Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter and Pecan Streusel

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel 10-30-11

Happy Halloween!

I HAVE to share this cake with you and then you HAVE to make sure you have everything and make it right away.  Ok, go trick-or-treating first, but you’ll for sure want to make this cake soon!  I love it.  And guess what—you know I really love something when I just made it last night and am hurrying to get this post off to share it with you all.  And you also know I really love something when I actually follow a recipe exactly!  I must say, it sure is easier to share a recipe with you when I didn’t make so many changes!

This pumpkin cake is SO good.  It’s moist, (especially if you eat it still-warm, we had company over and it hadn’t even finished cooling all the way_.  Only problem with that is it’s hard to cut nice pieces when it’s still warm.  You also know something was really good when I didn’t even remember to get pictures of the whole cake and was lucky enough to snap these few I’m sharing with you. 

The star of this cake is the browned butter pecan streusel!  I would have thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but the browned butter gives this that little bit more of a kick that is just so delicious.  I had the pleasure of being served this cake back in Kansas when we attended one of my favorite chef’s classes, Paige, at A Cooking Life.  (You’ll learn so much from her blog.)  When Paige shared this cake, it was in one of her classes that we (Kevin and I) went to that was called Dinner With Class.  Five star, three course meal, prepared in front of you (with instruction and conversation) by Paige, then served in a date-like setting with just a few other couples also taking the class.  Loved those dinner classes!  I loved this cake when Paige made it and FINALLY more than a year later got my act together and made it again.  It was just as good as I remember it (although her nice serving always looks better than what I can do).  The cake is simply served with a dollop of whipped cream (or you could also serve vanilla ice cream).  That said, I think it is just as good as a snack like a coffee cake.   Most of the boys and even the company really liked it, too.  Winner!


Here is Paige’s recipe as written by her with no adaptations from me.  I have a great big three-ringer binder full of all the recipes I got from taking Paige’s classes and I make many of them often and try new ones I haven’t made yet as well!  Check out her blog for more deliciousness and GREAT instruction (link above for A Cooking Life).

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter & Pecan Streusel, by Paige Vandegrift

Pecan Streusel:

½ cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned (*see instructions below), then cooled

½ cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle the butter over and stir with a fork until the ingredients are combined and have formed clumps. Stir in the pecans and chill until ready to use.

Pumpkin Cake:

2 cups cake flour (256 grams)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup solid pack pumpkin (or use freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin or winter squash--**see below)

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar (220 grams)

½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)

2 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch round (or 9-inch square) cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper, butter the paper, then flour the pan. Set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides. This will take 2-3 minutes at medium-high speed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high and briefly beat until the mixture lightens in color and expands in volume. By hand, fold in half of the dry ingredients, followed by all the liquid ingredients, followed by the remaining dry ingredients.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cake. (Always start putting the streusel around the edges so the middle isn’t weighed down.) Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake by running a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan. Cool the cake, streusel side up, on a wire rack.

Serve the cake with whipped cream or ice cream.

*To “brown” butter, place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. As the butter begins to sputter and pop, whisk occasionally. The butter solids will begin to turn brown. When the solids are a deep golden brown and the butter has a pleasantly nutty aroma, transfer the butter to another container to stop the cooking process.

**Roasted pumpkin puree: Use a sugar pumpkin. Choose one that feels heavy for its size. Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven until very tender (pumpkin may begin to collapse)—about 1 hour, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Remove from the oven and turn the halves over so the flesh is exposed. Allow the pumpkin to cool. Puree the flesh in a food processor or pass through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. Dry the puree further by spreading in a shallow pan and baking at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the desired consistency is reached—it will darken a little and will no longer “bleed” water. A medium-sized pumpkin (2 ½ to 2 ½ lbs.) will produce 10 to 12 ounces, or about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups of puree.

Pumpkin Cake 10-30-11

I made the cake in a 9-inch square pan since I don’t have a 10 inch round pan (same volume)—either way—it’s so good.  You need to make this cake—it’s the perfect time of year!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Healthier Mini Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies—12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies


The cookie I’m sharing with you this week for 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies is one that came about when I was just having fun throwing things together with a peanut butter and oatmeal cookie in mind and I didn’t even know if these would turn out.  I think they turned out great and decided to share it here for reference when I want to make them again.  These  Healthier Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies just happen to be whole grain, lower in fat and they have flax meal (and some water) in place of the egg. 

I’ve never used flax instead of egg before, but wanted to try it and these seemed like a great cookie to try it with.  I would never know these were missing an egg.  I wouldn’t even know these had whole wheat (pastry) flour.  They are wholesome with oats and also use a natural peanut butter and Bestlife butter.  I didn’t think of it in time to try some alternatives for the sugar, but I think I’ll do that another time for sure.

After making the dough, I decided to make them quite small and then thought it would be fun to put a little chocolate M&M in the center of each one.  I think I started thinking about small cookies after seeing Anna’s recent post for these mini peanut butter chocolate chip toffee cookies at Cookie Madness.  I have made mini cookies before and love most of all that there are so many.  That is what I think makes them perfect for holiday cookie trays.  A few on each plate go a long way!

PB Oat Cookies 10-26-11 I made a smaller batch (since I wasn’t sure if the amounts of things I was using was going to work out) and still got about 40 cookies.  These are perfect one-bite cookies, though they work in 2-3 bites for me.  You could add some mini chocolate chips instead of the M&M or Reese’s Pieces would be good, too.  They are small enough that I would just put one on top like I’ve done with the M&M.  If you left the chocolate out (which I did on some and they were great), would these be vegan?  I’m not sure about the Bestlife butter, I believe it is vegan, but I’m not sure.  I also made these in a bowl, stirring by hand, easily without having to use an electric mixer.


Healthier Whole Grain Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

4 tablespoons Bestlife buttery baking sticks (or another butter substitute), softened

4 tablespoons natural peanut butter (64 grams)

1/3 cup granulated sugar (

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon flax meal (in a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water)

3 tablespoons water

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1  1/4 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup M&Ms or other candy or mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the Bestlife butter and the peanut butter and whisk together until combined.  Add the sugars and stir until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla and flax/water mixture.  Next add the remaining ingredients—flour, baking soda, salt and oats, and stir with a  wooden spoon until well mixed.

Taking about a teaspoonful of dough, roll it into a ball with your hands.   Set them on a baking sheet (probably 20-24 cookies per sheet).  Flatten each ball of dough just a little and press a candy in to each one.  Bake for 12 minutes for crisp-chewy cookies or for only 10 minutes for a softer-chewy cookie.   Let sit a couple minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 40-48 cookies.


It’s week 5 already!  Are you ready for the holidays?  Our weather is getting colder so it’s just a matter of a few shorts weeks and we’ll all be jingle belling—ready or not!


12 weeks of christmas graphic

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup with Pepitas and Ground Pistachios Recipe

Butternut Squash Soup 10-26-11

I don’t often post meals or savory dishes here, but it’s not because I never make them.  I just can’t seem to get decent pictures when trying to get dinner on the table and I find photographing savory food is a lot harder than snapping a couple photos of some delicious cookies or a piece of cake.  It’s just me though because there are some beautiful savory pictures out there in food blogging land.  After making this Butternut Squash Soup today though, I was pleased with the pictures and even more happy about how delicious it is, so I decided I had to share it.

I watched The Rachael Ray Show today and she made this soup.  I just happened to have half a butternut squash in the fridge and decided to make the soup.  Even though I knew no one else at my house would eat it.  It worked out well for me to have this soup and make a frozen pizza for the boys.  Kevin is out late helping Scott get caught up on some math at school and they are going to stop and grab something for dinner.  Win win. 

You’ll think win-win, too, if/when you make this soup.  Here’s the link for Rachael Ray's Soup, but I made some changes, so I’ll write up my version for you.  Can you guess what might be different from her soup?  What?  Did you say onions?  Well, then you’re right.  Rachael’s soup has two onions in it.  And while I feel that I’m really branching out now and then when it comes to onions, I do not like when onions take over the whole flavor of something like butternut soup.  I’ve tried a soup once and actually braved it and put the onion in and did not like the soup at all.  It tasted more like onion soup with a little squash in it.  But to each his own.  I do have an aversion to onions and you might feel different.

That said, I did put one medium shallot in my soup—so there! ;) Here’s my recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pepitas and Ground Pistachios, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Rachael Ray

half of a large butternut squash (or a small one)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

pinch or two of cayenne pepper (optional).

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 quart (32 ounces) chicken stock

2 pinches saffron threads (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

pepitas, roasted—for garnish

1/2 cup pistachios, ground—for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut squash into chunks (about 2 inches pieces).  Toss the squash with extra virgin olive oil, lay pieces flat on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes, until soft all the way through and the pieces are beginning to brown. 

In the meantime, in a large pot (saucepan or Dutch oven), heat a little more olive oil and add the celery and carrots.  Salt and pepper them and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the shallot and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and saffron and saute another minute.  Pour in the chicken stock and lemon zest and stir to combine.  Let simmer over medium heat until the squash is finished roasting. 

Add the squash to the soup and put through the blender in increments, you don’t want to fill the blender too full with hot liquid.  You can also use a handheld immersion blender if you have one.  Blend each amount until smooth and return all of it to the pot, simmer on low until ready to serve.  Fill soup bowls with soup and garnish with pepitas and pistachios.  Serves 4-6.

DSCF7771  Rachael Ray mentioned that the pepitas and especially the ground pistachios make all the difference with this soup and I have to agree—it really added something and tastes fantastic.  But if you don’t happen to have the nuts, don’t let that stop you from making the soup!  You could also add a little cream once it’s blended, but it really doesn’t need it.

I can’t wait to have some more of this for my next lunch and/or dinner!

TWD—An Apple Cake For Fall

TWD--An Apple ake for Fall 10-23-11

This week’s recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie was for A Fig Cake For Fall (pages 198-199).  I could not find any figs around these parts.

I decided to make half the recipe and use apples with some added spices, I added some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the cake batter.  In place of the ruby port, I used some spiced apple cider, which along with the honey, reduced down beautifully and tasted sweet and good.  I baked the half recipe in a six inch round cake pan.

DSCF7684I baked the cake for 30 minutes and the toothpick was still covered in moist batter, so I baked it another five minutes and thought it still had more time to finish.  So I baked the cake a total of forty minutes and sadly, the cake turned out super dry.  :(  I’m pretty sure it was just because I ended up baking it a little too long.   I brushed the baked, warm cake with the spiced apple cider syrup.


If you want to make a fig cake, Alvarosa at Cookie Rookie will have the recipe on her blog.  I followed the recipe except I only made half the recipe and added some spices as I mentioned and used apples.  Wish I wouldn’t have baked it a little too much!

Wait until you see what we’re about to do for Tuesdays With Dorie in November!  We’re doubling up on recipes each week!  We’re so close to finishing the book.  New plans are being made to begin baking along in another one of Dorie Greenspan’s books, Baking With Julia!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade Tootsie Rolls Candy Recipe

Homemade Tootsie Rolls 10-22-11

You know them and admit it, you love them, too! Tootsie Rolls Candy—hard to resist, especially out of the kiddie’s trick-or-treat stash while they’re away at school. ;)

Well, I’ve cloned them homemade and darn it all if these are just about the closest candy I’ve made that is so very close to the original Tootsie Rolls. And so super easy to make as well. No, I didn’t invent the idea or recipe, I knew it had most likely been done before. I’ve been hankering to give them a try and I’m glad I did. After Googling for recipes, I actually ended up trying two different ones that I’d found. One that I tried was from Paula Deen (thought I couldn’t go wrong). Her recipe is just melted chocolate chips and corn syrup with some added flavoring. Then that mixture just sits covered for 24 hours to set up. The taste was not right on with Tootsie Rolls and they never did set up the same. Strike one. But never fear—I wasn’t about to throw out all that chocolate—I put it in a saucepan with some cream and melted it back down. Then added the warm chocolate to more cream and some milk and made a fabulous base to some great chocolate ice cream. Nothing wasted and some great ice cream to boot!


I made some the regular size, but remembered the big thick sticks you can get in a package? I had to make some of those, too.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls 10-21-11

I was going to take the time to make some cute wrappers for them, but well, that’s just not me. Give me the ingredients to make the candy and I’ll be happy as can be. Tell me to be crafty—and not so much me. So they are just wrapped in waxed paper, which is fine because they are a hit around here and are getting eaten pretty fast! Like I said, they taste almost just like the Tootsie Rolls you all know and love. The texture is just every so slightly softer, which is actually fine since sometimes Tootsie Rolls can be just a little too chewy. These might “harden up” like that over a little time—if they last that long. Looking for a quick, easy treat to surprise someone with or to give away? These are great!

Homemade Tootsie Rolls, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Allrecipes

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (42 grams) cocoa powder

3 cups (330 grams) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup (108 grams) dry milk powder (not instant powdered milk)

1/2 cup light corn syrup and an additional tablespoon or two

pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well incorporated. If the dough isn’t coming together after 2 tablespoons of butter are added, add more until it starts to stick together, do the same with corn syrup, alternating the butter and syrup. It just might need a little extra. Knead into a firm dough and shape into ropes and cut to desired size. Wrap individually in waxed paper. Makes—a lot.

*Don’t use your stand mixer, it will have a hard time mixing the stiff dough. I also read that someone put all the ingredients in a gallon sized plastic bag and let kids take turns kneading it all together.

Tootsie Rolls 10-22-11

You’ve got to try these!

This post is being added to a blog hop, Sweets For A Saturday at Lisa’s blog, Sweet As Sugar Cookies.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies Gifted Three Ways—12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies


It’s Week 4 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  You might be thinking that seeing just another chocolate chip cookie is boring, been there, done that.  Well, here’s the thing—Chocolate Chip Cookies really are probably my favorite cookie to make and give away.  They are easy (I know this particular recipe by heart) and they are chocolate and taste great!  What’s not to love? 

So I believe that some kind of chocolate chip cookie should always adorn a Christmas cookie tray.  But here’s what I like to do even more sometimes, especially with this particular recipe, which has been my go-to chocolate chip cookie for a couple years now.  I was even asked to figure out a way to ship frozen cookie dough once we left Kansas and start a business selling just these cookies.  The person who made that suggestion wasn’t kidding, they would really miss my cookies, but I have yet to figure out a way to make that work and be profitable.  Whenever I make these cookies, I am always asked for the recipe and told these are the best chocolate chip cookies they’ve had.  Brag, brag, blah, blah, blah.  I have adapted this recipe enough that I do call it mine, but the true credit for it goes to Jacques Torres.  I believe that his use of cake flour and bread flour instead of regular all purpose flour and thinner (than chips) good quality dark chocolate disks are what set this recipe apart from other chocolate chip cookies.  So I make these often.  The family loves them.  And I often have cookie dough balls frozen and ready to go for all kinds of occasions or if I just need to give someone a few as a gift or thank you. 

DSCF7658These cookies are BIG (but I make them all different sizes).  A nice stack of big cookies are a great idea for kid’s teacher gifts, neighbors, friends, etc. 

Sometimes during the holidays, people often feel like they just couldn’t eat another cookie, candy, etc.  So another thing I’ve done in the past is give people a tub of frozen cookie dough balls and a note letting them know how to bake them and that they can save them for a time when they NEED a treat. 

Baker's Dozen Frozen Cookies  

Stack another layer on top with waxed paper in between (the cookie dough is already frozen).  I like to put another five on top of the eight and give a baker’s dozen.

DSCF7645 Just like I love having cookie dough frozen and ready to bake, I’m sure anyone you give some to for the holidays will love it, too. 

Finally, if you really don’t feel like scooping cookie dough balls out onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and freezing them for gifts, I’ve also done it by just forming the dough into a log and freezing it.  You can give the gift also with a note letting someone know they can thaw, scoop and bake whenever they’d like.  I like to give the cookie dough log on a cute, festive tray.


After reminding myself that I’ve done this in the past, I will for sure be doing this for some of the holiday gifts I plan to give this year.  You can certainly make any other kind of cookie frozen ahead as well.  As much as I love all the holiday goodies, I would love having the options to save some for later.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies ;), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Jacques Torres

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

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

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

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

10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) light brown sugar

8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¼ pounds chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips are what I always use, which is what makes these cookies so good)

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

In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until very light, about five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips with rubber spatula. Optional--Put dough in a plastic container and refrigerate for at least a couple hours, but ideally 24 to 36 hours! (You think it won’t make a difference, but it’s really good! Although, I often only chill for a couple hours and these are still excellent cookies. Though it is not necessary to chill the dough at all—make, bake and eat!)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop dough into balls on sheet. Bake 9-15 minutes depending on size. ½ ounce cookies (small) baked 9 minutes. Regular sized cookies are about 1 ½ ounces and baked 11-13 minutes. (Made 9 ½ dozen ½ ounce cookies!)  2-3 oz. cookies are huge and delicious and more like NYT.

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TWD—Ginger-Jazzed Brownies

Ginger Jazzed Brownies

Thank you for the chocolate, Clivia from Bubie's Little Baker!  I needed a little.  For Tuesdays With Dorie this week, she chose the Ginger-Jazzed Brownies (page 101), get the recipe for them on Clivia’s blog.  I knew I would have liked the ginger-jazzed part, but the others in the house wouldn’t have, so I decided I’d better halve the recipe and only use ground ginger.  Dorie mentioned in her Playing Around note that you can omit the fresh ginger and just use ground, so I did, but I left the amount the same as if I’d made the full recipe, even though I halved it and made the brownies in a 9x5 inch bread pan. 

TWD--Ginger-Jazzed Brownies 10-16-11 

I was a little bummed that you still couldn’t really taste the ginger, but the brownies were good.  I did jazz them up a bit more with a chocolate gananche on top.  (2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, about 1 1/2 ounces hot cream—stirred together until melted and smooth—then with some added ground ginger).  Still couldn’t really taste the ginger.   If I made these again, I’d try the freshly grated ginger and make some just for me. ;)

Since they don’t have much of a ginger flavor, they are definitely getting eaten here!  They are better chilled and fudgy (as are all brownies), but are still good at room temperature and almost have more of a dense moist cake texture then.  No complaints with this one! 

Here’s the TWD Link so you can go and gawk at the other brownies—and hey, while you’re at it, get the recipe from Clivia and see what you think of brownies with ginger!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Mini Muffins

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Mini Muffins 10-15-11

We had a number of family activities over the last few weeks.  Kevin had a birthday.  My mom came to visit (and help me organize my house!  Thanks so much, Mom!!!!).  Taylor turned eight years old, which means he was baptized into our church on Saturday.  Afterwards, we had family over for brunch.

A little photo interlude, since people keep telling me I haven’t had enough people photos lately. ;)


My family! 


Taylor with Grandma and Grandpa Scott



Taylor with Grandma and Grandpa Smith


Taylor with Kevin and our family friend, Bob Gross.



We’re happy for Taylor’s decision to be baptized.  He’s such a great kid!

Back to the donut muffins!

These muffins were such a hit!  I’d made an apple crisp, homemade granola for yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit salad, apples with caramel dip and these muffins.  The muffins were definitely the hit of the feast.  I have seen these Cinnamon Sugar Donut Mini Muffins all over the internet for a few years and have always meant to make them, but hadn’t until now.    I suppose I’ll be make them again over and over as requested by a number of family members.  My boys often love donuts, but I don’t like making fried food or really buying it that much, so these are a good alternative for that.

I mentioned that I’ve seen these a number of places online, but the recipe I printed out a few months ago was one I’d seen on Tami's Kitchen Table Talk and she found them at Connor's Cooking who found them at….okay, it goes on and on and I really don’t know where to credit the official recipe.  You just need to make these because they are really good.  I doubled the recipe and got 32 mini muffin.  The recipe was easy to double, but I’ll give you the single recipe.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Mini Muffins, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup milk

1  1/2 cups all purpose flour (180 grams)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

8 tablespoons butter (1/2 cup), melted

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and egg until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and oil and whisk together for another minute, until well combined.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk.  (Adding the flour in three increments and the milk in two.)  Whisk together until smooth.  (It is kind of a runny, like a cake batter.)

Fill eat mini muffin about 3/4 full.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove the muffins from the pan to a wire rack.  Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl or in a small saucepan on the stove.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix until combined.  Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, dip the entire mini muffin into the melted butter and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar.  Set them on a wire rack to cool completely.   Serve fresh, although they are still good the next day if kept airtight. 


How many do you think you could pop into your mouth?  They are just a bit sweet for me (and still rather fattening), so I just tasted one and would much rather dine on yogurt and granola and fresh fruit!  It was a great get together with family!  Thanks to all who came.


One last picture, can’t resist—here’s our doggy Chip next to the two pumpkins I grew.  The small one is about 20 lbs. and the large one—don’t know, but it’s huge!  Kinda fun that we grew it ourselves!  No pumpkin shortage here. ;)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

White Chocolate Almond Oat Cookies—12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies


Week Three of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  Okay, so I haven’t totally accepted that Christmas is coming so quickly.  I’m. not. ready.  (Who is?)  That may be why the cookies you see  have fall/Halloween colors.  These cookies can easily be made with just chopped white chocolate or chips, but when I recently found some new M&Ms—White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms, I HAD to get some and try them out.


These new M&Ms are good.  They ARE white chocolate and not some vanilla wannabe type candy masquerading around in candy corn costumes or something.  I am happy about that.  How could anyone resist if anything just such a cute package with the little dressed up M&M?  These are bigger than plain M&Ms, which I actually think are their only downfall.  You can only eat a few at a time (or is that a good thing?), they are just very sweet.  So I decided they needed to have some sweetness cut by putting them in a cookie, something with good wholesome things like oats and almonds. 

These cookies are great.  They are oaty and nutty with the added sweetness from not only the M&Ms, but some white chocolate chips as well.  If I wasn’t a better girl, I would have tried one, then taken another taste, and another and well, probably four cookies would have disappeared, but since I was a little better than that, it didn’t quite happen that way.  I ate one of each.  What does that mean, you ask?

Well, I did try to play into the Christmas spirit a little and took about 1/4 of the dough before adding the M&Ms and added some dried cranberries.


Not sure I could decide between the two which I like better, they are definitely both good in their own right.  You decide. ;)

I found the recipe for these from Tracy at Shutterbean who got the recipe from Dana Treat.

White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M Almond Oat Cookies and/or White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (110 grams)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2  1/2 cups quick oats (200 grams)*

2 cups all purpose flour (240 grams)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups white chocolate chips

1  1/2 cups slivered almonds

3/4 cup Candy Corn White Chocolate M&Ms (added to 3/4 of the dough)

1/3 cup dried cranberries (added to 1/4 of the dough)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter for a minute.  Add both sugars and beat well.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat another 2 minutes.

Put the oats in a food processor (*old fashioned would work, too, since you are going to pulse them to a rough ground texture), pulse 10-15 times until the oats are almost like flour, but not quite.  You want a little texture.  In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the oats and other dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat to just combine everything together.  Put the almonds in the food processor and pulse a few times just to break up the slivers.  Fold in the white chocolate chips and almonds. 

If you want to add M&Ms or cranberries, divide the dough, or add more cranberries and make them all festive!  Chill the dough for 30 minutes if possible.  I did and like they way they turned out.  Scoop out dough with a cookie scoop and place two inches apart on baking sheets.  Bake for 9-10 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen.


I really like the texture of these cookies with the ground oats and pulsed slivered almonds.   You could easily use other nuts, like macadamia nuts or maybe pistachios.  I was also torn between used the dried cranberries or some dried tart cherries.  Oh the possibilities!  The holidays are comin’…….. ;)

White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Oat Cookies 10-12-11

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TWD—Basic Biscuits


Does that look like a basic biscuit to you?  Yeah, me either.  Tuesdays With Dorie this week—Basic Biscuits.  So many TWD bloggers seemed to be shocked and almost annoyed that last week when the recipe was my pick, we made something with no chocolate, the Apple Nut Muffin Cake.  I felt so bad to disappoint so many. ;)  Really, it just came down to me 1—thinking of fall and wanting to do something with the season and 2—thinking of Kayte from Grandma's Kitchen Table, our TWD resident chocolate-hater.  I thought I’d be nice and pick something she would enjoy since I think 3 of the 4 recipes for September had chocolate.

Well, no more Mrs. Nice Gal.  (ha)  I joked in an email with Kayte that there would surely be some chocolate involved some way in this week’s recipe post.  Thought that would be hard to do with basic biscuits.  Think again.  Feast your eyes on that photo above---pretty much chocolate heaven.  Perfectly buttery, flaky biscuits slathered with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut heaven in itself), sliced banana, whipped cream and some dark chocolate shavings on top.  Yep—now we’re talking.  Love me some chocolate!  Sorry, Kayte, for YOUR viewing pleasure, check out my last post for some Uber Lemon Ice Cream.  It’s good!

Back to basics—the biscuits were simple, quick and great.  I think I flattened out the dough a little less than half an inch, so they didn’t rise really high, but they were still great.


My mom is here visiting me.  We decided to make breakfast for dinner Monday night.  I made the biscuits and she made a sausage gravy to smother them in.  I don’t eat sausage, but Kevin and the boys all liked it.

TWD--Basic Biscuits 10-10-11

After Scott and Parker had seconds of the biscuits and gravy, I believe Scott had thirds eating a total of five biscuits and Parker ate two more—one with butter and one with honey.


I decided to have mine with a little butter and some spiced plum butter I’d made a few weeks ago.  Yum! 

TWD--Basic Biscuits 10-10-11

I brushed the biscuits with some cream before baking them and used a 2 1/4 inch cutter and got 16 biscuits.  I used 2% milk since I didn’t have any whole milk. 

Nice recipe—this was chosen by Jennifer  from Cooking For Comfort.  She’ll have the recipe posted on her blog.  You can check out all the other biscuits over at TWD, too.

Want a bite?

TWD--Basic Biscuits 10-10-11

Having hosted last week, I know I didn’t make it around to all those that made and posted the recipe for the Apple Nut Muffins Cake and I really feel bad.  With my mom visiting for two weeks and us keeping super busy, I haven’t had much time to breathe.  I will try to make the rounds once things settle down after she leaves me. (I love my mommy and having her visit.  She is so helpful (dejunking and organizing my home) and is a joy to be with!)  Thank you to all who baked along last week and for your comments on my blog!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Uber Lemon Ice Cream—Secret Recipe Club

DSCF7456 It’s Secret Recipe Club time again, already.  I don’t even want to talk about how fast time is going by!  So let’s just talk about this month’s recipe and blog I was assigned. 

My secret blog this month is Evelyne’s blog, Cheap Ethnic Eatz.  She is from Montreal, and is a fellow food lover who started a dinner group that now has over 250 members.  There is definitely a lot of ethnicity on her blog!  But as soon as I saw some lemon ice cream she made last year, I knew that was the recipe for me.  Funny, a couple days after I decided that was what I was going to make, out of the blue, my son, Taylor announced to me that for his 8th birthday (this Wednesday, the 12th) he wants lemon ice cream.  OK!  I’m not even sure what made him think of that as we haven’t had lemon ice cream before. 

Evelyne’s Uber Lemon Ice Cream looked just like it would hit the spot.  She mentioned that this was really a “not for the faint of heart” and “could replace a morning coffee in terms of a slap in the face to wake you up”.

Her recipe uses the zest of one lemon and the juice of three lemons with only one cup of cream and one cup of milk.  That does sound uber!  I really just wanted to have more ice cream, so I adjusted the recipe—basically, I doubled the cream and milk, but only used three lemons and the same amount of sugar for the original recipe.  This made some great lemon ice cream.  It’s not uber tart, but I would call it uber because it tastes great!

DSCF7452Uber Lemon Ice Cream, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 3 lemons

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups cold heavy cream

2 cups cold 2% milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Zest one lemon and juice three lemons.  Combine the juice with the sugar and salt in a medium sized heatproof bowl.  Set it over a pan with about one inch of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved (about 3-5 minutes). In a large bowl, add the warm juice mixture to the cream and milk and whisk to combine.  Pour the contents into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, 20-25 minutes.  Store the ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer for at least a few hours.  Let sit on counter for 10 minutes before serving.

DSCF7453This ice cream is really good and is surely one I’ll be making again.  Happy to have spent time on Evelyne’s blog and found another to check in on all the creations she’s got going on.  Check out her blog on the links above.

***Having some trouble with my linkz code being right on my blog, so check out all of Group A Secret Recipe Club Reveals on this link.