Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bars

It’s another beautiful day here.  I feel bad for the rest of the country still suffering in the unrelenting depths of winter.  Luckily, my mom and I are taking a mother-daughter trip together and meeting in San Diego for a few days, so at least she’ll get a break from the harsh weather for a while at least.

Winter or summer, this recipe is always good.  Sometimes I make these in cookie form and bring them into work.  I’ve had people say they are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made.  I laugh because the recipe I use comes straight from the Quaker Oats website, aka the recipe for oatmeal cookies you find on the bottom of the lid of any box of Quaker oatmeal.  But, I figure if anyone knows how to make oatmeal cookies it’s got to be these guys, so I’m not surprised people think they are the best.  Here’s a link to the website.

http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipe/vanishing-oatmeal-raisin-cookies.aspx

To make these into bars I baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Also, this time I used chocolate chips, but raisins would be good too!

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Great Grandma’s Banana Bread

Today started pretty early because I had to proctor a final exam for a class that I am a TA for.  I’m not sure whose idea it was to have a final scheduled for Saturday at 8:00 am, but that’s neither here nor there.  When I got home I wanted to bake something that would be appreciated, but didn’t require much thought.  So, what better recipe than the the first one I ever learned?

This banana bread recipe was given to me by my mother, from my grandmother, from my great grandmother…or so the story goes.  It is obviously the best banana bread recipe around.  It’s easy and delicious too.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter (melted)

1 egg

3 bananas (mashed)

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup nuts (I used almonds)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Today I made muffins.  The recipe came out to 15 muffins and I baked them for about 18 minutes.  Check on them occasionally though while they are baking because every oven is a little different and baking time may vary.ImageImage

Guinness Cupcakes

Welcome to part 2 of my St. Patty’s Day Bake-fest.  I don’t think you can actually get drunk from eating these cupcakes.  Or at least you’d have to eat so many that you’d probably get sick from a sugar overload before an alcohol overload.  But, for those who are not fond of the taste of beer, this is a great way to still participate in the consumption of that iconic Irish brew on St. Patrick’s Day.

I got the original recipe from this website and followed the recipe and instructions pretty closely:

http://www.chow.com/recipes/11557-chocolate-guinness-cupcakes

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Ingredients (cupcakes):

12 oz. Guinness Stout

1/2 cup milk (I actually used almond milk instead of whole milk)

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup cocoa

2 cups sugar

2.5 cups all purpose flour

1/5 tsp. baking soda

Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese (softened in the microwave)

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 lb (16 oz) powdered sugar

green food coloring (added until it’s the shade of green you want)

green sprinkles

The original recipe says to bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Mine were done in about 21 minutes.

Enjoy!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Sugar Cookies!

Well it’s a beautiful day here, with a high of 80 degrees and sunny.  I went to the farmer’s market this morning and I’m pretty sure I got a sunburn sitting outside.  But, sometimes the first sunburn of the year isn’t so bad because it’s just nice to know that the weather is nice enough to actually get a sunburn.

In addition, Monday is St. Patty’s Day!  I’m not much of a beer drinker, and am more Scandinavian Lutheran than Irish Catholic, but, nevertheless, I relish the opportunity to bake holiday themed treats.  I used a basic sugar cookie and icing recipe which can be suited to any holiday depending on the shape of your cookie cutter and the type of food coloring you have.

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Sugar Cookies

350 degrees F

Cookies:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

10 tbsp butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

sugar for dusting (optional)

Soften the butter in the microwave and then add each of the other ingredients.  Mix well using a beater (or your hands, which is what I did).  Flour a wax paper surface and a rolling pin to roll the dough out to the desired thickness.  My clover cookie cutter was pretty huge, so I only got 12 cookies, but you’ll get more/less depending on the thickness of the dough and the size of the cookie cutter.  Carefully place each cookie on a greased cookie sheet and bake 5-8 minutes (again, depending on how thick the cookies are).

Royal icing:

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp meringue powder

6 tbsp water (more or less depending on how thick you want the icing).

food coloring (I used about 4 drops of green)

Once the cookies are somewhat cool, you can ice them with the Royal Icing.  Let the cookies sit out for a while to let the icing harden before stacking them on one another.  I also added some green sprinkles.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake

Hello all.  Happy Daylight Savings Time (end of Daylight Savings Time?  I never know for sure).  This may be the most hated holiday(?) of the year.  It’s infuriating that the Daylight Savings Time elves have the audacity to steal one of our precious weekend hours.

To soothe my unbridled rage I made this recipe this morning.  Here is a link to the original recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cinnamon-swirl-bundt-coffee-cake/

I pretty much follow the instructions as listed, but I had to leave it in the oven a little longer than the recipe says (about 55 minutes). This is probably because my oven is old and needs to be replaced.  I swear, when I get my own house the one requirement I will demand is that it has a fully functioning state of the art oven.  Everything else is arbitrary.  Well, I’ll maybe also demand good bathroom appliances.  People tend to take those for granted too.

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Ingredients:

Coffee Cake:

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup butter

1.5 cups sugar

2.5 cups All-purpose flour

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

Cinnamon sugar filling:

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Muffins

It’s looking like a beautiful Saturday here.  It’s going to be in the low 70s and sunny, which is a nice break from the rain we had earlier in the week.  So far, I’ve done my normal Saturday routine which entails going over to the shopping plaza with the Safeway and picking up a few groceries (I needed chocolate chips for today’s recipe).  Then I went and sat at Noah’s Bagel shop and drank some coffee and read some of my latest Stephen King book.  Finally I made a stop at the pet store and bought some crickets for my toad, because toads need to eat too.  Mark Twain’s palate is a little different than mine and I don’t think he’d care for the recipe I made today.Image

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This is a favorite recipe of one of my former roommates (who will be known anonymously as Master Candidate Chowderberry).  I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, but I made a few modifications to the recipe I have written in hot pink on a batter-encrusted index card.

Ingredients:

2 cups All purpose Flour

1/2 cup Sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup Almond butter (or peanut butter)

1 egg

1-1.5 cups Almond milk (regular milk from any lactating animal works too)*

11 oz. chocolate chips

* The original recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, but I usually have to add more to have a smoother batter.  The type of milk you use probably affects how much to put in.

Mix everything together in one bowl, adding the chocolate chips last, after you’ve mixed the other ingredients into a smooth batter.  I got 18 muffins, but you can make less or more depending on how big you make them.  I baked them at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.

Cimmanom-nom-nom Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

I actually made these quite a while ago, but I had a picture so I figured I could post it now. I must say that making cinnamon rolls has been one of my most satisfying triumphs to date. The reason for this is that I have had really bad luck with recipes that involve yeast. I think that this is primarily due to my impatience for waiting for it to rise properly. I tend to be most drawn to recipes that involve throwing everything into a bowl, mixing it, and putting it in the oven. But, I was successful with these, and hope to make them again soon.

Unlike most of my other recipes, I followed the recipe to the letter with this one (I didn’t want to mess up and piss off the yeast so it wouldn’t rise for me). Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/cinnamon-rolls-recipe.html

Ingredients
Dough:
1/4 -ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional
Glaze:
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.