Pumpkin Scones w/ Brown Butter Glaze

   

Earlier this week I decided that I wanted to make pumpkin pancakes as my next blog post, but between then and now I noticed the food blogger scene absolutely exploding with pumpkin pancake recipes. While I’m sure I could have made some great pancakes with a unique twist on them, I decided to go a different route and making pumpkin spice scones instead. I’ve never actually made scones before but I have made plenty of biscuits so I figured I could tackle the job. We loved how they turned out – a nice slightly crumbly texture but not too dry, full of warm autumnal spices and not too sweet. That is until you pour the liquid crack over them. Ok, so the scones are good, but the browned butter glaze? I need to find a scientist to manifest this stuff into human form so I can make out with it in the back seat of a car. I am not ashamed of these thoughts.

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

 Just as I talked about in my buttermilk biscuit recipe, it’s important to use cold ingredients when making scones. Handle the dough as little as possible or you run the risk of biting into tough, chewy scone as opposed to a soft, crumbly one. For the glaze (oh man, that glaze) you have a couple of options for how you can use it. One way is to put it into a piping bag and pipe stripes across each cooled scone for sort of a toaster strudel effect. The other option is to warm the glaze slightly and spoon it over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. They are equally delicious but the latter is more conducive to eating the scones warm (which is how I preferred them). The glaze recipe actually makes enough to frost closer to 10 pastries, but the scone recipe itself only makes 8. Oh well, I guess you’ll just have to eat the rest with a spoon… dreadful I know…

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

I find these to be just a little more moist and slightly cake-like than your traditional scone, but I think it’s wonderful that way. You could probably increase the cooking time just a tad to dry it out some more if that is your preference. Oh and if you don’t have all of the individual spices needed to follow the recipe exactly, you could always use a tablespoon or so of pumpkin pie spice instead. Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing either way!

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

Pumpkin Spice Scones
Serves 8
Warm, autumnal pumpkin scones come together in minutes.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted COLD butter, cubed
  10. 1/2 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  11. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  12. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  15. 1 tablespoon orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In basin of food processor combine flours, baking powder, salt, and spices with cubed butter. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin, sugar, cream, vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice. Add to dry ingredients and pulse until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press into a circle about an inch thick. Slice circle into 8ths.
  5. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges or just barely turning golden.
  6. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. If piping stripes onto your scones, allow them to cool completely before frosting.
Calories
  1. 271
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Brown Butter Glaze
Serves 10
Rich, sweet and thoroughly addicting brown butter glaze is lick-the-bowl good.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2-4 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Using a light bottomed pan (a dark nonstick surface makes it hard to see the color of your butter change) melt unsalted butter.
  2. The butter will begin to foam and eventually subside. Whisk regularly until the butter turns a rich amber color and releases a nutty aroma.
  3. In a medium bowl combine browned butter and remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve your desired consistency.
Calories
  1. 97
Notes
  1. If you use all of the icing between the 8 scones (I wouldn’t blame you!) then the calories per serving changes to 121.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze


Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcakes

   

Like eleventy billion other people this weekend, I am super psyched up about the upcoming Breaking Bad finale. We are going to have a small viewing party over at my brother’s place on Sunday night and I thought I would make something special to bring along. Unfortunately I have been on a two week plan to not eat processed sugar for 14 days… and Sunday is the 14th day. There is no way I would ever show up with food that I didn’t taste first (strictly for quality control purposes of course!), so I ate a mere one quarter of a cupcake. It was certainly one of the most intense exercises in willpower that I’ve ever experienced! Those couple of bites were worth it too. Vanilla is a very simple flavor and these cupcakes are vanilla through and through, but with a couple of fun elements to set them apart. They are baked on top of a sugar cookie crust, the pale batter is flecked with bits of blue, and there is a hint of amaretto in the fluffy buttercream frosting. But of course the real show stopper is definitely the “blue meth” sugar glass on top.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

First off you’ll want to make the sugar glass because it needs some time to chill. To make these cupcakes a lot simpler you could always use a box mix and prepared frosting, but the blue meth crystals are pretty iconic and will make your cupcakes unique. And you don’t have to do blue! Halloween is coming up and maybe you want to stab clear glass shards into your cake with red sauce oozing out of the middle. Heat resistant silicone molds could probably give you a lot of interesting ideas as well – pretty crystalline flowers, leaves, or butterflies. Making the glass is actually quite simple, but hot sugar is very dangerous to work with so take care when doing so. It’s not the sort of thing you want to be working on if you have little ones tugging on your pants near the stove.

The process is pretty straight forward. Combine all of the ingredients (except the coloring) to your pot, whisk until the sugar dissolves, attach a candy thermometer, and wait for two different temperature points. At 250F-260F you will add in your coloring but you won’t stir it; the boiling process will mix it for you. At 300F it should be ready to come off the heat. Test the sugar by putting a drop in a bowl of ice water. If it hardens and crackles a bit then you should be good to go. Pop the sugar off the heat and let it sit to release as many bubbles as possible before slowly pouring into a foil-lined pan lubed up with a little cooking spray. It will chill in the fridge for about an hour before you can take it out and SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

I made two batches because I was overly cautious when adding color the first time around. You can be somewhat generous with the color you choose. The way it looks in the pot is much darker than it will be when it’s spread out on the foil, which is a little bit darker than it appears once broken up into tiny pieces. The first time I dipped a toothpick into my color to swirl through the sugar, and I ended up with glass that was significantly more transparent and slightly aquamarine in hue. The slight greenish cast actually seems to be more accurate when compared to what you see in the show, but I was also trying to match the blue that I used within the cupcakes themselves. So the second time I dipped the end of a butter knife into the gel and put a tiny knob into the sugar. I immediately worried that I had gone too far but once everything was broken apart it looked excellent. I think Heisenberg would be cool with it.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

While the glass chills you can get to work on your cupcakes. Since these have a sugar cookie base you will want to prep the sugar dough, press it into the cupcake liners, and par-bake them before filling them with your cake batter. I used about a tablespoon of dough in each cup, compressing it with the flat end of a 1/4 measuring cup. There is enough crust for a dozen cupcakes and because the cookie takes up a portion of the space in each cup, you will end up with a little cake batter leftover. I had enough to bake 4 more cupcakes without cookie bottoms.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

I wanted to continue the blue theme throughout the cupcake so I picked up a package of Wilton’s Colourburst Batter Bits to fold into the batter. While this step is entirely optional it sure looks pretty in the end. I think the only thing left to say now is, “JESSE, WE HAVE TO COOK!”

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

Sugar Glass
Take care when working with hot sugar!
Print
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 3/4 cup water
  3. 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  4. Food coloring (I used about an 8th of a teaspoon of Wilton icing gel in Sky Blue to get the color shown)
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan (one with an edge so no syrup spills over the side) with foil and spritz with a little cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add candy thermometer to your pot and bring the sugar to a boil without stirring. When it reaches 260F add your coloring, but again do not stir.
  4. Let the syrup continue to cook until it reaches 300F. I found this process to take anywhere from 30-45 minutes and that I didn’t need to stand watch over it constantly.
  5. When a drop of the syrup hardens and pops in a bowl of ice water you know it’s ready. Remove from heat and allow it to rest a few minutes while the remaining air bubbles work their way out.
  6. Slowly (and carefully!) pour the syrup into your prepared pan and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
  7. Once completely cooled and hardened you can pull the entire sheet out of the pan by the edges of the foil and move it to a durable surface. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top and whack it with a hammer a few times. Make the shards as big or as small as you like.
Adapted from Sarah Jayne
Adapted from Sarah Jayne
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

 
Sugar Cookie Base
Serves 12
A tasty sugar cookie base with no leavening, so it stays nice and flat in the liners.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  3. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light. Beat in flour, salt, milk and vanilla, until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should clump together if you press it between your fingers).
  2. Drop a rounded tablespoon of the prepared dough into each liner. Gently press the dough down with the bottom of a glass or a 1/4 measuring cup as I’ve done. Your fingers could do the trick as well.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes until just set but not yet browning on the edges.
Adapted from Baking Bites
Adapted from Baking Bites
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake
Serves 16
Pale, sweet, and moist – a tasty vanilla cake that is made without eggs.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  3. 2 tablespoons corn starch
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  8. 2 tablespoons Ener-g egg replacer dissolved in 1/4 cup water (or 2 eggs)
  9. 1/3 cup sour cream
  10. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  11. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  12. 2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In stand mixer combine sugar, flour, starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg replacer, sour cream, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Add this mixture to the flour and beat until just combined.
  6. Fold in a a few tablespoons of your colored batter bits if you decide to use them.
  7. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to cooking racks.
Adapted from Cupcake Project
Adapted from Cupcake Project
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Quick Vanilla Buttercream
Serves 16
A light, fluffy buttercream that comes together in minutes.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups confectioners sugar
  2. 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1-3 teaspoons almond liqueur (I used an almond hazelnut blend called Pisa) , optional
  5. 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream
Instructions
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla, liqueur and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
Adapted from Gale Gand
Adapted from Gale Gand
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake


Vanilla Bean Semifreddo with Caramel & Pecans

   

Once again it’s been a while since I updated my blog. Though previously I had wanted to avoid posting two sweet dishes back to back, this recipe is so easy that I really wanted to share it. The first time I made it I decided to make the caramel sauce from scratch following David Lebovitz’s recipe. Making caramel seems to be hit or miss with me. Sometimes I will get the batch right on the first try, but other times I’m likely to turn an entire bag of sugar into charcoal. Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) has a great fool-proof recipe for caramel sauce as well, if you’re not prepared to tackle the daunting task of creating molten sugar syrup the old fashioned way. And of course if you want to take the easiest way out, get thee to a local grocery store and buy a jar of their tastiest caramel. Ideally you’ll want something with pouring consistency that can easily be swirled throughout your vanilla mixture, but let me just say that I tried this with a jar of super firm dulce de leche and it was awesome. While you don’t get the beautiful marbled appearance that comes with using a more liquid sauce, the finished product is chock full of hidden caramel treasure globs. Yeah, that’s right – treasure globs. Whichever way you decide to do it it’s gonna taste incredimazing.

 

Vanilla Semifreddo with Pecan Caramel on a Chocolate Pecan Crust

 

Some of you may be sitting there asking yourself, “What the heck is semifreddo anyway?” Well, it’s basically a frozen dessert similar to ice cream, except it is served slightly soft… which makes sense when you consider that semifreddo literally translates to “half cold”. The texture is silky and creamy and wonderful… but that’s not even the best part. The really great thing about it is that there is no churning required. It is a fine day indeed when an apartment dweller with limited storage space for single use appliances learns how to make a delicious no churn ice cream. Honestly I am torn between feelings of righteousness and guilt over sharing this recipe. On one hand you’re going to learn that you can make a super awesome dessert that people will think you slaved over (when it’s actually in the freezer in about 20 minutes), but on the other hand I’m giving you the key to a vault that holds eleventy billion scrumptious calories. You know what? I’m over it. Go make this and thank me later.

 

Vanilla Semifreddo with Pecan Caramel on a Chocolate Pecan Crust

Vanilla Bean Semifreddo with Caramel & Pecans
Serves 12
A delicious no churn ice cream pie swirled with caramel and nuts.
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
6 hr 25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
6 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 half sleeve chocolate wafer cookies (about 15-20); I used Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers
  2. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup of roasted, salted pecans
  4. 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  5. 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  6. 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  7. 2 tablespoons spiced rum
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  10. 1 cup caramel sauce
  11. 1/2 cup roasted salted pecans, chopped
  12. Chocolate sauce for drizzling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In food processor add wafer cookies, 1/2 cup of pecans, and brown sugar. Pulse until coarse and crumbly then add in the melted butter and pulse until mixture is just moistened. Press into bottom of a round springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk, rum, vanilla bean scrapings, salt, and 1 tablespoon of your caramel sauce. Set aside.
  5. Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. I prefer to do this in my food processor, but you can always use a hand held beater or even good ol’ elbow grease if you like.
  6. Very gently whisk half of the whipped cream into your sweetened condensed milk mixture. When combined gently whisk in the rest until smooth.
  7. Stir chopped pecans into prepared caramel sauce. Depending on how much “swirl” you would like in your ice cream you can always adjust the amount of caramel and pecans to suit your taste.
  8. Pour half of the cream mixture onto the baked and cooled crust. Follow by spooning half of the pecan caramel on top of it. Repeat this step so you have cream, caramel, cream, caramel in the pan. Gently swirl a knife through it to create a marbled effect.
  9. Transfer to the freezer, cover, and allow to set for a good 6 hours, preferably overnight. To release it from the pan run a sharp knife along the edges and pop the springform clasp so the pan opens up. Top with additional caramel, chocolate sauce, or chopped pecans if desired (trust me, it’s desired). It should keep in the freezer for about a week, but holding onto it any longer could risk the formation of ice crystals and the loss of that silky texture.
Calories
  1. 438
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/


Three Ingredient Crispy Chocolate Treat

   

Some days you just wanna make something really easy with whatever you have on hand. I had a day like that last week. I had a craving for a sweet snack and wanted to make something somewhat reasonable with very little effort. That’s where these guys come in.

 

I made these bars two different ways, each way calling for three ingredients. The first one was made with chocolate and peanut butter while the second one was made with chocolate and toasted coconut. They are both really tasty and REALLY easy. This recipe is barely even a recipe. It’s a throw a bunch of stuff together and end up with something tastipe. Tastipe? I tried to make up a cool new word and I don’t think it really worked out.

Anyway! Because of the simplicity of ingredients involved you could definitely up the portions to say… fill an entire cookie sheet or baking dish, then slice it into squares. I can’t afford to keep that much of a good thing around or I’ll eat it all, which is why I only make enough for one bar. I cut the bar in half and eat a square at a time, but I suspect most people will want to eat the whole thing at once which is why I’m going to calculate the calories out as one serving. Also, you can use whatever kind of cereal you have on hand. I used Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble (that’s a mouthful – HA FOOD PUN) but pretty much any cereal with fairly small pieces should work fine. Lightly crushing a larger cereal would probably work well too.

While I was in the middle of writing this post I stood up and went into the kitchen to make one of these. I wanted to whip out my phone and quickly snap a photo of how I wrap these up before they go into the freezer. It’s not exactly rocket science but a little visual aid never hurt anyone! I also just wanted to eat one. Ain’t gonna lie.

 

Three Ingredient Crispy Chocolate Treat
Serves 1
Easy to make, three-ingredient chocolate snack.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup dry cereal (I used Kashi Cinnamon Crumble)
  2. 1 tablespoon chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
  3. 1 teaspoon peanut butter (I used Smucker’s Natural)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl microwave the peanut butter and chocolate together until melted.
  2. Stir the cereal into the melted chocolate until thoroughly coated.
  3. Spread onto a sheet of parchment paper and fold it up, similar to how you’d roll up a burrito – making sure to fold in the edges to keep everything snug inside. This process is forming the shape of the bar so you want to keep it kind of tight to hold the edges in place.
  4. Transfer to the freezer to chill to 10-20 minutes until the chocolate has hardened. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on how flat you make your bar.
Calories
  1. 174
Variation
  1. To make the coconut version, sub 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted coconut in for the peanut butter.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/


Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars

   

If you’re like a lot of Americans, it’s likely that you’ve yet to be introduced to the glory of the Tim Tam. If you’re Australian then you’re probably sleeping on a Tim Tam mattress at night in your knitted Tim Tam footsie pajamas. I happen to know that most of the people that visit my blog are from the states though (thanks Google Analytics!), so I’ll tell you a bit about this delightful little cookie… or biscuit as it’s more appropriately called. Actually, I’ll just let Wikipedia do the work for me:

“A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.”

Do I have to tell you how awesome it is that the word chocolate is listed in the description three times? Nope? Alright then, because we’ll be much better friends if you appreciate chocolate in the way that I do – Inception style. Chocolate within chocolate within chocolate. So why not take this awesome store-bought treat and I don’t know… cover it with more chocolate, some dulce de leche, a chewy oatmeal crumble, and salty chopped pretzels? The amount of win in these bars is out of control, man.

 

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

Tim Tams haven’t always been easy to get in the U.S. and I’d go on to say that they still aren’t easy to find, but since Pepperidge Farm started making them it’s become a lot easier. The true brand is called Arnotts, and I’m able to find them at the local World Markets in the Dallas area. The Pepperidge Farm version is a pretty good knock off – slightly different than the original – but still a suitable replacement. I haven’t actually tried them in this recipe but I see no reason why they wouldn’t work just as well. I’ve been able to find them at Target. I suggest you try to get your hands on two packages. One for the unforgettable (and absolutely required) Tim Tam Slam experience, and the second for making these addictive dessert bars.

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

 

Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars
Serves 16
An addictive dessert bar that is chewy, sweet, rich, and a little salty.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Tim Tams
  2. 5 tablespoons butter, chopped into cubes
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1 cup old fashioned oats
  6. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup butter, chopped into cubes
  10. 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  11. 1 cup salted pretzels, chopped
  12. 3/4 cup of dulce de leche (up it to 1 cup for a thicker caramel layer)
  13. 3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8×8 inch baking dish.
  2. In your food processor pulse together the Tim Tams, 5 tablespoons of butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar until crumbly. Press into bottom of your baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of the dulce de leche over the top – it will be a very thin layer.
  3. Go back to your food processor and combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, 1/2 cup of butter, and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and scatter half of it over the top of the dulce de leche. Press lightly into place and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While that is baking pulse the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk and the chopped pretzels into the rest of the oatmeal mixture.
  5. Remove pan from the oven and while still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Drizzle remaining 1/2 cup of dulce de leche over the chocolate chips (I found microwaving the dulce de leche for a few seconds helped make this part easier). Using the back of a spoon very gently level out this layer. You don’t want it mixed, you just want the melting chips to meld with the caramel sauce a little and to have the layer be even.
  6. Scatter the remaining oatmeal and pretzel mixture over the top. Press gently to pack the layer down slightly and return to the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
  7. This next step is the most important: Let the bars cool completely before cutting. I actually think they do better if you let them cool, transfer them to the fridge to chill, and then cut them. You want that chocolate to be completely firm or you’ll have a gooey mess on your hands. I know that sounds delicious and tempting, but trust me when I say it’s worth the wait to do it right! Slice into 16 squares and serve.
Calories
  1. 370
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars


Hummingbird French Toast

   

Today I’m going to tell you a little story about a mild baking failure that was reborn as a heavenly breakfast dish the following day. Like a diabetic phoenix rising from powdered sugar ashes.

I’ve been working on refining a recipe for a hummingbird cake in bread form. The first loaf I made came out a little too dense and dry for my tastes so after some modifications the second loaf went into the oven. When it finished and cooled, I sliced off the end piece and knew I was on the right track because this time the bread was fluffy, moist, and delicious. Excitedly I started slicing off more pieces to plate for photographing, but as I made my way to the center I learned that the loaf was undercooked. The middle was far too wet as the bread really needed at least another 15-20 minutes in the oven. While I could have transferred it back to the oven to try and bake it through some more, I really wanted to be able to write up an exact cooking time when posting it to my blog. The only option for getting it right was to start the recipe from scratch again and to try and perfect the cooking time. Third time’s a charm, right? We will see when I make it again in a couple of days!

Now I am left with this poor, flawed loaf that never got to mature into its hummingbird adulthood. Don’t worry little guy, I won’t give up on you! I will wave my magic spatula and turn you into the best darned french toast ever.

 

I knew that my friend Chris (someone with more enthusiasm for eggs than is normal for any human being) would be over for breakfast. Considering I was going to be making French toast for him, a French toast without any eggs, I had my work cut out for me. Then of course there is Jah, who has never eaten French toast because he has never eaten eggs. I also wanted to make his first experience as enjoyable as possible. There would be judgement happening here, yo.

Seeing as the bread was already sweet and a little under-baked, I opted to do two things with the batter. The first was that I wanted to make it slightly savory with the addition of neufchâtel cheese (inspired by the use of cream cheese frosting on hummingbird cake). Second was that I wanted to brush on the batter rather than dipping the slices, so it wouldn’t be a soggy mess. Just enough to crisp up those edges. While this would have been delicious with a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup I really wanted to play off the ingredients in the bread a little further. I whipped together a sweet caramel rum sauce with bananas, pecans, and cinnamon that was spooned over the top with a dusting of powdered sugar.

The verdict? Both of the guys loved it! As a matter of fact Chris said that I have ruined French toast for him forever because this version was way too delicious. If that’s not an indicator of the tastiness of the recipe then I don’t know what is. So if you find yourself stuck with a loaf of undercooked sweet bread, don’t lose heart. You can always turn that sucker around into something awesome. That said, you certainly don’t need a fail-loaf to make this tasty dish. Whatever bread you have lying around would work beautifully.

Hummingbird French Toast w/ Banana Pecan Topping
Serves 6
A decadent and sweet treat that’s simple to whip together and requires no eggs.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 tablespoons milk
  2. 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer (use corn starch or flour if you don’t have this)
  3. 2 oz neufchâtel cheese
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  5. Dash of cinammon
  6. Dash of salt
  7. 2 tablespoons butter
  8. 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  9. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon cinammon
  11. 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  12. 1 banana, sliced
  13. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  14. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  15. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  16. 6 thick slices of hummingbird bread (any other dessert bread is fine)
  17. Additional butter for frying
  18. Powder sugar for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg replacer, cheese, vanilla, dash of salt and dash of cinnamon. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with a fairly thick layer of the batter. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it starts to bubble add sugar, salt, cinnamon and rum. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add in banana slices and pecans. Let simmer lightly for a few minutes until the bananas begin to soften. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and heavy cream. Transfer to a dish, cover, and keep warm while you prepare the toast.
  3. Wipe out the nonstick skillet and melt a small amount of butter in it on medium heat. Cook the bread on each side for 4-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip and continue cooking on the opposite side until browned. Serve with a spoonful of the banana topping and a sprinkling of powdered sugar if desired.
Calories
  1. 334
Notes
  1. The caloric information on this dish will vary depending on the type of bread you use. In my case the hummingbird bread is under 200 calories per slice. The batter and topping account for 140 calories.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/


Brown Butter Caramel Spice Cookies

   

Every weekend I allow myself one major “cheat dessert” outside of my usual attempts at healthy eating. Sometimes I like to go out and get a dessert from a nice restaurant, but other times I’m in the mood for something specific enough that it can’t be found anywhere. In this case I was craving dulce de leche, cinnamon, and chocolate. The idea was to craft a spice cookie with a gooey caramel center and drizzle it with chocolate. In the end I opted for a brown butter chocolate chip cookie style dough instead of my original idea of using a sugar cookie style dough. When I tried these out of the oven I knew they were good enough as is and that the chocolate drizzle wasn’t necessary… and let me tell you that if there is something that I say doesn’t benefit from the addition of chocolate, it must be amaaaaazing. These cookies are warm and chewy, nutty and buttery, sweet and salty, and many other combinations of awesome.

I made my dulce de leche from scratch using the oven method, but using a jar purchased from the grocery store would be fine. Just make these cookies!

Brown Butter Caramel Spice Cookies
Serves 24
Rich, chewy, spicy brown butter cookies filled with dulce de leche.
Print
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
13 min
Total Time
1 hr 43 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
13 min
Total Time
1 hr 43 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. ¼ cup chopped pecans
  3. ¼ cup rolled oats
  4. 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  5. ¼ teaspoon of salt
  6. ¼ ground fresh nutmeg
  7. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  9. 1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  10. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  11. 2 tablespoons Ener-G egg replacer + 3 tablespoons warm water (or 1 egg + 1 egg yolk)
  12. 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  13. 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  14. 1 cup dulce de leche, chilled
  15. Sea salt for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. In a food processor add the rolled oats and pecans. Process until it has the texture of a coarse meal.
  2. Whisk together the flour, oat & pecan mixture, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam and eventually subside. Whisk regularly until the butter turns a rich amber color and releases a nutty aroma. Transfer to another container and allow to cool.
  4. With an electric mixer, cream together the browned butter and sugars until lighter in color. Beat in the egg replacer, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating slowly until combined.
  5. Take a slightly heaping tablespoon of cookie dough and flatten it in your palm. Add ¼-½ a teaspoon – I used a heaping quarter teaspoon – of the dulce de leche (it’s chilled so that it’s easier to work with) to the center of the dough and carefully seal the edges around it. Place the ball onto a parchment lined sheet. Repeat until all dough is exhausted and transfer the unbaked cookies to your freezer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Keep the remaining dough balls chilled while this batch bakes for 11-13 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes (they will be very soft right out of the oven) before transferring to a wire rack to let cool completely. Sprinkle with salt while still slightly warm.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

 


Baked NYC Brownies

   

Finally got around to making the brownies from the Baked cookbook. We ate them with scoops of delicious bourbon vanilla ice cream (from Sweet Firefly) and homemade hot fudge. I didn’t include the calorie content for this recipe because I haven’t calculated it yet (and possibly because I’m scared to learn what it is).

 

 

Baked NYC Brownies
The famous brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes.
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  5. 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  6. 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  7. 1½ cups granulated sugar
  8. ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  9. 5 eggs, at room temperature
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
  4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
  7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/