Baked Nut Oatmeal

I have not always loved oatmeal, the texture used to really throw me off, it reminded me of wall paper glue with chunks (appetizing, I know). I have always enjoyed it baked in sweet treats but more recently, however, I have really begun to love it on its own. I was given this recipe a while ago and have finally gotten around to making it.

The first time I had baked oatmeal I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had it at this little bake shop and it was pure heaven, so sweet, rich, filling. I fell in love. This recipe does not replicate my first experience but provides a great starting point.

This version of baked oatmeal is a bit more firm than what I would typically like but had great flavor. I found it best warm  and think a drizzle of warm cream would be great on top. As this cools you can definitely cut it into bars so it would be easy to transport if you wanted. If you are wanting an easy homemade warm breakfast this is a good starting point and can be easily adapted to suit your family’s likes. I do plan on making this again with some changes.

I used fresh raspberries this go around but next time I will bake in some cranberries or blueberries. I plan to increase the liquid a bit and add some more brown sugar to increase the sweetness. It was a tad too bland for my liking but that was easily remidied by adding a bit of sugar before serving.

All in all, this is a great starting point and has potential.

I rate this recipe a 7 as is.

Baked Nut Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (I used Quick Cooking)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 TBS melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 1 quart baking dish with PAM
In a bowl  mix all dry ingredients. In another bowl mix all wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry, mix to wet. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake 35-40 minutes until set.
Scoop into bowls, serve with fresh fruit.

Big, Fat, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

I, personally, am not a huge biscuit fan. However, my Taste Tester loves a fat flaky biscuit. I have tried several recipes over the years but each time they just didn’t ‘hit the mark’ for what we were looking for. That all changed when I tried this recipe. Even I (the non biscuit lover) really really enjoyed these biscuits. They were exactly what I was trying to achieve.

These biscuits baked up big, fat and flaky but best of all, not only did they look great, they tasted great! These would be the perfect sidekick to fall meals like beef stew, chicken potpie, and smothered in gravy. Of course, they are also perfect for peeling apart layer by  layer and eating in your kitchen. Or with a smothering of butter and honey like my Taste Tester eats his

The recipe is easy to follow, uses ingredients you probably already have and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. You really have no excuse not to make these.

I rate these a 9.5

 Big Fat Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
found here 

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing over biscuits
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the cubes of cold butter over the top of the flour mixture; cut in and mix using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the buttermilk and cream and continue to mix using fork or pastry cutter until mixture just begins to come together.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter and pat the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm and enjoy!Makes 12-15 biscuits. 

Caramel Pecan Sticky Rolls

My Taste Tester and I love ooey gooey caramel rolls though I had never made them up to a year ago. One lazy Saturday he suggested I bake some up. I had saved a recipe for the dough for some time but it called for a bread maker. I adapted it to use my KitchenAid and the results were fantastic. I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated cookbook for the pecan caramel topping. The end results were better than I had hoped. They definitely have made there way into our monthly baking rotation.

The recipe takes some time but most of it is waiting for the rolls to rise. Overall it is pretty simple, especially if you are familiar with working with yeast. I have killed my yeast a time or two when making various breads but this recipe has always worked for me. I usually buy my yeast and use it right away to ensure freshness.

If you are looking for a great weekend baking project, these rolls will be sure to please you! They are soft, tender and the topping is thick and rich. So perfect for the upcoming cooler months.

I rate this recipe a 9

Caramel Pecan Sticky Rolls
adapted from here

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 TBS milk or cream (my addition)
3/4 cup pecans

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon.

In saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter  and syrup and milk or cream. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour into bottom of a greased 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top.

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls.

Place rolls prepared  9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool in pan for about 20 minutes, turn over onto a foil lined baking sheet. Best served same day.

Keep stored in an airtight container. If reheating in microwave do not overheat or the dough will become tough and the caramel may burn.

Crepes

Please Please do NOT judge this recipe by the photos. I think we can all appreciate that light yellow/tan foods do not photograph well unless you play around with retouching the picture. Let’s face it, I have better things to do than retouch my pictures. Like baking. And eating.

On to the recipe. My Taste Tester and I recently went to Europe and fell in love with the Crepes in France. I had been terrified of making them for years but decided after much begging and pleading on the part of my Taste Tester I would give them a go (though I gave no promises as to the end result. I mean I was competing with Paris!). Let’s just say that I had nothing to fear! These were so super simple and a breeze to whip up, no special Crepe pan needed!

A Crepe is basically a very very thin pancake (at least as I see them). They have a mild taste and are not sweet at all on their own. They are really best for filling with a variety of goodies like fresh fruit, peanut butter, etc. Think of them like a tortilla, except not.

Now, I will admit, that I did not follow the directions for making the crepes exactly. I prefer my crepes with a bit of a crispness (not much, but a bit) to the outside so I cooked mine a bit longer than stated. Also, this made them so easy to flip (I used my fingers and it worked perfectly. If you are sensitive to heat you may want to use tongs). We also played around with filling them with a variety of goodies but Nutella was our favorite followed closely by ham and cheese.

We have even had these for dinner some nights, ham and cheese for the meal and Nutella for dessert! YUM. The only downside is that you can really only make 1 at a time so be prepared to keep them in a low heated oven until all are made. Or you will be eating alone :(  These remind us so much of wandering the streets of Paris and are much cheaper than hoping on a plane!

I rate this recipe a 9

Crepes
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sift flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.  Add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth.  (can chill covered for up to 1 hour at this point)

Heat a lightly greased 6-inch skillet. 

Add about 3 tablespoons batter and tilt skillet so that batter spreads to almost cover the bottom of skillet.  (I did not do this as I used a NON-stick pan, SO easy, and saves calories)

Cook until lightly browned; turn and brown the other side. (after I flip it I then add the fillings like Nutella etc.Then I fold it over in half and let it get nice and melted. I fold one more time, so it is now if fourths before serving. I like to sprinkle the sweet versions with powdered sugar)

Repeat process with remaining batter, grease skillet as needed.


 

Donut Muffins

Who is not in need of a quick, yummy and oh so easy muffin recipe? You can have these on  your table in  under 35 minutes (from start to finish, once your oven has preheated). Heck, I can’t even get my hair dry in that time!  I used this recipe, but there are a ton similar floating around, not sure who is the ‘originator’ of this recipe.

Now, if you are looking for a light-as-air textured muffin, these are not for you. I feel these are only called ‘muffins’ because they are baked in a muffin tin. Don’t get me wrong, these are great, but definitely have the texture that more dense like a donut hole. Now, I have yet to meet a donut hole that I don’t like, so, really, their texture is fine with me. Even my taste tester (aka, the hubs) loved these and he usually enjoys his muffins topped with struesal and nuts.

This recipe is so straight forward and easy to follow that even my taste-tester can pull these off. I would watch the bake time closely as mine were finished in about    minutes. I did add a teaspoon vanilla to the batter as indicated below and did not use nutmeg at all (we are not huge nutmeg in muffin lovers).  I let them cool for about, oh, 30 seconds before I dipped them in melted butter and then a mixture of cinnamon, sugar. I do think these would be  equally good with some sort of powdered sugar or chocolate glaze (however, they would be more work and dirty dishes).

These muffins are best eaten warm and fresh but do hold up for a day or so if kept sealed in tupperware. I would nuke for about 10-15 seconds before eating however because they do tend to get a little tough (much like day old donuts) room temp.

I did make a few small changes to the recipe as indicated below.

While these will not be my ‘go-to’ muffin recipe, they will be my ‘i-have-45-minutes-and-need-a-breakfast-or-brunch-muffin’.

I rate this recipe an 8

Donut Muffins
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon instead)
1/2 c. milk

Topping:
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, stir together the  oil, sugar, and egg.  In another bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg or cinnamon.

Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Fill greased muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove immediately from pan.  Roll in melted butter, then cinnamon sugar mixture.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 full-size muffins. (I got 12 muffins)

Fruit and Nut Granola

July 006

As my faithful readers know, I typically post recipes for my favorite meal: Dessert. I rarely follow recipes for lunch and dinner and am not really a ‘breakfast person’ unless you count Peanut Butter oatmeal or cereal (no need to post a recipe). I really never eat breakfast unless I know I won’t get lunch until late in the day but am rarely hungry before heading to work. I have been looking for something transportable that I could snack on at my leisure to tide me over until lunch but that was not terribly unhealthy for me.  I decided to try my hand at granola and let me tell ya, it is addicting. I have been eating this for breakfast, snacks and desserts for a week now and have no intention on quiting anytime soon. I am an addict.

After searching through several granola recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, I decided to make up my own. The great thing about granola is that the recipe itself is so versitile and addaptable based on your tastes or ingredients on hand you really can’t mess it up. This is the recipe to which I am currently addicted. It is cruchy, has a nice balance of salty/sweet flavor which is complimented and deepened by the toasted nuts.

Granola can be a healthy snack but packaged granola can contain more than its fair share of sodium, fats and sugars (and can be very pricey!!). The thing I love about making this treat at home is that it is very inexpensive and  you can control the oil, sodium and sugars that you include (as well as the nuts, fruits and other goodies).  You can even make this recipe more healthy by adding a few TBS of wheat germ or flaxseed to the oat/nut mixture before baking.  Relatively speaking, this granola is fairly low in sugars (watch out for natural sugars in the dried fruit) and fat (depending on how many nuts and coconut you add).

I have eaten this for breakfast with vanilla or strawberry yogurt, with milk or on fresh fruit (I love raspberries, strawberries and blueberries). I enjoy this as a crunchy topping for ice cream, frozen yogurt or on warm pie filling (kind of like a crisp). Let’s face it, I have also eaten this plain by the bowl-full. SO good. I just can’t get enough.

Feel free to adjust the spices, nuts and fruit to suit your tastes. I have tried several different juices and really like either Cranberry Apple or Cranberry Raspberry. They provide a subtle base flavor to the granola that does not overpower the other flavors and adds that extra dimention of flavor that a milder juice (apple) would not. I would not use a heavily flavored juice as its flavors may compete with the overal taste of the granola in my opinion, (I did NOT like Tropical fruit juice, too acidic and overpowering).

You just can’t beat the flavor of toasted nuts, oatmeal, honey and fruit. The smell alone will draw you in and before you know it the flavor and crunch keeps you coming back for ‘just a little more’ until the whole batch is gone.

I look forward to adapting this recipe many more times.  I may add some white chocolate chips to the granola after it cools to add another flavor dimension. I may keep adapting this recipe as I am excited to incorporate peanut butter in my next batch and leave out the fruit.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Tropical Granola
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup pecan halves
In a small saucepan (if heating on stove) or Glass measuring cup (if heating in microwave) combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
Bring ingredients to a boil. Whisk till sugar is dissolved.
Pour syrup over dry ingredients. Stir to coats. Spread on baking sheet that has been sprayed with quick release spray.
Bake 20minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the following ingredients:
1 cup dried diced pineapple
1 cup dried diced mango
1 cup dried sliced banana chips (I used unsweetened)
Bake another 10 minutes till ingredients are dry. But watch carefully it can over brown quickly.
Cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool store in tightly covered tin.
Serve with plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt.
Fruit and Nut Granola
by bakingblonde
In a large bowl mix:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup flaked coconut
.
In a medium bowl combine
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried mango
.
In a small saucepan combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen CranApple or CranRaspberry Juice (thawed)
2 TBS canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBS honey
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
*salt (optional, I like to sprinkle a bit over the top before baking)
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Preheat oven to 350.
Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed with PAM. July 003
Bring the above ingredients to a boi, wisking constantly until all sugar is dissolved.  Carefully, pour hot syrup over dry ingredients. Gently stir to coat.
Evenly spread on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
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Bake for 20 minutes, stirring well after 10 mintues.
At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the dried fruits.
Bake an additional 10 minutes, stirring well after 5 mintues for even baking. Bake in 5 minute increments (stirring after every 5) until ingredients are toasted and almost dry. Watch carefully it can burn quickly!
Allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Store in airtight container.

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies

february-115

I had a can of sweetened condensed milk to use up and decided to search the Eagle brand website for a cookie recipe. Usually I make 7-Layer bars but was in the mood to try out something new today. Well, needless to say I was under-impressed by this recipe as a cookie but it is promising as a muffin top cookie, read on.

One plus is this dough comes to together quickly, infact the directions don’t even call for a mixer. I did however have a difficult time stirring the dough as it was very sticky and I think a mixer would have helped a great deal. (but who couln’t use a little work out while baking?)

I decided to divide the dough into two batches and added chocolate chips to one batch and 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts and 1/2 cup cinnamon chips to the second batch. Boy am I glad I experimented a bit with the ingredients, it was the saving grace for these babies.  I chilled the dough for 20 minutes as I felt it was way to sticky to bake right away.

The first sheet of cookies I just dropped on the sheet using my cookie scoop. This resulted in cookies that baked up puffy and very cake-like with rounded pale tops and golden bottoms. After trying a chocolate chip one I felt they had no flavor (I believe because their is no  sugar in the recipe, only what is in the sweetened condensed milk). The second sheet I again used my cookie scoop to scoop the dough, this time, however, I rolled the dough balls in a cup of sugar and placed them on the sheet. I pressed down slighlty with a cup to flatten the tops. I enjoyed these results much more when prepared this way (the chocolate chip version is still lacking deep flavor however but looked better). The cookies are still more cakey than cookie but I feel the roll in sugar is a welcomed flavor boost, especially in the cinnamon nut version. 

I enjoyed the cinnamon nut vfebruary-124ersion of the cookie much better than the chocolate chip version (little flavor and too cakey for my liking). The cinnamon nut cookie was almost like eating a cinnamon nut muffin in cookie form. The nuts, cinnamon and cinnamon chips really shined through and made up for the lack of flavor in the dough itself.
I would not reccomend the chocolate chip version but think adding coconut, dried fruits, almond extract, nuts etc. may have potential if cakey cookies are your thing.

Overall these were not horrible cookies and would work in a pinch if you are out of sugar and desperate to bake something. Needless to say these will not be taking the place of my favorite chocolate chip cookie any time soon.  However, I did enjoy the cinnamon nut version and may make them for brunch as I think these are better as ‘muffin’ top cookies than traditional cookies.

I rate this recipe a 5 (chocoalte chip version)
I rate this recipe a 7 (cinnamon nut muffin top version)

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies
adapted from Eagle
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
 2 eggs 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
 One favorite ingredient (ingredients below) 
1 cup sugar for rolling dough (can add some cinnamon for the cinnamon nut version)

*I divided the dough and added 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in half the dough and
   1/2 cup cinnamon chips, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup toasted walnuts in the other half of the        dough
   
 Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. february-123
If using nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 mintues stirring every 5 minutes for even toasting. Do not burn. Take out and allow to cool.

 In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in butter, eggs, vanilla and EAGLE BRAND®. Fold in one of your “favorite” ingredients.

 Using a cookie scoop drop dough balls into a bowl of sugar and roll to coat.
Place on prepared baking sheet and press down slightly with the bottom of a cup. 
Bake  10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Remove at once from baking sheet. Cool. Store leftovers covered at room temperature.
 
 
Notes: “Make It Your Way” with your favorite ingredient (pick one): 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 1/2 cups raisins 1 1/2 cups corn flakes 1 1/2 cups toasted shredded coconut

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pinwheels

I really wanted cinnamon rolls Monday morning for breakfast but did not have time to make any from scratch. So, I decided to improvise and use what I had on hand.
These scrumptious little pinwheels take less than 30 minutes from start to finish and are perfect for weekday mornings! While no replacement for my homemade Cinnamon Rolls, these did fine in a pinch and were perfect with a mug of hot chocolate. The crescent roll dough keeps these rolls light and flaky and the cream cheese mixture provides just the right amount of cinnamony sweetness that satisfies my morning sweet tooth without causing a sugar overload! I used the same technique in making these pinwheels as I did for the Bacon Appetizer Crescents
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I rate this recipe a 7
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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pinwheels
5 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat Neufatel cheese)
3 TBS packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Spray cookie sheet with PAM.
Mix cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Take two triangular pieces of dough and press the perforations together to seal and create a rectangle.
If you are using the 8 oz. cans of dough, divide the cream cheese mixture into 4 equal parts and spread 1/4th of the mixture evenly on the dough. If you are using the larger cans of dough, divide the cream cheese mixture into 6 equal parts and evenly spread 1/6th of the mixture on the dough.
Cut the dough lengthwise into 4 equal pieces, approximately 1/2 to 3/4-inches wide.
Roll the dough up into a pinwheel and place flat on baking sheet.
Bake as package directs or until golden in color.
*You could make a quick glaze using sifted powdered sugar and cream/milk to drizzle over top of the warm pinwheels.