Friday, December 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

After we tried these cookies, Dave and I decided we needed a new name (the original name is Magic in the Middle).  While I like the name, I wanted something that conveyed exactly what you're getting into with this cookie.  It's not terribly creative and I'm open to other suggestions. We wanted something akin to Peanut Butter Bombs, but alas our creative juices were halted by the mind-numbing deliciousness of this cookie.  Seriously they are that good. The chocolate cookie is soft and rich and the peanut butter is just enough to cut through and give you the ever-satisfying combination of peanut butter and chocolate. These are an 8-ounce glass of milk kind of cookie.  I love how they spread and get a cakey like texture.  Mine cracked a little--I think my dough was starting to dry out, so work quickly or pop the dough in the fridge.

A King Arthur Flour recipe, I loved taking the opportunity to use the double Dutch process cocoa I picked up while I was there.  It's a very rich cookie, so I'm glad to have tried the cocoa with another flavor, peanut butter, to give some balance in flavor.  Since my dough was a little crumbly, I did add a little milk to bring it together--1Tablespoon was enough, but you could add up to 2 if necessary.  I measured out my peanut butter filling by teaspoons and ended up with 40 portions instead of the recipe's 26.  Then when I used a level small cookie scoop to portion out the chocolate dough, I ended up being able to get 36 cookies.  I guess my instruments were little smaller than the original baker's, but I would recommend making all your peanut butter balls first so that you can get as close to even as possible.  Another tip from King Arthur Flour: if you want to double this recipe, go ahead, but add an extra egg to the dough for better results.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cinnamon Spiced Almonds

My father-in-law loves almonds.  He also loves to shop Costco.  One day, several months ago, he was wandering around Costco and spied a deal on almonds. So the bargain deal made its way into the cart and that was that. Pleased with his purchase, when he got home he dug into his bag of almonds.  And then proceeded to tell my mother-in-law that the giant bag of almonds he got such a deal on tasted terrible.  When my mother-in-law looked at the bag, she asked him where in the store he found them.  Apparently the deal was in the baking aisle.  That's when my mother-in-law explained that they were raw almonds, not the roasted ones he was used to finding in the snack aisle.  And then she packed them into a zip top bag and held them for me when I stopped by a few days later, figuring that I could use them in baking.  Since then, the almonds have had a home in my freezer, and while I've used a few now and then, I really hoped to find a way to use them up in one sweet treat.  After seeing candied almonds in a local store for the holidays, my wheels started turning.  These are excellent, slightly sweet with a little cinnamon and spice to balance the nuttiness of the toasted almonds.  And so super easy to make.  You'll wonder why you've never done it before.

This recipe came from Sarah and Dulcie at Two Tarts and I really liked how they used a few different spices to create a seasonal sweet flavor to pair with the almonds.  Alternatively, you could include a variety of nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pecans to make a nice selection of flavors.  Packaged up in little bags, these would make great hostess gifts.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Seven Layer Mess Bars

Despite the name, these are not a flop!  In fact, they're pretty darn good and a twist on the traditional seven layer bar.  Dave was very pleased with how they turned out, even though he's not sure he's ever had the original style seven layer bar.  I was happy to make something so yummy since the circumstances of how these bars came to be were a little, well, unconventional.

It was one of those days where I had a leftover bit of an ingredient that I had to use up or throw away.  Since wastefulness is not a trait in my kitchen, I knew I had to make something, but what?  And to top it off, the ingredient was something I rarely use in my kitchen: most of a can of sweetened condensed milk.  I'd used a scant 1/4 cup of the stuff to make the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies I guest posted at Mom's Crazy Cooking, but what was I going to do with the rest of it.  Somewhere in my mind I vaguely recalled a recipe for some sort of bar that used sweetened condensed milk, so I pulled out the one cookbook flashing in my head--my nondescript Christmas Cookies book.  Lo and behold, I found a recipe that I thought being short by a 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk wouldn't be a big deal.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  I hope you baked something delicious and are sharing it and the day surrounded by the people you love.

Dave and I are off for a week in Disney World with my family.  I'm looking forward to lots of sweet treats, hoping I can figure out how to replicate them for you later.

Merry Christmas,

The Cookie Princess

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember last year when I made the White Peppermint Snowballs? They were ok, but kind of a disappointment.  So I looked for another recipe to incorporate peppermint candies into a holiday cookie and found these.  They are perfect and I'm glad I opted for chocolate chip version.  I like to use semi-sweet chocolates chips, but white chocolate would also probably be quite tasty.  Either way, the crushed peppermint candies provide a very nice twist to a chewy cookie and it has a nice holiday feel.  Dave liked how the cookie was flavored by the candies, rather than eating a cookie and running into a piece of candy mid-bite.

Jen at Beantown Baker posted this recipe and it's a great one.  Not having any bittersweet chocolate chips, I loaded mine completely with semi-sweet chips, but you can use any combination you'd like.  I resisted the urge to use any peppermint extract, which was the right call.  Any more peppermint flavor would have been too overwhelming.  I'm pretty sure these would be Santa approved and there's a good chance you've got some candy canes floating about right now, so what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

These will certainly get you in the holiday spirit.  Aren't they pretty?  Add to that a sweet, flavorful shortbread and you've got a winner.  The shortbread gets a little softness to it's texture from the sweet cherries and the white chocolate is a nice accent.  These lovelies will look great on Santa's plate and even better, you're holiday guests will like the fruit and chocolate combination.

I found this recipe at Better Recipes (formerly Mixing Bowl), posted by judyjellybean.  They were easy to make and make a lot!  These would be a good for a cookie exchange.  After baking, I started dipping the cookies in melted chocolate and nonpareils, but ran out of chocolate (because I didn't read the recipe and only bought one package).  When Dave taste-tested, he said not to worry about dipping the rest.  Since the cookie already has white chocolate in it, he felt the addition dipping overpowered the cookie without adding anything, and then you couldn't enjoy the cherry flavor.  What can I say?  The man knows cookies.  Make your own choice, I left mine half with and half without.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Don't those look good?  Bet you want the details and the recipe, huh?

Well, I'm guest posting over at Tina's blog, Mom's Crazy Cooking.  So hop on over there, check out Tina's blog and learn all about these lovely yummy treats.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

Chocolate + salt = perfect treat.  I love chocolate covered pretzels.  Usually when I make them, I do the standard pretzel twists. From time to time I'll even drizzle a little white chocolate on top of those for a professional, polished look.  But when I was at the grocery store the other day and spied a bucket of pretzel rods, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.  Any pretzel rod you like will do to give you the salty, chocolatey, crunchy combination that can't be matched.

Using a good quality melting chocolate (I use Mercken's) is key here, just like in the Oreo Truffles.  Your special piece of equipment is the tallest drinking glass you have.  And you can decorate these as simply or as dramatically as you like. Lately I've seen other version around the blogosphere with the pretzel positively drowning in toppings like peanuts, M&Ms, sprinkles and more chocolate.  I considered drizzling colored chocolate on top but instead opted for some simple holiday nonpareils and candy cane sprinkles.  Whatever you choose, this is an easy and tasty treat that will be hit with everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Andes Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies

Two years ago my sister made these cookies.  I could not stop eating them.  Between the two of us, we probably took 15 or more dozen cookies to my parents' house that Christmas, but these were the only ones I wanted.  They are soft, have a great minty flavor, but paired with a buttery, caramely sweetness from the brown sugar.  Since it's not a chocolate cookie, it's a completely different type of mint chunk flavor than you normally get this time of year.  It's the perfect crisp edge with a soft and chewy center, so I knew I had to make them.

When I asked Amy for the recipe, she said it was straight off the bag of Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips.  Sad that I couldn't find them last year, I scooped up two bags as soon as I saw them in the store this year.  I made them a little smaller, but otherwise I followed the recipe and they were exactly what I wanted.  I may have beat her in the bake off, but she still knows a good recipe when she sees it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today's a big day! Not only is it another Secret Recipe Club reveal day, but it's also the reveal day for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I signed up for both before realizing the reveals were scheduled for the same day.  But that's ok, it worked out just fine. Starting with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I had the pleasure of baking cookies for Ashley at Embracing Beauty, Cayla at Cayla's Cookie Jar and Danielle at Little Spindle.  The Cookie Swap is the brain child of Julie at The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and is a secret Santa-style swap where each blogger bakes cookies for 3 bloggers and will receive cookies from 3 other bloggers.  Several hundred bloggers participated and I'm looking forward to getting my cookies from secret bakers.  I'll let you know what I get and who they're from.  If you'd like to participate next year (and trust me, you do) go here to sign up for the notification.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oreo Truffles

My mom makes the best chocolate.  Seriously, she has been making it for years and my family has been fighting over it for just as long.  Instead of baking during the holidays, my mom would make pound upon pound of homemade fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, and clusters of various nuts.  She even makes molded candy for all kinds of occasions.  She would make Easter candy in cute bunny shapes--hollow, solid or even these tiny one inch bunny molds she'd make in all kinds of pastel colors.  She would make this to sell to friends for use in their Easter baskets.  Embarrassingly enough, I'd sit at the kitchen table as a child and watch her toil away, never putting two and two together when some eerily similar looking bunnies showed up in my Easter basket.  But I digress, as it's almost Christmas.  Several years ago, my mom noticed a local chocolatier selling chocolate covered Oreos for a dollar piece.  Out of her mind, my mom figured she could sell them three for a dollar and turn a profit and thus added those to her repertoire.  Then a couple of years ago, she figured out how to make Oreo truffles--these delicious crushed Oreo treat dipped in milk chocolate that are both decadent and simple to make. She taught me, and today, I'm sharing with you.

This is less of a recipe and more of a process and has been featured on lots of blogs.  I'm not sure where my mom learned, but since I got it from her, she's my citation. These are delicious.  Rich and chocolatey, they are perfect for adding a little bit extra to a cookie tray or packing up in a box for the chocolate lover on your gift list.  Have a little fun and be creative with the topping--you can used colored chocolate to drizzle over or all kinds of sprinkles.  These can be personalized or color-coordinated for any occasion, so keep these in your back pocket for year round indulgence.  I'd wanted to color mine in the traditional red, green and white for the holidays, but my green chocolate melts must have been a little old because they wouldn't melt properly, even with a little shortening to help them along.  Melting chocolate, as long as you use a good quality chocolate (my mom and I use Merkens), is easy and you don't need any fancy tools to do it.  In fact, Dave did most of the work on these--I just rolled the balls and drizzled the colored chocolate on the finished truffles.  Don't be scared--these truffles are totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

Hopefully I won't get in trouble for not making Gingerbread Cookies this year.  It wasn't that I didn't want to make them, I just thought the space in the cookie tins (and freezer) would be better utilized by these guys.  Cause they are really yummy.  Just like the name says, they taste like a brownie.  Tempted to frost them, I resisted and opted instead for just a sprinkling of sanding sugar.  Definitely the right thing to do.  They are chocolatey without being overly sweet, so any type of frosting would have been overkill.  Even though he's not the biggest chocolate fan, Dave likes flavor of these cookies and thought they were a good addition to the cookie rotation.  I like the soft texture and they aren't just another crisp roll-out cookie, but have their own simple spot in the cookie world.

My memory is lapsing as to exactly how I stumbled upon this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but regardless it's a perfect recipe.  You can alter the depth of your chocolate by choosing a different brand or type of cocoa powder--I used plain old Hershey's, but you could try dark cocoa or a mix or regular and dark, or go for one of the fancy pants brands.  Whatever makes you happy. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easy Lemon Cookies

You may remember last year I had quite the time making a lemon cookie I was happy with.  I started with the Soft Lemonade Cookies that didn't quite turn out, but that I salvaged into something else. Then I reworked the recipe and created the Glazed Lemonade Cookies that were better, but still not what I was going for.  Recognizing my plight, my dear friend Mere came to my rescue and sent me this recipe.  While I was still so frustrated with lemon last year, after my success with Lemon Bars this past spring, I thought I'd try Mere's version this cookie season.  I'm so glad I did.  These cookies pack a great lemon flavor without being tart.  They are soft and chewy and care finally the lemon cookie I was looking for.

Mere's recipe is crazy-easy to make.  I didn't change a thing and as you know I'm not too proud to use a prepackaged mix as the base for my cookies.  These cookies work any time of year, so keep them in mind for spring and summer.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Several weeks ago, Cindy was sitting with me at the kitchen table while I organized my recipes for holiday cookies.  She refused to look through them because she didn't want to be disappointed if for some reason I ended up not baking a particular recipe.  But the next weekend, when again Cindy found herself sitting at my kitchen table while I pulled out the recipes to be baked, she just about lost her mind when she caught a glimpse of this recipe.  The chocolate and salty pretzel combination really got her going and she started thinking about ways to make them better before she even read the recipe!   I will give her credit though because she and I came up with a good idea.  A solid cookie in the chocolate chip family, the salty pretzels and bittersweet chocolate put a new twist on an old favorite.

Jen at Beantown Baker yet again led me to another wonderful cookie.  I love chocolate covered pretzels and these really incorporate those flavors in cookie form.  I wasn't able to find bittersweet chocolate chips, so I improvised using part bittersweet chocolate and part semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Cindy's first idea was to individual chocolate dip each of the pretzel sticks (holy tedious work, Batman) but then we thought that a chocolate pretzel bark would be the better way to go.  That's exactly what I did, although I think I would add more pretzels next time.  Since the pretzels were coated, the chocolate flavor was stronger than the pretzel flavor.  And I don't think more pretzels, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup, could hurt this recipe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Seeing as tomorrow is December and the flavors are changing from apple and pumpkin to peppermint and cinnamon, this will probably be my last pumpkin recipe until next fall.  But if you've still got a can of pumpkin kicking around your pantry, this would be a great way to use it.  I wanted something quick and easy for a Sunday morning breakfast with Dave. I thought I'd make regular muffins, but then I spotted my jumbo muffin tin and figured if I was going to make an oversized muffin, it might as well be one with good for you ingredients like pumpkin and cranberries.  These have a very strong pumpkin flavor and an excellent sweet flavor from the cranberries.  Perfect for Sunday brunch or just a lazy morning with the newspaper.

This is an original recipe I whipped up staring at the cranberries leftover from my Orange Cranberry Cookies and Cranberry Apple Walnut Pie.  This Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin recipe could easily be adapted to make 12 regular sized muffins or mini loaves by adjusting the cooking time.  I might spice up the pumpkin a little more next time, but otherwise these are a perfect muffin.  They're moist and flavorful and big enough to be breakfast.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Linzer Tarts

In 2005 Dave and I tackled the long distance relationship, him living in Massachusetts while I still lived in central Pennsylvania.  Dave bought his house the year before and for Thanksgiving in 2005 I visited him and his family for the holiday with the caveat that he allow me to complete several of my cookie recipes for my holiday baking.  Living the bachelor life, Dave didn't particularly care what I did with his oven so long as he got some of the treats. 

So on during Thanksgiving week when so many people spend their time in the kitchen making real food, I stumbled into the kitchen and prepared to make many batches of cookies.  Busying myself in the kitchen, Dave was in the living room watching TV or playing video games. I had several cooling racks full of cookies, having just completed a batch of Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, and just starting on a recipe of Oatmeal Cranberry. My first two sheets of oatmeal cookies were in the oven when the timer went off and I opened the oven door.

There was a flame.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lumberjack Cookies

Don't ask me about the name, I just picked these up from someone else's blog.  It is a fun name though.  But if you want a description, these are a soft molasses cookie that perfectly fit into the fall and holiday flavors.  They are certainly meant to be devoured and if I would have let him, Dave would have done just that.  These cookies are so good, that they actually have me contemplating not making my regular Gingerbread cookies this year.  Why compete with such a perfect alternative cookie?  I know there's the whole shapes and decorating thing...I'll think about it.

Jen over at Beantown Baker got this recipe from her mother-in-law and I can see why they are a family favorite.  Just a simple cookie, easy to put together and they bake up soft and delicious.  I wouldn't change anything, they are perfect as is.  They'd be a great cookie for kids to make for Santa or holiday parties if you want to get little hands involved and they freeze well, either before or after baking.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to enjoy the day with the people you love.  Among other things, I'm thankful for you, my friends, who come and read about my kitchen expeditions.  Thank you for your support and have a wonderful holiday!  Have fun in your kitchen and make something delicious.  I know I will.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cranberry Apple Walnut Pie

While my friends (well, Cindy) are more concerned about my lack of "applying" myself to cupcakes, I am determined to tackle a different baking challenge: pie.  I've never made a pie, let alone a pie crust, but with the season of pie upon us, it seemed the opportune moment.  The pie filling didn't concern me so much as the making of a crust.  So after my appeal to you, dear readers, I received a few comments and emails suggesting a few options for pie crust recipes.  I narrowed it down to three from very respectable bloggers and I appreciate the depth to which each of these bloggers explained the nuances and differences between various crust methods.

The Brown Eyed Baker had a good recipe and description, including specific instructions for using a food processor or mixing by hand.  The recipe uses all butter, but there was no sugar and the rest of the ingredients seemed a little on the light side and since I know I have an issue rolling dough, I wanted something using a little more in the quantity department, just in case.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Blondies

Prepare yourself for a new Thanksgiving dessert.  These will make your forget about the pumpkin pie altogether.  A thick bar consisting of a soft and chewy snickerdoodle base topped with a wonderfully smooth and creamy pumpkin pie filling garnished with cinnamon sugar, one bite and you'll be sold.  The cinnamon in the snickerdoodle base is the perfect bridge to the spiced pumpkin filling.  Dave was sold just by reading the recipe, but once he tasted them, he declared them perfect.  As did I.  In fact, these pimpkin pie snickerdoodle blondies were miles better than I thought they would be.  I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie in general, so I anticipated these bars being just okay.  I was wrong and I'm proud to admit it.

Jen at Beantown Baker is a genius for coming up with this winning combination.  I followed her recipe pretty closing, although I did add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the snickerdoodle batter and decreased the brown sugar by a half cup.  Jen also suggests adding a white chocolate & cinnamon topping, but Dave and I agreed to leave them with just the cinnamon sugar.  Either way, you have to try these bars.  Don't be intimidated by the ingredients list.  You're whipping up two batters essentially, but you can use the same bowl for both (I did at Jen's suggestion).  They came together pretty quickly and wherever you celebrate this Thanksgiving, everyone will be thankful for you and these pumpkin pie snickerdoodle blondies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cranberry Orange Bread

I love this time of year. There are so many strong flavors to bake with and combinations to make with them.  Last year I shared with you what might possibly be my favorite cookie, Orange Cranberry Cookies, and today I'm bringing you a breakfast (or snack) version of those flavors.  This bread is delicious.  It's a little more dense than I expected, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful.  The fresh cranberries coupled with the orange juice provide a sweet/tart combination and the pecans provide a subtle nuttiness.  I took this loaf to my parent's house and my Mom and Grandma couldn't get enough.  If I'd have let her, I think Grandma would have eaten the whole thing!

This recipe is from (formerly Mixing Bowl) and was posted by member Jennabee who found it from Better Homes and Gardens.  I cleaned up the order of combining ingredients a little bit and opted to use fresh cranberries rather than dried.  And instead of a cream cheese glaze, I went with the light powdered sugar glaze from the aforementioned cookies for a light topping with to bring it all together.  Make this for a Thanksgiving breakfast or as a homemade holiday treat for a friend or hostess.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wanted: Pie Crust Recipe

With next week being Thanksgiving, I've decided to try my hand at pie for the very first time.  I'm not sure how it will turn out, but there will be a back up pie for the big day, so fear not.  The contents of said pie are a surprise until I post my (successful?) attempt next week, but the recipe I'm using enlists the assistance of a premade/frozen crust.

Somehow I don't think that's going to fly for my first attempt.

So I'm reaching out to you, dear friends, for your recommendations.  Leave me a comment with a link to your go-to pie crust recipe.  Next week I'll share which one I chose as well as the tasty goodness that will fill the crust.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

These cookies just taste like fall.  They are little bites of pumpkin flavor, perfectly enhanced with cinnamon and other spices that pumpkin always plays nicely with.  Dave thought they needed more pumpkin, but I think that was because they were pretty fresh out of the oven and needed some time to mingle a little more.  I love the sugar coating, because it made me consider calling these Pumpkindoodles.  If I would have thought to flatten the balls a bit, I probably would have renamed them!

Yet another perfect recipe from Beantown Baker.  I used pumpkin pie spice rather than the individual spices.  But otherwise, I didn't change a thing, although creating flattened versions of this cookie for Pumpkindoodles does sound like a good idea.  Live on the edge and roll them in cinnamon sugar if you're feeling particularly randy.  If you're potlucking Thanksgiving next week or will have a crowd and want an alternative dessert, these are a very festive touch that will be sure to please.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies

I'm so excited for this post!  Today is my first post for the Secret Recipe Club (SRC)!  If you haven't heard about it, you can learn everything you need to know here, but basically each Monday a group of bloggers post a recipe they've made from another blogger's repertoire, but nobody knows who's featuring their blog until that morning, hence a secret club!  It's a fabulous opportunity to check out new bloggers and force yourself to try new things.  I hope you'll take a look at some of the other bloggers in my group by checking out the blog hop at the bottom of this post.

I had the privilege of baking from Andi's blog, The Wednesday Baker.  Andi felt like a kindred spirit as I read her blog subtitle "One cookie at a time..." With a heading like that, I knew immediately that I'd be baking one of Andi's cookie recipes--to the point that I didn't allow myself to look at any of the other yummy things on her blog until I committed to a cookie recipe.  And by committed, I mean choose three and made Dave pick one, thus ensuring that I had to make them since he'd expect them.  Be sure to check out Andi's blog and take a spin through her sweet treats and good eats.  I already have a few other recipes from Andi that I plan to try and post.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

So yummy.  You know how much Dave liked the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars?  Well, this was like making it ok to have them for breakfast.  Because it's not a dessert if it's bread, right?  Soft, sweet but not sugary and perfectly spiced with a hint of chocolate.  Plus this makes a ton of bread.  I don't even want to think about the number of muffins that could be created with this recipe.  It's pumpkin, so the bread stays moist.  And I don't think it needs dressed up at all with a glaze or anything, but someone with a slightly sweet cream cheese spread might think otherwise.  Overall, you need to make this.  One for you.  One for your Thanksgiving hostess (oh, that's you too?).  And one for the freezer.  Or do what I did and make mini loaves that you can share to spread the joy.  I like mini loaves for gifts to random people I want to thank, like my hair stylist, a teacher, a particularly helpful coworker.  It's homemade, so that's always a thoughtful gesture, but it's small enough and easy to make that it doesn't seem like an overly dramatic gesture (like a tray of 5 dozen cookies might seem.  To some people.)

Have I mentioned how adorable I think Maria and Josh at Two Peas & Their Pod are?  I know I have, but for real, they are adorable.  And they make awesome food.  Really, they have amazing recipes and beautiful food.  This recipe was no exception.  It's a solid recipe and comes together very quickly.  I don't know any other recipe where I get such a large quantity with so little effort.  Maria uses canola oil which I subbed for vegetable oil since that's what I had on hand.  And I wouldn't be opposed to adding more chocolate chips, maybe an extra 1/2 cup.  Maria also makes three loaves in 8 x 4 pans, but my tool kit consists of a set of mini loaf pans, one 8 x 4 pan and one 9 x 5 pan.  Since I knew I wanted to do some sharing, I opted for the 9 x 5 (since my 8 x 4 was going to be put to use in another way--more on that next week) and the mini loaves.  I'm fairly confident that three mini loaves equal one regular loaf, so if you have a lot of people to share with, you can make up 9 little loaves and pass them out to everyone you see!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apple Fritters

Confession: I can't remember the last time I fried something.  I mean, I don't even fry my french fries--I bake them.  Add to that, Dave and I got a cast iron skillet as a wedding gift two years ago and it desperately needed seasoned.  So of course when I saw this recipe I thought it was a great way to wrap up my apple baking bonanza and use up the last of the apples we picked at the orchard.  Considering my lack of skills in the frying department, they turned out very well.  Soft on the inside and a gentle crispness on the outside, these fritters reminded me of apple cinnamon donut holes.  Cindy and Dave also got in on the taste test.  Again and again.  They were sweet, soft and the apples were delicious wrapped in the tasty fritter batter.

This recipe came from Pioneer Woman who I positively adore.  When I saw the recipe on Tasty Kitchen, I knew it would be the perfect foray into frying and a good excuse to season my cast iron skillet that has been neglected.  Ree's recipe is great and she's always so wonderful with her detailed descriptions and beautiful photos.  Dave didn't think they had enough cinnamon, so Cindy suggested adding cinnamon to the powder sugar topping.  But when I did that, Dave commented it was too much like a donut hole. (Never satisfied, that boy.)   Ideally, being a the New Englander he is, more cinnamon in the batter would be ideal, maybe increased to a Tablespoon.  I also think I made my fritters a bit too big since I had some with gooey centers.  Guess I'll have to try this frying thing out again.  You know, to improve my skills.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caramel Apple Cookies

I love finding different desserts and treats transformed into cookies.  Maybe one day I'll be as creative as the people who come up with these ideas, but until then, I'll just follow their lead.  These are very yummy.  An excellent alternative to the difficult to eat and always too big caramel apple, you get a little bit of caramel and apple in each bite.  It's a sweet cookie with a soft texture (from the apple) and I love the fine oatmeal addition to the dough.  The caramel, though messy, in conjunction with the ground oatmeal create an interesting flavor combo in the cookie as well.  They spread a lot on the pan when baking, so be careful not to put them too close together.

Now, before I fall off my soapbox, I'd like to remind you that there many more varieties of apples than just Granny Smith and McIntosh.  Granny Smith are great, but they aren't the only baking apple out there.  One of the great things about going to an orchard is learning about all the different kinds of apples available, how they are best used and the subtle differences in their taste and texture.  The recipe came from Katie Goodman via craftzine and she suggested using Granny Smith apples, which are a lovely option and yes are the traditional apple for a caramel apple on a stick.  However, when I was at the orchard, I came across some beautiful Empire apples which are also a hearty baking apple, a little less tart and full of flavor.  So I opted to use those in this recipe and I'm very pleased with the results.  Don't be afraid to supplement with something different--just make sure you have a sturdy baking apple, not something that will turn to mush when baked.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

About a week or so ago, we had a very rainy and dreary day.  I was completely soaked by the time I got to the train station to come home and still soggy when Dave picked me up to drive me the rest of the way home.  (Yes, I had both an umbrella and a trench coat.)  So I knew it was one of those nights that exercise would go out the window. I was in need of comfort.  I needed to bake.  And since earlier in the afternoon I had been perusing Foodbuzz for muffins, I knew exactly what I wanted to make (especially because I had everything on hand).  This healthified pumpkin muffin seemed like just the way to bring the good parts of fall into my evening to level the playing field from the driving rain.  I loved how they puffed up and just look like perfect muffins.  They were super easy to make with two bowls and a whisk, so it was easy clean up, too.  A moist muffin with a great texture, these were a tasty treat and a perfect match for fall breakfasts.  Plus this recipe makes a lot! 

I'd seen other bloggers mention RavieNomNoms, but I don't know why I hadn't visited her blog. She's adorable and came up with this great treat. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to list the quantity of sugar in her post, so I guessed and used 1/2 cup.  Afterward I learned from Ravie that I should have used 3/4 cup (which was my first instinct, but I didn't want them to be too sweet).  Had I realized I would get the equivalent of 18 muffins, I would have done 3/4 because I don't think the version I made was sweet enough, and maybe use brown sugar.  And I would also amp up the spices, either adding more cinnamon or a combination of pumpkin pie spice, baking spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, from 1 teaspoon to maybe 2 1/2 teaspoons because I really like that compliment to the pumpkin.    After I filled my 12 cup muffin tin and had so much batter left, I decided to make mini muffins with the remainder.  Since 3 mini muffins equals 1 regular muffin (I don't know where I read that, but it works on all my recipes, i.e. if it makes 12 regular muffins, you'll get 36 mini muffins), I ended up with quite a few.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


When I showed Dave this recipe, he only looked at the title and said yes.  My husband is a man of simple tastes and a true New Englander, he loves his maple syrup.  So a cookie, based on the classic Snickerdoodle no less, that tastes like maple?  Yes is all he needed to say.  You'll be pleasantly surprised by the subtle  maple flavor from the sugar and the glaze.  The cookie is both crunchy (at the edges) and soft (in the middle) and the topping combined with the glaze (which, can I just say how awesome this glaze was?  Perfect consistency, not too sweet and made a ton.) offer a unique cookie that is a grown up spin to a classic cookie.

This recipe is from King Arthur Flour.  I had forgotten about it when I went to the store and thus forgot to pick up the maple sugar.  However, Dave and I were at an apple festival a few weeks ago and a local Massachusetts maple grower had a booth set up, selling maple syrup, maple candies and, lucky me, maple sugar.  Turns out it was cheaper to buy it from the vendor and I felt good about buying local (the vendor's farm is about an hour from our house).  The recipe is flawless and I definitely recommend drizzling the glaze on the cookie, rather than slathering it on, so that you can appreciate the taste and texture of the sugar topping and not be overwhelmed by a lot of glaze.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Soooo, what do you think?  I really wanted to clean up the place.  I like the fresh, clean look and hope you aren't freakin' out too much.  I promise everything is still here. Plus, did you see the URL?  Yup, I'm all my own now.  I feel like a grown up.  And I have my own email, so you can send me messages and I promise to respond.  It's all an early Christmas gift to me, but I hope you enjoy the changes as well.  Also added is an "About Me" page, but that silently launched about a week ago. 

Also, I would like to apologize for the lack of post yesterday and for all the people who commented over the weekend.  We lost power in central Massachusetts due to the Halloween snowstorm.  I'm still without power at the house (no baking this weekend. I'm really upset about it.)  But I got a chance to pop on, so as soon as I can, I'll respond to your comments.  But thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the changes!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Oh brownies, how I love to make you even better.  I'd given some of the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars to my in-laws and learned they lasted mere minutes in their house.  So when Dave and I went over for dinner later in the week, I knew a pumpkin flavored dessert was in order.  These are based on my Brownies recipe, and the pumpkin is a perfect match for the fudgy and moist brownies.  I love how they look, they taste magnificent and the balance of pumpkin to chocolate is ideal.  Dave loved how the pumpkin was clear and definitive without tasting like pumpkin pie.

Stumbling around the web for pumpkin flavored desserts, I saw the idea of these at Betty Crocker.  I used that recipe to create the filling, but the brownies come from my previously posted Brownies (rather than a box.  But by all means, use a box if that's what you want to do.)  If you're having a Halloween celebration, you can't miss with this recipe.  The colors and flavors are perfect, you get enough for a crowd and the colors work with the holiday theme as well.  I do note below that I would have made one change to the preparation of the filling (and I should have recognized to do that before I made the filling, but oops), but otherwise, these are perfect.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

We're nearing the end of apple season, but their is still a lot of fall flavors left out there.  So, in honor of fall, I'm bringing you a few recipes featuring pumpkin!  It pairs so nicely with different flavors like chocolate and cinnamon, and lends itself to many forms, like bars, bread and cookies.  These bars are fantastic: soft, delicious, sweetly pumpkiny with a bit of chocolate. They are a little cakey in texture, but that certainly isn't a detriment.  I made these when friends came over for dinner.  Dave literally used two hands to eat it, announcing it was fantastic and Cindy's son, Jake, noted, "this is delicious."

This recipe comes from Two Peas & Their Pod and they might be the most adorable bloggers ever.  Like I can't explain.  Just go visit their blog and oogle over all the yummy things they make and how sweet they are.  The recipe is perfect and I didn't change a thing.  It's fairly simple to pull together and you just might have all the ingredients on hand, except maybe the pumpkin.  Unless you're like me and bought five cans of it not knowing why but that you needed it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

German Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Personally, I've always found German chocolate to be a subtle flavor and the real essence of what we've come to know as German chocolate comes from the supporting players like nuts and coconut.  As you know I'm wary of cakes, but I like the idea of these flavors for a cookie, especially for the holidays.  The result is a cookie with a good texture and nuttiness, but without a cohesive flavor throughout.  Dave was a little disappointed the recipe didn't include coconut and thought the chocolate was far lighter than most German chocolate treats he's enjoyed.  Depending on your audience, this could be hit or miss as it.

I found this recipe posted from Jeannieskitchen on, and it was originally a Taste of Home recipe submitted by Joyce Robb.  First off, I had to halve this recipe when I saw it made 13 dozen cookies!  I'm all for recipes that make a lot of cookies, but this was little much for my crowd.  Feel free to double up the quantities below and you'll have a great cookie exchange treat.  Second, I would add a little more than the 2 ounces of German chocolate (maybe 4 ounces), increase the toffee bits to at least a cup and add flaked coconut.  That was really the flavor that was lacking to give you that ultimate German chocolate taste. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tools of the Cookie Princess: Spices & Ingredients

Last year I posted about how I find good deals on the common ingredients I use to bake. While I still believe that many of your ingredients can be off-brand and you shouldn't be afraid to stock up when something you use goes on sale, I also believe in using the best quality ingredients you can afford for certain things.

While I don't shop the King Arthur Flour catalog regularly, I do know they carry high quality ingredients that often don't compare to the competitor. When I decided to buy the cinnamon oil last month that I used in my Apple Spice Bars, I did so because I knew I wouldn't find the a similar item of the same quality nearby. Splurging occasionally on the ingredients that make a difference to the flavor of a recipe is something that should be encouraged and I hope you treat yourself to something decadent every once and a while.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Candy Bar Cookie Pops

My nephew turned 8 this week.  Where does the time go?  Keeping with the birthday baking theme with my nieces this year (Stained-Glass Flower Lollipops and Colorful Cookie Pops), I wanted to create a similar treat for him too.  And, being that Halloween candy (in tiny fun sized portions) is plenty available this time of year, these were the perfect treat.  Plus they were easy to pull together from a prepackaged mix and five other ingredients, including the sprinkles.  This is a perfect recipe to make with kids if you want to get them involved in the kitchen. I made these with Milky Ways and the nougat and caramel really cut the super chocolately cookie. 

Researching kid-friendly recipes, I found this recipe at Betty Crocker and am totally pleased with it. You could use any candy bar that would yield to a popsicle stick.  The recipe calls for "milk chocolate covered candy bars with chewy caramel and crispy crunchies" but standing in the candy aisle at Target, I could not for the life of me figure out what those were.  Any guesses?  So, to the Milky Ways it was.  I must have made my cookies a little big because I only got 20 pops, not the 28 it calls for, but I was very concerned about the caramel leaking out.  Fun and cute, these are perfect birthday treats, for a bake sale, or just to use up leftover Halloween candy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Blondies with Pecan Pie Topping

Yummy!  And an original recipe, although based in part on the standard Blondies recipe. This is what happens when frugality meets innovation and they run into necessity.  I had a good bit of the pecan pie topping leftover from the Pecan Pie Cookies and I didn't want to see it go to waste.  I thought it would make a good topping for something with apples, maybe a bread.  Then Cindy texted me that she and her brood were coming over (they were invited) and I knew I needed to make a dessert for the occasion (since I was in the middle of making holiday cookies so I knew they'd be disappointed seeing all the tasty goodies on the racks but not allowed to eat them).  So I quickly put together these Apple Blondies and used the remaining pecan topping to create this delicious treat.

The apples keep the bars moist without them being gooey and the pecan topping is a very subtle nuttiness.  The cinnamon and spice in the blondie compliment the crunchy brown sugar top.  And they are delicious with or without a bit of vanilla ice cream.  A clever fall combination of flavors if you want to do some more apple baking before the orchards are empty.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pecan Pie Cookies

Welcome to holiday cookie season!  I've started making some of my freezer friendly recipes and this is the first in the group.  And just to give you some variety this year, I'll also be including things other than cookies throughout the season.  I've got birthdays and Thanksgiving to bake for in the coming months, so I promise you there will be some variety. The decision making process for which cookies to bake this year was tough and I limited myself to just nine repeats from last year's list because they are fan favorites.  Those are:

Almond Swirls
Cinnmon Snaps
Fruit Filled Thimbles
Gingerbread Cookies
Hotel Cookies
Oatmeal Cranberry
Old Fashioned Sugar Cut Outs
Orange Cranberry

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Crisp

It's my first guest post!  Well, it technically might not count because my guest isn't a blogger.  But he did make the recipe and it came from his personal recipe stash, so I didn't feel right passing it off as my own.  Please welcome my Chief Tasting Officer and First Lieutenant in Charge of Sprinkles, Dave!  (Yeah, he's my husband, too, but for this blog, that's not nearly as important a job.)  Dave took complete control of this tasty treat, although we did work together to determine how to adapt it from a microwave version to an oven version.  He didn't even let me take all the photos (but I did highjack the camera at one point because I wanted particular shots).  This makes a sweet and crunchy version of a classic New England treat, featuring local apples and yummy cinnamon.  By baking in the oven rather than microwave, you get a crunchy topping that pairs nicely with the softened apples.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Spice Bars

A few weeks ago Dave and I went to the King Arthur Flour store in Norwich, Vermont and yes it was everything I imagined and more.  They are undergoing a huge expansion/renovation which instilled an even more compelling urge to visit again for a class.  I had a short list of specialty ingredients I wanted to buy (and a long list of "things I want but shouldn't buy because that would be frivolous").  One of those things was cinnamon oil.  I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do with it--maybe a cinnamon frosting, perhaps in cookies or blondies--but I knew it was apple season and I needed it.  So the next day, after several failed attempts at baking (as in I wanted to make something only to find I was missing a key ingredient, like zucchini for zucchini bars or oats for oatmeal bars), I scampered to the internet and found this delicious treat for a soft, gently sweet bar that combines the right amount of spice to highlight these perfect fresh from the orchard apples (seriously, we picked them off the tree that morning!).

This recipe comes from Beantown Baker (I know I use her a lot, but she really is this awesome).  I made a few minor adjustments related to the spices by adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking spice, and dropping down the vanilla to a teaspoon and the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons since I used 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon oil.  This cinnamon oil is delicious and tastes exactly like red hot candies.  Use it sparingly--as wonderful as these turned out, the cinnamon flavor increased over time and completely took over the bars by the time we polished them off (not that it was a bad thing, but if that's not what you want, you might be disappointed).  Next time, I would bump up to two teaspoons vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon oil (noted in the recipe below).  I also should have baked them a little longer--the middle of my pan was a little undercooked, so I'd bring the total bake time to 40 minutes, checking frequently in the last 10 minutes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treats

As if the Cookies & Cream version wasn't enough, I had to whip up another batch for Angela's birthday.  Hey, hungry college kids gotta eat, right?  And word on the street is a sugar buzz helps the late night studying.

Now this recipe really got Dave excited because chocolate and peanut butter is his biggest weakness. The topping on these treats is heavenly, creating a peanut butter and chocolate candy layer resting over a sweet and crunchy peanut buttery cereal treat.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cookies & Cream Rice Krispies Treats

My cousin, Angela, not only had a birthday last month, but she also started college this fall.  And though it's been (gulp) ten years since I've been in college, I fondly remember packages full of fun stuff and food and the anticipation of getting a package slip in my mail box, wondering who it was from and what it could be.  So I set about filling a box full of the essentials: microwave popcorn, gum, candy and of course, a homemade treat or two.  When I told Dave I was making Rice Krispies treats for Angela, he kind of shrugged and said that was cool.  When he learned they weren't just the plain old version he exclaimed, "Rice Krispies treats come in different flavors?  Why didn't anyone ever tell me this?"  Of course we had to taste test these before sending them to an eager college kid and they certainly delivered in the yummy department.  Chewy and crunchy, not too sweet, with bits of mini Oreos scattered throughout and a drizzle of chocolate swirled on top, these aren't your run of the mill Snap Krackle Pop treats.  It's a little bit of chocolate tucked into an already crowd-pleasing treat.

This recipe comes from Picky Palate and I was surprised by her slight alteration to the original Rice Krispies Treats quantities.  She cut down on the marshmallow slightly and upped the amount of cereal, in addition to the mix ins.  The result was still delicious.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Last spring I had a weekly meeting with a particular group.  Nearly every week I would bring in a different treat to share with the group.  In fact, the one week I didn't have time to bake anything, I was shocked at the level of disappointment in the room.  I will meet with that same group on a weekly basis again this spring, but since a few members of the group have changed and there will be changes to what we accomplish in the spring, we had a planning meeting this fall.  I arrived to the meeting room early a couple weeks ago, placed a container of these blondies by the coffee and sodas and started setting up for the meeting.  A few moments later, one of the group members came in and the first thing he said was, "Where are your baked goods?"  I'm so glad I decided to keep the tradition going!

These are a very easy, very fast and very tasty treat.  It's a simple recipe but delivers a sweet, soft, cookie-like bar.  And the recipe is super-versatile. You can throw in whatever mix-ins you have on hand.  I used mini-chocolate chips, but M&Ms, nuts, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, dried fruit, just about anything will work with this recipe as a base.  As I struggled with what to make for the meeting, Beantown Baker rescued me with this recipe, since I already had all the ingredients.  Plus they were so easy--only one bowl, no mixer needed!  Whip these up the next time you need a last minute dessert--you'll have everything you need and no one needs to know this deliciousness was created at a moment's notice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana Whoopie Pies

Bananapalooza seems to have ceased with the completion of these tasty treats.  Besides using the last of the freezer bananas (I know now that I've said that somehow more will appear), the result was a delicious whoopie pie with a great texture, the right density and a yummy icing.  I'm very picky about my whoopie pies and I like the cake part to have some oomph to it.  These are perfect.  The banana flavor isn't overwhelming and the cream cheese filling, while sweet, isn't sugary and dominant.  There was some concern about this tasting like banana bread with icing, but that was quickly dismissed after biting in to the thick cakes.

This recipe comes from Baking Bites and I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon it.  My love for whoopie pies and the plethora of bananas in my kitchen made this a no brainer.  One slight change to the recipe included dividing the sugar into part brown sugar and part white sugar.  I like the way brown sugar enhances the banana flavor and thought this would be a good idea. (Guess what?  I was right!)  I used a medium cookie scoop to size the cookies but I probably could have overfilled the scoop a bit more since I ended up with a few extra cakes, and therefore a couple extra whoopie pies.  Dave wasn't complaining when he polished off three of them for dessert. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zucchini Bread

It didn't occur to me until I found myself at the farmer's market faced with a bunch of beautiful zucchinis that I have never 1) made zucchini bread, or 2) eaten zucchini bread.  And this from the girl who used to eat the overabundance of squash from her grandfather's garden raw all throughout the harvest.  So I was determined and bought a nice two pound squash hoping that would be enough.  Turns out I got enough to make two of these delicious breads. I was surprised by the sweetness and enjoyed the toasted nuts scattered throughout.  It just looks like the perfect loaf right out of the oven and smelled heavenly while baking.  The moisture from the zucchini kept the bread from drying out and preserved the softness inside the crunchy edges.

Since I didn't have a go-to recipe, I turned to one of my favorite bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker.  She didn't fail me on this one, providing a simple and delicious recipe for a first timer like me.  I'd considered adding cranberries but stopped myself, wanting to appreciate the pure taste of a classic zucchini bread.  This recipe could easily be adapted for muffins or mini loaves, and you probably could throw in some additional mix-ins.  But the beauty and flavor of this recipe rests in the simplicity, so I actually think I may leave well enough alone. For once.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chunky Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been a while since I've made cookies.  And since bananapalooza continued in my freezer, I thought these would be a nice treat to use some of them.  Dave, Cindy and I had a hard time describing these cookies.  They are delicious and soft, but the texture is unlike any other cookie I've made.  Moist and chewy aren't even the right words to describe them. They aren't cakey or airy.  They're supple and have a very nice mouthfeel (besides awesome flavor).  They're almost like a denser muffin top.  Ok, so since I can't describe them, you'll just have to make them yourself to figure out what I'm talking about!

The combination of banana, chocolate and walnuts isn't new but the delivery of these fine friends in a wonderful cookie is enjoyable.  Perhaps the texture came from the mixing method--I threw caution to the wind and followed the recipe by mixing all the "wet" ingredients (butter, sugar, bananas, eggs, vanilla) together without creaming the butter and sugar first.  It went against all my instincts but I had to try it out.  The original recipe, from Better Crocker, also called for vanilla frosting, but I don't think they need it.  I also didn't have it.  I did have a smattering of chocolate frosting and used it up on a few cookies, but they were fine without the extra decorations.  Even though I used my medium cookie scoop, I still got more cookies than the recipe called, so you could probably go bigger.  These would be a fun back to school treat, perfect for a bake sale, or tuck the recipe away for holiday baking.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

S'mores Brownies

Even though I cheated a little bit and used a prepackaged brownie mix, these were still awesome.  S'mores are always amazing (hello, have you tried the S'mores Cookies?) and I'd been eying this recipe for a while.  The circumstances by which this recipe came to be made in my kitchen are a little foggy but I do remember that friends were over when they were made and then more friends were invited to consume these gems.  And then I think I sent people home with them.  Because otherwise Dave and I would have eaten the entire pan for breakfast the next day.  If there were any left when we went to bed.

But I digress.  Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker knew what she was doing when she layered a wonderful graham crust with a brownie filling topped with gooey marshmallows and sprinkled with extra graham crackers to recreate the perfect version of a baked S'more.  The chocolate fudgy brownie far surpasses the milk chocolate bar and even when cooled the gooey marshmallow still reminds you of this campfire favorite.  Despite not making my brownies from scratch, I think they turned out awesome.  Feel free to try the recipe with a shortcut or as a real from-scratch treat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread

There's so much more than plain old banana nut bread.  Don't get me wrong, there is a place for it in this delicious world, but when I've got upwards of a dozen bananas to make into tasty treats, the last thing I want to do is make the same recipe over and over again.  Having such success with Peanut Butter Banana Bread, I wondered if I could come up with a recipe matching another great flavor with the bread, chocolate.  Turns out I was right and this tasty bread delivering a subtle sweet banana note in a soft chocolate loaf was definitely the way to go.

Using my new found knowledge of ratios, I was inspired by a recipe from Sandra Lee in the April 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine.  I like Sandra Lee's "semi-homemade" style, so her take on this bread made from a prepared muffin mix was interesting.  But her recipe didn't use any fresh bananas so it wasn't very useful for my banana conundrum.  So I broke down the elements and came up with this version, including a very light glaze (almost like a thin donut glaze).  The results a homemade version of Sandra's treat both adorable and more importantly, yummy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And the winner is...

Beth! (120and4thirds) Who clearly needs the Metric Wonder Cup since she's scraping by in the tools department with her comment:

Ooh I've always wanted one of those. I think we have two semi-complete sets of measuring spoons. Kind of pathetic though since five of us moved in together.

Beth, I'll be in touch with you by Monday to coordinate getting you your prize. 

Thanks everyone for commenting and reading!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

This is so yummy, I had to make it twice in a week because Dave and I ate the first loaf so fast.  I found myself with an overabundance of bananas in the freezer (again) and although I did make a batch of my Banana Nut Bread, I wanted to try something different.  To the internet I went and stumbled upon another peanut butter and banana combo. This bread is moist, full of peanut butter flavor and the banana actually plays a supporting role.  The chopped peanuts are a great little surprise and the glaze brings it all together.

This recipe comes from Sweet Pea's Kitchen and I'm so glad I found it.  I altered the recipe slightly because I didn't have any ground flaxseed.  Since the flaxseed was used as a fat in this recipe, I replaced it with an additional 2 Tablespoons of butter.  The other thing I changed was to double the amount of chopped peanuts--2 Tablespoons just seemed like too few.  When I asked Dave if I should include the glaze, he gave me a resounding yes.  And later we both agreed that the bread just wouldn't be the same without the chopped peanuts and the glaze.  Since we ate the full loaf so quickly, I decided to make mini loaves, in the hope that I might be able to share some with friends.  One has made it out of the house so far.  We'll see about the rest.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tools of the Cookie Princess: Weights and Measures

Yes, I use all of the toys tools pictured above.

Baking is fun and yes in theory anyone can do it and the basic supplies will get you through a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe.  But if you're serious and challenge yourself to make the perfect treat every time, then you probably are like me and have seemingly duplicate tools.  Why do I have so many measuring devices?  Well, because I bake a lot!