Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lemon Buddies

I know most of you have heard of Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow), but have you tried Lemon Buddies? As a member of General Mills Psst Network, MyGetTogether, I was sent a box of Rice Chex Cereal, a bowl, serving spoon, tote bag, coupons and gift card to purchase the ingredients to make Lemon Buddies for a group of friends.  I got to use my handy, dandy Microplane zester for the lemons - I love that thing!  The recipe is very similar to Muddy Buddies, but you use lemon zest, lemon juice and white chocolate chips instead of peanut butter and milk chocolate.  They were really quite tasty.  The flavor was light and sweet.  Give them a try :)

Lemon Buddies

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir.  Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar.  Seal bag; gently shake until well coated.  Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool.
Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Toffee Crack

Only a couple more days to go, are you ready???  I think I am. 
All the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. 

My favorite Christmas ornament :)
All of them except the gift my husband and I are giving each other....we've been walking on it for about 3 weeks now. 
A new ceramic tile floor for our bathroom. 
Don't we give each other exciting gifts - ha ha. 
Last year we gave each other a new roof for the house. 
The year before that we gave each other a flat screen tv.  Have you seen the tv stands for flat screens lately?  So many more to choose from since we bought ours - not fair.

Anyway...I have lots of baking and cooking to do over the next couple of days.  My in-laws are coming from Texas and we are super excited to see them.  My father in-law loves this pie, so I'm going to make it for him for Christmas Eve.  I'm also making this for breakfast Christmas morning - so yummy!

I've also got to make more Toffee Crack.  I made it last weekend and gave it out as favors for our Christmas party. So yummy!  Got to run ~ lots to do!  Merry Christmas!

Toffee Crack

Saltine Crackers
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place saltine crackers all over foil.  Make sure the entire cookie sheet is covered in saltines.  Melt butter in a saucepan and add brown sugar.  Stir over medium heat until carmelized (about 3 minutes).
Pour toffee over crackers and spread evenly with a spatula.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour bag of chocolate chips all over toffee.  As they melt, spread evenly.
Top with chopped pecans or other nuts if you like.  Place in freezer to set chocolate.

Get ready to be addicted to Toffee Crack!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are a Christmas tradition in this house ~ we love the chocolate goodness.  The taste is very similar to a brownie - yum!
You do need to chill the cookie dough for at least 4 hours, so I usually make the dough one day and bake them the next.  I bake them on a silpat, but you can use parchment paper if you don't have a silpat.

Yummy chocolate goodness!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
confectioners' sugar for rolling

In a large mixing bowl, mix together cocoa powder, sugar and vegetable oil.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Combine flour, paking powder, and salt and then mix it into the cocoa mixture.  Cover dough and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Roll dough into one inch balls.  Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing them onto your prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gingerbread Truffles

I finally had time to start my holiday baking this weekend - yay!  I made some of my tradional cookies, which I will be posting soon, but I decided to try something new as well.  My friends love my vanilla oreo truffles, so I thought I would make something similar with a holiday twist - gingerbread.  I think they look so festive and they taste delicious.

Gingerbread Truffles

1 box Betty Crocker Gingerbread Mix (14.5 oz)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 egg
1/2 tub of ready-made vanilla frosting
Wilton Candy Melts (I used white)
sprinkles for decorating

Make the gingerbread cake as directed on the box using a 9-inch square baking dish.
Once the cake is baked and cooled, crumble it into tiny pieces in a large mixing bowl.
Add the 1/2 tub of vanilla frosting and mix it all together.  I use my hands to make sure all the cake is combined with the frosting.  Once it is well-combined, use a small cookie scoop to make the mixture into balls.  Put them on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about an hour. 

When you are ready to dip them, I find it easier to microwave the candy melts in small batches.  I microwave them for 30 seconds, stir and then microwave for about another 30 seconds or so.  Place a gingerbread ball into the candy melts, covering completely.  I use a Wilton candy dipping tool to get them out of the candy melts and then place them onto parchment or wax paper to set.  If you are using sprinkles to decorate, make sure you put them on right away, before the coating sets.
I think they look so pretty when you serve them in cute cupcake liners :)

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oatmeal Applesauce Bread

I love baking bread when I have time on Saturdays.  It makes the house smell so good, you get to have lunch time sandwiches on fresh bread and it makes the best french toast for Sunday mornings.
The recipe below lets you use your bread machine, which makes things even easier!  I don't like the size of the loaves that my bread machine makes, so I use the dough cycle and then take it out of the machine.
I place the dough in a loaf pan and let it rise for about a half hour or so, then bake in the oven for about
30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Note:  I didn't have dry milk powder, so I used 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup milk instead of 2/3 cup water and it was fine.

Oatmeal Applesauce Bread

2/3 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 T white sugar
1 T dry milk powder
1 tsp. salt
1 T butter, melted
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  Select cycle; press start.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baked Cinnamon French Toast

Pretty close to 364 days a year I have oatmeal for breakfast. I know I'm boring, but I {heart} oatmeal, for realz! I make my daughter pancakes, but I never eat them.  I couldn't cheat on my steel cut oats :)

This year I am breaking bad and making this during the holidays.  I made it this summer and my daughter really liked it. My in-laws are coming to visit for Christmas and I think they will love this Baked French Toast.  I can be all sneaky and make it the night before, when no one is looking and they'll be so impressed the next morning. Shhh - we'll never tell them how easy it is.

Baked Cinnamon French Toast
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

French Toast:
1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cups sugar
2 T vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces

Grease a 9 x 13 inch bake dish with butter.  Cut bread into cubes and evenly distribute in the bake dish.  Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Pour evenly over bread.  Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add butter pieces and cut into dry mixture with a pastry cutter until it resembles tiny pebbles.  Store in a plastic baggie in the fridge.  When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of bread pieces and bake for one hour or until firm.  Spoon out individual portions and top with butter and syrup.
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