Monday, August 13, 2012

Paradise Bakery Copycat Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup raisins

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. 

Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Stir in oats, then add Rice Krispies, coconut, and raisins. Shape into 1.5 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie dough ball with the bottom of a glass dipped lightly in flour.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chewy Pretzel Bites

I made these for Superbowl and they are Delicious! They aren't super difficult, but you may want to go to and check out the picture-by-picture tutorial if you make these. It was very helpful. I doubled this recipe and it made a TON. I would suggest making the recipe as is and it would be a great afterschool snack, poolside snack or movie snack. They are yummy dipped in a marinara sauce, too.

**** If you use active dry yeast (which I did), use 1 Tablespoon yeast and proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour & salt.

*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites.

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 c. very warm water

1/2 c. warm water
2 Tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn't overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a gallon ziploc bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500F. Don't be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 c. warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. You may have to lightly stir it before dipping each bite.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in width. Just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give them a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets, Sprinkle them lightly with coarse salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake pretzels for 6-8 minutes or until they're golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time.

Ground Beef Tacos

Okay. So, it may seem that I'm trying every recipe on, but I think I am because everything I've made here is a hit at my house. I was a little skeptical about making these because of the tomato sauce, but my kids beg for these tacos. The meat is juicy and very tasty.

2 Tablespoons canola oil
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef
1 to 3 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander (I didn't have this spice, so I just used paprika)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 jalapeno, seeded & finely minced (I omitted this, but you could also just add hot pepper sauce)

Taco shells
Additional taco garnishes

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller chunks, until it is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce and jalapeno. Turn the heat to low and simmer the meat mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in taco shells with your choice of toppings.

Homemade Oreo Cookies

This replaces the old homemade Oreo cookies recipe which is like these cookies ugly, rude, and offensive cousin in comparison. This pic and recipe is from the blog, which frankly, lives up to it's name. Made these tonight and Basil asked me to bake MORE. That rarely happens. Enjoy! BTW these are great, even without the filling and would be an awesome ice cream sandwich cookie. They taste like the chocolate wafers in the yellow box.
I made my own adjustments on the recipe so if you want the original, go to the blog site.

makes 25-30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I only had butter Crisco so the filling was more yellow)
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (If you want the center pure white, you'll need clear vanilla extract)
Optional- Gel dye (I made it pink... so cute!)

1. Set rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass. NOTE- mash the butter by hand into the mixture before adding egg and turning it on. Unless you have a covered mixer or food processor. I didn't and the dry ingredients flew everywhere. I am going to try to add it in slowly like traditional cookie recipes and see how it goes.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands (or use the back of a spoon which works great since my hands are rarely moist), slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy. (Optional: Blend in a tiny bit of gel dye until you reach the desired color.)

6. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie.(I just used a large generous tablespoon on each with a spoon and spread it with my finger) Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Here's another winner I found from Best Recipes List. We just ate this for dinner tonight and I think I've found my favorite spaghetti sauce. I'll type the recipe up as she posted it, but I did make some changes.

My personal changes: I omitted the mushrooms and red pepper. I used 1 lb of Italian sausage only since my kids don't like the sauce too meaty.

*This batch makes a TON. I fed my family of 5, then filled two 48 oz. containers with the leftovers and put it in the freezer. Mel of says that the finished sauce freezes well. To serve, thaw in a refrigerator (about a day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a pan on the stove. It's always nice to have delicious spaghetti sauce on hand.

3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 c. onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 lbs. hamburger
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste (or two 6 oz. cans)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 14-oz. cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 1/2 c. beef stock or beef broth
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add beef and cook until no red is showing. Drain beef slightly. Blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. Add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using). Stir until combined and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I have found a bunch of yummy recipes from Particularly from her The Best Recipe List. This chicken dish is very good. My entire family eats it and it's super easy. It tastes like chinese take out, but even better -- cuz you made it!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 c. cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Cut chicken into approx bite size pieces (maybe a little bigger). Season with salt & pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg mixture. Fry in a pan with the oil until lightly brown, but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

3/4 c. sugar
4 Tablespoon ketchup
1/2 c. vinegar (I use whatever I have, which happens to be apple cider vinegar)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt/powder

Bake for one hour at 325. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve chicken over rice. Toss some chopped green onions on for garnish.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eggnog Cookies

If you like Eggnog, you'll LOVE these cookies.

21/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
2 large egg yolks

Preheat an oven to 300. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks. Beat at medium speed till smooth.

Add the flour mixture on low until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch a part. Sprinkle lightly with a little nutmeg. Bake 23-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Immediately transfer to cooling rack.