Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Soft Pretzel Dogs

I love hot dogs. I have always loved hot dogs. As a child I actually didn't like hamburgers so if we ever went to a fast food place my mom would have to take us somewhere that had hot dogs  or else I wouldn't eat anything. My love for hot dogs caries over to all realms of hot dogs. I love hot dogs on a bun, in mac n cheese, corn dogs, pigs in a blanket, and newly added to my list are these soft pretzel dogs! In my last post for homemade soft pretzels I mentioned I would be doing something else with the dough. I wish I could say I thought of this ingenious idea myself, but I didn't. I found this recipe over at Katrina's Kitchen and knew I had to try it. I also need to put a plug in for good hot dogs. There are a million different types of hot dogs out there, but not all hot dogs were made equal. Yes you might be able to get some cheap hot dogs for practically nothing, in fact the store might actually pay you to take them but who knows what is in them! My absolute favorite type of hot dog is Nathan's, and my absolute favorite kind of Nathan's hot dogs are the cheddar dogs. Now if you have had cheese dogs before and didn't like them don't rule these ones out quite yet. They don't have a strong cheese taste, but they have just enough to make them delicious! The best part about Nathan's is that they are all beef. They are kinda pricey (as far as hot dogs are concerned) but to me they are worth the cost!

Soft Pretzel Dogs (I actually halved this recipe and it was enough for 2 dogs, a full size pretzel, and several bites)

·        1 package active dry yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
·        2 Tablespoons brown sugar
·        1 ¼ teaspoons salt
·        1 ½ cups warm water (110- 115 degrees F)
·        4 cups flour
·        6 cups water
·        6 tablespoons baking soda
·        2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter
·        Coarse Kosher Salt (optional)

1.   In the bowl of your mixer (fitted with dough hook) dissolve yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Mix in flour until you can turn your dough on a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover, and let rise for one hour. Punch down dough and cover with saran wrap. Place in fridge and let rest over night. (This step is optional, I ran out of time and made them the next day but they turned out so amazing!
2.   The next day take dough out of fridge, cut into 12 pieces. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Roll each piece into a 2-3 foot rope.
3.   In a large saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a simmer over medium heat.
4.   Roll your dough around the hot dogs and dip into the baking soda solution for about 20-30 seconds. Place on parchment covered (or greased) baking sheets, and let rise 15-20 minutes.
5.   You could certainly roll your pretzel dough into any shape at this point. I had 6 hot dogs and made the rest into pretzel bites.  6.   Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 8 -10 minutes, or  until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

* I halved this recipe, but I still used the full amount of water and baking soda mixture and it worked out perfect.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baklava With Homemade Phyllo Dough!

I found out about this website called The Daring Kitchen. This website gives you a challenge each month as to something to make. Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava. Never in my life did I ever imagine myself making my own phyllo dough, but I did! I had actually been wanting to make baklava for quite a while. This challenge gave me the perfect opportunity. I had a lot of fun making my own phyllo dough, but it was quite time consuming. The baklava turned out just as good as I had hoped!

Phyllo Dough:

*Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.
*Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.
*Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw
and continue making your baklava

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt

2. Mix with paddle attachment

3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.

4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)

5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.

6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.

7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil

8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest 2 hours and it was perfect)

Rolling your Phyllo

** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**

Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can. You may also use a pasta machine if you have one, or a normal rolling pin whatever works for you.

1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.

2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.

3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.

4. Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel

5. Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel (see attached video for a visual, its much easier then it sounds)

6. Remove; notice how much bigger it is!

7. Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.

8. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine

9. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

Baklava Recipe

Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network
30 servings

Honey Syrup


For the syrup: (I think I could have halved this recipe and it would have been the perfect amount for my 9X9 pan that I made)

· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
· 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
· a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove

When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved

2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

3. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

Ingredients for the Filling:

1 cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 1 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
7 to 10 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
8 oz almonds
1/3 cup sugar
phyllo dough (see recipe above)
1/2 cup (1 cube)  melted butter


1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.

2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside

3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan

4. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet

5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it's not needed)

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

7. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times

8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times

10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.

12. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.

13. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can't cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9x9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge

14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)

15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!

16. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.

17. Serve at room temperature

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Soft Pretzel Bites

Do you ever decide to make something and during the process you are really wondering if it is going to turn out like you hope? You then take your first bite of whatever it is and realize it is even better than you imagined! That is how this recipe went for me. I was curious, they looked good, why not make them? My husband and I were able to polish off practically the whole batch of these bad boys without even thinking about it. On my next post I will show you what else I did with this recipe, but for now enjoy these amazing homemade pretzels!

·        1 package active dry yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
·        2 Tablespoons brown sugar
·        1 ¼ teaspoons salt
·        1 ½ cups warm water (110- 115 degrees F)
·        4 cups flour
·        6 cups water
·        6 tablespoons baking soda
·        2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter
·        Coarse Kosher Salt (optional)

1.   In the bowl of your mixer (fitted with dough hook) dissolve yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Mix in flour until you can turn your dough on a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover, and let rise for one hour. Punch down dough and cover with saran wrap. Place in fridge and let rest over night. (This step is optional, I ran out of time and made them the next day but they turned out so amazing!
2.   The next day take dough out of fridge, cut into 12 pieces. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Roll each piece into a 2-3 foot rope.
3.   In a large saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a simmer over medium heat.
4.   Cut dough ropes into bite size pieces and drop into the baking soda solution a few at a time and let simmer for about 20-30 seconds. I found that using a slotted spoon to get them out worked quite well. Place on silpat covered (or greased) baking sheets, and let rise 15-20 minutes.
5.   You could certainly roll your pretzel dough into any shape prior to putting them in the boiling water. I made one into a full size soft pretzel, but it didn't look nearly as pretty as I wanted it to so I stuck mostly with the bites.6.   Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 8 -10 minutes, or  until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

This recipe is slightly adapted from a recipe I found over at Katrina's Kitchen who got the recipe from Allrecipes

Butterscotch Oatmeal

I love having a warm breakfast in the morning, and I always enjoy some oatmeal. It is healthy and filling. This oatmeal isn't as healthy as my other oatmeal recipe I have on this site but if you are looking for a less healthy and oh so delicious oatmeal recipe this one takes the cake. I have been making this recipe for a few years. I seem to forget about it on occasion but whenever I find it again and make it I am reminded how much I love it.

Butterscotch Oatmeal

1 egg
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
2 tbs butter

In a saucepan or a rice cooker whisk together the egg, milk, and brown sugar. Mix in the oats. If cooking in a saucepan cook over medium heat. When the oatmeal begins to boil cook and stir until thick. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Serve immediately.

Note: I have just recently started making my oatmeal in a rice cooker. I like it cause I don't have to worry nearly as much about it burning and I can forget about it for a little while. The only problem is if you have a smaller rice cooker sometimes it can boil over so don't forget about it completely.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fantastically Unhealthy Pasta Sauce

This recipe is a slight variation of the sauce I use on my gnocchi. It is absolutely wonderful and I love it. This is something I will only let myself make every once and a while because it is not good for my thighs, but oh how my taste buds love it! It is creamy, full of flavor, and it has bacon and pine nuts in it! I bought a huge bag of pine nuts at Costco a while back and have loved using them on all sorts of things! This sauce is great with practically any kind of pasta. If you feel like you are lacking in the cholesterol department give this recipe a try it will not disappoint.

Amazing Pasta Sauce

1/2 cup butter
2 ounces crumbled bacon
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup cream divided
2 oz cream cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Beat 1/2 cup of cream until whipped, set aside. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add pine nuts and cook until the nuts begin to brown. (While waiting, begin boiling a pot of water for the pasta.) Add 1/2 cup cream (not the whipped 1/2 cup of cream, but the other normal 1/2 cup of the cream) to the butter and pine nuts and bring to a light boil. Cook for one minute, then turn the heat down to low. Add basil, bacon and cream cheese. Let simmer on low until cream cheese in well incorporated. Then fold in the whipped cream. Pour over pasta and top with parmesan cheese as desired

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cookies Made With Xylitol

Have you ever heard of Xylitol? My husband introduced me to it a few years ago. I think he might believe that it could potentially cure all of life's problems, along with his garlic, silver, and coconut oil (and I love him for it). Well regardless of if it will fix life's problems or not it is a sweetener often found in gums and other such things. It is the secret ingredient in gum that helps fight cavities. For some reason bacteria cant feed off of this type of sweetener. The other great thing is that it is a low glycemic index food. This means that it won't spike your blood sugar when you eat it. Studies have shown that keeping a more even blood sugar is much healthier than the ups and downs that high sugar foods and other foods cause. Really the thing I love the most about xylitol is that it doesn't have a weird aftertaste. I have had really good success baking with it, and have been able to substitute it for my white sugar in many recipes.  I don't feel nearly as guilty eating those sweet desserts.

My husband absolutely loves chocolate, dark chocolate. He sent me a link to these yummy cookies. I decided to make them, and why not make them with xylitol? We took some of them to his family's house the other night and they all loved them. These cookies are not for the mediocre chocolate lover. These cookies are rich and chocolaty. They are very soft (could be due to the xylitol) and tender. If you don't have any xylitol feel free to make them with regular sugar.

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cookies With Xylitol

  • 12 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 10 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup xylitol (if using white sugar increase to 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 cup(s) chopped walnuts (optional)
In medium size sauce pan melt and brown butter. Once butter is browned pour hot butter over bittersweet chocolate chips. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and xylitol until thick; stir in chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Let rest for a approximately 10 minutes.  Heat oven to 375°F.  Scoop dough into 1 inch round balls. The dough will still be very soft. Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Cookies 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Divine Breadsticks

I was in the mood for some sort of bread the other night. I am kind of a carb-o-holic. I had already made cookies, but I needed something salty. I settled on these breadsticks and they turned out to be everything I had hoped they would be. The best part about them is that they are quick and simple. Total resting/rise time is only 40 minutes, you can't beat that!

 Divine Breadsticks

 *Makes about 20-25 breadsticks, depending on how thick or thin you cut them (I actually made really long breadsticks so it made about 10 for me).

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cups flour (I usually use a combination of unbleached all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour but use whatever you have on hand!)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)

Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet. Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice (I vary this depending on my mood but it usually consists of rosemary, basil, or thyme in some form and crushed finely) and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Unbelievable Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Filling

My husband's birthday was this last weekend and I spent the few weeks before trying to figure out the perfect combination of flavors for his cake. My husband loves a slight almond flavor in his frosting, he also loves chocolate, and I decided that I wanted to also have a raspberry filling (mostly cause I love raspberry filling). I didn't know exactly how all of this would taste together but I decided to go for it. The cake was really fun to make and it turned out really yummy too. The most important part was that he loved it!

Unbelievable Chocolate Cake

1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare your cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed (with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Do not over fill the pans it will overflow in the oven.  Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not over bake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and  unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack. Trim the tops of the cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them level. Spread raspberry filling in center (recipe to follow or for a shortcut you could use a raspberry jam) and frost as desired. I used a delicious frosting that worked well with the flavors, but is not as sturdy as your typical butter cream frosting.

Raspberry Filling

16 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice

To make the raspberry filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total liquid equals 1¼ cups. Add the liquid to a medium saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Continue whisking so no lumps form. Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Fold in the drained berries with a spatula. Cover and chill until ready to use. (The filling will continue to thicken as it chills.)

Magic Frosting

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1% with stellar results)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. This could take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on your stove, heat, etc. It should bubble quite a bit at the end (be careful of the splatters) and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature – this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I refrigerated my initial mixture overnight. If you do this, make sure to pull it out in time to let it warm back up to room temperature. If you try to proceed with the rest of the recipe and the mixture is too cold, the butter won’t absorb into the frosting like it should.

Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature (it should have no hint of warmth at all!), beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds (a stand mixer will work best for this). Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and let the mixer work it’s magic. Beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour.


8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until a smooth, thick ganacheganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping. You can use some of this ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. You can pipe a small amount around the top edge on your bottom layer to help keep filling in.

Chocolate Glaze

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes. (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake.) Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides. Let the glaze set about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining reserved ganache to a consistency for piping. (You can microwave in 5 second intervals on low power – it won’t take long to rewarm. If you overshoot and the ganache becomes too thin, simply chill again in the fridge or freezer until it is thick enough to pipe.) Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe swirls of ganache around the edge of the top of the cake and top each swirl with a fresh raspberry. Chill the cake until ready to serve. 

Recipe Sources: Cake - Mel's Unbelievable Chocolate Cake, Frosting - Mel's Magical Frosting, Raspberry Filling, Ganache, and Chocolate glaze - Annies Eats

Friday, June 10, 2011

Buttermilk Syrup

There is no question as to what my favorite meals are. I have a serious love hate relationship with sugar. Therefore my two favorite meals are breakfast and dessert (yes dessert is a meal just in case you didn't know that).  Years ago I went to this local restaurant that serves delicious breakfast. They have this amazing syrup that I fell in love with instantly. I knew that I needed to figure out how to make it. After searching the web and combining recipes this is what I have come up with.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla (optional)

In a very large saucepan stir together all the ingredients except baking soda. Bring to a boil. Add Baking soda and cook for 7 minutes. Once the baking soda is added the syrup will foam up quite a bit so make sure you are using a very large saucepan. Remove from heat and serve.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

This last weekend was my husband's birthday. I made him a traditional cake on his birthday, but we have lots of family that lives close by (which we love); therefore I had more than one opportunity to make him a yummy treat. When I saw this recipe I knew that it would be perfect for a birthday dessert. Both my husband and I love chocolate and peanut butter together, add a few Reese's peanut butter cups (or a lot of them) and we are very happy people.

I mean who could resist all those peanut butter cups?

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

1 9X13 pan of your favorite brownie recipe
10 ounce bag of peanut butter chips
5 ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups milk
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped and divided
24 regular sized (about 2 inches in diameter) peanut butter cups, divided

Line a 13 by 9 inch pan with aluminum foil, extend foil by 2 inches over side. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Prepare brownies according to the recipe. Add peanut butter chips. Bake in foil lined pan for length of time required. Cool completely.

Lift foil out of pan. Invert on cutting board. Remove foil. Cut into 3/4 inch pieces, using sharp knife.

Coarsely chop peanut butter cups; 1/4 cup for garnish.

Combine pudding mix and milk in large bowl. Beat at low speed for 2 minutes or until thickened (I had to chill mine for about 5 minutes to thicken it completely). Add peanut butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gently fold in half of whipped cream.

Place half of brownies in bottom of trifle bowl; top with 1/2 of chopped candy and half of pudding. Repeat layers. Top with remaining whipped cream, spooned or piped on. Garnish top with remaining peanut butter cups.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Delicious Bran Muffins

I actually love bran muffins. They are hearty and filling, yet sweet and soft. I realized my love for bran muffins years ago while at one of my friend's grandmother's house in Canada. She is basically famous for her bran muffins. I can honestly say that that was the first time I had bran muffins I really enjoyed. I have since tried many many recipes, most of which were really good, but had a different flavor that I was used to or was searching for. I wanted a recipe that actually used wheat bran, not just a cereal that had bran in it. I found this recipe online and have loved it ever since!

Delicious Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter melted
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins (optional - I opt out)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Recipe Source:Adapted from Allrecipes

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Perfect Cookies With Reece's Pieces

My husband reminded me the other day that we have a lot of Reece's Pieces. They are actually kind of a staple around our house. My husband has a gum ball machine that is filled with them. He suggested that I should make something with the Reece's pieces. He then recommended cookies. I thought to myself I already have the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, why not just replace the chocolate chips with Reece's Pieces. That is exactly what I did and they are AMAZING!  The Reece's Pieces give such a nice nutty flavor to the already amazing cookies. If you have some Reece's Pieces lying around (or if you find them lying around at the store) you should definitely try these out!

The Perfect Cookie + Reece's Pieces 

Instructions: Follow the recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie except when you come to the part where you add chocolate chips add 1 cup Reece's Pieces instead. Shape into a slightly larger than normal ball of cookie dough. Bake as directed and enjoy! (I of course left out the nuts on this one as well, sorry not a nut person).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Potato Bread

I have always loved potato rolls. A week or so ago a friend of mine gave me a really yummy recipe for potato rolls. The rolls are amazing but its a huge recipe. I decided to make some of it into a loaf and have loved the results. The bread is soft, yet still stays together. I have loved eating sandwiches on it all week. My favorite thus far has been peanut butter and honey (yes I'm still a kid at heart).

Potato Bread

10-11 cups flour (approximately)
2 tbs instant yeast
4 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant potato flakes (Idaho)
2 cups hot milk (hot to the touch but not too hot that it burns you)
2 1/2 cups hot water (again not so hot that it burns you)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs vegetable oil

Stir approximately 6 cups four, salt, yeast, sugar, and potato flakes together in a large mixing bowl or heavy duty stand mixer with dough hook (this is a really large batch). Add oil, hot milk, and hot water to dry ingredients and stir well. Gradually add more flour until dough is kneading consistency. If using a stand mixer add enough flour until dough starts to cling to dough hook, but it will still be quite sticky. Knead until smooth. Place dough in greased bowl and cover. Let rise until double in size. Punch dough and shape into 1 lb loaves. Place in greased bread pans. Let rise again until double in size. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Bread should be a nice golden brown color. While still hot rub top with some butter or brush on melted butter. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store in air tight bread bags and enjoy.

Note: you can definitely make some amazing potato rolls out of this recipe. I actually made half of the dough into rolls and the other half into a loaf.