As you can tell, I kind of have a thing for granola (and I have passed it on to Noah). We got addicted to all of Trader Joe’s granola but since we had never had a TJ’s in town (until now, mwhahaha) I always liked to make it homemade to snack on. We like it plain, vanilla flavored and especially this holiday gingerbread granola.
I made so many cookies and candies this year that I thought it would be nice to include something really different. Breakfast was the perfect solution and granola automatically popped into my head. And what says Christmas more than gingerbread?
The maple syrup, molasses and ginger all combine to create the perfect gingerbread taste. The crystallized ginger added a nice chewiness to the crunchy texture of the oats and nuts. A totally yummy treat for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup molasses
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix oats and almonds together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, maple syrup, molasses and oil.
3. Pour sugar and oil mixture over the oats and stir well, making sure everything is evenly coated.
4. Pour into a greased 13×9 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
5. Let cool completely, stir in crystallized ginger and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
I know these muffins have quite the name and I really should have simplified with the title “best muffins ever.” They really are that good. They were still light and moist, unlike many muffins I have made with whole wheat flour. And they are actually an updated version of the muffins I shared here (before I really experimented and had creativity with existing recipes).
I had been putting off making these muffins because I was feeling lazy and just wasn’t in the baking mood for days. But that poor child of mine went muffin-less for a whole week and he just couldn’t take it anymore. We had some super ripe bananas begging to be used and I remembered this chocolate banana muffin recipe that I had made a long time ago and knew he would love them. It’s a good thing I stalk follow so many blogs and save so many recipes because I’m pretty sure I could make a different type of muffin every week of the year.
I liked the base recipe for these but I was craving something with more flavor and texture so I made a few tweaks to fit my taste and mood. I went on a Trader Joe’s binge over Labor Day when visiting my parents so I have a huge stock of nuts that need to be used up. Every time I go in that place I go into a panic like I will never go again and proceed to feel the need to buy excessive amounts of ingredients that I have no plans for immediate use. I could add almonds to just about anything and think it was spectacular but I wasn’t sure about the sunflower seeds. They ended up putting the muffins over the top for me. They gave them an awesome, nutty crunch that was really wonderful.
The muffins were crammed with delicious goodness in every bite and could be packed with even more depending on your taste or what’s in your pantry. Make sure to check out the additional mix-in ideas before baking them up and comment with any other yummies you add in that I didn’t dream up! Loaded Triple Chocolate Banana Muffins
recipe adapted from Food.com
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup dutch process baking cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil (or sub applesauce)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
Additional Possible Mix-Ins: raisins, craisins, pecans, toffee bits, marshmallows, quick cooking oats
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips, almonds and sunflower seeds.
4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups three fourths full.
5. Bake for 17-25 minutes or until muffins test done.
I really wish I had better pictures so you could truly know the amazingness that was this cake. I kind of put off making this until the last minute for a gathering so I only had time to snap some quick pictures but it was so yummy that I wanted to make sure I shared it with you during prime pumpkin season.
I love pumpkin, cinnamon rolls and cake for that matter so I knew combining them would be good….really good. And it was. The pumpkin with the buttery cinnamon swirl is what I loved about this delectable dessert. Don’t worry about all the calories, they were rich so a small piece will be enough to satisify you! This would be the perfect dessert to share at Thanksgiving!
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sour cream
15 ounce can pumpkin
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (start w 1/4 cup and add a little more cream if needed)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a jelly roll pan with non stick cooking spray.
2. Place cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding, sour cream and pumpkin into a stand or electric mixer, beating until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
3. Place butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt, about 30-40 seconds. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to bowl, mixing until combined. Drizzle mixture evenly over cake then take a knife and run it through to swirl.
4. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through and remove. Place powdered sugar and cream into a large bowl and mix until creamy and smooth. Drizzle over warm cake then let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares. Refrigerate if not serving same day.
Makes 16 to 20 squares
These are simply amazing. Definitely not the pancakes you make every weekend but a great occasional recipe to break out for special celebrations. Pancakes are usually for special occasions around here anyway. I don’t know why I don’t make them often because we love them…just don’t think about them I guess. And I don’t have a griddle so I basically make them one at a time which can take quite awhile if I’m cooking for a crowd.
Obviously, it’s the cinnamon streusel that puts these pancakes over the top. I have made these pancakes twice, the first time with the full amount of streusel and the second with half the amount. I found that the full amount was of course amazing but they were still really great with only half of what the original recipe states. I didn’t miss the extra streusel too much so I think I will halve it in the future. I left the recipe at the full amount so you can go ahead and make your own decision (sugar overload or just short of it?).
We just love these pancakes. Noah enjoyed them as his second breakfast. Second breakfast you ask? Well, Noah usually gets up around 6:30 or 7:00 and eats Greek yogurt and Cheerios. On Saturday, Joel gets up with Noah so I can sleep in then once I wake up (usually around 8:30) I try and make a yummy, homemade breakfast. When we sit down to eat and put Noah in his highchair he thinks he needs to eat again. And it’s just mean and torturous to eat in front of him without sharing. Alas, second breakfast. I know this blog is all about food but I couldn’t help but share this picture and video of Noah enjoying his pancake.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 Tbsp cold butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk (I substituted sour milk see note below)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1. Prepare the streusel mixture by mixing the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Then using a large shred cheese grater, you grate the butter into the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon mixture. Grate a little and then stir it in and continue until all the butter has be grated. You want a nice crumbly mixture. If you don’t have the cheese grater you can cut the butter into small pieces and use a fork or pastry blender, but I love to use the cheese grater method.
2. In another bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients for the pancake mixture together.
3. Add all wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, and oil) to a separate bowl and stir just until blended.
4. Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients just until combined. Do not over mix, batter will be slightly lumpy.
5. Lightly coat skillet with oil. Heat to medium low (I do one notch below medium).
6. Drop 1/2 cup of the pancake batter onto heated skillet. If needed, use the back side of a spoon to help even out the batter. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the streusel mixture.
7. Cook on first side until bubbles begin to form on surface and underside is golden, about 2 minutes. The pancake with be puffy and the streusel mixture will have dissolve into the pancake.
8. Flip over and sprinkle the now cooked side of the pancake with 3 Tbsp of the streusel mixture. You want it nice and even on the pancake. Cook for 2 minutes until golden brown and the streusel is nice and melted on the top of the pancake.
9. Serve warm with maple syrup and butter. Makes 8 large pancakes.
Note: If you don’t have buttermilk just add 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to your liquid measuring cup. Then add enough milk to make 1 cup. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and you have a substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk.
I was recently looking through my Top 100 and realized that I had a King Cake listed. Considering that Mardi Gras is the time to make a King Cake I figured I better jump on that train before it’s too late and I have to wait a whole year. It is traditional to make king cakes between January 6th (Twelfth Night) and Fat Tuesday. When making the cake, a small plastic baby, a coin or dried bean are hidden and whoever gets the slice with the trinket will have good luck. Make sure to warn those eating the cake to be on the lookout!
I have never made or eaten a King Cake so I had a bit of a difficult time choosing a recipe since many of them vary quite a bit. Should I go with a cinnamon filling, one with citron or a cream cheese? My final decision factored on the ease of the recipe. For Valentine’s Day I made cinnamon rolls and I didn’t really feel like dealing with a yeast dough twice in a week. Therefore, I went with a recipe that starts with crescent roll dough and has cinnamon and cream cheese fillings.
The recipe calls for coloring the glaze the traditional green, purple and yellow of Mardi Gras but I wanted to stick with the colored sugar to really make the colors stand out. So after drizzling the glaze on the cake I simply sprinkled the cake with sugar that I colored myself. To make colored sugar, place 1/4 cup sugar in a plastic bag then place a very small amount of gel coloring in with it. Seal the bag then mash and mix until it is thouroughly distributed.
This “cake” is more of a sweet bread or pastry. The crescent dough gave a light, flaky texture which was really yummy with the silky cream cheese and sugary cinnamon fillings. Plus, it only took about 5-10 minutes to put together so from start to finish it was about 30 minutes for a yummy little treat.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red, blue, yellow and green food coloring or purple, green and yellow sugars
1. Unroll both tubes of crescent dough and separate into triangles. Place triangles on a greased 12-in. pizza pan, forming a ring with pointed ends facing toward the center and wide ends overlapping. Lightly press wide ends together.
2. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon over wide ends of ring. In another bowl, stir the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over cream cheese mixture.
3. Fold points over filling and fold wide ends over points. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Divide icing among three bowls. Using red and blue food coloring, tint one portion purple. Tint another portion yellow and the remaining portion green. Drizzle over cake. Or drizzle the white frosting over the cake then sprinkle with colored sugars. Serve warm. Yield: 16 servings.
Joel absolutely loves Cinnabon but sadly we don’t have them around these parts. So that means whenever we are waiting at an airport or cruising a mall in a new city the hunt is on for Cinnabon (my hunt is for Chick-a-Fila but that’s a whole other story for another time). So when I came across this copycat recipe I knew it was a must try. And I am so glad that we did because they were the best and easiest cinnamon rolls I have ever made.
By now, you all know my debacle with doughs and pastry crusts. Well, this dough rolled out like a dream. Yep, that’s right…a dream. From now on, I will always use this dough recipe for sweet breakfast rolls of all kinds (mmm, now I’m dreaming of caramel rolls and orange rolls).
They were tender, gooey, cinnamon-y, sweet and sticky. Everything you hope for in a cinnamon roll. I think the addition of chopped pecans to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture would be to die for and I think I will try that next time on half of the rolls (picky Joel doesn’t like nuts). You just have to try these. They melt in your mouth and stick in your brain…I’m still dreaming about them and I made them weeks ago!
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine , softened
8 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
2. Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well (I used my Kitchen Aid for this step).
3. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
4. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size (I rose mine in the oven after preheating the oven to 400F and then turning it off).
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.
6. It should be approx 1/4 thick.
7. To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
8. Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
10. Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Rise rolls again until about doubled in size (I placed them in the oven again and let them rise for about 30 minutes).
11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
12. While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.
13. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread over hot cinnamon rolls.
First off I have to start by saying Happy 27th Birthday to my husband Joel. We have spent many birthdays together but the past two have been especially meaningful seeing him not only as the love of my life but as a father to our son. He is such a fun, loving daddy and I just love watching him interact with our little man. I hope that Noah grows up to be as spirited, positive and social as Joel.
Now, onto the food. When I found these cupcakes, I knew they would be an instant hit with Joel. Snickerdoodles are one of his favorite cookies and he also quite enjoys cupcakes so I knew the combination would be spectacular. And it totally was. The cinnamon cake combined with the sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting was the perfect treat! They were a huge hit with his colleagues. They are a definite must try!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 28 muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with additions of milk, beating until combined after each addition.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
5. Prepare frosting: In a medium bowl, use electric mixer to blend cream cheese and butter. Add sugars, vanilla and ground cinnamon. Spread onto cooled cupcakes, or scoop into piping bag and pipe on the frosting decoratively. Place sugar-cinnamon mixture in a fine sieve and tap it lightly over the cupcakes to give them a light sprinkle.
Wow, that’s a mouthful. Joel has never been a fan of scones and I have been on a mission to change his mind for quite awhile. And I was finally successful with these perfectly fall spiced scones. He deemed them moist and crumbly and delicious. Ahh, I love when I can convert him to my thinking! I was worried that the apple wouldn’t come through enough but it was just right and gave a nice texture (along with the oatmeal) to the scones. And I couldn’t resist throwing in some cinnamon chips. They also freeze well according to Christina of Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, not that I would know…Joel ate them all before I had the chance.
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 large egg
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
1.Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2.In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half and the egg; set aside.
3.In a medium bowl, grate apples on large holes of box grater. Add one tablespoon of sugar and lemon juice to the grated apples. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then drain in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Reserve juices.
4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
5.Add the oats, grated apple and cinnamon chips to the flour mixture mix to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and form the dough into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With lightly floured hands pat dough into a 7-inch round. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges.
6.Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the reserved apple juice and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake until golden, about 16-18 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving.Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Tasty Tuesday and Totally Tasty Tuesday.
Have you ever had those expensive sugary, cinnamony almonds from the mall or at sporting events? You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones you can smell from a mile away that instantaneously make your mouth start to water. Oh yeah, these are those! They are amazing and super easy to prepare.
I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for quite some time and was just waiting for the opportunity to make them. I knew I couldn’t make them to have around the house because Joel doesn’t like almonds (what is wrong with him?) and I can’t be trusted alone with them. We attended a friend’s birthday bash recently and even though I was told I didn’t need to bring anything I just can’t attend a party without something in hand. And I couldn’t get these off my mind. They were a big hit and luckily I didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm to take them home. I lack willpower, majorly.
These would be a great addition to Christmas cookie platters or any cocktail or appetizer party. I think pecans would be great added to the mix or in place of the almonds. Make sure to read the notes before starting these delicious little almonds.
⅓ cups Water, Plus 2 Tablespoons
1-⅓ cup Sugar, Divided
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
2 cups Raw Almonds
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Notes before beginning: Make sure that you DO NOT let the first sugar mixture evaporate until it’s dry. You don’t want it soupy, but rather a very thick syrup that is adhering to the nuts. This is when you will add your second addition of sugar (1/3 cup). If your mixture does become too dry, and all the sugar has dried up – don’t throw everything away. It’s o.k.! Just add a couple of tablespoons of warm water, and stir until you have a bit of shine, but also some lumps beginning to form.
1. First add the water, 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Add the almonds to the mix, raise the temperature to high heat and stir constantly until the water is boiled away.
2. The sugar will dry out a little but start to stick to the almonds. Keep stirring them around, so that the almonds don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
3. Turn the heat under the pan to medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast. Keep stirring until the almonds start having an even shiny coat.
4. Now dump in the rest of your sugar. Keep stirring and add your vanilla. At this point, there might be quite some noise ensuing from your pan. Some crackling and popping, but hopefully no snapping. It depends on how fresh your almonds were. Really fresh almonds will make a popping noise and the coat may start to crack. That’s the water in the almonds escaping. If the almonds are older, there won’t be as much of that.
5. Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. You don’t want them completely smooth. The best ones are the ones that are shiny in some areas with some delicious lumps of cinnamon sugar on other parts of the almond.
6. As soon as you see that happening, take them off the heat and transfer the almonds to a sheet of parchment paper. Spread them apart as much as you can, but don’t worry about some of them sticking together initially. Be careful, however. These are extremely hot, so only use a spoon.
These babies can really burn you!
7. While they are cooling down, keep on breaking them apart with your spoon until they are all separated. Once they are cooled, hide them in a dry, closed container. Theoretically, they keep for several weeks.
I have never been a fan of plain vanilla ice cream. It lacks that something special that I need in ice cream. But if said vanilla ice cream is speckled with beautiful little vanilla beans then I’m totally down. After making these yummy Apple Hand Pies, I knew a fresh vanilla bean ice cream would be the perfect accompaniment. After a quick search I came up with some tasty looking recipes but for some reason, I felt I needed to continue my quest. Shortly after, I came across this cinnamon vanilla bean ice cream recipe. I don’t know what could be more perfect to go with apple pie!
I love cinnamon anything but I have never tried cinnamon ice cream. After trying this, I don’t know why I waited so long. The combination of vanilla and cinnamon is sweet and slightly spicy. It was truly the perfect compliment to the cinnamon-y apple pies.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
10 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken up
5 large egg yolks
1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean into the warm milk as well. Add in the broken-up cinnamon sticks. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Over medium low heat, rewarm the milk mixture. With a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon stick pieces and discard. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks (you can also use a large ladle here to reduce the mess of pouring), whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (overnight is best). When ready to churn, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.