Monday, April 30, 2012

Lesson #130: Marmalade Muffins

These YUMMY breakfast muffins have a ton of orange flavor! Inside the muffins are currants which are soaked in Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur), orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, and orange marmalade. AND the muffins are topped with candied orange peel. Now, that's a lot of orange in one small muffin!

LESSON LEARNED: You don't have to go to the extra trouble of making candied orange peel. These muffins have plenty of orange flavor without it.

Recipe for Marmalade Muffins

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lesson #129: Sticky Buns

I was craving sticky buns the other day, so I decided to try a new recipe for raised sweet bread. I really like the base recipe (which is the bread part), but the cinnamon/sugar/pecan ratio was a little off in this recipe. I decided to post it to share the bread recipe and to document this first attempt at sticky buns.

I'm looking for sticky buns which are soft and pillow-y, but not too sweet and sugary. I want to taste the cinnamon in every bite! This will be a good challenge for myself to try new sticky bun recipes.

LESSON LEARNED: These sticky buns are pretty sweet. Cut them into small pieces to serve.

Recipe for Sticky Buns

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lesson #128: Chocolate Chip & Cornflake Cookies

I had some leftover cornflakes from another recipe, and I didn't want them to get stale, so I incorporated them into my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I know this combination sounds a little strange, but chocolate chips and cornflakes really work together. The cornflakes add a slightly chewy and crunchy texture to the cookies. I would highly suggest adding your favorite cereals to cookies! :)

LESSON LEARNED: Form the dough into balls on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Then place them in a freezer bag and you have cookies ready to bake whenever you need them (or have a cookie craving!).

Recipe for Chocolate Chip & Cornflake Cookies

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lesson #127: Oatmeal and M&M cookies

In between removing wallpaper, putting up drywall, sanding, and priming the kitchen, I whipped up these cookies. I had extra pastel M&M's left over from Easter (and this caramel corn), so I decided to incorporate the candies into an oatmeal cookie.

I was glad I did! The cookies are crispy and chewy with just the right amount of chocolate. The uncooked dough balls freeze beautifully so you can bake them off as you need them. DELICIOUS!

LESSON LEARNED: Let these cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet. If you try to remove them early, they will fall apart!

Recipe for Oatmeal and M&M cookies

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lesson #126: Mini Banana Cream Pies

One of my dad's favorite desserts is banana cream pie. He likes it so much that he asked if I could make it for Easter lunch. Instead of making a big pie, I decided to bake individual pies in mini mason jars. They were easy to grab and less messy than cutting into a pie to serve individual pieces. That's a big plus when you are hosting family events!

The custard recipe is my grandma's recipe. It's widely agreed upon in my family that this custard tastes the best. I've tried out other custard recipes and they don't measure up to this one! Plus, I have great memories of my grandma teaching me to make pies in her kitchen, so this recipe is extra special to me.

LESSON LEARNED: Bake the pie crust right in the mason jar - they will not break in the oven.

Recipe for Mini Banana Cream Pies

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lesson #125: Caramel Easter Popcorn

I really love my usual caramel corn recipe, so I didn't know how this caramel corn recipe would measure up. I was a little skeptical because you didn't bake the caramel corn and you mixed in mini-marshmallows into the hot caramel to create a gooey-caramel mixture. On top of that, I planned to make it a day before I served it, so I wasn't sure if it would taste stale after sitting around.

Well, it turned out to be super YUMMY I would say it's a cross between caramel corn and rice krispies treats, but that's not a bad combination in my book. I love the saltiness that the crushed pretzels add and the touch of chocolate from the M&M's. And yes, it still tastes good if you make it ahead of time!

LESSON LEARNED: After the caramel corn has cooled, break it up into small pieces so it's easy to grab a handful from a bowl.

Recipe for Caramel Easter Popcorn

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lesson #124: Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so CUTE! Not only do they look like eggs, they have a surprise in the middle!

I made them as part of our Easter celebration along with a few other desserts I'll be posting this week. The cupcake base was a "new-to-me" recipe and uses chocolate syrup as part of the batter. These cupcakes are incredibly moist. I made them Friday night and by today they were still great.

LESSON LEARNED: Be warned - these are extremely rich! They might be good as mini-cupcakes or eaten with a glass of milk.

Recipe for Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lesson #123: Easter Sugar Cookies

Happy Easter! I couldn't resist doing cut out sugar cookies for Easter. Cookies in the shapes of bunnies, carrots, and springtime flowers were calling my name as I organized all my baking paraphernalia in the basement of our new house.

One of the great things about moving is being close enough to regularly see family and friends. I was hanging out with my college friend Kielee and convinced her to make some sugar cookies with me. She said she hadn't made roll-out sugar cookies in ten years, so we had fun making these together. Here's a picture of the results and Kielee frosting one of the cookies we made.

 LESSON LEARNED: Plan ahead when you want to make this cookies. The dough needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Recipe for My Favorite Cutout Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lesson #122: DIY Chocolate Sauce

Yesterday I was going to make cupcakes which required Hershey's chocolate syrup. I didn't have any in the house and Justin took my car to Cleveland for work, so I decided to make my own. Not only was I successful, the syrup tasted a thousand times better than the store bought version! It only takes 5 minutes on the stove top and about 10 minutes total. This is so YUMMY stirred into milk to create chocolate milk. :)

LESSON LEARNED: Keep whisking while the syrup cooks so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Recipe for DIY Chocolate Syrup

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lesson #121: M&M Oat Bars

These cookie bars are the perfect SWEET treat. A mixture of oatmeal and chopped pecans are layered with smashed M&M's and sweetened condensed milk, topped with more oatmeal/pecans, and sprinkled with M&M's. They are very colorful and would be so pretty with pastel colored M&M's or whatever seasonal variety is available. The cookie bars were super simple to make - the hardest part was waiting for them to cool before cutting!

LESSON LEARNED: Wait for these bars to completely cool before cutting. They are kind of ooey-gooey - which is super yummy - just really messy to cut.

Recipe for M&M Oat Bars
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