Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chocolate Granola

My beautiful sister gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a new cookbook: Food and Wine Best of the Best.  I already have a favorite recipe that I have made numerous times. The recipe is by Valerie Gordon from her book Sweet.  Joel eats it on ice cream and I love to snack on it plain.

Chocolate Granola

Ingredients (original recipe called for sea salt, more chocolate, hazelnuts, and vanilla paste)

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup cocoa nips
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2 tea vanilla extract
1 sea salt Lindt bar


Mix oats, almonds and nips in a bowl. In smaller bowl mix cocoa powder, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and oil.  Once the wet ingredients are mixed well add to dry and mix together. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets with Silpad. Bake 250 degrees for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. It should look crisp and golden (nuts).  Immediately throw into a large bowl and mix with the broken up Lindt bar. Let chocolate bar melt then mix together. Let cool on pan. Can be stored in mason jar for weeks..but it will not last that long.

Tuscan Pasta Sauce

I stumbled upon a fun blog called Mel's Kitchen Cafe and found this great quick recipe for pasta. I added spinach because I love everything spinach. It was a good addition. Mel has something fun..she has a BEST link. It links to all of her favorites or "best" of the best recipes in her collection. It is very clever.

 Tuscan Pasta

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • Diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil for topping (optional)
  • I added a huge handful of fresh spinach
  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. (Then I threw in the spinach and cooked till wilted.) Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pancake Tuesday Griddle Cakes with Nutmeg Sauce

Griddle cakes have been a family favorite...well a parent favorite since 1995 when my long lost friend Karen Newell shared the recipe with me. One of my biggest regrets in life is not keeping in better contact with my friends.  This recipe uses left over rice and is so wonderful, flavorful, and unique.

I just love kitchen helpers. Girls cooking next to me makes my day.

Set up and ready to go. I have sense moved the griddle to the table. We can make fresh pancakes right at the table and no one is left standing and serving everyone else.

Griddle Cakes with a Nutmeg Sauce

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tea salt
1/2 tea baking soda
1/8 tea nutmeg
Mix together
1 1/2 cup cooked white rice
2 Tb butter, melted
1 egg, separated
Mash rice, melted butter, and yolk together
2 cup buttermilk

Beat egg white till soft peaks. Pour buttermilk into the flour mixture. Mix well. Add rice then fold in egg whites. Grease griddle and cook med. Flip once. Batter does not keep well.

Nutmeg Syrup
3 Tb butter
3/4 tea nutmeg
1 cup corn syrup
pinch salt

Cook the butter and nutmeg till fragrant. Add corn syrup and salt. Heat through.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Biscuits and Gravy

One of our favorite things in Virginia was biscuits and gravy. Biscuits are a thing of wonder and when served open faced with this wonderful gravy..well breakfast heaven.

 Biscuits and Gravy
Recipe from: The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American
by Jeff Smith

1/2 pound pork breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
Salt and pepper to taste


This dish is made in a frying pan or cast iron skillet. Heat the pan and fry the sausage and
onion until the sausage is brown and the onion clear. Drain off all grease except for 2 tablespoons. Stir in the flour and cook for just a minute. Whisk in the hot milk. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and then season to taste. Serve warm over open biscuits.
Biscuit Recipe

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Brookies are the cookie that you love

Mel's Kitchen Cafe is my new favorite go to recipe blog. Not only is the blogger witty but she really has a collection of amazing recipes. These cookies were fun to make and super yummy. I am glad it made 4 dozen because I burnt 1 dozen and under cooked we had 24 perfect cookies to share!

I wanted to make a yen yang but these cookies had a mind of their own. Mel has excellent picture and step by step directions if you need them. See link above. Enjoy another wonderful find!

3/1/2015 Update: When watching a short video my 6 year old daughter shouts out, "They made brookies! Stop the show! They made brookies". I just had to laugh! She is very observant and fond of these cookies.

Brookies {Brownie + Chocolate Chip Cookies}
Yield: Makes about 4 dozen cookies

    Brownie Cookie Batter:
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (5 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour (7.25 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (1.5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter:
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 10.75 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (mini size preferred)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. For the brownie cookie batter, in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer), beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes until light in color.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate while making the chocolate chip cookie batter.
  4. For the chocolate chip cookie batter, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Blend in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, mixing for 2-3 minutes until the batter is very light in color. In a separate small bowl (you can use the same one as the brownie batter dry ingredients), whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter with the chocolate chips and mix until no dry streaks remain and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.
  6. Portion both sets of dough into about 4 dozen equal pieces; they will be small teaspoon or so sized balls (if you want to be super precise, I weigh about .5 ounce balls for the brownie batter and .65 ounce balls for the chocolate chip cookie batter).
  7. Grabbing one chocolate chip cookie ball and one brownie batter ball, press them together and use your hands to gently form into a cookie shape, flattening and turning to smooth the edges and form a flattish but still thick cookie shape; they'll spread out while baking. See the simple picture tutorial below the recipe, if needed.
  8. Bake the cookies on the prepared baking sheets for 8-10 minutes. Don't overbake or they will be dry and crunchy - underbake just slightly for a soft, chewy texture. It's ok if the chocolate side crackles just a bit. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before scooping onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pancake Tuesday Baked Malted Waffles

 For my baking group I made these waffles and they continue to be a favorite. We sure love them. Love the malt powder flavor. See what other bakers had to say at Baked Sunday Mornings. MMM Waffle Love.

 Malted Waffles

Source Baked Explorations (makes 10 waffles).


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malt powder
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • Maple syrup, butter and / or chocolate chips for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees (that’s if you want to keep them warm after you cook them; or you can do what I do and serve them up hot out of the waffle maker for each person individually). Prepare a waffle iron with cooking spray or vegetable oil per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, malt powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs slightly, add the buttermilk and butter, and whisk again.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture into it. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ever so gently until just combined–there will be some visible lumps. Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your iron. Generally speaking, you will use 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter per waffle (depending on the size of your waffle iron). Cook the waffles until they are golden brown or a little darker. Transfer to a rack in your oven to keep warm or eat them right away with maple syrup, butter and chocolate chips.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seeds of Power Granola

My most wonderful CT kitchen helper is growing up. Do you remember Baby Bakes a Cake?

Here is a picture of your recipe. CT wanted to write it down for her "collection".

I love how seedy this recipe is. The flavor from maple syrup is just mouthwatering. Wonderful on yogurt but a great snack all alone.

The recipe comes from one of my new cookbooks which is also a new favorite! The Family Cooks cookbook is amazing. The recipes are delicious and healthy. Everyone in our family loves them. A huge shout out for posting this recipe on their website for all to share. Thanks!!

Seeds of Power Granola

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (I use 4 cups)
1 cup ground flax seed meal (I don't use)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1 cup un-sweetened coconut “chips” or shredded
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2  teaspoon salt
(I add 1 tea cinnamon)

To Make:

Heat your oven to 325ยบ. Combine all the ingredients in your biggest mixing bowl. With your hands toss them until all the seeds and nuts have gotten to know each other. Spread the granola on an oiled baking sheet. ( I use Silpat and no oil)
Pop the sheet into the middle of the oven, and check after 15 minutes. If the edges are getting too dark toss them gently with a spoon, then bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and toasty. Let the granola cool. Then crunch away. Can be stored in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Updated note: I ran out of olive oil so I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup coconut oil and also 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup agave syrup. So GOOD.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Baked Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar

I wanted to make these for my "Baked" baking group in January but happened. So when my friend at work suggested we order out for lunch, I saw the need to make them for dessert for our lunch. Amazing cookie! 
I was so excited to have one when I got home from work. Sadly, they were all gone! The next day I saw that my middle daughter had a stash of 3 cookies. Well, I bought one of these cookies for a dollar. It was worth every cent. My daughter says these are so good we need to make them every week. 
I really started to think about other cookies that I love. Not just like or crave but LOVE. I thought of Mayan Mystery Cookies and Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. I realize I must love ginger and chocolate.

Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar

For the Lemon Sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
For the Gingersnaps
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (195 ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 ml) molasses
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (340 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Make the Lemon Sugar
  1. Place the sugar in a small shallow bowl. Sprinkle the zest over the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest and sugar together.
Make the Gingersnaps
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and canola oil until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add the molasses and whisk to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Using your (very clean) hands, combine the dry and wet ingredients together in the bowl, kneading as necessary.
  5. Scoop and roll the dough into balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
  6. Roll them in the lemon sugar to coat and place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1½ inches (4 cm) apart.
  7. For soft cookies, bake 12 to 15 minutes; for a cookie that is crunchy on the outside yet soft on the inside, bake 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Serve warm or transfer the cookies directly to the racks to cool.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pancake Tuesday Chocolate Waffles

My good friend Amber and I share the same birthday. She gave this wonderful piece of cooking history to me. What a fun gift is has been. It is interesting to see what people ate in the 50's. Some food I am pretty sure was based on a dare.

This recipe is not one of those. Chocolate waffles served with ice cream and chocolate sauce is a fun change.

Chocolate Waffles 
(The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook 2nd edition 1959)

2 cups cake flour
2 tea baking powder
3/4 tea salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
5 Tb butter, melted
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

Mix chocolate and butter together. Set aside. Whisk dry ingredients. Beat eggs and add milk to blend. Add butter mixture, milk mixture, and flour until just mixed. Cook and serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Pancake Tuesday Clinton Street Pancakes

This cookbook is so fun! I love it. From a little New York 32 seat joint they serve "500 orders of pancakes a week." Wow! The pancake recipe is good but what is stellar is the amazing topping ideas. Check out the list of what pancakes will be served at Clinton Street this month. This recipe is a winner!! It does make an enormous amount. If you wanted something smaller check out the recipe for 2.

Crunchy Bananas with Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Sauce

Article found online: "Forget Fashion Week, forget Valentine's Day — it's Pancake Month, people. Once known as the most miserable time of year, February has become Christmas Part Two ever since Clinton St. Baking Co. initiated this glorious tradition. The NYC brunch hot spot is widely considered to have the best pancakes in all of Manhattan (nay, the universe), and New Yorkers have been known to show up hours in advance for a plate of its traditional silver dollar beauties. In February, the menu expands to include a whole slew of artisanal pancake specials, available day and night. If you haven't had cocktails and pancakes, you have a lot to learn about dinner."

In celebration of this, the happiest time of the year, owner/chef Neil Kleinberg has shared the recipe for Clinton St.'s most coveted pancake special — Crunchy Banana with Cinnamon-Chili-Chocolate Sauce. (

Pancake Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder, plus 1 tsp
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
3 cups whole milk
¾ cup (or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, (plus 2 tsp unmelted for the griddle)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup flour ( I used 2 Tb)
½ cup cornstarch (I used 1 Tb)
1 tbsp baking powder (dash)
½ tsp ground cinnamon (dash)
¼ tsp salt (dash)  I mixed these 5 ingredients on a plate dipped and fried)
1 ½ cups seltzer water or club soda
Canola or peanut oil for frying
4 bananas, peeled and halved horizontally
Cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)

Sauce Ingredients:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder (such as cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pancake Instructions:
1. Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large (preferably stainless steel) mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.

3. Whip the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach medium peaks (soft in the middle). You can either whip them by hand with a whisk, or put them in the bowl of an electric mixer to whip. Be careful, you don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.

4. Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining half into the batter. Remember: this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated; it should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)

5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan — to 350 to 375°F. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop a cup (approximately 4 tablespoons) of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip the pancake.

6. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time.

Topping Instructions:
1. Melt the chocolate, corn syrup, half-and-half, butter, vanilla, chili powder, and cinnamon together in a stainless-steel bowl over a pot filled with warm water on low heat. Mix until smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the seltzer. Set aside.

3. Fill a Dutch oven halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, checking the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Roll the banana halves in the batter and place them on a dish. With tongs, dip a banana tip into the oil and hold firm until the oil begins to bubble. Gently drop the banana half into the oil. Fry 2 banana halves at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bananas turn golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to agitate the bananas every 30 seconds so they do not burn on one side. Repeat with the remaining bananas.

4. Place the fried bananas on a paper-towel-lined plate. Slice the bananas on the bias into 1-inch pieces and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. Serve the slices on top of the pancakes with the Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Sauce.

Pancake Recipe: Via Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook