Happy St. Andrew’s Day! November 30th is a national holiday in Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day. I wasn’t quite ready to tackle haggis so we went for a traditional Fruit and Nut Bread instead.
Servings: 2 mini loaves or 1 regular loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (like apricots or apples)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two 5.5″ x 3″ mini-bread loaf pans.
- In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add in pecans, raisins, dried fruit, and chocolate chips.
- In another bowl whisk together egg, oil, and buttermilk.
- Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
- Pour batter into bread pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
*Tweaked from a recipe for Fruit & Nut Bread from Seamus McInnes
I only wish I’d thought of this one first!
When I was served this impressive dark chocolate and vanilla mousse cake at a recent reception at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, my thought was simply, “Oh yeah, I can do this at home!” (The design, that is.)
Here’s how you can too:
- Plain plate–the bigger the better!
- Place a fork and/or spoon in the middle of the plate.
- Find a sieve with the finest mesh possible.
- Add powdered cocoa to the middle of the sieve. Gently tap the side of the sieve to create a pattern on the plate.
- Take off the fork and/or spoon.
- Place your brownie on the plate.
This is a perfect kid assignment–prepping the plates for the brownies.
Apples and coconut? Oh yeah! The sweet, tart flavor of grated apples meld perfectly with chewy coconut. Plus, this recipe is a fun one to make with kiddos.
*Tweaked from King Arthur Morning Glory Muffins
Servings: 16 regular-sized muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (opt.)
1/4 tsp. ginger (opt.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups grated apple (about 2-3 large apples)
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1/3 cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ (opt.)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used melted coconut oil)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin. I usually have enough batter to make 16 muffins. You can either work in batches or if you have a second muffin pan you’re good to go.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt.
- Stir in apple, coconut, nuts, and wheat germ (if using). A note on grating apples: My youngest daughter took care of this task. She had fun but you need to watch closely so there’s no inadvertent finger grating. She gripped the apple with a clean wash cloth to keep some distance between her fingers and the grater. When the apple got close to the grater we just ate the extras. Also, it’s up to you but you don’t have to skin the apple first–just shred away!
- In another bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and juice.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
- Place batter into muffin papers. Top with extra coconut.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
This week my tween got her braces off (round one at least). To celebrate we made brownies featuring her favorite ingredient that’s been on the no-no list for the past 18 months–caramel.
You can use either individual caramels, or I found these handy caramel “bits” at Target.
Recipe for Coconut Caramel Brownies
1 family size brownie mix or your favorite DIY 9×13″ brownie mix
2 cups individual caramels or caramel chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds–or both!)
3/4 cup coconut (I toast mine before baking)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (opt. hey, we’re celebrating)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix up the brownie according to package directions.
- Line a 9×13″ baking dish with aluminum foil and then coat generously with cooking spray.
- Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan and spread evenly to the corners.
- Bake the brownie bottom for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a glass measuring cup or bowl, melt the caramel until smooth. I put the caramel in the microwave at 30 intervals, stirring after each time. Usually, it takes around 90 seconds.
- Remove the brownie bottom from the oven and add caramel in glops followed by nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
- Top the caramel with the remaining chocolate. Don’t worry if the top isn’t even.
- Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely before cutting.
Warning: Eat with braces at your own risk.
I saw this posted on King Arthur Flour’s blog and figured I had to give it a try. The original recipe for Peachberry Buckle called for a mixture of peach and blueberries. But since I’d just gone strawberry picking with my daughter, that’s what I used.
Beside swapping out the blueberries, I jazzed up the flavor of the buckle in a few others ways, too. I added in coconut to the crumb topping and coconut extract to the batter. As for the peaches…I layered in mangoes since I had one that was perfectly ripe and just begging to be eaten. The buckle ended up as a cool mix of summer flavors that you can eat hot with ice cream (like a fruit crisp), or cold for breakfast as a coffee cake.
Servings: 8 big slices
Prep time: 20 minutes + baking
4 tbsps. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup regular, 1 cup white whole wheat)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup berries, divided (blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries…)
1 large mango, sliced
4 tbsps. butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and coconut extracts.
- Next, stir in the salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
- Stir in half the milk, then half the flour, then the rest of the milk and the last bit of flour.
- Divide the batter in half and smear onto the bottom of the lightly greased 9″ cake pan (I used my springform cheesecake pan).
- Layer the mango slices and half of the strawberries on top of the batter. Mix the remaining strawberries into the rest of the batter and drop in spoonfuls onto the layer of fruit.
- For the topping, cut the butter into the rest of the topping ingredients until it resembles large crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is just browned.
I wasn’t expecting much when I read about Yum Yum Brownies on Hungry Girl. Canned pumpkin plus chocolate cake mix. Sounded like Thanksgiving mixed with Ghirardelli. Eww. But, I had to give it a try–I mean, there’s chocolate in it. Add to that, I happen to love canned pumpkin–I never had it as a kid so now it seems like almost a delicacy (go ahead, laugh).
Looking online I discovered chocolate-pumpkin desserts have quite a following. I opted for Cookies & Cups version–one family-size box brownie mix and one can Libby’s Pumpkin. That’s it. Well, almost. I tweaked the recipe just a little bit.
A few notes:
- The brownies end up with a fudge-like consistency. Nothing wrong with that! I cut them into squares and put them in the fridge. I think they’re better cold.
- If you didn’t know there was pumpkin in the brownies, you’d wouldn’t guess it.
- My tween loved these brownies–maybe because she convinced me to let her have them for breakfast, “They’re healthy mom, right?”
Prep time: 5 minutes + baking
1 family-sized box brownies (my fav is Duncan Hines)
1 can pumpkin puree
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl blend together the brownie mix and the pumpkin puree with a hand-held blender. Now, here’s where I had to do a few tweaks–I also added in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon chocolate extract.
- Coat a 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread the batter onto the baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Just in time for Memorial Day–the hamburger cake! We had a blast putting this together as a family and the grandparents even joined in to add the finishing touch…the olive on top.
Here’s how to put the cake together.
First, the bun:
Mix up a boxed yellow cake mix and divide into two 8″-round cake pans. Bake until golden. One cake will be the top of the bun and the other the bottom. Let your kids choose which cake looks the most like a bun top. Put them in the fridge (the cake, not the kids).
Now for the meat:
Bake a brownie mix in a 9″-round cake pan (or you can use the same 8″, I just like having the “meat” hang over the side). Yup, in the fridge it goes. Note: You will have extra brownie batter if you use a family-sized brownie mix.
You can’t have a decent burger without the fixins’ mayo, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. I bought 1 can of ready-to-go vanilla frosting. Divide the frosting evenly into four bowls.
Spread the red-tinted frosting onto a piece of waxed paper making two, large circles for the “tomatoes.” Put the tomatoes into the fridge. For the lettuce smear the green-tinted frosting onto a piece of waxed paper with a spoon trying to make the texture uneven, like lettuce. Finally, the yellow-tinted frosting is smoothed onto a piece of waxed paper (you’ll cut it later so the edges don’t need to be even). Into the fridge for all the fixins’.
I recommend having a burger assembly team–there is flipping involved, folks! Make a circle just smaller than the bun bottom with a piece of cardboard. Put your bottom bun piece onto the cardboard circle (this will make assembly, cutting, and moving the cake much easier.)
Break up the green-tinted frosting lettuce into large pieces and lay half of them around the bottom of the bun. Spread a little bit of the leftover white frosting (remember that fourth bowl we haven’t used yet?) and carefully place the brownie “meat” onto the bun bottom–this will hold the “lettuce” in place.
Add more lettuce around the edges of the brownie “meat” and then carefully add more white frosting onto the center of the brownie. Lay the two tomato slices on top of the lettuce. For the cheese, use a kitchen knife to slice the yellow pieces into squares that look like American cheese. Place two pieces of your “American cheese” on top of the tomatoes. Use the rest of the white frosting to smear over the bottom side of the bun top for the “mayo.” It’s flipping time! Flip the bun top onto the cheese layer–carefully (this is a two- or three-person job). Gently push down on the bun top.
With the remnants of white frosting, stick crispy rice cereal pieces onto the top of the bun to look like sesame seeds. We had leftover red and green pieces from constructing the lettuce and tomato so we made it into a green olive for the top of the burger.
Voila! It’s hamburger for dessert.
Is there a German chocolate cake fan in your family? Making an entire cake can be an overwhelming endeavor, especially for pint-sized cooks. Easy solution? Make German chocolate cake in a cup.
Ever since we made mini chocolate raspberry chocolate cups, we’ve been trying out other combos. This one has become a fast favorite. I’ve included lots of make-it-quick steps in the directions.
1 recipe chocolate cake mix
1 recipe coconut dream frosting (or packaged German chocolate frosting)
1 cup chocolate syrup
Whipped cream or ice cream
Toasted coconut (opt.)
You’ll also need:
Mini glasses (plastic mini champagne glasses work well, too)
- Cook the cake according to package directions. You could also use leftover brownies, or bake up a batch. (You will have extra cake.)
- Place a handful of cake into the bottom of all the cups, press it down to make about 1-inch. This is a perfect kid job!
- Drizzle the cake with chocolate syrup (Hershey’s is fine; even better melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1/4 heavy cream in the microwave and let it sit until thickened).
- Add a heaping spoonful of coconut dream frosting into each cup.
- Put another inch of cake into each cup and repeat the process–drizzle chocolate, then add frosting.
- You have a few options for the top of the cup–whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream. My recommendation: finish it off with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in salty caramel. Sprinkle each cup with toasted coconut flakes.