Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Big News!

This blog is almost two years old.  What?!

Remember this post?  It's the post that began it all on April 22, 2012. The time has just flown by, hasn't it?

(picture of pumpkin sqaures)

This year, I've got a bit of an early birthday present planned.  I'll still make a cake- don't worry about that- but there's also been so behind-the-scene's action that y'all are finally gonna get a look at.

As of (insert date)  Mix it Up is getting a complete makeover!

This banner?


GONE!

This layout?


GONE!

Even this name?


GONE!

Here's a sneak peak of the new and improved look.  I'll hope to see you at The Smart Cookie blog soon!

Front Page

Categorized recipes!
Search results
A new way to comment
Social media + Search engine

About me
To visit the brand new site click here: The Smart Cookie

(P.S. Special shout out to my mom, who did all the behind-the-scenes work to get the new site up and runny!  Everyone thank her!!)

I'll see you Thursday on the website for a new recipe :)
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mixed Berry Cake


I've been on a fresh strawberry kick.  Also, a cake kick.  It was only logical to combine them together, right?


I give you…

Mixed Berry Cake.  

It's a dense cake filled with yogurt, honey, and frozen fruit.  (No, I didn't use my beloved fresh strawberries in the cake.  I'd much rather eat those!).  Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack!



Mixed Berry Cake

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 8in round pan.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.  In another bowl, combine honey, egg, vanilla, yogurt, and milk.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until a smooth batter forms.  Add frozen fruit and mix to incorporate.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  Recipe makes 8 servings.



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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chocolate Brownie Smoothie {Recipe ReDux}

Dear Winter,

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with you.  You see, your snow is pretty and on some days it’s nice to curl up with a good book while you whirl around outside;  that’s when I like you.  But this year, I think you’ve been going a bit too crazy.

I don’t meant to be cruel, but I’m completely done with you.  I’m done with your freezing temperatures, buckets of snow, and bleak days.  Please go away, and soon.  I do believe it’s high time for your friend, Spring, to take over.


Consider the smoothie I’m sharing today as a going-away present.  The theme for the month’s Recipe ReDux was beverages, and I thought it would be perfect to create something that reminded me of warm weather and sunshine.  I think that if you taste how good this smoothie is, you’ll realize how wonderful the warm seasons are.  Maybe then you’ll give Spring and Summer a chance to shine.

I really hope I’m right.



This smoothie I’m offering you, it’s very good.  I call it a Brownie Smoothie, and I promise you it tastes even better than it sounds.

I started by making a batch of super chocolate-y brownies.  They tasted amazing and were packed with protein, thanks to the yogurt I added to the batter.  But once the brownies were baked, I decided to do even more.  I really wanted to offer you something good, Winter. 

And good this smoothie is.


 I kept things quick and easy, using only two ingredients, if you don’t count the brownies.  This smoothie is also quite easy to customize.  I wasn’t quite sure of your favorite fruit, and I wanted to give you the chance to decide.  Spring and Summer have some lovely fruits to offer.  If mixed berries aren’t your thing, feel free to use only strawberries, raspberries, or even banana.  As for the milk, any kind you like works: non-fat, low-fat, soy, almond.

I hope you accept my peace offering, Winter.  As you sip this refreshing smoothie, please consider raising your temperatures, brightening the sky, and decreasing the amount of snow you drop of us humans.  I speak for anyone living in a cold climate when I say it would mean a lot.

Much Thanks,
A girl who is completely and totally tired of you (in the most respectful way)


Chocolate Brownie Smoothie
Brownies:
  • 2 (5.3 oz) containers of Greek yogurt (300 g total) (I used vanilla flavored, but any flavor that pairs well with chocolate will work)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Smoothie:
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (or frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries, frozen banana, or another frozen fruit that pairs well with chocolate)
  • ¾ cup milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup baked brownies (from recipe above)

Preheat oven to 350F.  In the container of a high-speed blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for brownies.  Blend until mixture is completely blended and smooth.  Make sure the oats have broken down completely.  Grease an 8x8 pan (or a loaf pan, for thick brownies) with cooking spray and pour brownie mix in.  Spread into an even layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until brownies are firm.  Once fully baked, let brownies cool completely and then set aside.  Rinse blender or food processor quickly, and then measure frozen fruit and milk into the bowl.  Blend quickly, until a smoothie-like consistency is reached.  Add brownies and blend again until incorporated.  Top with crumbled brownies, if desired.  Recipe makes 1 large smoothie or 2 small ones, with leftover brownies.  You can use leftover brownies to make more smoothies or you can just eat them on their own.


   
   



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Monday, February 17, 2014

Cheesy Quinoa Bites


Fact: Snack time is the best time of the day.  If you disagree, you’re probably eating the wrong snacks.

But fear not, my friends, because I’m about to introduce you to one of the best snacks ever.  And it comes in the form of a foolproof recipe with melty cheese.  You hungry yet?


I made these last Saturday.  Then I made them again Sunday.  And upon noticing the empty plate on Monday morning, I contemplated making them again (unfortunately, I had to attend this really annoying this called School on Monday, so I couldn’t make a third batch)

The point is, however, that these little quinoa bites are straight up addicting.  They are highly snack-able, pop-able and nibble-able.  When they’re freshly baked, they taste good.  When they’re room temperature, they taste good.  When they’re cold, they taste good.

Bottom Line:  These Cheesy Quinoa Bites taste really good.


 Remember how I sad this is a foolproof recipe?  What I meant is, everything about it is easy.  It’s easy to remember, easy to make, and easy to eat.  A triple threat, perhaps?

Well, one thing’s for certain; Snack time just got waaaay better.


Cheesy Quinoa Bites
·      2 cups cooked quinoa
·      2 stalks celery, chopped
·      ½ red bell pepper, chopped
·      2 cloves garlic, minced
·      2 mozzarella cheese sticks, sliced into small pieces
·      2 eggs
·      2 tbsp flour
·      ½ tsp salt
·      ½ tsp chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two mini muffin tins with cookie spray.
  2. Measure quinoa into a large bowl. 
  3. Add celery, pepper, garlic, and chopped cheese sticks.  Mix to combine.
  4. Add eggs to bowl and mix until completely incorporated.  Mixture will be wet and may not hold together very well.  That’s okay.
  5. Add flour, salt, and chili pepper and mix together again.  This should help to make the mixture slightly less sticky.
  6. Scoop into prepared pans, filling each muffin hole to the top.  Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until quinoa bites are firm and cheese has melted. 
  7. Let cool before removing from pan.  To serve, you can heat up Quinoa Bites or leave them at room temperature.  Recipe makes 2 dozen small bites.

   
On another note, has anyone been watching the olympics? Go team USA!  (Or whatever other country you're rooting for)
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cookie Dough Spread (or Dip)

Think of cookie dough.  Think of peanut butter or your favorite nut butter.  Now mash the two together into one.

The result is the recipe.


So hopefully that image you came up with sounded pretty good.  If it didn't.... you imagined it wrong ;)

Becuase this Cookie dough Spread is absolutely delicious.  It's cookie dough minus the raw eggs and rock-in-your-stomach feeling.  And you can put it on things!

Things like...
  1. Pretzels
  2. Fruit
  3. Cookies
  4. Toast
  5. Spoons
  6. Fingers

Morale of the story?  You want this on your plate right now.  Like, right now.

(Right now.)


Cookie Dough Spread
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  Blend until completely combined, with no oat or chickpea lumps.  Add chocolate chips and blend quickly to combine.  Transfer mixture to jar or other serving container and store in fridge until you're ready to eat it.  Makes about 1 cup of dip.


You know, I've heard cookie dough is a wonderful Valentine's Day dessert….



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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wonderful Pistachios + Dried Cranberries + Chocolate Dipped Clementines = One Great Pistachio Pairing

{I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.}

The development of this post required me to eat a lot of pistachios.  I am totally okay with that.



For this contest, you were challenged to create a pairing of pistachios and other foods/drinks to create the perfect snack.  Now, I'm all about snacks (as you may already know), but I'm used to creating recipes.  You know, like when you put a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and mix them together into one result.

A pairing is not really a recipe. You don't mix many things into one, you combine a few things into one idea.  That probably made no sense to you, but the point is, this contest required a different frame of mind that I'm used to.


I'm always up for a challenge though, and in the end I came up with an awesome combination.  Seriously, your snack time is about to get 1000x better.  Here's what's going down:

Part 1 of the pairing:  Wonderful Pistachios; roasted and salted, in shell, simple perfection..

Part 2 of the pairing:  Dried Cranberries; totally snackable, just sweet enough, deliciosu.

Part 3 of the pairing:  Chocolate Dipped Clementines; slightly sour orange, rich chocolate, completely decadent together.

As you can see, this is probably the best snack plate ever.  But the best parts?  It takes about two minutes to prepare and it ain't half bad for you.  Get snackin'!


Pistachio, Dried Cranberry, and Chocolate Dipped Clementine Pairing
(Note: This is less a recipe, and more general instructions for creating this pairing)
  • Wonderful Pistachios
  • Dried and Sweetened Cranberries
  • A couple clementines, peeled and sectioned
  • About 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or good-quality dark chocolate)
How to Serve: Line a large plate with wax or parchment paper.  Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 1 minute intervals until completely melted.  Dip clementine slices into chocolate and place on prepared plate so the chocolate can harden.  Repeat until all chocolate has been used.  Place plate in fridge for a little while to let the chocolate harden completely.  Fill a small bowl with wonderful pistachios.  Fill another bowl with dried cranberries.  Place both on a serving platter.  In the remaining space, arranged chocolate dipped clementines.  Enjoy!







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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Healthy Baking Basics: Flours

This post right here is going to be the first installment of your guide to healthy baking.  What the staples are, what different ingredients do, what the heck a flax "egg" is: you can find it all in this Healthy Baking Basics series.

Today's topic: Flour

There are tons of flours other than your typical all purpose and the goal of this post is to introduce you to some of my favorites.  Healthy baking can be intimidating, and the goal of this post is to help you understand a bit more about some of the less common ingredients.

Spelt Flour

Healthy Homemade Oreos
What It Is: Spelt flour is a popular and readily available non-wheat flour.  It's made from spelt, a cereal grain in the wheat family, and has a higher protein content and fewer calories than other wheat flours.  Spelt flour does, however, contain gluten- albeit a lesser amount that all purpose flour- so it's not suitable for those who follow a gluten free diet.

When To Use:  I use spelt flour like "normal" bakers use all purpose.  It is, quite obviously, good for all purposes.  You can use it in cookies, cakes, brownie, and pretty much anything else that uses flour.  The one warning I'll give you is that spelt flour does lend a slightly different taste to baked goods; not in a bad way, just be prepared to notice a slight change.

Where To Buy:  I buy Bob's Red Mill spelt flour from Amazon.  If you're looking to buy in bulk, this is a great option.  The price is cheap ($0.16 per ounce) and there's even an option to have a new order delivered to you automatically every couple of months.  If you're worried that 4 bags of spelt flour is too much, you can find individual bags at Whole Foods or the organic section of your local grocery store (Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills are two popular brands).

Recipes To Get You Started: About 75% of the recipes on this blog use spelt flour, but I'll share a few of my favorites here.
  1. Chocolate Beet Layer Cake - This cake is fluffy, moist, and absolutely full of rich chocolate flavor.  Despite it's healthy ingredients, a slice of this cake wouldn't look at all out of place in the window of a bakery.  Spelt flour is the only flour used, so this recipe is a great place to give the new flour a try.
  2. Healthy "Brookies" - A Brookie is a mix between a cookie and a brownie, making this the perfect recipe to illustrate the versatility of spelt flour.  A dense and fudge brownie makes up the bottom of this baked good, and a gooey chocolate chip cookie can be found on top.  What's not to love?
  3. Homemade Oreos - Oreos are known for being super addicting, and this recipe definitely lives up to that expectation.  But unlike the infamous store-bought cookies, you can eat a couple of these healthified ones without feeling guilty.  If you don't wanna use a ton of your new spelt flour, these cookies are a good choice because the recipe only requires 1/2 cup flour.
Oat Flour

Oat Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
What It Is:  Oat flour is flour made from oats.  That's pretty easy, right?  Specifically, oat flour is made from rolled oats or quick oats.  Think Quaker brand.  This flour is gluten free if made from certified gluten free oats, so it proves an easy and cheap flour option for people with a gluten intolerance.  that being said, even if you do eat gluten, it's still a great flour option because of it's natural sweetness and lower calorie count.

When To Use:  Oat flour is a bit trickier than spelt flour in terms of usage because it's lack of gluten makes it behave a bit differently.  In my experiments, I've found that oat flour is a good option for when you want a softer texture or when there are already oats used in a recipe (ex: Oatmeal Cookies).  I've occasionally had some problems with oat flour baked goods rising, so that's something to keep in mind for the future.  Oat flour also has a really nice sweet flavor that comes through when there are no other strong flavors to hide that.  As a general guide, oat flour is great for soft cookies, breads, oatmeal cookies and granola bars.

Where To Buy:  I don't actually buy my oat flour; I make it!  My family loves oatmeal, so we've always got rolled oats of some kind on hand.  Whenever I need oat flour for a recipe, I just grind up rolled oats in a coffee grinder (or blender or food processor) until they reach a fine, flour-like consistency.  Ideally, I would make a whole jar of flour at once so it would last me well into the future, but I'm usually not that organized.  The good thing is, oat flour is easy enough to make that you can just grind it up on the fly.  If you're really opposed to a homemade version, you can buy prepackaged oat flour as well.  Check the organic aisle of your grocery store.

Recipes To Get You Started:
  1. Dried Fruit Granola Bars - A classic granola bar filled with all of your favorite mix-ins, these bars use a mix of rolled oats and oat flour.  The special flavor of the oats definitely comes through, which I love.  If you're looking for an easy homemade snack bar, this is the recipe for you.
  2. Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies - I love love love this cookie recipe.  It may not yield a classic CC cookie, but the resulting dessert tastes so good that I promise you won't care.  It's the oat flour.  I'm telling you, that stuff is magic.
  3. Classic Banana Bread - There isn't much that beats freshly baked banana bread, and there's even less that beats a slice that you don't have to feel guilt about.  This version of banana bread is made completely with oat flour, so it's 100% gluten free!
Whole Wheat Flour

Chocolate "Waterfall" Brownies
What It Is:  Most likely, you're a bit more familiar with whole wheat flour.  It's made from grinding the whole grain of wheat, hence the name 'Whole Wheat'.  Whole wheat flour is relatively popular and most people have used it at some time or another.

When To Use:  If you're looking to add some more whole grains to your favorite recipe, there are a couple ways you can to do it.  One way is replacing some, or all, of the flour with whole wheat flour.  This is where you have to be careful.  Whole wheat flour is famous (infamous?) for weighing down baked goods and making them dense and hard.  No one want's that, so I'm going to tell you how to avoid it.  First of all, a really easy solution is to stick to recipes that already use whole wheat flour.  There are tons of experienced bakers out there who have spent months perfecting the perfect whole wheat recipe; skip the stressful testing and use of of their recipes instead.  However, if there's a specific recipe you'd like to use, you can try replacing 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat.  That won't always work perfectly, but it's usually pretty successful.

Where To Buy:  Whole wheat flour is super easy to find.  Just head over to the flour aisle in any store you shop at and pick up a bag.  I buy King Arthur whole wheat flour.

Recipes To Get You Started:
  1. Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins - The texture of these muffins is amazing, so they're great for someone who want's a whole wheat recipe that doesn't seem whole wheat.  These muffins use half spelt flour and half whole wheat.  They make a wonderful breakfast with some yogurt and fruit.
  2. Tater-less Tots - Finally, a recipe for something other than dessert!  For all the flours listed on this page, including whole wheat, desserts aren't the only way they shine.  These faux tater tots are a perfect example.  The whole wheat flour helps to hold them together while adding some whole grains as well.
  3. Chocolate "Waterfall" Brownies - This is one of my favorite brownie recipes on the blog: they're bite-sized, super fudgy, and have a 'waterfall' chocolate filling.  However, despite my love for this recipe, I had forgotten it even had whole wheat flour in it.  That's the true test, ladies and gentleman, and these brownies passed with flying colors.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
What It Is:  Whole wheat pastry flour is high-starch and low protein flour.  It's softer and has a finer texture than regular whole wheat flour, so it's less likely to yield a dense baked good.  The texture of baked goods made with whole wheat pastry flour will usually be the same as the texture of the baked good when it was made with white flour.

When To Use:  Switching all purpose flour out for whole wheat pastry flour in your favorite recipe probably won't hurt the texture.  It may, however, alter the taste.  Most of you probably know that "whole wheat" has a pretty distinct flavor.  If you're looking for that flavor (like in whole wheat bread), whole wheat pastry flour may help to yield a fluffy result with the same taste.  If that's not a flavor you're looking for, you have two options:  Use half white flour and half whole wheat pastry flour or use all whole wheat pastry flour in a recipe that has big flavors to cover up the wheat-y taste.  Big flavors are things like peanut butter, chocolate, etc.

Where To Buy:  Whole wheat pastry flour is pretty easy to find.  If you can't find it in the regular flour aisle of your grocery store, check the organic aisle.  Also, Bob's Red Mill makes it and so does the 365 brand from Whole Foods.  I buy from both of those places.

Recipes To Get You Started:
  1. Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes - These pancakes are hearty, filling, and still fluffy, thanks to the whole wheat pastry flour.  There's definitely some whole wheat flavor to these guys, but it goes really well with rest of the ingredients, so I'm sure you won't mind.  If you're looking for a breakfast to jumpstart your day, this is it!
  2. Nutella Swirl Banana Muffins - Made with half spelt flour and half whole wheat pastry, you'll hardly be able to tell these muffins are whole wheat.  And there's nutella in them.  Really, how could you say no?
  3. Extra Fudgy Brownies - This recipe doesn't even make brownies, it makes fudge.  A whole pan of it, and somehow it's actually healthy.  Woohoo!  Obviously, the pastry flour in these doesn't help to keep the texture light.  Instead, it adds some secret whole grains.
White Whole Wheat Flour

Picture belongs to Texanerin Baking
What It Is:  Here's where things get a bit confusing.  This flour has both the word 'white' and 'wheat' in the name; What?!  It's not just a marketing scam to make white flour seem healthy.  White whole wheat flour is ground from a varety of white-wheat.  It has the same nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour, but it's milder and lighter in color.

When To Use:  The rules of substitution for this flour are pretty similar to those of whole wheat flour.  I'd recommend you scroll up and check those out again.  In a nutshell, to avoid altering texture, substitute half the flour in a recipe out for white whole wheat flour.  If a recipe already calls for whole wheat flour, you can use white whole wheat flour to replace it.  For people who don't like whole wheat taste or color, this could be a good idea.  If you want to make cookies, brownies, or another baked good that doesn't rely too much on texture, feel free to try using all white whole wheat flour.

Where To Buy:  As with other whole wheat flours, check the flour aisle of your local grocery store.  If you don't have any lucky there, head to the organic section or a specialty food store.  There's also the online option, if bulk doesn't bother you.

Recipes To Get You Started:
I've just started experimenting with white whole wheat flour, so I don't have any recipes specifically made for it on the blog.  Instead, I'll link to some delicious looking recipes I've found
  1. Healthier New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies by Texanerin Baking - She made the famous NY Times recipe healthier!  That takes talent.  It's partly thanks to white whole flour, I would presume.  Check out this recipe, and pretty much everything elso on her blog for some delicious whole wheat treats.
  2. Whole Wheat Waffles by King Arthur Flour - If you look at the picture next to this recipe, the waffles don't look whole wheat, but they are.  That, my friends, is the beauty of white whole wheat flour.
  3. Macaroon Cherry Tart by 101 Cookbooks - Cherries are on of my favorite foods, and in the dead of winter, I miss them so much.  Words can't express how good this tart looks.  Actually, words can't express how good every recipe on 101 cookbooks looks.  Go look at all of it.
Congratulations!  You made it to the end of this super long post.  Hopefully the information here was helpful and can aid you as you as you continue your adventure into the wonderous world of healthy baking.

Next up in the Healthy Baking Basics series:  Sugars!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Growing up, I skipped the peanut butter and jelly faze.  I went through a pasta faze and a chicken nugget faze and I even went through a frozen corn faze, but a PB&J faze?  Not once.

I was never the kid with a smushed sandwich in their lunch everyday, or the kid who survived solely on the jar of peanut butter and grape jelly in the fridge.  In fact, to this day, I've never had a typical Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.


I can't really say I mind, though.  Sure, I may get some weird looks when I tell people, but it's not like I missed out by not eating that stereotypical sandwich.  White bread, Jiff peanut butter, and grape jelly?  Eh, I think I'll pass.

But take the classic flavors of a PB&J and turn them into a healthy, natural, and delicious cookie and you've got me drooling.


These cookies disappeared in under 24 hours.  I ate three in a row without even stopping for air.  I would make them again in a heartbeat.

Subtly sweet, hearty, and 100% healthy, these cookies are a triple threat.  PB&ampJ lover or not, you will adore them.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Filling (can also be replaced with your favorite jam or jelly):
  • 1 1/2 cups wild blueberries, frozen (feel free to try another frozen fruit, but I can't guarantee the results)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
For Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, or grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix together.  Add peanut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla and mix well until completely incorporated.  Dough will be sticky.
  3. Take about 11/2 tbsp of dough and form into a ball.  Place on baking sheet.  Continue until all dough has been used.  You should have 10-12 large dough balls.  There's no need to place them far apart on the baking sheet because these cookies will not spread in the oven.
  4. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, press down in the middle of the cookies to create an indent for the jam to go in.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.  Cookies will look under baked at first, but that's OK.  They continue to cook as they cool, so by the time the cookies have cooled down they will be fully baked.
For Filling:
  1. Combine blueberries, chia seeds, and maple syrup in a cereal bowl and give them a quick stir to incorporate.
  2. Microwave the bowl for about two minutes, or until the blueberries have melted and the mixture is juicy.  Microwaving times may vary depending on your microwave. (You can also do this on the stovetop, although cooking times will change)
  3. Remove from microwave and place in fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.  You will know the filling is ready when it has a jelly-like consistency and is no longer juicy.
  4. Use about 1 tsp of filling to fill each cookie.  Once cookies are done, store in fridge until serving time.  Recipe makes 10-12 large cookies.


Enjoy your Wednesday everyone!
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Chocolate Pretzel Tarts with Caramel

Here's the full title for this recipe: Chocolate Brownie Tarts with Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust and Peanut Butter Caramel On Top.

A bit of a mouthful, huh?  But tell me it doesn't sound delicious.


This recipe was born when my mom accidentally bought too many pretzels.  I'm not quite sure what she was thinking, but she came home from the grocery store with two huge bags.  I don't want or need that many pretzels, so recipe ideas immediately began flying through my head.

What goes well with pretzels?  Peanut butter, chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate, yogurt, more chocolate... the list goes on and on.  In the end, I decided to combine a whole bunch of delicious pretzel combinations into one amazing recipe.  And hence, these tarts were born.


Please don't be intimidated by this recipe.  Please, please, please.  I promise you, it's really not that hard.  In fact, despite the three different parts to it, there are only ten different ingredients.  That's really not too much.  Aaannd, none of the ingredients are really outlandish or anything.  The weirdest it's gonna get is  special dark cocoa power, and even that can be subbed in for another high quality cocoa of your choice.

So really, no chickening out and convincing yourself this recipe is too much work.  It's not!  It'll all be worth it once you take the first bite....


Chocolate Pretzel Tarts with Caramel
Crust:

  • 60 g (about three cups, un-crushed) pretzels
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (or another but butter of your choice)
Brownie Filling:
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder (or another good quality cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Caramel:
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
To make crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin or line with 12 silicone cupcake liners.
  2. Place pretzels in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the pretzels have turned into fine crumbs.  
  3. Add milk and nut butter and blend again until completely mixed.
  4. Take crust mixture and press into prepared pan.  You should have enough to make 12 "cupcakes"
  5. Set aside.
To make filling:
  1. Quickly rinse and dry bowl of food processor.
  2. Add all ingredients of filling to the bowl of food processor.  Process until completely combined, with the oats completely broken down and the batter smooth.
  3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared crust so that the crust is full.
  4. Place pan in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until filling is firm and crust has browned.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
To make caramel:
  1. While tarts cook, make caramel.  In a small saucepan, whisk together honey and peanut butter.  Cook in high until mixture has reduced by about half.
  2. Once reduced, remove from heat and add milk.  
  3. Turn heat to low and continue to mix until mixture has thickened into a caramel.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Once cool, spread onto cooked starts.
  5. Store in fridge until serving time.  Recipe makes 1 dozen tarts.

Make.  These.  Now!!
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