Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, with Grape Nuts!

Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite type of cookie. Yup, that's right! I like them even better than chocolate chip! This recipe is great as it includes Grape-Nuts which gives them crunch! The raisins can be switched out for chocolate chips, m&ms, or other dried fruit. Try to let the cookies cool for at least five minutes before indulging, as the cookies cool they acquire the perfect chewy, moist oatmeal raisiny flavor that will send you straight back to your childhood! Enjoy!

Grape Nut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
A few handfuls raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Combine flour, oats, cereal, raisins, baking soda and baking powder.
Gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into 3/4-in. balls.
Place 2 in. apart o ungreased baking sheets; flatten with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Hope your day is filled with happiness!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins

Need an easy weekend breakfast? How about banana nut muffins? With a streusel topping? No problem! These are simple, no fuss muffins that require few ingredients, barely any effort and little time. The recipe comes from a 1968 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It started out as a Banana Coffee Bread Recipe. I made some changes, and out came these moist, satisfying muffins! The simplicity of the recipe allows the bananas to really steal the show while the streusel topping adds a nice crunch. Hope you enjoy!

Banana Nut Muffins
From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1968 Edition
Makes 12 Muffins
See! OLD recipe!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 3 medium bananas
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven t0 350 degrees. Grease a twelve cup muffin pan, or use paper liners.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Stir in bananas, stir in dry ingredients. Mix well. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full (mine were a little fuller).
Sprinkle with streusel topping (recipe below).
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Mix flour, sugars, and cinnamon; cut in butter till crumbly.
Add nuts. Sprinkle on top of muffin batter.
I had some extra, which I put in a Ziploc and threw in the freezer. All ready for the next time I'm craving a batch of muffins or coffee cake.
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cinnabon Clones

I happen to adore cinnamon rolls. Especially Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Giant, cinnamony, flaky.... need I go on?! I had never tried recreating them until I ran across this clone recipe, originally from Tod Wilbur's "More Top Secret Recipes". I always thought Cinnabons would take sooo long, and honestly when I wake up in the morning the last thing I want to do is spend the first few hours of my day baking bread. I need sustenance immediately, waiting around for breakfast is not a good plan for me, I tend to get cranky without food :) Thus the perfect solution, freeze and bake cinnamon rolls! I used a recipe adapted for the bread machine to make it even more effortless and got tips from the King Arthur website on how to freeze yeast breads before baking. All I had to do was make the cinnamon rolls on a leisurely weekend afternoon and pop them in the freezer. I kept them in the freezer for a week, then the night before I wanted to eat them I just put them in the fridge and in the morning into the oven and voila! Homemade Cinnabons! If you like your cinnamon rolls super decadent (like me) you can whip up an easy cream cheese frosting to slather on once the cinnamon rolls are baked. Yum!

Cinnabon Clones
From More Top Seceret Recipes, by Todd Wilbur via
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

8 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions For Bread Machine (see bottom of page for by hand recipe)

Put all ingredients for dough into your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually wet first, then dry, then make a well in the dry ingredients and add yeast). Set to dough cycle and let the bread machine do it's work!
When dough cycle is complete. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 thick. To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan.

At this point I had one extra that didn't fit in the pan so I stuck it in a muffin tin and baked it right then and there!
Ten minutes at 400 degrees.
But, moving on to the freezing of the rolls... Carefully place them in a plastic bag,
one large enough to “tent” over the risen buns. Place the bag in the freezer. When the buns are frozen solid, gently press the bag more tightly around them, and reseal. The evening before the morning you want to serve the buns, remove them from the freezer. Unseal, and “poof” the bag up a bit, so it’s not touching the buns. Reseal, place the buns in the refrigerator, and let them thaw overnight.
Next morning, remove them from the fridge, and take them out of the bag. Let them sit at room temperature while you preheat your oven.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.
While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.
Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.

When the rolls are done, remove from oven. Allow to cool 10 minutes.
Flip pan over onto a serving plate.
Spread generously with icing. If your rolls are still hot, like mine were, when you spread on the icing, it will begin to melt just fyi.
Melty frosting...
If you prefer your rolls without icing, sprinkle with some chopped nuts, and enjoy!

By Hand Recipe
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well.
Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Once doubled in size continue with directions above (from the step after dough is removed from bread machine).

Friday, March 18, 2011


One of my favorite things about Mexico is the presence of Mexican bakeries, Panaderias, on every street corner. Panaderias are not just bakeries, they are filled to bursting with every type of pan dulce (sweet bread) you could ever imagine. For about 25 cents (U.S.), you can walk out with a delicious warm treat. The selection is astounding, go here to see a few of the options. I love trying to recreate the recipes, but finding authentic recipes is not as easy as you would think! I have been searching and searching for a recipe for Mexican bisquets, my favorite Mexican bread, by far. I have tried to replicate the recipe, but to no avail. The Mexican bisquet is giant (in both height and width), flaky, and buttery. The panederias make the bisquets in the normal circular shape but they always top them with a rounded piece of dough. They are quite different from your common buttermilk or baking powder biscuit (although I enjoy those as well). They have a deep yellow hue and are a bit sweeter than American style biscuits. The finishing touch is an egg wash which gives them a pretty varnish. I finally came upon this recipe, and while not an exact replica, I am getting closer. The bisquets did turn out amazingly buttery and flaky, but they didn't rise as high as I was hoping. Maybe more baking powder next time. I will keep searching for the perfect recipe, but until then these biscuits are really very good! So I hope you enjoy this recipe, and if any of you have any good Panaderia recipes I would love to give them a try!

Recipe adapted from
70 grams or a scant 5 tablespoons butter
70 grams or a scant 5 tablespoons butter flavor Crisco (I know, I'm not a huge fan, but it's what most of the Mexican Bread recipes call for, actually they call for pork fat but I couldn't make myself do that...)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup cold milk
3 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Cut in (or grate in) butter and Crisco and mix together using your hands, adding milk little by little to ensure everything is mixed together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 2 centimeters. Cut bisquets using a rounded glass.
To make the indent on top I used a little pill bottle and lightly pressed it into the dough making sure it doesn't go all the way through (doesn't affect taste at all, just makes them look pretty). When all dough has been rolled and cut, put biscuits onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with a bit of milk. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

Now for a quick Spanish lesson...

Pan = Bread
Delicioso = delicious
yummmm = yummmmm
Happy Weekending!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Potato Farl

Oh. my. gosh.First of all, Happy St. Patricks day! I wanted to try a traditional Irish Recipe for my St. Pattys day breakfast this year, little did I know it would be the easiest recipe I have ever attempted, .and seriously one of the best things I have ever tried. Behold, Irish Potato Bread Farl. Apparently it's a breakfast staple in Northern Ireland a part of something called an Ulster Fry. An Ulster Fry, according to Wikipedia, is a full Irish breakfast, usually fried (go figure), consisting of bacon, eggs, sausage, soda bread, and potato farl. Now, I have never been to Ireland, but apparently they eat quite well! The Potato Farl is delightfully crisp on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. It reminded me a bit of a less oily hashbrown, but a million times better. I messed with the recipe proportions because I only had three little potatoes left over, which yielded 1 1/3 cups mashed potatoes. The recipe source I used said that the amount of flour can vary, just add bit by bit until a soft dough forms. A good rule of thumb is use half as much flour as potato. So, for example, I had 1 1/3 cups mashed potatoes, so I used a scant 2/3 cup flour. The finished product is supposed to be savory and is often served with onions and mushrooms. But I like my breakfast on the sweet side so I topped it with butter and syrup.
It was delightful, and, dare I say it, I liked it better than pancakes! And that is something because I LOVE pancakes! Next time you have mashed potatoes, definitely set a few aside for a hearty potato farl, and Happy St. Patricks day!

Irish Potato Farl
2 cups hot boiled potatoes
Scant 1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter + more for griddle

While hot, mash potatoes well with salt and butter. Gradually work in flour in smaller increments until a soft dough forms. Dough should be a little tacky but workable.
Divide and roll/press into a circular shape about 9″ and 1/4″ thick.
Cut into 6 or 8 ‘farls’ (wedges). Grill in a hot, greased griddle or pan until well browned on both sides.
So. So. Good.
Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!