Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011

Wow... 2011 is coming to an end! Crazy!!! I can't believe it is the end of the year already. 2011 has been a good year and I am looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings.

As far as my blog goes, this has been my lowest posting year. Life has gotten busier and I haven't had as much time for new recipes and blogging. But, I still somehow managed 136 posts and there are great recipes in that bunch! I thought I would share some of my favorites to mark the end of the year!

Thanks for stopping by and reading... hope your 2012 is filled with joy, happiness, and LOTS of great food! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

THE LAST TWD: Kids' Thumbprints

Well, we all knew this day would come... the very last recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours. I can't believe that after 3 1/2 years of baking with this group that we have finished. That's it. No more Dorie recipes on Tuesdays. I am going to miss this group. I have learned so much and have discovered SO many recipes that I have fallen in love with. Here are some of my faves:

Golden Brioche Loaves (Which I turned into the most AMAZING french toast!)
Quick Classic Berry Tart (My recipe pick when I hosted!)
Banana Cream Pie (SO good!)
Tall & Creamy Cheesecake (I made an eggnog version that was TO DIE FOR!)
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies (5 types of chocolate... need I say more?)

The very last recipe was chosen by the amazing Dorie Greenspan... kids' thumbprints. They are tiny and filled with goodness. The recipe calls for chunky peanut butter and to roll the dough in nuts. I used smooth peanut butter and rolled the cookies in turbinado sugar. I filled half the cookies with Hershey's kisses and the other half with blueberry jam. They were delicious little cookies!

Dorie Greenspan, thank you for writing such an amazing book that has taught me so much. Thanks for being so involved in our group. Also a huge thank you to Laurie who started the group and to all the others who have helped it along the way. Finally, thanks to all the bakers of the group! Everyone has been so helpful and encouraging along the way. This has been a great ride!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Blogiversary, Shelby!

Today is one of my favorite blogger's blogiversary... Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch! She is celebrating 4 awesome years of blogging! Shelby was one of the first friends I made through my blog and she has always been an inspiration to me. There have been many times over the last few years where I wished I lived closer to her... I just know we would have so  much fun together!

In honor of her blogiversary I am sharing my recipe for chocolate covered cheesecake bites. They are teeny, amazing, and oh so delicious! I hope you'll make them and enjoy them!

Make sure to stop by Shelby's blog to wish her a happy blogiversary! Also, check out the links for those who have also posted in honor of her blogiversary!

Finally, Shelby is hosting a giveaway. Go to her post HERE to find out how to win a $50 gift card!

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted

16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

24 oz semisweet chocolate
3 TBSP shortening

Line 8" square pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix well. Press into bottom of prepared pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust.

Bake at 300 for 40-45 minutes or until edges are set. Center will be soft. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours; then freeze for 2 hours. Cut into 48 pieces.

Melt chocolate and shortening. Cool for 2-3 minutes. Dip cheesecake bites; set on wax paper. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Store in refrigerator.

*Note: I find it easier to pull only a couple bites out of the freezer at a time while dipping. It makes dipping easier if they are still frozen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

30 by 30: Homemade Vanilla Extract

It's been 3 months since I've turned 29 and I have been SLACKING in the 30 by 30 department. In my defense we have moved since then so for about a month I was without my full kitchen. Time to get busy knocking things off my list.

Making my own vanilla extract is something I've always wanted to do but never got around to doing. Not sure why considering it is probably the easiest thing I've ever done. You buy a bottle of vodka, slice a couple vanilla beans open, and put them in the bottle. Seal the bottle, wait a while (some people say as short as 1 month... I waited 3). Then you have a nice large amount of vanilla... perfect for all that holiday baking!

To see my 30 by 30 list click HERE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TWD: Rewind.... Split Level Pudding

This week was a rewind recipe and I debated for a while about whether to make something I have already made and loved or to try a recipe I skipped. I finally decided to make something I skipped and started flipping through the book to find one that jumped out at me. This pudding won for two reasons. 1- I love pudding and homemade pudding is amazing. 2- I had all the ingredients I needed.

The pudding has chocolate ganache on the bottom and a creamy, delicious vanilla pudding on top. LOVED it!

One more week of TWD.... Crazy to think it is coming to an end!!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Egg Nog Meltaways & White Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

These are two new cookies I made this year. I made them for a few teachers at my daughter's school. They are amazingly delicious and will be on all future cookie trays!


Egg Nog Meltaways
Recipe from SugarCrafter

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 Tbsp rum (or 1/2 TBSP vanilla extract)
1/4 cup eggnog
1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the rum and eggnog.

Add in the flour mixture gradually until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough an hour or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place on the baking sheets about 1″ apart.

Bake 12-14 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before rolling the cookies in the sugar. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

White Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe from Culinary Concoctions

3 cups flour
2 tsp. Ginger, Ground
1 tsp. Cinnamon, Ground
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, Ground (I used fresh)
1/4 tap salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press about 5-6 white chocolate chips into center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TWD: Unbelievably Good Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream

The name of this recipe says it all... this is UNBELIEVABLY good chocolate blueberry ice cream! It starts with a basic chocolate ice cream and then blueberry jam is swirled in. It was FANATASTIC! I will definitely be making this again next summer! :)

Thanks to Laurie of Slush for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TWD: Earl Grey Madelines

Earl Grey is my husband's favorite tea so when this recipe came up on the rotation I knew I would be making them! I love the subtle taste of the Earl Grey and the lemon zest... so good! I think the 12 minute baking time was a little long, though... should've taken them out around 10 minutes. They still tasted fantastic!!! They will be gone quickly!

Thanks to Nicole of Bakeologie for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TWD: Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie

Another winner from Dorie Greenspan... this pumpkin pie might become my go-to recipe! I loved the addition of sour cream. It was a very creamy pie and oh so delicious!!!

Thanks to Judy of Judy's Gross Eats for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping

This is one of the best pumpkin breads I have ever tasted! The streusel really puts it over the top. My family went through 2 large loaves in less than 3 days... it was SO good! I think I may have to make it again before my pumpkin is gone!

Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping
Recipe adapted from Bakingdom

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 6 mini loaf pans or 2 regular loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the oil and apple sauce. Stir in the sugars until combined, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir in the pumpkin until thoroughly combined. Stir in the water. Sprinkle about half of the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, and mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and set aside while you mix the streusel topping.

To make the streusel:

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon together, whisking until thoroughly combined. Stir in nuts. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and stir with a spoon until you have a mixture that resembles lumpy wet sand. Do not break up the clumps too much.
Divide the streusel evenly between the pans, sprinkling it over the top of the bread batter to cover it completely.

Bake mini loaves, three at a time on a rimmed baking sheet, for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans, front to back, and bake for another 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If making large loaves, bake 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TWD: Bittersweet Brownies

I realize it is Wednesday and that I was supposed to post these yesterday but with all the unpacking I kinda lost track of the days! :)

I made these brownies a few weeks ago for my daughter's teacher. We saved a couple at home to try and they were delicious! They were super fudgy... just the way I like my brownies!

Thanks to Leslie of Lethally Delicious for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheesy Rotel Chicken

This is one of the meals I made when I was trying to empty my freezer and pantry prior to moving. It was really super easy and incredibly delicious! It was a great way to use up the food I had and I will be making it again!


Cheesy Rotel Chicken

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt, pepper, cumin - to taste
1 can Rotel
Colby Jack cheese, shredded

Season chicken. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Top with Rotel and cheese; return to oven until tomatoes are heated through and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pesto Parmesan Chicken

I first had this recipe over the summer when I was visiting my best friend in Georgia. She made this for dinner one night and it was DELICIOUS! I knew that I had to make it myself when I got home. Unfortunately it took me a while to get it on the menu but it was worth the wait. This chicken is incredibly easy to make and incredibly delicious!


Pesto Parmesan Chicken
Recipe from Cassie Craves

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/2-inch thick.

2. In shallow dish, mix together pesto and mayonnaise. In another shallow dish mix together bread crumbs and cheese. Dip chicken into pesto mixture then dip in panko mixture. Place on baking sheet.

3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut and coating is golden brown.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls

I love the Hawaiian rolls that you buy at the store and was thrilled to find this copycat recipe. These were so delicious and I will definitely be making them again!

Hawaiian Rolls
Recipe from A Homemade Kitchen

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

Combine water, pineapple juice, and melted butter in a large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Add salt, egg, vanilla, and sugar, stir to combine. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour 1 cup at a time. Use your hands to mix if the dough becomes too stiff. The dough will be very soft and slightly shaggy. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

If baking later, place the covered and risen dough in the fridge overnight before shaping into rolls and baking.

On baking day, spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray. Shape the dough into 16 evenly sized balls. If you have a digital scale, use it to size each ball at 1 1/2 ounces. Place 8 balls of dough in each cake pan, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the rolls with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on rack.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Broccoli and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

This is another meal I made while trying to clean out my pantry/fridge before the move. It was a delicious mac & cheese and my family really loved it!


Broccoli and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Recipe adapted from Craving Chronicles

3 cups fresh broccoli
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups milk
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
salt to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and broccoli. Cook until noodles are done.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to form a paste (roux). Cook 1-2 minutes to eliminate raw flour taste. Slowly pour in milk, whisking briskly to remove lumps. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese. Add salt to taste.

Add drained macaroni and broccoli back to pot. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

That title is a mouthful but oh my goodness is this pie delicious!!!!!! A combination of pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookies. SO GOOD!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chocolate chips
1 unbaked pie shell
whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. Beat in flour, sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add in vanilla extract, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until combined.. Blend in melted butter. Toss chocolate chips with a sprinkling of flour and fold into batter. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is no longer jiggly.

Serve warm with ice cream of whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TWD: Honey Nut Scones

Oh my goodness... It has been 10 days since my last blog post! I really didn't realize it had been that long. Time kinda slipped away from me. The past 10 days have been crazy. My hard drive on my laptop broke and I had to take it in to get repaired and I was without internet access for 4 days (TORTURE!).  Then we cleared out of our rental house and moved to a hotel. We are buying a house and won't close on it until next week so for the time being I am without a kitchen. :( But, I have still have some things to post so hopefully I can keep blogging from the hotel. :)

These scones I made before I completely packed up my kitchen and we loved them. Then again, what isn't to love? Honey and walnuts wrapped up in a scone! YUM!

Thanks to Jeanette of Whimsical Cupcake for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Carrot Cake Waffles

I absolutely love carrot cake! I love any baked goods with carrots, too. So it goes without saying that I LOVED these waffles, too! All the yumminess of carrot cake, including a delicious cream cheese "frosting". YUM!

Carrot Cake Waffles
Recipe from Willow Bird Baking

Waffle Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 3/4 cups buttermilk* or 1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
Cooking spray for waffle iron

Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 cup chopped walnuts

1. Bloom the spices in butter**: Heat 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is light brown and has faint nutty aroma, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

2. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda.

3. Mix together the buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute) and the egg yolks. Stir in the spiced butter and vanilla. Spray the waffle iron well and preheat it. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients.

4. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a whisk or electric mixer (make sure bowl and mixer are spotlessly clean) until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. Add carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Stir gently to combine.

5. Spread a ladleful or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Spray iron with cooking spray between waffles as needed.

6. To make Maple Cream Cheese spread, simply combine nuts, syrup, and cream cheese and mix well. Serve waffles immediately with a schmear of Maple Cream Cheese spread (which will get lovely and melty), or keep them warm for a few minutes in a low oven.***

* The buttermilk can be substituted with 1 1/4 cups of milk at room temperature, mixed with two tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.
**If you prefer a quicker breakfast, you can melt and cool the butter plain instead of browning it and blooming the spices in it — but doing so does add flavor. If you do skip the spice blooming, simply add the spices to the dry ingredients in step 2. Add your plain melted, cooled butter instead of the spiced butter in step 3.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Pumpkin, cream cheese, muffins... What's not to like? Enjoy!!!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen


4 eggs
1 1/2 cups ugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375°F.

 In a large bowl mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Add  dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg until combined.

Place paper liners in a muffin tin. Fill halfway with pumpkin batter, add a spoonful of cheesecake, then fill to the top with pumpkin. Add a dollop of cheesecake on top and swirl with a knife.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

  • Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Penne with Gruyere and Bacon

    We are moving in two weeks and I am trying to use up the food we have on hand so we have less to take with us. I came up with this meal to use up what I had in the fridge and pantry. The best part is that it was DELICIOUS! You can think of it as grown up mac & cheese if you want but the kids will gobble it up, too!


    Penne with Gruyere and Bacon

    1 (16 oz) box penne
    1 lb bacon
    2 TBSP bacon grease
    2 TBSP flour
    2 cups milk
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    2 cups Gruyere, shredded
    1 cup panko bread crumbs
    2 TBSP butter, melted

    Cook penne according to package directions; drain and set aside.

    Cook bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside. Drain all but 2 TBSP of grease.

    Add flour to grease and whisk to combine. Add salt, pepper, and milk. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese and mix until melted. Pour cheese mixture over penne and mix well.

    Pour noodles into greased 9x13 dish. Mix panko and butter; sprinkle over noodles.

    Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Sweet and Sour Chicken

    I love making my own take-out. It is so easy and so delicious! This meal was no different. My family gobbled it up pretty quickly. YUM!

    Sweet and Sour Chicken
    Recipe from Live Love Pasta

    3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    Salt and pepper
    1 cup cornstarch
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/4 cup canola oil

    1 ½ cup sugar
    8 tablespoons ketchup
    ½ cup cider vinegar
    2 Tablespoon soy sauce
    2 Tablespoons garlic powder

    water chestnuts
    baby corn
    canola oil

    You can use any combination of vegetables you would like. You will want about 6 cups of vegetables.

    Cut boneless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces; season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in egg and then in cornstarch. Fry in a little oil until brown. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour ½ over chicken. Bake for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. While the chicken is cooking begin sautéing the vegetables with a little oil. Depending on what kind of vegetables you use it will take about 10 minutes. Bring the remaining sauce to a simmer in a small pot and let thicken about 8 minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables. You can then mix the vegetables with the chicken or serve them separately.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

    I originally saw this recipe on Pinterest (which I am addicted to, BTW! hahaha). The orignal recipe calls for the cookie dough to be wrapped around a caramel. Now, don't get me wrong, that sounds FABULOUS. But that requires chilling time and a lot of prep to get the cookies ready for the oven. If I had planned ahead, that would've been doable. But I didn't start these cookies until about a half hour before dinner and needed to get them done quickly. What is a girl to do? Well, I got creative. Instead of the caramel cubes I used two bags of Kraft caramel bits and mixed them straight into the dough like you would chocolate chips.

    It produced a delicious, caramely cookie that I would definitely make again! Below is the recipe as I made it. You can find the original recipe here.

    Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

    1 cup softened butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3 cups all purpose flour
    2 bags Kraft Caramel Bits  (11 oz each)

    Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

    In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

    Cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.

    Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in caramel bits.

    Scoop cookie dough onto prepared sheet and bake 12 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet until set. Move to cooling rack and cool completely.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Pumpkin Baked With Apples & Cranberries

    This was such a quick dessert to throw together. You just cut up the apples, mix with fresh cranberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon, throw it all in a pumpkin and bake. It doesn't get much easier than that! I love fresh baked pumpkin and the addition of sweet brown sugar and tart cranberries was amazing! I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was delicious! It doesn't get much more Fall than this!


    Pumpkin Baked with Apples & Cranberries
    Recipe from Eat at Home

  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 2 small apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or 1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. butter

  • Cut the top off the pumpkin. Once the top is off, scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff.

    Stir the apples, cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Fill the pumpkin with this delicious-smelling mixture. Dot with butter.

    Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for an hour to 1 1/2 hours, until the pumpkin inside is tender when you poke it with a fork.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

    When I made the Pumpkin Kiss Blossoms a week or so ago I had a friend ask me if I thought they would ship well to Afghanistan (where her husband is currently deployed). They are such a soft cookie that I knew they wouldn't hold up well. She thought her husband would really enjoy them so I told her that I would create a cookie recipe that used the pumpkin kisses that she could ship. This is what I came up with and we love them! I hope they find their way to Afghanistan! :)


    Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

    2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 egg
    1 egg yolk
    1 cup pumpkin spice kisses

    Preheat oven to 325. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. Cream butter and sugars; beat in vanilla and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in pumpkin kisses. Drop by 1/4 cups on parchment lined cookie sheet at least 3" apart. Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges are lightly toasted.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Bloomin' Pizza Bread

    This is a quick, easy dinner for those busy weeknights that we all have. Pepperoni and cheese are stuffed inside a loaf of sourdough and baked until melty and delicious. So good and so simple!!!

    Bloomin' Pizza Bread
    Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

    1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread 12-16 ounces mozzarella or Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
    1 (3.5 ounce) package pepperoni, halved
    3 Tablespoons butter, melted
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
    2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
    pizza/marinara sauce for dipping

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving.

    Place bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and insert cheese slices and pepperoni between cuts. Combine butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings. Drizzle or brush over bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle bread with Parmesan cheese.

    Wrap bread completely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and pepperoni is a little crispy.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    TWD: Buttermilk Biscuits

    You can't go wrong with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit and these didn't disappoint! Super fluffy and super delicious!

    Thanks to Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Nutella Pretzel Bars

    My favorite way to eat Nutella is to grab a jar, a bag of pretzels, and just dip away! :) That's why when I saw this recipe from Nutella Pretzel Bars I knew it was a no-brainer... I would definitely be making these! They were so yummy!!!!

    Nutella Pretzel Bars
    Recipe from Dula Notes

    8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
    1/2 C. packed brown sugar
    1/4 C. granulated sugar
    1/2 C. Nutella (or other hazelnut spread)
    1 large egg
    1/2 t. vanilla
    1 c. flour (spooned and leveled)
    1 t. kosher salt
    1 C. crushed pretzels (break into smallish pieces, but not too small)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8×8 baking pan with butter, line with a sheet of parchment leaving a 2″ overhang on both edges. Butter parchment.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk butter, sugars and Nutella until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 C. of crushed pretzels. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread in an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 C. of crushed pretzels.

    3. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-30 min. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift bars from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Pumpkin Donuts with Buttermilk Glaze

    These definitely aren't an every day breakfast and they are in no way good for you. I will say they are worth every little guilty thought though! These are old fashioned fried donuts and are AMAZING! I've made baked donuts before and they are great, too, but go all out for these. You will not be disappointed!!!!


    Pumpkin Donuts with Buttermilk Glaze
    Recipe from Babble


    3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    Canola oil for frying

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice and sugar. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients (except for the canola oil) in a second, medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir them around the bowl until the mixture is well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, rolling the donut dough to approximately1/4-1/2″ thick. (I know this will seem quite thin, but the donuts puff up immensley while frying). Cut with a donut cutter.

    Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gently slide the donuts into the oil, frying on the first side until the edges of the donut are lightly browned, flip carefully and allow to cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove and dunk immediately into buttermilk glaze. Allow to air dry on a cooling rack before serving.

    Buttermilk Glaze

    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Whisk together in a small bowl until smooth.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Pumpkin Chili & Pumpkin Cornbread

    While I prefer to use pumpkin in sweet recipes, savory pumpkin dishes are also fantastic! I made this pumpkin chili and pumpkin cornbread the other night and it was an amazing dinner! The chili was easy since I cooked it in the crockpot and while the pumpkin was subtle the overall flavor was yummy! The cornbread was sweet and pumpkiny and SOOOOOO good! It was a great fall meal!


    Pumpkin Chili
    Recipe from In Erika's Kitchen

    3 lbs ground beef
    1 large onion, diced
    2 red bell peppers, diced
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 cups pumpkin puree
    1 6-ounce can tomato paste
    3 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    4 Tbsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder (optional)
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    2 tsp salt, or to taste

    In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until no pink remains, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute another 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir briefly.

    Put the beef mixture into the slow cooker along with the pumpkin puree, tomato paste, beans, spices and salt; stir to combine. Cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.

    Pumpkin Cornbread
    Recipe from Sugar Cooking

    1 cup flour
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 cup cornmeal
    2 eggs
    1 cup pumpkin purée
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/4 cup milk
    1 Tbsp honey

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8×8″ baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, brown sugar, and cornmeal.

    In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, and then stir in the pumpkin, oil, milk and honey.

    Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, and then pour the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top as much as possible.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

    The original title for this recipe was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies but a lot of comments said it was more cake-like than brownie-like. So, I decided to bake them in a smaller pan to make the bar a little thicker and what I ended up with was a delicous pumpkin snack cake. YUM!

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
    Recipe adapted (size & baking time) from Pennies on a Platter

    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1 whole egg
    2 egg whites
    1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
    1 cup flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground allspice
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/4 tsp salt
    2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8x8 pan.

    In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth. Set aside.

    In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until passes toothpick test. Cool completely before cutting.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Pumpkin Kiss Blossoms

    I have never had the pumpkin kisses before but they are now one of my favorites!!!! Just the kiss alone tastes like pumpkin pie but then added on top of a delicious pumpkin cookie puts it over the edge. This is a cookie I will make again and again. Good thing I bought 4 bags of the kisses! :)


    Pumpkin Kiss Blossoms
    Recipe from Life is a Banquet

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
    1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Turbinado sugar
    Bag of Hershey pumpkin spice kisses

    Preheat oven to 350.
    Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
    Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks and stick a pumpkin kiss in the middle.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    TWD: Apple Muffin Cake

    This is the perfect fall breakfast cake. Made with apple cider, chopped apples, raisins... it is fantastic! We served it for breakfast but it could also be served as dessert. My good friend, Michelle, of Flourchild, served hers with caramel sauce and ice cream. :) YUM! No matter what time of day you serve this cake it is sure to be a winner!

    Thanks to Katrina of Baking and Boys for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog!

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