My Secret Weapon

This is something that I have debated for a long time about sharing, and I almost didn’t share this today. But I decided that it’s so good, I can not, not share it with my wonderful friends. So here it is my secret weapon, my secret recipe.

These cookies are delicious, no… beyond delicious. Truly mind-blowing.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c Quick Oats, blended until fine

1 c Sugar

1 c Butter, room temperature (very important, completely melted runny butter or cold butter will not incorporate properly and the cookies will suffer, trust me on this: room temp.)

1 c Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

2 c Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 c Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

3/4 c Milk Chocolate Chips

3/4 c Vanilla Chocolate Chips

Half of a 6.8 oz Hershey’s Symphony Bar with Almond and Toffee bits, broken into little pieces (the now not so Secret Ingredient)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend the Quick Oats in the blender. Set aside. Add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together until the consistency is smooth.

2. Mix together the flour, oats, soda, and salt in a separate bowl until combined. Add flour mixture, into the sugar mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing each until incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips and the bits of the chocolate bar.

3. Measure out the cookie dough balls and bake for 8-12 minutes. Enjoy!

This recipe makes a lot and if you don’t feel like eating that many cookies at one time, you can make cookie dough balls and freeze them in a zippered plastic bag, for baking or for snacking on later (which is generally what I do, and when we go to make some actual cookies -same temperature and duration as above- there’s almost not enough to make a dozen… oops!).

Well there it is, I hope that you love it and that it brings you the joy we get when we eat them.

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

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Granola Bars

I have always loved granola bars! They are delicious, as a kid I especially loved Quaker Oats bars, but now that I’ve grown older the bars that I eat don’t have to be completely sugar. I found this recipe on the blog smitten kitchen (which food blog I love), they in turn found from King Arthur Flour. I did some experiments of my own and the first time, let me just say was a dismal failure. Why then am I posting this recipe? Because I believe that the failure was connected with the use of a cheap waxed paper, it stuck to the bars and was impossible to remove, and even though my husband and even some of his coworkers insisted that the bars were very good I was disheartened. After a couple of months and some pleading on my husband’s part I got up the courage to try to make them again, this time using Reynolds’ Genuine Parchment Paper, NOT their Cut-Rite Wax Paper. The result was perfect and delicious bars. I enjoyed them very much, and all of my friends who tried them liked them as well. It is such an easy recipe too, and can be manipulated to yours, and your families tastes, allergies, or diet.

Let me just say that I am posting the recipe as I like it, and also state some changes that could be made, but I am not posting the original from the King Arthur Flour website, nor am I posting what Smitten Kitchen posted. So in summation this recipe has gone through three changes, some great some small, but for your own recipe you can look at the other previous posts to do your own version as well, if you feel so necessary.

Chewy Granola Bars

1-2/3 c quick rolled oats

2/3 c granulated sugar

1/3 c oat flour (or 1/3 c oats, processed until finely ground in a food processor or blender)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

2-3 c dried fruits and nuts*

My Mix: 1/4 c wheat germ

3/4 c white and semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 c peanuts, processed in a food processor until the size of a rice grain

1/4 c cashews, processed in a food processor until the size of a rice grain

1/4 c walnuts, processed in a food processor until the size of a rice grain

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/3 c chunky peanut butter or another nut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp melted butter

1/4 c honey

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish, 8 x 8 or 7 x 11, with wax paper, allowing it to go up on the sides, then coat with non-stick spray.

2. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, honey, maple syrup and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry, including the peanut butter, until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing down firmly to mold the bars to the pan.

3. Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes until they’re brown around the edges. They will still seem soft when you press in the center of the pan, but they will set completely when cool. Cool the bars in their pan on a cooling rack. Once cool use a serrated knife or bench knife to cut the bars into sizes that you think would be a good snack size. If the bars are crumbling, stick them in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to allow them to set and then continue cutting them. To store them, wrap the bars individually in plastic or place them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store the bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried cherries, or  dried apples.

 

Cupcakes

Mmmmm. Cupcakes are so delicious! I have wanted to make Red Velvet Cake, ever since I saw Bobby Flay’s throwdown on the Food Network, however many years ago. I also have been wanting to make cupcakes for a while.  Then I found this recipe when I was searching for what a “true” Red Velvet Cake’s ingredients are. A perfect marriage of the two! And we really enjoyed the cupcakes, though Yellow Cake with chocolate frosting is still my absolute favorite.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

by: Paula Deen, 2007

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 c vegetable oil (I used Canola oil – healthier for you)

1 c buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 Tbsp red food coloring

1 tsp white distilled vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

For Frosting:

1 lb cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 c sifted confectioners sugar

Chopped pecans and/or fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, or mixer bowl, gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. (It is best not to do this by hand, you want to incorporate all the ingredients together as efficiently as possible, being careful not to over develop the gluten.) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined, but not overmixing.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in the oven for about 20-22 minutes, turning the pans once halfway through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

For Frosting:*

1. While the cupcakes are cooling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar on low-speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

2. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife, offset spatula, or pipe it on with a big star tip.

3. Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry, or strawberry. Enjoy!

*Just as a side note this makes at least twice as much frosting as you will need for the cupcakes, I would recommend halving the recipe.

Harry Potter: The Finale

I am so excited for tonight, my husband and I are going to the final installment of the Harry Potter series on film. We have been watching the previous movies up until now and are ready for the final movie. I must say that I am a little critical of the series, just ask my husband, and I am hopeful that the final movie will live up to all of the fans expectations and more. Heres a great fun and easy snack for all of your movie escapades.

Homemade Popcorn

Popcorn kernels, white or yellow

Canola Oil (any frying oil will work, it just needs to have a high smoking point, so not olive oil)

Butter, to taste

Salt, to taste

Any seasonings you wish, what we use (below)

Popcorn Seasonings

1. Heat oil on medium in a pot with a lid, enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add popcorn, again enough to cover the bottom, and a little more if you wish. Watch the oil and popcorn, it can burn.

2. While the popcorn is heating you can melt the butter in the microwave, and prepare any seasonings you may want to add.

3. When the popcorn, begins to pop be sure to have your bowl on hand. Do not remove from heat until pot is full and you pour into the bowl. Being careful to leave behind as many kernels as possible to heat them until they pop.

4. Add butter and seasonings and enjoy, perfect to eat while watching your favorite movie, or playing and games with your family.