Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mini Maple Bars

There's just something about miniature food that makes me happy. I love it.  I think it's because when I eat miniature food I have this false sense of eating less.  You know, if you ate 3 full sized cookies that would be bad, but if you ate 10 miniature cookies it wouldn't seem so bad.  Or is it just me???
My kids had friends over for a sleepover and the request for breakfast was donuts.  We've made a couple of different kinds of donuts (Baked Donuts with Maple Frosting, Cinnamon Roll Donuts, Baked Chocolate Glazed Donuts, Donut Hole Muffins, and my favorite, Old Fashioned Sour Cream Donuts.)  The kids requested something different.  Yikes.  I sometimes run out of ideas.  Then it hit me... Donut Holes.  Yum!  We love Donut Holes.  
I found this great looking recipe but realized I don't own a small round cookie cutter.  How can I not own a small round cookie cutter???  I own just about every kitchen utensil known to man.  How disappointing.  So I decided to make small squares and then it hit me... Maple Bars.  Oh man.  We love us some Maple Bars!

Mini Maple Bars
Source: Babble

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* pinch of salt
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1 large egg
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* Vegetable oil for frying
Maple Frosting

* 4 cups powdered sugar
* 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
* 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple flavoring
* milk
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon salt. Stir together and set aside.

In a separate bowl stir the sugar, sour cream, egg and butter until it is smooth. Then stir in the flour mixture until a dough forms. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least 20 minutes. 

Roll the dough out on to a lightly floured surface until it is 1/2 inch thick.  You can cut 1 inch circles in the dough to make donut holes or use a pizza cutter to cut 1 inch squares.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until it is 350 degrees.  Carefully add each square, one at a time, and cook for about 1-2 minutes.  (Turn to cook evenly.)
Remove from oil onto a pan lined with paper towels.

To make the maple frosting, powdered sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth.  Add maple flavoring and beat.  Add milk, a small amount at a time (about 1 tsp.) and beat after each addition until it is the consistency you want.  It should be thick.
Frost with maple frosting and enjoy warm!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Round Up of Delicious {Gluten Free} Desserts... Oh My!

I've never really given gluten much thought until recently.  We all know people who are gluten intolerant but to truly think about what gluten is and what foods contain gluten?  Yikes.  I was shocked.  

Very simply put, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grains (barley and rye.)  It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep it's shape and gives it a chewy texture.  This is why bread is so light and soft (in most cases).  So the thought of removing gluten from these things (like breads, cookies, cakes, etc) seems almost impossible.  How is it possible to remove this ingredient and keep foods tasting so yummy?

I'm here to tell you - there is a way to make delicious, gluten free desserts!  And I am so pleased to bring you a line up of said desserts that some blogger cohorts of mine have made (and love.) 

Erin over at The Spiffy Cookie made these Salted Nutella Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies.  I'd like about a dozen right now, thank you very much!

 We are huge Snickerdoodle fans in my house so we can't wait to try these Snickerdoodles made with almond flour from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks.  

Chocolate plus cake and I'm totally in!  Spinach Tiger made this amazing looking Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Jane from The Heritage Cook blew me away with her Boston Cream Pie-Cake.  Oh man.  I'd eat this for breakfast!

Are you kidding me?!?!  Katrina from Baking And Boys hit a major home run with this Chocolate Truffle Heart Cakes.

I love the flavor combination or chocolate and orange.  It makes my mouth happy!  So I can't wait to make this amazing Chocolate Orange Cake from Vanderbilt Wife.

I kind of have a thing with chocolate.  You could say it's an obsession.  (But make sure you say it in a nice way.)  These Flourless Fudge Cookies from Life and Kitchen look like they would make me very happy.

How about sinking your teeth into these Almond Joy Coconut Brownies from Baking with Boys?!  Yes, please!

Debbie over at Debbie Does Dinner put a healthy (and gluten free) spin on her Fruitcake Recipe

Who would have ever thought chocolate and avocado together?  But take a look at this amazing Chocolate Avocado Pudding (that's also a vegan recipe) from Fearless Homemaker.  Doesn't it look heavenly!

And last, but definitely not least... Manu's Menu made this to die for Chocolate Panna Cotta

Thank you to all the amazing bloggers who allowed me to add their recipes (and pictures) to our round up.  It's so nice to hear about and see that you can still have amazing desserts, even if you are gluten free.




Monday, May 20, 2013

Gooey Snickerdoole Bars {Secret Recipe Club}

It's the third Monday of the month.  You know what that means.  It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day.  Yeah!  I love this day!  Call me a dork but I look forward to this day all month.  It's fun.  It brings me joy.  Don't judge.

My blog assignment this month was Julie's Eats & Treats.  With a blog name like that, I knew I would have no trouble finding one (or twelve) recipes that I wanted to try!

There were so many recipes that I wanted to try, like the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars or the  Meatball Bubble Biscuits.  Everything looked so good and it was so hard to chose.  But then I saw the Gooey Snickerdoodle Bars and knew my kids would love these!

Gooey Snickerdoodle Bars

2 1/2 c  flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, slightly packed
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

My kids love baking with me.  I think I love it more than they do, but either way, it's a win-win.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 30 seconds until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugars and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for 1-2 minutes. On a low speed slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle over the batter.

Take a small spoon (I used my small scoop for this) and drop the remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool completely, about an hour. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for the glaze. Drizzle over the bars.

As the glaze soaks into the bars they transform from a cookie bar into a gooey, delicious, soft Snickerdoodle bar.  Amazing!

They are kind of a cross between a Snickerdoodle and a Cinnamon Roll.  They are a Snicker Roll... or a Cinnamon Doodle.  You decide.  But man oh man.  I can't even tell you how amazingly delicious they are. 

Secret Recipe Club


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Baklava

Ever since I made Peanut Butter Baklava I've been on a little Baklava kick.  It was so dang delicious that it's about all I think of.   Yep, I'm having Baklava dreams.  I daydream about it at work.  When I'm making dinner all I can think about is that I need to make more and quick.  I know, I'll join a 12 step Baklava program later.  For now, I'm going to enjoy another amazing Baklava recipe!
I figured if you could change up the filling to peanut butter and chocolate, what else could you put in there?  Hershey's Cinnamon Chips immediately came to mind.  I love those things.  And doesn't cream cheese make everything in life just a little bit better?

So this is what I came up with... Cinnamon Cream Cheese Baklava.  What do you think?  Well, only tell me if you're going to be positive.  I don't think I can deal with critisism right now.  I'm tired.  Seriously... TIRED!  We're on the countdown, though, to the end of the school year.  I can't wait for summer.  'Cause guess what I'll be making this summer?  More Baklava!
All delicious ingredients!
The directions are on our Peanut Butter Baklava post as well but here they are again.  They sound complicated, but they really aren't.  Heck, if I can make it, anyone can!
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Baklava
* 1 package of Phyllo dough (1 roll in the box)
* 1 cup butter, melted
* 1 tub of Philadelphia Indulgence Cream Cheese Spread (I used Cinnamon in one batch and Dulce de Leche in another.  Bother were amazing!)
* 1/2 to 2/3 package of cinnamon chips
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1 tsp. vanilla
The directions are a little complicated so read through them first.
Get all of your ingredients out before you begin. The Phyllo dough dries out quickly if not done properly.
Place melted butter in a bowl and have a pastry brush for brushing it on the phyllo.
Place the tub of cream cheese in the microwave about 30 seconds - 1 minute, until it is really soft.  Make sure you don't burn it so just do 30 second spurts and then stir..
Open your bag of cinnamon chips.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Thoroughly butter your 9x13” pan. My phyllo dough came in one large sheet so I cut it in half so it would fit in the pan.  You'll want to use the entire package.
Unwrap your roll of phyllo dough onto a cutting board and cut it in half, so it will fit in your pan. Cover the phyllo dough with a layer of plastic wrap and place a damp kitchen towel over the top. This step is super important!
Brush the top sheet of phyllo with melted butter. Grab it and the sheet below it (so you have two sheets) and place them, butter side down, in the pan. Repeat two more times, so you have 6-8 sheets of phyllo in the pan. Cover the phyllo with the plastic/damp towel.
Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese over the top and spread. Sprinkle with cinnamon chips.

Butter another phyllo sheet and grab the one below it (so you have two sheets) and place them, butter side down, on top the cream cheese layer. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese over the top and spread. Sprinkle with cinnamon chips. Repeat this about 4 more times, or until you are out of cream cheese.
Butter another phyllo sheet and grab the one below it (so you have two sheets) and place them, butter side down, on top the peanut butter layer. Repeat this two times, so you have 6-8 layers on top of your last cream cheese layer. Butter the top of the baklava.
Using a sharp knife, cut your baklava into squares, being sure to cut all the way though all the layers. This was kind of hard but be patient. The phyllo will slip and slide a little bit.
Bake about 45 minutes until it's golden brown.
While the baklava is baking, heat the water, sugar, honey, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to the lowest setting until the baklava is done baking..
When the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the honey mixture over the top, being sure to get it in all the cuts and corners. Let cool completely, uncovered, for several hours. This is a strange and cool step.  It kind of seems like it's going to turn into a soupy, mushy mess with all the liquid.  But the phyllo soaks up the honey mixture and makes it taste oh so delicious!

It's amazing!  The cinnamon cream cheese (or dulce de leche) and the cinnamon chips combined with the sweet honey - AMAZING! 
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}

Who doesn't love a good slow cooker recipe?!  It's truly the best of both all worlds - you come home from work and your house smells wonderful, you don't have to turn on the oven for hours and there aren't a bunch of dishes to clean up afterwards.  Win, win in my book!

We had company for dinner the a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to make something that didn't require me standing in the kitchen the entire time that they were at my house.  I hate trying to cook dinner and entertain at the same time.  (Add into the mix a house full of kids running around too and my brain gets a little fuzzy.)  So this was the perfect recipe!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Source: My Recipes

* 4 pounds pork roast (shoulder or butt) 
* 2 large onions sliced (I used a sweet onion)
* 1 cup ginger ale
* 1 bottle (18oz) bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
* 1 bottle barbecue sauce for serving (optional) 

Slice one onion and place in the bottom of the crock pot.

Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.

Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin (if any). Most of the fat will have melted away.

Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW.

Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce.

This was an easy recipe to make and it's delicious!  My house smelled wonderful!   We served our sandwiches with our Ranch BLT Pasta Salad.  Perfect combination!




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Win $25 in the the #SummerSplash Giveaway Event

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Summer Splash Event hosted by Life With Two Boys and With Our Best!

A bunch of great blogs have come together to bring you some amazing prizes to help you kick off your summer... with a SPLASH! Each blog is giving away at least $25 worth of prizes, plus we have an awesome grand prize for one very lucky winner. Be sure to hop along to each of the participating blogs because the more giveaways you enter, the more chances you have at winning the Grand Prize!

Our giveaway for you is a $25 Paypal credit to do whatever you want with.  Yep, $25 to spend anywhere!  Just enter on the rafflecopter below for your chance!

Giveaway open World Wide.

So what's this Grand Prize we're talking about? Thanks to Trex Outdoor Furniture, one very lucky winner is going to win a Yacht Club 3-Piece Rocker Set valued at $1,317! Made in the USA and constructed of durable HDPE recycled lumber, this Rocker Set is sure to help you slow down and relax this Summer and for many years to come!

Now how about entering a ton of other giveaways?

Disclaimer: Please note that the Summer Splash hosts and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prize. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation that they will fulfill their prize in a timely manner. While we are not responsible, we will make every effort to assist the winner in obtaining their prize.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate - a match made in heaven, right?  Well if you are any kind of a peanut butter lover you will LOVE these brownies.  They are chocolate-y and rich and totally delicious!  

It was Teacher Appreciation Week last week last week and my kids wanted to take some brownies to their teachers.  We found these great tags and they made the perfect gift.

Brownies are always a favorite in my house but then add a thick layer of peanut butter, chocolate fudgey goodness and oh man.  I was in heaven!

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies
Source: Slightly adapted from Once Upon A Chocolate Life

* 1 box of family size brownie mix (9 x 13) 
* ingredients needed to make brownies
* 10 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
* 1 bag (11.5 ounces) milk chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
* 2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Chop up the Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  Yum!  This was pretty tempting for this peanut butter cup lover - so I cut up 12 instead.   (And ate 2 while I was baking.)  =o)
Make brownies according to package.  Bake for 5 minutes less than the package states.   Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped peanut butter cups over the top.  Return to the oven and cook for 4-5 minutes.

In a saucepan, add chocolate chips and peanut butter and cook over low heat.  Stir until melted and blended well.  Add rice krispies and stir well.

Pour the rice krispie mixture over the brownies and and spread evenly.  Let cool for a few minutes and then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Cut into squares and enjoy! 

I don't even have words....

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