10/21/14

Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread





I'm not usually a fan of  store bought pumpkin bread. It always tastes like a mix (because it probably is) or it is: too airy, too dry, too much like a cake. The one exception is Great Harvest Pumpkin Bread. If you've ever eaten a slice, you know that Great Harvest makes a killer loaf of pumpkin bread! I decided it was time to recreate their recipe at home.  I compared the ingredient list on the GH package to recipes online that claimed to be GH copycats. Hmmmm.  A lot of those recipes included ingredients not on the Great Harvest ingredients list. Ingredients like: honey, brown sugar, wheat flour.  All good guesses, but not accurate if you're trying to recreate the bakery version...





After several test batches, and experimenting with different temperatures of baking, amounts of flour, spices, pumpkin, and eggs,  I think I've finally nailed it.
This bread is lightly spiced, super moist, dense, and has a rich pumpkin flavor.  At over $9 a loaf (in SLC locations),  you'll be saving a few dollars and your house will smell great too!
Happy baking.



Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

4  large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4  cups vegetable or canola oil
1-15 oz can Libby's pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips


Place the rack in the center of the oven, and generously grease and line the bottom of two loaf pans with parchment or wax paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat for about 1 minute. Add sugar beat again for 1 minute. Add the oil, pumpkin and vanilla. Beat until all ingredients are incorporated.
Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices and chocolate chips into the bowl with the pumpkin mixture. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center of loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Remove from oven. Let sit for 5 minutes in pan. Loosen sides of loaf if necessary with butter knife. Remove and cool completely.
Yields 2-3 loaves, depending on size of pans used*


Tips:
-I make a liner for the loaf pan by placing parchment or wax paper under the pan and tracing around the bottom of the pan. Cut the paper on the line. Place the paper in the bottom of the loaf pan and spray sides of pan and bottom (on top of the paper liner) generously with cooking spray.
-I bake in  4 1/2 x 8 1/2 pans. When I place the batter in the pans, they fill the pans over 3/4 full. There is about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch space to the top of the loaf pan.  This recipe will easily yield 3 smaller loaves. Adjust the baking time to 45 minutes then check to make sure loaf is set.





10/17/14

Vintage White Cheddar Dip



I took a trip with my girls to Oregon for a few days in August. We ate our way through Portland, then headed to the coast. Here's a little look into our five- food packed, beach loving days in the great state of Oregon! At  the end, I'll show you how to I made this really simple cheese dip filled with cheeses, corn, red pepper and jalapeno and the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar I brought home from our Tillamook Cheese Factory tour...


First stop, berry picking by the side of the road.


Multnomah Falls. Right outside the city. Worth the 30 minute drive.  


A trip to Portland isn't complete without breakfast at THE Original, Original Pancake House.
Sit at the community table, chat with locals, highly recommended. 

Cannon Beach, OR. Haystack Rock. Serious beauty. 

More serious beauty, love these two. 

Time to get serious.
Bananagrams.

Hydrangeas the size of your HEAD.

Walks on the beach. 


Once at the coast, we headed to Tillamook to tour the factory. We were met by Leeanne,  our lovely tour guide. She led us through the factory, explaining every detail about the cheese making process. Leeanne is an expert on everything Tillamook!




Guess how many pounds of cheese are stored at the Tillamook facility at any given time? 
Did you guess 50 Million lbs?  You're right! 


Watching all of that cheese being made will make you HUNGRY. 
It's hard work touring the factory. 


Enter our friend, Leeanne with CHEESE SAMPLES! 
The next half hour was spent receiving an education on several types of cheeses,
 made under the same roof. 



We tried Squeaky cheese (usually yellow, but this was a special vintage batch). 
The second was a Medium Cheddar. More trivia- It takes 20 lbs of milk to make one 2 lb baby loaf of Medium Cheddar Cheese. Leeanne guided us through about 12 different types of cheese including: Smoked Extra Sharp, Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, Swiss and Squeaky. My favorite was the Vintage Extra Sharp  White Cheddar. 








After our cheese tasting, we had lunch. We tried the grilled cheese, of course. And the house made tomato soup. Who can eat grilled cheese without tomato soup? I ordered the Tillamook Mac and Cheese. Creamy, smooth, melty. So good. Made with five cheeses. If you tour the factory in the morning hours, they serve breakfast too. Lots of omelets with CHEESE on the menu.






After lunch, we ventured over to the ice cream counter, where we tried a variety of Tillamook ice cream. This is the 5 scoop sampler bowl. Because we just couldn't decide. So yummy.



Tillamook tour = happy kids.





Stop by next time you're in Tillamook, OR. 
The  self guided tour is free and the ice cream and lunch are reasonably priced. 
And who doesn't want a pic in the baby loaf with their girls?

All of that eating can make you tired. It was a good afternoon for a nap on the beach...


After the nap, a walk through downtown Cannon Beach. Brooke and Corrine making convo with a furry friend. 

More Bananagrams. This time at a restaurant, while waiting for what? More food, of course.
Corriney is determined to win this round. 


The Inn at Cannon Beach was so quaint. Bunnies roaming the property. 


Highly recommend this place. 





We loved out time at the coast. No matter the time of year, the Oregon coast has to be one of the most unspoiled and beautiful beach areas in the world.
After our tour at the factory, Leeanne gave us a round of my favorite, the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. The flavor is pungent and the round is a little crumbly when cut. I wanted to create a recipe that featured the flavor of the cheese, and I think my Vintage White Cheddar Dip does just that!
This dip is perfect for spreading on crackers or dipping a tortilla or corn chip. It would even be perfect with celery sticks. I added some fresh corn and red peppers to break up the rich creamy texture of the dish.  We served it at a gathering and it was gone in minutes. It's perfect for anything from a holiday party to a tailgating event. Thanks Tillamook!


Me and my cheese.




Vintage White Cheddar Dip
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup sour cream, regular or low fat
16 oz cream cheese regular or low fat (not no-fat) at room temperature
1 cup Tillamook Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen, not thawed*
1/2 -1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded if you do not like spicy foods)
1 red pepper, seeded, chopped and divided (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, (leaving some of the cilantro and red pepper to sprinkle on top after baking).
Spoon into a  lightly greased dish for baking. I used a 10 inch round tart dish.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on top third of oven or until bubbly and slightly golden.
Serve immediately.
Serves about 10-12 as an appetizer.

Tips:
- If using fresh corn, cook the corn and then cut the corn off of the cob before using. Measure out 1 1/2  cups of corn for the recipe.
-You may make this ahead and bake when ready to use. Remove from refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before baking.  and set on counter. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
-You may add chopped peppers, tomatoes that have been seeded, onions (chopped fine), green chilies,  and/or other types of grated cheese.
-If you cannot find Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar, you may use other brands of cheese.  This would also be great with an Extra Sharp (yellow) Cheddar cheese. I would stay with a "sharp" variety of cheese. It will cut the richness of the cream cheese and sour cream combination and add a depth of flavor.


10/10/14

Orange Glazed Chicken


On the last post I talked about  my experience eating Creme Brulee French Toast at Cheesecake Factory. What I didn't mention was, while I ordered the french toast, Jake ordered Orange Chicken.
For breakfast.
I know.
I tried to talk him into a breakfast/brunch item, but he wanted Orange Chicken. Jake and his friend Tanner LOVE,  Panda Express. Oh my.  I'm just going to leave it at that.
What's better than Orange Chicken at Panda? How about Orange Chicken at home! Way better.
I looked up recipes for Panda Orange Chicken (which btw is their #1 ordered menu item). I played with a few ideas and came up with my own (able to pronounce every ingredient) version.
Grant, Stephen and I thought this was delicious.
Jake still likes Panda's better.
Heavy sigh.
Kids.







Orange Glazed Chicken
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 lbs chicken breast, cut in to bite size pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/3  cup cold water

2 cups oil, canola or vegetable for frying

Orange Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
zest of one orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Glaze for cooked chicken:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 bunch green onions, divided 2/3 for glaze, 1/3 for garnish
1/4 cup water


Mix the egg, salt, cornstarch, flour and cold water together in a bowl with a whisk. The batter should be smooth and about the consistency of pancake batter.
Place the chicken pieces in the batter all at once. Mix thoroughly.
Set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees for warming chicken.
Heat the oil in a wok or other deep pan on medium high heat, or about 350-375 degrees. When the oil is hot, cook chicken in batches (about 4 batches total) place chicken in pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until cooked through and light golden. Drain onto a pan lined with paper towels.
Place in oven to keep warm.
In another pan, make the orange sauce. Heat soy sauce, sugar, cider vinegar and orange zest together in saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat. Whisk o.j. and cornstarch together in a cup. Pour into hot vinegar mixture. Cook until thickened. Thin a bit with oj if needed. Turn off heat, leave pan on burner.
Using a frying pan, heat the sesame oil, ginger, minced garlic and red pepper flakes over medium high heat. Cook for about one minute or until fragrant. Add rice vinegar, green onions, and water. Add cooked chicken pieces all at once. Cook just until chicken is coated. Remove from heat.
Serve chicken with orange glaze over sticky rice. Garnish with remaining green onions.
Serves 4-6

10/5/14

Creme Brulee French Toast with Creamy Maple Syrup (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)





I've been to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and dinner, but this summer was my first time eating breakfast at the popular restaurant. Our server recommended his favorite dish- Creme Brulee French Toast. It was bite-after-bite of melt in your mouth deliciousness. I knew it had to be filled with butter and cream to taste this good. After a lengthy discussion with our server about the dish he shared this:

1. They soak the bread overnight in the egg mixture. (which I found is not necessary)
2. A lot of cream is involved.
3. The bread is a brioche loaf. Perfect bread for making decadent french toast.  At our local Harmons, the brioche is made with flour, eggs and butter. Top three ingredients, in that order.


Brioche loaf from Harmons. 


The texture of this french toast is like a very moist bread pudding, with a little bit of caramelization on top due to the sugar sprinkled on while cooking.
The french toast was amazing.  But the syrup. Oh. My. 
I could not stop tasting it. I wanted to take a gallon home so I could figure out what was in the buttery, ever so slight maple, creamy mixture. I looked online, but nothing for CF's syrup.  I finally came up with this recipe that is a perfect topping for the Creme Brulee French toast.
If you're out for breakfast, try this at Cheesecake Factory, if you're at home this weekend, cooking for your peeps, try my version.
Have a great weekend :)






Creme Brulee French Toast with Creamy Maple Syrup
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1- 1.5 lb loaf Brioche sliced thick (about 8- one inch slices) day old is best
5 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoon sugar
butter for cooking

Beat eggs, egg yolk, half and half, vanilla and sugar together in a 9x13 pan. 
Place the bread in the pan and let the bread soak up the egg on one side for about 5 minutes, then turn and let soak on other side. If the bread does not fit all at once in the pan, let the bread soak, then remove to plate to allow other pieces to fit in pan. Let any excess egg mixture drip off into pan.
Heat frying pan or griddle up to 350 degrees. Melt a small amount of butter in pan. Place french toast pieces in pan and fry until golden on first side. While cooking the first side, sprinkle a small amount of sugar on the uncooked side. Flip and cook other side until golden and sugar is caramelized.
Serve with Maple Cream Syrup.
Serves 4-6


Maple Cream Syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place cream, butter and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cook for one minute. Remove from heat and add maple extract, dash of salt and vanilla.

Tips:
-The cooking time will vary according to the pan/heat source you are using. I use a built in griddle, which gets hotter than the typical griddle (plug in type). I've also used a Teflon pan over a flame. I believe the best crust is formed on the french toast when using a cast iron or other non Teflon type coated pan. This allows the sugar to form a bit of a caramelized layer on the outside of the french toast. That said, this recipe tastes delicious when using an electric griddle with a Teflon coating. If you are cooking several batches you may need to wipe out the pan to prevent the bread from sticking to the melted sugar. Remember to butter the pan after each batch.
-Remember the bread is thick, and time needs to be allowed to cook the inside of the french toast as well as the outside of the bread. Don't turn the heat up too high, or the outside will burn and you'll be left with a soggy inside. We're looking for tender and creamy, not soggy.
-You can find Brioche in many specialty bakeries. I have also used a Challah loaf.
-Store any leftover syrup in refrigerator, covered. It will keep for a month or so. Just heat up when ready to use.



9/30/14

Old Fashioned Coca Cola Cake







Is there anything better than a cake that tastes like a slice of your childhood?  This recipe is an updated version of a classic favorite, made into a layer cake to dress it up a bit. The combo of Coke and buttermilk in the batter turns out a light, tender cake that stays moist for days.




I don't know about you, but I love homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and pecans on top.   Pour me a glass of cold milk and I'm a happy girl.





Old Fashioned Coca Cola Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, I used pecans
Frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.
Mix Coke and buttermilk together in a measuring cup, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients all at once. Mix and add the coke mixture all at once. Fold in the marshmallows.
Spoon mixture into two greased and lined 9 inch cake pans or one greased 9x13 cake pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes for layer cake and about 35-40 minutes for 9x13. Cake is done when a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick.
Remove from oven and if using layer pans, run a butter knife around edges and invert onto a rack to cool, placing the parchment side down so it won't stick to the rack. Make sure to peel parchment paper off before frosting cakes.
Cool completely.

Frosting:
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coke
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream as needed

Mix the butter in a bowl with powdered sugar and cocoa. Add salt, vanilla and coke. Beat until creamy. Add milk until desired spreading consistency.
Place cake on a platter. Spread 1/3 of frosting on layer. Top with other layer. Spread frosting on top and sides. Place chopped nuts on top of cake.
Serves 12

Tips:
-This cake is very tender, or falls apart easily because it is so moist. Be careful to not over bake. The first time I experimented with this recipe, it came out dry. I think I baked it for 40-45 minutes. I found that about 35 minutes worked perfect in my oven.
-The cake will come out with little indents where the marshmallows have melted and sunken into the batter. No worries. The frosting will fill in the indents.
-You may add up to another cup of marshmallows to the cake batter if you wish. Only use fresh marshmallows.
-Don't use Diet Coke. Or I'll have to come hurt you.