October 28, 2013

Samoa Brownies

If you've got any Girl Scouts in your life or your neighborhood then you've probably heard of or eaten those insanely good Samoa Cookies they have.  They are one of my favorites, so I was thrilled to see a brownie that mimics that flavor.  

Much to my dismay, my husband said he wasn't a huge caramel fan AFTER I'd already made a batch of these.  How he's been married to me for 14 years without my knowledge of this personality flaw is beyond me.  Caramel is by far one of my favorite flavors.  However, he's a trooper and still tried them to make sure they were edible.  After his third one, he agreed they are pretty fantastic.  Very chewy, gooey, sweet and flavorful all rolled into one brownie.  

My husband said that his only fix would be to have less topping.  So if you'd like to scale back feel free to cut that part of the recipe in half. This full recipe does pile on the caramel and coconut. 

Easy to assemble but do allow yourself some time for cooling the refrigeration time needed. 

Samoa Brownies
Recipe from SixSistersStuff

  • 1 box brownie mix, basic
  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 (14 oz) packages individually wrapped caramels
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips - add a tiny bit of shortening if you need it more pourable. 
Cooking Directions
  1. Bake the brownies as indicated on the box, use the 9x13 inch pan option. Let cool.
  2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, spread the coconut all over a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 2 minutes, then stir and bake for 2 more minutes keeping a careful eye on it so it doesn't burn. Remove when golden brown and let cool.
  3. In a medium sized microwavable safe bowl, unwrap the caramels, add the salt and milk and microwave on high at 1 minute intervals, stirring after each minute until smooth and completely melted.
  4. Add the coconut into the caramel and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread the coconut mixture over the top of the cooled brownies and let cool, then refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
  6. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before you plan to serve and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Let chocolate set before cutting.
  7. Store in the refrigerator but remove at least 30 minutes before you plan to serve because the caramel will be very hard.

October 22, 2013

Apple Danish

I finally used up all the apples my daughter and I picked several weekends ago.  I'm kinda sad about it actually.  This gives me permission to go pick more right? 

You know those little danish's that you see at the grocery store bakery section? I wanted to make that.  Turns out that this one is even better then the one's you buy at the store.  I know it's shocking but it's true.  The filling is so delicious, it's very much like eating an apple pie only it's more portable and it has a lovely glaze over the top.  The crust is tender and flaky and the leftovers were delish.  It doesn't get dry or anything if stored in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator (at least that's how I stored mine). 

Here's something I learned the hard way.  Make this dough and toll it out on a rimmed cookie sheet (jelly roll pan).  I did mine on the counter first but had trouble getting it moved over to the cookie sheet. I wasn't smart enough to cook it on a jelly roll pan, initially.  I learned the hard way. 

Make the apple mixture and pour into the middle.

Spread it out to the edges.

Top with the second crust.  Obviously you'll have to make this top crust on the counter.  I suggest making it on top of some waxed paper or else making sure it's not sticking to the counter top as you're rolling it out.  I was able to make it work but I got some tears and it didn't end up being a perfect rectangle.

Once baked, I was thrilled with how well it cut into squares.  Not messy at all and the glaze really takes it up a notch.

One heck of a dessert to end my apple making spree to use up all my Jonagold Apples.  By the way, I would highly recommend this type of apple if you can find it.  I loved baking with it!

Apple Danish
Recipe from TasteofHome

Pastry and Assembly

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup milk
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and shortening. Use two forks or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse wet sand.
  2. Add the egg yolk and milk and combine just until a dough forms. Do not overwork the dough.
  3. Cut the dough in half.
  4. On a lightly floured surface (or on the jelly roll pan you are going to use), Roll one half of the dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle.  Or better yet, just use a 15x10 inch pan and spread the dough onto it.  Make sure to spray the pan first for easy removal. 
  5. Spread the fruit mixture over the top of the dough and spread out evenly. 
  6. Lightly flour your work surface and form the remaining dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle, make sure to move the dough frequently so it'll be easier to lift it off the surface and place on top of the apple filling. 
  7. Bake for 40 minutes at 375º. 
  8. Let cool before topping with the glaze. 

  • 6 cups apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well so that all the apples are coated.

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Use a small bowl and a fork to combine the ingredients so there are no lumps.

October 18, 2013

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Does anyone have any big plans for the weekend?  I hope someone has something more exciting planned then I do.  We're going to do the soccer game thing, then veg the rest of the weekend. No matter what your plans are you have to eat breakfast right?

Am I the only one who can't make good biscuits when you have to roll them out and cut them? They never seem to get tall and fluffy for me.  I don't get it.  I had great success with these drop biscuits however so these will become my go to biscuit until I figure out the other kind.

Light and flaky texture, excellent buttermilk biscuit flavor.  They were really easy to put together.  I used my hands to put the dough into a ball and then just pulled off pieces and put them on the baking sheet.  Super simple.  The outside was a beautiful crispy golden brown and the inside was moist and flaky.  Perfect!

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Recipe from Epicurious

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk (cold)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  4. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in the very cold butter until the mixture resembles a wet sand.
  5. Incorporate the buttermilk while stirring the flour, only stir until a dough forms.
  6. Use your hands to gather the dough into a ball, work quickly so the dough stays cold.
  7. You can use a measuring cup or your hands to pull off pieces of dough and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

October 16, 2013

Buttery Caramel Sauce

For those of you who "like" me on Facebook, you know that recently I messed up a recipe and yet it still turned out well.  This was that recipe.  I suggest you follow the correct instructions below, but on the off chance that you don't, it might still turn out well.

The flavor is out of this world.  I truly love it's classic caramel taste and texture.  Very smooth and delicious on top of apples, or ice cream, or when licked off your finger.

If you let the caramel warm up to room temperature it becomes soft and somewhat pourable.  You might need to microwave it for a couple of seconds to get the consistency you want.  I'll be making this recipe again for sure.  It's my new "go to" caramel recipe. :)

Buttery Caramel Sauce
Modified slightly from HowDoesShe?

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, add the sugars, corn syrup and butter. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a hard boil. 
  2. Remove from heat and let sit about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix well. 
  4. Let cool slightly before putting into a glass jar and storing in the refrigerator. 

October 14, 2013

Chocolate Candy Corn M&M Cookies

Imagine my surprise when I was shopping for groceries and stumbled upon these little candy corn m&m's.  I thought they were just halloween colors until I bit into one.  They are white chocolate on the inside and flavored to taste like candy corn. 

I knew these little gems had to go inside of a cookie and to my surprise there weren't any other chocolate cookies that I could find on the internet.  Well, there was a chocolate brownie type cookie but no average chocolate cookies. So, that's how this one came about.  

I really like the contrasting flavors between the chocolate and white chocolate candy corn m&m's. The cookie itself is very chewy, just the way I like them.  Great chocolate flavor, accented perfectly with the candies. 

My daughter helped me put the candies in the cookies.  We decided to press them into the dough rather than mix them in.  This way we get the nice candy corn colors in each cookie.

I was able to find these candies at my local Aldi's, but that just tells me that you can probably find them almost anywhere. Great Halloween Cookie!

Chocolate Candy Corn M&M Cookies
Modified from Remodelaholic

  • 2 Cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks or 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag Candy Corn M&M's
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the butter and both sugars. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix together.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients (You will get a nice cloud of flour), mix until blended.
  7. Use either a cookie scoop or a Tbsp to achieve a ball about the size of a golf ball, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  8. Press the M&M's into the top of the dough ball, put them close together as the cookie will spread.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  10. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

October 11, 2013

Crockpot Ham and Bean Soup

With the ever so slight chill we've had in the morning air I've been thinking about fall foods.  One of my all time favorites is this Ham and Bean Soup.  I've never actually made it myself until now, I just remember my mom making it for my sister and I when we were growing up.

As you know, I grew up in Montana and let me tell you something, it is C.O.L.D. there.  I remember my mom calling us in from outside and us sitting down to a steaming hot bowl of this soup.  For some reason I have a memory of me blowing on the beans before I took a bit and the skin would peel right off the bean.  When I made this soup I didn't notice that happening, I wonder if it was just a certain type of bean or the way she cooked it.  I have no idea, but I loved blowing on the beans and watching the skins peel off.

I still to this day add vinegar to my bean soup, just as I did when I was little.  Something about that taste with the beans is so perfect.  Of course my husband and daughter thought I'd lost my mind, but that's OK.  I just take apple cider vinegar and add a cap full to my soup before I eat it.  It's yummy, you should try it.

Leftovers are even better, the "broth" turns into more of a thick sauce as it sits in the refrigerator which makes it even tastier.  I hope you try this one!

Ham and Bean Soup
Recipe from Food.com

  • 1 pound Dried beans (I used Pinto but you can use whatever you want)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 lb smoked ham, or ham hock
  • 6 cups water or broth
Cooking Directions
  1. Option 1: Pick through and rinse the beans, then soak overnight in a large bowl with water about 1 inch above the beans.
  2. Option 2: Pick through and rinse the beans, add to a large pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit (do not remove the lid) for 1 hour.
  3. Rinse the beans and place them in a crock pot. Add the garlic, onion, salt, pepper, parsley and ham. If using ham instead of ham hock, dice it into large bite sized pieces.
  4. Fill the crock pot with the water or broth and set on low for 8 hours.

October 9, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

I know I've said this before but I truly love fall.  I love the way the air smells and the crisp mornings and evenings, the colors of the trees, apples and pumpkins.  It's time to break out the comfy sweaters and long pants again.  It also means my entry way is about to become super cluttered with boots, hats, gloves and scarves.  That's OK, it's worth it.

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a very long time.  Having half a bushel of apples to use up really helped me move along with this recipe.  I know it's a lot of steps but the end result is so worth it.  The steps aren't complicated, just time intensive. I took a lot of pictures to help clarify so I hope it makes sense.

After the dough has risen for the first time, you need to spray a surface with non-stick spray. Roll it out, or just stretch it out to make a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.

Spread the butter/vanilla mixture evenly over the dough, then sprinkle on the brown sugar, then cinnamon.  Add the apples and nuts if you're using them.

Cut one line down the center, and then two cuts on either side of that center line.  You want 6 equal sized strips.

Pile the strips on top of each other.  A lot of apples fall off during this process, just stick them back on as best you can and you can save some to put on the top once it's in the dish.

I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of this next step but the link I've provided below has awesome pictures.  Anyway, once you've piled them on top of each other, cut once down the center, then 2 equal sized cuts on either side of the center line, again you're looking for 6 even sized cuts to make 6 individual piles of stacked dough.

Now put the dough squares in the prepared pan and sprinkle the tops with any apples that have fallen off.  Now let rise again, 30 - 60 more minutes.

Bake, while it's baking you can make the yummy glaze.

When the loaf comes out of the oven you will want to let it sit in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  But once it's out of the pan you can drizzle some of the glaze over the slightly warm loaf.  You don't want the loaf to be super hot or the glaze will just run off, be patient and let it cool a little first.

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

The layers really do peel away and there are plenty of apples.

The dough is super moist and the taste is very much cinnamon roll like, with apples on top.  Just glorious. Best when eaten a little warm but I've been snacking on mine straight from the refrigerator and  it's equally yummy.

Totally worth the time it takes to put this bread together.  Wonderful treat for Christmas morning or when you've got company for breakfast. Or just yourself.

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Recipe from Half Baked


  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, milk, water, eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Slowly add the wet ingredients while the mixture is on low.
  3. Let the mixture become a soft dough. If the dough looks too dry add a little water, if it looks to sticky add up to 1/4 cup more flour.
  4. Dump the dough into a oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium apples, (about 2 cups) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Once the dough has risen. Dump it onto a lightly greased surface and form into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.
  2. Mix the melted butter and vanilla together and spread evenly on the dough rectangle.
  3. Use your hands to distribute the brown sugar over the top of the dough and spread around so it's even.
  4. Next sprinkle the cinnamon over the top so it's even.
  5. Add the apples to the top.
  6. Next add the nuts, if you're using them.
  7. Cut the rectangle in half width wise, and then make two more even cuts on each side of the center line so you end up with 6 even sections. (See pictures)
  8. Stack those sections on top of each other, you will need to put back some of the apple pieces that fall off. (see pictures)
  9. Not you should have one section piled high (see pictures)
  10. Cut that section down the middle, and then make two even sections on each side of that center line so you have 6 even squares.
  11. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and then turn each section on it's side and press the cut sections into the loaf pan. (see picture).
  12. Cover and let rise for 30 - 60 more minutes.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350º
  14. Once the dough has risen for the second time, place in the oven and bake for 45 -55 minutes, tenting it with tin foil after 30 minutes. 
  15. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let sit for 15 - 20 minutes, then turn out and continue with the glaze below. 


  • 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Make the glaze by mixing the two ingredients together until the desired consistency has been reached. Drizzle over the warm loaf.

October 7, 2013

BBQ Chicken Crescents

Everyone needs one of these recipes.  You know, the kind that you can make in less than 20 minutes.

I don't usually buy processed convenience food like the crescent rolls used here, but I'm also not going to make my own crescent rolls anytime soon. If you're 100% against them, look away.

Now that my daughter is in school and sports I find myself with some nights that I barely have time to get her home and changed before we have to head out again, so this recipe is perfect.  Oh, and surprisingly she did eat this one.

Easy to assemble and pop in the oven.  I cooked my own chicken for this recipe but you could substitute with a rotisserie chicken from your market or they even have canned chicken that would work here.

My whole family loved them.

BBQ Chicken Crescents
Recipe from cooking.com

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 can (8 oz) canned crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg and a little water for the egg wash
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375
  3. Mix the chicken and the barbecue sauce together.
  4. Lay each crescent roll triangle out on the prepared cookie sheet and fill the largest part of the triangle with 1/8 of the chicken and barbecue mixture.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the chicken mixture with about 1 tsp of cheese.
  6. Roll the crescents up loosely.
  7. Brush the tops with the egg wash.
  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

October 4, 2013

Cinnamon Honey Slow Cooker Applesauce

As you know, our apple picking from last weekend left us with a lot of apples to use up.  I'm not complaining, I'd go again tomorrow if I could.  But I am on the lookout for some good apple recipes, if you've got some please feel free to send them my way.

My daughter practically lives on applesauce so I decided that was a good way for me to use up some apples. I didn't make a ton of it just in case she didn't like it, but luckily she did.  The consistency of this applesauce is different from the kind you buy at the store.  It's creamier.  I'm not sure if that's because of the type of apple I used or the way I cooked it but it's not a bad thing at all.  I didn't use any apple cider in my applesauce so if it's too thick for you just add some cider or even water.  We really liked the texture so it's perfect for us.

The taste is phenomenal, very smooth and sweet with just a hint of cinnamon in the background. The honey just takes the edge off the tartness in the apple but you can't really taste the honey very much. The nice thing about this applesauce is it works great on a english muffin or toast because of how thick it is. Almost a combination of applesauce and apple-butter without all those spices and sweetness.

Pure apple goodness with none of the sugar!

Cinnamon Honey Slow Cooker Applesauce
From Alissamay's kitchen

  • 7-8 medium apples (I used Jonagold)
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey, or more depending on how sweet you want it
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel, core and dice the apples and place them in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 2 hours or until the apples are very soft.
  3. Add the cinnamon and honey and taste until your desired flavor is reached. The apples should be soft enough by now that they can be smoothed out using just a spoon.  Stir until completely smooth. 
  4. Let cool and store in an airtight jar for about a week in the refrigerator.

October 2, 2013

Baked Bacon

If you've got a little extra time in the morning you might want to bake your bacon instead of the the traditional pan frying version.  It's much easier and much less clean up.  I used thick cut bacon and it took about 25 minutes but the thinner varieties will take less time.

Obviously this isn't a recipe, a new way of cooking bacon without having grease splattered all over your kitchen is worth sharing. :)

  • Line a jelly roll pan with tin foil.
  • place cooking racks, like the kind you use to cool cookies on top of the tin foil. 
  • Line the racks with bacon. 
  • Place the pan in the center of a COLD oven. 
  • Shut the door and turn the heat to 400º. 
  • Walk away, check on it at about 15 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the bacon.  Watch it carefully toward the last few minutes of cooking so it doesn't burn. 
  • Remove from the racks immediately after you remove the pan from the oven and place on a plate lined with paper towels to stop the cooking process. 

**You can undercook the bacon slightly and freeze it.  When you want a couple pieces of bacon you can take it out and microwave it for a minute or so.