Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Bread - by Lisa

It's Tuesday, and I'm posting an entry, AND IT'S A RECIPE! Really, this shouldn't be so difficult to do, right?

Anywho, the super good news about today's recipe is that it is ridiculously easy. So easy in fact I could have my 4 1/2 year old make it. :) All you need are 3 ingredients: boxed spice cake mix, can of pure pumpkin, and some chocolate chips.

Seriously - that's it!! (I seem to be on a kick here with my super simple recipes.) Put it all together, bake at 350 and you're done! My friend Melanie passed along the recipe to me years ago. It's so simple that I don't even have it written down anywhere - LOL!!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Bread
Recipe from Melanie

  • Boxed spice cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  • 15.5 oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  3. Pour into bread pan or cupcake pan.
  4. Bake 30-35 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

That's it!! Dig in and enjoy.... :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting by Summer

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday night. It was an easy dinner of pizza because they also have two small children and who doesn't like pizza!  I offered to make dessert because, well . . . like that needs an explanation :-) I was trying to figure out what to make that would be yummy, kid-friendly and easy. I found this in my dessert recipe binder. I love pumpkin bars, but they make so much! And that cream cheese frosting! I could eat these bars non-stop, so I knew they would be the perfect dessert!

In the past I have made these in a 9x13 pan, but this time I used the 10x15 pan that the recipe calls for.  Try these if you like pumpkin at all!

 Using a large off-set spatula really helped making frost these easy! Be sure to spread it on nice and thick!

Pumpkin Bars (unfortunately I don't know the source for this recipe)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10×15 inch jellyroll pain. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween Again! - by Lisa

I'm totally going to copy Summer on this post because, well....I got nuttin'. I just haven't been making any new dessert recipes lately despite being busy with quite a bit of baking. :( I hope next month I can do a better job.

So this is my third round of spiderweb cookies in the last three weeks. I found this giant (seriously, giant - 7 inch diameter!) spider web cookie cutter while shopping for a different shape. It even came with a little spider cutter, but I didn't have enough dough for them this time around. I was going to use these as little gift treats for Caiden's class (yes, apparently I'm turning into "that" classroom mom), but they were even too big for the treat bags! I hemmed and hawed over what to do since I really wanted to make these cut outs, and finally split the difference. I went the "old school" route for the classroom treats and made 4 big ones for us to enjoy at home. Yay win!

"You are getting sleepy....very very sleepy...."
 Since I still had leftover treat bag decorations from the bake sale last week, I put those to good use on these treats! On the back I have a "to/from" sticker. I hope the kids get a kick out of these cookies! :)

Hope you have a safe and happy Halloween this year!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Halloween!

It's been a busy week for me, so unfortunately I just can't come up with a recipe to post here.  Instead - here is a picture of some cookies that I made for a couple of Halloween parties that are coming up.  Hope you have a great Halloween and I promise to have a great recipe for next week!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cranberry Muffins - by Summer

One of my favorite foods is in season during fall - cranberries!  I love cranberry juice and I love making whole cranberry sauce for the holidays (true story, until I was in high school, I thought the only kind of cranberry sauce was that jellied stuff that came in a can - I still love that too!)  Anyhow - I purchased a bag of cranberries at my supermarket a couple of weeks ago and they have been sitting in my fridge ever since.  Finally a few days ago I decided to make some muffins with half of them.  This recipe is from my mom, again and it makes a lot.  When looking at recipes for cranberries, I discovered that most of them call for dried cranberries, but these do call for the whole fresh ones!  I bet they would taste even better with some white chocolate chips thrown in too!

Cranberry Muffins - recipe from JoAnne Blume

1 1/2 cup cranberries (cut berries in half)
1 cup powdered sugar
4 cups flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups milk
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Toss cranberries with powdered sugar and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture and add eggs, milk, and butter all at once. Stir lightly until combined - do not beat! Fold in cranberries. Pour into greased muffin pan until cups are 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Instead of regular muffins, I made mini ones (they are easier for my kids to handle) and I also made one mini loaf. I sprayed the pans with cooking spray.  The muffins baked for 20 minutes and the mini loaf baked for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday Tips: Icing Bags - by Lisa

I know, I's Wednesday, but I had you for a second there, right? I have been doing a lot of baking this week, but sadly none of the recipes are new ones. I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, gingersnaps, decorated sugar cookies, and I will be making carrot cake and scones tomorrow and Friday. Why the baking bonanza? Well part of it was for meals/snacks around here, and the other part is that I'm am member of a philanthropic Mother's Club here, and their annual craft show/bake sale is this weekend. Club members are required to bake 4 items (and package them prettily as well), and I'd rather bake things I know than take a chance foisting off a new recipe on some unsuspecting patron. So that has left me in a bit of a bind for this week's entry.

After some pondering, I decided to post a helpful tip for working with royal icing. When decorating sugar cookies, you will likely burn through a lot of plastic disposable pastry bags. Sometimes it can be worth it to rinse them out and reuse them, but that can get to be a chore. Several months ago, I came across a brilliant idea on Pinterest to aid in this dilemma. By using this method, you can easily reuse the disposable pastry bags AND have less mess to clean up!

 Here's what you do:

First tear off a decent size piece of plastic wrap and lay it flat on the counter.

Next, plop your desired amount of icing in the middle.

Wrap your icing so that it is sealed in the plastic and then twist the ends.
(I recently figured out it is extra smart to tie off the end you're squeezing from.)

Fold down your icing bag, insert the untied end of the plastic tube into the bag and pull out as much as you can thru the coupler.

Snip off the excess plastic, apply your decorating tip, and screw on the other half of your coupler.

Voila! You have a completely mess free pastry bag full of icing. When you are done decorating, simply remove your tip, carefully extract the plastic tube from the bag (from the wide end), and dispose. That's it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars - by Summer

This recipe was one that I found recently in my dessert binder.  I have had it for quite some time - maybe 8 years - maybe longer. I can't remember why I thought to keep it and because at some point I typed it up, I have no idea where I got this recipe. I think I thought it was something different when I first saved it, but upon reading it thoroughly, I realized that these are pretty similar to the Crack Brownies, but with a a different base. I like the brownies better, but there is something about the combination of milk chocolate chips and peanut butter that is out of this world! I want to try tweaking these in the coming months.  My husband likes the idea of the brownie base, but no crunch (as in crunchy peanut butter or rice krispies). We'll see what I end up with.  Until then, give these a try if you liked the brownies.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
2/3 cups butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 package milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
4 Heath candy bars, crushed*

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add corn syrup and vanilla; beat well.  Stir in oats; press into a greased 12x9 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack. 

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter; stir until blended.  Spread over cooled bars.  Sprinkle with crushed candy bars.  Refrigerate until set before cutting.

*I omitted these because I didn't have any on hand.