Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

B loves anything cinnamon sugar flavored. Snickerdoodles? Yes. Cinnamon buns? Definitely. Cinnamon French toast? Of course! Cinnamon donuts? Yes. So when searching for a different type of dessert recipe and I stumbled across these, I knew I had to make them. The warm cinnamon sugar doughy bites and sweet dipping sauce? Omg. I swear, I made them for B…not me. Not at all.

Regardless who they were for – they were SO delicious. If you have a potluck to go to and want to impress with a delicious finger-food-friendly dessert, I highly recommend you make these. They’re best eaten the day of, so get baking now!

 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites (inspired by Cooking Classy and Cook Craft Love)
Here’s what you need for the pretzels:
  • 2¼ tsp active yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups flour, plus up to 1/4 more for sprinkling/working the dough
  • ¼ cup baking soda

For the coating:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
For the Dipping Sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs half & half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Here’s what you do:
  1. Combine warm milk, add honey and yeast in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and let rest for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to get bubbly.
  2. Add flour to mixing bowl and mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Once the dough has combined, continue to knead on low until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough should be soft and somewhat sticky.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm or room temperature environment for 1 1/2 hours or until nearly doubled in size.
  3. Fill a 4 qt pot with water and bring to a boil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a ball. Cut the ball into 4 quarters and roll each quarter into a log about 16-18 inches inches long. Cut each log into about 3/4 in-1 inch bite-sized pieces.
  4. Slowly add baking soda to water about one Tablespoon at a time – don’t add it all at once or you may boil over. Place about 8 dough balls into boiling water at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove dough from boiling water and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to dry. Do this until all pretzel bites are boiled
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or other nonstick paper and add bites to cookie sheet, evenly spaced.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until brown.
  7. While the dough is cooking, feel free to make the dip. Cream together cream cheese, butter, half and half and powdered sugar until dip reaches your desired thickness.
  8. Remove bites from oven and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes. After cooled somewhat, dip the bites into melted butter and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Enjoy with the dip!
 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites and cream cheese dipping sauce
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Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Do you like fruit? I love fruit. Fresh, juicy fruit is something I crave pretty much year-round. When I was pregnant last year, I couldn’t get enough fruit. And now, FW is a fruit fiend. He’ll eat pretty much any fruit!

This time of year especially, I can’t get enough stone fruit. Nectarines. Peaches. Cherries. So, when Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.

The Northwest U.S. is actually known for seven varieties of cherries, including Bing cherries, the most popular cherry in North America, and Rainiers. You can typically spot the sweet cherries by their darker red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

So, while I’ve been enjoying eating cherries by the handful (and spitting out the seeds … so ladylike), I’ve also been enjoying testing out different recipes using my delicious bounty. In addition to making these cherry pie bars, I have also been dabbling in the scone game (or should I say Game of Scones? #nerdhumor).

These scones are a great way to use some fresh cherries, but also just great in general. The combination of cherry and almond is great, and the dark and white chocolate picks up on the cherries’ sweetness.

The only part about this recipe I don’t like? Chopping and seeding the cherries. But, if you can get past that, then I highly recommend you make these.

Luckily, B decided that he doesn’t mind chopping and seeding cherries, so I see more cherry recipes in my future. If you don’t have yourself a B to chop the cherries, I suggest you wear clothes you don’t care about and be prepared to have deep red cherry hands for a little while!

Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Makes about 12 scones

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup of your favorite chocolate chopped up or chips – I used 1/2 cup semisweet and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Using your fingers or a fork, cut in butter until the batter resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add in coconut milk and almond extract. Combine until batter is wet and sticky.
  4. Fold in cherries and chocolate. Combine with a spatula or spoon until dough is evenly mixed.
  5. Divide dough in half and pat down into two even circles about 1 inch high.  Cut into 6 triangles.
  6. Bake on an oven sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fruit?
  • Do you like fruit desserts?

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Homemade Gingersnaps

I know, I know. When was the last time I posted a recipe?! This blog used to be all about recipes – but suddenly it’s become about eating, weekends, relaxing, being a mom and running. In all honesty, I haven’t had much time to bake lately. And when I do find time to bake, finding time to write down the recipe is waaaay last on my list.

BUT when I made these gingersnaps, I knew I had to share them. They were easy and so perfect to make now – right before the holidays – and any time of year! They’re quick to make, make enough to share (mine made about 33) and the best part – they taste great! I’d never tried to make gingersnaps before because I know I can always buy them if I want; but I highly recommend you make these. I’m so excited to bake them again and try different add-ins next time – candied ginger, dried cranberries, etc.

homemade-gingersnaps-cookies-recipe

Homemade Gingersnaps

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 Tablespoons for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. (Or use a nonstick surface, I like to use my silat and they don’t need greasing)
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 c. sugar. Add in egg, molasses and honey and continue to mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture to sugar mixture.
  5. Roll dough into small, Tablespoon-ish size balls. Dip balls into the 3 Tbs. granulated sugar and place onto baking sheet. Bake until light brown, 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Enjoy! Makes about 30-36 cookies.

homemade gingersnaps cookies

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a ginger fan? Yes! I love everything ginger. ginger tea. pickled ginger. gingersnaps. gingerbread. ginger candy. yum yum yum!
  • What’s on your holiday baking list?

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

One of the things I’ve noticed as a breastfeeding mom is that some days I am ravenous. Some days I need two breakfasts. Other days I’m not hungry until 10 but then I need two (or three) snacks!

While I’m not yet actively trying to lose weight (in case you couldn’t tell by my double the ice cream day What I Ate Wednesday post), I am trying to make healthy-ish choices sometimes – for me AND for FW. So I’m so glad to have found these delicious energy balls.

I’d had energy balls like these before becoming pregnant (they’re good for everyone! not just breastfeeding moms!), and Anson had made me some when she and her daughter came over to visit FW and I. But these are a little different. Why? They have ingredients that are supposedly good for breastfeeding – Brewer’s yeast, oats, flaxseed. And yes, these are supposedly good for non-breastfeeders, so feel free to make them, share them with your BF friends and eat some yourself! I’ve been known to share some with B as well:)

energy balls - boobie balls - breastfeeding snacks

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

Slightly updated from here  

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (I like Once Again almond butter or Peanut Butter & Co crunchy peanut butter– I’ve also made with creamy peanut butter and it’s just as good!) (NOTE: the quantity of peanut butter you use will depend on the type/consistency. The more runny the peanut butter – like in many natural kinds – the less likely you’ll need a full cup because it’s so wet. The more dry the peanut butter – as is with a low fat kinda like low fat JIF – you may need more)
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Brewer’s yeast (I buy my Brewer’s yeast from Swanson Health* online)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup add-ins – a mixture of chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. I like craisins and/or chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or mini m&ms

20160819_133252

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low. (NOTE – I’ve also done this by hand with a large spoon)
  2. Add in the dry ingredients: oatmeal, coconut, Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed and any adding (I added 1 cup chocolate chips).
  3. Roll into small balls, about 1-inch thick. Store covered in the refrigerator and enjoy!

20160819_135053

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but some of the products mentioned were provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Some blogkeeping- there is still one more day to enter the Cleveland Marathon race entry giveaway!

My friend Cuoghi is allergic to coconut. Can you imagine being allergic to coconut? I LOVE it so much and cant imagine not being able to experience all the gloriousness that is coconut. Coconut flakes. Special K cookies. Almond Joys. Coconut ice cream. Coconut oil. Fresh coconut right from the tree!

mekong delta trip in vietnam

You get the picture. BUT up until recently I had never tried coconut flour. It intrigued me but I was intimidated. I knew you couldn’t use it as a replacement for traditional flour in a 1:1 ratio, but was really eager to try it out. Thank goodness the first recipe I tried came out GREAT. Here is a recipe for peanut butter coconut flour banana bread. The texture of this bread reminds me of bread pudding or pastel de elote – it’s really moist (Favorite word!) and not really quick-bread like but still so so so good. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

modified from Ambitious Kitchen’s paleo banana bread recipe. This is not paleo-sorry;)

Here’s what you need:

  • 3-4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Combine bananas, sugar, vanilla and peanut butter with an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Add in eggs and mix until combined.
  4. Add in coconut flour mixture; mix until just combined – do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle peanut butter chips on top.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle of pan comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before cutting. Texture will be somewhat mushy – not undercooked but more like a bread-pudding texture. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread-icrashedtheweb

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but some of the product (nut butter, coconut flour) was provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson.

Some questions for you:

  • Now that I have all this coconut flour – what should I make with it?
  • Do you like coconut?

 

Chocolate Fudge Thumbprint Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve! If you’re like me, that means lots of relaxing, eating, and spending time with my family. And maybe some last minute (yes, now it’s really last minute) baking.

If you’re seeking a relatively quick, very easy, festive holiday cookie, look no further. These are great for the chocoholic (sorry, not me) in your family. Or a chocolic friend, because who doesn’t like to be surprised with a plate of cookies this time of year?

Chocolate Fudge Thumbprint Cookies-icrashedtheweb

Chocolate Fudge Thumbprint Cookies

from Cafe Mom

Here’s what you need

  • 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 2­ Tablespoons hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • holiday sprinkles

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter, sugar and ⅓ cup cocoa powder. Mix well until one thorough mixture.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture by thirds and mix until combined.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, about one-inch in diameter. Indent each ball with your thumb or a small spoon in the center.
  4. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookie dough is lightly cracked on the surface but still soft.
  5. When they come out of the oven, don’t be surprised if your thumbprint is gone!  You’ll likely need to press the center of each cookie down again to make your frosting well. Cool completely.
  6. While cookies are cooling, make the frosting: mix the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, hot water, and vanilla. Spoon the frosting into the centers of the cooled cookies and add festive sprinkles while frosting is still wet. Allow frosting to set before putting away.

Enjoy! I’m not a huge chocolate fan and even I enjoyed one (or a few). They’re not MY favorite (again, not a big chocolate fan) but they were definitely a hit. For simple modifications, I may play with the filling, adding peppermint or peanut butter in the future.

Chocolate Fudge Thumbprint Cookies

Questions for you:

  • Chocolate lover or not?
  • What are some thumbprint cookies you enjoy? I love jam cookies! 

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

I LOVE biscotti. I grew up with biscotti – my mom seemed to always have a package of Nonni’s biscotti on hand for desserts, snacks (breakfast…shh), etc. There’s just something deliciously satisfying about the crunch of a good biscotti, paired with some coffee or hot tea. Amiright? And now that I know how to bake them (I’ve made a few different kinds before, including chocolate pistachio biscotti and pumpkin biscotti), I am loving them even more!

Seeking a last minute cookie to bake for the holidays? Okay, I guess it’s not quite last minute yet, but these make the perfect Christmas cookie. The green pistachio and red cranberries are festive – but these really are great all year round. I made these for a holiday party/cookie exchange and recommend you try them out too. The recipe is from B’s mom, and I was so grateful that she shared it with me – so now I’m sharing it with you!

cranberry pistachio biscotti-icrashedtheweb

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg set aside for egg wash
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ⅓ cup dried cranberries (soak 5 min in hot water)
  • 1 cup pistachios, chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Combine first five ingredients.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Work into dough using hands.
  4. Drain cranberries and add to dough with pistachios.
  5. Roll into two logs. Flatten slightly and place on greased pan. Brush with egg wash (1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon cold water).
  6. Bake for 50 minutes, slice into pieces and bake an additional 10 min. per side. Makes approximately 36 biscotti cookies. Enjoy!

cranberry pistachio biscotti~icrashedtheweb

I also made this recipe sheet if you’d like to print out the recipe (click here to download the pdf).

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI-icrashedtheweb-recipe-small

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like biscotti?
  • What’s a favorite family cookie recipe?