Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cake Batter Cinnabon Cookies

Lord I love Cinnabon. I'm that "extra frosting" type of girl. There's just something about the zing of the cinnamon, the chewy/doughy roll and a giant smattering of tangy cream cheese frosting (which is the ONLY way I will eat cream cheese, I might add) that really gets me going. You know what else gets me going? EASY stuff. Something I can throw together quickly when one of us has a hankerin', and something that doesn't sacrifice taste for the ease. This most definitely qualifies. It starts with a Betty Crocker Decadence cake mix. Cinnamon Swirl, to be exact. You know, the kind with CINNABON cinnamon in it. 
The good stuff. Throw in some sour cream to give it that tang, and VOILA! Insta-happiness. Well. 15 minute happiness. Close enough.

1 box Betty Crocker Decadence Cinnamon Swirl cake mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350º. 

Combine cake mix pouch and baking powder. Stir in sour cream, eggs and vanilla until well combined (get most of the lumps out if you can!). Now comes the fun part. Take the cinnamon swirl topping pouch and dump it on top. Now swirl it into the cookie dough! Don't get all excited about it, just gently swirl it in. We want cinnamon ribbons, guys! 

Now. Drop 1-2 tbsp at a time onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet (I used my 1.5tbsp cookie scoop). You can put these fairly close together.. They'll spread, but it's fairly minimal. Leave maybe 2" between each for safety's sake. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Do NOT leave them until they start to brown! You don't want the top to brown at all, and they will appear slightly under baked at first. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack (or a piece of parchment on your counter if you're too lazy to dig out your cooling rack like I am). The bottoms will be lightly browned, and this is PERFECT. After they're able to sit for a few minutes, they turn perfectly chewy and tangy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Butterscotch Latte Cookies

I love fall. So much. The pretty colors, the crisp, fresh air, the spices in the air.. And caramel EVERYTHING. Butterscotch is just a variation of caramel, essentially, and coffee is a MUST during the fall. Why not throw both into a cookie? 

I've fallen in love with flax recently, so I had to throw some of that in here.. I first really started using it when I had run out of eggs.. I didn't want to go to the store, and I happened to have some ground flax seed in my pantry that someone had given me awhile back.. While researching egg substitutes, I found that 1tbsp of ground flax + 3tbsp liquid is equal to 1 egg in baking. I've also fallen in love with french vanilla recently, so I just use 1 tbsp of flax + 3 tbsp french vanilla coffee creamer. The creamer just adds an extra level of decadence to these cookies, not to mention versatility! I'll put some ideas up for variations at the end of the post (please note though that I haven't actually TRIED any of these variations yet, but they are ones that will work with the chemistry of the cookies). 

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
2-3 tbsp instant coffee (depending on your taste)
1 egg
1 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp french vanilla coffee creamer
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375º. 

Cream shortening, butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add molasses, coffee, egg, flax and creamer. Mix until well combined. Add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, corn starch, salt and cinnamon. Stir in butterscotch chips just before flour mixture is totally mixed in, and finish folding everything in. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-11 minutes until just golden brown.

Now comes the fun part! Variations! 
-Black and White Mocha (Zebra/Tuxedo mocha) - Remove molasses. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, use white chocolate coffee creamer and white chocolate chips.
-Irish cream - Double the flax/creamer, remove egg and molasses. Use irish cream creamer and chocolate chips (optional). Mix together irish cream creamer and powdered sugar until a nice drizzling consistency is achieved, and drizzle over the top and let dry.  
-Pumpkin spice - Double the flax/creamer, remove egg. Use pumpkin spice creamer and pumpkin spice chips. 
-Peppermint Mocha - Remove molasses. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, use peppermint mocha or York patty creamer and either chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or peppermint bits (Andes mints makes a peppermint bit for baking!).. or a combination thereof!

There are so many more variations you could do, but these are at least a few to get you started.. If you try one of these or a different variation, leave a comment and let me know what it was and how it turned out! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coffee Spice Sour Cream Muffins

I love muffins. Seriously. Which is probably partially why I've got a few extra pounds that could stand to disappear. But probably never will. Because I love muffins. Besides, they make for easy work breakfasts. Well, those and pancakes or waffles. I freeze pancakes or waffles and throw them in the toaster at work to reheat, and voila! Breakfast! Same with muffins, except I throw them in the microwave instead of toaster. At any given time, I've generally got at least 2 or 3 types of pancakes, maybe some waffles, and at least 1 or 2 types of muffins to choose from. Grab and go! 

Anyways, these muffins were my attempt at a slightly better breakfast for when I go back to work this week (oh, hello 4:30am, I haven't missed you one bit..). They're filled with flaxseed to make them slightly healthier, and tons of cinnamon and coffee.

1/3 cup hot coffee
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flaxseed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 375º. 

Combine hot coffee and instant coffee in a small cup and stir until the instant coffee is dissolved. Set aside. 

Combine oil, sugars and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in sour cream and coffee mixture. Add flaxseed and combine. 

In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and stir slowly into wet until just mixed. Divide the batter evenly between 16 lined muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each). To top, I combined 2-3 tbsp brown sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and sprinkled on top of each muffin before baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Turkey Stroganoff

Two posts today! Aren't you all special? I figured I'd finally share my go-to recipe for stroganoff. You CAN use beef in this if you want (or chicken, or whatever!) but I generally use turkey. I almost always have ground turkey on hand instead of ground beef just because it's so versatile. It's hearty enough that you can use it in just about any recipe that calls for ground beef, and light enough that you can also use it in place of chicken. It's like.. magic meat! I love turkey. Plus it's generally leaner than hamburger. Double plus! This recipe is one that has become loved in our dinner rotations just because it's easy and cheap. I buy the 3 or 5lb chubs of meat and freeze it in half pound blocks, then defrost as needed. Need a pound? Throw two into the fridge the day before. Need half a pound? Just throw one in! Or you can do like me, since I rarely actually plan that far ahead, and just defrost it in the microwave when you need. I only use a half pound of meat for one pot, but you can most definitely add however much you'd like. Again, this is a money-stretching meal for us. If I had it my way, I'd add the whole 3lbs to one pot probably. Maybe some day I will. This is also a very versatile recipe. I use chicken stock and cream of chicken soup, but you can most definitely use vegetable stock instead, and you can use cream of mushroom or celery instead of chicken if you prefer. If you like mushrooms in your stroganoff, you can add them in with the meat and onions to saute them. I refuse to eat fungus, however, so we make ours sans mushrooms. 

1/2lb ground turkey
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4-1/2 cup sliced mushroom (optional)
4 cups chicken stock 
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp paprika
5 cups uncooked dried egg noodles (the curly type, not long thin)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Corn starch and milk (optional, see directions for info and measurements)

Brown meat, onions and mushrooms in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients except corn starch/milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes until noodles are done. 

Here's the fun part. If the sauce isn't as thick as you'd like it (we like ours fairly thick), you can make yourself a slurry of 1 part corn starch to 2 parts milk. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way. I mix 1 1/2 tsp corn starch to 3 tsp milk in a cup and pour in slowly. You'll probably want to just mix in a little bit at a time until you get to the consistency that you want. Drizzle a bit in, stir, and let it cook for a minute or two and thicken up. Repeat until you're where you want to be with it. Keep in mind too that it will keep thickening a little bit as it cools, so don't make it TOO thick. 

Serve with a bit of cheese sprinkled over the top if you like. I happen to be a cheese fiend, so we put some in the stroganoff and on top. Because why not? 

Note: I realize that this isn't a "traditional" stroganoff, but it's still pretty tasty. Plus it's something that both my picky kids AND my picky husband will eat, so it's a winner in my books! 

Raspberry Sour Cream Muffins

I'm on my last week of maternity leave. It's a bit of a bittersweet thing. On one hand, I'm a bit saddened to think about leaving my newest little bundle of joy and losing the ability to sleep past 4:30am on the weekdays. On the other hand, I'm losing my mind. I'm not the "stay at home" type. I admire people (like my husband) who have the patience/sanity/etc for it, but it's definitely not my thing. I need to be working. Thankfully I'll be headed back at the very beginning of the busy season, so there will definitely be no shortage of things to keep my mind off of the wee one without his Momma. 

For today though, it's all about relaxing still. The oldest is off to her fourth day of Kindergarten, so it's just the boys at home. Which means it's a lot more quiet than it would normally be with Princess Jabber home. What do you do with quiet? You make delicious muffins and sit down with them and a cup of coffee of course. These muffins are soft, fluffy, moist.. They've got that nice crust on top from the caramelized sugar and just a hint of spice and raspberry. They're the perfect almost-fall muffin! 


1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)


Preheat oven to 375º. Line a muffin pan with 10 liners, set aside. 

Mix together oil, sugars, egg, vanilla and sour cream. Add remaining ingredients (except raspberries) and stir until just combined. Fold in raspberries. My raspberries were frozen and pretty broken up, so there weren't really any big chunks in my muffins, but that turned out to be perfect. 

Divide batter evenly between the 10 liners and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Butterscotch cookies

Now that I'm back in the swing of baking things (and still have a bit of time on my hands before I go back to work), I've had a couple of requests for treats. The biggest one has been for my famous brownies. Those will come in a future post, don't worry! But today is all about BUTTERSCOTCH. Because really. Who doesn't love butterscotch? I know not a single person who has ever said they don't like it. And if you know someone who has said that, don't trust anything else they ever say because they're lying. Really. These cookies can make them finally admit it even! Browned butter, dark brown sugar.. it all lends to the delicious nutty, vanilla-y, caramel-y, butterscotch-y goodness! 


1/2 cup browned butter, cooled (1 stick)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs until well mixed. Add dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Fold in chips. Chill dough for at least 1 hour. 

Once dough has rested and chilled, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-11 minutes, or until light golden brown. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Java Chip Shortbread

Coffee is my main food group, so whenever I see a recipe involving the use of said "liquid life" I am immediately drawn to it. This one I had on the back burner for awhile though, because generally, I'm not a big fan of shortbread. It's always dry, crumbly, and usually tasteless. But this had COFFEE in it. It couldn't be THAT bad, right? Right. So I tweaked it a bit, just to make sure. And now I can't stop eating them. Not the greatest thing for my post-baby body, I'm sure. Oh well. 

Adapted from Wilton


1tbsp instant coffee
1tbsp boiling water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips


Dissolve instant coffee in hot water, set aside. Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add coffee and flour, mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Between the heat of the melted butter and coffee mixture, your chips should start to "streak" a bit in the dough. This is good! Keep folding until the dough looks slightly marbled. Shape into a log (you can make it round or rectangular, I won't tell!), wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. 

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 300º. Slice dough into pieces about 1/4" thick and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You can place them pretty close together since these will not spread. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until edges are just beginning to darken slightly. Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, and then slide the parchment paper (cookies and all!) to a cooling rack. Or if you're lazy like me and don't want to fish one out of the depths of your cupboard, just slide it off onto your counter. Really. The cookies will still be alright. Promise. Unless your 4 year old finds them.. Then you're in trouble, but that's another story. Let the cookies cool on the counter at least 15 minutes before getting into them. The longer you let them cool, the closer to shortbread consistency they'll be, though they won't get to be rock hard and dry like the traditional stuff. Once they've cooled completely, store in an airtight container. If they make it that far. You know. Because you've eaten them. 

Makes about 30 cookies.