Monday, December 26, 2011

December SRC - Chocolate Coconut Patties

By the time our reveal for the Secret Recipe Club posts this month, Christmas will have come and gone. I hope that everyone had a joyous holiday!

I was assigned the blog Oh! You Cook to choose a recipe from this month. Dena's blog is full of wonderful recipes! My choice this month was simple - not much more than chocolate and coconut -  but it was just what I was looking for to add to our Christmas treats. If you like Mounds bars, her recipes for Mounds Wannabees is spot on and so delicious! I changed the recipe up just a bit by mixing the chocolate and the coconut together, making patties instead of bars. Either way, the chocolate and coconut is an excellent combination!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Chocolate Coconut Patties

1 - 14 oz bag  shredded sweetened coconut
8 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 - 15 oz bag melting chocolate

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.

Add coconut and corn syrup to a food processor. Pulse 8-10 times, or until corn syrup is evenly distributed and mixture clumps up.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Stir the coconut into the coconut and mix until thoroughly combined.

Shape into patties and lay on the baking sheet to harden. For quicker results, stick the pan into the frig. for 10 minutes.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Makes approx. 45 patties

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SRC Group B - Gingerbread Cups

As many of my readers know, I'm a hostess for the Secret Recipe Club. If you don't know what the SRC is all about, take a minute to check it out to see what fun you're missing out on!

There are 4 groups to the Secret Recipe Club and when one of the groups end up with an orphaned blog - a blog who didn't have a recipe chosen from and made for the month - the group hostesses try to jump in and help out. I did just that this month. I was happy to be able to lend a hand to Tina in Group B!

The blog that I baked from is named Six Kilos of Pumpkin. It full of great recipes. I especially enjoyed looking through her dessert recipes. I found the perfect recipe for the holidays...Gingerbread Cuffins with Cream Cheese Icing - nope, Cuffins is not a typo. She describes these treats as a mixture between cupcakes and muffins. After baking them, I can totally understand what she is describing. I decided to stray away from the usual cupcake or muffin this time and instead, I baked the batter in 4 oven-safe cups, perfect single serving desserts. Instead of cream cheese frosting, I'm topping ours with whipped cream. Sorry, no pictures of the whipped cream, we will be eating them for dessert later this evening.

How jealous are you that you can't smell the wonderful scents surrounding me in my little apartment?!?

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! :)

Gingerbread Cups
original recipe @ Six Kilos of Pumpkin 

1 c plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
7 tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp organic maple agave syrup
1 tsp molasses
Preheat oven to 350C. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, up to and including the brown sugar. 

Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix for 3 minutes with a hand mixer or until the batter is light and fluffy. 

Spoon the batter into 4 large oven-safe baking cups. Bake for 20 - 23 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the middle of one cup comes out clean.
Serve warm or bring to room temp and top with whipped cream.


Please take a few minutes to visit Six Kilos of Pumpkin to let her know that she is not alone in bloggy land!

Monday, November 28, 2011

November SRC - Chicken with Rustic Balsamic Tomato Sauce

I can't believe that it's the end of November already! That means that it's time once again for our reveal party for Group D of the Secret Recipe Club.

I was paired with Kathleen's blog, Gonna Want Seconds. I knew from the first couple of minutes of thumbing through her recipes, that I was going to find many, many favorites to try. Her recipe for Chicken with Rustic Balsamic Tomato Sauce is a perfect match for my ways of cooking so I decided that would be my choice for the SRC.

Like Kathleen, I do not peel nor seed tomatoes unless it's absolutely necessary - and then it better be for a worthwhile cause. hahaha! This is a one pan dish so full of flavor. I made a couple of changes - I couldn't find decent plum tomatoes anywhere so I subbed two containers of grape tomatoes, which worked perfectly fine. I also left out the Rosemary because I thought that I had some in my freezer but I didn't and I didn't feel like running back to the store before dinner. I'm sure that the fresh Rosemary would add even more wonderful flavor to this dish. I left out the shallots because my family doesn't care for them. I love balsamic vinegar and the reduction in this recipe is fantastic when cooked with the tomatoes.

I served the chicken over rice but egg noodles would work nicely, too. If you want a lighter meal, serve the chicken with a side salad.

Chicken with Rustic Balsamic Tomato Sauce

4 tsp olive oil-divided
4-5 skinless boneless chicken breast - I used a 2.5 bag
2 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped - I omitted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. shallots-chopped - I omitted
3 tbps  garlic-minced
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
6 plum tomatoes-diced - I used 2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c.chicken broth
1/4 tsp sugar - I added it
1/4 c. fresh basil-chopped

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large pan.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.  Add to skillet and brown on both sides.  Transfer the chicken to a platter.

Add 2 tsp oil to the pan.  Lower the heat and add garlic. Cook about two minutes, stirring often.

Add the vinegar, stirring to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the vinegar is almost evaporated.

Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and sugar. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add chicken back to pan, turn to cover with sauce.  Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in basil.

Serve over rice or egg noodles. For a lighter meal, serve the chicken with a side salad.

Here's how you can join us in the Secret Recipe Club!  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Looking to switch things up a bit for the holidays instead of the usual pumpkin pie? Try Paula Deen's recipe for pumpkin cheesecake.

This is one beautiful, creamy cheesecake! It's easy to make, too. I followed her directions, only adding more spices to it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake 
From Paula's Home Cooking/Celebrates cookbook

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon - I used 1 tbsp
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg - I used 1 tsp
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves - I used 1 tsp
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. I made our cheesecake the night before and refrigerated it. Set it on the counter for 15 minutes before cutting it for easier handling.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving Tree

I hope that everyone will take some time today to stop and reflect on what they're really thankful for.

In our home, we have so much to be thankful for. You can read some of our "thankful" leaves on our Thanksgiving tree.

A Closer Look - Decorations by My Daughter, Alexis

A Closer Look - Decorations by Alexis

As much as I wish that we were still living in Pa., moving to this state has given me an opportunity to grow in many ways. I'm finding that I'm an independent woman with a strong voice and for that, I'm very thankful.

I'm so thankful for my husband and how hard he works to provide for us each and every day, through rain and snow, holidays and more...airports never sleep - and for that, I am thankful, too.

My kids. They fight like cats and dogs now most of time. For this, I'm thankful that they can scream and argue and chase each other around. They are happy, healthy, headstrong, witty, intelligent kids. The same, yet totally different.

I'm so thankful that my Mom made a full recovery from her health problems this past year. I'm thankful that she's strong-willed and a fighter and never gave up on things. I'm thankful for all of the doctors and nurses that were there to help through all of it and thankful to my sister for being there with her through all it, alone, because I couldn't be there to help out. Mom, we love you!

My Internet friends. I'm thankful for each and every person that I've met along the way. Friends, whether by face or keystroke, have a very special place in my heart.

However you choose to spend your day, I hope that it's wonderful!

My kids and I are cooking dinner. Afterwards, we have plans to bake some cookies and play board games (We're getting Dad involved this time!). Gotta sneak in some time for pumpkin cheesecake and football, too! (Hope those Dirty Birds get taken down!) And if we any energy left over after that, we might drag out a few Christmas decorations. To top things off, my son wants to go Black Friday shopping at Old Navy...let's see if I'm still awake for that one! ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cookie Carnival - September & October Reveals

It's that time again! Time to show you all of the delicious cookies baked for the Cookie Carnival for the months of September and October.

For September, there was a choice of baking:

Chewy Pecan Chocolate Bars
"Take the Cake Mix Cookie Challenge", in which the members could submit up to 3 recipes using cake mixes in the recipes.

Everyone chose to make take the cake mix cookie challenge!

Vivian @Let’s Try These made caramel corn cookies

Julie @ A Little Bit of Everything made chocolate chocolate chip cookies!

Katrina @ Baking and Boys For her first cookie, Katrina made devils food cake mix cookies

For her second cookies, she made pumpkin spice cake cookies

Christine @ Whimsical Bakery made cinnamon crinkles

Krista @ Meet the Swans made cinnamon spiced butter pecan cookies


What a wonderful round up! I love keeping cake mixes on hand to make cookies!

Please take a few minutes to visit these ladies' beautiful blogs!! They've been busy since making these cookies. Check 'em out to see what they've been up to!

For October, the two cookie choices were:

Danish Pastry Apple Bars

Fudgy Cats

This time of the year is busy for almost everyone. We only had a couple of people participate this month. THANK YOU, ladies, for baking with the Cookie Carnival this month!!

Michelle @ Chocolate Teapot made fudgy mummies

Vivian @ Let’s Try These made fudgy spiders

Give them some bloggie love by visiting them to see what they've been up to!


With the holidays upon us, I've decided to put the Cookie Carnival on hiatus until after the new year. Keep an eye out for it to debut again in February!

If you're looking for new cookie recipes for the holidays, checkout our Cookie Carnival Round Ups! There's 2 years worth of yummy recipes posted for you to choose from! 

Wishing you Happy Holidays filled with lots of cookie baking!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Crockpot Italian Beef Roast with Potatoes & Carrots

One of my all-time favorite meals is a beef roast with veggies cooked in a crockpot. It's a perfect meal for these chilly days we've been experiencing. This past Saturday was a busy day for us with indoor soccer practice, shopping and taking my daughter to a birthday bowling party... so coming home to a cooked dinner was so nice!

I cooked 2 - 2 1/2 lb beef roasts so that I would have enough meat left over to make beef noodle soup this week. Give a big cheer for a great 2 for 1 meal! 

If you think that meat won't brown in a crockpot, just check this out....  MMM! Tender and juicy!

The potatoes and carrots soak up all of the beef juices, rounding out the meal and making it delicious!

Crockpot Italian Beef Roast with Potatoes & Carrots

2 - 2 1/2 lb beef roasts, thawed if frozen
7 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
5 large carrots, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 pkg. Grill Mates Italian Herb Seasonings & Marinade
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 c. beef broth

This recipe completely filled my 6 qt. crockpot so I wouldn't recommend using a smaller unit unless you decrease the amounts of this recipe.

Into the crockpot, layer potatoes and top with carrots. Sprinkle half of the Italian herb seasoning pkg. onto the vegetables. Pour 1 c. of beef broth over all.

Lay the beef roasts side by side on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining Italian herb seasonings and garlic powder. Pour remaining cup of beef broth over top of the meat and down the sides into the crock.

Cook on high for 5 - 5 1/2 hrs.

To Make Gravy

Remove the beef roast and the vegetables to a large platter. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Leave all of the broth and juices in the crockpot.

Stir 3 tbsp. cornstarch into 1/2 c. beef broth. Whisk this mixture into the broth that's left in the crockpot, stirring constantly until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until the gravy starts to thicken.

Serve immediately with the roast and vegetables.

***Extra Meals***

Any leftover meat and potatoes can be made into beef noodle soup.


The potatoes and carrots can be whipped together for a great topping to shepard's pie or beef pot pie that's made from the left over beef and gravy.

Linking up to:

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

I love gingerbread and I love pumpkin muffins. Combine the two and you have a wonderfully moist, delicious treat. Great for breakfast, packing into lunch bags or for dessert topped with a little whipped cream, applesauce or ice cream!

This recipe was posted at by a friend of mine who goes by "cat lover" on the forums. She turned her recipe into a cake. I made muffins from the batter. The only thing that I changed was to add a little more spices to the batter. Either way, it's great!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

1 - 16 oz can pumpkin
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light molasses
1/3 cup water
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, stopping to scrape the bowl often. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes, again stopping to scrape the bowl.

Line muffin tins with paper liners. Spoon into paper liners and fill to the top of the cup - I used a large ice cream scoop to fill the cups. Do not level off evenly. The muffins will round out when they are baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of a muffin comes out clean - check often so that you do not overbake.

For an extra sweet treat, top with whipped cream, warm apple sauce or ice cream.

Makes 30 muffins.

Linking up to:

Jane Deere Fusion Fridays

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Monday, October 31, 2011

SRC - Sausage Pizza Rolls

I'm so excited to be hosting a group for the Secret Recipe Club!

I'm the hostess for Group D, the newest group of the club and today is our reveal day!!
I want to thank Amanda @ Amanda's Cookin for this wonderful opportunity to become
a hostess for this great club!

Even before I was assigned the wonderful blog, The Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, I knew that I would be searching for "snacking" foods instead of a main dish or dessert recipe because my whole family has been down with the flu this month. Yes, unfortunately, we share everything.

The recipe I chose to make was sausage pizza rolls. They were delicious and fit our needs for something hearty enough to fill us up but not weigh us down like a heavy meal. I apologize for the plain Jane pictures but I could barely see straight when we tried this recipe, let alone fancy things up for the picture. Don't judge by the pictures...whip up a batch that contains your favorite pizza toppings! Then you'll see what I'm taking about! YUM! Perfect for eating while lounging on the couch, covered in blankets, while watching Steelers football! (side note: Did ya happen to see that game yesterday?!?)

Ok, back to the sausage pizza rolls.....   This is one of those recipes where I thought "Why didn't I think of that?" Very easy to put together and great for using up bits and pieces of leftovers that's stuck in the frig. Sarah's family prefers pepperoni in their rolls but my family prefers sausage, peppers and onions with the sauce and cheese, so that's what I ran with. Definitely a keeper! Just think of the many pizza combos out there that you could stuff into an egg roll wrapper. :)

Sausage Pizza Rolls

3/4 lb loose hot sausage - if using sause that's
in the casing, remove casings before frying and
crumble into small pieces
1 green pepper, diced into very small pieces
1/3 c. onion, diced into very small pieces
1/3 mushrooms, diced small
mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. egg roll wrappers
oil for frying
1/4 c. water for wetting egg roll wrappers

Fry sausage until brown and cooked completely through. Drain on paper towel.

Saute green peppers, onions and mushrooms until soft. Drain on paper towel, if necessary.

Into one bowl, stir together the hot sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms and 1 - 2 cups of sauce - enough to make the mixture wet but not sloppy and soggy.

To assemble:

Lay one egg roll wrapper onto the table. To the middle of each wrapper add approx. 1 tbsp. cheese, then top with 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp sausage and veggie mixture.

If you're not sure how to wrap the egg rolls for frying, there are directions inside the egg roll wrapper package.

Fry in hot oil until browned all over. Drain on paper towels.

Here's another version of egg rolls that I've chicken egg rolls.  This one includes step by step pictures.

I've had another wonderful month of cooking and blogging with the Secret Recipe Club! If you would like to learn how you join in on the fun, click here for more info.!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spiced Apple Crumb Bars

By this time of the year I'm ready for fall. I love the colors, the scents, picking apples and pumpkins, Halloween...every part of it. Still, even after 6 years of living in NC (borderline SC), I still can't get used to the fact that fall pretty much doesn't exist around us. The temps. during daylight are still in the 80s and the lows at night dip down into the 40s and 30s. It's nuts, I tell ya!

To keep from missing out on all of the fun of fall, I've filled my house with leaves (fake of course, I'm not that nuts!), cinnamon and pumpkin candle melts and I'm making time to head back into the kitchen ('bout time, huh?) to start baking some scrumptious desserts! I apologize ahead of time if I get carried away and bombard my blog for a little while with apple and pumpkin desserts. I can't help it, we love them!

Happy Fall Yinz! 
(no disrespect to all of my southern friends and bloggers, but I can't say ya'll because I'm from Pittsburgh and that word just won't come out of my mouth.)  ;)

Spiced Apple Crumb Bars

To make the bar part of the recipe:
1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (can use apple pie spice)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves, opitonal
6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 old fashioned oats 1 egg + 2 egg whites
1 tbsp. water

5 - 6 Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (can use apple pie spice)

Extra for Crumb Topping: 
1/8 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350*

Stir together cake mix and spices.

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the cake mix until it resembles course crumbs.

Stir in oats. Reserve 1 c. of the mixture for the crumb topping on the bars.

Pat the remaining mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 dish and set aside.

To make the filling: core, peel and thinly slice the Granny Smith apples. Add the apples and butter into a frying pan. Saute over medium heat until the apples are fork tender. Before removing the apples from the stove, stir in the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices.

Layer the cooked apples over the crumb crust in the pan.

Stir the brown sugar into the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the top of the apples.

Bake for 28 - 30 minutes, until the edges start to turn light brown.

Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before cutting into bars.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Itty Bitty Cinnamon Rolls

My kids are not breakfast eaters first thing in the morning but I've found that if I make bite-sized versions of some breakfast treats, they will eat them. As a result, these itty bitty cinnamon rolls were born.

I took a short cut and used frozen bread dough so it really didn't take long at all to be able to serve hot, fresh cinnamon rolls instead of another cold breakfast. I'll be honest and tell you that I made these rolls on a weekend morning --I did not get up before the birds on a school day to roll out bread dough. I know that there are plenty of you out there who do get up in the wee morning hours to prepare breakfasts every morning and I commend you for doing so but that's not me. I'm NOT a morning person, no matter how hard I try to be. Had I been making these for a school morning, I would've prepared the rolls ahead of time the night before, stopping right before cutting them into pieces, and then I would've wrapped the long roll up tightly in plastic wrap and stuck it in the refrigerator. Then all that would have to been done the next morning would be to cut and bake the little rolls. Even the glaze could be made ahead of time but it really doesn't take much effort to whip it up while the rolls are baking.

The rolls are best if eaten hot, right out of the oven. I had just a few left over from the batch that I made and even after storing them in a tightly sealed container, they turned sort of rubbery and hard.

So there you have it...a simple yet very satisfying breakfast treat for days when you think that you don't have time to eat anything.

Itty Bitty Cinnamon Rolls

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter, room temperature

The directions are pretty simple: 

Thaw frozen bread.

Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly coat a mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

Roll out bread dough until flat and as close to a rectangle as possible - doesn't have to be perfect.

Spread butter over the entire area of the dough.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and then sprinkle all of it over the buttered dough.

Starting on the long end, roll up the log, tucking in the short end edges as you go along.

To cut:

Slice the long log in half. Slice each half in half, giving you four mini logs. You should be able to cut 6-8 mini rolls from each of the 4 mini logs.

Lay each cinnamon roll into a mini muffin hole in the pan.

Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

Remove the hot rolls to a cooling rack. Drizzle with glaze (recipe below), if desired. Aren't they just the cutest little things?!?

Glaze for Itty Bitty Cinnamon Rolls

1 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Stir all ingredients together until smooth. Generously drizzle the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cookie Carnival - Raspberry Filled Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

For my second Cookie Carnival submission this month, I choose another cake mix cookie recipe but this time, instead of a round cookie, I made bar cookies - Raspberry Filled Lemon Cream Cheese Bars. The original recipe is from Betty Crocker. Their recipe calls for strawberry preserves but since I already had raspberry preserves in the frig, I opted to use it instead. I loved the pairing of the slightly sweet raspberry preserves with the slightly sour lemon margarita filling.

Raspberry Filled Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
adapted from Betty

Bar Cookie Base:
1 box lemon cake mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c.p finely chopped almonds
1 c. low sugar raspberry preserves

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1  egg
1/4 c.bottled margarita mix
1/4 c. lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch pan and set aside.

Place cake mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until crumbly. Add almonds; mix well. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of pan.

Stir preserves until smooth; carefully spread over base.

In same bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, salt and egg with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add margarita mix and lemon juice; beat at low speed until blended. Carefully pour filling over base.

Sprinkle reserved base mixture over filling.

Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until edges begin to brown and center is set.

Cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.

My first Cookie Carnival cake mix cookie submission this month was: Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies! 

Want to join in on the Cookie Carnival fun? It's easy! Click here to find out more info.

Cookie Carnival - Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

One of the recipes for September's Cookie Carnival was cake mix cookies - any recipe of your choice as long as it was a new recipe that you were trying. We were allowed to submit 3 cookies recipes of this type.

My family loves cake mix cookies so I knew that this would be any easy choice for me. What I didn't realize until I started searching for new ideas was there there are hundreds of recipes out there for cake mix cookies and not just your ordinary round cookie either...there's bars, biscotti, squares, many to choose from.

The great thing about cake mix cookies is that you can clean out the leftover bits of this and that from your cupboards by dumping the stuff into your cookie recipe. Sounds like some sort of mad scientist experiment, huh?

I had several boxes of chocolate cake mix in my cupboard so it was a no brainer that my recipe was going to be a chocolate cookie. In the back of the cupboard, I found a bag with about a cup of chocolate chunks and on the same shelf, there was an almost empty jar of peanut butter. Who doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter mixed together?

I started with a basic cake mix cookie with water, oil, and eggs but then I made a few adjustments to the recipe. The results were delicious! You could taste just a slight hint of peanut butter through all of the chocolate. My husband is not a peanut butter cookie fan so this was just enough for him. The gooey chocolate chunks were awesome and added to the fun of eating these cookies while they were still warm.

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 (18.25 oz) devils food cake mix
1/3 c. water
1 egg
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350*

Using a large bowl and a wooden spoon, mix together cake mix, water, egg and peanut butter until all ingredients are combined. Stir in chocolate chunks. (I used my hands to mix the chips into the cookie dough.)

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet in 4 rows of 3 cookies, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread out. Using a fork, flatten the cookies in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes. The cookies will still be slightly soft in the middle. Watch carefully and do not overbake.

Cool the cookies on the pan for 1-2 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

These cookies will freeze well, too.

Want to bake with us in the Cookie Carnival? Here's what you need to know!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls

This might not be a million dollar photo of pizza rolls but I wanted to show you what it looks like to accomplish a project that I have had a fear of trying for a long time - making homemade dough for breads and pizzas. I did it. Here they are in the raw without any pretty plates or fancy tablescapes.

Delicious! (and I made the dough!)

I was very fortunate to receive Babara Bakes for my SRC blog this month. Barbara has a beautiful blog. The pictures jump right out at you, almost demanding you to try each and every recipe. Her step-by-step instructions are easy to follow - which made my challenge of trying something new so much easier. I can handle the bread machine method, but I'm overcome with panic at the thought of trying to make homemade bread by hand. When I found Barbara's recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough & Homemade Pizza Sauce, I bookmarked it and hid it for a few days before making it my final choice. I read through the instructions again and again, making sure I had everything that I needed to make this dough turn out right. The day came to make the pizza dough.... I followed her instructions step by step. Guess what? It wasn't that hard after all. The dough was easy to work with and baked tasted great.

I decided to make pizza rolls from this recipe instead of regular pizza. I added ground sausage, pepperoni, peppers & onion to her homemade pizza sauce. The sauce was fantastic. My whole family overwhelmingly loved the pizza rolls. This recipe is definitely a keeper! These will go over big for Sunday football games and school lunches!

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
adapted from tamiskitchentabletalk: pizza roll ups

1 recipe for whole wheat pizza dough (below)
1 recipe for homemade pizza sauce (below)
3 c. shredded mixed mozzarella and cheddar cheese -
divided into (2) 1 1/2 c. servings
1 cup finely chopped turkey pepperoni - divided into (2) 1/2 c. servings

**Any changes that I've made to the original recipes below from Barbara Bakes, will appear in bold lettering.**

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
from Barbara Bakes

1 cup warm water (between 95º and 115º)
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 US package) instant yeast
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together the honey, warm water, and oil in a small bowl. The water should be about 95 to 115°. It should feel very warm, but not hot.

Mix 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour, yeast, wheat gluten, and salt in mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 30 seconds.

With the motor running on low, pour in the liquids. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough begins to form. Clean off paddle and switch to dough hook. Mix in the remaining cup of bread flour a little at a time, to make a moderately stiff dough. Adding more or less flour as needed.

Knead for eight minutes. The dough should completely clear the sides. If it is too sticky, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more flour is needed. If the dough seems too dry, spritz with water from a spray bottle a couple of times, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more water is needed. You’ll find the dough wraps itself around the hook, so every 2 minutes, stop the machine, scrape the dough off the hook, and then continue kneading.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times by hand to be sure it’s tight and elastic. Form the dough into a tight ball.

Wash and dry your mixing bowl then mist it with oil. Place the dough, seam-side down, in the bowl and lightly mist top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size — 45 minutes to an hour.

Heat the oven to 375*. 

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal portions. Set one aside and cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

Lightly flour the table. Using a rolling pin, roll the other portion of dough into a large, thin rectangle. Cover the entire area with sauce (recipe below), leaving a 1/4 in. border all the way around the edges. 

Top with 1/2 c. of turkey pepperoni and sprinkle on 1 1/2 c. of the cheeses. 

Roll up tightly, jelly roll style, starting with one of the short ends. Slice into 12 equal portions.

Lightly spray non-stick cooking spray on a baking sheet. Lay the 12 pizza rolls onto the baking pan in 4 rows of 3 rolls. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Immediately remove the rolls from the baking sheet once they have finished baking to prevent them from sticking to the sheet. 

Repeat with the remaining dough and leftover ingredients

Leftovers can be frozen.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
adapted from Barbara Bakes 

1/2 c. onion, diced very small
1/2 c. green pepper, diced very small
1 c. cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 (28 ounce) can crused tomatoes in rich puree
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan, sauté onion and green pepper until tender. Add garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August '11 Cookie Carnival Round Up!

Welcome to our Cookie Carnival Round Up for August!

The cookie choices for this month were:

Spiced Hermits & Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's what our Cookie Carnival bakers had to say:

Jackie @ foodwanderlust said " Decadent sandwiches of savory and sweet."

Christine @ Whimsical Bakery loves Anna Olsen's website and her cookies.

Katrina @ Baking and Boys! baked the peanut butter cookies but switched things up a bit when it came to the filling.

Stephanie @ Confessions of a City Eater said "You can't even taste the rum in the filling and once you eat the whole cookie sandwich, all you taste is the deliciousness of that banana-peanut butter combination."

Donna, one of our Cookie Carnival email bakers said "I made the hermit cookies today and loved them! They reminded me of the old Archway cookies I had in my lunch as a child.

Take a few minutes to check out all of their scrumptious cookies!


I threw a twist into the recipes this month!
To find out what I did, sign up to bake with us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...