Saturday, March 21, 2015

Homemade Cranberry Pepita Pecan Cliff Bars

So, as many of you can tell from fb I've been on a energy bar recipe craze- I would make one, be kinda happy with it, and then make another.  And another.  And another.  (no kidding.  I made like 5 different recipes this week- I found that what I wanted I would just have to make happen.  So I did) And then this one..... this turned out amazing.  I roughly based it off another recipe I found on the internet and wasn't completely happy with- so feel free to swap out and add in other ingredients to your hearts content. :)

Homemade Cranberry Pepita Pecan Cliff Bars

1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple sirup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup pepitas

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment- making sure the parchment is overhanging the pan so you can later pull the bars out.  In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the raw and toasted pecans till chopped, put pecan peices aside and in the now empty food processor pulse the cranberries till in small pieces.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, microwave the almond butter, sirup, and honey for 1 minute.  Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla,  Then add the cereal, oats, flax meal, pepitas, pecans, and cranberries.  Stir till combined, then pour mixture into the pan.  Press very firmly into the pan, as hard as you can pack it.  Refrigerate for an hour, then pull the bars out of the pan with the parchment and cut into squares or rectangles of desired size, then press all over very firmly with the flat side of a metal spatula or something flat and sturdy before taking the bars apart.  Refrigerate or freeze bars till ready to use.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Toasted Pecan Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

So, since it's been about a year *cough cough* since I published my last post, I thought I'd throw one out there today.

So, since several people requested this recipe, it was a great excuse to revive my poor forgotten little blog which I never seem to have any thing to post or say on.  I mean, I'm good posting on Instagram, FB, Twitter, all that, but why is it so difficult for me to post on my blog?  I think it has something to do with the fact I hate the thought of sitting at the computer and typing (and the fact that come on, IPhones are super easy go go on and post stuff- they don't make you sit with a big hunk of technology on your lap), but, once I get started it's hard to stop talking.  I seem to have that problem quite a bit nowadays.  I mean, give me an opening and I basically talk your ear off.  About the randomest stuff.  Okay..... I'll stop I guess.  After all, the real reason you're here is for the recipe, and not to hear me ramble on, right?  

Cinnamon Roll Toasted Pecan Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar

To decorate-
24 toasted pecan halves

Mix together the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line 2 standard dozen muffin tins with cupcake liners, set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and add vanilla, then mix for 10 seconds.  Add flour in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each time till barely incorporated.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Top each cupcake with 1 1/2 teaspoon of the filling, and use a knife to gently swirl (slide knife blade into the cupcake batter, and fold it over the topping once or twice).  Set aside the remaining filling to use later.  Bake for about 15 minutes (or until center of cupcakes springs back lightly when touched).  Remove from oven, let cool for 3 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely. 

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, slowly adding in 1/3 cup whipping cream, till smooth.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat butter till fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add in the vanilla, remaining 2/3 cup whipping cream, and powdered sugar.  Beat on high till light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  If needed, add more powdered sugar or whipping cream, depending on the consistency you would like it to be.  Add in the cream cheese mixture, mix till just combined (do not overbeat).

To assemble-
Using a round frosting tip, frost cupcakes.  Sprinkle the remaining filling over cupcakes, then top with a toasted pecan half.  If not consuming them within an hour or so, refrigerate and let them sit for an hour at room temperature before serving.  Refrigerate leftovers.       

*Note on the frosting- when I made this, I basically just kept throwing stuff in, so what I gave your is the closest to what I think I threw in.  So, if you find it doesn't work for you, feel free to keep throwing in extra powdered sugar and whipping cream like I did.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nutella Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie

I think I may have, inadvertently, created the new chocolate chip cookie.  These cookies are just stuffed with toasted pecans and loaded with chocolate chips and Nutella.  I know, no big deal, right?  But hey.  They are one of the most amazing cookies you'll ever be able to put your grubby hands on.  

I had just finished with frosting some sugar cookies, and it was only 3:20 (which isn't late at ALL considering when I usually finish with my baking before dinner), so I figured what the heck.  I might as well throw caution to the wind and try something new for once.  Anyway.  Couldn't find a recipe that sounded good, when I saw the huge bag of toasted pecans that had been sitting on the counter, unused, for far to long.  It was just begging to be used.  And- now you'll think I'm crazy cause I really don't think nutella is the most amazing thing in the whole wide world (sure, it's good, but personally I'm more of a fan of cookie butter).  But the jar of Nutella had just been sitting in the pantry for too long- like every time I went in to straighten up the pantry, there it was, sadly peeking out from the cocoa powder and shortening.  So every time I would shove it a little father back so I couldn't feel it's remorse for being useless.  But today was just enough.  I took it out from the corner of the pantry and I USED IT ALL.  Like now it's not there to judge me anymore. 

And, surprisingly, these cookies turned out really well.  Like, really amazingly well.  The nutella isn't overwhlming, but all the flavors end up complimenting each other well (which was a relief- because if you're making a new recipe and not even following and throwing caution to the wind and tripling it it would have been a really bad thing if they had flopped).

Nutella Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment.
Combine the dry ingredients, set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and Nutella till combined.  Add the sugars, beat on high speed till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, and mix just till there are still some flour streaks left.  Add in the pecans and chocolate chips, mix till combined.  
Scoop batter onto prepared pans, and bake till edges are set but the cookie still looks pretty doughy.  Let the cookies set for a few minutes on the pan, then remove to wire racks to cool.  Store in an airtight container with a piece of bread, and replace the bread as needed (the bread will feel like a crouton after sever days, at which point it will need replaced).

Monday, March 10, 2014


Ah...... these wonderful little clouds of amazingness.  There really isn't anything like it.  Light fluffy clouds of lovely meringue, tons of frosting, and jam in the middle.

Of course, something so delish isn't necessarily a piece of cake.  I've made them every Monday for the past few weeks, and I think I finally almost have them right.  First time, I overbaked them, second time I underbaked them so (of course) this time I think I have it just about right.  So naturally I had to take pictures of my little amazing creations.  :)

In the course of making them, we've found that at least for us, the Raspberry and Blackberry are our favorites (of course, they're colored to represent the flavors- and who wouldn't like pink and purple??)- I tried espresso but for some reason these really are just the best.  But you all are entitled to your own opinions- I'll just pig out on these and you all can have your gazillion flavors of macarons.

I didn't feel like typing up the recipe today- because the recipe is provided on this site.  But really what you need to do is get the cookbook that the recipe is from- The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook.

So here you all are- you're completely free to drool over your keyboard.





Monday, February 3, 2014

"The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time--for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays." — C.S. Lewis

I'll take the dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday long and far away
When I'm an old grey geezer,
I'll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I've frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
A dip my old cold toes in." 


"Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-winged bird
that can not fly.

Hold fast to dreams
for when dreams go
life is a barren field
frozen with snow." 
— Langston Hughes

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread

This is the best go-to wheat bread ever.  Honestly- we'll make it and it's all gone within a few days, and that's pretty big for us.  Seeing as it's mainly just us three girls and mom and dad most of the time.  Usually we end up having it three times a day when we get it, then smother it in butter and dripping with honey.  (I know, all those carbs aren't good for you, blah, blah blah)  But hey.  It makes us happy. 

And it's not like we eat it just out of the pan.  We take it right out of the pan, let it cool a bit, and then stick it in the toaster.  That makes it healthier, right?  The toaster HAS to make stuff healthier.  You know, kinda like you burn stuff to burn all the stuff out of it.  So a nice, toasty, wonderful golden brown has to have at least some health benefits.... right? (hey. don't burst my bubble.) 

Whole Wheat Bread

6 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. instant yeast
Put the above ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix till combined.
Add the following....
2 sticks of softened butter
12 Tbs. honey

Heat 4 cups of water in microwave until about 120 degrees.  Add water to mixture in bowl.  Beat until combined.  Add up to 6 more cups of whole wheat flour and knead (switch to dough hook) for around 5 minutes.  

Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise in warm place about an hour. 

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide the dough in half.  Pat into largish ovals (about 8"x6"), and roll up tightly to form a loaf.  Place in a greased loaf pan, and pat down gently to fill pan.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Let rise for about 7 minutes.  Bake until lightly browned and the loaf registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, about 40 minutes or longer.

If you want to change it up a bit, you can do half of the flour bread flour instead of whole wheat.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Washington Cream Pie

This is one of those cakes that you make, eat it all, and two weeks later you're craving it again.  There's just something about it that makes you want to stuff it all in your face.  I think I made it at least 4 times in one month.  It's that good. 

And the custard is simply my favorite- you can use it to fill cakes, lighten it with whipped cream and use it in a trifle, sandwich between cookies, or use it to fill cream puffs.  And another plus is it takes less than 10 minutes to make (okay, so maybe that's the real reason I love it so much).

And who calls a cake a pie?  It really is quite confusing.

The way I usually make this is make the white cake several days in advance and throw it in the freezer.  The custard I also usually make ahead, 1 day in advance.  That way, all I have to do is assemble it the day of.  And that way it tastes the freshest- it really is only good the day it is made.  So don't assemble it the day before.  

Washington Cream Pie
From Cooks Country
This pie is best the day it's made.


2 (8-inch) white cake rounds (see related recipe or use your own) (you'll notice the related recipe makes 3 layers, just eat the third one or freeze it for another time)
2/3 cup raspberry jam or preserves (I prefer seedless)
1 1/2 cups vanilla custard, chilled (see related recipe or use your own)
1 recipe Frosting (see related recipe or use your own)

To assemble: 
Slice each cake layer in half horizontally. Spread 1/3 cup jam over each bottom half and replace top half. Place 1 filled cake layer on cake serving platter. Spread custard in even layer over top. Place second filled cake layer on top of custard. Spread thin layer of chocolate icing over top and sides of cake. Chill until icing has set, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Slice and serve.

White Layer Cake
(can be made 1 day ahead, or longer if you freeze it)

Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, dust with flour, and tap pans to remove excess flour. Mix milk, egg whites, and vanilla together in 2-cup measuring cup.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl of electric mixer at low speed. Add butter and beat at low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between three prepared cake pans and using rubber spatula, spread into even layer. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on upper middle and lower middle racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 21 to 25 minutes.
 Rest cakes in pans 3 minutes, then loosen from sides of pans with a knife. Invert onto large plate, reinvert onto wire racks. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Easy Custard
(can be made 1 day ahead)

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat cream, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in heavy saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until sugar begins to dissolve. Whisk in cornstarch until mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When cream mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened, about 1 minute. Immediately pour through fine mesh strainer into bowl, then whisk in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.


3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

For the icing: In medium saucepan, cook cream, corn syrup, and chocolate over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until smooth. Transfer mixture to bowl and chill until thickened but still spreadable, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, chill mixture overnight until completely set. Let sit at room temperature until softened and spreadable, about 1 hour.)