Thursday, October 27, 2016

Melt-in-your-mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

I'll be honest, these were soft and delicious, but I do like a little more pumpkin flavor in my pumpkin cookies. Next time I might add the whole can of pumpkin and maybe a little more flour to compensate? I'll let you know how that goes!

I also did NOT use the frosting, but added chocolate chips instead. If I were to frost them, I think I would replace at least half the butter with cream cheese and maybe even a tablespoon or two of the leftover pumpkin - cooked in the saucepan with the butter and brown sugar.

Makes 3-4 dozen (depending on size)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 of a 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar (add until desired consistency/firmness)
ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat the 1 cup of butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Blend on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Beat until combined. (Add chocolate chips - optional)
2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
3. For frosting, in a small saucepan heat the 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Famous Lilly Peanut Butter Fudge Cake

Probably my favorite cake EVER! My grandma's recipe. Chocolate + peanut butter... need I say more?

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut oil (may substitute canola oil)

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup cocoa
6 Tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Combine flour, sugar, and baking soda in large mixing bowl; set aside.
2. Melt 1 cup butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan; stir in 4 Tbsp. cocoa, eggs, salt, water, and buttermilk until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Remove from heat and mix into flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour batter into a greased an floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until center is set. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.
4. Mix peanut butter and peanut or canola oil. Spread over warm cake and allow to cool completely.
5. For frosting, combine 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/4 cup cocoa, and buttermilk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour over powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread chocolate frosting over peanut butter layer on cake. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Copper Canyon Grill Tortilla Soup

When we lived in Maryland, our favorite local restaurant was a [kinda pricey] grill whose name changed with the seasons. Everything on its very short menu was absolutely delicious. When we went back for Travis's graduation, we ate lunch there with my mom (she convinced the waiter to seat us on the patio even though it wasn't officially open for lunch). I ordered a tortilla soup, and it was, of course, delectable (as Fancy Nancy would say). Then, a few months ago, back in Kansas City, I found myself craving said tortilla soup. Mind you, this place is not a chain restaurant and has changed owners as often as my daughters change tutus. I had no hope of finding a recipe. But, in desperation I googled anyway. Lo and behold. The restaurant actually has a minimalist blog where they share little tidbits of news, and occasionally, a recipe. Can you guess which one they chose to share??? I was in raptures! Here is the original recipe.

Sadly, I definitely did not have any cans of "condensed chicken and rice soup" on hand. What even is that? So I whipped myself up a basic recipe for "chicken and rice soup," that I pretty much made up (hey, if Campbell's can do it, I can do it!), and started there. Here is the abridged recipe:

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 diced onion
1 carrot, chopped (or sliced or whatever you like to do)
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 cup cooked chicken (or however much you want... or leftover Thanksgiving turkey, in my case!)
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
Tortilla chips
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese (or whatever flavor you like on your tortilla soup!)

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, and celery until softened. Add garlic and saute another minute or two. Sprinkle flour over cooked vegetables and stir, cooking for a minute or two longer. Add chicken broth, uncooked rice, cooked chicken, diced tomatoes, and tomato sacue (I have to say these measurements are all rough estimates. Just add however much broth you want to make the appropriate amount of soup! Keep in mind that 1 cup of liquid will be taken up in cooking the rice.) Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice is cooked completely.

Place some tortilla chips in the bottom of an individual bowl and sprinkle cheese over the chips. Pour soup over the chips and cheese.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

Um, sorry you can scarcely see them under all that delicious frosting!!!

So I've made lots and lots and lots of cinnamon rolls in my day. They were all vaguely terrible. Dry-ish and a little flavorless and they'd totally fall apart because of the spiral-roll shape (not in a good way). So when my friend Megan, one morning after we'd beaten ourselves to pieces with a Jillian Michaels workout, mentioned that her house happened to be full of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and would we like to come try one? I was like, "Um... is the Pope Catholic?" We HAD just worked out, after all. We'd earned those cinnamon rolls. Wow. Best. Cinnamon. Rolls. I-have-ever-tasted.

Luckily, she was kind enough to send me the recipe.

This one is from Beauty and Bedlam, but I halved it and adjusted some of the ingredients so they would be slightly less than nearly 600 calories per roll! (Yes, I did the calculations on that because I am a masochist.) This made 9 GIGANTIC cinnamon rolls, which were definitely more than enough for my family of 5... and we ate them all day long. Really I couldn't even finish half in one sitting.


  • (1) .25 oz. pks. active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter 
  • 1/2 cup 110 degree water (approximately)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (must be warm)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg – slightly beaten
  • 3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter 
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups chopped walnuts, pecans or raisins – (optional)
  • 4 oz. neufchatel or fat-free cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • About 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (I just realized I accidentally doubled both extracts, but it was yummy! Reduce these amounts if you're scared.)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. For bread machine: Add water, milk, melted butter, sugar, salt, egg, flour, and yeast to bread machine bowl, in that order. Set on "dough" setting. (I did this the night before so I could just wake up and roll them out in the morning.) Then jump to Step 6.
  2. Without bread machine: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together milk, remaining sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, salt, and egg; add yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour to mixture; beat until smooth; stir in enough flour to form a slightly stiff dough.
  4. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes.
  5. Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a 15″ X 10″ rectangle.
  8. Brush 3 tablespoons melted butter over dough; sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally over dough; sprinkle nuts evenly over dough, if desired.
  9. Tightly roll up dough, starting from the shorter (10") side. Pinch edges together to seal. Cut the roll into 9 slices using dental floss or thread.
  10. Grease a 9″ X 9″ X 2″ baking pan. (I will say I had to squeeze them into a pan this size, and it made for gargantuan towering rolls that were a bit doughy in the middle - because they were too big to cook through evenly. I thought they were good, but you might also experiment with different pan sizes and shapes - or different roll sizes!)
  11. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the prepared pan; cover pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
  12. Bake rolls in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. For frosting, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Add milk, a little at a time, until frosting reaches desired consistency. Spread frosting on warm rolls and eat until you are stuffed.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s) (plus additional rise time)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 9 huge rolls

Soft Pretzels

Something about Fall made me want to eat pretzels. Or we can blame the pregnancy. Whatever! We used to get these AMAZING pretzels from a Dutch market in Maryland, and I've never found anything quite like them. But they make the pretzels right there in front of you... so how hard can it be, right? So I set out to try, and I have to say they were pretty delicious! But just a word of warning - they really have to be eaten the same day. (We tried to keep a few, but no.)

Recipe adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Alton Brown

1½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
4½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Boiling water
About 1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together (for egg wash)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling
Melted butter (3-4 tablespoons)

1. Combine the water and sugar in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.
2. Add the flour, salt, and butter. Use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with the vegetable oil; set aside. [**This is important! I was too lazy to get out the parchment paper and it was beastly to get the pretzels off the pan! And then the chemical reaction from the baking soda left marks on the pan. Just so you know.]
5. Pour boiling water into a 9x9 glass pan (or whatever you have - a shallow dish) until it is about 2/3 full. Add baking soda and stir to combine. (The 1/4 cup is a really rough estimate - I really just dumped some in.)
6. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. [**Another note: I made nearly twice as many pretzels with this recipe - maybe mine were just small?] Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Holding each end, whip the center of the rope in toward itself so the U-shape catches and spins a couple times. Lay it down carefully, bringing the two ends down to meet the bottom (center of what was the U). Basically, make a pretzel shape.
7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water and baking soda, 2 or 3 at a time (however many will fit comfortably), for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula. Place the boiled pretzels on the baking sheet. Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
8. Bake until they are just starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and brush with melted butter, making sure not to remove all the salt! Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Creme Filling

I have to copy down this recipe before I lose it (again). I found it in my recipe box, but it was an incomplete recipe. Some careful Googling helped me find it on the Fine Cooking website. Needless to say, these are delicious.

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1-1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2-1/2 cups room-temperature blueberries (about 13 oz.), washed and drained on paper towels
Be sure to use room-temperature berries. Cold fruit straight from the refrigerator will prevent your dessert from baking evenly.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture. Transfer 2 cups of crumb mixture to another bowl and reserve for the topping. Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs and then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust. You can tamp it with the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out. Bake the crust until it starts to form a dry top, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolk. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.

Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the hot crust and then drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute a little more evenly, but take care not to crush the berries; it’s fine if the lemon mixture isn’t perfectly even. Bake until the lemon mixture just begins to form a shiny skin, 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle the reserved topping over the lemon-blueberry layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps as you sprinkle. Bake until the filling is bubbling at the edges and the topping is brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan using the foil overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the foil and cut into 24 bars when cool. The bars may be stored at room temperature for a few hours but otherwise should be kept in the refrigerator.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 270; Fat (g): 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): 41; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): 140; Cholesterol (mg): 35; Fiber (g): 2

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

We were video chatting with my mom today, and the topic of granola bars came up (because we were eating them), and she asked if we ever made our own, like she used to when I was little. I said I wanted her recipe, and Kate said, "You can tell it to us, and we'll write it down!" So that's what we did. My mom read the recipe while Kate took notes. (She has had a lot of practice since her class had recently compiled a cookbook, and they have been working on writing recipes for weeks.) I thought her finished recipe card was so cute, especially with the little drawing of the granola bar at the bottom. It's quite true that no one likes to make a recipe without a picture of the finished product.
Peanut Butter "Granila" Bars

1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1-1/4 - 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
Other optional ingredients: sunflower seeds, almonds, dates, rice krispies

1 - Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
2 - Add peanut butter and stir until melted,
3 - Stir in remaining ingredients and knead until well blended (if adding chocolate in any form, wait until the mixture is nearly completely cooled).
4 - With well-buttered hands, press into a buttered cookie sheet.
5 - Let cool, then cut into bars, Wrap or store in an airtight container.