Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

Did you know that Rocky Road is more than just an ice cream flavor? I didn't. Somehow I got it into my head that I wanted to make something with marshmallows (don't ask me how anything gets into my head). I don't even know why since I don't particularly care for marshmallows. But when the email came announcing a work potluck, the mission was clear:

What dessert can I make with marshmallows?

I did my usual searching online and found out that not only is rocky road more than just an ice cream flavor, but it is also a candy bar. Who knew?! You learn something new everyday! And totally not useless knowledge. Heh.

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

I mostly followed the recipe, except I doubled it and made it in a 9x13" pan. I lined the pan with wax paper to make them easier to cut. That didn't work so well. They were stuck in there, so it did take some knife squeezing to pry them out.

You could probably use any kind of crunchy cookie, but I used Nilla Wafers. I didn't dust them with powdered sugar at the end, though that would have been pretty.

They stayed crunchy for the first few days (about how long they lasted). They taste very rich and sweet and the crunch of the cookies is a nice contrast. Well-received by all!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Best Ever Zucchini Bread

On Friday, I made chocolate chip cookies, or what we call in our household "Perfect Cookies". It's just a basic chocolate chip recipe but I added in walnuts, dark chocolate, and caramel.

Yesterday, I didn't have time to do any baking... Kameran's bachelorette party.

But today, it was back to baking. Today's bake of the day was Zucchini Bread. It is delicious! I highly recommend this recipe. It's too bad I only made 2 loaves because I might eat them both by the end of the week.

Makes 2 loaves

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable / canola oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

1) Grease and flour 2 bread pans.
2) Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3) Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together. Add sifted ingredients. Stir in zucchini and nuts.
4) Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 50 minutes.
5) Enjoy and eat well!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Almond Butter and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I used the classic peanut butter cookie recipe and mixed it up a wee bit using almond butter, oat flour (rolled oats in a food processor), and chocolate chunks from some almond Ghirardelli squares I had lying around the house. (I think that's a run-on sentence.)

Makes 64 cookies
Approximately 83 calories each

1 cup butter
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups oat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 Ghirardelli squares, chunked into pieces

1) Beat together butter, almond butter, and sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
2) Combine oat flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix into almond butter mixture.
3) Stir in chocolate chunks.
4) Bake 9 minutes at 350 degrees.

I chilled the dough for a few hours before working with it because it was very creamy. These cookies spread out quite a bit as well so make them small.

Roasted Garlic Butter Bread

It got to late for me to blog about yesterday's baking encounters...

Last month, I made Roasted Garlic Butter with my Gilroy garlic.

Picture is not that appetizing, I know... but that's the butter rolled in wax paper.

I was going to a Cookies meeting last night and volunteered to bring rolls with the corned beef and cabbage main dish. I decided I would use my Roasted Garlic Butter for the dinner "rolls." I didn't have time to make dough from scratch so I bought some pre-made french bread dough from the store. Rolled out the dough on a mat, spread heapings of roasted garlic butter on the dough and rolled the dough back up. Viola! It was delicious and I got quite a few compliments last night.

You can do this with many different spreads like pesto or sundried tomatoes. I have also do this as a "pizza" by spreading a light tomato sauce and added in pepperoni, pancetti, and mushrooms. Yummy yummy yummy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Caramel Apple Cookie Challenge

Today begins the baking week. Well, it's always baking week but since the hubby is out for 2 weeks, it's really baking week. I thought about doing some sort of silly challenge like in Julie and Julia. Then I thought about Maddie, and I didn't think it was feasible to bake one new thing every day. I have a list of things that I want to bake while hubby is out, so let's just see how far I get.
Day 1 started out with a Caramel Apple Cookie Challenge. I saw cookies in the store a few weeks ago for Caramel Apple Cookie. They sounded and looked delicious. After researching multiple recipes, I ended up with 2 that I liked. So I tried both Contender #1 and Contender #2 from 2 different food blogs.

Contender #1
For Contender #1, I used butter instead of shortening and added in a caramel syrup. It did not end up looking like the picture shown, as you can tell. My cookies ended up being much flatter. And I wouldn't really say these ended up being cookies. They taste more like a cake than a cookie. On top of that, I would call these cookies Cinnamon Apple "Cookies".

Contender #2
I followed this recipe exactly with the exception of the caramel baking bites (because I couldn't find them). I used regular chewy caramel that I cut into small squares. If I make this recipe again, I might use hard caramel. The chewy caramel got so softed while baking and made the cookies sticky. I could barely get the cookies off the silpat. The cookies were really chewy and soft. I think this recipe might be better as a bar.

Neither contender 1 or 2 photographed well. I think they both taste better than they look. But hands down, for taste, go with contender 2.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monster Bars

I was in the mood for some baking and I was trying to decide amongst zucchini bread, blackberry oat muffins, caramel apple cookies, and magic bars. When I looked in my refrigerator, the choice was easy... I had no zucchini, no milk, and no apples - ingredients that the other three recipes called for. So magic bars it was. I changed the recipe for fun and tried to save a few calories but these definitely aren't good for the diet. Oh, and I renamed the bars to "Monster Bars" for Miss Monster Maddie.

Monster Bars
Makes 36 servings
120 calories per bar

1/2 cup of butter
1.5 cups of crushed graham cracker
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of unsweetened chocolate chunks
(This is a substitute. Feel free to change the 2 cups of chocolate chips to white, dark, or bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, M&Ms, etc. Anything will work.)
1 1/3 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup chopped nuts (original recipe calls for walnuts but I used roasted puts)

1) Melt butter in 9x13 inch glass pan over 350 degrees in the oven. (Or melt the butter in the microwave and poor it into the pan.)
2) Sprinkle graham crackers into pan. Poor condensed milk evenly onto crackers. Layer the ingredients evenly in the order listed above. Press down firmly so the ingredients stay together when baking.
3) Bake for 25 minutes over 350 degrees. Completely cool bars and cut into pieces.
4) EAT WELL and Enjoy!
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