Holiday Gingerdoodles

2013-12-04 10.26.06One of the most enjoyable parts of the holidays for me is gift-giving. I like to think of myself as a little elf distributing packages of holiday cheer ūüėČ Just kidding. But I really do love spreading joy and love this time of year.

Since baking is my happy place (and also more personal – and less expensive – than more other gifts), I usually like to make festive treats, wrap them up in sweet little packages, and deliver them to friends and family in the area. (I had planned on sending these out to loved ones in other states, as well, until I got to the post office and realized how much it was going to cost to ship all the packages… YIKES! It’s the thought that counts, right?!)

2013-11-26 23.12.42These were my Thanksgiving  gifts this year. Last week I baked up some goodies, downloaded these cute (and free!) printable gift tags from She Wears Many Hats, and dug out my rolls of raffia (perfect for a harvest theme), to assemble little gift bags.

I got some really great feedback on these “gingerdoodles.” I admit, I even tried a few myself. They are pretty awesome! Definitely more festive and flavorful than your typical boring snickerdoodle cookie, these soft, gooey treats are filled with that wholesome molasses flavor. Try making the for a holiday crowd, or just for yourself!

Holiday Gingerdoodles

Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses. Whip 1-2 minutes or until it turns a light brown color. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just combined.

2013-11-25 10.59.08Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and coat in granulated sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes or until outside looks cooked but inside is still soft and gooey. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2013-10-21 22.21.04HELLO readers! Oh, how I’ve missed you so. I sincerely apologize for my brief absence; this week was the last of the current term in my Master’s program, and, needless to say, I spent the majority of it frantically finishing up final projects, presentations and classroom observations. Of course, I did what I do best to manage the stress: cooked through the crazy! There was, however, not a single spare moment to write to y’all about my triumphs in the kitchen.

BUT, that’s all changed now. I’ve got a nice long break from classes ahead of me, so I’m back and ready to share with you some truly awesome recipes! I mean really, I have outdone myself. But, first, I want to share the health(ier) baking recipe I promised a while back. There are the moistest and cakiest cookies I have produced in quite some time, AND I made them without butter and using homemade applesauce instead of oil! Needless to say, they were a huge hit. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I present:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup homemade applesauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1 11oz bag chocolate chips

2013-10-21 22.09.27Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, and egg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir into the wet ingredients. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir for about one minute. Add vanilla and chocolate chips and stir until combined.

2013-10-21 22.09.41Prepare a baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. Drop cookies on by the spoonful. Bake for 10-12 minutes.


Apple Sausage Cheddar Quiche

2013-10-17 09.27.18I’m sure by now you’ve had about enough of the apple recipes… but GUESS WHAT? I’ve got some more comin’ to ya! Getting rid of 30 apples is no small task, let me tell you, and I am proud to say that I found some pretty creative ways to do it.

This recipe, thankfully, is not another dessert, but a deliciously savory breakfast dish! I got the idea of an apple-sausage quiche from an Instagram post of a friend of mine, and immediately went to work to find a recipe that I could replicate. ¬†For me, cheese is a vital quiche ingredient. I decided on cheddar because the sharpness pairs so nicely with the tartness of the apples and the sweet italian sausage. Of course I piled on the veggies, in this case plenty of chopped onion and green pepper, and added a little fresh basil from my herb garden to a prepared pie crust before pouring the egg/milk mixture over the top. Just bake and voila! A tasty, nutritious and out of the ordinary meal that is easy as pie to make – no pun intended. The best part? The numerous compliments I received from my taste-testers, and the leftovers lasted for days ūüôā

2013-10-17 10.31.28Apple Sausage Cheddar Quiche

Adapted from Sweet Luvin in the Kitchen

  • 1 9-inch pie crust (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2-1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups (6-oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fresh apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Johnathan apple picked from the orchard, but Granny Smith or any other tart cooking apple would work, as well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • Paprika

2013-10-17 10.31.51With your pie crust fitted in a pie plate, prick bottoms and sides of pie crust with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. Brown sausage in a large skilled, stirring until it crumbles. Drain and cool. Combine sausage, cheese and next 5 ingredients; spoon into prepared crust. Beat eggs. Pour over sausage mixture, along with milk to cover. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes OR until set. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. For even more hearty goodness in the morning, add some southwestern skillet potatoes on the side.


So Good Apple Pie

I don’t like to brag (OK that’s not true, but who doesn’t like to brag occasionally?!), but I make THE BEST apple pie. Trust me, I have the feedback to prove it. So, now that I’m in my seasonal apple frenzy, I would like to share my tried and true apple pie recipe with you, readers. I hope you try it out for an upcoming holiday dinner or celebration! Don’t be afraid to leave comments of gratitude when your guests’ compliments start flowing ūüėČ

2013-10-12 12.07.34So Good Apple Pie

  • Pastry for 9-in double pie crust (store-bought or homemade, if you need directions click here)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4¬†cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8¬†teaspoon salt
  • 8¬†cups tart apples (about 8 medium, or 6 large), peeled and¬†thinly sliced (I like to use Cortland if picked fresh from an orchard; Granny Smith also work just fine)
  • 2¬†tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling.

Roll out the other pastry onto a counter and cut into 8 strips, approximately 1-1.5 inches thick. Assemble the strips into a lattice- alternating over and under. Press the two edges together and onto rim of pie plate to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Sprinkle crust with granulated sugar crystals, if desired, for a fancy touch.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the crust, removing foil for last 8-10 minutes of baking. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm, if desired, with fresh vanilla ice cream!


Oatmeal Buttermilk Sandwich Bread

DSC02033Another buttermilk recipe, yay! I decided to make this one, first, because I still have A TON of buttermilk left, and this one uses one and a half whole cups…super exciting. I also¬†love¬†making sandwiches for lunches during the week, and homemade bread puts them over the top. I love that this recipe uses whole wheat flour, honey, and oats; it also doesn’t require a bread maker. The end result if absolutely delicious, moist and dense.¬†Be sure to store the bread in an airtight container of some kind, otherwise it will mold easily.

DSC02032This bread can be used for all kinds of sandwiches and paninis; here is one of my delicious concoctions: a Pesto, Avocado and Spinach Turkey Sandwich, which blended perfectly with the flavors of the honey and oatmeal. I used swiss cheese on this sandwich so I elected not to grill it as a panini. I also highly recommend trying this bread out topped with some roast beef, provolone, brown mustard, arugala and balsamic vinegar for a spicy treat. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
barely adapted from Pink Parsley
makes 1 10-inch loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp + 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Set aside 1/4 cup of the rolled oats, and stir the remaining 1 1/4 cups into the boiling water.   Allow to soak for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk 2 teaspoons of the honey into the warm water in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Stir in the yeast, then add the soaked oats, buttermilk, and olive oil.  Stir to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flours, 1 cup at a time, until a soft and shaggy dough forms.  Add the salt, mix to combine, and switch to the dough hook attachment.

Increase the speed to medium, and knead for about 10 minutes.¬† Add more flour or water as necessary, but I don’t think I added any extra of either.

Transfer the dough to a large, lightly-oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise in a warm place 60-90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, flatten it with your hands, and press into a 12×6 inch rectangle, positioned so the long side is facing you.¬† Fold the 2 short halves to meet in the center. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log, and allow it to sit on its seam for about 5 minutes.

DSC02023Transfer the log to a well-oiled 10-inch loaf pan, and press the dough into all the corners.  Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey with 1/2 teaspoon of very hot water.  Brush the top of the dough with the mixture, then sprinkle the top with the remaining oatmeal.  cover lightly with plastic wrap or a lint-free kitchen towel, and allow to rise 35-45 minutes, or until it clears the top of the loaf pan.

Bake at 385 degrees for 1 hour, or until the top is well-browned and the center is cooked through.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.


Indulgent Buttermilk Brownies

DSC02036In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been cooking with buttermilk a lot lately. This is simply because I was forced to buy an entire 1/2 gallon of buttermilk a couple weeks ago for a recipe that needed about 1/2 cup. Of course, I didn’t want to just throw away all that buttermilk; instead, I have been indulging. With the stress of starting a new semester and getting situated with a new job and observations in an elementary school classroom, , I’m not really complaining. This time, my fix was, of course, chocolate and some deliciously moist Buttermilk Brownies. These are more cake-like and less chocolate-y than the traditional fudgy brownies, but the sauce on top makes them to-die-for. Thank goodness I still had some of my Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream on hand to go with them!

Buttermilk Brownies

adapted from Cookin Up North

1 c. butter
1 c. water
3 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c.buttermilk
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
DSC02034Mix the dry ingredients together. Bring the butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Add to dry ingredients, add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs. Mix well and pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa
1/3 c. butter milk
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Bring the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Pour onto bars. Sprinkle with extra semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired.

Perfectly Moist Buttermilk Banana Bread


I found this recipe on Pinterest when I was searching for ways to use up some leftover buttermilk that I had from another recipe. It needed a few alterations (most importantly, I noticed that the original recipe did not include any cinnamon –¬†gasp!), but I will DEFINITELY be making this recipe again! It came out perfectly moist and sumptuous, plus the nuts were a great little tangy surprise in every bite. 5 stars!
Buttermilk Banana Bread
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3‚ĀĄ4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup canola oil
  • 1‚ĀĄ3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2‚ĀĄ3 cup chopped nuts (I used some pecans as well as some almonds I had leftover from a toffee recipe)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Heat oven to 350¬į. Coat a 9″ x 5″ x ‚Ä®2 3‚ĀĄ4″ loaf pan with cooking spray (I like to use the one specially made for baking because it also has flour in it); set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

DSC02001Whisk together sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

Add nuts and mashed bananas and whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 60‚Äď65 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

I found that this recipe paired amazingly well with my Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream! Make sure the bread is warm so it makes the ice cream nice and melty.