Thin and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (no butter)

*Postpic

As a child, I always shied away from the oatmeal rasin cookies. I mean, it’s not like I was extremely adverse to oatmeal or raisins, but something about them seemed too healthy. It was as if the oatmeal rasin cookie was an imposter for the known and loved chocolate chip cookie. But banish those fears. These cookies definitely deserve their own legacy. I prefer this classic without the rasins, but add them if you wish.

IMG_6407

These cookies are incredibly soft and chewy, bending in your hands as you pick them up. The little bit of cinnamon adds a wonderful warmth while the oats add a heartiness (good enough for breakfast if I do say so myself).

IMG_6388

Oatmeal cookies are delicious on their own, but add some marshmallow in the middle and you’ve got yourself a real treat. If you’re looking for a new s’mores option, try toasting marshmallow and chocolate, and sandwiching them between two of these chewy delights. Mmmm… My mouth is watering as I type…

IMG_6395

IMG_6410

Oven Temperature: 350˚F

Baking Time: 8-10 minutes

Makes: 20 3inch diameter cookies

Ingredients:

6 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
6 oz. brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
3 oz. oats
6 oz. flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (or whatever you prefer).

Mix oil, milk and sugar well. Then add in vanilla, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Crack in an egg and whisk until smooth. Fold in oats and flour. *note – I accomplished this recipe with nothing but a spoon so no need to hassle with a mixer

Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to portion out dollops onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Enjoy!

Delicious Versatile Pancakes

IMG_5116_2

IMG_5118

IMG_5108

This pancake recipe is my absolute favorite. Our family makes them all the time – even on weekdays. In fact, I made these pancakes on a weekday morning just by waking up an extra 20-30 minutes earlier, which is worth it for one bite of these ridiculously fluffy pancakes.

In the photos I made chocolate chip pancakes by dropping a few (which definitely means like 10) chocolate chips on the batter after scooping it into the hot pan. If you want to amp up the chocolate flavor even more, you can sub cocoa powder for some of the flour. If you still think there isn’t enough chocolate, you can follow the example of our friends George and William by sprinkling more chocolate on top of the warm pancakes and letting it melt all over them – yum to the next level. As I say, you can never have enough chocolate 😀

This recipe is a repost since I took photos and wanted to share them with y’all so look at that golden brown deliciousness and make these pancakes (you won’t be disappointed)!

 

We found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book. We then came up with the variations. These pancakes are great because you can experiment with them. You can add chocolate chips, turn them savory (like Savory Carrot and Sweet Corn Pancakes or the base recipe for Savory Pancakes), add berries, make banana pancakes, make them into chocolate pancakes, or whatever you can think of.

 

MAKES: 8-10 pancakes

 

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Make a well with your hands in the middle of the mixture. Set this aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and oil until the oil is pretty much incorporated. If you are lazy/don’t want to get out unnecessary bowls, you can mix this in your measuring cup!

Then, pour this egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. The batter should still have lumps of flour.

Take a pan (it doesn’t matter if it’s nonstick) and pour a little bit of vegetable oil into the pan. Turn on the stove to medium high and wait for the oil to heat up (maybe two minutes or so.) Then, pour your pancake batter onto the pan. When there are bubbles all over the tops of the pancakes, you can flip them over. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

At our house, our favorite way to change up these pancakes is by adding dark chocolate chips on the pancakes after you pour the batter into the pan. Then, you just dab a little more batter on the chocolate chips to cover them! For a savory version of this recipe, check out the savory pancake recipe in the lunch/dinner section! Enjoy!

Homemade Nutella (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)

IMG_3752  IMG_3770 IMG_3778

IMG_3760

This homemade chocolate hazelnut spread is utterly delicious. It is creamy, chocolatey, and goes perfect with almost everything. While making this, I had to have some samples throughout…

Once you taste this Nutella, you will never go back to the store-bought version. This spread tastes like hazelnuts and chocolate. The store-bought Nutella tastes like sugar. Also, the homemade version has significantly less fat and sugar.

Also, there are real chocolate hazelnut spreads for sale like Justin’s Hazelnut Butter Blend. If you have had some of that, this homemade version tastes EXACTLY like that, but without the extra cost!

This recipe was found at Bruno Albouze: The Real Deal.

 

Makes: 1.2 pounds or 500 grams Nutella (size of one regular jar)

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons or 30 grams almonds

2/3 cup or 80 grams hazelnuts

2 1/2 ounces or 75 grams dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa)

2 1/2 ounces or 75 grams milk chocolate

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup dried milk

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the nuts in it. Then bake the nuts for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the two types of chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. You can also melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler (a bowl on top of a saucepan with simmering water), just make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

When the nuts are done roasting, put the warm nuts in a food processor. Blend until smooth and pasty. The nut butter will be quite thick (thicker than peanut butter). This will take a few minutes.

In a saucepan, mix the milk, dried milk, honey, and salt. Cook until the liquid comes to a boil. Then take the pan off the heat and stir in the melted chocolate.

Add the chocolate and milk mixture to the food processor with the nut butter. Pulse the mixture until smooth and combined.

Take a jar or other container, and pour the Nutella in. The spread will be runnier than the final product at this stage. Then refrigerate until firm (a couple of hours). Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Bread

IMG_0813 IMG_0820
IMG_0306 IMG_0307 IMG_0308 IMG_0309

 

These delicious breads with chocolate filled in the middle are so heavenly. Every bite is warm, chocolate goodness in your mouth. We like to reheat them for a super special breakfast – the perfect start to any morning.

 

This sweet bread dough is also super versatile and can be used for any sweet breads. We have done cinnamon rolls, red bean breads and more.

 

 

Oven Temperature: 375˚F

Baking Time: 15-20 minutes

Makes: 10 fairly large rolls (we share them between two people, but these are so delicious I could gobble the whole thing up)

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chocolate chips (you can use any chocolate; a large chocolate bar would also work)

 

Directions:

Combine the milk, sugar, butter and yeast. Let sit until frothy (~10 minutes).

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Then pour in the milk mixture, eggs and oil. Mix until a ball is formed. Then knead until smooth and elastic. We like to use our stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to make the kneading process easier. You know the dough is done when you can see through the dough when stretched.

Grease your bowl with a little bit of oil and place the dough ball back in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Rise it until double in a warm, draft-free spot. We like to put it in a 100˚F oven. This will take ~1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Prepare a baking sheet with foil, parchment or a silicon baking mat.

Then portion your dough into 10 pieces. Take each piece and roll out into a 4×6 rectangle. Place a portion of chocolate on one side of the dough. Then cut slits on the other side. (See above pictures for reference.) Then wrap the cut ends around the chocolate and press into the back of the bread. Place each shaped bread onto your prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Enjoy!

Fluffy Banana Pancakes

IMG_3346 IMG_3342 IMG_3345 IMG_3337

Pancakes are the ultimate weekend breakfast. Fluffy, light, airy, delicious, doused in syrup; what’s not to love? This recipe is one of the best pancake recipes we have tried. It is the perfect alternative to the traditional pounds of banana bread usually made with those too-ripe-to-eat bananas sitting on the counter. One forkful of these yummylicious pancakes and you will be in love. The best part are that these pancakes are super simple; even simple enough to make on any morning.

Now get to making some pancakes!

I stumbled upon this recipe on kitchentreaty.com and I made a couple adjustments to fit my liking.

 

Makes: ~16 4-5” pancakes

 

Ingredients:

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tablespoons vinegar + enough milk to equal 2 cups, and then let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes)

2-3 small or 1-2 large ripe bananas, or about 1 cup mashed (we don’t like to measure out the bananas, so guestimation is ok)

2 eggs

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, mini, or whatever you like; we like to mix and match)

 

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk (or vinegar + milk substitute), mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and vanilla.

In another larger bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Then, make a well in the center of the flour mixture by making a hole in the middle of the flour mix. Then pour the wet mix into the hole. Whisk the batter together until there are no large pockets of flour. It is ok for the mix to be lumpy. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes to activate the baking powder.

Then lightly grease a pan with some oil and put on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, lower heat and add in your pancake batter. You can use a ladle to pour in equal portions or use a large ice cream scoop. When the batter is still wet, sprinkle on some chocolate chips. The pancakes should start to form bubbles around the edges and in the center, and be golden brown. At that point, flip the pancakes over and cook for an additional minute or until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve up your pancakes plain (our favorite), covered with more chocolate (for that chocolate craving), with some sliced bananas, maple syrup, or whatever you fancy. Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Asian Red Bean Buns

IMG_2893

IMG_2887

IMG_2888

Golden brown, fluffy buns filled with delicious red bean paste… a real treat! These buns would be great with any fillings: lotus seed paste, taro paste, black sesame paste, nutella, chocolate, peanut paste, you name it. We love these special buns as a sweet and delectable breakfast. Yum.

This bread is a treat you can find in Chinese stores and bakeries. But, a lot of people do not live near a Chinese bakery, so this is a great recipe for eating this bread at home.

This bun dough can be used for other purposes as well. Try making some sweet rolls, a yummy loaf, or maybe a filled bread. This dough uses the tanzhong or water-roux method, which makes them extra soft and fluffy. This method can be used in any bread recipe to make wonderfully soft and tender bread.

I found this recipe at Corner Café.

Oven Temperature: 375˚F

Baking Time: 8-12 minutes

Makes: 20 medium sized buns

Ingredients:

375g bread flour

100g all purpose flour

35g milk powder

75g white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

7g or 2 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast

1 egg, lightly beaten

Water-Roux Paste (湯種):

25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water

150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary

40g softened unsalted butter, cubed

500g or one package of red bean paste

egg wash (one egg whisked with a tablespoon of water or milk)

some white sesame seeds for the tops

Directions:

First, prepare the water-roux paste. To do that, combine the flour and water in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to a paste. If you stir the paste, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. Once cooked to a thick paste, take the water-roux off the heat and cover with plastic wrap. Set it on the counter or in the fridge until cooled to room temperature.

Now, for the bun dough. Combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Then, mix the yeast in well. Make a well in the flour. Then, add in the beaten egg and cooled water-roux, and mix. Gradually pour in the lukewarm water while mixing. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Then, knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

*NOTE: If you have a Kitchenaid mixer or other mixer with a dough hook, then use this for this recipe. Just start out in the mixer and use the dough hook to knead the dough until smooth (this is much easier!)

After the dough is smooth and elastic, gradually mix in the softened, cubed butter. Keep kneading until the dough passes the membrane test. This means the dough, when stretched, will create a thin membrane that can be seen through without breaking. If kneading by hand, this can be difficult, so get as close as you can.

Then, shape the dough into a ball and rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. I like to place the dough into a turned-off oven after preheating to 100˚F. Rise until doubled in size (about one hour). Proof the dough until when you poke a floured finger as far into it as you can, it does not fill the hole back up or feel springy.

Then, punch the dough down and then portion into 20 pieces or so. Shape each piece into a ball. Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes. Then flatten and fill with a spoonful of red bean paste. Gather the edges around the red bean paste and seal with a few twists. Flour the bottoms and place on a greased baking sheet (or a silicone baking mat!) covered with plastic wrap in a warm spot to rise a second time. The buns should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Brush the buns with some egg wash, and then go back and brush a second time. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds on top. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

IMG_3003
IMG_3004 IMG_3000

Granola bars are a staple at our house with our busy schedule and need for quick snacks and breakfast. This recipe is super easy and really customizable. Just think of all the possibilities… Hazelnut chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, white chocolate cranberry, lemon poppyseed, trail mix… The combinations are endless! Comment your granola bar flavor idea below.

We like to make a double batch and then divide it into different flavors. Then, we bake it in a 15×10 pan, also known as a jelly roll pan.

We originally found this recipe idea at myhumblekitchen, but this recipe is all over the internet!

Oven Temperature: 325°F
Baking Time: 10-15 min.
Makes: 8-10 granola bars

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups quick cooking oats (I like to use 1 cup oats & 2/3 cup puffed rice cereal)

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup honey (if you grease or spray your measuring cup, you can measure and pour your honey out easily)

1/4 cup brown sugar (optional, if you don’t like your granola bars to be upper sweet, you can reduce this amount or leave it out; we prefer to leave it out)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups nuts/dried fruit/chips of choice

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325°F.
Prepare a 9×13 baking pan (the mixture doesn’t quite fill the pan; it fills about 3/4 of it; other pan sizes will work as well-we use half of a 15×10 pan) by lining with foil or parchment and spraying with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
Then, press your granola bar mix into the pan. The mixture will only fill about 3/4 of the pan. Use your hands to press the mixture together.
Now bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Keep an eye on your bars as they tend to burn easily! Then, the bars will be quite soft, so let them cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!