Friday, November 30, 2012

Grandma Parker's Southern Cream Cookies

Do you remember my story about the recipe box my Grandpa gave me that belonged to my Grandma?  You can click here to read about it, if you are interested.  I found this recipe in that box.  As I was flipping through all the recipes, the name of these cookies quickly caught my attention, because come on, anything with the word "cream" in it has got to be good.  

They reminded me of a cross between a snickerdoodle and a soft sugar cookie.  They are so soft and yummy.

If you like the butter flavor that snickerdoodles have, you may want to use butter flavored shortening instead of regular.  The only thing I did differently was I added a little cinnamon to the cookie dough and I made a little extra cinnamon/sugar mixture for rolling the dough balls in.  
Grandma's Southern Cream Cookies
adapted from: Grandma Parker

1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon, opt.
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
5 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, opt.

6 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together shortening and sugar until very light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and vanilla and beat well.  Mix in the sour cream until well incorporated.  Last, gradually add the flour and nuts and beat until fully incorporated.  Combine the 6 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small dish.  Roll about 1 Tablespoon of dough into a ball and toss in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until fully coated.  Add to a lightly greased baking sheet and flatten slightly using the palm of your hand.  Repeat.  Bake for 11-12 minutes.  Yield: around 5 1/2 - 6 dozen cookies. 

Jenn's Notes: You can use butter-flavored shortening instead of regular if you want the butter flavor that snickerdoodles usually have.  I typed the recipe above with my recommended baking time if using 1 Tablespoon of dough.    

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!  This was dang good.

The recipe might seem long, but it was SO EASY to throw together, especially if you chop up the vegetables and other ingredients the night before and have them ready to go.  I usually have the majority of the ingredients on hand, so it makes it pretty budget friendly too.

Don't be scared of the fresh ginger.  If you have never used it, now is your time.  You can find the funny looking ingredient in the produce section at your local grocery store and it is pretty cheap.  All you have to do is peel it and then chop up a little bit.  Put the extra in a zip-lock bag and pop it in the freezer until next time.

This recipe is definitely going into my easy weeknight dinners collection.    

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1/4 c. cold water
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chunks, 
    drained and juices reserved
3 Tbl. ketchup
1 Tbl. soy sauce
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
3-4 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 Lb. boneless, skinless chicken
    breasts, cut into 1'' cubes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl. minced fresh ginger
3 c. broccoli florets
1 med. bell pepper, stemmed, seeded
    and cut into 1/2'' squares
hot cooked white or brown rice

Start cooking your rice so it will be ready.  Combine cornstarch and water in a medium-sized bowl and stir to dissolve.  Add the reserved pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar and vinegar to the bowl and stir to combine.    

Heat 2-3 teaspoons of the oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked and no longer pink, 3-4 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1-2 teaspoons oil to the pan and add the broccoli and bell pepper.  Stir-fry over medium-high heat until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the broccoli is bright green, 3-5 minutes.  

Return the chicken to the pan and add the pineapple chunks and sauce mixture.  Bring to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through and the sauce has thickened, 1-2 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve over hot cooked rice.  If desired, top with sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.  Serves 4.

Jenn's Notes: I cooked the chicken, garlic, ginger and bell pepper together at the same time.  I steamed the broccoli instead of stir-frying it.  Then, I combined everything and continued as directed.  I did not add the pineapple chunks.  I served over brown rice and it was delicious.     

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Banana Roll with Cheesecake Filling

Oh my goodness.  It's almost too good to be true.  This cake is spectacular.

I sat down with my plate of two slices to munch on while I typed up this post and "The Mr." wanted to taste it.  I handed him my plate and a few minutes later, he handed me back an EMPTY plate, not even a bite left for me.  Good thing we have a whole cake, because both of us LOVED this.

The flavor reminds me of banana cream pie.  The cheesecake filling is smooth and creamy and is the perfect compliment to the lightly flavored banana cake.  The recipe also suggested adding a cream cheese frosting, but I feel like that is unnecessary and it would have made the cake too heavy.  Instead, I think serving it plain or with a dollop of whipped cream is a much better idea.   
Despite the long instructions, this cake wasn't hard to make.  Most cake rolls require rolling the cake twice, but not this one!  The layers bake together which makes this an absolute breeze to put together.  The only bad part was that it dirtied quite a few bowls, but I promise, once you take a bite of this cake, you won't care if it dirtied every single bowl in your kitchen, because it is SO WORTH IT!
Banana Roll with Cheesecake Filling
Cheesecake Filling:
1 (8 oz.) + 1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
3 Tbl. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Banana Cake:
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. + 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. mashed banana (around 1 large banana)
4 egg whites
1/4 c. powdered sugar (for sprinkling over cake)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan with butter.  Line with parchment paper and grease with butter again, making sure to coat the entire surface and sides of the pan; set aside.  For the filling: In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until combined.  Spread in the prepared pan; set aside.  

For the cake:  In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed until thick and lemon colored.  Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat well.  Stir in the mashed banana.  In a large, clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium until soft peaks fork (tips curl).  Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight)  Gently fold yolk mixture into beaten egg whites.  Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over egg mixture and fold together just until blended.  Carefully spread the batter evenly over the filling in the pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.  

Immediately loosen cake from sides of pan, sprinkle cake with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Place a wire cooling rack, upside down, on the top of the cake.  Carefully pick up both sides of the pan, while holding the rack and flip over.  The cake will now be on top of the towel on the cooling rack.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.  Starting with the short side, roll up cake as tightly as possible (don't roll up the towel with it).  Allow to cool completely on wire rack.  Slice and serve.  Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  

Jenn's Notes:  I did not forget to type salt above, the recipe really did not call for any salt.  This cake is not hard to make.  Follow the instructions and I know it will work for you too.  I baked my cake for the full 20 minutes and it was perfect.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Weeknight Cheesy Corn Chowder

Can you believe it is already time to start getting out the Christmas decorations?  I don't know about you, but I am NOT ready to pull out the Christmas tree.  I am still wondering what happened to the past 11 months?

I thought you might need something comforting to help with all the stress that comes along with the holidays.

 I absolutely LOVE the flavor of this chowder and I love that it doesn't have any carrots or potatoes in it.  Since you don't have to boil any veggies, this comes together super quick and it is easy enough for a weeknight.  Oh, and the smell!!  It is intoxicating.  I can't even begin to describe how good this smells.  I'm not talking about the smell that roams throughout the house, but the smell of the actual soup.  This is one of those times that I really wish the smell could travel through our computer screens so you could all experience what I did!

I now declare this my favorite weeknight chowder recipe, but my Ham Chowder is still my favorite Sunday dinner chowder!
Weeknight Cheesy Corn Chowder
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/2 Lb. bacon, diced
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, ribbed, seeded & finely chopped
1 (15.25 oz.) can corn, drained
3/4 c. chopped deli ham
3 Tbl. flour
1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 - 2 c. half-and-half
1 tsp. Italian seasoning, or to taste
1/2 c. (heaping) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c. (heaping) Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
sliced green onions, for garnish
sliced bread, for serving

Add diced bacon to a large pot over medium heat.  Cook until crispy and remove to a paper-towel lined plate; set aside.  Discard all but 1 Tablespoon of the bacon grease.  Add the onion and chopped red pepper and saute for a few minutes or until tender.  Add the corn and chopped ham and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir well.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth and stir until fully incorporated.  Continue cooking and allow soup to thicken, 5-10 minutes.  Whisk in the half-and-half and Italian seasoning.  Cook until heated through and reaches desired thickness, do not boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the reserved bacon and both cheeses until melted.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with sliced bread on the side.  Yield: 4 big servings.  

Jenn's Notes: If you don't like ham in chowder, then leave it out and it will be just as good.  If you are planning to add the deli ham, I have the deli slice it a little thicker than you would if it was for sandwiches.  This is also amazing with leftover holiday ham.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

The other day, my father-in-law made a side dish of steamed broccoli topped with browned butter and Mizithra cheese.  The same dish you can get at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  It was amazing, but I told him that was the first time I had eaten browned butter in a savory dish.  Curiously he asked me what I had eaten browned butter with?   I told him I had only had it in desserts.  Desserts, huh?  He had only ever had it in savory dishes.

Too me, browned butter was totally made to be in sweets.  It enhances the flavor to a level that can not be replaced with any type of flavoring.   

These cookies are so perfectly soft and chewy and taste amazing paired with that browned butter glaze.  Honestly, next time, I think I will top the entire cookie with the glaze rather than just drizzling it over the top, because the more the merrier.      

If you need a good oatmeal cookie recipe, this would be the one to try.  I made some without the glaze, but added chocolate chips and they were fantastic.
Oatmeal Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze
adapted from: Lemon Poppy
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. + 2 Tbl. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Drop dough using a 1 Tablespoon scoop and bake for 8-9 minutes.  The cookies do not brown very much and they will look slightly underdone.  Cool.  Top with browned butter glaze.

Browned Butter Glaze
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
2 Tbl. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until browned.  There will be brown bits in the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.  Drizzle over cooled cookies.

Jenn's Notes: These cookies are delicious.  I forgot to write down how many cookies this recipe made, but it seems like I got around 2 1/2 - 3 dozen.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

15 Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is only 5 days away and I am not even sure where I will be eating yet?  Which means, I am not even sure what I will be making.  If you are still looking for some last minute ideas, here are some of my favorites.
If you like to have a little appetizer waiting for your guests while you finish up a few last minute details, this Spinach Dip is a favorite of mine.

Why stress over the potatoes when you have so many other dishes to worry about.  This version is made in the Slow Cooker and allows you to fix it and forget about it!

It is a must to have at least one green veggie at the Thanksgiving table.  Around here, that usually means Green Bean Casserole.  I have never been a fan of that casserole and would much rather have Breaded Veggies.

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and no matter where I go for Thanksgiving, I make sure we have this at the table.

If you love Sweet Potatoes, but you only need a small serving, try this awesome Loaded Baked Sweet Potato.

I'm not going to lie.  Homemade Rolls are my favorite part about Thanksgiving.  These Dinner Rolls are one of my favorites and they are super easy to make. 

These rolls are amazing.  You don't even need a mixer to whip these bad boys up. 

If you are a beginner roll maker and are worried about making the rolls this year, then these Bread Machine Dinner Rolls are a great choice.  They are not quite as good as my first two options, but I still think they taste great, especially when served with Cinnamon Honey Butter.

Rather than serving your rolls with regular old butter, give this Cinnamon Honey Butter a try this year and watch your guests faces light up as they take a bite.

If your family prefers Pumpkin Cake rather than Pumpkin Pie.  This is a great cake to try.

This is my all-time Favorite Pumpkin Dessert.  I just can't get enough of it.  I would pick this over Pumpkin Pie any day of the week.
My Grandma's Banana Cream Pie is my favorite Thanksgiving Pie, but sometimes I feel like changing things up and I like to serve this Caramel Banana Pudding Pie instead. It is incredible.

These bars are a much easier alternative to Pecan Pie.  I have made these a few times and they have become a family favorite.

If Cheesecake is more of your families dessert of choice, then I highly recommend trying this version.  Rather than the traditional graham cracker crust, this one has a thin lemon flavored sponge cake crust and it is irresistible.  

For the chocolate lovers in your family, this is the dessert to make.  It is truly divine and since it is light and fluffy, it would be the perfect ending to such a large meal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

I had to get this bread posted while cinnamon chips are still available in the stores.  That way you can go 
buy a case a few bags to freeze, so you can have them on hand all year long.  If you didn't get a chance to read my Copycat Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip Bread post, you might need to know that cinnamon chips are only a seasonal item and most stores only carry them for a few months.

This bread is DELICIOUS.  It is a VERY heavy and dense bread and I can see why it would make perfect mini loaves.  It definitely has a different texture than what you would expect to find in a quick bread recipe.  Since I do not own a mini loaf pan, I went with two regular-sized loaves and pawned one of them off on my Dad, who is a big cinnamon lover, like me.  With all that said . . . the two of us had no problem finishing off one loaf in a day and a half :)
Snickerdoodle Bread
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sour cream (I used light)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pkg. Hershey's cinnamon chips

3 Tbl. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Cream together butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix well.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix just until combined.  Stir cinnamon chips into batter.  Divide batter between 4-5 mini loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray or 2 regular-sized loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Mix together 3 Tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon and sprinkle over loaves.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-38 minutes (mini loaves) or for 60-65 minutes (regular loaves).  Let cool before removing from pan.

Jenn's Notes: I only used 3/4 of the bag of cinnamon chips since they are pretty strong and I thought it was perfect.  I made two, regular-sized, loaves.  The bread does not rise very much and will only end up being a few inches tall.  I baked mine for 64 minutes and it probably could have used a few minutes less, because the outside was dark, but it still tasted delicious.  

adapted from: Lil Luna who modified it from: Barbara Bakes 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Loaded Sweet Potato

This potato was truly HEAVENLY!

For those times when you are really craving sweet potato casserole, but don't feel like going to all the trouble of making it or if you only need a few servings, this is the recipe you need to have on hand.  I was looking for Texas Roadhouse's recipe for loaded sweet potatoes, which I found, but theirs calls for honey.  I am sure it is yummy too, but I decided to go with this version instead.

This was the first time I tried sweet potatoes with a marshmallow topping and it won't be the last.  The ooey, gooey, toasty, vanilla-y, melty topping added a perfect touch mixed with the buttery, brown sugar, caramel sauce . . . oh man . . . I'm telling you that you need to make this.  If you are not sure if you like sweet potatoes, now is the time to be converted.  Perfect timing with Thanksgiving just around the corner.
Loaded Sweet Potato
1 small/med sweet potato
1 Tbl. melted butter
1 Tbl. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
a dash of cinnamon
mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse and dry sweet potato.  Prick several times with a fork and then wrap in foil.  Place in oven and bake 45 minutes - 1 hour or until you can slightly squeeze it with your oven mitt and it is soft. It will depend on the size of your sweet potato.  Meanwhile, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside.  Remove potato from oven and carefully remove foil.  Slice in half, lengthwise.  Mash inside slightly, using a fork.  Stuff with a handful of marshmallows.  Pour butter mixture over the top of marshmallows and then add another handful of marshmallows.  Turn oven to broil and lightly toast until marshmallows are golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before eating. 

Jenn's Notes: I made a little extra caramel sauce, because my sweet potato was pretty big.  Don't skimp on the marshmallows, the more the merrier!  Next time, I think I will add some chopped pecans to the caramel sauce for an added crunch.  This was amazing.   

adapted from: Chef-In-Training originally from: Merely Marie

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fluffernutter Cereal Treats

These cereal treats are awesome.  They are crispy and chewy and have a creamy, ooey, gooey center.  It's like a texture party in your mouth!  Since they are made with cereal and have the addition of peanut butter, which adds protein, that means you can eat these for breakfast, right?  I'm sure they are better for you than the cereal treat bars you can buy at the grocery store.  

Send these in your kid's lunch, your hubby's lunch and your lunch and everyone will be happy campers!
mmm . . . mmm . . . mmm
Fluffernutter Cereal Treats
adapted from: Cookies and Cups
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 (10.5 oz.) bag mini marshmallows
6 c. Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. marshmallow fluff or creme

Spray a 15x10-inch cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add the mini marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the cereal.  Spread cereal mixture evenly into the prepared baking sheet the best you can (your clean hands will work best to help spread it out).  Let cool for 10 minutes.  When cooled, cut the entire rectangle in half.  Spread marshmallow fluff or creme on one side and peanut butter on the other side.  Pick up one half and flip it over on top of the other half to sandwich the two sides together.  Cut into squares when ready to serve.  Store in an air-tight container.  

Jenn's Notes: I used the regular Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, but I think the one with sliced almonds would be amazing too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

Up until the other day, I had only eaten a pumpkin roll once in my entire life.  Several years ago, my cousin made a pumpkin roll as one of the treats at my other cousin's baby shower.  First of all, this was before I started cooking and baking and 2nd I was way impressed with this beautiful orange and white swirled round cake and thought she was amazing that she could make something so fancy looking and so delicious tasting (P.S. I still think you are amazing)!

I finally attempted this intimidating cake last night.  Guess what?  It was actually way easy to make and I know you can do it too.  I wouldn't lie to you - there is no reason to be intimidated.  I went with the tried-and-true Libby's recipe that is on the back of their cans of pumpkin.  It was delicious.

Libby's Pumpkin Roll
1/4 c. powdered sugar (for sprinkling over cake)
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree

1 stick (8 Tbl.) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with parchment paper.  Grease and flour paper.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick.  Beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly touched.  

Immediately loosen cake from pan.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of powdered sugar over cake, top with a thin cotton kitchen towel and place a cooling rack upside down on top of the cake.  Invert pan.  Now, your cake will be sitting on top of a towel on a wire rack.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.  Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Meanwhile, beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended.  

Carefully unroll cooled cake.  Spread filling evenly over cake.  Re-roll cake, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Sprinkle with more powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Jenn's Notes:  The original filling recipe called for more cream cheese and less butter, but I prefer the opposite, so I made the recipe as I typed it above.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BBQ Ranch Ribs in the Slow Cooker

These ribs were a huge hit.  I originally planned on serving them as whole ribs, but after I trimmed the fat off, they ended up more like rib-tips.  I might have a problem of thinking I need to get all of the fat off the meat.  I ended up shredding it and I ate mine plain, but "The Mr." ate his on a few slices of french bread with spicy pickles and he raved about how good it was.  Definitely a dish I will make again.

BBQ Ranch Ribs in the Slow Cooker
adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. canola oil
salt and pepper
2 1/2 - 3 Lbs. boneless country-style ribs
1.25 oz. pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 c. ketchup
3 Tbl. yellow mustard
4 Tbl. worcestershire sauce
2 Tbl. vinegar (I added a splash)
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbl. cornstarch (I didn't add)
2 Tbl. cold water (I didn't add)

Heat butter and canola oil over medium heat.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper and add to hot oil.  Brown all sides and then add to the slow-cooker.  Top meat with ranch dressing mix.  Combine the ketchup, mustard, worcestershire, vinegar and brown sugar and pour over ribs.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Carefully remove ribs from crock pot, they will be very tender. Whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the sauce.  Stir to thicken sauce.  Serve ribs with sauce.

Jenn's Notes: I cooked mine in a dutch oven, in the oven, on a really low temperature of 250 degrees for a few hours until it basically fell apart. I shredded it in the sauce and I didn't add any cornstarch to thicken it.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Copycat Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip Bread

This bread is Ahh...Mazing!

I tried this bread from Great Harvest for the first time the other day and I was so impressed with how soft it was.

I couldn't stop thinking about it the rest of the day . . . 

. . . Then, I remembered seeing a copycat recipe floating around the internet.  Lucky for me (and you), it was perfect timing, because cinnamon chips are in the stores right now.  I had never bought them before, but I was told stores only carry them during the Fall and Winter season (you can find them online the rest of the year).  Sure enough, I found them at my local grocery store and picked up a few extra packages to have on hand. 

This bread turned out so stinkin good!  It is soft and cinnamony and super addicting.  Nothing is better than a piece warm, right out of the oven, smothered in butter or honey butter.  You have to make this for your family ASAP.  I promise they will love you forever!

If you like this recipe, you might also like my Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat Bread Copycat!
Copycat Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip Bread
adapted from: Rae Gun Ramblings
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. warm water
1 c. warm milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cinnamon chips, no more

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, sugar and warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  It should be bubbly and frothy.  If it does not get frothy, start over.  Add the warm milk, oil and egg.  Mix to combine.  Slowly add 2 cups of flour, mix and then add the salt.  Begin adding the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  The dough will be very sticky, but the softer the dough the lighter the bread will be.  So, use the least amount of flour you can handle. 

Add the cinnamon chips and mix just until incorporated.  Since the dough is warm, the chips will melt everywhere if you mix it too long.  Transfer the dough to a greased mixing bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size.  Punch down dough and divide in half.  Form each half into a loaf and place into two greased loaf pans.  Allow to rise until doubled in size.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Makes 2 loaves. 

Note: It is not a good idea to make this in the bread machine, because the cinnamon chips will melt everywhere and turn your bread orange. 

Jenn's Notes: I love how easy this bread is to make and I love that you don't have to knead it.  One cup of cinnamon chips really is enough for two loaves.  You may think you need to add more, but the flavor will be overpowering.  So, stick to one cup.  Try using leftover bread for french toast!

Friday, November 2, 2012


I had to make some hot chocolate after work the other day.

All day at work, while I sat at my desk, I was secretly kind of cold (if any of my co-workers are reading this - don't tell Sue - ha ha)!  You see, there is a constant battle at work with the thermostat.  The three of us that sit along the wall are always hot and have little fans on our desks and the rest of the room are always cold and have space heaters under their desks.  

I never get cold at work, but as people were coming in and out of the door all day long and letting in the cool breeze, I found myself slightly chilly.

This hot chocolate was rich and creamy and delicious.  The toasted marshmallows were such a fun addition, rather than just plain mallows.  P.S. . . on a little side note . . . when you are broiling the marshmallows, make sure to watch them very very closely and don't put them too close to the broiler or they may catch on fire.  Don't ask me how I know this, just trust me :)  

2 Tbl. butter, melted
2 graham crackers, crushed
4 c. whole milk (I used 1%)
2 (4 oz.) milk chocolate bars, broken into chunks
8-12 large marshmallows
chocolate syrup
4 mugs

Place melted butter in a small, shallow dish that is as large around as your mugs.  Place crushed graham crackers in another dish of the same size.  Flip your mugs upside-down and dip the rim first in melted butter and then in the crushed graham crackers; set aside.  Add the milk to a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low.  When it is  starting to get warm, add the chocolate chunks.  Whisk frequently to keep the chocolate from burning and getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Meanwhile, place the marshmallows on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place under the broiler in the oven on low.  Watch constantly and remove from the oven when toasted and browned.  Once the chocolate is completely melted and well incorporated into the milk and it reaches desired temperature, pour into a container with a pour spout (this will help you divide it between the cups easier and keep your graham cracker rimmed cup looking pretty).  Divide mixture between four mugs.  Top each with 2 or 3 toasted marshmallows and drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Serves 4.

Jenn's Notes:  I used 1% milk and I still think it turned out thick and creamy.  It is very rich and a 1 cup serving was plenty.  

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