Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Afternoon Parfait...yum

our kitchen table

I haven't stopped baking! My kitchen is currently tu-tu land (getting ready for Molly's wedding), and I haven't had much time for blogging! I wanted to share this recipe for Pumpkin is PUMPKIN-Y, yummy, and a healthier option for all you pumpkin lovers out there. This granola tastes great alone, on yogurt, or on oatmeal! For the weekend...I currently have a pumpkin caramel cheesecake in the oven. I'll share that one on here if it passes the taste test! :O) Have a great rest of the week!

Pumpkin Spice Granola


3 ½ cups rolled oats

2 ½ cups puffed rice cereal

2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¾ tsp. salt

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pecans and Cranberries (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until very smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. I usually leave a space in the middle, so it cooks through. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula. Sprinkle the pecans onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes.

Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.

Break up granola as desired and toss with cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oreo Cupcakes

Here is another "top requested" recipe for you! These would also make great mini cupcakes...just use the mini oreos!

Oreo Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them for big chunks!)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Southern Comfort - Pecan Praline Cookies

Lately, I have really been missing the south. Georgia, and Pecan Pralines have been on my mind. :O) Landon loves pecans, and I have been wanting to make him something special! So today, I put together a pecan praline cookie topped with caramel sauce. These cookies would also taste great with white chocolate drizzled on top. I enjoyed my cookie with a homemade pumpkin latte...I found the syrup at a coffee shop in town! This recipe will make about 40 small cookies (if you can keep your fingers out of the cookie dough). Hope y'all have a great weekend!!!

Pecan Praline Cookies

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pecan Praline:
In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together constantly the sugar and water. Cook until boiling for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until the syrup is golden brown in color. It is important to remove the saucepan from the heat just as the sugar begins to darken to an amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup pecans. Carefully pour the hot mixture onto a parchment lined sheet tray. Let cool until completely firm. Transfer to a plastic bag, crush with a rolling pin, and reserve for the cookie dough.

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined

Stir in the flour and baking soda and mix until incorporated. Fold in the reserved crushed praline until combined. Drop 1 tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop of the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.

Caramel Topping (optional)
1/3 cup sugar
2 T Water
2 T Butter
Pinch of salt

If you decide to top the cookies with the caramel...don't make the sauce until ALL your cookies are baked. It hardens very quickly, so you will have to work fast!

To make the caramel topping, whisk together the sugar and water over medium-high heat, and bring mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. When the syrup starts to boil, stop stirring. Boil syrup until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk butter and a pinch of salt, until melted and well combined. Drizzle over cookies!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Apple Cream Cheese Blondies w/Brown Sugar Frosting

Our "comfort food" dinner. I just love sweet potatoes.

With or without the frosting? I loved them both ways.

Happy FALL! For some reason, I am EXTRA excited about the fall season this year. Maybe it is the fact that I have 3 sweet pumpkins here at home with me that I get to cuddle up with! To welcome the fall, (even though it is still warm in OK) we have some serious comfort food on the menu tonight! For dinner, I'm making the Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf, loaded baked sweet potatoes and green beans! I'm not a huge meatloaf fan, but this was pretty tasty! For dessert, I made some Apple Cream Cheese Blondies. The Brown Sugar Frosting is optional...the blondies are very tasty on their own...very light and fluffy! Forget the calorie counting today....this girl needs some comfort food!

Apple Cream Cheese Blondies w/Brown Sugar Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 cup peeled chopped apples
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
3 oz cream cheese (frozen for about 1 hr, and cut into little cubes, also optional)

Brown Sugar Frosting:
4 oz butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup milk
2 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted

Prepare a 13 x 9 dish with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Preheat Oven to 350.
Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture on low speed, mixing until blended. Stir in apples and nuts, mixing well. Fold in the cream cheese pieces. Spread evenly in the prepared dish and bake until set and golden, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack.

Brown Sugar Frosting:
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Sift in the confectioner's sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread evenly over bar. Let stand until frosting is firm enough to cut. Cut into bars or squares.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins topped w/Streusel

Yummy Cream Cheese Filling

The perfect recipe for fall if you love pumpkin as much as I do! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins topped with Cinnamon Streusel
Yield: 24 muffins

For the muffins:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

For the streusel topping:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour
4 tbsp. butter, cubed
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours.

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice in each muffin well. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Banana Berry Muffins topped with Streusel

This is my favorite Muffin recipe! The Streusel topping is optional...but I highly recommend it! If you have another muffin or bread recipe that you love, this Streusel tastes great on just about anything!

Banana Berry Muffins topped with Streusel

For the muffins...
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (or two medium-sized bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the Streusel topping...
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well. Add flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat just until blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line tray with muffin cup papers.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together with a wire whisk.
Add butter, eggs, bananas and vanilla.
Mix on low until just combined.
Fold in blueberries...batter will be thick!
Add Streusel topping to each muffin.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes 12-15 muffins.

Reese's Cake

Another top requested recipe....this is one of my favorites. Of couse, I will eat anything with chocolate and peanut butter in it. :O) To make things easier, go with your fav chocolate cake mix, but DON'T SKIP THE FROSTING. It is might want to make a double batch so you can "sample" some along the way.

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For decorating:
1 ½ – 2 batches peanut butter frosting
miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped

Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.) Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

Turtle Brownies

You can't go wrong with chocolate, chocolate, and homemade caramel sauce. The caramel hardens almost immediately after pouring...and it is SO GOOD. These brownies are espcially tasty warmed up with vanilla ice cream on top. I think I might need to go make another batch...

Turtle Brownies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus an additional 2 tablespoons, divided use
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar, plus an additional 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided use
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate, or milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish.

Melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn heat off, and whisk in chocolate until melted and well combined.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt, until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, 1 cup granulated sugar and vanilla, until well combined. Whisk in melted chocolate mixture, gradually, until combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the pecans, until combined.

Scrape batter into prepared baking dish, and spoon the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle additional pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees F, for 25-30 minutes, or until set. In the last 2 minutes of baking, sprinkle milk chocolate over the top to melt.

Cool brownies on a wire rack, while you make the caramel.

To make the caramel topping, whisk together the additional 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water, over medium-high heat, and bring mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. When the syrup starts to boil, stop stirring. Boil syrup until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in additional 2 tablespoons butter and a pinch of salt, until melted and well combined. Drizzle caramel evenly over brownies.

Chill or freeze brownies until set, before slicing.

Makes 12 brownies

Marbled Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I HAD to post this recipe for Banana Bread. It is SUPER yummy! I baked this recipe in 3 mini loaf pans to give as gifts. Of course, I kept one for myself...and ate half of it. It was worth every calorie! Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marbled Banana Bread

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi or dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
2 medium bananas, mashed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan. (you can also make this in a muffin pan or mini loaf pans...just lessen the cooking time!)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter chips until combined. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana and peanut butter until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until well combined - about 2 minutes.

Divide half of the batter into medium bowl; sift in cocoa powder, and beat until combined. Alternate spoonfuls of banana batter and chocolate batter into the pan. When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a knife sparingly through the batters to marble them. Sprinkle with additional chocolate and peanut butter chips, if desired.

Bake for 60-65 (or about 45 if cooking mini loafs) minutes or until bread pulls away from pan, is well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; run a knife around outer edges and invert onto wire rack to cool completely before slicing.