12/18/14

Berry Merry Coffeecake








Coffeecake is always on our list for Christmas breakfast. I love it because it's easy to make and can be made either Christmas morning or the day before. It's a one bowl, mix and bake type of dish. Perfect for when you're in a hurry, but want something special for your Christmas table.
One more week!



Berry Merry Coffeecake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup berries fresh or frozen (in the winter, I use a frozen tri-berry mix)

Topping- 3 choices (using all three looks extra festive) :

Streusel (optional) or sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle, listed below
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

and/or

drizzle:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons cream
dash of salt
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

and/or
powdered sugar, in a shaker

Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch Spring form pan. Preheat oven to 350 and set the rack in the middle of the oven.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs. Add yogurt and blend well. Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the berries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan (it will be thick).
Prepare the streusel topping by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cake, if making with streusel, otherwise, just bake the cake without a topping.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and run a knife around the sides of the Spring form before detaching the side form.
When cake is completely cool, whisk powdered sugar in a bowl, add cream, salt and flavoring. Drizzle with a spoon over the cake. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving. 

Tips:
-This may be made the day before serving. After the cake is cooled, remove the springform side and cover with foil. 
-If the powdered sugar "melts" into the cake, simple sprinkle again. I often sprinkle the pieces on a serving plate as well. 
-You may use all three toppings if you like! 
-If you don't have vanilla or plain yogurt, you may use fruit on the bottom style yogurt, simply scoop the yogurt off the top of the fruit and add to the cake, discard fruit layer. Sour cream may also be substituted.

12/15/14

Overnight Croissant Breakfast Bake






What are you planning for Christmas breakfast? Hopefully not some ho-hum breakfast casserole! My Overnight Croissant Breakfast Bake will take your Christmas celebration to a new level. Instead of using flat, ordinary pieces of bread try using croissants to create a bread pudding-type texture for your special holiday breakfast.
The beauty of this dish is, it can be made ahead and tucked away in your fridge for Christmas morning. All you have to do on the 25th is pull it out of the fridge and bake. I love to serve it with a simple berry coffee cake, fresh fruit, hot cocoa and juices.
It's so good, my kids have been known to forget about opening presents until noon.
Serious.
Up next, Berry Christmas (make ahead) Coffee Cake.







Overnight Croissant Breakfast Bake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

4-6 large croissants (day old are best)
1 lb Italian or spicy sausage (you may use more if desired)
2 cups chopped onion
1-2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups grated Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, or a combo
12 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper ground pepper

Grease a 9x13 or large casserole dish.
Tear the croissants into large chunks and lay in pan close together. The rolls should cover the bottom of the pan.
Brown the sausage in a Teflon frying pan, drain grease and place cooked sausage in a dish lined with paper towels to collect any extra grease. Press the paper towels around the sausage to squeeze out any remaining grease. Pour the meat on top of the croissants in dish, distribute evenly.
Using the pan the meat was cooked in, wipe out pan with a paper towel and place the pan back on the stove at medium high heat.  Cook the chopped onion for about 5 minutes or until softened, add one tablespoon oil or butter if needed.  Add spinach to pan and cook just until the spinach is wilted. Pour cooked onions and spinach over top of sausage. Top with grated cheese.
Beat the eggs and half and half together in a blender or bowl. Add the dry mustard, salt and pepper.
Pour this mixture over the rolls in the pan. Cover with foil that has been greased (on side facing eggs) and store overnight in refrigerator.
The next morning, remove casserole from fridge, preheat oven to 375 and place rack in middle of oven.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, then carefully remove foil and bake until top is slightly puffed and custard is set in center, about 30 minutes more.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, cut into 12 squares and serve immediately with chili sauce and or salsa.
Serves 10-12

Tips:
-The meat may be cooked and kept in fridge for up to three days before assembling. Or you may cook meat and freeze ahead of time.






12/12/14

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies





To finish out our week of cookiescookiescookies, I've partnered with the Harmons bloggers to present a Christmas cookie post! We gathered a while back to share holiday cookie recipes and have a little tasting party. It was a sweet afternoon of sugar and spice.




Have you ever made a macaron cookie? My friend Caroline is an expert at macaron making.  Her Pumpkin French Macaron Cookies are amazing! Such a fun addition to your holiday cookie platter.
And the flavors! They taste just like the holidays.





Becky, from Vintage Mixer made Frosted Honey Christmas Cookies. They reminded me of a recipe that would have been passed through a family, hand written on a 3x5 card, and tucked away in a recipe box!  I loved the way Becky piped the frosting on this simple and not overly sweet cookie.



Jesseca at One Sweet Appetite was on Channel 4 News in SLC recently, and shared her recipe for these oh-so-darling Melted Snowmen Cookies. Wouldn't your kids love these? They're almost too cute to eat.


The Harmons bakers shared their recipe for Peppermint Ganache Cookies. If you're a peppermint lover, make sure to check out this recipe! Also,  if you are looking for a special ingredient for your holiday baking and can't find it, the amazingly helpful employees at Harmons will special order it for you.

For my contribution to our cookie-fest, and to end our week of Christmas cookie posts, I baked up a ginger cookie with a special twist.
The best kind of twist.
C H O C O L A T E !
What could be more wonderful than a Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookie? This recipe comes together in just a few minutes and is what I call a pantry-ready cookie, meaning most of the items for this cookie are probably already in your pantry. Or in your mom's pantry.
My family is officially addicted to ginger and chocolate.


photo credit Caroline Drake

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened powdered chocolate
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar, granulated or powdered for coating cookies

Place butter, oil, sugar, egg, molasses and unsweetened cocoa in a large bowl and beat together until blended well.
Mix remaining dry ingredients into wet ingredients, if using a mixer, this should be done on low speed and take about 10-15 seconds.
Form dough into balls using a 2 inch scoop. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Crowd cookies together on one cookie sheet and place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cookies on cookies sheets (about 6-8 per sheet) , and slightly flatten with palm of hand. Bake for about 8 minutes or until set. The cookies will flatten as they cool. Sprinkle with additional sugar after removing from oven.


12/11/14

Coconut Cream (Swig) Cookies








Every respectable Christmas cookie tray should include a coconut cookie. Since this was the year of the Swig copycat (Original (Almost) Swig Cookie, the Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie, the Chocolate Swagg Cookie, all ABK originals) I thought it was only fitting to end the year with a coconut version of one of our favorite cookies.
If coconut is on your wish list, your dreams have just come true.





Coconut Cream (Swig) Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

dough:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup solid shortening ( I like Butter Flavor Crisco)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract or 2 teaspoons coconut emulsion
4 1/2  cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
sugar for top of cookies

frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 tablespoon cream
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
dash of salt
2 cups coconut

Preheat oven to 325 convection or 350 regular bake.
Take butter out of refrigerator and microwave for about 15 seconds. Place butter, shortening and cold sour cream in a mixing bowl. Mix for about one minute. Add sugar and coconut extract, mix until smooth. Add all dry ingredients at once. Mix just until flour disappears and the mixture comes together in a ball of dough, about 1 minute on very low speed.
Spray the cookie scoop with a little cooking spray. Scoop the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. I use a 2 inch scoop.
Place about 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl.
Spray the bottom of a flat glass with cooking spray. Flatten one cookie a bit then dip the glass in sugar Press the bottom of the glass against the cookie. Press the cookies so they are flattened a bit ( until the cookie dough just reaches the outside of the edge of the glass) twisting the glass as you press to produce a jagged edge. I bake 8 cookies per tray. Continue until all cookies are flattened.
Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes on convection or about 12-15 minutes regular bake or until edges are lightly golden and cookies are slightly firm to the touch.
Remove from oven, let cool.  Loosen the cookies from the cookie sheet after cooled a bit, or they will stick to the pan (even though it has been lightly greased).
Place the cookies in the fridge and chill.

Prepare the frosting:
Beat together the butter, cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract and salt. When all ingredients are incorporated, add the coconut and a little  more cream or milk if the frosting needs to be thinned.
Frost after the cookies are completely chilled, sprinkle with additional coconut.
Makes about 27-30  cookies.

For tips, see link above for Original ( Almost) Swig Cookie .



12/9/14

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars (copycat)






I first tried a Cranberry Bliss Bar at a cookie exchange last year. Have you had one? Essentially it's a Blondie, with fruit and white chocolate in the dough, topped with cream cheese frosting and more fruit and white chocolate (covers lots of food groups according to Grant).
Red and white, rich and chewy.  This cookie was made for Christmas! I looked for the recipe from my friend Karen (who brought it to the exchange), but no luck. Could not find it. I emailed Karen and asked her to resend it via email. She couldn't find it either. She sent me links to a couple of recipes she had used, but wasn't exactly sure which of the two was her favorite. This is an all to familiar story in my world.  I gave up the search and started from scratch to make my own recipe.








Oh, I should also say- last week, when I was in the great state of Washington for two days, I bought a Cranberry Bliss Bar from the king of coffee who made this bar famous. I thought if I was going to make their bar, I should make sure my copycat tasted as good, if not better than the real deal.
I read a few recipes, and compared to the official Starbucks ingredient list. Then I worked on my own version. I wanted a recipe that was easily baked in a 9x13. Most of the recipes I found called for an 8x8, or a jelly roll pan -  a 9x13 is the perfect size.  I also like the white chocolate melted into the batter instead of chunks of chips. Grated orange zest gave the topping a little fresh zip.
Everyone who taste-tested gave these bars two thumbs up.
For a fraction of what you'll pay at Starbucks, you can have the whole pan. Freshly made in your kitchen.
Absolutely Heavenly.





Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars (copycat)
A Bountiful Kitchen


1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract, or about one tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup Craisins

Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt
1 tablespoon milk to thin, if needed

Topping:
1/2 cup Craisins, chopped
3/4  cup white chocolate chips, or white chocolate baking bar 4 oz
few drops of vegetable or canola oil to thin white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center of oven.
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs. Beat for about one minute. Add orange and vanilla extracts and set aside.
In a small separate bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir, heat for 30 seconds. Stir again. Microwave again for a few seconds. In my microwave this takes a total of 1 min 15 seconds. The chocolate will melt as you stir.
When melted, scrape into bowl with butter and sugars. Mix with mixer until incorporated. Or, alternatively, you may just mix the chips into the batter.
Add the flour, powder, soda, ginger, sea salt and cornstarch all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and ingredients are incorporated. Fold in Craisins.
Spread mixture evenly in a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let cool completely.
Frosting:
Make frosting by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add a little milk if needed. Spread frosting on cooled crust.
Topping:
Sprinkle the chopped Craisins over the top of the frosting.
Prepare toping by placing white chocolate in a small ziplock baggie. Microwave for about one minute. Pour in small amount of oil to help white chocolate pour smoothly.
Using hands, press white chocolate chips together in bag to mix with oil and help melting process. Microwave a few more seconds if needed. Snip off a small corner of the bag and squeeze/drizzle over the frosted bars. Grate a bit of orange rind over the top of the finished bars, if desired.
Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, cut when completely cooled and set up.
Best stored in refrigerator.
Cut into squares, then half the squares on the diagonal to form a triangle.
Yield about 30 small bars.

Tips:
-These are very simple to make. They are basically a blondie recipe, with white chocolate added, then frosted and topped with more melted white chocolate.  To simplify, just add the white choc chips to the batter and skip the melted drizzle. Just add more White chocolate chips to the topping along with the chopped Craisins.