Baking

cookie dough – chocolate chip and oatmeal

Things are starting to open up around here, though I am not in any hurry to get out there and see what’s going on. I am still a little nervous about getting covid though I am slightly thinking it is inevitable. There are too many opposing views for me to be totally on board with any of them. I am just taking it one day at a time. 
you have all the ingredients out – make it worth your effort make a couple of different kinds

There are things that I really miss which is time spent with my friends, family and going out to my favorite restaurants. Even though we do order dinner out at least once a week, my daughter and I also order lunch out on Fridays; it is not the same. I am excited for the weather to be nicer so we can be outside more and be able to have friends over – it’s so much easier to social distance outside.
I have been making this recipe so long, see that green recipe card, it has to be close to 30 years old

I have been making batches of cookie dough for the freezer. It is really nice to bake a fresh cookie or two when you want one. The last two batches were SO good that my daughter wanted me to blog about them. I know I have said this before but when I make something that good I always say I really think I could sell these or my other saying is people need to have this. I hope you will make one or both of these cookies and freeze them individually so you too can enjoy a fresh baked cookie or two.

I do tend to flatten them out a bit before freezing, I take them out while the oven is preheating so they are still frozen and it helps them take shape while in the oven. You can also help them by tapping the tray when you take them out or just lightly press on them when you take them out. 

Oatmeal about 50 cookies
bake at 350’f for 12 minutes – let sit on the tray for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack

Ingredients
2 cups unsalted butter room temperature (important)
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups oats

Directions
Cream together in a mixer the butter and sugars. Whip for a minute or two. Add the eggs and mix till combined. Add the vanilla. 
In a separate bowl whisk the flour, soda and cinnamon. Gradually add this to the butter mixture. 
Add the oats. If you are making the full batch, your bowl should be a little full so take your time adding so you don’t wear everything. Mix to combine and using an ice cream scoop or whatever you have on hand for the size cookie you want. place on a cookie sheet for the freezer or make some for eating now

Chocolate Chip about 40 cookies
Bake at 325’f for 12 minutes – let sit on the tray for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack

Ingredients
2 cups plus 4 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks of butter room temperature (important)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In a separate bowl whisk the flour, soda and salt and set aside.
combine the butter and sugars and beat for a minute or two. Beat in the eggs, yolks and sugars until combined. 
Add the dry ingredients and beat on low just till combined. Add the chocolate chips and Mix to combine and using an ice cream scoop or whatever you have on hand for the size cookie you want. place on a cookie sheet for the freezer or make some for eating now.

After they are frozen individually package them up all together and place back into the freezer for when you want them. 

Take care and stay safe!

Valentine Dinner Fare

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Whether you are a fan of Valentines Day or not it’s all on you! But I do hope you are on the same page as your partner. It kinda sucks if one of you is looking forward to something on this day and the other treats it like; say a Tuesday. Yes I know it’s now known as a Hallmark kind of holiday but according to Wikipedia (see below) it’s been around a lot longer than Hallmark that started back in 1910 in Kansas City, MO.

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There are numerous martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14, including a written account of Saint Valentine of Rome’s imprisonment for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution. The Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of the Christian martyr, Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269.

The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady).

Date Night Dine In
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Regardless of what you plan on doing it is damn near impossible to go out to dinner in our little town unless you have already made a reservation somewhere plus the crowds are crazy so we generally stay home and I make something a little more special than our typical meal. I think this year we will be having seared scallops over creamy risotto.

Pan Seared Scallops
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Over the years I have shared a few meals that I think would fit the bill for the night that you could make for your sweetheart!

Chocolate Martini

Individual Chocolate Lava Cake

 

Mocha Yule Log aka Buche de Noel

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After I made this I placed it in the fridge and didn’t tell anyone I made it. When each one went to get something out of the fridge; they each smiled and said “you made a yule log”

IMG_4891There are a few things I have wanted or at least thought about making and figured  they were beyond my reach. Not that I couldn’t make them more of I thought they were harder than I wanted to work for them; if that makes any sense.
IMG_4893IMG_4896Some recipes have a lot of ingredients listed which can look like it will take FOREVER to make the recipe; compare it to receiving a long email. You tend to zone out after the first paragraph or so and put it aside to “read” when you have time a little more time wink wink.
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While this recipe at first glance might look like it has a lot of ingredients it really is mostly hands off and didn’t take me very long at all, plus how forgiving is it since it is supposed to look like a log. I’ve tried to decorate cakes to perfection only to never get them quite right. This one turned out perfectly log like 🙂
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I know it tastes great since I got to eat the ends that I cut off to clean it up!

Mocha Yule Log aka Buche e Noel

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • Frosting
  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoon milk

Instructions
 

  • place egg whites in a small bowl and yolks in a large mixing bowl. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350'F. Line bottom of a greased 15"x10"x1" pan with parchment; grease parchment. sift flour, cocoa and salt together twice. Beat the egg yolks until slightly thickened. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar, beating on high speed until thick and lemon-colored about 3-4 minutes. Fold in the flour mixture.
  • Add cream of tarter to the egg whites and with clean beaters, beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beating on high after each addition until the sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until soft glossy peaks form. Fold a fourth on the whites into the batter then fold in remaining whites. transfer to prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  • Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, about 12-15 minutes. be careful to not overbake. Cool for 5 minutes. invert onto a clean tea towel dusted with cocoa. Gently peel off the parchment paper. Roll up the cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with the short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Filling; in a bowl, dissolve coffee granules in the cream. beat until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Unroll cake and spread the filling over the cake to within 1/2 inch of all the edges. Roll up again, without the towel, trim the ends. Transfer to a platter, seam side down, refrigerate, covered until cold.
  • Frosting: beat all the ingredients until smooth. spread over the cake. Using a fork, make lines in the frosting to resemble tree bark. Refrigerate until serving.

Notes

Adapted from Taste of Home test kitchen
This blog won’t feel complete unless I share what I found about the history of the Buche de Noel. The tradition dates back to medieval times, one of many pagan rites competing with Christmas traditions. A log of wood—often from a fruit tree to ensure a successful harvest in the year to come—would be brought home and placed in the hearth, which at the time functioned as the epicenter of every family’s activity. Depending on the region and its various beliefs, salt, wine, or holy water—among other ingredients—were sprinkled atop the log before lighting it on fire. Sprinkling wine, for example, was yet another way to guarantee the following year’s grape harvest would be bountiful.

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Slicing it at an angle and placing the flat part against the roll makes it look like a branch

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using a fork you can make lines through the frosting to make it look rustic and more like a log

 

Once lit on Christmas Eve, the log had to burn for at least three days for good luck—ideally until the New Year. That was just the start: ash from the log provided protection against lightning strikes, and coals were used throughout the year in various medicinal potions. It is believed that it turned into a cake looking like a log around the 20th century.
IMG_4916IMG_4917IMG_4919IMG_4922There are so many variations out there, this recipe had me at mocha – I LOVE mocha!

Puff Pastry Apple Hand Pies


Hand pies, dumplings, turnovers, empanadas, spring rolls and egg rolls pretty much anything that you can pick up with one hand that has either sweet or savory ingredients inside; I am a fan!
Out of everything I listed in my opening statement I have made them all but two of them. One of the two has been on my list to try to make but I haven’t gotten around to it; the other I think it is just easier to go to a bakery and buy them. I want to learn how to make empanadas and turnovers I am content with someone else doing it. At least for now!
Quick story from my childhood. My mother owned a cleaning company when I was a kid and I would go with her to a couple of offices at night; one was next to a Mom and Pop store/deli. The Mom of the store was a very sweet lady and she knew my favorite was Hostess apple pie and an orange crush. As you can tell I was a health nut way back then too. She would try to save me these items, or at least that was what she said when I came in that week. Now as an adult I very rarely drink soda but orange crush is still on the list, I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a hostess apple pie. I think I had one as an adult but it was many many years ago.
I do prefer to eat homemade or restaurant made items versus processed; but if I was on a desert island and all they had was hostess and crush – I would be pretty OK!
I’ve mentioned many times using up items I have on hand and last week I had some apples on the counter that no one seemed to be grabbing and frozen puff pastry sheets in the freezer that had been in there awhile. Apple hand pies sounded perfect to me; and they were! 

puff pastry apple hand pies

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
easy to make and eat

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 crisp apples or whatever you have on hand; cored and cut into ¾” dice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 package 17.3 ounces/2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
  • combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
  • Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry. Make sure you allow them to cool, I did not and it made a mess.
  • Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut six 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish or a bowl as a guide and discarding the scraps. Place ¼ cup or less of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the sugar in the raw, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.

Notes

Make sure your apples are cooled. Some of the filling may come out while preparing and/or baking it's fine.
Adapted from ina garten

Coffee Creme Cake

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How many kitchen items do you have that doesn’t exactly get a lot of use but you just can’t or won’t part with?  I am scared to even count and the thought hasn’t even really crossed my mind. Well it might have crossed it but it was dismissed almost immediately.

IMG_4264I am sitting here trying to remember why I even bought my bundt pan. I believe it was right around the time the kids were born so close to 30 years ago; damn I’m old. I mean damn that pan is old. I also believe I bought it after someone brought into work a sour cream coffee cake that I still have the same recipe for; though I haven’t made it for quite some time. Maybe that oldie but goodie needs to make a re-appearance.
IMG_4266Anyway, I saw this recipe on the cover of one of my favorite magazines Fine Cooking and I knew immediately I would be breaking out my old bundt pan and giving it a try. While I definitely should have adjusted the cooking time for my dark bundt pan; I left it in the oven probably 3-5 minutes too long and was too dry for us. Though I will be making this again. It has great flavor and it looks awesome. The only ingredient I have never been able to find is Instant espresso powder. I have needed it before for other desserts and I should just order it online; but I still haven’t. I substituted it for some dark roast instant coffee I found and it worked out just fine
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Coffee Creme Bundt Cake

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter room temperature, plus a little more for the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus a little more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoon instant espresso powder or dark roast
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • Glaze
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or dark roast
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped

Instructions
 

  • preheat the oven to 350' F. butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, salt and soda.
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine the coffee and vanilla. Add the sugars and butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy. about 4 minutes. beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  • reduce speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream. Ending with the flour and mix just till combined.
  • Add the batter to the pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake until the cake is puffed up and test with a skewer in the center, remove it from the oven when the skewer comes out clean. 45-55 minutes. Check it at 40 minutes if using a dark pan.
  • Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip the cake onto the rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Glaze

  • in a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter, egg yolk, salt and coffee over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. about 4 minutes. drizzle while warm over the cooled cake. top with chopped walnuts.
  • serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne

lemon zucchini blueberry tea cake

My initial intent was to post about the asparagus that I cut from the garden Friday after work I had pork chops out and a plan. But it was so nice out and we haven’t been able to use the patio or the porch yet this year; it has been too cold and too rainy. Friday afternoon was beautiful out so instead of cooking we made a plate of cheese and crackers and had our first Happy Hour out on the porch. I will admit our Happy “Hour” usually turns into Happy till the sun goes down or the bugs force inside.

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Since my asparagus is still in the fridge and we are going out to dinner with some friends tonight (Saturday) I still won’t have time to cook the dinner I planned on making last night. Welcome to nice weather and the changing of plans. Happens to me all the time!
My daughter and I got the porch, patio and the flower garden ready this morning plus did some raking and got my in-laws patio ready for them and I made my shopping list but it is way to nice out to go to the store, so that will have to wait for another day. I am currently sitting out on the patio writing this while my husband is lounging over there reading. Life is good!!!

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If you have never had lemon and blueberries in a muffin, tart or cake or something you really need to try some sort of baked good using both of them, they are like the perfect compliment a little sweet, a little tart. the flavors are terrific together though I am very partial to lemons so maybe I am a little biased but they are worth checking out.

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This is my first one using their suggested amount of blueberries – we all felt every bite benefited from having a blueberry with it.

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake preheat oven to 350 degrees

¾ cup applesauce – or if you want coconut oil
1 ¾ cups shredded zucchini – drained
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of fresh blueberries

In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.

Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

I used 2-8” cake pans but could be made in one larger cake pan; it doesn’t rise like you would think as it is a denser kind of cake.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-ounce bag of powdered sugar (roughly 4 cups – I buy mine in bulk)

Cinnamon Rolls for Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

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You really should make these this morning – my mouth is watering

I will be going out to breakfast this morning without my children. My husband and I are away for the weekend for a wedding in Rhode Island. For those of you that are home and plan on making breakfast for your mother, wife, grandmother or just for yourself. These are worth making today, or any day really.  They are so easy to put together and crazy fast that you can make them in under an hour – seriously!

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Do I have your attention yet?

I’ve made them a few times and it still surprises me how good they are and how quickly I can make them and with so few ingredients that I always have on hand; I bet you do too. Make a frittata or strata or just scrambled eggs and a fruit plate and you will have a very tasty very satisfying breakfast or brunch fit for a Queen!

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The dough comes together very easily!

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Add as much or as little cinnamon as you like

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after baking

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before baking / after rising

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Cinnamon Rolls

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
Easy, fast, light and fluffy Cinnamon Roll with great flavor
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast = 1 packet
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

for the Filling

  • 1/2 stick butter softened room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

for the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Instructions
 

  • pre-heat your oven to 200’ and just before you place the rolls in the oven; turn it off.
  • in a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast; mix well
  • In a microwave safe bowl heat the milk, water and butter till the butter melts 30-40 seconds.
  • Once melted stir into the flour mixture and the egg and knead until the the dough is no longer sticky roughly 3-4 minutes.
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rest for 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filing
  • Roll out the dough after it is done resting; into a 15″x 9″ rectangle.
  • Spread the softened butter on top and then sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter.
  • Roll the dough on the 15” side tightly and cut into 9 large even pieces.
  • Place them in a 9″x 9″ slightly greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the; turned off oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes remove the plastic wrap and turn the oven up to 375’F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  • Make the glaze while the rolls are in the oven. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and use enough milk to make the glaze light enough for you to drizzle over the hot rolls when they come out of the oven.

Notes

Adapted from from the recipe critic

Blueberry Pie Bars

Before my husband and I were married way back in the late eighties. We got a puppy together, isn’t that kind how things tend to progress for most? You date for a few years; you move in together and get a pet? I see it is a trial period to see if you can co-habitat before pulling the trigger on marriage and kids. If you can co parent a pet and not kill each other; you might have a shot at this marriage/parenting thing. In my opinion!
IMG_3984We have had dogs more than we haven’t; 4 in total and all but the first were rescues. The current one is testing all of us. I have lovingly dubbed him my ungrateful rescue. The last two were wanderers but that is nothing compared to the coo coo that runs our lives now. I really wish I documented everything he has done. It would make for an entertaining dog drama. He has separation anxiety and he has come a LONG way in the last 9 years. He is lucky he has us and we are lucky to have him. BUT last week he had to have TPLO. I proudly can say I have never heard of this up until now. TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy – now that’s a mouthful.
IMG_3990.JPGWe have been spoiled with free feeding all of our dogs, very few leash walks, we have a lot of land that’s partially ours and all around us. Mostly hands off care for our pets. This surgery comes with a lot of restrictions for not just weeks but months. It’s going to be a long road not just for him but for us. My daughter gets all the props for leading and keeping us on track. Just a glimpse of the first 14 days; no stairs, his own pill of the week box and a cone of shame. Here’s hoping for a full recovery 4-6 months down the road.
IMG_3993.JPGWhat is my segue into my cooking blog – absolutely nothing and I apologize but it has been pretty much all dog and no cooking in my world right now. I will share with you a wonderful blueberry recipe that is worth checking out and pretty easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble Crust and Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional but recommended

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt; or sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Blueberry Layer
12 ounces (2 cups) blueberries (fresh or frozen; thawed or unthawed either works)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust and Crumble Topping In a large bowl add the melted butter and sugars, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt. Stir to combine, should be dry and sandy with a few large clumps.  Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside for the topping. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, Create an even smooth flat crust. I use the bottom of my measuring cup. Set aside.
IMG_3985Filling In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Evenly pour filling over the crust smooth it over the crust.
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Blueberry Layer In a separate medium mixing bowl, add all filling ingredients and toss to combine. Evenly distribute blueberry mixture over the filling.
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sprinkle with the reserved topping.

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Bake for about 60 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and the topping is slightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving. Don’t skip this part or they will fall apart.
IMG_3992.JPGBars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I bet they won’t make a week in my house.

 

Recipe adapted from Avery Cooks 

Raspberry Squares

I am going to share this recipe with you that I originally posted about 5 years ago. Yeah I know I can’t believe I have been writing a weekly blog for about 6 years now. I honestly didn’t know how long I would stick with it. I didn’t know what my objective for a blog would be. I see bloggers come and go, I see them change format, and timing some slow down with how often they write. I am still writing and sharing because I enjoy it, I enjoy hearing that people look forward to reading my post, I enjoy sharing recipes that I would make again. I love it when someone makes one of my recipes and gives me a shout out.

beef and broccoli 008 beef and broccoli 010 beef and broccoli 026 beef and broccoli 028 beef and broccoli 030 beef and broccoli 033 beef and broccoli 035 beef and broccoli 039 beef and broccoli 041

Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both
12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces
1 10 oz jar of raspberry preserve

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them
Preheat oven to 350’F

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Baklava thumbprint cookies

Happy Healthy New Year To You All

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I am guessing you are thinking wait didn’t she write just last week it was going to be a sugar free zone January. I did, especially at the office, now if only someone; anyone would come and eat the giant margarita glass overflowing with Lindt chocolates before I go back to work on Wednesday there might be a fighting chance.  Also I did mention this at home and got a resounding hell no we won’t go chant sooooo not sure how this is all going to pan out.

IMG_3864.JPGI also mentioned several blog posts ago that there will always be baked goods in my life so I am just going to keep being me!
IMG_3865.JPGI saw this recipe in a magazine that intrigued me in 2 ways. Firstly I have always wanted to make a thumbprint cookie but none of the fillings seemed calorie worthy; I’ve never been a huge fan of a lot of jelly, don’t get me wrong I like it just fine, but I want it to be a light layer as an accent not the main ingredient, if you get my drift. You will never see me eat a jelly donut – just saying! Secondly I like baklava and actually since spending time in Greece recently you could say love; because theirs was all amazing. But the ones I have had here in the states were just way too sweet for me. I sound too picky for a foodie but there you have it!
IMG_3866.JPGThese cookies were almost perfect and everyone over Christmas loved them. The only thing I would do actually will be doing differently is; not a huge fan of almond extract it is such a powerful flavor and tastes kind of fake to me, I would add half the amount of that and increase the vanilla extract. I will give you the recipe as I found it but since I am going to be me; you do you!
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Ingredients
1 cup of sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract – here I would do ½
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – here I would to 1½
2¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Topping
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup honey
¾ cup of chopped walnuts

Directions
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the extracts.
IMG_3868.JPGAdd the dry ingredients to the wet, beat until creamed all together.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to form into small balls. Around 30 minutes or so.
IMG_3870.JPGPreheat oven to 375’F
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place them about 2 inches apart on either parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheets.
IMG_3872.JPGBake for 8 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and press a deep indentation in the center of the cookie with the back of a spoon or I used the back of a melon baller. Fill each indentation with a little honey and top with nuts; then sprinkle them with the cinnamon and sugar. Back into the oven for another 1-9 minutes.
IMG_3876.JPGCool them on the sheet for a minute and them remove them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Approx.
1 cookie 168 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 2g protein

Recipe: Sharon Eshelman – Taste of Home

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