Classic Rice Krispie Treats

A classic treat made festive for the holidays. This might be the perfect version of the childhood dessert.

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Merry Christmas Eve! It’s been a long time since I have had a rice krispie treat. And probably longer when I have had a GOOD rice krispie treat. You know the kind where they are too tough, not enough marshmallow, just eh.

It seemed when the craving hit, the universe was just egging me on or maybe it was teasing me? I’m not sure. It seemed once the craving hit, no joke rice krispie treats were everywhere..Pinterest…TV…Ok maybe not everywhere but after one two many pins and commercials I had to make some myself.

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Rice Krispie treats are simple right? Melt butter. Add marshmallows. Melt those. Stir in rice krispie treats (do this off the heat please!). Spread into the pan. Here is a little trick for you: spray a piece of saran wrap and use that to press down the treats! And you are done. It has to be one of those fastest and most satisfying desserts.

Here a couple things to make yours even better. First, reserve two cups of miniature marshmallows to stir in the end. That way you get all the ooey gooeyness you want but then by saving some to the end you end with some marshmallows not completely melted. When you finally bite into a treat, you get pockets of marshmallows. Ugh, heaven.

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Use a smaller pan. Seriously. Whether its a 8 x 11, or 9 x 9, or 8 x 8 but the smaller you go the thicker they will be, and there is nothing wrong with that!

The original recipe (you know the one I’m talking about) calls for 3 tablespoons butter. I decided what’s better than butter and more of it? So yup these aren’t your diet friendly rice krispie treats whatsoever. Oh well, it’s the holidays right? Diet resolutions come later!

And if you are looking for something to adorn those cookie platters, then look no further. This treat is easy, gluten free for all those that can’t eat wheat, and always a crowd pleaser.

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I hope I woke up your craving. Mine has been subsided. Well for now. Now that I have gotten the classic down. I can’t wait to start mixing it up.  Do you have any fun ways that you play up this classic recipe? Please share!

Classic Rice Krispie Treats
A perfect version of the classic rice krispie treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 6 Tbs. butter
  2. 6 cups rice krispies
  3. 10 cups marshmallows, divided
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. 1. Lightly spray your pan (I used a 8x11 pan, definitely go smaller not larger if you do) or line with with aluminum foil. Melt butter in a very large (trust me on this) pot on low heat.
  2. 2. When butter is melted, add in 8 cups of marshmallows. Stir until melted.
  3. 3. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 cups marshmallows and rice krispie treats. Stir in sprinkles if you so choose.
  4. 4. Spread in pan (use a piece of saran wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray) and press into the pan.
  5. 5. Let sit for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long!) Cut into squares and enjoy.
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

 

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

A perfect cut-out sugar cookie that holds it shape after baking! Decorate with royal icing for a real stand out cookie this holiday season!

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Tis the season for all things cookie related! Bring on the powdered sugar and butter in mass quantities. And amidst all the cookie swap recipes out there, the one that stands alone time and time again. The classic cut-out sugar cookie. Every self respected cookie platter has a sugar cookie adorning it in some cute shape.

I brought these to a holiday part, a “Christmaka” to be exact, last Saturday and decided to flex my cookie and decorating muscles. I have to admit I have never decorated cookies in royal icing. The whole two step icing process has always sounded so daunting to me.

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If you have never worked with royal icing let me give you the low down on this sugary concoction. Royal icing is an icing made with either egg whites or meringue powder. I prefer meringue powder, because its easier to keep a container of this your pantry. Meringue powder is combined with a lot of powdered sugar, and water. That’s it. It’s then whipped up to very stiff peaks. It is a very stable icing that can then be thinned to your desired consistency to decorate with.

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There are three typical consistencies. Until recently I knew of only two. The very thick consistency is called outline icing and is used (as you might have guessed) to outline the cookie. Then you thin the icing even more to a flood icing. This is a very thin consistency to fill in the outline. Here’s my issue with that. So in order to have beautifully decorated cookies, I have to separate my icing into small bowls. Color it. Fill into bags. Outline. Let it dry. Then thin the icing one more time. Fill MORE bags. And fill the cookies. Hello, you lost me after Outline. So what’s a girl to do when she wants cookies that people will ooh and ahh over?

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Enter 20 second icing. This stuff will totally transform you. It will make you get back in the kitchen and break out your mixer to whip up some royal icing and cookies this instant. What is 20 second icing? This icing is somewhere in the middle of the first two icings on consistency. And the best part? No outlining. No drying in between. No second bag filling. It’s all done in one step. That’s it! If you want a more detailed tutorial, then you need to the visit the source herself, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. Now I have no idea if I got the “20 seconds” down or not, I tried timing it on my phone and it seemed to come close. It may have been more like 15 or 18 but for me it worked. It had the consistency of honey, and stayed on my cookie when piped. Perfect for me!

Ok, we can’t forget about the cookies. These are a great easy cookie that has a great almond flavor and an almost shortbread like texture. I love almond extract. If you can’t have it or worried about nut allergies, you could always just use extra vanilla extract.

A couple things to remember when working with cookie dough. You want your ingredients at room temperature when you start, but then the dough needs time to chill before you start rolling it out.

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Chilling is a must. When you are rolling out and cutting out your cookies. You can always pop the whole cookie sheet back in the fridge for a few minutes before popping them in the oven.

Be careful not to let these cookies brown. Ten minutes worked like magic for me, but hey your oven is not mine. Start with 8 minutes and go from there. I like to have my cookie slightly browned on the bottom and then just a hint on the sides. Watch it carefully. Sugar cookies can go quickly from perfect to overbaked before you know it.

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So this holiday season impress everyone with these easy to ice sugar cookies and never fear royal icing again!

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
A cut-out sugar cookie that holds it shape while baking, decorated in easy decorate with royal icing!
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For the cookies
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. 1 ½ tsp. almond extract
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla
  6. 1 tsp. salt
  7. 2 ½ cups sifted flour
For the royal icing
  1. 2 pounds {one bag} confectioner's sugar {907 grams}
  2. 5 tablespoons meringue powder {approximately 53 grams}
  3. 2-3 teaspoons oil-free extract or emulsion
  4. 1/2-3/4 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.
  2. For the royal icing, begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. It's not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like. With the mixer on it's lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy. Continue to add the remaining water {this may or may not be the entire amount} until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak. To thin for 20-second icing, sprinkle or even better, use a spray bottle and add enough water to thin the icing so that when a spatula is run through it, the gap left behind disappears in 20 seconds.
Notes
  1. Here is a great tip: Don't feel like making all these cookies at once? Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for later. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and then put in a large Ziploc bag. When I was ready to make more, I simply pulled it out the freezer and let it defrost on the counter for a few hours.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

Eggless Pumpkin Pie

A perfect pumpkin pie that is made without eggs! Enjoy!
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Now, I hate to admit this but pumpkin pie? Eh, not a fan. I tend to skip right over it on the dessert table every year. I tried to skip it over completely by not even making one. But I got a few very loud grumbles from some family members. So this pie was literally made the day after Thanksgiving as an “I’m sorry, forgive me, I will never forget to make a pumpkin pie again”.

Now, because this pie was made the day AFTER. There were NO EGGS to be found. And that is even more ironic, because my grandmother owns chickens and eggs are aplenty, trust me. Did I mention I grew up in the middle of NOWHERE? Anyways, no eggs? No problem.

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No eggs, means the pie still needed some sort of something to bring it all together. What did I use? Cornstarch of course! And some condensed milk. That’s it. Throw in some pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract and voila! That’s it. Whisk that all together and call it a day.

Ok well you got to bake it first. But then you’re done. And I have to admit something. This pie? I ate a whole slice myself, no passing this time for me. What about the rest of pie, you ask? My family gladly accepted my a”pie”ology (sorry, I just had to) and gobbled it up.
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Eggless Pumpkin Pie
Yields 1
A delicious pumpkin pie made without any eggs!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 storebought or homemade 9-inch unbaked pie shell
  2. 1 15-ounce can of condensed milk
  3. 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  4. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your crust into your pie shell. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, puree, cornstarch, spice, and extract. Whisk to combine until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Bake for 50-60 minutes until pie appears firm. Chill for several hours or overnight (if you can last that long).
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

World’s Best Dinner Rolls

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Now I know that’s quite the statement to make. World’s. BEST. Ok, no I haven’t tried them all, I’m working on it. Trust me. But so far, with the ones I have tried and made over the years, these are by the far the best and most consistent, and yes, even (dare I say) and easy yeasted roll.

They were so good in fact, my sister in law the day after Thanksgiving said, “Yea I think you need to make more rolls”. That’s how good they were.

A couple things about this recipe (especially if you have never worked with yeast before!)

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_MG_8425-31) You need to PROOF your yeast. Don’t be nervous, it’s easy. Yeast is a living thing! So be gentle with it. Use lukewarm water ONLY (about 105-115 degrees) when dissolving it. Too hot and you will the yeast. Too cold and the yeast will never be activated (in other words no bubbles!), And make sure the milk mixture is also cooled completely before adding it or you will have destroyed all your hard work!

2) If after 10 minutes, you don’t see any bubbles, start over. Seriously. I wish I could have those hours back when I kept chugging along, thinking it will be fine I bet this bread will turn out ok. No bubbles. No bother. Save yourself some time and start over. Trust me.

3) Lastly, and this is the best part of these. There is no kneading required. Yup, so easy. The dough will go through two rises, so there isn’t any need for knead!

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These rolls made two dozen, beautifully fluffy melt in your mouth rolls. All they need (and honestly I ate a few without) a pat of butter to melt all over them. I slathered on some cinnamon butter to send these over the edge. These are dangerously good. Break out your stretchy pants for these ones, folks, you’re going to need them!

World's Best Dinner Rolls
Yields 24
World's Best Dinner Rolls
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Whole Milk (you could also use 2%, but whole is best)
  2. 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar, divided
  3. 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tablespoons) Butter
  4. 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  5. 2 packages Active Dry Yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  6. 2/3 cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees)
  7. 8 cups All-Purpose Flour
  8. 3 Eggs, beaten
Instructions
  1. 1.Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm. (This step is important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.)
  2. 2.While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. (after the 10 minutes, the yeast should be very bubbly and foamy)
  3. 3.In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add in beaten eggs. Then stir in remaining 5 cups of flour to make a soft dough.
  4. 4.*NOTE- The dough will be very soft and coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still be sticky. Don’t worry about this. It will firm up a little during the rising process*
  5. 5.Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
  6. 6.Punch down dough, and turn dough onto a lightly floured clean surface. Divide in half. Spray two 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray.
  7. 7.Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then place in prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. Cover pans with clean kitchen towels, and let rise 30-45 minutes.
  8. 8.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  9. 9.When done baking, remove rolls from oven and then rub a stick of cold butter all over the tops!
Adapted from Life in The Lofthouse, adapted from Our Best Bites
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

 

 

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Golden Oreo Crust

Mini pumpkin cheesecakes made with white chocolate and golden oreos in the crust! What’s not to love?!

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I don’t know how many holiday seasons it was ago now that I first brought a pumpkin cheesecake to the table. I wasn’t quite sure how it would go over. My family could handle pumpkin pie, but pumpkin cheesecake? My family prefers I stick to the traditional desserts. So would it be passed over as the more classics circulated around? Well, how did it go you ask? Let’s just say, this year I almost didn’t make one and my sister in law about had a heart attack. No pumpkin cheesecake?!, she cried. So I quickly got to work to whip up a pumpkin cheesecake….with a little couple twists.

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First off, I decided to make them miniature. Making them mini-sized was actually a lot easier than making a one large cheesecake. Most normal cheesecake you have to worry about the top cracking, and making a hot water bath, and letting them sit for WAY too long in the oven to set up. These little cakes were a cinch to throw together and were ready to eat before you know it. You will need one of these- a Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan 12 Cavity, 13.90-Inch by 10.60-Inch (2-Inch by 1.6-Inch Cavities)- to make them with. Totally worth the investment.

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My second twist, was to swirl in some melted white chocolate. Pumpkin and white chocolate were simply meant to be together. To have and to hold. Til death do them part. They really should never be apart. Ok, so enough said. Swirl in some white chocolate.

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And my third (and favorite) twist, instead of the regular go to options for crust like graham cracker or gingersnap cookies I used crushed up Golden Oreos. That’s right. Golden oreos. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? I simply twisted apart about 24 oreos, scraped the filling off, and crushed them up in my food processor with a little melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Definitely a genius moment.

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And to make the cheesecakes better and not one to waste anything, that filling I scraped off? Oh yea, that went right into the cheesecake filling. I mean, why not, right? That’s what I thought.

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In the end, it’s still everything you want out of a pumpkin cheesecake made with pumpkin pie spice (you should try making your own!), cream cheese, and pumpkin of course but just a few unexpected and delicious twists. I can’t wait to see what other desserts come out of my new cheesecake pan. Anyone have some inspiration to share?

Mini White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Yields 12
White chocolate pumpkin cheesecakes in miniature form with a golden oreo crust!
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crust
  1. 24 oreos, divided, and filling scraped
  2. 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  3. 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
filling
  1. 8 ounces (1 large package) cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons heavy cream OR sour cream
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 cup pumpkin
  7. reserved oreo filling
  8. 1 ounce white chocolate, melted, cooled
  9. 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. To make the crust: Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a food processor, crumble the oreo cookies. In a small bowl, combine crushed oreos, butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. 2) Divide the crumbs among the 12 cups of a bite-size cheesecake pan. Press them firmly to the bottoms and about 1/2" up the sides. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until set and just beginning to color. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  3. 3) To make the batter: In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the cream, egg, pumpkin, oreo filling, vanilla and spices mix well. At this point you can add the white chocolate now or swirl in at the end. Spoon the batter into the cooled crusts, using about 2 tablespoons in each. If you waited to add the white chocolate, now would be the time to add it. Top with a scant half teaspoon of melted chocolate, and use a knife blade to swirl it into the batter.
  4. 4) Bake the cheesecakes for 18 to 20 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes — the tops will sink slightly. Use a knife to gently loosen the edges, then carefully invert the pan and push the cheesecakes out. Immediately turn the cheesecakes right-side up and chill them. To remove the metal plates before serving, run the blade of a table knife under hot water to warm it, then run the knife between the crust and the metal disk to free up the cheesecake.
  5. 5) Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
  6. Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes.
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

 

DIY pumpkin pie spice

A homemade version of pumpkin pie spice to be used for all your pumpkin recipes!

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If you ask anyone who has a blog what season it is, don’t be shock if you receive “Pumpkin” as your answer. Not winter. Not holiday. Not Christmas. Nope. Pumpkin. I know I have made my fair share of pumpkin recipes these last few months. And no sign of stopping either.

Every good pumpkin recipe will call for “pumpkin pie spice” or a blend of the warm spices that make up pumpkin pie spice. Now you can definitely run out to the grocery store and pick up a jar of this stuff at a whopping $4.99 (at least it’s that much for me!). Or you can whip your own version! You probably even have all the spices on hand right now. It will save you tons of time in the future when making that next pumpkin recipe as opposed to getting out all those spices one by one again.

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Ok so this recipe is simple and customizable. You can definitely add more or less of any spice according to what your nose tells you. Make sure to give each spice a good whiff so you know just what each smells like before you combine them all to see if you want to add more (or maybe less!). When you sniff the whole mixture, you can then always decide if you want to add more of any particular spice in the end. Make it your own!

This recipe can also obviously be doubled, tripled, well you get the idea. Make as little or as much as you think you will need this pumpkin- um I mean holiday season.

Ok so let’s get to the recipe- super simple. All you need is…

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Then stir it all together and keep it in a jar ready to go for all your great pumpkin recipes!
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That’s it! What are you waiting for?!

Need some inspiration? Here are few ideas to get you started…

Pumpkin praline bread pudding
Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Cupcakes

DIY pumpkin pie spice
Yields 1
A homemade version of the popular jar at the store that will save you a few dollars!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  2. 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  3. 1 teaspoon allspice
  4. 1 teaspoon cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon nutmeg (I used fresh)
Instructions
  1. Measure out all your spices (be careful not to leave one out!). Combine in a jar. Stir to combine. Keep for up to a year!
Notes
  1. Besides your typical pumpkin pie recipe, get creative! Feel free to sprinkle over your morning cappuccino, stir some into whipped cream for a whole new experience, even stir into your yogurt! The pumpkin possibilities are endless!
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

DIY vanilla extract

A do-it-yourself recipe to make your own homemade vanilla extract! Perfect for holiday gifts!

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 I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with lots of tasty dishes and friends and family gathered around the table. I spent it in the middle of nowhere, upstate New York, without any internet access. Yup that’s right. NONE. So blogging was clearly out for a few days. But that’s alright I could focus on hanging with family and enjoying my down time.  And now, it’s on to thinking of Christmas.  This time of year can be hectic! Presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake (ok, I love that part, obviously), trees and mantles to decorate, cards to write and stamp. Ok, so there is  long list to get done!

So, if you are feeling the holiday stress, I hear ya! The list of gifts to buy for tends to be my most overwhelming task. What is one to do?! Panic and buy the first thing you see? No! Embrace three little words this holiday season. Do. It. Yourself. You will save yourself fighting the store lines, save a little moola (who doesn’t love that this time of year?), and come away with a thoughtful gift to give. 

Do-it-yourself vanilla extract couldn’t be easier. Seriously. All you will need is a BIG bottle of vodka, bottles, and of course vanilla beans. Yeah, that’s it. I know. So easy!

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_MG_8290_MG_8292Ok so let’s break this down…

First, you need to split open your vanilla beans. Just take a knife and run it down the length of the vanilla bean to expose all that yummy vanilla bean goodness inside.

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Then take your knife (I switched and used a butter knife, I just didn’t trust myself) and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds inside.

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Look at all that yummy vanilla! Add the contents of two beans, and the beans themselves (I cut them in half to fit), to a bottle. Then fill with vodka.
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That’s it. Put the top on. And repeat with the rest of your bottles. I used up pretty much all of the vodka. Sorry none left over for a good cocktail! Oh well, maybe next time.

The vanilla extract will be ready in about 8 weeks. just shake a couple times a week, and before you know it. Homemade Vanilla Extract!

To give as a gift, I found these labels online…
Labels From Sweet Society
From Love Pomegranate House

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So there you go! A thoughtful and easy gift this holiday season for whoever’s on your list!

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Yields 12
A do-it-yourself recipe for homemade vanilla extract. An easy and great gift for the holiday season!
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Ingredients
  1. * 12 4-ounce bottles
  2. * 1.75 Litre of Vodka
  3. * 24 vanilla beans
Instructions
  1. For each bottle: Wash and dry your bottles. Split open two vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape out the vanilla in each bean. Add to a bottle. Cut the beans in half and also add to the bottle. Fill with vodka. Place the top on. Shake a couple times a week. Ready to enjoy in about 8 weeks!
Notes
  1. I've also seen versions where you don't need to scrape the bean pod first, and simply just split it open, cut the bean in half to fit, and add to the bottle. Definitely a lot less work! You could also strain the contents later, if you so choose, if you want a completely smooth extract. I kind of like leaving it the way it is, making it very clear that is homemade!
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/

25+ Thanksgiving Recipes

Here is a list of Thanksgiving recipes for the whole day from me and my favorite bloggers! Breakfast, appetizers, the main event, dessert and of course what to do with all that leftover turkey.
PicMonkey Collage

Breakfast/Brunch:
1. Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins- perfect little pop-able breakfast treats that are baked leaving you ready to indulge the rest of the day!
2. 6-ingredient Caramel Sticky Buns- Can be prepared the night before! Just pop it in the oven Thanksgiving morning!
3. Pumpkin pancakes- Nothing like a stack of warm pancakes to start the day off right.
4. Bacon and Cheese Strata- A savory breakfast that you throw together the night before, so it’s as easy as turning the oven on the morning of.
5. A 110-crustless veggie quiche- from Sally’s Baking addiction…gluten free and a light start!
6. Apple Cinnamon Scones with Apple Cider Glaze- Can be made ahead and frozen for a quick warm breakfast treat.
7. Baked French Toast with Praline Topping- From The Brown Eyed Baker- This recipe is an all time favorite of mine for a holiday breakfast.

Appetizers
8. Cheesy Pull Apart Bread- from Brown Eyed Baker. This is a delicious easy appetizer! I’ve also seen it called “crack bread”. Make it once and you’ll know why.
9.Baked Brie with Apples and Salted Caramel- from Two Peas and Their Pod- Every Thanksgiving table should have a Brie appetizer on it.
10. Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese An all-time favorite appetizer. It. Just. Works (from Mother Thyme).

Main Event
11. Burgundy Mushrooms- From The Pioneer Woman. Love this woman. Love her blog. Love, love, love these mushrooms.
12. Sweet Potato Casserole- From Allrecipes.com. I’ve made this time and time again. It always finds it’s way to my table. I make a double batch for leftovers!
13. Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions- From Smitten Kitchen- One of the first blogs I ever started reading. She has a whole section of course dedicated to Thanksgiving you need to check out.
14. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes- From Annie’s Eats. It may take a little longer to roast the garlic, but it is so worth the wait.
15. Apple, Onion, Celery Stuffing- From Rachael Ray. In my house, stuffing is always left to my mom and she sticks with the classic. It has never disappointed.
16. Smoked Turkey- In our house, my brother smokes a turkey. If you have never had a smoked turkey, you really don’t know what you’re missing. It imparts that unmistakable smoke flavor while being the juiciest turkey ever.
17. Whiskey Orange Cranberry Chutney- An easy cranberry sauce recipe with a little kick.

Dessert
18. Classic Apple Pie- Every Thanksgiving table should have one and from scratch!
19. Blueberry Crumble Pie- I’m always asked to make a blueberry pie each year. This was dubbed the best yet.
20. Pumpkin Praline Bread Pudding- This bread pudding was the first dessert to be devoured last year. Even after all the turkey and stuffing.
21. Pumpkin Cheesecake- Move over pumpkin pie there is a new pumpkin dessert in town.
 

Day After Thanksgiving
22. Fried Mashed Potatoes- A perfect recipe for all those leftover mashed potatoes.
23. Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps- Fill with Turkey instead for a quick and light after Thanksgiving meal.
24. Next Day Turkey Soup- from Recipe Girl- can also be made gluten free!
25. Grilled Turkey and Brie Cranwich- from Confections of a Foodie Bride- Need to make the quintessential leftover turkey sandwich. This one does it with flair.
26. Turkey Chili- from Beantown Baker- Instead of ground turkey, use shredded leftover turkey for a perfect comfort food meal.
27. Leftover Turkey Pot Pie- from The Pioneer Woman- Did I mention I love her?
28. Pumpkin Bacon Mac and Cheese- Have a little leftover pumpkin you don’t know what to do? Then perfect. Make this.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic chocolate chip cookies made with ground oats, and tons of chocolate running throughout! Say  hello to your new favorite cookie recipe!

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One thing I love doing is taking far too many cookbooks at the local library. There is a whole section upstairs with endless amounts of cookbooks. It feels like shopping, only it’s free. Well unless you forget to return them, so in my case, not always free. On a recent trip I borrowed this cookbook. Perhaps it was the title, or the cover, or maybe I just had a craving for a good old fashioned cookie. Either way I found myself checking out this book immediately.

The cookbook contains 89 heirloom recipes from New York’s Milk and Cookies bakery located in Greenwich village. Perusing through the pages of tasty sounding recipes, I decided the first one I would have to make of course is the signature chocolate chip cookie the bakery is known for.

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What makes this classic chocolate chip cookie different from every other chocolate chip cookie I have ever made is that instead of using just flour, it uses a combination of oats and flour. The old fashioned rolled oats are ground up that gives the cookies a texture somewhere between chewy and crispy. Truly a texture that is unforgettable once you have had one bite. You could use oat flour, or simply break out your food processor and grind up some old-fashioned rolled oats.

The second thing about this recipe that will have you swooning and breaking out your mixer immediately. Instead of just stirring in some chocolate chips or chunks, it also includes (get this), ribbons of chocolate. Little curls of chocolate that creates threads of chocolate running throughout the vanilla-based dough that ensure that you get chocolate-y deliciousness with every bite. Are you swooning yet? Yea, I thought so.

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Now this recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. If you’re like me, that is one too many to have laying around the house. You can make them all and give some away to co-workers and accept all the thank yous between bites. Or you can scoop the dough and freeze for later. Perfect for when the cookie craving hits. If you have never freezed cookie dough for use later, oh boy, you are missing out. Simply scoop your cookie dough like normal onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Then simply placed them in a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer for whenever you need one..or two…six. Hey I’m not judging.

So with finely ground oats that give an unmistakable texture and ribbons of chocolate running throughout you will definitely be making these cookies again and again.

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And me? I plan on returning my book on time and then quickly purchasing it for my own copy straight away so I can make even more cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 2
A classic chocolate chip cookie made with finely ground oats and ribbons of chocolate running throughout!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  7. 1 cup granulated sugar
  8. 1 cup light brown sugar
  9. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  10. 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  11. 2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  12. 2 cups bittersweet chocolate curls or shavings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or nonstick silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Put the oats in the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade and process until finely ground. Transfer the ground oats to a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Put the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Begin beating on low speed to soften. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, or unti light and creamy. With the motor running gradually add the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar. , beating until very light and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and when blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture.
  5. Stop the mixer when the dough is still slightly streaky, and finish mixing the dough with a spatula so as not to overmix. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chunks and curls, mixing until evenly distributed. Do not use your mixer to stir in the chocolate. The mixer tends to break up the chocolate chunks and result in a dry texture.
  6. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, make mounds of dough. Roll the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the balls, about 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Using your palm, gently flatten each ball to make a puck-like shape about 2 inches in diameter.
  7. When the cookies are all shaped, place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center. Do not overbake; you want some chewiness in the center.
  8. Remove from the oven and, using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire racks to cool.
  9. Store, airtight, at room temperature for up to a week.
Notes
  1. You can also freeze the unbaked dough. Simply scoop the dough, flatten, and freeze on a lined cookie sheet for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a plastic bag. Bake as normal (you may need an extra minute or two on the baking time).
Adapted from Milk and Cookies
Adapted from Milk and Cookies
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/
 

Pumpkin Pancakes

A stack of pancakes with a pumpkin twist, drizzled in maple syrup. Hello, breakfast!

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Once in a while I wake up with that craving for something sweet for breakfast. Believe it or not, I actually crave a egg sandwich dripping in melted cheese. But once in awhile, the pancake craving hits. And when it does, you have to answer it. There is no point in trying to ignore the call. This time, the pancake craving would come with a pumpkin twist.

Pumpkin has been a frequent visitor as of late. I just can’t seem to get enough. I made these cookies. And these cupcakes. And these muffins. I can’t promise that the pumpkin craze is done yet either.

I made these pancakes twice (no not all in one weekend!). The first time they came out super dense and kind of mushy in the middle, no matter how long they were on the stove! They found their way to the trash and I found myself making another egg sandwich. Second time around, I bumped up the baking soda and baking powder to really make sure these came out light and fluffy. With all the pumpkin going on, it needed some extra boost. I also swapped out the vegetable oil and used melted butter, which still made them tender but also gave that flavor that only butter can achieve. To get the right consistency as well, I added a little extra milk to the batter so it made that pourable batter you’re supposed to have.

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A couple other things:

1) Always let your pancake batter rest for about 10 minutes. You need to let the baking powder and baking soda start to do their thing. You know how people say the first pancake is always a throw away. I always thought it had something to do with the pan just wasn’t quite ready. After a few go rounds, I would put my money on that you haven’t. Let. IT Rest. It being the batter! Take a coffee break and then start flipping those flapjacks.

2) Not sure when to flip? See those little air bubbles popping up, wait for them to start popping and then you know. Get that spatula ready. Flip, baby, flip! Don’t worry if isn’t perfect. Just put that pancake in the middle of the stack. No one will be the wiser.

3) Sadly, I’m still baking pancakes on a small griddle one at a time. I know. I know. I need to invest something like this. Either way, if you are making a whole big batch like I do then do yourself a favor and stick them in the oven to keep warm. while you keep pouring and flipping. Simply pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Spray a cooling rack with non-stick spray and place on top of a cookie sheet. Then voila! Instant pancake warmer!

4) Last but not least, when making the pancake batter. You want to make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients into the well. Then using a spatula, stir just until combined. You don’t want to keep stirring and end up with tough pancakes in the end.

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So when the next craving hits, put a little happy in your Sunday morning and whip up some pumpkin pancakes. Throw some pecans in or chocolate chips if you so choose, or simply eat them as is. All pumpkin-y and drizzled in maple syrup.  These will definitely tame the craving.

Pumpkin Pancakes
A delicious stack of pancakes made with pumpkin and warming spices. Drizzle in maple syrup for a perfect weekend breakfast!
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Ingredients
  1. * 2 cups flour
  2. * 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  3. * 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  4. * 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  5. * 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. * 2 cups milk (I used low-fat)
  7. * 1 egg
  8. * 3 Tablespoons butter, melted, cooled
  9. * 1 cup pumpkin puree
  10. * 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  11. * 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger
Instructions
  1. 1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
  2. 2. In another bowl, whisk to combine butter and egg. Add pumpkin and milk. Whisk to combine.
  3. 3. In the dry ingredients bowl, make a well in the center. Pour in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine. Some lumps will remain. Do NOT overmix.
  4. 4. Heat a skillet with 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Take a paper towel and wipe out the excess oil. Using a 1/4-cup, ladle out pancake batter. Cook until bubbles rise and pop. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Keep warm in preheated oven, or serve immediately with lots of butter and syrup.
Notes
  1. I used a 1/2 cup to measure out my pancake batter, because I prefer my pancakes a little bigger! Do what you suits you! If you use 1/4 cup, you will get about 16 pancakes, about 8 if you make them 1/2 cup size.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Boston Girl Bakes http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/