Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies

Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies

(Sorry about the photos, I took them with my phone and it really doesn’t have a very good camera so they aren’t the best pictures.)

It’s about time I post again.  Sometimes I can’t believe how much time goes by when I realize I haven’t posted anything.  This might seem like a lame post, but these cookies NEED to be blogged.

I went home to Idaho to visit family this past weekend.  We had a Sunday dinner with people over at my parents’ house.  My mom and I made a dinner of taco soup, salsa with chips, jalapeno poppers and fruit.  I decided to make cookies—everyone had to have dessert. ;)  I whipped up these cookies in a matter of minutes the night before and put the dough in the fridge until the next day. 

Check out the recipe, I got it from Taste of Home.  You know what’s kind of funny, I saw the name Chippy and since I often call our doggy, Chip, Chippy, I wanted to make these.   I didn’t change anything.  Well, except since my mom doesn’t eat chocolate, I left some of the dough plain for peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I thought they looked like perfect peanut butter cookies.  With the rest of the dough, I added Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips.  (That is the only difference I made, so I won’t retype the recipe.)

I was even nice and “burned” a batch for my dad.  He prefers well done cookies.  I took a photo of those, but it looks horrible, (and not because they were burned) not worth adding to this post.

The cookies flew off the plate and some in my family told me they were seriously perfect peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with a perfect chewiness and crisp on the edges. 

Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies

I plan to make these again soon since my immediate family didn’t get to taste them (I went home to Idaho by myself).  Here’s the link to the recipe again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grain Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Grain Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake 9-16-13

I wasn’t planning to go all pumpkin crazy like all the food blogs are starting to do and I probably still won’t have like 30 days of all pumpkin posts or something like that, but I was actually just walking by the pantry one day recently and right there staring at me was a can of pumpkin.  It was a sign.  I needed to make something with it. 

After searching for just the thing I was craving, I found this cake.  It was everything I was looking for and craving.  It’s got those fall spices we all love and has healthy pumpkin in it, not to mention almond butter and raw honey to sweeten it.  Can hardly believe making a cake with no flour turned out so well.  You really wouldn’t know there is no flour.  It would be fun to have someone try it who didn’t know and see if they could tell what was different.  I’ve made a couple other things that are completely grain free, like brownies and they are really good.

I take no credit for the cake.  I found this at Mel’s blog, The Clothes Make the Girl.  Haven’t seen or heard of this blog before, but I love discovering new ones and will be back.  I didn’t change a whole lot of Mel’s recipe, but will retype it with my changes.  She also frosted her cake with a maple-vanilla frosting that is made with coconut butter.  This cake doesn’t even really need anything, it’s a great snack cake.  I certainly played around with toppings though.  Melted chocolate is my favorite way to top a slice of this cake.  I just love chocolate with fall spices like cinnamon and ginger.  I also topped some with some whipped coconut cream and while that’s good, too, I prefer the chocolate.  (Go figure.) ;)  Stock up on almonds and make your own almond butter, it’s much cheaper than buying almond butter.  Mel used Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and suggested if you didn’t use that to add some maple syrup, so that is what I did.  I’m tempted when I make this cake again to use maple syrup for the sweetener instead of honey to really bump up the maple flavor.

Grain Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Grain Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Mel at The Clothes Make the Girl

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 cup raw honey

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Topping (optional):

1-2 ounces Enjoy life mini chocolate chips, melted

coconut cream, whipped  (or heavy whipping cream)

maple syrup or honey to drizzle over slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick foil (foil is optional), coat the bottom and sides with a light coating of coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, almond butter, maple syrup, honey and eggs and whisk together.  In a small bowl, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom and lemon zest.  Add to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes.

When the cake is cooled, remove from the pan by lifting the foil edges.  Cut into desired sized pieces.  Drizzle with melted chocolate or top with whipped coconut cream (or heavy whipping cream).  A drizzle of maple syrup or honey is great on the whipped cream.

Grain Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake with whipped coconut cream and maple syrup

 You could also put all the toppings on the cake to really kick it up! ;)  I still like the melted chocolate the best though.  Heck, it’s a great snack cake with no toppings as well.  Try it.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

No Bake Cherry Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars and No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies—Secret Recipe Club

Gluten Free Fruit (Cherry) Chocolate Crumble Bars--Sept. SRC

Love, love, love these healthy, gluten free, no sugar, No Bake Cherry Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars I made for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  These were easy to make, required no baking (hence the name ;)) and are tasty as can be, especially if you like cherries and chocolate.  Great combo!

I came up with this recipe after seeing (and taking most of the inspiration from) the No Bake Fruit Crumble Bars on my Secret Recipe Club blog, The Saturday Evening Pot, this blog is written by The Chef and The Lucky Wife—they have Two Well-Fed Kids they love cooking for.  My bars were made with gluten free oats and they just have unsweetened dried cherries, walnuts and a couple other essentials.  Then they are sandwiched with some homemade cherry jam I made that is delicious!  For kicks and because I just can’t seem to leave chocolate out of anything, I added a mere two tablespoons of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.  Mmmm!

No Bake Cherry Crumble Bars 9-2-13

No Bake Cherry Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from The Saturday Evening Pot

2 cups oats (I used gluten free)

1 cup walnuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened dried cherries

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or any brand you’d like)

1/3 cup (or more) homemade cherry jam**see recipe below

Line an 8 inch square pan with nonstick foil.  Combine the oats, walnuts and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Add the cherries and blend until they are well combined with the oat mixture and are small bits of dried cherry.  Add the coconut oil and honey and pulse to combine and mixture just starts to clump together.  Add the chocolate chips and pulse again a few times.  Sprinkle half the crumbly mixture evenly in the bottom of the square pan.  Spread the jam over the crumb layer.  Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the jam and press it down gently.  Cover the pan and refrigerator for an hour.  Remove bars from pan using the overhanging foil.  Cut into squares on a cutting board.  Keep bars in the refrigerator until serving.

**Homemade All Natural Cherry Jam

2 cups cherries, pitted (I used some that I had in the freezer)

2 tablespoons raw honey

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed.  Leave it as chunky as you’d like.  Put the mixture in a small saucepan and boil for 15-20 minutes until thickened.  Cool.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Use within 2 weeks. 


If I only had more dried cherries right now……..

Before I made the crumble bars, I also made the No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies.  Again, I used gluten free oats and unrefined sugar.  I also used coconut oil instead of butter.  The cashew butter I used was homemade.  These are great.  I put most of them in the freezer to share with my mom when my parents come here next week, since she doesn’t eat chocolate and loves cashews, she will like them.  My son, Parker really liked them and I thought they were great.

Ingredients for No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I made the brown sugar with some organic natural pure cane sugar and added about 1/2 teaspoon of molasses to it and mixed it together until it was brown sugar.  Love doing this.  I’m still trying not to use too much pure cane sugar even though it is pretty unrefined, but these had quite a bit.  We must “splurge” sometimes, right and I still even consider these bars pretty healthy compared to many other treats.

No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies

No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from The Saturday Evening Pot

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I made it homemade with 3 tablespoons organic pure cane sugar and 1/2 teaspoon molasses mixed)

1/2 cup organic natural pure cane sugar

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you’d like)

1/3 cup cashew butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  3/4 cups rolled oats (gluten free)

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

pinch of salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut oil, milk and cashew butter.  Whisk together and let come to a boil.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, salt, oats and coconut.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Drop dough with a cookie scoop onto waxed paper lined baking sheet or plate.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes until set.  Store in refrigerator until serving and any left over. 

No Bake Cashew Butter Oatmeal Cookies 2

I always enjoy looking through my monthly assigned blogs for the Secret Recipe Club each month and The Saturday Evening Pot was no exception.  Lots of great recipes!


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Chess Board Game Rice Krispies Treat “Cake”—Happy Birthday, Parker!

Chess Game Cake (Rice Krispies Treats) 9-6-13

Here’s the “cake” I made for Parker’s 12th birthday yesterday.  It is actually Rice Krispies Treats.  Pretty much out of nowhere, Parker announced he wanted a chess board game cake.  I don’t think he’s even played the game much in his life.  I really wasn’t even going to try to do this.  Part of the reason is because I didn’t want to slave away making a cake when no one here really likes cake.  Then as I thought about it more, I decided to just go for it.  I’ve NEVER made or worked with fondant before.  (What was I thinking?)

I got on Amazon and ordered the chess pieces candy molds.  Parker sort of helped me make those.  It took three hours to make all the pieces.  As if you couldn’t tell, they are made in halves, then “glued” together with melted chocolate.  They are actually quite easy, but time consuming.  Mostly because there are a total of 16 pawns and we had two molds.  Each one had to set in the fridge for 10 minutes.  It was a melty mess, but we got it done the day before his birthday.

Chocolate Chess Pieces 9-5-13 Yesterday, Parker’s birthday, while kids were at school, I made the “cake”.  After thinking how much I didn’t want to make cake and worry about it sinking and trying to cover it with fondant, I got the bright idea to make the cake out of Rice Krispies Treats.  Perfect.  Parker likes those.  Everyone does.  Love how easy it is to make Rice Krispies Treats!  Fondant—also really easy to make.

I used this recipes for Homemade Marshmallow Fondant found on About.com.  My blogging friend, Liz, does all the candy posts for them.  I knew it would be a good recipe, since it was from Liz.  Fondant really couldn’t be easier to make—it only has three ingredients and that’s if you count the water as one of them.  You melt marshmallows with a little water, then you add powdered sugar and stir until you can’t stir anymore, at which point you put it on a powder sugar covered counter and knead it until it is just right.  I didn’t taste it, but word is homemade tastes much better than the premade stuff.  I did taste some fondant on a baby shower cake years ago and did not care for it.  I made two batches of it and now have a lot leftover.  I wanted to make sure it was enough to cover a 12x12 inch surface.  I forgot to take pictures of the fondant alone, but go check out Liz’s post on About.com.  You’ll never have to buy the expensive, premade kind again.  Though I did buy a package of brown, chocolate fondant for the squares on the checker board and I now have more than half of it left.  I see more fondant covered treats in our future.  Any ideas?

I had the treats cake ready to cover, rolled out the fondant, kept making sure it wasn’t stuck to the counter (with enough sugar, but it’s not too much, it was totally doable) then carefully lifted it on to the cake.  That all went pretty smoothly.  Then I set out to make 32 chocolate squares.  I decided not to also make white ones and just checkered the brown ones over the board.  A little time consuming and making sure to cut them precisely each 1  1/2 inches, but I got it done.  Here they are just laying on the cake and are ready to “glue” on, which I did by just brushing each with a little water on the bottom.

Chess Board Cake (Krispies Treats) Ready to Assemble

No, it was not perfect and exact in the end.  The corners were not squared and a few were cut to fit the edges a bit, but all in all I was happy with how it turned out and even more importantly, Parker was happy, too!

Chess Game Cake (Fondant Covered Rice Krispies Treats) 9-6-13

Yes, I was schooled on the queen in the wrong place after I took pictures.  I now know she is always supposed to be on her own color.  Who knew?  I don’t know the slightest thing about chess.  But can now say I’ve made my first fondant covered cake and I’ve made a chess board game!  I have a new found love, admiration and appreciation for fondant cake decorators!  I have no patience and love for that much detail.  The “cake” took about 5 hours.  Eight hours for a cake is just not my thing.  Amazing to think of all the huge, wondrous, shaped cakes that are made on Food Network cake challenges and in bakeries all over the world!

Parker was a happy birthday kid!

Parker's 12th Birthday

We opened family gifts before his friends came to spend the night.  This lucky kids got a Batman fedora he wanted, a wooden sword with a video that teaches you how to use a sword, he got tons of candy and all wrapped individually he received a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, $1, $5, $10, $20, $50—$86.41!

Parker and his sword

Parker and his friends played game after game of chess.


Mmm, the fingers that were all over those chocolate chess pieces…..


After Parker sliced the first piece of cake, he decided to stab the knife into it.  Sure is much easier to cut and serve this kind of cake—and no forks are even needed for eating it!

Cutting the Chess Board Game Rice Krispies Treat Cake

Happy Birthday, Parker! 9-6-13

Everyone ate the treats and all, including the fondant.

Sliced Chess Game Board Rice Krispies Treat Cake

This post has been added to April’s Saturday Spotlight #33 at Angel's Homestead.  Check out all the other wonderful posts from crafts and decorating and DIY and recipes!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Saucepan M&M Cookies

Saucepan M&M Cookies

Just thought I’d share these perfect M&M Cookies I made today to take to a family BBQ.

I won’t be eating them because of the new changes in my diet, but they look like a perfect cookie full of chocolate and candies.  I probably should have doubled the recipe.  I have a feeling I’ll be asked to make them again soon.  The boys are going crazy that I won’t let them have one until tonight.  So sad. ;)

These couldn’t have been easier to make either.  Got the recipe from the cookie expert herself, Anna, at Cookie Madness.  I followed her recipe exactly.  So check out the link to her blog for the recipe.  I suppose I did make a couple small changes, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the dark chocolate chips she used and regular plain M&M’s instead of the mini ones Anna used.  I also called my cookies done at 11 minutes, her recipe says 12-15. 

Anna got the original recipe for these cookies in the book, The Weekend Baker:  Irresistible Recipes, Simple Techniques, and Stress Free Strategies for Busy People by Abigail Johnson Dodge.

Saucepan M&M Cookies

Since I’ve been making healthier treats lately with unrefined sugar, it was fun to whip these up.  I sure like baking!  I also had some overripe bananas, so I made a banana sheet cake frosted with cream cheese frosting.  Sigh….some things I really miss…..I suppose it’s all for better health—right!  (I’ve been enjoying plenty of refined sugar free, gluten free treats anyway, I might have also whipped up some more of the Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies today, too.

Saucepan M&M Cookies

You know how sometimes it’s kind of a pain to get out the mixer and have to cream everything together?  These are so simple and all made in one saucepan after melting the butter.  Easy!  Here’s the link for the recipe again at Cookie Madness.