cutting mats on the table to have the dough played with on, too.  Store it in plastic zipper bags or air tight containers. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Toffee Pecan Cowboy Cookies

In my quest to continue using up things we have, I found in my (HUGE) candy baking stash yet another bag of Heath Toffee Bits.  These were the ones with milk chocolatel.  I had seen some great looking cookies that I knew I wanted to make and the toffee sounded like a great addition them.  The cookies are Cowboy Cookies, which are basically an oatmeal cookie with chocolate and pecans added.  I threw in the toffee and a little something else and these were delicious!


Toffee Pecan Cowboy Cookies, by Katrina at Baking and Boys!, adapted from The Sister's Cafe (Fabulous blog with yummy food, love these ladies and I don’t even know them!)

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Then I added:

4 ounces milk chocolate toffee bits

7 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces milk chocolate, toffee, almonds Hershey’s Symphany Bar, chopped

3 ounces Coconut M&M’s

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together to sift.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat again for 2 minutes.  Blend in vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended.  Stir in all the add-ins by hand (well, okay, with a spoon).  Place balls of dough on baking sheet.  I used 1 3/4 ounce scoop.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Let set on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool.


The added crunch, flavor and chewiness from the toffee made these fantastic.  And the occasional bite of the Coconut M&M’s was delightful.  You must try toffee bits in your cookies if you haven’t.  I’m so in love with them.



Sam wouldn’t be in the picture, but here’s the other three all dressed and ready for church.  Great accomplishment here, but since Kevin was home, he was able to get Scott to wear his new suit!  Doesn’t he look all grown up and ready to be 12!


I love this picture.  It looks like Scott and Parker are holding Taylor’s hands.  Ah, but they are not.  And could Taylor BE any cuter?


Handsome boys, for sure!  Sam was off hiding around the corner.  It wasn’t worth trying to make him be in the picture.


Just that Kevin was even able to get Scott to put on a tie and tuck in his white shirt is more of an accomplishment than you may realize, let alone the whole suit.

DSCF3429 DSCF3430

Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man!

Great looking young man there, Scottie!  (I wonder how much longer he’ll actually let me call him Scottie?)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TWD—Quick Classic Berry Tart (The Really Quick, Cheap Way)

So I feel like this will be the most lame I’ve ever been with a TWD recipe.  Not sure why.  I think the big reasons are that I’m trying to use up things we have, and the only berries in the store that are even barely affordable are strawberries and I just didn’t want an all strawberry tart.   Oh, that and pastry cream—I just couldn’t make the pastry cream.  I feel pretty confidant in my ability to make it, I just couldn’t subject myself to eating too much of it.  You know what I mean?  I love the sweet tart dough.  Love the pastry cream.  And berries are at the top of my fruit list.  But I might have eaten way too much of a whole tart if I’d have made it.

Does that sound good enough for excuses?  Well, I DID make a couple of cute little quick tarts, but I (she said under her breath in shame) used instant fat free pudding for the pastry cream.  I only made half the sweet tart dough.  I could just bake a whole tart and not put anything in it and keep munching on the baked shell.  Dorie’s tart in her book is beautiful.  I might make it someday when berries are really in season.  It looks like a great dessert to impress.

So I made two 4 inch tarts and two little mini tarts in my mini muffin pan.  I ended up burning those two little ones to death.  Oops!  But the other tarts were perfect.  I had a half used box of instant banana pudding, so I whipped that up with some skim milk.  And I just happened to have also made some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies that had vanilla pudding in the dough, but not the whole box.  So I also made some of that.  I filled one tart with banana pudding and one with vanilla.  I sliced up a couple strawberries for one of the tarts and I had a fresh pineapple.  So I sliced some of that for the other tarts.  Then I did this---


The strawberry tart has the banana pudding.  That’s a cherry in the middle.  We had had breakfast for dinner and I’d made crepes.  I had some frozen cherries in the freezer and made a cherry compote to serve with the crepes (though banana/Nutella is everyone’s favorite). 

Here’s the pineapple/sunflower tart, which I think is just darling and was mighty tasty as well.


Yes, those are mini chocolate chips in the middle.  I know you were all wonderful how or if I would be able to incorporate chocolate in to this.  There you go. ;)

Get this.  After I made the tarts, I tucked them into the refrigerator to let the boys have them for snack the other night.  And I forgot about them and they had a popsicle instead.  When I remembered later that night I actually thought I’d let the boys have some for breakfast the next morning.  And I forgot about them again.  As “healthy” as I made these with the fat free pudding, I still didn’t want to eat them both myself.  I was afraid they weren’t going to still be good.  That night, I got ice cream out and while they were eating their ice cream, I saw the tarts.  So I pulled them out, cut them into four pieces each and offered them to the boys who were stuffing their mouths with chocolate ice cream.  Parker matter-of-factly said, “Oh, I don’t like tarts”.  (Never heard that one before.)  Taylor and Sam didn’t want any.  Scott obliged me and ate a little piece.  So since it was cut, I ate a few bites of each.  They were good.  I especially liked the pineapple.  I tucked them back into the fridge and the next day was Mother’s Day.  We had a yummy Belgian waffle breakfast, a simple, quick lunch before church then some Asian Chicken Pasta Salad for dinner.  And I made myself my favorite cake--Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (I used coconut oil and whole wheat pastry flour to make it a little more healthy) for dessert.  I’ve made it plenty of times and I don’t recall the boys going so gung-ho with it.  But they each ate two pieces, including Kevin and Sam.

And later on, I opened the fridge and saw those poor tarts.  Darn it.  Forgot again to at least get them out and offer them to anyone who wanted some.  After school today (Monday) I got them out for the kids to eat as a snack after school.  They actually still looked pretty good.  When the boys got home, Scott is the only one who wanted some, so he ate both tarts that were almost still all there.  But I discovered a danger for me.  He doesn’t care for the crust and kept leaving it on  the plates.  I picked at some of the leftover, rejected crust, then I was a good girl and threw away a lot of it or else I’d have eaten it all and I just can’t do that.  So the tarts were great and I can only imagine they’d have been even better with real pastry cream and lots of fresh berries.


Poor delicious little tarts.


Yes, that’s a banana slice underneath the chocolate chips.  I didn’t look at its condition three days after making the tart, but Scott ate it.  So thank you, Cristine, from Cooking With Cristine for a great pick for the week.  I will do it more justice someday.  Cristine will have the recipe on her blog.

Please come back tomorrow as I’ve got some of the best cookies (Toffee Cowboy Cookies) I’ve ever made coming up and I’ll share those oatmeal  chocolate chip pudding cookies in the next couple days as well as more pictures of four the the cutest boys in the whole world! ;)