Baking Time

Hearty Apple Cider Waffles

Hearty Apple Cider Waffles pic

I’m happily drowning in apples around my house–we’re snapping up every last Honey Crisp apple until the season is over. But all those extra apples need a place to go (when we’re not munching on them). My idea? Waffles. To up the apple-y flavor I thinned the batter with apple cider and a touch of maple flavoring.

 

But I wanted these apple waffles to be filling enough to serve for dinner. So I used plain Greek yogurt for a dose of protein in the mix and added in some whole-wheat flour. Walnuts round out the nutrient boost to make these waffles worthy of dinner.

 

Recipe

Servings: 5 waffles

Prep time: 10 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup all-purpose, 1/2 cup whole-wheat)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 egg

4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup apples, diced small

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup apple cider

1/4 cup  walnuts, chopped small

1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Whisk together yogurt, butter, milk, maple flavoring, and the egg.
  4. Stir in walnuts and apple dices; thin the batter with apple cider.
  5. Add batter to the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook through.
  6. The waffle will be soft when you remove it from the iron and will then firm up as it cools.
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Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Flourless chocolate cookie with bite pic

Holiday cookie time. Who’s ready to start baking? I wanted to make the richest, darkest cookies I could find. I aimed for a recipe like flourless cake that left all the flavor to the chocolate. This IS it. WARNING: These are dangerously chocolatey. You can roll the dough balls in powdered sugar for a hint of sweetness. For more of a truffle taste, roll the cookie balls in unsweetened cocoa–the darker, the better.

 

Recipe

Servings: 18 cookies

 

Ingredients:Stack of flourless chocolate cookies pic

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1/2 cup

3 egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. espresso or black onyx powder (optional, but soooo good)

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat baking pans with cooking spray.
  2. Melt 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth; allow to cool. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until they start to form soft peaks. Add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until it becomes thick and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, black onyx powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients into the egg white cream at low speed until combined. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg-white mixture.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Batter will be stiff and thick.
  7. Roll batter into balls. Next, roll balls in either powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
  8. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until cool.

Tweaked from a recipe from Culinary Couture.

 

Powdered sugar fudge cookie pic

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Scottish Fruit & Nut Bread

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.

Fruit and nut bread pic

 

 

Recipe

Servings: 2 mini loaves or 1 regular loaf

 

Ingredients

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)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two 5.5″ x 3″ mini-bread loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add in pecans, raisins, dried fruit, and chocolate chips.
  3. In another bowl whisk together egg, oil, and buttermilk.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
  5. 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

Slice of fruit and nut bread pic

 

 

 

 

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Fancify Friday: Fork Brownies

I only wish I’d thought of this one first!

Chocolate Vanilla Mousse cake

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.)

Fork browniesHere’s how you can too:

  1. Plain plate–the bigger the better!
  2. Place a fork and/or spoon in the middle of the plate.
  3. Find a sieve with the finest mesh possible.
  4. Add powdered cocoa to the middle of the sieve. Gently tap the side of the sieve to create a pattern on the plate.
  5. Take off the fork and/or spoon.
  6. Place your brownie on the plate.

This is a perfect kid assignment–prepping the plates for the brownies.

 

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Whole wheat apple coconut sunrise muffins

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.

Apple coconut muffinsRecipe

*Tweaked from King Arthur Morning Glory Muffins

 

Servings: 16 regular-sized muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

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.)Child grating apples

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

 

 Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  3. 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!
  4. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and juice.
  5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
  6. Place batter into muffin papers. Top with extra coconut.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Whole wheat apple coconut muffins

 

 

 

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Coconut oil whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

Coconut oil whole wheat chocolate chip cookiesShould you be swapping out butter and other fats in recipes for coconut oil in the name of healthier sweets? I love the idea that you can instantly healthify cookies simply by mixing in coconut oil for butter. If only it were that simple. After reading about the benefits of coconut oil on Snack Girl I thought I had to give it a try.

The smooth, nutty flavor of coconut oil soaks in the cocoa and amps up the flavor of the chocolate chips. It’s pure coconut-chocolate bliss. But is it healthier? Well, I’d like to think it is. Virgin, unprocessed coconut oil is thought to be healthier than some other fats–yup, we’re talking about you, butter–but it’s not quite outranked olive oil. And it’s not like you’ve nixed the fat entirely as you would when subbing apple sauce for oil (which sadly leads to smooshy sweets). My advice? Moderation in all things–with the exception of this weekend where I had to make a few batches of these to figure out if 100% coconut oil cookies are better. Yes, yes they do.

I tweaked my favorite King Arthur recipe for 100% whole wheat cookies to come up with this chewy version.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: Around 20 cookies

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut oil (melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds)Cookies with coconut oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. black onyx powder or dark cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur’s white whole wheat)

1/2 cup chocolate chips, Ghirardelli preferred

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Beat together coconut oil, sugars, dark cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in the vinegar, egg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Next, beat in flour, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for an hour then bake in batches at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Coconut oil chocolate chip cookies close up

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Braces busting brownies

Someone waiting to eat her first caramel in 18 months.

Someone waiting to eat her first caramel in 18 months.

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

 

Ingredients

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!)

Handy way to use caramels--no unwrapping required

Handy way to use caramels–no unwrapping required

3/4 cup coconut (I toast mine before baking)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (opt. hey, we’re celebrating)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix up the brownie according to package directions.
  3. Line a 9×13″ baking dish with aluminum foil and then coat generously with cooking spray.
  4. Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan and spread evenly to the corners.
  5. Bake the brownie bottom for about 15 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Remove the brownie bottom from the oven and add caramel in glops followed by nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
  8. Top the caramel with the remaining chocolate. Don’t worry if the top isn’t even.
  9. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.

Warning: Eat with braces at your own risk.

Layering coconut caramel brownies

 

 

 

 

 

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Coconut mangoberry buckle

Coconut mango strawberry buckleI 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.

 

Recipe

Servings: 8 big slices

Prep time: 20 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

Cake

4 tbsps. butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

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…)

 

Filling

1 large mango, sliced

 

Topping

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

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and coconut extracts.
  3. Next, stir in the salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  4. Stir in half the milk, then half the flour, then the rest of the milk and the last bit of flour.
  5. Divide the batter in half and smear onto the bottom of the lightly greased 9″ cake pan (I used my springform cheesecake pan).
  6. 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.
  7. For the topping, cut the butter into the rest of the topping ingredients until it resembles large crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is just browned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lowfat, 2-ingredient brownies

Pumpkin browniesI 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?”

 

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

1 family-sized box brownies (my fav is Duncan Hines)

1 can pumpkin puree

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. Coat a 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Spread the batter onto the baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Pumpking brownies with a bite

 

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Hamburger cake

Hamburger cakeJust 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.

 

The fixins’:

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.

 

In three of the bowls mix in 1/4 cup melted, colored chips (I buy mine at Jo-Ann Fabrics or Micheal’s) in red, yellow, and green.

Watching the hamburger cake

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’.

 

Burger assembly:

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.

Hambuger cake full image

Finishing touches:

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.

Hamburger cake side view

 

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