Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Granola

Everyone makes a New Years resolution at the beginning of the year. Whether it's losing weight, being successful at something, or bettering yourself in some way. But it seems like most people think about their resolution for the month of January and then it's lost to the world. Well if there is one resolution I want everyone to think about, its being positive. There is that commercial on t.v. where one person watches another do something good for someone else and that makes them want to do something good. Thats quite a powerful thing. Say something nice to someone today or open the door for another. Thats my New Year's resolution. That, and eating better, which leads me to this recipe by Ina Garten. My friend Ashley made this granola and its so good, you won't even realize you're eating something healthy. She used pistachos instead of coconut and took out the figs and added dried apricots. But it's a very versitile recipe, and delicious for any time of the day.


  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut  
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup small diced dried figs
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.

Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container. Yields:12 cups

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Easy Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

Yes Im doing yet another cupcake blog. But this was for my firend Ashley's birthday! I just used a simple chocolate cake mix and then added a can of cherry pie filling. The actual cupcake came out nice and moist with a good cherry bite. If you want more of a strong cherry flavor, I suggest adding some cherry flavored surup or some cherry extract, maybe a couple of teaspoons.  The icing is a super easy ganache. I didnt want it to thicken up because i wanted that nice glossy shine so I just used about 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 cups of heavy whipping cream.  I heated the cream to a light boil, while stirring to avoid burning, and then added to the chocolate chips. I left the bowl unstirred to heat up the chips and then whisked until smooth. Once cooled, I dipped the cupcake into the ganache mixture and added a maraschino cherry on top. These were super simple and very delicious. They're good on a short time frame too!

  These are on my little portable cupcake display holder that attches to my cupcake pan. Its pretty spiffy!

                  I used Ariel cupcake liners because The Little Mermaid is her favorite movie :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Soft Ginger Cookies


 Whenever I think about winter time I think about hot cocoa, being warm and cozy, and lots of good spices.I love using spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Which led me to thinking about ginger snaps. Ginger snaps are good, but I prefer a softer cookie. I found this on and they turned out amazing. These cookies turned out nice and chewy in the middle with a good crunch to the edges. I prefer more spice when baking so i usually add a pinch more in each recipe. But this is simply to add more of a "me" touch and is not necessary. I also made these a bit bigger than walnut-sized but again, thats my preference.  Eat these with a glass of milk and you're set!


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.                                                  
  Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

   I feel it only necessary to start off my blogging journey with cupcakes. Its just so appropriate. They're tiny little indulgences that you can personalize the way you want. Any flavor combination matching the perfect icing. This is a cookies and cream cupcake that I borrowed from They turned out wonderfully and hit the spot with an oreo craving. They turned out moist and delicious. The icing balanced out the sweetness of the cupcake.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

For the frosting:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. Oreo cookie crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
   Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. To help the whipping process go more smoothly, chill the bowl and whisk for at least 15 minutes. I just stick it in the freezer until I'm ready for it.  Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Be careful to not overwhip your cream!  This will end up being a thick butter consistency that makes it harder to pipe. Lift the beater from the cream. If you get a peak that stand up, then you have a stiff peak which is what you want.
Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.     Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe frosting decoratively on top of the cupcakes.  Garnish with Oreo cookie halves.