Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies to Celebrate Spring!

 

Although there have been a few questionable days weather wise, I think it is safe to say that spring is here! As I type this, I hear birds chirping and a light breeze is blowing in through the window.

I personally love spring- it isn’t too hot, nor is it cold. I don’t last long in the summer; I sit outside for ten-ish minutes and I burn. During the spring I can enjoy the fresh air without the fear of developing melanoma. But what I like most about spring are the desserts! Specifically carrot cake. I LOVE carrot cake. So when my mother (who is a paraprofessional) told me that they were throwing a little bridal party for a teacher at her school, I took advantage of the occasion and decided to try this recipe.

If you read my last post, you would know that I am now a summer nanny! This is my second year nannying during the summer, and I absolutely adore the two (soon to be three!) girls that I watch. The job can be tiring, though; I have been working early hours (which is absolutely fine!) but now I don’t have as much energy, time, or desire to bake after work.

This recipe solves my problems! It is simple, quick and truly one of the BEST things that I have ever baked. I brought some in for the children that I watch, and both of them gobbled it up- even the picky two year old! My mom brought them in to school today and multiple people asked for the recipe (of course I just told her the URL for my blog…nothing like a little free PR 😛 ) The best part of this recipe? It is made with a box mix. But trust me, NO ONE can tell.

The cookie itself is light, soft and filled with flavor. The frosting is rich, sweet (but not overly so!), and is the perfect way to top off this delectable little creation.

Allergic to walnuts? They are totally unnecessary! Don’t want frosting? You can stir the walnuts right into the batter. If you want to change it up a little bit, you can also add in some raisins or chocolate chips. This recipe would be absolutely perfect for a mother’s day brunch or dessert.

Now tell me, what is your favorite spring recipe?

This recipe is from Betty Crocker.

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • One box or pouch of oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (about 2-4 carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg

Frosting:

  • 4 oz (half of 8 oz package) cream cheese, softened*
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

* I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and the cookies turned out delicious. It is a great way to cut out a few calories!

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl (or standing mixer), stir cookie ingredients until stiff dough forms.
  2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In small bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, the vanilla and powdered sugar with spoon until smooth. Spread frosting over cookies. Sprinkle with nuts. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.
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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

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I’m baaccckkkkk! The semester ended last week, which means three things to me. One, my brain can turn to mush. Two, I am unfortunately separated from Nicholas and limited to only weekend visits. And three, limitless time for baking!

Well, not really limitless time- I am a summer nanny. Today I found out that the 2-year old that I watch, Claire, would be attending a play group tomorrow. What a perfect excuse for me to get back in the kitchen! I didn’t want to make something too rich or sweet; essentially I didn’t want the parents to hate me for making their children bounce of the walls.

I decided to utilize this recipe for the occasion. The cookie is sweet, but not too sweet. Most children LOVE strawberries, and parents do too, since it is a simple way to get a child to eat a serving of fruit. They are SO light and airy; they pretty much melt in your mouth. They taste very much like a little mini scone. The best part? There are only 68 calories per cookie! So you can eat  A LOT without feeling guilty or weighed down.

I am planning on giving these to the children for breakfast tomorrow morning. They are light, healthy, and perfectly portioned for their little tummies.

This recipe is from none other than Martha Stewart herself!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (if you don’t have heavy cream on hand, don’t worry! I used this simple alternative and the cookies came out perfect.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl.
  2.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I simply used my KitchenAid Mixer for this step…it made things a lot easier!) Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  3. Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.

Red Velvet Rice Krispies – A Quick, Easy Last Minute Valentine’s Treat!

A festive spin on an old classic.

Yes, I know, two posts in one day. What can I say? I’m on a roll.

Being a baker while at school is difficult. I SHOULD be spending my time studying and working, but I just can’t help but bake! Sometimes, though, I have no choice but to spend the majority of my time focusing on my studies, this is where this awesome recipe comes in.

As everyone and their mothers (hopefully) know, tomorrow is Valentine’s day. As mentioned in my  last post, it is tough to get baking done for a holiday mid week. Whether you are working, studying, or busy being a mom, there are other more pressing things to deal with besides baking.

For those of us who have had no time up until the last minute to bake ,this recipe is perfect. It takes less than twenty minutes, start to finish, to produce these delicious creations. They are simple and quick to make, yet unique, delicious, and not so horrible for your waist line (or at least that is what I like to tell myself! :P).

So if you STILL don’t have anything made for tomorrow, or if you want to munch on some yummy snacks to get through the pain of tomorrow (I don’t judge!),  run to the supermarket really quick and make yourself a batch!

Adapted VERY slightly from Foodbeast

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup red velvet cake mix (you can decrease to 1/4 for milder flavor, or increase to 3/4 for more cake flavor)
  • 6 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies cereal
  • Chocolate Candy Coating or Chocolate Chips (The original calls for vanilla candy coating or white chocolate chips, but I have always been a chocolate kind of gal 🙂 )

1. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper and coat well with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, cake mix, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Fold in the cereal until well coated.

3. Transfer sticky cereal mixture to the prepared pan, pressing down until the top is level.

4. Once cooled, drizzle with melted candy coating or chocolate top. Once set, cut into bars and serve.

***Some tips!***

Don’t press down too much on your treats; doing this will make them harder.

Also, use a new bag of mini marshmallows. Previous opened packages often affect the overall outcome of rice krispie treats.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Muffins= Love!

Your whole breakfast in a muffin!

I’ve never been a humongous fan of Valentine’s day; I just don’t understand the purpose. I care for Nicholas every most days, so why does there need to be a day special day to declare my love? I have always thought that this holiday was just a simple ploy by Hallmark and Florists nationwide to boost their economies :P.

Even though I am not a fan, Valentine’s day is a great opportunity for me to do some baking! Being that this year is on a Tuesday, it makes it difficult for me (and many others) to prepare something special. Nick has classes and labs all day, other people work. This is why I believe this muffin is PERFECT for Valentine’s day: it is a great grab-and-go breakfast for your significant other (or just for yourself…I don’t judge!).

For those that do not know me, I HATE waking up in the morning. In fact, I wake up as LATE as I possibly can before class just to get an extra ten or fifteen minutes of shut eye. This leaves me barely enough time to eat breakfast; usually I find myself eating a cereal bar (on a good day!).

Not only does this muffin provide a filling, quick, on-the-go breakfast, but it also contains one of the best morning beverages: coffee. Nick LOVED these muffins! The taste of coffee is definitely there, but not too powerful. And just when you start noticing the coffee flavor, you get a nice taste of chocolate. Chocolate AND coffee in a muffin…does it get any better?! Being that there is only 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the recipe, the chocolate is not overwhelming, but rather the perfect amount for you to devour in the morning without feeling guilty!

This recipe is slightly modified from Myrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup skim milk (the original calls for whole…it doesn’t matter what type you use, I just like to save on calories when possible!)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar plus 3 teaspoons sugar (to be used later)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. 2. Combine first 5 ingredients.
  3. 3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, the chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. 4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle each muffin with 1/4 tsp sugar; this gives it a nice, crisp exterior while adding some sweetness :).  Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until done. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack

Jelly Stuffed Cinnamon Donut Holes

They HAVE to be healthy... they contain fruit!

I get into this recipe, I feel it is necessary for me to say a few words about Joe Paterno.  As many of you know, he passed away today after a short battle with lung cancer. Joe Paterno dedicated over fifty years of his life to Penn State, donating millions of dollars, and positively influencing thousands of young men and students. To look past all of the good he has done for my university, and to instead focus on his one mistake is wrong. He was quoted as saying, ‎”They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.” His family has requested donations to be made in his name to THON, the worlds largest student-run philanthropic organization that helps fight pediatric cancer.

Now on to happier subjects…

Last week, I received an EXTREMELY unexpected (but none the less AWESOME) gift from my friend Giulia: a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker! There are certain things that I, as a baker, are afraid to make. This list includes (but is not limited to): cinnamon rolls, fried donuts (or fried ANYTHING for that matter), and cake pops. I don’t know, the whole process of making a cake (only to ruin it), mixing with frosting, shaping into a ball, etc.etc. seems SO lengthy and time consuming. With this new gadget, I can make cake pops in FOUR minutes.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed to make this awesome cake pop recipe today. However, this cake pop maker can make another one of my favorite treats…Donut Holes!!! I made a batch with grape jelly, and one without (since some hate fruit with their dessert!).

The results? They turned out great! A flavor-filled pop-in-your mouth dessert. They are sweet, moist, and the grape jelly really makes the donut hole THAT much better. The best part was how quick they were to make! It’s dangerous to have an awesome recipe that you can make and fill in less than 30 minutes!

If you don’t have a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker, don’t worry! You can still make this recipe in a mini muffin pan! 

This recipe is from the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Instruction Manual.

Ingredients:

1/2  cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

6 tbsp butter, melted

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions for Cake Pop Maker:

  1. Beat together sugar and shortening in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Alternately blend in flour mixture and milk into shortening mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Fill each cooking reservoir with about 1 tbsp batter ****
  5. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into puffs come out clean.
  6. For cinnamon-sugar topping, combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Immediately roll hot puffs in melted butter then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Once cooled, stuff donuts with your choice of jelly, jam, or even chocolate! Mine came with a little tool for stuffing, but you can stab the side of your donut holes with a pastry bag tip and fill it through the pastry bag!

**** I found it easiest to put the batter in a ziplock bag, and snip the bottom corner to pour the batter into the machine.

Directions for Mini Muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously spray a mini muffin tin.
  2. Beat together sugar and shortening in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Alternately blend in flour mixture and milk into shortening mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Fill each muffin cup half full. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  6. For cinnamon-sugar topping, combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Immediately roll hot mini muffins in melted butter then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Once cooled, stuff donuts with your choice of jelly, jam, or even chocolate! Mine came with a little tool for stuffing, but you can stab the side of your donut holes with a pastry bag tip and fill it through the pastry bag!

 

1,000 views! And Oreo Stuffed Brownies

I started this blog two months ago, not expecting much at all. It was meant to simply be a hobby and a way for me to share recipes with friends for treats that they have enjoyed in the past. Though it may not seem like much to some, I am SO EXCITED that in 60 days I have accrued over 1,000 views. I am so glad that I have the ability to not only spread my love for baking to friends, but also to strangers around the world! I promise you that this year will bring bigger, and better (if at all possible :P) recipes!

As my fellow bakers know, baking can be dangerous! Me, being as clumsy as I am, is at even higher risk of injury. Yesterday, while making the delicious treats pictured above, I endured quite a large baking war wound: a burn  to the hand. I was horrified that it would turn into a nasty blister, but luckily none have appeared.

I survived the great burn of 2012.

In the end, these oreo stuffed brownies turned out delicious and the prognosis for my hand is good!

If you haven’t checked out my previous posts, I love to incorporate different flavors and combinations of a variety of baked goods into one epic dessert. One of my favorite things to do is to add oreos to any ol’ recipe; oreos make EVERYTHING taste better! Luckily, Picky Palate (one of my FAVORITE blogs!) shares my love for adding oreos to everything. She adds icing and sprinkles to her creation, but I am not a humongous fan of icing on brownies.

The end result for this recipe is a delicious, moist, chocolate-y and creamy (from the center of the oreo) brownie. This is a great recipe for my fellow college students; it is quick, extremely simple, and the portion sizes are perfect (one muffin cup!).

Ingredients:

1 brownie mix (I buy the 9×13 variety, although I don’t believe that matters!)

1 box of oreos ( I use the double-stuffed variety…more yummy cream!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix, following the instructions on the box; leave in mixing bowl. Generously spray two muffin tins. Dip oreos in brownie batter and place in bottom of muffin tin.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until brownies are cooked through. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: immediately upon removal from the oven, use a knife and run along the edges of each brownie; this will make it possible to later remove the brownies from the tin.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake

Cinnamon-y goodness

I am THIS close to being finished with the first week of classes  for the semester and I CAN’T WAIT for this upcoming three day weekend. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination; I am the type who NEEDS her beauty sleep or I become what I like to call a “cranky pants”. Most people describe me as cheerful or outgoing, however if you stumble into me at 8:00 in the morning I am more like a grumpy, hungry zombie.

With the extra day of relaxation, I will definitely be catching up on some sleep AND some recipes that I have been dying to make! One recipe that I have always wanted to try have been Cinnamon Buns. For a college student who lacks a ton of free time, though, most Cinnamon Buns recipes seem complex and time consuming. However, I have found the PERFECT solution: Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake!

This recipe is super simple to make, using ingredients that bakers have right in their kitchen! It is also extremely quick to put together: in less than 15 minutes I had this bad boy in the oven. The delicious cinnamon scent filled my entire apartment (and made me salivate :P). I didn’t think it was possible, but the only thing better than the aroma given off by the loaf cake was the TASTE. It tasted exactly like a cinnamon bun! The cake was moist and filled with flavor. My official lab taste testers, Cori and Giulia, gave this recipe two thumbs up calling it “amazing”. Even Nicholas ate it up and praised the recipe!

This recipe is from Tried and Tasty.

Ingredients

1/3 c sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (I didn’t have an egg, so I used applesauce and it infused a great flavor!)
1 c milk

1/3 c vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.
  2. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl or mixer bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil .
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not over mix. Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat.
  4. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

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