Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies (From Family Circle Magazine)

Ann Romney's M&M Cookies with PB and Oats

Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies with Peanut Butter & Oats

After seeing on The Today Show yesterday the two cookies chosen by the presidential candidate’s wives, Ann Romney and Michelle Obama, which is a tradition Family Circle magazine started a number of candidates back, I decided that Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies needed to be made here and tested.  I just finished baking them and wanted to hurry and write about them before we head out for a day trip.  They are that good.  You should make them soon.

I love that they only have oats, so if you wanted to make sure and get the gluten free oats, these would be gluten free.  With no added flour, I was worried they would flatten out too much, but these turned out perfectly.  They are baked at a lower temperature (325 degrees) and I think that helps with not-too-much spreading. 

I did not change anything about the recipe except that Ann’s suggested time for baking is 18 minutes and we like more of a chewy/soft cookie here, so I only baked them for 14 minutes.  Perfection! 

Since I didn’t change the recipe, which Ann was quoted as saying “no one in her family can resist them”, here’s the link to the recipe.  Ann Romney's M&M Cookies

Ann Romney's M&M Cookies 6-27-12

On a side note, with wholesome oats and the Skippy Natural chunky peanut butter I used, these cookies are a great treat.  I was quite surprised to see Michelle Obama’s cookies (isn’t she on a big kick to get the nation’s kids healthy???), are FULL of butter and shortening—shortening, you know, the butter-flavored kind full of trans fats.  I was just a little shocked to see that as the cookie she picked to go up against Ann Romney’s cookies.  I think Family Circle has reported that 4 out of the last 5 times the potential first ladies have gone up against each other with their cookie recipes, the winning cookie has also been the presidential candidate who won the election.  Hmmm?  Can’t wait to see!  (And I’ll bet you can’t tell who I’d like to see as our next president and first lady!)  Let’s not get all political here, this is strictly about cookies….;)

M&M Cookies from Ann Romney

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TWD—Baking With Julia—French Raspberry Cake (Genoise)

TWD Genoise Raspberry Cake

French Raspberry Cake with Perfect Genoise from Baking With Julia

I kept putting off making the Baking With Julia recipe for this week and until Monday almost-afternoon I still hadn’t made it.  Then out of nowhere, I just decided to do it.  I wanted to try making a genoise cake, I can’t remember if we made one before with TWD-BFMHTY, probably, but after reading all the problems and questions on the TWD website, I wanted to prove to myself that this really was an easy cake to make—and it was!

This is one of my favorite recipes so far!  I’m actually happy with the way it turned out and that I was able to cover an entire cake with whipped cream, which I don’t believe I’ve done before.  And I’m happy with how it turned out.  Yes, those of you looking at it from TWD, it’s short.  It became apparent to me that there was no way I was going to be able to cut the cake into three layers, so I didn’t even try.  Two layers it was and it is/was just fine!

The cake for the recipe was supposed to be strawberry cake, with a layer of macerated strawberries in between each layer.  But I have just not been very happy with the strawberries we’ve had available here so far this season (grocery stores), and I have a freezer full of raspberries (plus we like raspberries more here anyway).  So I got some frozen raspberries out of the freezer and let them thaw.  Once they were about half thawed, added a quarter cup of sugar and let them sit for another hour or two.  As the recipe indicated, I mashed the whole berries with a fork and I actually drained the liquid (it made a great smoothie!), instead of spooning the fruit out with a slotted spoon. 

Raspberry Genoise Cake for TWD After slicing the cake (which I froze after it cooled as that was supposed to make for easier cutting, but didn’t for me), I topped the first layer with all of the raspberries, which was about a cupful.  Then I topped the berries with some of the whipped cream and for a little kick, I sprinkled some chocolate shavings on the middle layer.  As you can see, I also sprinkled some on top.  I didn’t have any pretty, fresh raspberries to put on top of the cake, so it only seemed natural to put chocolate! ;)

Chocolate Shavings for Genoise Cake Good dark chocolate (70%) grated with a peeler and ready for the cake!

TWD Raspberry Genoise Cake 6-18-12

Mmmm!  While I think it could have used even more chocolate, this is a great cake.  Just perfect for my frosting-hating family.  I’ll be making more cakes in the future with whipped cream for the icing!

TWD "French" Raspberry Cake (Genoise) 6-18-12

Word up (just for my own sake), I don’t like my photos and haven’t lately and won’t for a while—my precious camera has gone to the fix-it shop and these were taken with my phone.  Not really liking how photos are turning out with my phone, but at least I have it, right!

You want this genoise recipe and the French Strawberry Cake (though you can use any fruit you’d like and I’m sure it would be okay).  I’m really enjoying baking in this book, Baking With Julia.  What is really fun is that every Saturday our PBS station here has the episodes from Julia Child’s show, which Dorie Greenspan worked behind-the-scenes on with Julia.  I have been enjoying watching and recording the episodes—a few of which we’ve already made the recipes I’ve seen on the show. 

I say get the book if you don’t have it, but if you want this recipe, our hosts for this week will have it on their blogs.

Sophia from Sophia's Sweets and Allison from Think, Love, Sleep, Dine are the hosts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lucky Leaf Giveaway and Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Cookie Pie, Peach Cinnacake and Frozen Strawberry Pie Pops

Lucky Leaf Giveaway

Brace yourself for a delicious post full of all kinds desserts and treats made with Lucky Leaf premium pie filling—and a giveaway! Lucky Leaf contacted me and asked if I wanted to try some of their pie fillings and some fun ice pop molds.  I thought it would be fun to try them.  After receiving the package, I went to town making all the recipes they sent along with the products.

First, I made some  frozen strawberry pie pops.  I love the spiral shape of them and the boys enjoyed eating them.

Strawberry Pie Frozen Pops

I know, this is where you think it would be fun to see some cute pictures of my boys eating the pops.  And this is where I tell you that my camera is broken and on its way to the fix-it place.  Needless to say, I’m not thrilled with any of the pictures that will be in this post since I took them with my phone and due mostly to user-error, they aren’t that great.  So I did take some pictures of the boys, and they are blurry.  sigh  Anyway, for this post, I’ve picked out the best of the worst to share with you, because there are some great treats here. ;)

After making the pops, which I made using only half the strawberry pie filling, I made some miniature strawberry cream peanut butter cookie pies.  In the recipes given to me by Lucky Leaf, they suggested using refrigerated store-bought cookie dough.  But since I don’t do that, I made my own and decided on a peanut butter cookie dough for the crust.  They also suggested mixing the pie filling with thawed frozen whipped dessert topping, but I used real whipped cream.  One of the things I like about Lucky Leaf pie fillings is that they are made with no high fructose corn syrup---so I didn’t want to add any other pre-packaged ingredients and have other high fructose or hydrogenated oils, etc. in these desserts. 

Strawberry Cream Peanut Butter Cookie Pies

These were good.  The peanut butter cookie crust was perfect for the fluffy strawberries and cream filling.  I took half of these to Kevin’s sister’s house and I think Scott ate the rest of them.  He really liked them!

Strawberry Cream Peanut Butter Cookie Pie

I then used the peach pie filling to make my version of Lucky Leaf’s Perfectly Peach Cinnacake.   Their suggestion was to use a boxed cake mix, but I made my own dry cake mix and was happy with how it turned out.  Kevin, who as we all know, doesn’t like cake and especially frosting, actually really liked this cake (because it didn’t have frosting).  The boys all enjoyed topping their pieces of cake with some whipped cream.

Lucky Leaf Peach Cinnacake 6-6-12

The recipe said to fold the pie filling into the cake mix, but I didn’t want chunks of peach throughout the cake, so I actually pulsed the filling in the food processor before adding it to the cake.  It was good!

Perfectly Peach Cinnacake

And finally, and probably my favorite of all these desserts I made a simple pie crust and made some mini blueberry pies.  Some perfectly two-bite mini pie pockets that were delicious (I love pie crust!).

Bite Sized Blueberry Pies

Blueberry pie filling goodness hiding inside of these!

Mini Blueberry Hand Pies 6-11-12

Even more fun, was this little three inch lattice pie I made.

Blueberry Pie

I love how perfectly the pie sliced! And it tasted great!  And for the record, I did not make all of these in one day!  I will share the recipes I used for making homemade cake/cookie crust and pie crust in later posts, so stay tuned for those!

Slice of mini blueberry pie

Meanwhile, Lucky Leaf is willing to send some of their premium pie fillings, ice pop molds and recipes cards to one of my readers!  Wanna win?  Leave me a comment letting me know what is you favorite flavor of pie.  That’s one entry.  For another entry, like the Baking and Boys! Facebook page and come back and leave me a separate comment that you did (or if you already do).  The deadline to enter for this giveaway is Monday, June 18, noon MST.  (U.S. Residents only please.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Chocolate Grasshopper Mint Cookies Ice Cream

Chocolate Grasshopper Cookies Ice Cream 4-30-12

Decided I needed to share this ice cream recipe since today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.  It is a perfect, simple ice cream for any kinds of mix-ins you’d like.  Try it!

Chocolate Grasshopper Cookies Ice Cream, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, ice cream base adapted from Amanda's Cookin'

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free condensed milk)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped Keebler Grasshopper cookies

Put the condensed milk into a medium saucepan. Sift the cocoa into the condensed milk. Whisk together and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Put the bittersweet chocolate in the condensed milk mixture and whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large measuring cup, gently mix together the cream, 2% milk and the vanilla. Drizzle the cream mixture into the chocolate mixture. Whisk the mixtures together as you are drizzling. Be sure to loosen any mixture from the edges and corners of the pan using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Whisk until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl.

Make an ice water bath in a bigger bowl and set the bowl of the chocolate cream mixture into it until it is very cold, whisking now and then. Pour into an ice cream maker and church according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 20-25 minutes. During the last couple minutes of churning, add the chopped cookies. Put in an airtight container and freezer for a couple hours (or enjoy the ice cream soft serve immediately. ;))

Chocolate Grasshopper Cookies Ice Cream Close Up

I have a little disclaimer with this particular ice cream.  One and a half cups of chopped cookies is plenty, but as I was chopping them, I kept chopped the whole package of cookies and ended up adding them all to the ice cream.  While I didn’t think so, Kevin thought it was a bit too much.  A whole package of the cookies probably totalled 2  1/2 to 3 cups of chopped cookies.  Add the amount you’d like.  Also if you want to bump up the mint flavor even more, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract.

Tis the season for ice cream!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

TWD—Baking With Julia--Oasis Naan

Oasis Naan TWD

This week’s recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie is Oasis Naan.  This flat bread is good for tearing off pieces and soaking up gravy or sauce from a stew or soup.  I made it to go with some pasta for dinner one night.  We all thought it was just okay.  I didn’t put the scallions on top but did sprinkle it with salt and cumin.  The top one in the photo is sprinkled with a little dried oregano and basil and salt (no cumin).  I knew the boys wouldn’t be crazy about the naan, so with half the dough, I made breadsticks and brushed them with oil and sprinkled cheese and dried oregano and basil on top.  The breadsticks were definitely a bigger hit.

Breadsticks from Oasis Naan

I probably wouldn’t make naan again, but thought it was a good bread dough to work with.  If you’d like the recipe, you can find it on our host blogs--

Maggie at Always Add More Butter—check out what she did with some of the dough for a sweet treat!

Phyl at Of Cabbages & King Cakes

Monday, June 04, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups and Raspberry Chocolate Cookie Cups—Secret Recipe Club

Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookie Cups

For the Secret Recipe Club this month, it will be no surprise to the person whose blog I was assigned as soon as she sees this cookie in all the thumbnail links.  It is always great to find new blogs and make new friends with the Secret Recipe Club and I think it’s even more fun when your surprise assignment is someone you’ve already known for a while and already love their blog!

I had the pleasure of being assigned Lisa’s blog, Sweet As Sugar Cookies!  Lisa is as sweet as her blog, I know, because I had the pleasure of meeting her last November.  She lives in LA, but came to Utah to visit some friends and included me in those visits.  Lisa and I got to know each other through drooling over the treats on each others’ blogs over the last couple years.  It was so great to meet her last November!

Lisa and I 11-25-11

I was excited to get to pick something to make from Lisa’s blog, but I was also so torn about what to make because there are so many great things to choose from!  Lisa has been on an amazing kick lately making cookie cups—all kinds.  There are so many, but I was drawn to her Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups.  I’ve told her she needs to get the rights or a patent on all these cookie cups she’s been creating since besides the Reese's Peanut Butter Cookie Cups I posted last year, I haven’t seen cups that are filled with all kinds of decadent fillings in perfect harmony.  I just stuck a piece of candy in mine, Lisa has been going all out with flavors and fillings, as well as different kinds of cookies.  Every time she posts a new one, I think that’s my favorite. I chose the Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies Cups, but her recent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filled Cookie Cups are a must-try-soon!  Check out all of Lisa’s creations so far.  (She’s mentioned she’s got a lot more ideas to come, too, like Butterfinger Cookie Cups, Caramel Apple Cookie Cups and Take 5 Candy Bar Cookie Cups!)

Orange Cheesecake Cookie Cups

Snickerdoodle Biscoff Cookie Cups

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Filled Banana Cookie Cups

Double Cookies-N-Cream Cookie Cups

Chocolate Surprise Cookie Cups

One of the things I love about Lisa, she won’t let little things, like ovens being broken for a couple months, stop her or even slow her down.  (I probably would have died without my oven for that long!) ;)  But while she didn’t have an oven, she spent that time creating all kinds of delicious looking treats that didn’t require an oven.  You’ll have to check out the Muddy Buddy craze she went on there for a bit, too, and it wasn’t just with Chex cereal!  If you haven’t been by Lisa’s blog, you must.  She also started a weekly link-up called Sweets For A Saturday over a year ago and has over 1000 followers because of it.  I’ve linked up a few times and you can, too.  If you’ve made and blogged something yummy and want to add it to her weekly link-up, do it!  I think she usually has the link up by Friday night.  Look for the new link each week.  You’ll surely be inspired each time with ideas when you look at the almost 100 entries she gets weekly.

So besides the Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups I made, I also tried my own flavor combo and made a raspberry filling to go with the chocolate cookie cups, with a fresh raspberry on top.  Yum to both!

Cookie cups ready to fill 5-25-12

I love that these are perfect for a 2 or 3 bite treat and they are perfect for parties or any occasion!

Raspberry Chocolate Cookie Cups 5-25-12

As pretty and fun as the raspberry ones were, I think I like the mint chocolate chips ones better and so did all the family who tasted them at a Memorial Day potluck I made them for. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups 5-25-12  (June SRC)

Plus, we loved the chocolate drizzle over the top of the mint ones.  I meant to shave a little chocolate on the tops of the raspberries ones and forgot.  They are both great and I will for sure be trying out some of the other cookie cup creations of Lisa’s!

Bite out of Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

I made Lisa’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups recipe just as she has it written.  She gives an option for a softer cookie using more butter, and that is what I did.  She also used salted butter and I used unsalted, but added a little salt to the cookies.  And one other small thing was that for her mint filling, I thought it was a little stiff, so I added about 1-2 teaspoons of milk until I liked the consistency.  Even though the filling has mini chocolate chips, I put it in a plastic zip top bag and snipped off enough of a corner to pipe the filling in to the cups.  Just make sure the hole is big enough that the mini chocolate chips don’t get clogged up. ;)

For the raspberry filling, I made a simple raspberry puree with some frozen raspberries and a bit of sugar.  (I only made half a recipe for the raspberry filling, which filled 18 cups with a little leftover.)  After making the puree and straining out the seeds, I just whipped it into a simple frosting/filling.

Raspberry Chocolate Cookie Cups (cookie recipe is on the link above for Lisa’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups), Filling recipe by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (to taste) seeded raspberry puree (3/4 cup frozen raspberries and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, cooked in small saucepan until raspberries are thawed and broken up, then strained)

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

18 fresh raspberries

Make the raspberry puree.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar, butter, salt and vanilla.  It will need some liquid, so while it’s beating, add one tablespoon raspberry puree at a time until it is the consistency and flavor you’d like.  (I used 3 tablespoons.)  Pipe the filling into the cookie cups, which have cooled for 30-60 minutes in the fridge before removing each from the mini muffin cups, or overnight (covered) on the counter).  The cookies pop right out of the cups with just a little nudge from a sharp knife.  After piping the filling into each cup, put a fresh raspberry on top.  If you’d like, you can also grate a little dark chocolate over the tops.

Raspberry Chocolate Cookie Cup

All that and guess what?  I made some other delicious things from Lisa’s blog as well.  She also has a thing for chai spice and anything and everything made with her own recipe for the spice blend.   I had never tried chai spice before.  So I made some of her mix and happily labeled a jar with it.  I made a recipe she has for some Brown Sugar Chai Spice Ice Cream and I surprisingly loved it.  I like chai enough that right now I wonder if I’ll ever be able to make something with just cinnamon again. ;)  I have since made a Banana Chai Ice Cream that is delicious (made that recipe up as I went along).  And I made a coffee cake that has a chai spiced crumb topping.  Really liking the flavors of chai!  Thanks, Lisa!

If you have never before, you must go check out Lisa’s blog, Sweet As Sugar Cookies.  You’ll quickly come to love her and all the delicious sweetness of her blog!