Archive | February, 2019

John’s Cookbook – Page 1 – Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls

27 Feb

As you all know, I have been having my little sous chef help me out in the kitchen for quite some time now – since he was about 1 (he’s 4 now!). He really enjoys helping measure, stir, and create recipes – so I thought it was about time he took the lead a bit more.

He expressed interest in making “Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls” – which I wasn’t even sure was a thing, but turns out, it is! So I printed the recipe in extra large font, and put it in his very own binder, titled “John’s Cookbook” – and each week I will add a kid-friendly recipe for he and I to make together

Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls
(Recipe Courtesy of The Two Bite Club)

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package crescent roll dough or crescent roll sheet
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat the inside of a 7-inch x 5-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.

2. Unroll the crescent dough. (If using crescent rolls, pinch seams to seal.) Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon of the melted butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border with no butter.

3. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough leaving a 1/4 inch border with no sugar. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter.

4. Roll the dough (starting with the long end) into a tight log. Cut into 8 equal pieces and carefully place into the baking dish cut side up. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the room temperature butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Beat in the orange juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined. Spread onto the cinnamon rolls when they come out of the oven, serving any leftover glaze on the side.

He really enjoyed taking the lead on this – and the finished product was pretty good! It’s an easy shortcut to making cinnamon rolls without all the kneading/rising of a yest dough, and they got two thumbs up from John, too!

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These “Fork & Knife” Cookies & Cream Brownies Have It All – Frosting, Chocolate Galore, Brownie – And Did I Mention FROSTING?!

19 Feb

Any other brownie lovers out there? I don’t know what it is about them, but I am always drawn to them – at potlucks or picnics, at restaurants or bakeries – what can I say – brownies complete me!

These Cookies and Cream brownies are just – so very extra. So much going on – and when my girlfriend made them and I tried one, I knew that I had to make them for myself – because – they really have it all (you had me at brownie, and hooked me at frosting!)

Cookies & Cream Brownies
(Recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients
Brownies
homemade brownie batter OR 1 9×13 inch pan brownie batter
-24 Oreos (I use Double Stuf Oreos)

Cookies & Cream Buttercream
-3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
-3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
-2 Tablespoons milk
-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-6 Oreos, chopped(I use Double Stuf Oreos)
-pinch of salt

Chocolate Topping
-1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
-1 heaping cup (around 200g) semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Directions
Brownies: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
Prepare brownie batter. Spread into prepared baking pan. My homemade brownie batter is very thick, so do your best to spread it to the edges. Doesn’t have to be perfectly neat. Press 24 Oreos down into the top of the brownie batter; you want 6 rows of 4 Oreos.
Bake for 32 minutes, then test the brownies with a toothpick. Insert it into the center of the pan. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are only a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. Keep checking every 2 minutes until you have moist crumbs. My homemade brownies with Oreos on top take about 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Do not cut into squares yet. (TIP: It’s helpful to place the whole slab of brownies (parchment paper still underneath) on a baking sheet because you will need to chill the layers. The baking sheet makes transporting to the refrigerator easier!)
Cookies & cream buttercream: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. With a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the chopped Oreos. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I like adding 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spread buttercream on top of cooled brownies. Chill uncovered for 30 minutes and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Chocolate topping: Cut the butter into a few pieces and place in a small saucepan with the chocolate chips. Melt the two together on low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and combined. You can also use the microwave– stop and stir every 20 seconds until melted and smooth.
Pour chocolate on top of the buttercream. Spread all over the top in an even layer. Allow chocolate to set at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator for 1 hour before slicing and serving. See recipe notes for my tips for cutting neat brownie squares.
Cover and store leftover brownies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

First step – homemade brownie base

…With oreos, of course!

To me there are few things better than whipping up frosting on a cold winter’s day (Or ANY day really)

Topping Time!

Good lord that’s a beautiful cross-section, isn’t it?

Approved by all – husbands, tiny sous chefs, and dogs too (don’t worry – Walter didn’t actually get any!)

I am going to be 100% real – there are a few things I actually DON’T like about these
1. The chocolate topping overpowers the frosting (a HUGE no no in my book)
2. The oreos in the brownies got SO HARD when baking – so I would probably roughly chop them and fold into the brownie batter next time
3. Overall – I want to taste more Oreo in the frosting, so I would probably not smash those Oreos so finely next time

But – overall – it’s truly a decadent experience – and if you love Oreos and Brownies – you should definitely try these show-stoppers

Pretzel Treats – The Salty/Sweet Combo That Everyone Will Love

14 Feb

I have been wanting to make these FOR FOREVER – seriously. I have been looking for an excuse to make Pretzel treats for a while, and finally – the perfect occasion came – superbowl! What better snack to grab than something small & bite size, that is the perfect combo of sweet and salty?

Pretzel Candies
(Recipe courtesy of From Valerie’s Kitchen)

Ingredients
Pretzels square or round
Rolo Candies, or Hershey’s Kisses (any variety)
Plain M&M’s

Instructions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line baking sheet with pretzels. Center one Kiss on each pretzel.
Bake for 1 to 2 minutes. Kisses will soften but still hold their shape.
Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M, printed side down, on top of each Kiss, pressing lightly.
Refrigerate until set.

I of course enlisted the assistance of my helpful husband and my little sous chef to help unwrap the candies – because that part can get tedious!

A few minutes in the oven and these were shiny and ready for their M&M’s!

One by one – pressing the M&M’s into the treats to complete them

These were super easy to make, and cute to boot – since I was able to grab the Valentine-themed M&M’s for them.

The ones with the Rolos on them didn’t turn out as cute – the M&M’s tended to almost “disappear” in them if you pressed too hard – BUT – they tasted WAY better than the ones with the Hershey Kisses – so I am glad I did both kinds for sure

You can do this with a variety of Hershey Kisses and M&M’s for every season – so they can be the perfect treat for any Holiday! They would also make a perfect gift for someone too, for Christmas or for anytime!

4 Ingredient Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies – The Perfect Last Minute Valentine’s Day Treat!

13 Feb

Valentine’s Day is SO CLOSE – and even if you think it’s a super lame “hallmark” holiday – you probably still are planning on getting something for your significant other – just to show them how much you love them, right?

Well here’s a tip – this year, skip the expensive flowers and chocolates, and strap on an apron and get in the kitchen! Because what’s better than baking your loved ones something special? Nothing that’s what!

These cookies are easy, fast, inexpensive and the perfect gift to give to your valentine!

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

(Recipe Courtesy Of Eating on a dime)

Ingredients

• 1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix cookies

• 2 eggs

• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

• Powdered sugar for the topping

Instructions

1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2 Mix everything except the powdered sugar into a bowl (Batter will be thick)

3 Spoon into balls and roll in the powdered sugar

4 Place on cookie sheets leaving about 2 inches between cookies

5 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until cookies brown SLIGHTLY on the edges

These turned out super delicious – and aren’t they just so pretty, too??

Little sous chef gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up! And Walter was angling for some too (no dice though – sorry dog!

You can do this with almost any kind of cookie mix – I especially love doing it with Funfetti mix

It was the perfect little Valentine’s Day treat! Even if you don’t love the holiday – you WILL for sure love these cookies

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars – The Perfect Alternative To Birthday Cake

7 Feb

Every year I make my dad a birthday cake – usually This amazing chocolate version that always turns out perfectly. But this year, I wanted to switch it up and try something different. At first I was going to make a whole cheesecake. But – the two issues with that are – cheesecakes are HUGE – like REALLY BIG – the ones I was looking at called for 4 or 5 bricks of cream cheese. Like – wow. Nope. There’s only 5 of us – and one of that 5 is my son, who can only eat so much. Then issue #2 – I couldn’t find my springform pan. So – regular cheesecake was out. But I kept searching – and finally it paid off, when I found the PERFECT thing – these White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Not only was it a much smaller size, but it didn’t require a springform pan, AND it included the birthday boy’s favorite thing ever – RASPBERRY!

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
(Recipe courtesy of Kraft)

Ingredients
12 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 oz. BAKER’S White Chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup red raspberry preserves

Directions
-Heat oven to 350ºF.
-Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Melt 2 oz. chocolate as directed on package.
-Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
-Bake 25 to 28 min. or until center is almost set. Cool 5 min.; spread with preserves. Melt remaining chocolate; drizzle over cheesecake. Cool cheesecake completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Little sous chef enjoyed using our meat mallet to crush the Oreos for the crust

Cheesecake-y goodness

Adding the best part – the topping!

The finished product

Enjoying cheesecake with the birthday boy and little sous chef

These turned out so good – even I liked it a lot – and I really am not a fan of cheesecake, OR raspberry (luckily I was able to grab some seedless Raspberry jam – so that helped me enjoy it more as it’s really the seeds I hate). It was the perfect amount for us – and I think my dad really enjoyed it (he had 2 pieces, so I am thinking that means he liked it, ha!)

So if you’re looking for an alternative to regular cheesecake because you don’t need that much (or just because you don’t have a springform pan handy!) then try these – you won’t be disappointed!