Thursday, January 23, 2014

Twix Caramel Brownies: Why My Coworkers Love Me!

I like to joke that the only reason my coworkers like me is because I make good food to bring in & share with them. They say it's not true, but I think they are actually nicer to me when I do bring in food... they certainly tell me they love me more often. ;)

This recipe is something that's been on my mind since shortly after I made Butterfinger Brownies. I wanted to make them as soon as I found the recipe, but wound up waiting til after Christmas. (We had wayyyyy too many goodies in the house during Christmas, especially considering I wasn't eating many sweets.) This is something that's great for me to take into work & share with my Mama & little brother, for a couple reasons. 1) they all love things like this & 2) Nate is not a huge fan of things like this, so I get some & the rest doesn't go to waste!

These were a huge hit. I left 4 in a dish at home, and took the rest to work. There were only about 6 left when I got out of work, to take to Mama's. They are very rich, but not as strong cocoa flavor as a lot of other brownies. (Which is my biggest complaint about homemade brownies.) The caramel topping really adds to the brownie, too.

I didn't make many changes--some small changes in the actual process, but those don't affect the  brownies. I don't measure the caramel, I just drizzled it on til it looked right, and I think I used a little more Twix than the original.

If you are looking for something sweet, try these! Let me know what you think!

Remember, comments are love!

Sorry for the bad picture. :(

Twix Caramel Brownies

  • 1 cup butter/margarine, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Twix candy bars, chopped (Do not chop too finely, or it won't be noticable! I left mine in 1/4-1/2" chunks)
  • Caramel ice cream topping (I used the Smucker's Sundae Syrup; easy to drizzle!)

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa; stir until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; slowly add to mixer. Stir in Twix candy bar chunks by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Drizzle caramel evenly over the brownies. Using a toothpick, swirl caramel into brownies. 
  5. Bake for 35-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, cut into squares and serve.
24 brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35-50 minutes

Source (for original): Two Peas & Their Pod (Really, you should check out this blog. I have found quite a few amazing recipes from here!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Soft Honey Oat Bread

Between the pregnancy and some sinus/ear stuff, I have been feeling pretty cruddy for the last week. So when I woke up yesterday morning feeling decent, I decided it was time to get some of my baking done! (And actually make real meals.)

I decided to make bagels (recipe to follow) and this soft honey oat bread! They're both breads I wanted to make in the next couple of weeks, and days off are best for making bread! 

In general, I am NOT a honey fan, not by itself. Nate & Gabriel both love it, but I would rather just have it in something to sweeten it up! Breads are the best for honey, if you are going to add much of anything sweet. (And this bread is definitely sweet! At least with how much honey I put on top!) 

We absolutely love this bread! I don't know if it's the honey or the milk, but it's incredibly moist. I even decided to make a double batch.... but then I had to knead it by hand, because my KitchenAid couldn't handle it. :( On a side note, I've decided I want a bigger KitchenAid for Christmas next year. It's only $500, I'm sure I can convince Nate I need it! ;)

If you are looking for a great sandwich bread... this isn't it. (Well, I don't think it is, at least.) This is great warm, or just with a little bit of butter or honey. For me, it's too sweet (especially the crust) for sandwiches. If you don't put much honey on top (see instructions), it might be manageable though. We actually got a big jar of honey from my brother & sister-in-law for Christmas, from their farm. I didn't use any of that for actually making the bread (it seems like a waste to put such nice honey IN the bread), but I would be very surprised if Nate doesn't! He was SOO excited when he saw the honey!!

I didn't change this one much from the original, aside from how much honey/oats I put on top. I don't measure, I just pour out some honey til it looks pretty, and sprinkle on some oats til it looks pretty. :) (Don't blame me, my Mama taught me how to cook.)

As always, comments are love!

Soft Honey Oat Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour    
  • 3/4 cups oats + extra
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast    
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk     
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter     
  • 1/4 cup honey + extra

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, warm the milk so it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the water and honey. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook. 
  3. Knead in the mixer (or by hand) for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is still wet and sticky after 5 minutes, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to soften it up. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
  4. Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9”x12” rectangle. Tightly roll the dough into a loaf. Place the shaped dough into a 9”x5” loaf pan, cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. When the loaf is doubled, drizzle warmed honey over the top and sprinkle with oats.
  7. Place the bread in the oven and pour boiling water into a pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190°.
  8. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
Makes 1 loaf
Total time: 2-3 hours

Source (for original): Bakingdom

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Back in high school, I took a nutrition class. I honestly don't recall much about it (although I am sure I learned a few things), aside from one of the projects. The details are fuzzy, but we had to choose a project to make ourselves. I was on a bit of a cinnamon swirl bread kick at the time (and I am sure Mama thought that was getting a bit expensive), so when I found this recipe I decided it was the one! 

I've had it for years now, but I don't recall where I found it. I have changed it up a bit, but it's still one of my favorite breads to bake. (And was the first bread that I ever made!) The only problem is that it only makes one loaf.... and this goes FAST. Nate, Gabriel & I go through it much more quickly than I would like. I actually recommend making more than one loaf, if you can. It's happier that way!

Printable Recipe

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (melted is easier)
  1. In small saucepan, warm milk and 1 tablespoon butter until butter is melted. Set aside until lukewarm. 
  2. In small bowl, mix water and yeast until yeast is dissolved. 
  3. In large bowl, add 2 tablespoon sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Pour in milk and butter. Mix until sugar and salt is dissolved. Stir in yeast and water. Mix in 2 ½ cups flour. 
  4. Turn out onto floured board and knead in the remaining flour or until the dough is soft and smooth.
  5. Put dough in greased bowl and turn dough so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 60 minutes, or until double in size.
  6. Punch down dough with your fist. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead for about 1 minute. Roll dough out into a basic rectangular shape. Use a butter knife or fingers to spread softened butter on the top of rectangular dough. (Pour if using melted butter, then spread slightly with a knife.) Evenly spread about 2 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon on top of butter. (HA! I just pour a lot of cinnamon/sugar mixture on top, until it's pretty thoroughly covered. Don't be shy.) 
  7. Roll up dough and form into loaf. Put into buttered bread pan. Cover and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven 375°. Score dough by cutting three slashes across the top with a sharp knife. 
  9. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 45 minutes

Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically

162/12 slices

Source (for original): unknown

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

So, as promised, here is the recipe for my Cheddar Bay Biscuits! We also took these to the New Year's Eve party... these are my go-to recipe when we are going somewhere & need to take something snacky. They are easy to make, delicious, and aren't temp sensitive so I can make them ahead!

I found this recipe ages ago, when I wanted Red Lobster but couldn't go. (Which is just depressing, really.) These are a lot less salty then their version, which is nice. Nate insists that mine are better than theirs in general. :)

Printable Recipe
Cheddar Bay Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-Purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅓ cup butter, cold, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½- ⅔ cup Milk
Garlic Butter Topping:
  • 2 ½ tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Whisk together to combine thoroughly. Add chunks of butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until it is coarse, pea-sized. Add oil, cheddar cheese and ½ cup milk. Stir together. Keep adding milk a bit at a time, just until the dough is moistened and no longer dry and powdery.  (For dough sticky enough to form into balls, ⅔ cup is usually required.)
  3. Form dough into small balls & place on prepared cookie sheet. (Or, drop approximately ¼ cup portions of the dough onto the cookie sheet.)
  4. Bake for 14-17 minutes. While biscuits are baking, melt butter for topping in a small bowl. Stir in garlic powder and parsley.
  5. When biscuits come out of the oven, use a brush to spread garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Serve warm.
Yields: 12-16
Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 17 minutes

Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
Calories: 147 (16 ct) or 196 (12 ct)

Source (for original): Food & Whine

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Glazed Peanut Butter Bars... celebrating New Year's!

*Note: Originally published 1-4-14, recipe & picture updated 9-4-16

On New Year's Eve, we went to a party at a friend's house. Being me, I couldn't arrive empty-handed. What to bring, what to bring.... Had to be something that wasn't temperature sensitive, and was easy to snack on. Cheddar Bay Biscuits are always a plus (recipe coming soon!), and since I've been craving them for ages I decided to make Glazed Peanut Butter Bars. (And, if you missed the announcement... there's a reason I am having cravings!)

These bars are always a hit, whenever I take them somewhere! They are rich & sweet, with a lot of peanut butter! You can change up the glaze, too. The original called for butterscotch chips and milk chocolate chips, if I remember correctly. However, since I don't like butterscotch.... I always use peanut butter chips. Thought about trying this with Nutella instead of the peanut butter in the glaze, too. I am just afraid of it not turning out well, and wasting Nutella. ;)

Also, a note on the glaze: I will sometimes make extra (3/4 cup peanut butter & peanut butter chips, and 2 cups chocolate chips) to make it extra thick. Lots of fun.... not very good for you.

As always, comments are love!

Glazed Peanut Butter Bars


  • 3/4 cup butter-flavored crisco
  • 1 1/4 cup peanut butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the crisco, ¾ cup peanut butter, sugars, & water. Beat in eggs & vanilla. Combine the flour, oatmeal, soda, & salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. For glaze, melt chips & ½ cup peanut butter. Pour over warm bars and spread evenly. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Approx 3 dozen.

Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
207 cal/bar (batch of 36 bars) -- 248 for extra glaze
155 (48 bars) - 186 for extra glaze

Source (for original): Mama (not sure where she got this...)