Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Had to use up that Cranberry Sauce I made.  These bars were Simple and Delicious!

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
(compliments of cookthestory.com)

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Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces (2 sticks or 16 Tablespoons)
1 (14 ounce) can hold berry cranberry sauce or 1 1/2 cups homemade cranberry sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix together the first 6 dry ingredients.
  3. Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers to rub in the butter until everything is moistened and no pieces are bigger than the oats.
  4. Spoon 3/4 of the oat mixture into a 13×9 inch cake pan.  Press down on the oat mixture firmly to form a layer that evenly covers the pan.
  5. Add the cranberry sauce in dollops and spread in a thin layer over the oat mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the oat mixture on top of the thin layer of cranberry sauce.
  7. Place in oven and bake 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cook in the pan on a wire rack.
  9. Cut into bars and serve.

YUM!  Enjoy!!

Pecan Scones – Simple and Delicious

Just one more scone recipe this weekend.  Kent and I were chatting scones (I am obsessed) on Friday night while enjoying our beer and bourbon.  He suggested I make a scone with ground pecans.  He really likes Pecan Sandies.  Saturday I went and bought some finely ground pecans and switched up a recipe I found, of course, on King Arthur Flour.  These scones were also quite tasty and another I would recommend to share this holiday season.

Pecan Scones

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Ingredients

3 cups (361g) Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (99g) sugar
1 cup finely ground pecans
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons, 113g) butter
3/4 cup (170g) buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and finely ground pecans. (You could add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans too. Kent said no to that one)
  3. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with a few larger chunks of butter still showing. (I use my hands to mix)
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
  6. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it gently just until it holds together.
  7. Pat the dough in a rectangle about 8×10 inches, and cut dough into 2″ to 3″ diamonds or squares with a sharp knife or whatever shape you desire. (Hint; if the knife gets sticky, rinse with hot water and dry. It will make cutting the scones much easier.)
  8. Place the scones on prepared baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve warm.
  9. Store, well wrapped, on the counter for 2 days or freeze up to 1 month.

Don’t forget you can warm those room temperature scones in microwave for 10 seconds too.  Eric does that every time!IMG_E1684.JPG

Enjoy!!

Cranberry Orange Scones

Once again I decided to bake some scones this weekend.  I started with Cranberry Orange Scones.  I think these would be great for the holidays.  So easy.  You can make and bak in under an hour.  Simply DELICIOUS!!

Cranberry Orange Scones
(Compliments of King Arthur Flour)

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Ingredients

1 3/4 cups (198g) All Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons (35g) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (71g) butter, chilled, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (57g) dried cranberries
1/3 cup (74g) half&half
1 Tablespoon (14g) orange juice
1 large egg
the grated peel of 1 medium to large orange or 1/2 teaspoon orange oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. You could lightly grease baking sheet also. I have stock in parchment paper! 🙂
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, then add the butter, rubbing it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Stir in the cranberries.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the half and half, orange juice, egg, and orange peel or oil. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough just comes together. (I used orange peel and squeezed a the orange juice from my orange.  I ate the other half of the orange while I baked away!)
  5. Transfer the dough to a thoroughly floured work surface, knead it a couple of times, and shape it into a 1/2 inch thick round, about 8 inches across.
  6. Transfer the round to the prepared baking sheet.  Brush with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sugar, if desired. (You could brush with half and half or cream too.  I always have cream in my fridge so that is what I used.  Also, I lightly sprinkled the top of the scones with sugar.)
  7. Cut the round in 10 wedges. Separate the wedges sightly.
  8. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.  Remove them from the oven and serve immediately.

Enjoy.  (and you will!!)

Cream Tea Scones with Chocolate Chips!

Do you prefer chocolate in your Cream Tea Scone? All you do is add 3/4 cup chocolate chips.  I mixed 2 ounces each of milk, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped slightly and added to the batter.  You add the chips after the dry ingredients then the cream.  I had to use 2-3 Tablespoons more of cream this time. I started with 1 1/3 cup cream then added a Tablespoon at a time so I didn’t over do it. Mix together and YUM!  Click on the link above to pop over to the main recipe.

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Simple and Delicious!  Enjoy!!

Peppermint Bark (Very Simple)

6 years since I posted this one. Reposting this tasty Christmas tradition.  Give it a try this weekend!!  Merry Christmas!!

I have always enjoyed the combination of chocolate and peppermint.  Peppermint Patties have been a favorite confection of mine for many years.  When I bought a candle for Rachel this year from Bath and Body Works they had a recipe attached. (Yes, Bath and Body Works recipe!)  She thought this would be a fun recipe to make along with the Christmas cookies we made.  It was an awesome choice!  Surprisingly, it was a great recipe from a store that sells body lotions and candles.  We did make a couple of changes so you will be getting the recipe I made.  I tried to find their recipe online but was unable to locate it.  Needless to say this is a very “simple and delicious” recipe.  I wanted to get this on my blog so you could try it this year.  HO, HO, HO!!!

 

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Peppermint Bark

12 oz Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
1 Tablespoon Butter
12 oz Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 cup coarsely crushed Oreos
12 oz White Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Peppermint extract
1/2 cups crushed red and white mints or candy canes

1.  To create bottom layer of bark, melt the dark chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon of butter in microwave, at 30 second intervals.  Stir after each 30 second interval. (It took about 4 – 30 second intervals to get to a creamy texture.) When smooth and creamy, spread mixture in a greased 13″x9″ cake pan.  I used a glass dish.  (You could also add 1/2 cup of whole coffee beans.  I thought 3 different chocolates was plenty of caffeine for my family! Rachel agreed!!)  After you spread in the dish, put in freezer for 15 minutes.

2.  Melt milk chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon of butter in microwave at 30 second intervals, stir until smooth and creamy.  Add 1 cup of crushed Oreos.  Spread mixture over the dark chocolate.  Freeze this mixture for 15 minutes.

3.  Lastly, melt white chocolate chips and 2 Tablespoons of butter in microwave at 30 second intervals, stir until smooth and creamy.  Add the 1 teaspoon of Peppermint extract after the 2nd 30 second interval.  (Rachel and I did not experience smooth and creamy with the white chocolate.  I always have problems with white chocolate.  Watch it carefully.  We were able to spread it okay and it worked out fine.  Just not as spreadable as the dark/milk chocolate. It had a crumbly texture.)

4.  After you spread the white chocolate, sprinkle with the crushed red and white mints.  (We pushed the candies in with the spatula.)

5.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours.  Break into pieces and ENJOY!!

This would be an awesome gift.  It is very easy and fun to make.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.   Merry Christmas!!

Baklava – Simple and Delicious

I have wanted to make Baklava for at least 10 years.  I have been a bit hesitant and decided this year to just do it.  Martin called his grandma to get her recipe.  We discussed and we did her recipe with a few tweaks of our own.

Baklava

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Ingredients

16 ounces Phyllo dough
1 Tablespoon vegetable oi
3 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Filling

4 cups of chopped walnuts (If you have leftover nuts, place the extra on a baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of lemon
zest of orange (you could do both or just one fruit)

Syrup

2 cups of water
1 cup sugar
1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1.  Layout phyllo dough and cover with damp towel. They dry out fast.  I learned that today!  I cut the dough in half and that was the perfect size for my 9×13 metal baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt those sticks of butter.
  2. Mix together the nut filling ingredients.
  3. Here is where Grandma Olga comes into play.  Her way of making baklava is not the usual process you see and read about. Lightly oil the baking pan.  I used sunflower oil. You can use vegetable oil.
  4. When you layer the phyllo you do not butter each piece.  Layers as follows;  6 pieces on bottom, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces phyllo dough. Top layer is not covered with nuts, as you see from the above photo. (When layering be sure to layer one by one not just grabbing six pieces and setting down.)
  5. Cut the baklava into squares/diamonds.  Make sure you are careful when you are doing this.  (You want to be sure you cut all the way through. The melted butter and syrup have to get through the entire pan.)
  6. Pour the 3 1/2 sticks of melted butter into every nook and cranny.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup.  Put all ingredients in saucepan.  Over medium heat stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
  9. When baklava is done baking.  Set aside to cool. (I put in the cold garage as my fridge was full.  If you are lucky enough to have room in your fridge this time of year, after it cools a bit put it in there.)  When cooled pour the warm syrup over the entire pan.
  10. Lightly cover with a towel. Let set for at least 6 hours.  Overnight is best.

This was absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make again.  Next time, pistachios with almond flavoring.  Hmmm, maybe for New Years Eve!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Topping – Simple and Delicious

We always have fruit in our home.  I can always pick up berries.   Our favorites; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Occasionally we like to add some extra sweetness to our fruit especially on Friday nights.

Fruit Topping

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8 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 ounce container marshmallow crème (Jet Puffed or Fluff)

Mix above together.  Top on your fruit.

That is it! YUM!!

 

 

Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

Fall is in the air.  Baked this simple and delicious cobbler.  Everyone loved this one.

Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

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Ingredients

Fruit Mixture
7 cups peeled, medium sliced apples (This is about 4-5 large apples, 6-8 smaller ones. I used Macintosh this time.  I also use Fuji and Honeycrisp when baking apples.)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  I used my Cinnamon Cookie aka Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe.

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss fruit mixture ingredients until apple slices are coated.  Pour evenly into pie plate.
  3. In small bowl mix granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  4. Top the fruit mixture with cookie dough.  I took about a tablespoon of dough and flattened then topped on the fruit mixture.  It took 12 of the cookie doughs to cover the top.  I then sprinkled the top of the cookies with cinnamon and sugar mix. (You may have leftover cookie dough.  BONUS – bake those later.)
  5. Bake 50-55 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.  Top with ice cream, whipped cream or whatever your little heart desires!

Your home will smell fabulous!  ENJOY!

Fruit and Nut Bars

Kent likes fruit and nut bars.  I buy them all the time for his lunches for work.  I thought it would be nice to make some homemade bars.  They turned out to be way better than the store bought ones.  I found this recipe here.  I used her recipe as a guide.  You can follow her recipe, mine or make up your own. Here is my recipe for our family (this time around);

Fruit and Nut Bars

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (175 grams) chopped nuts.  I used pecans, almonds and walnuts
1 3/4 cups (235 grams) dried blueberries, dried cherry berry mix, raisins and craisins
1/2 cup (70 grams) dried apricots
1/3 cup all purpose flout
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place rack in center of oven.  Have ready an 8 inch square baking pan that has been lined with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped nuts with the dried fruit.  (You can use chocolate chips but we did not opt for that.) February 004
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt and sugar and stir until all the fruit and nuts are completely coated with the flour mixture.  Make sure to separate any clumps of dried fruits.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or electric mixer) the egg and vanilla until light colored and this.  This take about 3-4 minutes using an electric mixer.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are completely coated with the batter.
  6. Evenly spread into your prepared pan, pressing to compact the batter.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the batter is golden brown and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  8. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Lift the bars from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or bars.

You can store up to 10 days at room temperature or longer if refrigerated.

Believe me, these are simple and delicious.  You must give them a try.  Enjoy!

Very Chocolate Brownies

Eric popped over tonight.  He suggested I bake some brownies for Pizza Friday tomorrow.  We enjoy this recipe I found on Epicurious a couple of years ago.  The brownies are of course extremely chocolatey and very moist.  Here is the simple and delicious recipe;

Brownies

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Ingredients

10 Tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 teaspoon espresso powder (you don’t have to add the espresso powder.  We like it.)
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup nuts (I do not use nuts)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper (you could use foil too, I use parchment).
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until butter is melted and all ingredients are combined.  The mix should be hot enough you want to remove your finger when you test it.
  3. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside until warm.
  4. Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon.  Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.  When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer.  Beat for 40 strokes.
  5. Spread evenly in the lined baking pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  When you put a toothpick in middle it will be moist.  Don’t overcook.  Do not leave in more than 25 minutes.   Let cool on rack.  Lift up the ends of the parchment and transfer to cutting board.  Cut into squares.

These brownies can be prepared, baked and eaten in less than an hour!  Enjoy!!