Quick and Easy Granola

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The thing that I love the most about home made granola is that you can add almost anything imaginable to it that you love. You can make it gluten free, you can make it nut free, you can make it sweet, you can make it savory, you can make it ANYTHING you want. That to me is exciting. Did I mention you can make it so that there are extra amounts of those large clumps that are crunchy and always extra delicious? Yeah, that is my absolute favorite part of making it at home. Extra big clumps = extra smiles.

So I made some granola the other day, just with what I had on hand… Gluten free oats, pecans, cinnamon, honey and a touch of brown sugar. Nothing really fancy, but it turned out so good! I wanted to share it on here so that any of you at home can make it using whatever your favorite ingredients are. This would be so good with some flakes of unsweetened coconut or some raisins. Don’t be shocked by how easy it is….

Extra Crunchy Granola                            20mins

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup your favorite nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (or to desired sweetness)
  • Desired amount of cinnamon (or other spice)
  • One Egg white, Whipped until light and frothy

Preheat oven to 320*F

In a large bowl add your oats, nuts, salt, and cinnamon (other spices).

Heat honey slightly in microwave for 5-10 seconds just until it thins, then add in brown sugar and pour over oat and nut mixture, stir to coat.

Beat your egg until it has soft peaks and gently fold into the nut and oat mixture. This is what makes the big clumps, so do not over mix it!

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Gently distribute onto a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, gently stir and then bake for another 10-12 minutes.

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Allow to completely cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

 

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Third Year Date-aversary

February 8th. A beautiful date to me. The date that I started dating the man of my dreams. This anniversary I wanted to do something special for him, I wasn’t really very sure what to do or make but I knew I wanted it to be something he loves. Then it came to me… He loves confetti cake. So I decided to make him mini confetti cake.

Enjoy the pictures…. and as always, Happy baking! 🙂

 

Memaw’s Candied Pecans

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Everyone has those recipes they go back to that bring back memories of places, people and moments that were filled with all things wonderful. This is one of mine. I have several of my Memaw’s recipes that were handed down to me and there are definitely a few that stand out the most. One of them is a fantastic oyster cracker recipe that is super easy and she would make before we would embark on our road trips, and then there is her candied pecan recipe. I do not remember her making this one as much when I was little, but I do remember having them in a snowflake  jar on her counter around Christmas time and stealing them while she wasn’t looking because they are just that amazingly delicious!

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When I made these this morning it took me no longer than 40 minutes to whip them up, cool and package them. They are making their way into some special people’s goody bags this Christmas.

Memaw’s Candied Pecans

1 pound pecan halves

2 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons water

Heat oven to 325*

  1. Place egg whites in a bowl and whisk until slightly frothy. Add in sugar and teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir vigorously to combine (mixture will be grainy). Then add in your 2 tablespoons of water and stir until combined.
  2. Place butter on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to melt, careful not to burn.
  3. Stir in pecan halves into egg mixture until coated. then spoon onto the baking sheet with melted butter and stir gently.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to keep them from burning.
  5. Cool on a paper towel.

Enjoy!

 

 

Happy Baking! (and, a very merry Christmas!)

Bailey

Now accepting several major credit card through Paypal Here!

I am proud to announce that i can now accept Visa, Mastercard, discover and American express credit cards as well as payment through a paypal account through paypal here!

It was free to set up and download the app and they sent me the card reader for my smart phone for free as well. I couldn’t be more excited!

Cream Puffs and Chocolate Ganache

Today I decided I was going to make cream puffs. I had not made them in years… While they can be finicky they are so simple and delicious at the same time. It is also worth it to know how to whip up a simple quick dessert that travels well. Seriously, these are easy.

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There are only a few ingredients and then i filled them with sweetened whipped cream…..DSC_1182

And topped them with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache also makes amazing icing/filling if allowed to cool and then whipped with the mixer for a few minutes…. Heavenly actually…. I could eat it on its own… by the spoonful…

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Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1 cup flour

4 eggs

In a small sauce pan place butter and water. Heat until boiling.

Reduce heat and gradually add flour while whisking until the dough forms a ball, remove from heat and place dough in a bowl. Add all four eggs at one time and mix vigorously until the dough is smooth.

Drop onto a baking sheet by 1 tablespoonful at a time (or larger if you would like). They can be placed close as they rise, but do not spread.

Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. BE SURE that the room is not drafty or else they might deflate… (I had that happen with a few of mine that were not cooked quite long enough too)

When they are cooled, cut the tops off and fill with the sweet cream.. you can use a spoon to fill them or use a piping bag. I used a spoon and it worked just fine.

Sweetened Whipping Cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1-2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Add ingredients to a large bowl and whisk vigorously by hand or with a mixer until stiff peaks are formed.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1 Tablespoon butter

(I did mine in the microwave!)

Heat the cream until hot, but not boiling. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until it is melted. Drizzle over cream puffs and enjoy!

Happy baking! -B

Cake Pop Bites for My Lovey!

 Sunday marked me and my loves second day of dating. I have attempted to make these cake pop balls before…. and I failed. Failed SO miserably. They crumbled, fell apart in the chocolate, chocolate was too thick and wouldn’t coat evenly, so I ended up just piping little white chocolate hearts on top of each…. Not exactly a win…. These on the other hand turned out wonderfully. With all the planning and extra precautions taken, they were coated smoothly, stayed together while dipping and of course tasted great. Did I mention I failed so hard the first time? It made this victory over cake bites that much sweeter.

The first thing I did was mix up some simple cream cheese icing, I use 8oz of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter and about one and a  half cup of powdered sugar. You cream your butter and cream cheese, then gradually blend in the powdered sugar until it is smooth and creamy. You could also add in vanilla if you wanted to, but because this is mixed into cake I didn’t see why it needed it. I did not get a picture of this step so just envision the bowl of icing… I mixed it in a very large bowl so i could put my cake right in the same bowl, save me some time and energy down the line.

The next step is to crumble your cake,I have to admit, I used a box cake… I have not found a red velvet recipe that I love yet and that is one of Adam’s favorite flavors of cake… plus a box is a little easier when so much else is involved with these little guys. Bake your cake according to the directions, pull it out and let it cool entirely. Then the messy, fun, but oh so messy part… Crumble all that pretty cake into the bowl. I scooped out some of my icing just in case i did not need all of it to wet the cake. You definitely do NOT want too much icing or else your cake bites will fall apart.

Repeat, Do Not Use To Much Icing!

Once you have your cake all crumbled, mix in your icing. You want just enough icing to hold the cake together, but no more. It is kind of like a red velvet play dough at this point. I had my younger sister help with this part, she loves crumbling the cake for some reason. Her and baking never really have gotten along….

I rolled my little cake bites into balls, set them on a pan lined with wax paper and I let them chill in the fridge overnight. Might have been a little overkill, but I really wanted to make sure they had time to stick together so they wouldn’t fall apart during the chocolate coating process.

For the chocolate i started of with white chocolate, I thinned it out with a little vegetable shortening to make is smooth enough to coat the bites easily. Okay, honestly I thinned out the white chocolate a little TOO much with the Veg. shortening and screwed that up. It was too thin and I knew it wouldn’t set up to a hard finish. So I added some of the milk chocolate I had to it to thicken it back up… At this point I was about ready to quit because I had messed it up, again. With the same part that I had messed up on before.  I took a short break and came back to it ready to adventure on. The chocolate combination tasted pretty good too, undertones of white chocolate mixed with the milk chocolate.

I let my cake pop balls sit out until they were just barely cool to the touch (tons of controversy on dipping them cold or at room temperature or slightly cooled. I found slightly cool worked for me.)

I melted my chocolate in a double boiler (or my super fancy bowl on top of a pan of water.) Just be sure the water isn’t touching the bottom or else it can scorch your chocolate and mess your coating up. I cut the heat off after it was mostly melted and left it on top of the pan to stay warm longer.

Here we go.

Drop your little buddies into the chocolate one at a time and roll them around using a fork to coat them entirely. I happened to watch an episode of The Pioneer Woman where she made truffles and coated them in chocolate, and it was great to see the technique she used. She lifted them out of the bowl with the fork, gently tapped it on the side of the bowl to get the chocolate to gloss over the top and then put it on a pan covered in wax paper. I did the exact same thing with my cake pop balls. It worked like magic.

So after I filled up one pan I put them in the fridge to chill out and allow the chocolate to set. I continued dipping the rest and put them on a new pan. If you wanted to sprinkle them with some sugar, sprinkles or something you should do it before you place them in the refrigerator. I did a couple with sprinkles on them, but decided I liked how they looked with just the chocolate.

This is them after they set up…   I found a cute little box to pack them up in, i just placed them between wax paper so that they would not stick together. You definitely want to remove them from the wax paper while they are cold, I had a couple that came to room temperature and my chocolate broke off some.

That is my adventurous weekend! I finally conquered one of baking nightmares I had. He loved them, and everyone that ate the leftovers loved them too.  They would be great for a birthday or any kind of party. They can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days, in the fridge up to a week (if they last that long, I know they won’t in my house). Or you can freeze them, just thaw them out in the fridge before bringing them back to room temperature for serving.

Happy Baking! -B

Cream cheese Icing

1 8oz package cream cheese

1/2 stick butter, softened

1-2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese together, gradually add in powdered sugar and blend until smooth.

Cake pop/ball/bites

Cream Cheese frosting from above …( you can substitute 3/4 of a can of frosting if you are really not a baker or want to make it super simple on yourself. I prefer the taste it has with the home made frosting, it is not as sickeningly sweet.)

1 box cake mix, baked as directed and cooled completely.

Chocolate chips (will need, 1-2 TBsp veg. shortening if using chocolate), candy coating colored chips or almond bark.

  • Crumble cake into a large bowl, ensure there are no large pieces. Once crumbled, add in icing, use only enough icing to adhere the cake crumbs together. Too much and they will fall apart, too little and they will also fall apart. To test if you have enough, take a small amount and squeeze it together in your hand, if it sticks together with gentle pressure you are ready to go.
  • Form cake into small bite-sized balls (about a teaspoon of icing/cake mixture). Place on a pan covered in wax paper and allow to chill in the refrigerator until cool, about 1 hour.
  • In a double boiler place chocolate or colored candy coating chips and heat until mostly melted. (IF Using chocolate chips or white chocolate you will need to add a small amount of vegetable shortening, I suggest about 1 Tablespoon per 4oz of chocolate.) Turn off heat.
  • Remove cool cake balls from fridge and one at a time place them into chocolate and turn with a fork to coat. Lift the cake ball with the fork and gently tap it on the side to remove excess chocolate, place on a pan covered with wax paper, allow chocolate to set either at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • Enjoy them while they last!

Pumpkin Cheesecake (The Taste of Fall??)

I work in a kitchen… Sometimes it is not delightful. However, there are times that are quite delightful. Such as getting to experiment with new recipes. One of those recipes this week was pumpkin cheesecake (yummmmmm). It started as my really simple cheesecake recipe with only 5; yeah, you see that correctly… FIVE ingredients! The players in this cheesecake game are cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and sour cream. It makes a wonderful cheesecake. But i wanted to make something that was more with the changing of the seasons, people crave that pumpkin (everything) in the fall — i myself am guilty as well. So i added in some pumpkin in place of the sour cream and then added nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves for a little more of an autumn tone.

To start off i mixed up the sugar and the cream cheese until well combined and smooth. I then scraped down the sides of the bowl. Add in your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then you add in the pumpkin and spices.

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I then poured it into my pie pans already prepped with a graham cracker crust. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. They turn out like this. Beautiful, slightly orange and the smell is killer. If you made this any time this fall for guest they would be in love the moment they stepped through the door and smelled it. If you serve it with a little cinnamon whipped cream pipped on top it would be a delicate, sweet and cute dessert for any fall occasion

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PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

2 Lb cream cheese (softened)

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Scrape sides of the bowl.

Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated after each addition. Scrape sides of the bowl.

Add in Pumpkin and remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Pour into prepared pans (I prefer to make my own graham crusts and use disposable pie pans).

Bake at 325 F for 45m-1 Hour until slightly firm when touched. Allow to cool completely before serving, keep refrigerated. 

 

*makes about 3 Pies.