Sunday, April 29, 2007

Black-Bottom Coconut Bars

These are awesome. They don't taste too sweet, which I like. There is just enough chocolate and they aren't super gooey. They are the perfect little bite of chocolate and coconut. They are easy to make too. I found this recipe from the Martha Stewart website. A lot of the cookie recipes on there are great.

Black-Bottom Coconut Bars

For the Chocolate Base

1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c flour

For the Coconut Topping

2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 package (7oz) sweetened coconut; 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling

1. For chocolate base: Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with foil, leave a slight overhang; grease the bottom and sides of the foil (not overhang).

2. Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave. Add sugar and salt; whisk to combine. Whisk in egg, then cocoa and flour until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan. (It will be a thin layer).

3. Bake just until sides begin to pull away from the edges of the pan, 10-15 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool slightly while preparing the coconut topping. Keep oven on.

4. For coconut topping: In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sugar and vanilla. Gently mix in flour and coconut (except 1/2 c reserved for sprinkling).

5. Drop mounds of mixture over chocolate base; spread and pat in gently and evenly with moistened fingers. Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 c coconut.

6. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs, 25-30 min. Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan, peel off foil, and cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container 3 to 4 days.

Sweet Dinner Rolls

These are our little family's favorite dinner rolls. As I made them this morning Olivia was waiting in the kitchen salivating. She kept coming in to see if they were done. Finally she got to take a bite and she told me how good they were. They are pretty simple too and the recipe makes just 16 good sized rolls, again not too many. Joey will have most of them eaten before he goes to bed tonight. I like to roll them in crescents, but you could really do any shaped roll. I've even just rolled them into balls. There is something about pulling a crescent roll apart that makes them taste better for some reason. This time I made them with bread flour because I had some around. It makes the rolls chewier and softer. Oh wait, Joey has already eaten 4!

Sweet Dinner Rolls

1/2 c warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 c warm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c butter, very soft
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/4-3 3/4 c all purpose flour or bread flour
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)

Soften yeast in the warm water with about 1 Tbls of the sugar. About 5-10 min.

Warm the butter and the milk together and then let cool to lukewarm. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast.

Add the butter, milk, sugar, and lightly beaten egg. Stir until combined.

Add 1 1/2 c flour and the salt. Beat with an electric beater or the dough hook on a stand mixer.

Add the remaining flour in 1/2 cups stirring with a wooden spoon or use the dough hook on a mixer. I usually use about 3 1/4 c total on this recipe.

When a lumpy, sticky, mass is formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Let it rest 10 min before kneading to let some of the flour absorb. (You end up using less this way)

Knead for 6-8 min.

Place in a greased bowl and turn once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place 1 hour or until doubled.

Punch down dough and let it rest for 10 min. Divide dough in two pieces. Roll one half into a 12 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Roll wedges starting at the wide end; roll gently, but tightly.

Place point side down on a ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 12-15 min, until golden. Let cool on wire racks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mintyyyy . . . Yummyyyyy. . .

Okay, so here's a fabulous addition to the Soft Chewy Chocolate Cookies previously posted: Andies Mints! Just chop them up and add them instead of chocolate chips. They are amazing! This really is such a great recipe. They turn out perfect every time.

Homemade Graham Crackers

I have never even considered the thought of making a cracker. Isn't that something that comes in a box? Graham crackers are a comfort food for me. We would eat them all soggy in milk when we were kids. You either love this or think it is disgusting. I remember one bowl never being enough. My grandma always had graham crackers at her house and they will always remind me of being a kid. This recipe was so simple and so delicious. Of course they don't taste just like the kind in the box, but they taste homemade and even better. I love things that are homemade and that look and taste homemade. This recipe is one of those.

Homemade Graham Crackers

1/2 c all purpose flour
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 Tbls honey
2 Tbls molasses
1/4 c cold water
1 tsp vanilla

In a food processor, mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and process until the mix resembles coarse meal, about 30 sec.

Add the honey molasses, cold water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough starts to come together in a ball, about another 30 sec.

Scrape dough out of the mixer and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Retrieve dough and roll it a bit more if it is not yet 1/8 inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut 2 inch squares. Arrange crackers on parchment lined baking sheets. With a toothpick, prick several holes in each cracker. Bake 15 min or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan.

Note: I didn't feel like measuring out squares so I just used a round cookie cutter. You could really make any shape that you would like. If you want a thinner cracker just roll it thinner and bake for a little less time. They are a little thick in my opinion. You can re-roll the scraps to make more crackers but you have to chill it before you cut it each time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookies

There is something so cozy about Peanut Butter Cookies. It has been a long time since I have made them and I was browsing some recipes and found a new one from the Land-O-Lakes web site. Joey loves peanut butter cookies as long as they are not too peanut buttery. This is a very good recipe for that. They are soft and chewy too, which is a major bonus.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

From Land-0-Lakes

1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Sugar for rolling

Beat brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter on medium speed in a large mixer bowl until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture on low speed and beat until combined.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets; flatten balls in a criss-cross pattern with fork dipped in sugar. Bake for 8-10 min. in a preheated 375 degree oven.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Oatmeal Bread

Another yeast bread success, what can I say?! This bread was soooo good. It is sweet, light, and just delicious. I was surprised by the texture. For some reason I expected it to be heavier. I assume that since the oatmeal is cooked before it is put in the dough, it creates a softer bread. This was simple to make and I liked the fact that it is a small recipe. I didn't have rolls and loaves pouring out of the kitchen like so many bread recipes. I guess if you're going to slave over the kneading process you might as well have an abundance of reward after. Anyway, I liked that this was a small amount of dough to deal with.

Oatmeal Bread

1 c water
1/2 c quick oats (coarsely chopped regular oats)
2 tsp butter
3 1/2 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 c warm water(110 degrees)
2 c all purpose flour

Cook oats in 1c water according to package directions. Remove from heat and stir in butter, brown sugar, and salt. Allow to cool 5 min.

Meanwhile, mix yeast and 1/4 c warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5-10 min, while you cook and cool the oats.

Add oats and flour to yeast and mix until the dough starts to come away from the side of the bowl. (You might leaves some flour behind) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 min). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Turn dough out and gently shape into a round loaf. Place dough on a baking sheet and let rise for 30-45 min. Slash the top of the loaf as desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 min.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool before serving.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I can't remember where I got this recipe from, but I love it. I made these for Joey's students. They are testing this week and we thought it would be fun to have a little homemade "brain food." One student commented, "Your wife needs to open her own bakery. Her cookies are so good." Too much work. Making cookies in mass quantities just doesn't really appeal to me. These are a very good chocolate cookie if you want to use cocoa powder and don't want to fuss with melting chocolate. I have made these plain and used them for ice cream sandwiches, put in Reese's Pieces...they would also be good with peanut butter chips. Once I even sandwiched marshmallow creme between them (Very good, by the way). They make a lot of cookies. I made them with a medium sized ice cream scoop and got 46 cookies. Luckily they were leaving the house so I wouldn't eat them all. This time I made them with white chocolate chips-About 2 cups.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Cookies (Sorry, no fancy name)

1 1/4 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture.

Add in chips, nuts, etc. if desired.

Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 11-15 min. Cool on wire racks.

Note: The dough should be pretty sticky and not dry. The cookies spread, so give them room.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lime Meltaways

I know. Enough with the citrus themed desserts! Don't be fooled by the humble appearance of these little cookies. They have become one of Joey's favorites. They are just small enough to pop in your mouth and they sort of melt. They are not a soft, chewy cookie--more flakey I guess you could say. The lime gives them a little zip. I think they make a perfect little cookie when you are in the mood for something different.

I still have a roll of dough of these in the freezer. You can fit a ton on the pan because they don't spread.

Lime Meltaways

12 Tbls butter, room temperature
1 c powdered sugar, divided into 1/3 and 2/3
Grated zest of 2 limes
2 Tbls lime juice (About 2 limes)
1 Tbls vanilla
1 3/4, plus 2 Tbls Flour
2 Tbls Cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter and 1/3 c of the powdered sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.

In medium bowl whisk flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Beat low until combined.

Roll dough into 2 1 1/4 " logs. Wrap in wax paper and chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment . Place remainig 2/3 c powdered sugar in a resealable plastick bag. Slice dough into 1/8" rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets 1"apart. Bake about 13-15 min or until barely golden. While still warm, toss in the sugar to coat then cool on wire racks.

*The dough itself is not very sweet so don't be alarmed. They taste just right with the powdered sugar coating them. You can also store these in the freezer if you don't want to bake them right away and slice them frozen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cowboy Cookies

Finally I have something to post! I've been baking as much as a full-time teacher possibly can, but I never seem to take a picture. So, I enlisted Nate and his growing photography talent to take a picture of what I consider to be one of the most perfect chocolate chip cookies I've found so far. I'm always on a quest for a better something: a better sugar cookie or better lemon bar (I can't wait to try one with macadamia nuts Annie!) even though I have really great recipes already. But, that quest for perfection (in baking at least!) led me to a little something from our first lady, Laura Bush. It's got every good 'extra' a cookie should have: chocolate chips, oatmeal, pecans and coconut. I made really big ones using the directions for 1/4 cup sized dough and smaller ones. They were both delicious!
One caution: this recipe makes a LOT of dough. After adding the final ingredients, my KitchenAid was about to overflow. So, maybe half the recipe, even though it's tricky with 3 eggs. Enjoy!

Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 eggs1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)


1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

3. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla

5. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

6. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

7. Bake in oven for 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

Note: For 6 dozen small cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough for each. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 18 minutes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Macadamia Nut Lemon Bars

I really love lemon bars and in my quest to find a way to use my last bit of macadamia nuts I found this recipe. I don't think I am all that great at making lemon bars, but they still taste good. I think they turned out sort of gummy. The macadamia nuts add just the right touch to the recipe and the flavor goes well with the lemon. All in all, not a bad recipe.

Macdamia Nut Lemon Bars


1 c all purpose flour
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
1/4 c chopped macadamia nuts


1 c sugar
2 Tbl all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbl chopped macadamia nuts
powdered sugar-to sprinkle on top

In a bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and butter; stir in nuts. Press ontp the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 8x8 inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min or until lighly browned.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 10-15 min or until browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars and sprkinkle with the powdered sugar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

What do you do with leftover Easter candy? Find something to bake them in. These are by far my favorite oatmeal cookies. The dough is extremely dangerous. I could eat the whole thing. Pair it with m&m's, my favorite little chocolate candies, and you have a stomach ache waiting to happen. Today I resisted. It was not easy, but just a couple of tastes of dough and one cookie didn't completely obliterate all of the work I did at the gym at 5:30 this morning. I love this recipe because the cookies are chewy and slightly crispy on the edges. I don't put the cinnamon in when I add chocolate to them, but they are also extremely delicious plain with the cinnamon added.

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (I always splash in a little extra)
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon(if desired)
3 c oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 1/2 cups - 2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time. Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the cream mixture. Mix in oats until just combined. Add chocolate chips, etc. if desired. Cover and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees*. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment. Roll into walnut sized balls. Place 2 inches apart. Flatten each with a fork. Bake 8-10 min.

*I made big cookies so I baked them at 365 degrees for 10 min so the edges wouldn't brown too quickly.

Sugar Cookies on a Stick

In order for sugar cookies to stay on a cookie stick, it has to be a more dense cookie. I have made cookies on sticks every Easter for the past 3 or 4 years and I have used a different recipe every year. This time I found a really good one that I will use from now on. The cookie has a great buttery flavor, is dense enough to hold up on a stick and still soft.

Sugar Cookies for Sticks
3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 sticks butter, unsalted, softened
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
dash of almond extract (if you have it-I didn't)

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, salt, and both extracts.
Slowly add the flour mixture (1 c at a time) and stir until incorporated.
Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8" thick. Cut the cookies into shapes and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet; poke a cookie stick into the cookies. (I do it slowly and twist it in)
Bake the cookies for 8-10 min or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 min. and then place them on a rack to cool. Do not stand the cookies up until they are completely cooled and the center has set or it may fall off.

These also made cute treats for the Young Women with the extra dough.

Lime Macadamia Nut Cookies

These cookies are my first attempt at creating my own cookie recipe. I only made a small batch in case they turned out horribly. I must say that they weren't bad. Not the taste I was going for. I wanted more lime and less macadamia nuts and I wanted them chewier. I don't have that science down yet. But, they were a good cookie. Almost like shortbread, but a little softer.

Lime Macadamia Nut Cookies
1/2 c butter, softened to room temp.
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 Tbls lime juice (About 2 Limes)
1/2 tsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c toasted macadamia nuts (maybe 1/2 c would be better)

Cream the butter and sugars. Add the lime juice and zest. Add the eggs and vanilla.
Stir together in a separate bowl the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Fold in the macadamia nuts. The dough is pretty sticky. Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Chubby Bunny Buns

I added the "Chubby" to the name of these buns because 1. Mine turned out chubby and 2. If I eat more than one I will be chubby. These were a fun Easter treat that I made last night and then baked them this morning. I used an orange roll recipe, but any sweet roll recipe would work. They are pretty simple to shape.
Bunny Buns
(I halved the recipe and made BIG buns)
2 1/2 c Scalded milk
1 c butter
2/3 c sugar
1 Tbl salt
2 packages dry active yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c orange juice
10 c flour
2 Tbls orange zest (I left this out)
Scald milk in microwave or over a stove top. Combine the scalded milk, sugar and butter. Cool to luke warm. Add the yeast. Let yeast dissolve for 10 min. Add eggs, orange juice and zest. Beat throughly. Add 1/2 the flour and the 1 Tbls of salt. Mix until smooth. Add remaining flour 1/2 c at a time. The dough should be fairly sticky and soft. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-8 min. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover and rise to double; about 1 hour. Punch down the dough and let it stand for 10 min. Shape dough into 15 inch strips about 1/2 inch in diameter (like a play doh snake). Make a loop with the dough and twist to form the head and ears. Roll a small piece of dough for the tail and place it in the loop. Cover and let buns rise for 30 min. Bake 15 min at 375 degrees. Spread with glaze and decorate to make a bunny face.
Orange Glaze
1 c powdered sugar
2 Tbls Orange juice
1 tsp orange zest