Monday, March 17, 2014

Oreos Pretzel Frogs

Oreo Pretzel Frogs

Are these not the cutest little frogs you’ve ever seen?  And they are edible, made with one of America’s favorite cookies, Oreos.  And pretzels.  Almost too cute to eat.  Almost.

These are a fun, super easy treat that kids (big and small) will love.  I thought they’d be fun since today is St. Patrick’s Day, but you could find all kinds of perfect reasons to make them.  Spring is coming up.  Easter.  Heck, you could make these for no special reason at all. 

My mom sent me a picture of them a couple months ago, then I looked them up on the world wide web again and they are found in many places with each one made slightly different.  You can easily do them however you wish.  I used some candy eyeballs and Fruit by the Foot candy that I cut for the tongues.  These are fun because you can use any flavor of Oreos you’d like.  You could even live a little on the edge and do all different colors of frogs. 

Oreo Pretzel Frog

Oreos Pretzel Frogs, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from all over the web

12 Oreos cookies, any flavor

24 pretzel twists

7 ounces (half a bag) of green Wilton candy melts

24 candy eyeballs

1 strawberry/red Fruit by the Foot candy roll up, or any other candy that can easily cut/shape

green sugar sprinkles, optional

Unroll the Fruit by the Foot and cut into small tongue shapes.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.  Melt the candy melts according to package directions.  Dip each pretzel in the candy, using a fork to lift them out of the bowl.  Tap the excess melted candy off the pretzel by gently tapping the fork that is holding the pretzel on the bowl.  Lay them on the baking sheet, laying two next to each other so they are just touching.  After dipping all of the pretzels, dip each Oreos cookie one at a time, also tapping the extra candy off the cookie and lay each cookie on top of the pretzels. 

Sprinkle the back of each cookie with green sprinkles if desired.  Stick a cut out tongue in the center of each cookie.  Let the candy melt harden slightly.  Once it is starting to set, put the candy eyes on the tops and hold in place for a few seconds.  If they aren’t staying upright very well, wait until the candy melt is hardened a little bit more.  If it has hardened too much, carefully dip the bottom of each candy eye into the candy melt to use as “glue”.  Let all the candy frogs set completely.  Easily double the recipe.

Oreos Pretzel Frogs and Shamrock Shake

Served these cookies with a simple “Shamrock” Shake.  Filled the blender with vanilla ice cream (about 4-5 cups), added milk (about 3 cups), about 10 drops of green food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.  Blend until smooth.  This made about 6 eight ounce cups.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Banana Apple Bread (Gluten Free) and Rachel’s Chocolate Chip Cookies—Secret Recipe Club

Apple Banana Bread

I was SO happy to find this banana bread recipe on my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment for this month.  I’ve been dying to find a banana bread recipe that looked like it would be easy to make gluten free and refined sugar free and decided this was it.  Thank you Chris and Rachel from The Keenan Cookbook (my secret blog).  This is perfect.  NO ONE would ever know this is gluten free.  I also made it with coconut sugar and you can’t tell.  Perfect for me.  My silly boys, who love banana bread, turned up their noses and wouldn’t even try it when I told them it was gluten free.  This is my way of hoarding the loaf for myself.  I savored it for days.  Because of the bananas and the apple and some applesauce, this bread is nice and moist and the walnuts I added were a perfect crunch. 

Banana Apple Bread 2

Banana Apple Bread (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free), adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from The Keenan Cookbook (Check out the link for their “unadapted” recipe.)

1  3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Premium Gold ancient grains blend, found at Costco)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon unsulphured molasses

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 large eggs

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large bananas, mashed

1 medium apple, peeled and finely grated

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread some coconut oil evenly in a 9x5 bread pan (I also love putting nonstick foil in the pan first, but still usually coat it with coconut oil, you can spray with cooking spray, too).  You can also make this batter in to muffins, spread oil in each muffin cup.  Set aside.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk together.  In another bowl, combine the sugar, molasses and coconut oil.  Stir together until well combined.  Add the eggs and applesauce and stir to combine.  Stir (or whisk) in the almond milk and vanilla.  In a another bowl with a fork, or small food processor, add the bananas and pulse until mashed into a puree.  Add the bananas to the wet ingredients and grate the apple into the bowl.  Stir to combine.  Fold in the walnuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Let bread sit on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn the bread out onto the wire rack to cool completely. 

Banana Apple Bread 3 (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

I love banana anything.

Apple Banana Bread March SRC

Instead of bread, I usually make muffins because they bake so much faster, which means you can be eating banana bread sooner.  So I tried that with this recipe.  Great muffins!

Apple Banana Muffins

I made the bread weeks ago and the muffins just last week.  I have more bananas on the counter, ready and waiting to make this bread again soon!

Apple Banana Muffin

Mmmm!  THEN just because I like looking at cookies on blogs and because my family is “suffering” with my new health changes with my baking less (poor, poor family), I saw the Keenan’s also posted their favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe and I had to make that—for my family and because it was chocolate chip cookies.

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t even taste them, but they were gone in a day or two.  They are definitely simple to make.  Rachel has taken the original Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe and added an extra cup of flour, which is think is brilliant because I’ve never cared for the Nestle recipe (still love the company and Ruth Wakefield and her invention of the chocolate chip cookie).  I’ve always thought the cookies turn out too flat and a bit greasy.  I know many like their chocolate chip cookies that way, and that’s fine.  But what a simple idea and an easy way to make a thicker, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie—just add a little more flour.

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Cookies March SRC

Thank you, Rachel, for that idea.  I didn’t change a thing from her adapted Nestle recipe, so get it at The Keenan Cookbook.  I really enjoyed their blog.  They both share in the cooking and baking, she photographs the recipes and he writes up the posts, sharing their yummy recipes and their thoughts about being parents to two little boys.  Hey, I know a thing or two about that times two.  ;  )

I love being a part of the Secret Recipe Club.  Check out all the yummy stuff below!