Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Scones

In Wyoming, there really wasn't a fall.  We really went from summer to winter.  New Jersey definitely has a fall though.  The leaves changing from green to a beautiful red and yellow.  It is amazing and I'm now obsessed with fall here.

The one thing that fall has made me want to do is utilize pumpkin in dishes.  I keep talking about pumpkin chili, pumpkin tortellini alfredo, pumpkin pie ice cream, and pumpkin doughnuts.  When I found out the theme for What's Baking this month was Pumpkin/Sweet Potatoes,  my mind went crazy.   Eva from Eva Bakes chose a great theme.  Head over to her blog around the first of the month to see what everyone else baked.

Towards the end of the month, I ran across these scones.  Scones have been on my cooking bucket list for awhile, so I figured I should try to conquer them.  I think this was a great month to try something new...and delicious.

Pumpkin Scones
from Iowa Girl Eats
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons half & half
1 egg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

For the plain glaze:
1 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half & half

For the spiced drizzle:
1 cup + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half & half
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground ground ginger
pinch ground ground cloves

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2) In the bowl of a large food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, half & half, and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined.
4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
5) Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
6) When scones are cool, whisk together the plain glaze ingredients, then spoon on top and spread slightly. Let harden for 10 minutes, then whisk together the spiced drizzle ingredients and drizzle on top. Let harden completely, about 1 hour, before serving. Store in an air-tight container for 1 day.

I thought these were absolutely fantastic.  I think they had great pumpkin flavor without it being too overwhelming.  I think that adding chocolate chips would make them even more special.  I sprinkled cinnamon on the top of ours for just a little more punch of cinnamon.  If you haven't ever made scones but have been thinking about trying them, I highly recommend trying this recipe.  It is easy, delicious, and they are addicting.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayo

I've had Dawn's blog before for a Blogger's choice swap, so I knew that I would find something delicious to try on her blog.  As I predicted, it didn't take too much time to find something delicious.

We tried the Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza, which was delicious, especially with the homemade pizza sauce.  Unfortunately, it wasn't the prettiest thing, so even though it was awesome, and you should head over to Dawn's blog to try it, it isn't the star of this post.

I saw the Chicken Burger with Garlic Rosemary Mayo on A Taste of Home Cooking (the host of the recipe swap).  I remember pinning the recipe on Pinterest, and for a long time, I pass over it thinking it sounds good, but something always sounded better. When I saw it on Dawn's blog, I decided it was time to finally make it.

Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayo
slightly adapted from Simple Gourmet Cooking
For the mayo:1 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

For the burgers:
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns
1 cup arugula, divided

1) Preheat grill to medium-high.
2) In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic and rosemary. Set aside in the refrigerator.
3) In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the garlic rosemary mayonnaise mixture until well combined. Shape into 4 equally sized patties.
4) Grill for 6-7 minutes per side, or until burgers are cooked through. Transfer to a clean plate and let them rest for a few minutes.
5) Spread 1 teaspoon of the garlic rosemary mayo onto the cut side of each roll. Add the arugula to the bottom bun, then the patty. Top with the top half of the bun.

These were absolutely delicious.  I loved the subtle yet complex flavor.  I was surprised by how much my husband liked these.  It is definitely different than your typical mustard/ketchup combination.  Add these to your menu soon, you won't regret it.  Check out the other delicious recipes below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

My husband and I had a large jar of artichokes in our pantry that needed to get used, so when I saw this on Cassie Craves, I quickly put it on the meal plan.  I loved that it only has a few ingredients in it too.  Jacob loves when there aren't too many ingredients in a dish.  Plus, it is easy to get on the table fast, another plus. 
Artichoke Crusted Chicken
slightly adapted from Cassie Craves
4 6-ounce chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Salt and pepper the chicken and then grill each chicken breast in a skillet over medium-high heat, for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping once, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Set aside.
2) Mix together the mayonnaise, artichoke hearts and Swiss cheese until evenly distributed. Spread the mixture over the chicken breasts, and then broil for about 3 minutes, watching them to be sure they don’t burn. When the cheese is melted and bubbling and the tops are golden, remove and serve.


This picture definitely doesn't do this meal justice.  This meal was absolutely amazing.  We were talking before we sat down about how good it smelled, but we couldn't believe that it tasted even better.  This dish is a must try, and it will blow your mind.  I think the grill added some good flavor, but Cassie made her chicken in a skillet, which I'm sure would make a great meal too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

I can't believe it is the third week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats already.  Please check out Meal Planning Magic for details about the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats and for awesome recipes.

When I was a little kid, I was OBSESSED with Rudolph.  I saw the movie with Rudolph and Clarice and fell in love with him.  When Christmas Eve came around, I always cared more about leaving treats for Rudolph than I did for Santa even though Santa left the presents and Rudolph didn't.

My parents were always really creative and came up with great answers to my Santa questions when I was a kid, so when I asked questions about Rudolph, they always had answers. How does Rudolph fly? - Much like Peter Pan, he thought happy thoughts and away he went.  How did Rudolph always have enough energy to fly all over the world hauling a giant red Santa and all the presents?- Kids left him carrots which improved his eye sight and were healthy, so he always had energy.

In honor of Rudolph, I decided to make this wonderful Christmas treat.

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting
slightly adapted from Quick Feet, Good Eats
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter – room temp
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs – room temp
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cup grated carrots – about 3 large carrots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, silpats, or simply spray with cooking spray.
2) In a mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 – 4 minutes in a stand mixer).
3) Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until well combined.
4) Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; whisk to combine. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. Do not overmix.
5) Mix in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Chill dough for at least 1 hour. (Mine stayed in the fridge almost an entire day covered with plastic wrap)
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7) Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Or press into a whoopie pie pan.
8) Bake until browned and crisp around the edges, 15 to 20. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup of butter, at room temp
8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 splash vanilla extract
1)  Combine butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
2) While mixing at a low speed, add sugar. Once combined, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix on a medium to high speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth and fully combined. Frost whoopie pies and enjoy!

Even though these aren't healthy, and wouldn't help me fly around the world carrying Santa and presents, they were amazingly delicious.  I forgot the oats in the original recipe, but in all honesty, they were delicious without them.  They had a lot of holiday flavors with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, so I think these would be perfect on a holiday table.  My husband took a bite and declared "These are a keeper!" 

Check out all the other recipes below!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

I used to hate baking.  It just seemed like such a hassle and a mess to pull one dessert together.  Something snapped a few months ago and I now like to bake quite a bit.  I still love the simple desserts that don't require too much effort.

One of my favorite cookies are No-Bake Cookies.  You get little mounds of cookies in about fifteen minutes, and they usually cool pretty quickly.  Plus the ingredients are just things that go really well together: chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal, it is all good things in one bite (if you only have one cookie...which is difficult).

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
from One More-Moore 
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups Quick-Cooking Oats
2 teaspoons vanilla

1) Add the first four ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for a minute.
2) Stir in the next three ingredients and drop onto wax/foil paper.  Let cool until set.

These cookies are also really great when it is too hot to bake, although since we're entering fall, I don't think that'll be a problem for awhile.  These are the best no-bake cookies that I've ever made.  I think the peanut butter and chocolate ratio is perfect.  I had to send these to work with my husband so that we didn't eat too many of them. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie

It is time for another Crazy Cooking Challenge.  The theme this month was apple pie.  I struggled a lot with this one because I didn't really want to buy a frozen pie crust, but I know that I am horrible at making crusts from scratch.  I really didn't want a repeat of fried chicken month (massive failure!), so I spent a lot of time looking for a recipe.


I ran across this recipe three days before the challenge was due.  Which normally would have been fine, except I finally got a new job this week.  In the midst of getting paperwork done and all the fun stuff that comes with a new job, I thought this would be the easiest recipe.

Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie
slightly adapted from Pillsbury
Crumb Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 can (12.4 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing (canister with 8 rolls)
6 medium Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons apple pie spice
2 tablespoons lemon juice  

1) Heat oven to 375°F.  Spoon icing from can of rolls into small microwavable bowl; cover and refrigerate.
2) In medium bowl, mix Crumb Topping ingredients with fork until large clumps form. Refrigerate.  
3) Lightly flour rolling pin and work surface or cutting board. Separate dough into 8 rolls. With rolling pin, roll each cinnamon roll, cinnamon side up, into 4- to 5-inch round.  In  an un-greased 9-inch glass pie plate, place 1 dough round in center. Arrange remaining 7 dough rounds around center round and up side of plate, overlapping slightly as necessary. With fingers, press dough to seal together in bottom and up side of pie plate to form crust.  
4) In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients. Spoon filling into cinnamon roll-lined pie plate. Sprinkle crumb topping over top to completely cover filling.  
5) Bake about 1 hour or until top is golden brown and apples are tender. Cool on cooling rack at least 1 hour.  About 20 minutes in, place foil strips around edge of pie pan so that edges don't get too browned while cooking. 
6) Before serving, microwave icing on High 10 to 15 seconds or until runny enough to drizzle. Drizzle back and forth over top of pie.


I love apple pie.  To me, it symbolizes the beginning of fall.  I loved the amount of cinnamon that the cinnamon rolls added to the "crust".  The only problem we had was that the cinnamon rolls got a little crispy by the end of the hour.  It may be better to pre-bake your apples in a dish and then just marry the two at the end.  It was still a delicious yet different type of apple pie.  

Enjoy checking out all the other variations of apple pie below. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cinnamon Buns

The theme for the Recipe Swap this round was breakfast.  I was excited when I saw that my recipe was Christine's Kitchen Chronicles since I guest posted for her not too long ago.   Her blog is full of a lot of great recipes, so I was excited to try these.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cinnamon Buns
from Christine's Kitchen Chronicles
For the Ready to Eat Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Cinnamon Rolls:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
4-1/2 cups flour (I used 1-1/2 cups whole wheat and 3 cups all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter
1 batch ready to eat cookie dough

For the Icing:
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon butter, melted 
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1)  Make the Cookie Dough:  In a small bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add in flour. Stir in chocolate chips.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
2) Mix the milk, oil, and sugar in a large pot. Scald milk mixture (heat until not quite boiling) and then let it cool to room temperature.  If the liquid is too hot, you will kill your yeast and your rolls will not rise.
3) Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and let it sit for a couple minutes.  Stir in 4 cups of flour to form a sticky dough. Cover pan and let the dough rise for 1 hour. 
4) After dough has risen, stir in remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and baking soda until well combined. 
5) Divide dough in half. On a flour covered workplace, roll the dough out until it's about 1/8" thick and in a rectangular shape about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide.
6) Melt butter in a glass measuring cup or a small bowl. Pour half of the melted butter over the dough and spread using a brush. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (the amount is up to you). Top with spoonfuls of prepared chocolate chip cookie dough. 
7) Roll dough toward you, keeping the spiral as tight as possible. Cut into 3/4 inch slices. Place in a greased pan.  
8) Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.  
9) Let the cinnamon rolls rise again for 30 minutes. Then bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. 
10) While rolls are in the oven, mix together ingredients for icing.  You want it to be the consistency of a spreadable frosting.  Add powdered sugar if it is too runny and heavy cream if it is too thick. 
11) Let the rolls cool for about 5 minutes before icing.  

These are definitely more of a weekend recipe than a weekday recipe.  Since I don't have a lot of experience with yeast, I was scared, but everything turned out really good.  I don't know if these needed to be stuffed with cookie dough, but it made them different and they were good.  I doubled the amount of icing because we really like a lot of icing on our cinnamon rolls.  These would definitely be a great special breakfast for a holiday or a momentous occasion. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: Salted Caramel Brownies

One of my favorite things during the holiday season is a Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.  When it is cold outside, it warms you up and provides the comfort of chocolate with the great taste of caramel and that hint of salt. 

I ran across a recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies and knew that I had to make these for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  What is better in the cold than hot chocolate and a salted caramel brownie?  Not much. 

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats is being hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic.  Head to her blog to check out the details and how to join. 

Salted Caramel Brownies
brownie recipe from Food Network
salted caramel recipe from Pip & Ebby
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salted Caramel
2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Stir together the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a medium bowl. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder all at once and stir until just combined.
3) Bake until the brownies begin to pull away from the edge of the pan and set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.
4) For caramel, combine sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup in a large sauce pan.  Set your heat to high and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees. It took me about 20 minutes to reach this point.
5) When caramel reaches 250 degrees, stir in sea salt and sour cream.
6) Spread the caramel over the brownies and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt.
7) Chill until the caramel sets.

I loved these brownies.  I loved the crunch of the salt on top of the caramel.  Even after chilling mine, the caramel was still difficult (messy to get out of the pan, drooping down the brownie), but it was worth it because these are delicious.  They'd be a great accompaniment to the salted caramel hot chocolate. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rootbeer Float Ice Cream

Not too long ago, my husband wanted to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a Keurig.  I don't drink coffee, so I felt a little left out in the kitchen gadget realm.  That day, we ended up walking out with a Keurig and an ice cream maker.  Ever since, I've had a lot of fun finding recipes and utilizing my ice cream  maker.

Eva, from Eva Bakes, has a lot of ice cream recipes.  The awesome thing is that they're all very different, so there is a lot to choose from.  There is everything from this Rootbeer float to fresh peach ice cream.  Head over to her blog and check all her delicious ice cream recipes out.

Rootbeer Float Ice Cream
from Eva Bakes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rootbeer extract

1) Whisk eggs in a bowl until they are light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
2) Whisk in sugar, a little at a time, and then keep whisking until completely blended, about a minute.
3) Pour in the remaining ingredients, and whisk well to incorporate.
4) Transfer mixture to ice cream maker, and follow manufacturer's instructions.
5) Once ice cream mixture is done in the maker, freeze until solid.

This was an amazing ice cream.  I thought it would just taste like rootbeer, but each bite had the rootbeer and the cream flavor that gave you the feeling that you were truly experiencing a rootbeer float.  The rootbeer flavor is there, but it isn't very strong, so I think next time, I'll add more than a tablespoon of rootbeer extract to see if it makes a difference.  Our ice cream mixture once it came out of the ice cream maker had to freeze overnight before we could eat it.  The mixture was just not cold enough to eat right away.  So prepare in advance if you want to make this as a treat.  I can't wait to make this ice cream again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Baking Challenge Roundup: Quickbreads

This was my month to host the What's Baking Challenge.  I chose the theme Quickbreads.  I thought it would be a great opening to fall and the slightly chillier temperatures that come with the new season.  I think the participants came up with some delicious combinations, so check out all the posts below.

I embraced my love for lemon cakes and made a Lemon Poppyseed Loaf.

Melissa from I Was Born To Cook made Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, which was a huge hit with her little girl, Bella.

Yudith from Blissfully Delicious made Sweet Potato Bread using some extra sweet potatoes in her house to turn into this delicious quickbread.

Ange from The Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen made Beer Bread using a recipe she found on Pinterest, and it turned out great.

Heather from Hezzi D's Books and Cooks made Pumpkin Spice bread and Strawberry bread to give to her friend who had recently had a baby.

Eva from Eva Bakes made Cinnamon Zucchini Bread using the last of the zucchini that she had at her house.

Jaida from Sweet Beginnings made a Chocolate Orange Loaf which she said reminds her of the Chocolate Oranges you find around the holiday season.

Steph from Brownies and Blondies took advantage of her last of her CSA fruit box and made Peach Bread.

Carrie from Carrie's Sweet Life asked her Facebook followers what bread she should make and selected Chocolate Chip Apple Bread from the responses.

Cara from The Boys Made Me Do It embraced the start of fall by making Ginger Pumpkin Bread.

Kim from Just Baked made Beer Cheese bread because her husband isn't big on sweets but does love beer and cheese.

Joanna from Newlywed and Newly Cooking took her Honey Cake to a family gathering and it was a hit.

Nicole from Seven Ate Nine combined family favorites to make Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread.

Catherine from Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness made a Harvest Pumpkin bread that she received from a recipe swap.

Ammie from Adventures in My Kitchen paired her Beer Bread with a vegetable soup for a perfect autumn meal.

Jen from Beantown Baker shared her Banana Coconut Bread with her coworkers who thought the bread was "exquisite".

Hopefully you've found some inspiration for your next quickbread creation.

Next month's challenge is being hosted by Eva from Eva Bakes, and the theme is Pumkin/Sweet Potatoes.  Check out her blog at the end of the month to see what everyone makes!