February 22, 2017

Chewy Hermits

If you've ever spent any time in New England, you might have had a Hermit.  These are chewy, spiced cookies with big plump raisins that remind you of the holidays.  Hermits can be found in New England at any time of year, they are favorites there.

When I married my husband and went to visit New England for the first time, I was quickly introduced to these, as well as other New England favorites.

They've quickly become favorites of mine.  My husband already loved them and now our daughter does too.

I've discovered that these cookies can be made in three basic shapes.  The regular cookie, the bar cookie and the long thick rope shape that is then cut into half moon slices.  All are good, trust me.

In my research I discovered that Hermits were added to a local cookbook from the Trinity Church out of New York called Champlain Valley Book of Recipes, where this recipe was called Miss Perloa's Hermits in 1880.  Miss Perloa had a cookbook called "Appledore Cook Book" in which she had some cookie type recipes but none were labeled as a "cookie".  That same year another cookbook was published with her recipe for Hermits called "Miss Perloa's New Cook Book".

Since the time of the original recipe, it's been revised countless times.  I personally have never come up with my own version of this recipe but I'm glad I get to experience other people's masterpieces. I loved this recipe by The Lemon Bowl.  Nice and chewy, tons of flavor and lots of raisins. Delicious!

Chewy Hermits
Recipe from The Lemon Bowl

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup dark molasses syrup
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2 cups raisins
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Spray a standard jelly roll sheet (cookie sheet with sides) with non-stick spray, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. The flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, salt and cloves.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and the brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy on medium speed.
  5. Add the molasses and mix.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and mix.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed. Once blended add the raisins.
  8. Spread the dough out on the prepared sheet pan and level out so it's the same thickness throughout. Use your hands.
  9. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let cool before cutting into squares.

February 13, 2017

Apricot Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, there I was, munching away on dried apricots, when it hit me!  The flavors for my next cookie! Chocolate and apricot are a match made in heaven. So is orange and chocolate. So why not incorporate them into a delicious chewy cookies with little chewy chunks of goodness. 

The base of this recipe came from Pinterest.  I knew I wanted this to be a chewy cookie.  I also knew that I'd be using chocolate chips, so the base of this cookie is a yummy chocolate chip cookie that I found and have made once before.  Then it was just a matter of adding in the other flavors I wanted. 

I was able to control myself long enough to wait until they cooled out of the oven.  This is needed in order to achieve optimal chewiness. Mission accomplished!  Perfectly chewy, large, full of flavor.  The orange flavor is not too strong but pairs well with the apricots and the chocolate chips.  The small chunks of apricots are a wonderful addition.  I'm in love with this cookie.  

Apricot Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
Modified from Host The Toast

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp orange juice
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, finely diced
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, orange zest and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugars and cooled butter and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange juice. Mix.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients in and mix until combined.
  5. Add in the chocolate chips and apricot pieces and stir until combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Let your oven preheat to 325º
  7. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
  8. Scoop out 1/4 cup of dough and place on a cookie sheet. Leave room for them to spread out while cooking
  9. Bake for 12-18 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Remove when the edges are golden brown
  10. Let sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack

February 8, 2017

Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese

As part of my ongoing quest to make homemade macaroni and cheese that my daughter will actually eat, I tried this new one last night. 

I figured this was a sure winner, since she loves Panera Macaroni and Cheese. 

I was wrong about her liking it, but I LOVED it. 

Is it wrong that I'm actually happy she didn't like it, so I can have the rest? Her reasons for not liking it were: The consistency was thicker than the store version.  So, the flavor was a match but because I let it cool down (and it thickened) she wouldn't eat it. This is the story of my life.  Do you feel sorry for me? 

Well, obviously you just have to add a little more milk to get the consistency to thin out but she'd already determined that it wasn't right and therefore nothing would change her mind. 

It's OK, I'll eat it. 

Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from Food Folks and Fun

  • 16 oz rigati pasta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 6 slices American cheese (white) cut into strips
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar (white) grated
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk until thick. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Now turn off the heat and add the mustard, salt and hot sauce.
  3. Add the cooked, drained pasta and stir well.
  4. Serve hot

January 25, 2017

Rosebud's Bread

As you've probably guessed, I sort of like trying new recipes.  I mean, I have a fantastic recipe for bread that I use all of the time but why not try a new one, right? 

This one is a Pinterest find and it's pretty darn good.  I just made it yesterday but its still moist and delicious.  The original recipe was for white bread but I added about half white wheat flour just to get some of that nutrition into it. 

There isn't a ton of flavor (which is kinda the point of bread, in my opinion) I mean, don't you really want to taste what you're putting inside of your sandwich or on top your toast? So I like it.  My other recipe for bread has honey in it so you get a little more flavor, however, my other recipe doesn't rise up and get as big as this one does.  However, I love the texture.  It's moist and holds together well for a sandwich. 

Rosebud's Bread
Recipe from The Curry Carrot

  • 4 1/2 tsp (two packets) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 3/4 cup additional warm water
  • 9-10 cups all-purpose flour (i use King Arthur)
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • extra spray or butter for greasing
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the yeast and 3/4 cup water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture, sugar, salt, unsalted butter and the remaining water and mix.
  3. Add 5 cups of flour, slowly, until mixture becomes smooth. Slowly add in the remaining flour until it becomes smooth.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and knead in your mixer for 10 minutes. Alternatively, this amount of dough might be hard on your mixer unless you have a large or professional mixer. So you can also knead on a floured work surface.
  5. Put dough into a large greased bowl and cover with either a floured towel or plastic wrap for about an hour. Set in a warm spot.
  6. Punch down dough and cut into two even sized pieces. Working with one at a time, roll out to about a 12x12 sized square and make sure it's a uniform thickness. Now tightly roll the dough into a roll, pinch together the ends and place it seam side down in a greased 9" loaf pan. Do the same to the remaining dough and cover. Let sit a warm place for another hour to rise.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425º
  8. Bake both loaves in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then cover with tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes so they don't get too dark. Remove from the oven and let cool in the loaf pans, then remove from pans to a wire rack.

January 16, 2017

Banana and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

I know I haven't posted much lately, and here's why.  It's the New Year and of course we're trying to eat better in my house.  My husband is gluten free and I'm just sort of doing my own thing but all of us are trying to eliminate sugar from out lives.  So, sadly I haven't had much that's interesting to cook.  I mean, you probably don't need to read about me making a grilled steak or chicken but slowly I'm finding more recipes that we can all eat. 

Like this one. 

Sweetened with maple syrup (love), gluten free, and my daughter's favorite flavor combination!  We're all happy with this one. My daughter ate two right out of the oven, which she never does.  She even knew they were good for her!  I think the banana chocolate chip flavor won her over.  I also let her make these, pretty much all by herself (not the oven part) and I think that helped also (she's super picky).

I loved that these muffins stay nice and moist, yet have a great texture from the oatmeal.  I used old fashioned oats and there is a nice chew with those.  Plenty of banana flavor and chocolate chips. My favorite part about these muffins is that they are the perfect amount of sweetness, and there's no sugar in them!  This will definitely become a favorite in my house, for everyone!

Banana and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

  • 3 cups quick or old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup (2 large) bananas, mashed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray, set aside .
  3. In a medium bowl add the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, bananas, vanilla extract, and milk until smooth.
  5. Add the oats into the wet ingredients and mix well, then add the coconut oil and chocolate chips and mix.
  6. Fill each muffin cup with an equal amount of batter and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing to a wire cooling rack.
  7. These can be frozen or refrigerated.

January 5, 2017

Top 5 of 2016

This past year, there were some defining favorites for my viewers.  There was a significant number in views on these recipes, more than any other.  I love being able to share my cooking trials with you all, thank you for your support!  I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!


Who can blame you all for this choice, I mean, soft delicious fudge in 3 minutes.  Yep, and it's so good!  Find the recipe here


We're all on a diet now, right? OK, not all of us but who couldn't use a little extra energy during the day? Find the recipe here


These little candies are totally worth their name.  Delicious and not hard to make, I can see why they're of of your favorites.  Find the recipe here


These little gems were a quick hit, I only posted this recipe a couple of months ago and they're already in the number 2 spot.  I decorated a cheesecake with them but I snacked on all the rest.  
Find the recipe here


The number one favorite recipe was this brownie!  They're healthy and delicious.  No really, they're healthy.  Find the recipe here

December 28, 2016

No-Bake Avalanche Cookies

So, this recipe was recently going around Facebook, and I thought, man those look good. And they're no bake, it was like they were begging me to make them. 

I'm really, really glad I did. 

These cookies are the bomb.  Easy to make and they stay delicious for a while after you make them too.  No stale cookies here, no sir, these taste just as good as they did the day they were made.  Oh, and I already had all the ingredients in the house, so Win! Win!

These Avalanche cookies have a soft texture, like fudge.  But they also have the wonderful texture of the Rice Krispies and the marshmallows. The peanut butter flavor is mild because it's mixed with white chocolate, but still noticeable.

Just an all around awesome cookie in my book, this one is going in "my favorites" section.  Yum!

No-Bake Avalanche Cookies

  • 16 oz vanilla flavored almond bark/CandiQuick
  • 15 oz creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup + more for sprinkling mini chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large microwavable bowl, melt the almond bark in 30 second increments in your microwave until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth.
  3. Add the Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
  4. Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper and then scoop a large amount (about the size of a small orange) of the mixture into a ball shape and place on the wax paper.
  5. Sprinkle more mini chocolate chips over the top if desired.
  6. Let sit in a cool area until hardened, you can also refrigerate until set.