Category Archives: dessert

Cinnamon Crunch Skillet Bread

I saw a recipe on Pinterest that was described as a cross between monkey bread and cinnamon roll. The sound of it reminded me of my favorite Great Harvest bread Cinnamon Chip. I knew I would have to make it ASAP.

I tried to make this for/with my pals the other day but failed to read through the entire recipe to note that the dough required an two periods of resting time totaling about 1.5 hours. (Bolding that, in case you are like me!) Oops. So, make this recipe a day ahead, or start it early if you are a really nice early bird and want to make a delicious breakfast treat. Maybe just don’t make it when you invite people over who are really hungry!

This recipe IS super easy, but the way it was written, it looks elaborate. I’m going to break it down step by step.

Cinnamon Crunch Skillet Bread
serves 8+  // recipe adapted from Seasons and Suppers

STEP ONE: Make the dough
Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. fine salt
3 tsp. instant or dry active yeast
1 cup milk, warmed to 105-110° F.
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter

Step One Directions:
1. Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water, if you are using dry active yeast.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
3. Add the warmed milk, vegetable oil and proofed (or instant, which I love) yeast.
4. Knead with the dough hook until dough is smooth, adding more flour by the Tbsp. as necessary. I did not have to use any more flour.
5. Remove dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise to doubled, about 60 minutes.

STEP TWO: Roll the dough out20131117-141019.jpg
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Sept two directions:
1. Clean your counters! Grease a 8-10″ oven safe cast iron skillet.
2. Divide dough into two pieces and roll into a rope about 3 feet long.
3. Liberally brush with melted butter mixed with the vanilla.

STEP THREE: Coat the dough in brown sugar20131117-141038.jpg
Ingredients
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Step three directions:
1. Pour the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly alongside the buttered ropes and then roll the ropes in the mixture until evenly covered.
2. Pinch the end of the ropes together and then twist them together, pinching the other end once all twisted together.
3. Place twisted ropes into the skillet, starting from the centre and winding it around. (If you have some melted butter left over from brushing, feel free to drizzle it over the dough).
4. Cover the skillet with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, it takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes.

STEP FOUR: Make the ‘crunch’ part of the recipe, bake! 20131117-141049.jpg
Ingredients
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cold
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step four directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare the streusel topping by combining dry ingredients and cutting in the cold butter with a fork. Set aside.
3. Once dough is doubled, sprinkle with streusel topping and bake for for 40-45 minutes, covering it with foil after 25 or 30 minutes if is dark enough.

STEP FIVE: Make the icing/glaze
1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of alt

Step five directions: 
1. Add the milk to the powdered sugar. Stir well until smooth.
2. Add in the melted butter, vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt.
3. Pour evenly over bread once it has cooled a bit. Truth be told, I only used HALF of the icing, and then took half in a bowl for everyone to spoon over their bread.

STEP 6: Look at how fancy the recipe you just made is! Eat!
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I took this to a football (watching) party. NOT your typical football snack, but why not. These photos are a little blurry as I was running out the door. Sorry, but football waits for no one, apparently.

The dough was light and sort-of reminiscent of a croissant. The top was crusty and the bottom was gooey. This would taste best a little warm and fresh out of the oven with some coffee.

This is my 100th post. I’ll take my medal any time.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

I am my mother. I was making this recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread when I realized this for about the 1,000th time in my life.

Every year my mom would make cranberry walnut and banana bread for her work’s bazaar to raise money. It was once a year and I remember she would spend what felt like an entire weekend baking.

So what did I find myself doing last night? Making Cranberry Walnut Bread for a work bake sale to raise money for United Way. I participated in the bake sale last year and knew I’d participate again when I found fresh cranberries from Wisconsin at the farmers market.

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Looks a little too much like Christmas…

Cranberry Walnut Bread
serves 16 // recipe modified from Ocean Spray
Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 T. canola oil
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg
1/3-1/2 orange, w/peel, ground in food processor
2 cups fresh cranberries, rough chopped (approximately)
1 cup walnuts (I like to use walnut pieces)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and combine all dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

2. Whisk egg in orange juice, add oil and orange mixture to orange juice mix. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

3. Add cranberries and walnuts.

4. Place in pans coated in a non-stick spray, filling the pans a little less than 3/4 full.

5. Bake at 350 until done. If you have a big loaf that serves 15 this could take 50-55 minutes. The smaller the loaf the less amount of time it takes.  The small loaves took about 30 minutes, the large loaf took almost the full 55 minutes. Make sure you stick a cake tester (or knife or toothpick) in the center to check if it’s done, if it comes out clean, take it out! Theses are awesome as muffins for breakfast too, the muffins took less than 20 minutes.

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This recipe is very easy to double, so I did. This bread is so delicious; not overly sweet, has a hint of citrus, and makes a good dessert or breakfast. Thanks to my boss and co-worker who purchased it so my bread wouldn’t be the last baked good left on the table.

Monster Cookies

My work is in the midst of United Way week, where we come up with creative ways to donate money to the organization. Every year we have a bake sale and I decided to bake something to donate since I’m obviously in a baking mood.

I discovered monster cookies in college when my friend Liz’s grandparents mailed some to her dorm. I had never heard of such a thing: oatmeal, peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate chips… why was I deprived so long!? And why did I wait nine years to recreate these?! Fool. Monster cookies sound like a Halloween treat, so it was time to make them.

Ingredients
(makes 22-24 cookies, adapted from Paula Deen)
3 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick margerine (or butter), softened
1 cup M&Ms
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (it’s ok if you don’t have these–it’s just for texture)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and white sugar and brown sugar. Mix well with a mixer.

3. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter or margarine. Mix well with the mixer.

4. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, (you can use 1/4c raisins too if you want) baking soda, flour and oatmeal. Mix by hand and try not to over mix.

5. Use an ice-cream scoop and drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Seriously:  use parchment paper. If you don’t have multiple cookie sheets, store the dough in the fridge while the cookies bake.

6. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large tupperware or resealable plastic bags.

I searched all over the internet for a good recipe, and I read tons of reviews on multiple recipes and found that the Paula Deen recipe was “the best” if you modified it slightly; added a little flour, reduced the sugar, omitted raisins, made the cookies large rather than small so they wouldn’t get hard and flat. I modified the recipe even more and added extra vanilla, upped the amount of M&Ms and stuck in some rolled oats for texture.

These cookies were great; lots of peanut butter flavor, chocolaty without being overboard and chewy delicious.

Lots of Chocolate Cowboy Oatmeal Bars

I don’t have crave chocolate or dessert, but it seems like from this blog that I do. I just really like to bake in the cold months!  Luckily, Brent had a work potluck and I wanted to try make cookie bars, which I’ve never done before. I found a recipe on Land O’Lakes.com for Cowboy Oatmeal Bars (#ClientAlert) and decided to make them with what I had on hand. M&Ms and chocolate chips instead of walnuts and peanut butter chips.

Lots of Chocolate Cowboy Oatmeal Bars
(makes 24 bars, adapted from Land O’Lakes)

Ingredients:
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk or real semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine butter, brown sugar and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.

4. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed.

5. Stir in oats; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms. You can stir in 1 cup of anything else you’d like too: Land O’Lakes suggests peanut butter chips and walnuts, butterscotch chips could be good. Peanut butter could be awesome as well.

6. Press dough evenly into ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake for 16 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. (I cooked these forever, they seemed to never get brown, but they turned out great)

7. Cut these while they are hot! I cut the pan into 24 bars. Then let them cool completely and pack them away in a tupperware when cool.

These are very chocolaty, moist (not dry–which was my fear!) and Brent seemed to like them (he ate two to “test them”). They were easy to cut and pack up away. I think these were missing a peanut butter flavor and if I made them again I’d for sure get those peanut butter chips, or even add peanut butter to the mix.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

The other day I turned a pumpkin into pumpkin puree. I realize people have been doing this for years, but I did it! In 2012! I also can things! I feel like a Pioneer Woman. Clearly not that Pioneer Woman. She is a professional, and I take photos for my blog with my cellphone.

Anyway, now I have a ton of pumpkin puree, and when my Mom visited she left me two realllllly ripe bananas (that she swore she was going to eat…). Land O’Lakes (#clientalert) recently published a recipe for Pumpkin Banana Bread and clearly all the stars were aligning for me to make this recipe ASAP.

Pumpkin Banana Bread
(adapted from the magical geniuses in the Test Kitchens at Land O’Lakes)

Ingredients
1.5 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine (or butter), softened
3 eggs
1.5 cups canned pumpkin
2 medium (1/2 cup) ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 Directions:

1. Pre-hat oven to 350°F.

2. Pam/Grease 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans; set aside.

3. Combine sugar, margarine and eggs in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture is creamy. Add pumpkin and bananas; continue beating until well mixed. (Mixture will have curdled appearance.)

4. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients except nuts; beat just until moistened.

5. Stir in nuts

6. Spread evenly into prepared pans, leaving about an inch of room in the pan so the bread can rise a bit.

7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (If using two 9×5-inch loaf pans, bake for 40 to 50 minutes)

8. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

I made one big loaf and two mini-loafs, one of which I made without walnuts to take to work. It was really tasty and I’d for sure make it again.

Apple Oat Bars


I went apple picking this weekend with my pals Kate & Meg. You can see a way better recap of this on Kate’s baby blog!It was fun (minus the part when Meg and I tried to go wine tasting and we didn’t understand the system… and therefore failed) and I now have a million apples. One can only eat so many apples with peanut butter so I decided to make what I made after apple picking years ago-  Apple Oat Bars.

Apple Oat Bars
(adapted from Vegetarian Times)
Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (you can do 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 regular)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
⅓ cup apple cider or apple juice (use cider if possible!)
3 cups peeled, chopped tart apples, such as Granny Smith
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted, optional

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in mixing bowl. Using fork or fingertips, work in oil and cider until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Press about 1 1/2 cups oat mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with apples. Mix walnuts into remaining oat mixture, sprinkle evenly over apples and pat into even layer. I did not use walnuts because I didn’t have them, but I wish I would have!

4. Bake 30-35 minutes (9″ pan)/ 35-40 minutes (8″pan) or until top is golden and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack (or in front of your window if summer is being nice and sticking around like it is here!) before cutting into bars. I also did not do this. Try not to skip this step… cutting them is a mess if you do.

These do taste pretty delicious a little warm if you are impatient and have to taste them right when they come out of the oven, but they are a lot prettier and will stay in bar form if you let them cool. I think they’ll be good packed away in lunches for or brought in to your co-workers if you want to be popular. They are also vegan, and possibly healthier than a brownie… but only accidently.

Pumpkin Scones

I ate a Starbucks pumpkin scone once about six years ago (I worked there right after undergrad for a few months, the discount was dangerous) and every year since, when the new pumpkin treats come out wayyyy too early, I think “oh I should try to make those.” Also, who remembers that they ate a scone six years ago!?

After these past few weeks of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice torment, coupled with this silly early Minneapolis fall weather, I found a copycat recipe to make. Iowa Girl Eats calls these Starbucks Clone Pumpkin Scones: 

Ingredients
(recipe modified from IowaGirlEats)
2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cubed

For the plain glaze: 
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk

For the spiced drizzle:
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Please use parchment paper, it works miracles.

2. In the bowl of a large food processor (or in a large bowl) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use pastry cutter to blend butter in. I didn’t have either of these so I* used two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Worked like a charm. (*by I, I mean my Mom. She bought me a dough blender later in the day.)

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.

4. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.It works best if you can cool your scones in front of an open window with a fall breeze.

5. When scones are cool, whisk together the plain glaze ingredients, then spoon on top and spread slightly. I didn’t want these to be too sweet, so I did a spoon drizzle and just put a little bit on. Let harden for 10 minutes, then whisk together the spiced drizzle ingredients and drizzle on top. Let harden completely, about 1/2 hour, before serving. Store in an air-tight container or ziploc for 1 day.

These were very delicious, a little less dense than Starbucks but more clean and fresh tasting. I think these could use a bit more icing, but I was attempting to keep these sort of healthy (310 calories, 12g-ish fat each compared to Starbucks scones at 480cal, 17g fat).

The recipe is only supposed to make 6… but I somehow wound up with 4 regular size scones and two giant scones, so I turned the recipe into 6.5 servings. Who cares, these were delicious. 6.5 is the perfect amount of scones to make; I’ve gifted three, split one and will enjoy the rest later in the week with a cup of coffee, of course.