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Super Addictive Granola Bars

9 Jan

Happy 2017, y’all! It’s chilly out there, but I found a great way to keep the kitchen warm: turn on the oven and make some divine granola bars. The inspiration came from Smitten Kitchen and I’ve followed her recipe fairly closely, omitting the corn syrup. For the mix of dried fruit and nuts, foodNURDling and I used 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of peanut and cashew pieces and then made up the rest with dried dates, dried apple slices and peanut butter chips. The thing I like most about this recipe aside from its versatility is that it’s not overly sweet; the bars aren’t shiny like the store-bought ones. There’s still LOTS of sweet stuff in these but you won’t feel the need to brush your teeth right after eating them.

A note that you will want to cool these suckers down completely before cutting them. They’re a bit crumbly and will fall apart if you cut them while they’re still warm!

Ingredients

1 2/3 c quick rolled oats
1/3 c oat flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2-3 c dried fruits and nuts – suggestions: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried dates, dried apricots, dried cherries, raisins, pepitas, chocolate/peanut butter/butterscotch chips…
1/3 c peanut/nut butter
1 ts vanilla
6 tb melted butter
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tb honey
1 tb water

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease/spray the parchment paper and any exposed parts of the pan.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the fruits & nuts. In a separate small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the the wet into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the mix into your prepared pan and press firmly to make sure they are molded right to the pan. If you find the mix very sticky, you can place a piece of plastic wrap on top and press on that. Voila!
4.Bake for 30-40 minutes. You want a bit of a crispy edge to the bars, so don’t be afraid to leave it for the full 40 – you can always check at 30 and decide if they are right for you. They’ll be soft to the touch in the middle but they’ll set when completely cool.
5. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack. I placed the whole thing in the fridge after 15 minutes and left it there for another 30. Once cool, cut them into squares with a serrated knife and place them in an airtight container. They freeze well if you’re not going to eat them all in a few days.

bars

Right out of the oven and smelling deeeeeeelish.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins!

4 May

That recipe title needed an exclamation mark. Two kinds of chocolate in one muffin? Get excited!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 3/4c all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
2 tb cocoa powder
3/4c white sugar
1c + 1/4c chocolate chips
1 egg
1c milk
1/3c vegetable oil
1 ts vanilla

Directions

1. Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat your  oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, including 1c of the chocolate chips.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
4. Combine the wet into the dry, bearing in mind that you want the batter to be a bit lumpy.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups and then top with the remaining chips. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins have risen and darkened.

 

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

3 Jul

This week in Popsicle Mania: strawberry yogurt! These rank a little higher than the mango-lime treats I made last time, but that’s based purely on personal preference. These are creamy and smooth due to the inclusion of vanilla yogurt (for an extra strawberry flavour boost, you could certainly used flavoured yogurt instead, but make sure it’s the pre-mixed kind, like Iögo) and were met with many declarations of, “Yummy!!” from the foodNURDling. Can’t say he’s wrong.

Makes 8.

Ingredients

2 c strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 ts vanilla
1/4 c sugar
1 c vanilla yogurt

IMG_9680

Directions

1. Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the vanilla and sugar. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Pour the yogurt and strawberries (juice included) into a blender. Pulse until smooth.
3. Split evenly among popsicle molds and freeze at least four hours.

strawberry

Mango Lime Popsicles

19 Jun

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, SUMMER!

Alright. Glad to have that out of my system.

I’m a woman who likes to have a project and I tend to have several on the go simultaneously. This summer’s kitchen project? Homemade popsicles. Who doesn’t love a popsicle and who doesn’t love being able to customize them in whatever way they choose? Need something refreshing? Berries and watermelon! Sweet tooth ruling your day? Nutella and banana popsicle to the rescue! Throwing a party? Toss in some Kahlua and you are good to go.

IMG_9616

I started with what I had in my kitchen: mangoes and limes. It was ridiculously easy to prepare these icy treats; the hard part was waiting the four hours to eat them. The next time I make them, I think I’ll grate a little ginger into the mix for an added dimension.

Makes 8.

Ingredients

2 large mangoes, peeled and choppedIMG_9611
1/3 c lime juice
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 c water

Directions

1. Toss everything in the blender and puree.
2. Freeze it all for at least four hours.

They’ll be good your freezer for about four days, but it’s unlikely they’ll last that long.

The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.

The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.

Slow Cooker French Toast

14 Apr

What else needs to be said? Those are four beautiful words when combined. This recipe makes something akin to bread pudding, but without the sogginess that sometimes accompanies it. This is a glorious, sweet, luscious, calorie-laden treat that I made for dinner on the weekend. (Should you so desire, you could add sliced apples into the mix or top with bananas or berries.) While it was undeniably decadent, it didn’t feel especially heavy or overly filling – I didn’t desperately want a nap post-dinner. It fed four adults and a very happy toddler and took almost no time to throw together.

You probably already have most of these ingredients kicking around your kitchen, so why not treat yourselves to a yummy breakfast for dinner this week?

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 loaf of bread, cubed

Egg mixture
2 1/2 c milk
7 eggs
2 ts cinnamon
pinch of salt

Topping
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 ts cinnamon

Directions

1. Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Toss in one layer of the bread, a little less than half the loaf.
3. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until they’re mixed together really well. Spread half across the bread in the cooker. (Don’t worry about it being perfect. Just try to get a fairly even coating.)
4. Add in the rest of the bread and the topping.
5. Combine the egg mixture ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the bread and filler.
6. Set your slow cooker to low and cook 6 hours. If you have a bit of extra time, remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes so you get even more crispy bits on top.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

27 Feb

I love cookies. I love chewy cookies, I love crunchy cookies. I love cookies with stuff in the middle. I love cookies in/on top of of other things. You get the drift. Oatmeal cookies are a particular favourite, but if they have raisins in them they must also have chocolate chips. No going for the fake out here: I firmly believe you can’t JUST do raisins but that’s me. It’s your prerogative to do only raisins, but know that I think you’re crazy. At the very least, toss in a couple of chips, for goodness sake.

This recipe makes a pretty big batch, roughly two dozen. Make sure you don’t skip the flatten step, otherwise the cookies spend too long in the oven and can dry out. You’ll want to cook them in two batches, but they only take about 10 minutes in the oven.

Makes about 24.

Ingredients

1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tb vanilla
1 ts salt
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts cinnamon
1 c (heaping) all-purpose flour
1 c raisins
1/2 c chocolate/peanut butter chips
1 1/2 c rolled oats

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla and baking powder and incorporate into the creamed mixture.
3. Stir in the flour, then the raisins and chips until everything is mixed together.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Take a fork and gently flatten the dough. Bake for 12 minutes et voila!

Coookieeees!

Coookieeees!

Banana Chocolate Muffins

9 Dec

With the apple walnut muffins in the freezer – and all the cooking tools cleaned and ready to be dirtied up again – and overripe, frozen bananas in the freezer waiting to be used in something, what was a girl to do but make banana chocolate muffins?!  I even had cocoa powder in the cupboard from making the double chocolate cake cookies! Destiny.

This recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s. I added some oat bran and removed some all-purpose flour to healthy-up these suckers just a smidge. No doubt, they’d be tasty with a few chocolate chips or nuts thrown in!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

3 ripe/overripe bananas
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c oat bran
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 tb cocoa powder, sifted
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or use cooking spray/butter.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Beat in the oil, followed by the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the oat bran.
3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and carefully fold them together until just mixed.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin is clean when removed. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.

Banana Chocolate Muffins

Nutella Brownies

22 Oct

It’s 10pm on Sunday night and I want chocolate. Problem: we have no easily-accessible chocolate. We do, however, have Nutella. Contemplating but ultimately discarding the idea of simply opening the car and pouring the Nutella straight down my throat (spoons be damned!), I opted instead to make the Nutella brownie recipe I’d had my eye on for a while! It took as much time to preheat the oven as it did to mix the batter. Four ingredients. No fuss, no muss (and almost no clean up). Perfect. With this recipe, you are no more than 20 minutes away from gooey, chocolatey brownies. You know you want it.

Many thanks to Dulcet Devotion for the inspiration!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1c Nutella, warmed a little in the microwave
2 eggs
10tb flour (just over 1/2c)
1/4 ts salt

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the two eggs and warmed Nutella until smooth.
3. Add in the flour and salt, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!
4. Split evenly among lined muffin tins and bake for 12 minutes.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins w/ Streusel Topping

7 Aug

Yay! The heat finally broke! That means I can get back in the kitchen and turn the oven on without melting for the first time in weeks. I was in the mood to bake on the last day of the long weekend and decided to make up some muffins. We had bananas in the basket, chocolate chips in the cupboard…decision: made.

Feel free to use more chips than I did: there’s really no such thing as too many.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

For Streusel Topping
2 tb all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease or line the muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the bananas, white sugar, melted butter and egg.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir until everything is just combined – do not over mix!
5. To make the streusel, mix the brown sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Cut in the tablespoon of butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling to about the 3/4 mark. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel.
7. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean when you remove it.

Basket o’ Muffin-y Goodness

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

2 Jan

I love baking muffins. They’re hard to mess up (unless you’re Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels and making “Chinese Fighting Muffins”) and you can make a zillion different kinds.  The first time I made these fantastic muffins, it was for the Hot Biscuit’s annual birthday brunch a couple of years ago. I brought two batches over to her place and they were a big hit – so much so that few were left for the birthday girl herself to have later! I have been making them ever since and I have to fight the temptation to eat them all myself.

I have tinkered with the streusel topping ratios just a bit from the original, which can be found in the Bite Me cookbook. They suggest 1/4 cup of melted butter, but I tend to use a little bit more. I find the streusel can bit a bit dry and not form the crumbly texture desired with the 1/4 cup. I would suggest starting with 1/4 c ready to go but have a bit more on hand in case you need it.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

Batter

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts kosher salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2 c peeled, diced Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1 ts vanilla

Topping

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c  all-purpose flour
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/4 c melted butter (plus a little extra, if needed)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray and then dust flour over the cups. Shake off any extra flour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and apples. Toss gently.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla together.  Gently stir into the dry mix.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, diving equally.
5. Mix together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the muffin batter.
6. Bake for 23-25 minutes. (To test if they are ready, insert a toothpick or knife into the muffin. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.)
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Or to your mouth.

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