Sunday, December 1, 2013

White Chocolate-Gingerbread Blondies

adapted from Martha Stewart
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
10 ounces white chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 17-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares or desired shape.

I am secretly an old man due to my unnatural love of all things gingerbread. I could definitely live off of gingerbread. Nothing makes my heart as happy as gingerbread cookies. So, when I saw that Martha had a recipe for gingerbread blondies, I had to jump on that train. Although I despise all things white chocolate, I used a bag of white chocolate chips in the blondies, because I had a bag, and I might as well use them now. My bars kind of exploded over the sides while in the oven, so I think I'll reserve some of the batter next time. And there will definitely be a next time, because these were amazing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pecan Pie

adapted from Completely Delicious

1 prepared pie crust in 9-inch pie dish
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup chopped pecans
Dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Then stir in the pecans.
Gently pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake until the edges are completely set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. 
Let cool before serving, serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin purée
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Heat oven to 425°F.
Prepare pie crust, and pie dish.
Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust.
Bake 15 minutes, then REDUCE oven temperature to 350°F; bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1-inch from crust comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Enjoy your pie!

My nephew, Nathan, wanted to bake a pumpkin pie FROM a pumpkin. Being the amazing aunt that I am, I took that as a challenge. So, I cut up a sugar pumpkin, scraped the innards, chucked it on a baking sheet and roasted it in the oven for like an hour (until the pumpkin is fork tender) at 350ºF. When I removed the pumpkin from the oven I peeled the skin off, and went to work on pureeing that s.o.b. in my TINY food processor. My pumpkin was a little dry, so I had to add some water to get the consistency I wanted. Then I pushed it all through a sieve, because it was still pretty fibrous. The Pioneer Woman recommends freezing it in one cup increments, just so that you know how much you have. I had a little under two cups from the one pumpkin, and used it in this pie recipe. This may not be the prettiest of pies, but I still love it because of how much hard work went into making it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake with Penuche Frosting

adapted from i heart nap time
Pumpkin Sheet Cake:
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 16 oz can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour sifted
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Penuche Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

pumpkin bars:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan, set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix eggs, oil, and sugars until sugar is wet. Add pumpkin, and stir until smooth.
Add flour mixture to pumpkin, and stir until just combined.
Spread mixture into prepared jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven, and cool on cooling rack while preparing frosting.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stirring continuously for 2 minutes.
Stir in heavy cream. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a KitchenAid, and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Using the wire whisk attachment, add confectioners' sugar until frosting has reached your desired consistency.
For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar; to thin it out, you can always add a bit of milk.
Frost cake while frosting is still a little warm, it will start to set up as it sits.

This sheet cake remind me of my Cedar Family. We started a tradition of eating pumpkin anything for breakfast during the Sunday Morning Session of October General Conference, and this sheet cake is perfectly pumpkin-y, and I think would make a wonderful start to any day.
The penuche frosting reminds me of my favorite baker from the Cedar Family, Kim. She always made cake for our Cedar Family Functions, and one of the first cakes she brought had a penuche frosting. Which is really just a fancy way of saying brown sugar "caramel" frosting.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Orange Ricotta Cookies

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 orange, zested
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until ingredients are combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and the sugar. Beat the until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, orange juice, and orange zest. Beat to combine.

Stir in the dry ingredients. Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To glaze the cookies: combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let glaze harden for about five minutes.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Oreo Icebox Cake

adapted from recipes by Cookies & Cups and Taste of Home
2 packages Oreos
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup CREAMY peanut butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar
12 oz tub Cool Whip
1 package instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 package Reeses Minis

Prepare pudding according to package directions. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Carefully fold in the tub of cool whip. Set aside.

Pour some milk into a small bowl. Then give each Oreo a quick dip. We don't want to soak them, but we want to at least fully immerse them.

Then lay the Oreos flat, in a 13x9 pan until bottom is covered.

Once you have a layer of Oreos, spread half of the peanut butter mixture on top of the Oreos.

Repeat Oreo process. Top this Oreo layer with prepared chocolate fudge pudding, and some of the reeses minis, at your discretion.

Repeat Oreo process, and spread remaining peanut butter mixture on top. 

Garnish with crumbled Oreo cookies, and Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Cover, and chill for at least 6 hours before serving. So the Oreos have plenty of time to soften up.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fried Chicken Bites

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour

Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine egg, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well; and add chicken.
In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch, and flour.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet, over medium heat (to about 375* F).
Carefully dredge the egg covered chicken in the cornstarch/flour mixture, and shake off excess.
Add chicken in small batches, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Then enjoy!

In high school, my favorite thing to get for lunch was 2 chicken tenders, and a 2 "potato logs" with lots of ranch from the LCL gas station. I'm 99% sure that they must have laced their ranch with heroin because I would just CRAVE those chicken tenders, and this is coming from a girl that hates breading on meat. I hate breading so much that I literally threw up the chicken parmesan a boyfriend spent hours making for a romantic dinner because I couldn't handle it.
Anyway, I was making Orange Chicken to celebrate the fact that we got custody of my niece, and as I was frying up the chicken for the Orange Chicken, I decided to taste test what I had so far, and I found the answer to my LCL chicken prayers, and these super simple Fried Chicken Bites were born.
Now all I need is some of that ranch in the tiny little cups, and my life will be complete!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Orange Chicken

adapted from Easy Restaurant Recipes

(for the chicken)
2 pounds boneless chicken pieces, skinned
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
White pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided use
1/4 cup flour
(for the sauce)
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
Zest from 1 orange
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 dash crushed hot red chilies
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon rice wine
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut chicken pieces into 2-inch squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well; set aside.
Stir 1/2 cup cornstarch and the flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat, (to about 375* F)
Add chicken pieces, small batch at time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the sugar, white vinegar, soy sauce, water, and zest of orange.
Then set aside.
In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions.
Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds.
Add pre-prepared mixture of sugar, orange zest, vinegar, water and soy sauce, and bring to boil.
Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.
Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch into orange juice until smooth.
Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thickened.
Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
Serve over rice, and enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Raspberry-Peach Cobbler

adapted from a recipe on Spoonful

1/3 cup unsalted butter
3 cups sliced peaches
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat the oven to 350ºF.  Measure the butter into a 2 1/2 -quart casserole dish. Place the pan in the oven to melt the butter.

Combine the peaches and raspberries in a medium bowl, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over them. Gently stir the fruit, then set it aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the remaining sugar, the milk, and the vanilla extract and stir until the mixture is evenly blended.

When the butter has melted, pour it into the batter, stir quickly but gently to mix it in, then immediately pour the batter into the casserole or skillet.

Add the fruit with its juices, distributing it evenly and lightly pressing it partway into the batter with a spatula.

Return the pan to the oven and bake the cobbler until the top is a rich golden brown, about 1 hour.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pineapple Angel Food Cake with Toasted Coconut Frosting

1 package angel food cake mix
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1 jar vanilla frosting or even cool whip!

Preheat oven to 350* F.
Combine angel food cake mix and crushed pineapple in a medium sized bowl.
This is a no-fuss recipe, so leave your beloved KitchenAid alone, and mix it by hand.
Pour batter into a 13x9 inch cake pan, and spread evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes, and let cool.
Top with frosting of choice, and toasted coconut, then enjoy!!

I'm sure you can make homemade frosting, but it's just not my cup of tea. I'd just rather eat the stuff from the jar that's been sitting on a grocery store shelf for a couple months, than do the dishes.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Oreo Icebox Cake

adapted from Cookies & Cups

1- 4.2oz package Cookies & Cream Pudding Mix
2- 12 oz tubs, Cool Whip, thawed
2 packages Oreos*
Chocolate Syrup (optional)

Prepare Cookies & Cream Pudding according to package directions. Set aside.
While the pudding is setting, pour some milk into a bowl.
Give each Oreo a quick dip. We don't want to soak them, but we want to at least fully immerse them.
Then lay the oreos flat, in a 13x9 pan until bottom is covered.
Spread one tub of Cool Whip over the Oreo layer, make sure it is even and pretty.
Repeat Oreo process, but this time, top Oreos with your prepared Cookies & Cream Pudding.
Repeat, but with second tub of Cool Whip.
Crumble extra Oreo Cookies on top.
Cover, and chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
When serving, you can make it extra chocolatey and decadent by drizzling chocolate syrup on top.

*You can use any kind of Oreo you want, we had the regular kind at my house, but Double Stuff would probably make this even more awesome.

The original recipe just used the Cool Whip, but I decided to replace one layer with the Cookies & Cream pudding, because I'm a classy lady, and I wanted to make it a little more Oreo-y. Also, I dipped my cookies in Lactaid, because I'm lactose intolerant, and later found out that Cool Whip now has dairy in it… but to make it a completely "lactose-free" dessert you can use TruWhip, along with replacing the milk with Lactaid. The pudding mix, and the Oreos are lactose-free ingredients. :]

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tequila Lime Chicken

adapted from The Pioneer Woman on FoodNetwork

4 limes
Zest of two limes
1 cup tequila
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, sliced
1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups grated Monterey Jack

Slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender. Add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapenos, lime zest, and cilantro. Blend the mixture until totally combined. Add the chicken to a large plastic bag and pour in the lime-tequila mixture. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat. Rotate the chicken 45-degrees on both sides to create nice grill marks, and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Melt the Monterey Jack over the top of the chicken breasts.

I watched this episode of The Pioneer Woman, and knew that I had to make this chicken. How can you go wrong with tequila, limes, jalapeños, and cheese? Well friendos, you can't because this chicken is amazeballs. I'm like 99% sure that the tequila made all the difference. Because I have a crazy love affair with limes, I decided to add lime zest to the recipe, to give it just a little bit more intense lime flavor. I served it with black beans, spanish rice, and corn tortillas. My entire family loved it, which is a rare, so you should definitely add this to your recipe list!

Grilled Salsa

7 tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large white onion, cut into quarters
2 jalapeños, sliced in half, remove tops and bottom
4 cloves garlic
1 lime, juice
small handful of cilantro
salt, pepper, cumin to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Toss tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños in a large bowl with vegetable oil.
Sprinkle with salt, peper, and cumin.
Heat grill to medium heat, and grill the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños until you get a nice char on them.
Squeeze excess water out of the tomatoes, because no one likes runny salsa.
Purée each ingredient separately, until you get the consistency you like. I puréed my cilantro with some of the tomatoes, because I hate chopping herbs. Then I grated in the garlic raw, because I like that bite.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then salt and pepper to taste.

I've been thinking of making my own salsa for awhile now, store bought salsa just doesn't cut it.
I'm not a fan of raw salsas, or chunks, I'm also not a fan of that kind of weird can taste you get from canned tomatoes. So, I decided to use all fresh ingredients, and grill them, because you can't go wrong when you grill something. I used two good sized jalapeños, and left the seeds and ribs in, because I am pretty hard core, and love me some heat! But you lightweights out there can definitely cut down on the amount of jalapeño, and even remove the seeds and ribs to make it even more mild.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

S'mores Pie

adapted from Pastry Affair

Graham Cracker Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Chocolate Filling
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
10 ounces, semi-sweet chocolate chopped or chips
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, whisked
1 bag of marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant.

Keep oven running.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Slowly add whisked eggs and mix until smooth.

Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.

Place marshmallows in concentric circles* over the baked pie. If using large marshmallows, cut the mallows in half using kitchen shears. *unless you're a Rachel.

Set oven to broil. Place pie under the broiler and lightly toast the marshmallows. This can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, so watch those marshmallows closely!

Chill pie in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours.

To serve, spray a knife with non-stick cooking spray and cut the cold pie into slices. The pie is kind of a pain in the butt to cut while warm, and ends up a big, gooey, chocolate mess.

While the pie can be eaten cold, it is a total #foodgasm when slightly warmed. Heat the pie slices in a microwave for 7-10 seconds before serving for the best results.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Snickerdoodles (rainbow style)

my niece & nephew wanted rainbow cookies, and since snickerdoodles are such an easy canvas for coloring, we decided to just go with it.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla extract.

Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl.

Shape dough into balls, I used a tablespoon sized cookie scoop. Roll balls in cinnamon and sugar.

Place cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are golden.

Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

***I used wilton gel food coloring, so I didn't ruin the texture by adding more liquid.***

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

S'mores Cookies

from Two Peas and Their Pod

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mallow bits
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
Extra graham cracker pieces and mallow bits (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Stir in the Mallow Bits and mini chocolate chips. Roll a teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball. Press half of a Hershey's chocolate square on top of the cookie and gently press down. I stuck in a few extra pieces of graham crackers and Mallow Bits onto the top of the dough for looks, but you can skip this step if you wish. Continue making all of the cookies.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to a wire cooling rack.