Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maple Swirl Biscuits

This week made me smile. On Wednesday, we had the first snow (that stuck) of the season. In Colorado, it is basically a law that it has to snow around Halloween; I think there has been one year out of the nine that I have lived here where it didn’t snow the week or the day of Halloween. We ended up getting about five inches of snow over night and the very next morning, we had about a two hour power outage at the school, you can imagine how fun that was.

Anyways, even though I love the snow, I hate being out in the cold and getting wet. I have poor blood circulation in my body which causes me to be cold 24/7 (even when it’s 90 degrees outside). I would much rather stay in my PJs, curled up on the couch with a blanket around me, sitting by the fire and watching the snow drift down from the sky. So, while my sister was out playing in the snow and making a fantastic looking snowman, I was making these Maple Swirl Biscuits.

I realized the other day that I make way too many recipes from the internet and not enough from my magazines and cookbooks; I think they feel neglected. In order for my books and magazines to feel more loved, I will be baking from them more often. These biscuits came from Better Homes and Gardens Fall Baking 2011 magazine. I have bookmarked so many recipes in this thing, it’s ridiculous. These biscuits don’t have any wacky ingredients so you don’t have to run to the store in the freezing cold snow to get something you might use once.

The dough is similar to the Grape Jelly Roly-Poly I made back in mid-summer. It’s so flaky and crumbly in the best of ways and the filling is so delicious; it’s like a biscuit version of a cinnamon roll. I halved the recipe and I still ended up with 12 biscuits, but I guess that means I can have two instead of one, right?

Maple Swirl Biscuits
adapted from BHG Fall Baking 2011 Magazine

1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold
½ cup milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or a fork), cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well into the center of the flour and butter mixture and pour the milk and maple syrup in all at once. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until it forms a rough-looking ball.
  3. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead about 10-12 times. Roll dough into an approximate 10x6 inch rectangle. Brush on the melted butter and then press the brown sugar on top, making sure to cover all of the melted butter spots. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a spiral and pinch the seam to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into about 1 ½ inch slices. Arrange the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet facing upwards. Gently press down on the dough. If you have left over melted butter, use it to brush the tops of the biscuits, if you don’t melt some butter and brush the tops of the biscuits.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Once the biscuits are done baking, remove onto a cooling rack. While you wait for the biscuits to cool, make the glaze. To make the glaze, put the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and milk into a small bowl and whisk. You may wish to add more or less milk depending on how thick you want your glaze. Once the biscuits have cooled down slightly, drizzle the tops with the maple glaze.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Scones

Yesterday, my family and I went to the local pumpkin patch. My goodness, I don’t think I ever collected so many perfect pumpkins from there before. I guess I just had the pumpkin eye this year. Speaking of pumpkin, I have another pumpkin recipes for you, and no, I’m still not out of that giant can of pumpkin. I think I still have half of it left.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but that’s because of work and school life, but every night be fore bed I would be flipping through magazines to see what to bake for my next post. It came down between pumpkin scones and pumpkin sweet rolls. The rolls required yeast and rising, though, so I figured I had better go with the scones because I wasn’t sure how busy I was going to be this weekend, and I’m glad I went with my decision. I do plan on making the sweet rolls sometime in the future because they sound so delicious.

These scones have a great pumpkin-orange color. They are filled with little brown flecks of cinnamon and other warm spices. The interior is so soft and moist. Again, I think pumpkin has this special ability to add moisture to just about anything; pumpkin is magical that way. The outside is just crisp enough to add contrast to the ever moist inside, which also makes it fun to pull apart. Pulling apart warm bread type foods is just so amazing to watch. Am I the only one mesmerized by the crumbs trying to stay together and then spring back once the pastry is broken?

Pumpkin and cinnamon dominate the flavor of the scones. There are a few other spices added in, but the warm cinnamon and pumpkin are a perfect pair in this little treat. I also added a little touch that I don’t normally do; I added a glaze! Yeah, I know that adding a glaze is like second nature to some people, but I’ve never really been a glaze person. It don’t like the too sweet taste of confectioners sugar; I just can’t handle it. However, this time I made a cinnamon glaze for the scones and I think it was the right choice. It wasn’t too sweet and it added more cinnamon punch to the scone. My dad says that these are the best things I have made in a long time, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Pumpkin Scones
from Land O Lakes Fall Favorites

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup milk or half & half
1 egg yolk
2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking try with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the pumpkin, milk (or half & half), and egg yolk. Continue to beat until combined. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy.
  3. Turn the mixture off and add in the remaining ingredients. Start the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed until all of the dry ingredients have come together with the wet. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  4. Using a ¼ cup measure, drop the batter onto the prepared baking tray. Place on the middle rack and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the outside has lightly browned. Immediately remove to a cooling rack. Drizzle with glaze if desired.
Cinnamon Glaze

2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2-3 tsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon

  1. In a medium-sized bowl add the confectioners sugar and milk. Stir with a spoon until it has become desired glazing consistency. Stir in the cinnamon. Gently grizzle the glaze over warm or cool scones. It might help if there is parchment paper underneath the scones to catch any drips and drops.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ultra Chewy Pumpkin Granola Bars

I think it was last week (or the week before) where I told you guys that I managed to score the second to last giant can of pumpkin puree. Well, because of it’s enormous stature, I’m having difficulty using it all up. I have managed to get a little dent in how much left-over pumpkin is sitting in the fridge, but it seems like it’s just starring at me, taunting me every time I open the door. So I’ve been searching all over for pumpkin recipes to use it all up. I think I’ve got like three different pumpkin bread recipes, two kinds of cookies and some yeast bread made with pumpkin, but who knows if I’ll have time to make them all. Either way, it’s still fun to see all the things you can do with pumpkin. For instance, these very chewy granola bars.

The other day I was looking on the internet for more pumpkin recipes when the thought passed through my mind: “Can you make pumpkin granola bars?”. The answer is yes. I had to do a lot of searching though. All of the recipes I initially found were just repeats of this one recipe that didn’t strike my fancy. Then, I came across this recipe on Clean Eating Chelsey.

This is a quick and easy granola bar recipe. Putting together all of the ingredients takes no less than 10 minutes, and then all you have to do is wait for it to bake, simple as that. However, I did have a little trouble with the baking process. After the mixture was in the oven, I was worried that it wasn’t cooking. After the timer had gone off, they were still really soft, so I stuck them back in the oven for another couple of minutes and they were still really soft. I threw caution to the wind and took them out anyways, hoping for the best. I can never tell with some things if they are cooked all the way through or not. Some foods are just tricky like that.

After taking a bite of one of the granola bars, I came to the conclusion that they aren’t really granola bars but a version of those oatmeal to go squares by Quaker. They are dense and very chewy. If you’ve ever had those Quaker oatmeal to go bars, and like the texture, then you are surly going to like this.
The pumpkin flavor is very subtle, or at least I thought so. I’m not so sure about my taste buds at the moment since I’m getting a cold, but I thought the amount of pumpkin was quite nice. I could definitely taste the pumpkin pie spice, and that made the bars taste nice and warm. Speaking of warm, these bars probably taste best (in my opinion) when they are slightly warm. I think a couple of these warmed up on a plate sitting next to a glass of cold milk would make a really nice breakfast, or snack, whichever you prefer.

Ultra Chewy Pumpkin Granola Bars
 slightly adapted from Clean Eating Chelsey

2 cups old fashioned dry oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (for slightly crunchier granola bar, go up to 325 degrees F). Grease a 9 by 9 inch square baking tray, set aside. 
  2. Place ½ cup of oats into a food processor and process until the oats have formed into a flour-like powder. Line a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, remaining 1 ½ cups of oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Toss the ingredients until well incorporated.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, agave syrup, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and fold until the mixture becomes a little sticky and is well incorporated.
  4. Turn the mixture out into the greased pan and using either your hands or a spatula, press the mixture down until the bottom is completely covered. This could take a little bit of effort, but don’t be discouraged, it will spread out eventually. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool completely before cutting into desired portions. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Softest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey, ya’ll. I promised I would bring you a pumpkin recipe and look, I followed through, not that I don’t try to darndest to keep every promise I make.

I think I may have mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again anyway. I do not like the smell of pureed pumpkin. For some reason, too much of the stuff just irritates my senses and I don't find the smell pleasant. Now you’re probably wondering, “Why the heck is she promising us pumpkin this and pumpkin that?”. Well, despite the smell of pumpkin, I absolutely love the flavor of it. There is this pumpkin farm just down the road from my house that sells the most amazing pumpkin bread ever. I wait all year for their bread. Last year, I purchased their pumpkin pancake mix and I probably made those pancakes every weekend last October...

Like I was saying, I love the taste of pumpkin, so I find it a just sacrifice since I will be rewarded in the end. And these cookies are certainly worth holding my breath and plugging my nose for. These have got to be the softest cookies on the face of the planet. I don’t mean just for a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, but I mean of all the cookie recipes I have ever tried. I wish I knew a better way to describe these cookies other than perfect pillows of orange and brown. I think I may have to experiment with this recipe without the pumpkin to see if it yields the same results, and if it does, then I may have found my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

By the way, sorry if my reaction to pumpkin is strange. I think I may be the only person that hates the smell of pumpkin, but loves the smell and taste of pumpkin in baked goods (and candles/lotions). If I’m not, please speak up, it’s nice to know I’m not totally abnormal.

Softest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Picky Palate

½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, soft
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1 egg white
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
3oz semi mini semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (this will take between 5 and 10 minutes). Beat in the egg white and vanilla (the mixture won’t seem to want to come together, but it will in the end). Finally, beat in the pumpkin. The mixture will look lumpy, but it will lose all of its lumps once the dry ingredients are added in.
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the pumpkin mixture. Beat until just combined and scrape down the sides of the bowls when necessary. Pour in the chocolate chips and beat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until the chocolate chips are distributed all the way through.
  4. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place on the lined baking sheet. Space the dough 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 11-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. I found that no less than 11 minutes was perfect for the 1 inch diameter cookie. Once baked, cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before removing onto a cooling wrack. These cookies will remain soft for days as long as they are kept in a container.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crunchy Chocolate Studded Meringues

I realize that this is not a pumpkin post. I know it is Fall and by Fall Law, I have to make something with pumpkin in it, right? Or at least things with a Fall feeling to it. I promise (hopefully) that I will have something yummiliciously pumpkin filled in my next post, but today I want to talk about these meringues.

I have made meringues only once before, and that was around Christmas last year. They didn’t turn out the best. They tasted good, it’s just that I can’t seem to get that soft peak/stiff peak technique down. I realized after I had made the Snow White Cake last month, that I haven't been beating the egg whites long enough. Apparently, I only beat them until it is a stiff foam. So this time I made sure to beat the egg whites long enough, and by golly, it worked!

These meringues are a little different. They are studded with chopped dark chocolate and corn flakes, yes, I said corn flakes, and then dusted with cocoa powder. They were really easy to whip up and not to mention tasty. The chocolate really added a nice pop of flavor in the airy and delicate meringue. The corn flakes didn’t add much flavor, I’m not sure if it was supposed to or not, but either way, I think it took a backseat to the chocolate. However, the corn flakes did add some crunch to it, but it did tend to get stuck in my teeth just a little bit. They are perfect as a little snack, or as a light treat after dinner.

By the way, the reason I haven’t made anything with pumpkin yet is because this post is for My Baking Addiction’s and GoodLife Eat’s Holiday Recipe Swap. This week’s theme is sponsored by Scharffen Berger and we have to make something featuring chocolate. I knew I didn’t want to make anything like a brownie or a cake, and when I came across this recipe, I knew I would have to try and make it.

This week’s contest closes on the 10th, but don’t worry, there are plenty of other categories coming up. The category for next weeks Holiday Recipe Swap is Fall One Pot Meals sponsored by Le Creuset. So if you are interested, come and join the recipe exchange at My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap.

Crunchy Chocolate Studded Meringues
adapted from Crazy for Chocolate

2 egg whites, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup cornflakes (not frosted), crushed
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper then set aside.
  2. Place egg whites in a medium-sized bowl. Using electric beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-low or medium speed until stiff peaks form. This could take about 5-10 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar and beat for another 5 or so minutes, or until the egg whites have become thick and glassy.
  3. Pour the chocolate and corn flakes into the egg whites and gently fold and stir until both ingredients are well incorporated.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Almond Caramel Bars

I have so been getting into the holiday spirit! I have about three or four magazines filled with little tags marking things that I want to bake this Fall and I’ve got a few recipes saved to my favorites bar. Many of the recipes have to do with pumpkin; my goal is to make at least a few pumpkiny things before December 1st (because that is when pumpkin season is over in my little world). Sadly, there has been a pumpkin shortage in my grocery store. I grabbed the second to last giant can of pumpkin, just out of panic that I wouldn‘t ever see the orange can again. I usually opt for the smaller can, but they aren’t selling them this year I don’t think, but even so, I don’t think finding ways to use the big can will be too tricky.

If you notice, though, this blog post is not pumpkin related; I’m saving my pumpkin for something truly special since I don’t want to waste it. No, these are almond caramel bars I found in Land O'Lakes Fall Recipe Collection. I actually found two similar recipes: this one and another using cashews in Taste of Home. I ended up using the Land O'Lakes recipe.

These bars are ok, not great, but ok. There were certain elements that I liked about them though. I really liked the cookie base, that was tasty and I could probably eat that all by itself. Then the almonds (which I crushed in the food processor, so I got a more fine grain than chunks) added a nice little crunch. The caramel topping oozed into the baked cookie which gave a pleasant chewy texture to the crunchy cookie bottom. All three of these components would have probably made the bar better than ok, but I have one thing to add: I’m sure I’m going to be smote for saying this, but I think the chocolate chips that were added on top ruined--no that’s too harsh, overwhelmed is a better word--the bar. Now I am a huge fan of chocolate; I love it in my cookies, in my milk, etc., but I just don’t think they had anything to add to this recipe, which is kind of disheartening if you think about it. Oh well, live and learn, right?

So what are you all baking this Fall? Are you going the pumpkin route, or has there been a shortage where you live too?

Roasted Almond Caramel Bars adapted from Land O'Lakes

¼ cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, soft
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup caramel ice cream topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch by 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and egg on medium speed. The mixture will seem really eggy, but don’t worry, after you add the other ingredients, it will all disappear. Turn the mixer’s speed down to low and slowly add in the flour and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add in the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
  3. Press the cookie dough mixture into the bottom of the pan. It will look like there is not enough dough to cover the bottom, but if are patient and keep spreading, the dough will completely cover the bottom. Place in the oven and back for about 11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the chopped almonds and chocolate chips. Drizzle the caramel topping over the almonds and chocolate. Place the pan back into the oven to bake for another 5 or 6 minutes. Cool completely in the pan once it is done baking. After about an hour, it is ready to cut into bars.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Peanut Butter and Honey Crispie Treats

I can’t believe it’s already Fall! Autumn and Winter are my two favorite seasons. It’s something about the crunchy leaves, the crisp and cool air, and of course the awesome flavors and smells. I’ve noticed that any candle that pertains to Fall or Winter always have the best scents. I know that Autumn officially started on the 23rd of September, but I have this rule for myself, well…more like a feeling really, Fall does not start when the calendar says it starts. To me, Fall begins the first day of October. September is that limbo month to me, it doesn’t know what season it’s supposed to be in, so it stands in a corner watching all of the other months play in the sprinklers or fallen leaves. I have the same feeling with Winter; Winter starts on December 1st, not the 21st or whatever.

Because of my quirky season rule, I refuse to make anything with pumpkin before the first of October, so while other bloggers are posting pumpkin cream cheese muffins, pumpkin bars and pumpkin who knows what else, I am giving you this little crispie bar treat.

These are not your typical rice crispie treats though. Instead of butter and marshmallows, I made them with peanut butter and honey. I really like that flavor combination. I remember in elementary school my mom would make me peanut butter and honey sandwiches because I didn’t like jelly. I don’t know what I was thinking because if I could only have one thing for the rest of my life, it would be PB&GJs. But back to peanut butter and honey crispie treats. The moment I took a bite out of this bar, I immediately tasted the honey. And I don’t mean in a cloyingly sweet kind of way, it was a subtle sweet. Then, the peanuttyness of the peanut butter slowly crept up. Again, it wasn’t an overpowering flavor, there was just enough peanut butter to satisfy my taste buds.

The entire thing takes just minutes to make and put into the pan. I do however, highly recommend keeping the bars, once cut, in the fridge, because as they sit out a room temperature, they start to fall apart, not that they don’t taste good that way either, it’s just something to point out if you want to have a bar and not a crumble.

Peanut Butter and Honey Crispie Treats
adampted from Ellie Krieger

¼ cup honey
¼ cup creamy (or chunky) peanut butter)
3 cups honey puff rice cereal


  1. Grease a 9 inch by 9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Over medium-low heat, heat up a medium-sized pot. Pour the honey and peanut butter in once the pot has warmed up. Stir the two ingredients together until the peanut butter has completely melted. Nest, add in the honey puffed rice cereal and stir until all of the cereal is coated in the honey and peanut butter mixture.
  3. While still warm, dump the mixture into the greased pan, spreading all of the coated rice cereal bits out and into the corners. Make sure to press down hard for the cereal the compact together. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the cereal treats to harden. After 30 minutes, feel free to cut the crispie treat into your desired shapes and sizes. After cutting them, wrap the treats in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least another two hours, if you want a solid crispie treat. I found that after being in the fridge over night, the crispie treats didn’t fall apart as much the next day after sitting at room temperature for a while.

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