Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Rolls and Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (The Great PBE #10 Contest Reminder)

I found out a little too late today that it’s National Banana Bread Day.  However, I was already in the middle of making these Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Rolls and really that counts—the banana is in the dough, so I’m counting it!

Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Rolls 2-23-11 You can’t see the banana, but trust me, it’s there.  The smell in the house as the dough was rising and as they were baking shouted banana!  The peanut butter was just a nice kick to the rolls.  That and it was my small attempt to remind you about The Great Peanut Butter Exhibition #10-Things Are Heating Up recipe contest over at Nick’s Peanut Butter Boy blog.  I’m one of the judges and I’m seeing some great recipes coming in.  You still have time to enter.  The contest deadline isn’t until February 28 (this coming Monday).  Check out the simple rules of the contest on the link above!  Three winners will be chosen to win a six pack of Peanut Butter & Co. yummy peanut butter flavors.  Don’t forget to “heat things up” with your peanut butter recipes—as a rule, you should try to heat up your peanut butter concoctions—temperature wise and with a little spice!

Back to my cinnamon rolls.  For these my simple spice was just cinnamon, but I’ve been playing around for a good week now with some other things involving peanut butter and “real” spices.  Wait and see.  These cinnamon rolls are ooey and gooey as a cinnamon roll should be and they have a nice banana flavor as well as being slathered with a peanut butter spread full of aromatic cinnamon and a lick-your-fingers peanut butter icing on top.

Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Rolls 2-23-11

Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Rolls, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from a number of bloggers, which was ultimately adapted from King Arthur Flour (just the dough, the rest of the recipe is my own)

For the dough-- 

1  1/4 cup banana puree (about 3 1/2 sm.-med. bananas)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (next time I will just melt it)

4  1/4 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons yeast

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer, adding the flour last a cup at a time.  Knead in the mixer for a few minutes until the dough is smooth—it will still be sticky though.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1  1/2 hours.  Divide the dough in half and using a generous amount of flour, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic—only about 1 minute.  (You might use a bench scraper because the dough IS sticky, but it comes together nicely.)

For the peanut butter filling—I used half the dough for peanut butter rolls and half for regular banana flavored cinnamon rolls-with chocolate added—below I will list both recipes.

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl with a spoon until smooth.  (This was the amount for half the dough, so if you’re making all peanut butter rolls, double this.)  Spread over half the rolled dough

For the chocolate cinnamon filling--

Spread 2-3 tablespoons softened butter evenly over half the rolled out dough.  Sprinkle with brown sugar—between 1/3 and 1/2 cup.  Shake cinnamon over the sugar (about 1 teaspoon).  Then sprinkle about 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips over the top and roll up the dough using the longer side.

Cut the rolled up dough into about 1  1/2 inch slices and place them in a pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Once the rolls are all in a pan (I used a 9x9 for the peanut butter rolls and an 8x8 for the chocolate rolls), cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes. 

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool in pan on cooling rack.

For the peanut butter glaze--

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons peanut butter

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 shakes of ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons milk (or to desired consistency)

Combine all ingredients together and stir until smooth.

For the powdered sugar glaze--

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons milk (or to desired consistency)

Combine all ingredients together and stir until smooth.

Each half of the dough made about 9 rolls, not counting the smaller cut off ends that are still good for baking. ;)

Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Rolls 2-23-11

Here’s the Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Rolls in all their glory.  Truth be told, though I like the peanut butter ones, I prefer the ones with chocolate—they are like having a slice of my favorite cake--the Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Coffee Cake but as a cinnamon roll.  Yum!


You just might have to give these a try the next time you have some overripe bananas and don’t want to make muffins or bread again. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TWD—Toasted Almond Scones and Giveaway Reminder

TWD--Toasted Almond Scones 2-20-11

I made this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie pick of Toasted Almond Scones on Sunday.  They were chosen by Mike whose blog is Living Out West.  Love his blog.  Well done, always clever and great photos!

I was a little worried about making the scones because I already have a favorite scone recipe AND I knew Kevin and the boys wouldn’t eat them (annoying, huh).  So I decided to health them up as much as I could and still try to have them be good.  And it worked.  I think they are great.  I did talk Kevin in to trying one and the main thing he doesn’t like is the grainy/crumbliness they have from the almond meal.  (He doesn’t like cornbread for the same reason.)  He said he likes the flavor of them though.  He did also mention that they aren’t sweet enough (I explained to him that scones aren’t supposed to be.  But just to be nice and in hopes that he’d eat more, I drizzled a glaze on them.

Like I said, I really like them and although I did make them healthier, I still need  to not just be the only one to eat them.  There is still about half a dozen of them sitting on the counter.  Scones are definitely better fresh from the oven, too. 


My changes were that I used some almond meal I have instead of grinding almonds.  I only added 1/4 cup of sliced almonds to the dough instead of 1/2 cup.  I used skim milk instead of whole milk.  Though I did use cream as directed.  I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter and I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.  I brushed the tops before baking them with some cream and sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top as well as the sliced almonds.  The scones baked for 17 minutes.   They do have a little bit of a wheat taste from the whole wheat pastry flour, but it works well with the almond flavor.


Thanks, Mike!  Great pick.  Check out more scones at the TWD website.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the giveaway from CSN Stores I’m having on this link.  Last week in celebration of my Three Year Blogging Anniversary, I posted a $75 giveaway for anything you want at CSN Stores.  The giveaway is open until Wednesday, February 23 (tomorrow!) at 12 noon MST and you can enter up to three times.  Thanks, CSN!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Last Friday night, Kevin and I went out with his sister and her husband to dinner and a play.  While at the play, Cindy announced that Warren had to get his favorite White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies at the concession before it started.  Upon further inspection of the cookies, which were quite big and looked like your normal everyday bakery cookie, I challenged myself and made sure he knew I could out do that cookie.  I’ve hardly ever made White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies because they are not a favorite here.  But for some reason I had a bar of white chocolate and a bag of macadamia nuts, so the challenge was easy!

On Saturday, Warren came over to help Kevin with a couple issues getting his new, huge fish tank up and running (Basically, Kevin ordered a new glass tank to replace the scratched up acrylic one that was here and upon getting it in the house, realized it doesn’t fit the space.  The new tank is bigger than the old one!  Once he talked with Warren, the solution will be easily remedied with a little construction.  Warren is an expert in those kinds of things.  Kevin does accounting. ;)  While he was here, I whipped up the cookies, to thank Warren.  Well, and so he could see that MY homemade cookies are much better than the ones he liked so much at the concession stand.  (Though he’s already been a recipient of my many baked goods and really he already knew that.  I made him a few giant ones, so they’d be more like the bakery cookies.


These were about five inches in diameter.  They are really good cookies—I just say that (really good instead of great) because white chocolate and macadamia nuts aren’t my favorite.  I also made a bunch of normal sized cookies and sent Warren and Cindy home with a big plateful.  While here, Warren ate a few right off the hot baking sheet.  He liked them a lot.  Since I only had about half the white chocolate the recipe called for, I divided the dough in half before adding the chocolate and nuts and only made half with the white chocolate.  With the other half of the dough, I added some milk chocolate with almonds because I had a big bar of that, too.  (I liked the milk chocolate ones better, but truth be told and I’m totally a dark chocolate kind of gal now.  Didn’t use to be, but I’m pretty much sold on GOOD quality dark chocolate now, almost exclusively.  I refrigerated some of the dough until the next day and I thought those were even better (which were the ones with the milk chocolate almond bar in them)—I didn’t end up photographing any of those.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies 2-19-11

This cookie dough makes a great cookie no matter what you put inside!  I found the recipe for these on Ashley’s blog, eat me, delicious.  She got the recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine (Dec. 2006), and it was adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe.  Here’s the recipe--

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour (360 grams)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed (220 grams)

3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups white chocolate, chopped (8 1/2 ounces)

1 cup coarsely chopped roasted macadamia nuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium sized bowl.  In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy.  Add both sugars and beat until blended.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and beat well.  Add dry ingredients and beat just until combined.  Use a spoon or spatula to stir in the white chocolate and nuts.

Scoop and drop desired sized cookie dough balls onto parchment lined baking sheets leaving about 2 inches between cookies.  Bake just until golden, about 15 minutes for large cookies and 12 for smaller cookies.  Cool on baking sheets.

DSCF3808How cute is this little guy?  Just sitting at the island playing a little piano and singing Happy Birthday to the top of his lungs.

DSCF3809Wait a second, you takin’ my picture again?  I’m out of here.”

I’m adding the link for these cookies to Melt In Your Mouth Mondays over at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Rice Krispies Treats

I recently decided to play around with one of my favorite quick treats—the Rice Krispies.  I had seen some Rice Krispies Treats with hot cocoa on Cookies and Cups and decided to play around with that.  I didn’t have Cocoa Krispies, which is what she used, so I kind of just made up my own and came up with these Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Rice Krispies Treats.  I love how easy these no bake treats are. 


Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Cookies and Cups

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

5 tablespoons butter

1 (10.5 ounce) bag of mini marshmallows

3 cups French Vanilla Snowman Marshmallows (or just more minis)

8 tablespoons hot cocoa mix (I used milk chocolate flavored)


1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream

Line a 9x9 inch square pan (or for thinner treats a 9x13 pan) with tin foil.  Spray with cooking spray. 

In a large saucepan, start melting the butter.  Add the 10.5 ounce bag of mini marshmallows and the hot cocoa mix.  Cook over low heat and stir with wooden spoon until melted.  Remove from heat and add the six cups of cereal.  Press into the pan evenly.

Put the one cup of milk chocolate chips into a medium sized microwave safe bowl.  Heat the cream in a smaller glass bowl in the microwave until bubbling.  Pour the cream over the chocolate.  Let sit for about one minute.  Starting in the center of the bowl, start slowly whisking until the chocolate and cream melt together and is smooth and shiny. 

Pour the ganache over the Rice Krispies Treats.  While the ganache is still wet, line the entire surface of the treats with the snowman shaped marshmallows.  Let sit for about an hour.  Remove from pan using the foil edges.  Peel off the foil and cut into desire sized bars on a cutting board.  Keep stored in an airtight container. 


You could easily use the regular mini marshmallows for the top, but I found these French Vanilla Snowman marshmallows and thought they would be fun.  The ganache is the star of the show for these.  Kevin said the treats are a bit thick and he would have liked them thinner, which is why I also suggested a 9x13 inch pan.  Actually, my husband and sons are rather boring in the Rice Krispies Treats department.  They said they would really rather just have the plain ol’ Rice Krispies Treats.  Sigh.  They will still get eaten, I’m sure.


These treats will be linked up over at Lisa’s Sweets for a Saturday #5.  Check out the hundreds of other links to other goodies she’s got over on her blog!  Thanks, Lisa!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wheatberry Salad with Dried Cherries, Roasted Butternut Squash and Toasted Pecans

Wheatberry Salad 2-15-11

I LOVE this Wheatberry Salad.  I could eat this and nothing else except maybe chocolate for the rest of my life.  I made a similar wheatberry salad a month or so ago, but it didn’t have squash in it and when I saw this one on Fallon’s blog, Fallon's Cucina, recently, I knew I wanted wheatberry salad again.

I mostly followed Fallon’s recipe, but I did make a few changes.  Her recipe called for green onions, and I just don’t “do” onions, so I added celery instead.  I also added some chopped fresh parsley.  Then the only other difference was that I cooked the wheatberries different from her recipe.  Fallon first soaked the wheat for an hour and then cooked it with a specified amount of water and simmered it covered on the stove.  I don’t taste a difference, but in the first recipe I made, it just said to cook the wheat, no soaking and to just have water covering the wheat by about an inch, then to  boil/simmer it with no lid on the pot.  So that is what I did.  The wheat was done in about 45 minutes.  The salad has a great balsamic Dijon dressing.  Here’s the recipe as I made it and you can check out Fallon’s on the link above, too.  She’s got more yummy pictures of her salad.

Wheatberry Salad with Dried Cherries, Roasted Butternut Squash and Toasted Pecans, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Fallon’s Cucina

3/4 cup cooked wheatberries* see instructions below

3/4 cup diced into about 1/2 inch cubes, roasted butternut squash* see instructions below

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup dried sour cherries, chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

*Cover the wheat in a medium-sized saucepan with a good inch of water over the top of the wheat.  Boil it uncovered until wheat is tender and chewy, about 45 minutes.  Keep the water level about an inch over the wheat, when it gets low, add more water.  Drain any access liquid and cool the wheatberries.

*Roast the diced squash on a baking sheet in a single layer for about 20-30 minutes (until tender) in a 400 degree oven.  Once the squash is cut, peeled and diced, toss it with some olive oil and salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad by combining the wheatberries, squash, celery, cherries, pecans and parsley and tossing it in a large bowl when the wheat and squash are cooled.

Make the dressing while the wheat cools and/or while the squash is roasting. 

Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey (ooh, I just realized I used tablespoons—still good!)

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine the vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl and whisk together.  Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.  Taste for seasoning adjustments.  Set aside.

Toss the salad with the dressing about a tablespoon at a time.  You won’t use all of it.  Refrigerate for a few hours (or don’t—I didn’t).  Enjoy.


I had some for dinner on a bed of baby spinach.  I would eat this in a box or with a fox or in a car or on a train or in the rain….. ;)  Thanks, Fallon!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TWD—Chocolate Oatmeal Drops


Caroline and Claire of Bake With Us chose these cookies for Tuesdays With Dorie this week. (They will have the recipe on their blog.)  I halved the recipe and after baking the first sheet-full and not liking how flat the cookies were, I decided to refrigerate the rest of the dough (which was more like brownie batter).  I did so for 30 minutes to an hour and also added some walnuts to the rest of the dough.    The rest of the cookies came out a little bit thicker, but these aren’t my favorite chocolate cookies.  I felt like the oats didn’t belong.

I probably didn’t like these as much as I would have, but I made them on the heels of making these Chocolate Truffle Cakes.  It was hard to compare these divine cakes to a so-so cookie.



I am always happy when I take the time to participate in TWD and make the chosen recipe for the week, so I’m not at all disappointed. 


Here’s a chilled dough cookie right out of the oven.  They were nice and puffy, but they flattened out as they cooled. 


The cookies over on the left that are more flat are from the first batch baking them as the recipe suggest, as soon as the dough was made. 

I am interested to see and hear about other TWD bakers’ cookies this week.


Just another beautiful, crisp February sunrise over the mountains with Utah Lake below.  I love it when the clouds float down lower than the mountains. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Great Peanut Butter Exhibition—Things Are Heating Up Peanut Butter Recipe Contest

Have you heard of Nick--The Peanut Butter Boy?  This great guy LOVES peanut butter and has dedicated a blog to it.  I’m joining him, along with a couple others in judging another installment of The Great Peanut Butter Exhibition.  Join in—check out how easy it is to submit a recipe.  It’s fun to see all the recipe submissions and to ultimately see who the judges—Brandi at Bran Appetit, Sagan at Living in the Real World and myself as well as Nick will pick as the top three winners! 

You have a few weeks to think about it, create and heat things up with this one!  Check out the instructions below. 


The theme for this round is Things are Heating Up. Mother Nature has dumped an extraordinary amount of snow on us this winter and it’s time for some warmth. And nothing provides warmth better than geting cozy with a jar of peanut butter. So we want to know the most imaginative recipe you can devise in which the peanut butter is warm at some point. This is a wide open theme so get creative, whether it’s a Spicy Toasted Panini, some Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies or a massive pancake topped with peanut butter (and hence, warmed). And extra kudos to those who make their recipe spicy too! To enter, submit your best peanut butter recipe following the guidelines below. The deadline is Monday, February 28th @ Noon (EST) which gives over 2 weeks (and 3 weekends) to brainstorm, develop and create a smokin’ peanut butter recipe that will change the world forever!

Judging Criteria:

Uniqueness, Peanut Butter Weight, Presentation and Preparation Time.

  • Post and submit your “Things Are Heating Up” recipe by the deadline.
  • Please link to this page from your posted recipe to indicate that you are entering this contest.
  • Pictures are highly recommended but not required.
  • One (1) entry per person so choose wisely.
  • You may use any variety or type of nut butter, however please don’t use brand names in the recipe.

Feel free to use any of the logos on this page, including the following, to link back:

Blogless? Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still submit your award-winning recipe. Fill out the same form below but leave the “Recipe Permalink” field blank, fill out the “Recipe” box and feel free to attach a picture to go along with the recipe!


Click here to submit your recipe online. Or, email “” with “PBE #10″ as the subject and include the following information:Name, Email, Recipe Title, Recipe or Recipe Permalink


All recipes will be displayed but the judges will vote for the Top 3 entries. Each of the Top 3 will receive a badge of pride to display on their site as well as the following prize, courtesy of Peanut Butter & Co.:

“The Big Six” which consists of:

  • 1 Jar PB&Co Smooth Operator
  • 1 Jar PB&Co Crunch Time
  • 1 Jar PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin Swirl
  • 1 Jar PB&Co The Heat is On
  • 1 Jar PB&Co White Chocolate Wonderful
  • 1 Jar PB&Co Dark Chocolate Dreams

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Heart Cakes (And they’re gluten free!!!)


I have been sitting here trying to decide what to write about these Chocolate Truffle Heart Cakes and I feel like I’m speechless.  I wish I could just show you the pictures and you’d fall in love as much as I did over these.  Let’s just say if you consider yourself a chocolate lover, THIS is the be all-end all decadent, rich chocolate dessert.  These are a cross between the best chocolate cake and fudgy brownies you’ve ever tasted and are doused in an amazing chocolate glaze that once chilled turns into a protective chocolate coating for the rich, dark cake beneath.  You’ll think you want a great big heart (you could cut these with any shape cutter), but really 2-3 inch cutters make the perfect size dessert.  This is very rich.  Serve it with some fresh raspberries or make a coulis with frozen raspberries and a little sugar, you could even set the cake on a pool of coulis.  How about just a little whipped cream?  That’s what we did.


I only have a 4 inch cutter, 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch.  I made two 4 inch ones and a bunch of the smaller ones.    Kevin tried eating one of the 4 inch cakes last night and he couldn’t finish it.  It’s really just SO good, but SO decadent and rich.  And I’m telling you, if you LOVE chocolate, like I LOVE chocolate, this is the one thing you must try!

I got this recipe (and the extreme pleasure of tasting the truffle cake) from two of the classes I took at The Community Mercantile in Lawrence, KS last year.  The first time I had the pleasure of tasting the cake was from a class by Nancy Stark and the other was a Dinner Class for Valentine’s Day from my favorite chef, Paige (A Cooking Life blog).  Paige mentioned in the class that she got the recipe from Nancy and isn’t sure where she got it or if she came up with it herself.  Nancy is also a fantastic chef who really knows desserts and has a business doing wedding cakes and everything else you can imagine.  She teaches many classes, too.  The one I took where I got to taste the truffle cake was a Valentine’s Chocolate Desserts class.  Such a good class!  In the Dinner Class from Paige, she served these with a little homemade creme anglaise.  Let me know if you’d like that recipe.

You need to make these little cakes.  The boys liked them, Kevin likes it, I LOVE it.  I also made some rounded truffles with some of the scraps, because once you cut out shapes, there are scraps.  The fudgy cake then easily rolls into balls.  Enrobe the chilled cakes with this fantastic, glossy Chocolate Glaze.  HEAVEN!  I must tell you, this is not a light dessert.  It is full of good-quality chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar—yeah, all the good stuff.  But hey, there’s no flour—so these are gluten-free!!!  One thing I will mention that I did different from the recipe is that I did not add coffee and while I agree that you don’t really taste the coffee, it just enhances the chocolate flavor, we just don’t buy or use coffee here.  In place of the coffee, you could use fruit juice, any flavorings or do as I did and just use vanilla extract and water. 

Wanna see inside?


The cake easily freezes, and the glaze stores in the fridge for pretty much as long as you’d store butter, so you could just make a few and save the rest for another occasion, but if you have a spouse, kid, friend, lover, neighbor, family member or anyone you know who loves chocolate, you need to make these.  They will love you forever!

Chocolate Truffle Heart Cakes, adapted by Paige Vandegrift from Nancy Stark (I noticed their two recipes aren’t quite exactly the same, but close.) (My changes are in red.—Katrina)

1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces)

8 ounces best quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)

6 large eggs

1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)

1 cup cocoa powder (92 grams)

¼ cup strong coffee (if you like, place 1 tablespoon of brandy and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a measuring cup and then add coffee to make ¼ cup, or some fruit juice or flavoring as well) (I used 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the rest water up to 1/4 cup) 

1 recipe chocolate glaze

Prepare a quarter sheet pan (or 9x13 inch cake pan) by spraying it with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

Melt butter, then add chocolate and stir until melted. Measure sugar and cocoa into a large bowl. Stir with a whisk to break up lumps and aerate. Add eggs and coffee (liquid) to bowl and mix well. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Spread into pan and bake at 375 degrees until the surface looks dry (it may be beginning to crack)—about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely, then cover and chill overnight.

Turn chilled cake layer out on to a clean flat surface such as a cutting board. Cut out heart shapes, any size you’d like.  (I found I had to carefully push each heart out of the cutter and I washed the cutter each time.) Anything bigger than 3 inches would almost be too much! Working with one cake at a time, slide an offset spatula under the cake and ladle some of the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing the glaze to drip back into the bowl. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining cakes. Chill the cakes. Up to one hour before serving, place the cakes on individual dessert plates to allow the cakes to come to room temperature. To serve, garnish with fresh raspberries and crème anglaise or whipped cream.

Chocolate Glaze:

12 ounces best quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Again, I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)

9 ounces (18 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 ½ tablespoons (31 grams) light corn syrup

2 ½ tablespoons water

Place all ingredients in a medium-sized metal bowl. Place over a pan of steaming water. Stir frequently until mostly melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until glaze is perfectly smooth. Let glaze cool to about 90 degrees before using.

These Chocolate Truffle Heart Cakes are being added/linked to Lisa’s Sweets for a Saturday.


Check out all the amazing sweets at Lisa’s blog--Sweet As Sugar Cookies.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies (on the healthy side of things)


So, I’ve been trying to eat better and I’ve also gotten back into my exercise routine (ugh—5 a.m.!) that I kind of gave up when we moved this summer.  As much as I complain (mostly to myself), I’m already starting to feel better than I had been and I’ve lost 6 pounds since Christmas.  I literally have to tell myself when I get up at 5 a.m. and SO don’t want to get out of bed that I should just do it and be grateful that my body CAN get up.  Just do it.  Even as I force myself to get on that treadmill and go, go, go for an hour, I have to just remind myself to keep going.  It helps that I read (most of the time) and that makes time just tick away.  Funny thing is—I mostly read food magazines!  Today while I plugged along, I was reading Everyday With Rachael Ray Magazine.  Yesterday it was Food Network Magazine.  Sometimes I enjoy flipping through Women’s Health Magazine, but I think my subscription just ran out on that one.

While it’s hard to believe I can still make things like the Nutella Truffle Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies I recently posted and just sample a little bit, that is what I’ve been doing.  It isn’t easy!  How I’d love to just eat up 2, 3, 4, 6 of this and half dozen of that, I just can’t do it.  Sigh.  Just wait until you see what I just baked up today—Heart Shaped Chocolate Truffle Cakes—DIVINE.  Stay tuned for those in the next couple days!

Somehow I maintain and slowly lose a few pounds here and there by making myself more healthy treats and it seems to be working.  I found these no bake cookies on Jennie’s blog, Losing Ourselves and Loving It.  I love the very sugary, buttery and easy no bake cookies out there and even have my mom’s tried-and-true recipe on hand, but these just seemed to fit the bill of me wanting a little treat, but still saving on some fat and calories.  I adapted the recipe even a little more from Jennie’s posted version.  Her recipe called for a little bit of butter, but I decided to use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.  Her recipe just says “milk”, but I used skim milk.  Can’t even tell, because the dark chocolate is the star of these cookies as well as the healthy oats.  The only thing I will change next time (soon—just ran out of the cookies, which Kevin also loved and has eaten his fair share) is that i will toast the oats first next time.  The oats just had a little bit of a raw taste.  Other than that—great little treats!

No Bake Chocolate PB Cookies 2-7-11

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter  Oat Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Jenna at

2 tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, softened

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (could use 3 T. of either)

1/4 cup skim milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used Adam’s Natural Smooth no-stir PB)  (64 grams)

2 cups old fashioned oats (toasted—spread oats on a baking sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring half way during baking time)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan on the stove.  Add the sugar, cocoa powder and milk and stir will.  Stir in the vanilla, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Fold together until chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the oats and mix until combined.

Scoop balls of dough with a small cookie scoop onto wax paper lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until hardened.  Makes 18-24 cookies, depending on size.

No Bake Chocolate PB Oat Cookies 2-7-11

Have one of these next time you need a little chocolate and a little pick-me-up treat!  I think almond butter would be good in these as well.  (I’m kind of on an almond butter kick.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

TWD—No Bourbon Bread Pudding here, but Boston Cream pie and French Silk Pie (with Dorie’s Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough)

Sorry I didn’t make this week’s chosen TWD recipe for Bourbon Bread Pudding (Sharon at Simply Southern will have the recipe on her blog).  We don’t “do” alcohol here and all the times I’ve made bread pudding, no one really likes it, so I opted out of this one. 

Our friend, Bob, had a birthday this weekend and he made a request for Boston Cream Pie for his cake.  I decided on a Martha Stewart Boston Cream Pie.  I followed her recipe exactly for the cake and the ganache, but went with a simple filling for the “custard” in the center. 


I didn’t feel like making a custard/filling with eggs, so I just made a quick pudding filling.

French Vanilla Cream Filling

1 box (4 servings) French vanilla instant pudding

1 cup 2% milk

1 cup heavy cream

Beat pudding mix, milk and cream in an electric mixer fitted with wire attachment for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl once during mixing.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

The cake was great, the filling simple and good and the ganache—divine.  And I only took one bite of Kevin’s piece of cake.   We took the cake (along with the French Silk Pie) to Bob’s place where we shared it with a bunch of people from his apartment complex.  So I didn’t get very good pictures of it.  And the funny thing is, the table in the rec room where we served the cake still had a lovely vinyl Christmas tablecloth on it.  Really made for some lovely pictures. ;)


The ganache had hardened significantly in the 45 minute drive to Bob’s place.  But it was still good!


It’s the Birthday Boy!


That’s a great birthday crown, Bob!   Just for fun, I also decided to make Bob a French Silk Pie because I know he really likes it and I wanted to make sure there was enough birthday dessert for everyone.

Now I did play the TWD card because I used Dorie’s Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough for the French Silk Pie.  I made this same French Silk Pie for Thanksgiving.  This recipe is from Paula’s blog, Salad in a Jar.  The only change I made to the recipe was that I used superfine sugar instead of regular granulated sugar.  I have found that it works great to ensure a non-grainy silk pie.  The recipe has just the right amount of chocolate. 

Here’s the pie from Thanksgiving—the only picture I took of it.  It was devoured by as many of the 60 people we had over could get a slice.  I think Taylor had two pieces.  He says it’s his favorite thing. 


And here’s the pie from Bob’s birthday this past weekend.  (Again, not very good pictures of it, but the bite I had of it was GREAT!)



Dorie’s pie crust IS good for almost everything.


Hope it was a yummy birthday, Bob!  (Not to mention all the cookies I gave him for stock in his freezer.  Thanks for taking those off my hands, out of my mouth.)

You can check out other TWD Bourbon Bread Pudding desserts if you’d like.  And remember you can get the recipe from Sharon’s blog.  Or buy the book.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

World Nutella Day! Nutella Banana Oatmeal and Don’t Forget The Cookies!

Oh my goodness—I just made what might be some of my favorite oats for breakfast.   I’ve never made them before and just made it up as I went along.  Lucky for you, I wrote down what I did. ;)  I did this in celebration of World Nutella Day!  What a way to start my day.  Well, actually, I’ve already worked out on the treadmill for an hour and now I feel like I should go do another hour.  But it was worth every bite.


While I think that oatmeal isn’t the best photographed food, it’s what is in this one that is just SO good!  If you like oats for breakfast and if you consider yourself any kind of Nutella liker/lover/respecter, whatever, you need to try this oatmeal.

DSCF3619 Nutella Banana Oatmeal, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup quick oats (you can also use old fashioned oats)

1  3/4 cup skim milk

pinch salt

1 small banana, chopped

2 tablespoons Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

hazelnuts, chopped (optional topping)

banana, sliced (optional topping)

More Nutella for swirling on top (not optional) ;)

Over medium heat in a small saucepan, combine oats, salt, milk, chopped banana and 2 tablespoons Nutella.  Whisk together.  Stir occasionally.  As it comes to a boil, stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until thickened. 

Spoon out about 3/4 cup (eyeball it) of oats into serving bowl.  Add Nutella swirl on top (it’s easier to swirl if you soften it in the microwave for a few seconds).  Sprinkle with sliced banana and chopped nuts.  Pour a little extra milk around the sides.  Stir and eat! (Makes 2-3 servings.)

DSCF3618Try this for breakfast.  If oatmeal isn’t your thing—then try the Nutella Truffle Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies (recipe included on that link) I posted a few days ago.  Heavenly!


Thanks to Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso for starting such a yummy thing.  Check out the Nutella cakes they posted on their blogs. 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Flour Bakery (Joanne Chang) Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t Katrina just post some chocolate chip cookies?”  Why, yes, yes I did.  Those were different—they had Nutella Truffles inside them.  Dang, those are good.

But I’m here today to tell you about a famous bakery cookie and after making them, that is just what they are—a bakery cookie, just like you’d find at a bakery.  They’re good.   I love trying new, different chocolate chip cookie recipes. 

I looked these up after someone mentioned them on Anna’s blog, Cookie Madness.  I planned to make them the next day and before I knew it, Anna had made and posted them, too.  (I knew she would!—We cookie-people think alike.)  After seeing her cookies and Joanne’s herself, I knew I would make the cookies.  I made the dough one day, then refrigerated it until the next day.  (It is suggested in the recipe to chill the dough overnight, but it just says “for best results”.)  It worked out for me to not bake them until the next day.

Flour Bakery CCC's 1-31-11

Here is the Flour Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, which I followed exactly.  The ingredient list doesn’t have vanilla, but in the instructions, it mentions adding the vanilla, so i used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla in the recipe.  Part of the reason I was sold on these is because they use bread flour (and all purpose flour).  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (the NYT recipe) also uses bread flour, but cake flour as well. 

Joanne’s cookie has good semisweet chocolate as well as some milk chocolate.  The only milk chocolate I had at the time I was making these was a bar of Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, so that is what I used.  The cookies have a nice brown sugar flavor and are loaded with plenty of chocolate.  They did not take over position with my favorite chocolate chip cookies, but they are really good.  I like a thicker cookie and these were just a little bit flatter.  There is only baking soda, not powder in these, so that is probably why.  It is definitely not something that would make me not like these.  They are a great cookie.


If you like trying different chocolate chip cookie recipes, give these a try, I’m glad I did1

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

TWD—Great Grains Muffins

Something keeps happening here everyday.

1-28-11 Sunrise

It’s the sunrise.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s been so gorgeous lately.    It only lasts a short time.  The other day there was a most amazing Western sunrise with the full moon going down over the mountains to the West of us.  I was fumbling with the camera that needed new batteries and by the time it was ready, the moon was just about gone.  Lovin’ the sunrises!

Sunday morning after the sunrise (about 7:15), I made these muffins that were chosen for TWD this week by Christine of Happy Tummy.

I thought it was a little strange that these muffins had cornmeal in them.  There are many more grains you could pick for a “great grain” muffin.  I made some significant changes.  First off, I used all whole wheat pastry flour.  Then instead of butter, I used 1/2 cup of mashed banana, going for a healthier muffin and because I love banana and had a few overripe ones to use up.  I left out any dried fruit and added about 3/4 cup walnuts and 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips.  The muffins are okay, not bad.  I just wish I would have left out the cornmeal since it doesn’t really go with a banana muffin, but it does add an interesting texture.  I heard that as written the muffins are not sweet enough, but with the banana they have just the right amount of sweetness for a muffin.  The recipe made 12 regular muffins and eight minis. 


Check out the recipe on Christine’s blog and all the other TWD bakers out there. 

Great Grain Muffins--TWD 1-28-11

Every month at school, Taylor is given a cut out of a person that he is then to come up with a new design/outfit/character for.  We’ve had fun coming up with ideas.  In October, we created a Super Frog guy with a cape for a Halloween costume.  November we did a pilgrim.  In December we created a snowman.  Here’s the latest for February. 


The hair is made with licorice and its nose is a red hot.  We think it’s pretty cute.  It’s always fun to help Taylor come up with ideas and they are usually mostly his.

This month has flown by and been kind of crazy, involving sick kids since about the 14th and all of them taking turns being home from school since then and because, well, I just chose to do other things.  So I regret that I did not make any of the recipes chosen for French Fridays With Dorie in January.  I also found the month got away from me for participating in the cookie chosen for Cookie Carnival.  sigh

I’ll see what I can do for February!  In the meantime, have you seen my latest cookie creation, posted a few days ago?  These Nutella Truffle Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies are heavenly!