Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking With Julia Rewind

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls 10-29-12

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Roll, adapted from Baking With Julia’s Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

Today for Tuesdays With Dorie, we get to do a rewind recipe (one that we might have missed that has already been done by the group).  The one I’m sharing with you today was just made the first week in October.  I didn’t realize then until the Monday before that TWD post was due that the recipe took some time with an overnight stint in the fridge and then another six hours on the counter the next day, so I wasn’t able to get it made in time.  It worked perfect that this month has five Tuesdays and with the extra one, the group decided to make this a rewind week.  I didn’t want to miss the pumpkin loaves, which are a yeast bread, but also made with pumpkin puree' and delicious fall spices.

I started the dough, but instead of adding the suggested walnuts, raisins and fresh cranberries, I decided to use mini chocolate chips.  The recipe really is not difficult at all, but included many steps.  I like that the mixer did the 15 minute kneading session and the refrigerator did all the chillin’.  After the chilled dough sat on the counter for my busy morning hours yesterday, I decided when I was ready to finish the loaves to only make one of the small loaves.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BreadIt rose beautifully and baked up perfectly.  With the remaining dough, you might have already guessed, I decided to make cinnamon rolls!  I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, spread it with some softened butter, then liberally sprinkled on brown sugar and cinnamon and a few more chocolate chips.  Rolled up the dough, sliced it in to 10 rolls and they did their rise time.  I have to say, they baked up beautifully as well.  This was a great dough/recipe!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls 10-29-12The rolls would have been just fine as they were, but of course, I had to put icing on them.  I just happened to already have some orange-tinted icing leftover from something else, so I thinned it out just a little and drizzled it over the rolls.

Pumpkin Cinnamon RollsYou’ll want this Tuesdays With Dorie--Baking With Julia recipe.  Rebecca from This Bountiful Backyard hosted and the link is for her post with the recipe.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hermit Bars and a Cookbook Giveaway!

Hermit Bars 10-28-12

Have you seen or heard of hermit bars?  Did you know today is National Hermit Day?  You didn’t?  What rock have you been living under?  Ha—get it, hermit—under a rock.  aheh  These hermit bars might be one of the easiest bars/cookies I’ve ever made—and that I think you should make, too.  They are perfect for this time of year because they have those delicious spices we all love in the fall and winter.  They have cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  If you just want to make them for the smell they bring to your home, it’s worth it and then why would you not eat them? ;) 

Not only do I want to share these hermit bars with you, I also want to share the information and news about a fantastic cookbook you’ll want  ASAP, well, or maybe as a holiday gift.  It is written by one of my “oldest” and favorite bloggers!  Anna from Cookie Madness has a cookbook available next week—just in time for the holidays!  Anna worked long and hard on this book, The Daily Cookie, 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life and I’m so happy for her.  I’m happy for me, too—she was nice enough to send me one!  What a nice surprise to see MY name in her acknowledgements.  Did not expect that.  All I did was get the pleasure of trying out a few of her recipes in the testing stages along the way.

The Daily Cookie

Anna and I go WAY back to 2008 not long after I started my blog.  Not sure how I ever became aware of Cookie Madness, but it was quickly one of my favorite blogs (hello—it’s cookies as well as other delicious treats!).  Anna and I got to chatting in emails and such and talking about the loves of our lives—cookies. ;)  Along the way, I have made too numerous to count recipes from her blog.  We have been on collaborations together with cookies like the Levain Bakery Copycats to our Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies (as well as the Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Oatmeal Cookies (my favorite) and the Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Double Chocolate Cookies).  I have made more treats from Cookie Madness than any other blog.  I was lucky enough to meet Anna at the Food BlogHer Conference '09 in San Francisco.  We hung out most of that weekend and look forward to being able to do it again sometime—let’s make it New York City or Chicago next time! ;)

I was also lucky enough to do a guest post at Cookie Madness when Anna and her family went on an Alaskan Cruise last year, so I made Baked Alaska.  Oh, that reminds me I loved it and need to make Baked Alaska again.  So good!

Anyway, can we get back to The Daily Cookie, please!  I love the book—there is a different recipe for every single day of the year and it’s not just things like National Chocolate Day or the basics like that, though they are all mentioned on each day.  Anna has chosen some really fun things and delicious recipes to go with them—let’s take my birthday, for instance.  November 15 (Hey, that’s coming up!)  Who knew, but that day is also America Recycles Day—a day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the U.S.  Anna says to celebrate, try putting an old cookie in a new cookie and she shares a peanut butter sandwich cookie cup that is part peanut butter cookie and part sandwich cookie.  And how cool is it that I am HUGE on recycling and will now celebrate recycling for my birthday!

I could go on and on and tell you about more of the days and recipes in the book, but this is just a book you must have of your own.  It is available (starting November 5) from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as Indie Bound.  But guess what?  One lucky Baking and Boys! reader will win a copy of The Daily Cookie, by Anna Ginsberg from me!  Anna shared with me, so I want to share with you!

Let’s play Giveaway!  Here’s all you have to do: tell me in a comment your birthday (no, you don’t have to give the year).  After a winner is selected randomly, when I post about it, I’ll tell you what your lucky Daily Cookie recipe is from Anna’s book.  And I’ll have Amazon ship the winner the book as soon as it is available, November 5.  That’s next week!  Simple, simple!  On you mark, get set---GO!

Leave a comment with your birthday, you have until Sunday, November 4 at midnight.  I will pick a winner on Monday and have your book sent as soon as you’re notified and I hear back with an address to send it to.  Going to have to limit this giveaway to U.S. residents only.

Before you leave a comment, let me tell you a little more about these hermit bars—which are today’s cookie as I mentioned at the beginning of this post because today is National Hermit Day.

Hermit Bars 3
Anna’s description of the day—National Hermit Day is funny.  I love that she’s always subtly funny.  You have to be on your toes to get it all. ;)  But here’s what she said--

“National Hermit Day—If you enjoy being alone, today is your day.  No one really knows the origin because it was probably thought up by tight-lipped hermits, but the internet has declared it National Hermit Day and that’s a good enough excuse to make some hermit cookies.

Hermit cookies are made as bars or cookies and use ingredients with preservative qualities, such as molasses and spices.  Perhaps that’s why they’re called hermits:  A hermit could take them to the woods and keep them for a long time before having to return to civilation to buy more cookies.  This particular hermit is the bar form.  It has no eggs or butter.”

Hermit Bars, from The Daily Cookie, by Anna Ginsberg, adapted ever-so-slightly by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)

1/4 cup mild molasses

1/3 cup whole or 2 % milk

1/2 cup raisins, regular or golden (I used regular)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

2 tablespoons shredded or sweetened coconut flakes or oats, for garnishing (I used oats)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil, or regular foil spray with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and sugar.  Whisk together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour in the oil, molasses and milk.  Stir them together with a wooden spoon just until combined.  Stir in the raisins and walnuts.  Spread the mixture over the foil lined baking pan.  Sprinkle with oats.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let the bars cool completely in the pan, then lift from the pan using the foil edges to pull it out of the pan.  Remove the foil and cut on a cutting board into eight bars. (Or 16 if you want smaller bars.) 

Hermit Bars

I love these hermit bars!  They are seriously one of the most simple things to make and if you like sweet spicy treats, these are perfect—and according to Anna, you can just go be a hermit, hide out and have these for a long time (if you don’t eat them all in one sitting!).  I love that there is not butter and eggs, not just because that makes them a little bit healthier, but also because you don’t have to remember to get those things out of the refrigerator so they are at room temperature.  Simple one-bowl preparation with ingredients you most often have on hand.  Before you know it, you have a treat….I was going to share…but be a hermit with these hermit bars.  Go off to a corner and eat them all alone.  You should…in honor of the day…well at least if you make them today.  I have liked hermit bars for a long time.  I think WAY back when, I used to buy them at a grocery store.  Never do that again.  They are also almost vegan—you could make them vegan by using coconut or almond milk or something instead of regular milk.  I’m going to try that as soon as these are gone and I think I’ll also try whole wheat pastry flour.  Healthy treat!

Thanks so much, Anna—for the book, and for all the inspiration and sharing your recipes on your blog all these years.   Now, everyone, go tell me your birthday in a comment!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Candy Filled Puffy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Puffy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Week 5 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats is here!  I was in a peanut butter cookie kind of mood.  I recently found some candy at the dollar store called Clark Bites.  You might remember the old Clark Bar which are not really easy to find anymore.  They are similar to the Butterfinger candy bar.  I’m still on the fence about which one is better.  The Clark Bites are just what it sounds like—little bites of Clark Bar, or if you’ll remember Butterfinger BB’s.  I don’t think those are around anymore, maybe they are, I’m not sure.

Anyway, I bought a couple boxes of the Clark Bites and wanted to put them in a cookie.  I did just that and after remembering seeing a thick, puffy peanut butter cookie a while back, I went on an internet hunt for it and found it.  So the recipe I’ve adapted comes from Jessica at How Sweet It Is.  I tried a half recipe of the cookies exactly as written and they weren’t puffy and thick.  I knew they wouldn’t be and consider it because of the high altitude, so I made a few changes and got Jessica’s perfect puffy cookies.  So if you’d like her recipe, check out the link above.  I’ll be sharing with you the recipe as I made them.

Puffy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Clark BitesCandy Filled Puffy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from How Sweet It Is (High Altitude recipe)

2 ½ cups (300 grams) all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cups (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

6 tablespoons (99 grams) creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled

¾ cup (165 grams) packed light brown sugar

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup (4 ounces) mini chocolate chips (or any chips of your choice)

Clark Bites or Mini Butterfinger Candy Bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put the butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals until melted.  Whisk together and let cool completely.  Whisk together in a separate bowl the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Once the butter mixture is cooled, put it in a large bowl and add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk together until well mixed.  Add the dry ingredients and stir together until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Shape the dough into golf ball sized balls, while shaping them, put a mini candy bar in the center and enclose it all with dough.  Put them on the baking sheet about two inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  (Do not over bake.)  Let cool a couple minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely, or until you can no longer resist just eating one (or two) still warm. 

Puffy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies 10-24-12

These are great for any chocolate and peanut butter lover in your life.  (Especially if they also like Butterfingers and Clark Bar.)  You can certainly make them without the added candy as Jessica did.

Puffy PB and CC Cookies with Clark Bites 10-24-12

Thanks again to Brenda, from Meal Planning Magic for hosting this group blog hop!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Lofthouse Cookies

I have found my new favorite sugar cookie.  You know those grocery store, Lofthouse style cookies?  The big, thick ones with lots of frosting and usually sprinkles.  Those are the ones.  I recently found a recipe for them that I think is great.  I actually don’t remember the last time I ever ate one of those grocery store cookies—25 years ago, maybe?  But who doesn’t love a good sugar cookie?  And I particularly like them soft, not crunchy. 

I recently hosted a baby shower for a neighbor and got it in my head while trying to think of things to make for it, that I wanted to make cute, little button sugar cookies, but soft and thick.  That was when I found this recipe and made them for the first time.  That was about two weeks ago and I’ve now made the cookies three times.

Lofthouse Button Cookies 9-27-12

Cute, huh?  While I was frosting them, I started with the pink ones.  Kevin came in the room and I asked him if he knew what they were supposed to be.  Yeah, you’ll probably guess what he said.

Lofthouse Button Cookies

If you guessed that he said pig noses, you’d be right.  And then from then on, I even had a hard time seeing the cute “buttons”.  Oh well, they looked cute on the plate and for the shower, all the pink, yellow and blue pig noses.  (eyeroll, sigh)

Then, Taylor’s birthday was last week and he had some friends over for a zombie party.  Suppose I must brag about one of my creations again (though I’ve already done so on Facebook).  Just want to keep it for remembrance and posterity, you know. ;)  Taylor wanted a zombie pinata.  Yeah.  You try to find one.  I looked and couldn’t even find anything Halloween related—no ghosts, pumpkins, nothing.  So—look at this—I drew one and put it on a different pinata that I bought.

Zombie Pinata

Free hand drew that guy from looking at the smaller picture.  Taylor didn’t want his brain sticking out.  I was happy with how it turned out—on the Hello Kitty pinata I got.  You couldn’t tell, could you?  Until I told you, now you see it.  Taylor made us all swear we wouldn’t tell his friends that it was originally a Hello Kitty pinata.  Here’s what we did for the back.

Zombie Pinata 2

Anyway, back to the cookies.  For the party, we also made zombie cookies.  Each of the boys got to pick out chocolate eyeballs, plastic teeth, noses (Skittles) and put red icing (blood) gel on their cookie.  So again, I made the Lofthouse cookies and cut them in about 3  1/2 inch circles.

Parker's finished zombie

Parker’s cookie won for the grossest, with the eye hanging out.  The Lofthouse cookies were perfect and the boys had fun with them.

T's zombie cookie Brenton's zombie cookie

Landon's zombie cookie

Today I decided to make the cookies again to share them here for the 4th week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  So I had fun making some 2  1/2 inch round cookies with white frosting and some green, red, and white sprinkles.  A bunch of them are in the freezer (unfrosted) ready for another use sometime soon.

Lofthouse Cookies 10-17-12

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys!—don’t know where original recipe started, I adapted it quite a bit

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 grams) light sour cream (you can use regular, but I never do, always use light)

2  3/4 cups (330 grams) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the sugar and butter.  Add the egg, vanilla and sour cream and beat on high speed for a couple minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture and beat on low just until combined.  Put the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  (Can also refrigerate the dough for a couple days, if necessary.) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface—not too thin, at least 1/4 inch thick, maybe between 1/4-1/2 inch.  Cut with shaped cookie cutters and lay each cookie on the baking sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies just look dry on the tops.  Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost the cookies and add sprinkles, if desired.

I don’t have a specific vanilla frosting recipe, I actually just kind of make it up as I go—Couple of cups of powdered sugar, some butter, a pinch of salt, some vanilla and cream/milk—beat in the mixer until it is the desired consistency.  Sorry, I often don’t measure.  I didn’t with the white frosting for these cookies.  Here is a link for a great buttercream frosting recipe that I have used before for cakes and it is similar to what I end up getting when I make up my own. ;)  http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/03/buttercream-frosting/

Lofthouse Cookies 2

You can find out about the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats on our host, Brenda’s blog, Meal Planning Magic and check out all the other treats this week—we’re at week 4, can you believe it—counting down the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  Don’t freak out yet! ;)



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bagels—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking With Julia


Sure had fun with the Tuesdays With Dorie--Baking With Julia recipe this week.  We made bagels!  I had never made bagels before.  It turned out to be quite the process! 

First, I made the dough (half recipe, made with bread flour and no pepper as mentioned optional in the dough) late a couple nights ago and after letting it rise on the counter for an hour, it did its time in the refrigerator for the night. 

The next morning, I read through the whole recipe, got everything ready and started making five perfect and delicious bagels.   Though it was quite the process to get to a finished bagel, none of it was hard to do.  The bagels were formed and ready for a short time in a boiling water bath.

unbaked bagels

Each bagel spent about two minutes in the water.  The oven was preheating to super hot with my pizza stone in it.  Some ice water was ready to throw in the bottom of the oven after setting the bagels on the pizza stone.  It all went really well.

TWD--Bagels 10-15-12

I didn’t really want savory bagels, so I sprinkled two of them with some cinnamon-sugar—

Cinnamon Sugar Bagels 10-15-12

two of them were topped with a little sea salt—

Sea Salt Bagels 10-15-12

and one was left plain.

Plain Bagel

These turned out nicely crisp/chewy on the outside and not to heavy/dense on the inside, they were perfectly bagel-y.

Homemade Bagels

Kevin ate one of the salted bagels.

Bagels 2

I had some yummy fun with the cinnamon bagel by dousing it in some cinnamon-sugar melted butter.

Cinnamon Sugar Butter

And then because I couldn’t go a week without chocolate somewhere it just only seemed right to add a little chocolate to the plain bagel to the tune of some Nutella. 

Nutella Bagel

I was thinking there’s no way I’d ever go through all it took to make bagels again, but they are good and it really wasn’t that bad.  I think it would be fun to try them again with some other flavors.  The boys (including Kevin) all whined that they only like blueberry bagels—sounds like a challenge to me and now I know where to turn for a great bagel recipe.

If you’d like the recipe, Heather from Heather Bytes is hosting this week and she’s posted the recipe.  You know, if you’re one of the few who don’t have Dorie Greenspan’s Baking With Julia in your cookbook collection. ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Nigella's Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are at the top of my list of newly discovered, favorite chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve made them twice in about two weeks.  You know, had to test them a second time to make sure they were as good as I thought the first time. ;)  

And they are great—if you like chocolate—and who doesn’t?

I discovered these cookies on the blog I had this month for The Secret Recipe Club.  I made these because I saw Trisha from My Hobbie Lobbie’s post for them for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats from two years ago and I knew I had to make them.  Can’t resist a dark chocolate cookie with dark chocolate chips added.  The recipe is from Nigella Lawson, who has a few shows on the Food Network.  I’ve always liked her.  She is a chef from England.  Trisha has a few recipes from Nigella on her blog, so I assume she likes her, too.

Since today is our third week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, I decided these were totally worthy of posting for another option for you for any holiday baking as a great treat, especially to give to any true chocolate lovers you know. 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nigella’s recipe on the link above is written with all grams for the amounts of each ingredient—which I actually love—love using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients, but I know many don’t like using them or don’t have a kitchen scale, so I came up with the amounts as would be written with an American recipe for you.  While checking the grams amounts with what they would be in ounces or cups, I learned that they are all just slightly different from what we would use in the U.S.  For instance, the recipe calls for 125 grams of butter, which is just slightly more than 1/2 cup (1 stick).  I haven’t yet tried the recipe with just 1/2 cup, but I’ll bet it would be fine.  I stuck with the amounts in Nigella’s recipe, so there is 1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon in these cookies.  All I know is using the amounts called for made a great cookie.

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Nigella Lawson

125 grams (1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoons or 4  3/8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

75 grams (1/3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar 

50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

125 grams (3/4 cups or 4  1/2 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped (or good dark chocolate chips, like Ghirardelli 60% or Guittard 63% chips)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

150 grams (1  1/4 cup, lightly spooned and swept) all purpose flour

30 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) natural cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

200 grams (7 ounces or 1 cup plus 2  1/2 tablespoons or so) dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. (170 degrees C).  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the 125 grams of chocolate using a double boiler or in a glass bowl in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugars.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the melted chocolate and mix well.  Add the vanilla and the egg and beat until well combined.  Mix in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Scoop cookie dough onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  (Nigella’s recipes says 18 minutes, which I found was too much.)  Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Totally Chocolate Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate and raspberry together, so know what I didI took a little bit of the cookie dough and added about half a cup of my favorite freeze dried raspberries and made eight Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.  LOVE!


There you have it.  A great TOTALLY chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe and another addition to 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  You can get more info on the link above which will take you to our host Brenda’s blog, Meal Planning Magic.




Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Apple Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Applesauce Spice Cake 10-7-12

Apple Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve wanted to make this cake for a while now and with the it being autumn and perfect timing, I also realized it was perfect timing because I got the recipe for this (and the pleasure of first tasting it) from Paige and today is her birthday!  Happy Birthday, Paige!  She is the chef I took classes from in Kansas before we moved.  I’ve said it before, but how I miss her/her classes.  Every couple weeks I got to watch her cook and teach and then eat the things she made for the class.  Could anything be better?  And with every class, we were provided with the recipes.  I have a big 3-ring binder full of Paige’s recipes and I use many of the recipes often.  I don’t have to be the only one (well, me and all the others who took/take her classes) to have her expertise and recipes in my arsenal—she has a wonderful blog!  If you haven’t seen it—go!--For Love of the Table.  If you stop by today, wish her a happy birthday! ;)

One of the pleasures of her classes was every couple of months, she’d have a special date night class that was a full three course meal and was only allowed about eight couples.  I “dragged” Kevin to one of those classes and he liked it so much that during the time we were still in Kansas, I don’t think we ever missed one after that.  One of the date night meal classes we took had this cake for dessert and I loved it.  Not to mention, Kevin, who doesn’t really care for cake and really doesn’t like frosting, actually really liked the cake, too.

I ended up deciding to make this cake for Kevin’s birthday celebration we recently had with some of his family.  He still got his usual, traditional cheesecake, but I also made this cake and a few other things as well, like the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies I posted a few days ago. 

This cake is perfectly spiced and instead of having chunks of apples, has applesauce which makes for a great moist cake.  The maple cream cheese frosting—well, pardon the pun, IS the icing on the cake.  You’ll want this cake/recipe in your box.  I even think you might want to make it—today.

Applesauce Spice Cake 10-7-12

Apple Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, by Paige Vandegrift

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1  1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1  1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease a 10-inch round cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper and grease the parchment.  Flour the pan!  Set aside.  Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.  This will take 2 to 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 the dry ingredients alternately with the applesauce (add the vanilla with the first half of the applesauce), beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—about 40 to 45 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.  Loosen the sides of the cake by running a thin knife around the edge of the pan.  Turn the cake out of the pan.  Cool the cake on a wire rack.  Frost with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.


4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (4  1/2 ounces)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy—about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the cream cheese and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds.  Scrape down the sides, drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until smooth, about 15 seconds.  (Paige has adapted a recipe from Maria Helm Sinskey’s The Vintage Kitchen)

Apple Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (2)

Oh, and because it’s also another friend/neighbor’s birthday today, too, I made one and a half times the recipe and baked one 9 inch cake and two 6 inch cakes.  Then I weighed all the batter and put half of it in the nine inch pan and a quarter of it in each of the two 6 inch pans.  I stacked the two small cakes and have a great apple spice layer cake to deliver to my friend today!  Happy Birthday, Jackie!

And again, Happy Birthday, Paige!  (Thanks for having such a great impact on my culinary life, your wonderful classes, sharing your recipes and for being my friend!)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Corn Flakes Chivda (Savory Snack Mix)—Secret Recipe Club

Corn Flakes Chivda 3

Corn Flakes Chivda

It’s October Secret Recipe Club time!

Betcha when Trisha from My Hobbie Lobbie sees the little thumbnail with this photo and title, she’ll know instantly it’s a recipe from her blog! ;)  I had the pleasure of having Trisha’s blog this month.  Trisha’s lives in India and while she has a wide array of things to choose from on her blog, including many American recipes/foods, I wanted to pick something new-to-me and native to India, or at least foreign to America to make. 

After much scouring of her blog, I was torn—Trisha seems to like Nigella Lawson recipes, who is a great chef from London who has had a show on the Food Network and who I’ve always liked.  After seeing a few of her recipes at My Hobbie Lobbie, I decided to try one of her cookies Trisha has posted.

Well, those cookies, Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies that I made after seeing Trisha’s post for them were made here and I LOVE them.  I couldn’t find, after looking on Nigella's website, any negative comments about these.  In fact, all of them that I read were in great praise of how wonderful the cookies are.  I will be posting about them soon!

But before I found and made those cookies, I was preparing to make the Corn Flakes Chivda (Savory Snack Mix) that Trisha posted.  She said it is her husband’s favorite snack.  I like that it seemed different with a mix of spicy, savory and sweet and I love snack mixes. 

I like that at the bottom of the recipe Trisha posted she said, “Please note, snacks like this should be tweaked to your liking.  Feel free to play around with the dry fruits and nuts added as well as the spice, sugar and salt levels.  After you make this once, you’ll have a better idea of what you’d like to do the next time.”

Ahhh, an invitation to do whatever I want with a recipe! ;)  But I actually was intrigued by her recipe and tried to stay true to it as much as I could.  I actually tried to find chana dal (dalia), which are a roasted, split garbanzo beans, more available in India and I couldn’t find them and the price through Amazon was just too much, especially if I didn’t know if we’d even like them.  So instead of using those in this recipe, I used sunflower seeds.  I also couldn’t find curry leaves and was a little confused about the green chilies she has in the recipe.  Are they fresh ones, dried ones and what kind?  So instead of that, I used some ground red pepper.

I prepped all the ingredients, including getting some raw cashews and raw peanuts for this snack mix. 

Corn Flakes Chivda prepAll set.  This snack mix is made in a large skillet with a few of the ingredients added at a time.  The nuts needed roasting (though you can use nuts that are already roasted and then just not roast them in the pan as long) and the mustard seeds needed to toast and pop.  It was a really fun thing to watch.

Corn Flakes Chivda 1Ready for some spices and the corn flakes.

  After a short time with the rest of the ingredients, a little sugar for some sweetness was added.  I must say, the way I made it, it is just a little spicy for me, but not so much so that I couldn’t keep snacking on it.  I really like it.  One of my boys, Taylor, kept snacking on it, too.  I plan to make it again and tone down the spice just a little and I think it will make a great snack time and again.

Corn Flakes Chivda 2Corn Flakes Chivda, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Trisha at My Hobbie Lobbie

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons canola oil

pinch of ground red pepper (or to taste)

pinch of curry powder (or to taste)

1/4 cup raw peanuts

1/3 to 1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons raisins (about 20 raisins)

salt, to taste

1 teaspoon tumeric powder

3/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)

2 cups corn flakes cereal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the mustard seeds and stir them around a bit.  Don’t let it get too hot, but when you start hearing them pop, lower the heat to about medium-low.  Add the pinch of ground red pepper and the pinch of curry powder.  Add the peanuts and cashews and let them roast in the pan, stirring it often so they don’t burn.  When they are beginning to brown (3-5 minutes), add the sunflower seeds and stir it around some more until they are toasty as well.  Then add the raisins and stir the mixture in the skillet for about 30 seconds. 

Next add the salt, tumeric, and chili powder and stir well to coat everything.  Add the corn flakes and carefully stir well to coat them with the spice mix.  Remove the skillet from the heat.  Let it cool slightly (just a couple minutes), then sprinkle the sugar over it and toss it gently until everything is thoroughly mixed.  Let it cool completely and store in an air tight container, if you didn’t eat it all in one sitting and there is some left. ;)

Corn Flakes Chivda 4

Thanks, Trisha, for the fun snack recipe and I’m glad I got to bake from your blog this month!


Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 10-6-12

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s that time of year.  I know, I’ve already started plugging holiday baking, but the time of year I’m referring to right now is autumn!  Probably nothing says crisp, fall weather like pumpkin!  Kevin’s birthday was on Friday.   He went on a scout overnight camp out with Parker on Friday, so we didn’t do much for his birthday then.  Kevin and I were able to go to brunch.  Today, Sunday, we are having his special dinner (steak) and some family over for desserts. 

I’ve made Kevin his “usual” plain cheesecake, which he seems to want every year and just likes having canned cherry pie filling on the top.  I’ve made a spiced applesauce cake (stay tuned for a post about that soon!) and because these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are one of Kevin’s favorite cookies, I made some yesterday.  Though they aren’t my favorite cookies in looks and I always think I don’t like them THAT much, they are very good and I end up snitching more of them than I think I will.  While making the cookies, I had just taken the first batch off the baking sheets, left the kitchen for a second and came back to this—one was missing.  No, it wasn’t me—it was Kevin. ;)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 10-6-12

These ARE the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I’ve made or eaten.  I've tried a number of recipes and always come back to this one.  I blogged about them years ago, but back then I used to put 3-4 recipes on one post, so I decided these needed to be posted again and have their own place on my blog. ;)  I mention in that post of long ago that I got this recipe oh, about 20 years ago, from a neighbor in the apartment complex I lived in at BYU.  Loved this gal, Kathy Merrill (maiden name, she’s married now).  Kathy was always happy, fun and funny.  She called these “Punkin” Cookies.  To this day, I still call them and just about everything else with pumpkin “punkin”.  I don’t know if these are the same or similar to the ones everyone makes this time of year, but of all the recipes I’ve tried, these are always the best.  So here’s the recipe you’ll want for your files.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Kathy’s Punkin Cookies

3/4 cup granulated sugar*

3/4 cup light brown sugar*

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1  1/2 cups pumpkin puree

3 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoons cloves

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add the eggs and mix until well combined.  Beat in the pumpkin puree.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda and whisk together.  With the mixer on low, beat in the dry ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Put cookies on baking sheets using a cookie scoop, spaced about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes.  Then move them to a wire rack to cool.  Makes 48 cookies!

*If you look back and the original recipe I posted, that recipe has 1 cup of both sugars, but I lowered it for these and you can’t tell and they are great!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 10-6-12

I always think I don’t really like cakey cookies, but these are the exception.  They really are good!  Try them.