October 27, 2010

Homemade Twix Bars and Pumpkin Twix Bars!

Homemade Twix Bars

Well, I tried. I told myself I was going to stay away from desserts for a while. But….TWIX BARS. I really tried, but come on. TWIX BARS!!! Plus, with Halloween coming up I actually had a good excuse to make them. It’s not me, it’s Halloween. Halloween made me do it. Really, it couldn’t be helped. (In my head this is a perfectly logical argument.)

Whatever the excuse, I am so glad I made these because they are fantastic. Brandon, cynical person that he is, would like you to know that they are not exactly like a Twix because the ratio of cookie to caramel to chocolate is off, but BLAH BLAH BLAH (I am sticking out my tongue right now). No they aren’t exactly the same, but they have the same essence. That’s all I ask for in a homemade version of something, I don’t need an exact molecular copy. In fact, I love that there’s more caramel and a thicker cookie because I like those parts the best (and even if you don’t you can control how thick you …

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April 19, 2011

Magic Peanut Butter Middles

Magic Peanut Butter Middles

In a perfect world, this would be purely a baking blog where I posted one decadent dessert after the other, but since this is not a perfect world I often struggle with my desire to make these decadent desserts and the reality of trying to be a healthier (and lighter) person. It’s especially hard in a two person household where a whole cake can be entirely too much…and entirely too tempting. So I’ve found the key is to make what I want, but try to give as much away as possible. This strategy has been working out well lately and Brandon’s coworkers seem to be quite happy to eat all of our extra sweets. We also regularly attend a Saturday game night and I’ve found that to be the perfect event for trying out new cookie recipes. I get to satisfy my sweet tooth, and by the end of the night all the cookies are gone so I don’t have anything tempting me the next day.

August 4, 2010

Caramelized French Toast (Plus Homemade Raisin Bread!)

Caramelized French Toast

I’m not 100% happy with the name of this recipe. Caramelized Cinnamon Toast might be better, but calling it French Toast is more descriptive of how it’s made. I would say this is a combination of French Toast and Cinnamon Toast, but Caramelized Cinnamon French Toast is way too long, so we’ll just keep it simple. Everyone knows what French Toast is, right?

I’ve never been a big fan of French Toast. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never disliked it, but in the world of breakfast foods, I’d usually rather have pancakes or pastries. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even made it at home before. I remember my mom used to make it when I was a kid (though not as much as pancakes or waffles) and of course I’ve had it at restaurants, but I guess it’s never occurred to me to actually make French Toast myself. But Cinnamon Toast? Well, that is one of my most favorite things in the whole world. I make that all the time. So much so that I have a bottle just to store my …

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December 6, 2011

Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
It’s finally December! Not only is it my favorite month with my favorite holiday, but it’s my favorite time of the year to bake since there are always so many fun recipes to try. I love gingerbread so this recipe has been on my “To Make” list for while and it finally seemed like the perfect time for it. I already have a gingerbread muffin recipe that I love, but this gingerbread cake turned out to be quite different and I love the twist of making it an upside-down cake, too.

The big difference from most gingerbread recipes I’ve made is that this recipe uses fresh ginger instead of ground. I was a little weary about this because I haven’t always been a huge fan of fresh ginger. It’s ok in small doses, but in a lot of recipes I find it really overpowering. Luckily, it turned out to be pretty great in this cake. My guess is that the molasses and all the other spices help to tone down the ginger just enough so it’s not overpowering. Despite that, you can clearly taste a difference between gingerbread …

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July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge: Ciabatta

Ciabatta

The seventh recipe for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta. This was one I was really excited about attempting but also pretty apprehensive. It’s probably one of the most complicated breads we’ve done so far and from surveying other BBAers on twitter and the forum it was pretty apparent that “results may vary”. Good Ciabatta is full of big giant holes and that involves having a very wet dough, which you can imagine, is hard to work with. In addition to working with the very wet dough for the first time, making this bread involves some special tools as well as setting up your oven in a very specific way, so there’s quite a bit of prep involved.

There were two different versions, using different kinds of pre-ferments: poolish or biga. These are just mixtures of bread, water and yeast that sit out for a certain amount of time to develop flavor and texture. Later you add the rest of ingredients to make the final dough. I chose the biga because the consensus seemed to be that it resulted in bread with bigger holes. I …

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September 17, 2013

Slow Cooker Pork Spare Ribs with Spicy Peach-Mango BBQ Sauce

Slow Cooker Pork Spare Ribs with Spicy Peach-Mango BBQ Sauce

One interesting aspect of Whole30 has been adding a lot more protein to my diet. In the past, I didn’t eat much meat during the day, for the most part defaulting to smoothies, toast, cereal/oatmeal and sandwiches (usually PB&J) and for dinner I’d usually make some kind of chicken or fish (occasionally pork or beef) that was served alongside pasta, rice or potatoes. So when I started Whole30 and I couldn’t eat any gluten, grains or starchy vegetables I basically had to start over. I never had a problem planning dinners but breakfast and lunch was hard to figure out.

It quickly became apparent that when I ate meat and/or eggs during the day, I had a lot more energy and felt much better. Despite that, it’s been a big adjustment, since the meats I prefer (bacon, ham, lunch meat) have added sugar or chemicals so I’m not allowed to eat them. To keep my energy up during the day, I’ve mainly been eating a lot of eggs …

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November 8, 2011

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

I went to high school in a teeny-tiny mountaintop town in Tennessee. At the time it only had two options for fast food: Hardees and a rundown Dairy Queen (it later got a McDonald’s because even teeny-tiny towns on a mountain need a McDonald’s) I don’t even like Hardees, but when you’re in boarding school and the only other option is cafeteria food, you’ll eat pretty much anywhere else when you get the chance.

But there is one thing at Hardees that I always looked forward to eating: their Cinnamon ‘N’ Raisin biscuits. If you’ve never had one before, it tastes like a cinnamon roll but it’s a cinnamon biscuit covered in icing. So basically it’s like crack. I could eat those biscuits all day long. It seriously brightened my day when my friend would come into school carrying a carton of cinnamon biscuits just for me. I don’t eat much fast food anymore, especially not for breakfast so I’ve only had the biscuits a handful of times over the past 10 years. It’s probably better that way! But they’ll still pop into my head on a weekend morning every once in …

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July 14, 2008

Easy Enchiladas

Simmer

Mexican and Italian are my favorite kinds of food. While I have a pretty good handle on cooking Italian food, I’ve always thought Mexican food to be beyond my reach. Until I found this recipe. Now, if you are looking for totally authentic Mexican food, then you need to be going to your nearest Mexican restaurant, because this recipe won’t be anywhere near as good as the food you get from there. But this recipe is easy and relatively low fat and despite those things it still very much fulfills my Mexican food cravings. It’s gotten to be a staple in my house and whereas we used to go out for Mexican regularly, we’re now more likely to stay in and have this instead, which is definitely better for our bank account and our diets.