Honey Oatmeal Cookies

So…. my poor yet amazing boyfriend has been in the hospital for a week and let me tell you, hospital “food” is not only depressing it is disgusting! After sitting in the ER on a very hard wooden chair for 13 hours, then sleeping on a very hard chair next to his bed in his hospital room, then sleeping on the hard cement floor in the waiting room…. I was hoping for at least a hot cup of joe. Of course, after a week of hell, it would be crazy to have even that. I ended up with a slightly warm cup of sludge and a questionable pastry. It was enough to make me cry. Well, cry more that is.

I stayed by my man, like any good woman would do, but I was suffering too! We finally came home the other day, and I was hungry, sad, happy and worried all at the same time! So… I just wanted to make myself some comfort food. What says comfort like oatmeal in cookie form? I love oatmeal raisin cookies and I love honey. The simple idea of baking them lifted my spirits and gave me the energy to take care of my still very sick boyfriend. It was just what the doctor ordered!

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So, here is what you will need…

  • 1/2 C. Butter, softened
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • I large Egg
  • 3 Tbsp. Honey
  • 3/4 C. All purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 C. Old Fashion Oats
  • 1 1/2 C. Raisins

Here was my process…

  1. In your mixer, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until mixture is smooth.
  2. Add spices, salt, baking soda and vanilla. Mix on a low speed until combined.
  3. Beat in Egg and Honey.
  4. Add flour and mix until combined.
  5. Add oats and raisins and mix until your dough forms. About 2 minutes.
  6. Cover tightly and chill for at least 2 hours.
  7. Once the dough has chilled, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment. Drop cookies onto prepared baking sheet. Cookies will spread out, so make sure to leave  2 inches between cookies.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

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Enjoy these super chewy cookies at breakfast, or lunch or really whenever you feel a little bit down. I’m telling you, after a week in the hospital watching the person you love suffer, these cookies will be like a giant hug for your soul.

Happy Baking!

Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa Muffins

Nothing says “I love you” like fresh-baked goods containing chocolate! Well, I guess flowers might help too, wink, wink. But fresh-baked muffins for quick on the go breakfasts are just as sweet! Realistically I can’t produce a huge fantastic breakfast seven days a week, and I love any excuse to eat chocolate in the morning. I’m telling you, these muffins could be a dessert… but they are categorized as a breakfast food, thank you very much!
The key to these muffins is Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa. I buy mine from King Arthur Four, and it is the perfect combination of black cocoa and Dutch cocoa so the color is deep and rich. Not to mention the amazingly decadent flavor. This is the fanciest way to eat breakfast… at least in my house on a non-holiday.
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Here is what you will need…

  •  1 3/4 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 C. Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. Milk
  • 1/2 C. Coconut Oil ( you can use Vegetable Oil if you prefer)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C. Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips…. again, I prefer Ghirardelli

Here was my Process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare muffin pan with parchment liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or mixer combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Mix gently until combined.
  3. In a small bowl whisk the egg and milk until foamy and set aside.
  4. Add oil and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add milk mixture and beat until smooth.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins or 7 large muffins…. I know, what and odd number!
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack, BUT… If you can, eat one while it is still warm… you can thank me later.

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Happy Baking!

Dusted Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

Hello! It has been far too long and I miss this greatly! I have not given up baking at all. SO….many life changes since I left, I am now living on beautiful Bainbridge Island in Washington, I have fallen deeply in love with my best friend and we are living a very happy life. It is about time! September in Washington is a little on the cool side and my favorite season, the Holliday Season, is upon us yet again! I have so many ideas and so much time to perfect them! Today, I present you with Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts! Baked not fried, and so delicious! Even kids like them… well the food adventurous ones at least.

This doughnut is as moist as a cake and the cinnamon sugar-coating makes for the perfect combination of textures! The actual doughnut is moist without being dense, and let me tell you, eighteen doughnuts seem to vanish quite quickly around here. I’m not sure if it is my guy or the five-year old, haha, lets just blame them. 😉 What can I say, they are hard not to eat!

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Here is what you will need…

Doughnuts

  • 1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 C. Pumpkin Puree, I like to roast my own pumpkin…. but feel free to use canned pumpkin!
  • 1 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 C. All Purpose flour + 1 Tbsp…. tricky I know!


Coating
1/2 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon

Here was my process…

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease doughnut pan.
    2. Take a large mixing bowl with the pumpkin puree and beat eggs in one at a time until smooth. You know how I love my wooden spoons, so for this recipe I used none other than my trusty wooden spoon!
    3. Then add sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until everything is incorporated.
    4. In a separate bowl sift flour and once sifted add baking powder. ( *Make sure to add 1 Tbsp. of Flour to the 2 C.)
    5. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the pumpkin mixture and mix until sooth, it really shouldn’t take that long.
    6. Once combined, spoon (with a regular kitchen spoon) batter into prepared doughnut pan.
    7. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool slightly on a cooling rack before coating.
    8. Once doughnuts have cooled take each doughnut and dip face down into sugar and cinnamon. It is best to place a cookie sheet under the cooling rack to catch the excess coating that falls from the doughnuts. If it is humid this might be difficult!

 

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Enjoy with friends at the park, or at home with the family…. or sneak them with your afternoon coffee for a little extra pick-me-up!

Happy Baking!

Lemon Summer Muffins

Hello bakers! Well, my world has been a little upside down, so I needed to take a minute and get used to things. Unfortunately, I am not a stress baker! I choose to read and cry and drink a little wine. I just can’t help it. But I am back with a brand new computer and some fun baking inspiration. I am loving muffins that can be cupcakes, and vice versa. I wanted a little bit of sweet in my muffin, but I also wanted a little less sweet in my cupcake. So, Cupins! I don’t really like that name and the other option was Muffcakes, and…. that just wasn’t working for me either… for obvious reasons!

As much as I love chocolate, it is just too hot for such a heavy treat. But fresh lemon is the very essence of summer. It is crisp, fresh, refreshing and genuinely tasty. Everything about a lemon makes me smile. The fact that you can put it in your water, or in your cookies or in your pasta sauce just makes me love it that much more. I made a simple lemon glaze to delicately drizzle over my muffins/ cupcakes, but they are great without.

So, what you will need…

  • 1 3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 C. Nonfat Milk
  • 3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and line a muffin pan with muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and add lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk eggs until blended.
  4. Add sugar, butter, and 1/4 C. Lemon juice to the egg mixture.
  5. Slowly add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Spoon the batter equally into prepared muffin tins.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze take the remaining lemon juice and the confectioners sugar and combine in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over each muffin. Let set, and enjoy!

This is a super delicious, and refreshing little treat. You can have it for breakfast with a cup of tea and some blueberry yogurt, or for dessert with a scoop of frozen yogurt. These also stand well on their own. Plus you don’t have to worry about feeling gross and full, just happy and satisfied.

Happy Baking!

Orange Honey Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yay!!! Summer is upon us and there is no end in sight. The endless possibilities of summer treats make me feel like I could bake forever! I have three pages of things I want to create and share with my loved ones. The fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberries and cream, fresh green salads… and watermelon! The flavors go on and on. For today I settled on Oranges and Honey. Yummy yummy!

I wanted a cookie that would be able to make a sort of “Dreamsicle” type Ice Cream Sandwich. SO, I made Orange Honey cookies and used some 1/2 fat vanilla bean ice cream for the filling. The ice cream complimented the cookies so well, you would think that the ice cream company had invented this cookie. Alas, it was I… just a simple baker.

 

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. + 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, yes, freshly squeezed!
  • 1 Egg

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine canola oil, honey, sugar, orange juice and egg. Beat with mixer of your choice until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. DO NOT over beat.
  5. Spoon dough onto prepared baking sheets allowing room to spread.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, until sides are a lovely honey brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before creating a Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!

These cookies are surprisingly delicious and work very well in this situation! They are also good on their own, or with milk. Milk and honey after all, are very good friends.

Happy Baking!

 

Popovers w/ Cinnamon Sugar Butter

Finally! I love Popovers and I am always referencing them… so… ta da! Here they are. I stuck to my fail safe version, nothing fancy. The key to any Popover is making sure that the eggs and the milk are at room temperature. Helps keep them all light and fluffy, the way they are meant to be!

We were having grilled  BBQ chicken and a green apple, blackberry and spinach salad for dinner. I felt that the lack of carbs would leave a huge hole on my table. Normally I wouldn’t care, but it is just that kind of week ;).

I wanted to eat bread without feeling like I was really “eating bread”. How perfect are Popovers for that feeling?! They are literally hollow. So, I whipped up some cinnamon sugar butter and that was that. Honestly, the cinnamon sugar butter complimented the complex flavors of the BBQ chicken. Really, you ought to try it!

So, you will need…

  • 1 C. All purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C. Whole Milk, room temperature

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and prepare popover pan or muffin pan. Lightly grease the sides and dust with flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  3. In another medium bowl whisk together, the eggs, butter and milk until well blended.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a wooden spoon just until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each tin half way full, and bake at 425 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
  6. At 30 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until tops are a rich golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, pierce the side of each popover to allow the steam to escape.
  8. Serve as quickly as possible!

For the cinnamon sugar butter, just let butter reach room temperature and hen add a dash or two of cinnamon and a dash or two of sugar. mix until well blended. I usually take jam or honey with my popovers, but this felt like a fun thing to do. I love eating fun food!

So, next time it is time for a cook out at your house and you want to keep things “light”, take out that popover pan and give it a whirl. You just can’t go wrong!

Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I love coconut, but I am not a fan of chunks of it in my cookies! I love the tropical flavor and the how much fun it is to break one open. I also love Chocolate Chip cookies but you can only blog about the simple, yet delightful cookie so many times.

I was wandering through a little co-op type place in Randolph, Vermont when I found the solution to my cookie problem. Coconut Sugar?! As skeptical as I was, I bought it. I let it sit around for a week or so before I said, “What is the worst that can happen?” Fully knowing the answer I proceeded anyway. I mean, how terrible could it really be?

The cookies were amazing! The Coconut Sugar has the same effect as a brown sugar, and my cookies were buttery, crispy and chewy in the right places and an overall fantastic surprise.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. Butter, softened
  • 1/2 C. Coconut Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips, for the best flavor look for the white Chips that contain Cocoa Butter 😉
  • 1/2 C. Dark Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine butter, coconut sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Feel free to use your mixer.
  4. Add the egg white and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients in increments of your choosing until everything is well mixed.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on to prepared baking sheets allowing 2 or so inches between each cookie for expansion.
  8. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, at 350 degrees F for 10-13 minutes. Tops should be a rich golden brown, and somewhat firm to the touch.
  9. Let stand for around 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
  10. Enjoy!

This is just a slight variation in ingredients, but a rather large variation in taste. served warm with a little  Talenti ‘Sea Salt Caramel’ Gelato or maybe a nice glass of Cupcake ‘Angel Food’ wine, or a classic glass of cold milk… no matter what, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Baking!

Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

Shortbread Sandwich Cookies w/ “Fancy” Chocolate Frosting

Shortbread is a very versatile cookie. You start with your basic dough and you can literally add anything edible to it. I’m not so sure how some ingredients would taste, but hey… we live in a world full of possibilities now don’t we?! My friend leaves for 42 days in 4 days so I was trying to make him something from his request list. He wanted shortbread cookies with chocolate “on top”. To me that meant sandwich cookies… haha, I heard what I wanted, leave me alone! 😉

So, I decided to just keep the lovely shortbread simple. Butter is all that I needed to get the flavor I wanted, but a nice chocolate to be sandwiched was in order. I wanted something not too sweet, but sweet enough. I tried a few different combinations of chocolate to powdered sugar to cream, and I found the best one for this cookie. I love sandwich cookies!!!!!!!

So, you will need…

*Makes 30 cookies

  • 1 C. Salted Butter, softened (Adds to the flavor)
  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • add milk if you need a thinner icing/frosting

 

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 baking sheets, can line with Parchment Paper, but it isn’t necessary
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream butter using mixer of your choice, and mix until light and fluffy. About 1 minute.
  4. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth. About 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is well combined.
  6. Take dough and flatten it into a disk on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Unwrap the dough and roll it out onto a slightly floured surface. Rolling the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Using a circular floured cookie cutter, (you can get crazy and use whatever cutter you fancy!!!!), cut out as many cookies as you can.
  10. Place cookies on the cookie sheet then put into icebox (fridge) for 10 minutes. This allows the cookies to maintain their shape during baking.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Let cool completely before frosting and making the glorious sandwiches!

While the cookies are cooling you can prepare your frosting. Take the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and cream and mix it all together at the same time until you have a smooth consistency. If you need to make the frosting thinner, or it isn’t wet enough add a tsp of milk at a time until you are happy with it!

These cookies might sound boring to you, but they appeal to my 1950’s inner housewife in an undeniable way! Make a batch, wear an apron, drink a martini in the middle of the day, enjoy a shortbread cookie sandwich. 😉

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

It is just starting to get a little bit warm around here, and so I have been cooking with fresh ingredients and loving every minute of it. I wanted to make some spicy spring chili with cornbread, but it just felt to boring! I love Cornbread and all, but geeze… it is really just a dull, dull bread. That can get very dry and tasteless if done wrong! Of course I am just not one of those people 😉

For Easter, the Easter Bunny (aka my mom!!!, yes, still…) brought me a guacamole basket filled with avocados, limes, tomatillos, Habanero peppers, chili peppers and jalapenos! We could only put so much in the guac, and then I made chicken tacos with some of them… they are damn spicy! So, I figured, why not Pump Up the Volume ( yes, I just went there) and pull a Christian Slater on this cornbread!

Sweet with honey (and love) and spicy with chilis! That would definitely be something to write about.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All-Purpose flour
  • 3/4 C.  Corn Meal
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. Canola Oil
  • 2 Egg Whites, beaten (NOT WHOLE EGGS)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos diced
  • honey to drizzle over uncooked cornbread before baking, hence the sweet and spicy… just saying!

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease preferred method of baking pan, dish, skillet, etc.
  2. In a  large bowl combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly, just until everything is combined.
  3. Add Milk, Canola Oil and beaten egg whites. Mix well.
  4. Add jalapeno, diced, chopped however you like them!
  5. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.
  6. Drizzle honey over each piece. The honey will sink into the cornbread and create a delicious crust.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes!

 

These are best served fresh, and don’t be afraid to add a bit more spice!

Happy Baking!