Monday

Cinnamon Rolls


Let's Chat about Cinnamon Rolls

I'm pretty open to different versions: white sugar or brown sugar, different bread recipes...but I do have 2 absolute will not waiver requirements.

#1- NO RAISINS. 
Pretty Please? I don't know why they offend me so, but they do. Save the raisins for trail mix, they have no business in your sweet roll (or mine anyway).  

#2- Every cinnamon roll from my kitchen will be topped with CREAM CHEESE frosting. 
The powdered sugar icing business is just fine, BUT cream cheese frosting takes it to a whole new level.

This is my go-to bread recipe because it is pretty much no fail. 
I put everything in my Bosch mixer and mix away, easy peasy.

Bread Dough Recipe
2 1/2 cups Warm Water
3 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
3 Tablespoons yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
8-9 cups flour 
1 stick of softened butter
Brown sugar for sprinkling (at least 2 cups)
Cinnamon for sprinkling  (at least 4 tablespoons
(add 1/2 cup at a time after 7 cups to desired consistency)

Mix all ingredients together in your stand mixer with dough hook attachment. 

Put a little bit of canola oil in a large bowl and use a paper towel to spread the oil. 

Form the dough from your mixer into a ball and place the ball in the oiled bowl. 

Cover with a kitchen towel & let the dough rise for 1 hour. 

After one hour, punch the dough down and let rise again for 30 minutes. 

Flour your counter-top, punch down the dough and pinch off about 1/3 -1/2 of the dough (whichever amount you are most comfortable working with). 

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to be about 1/2 inch thick. 

You want to roll your dough in a rectangle shape (cut sides to make a rectangle if you need to and use that extra dough in your next batch). 

When you have your rectangle, take about 1/2 a stick of softened butter (or more, use your judgement, but be generous) and spread it onto the dough with your hands, covering the entire thing with butter. 

Next, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of cinnamon on top of the butter and spread it around followed by a cup or so of brown sugar, spread evenly. 

Starting on one of the long sides of your rectangle, tightly roll the dough towards you until all the dough is rolled. 

Place the dough roll seam-side down on the counter, cut 1 inch segments and place in a greased pyrex or cookie sheet. 

Rise an additional 30-45 minutes. 

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or so. 

This is a picture of them mid-bake in my dirty well loved oven.
  
While your rolls are baking, make your 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1-8oz block of cream cheese softened
1 stick of softened butter
1 tsp vanilla 
3 cups powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until fully incorporated.

I like to frost my rolls right out of the oven so the cream cheese frosting drips down into every place possible and covers the cinnamon roll 
all nice and gooey like!







Wednesday

Dressing up your box of Brownies: Peanut Butter Buttercream & Chocolate Ganache



Sometimes, you just need a quick fix. 
An add eggs and water and whisk kind of fix. That's perfectly okay in my book. In fact, I love myself a Ghirardelli Brownie Mix brownie and was quite excited to find the mix at Costco (oh the things my food storage is made of).  Today we are talking about how to bring those box brownies to the next level, and I have just the trick if you are looking for something fancy.

First, make your brownies and let them cool.
 Be sure to lick the whisk after: Best part of making brownies.

Next, prepare your Peanut Butter Buttercream. Friends, this stuff is DIVINE. In fact, often, I will just frost my brownies with this and end it there. 

PB BUTTERCREAM
3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups of creamy peanut butter 
1 tsp vanilla 
3 cups powdered sugar (more for consistency)
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream (add more or less for consistency)

In your stand mixer, combine butter, peanut butter and vanilla and mix well.
Add powdered sugar and mix.
Add cream slowly until you reach desired consistency.

Spread onto brownies

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1 bag of your favorite semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
6 tablespoons of heavy cream

Place in a glass microwaveable bowl
Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and combined
Pour on top of buttercream layer and spread

Let the ganache set (you may refrigerate).

Thankful: Thanksgiving 2015

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, 

I have been reflecting on what I am most grateful for this year.

It is interesting that year to year, my list isn't all that different, however,

 things seem to be listed in a different order depending on life and circumstances. 

This year, my thoughts are short and sweet. 

I am most grateful for the things of this life that are 

everlasting, unwavering & steadfast.

This year, my gratitude is for my faith in a higher being and Elder Brother.

One that allows me to cast my fears and doubts aside 

while giving me hope to look up.

And my gratitude also lies in my family. 

Those who know me best, who bring joy to my life & who are my greatest treasure.

...and butter...and cream cheese...also great treasures in my book. 

Happiest Thanksgiving to You and Yours
 
{Also grateful for dear friends with amazing talents. Print by Lisa at Hand Lettered Designs & photos by Lindsey at Baby Love Photography}


Thursday

Muffins: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip



3-1/3 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Large Eggs
2 Cups Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Melted Butter 
1-1/2 Cups of your favorite Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat your oven to 350. 

In your stand mixer, mix pumpkin and butter. 

Add eggs. 

In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. 

Add dry ingredients to mixer and mix until incorporated. 

Fold in chocolate chips. 

Line cupcake tins and fill each cup 2/3 of the way. 

Sprinkle the tops of each cup with granulated sugar 
(this makes the most delightful little crunch at the top. Don't skip it. Or do...but I tell you, you're missing out). 

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sunday

Dressing up your cookies

It sounds like a silly question, but have you ever tried to dress up your cookies? 
I'm talking your classic chocolate chip, peanut butter, & oatmeal? 

This is one of my favorite gifts to give because...well, who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie? Especially a delicious one with a twist!


Today, at church, I was in charge of bringing a little treat to all of the teachers and leaders of the children's Sunday School (we call it Primary), and then also bring a treat to a meeting later this evening.

I had a busy weekend and wanted to bake something that would be fast and delicious. Oatmeal Cookies it was. I love a good oatmeal cookie- add a dip of chocolate or frost with cream cheese frosting and it takes it to a whole new level & satisfies adults and kiddos alike. [See my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe under Bakehouse recipes & leave out the chips]

To Dip:
Microwave 1-1/2 cups of your favorite semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of Crisco in a glass bowl for 1 minute. Stir vigorously and microwave in additional 15 second increments until melted. Take your cooled cookies and dip until your heart is content. I added some Guittard real Chocolate sprinkles and I placed the dip cookies on parchment paper to set.

To Frost: Make Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 8oz block of cream cheese at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
Mix until creamy, then add
3 cups of powdered sugar
Mix and scrape sides and make sure you have no clumps.
Frost or Pipe on cooled cookies, then place in the refrigerator to set.
 

Place Cookies in a cute parchment bag, add a little "Thank you" label to close the bag- then tie a little baking twine- for no other reason than it's cute (but just as delicious without). I was having this internal struggle at 12:30am knowing that the cookies would be appreciated just fine without the twine, and yet the twine prevailed (so much for simplifying). Baking twine is just one of those things that makes me happy- and I'll gladly own the craziness that is

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies








Is there anything more delicious than an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie? 

Nothing to me says comfort like a warm, chewy, slightly undercooked oatmeal chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. 

DELISH.  

Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to that goodness… 

HEAVEN. 

Cookies are my jam. I’d take a delicious cookie over any ole’ piece of pie, cake, crisp, you name it. Cookie wins in my book. I have had the hardest time deciding what my “signature” go-to oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe is. I have made DOZENS of recipes. Nothing I’ve made lives up to a few of my bakery favorites…until possibly now. I have played with this recipe and tweaked it here and there and by golly, I think I have it.
IMG_2959

RECIPE:


4 large eggs room temperature

4 sticks of butter room temperature

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons vanilla extract (yes that says tablespoons)

6 cups old fashioned oats

3 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 cups milk chocolate chips 
(or semi-sweet, or whatever you fancy, butterscotch, white chocolate, peanut butter…there’s no bad choice here friends)
 IMG_2964

Begin by creaming your butter and sugars. I love to use my Bosch 
(and just so ya’ll know, the Bosch is on sale at Costco…for much cheaper than I bought mine for AND with way more included. Seriously. If I could buy you one, I would. It’s that fantastic).

[Public service announcement over]


After your butter and sugars are creamed, add your vanilla. 

Then your eggs-one by one until incorporated.


Sift flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Add and only mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix here.


Then add your oats and then your chocolate chips. Don’t over mix here either.


Scoop dough with a cookie scoop (or a big spoon) and place on your cookie sheet.

Here's the kicker

Refrigerate your dough balls for at least 2 hours. I know…this doesn’t seem fair. BUT, it helps so your cookies keep from spreading too thin, and keeps that crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside goodness going on. Try it.

But try some dough first.

IMG_2967

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.


Bake for 8-11 minutes.

Mine were delicious at about 9.


Brown on top, gooey in the middle- TO DIE FOR

Nothing makes your house feel like home like the smell of cookies baking in your oven. If you time it right so the kids are smacked in the face with such aromas when they walk in the door from school…you might even become their favorite over Dad…for at least a minute or two.

Wednesday

Pumpkin Bread

This is a keeper. 

Truth: I made this for my kids lunches. I ran out of bread for sandwiches and time to go to the store. I remembered at 10:30PM so I quickly whipped up a batch and a half (which gave me 4 large loaves) and my kids have been in heaven (and I still haven't been to the store) all week!

Pre-heat oven to 350

3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
4 eggs
 2 Cups Canned Pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Cinnamon
3 1/2 Cups Flour
Nuts Optional (I love chopped Pecans)
1 bag Chocolate Chips

In your stand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, whisk together salt, soda, spices, and flour. 
Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated. 
Add Chocolate Chips and Nuts and give it one last stir.
Pour into greased Loaf Pans.


Bake 1 hour for large pans & 30-45 minutes for small ones.

Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner and every snack in between.
Nothing says November like Pumpkin Bread. 



This recipe will make 2 large loaf pans and 4-5 minis. 

Enjoy!

Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

This one is quick and easy and a "go-to" looks and tastes like I spent a long time {but I did not} recipe.

And...pretty much every man's favorite 
{let's be honest, Ive totally had it for breakfast}
...there are donuts, and then there is this. 

Make sure you have a tall glass of ice cold milk to go with it.


Cake Recipe
One box of Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 cups Sour Cream
3 eggs
12 or so Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Pre-heat oven to 350

Use your stand mixer to combine the cake mix powder, sour cream and eggs and beat until creamy. 

Generously spray bundt pan and pour half of your batter into the pan.

Place the Peanut Butter Cups on top of the batter in a nice little circle around the pan then pour remaining batter on top and smooth batter.

Bake 35-45 minutes
 
To Frost
Melt 1/2 cup peanut butter in microwave safe glass bowl for 20 seconds.
Pour on top of cake
In the same bowl, add half a bag of milk chocolate chips and 1 Tablespoon Canoloa oil and microwave in 15 second increments until melted.
Pour on top of Peanut Butter layer
Top with chopped Reese's or chopped peanuts if you'd like. 

This recipe was shared with me by one of my most favorite people (and treat makers) and her lovely sister. 
Every recipe they have ever shared with me is a winner. 
When they say "you have to try this" indeed you do. 
They have never steered me wrong.

Monday

"Swig" Style Sugar Cookies

 These are "Swig" style cookies. Swig is a Utah phenomenon where dirty diet cokes meet homemade cookie goodness...and let me tell you, it's not a bad gig at all.
I've had myself a Swig cookie or two each time I've gone, made a few of the knock-off recipes and decided with a little tweak here and there, that these are my very favorite sugar cookie...as of late.


 Cookie Ingredients
11 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 -1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
2- 1/2  cup sugar
1 -1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons water
 4 eggs, room temperature
1 lemon, zested
 2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting Ingredients
10 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup heaping sour cream
4-5 tablespoons milk
7 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Food coloring

Pre-heat oven to 350

Begin by whisking together the  flour, salt, soda & tarter in a separate bowl. 
In your stand mixer, mix butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Slowly adding oil while mixer is going, then the eggs, then the water and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Zest one lemon into the bowl then add flour mixture and only mix until incorporated.

Scoop dough onto cookie sheets using cookie scoop. I have enjoyed making these with both my medium and large scoops. After the dough is scooped, using the bottom of a drinking glass or mason jar, dip it into granulated sugar and then use it to smash the dough flat until it's about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness.


Bake cookies 8-10 minutes. These definitely are meant to be under versus over-cooked. Do not over-bake. After baked, immediately transfer them to a wire rack to cool. 
To Frost
Begin by creaming butter, sour cream, and salt. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. Add food coloring and vanilla and mix. Spread over cooled cookies.


To store cookies, put them in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Don't forget to put parchment paper between layers. 





Thursday

Let's talk Caramel...and apples


 Oh sweet caramel
You sure make this time of year the very best!
One of my favorite caramels to buy is called Peter's Caramel and is sold in 5lb loafs.
You may be thinking, who needs 5lbs of caramel?
I do.
I used this baby in one day. 

Just think of the possibilities...
Caramel Apples, Carmelitas, Homemade Twix Bars, and Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars...

Yesterday, it was Caramel Apples. Remember those Utah farm apples I bought?
I couldn't bring myself to can them this year. 
So Caramel Apples it is.

Peter's was particularly easy to use, you put the caramel in a dutch oven or sauce pan, heat your oven to 200 and let it melt in there for about 60-90 minutes.
(I went to Nordstrom and back while mine melted- thank you Bobbi Brown counter- family pictures are this weekend and this mid-thirties gal needed some concealer if you know what I mean).

 Once the caramel was melted, I pulled the stems and put sticks into my apples. My apples were washed and free from the shiny wax that the grocery stores put on them (this helps the caramel to stick to the apple). Then I went to town dipping away.

The caramel started to cool rather quickly so I had to work fast and then put the pot of caramel back in the oven for 20 minutes or so to finish the batch. When you are dipping, patience is a virtue. Once your apple is coated, continue to hold it over the pan and spin it a bit to allow excess caramel to fall back into the pan. If you skimp on this step, your caramel will fall and pool on the bottom. I was pretty patient for a few apples and then I totally had some pooling towards the end. Still delish.

After dipping, I set the apples on parchment paper to cool. Don't make the mistake of using wax paper as it will stick to your caramel (and that's just no fun).  Dip the apple again in melted chocolate or drizzle it on- I had some Ghirardelli melts in milk and white chocolate and they were seriously tasty with this caramel. We also used toasted almonds, Oreo crumbs, and some Halloween sprinkles (all things we had hanging around from previous projects). I let my kiddos and their friends decorate their apples and they had a [messy creative] blast. 


 Here are a few of the apples I made



Wrapped up, and tied with a bow, they are pretty darn cute and a fun gift to give.


Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

This soup recipe is an all time favorite of mine. I love to make it to take to someone in need of a yummy dinner after having a baby, an illness, or just a hard day. Comfort food at it's finest and always a hit. This will soon become a favorite of yours too!




1 rotisserie chicken picked apart OR
3 Chicken Breasts slow roasted with olive oil, garlic salt, and black pepper, chop the chicken

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

3 Tablespoons of butter

2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup of hot water

1 teaspoon of cumin

2 cups half and half

2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

1 can cream style corn

1 can green chilies (sometimes I add 2)

2 cups of frozen sweet corn from Costco (I never measure this, eye ball it). Yes, you could use any frozen corn, or even canned corn, and it would still taste good…but I’m telling you…cross my heart, Costco sweet corn takes you from good to phenomenal.

6 shakes of Tapatio, or Chalula, or Tabasco. Don’t skip this. It adds dimension, not necessarily spice.

1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro.

Chopped avocado (optional) but really, when doesn’t avocado make your life better?


D I R E C T I O N S


Saute onions in butter until translucent. 
Add minced garlic and cook for a minute or so.

Add water/bouillon and cumin. Boil for 5 minutes.

Add chicken, cream-style corn, frozen corn, 
half and half, shredded cheese, and green chilies.

Stir until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

Add hot sauce and cilantro.

Serve.

Top with avocados if you’d like.

Wednesday

Carmelitas

You will never forget your first Carmelita. This is an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie meets caramel gooey goodness in bar form. Always a crowd favorite and a holiday must.

4 cups all-purpose flour
  2teaspoon baking soda
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  4 sticks of butter, at room temperature
  3 cups light brown sugar
4 cups quick-cooking oats
28 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups milk chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Spray jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Using your stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar about 3 minutes. 
Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture.
 Add the oats and mix on low briefly to just combine.  Do not over-mix.
Spread and press half the dough into the jelly roll pan until you have an even layer.
 Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

While the dough is baking, combine the evaporated milk and caramels in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. 
Stir the mixture constantly until all the caramels are melted and you have a thick sauce.

Once out of the oven, sprinkle the cookie base evenly with chocolate chips, then carefully pour the caramel sauce over the cookie base and chocolate. 
Spread the caramel into an even layer.

Sprinkle the remaining cookie dough over the top of the caramel for an even coating over the whole dish.

Return to the oven, baking for another 15 minutes.
Once out of the oven, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. 
Cut into squares and serve. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.









Monday

||Crock-Pot|| Balsamic Roast Beef


The Balsamic Vinegar in this recipe is such a great twist on a classic Sunday dinner. This roast fell apart with the touch of a fork and was full of flavor. It also pairs deliciously with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus and a green garden salad.


Recipe:

1- 3 to 4lb boneless round or chuck roast (defrosted if frozen)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced

In a small bowl, combine the following: broth, vinegar, Worcestershire, honey, garlic.
Place roast (fat side up) in your crock pot. Pour mixture over the top and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Set timer 6-8 hours on low.

Roast is ready when it easily falls apart with a fork. Remove from crock-pot with tongs and place into serving dish. Break apart with two forks and ladle some juice over the meat (skimming fat off the top first). Use remaining juice to ladle over garlic mashed potatoes, or thicken like gravy if you wish.




Thursday

Giving thanks ||Teachers||


I think Bing Crosby sang it best,  

“An apple for the teacher will always do the trick when you don’t know your lesson in arithmetic”
Apples have long been a standing tradition in teacher gifts. Today, I put a little Bakehouse touch to the concept and sent my kiddos along to school (late, none the less...good thing they had a yummy treat). Apple pie bars with a little jar of salted caramel to drizzle on top, all wrapped up with a lace bow. 
Simple. Cute. Delish.


We have been blessed to have (and have had) incredible teachers for our kiddos. Each year, I am amazed at the tireless work they do; the behind the scenes preparation and the devotion they have to their jobs. They are selfless, giving, kind, and I am often left sad at how little they are compensated for their efforts. 

Teachers are with my kiddos as much during the day as I am, five days a week. This makes them very important people in my book. They are often there not only to teach educationally, but to teach character, social skills, a love for learning. They are there to wipe a tear, band aid a wound, and quiet fears when I am not. I am grateful for the work they do and wish I could do more to show my appreciation.

  Whether it's an apple or an apple pie bar, or just a note of sincere thanks; remember the important people in your children's lives. Being deliberate in my children's school lives and creating relationships with the people who are next to me in the amount of work and love they give to my children has never failed me. In fact, it has enhanced my relationship with my kiddos in ways that nothing else could.