Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blackberry Crumble Bars

You can taste the end of summer....






















More Photos

Now I will never be one to complain about summer ending. I for one, would take fall over summer any day. Of course there are a few good things about summer such as the fresh fruit and berries which are the inspiration of this bar. I saw these bars a while back on Baking Bites and wanted to make them with my mom while I was home in Georgia. My mom makes the most amazing jam which I thought would have been perfect in these bars. Unfortunately she and I did not have time to make them so I put the recipe away for a while to save for later use. I just got back in town from Manhattan on Tuesday night and knew I needed to bake something to post before I left town Friday for Vegas and I remembered I had this recipe waiting. Per the suggestion on Baking Bites I used Blackberry instead of Strawberry. I ran to a local market to get the jam and all they had was jelly, which I ended up using. The bars came out very tasty, but I think jam or preserves would have been even better. I think I would like to try these again with peach or apricot preserves...mmmmm.

Blackberry Crumble Bars
from Baking Bites

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup blackberry jam/preserves (any flavor can be substituted)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and pecans, then stir in the butter and egg until mixture is crumbly, like coarse and wet sand. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture, and pour the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press down gently, but firmly, into an even layer. Spread the jam over the shortbread layer. Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over the top. If the mixture is too wet to sprinkle, simply break it up with lightly floured fingers and spread it out. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool bars in the pan before slicing.



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

No need to wait for Thanksgiving!




















I genuinely love foods made with pumpkin. Like most people I rarely make foods containing pumpkin outside of the autumn months, but why? I know I always cook with canned pumpkin which is available year round and I assume I am not the only one who uses canned pumpkin. This time I decided I would not wait until fall and I made a delicious batch of pumpkin bread. The aroma in my apartment while these were baking was amazing and I could not wait to try it. The best part of this bread (other than eating it) was the apartment held the sweet spicy scent of the bread for several days. Instant air freshener! I definitely encourage you not to wait until the fall to incorporate pumpkin into your kitchen.

Pumpkin Bread
Modified from Stoneyfield Farm

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 cups vanilla Stonyfield Farm Yogurt (approx. three 6 oz. containers, I used 1 container of lowfat vanilla and 2 containers of fat free french vanilla)
1 16oz can pumpkin puree
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons nutmeg
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Beat eggs until foamy, add sugar, oil, yogurt, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry ingredients slowly to the yogurt mixture and mix until moist. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9x5x13-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle pecans onto tops of each loaf. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown on top.

Monday, August 18, 2008

They may not be sweet, but they are baked.

A small break from dessert.

















I am back in town. This past week I was in Florida for training and then headed to New Jersey on Saturday for a family wedding. I am only back for a short break because I am leaving this Sunday for New York for a few days and then leaving the following Friday for Las Vegas. I had fully intended to review some of the food I ate while away, but it completely slipped my mind. You have to forgive me because I am new to this. I will definitely try to remember while in NYC and Las Vegas.

Anyway, I have not had a chance to bake since I have been back. I will likely whip something up in the next few days, but I wanted to give you a recipe in the meantime. This recipe is for Bacon Tomato cups. I have made these on several occasions, including birthday parties, potluck dinners, and baby showers and they always go over extremely well. I hope you enjoy this little break from dessert, and I will post something sweet soon.

Bacon Tomato Cups
adapted from allrecipes.com

8 slices bacon
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
1/4 cup diced green onion or chives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini muffin pan.


In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with tomato, onion, cheese, mayonnaise and basil.

Separate biscuits into thirds horizontally (separating into three layers). Place each third into cups of the prepared mini muffin pan. Fill each biscuit third with the bacon mixture.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown. Garnish with diced green onion or chives.

Friday, August 8, 2008

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Same Cookie, different song.



















Last week when I made the Oatmeal Scotchies I also made these little gems. All I had to do was divide the batter in half before stirring in the chips. So I may have cheated a little by not baking twice, but why not bake once and get two cookies? I am flying out of town today for a week, so I may not get a chance to post this week. Perhaps I will do some reviews of the food I eat while out of town. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this oatmeal cookie spin-off.


White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 1 - 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Oatmeal Scotchies (a.k.a, my weakness)

I promise I will only eat one more.....




























I do not know what it is, but something about this cookies causes me to lose all will power and self control. I am a peanut butter and chocolate girl, but when these cookies are around I can not get enough. I have not made these cookies in the past three years and the reason is because I can not stop eating them! The butterscotch mixed with the oatmeal and cinnamon is the ultimate combination. My boyfriend assumed he would not enjoy these cookies, but after just one bite he became a believer. I hope you try these cookies and love them as much as I do. I will not be making these again anytime soon, so I hope you enjoy (perhaps a batch of these will show up around my birthday in November)

Oatmeal Scotchies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 1 - 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.