Granola is my favorite way to start the day. Sometimes I pair it with yogurt or oatmeal, and sometimes I just eat it with milk. But over the years I have found granola can be used for so much more than breakfast. It really pairs well with a lot of things. I sprinkle it over a mid-day snack of apples and honey. I use it as a topping for my frozen yogurt. And sometimes I just grab a handful and eat it plain. It’s really an awesome thing to have lying around.
And the great thing about making your own granola is that you get to pick and choose what goes into it. Always pick the raisins out of granola? Skip ‘em! Never enough almonds? Add some extra! It’s really great. You know where the ingredients are coming from (none of those preserving chemicals that are often found in the store bought stuff) and you get to dress it up any way you want!
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup pecans
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup cranberries or raisins
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment.
- Put cranberries or raisins aside.
- In a large bowl combine rolled oats, almonds, pecans, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Make sure the brown sugar is evenly distributed and there are no big chunks.
- Add maple syrup and vegetable oil and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
- Evenly spread the mixture on the prepared sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the oats become a golden brown color. Every 15 minutes, take the pan out and stir the granola around.
- Once the granola is done, let cool for 5 minutes and then add cranberries and/or raisins to the mix.
- Let cool and enjoy! In a airtight container, the granola is good up to two weeks.
In the past I have always called February 14th Valentine’s Day. It was simple, universal, and to be honest I had never really thought of calling it anything different. But this year, my friend introduced me to a new name, and I think it is so much better than the original. It really captures the true essence of the holiday, and the vast impact it has on our culture. So from now on, February 14th will be known as Men Panicking Day. Pretty great right?
I don’t know why, but for some reason this holiday seems to put a lot of pressure on men. If you don’t believe me, go into any candy/cupcake/bake shop on February 14th and just watch. I guarantee there will be more than one man running in for a last minute gift looking very stressed.
So in honor of this new name, I decided to make something simple for this special holiday. I took an old recipe and changed it up a little, and it turned out to be pretty great. So weather you are a man or a woman, panicked or calm, these White Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls are a great (and easy!) way to impress someone you love.
- 1 1/4 cups thin pretzels crushed
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 cups good white chocolate
- Put pretzels in a plastic bag and crush into small bits.
- In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all ingredients are completely blended and smooth.
- Add pretzel bits to peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add powdered sugar and, again, mix thoroughly.
- Now take a spoonful of the mixture and form into a ball. (If the peanut butter starts sticking to your fingers, run your fingers under cold water, and begin rolling again).
- Place balls onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Put into the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes.
- After the peanut butter balls have chilled, prepare your chocolate. (I would recommend using a nice white chocolate. That means no Nestle white chocolate chips – use something like Ghirardelli. Nestle does not melt very well and you will end up with a mess of burnt white chocolate.) Put the white chocolate into a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave the for 30 seconds and then stir. Then continue this microwave/stir routine at 10 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Place one peanut butter ball into the melted chocolate and gently roll it around with a fork until completely coated. Remove from the bowl with the fork and place onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Repeat for all other balls.
- Once they are all coated, place them back in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes.
After they are coated in the white chocolate, you can be done with them. But if you want to make them look extra special…here are two ways you can decorate.
1. Colored Splatter
Once you are done coating all the balls, use food coloring to dye the white chocolate the desired color. Only add a little bit of food coloring at a time. If you add too much it can turn the chocolate hard. Put the colored chocolate back in the microwave for 10 seconds so it is easier to splatter. Dip a spoon into the chocolate and then hold the spoon two inches over the balls and move your hand back and forth. Repeat until you cover all the balls. Place in the refrigerator for another 10-15 minutes.
2. Drawing with White Chocolate
When white chocolate is runny it is very easy to draw with, and once it is dry it can be used as decorations. You can put the chocolate into a piping bag with a tip or just draw with the edge of a fork or spoon. Draw whatever you want on a sheet of parchment. Once it is dry you can just peel it off the parchment and attach it to the balls with a little dab of melted white chocolate. But remember if you are doing letters – draw them backwards. You will want to use the back side of your drawing as the decoration because it will be nice and smooth. And here is the result! Enjoy!
I decided to start 2014 with one of my favorite flavor combinations of all times – marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker. The s’more. A seemingly simple campfire creation has turned into a cultural phenomenon – and for good reason. It’s amazing. Buzzfeed has given us 19 s’mores recipes that will change your life, while others have created beauty products inspired by the delicious gooey treat.
Long Winter Soap Co S’mores Perfume Suzy Scent Shop S’mores Chapstick
See what I mean…it is a big deal. And even though I love a traditional campfire s’more…these bars are easier to make, nicer to serve at a party, and don’t require a roaring campfire. (In my years I have made plenty of s’mores over the gas stove – it is just not the same as the real deal campfire.) So give these a try and see why everyone is going crazy over this ooey gooey goodness.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 bag of mini marshmallows
- 3 Hershey bars
I found this recipe 8 years ago…and even though I have made a lot of bloodies since then, I have yet to find a chocolate chip blondie that is better than this one. It has all the right elements of a perfect blondie, and then a little something extra. The soft and chewy chocolate chip base is filled with chocolate chips and then topped with a sweet toffee glaze and crunchy toffee bits. It is really something special.
Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup toffee pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or PAM the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan.
- In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Once mixed, add to butter and sugar mixture on low speed until just combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula and spread batter evenly in the pan.
- Bake the blondies 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is no longer runny when tested with a wooden skewer.
- While the blondies are baking, make the topping.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat until the butter is melted.
- Once melted, stir in powdered sugar and brown sugar. Mix until the sugars are melted.
- Increase heat to medium-high and let simmer until it thickens. (About 5 minutes)
- Once the blodnies are out of the oven, use a wooden skewer or fork to poke holes in the blondies.
- Pour mixture over the blondies and then sprinkle toffee pieces on top.
One year ago I started this blog as a final project for my photography class. The assignment was to do something that expresses a part of who you are. This is what I came up with. My roommate convinced me I should continue the blog even after the class was over. When I made it live, I was overwhelmed with the positive response I got.
For this cake I used my Birthday Cake recipe with buttercream filling. But instead of using buttercream for the outside, I used fondant. I traditionally like to stick with buttercream, but when painting, fondant is the way to go. So pick a color and work it into the fondant until you get the desired color. (I suggest using gloves because it can get a little messy.) Once you are happy with the color, you need to cover the cake with fondant. Here is a video to show you how
After you have your cake covered, you can now begin the
and that’s it! Super simple. And then if you want to top it off with a golden animal candle…find out how to do it here.
We were so happy when the Nosher asked us to come up with a special Hanukkah/Thanksgiving dessert. So we took our Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, did a little tweaking, and created the ultimate Thanksgivukkah dessert!
Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie
For the crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 Tbsp bourbon
- 20-25 pieces of gelt—enough to cover the bottom of the crust.
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup halved pecans
To make the crust:
- Combine flour, salt and sugar with a light whisk.
- Add the shortening (you can mix with a dough blender or you can use your hands). Just work the shortening in until particles are size of small peas.
- Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoons at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 tsp can be added if needed).
- Gather pastry into a ball and then shape it into a flattened round on a floured surface. Wrap pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, cold and pliable (about 45 minutes).
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough out (on a floured surface) until it is about 2 inches larger than the upside down pie plate. Once it is big enough, flip the pie plate back over and lay the dough in the plate lightly pushing it to the bottom and the sides.
- With a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and push the sides of the crust into the side of the plate. Then, to make the lip of the pie look fancy, use the fork to make marks in the dough on the lip of the plate (picture shown) and rip off any excess dough. Set aside for filling.
Note: You can also use the extra dough to make decorations. Roll out the extra dough and cut out any shape you want – here I used a turkey. With a fork, mix 1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Lightly brush a small amount of the eff mixture over the cut out and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 until golden brown (about 2-5 minutes depending on how big your cut out is).
To make the filling and assemble pie:
- Mix melted butter or margarine and corn syrup together until it has a glossy look. Add salt and sugar and mix until it is completely integrated into the mixture. Mix in eggs and bourbon until the entire mixture is a pale yellow color (no darker yellow egg streaks). Set aside.
- Start filling the crust by placing the unwrapped gelt at the bottom of the pie crust. Add both chopped and halved pecans. Then add filling mixture.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. The edges of the crust should be a golden brown and the filling should be completely congealed.
Perfect for the upcoming holidays! These sugar cookie truffles are cute, delicious, and totally customizable. But for this post…we went with a yellow, blue and white Hanukkah theme. Enjoy!
Sugar Cookie Truffles
- 1 recipe of my super soft sugar cookies
- 3-4 tbs. cream cheese
- 3 oz. baker’s white chocolate
- colored sprinkles
- Make sugar cookies as directed and let cool.
- Once cookies are cool, place them into a food processor until they resemble a fine crumb mixture.
- Add cream cheese one tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles a dough.
- Roll dough into small 1 inch balls and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Right before you remove the truffle balls, melt chocolate in a small bowl, and place a nice pile of sprinkles on a small plate.
- Once the chocolate is melted, take the balls out of the refrigerator. Dip the top 1/3 of each ball in the chocolate and then in the sprinkles.
- Once decorated all of the balls are decorated, cover them with saran and put in the fridge until about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve.
The only thing better than having friends who like to eat your baked goods is having friends who share delicious recipes with you to make those baked goods. This recipe comes from one of my oldest friends who just happens to share my love for baking. We loved baking so much we even came up with a plan to quit our real lives and start a bakery called Lsquared. (Her name is Layne and mine is Lindsay…get it?) But we decided finishing high school and then going on to college was probably a better idea. So even though there is no Lsquared….we have collected some pretty great recipes. These cookies are both soft and crispy, and sweet and salty at the same time. Really really amazing!
Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tbs. vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- 1 tbs. baking soda
- ½ tbs. salt
- 2 cups instant oatmeal
- 1 pkg of butterscotch chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and two sugars.
- Add vanilla and eggs until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
- Add instant oatmeal and mix until combined.
- Fold in butterscotch chips with a spatula.
- Place inch balls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
and last but not least…here is a picture of Layne and I in high school.
The past few years the red velvet craze has gotten a little out of control. The flavor has gotten so popular that they are now making things like red velvet brownies, red velvet ice cream, and even red velvet pancakes! Yeah, that’s right…RED VELVET PANCAKES! And yes, I will admit some of these new red velvet inspired creations are delicious, but I have yet to try something as good as the original. A good old fashioned buttermilk based red velvet cake is truly something special. It is moist, dense, contains just the right amount of chocolate, and is piled high with a whole lot of cream cheese frosting. And while I give credit to the innovative minds that came up with the red velvet pancake, I still don’t think it lives up to the greatness of the classic.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from White Lily
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup salted butter, firm but not cold (if using unsalted add 1/8 tsp salt)
- 6 oz cream cheese, cold (I recommend using Philadelphia brand in this recipe)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Optional – lightly toasted pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in mini cupcake tins.
- In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda and coco together and set aside.
- In an electric mixer with a fitted paddle attachment, beat sugar and eggs together until combined and a pale yellow color.
- In a small bowl mix together oil, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla.
- Add to the bowl of eggs and sugar and beat until combined.
- Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the wet mixture by alternating the buttermilk and dry ingredients. Always start with the flour and end with the flour.
- Pour a small amount into each cupcake liner. Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cake bounces back when you touch the top with the tip of your finger.
- While the cupcakes are baking, use and electric mixer to whip together butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy.
- Mix in vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth, light and fluffy – about 3 minutes.