I love making these cute little easy candies to round out a Christmas cookie tray but they are great any time of the year.
To store, place in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
We go in food phases in our house, one day we love oatmeal but the next day I'm finding expired packets that need to be tossed. One of those throwing out days I wondered if there's a better way to get great tasting instant oatmeal... after much experimentation there is!
There's tons of recipes out there, this is a good basic that works for us. I mix a batch up and portion out into half pint jelly jars, labeling the lid with a dry erase marker. At first my husband laughed skeptically at these rows of jars but after a few days he was asking what exactly is in these and bringing friends in to see his wife's crazy good oatmeal collection! Now it's a staple in our house.
Home Made Instant Oatmeal
2 1/2 cups Quick Oats or Regular Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Blend 3/4 cup of the oatmeal in a blender or food processor (I use Vitamix with grain mill blender container but not needed; just a few pulses to it up to a heavy powder). Mix ground oatmeal with other ingredients, adding to a container with sealed lid (or ziplock bag). Shake up really good to combine. This is the instant oatmeal base that will make 9 servings. Sometimes I mix a few and leave the base which my husband likes because some days he adds a little more plain to his bowl or he feels like going outside my jars and mixing his own!
To package for individual servings add the following to a half pint jelly jar:
1/3 cup of the oatmeal base along with flavoring mix-ins such as: 1 tsp seeds (chia, flax) + 2 tsp grain, nuts or dried fruit (oat bran, wheat germ, any ground nut, choppied dried fruit) +1-3 tsp sweetner (stevia, coconut sugar, vanilla sugar, or more brown sugar) + 1/8 tsp spice (cinnamon, apple pie spice, grains of paradise) + pinch salt
Or use your imagination and follow the above proportions (aprox 3 tsp flavorings + 1-3 tsp sweetner +1/8 tsp spice) along with the 1/3 oatmeal base. Some of our favorites include: coconut, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and PB2 dried peanut butter.
To cook the oatmeal:
For regular oats: add about 3/4 cup liquid to a bowl along with contents of the jar. Cover and microwave about 2-3 minutes depending on the microwave. Our favorite liquids to use are soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk. Chocolate versions of any of those are obviously really good!
For instant oats: add boiling water directly to jar, about 1/2" from the top. Cover and let sit about 5 minutes. You can also add 2 tsp powdered milk for creamy consistency with the water. I love this option for the office since it's so easy.
I've also done overnight oats with this method: add desired liquid (any milk works great or water for lower calories) to jar, about 3/4" from top. Regular oats will still be runny in the morning and I'm not a fan of cold oats so I do heat up in the jar, covered, watching very closely heating in 30 second increments because it will overflow very quickly!
We have become more creative with our mix-ins and came up with snappy concoctions such as: Almond Joy (almonds, coconut, chocolate chunks, coconut sugar), Cherry Pie (dried cherries, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla sugar), Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate chunks, PB2 dried peanut butter), Pina Colada (dried pineapples, coconut sugar, coconut)... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you come up with any options we must try!
Generally I'm not fooled by celebrity recipes but in my healthy living days while looking through Self magazine the words "candy bar" jump off the page at me. I skeptically tear the page out and in a mood of baking withdrawl I come across it a few months later. I read and after making tons of date/nut filled goodies I think this recipe sounds pretty good, and not too difficult. But I wonder if this is really worth buying another type of flour (now I need coconut flour in my life?!) but I'm desperately fooled by the title... CANDY!.... I want CANDY!.... so on my grocery list it goes.
Like I mentioned almost every week I've been experimenting with energy balls/bites with nuts/fruit in the Vitamix (my food processor passed away and I have not replaced yet) so I though I could try this in there. This recipe is more like a dough that was a bit much for the Vitamix; I overheated several times and tore a William Sonoma spatuala in the process so I would not recommend doing that. My husband actually begged me to run to the store and get a food processor while I was making this. I am stubborn so I did get it to blend after doing small amounts and chopping the dates pretty fine... but I did shortly after decide on a food processor to buy, which I will do soon because we need more of these bars!
The recipe didn't specify what type of pan to but these in buy now I see all the photos in a square brownie size pan... oops. I went with a jelly roll pan lined with a Silpat instead of the parchment and it worked great. My husband and I actually loved how thin they were. We like the smaller serving size, just a little square of these satisfies that candy bar craving.
The almond butter I made using a simple recipe (bottom of the article gave Gwenyth's recipe which is 1 cup almonds and pinch of salt in a food processor). I started this in the Vitamix and have no luck making nut butters in there without oil so I added a little canola oil to my 1 cup almonds to get a smooth blend.
I'm not a fan of recipes that ask for chocolate chips to be melted down; I like my chips to stay chips! So I used 80% cacao chocolate that I chopped (my favorite local brand, Omanhene).
Definitely worth the investment in the coconut flour... (as now I'm studying more recipes to make using it)... but for now more of Gwenyth's candy bars, one of the best healthy snack recipes I've come across!
2013 Self Magazine from "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
A favorite recipe of ours to make and give comes from the comprehensive cookie reference called The All-American Cookies Book by Nancy Baggett. I hate to admit the Chocolate Malt Sandwich Cookie we love so much was inspired by a TGIFriday's famous chocolate malt cake recipe. We've never had the inspiration but the cookie is the best we have ever made!
I usually use standard supermarket malt powder but this old time natural Soda Fountain version makes a great carrier for the cookies once it's empty!
Chocolate Malt Sandwich Cookie
The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened American-style cocoa powder
2 tablespoons plain malted milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup flavorless oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons hot water
1 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup plain malted milk powder
2 tablespoons plain malted milk powder
3 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
COOKIES: Preheat oven to 350. Grease several baking sheets with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the sugar, butter, and oil until well blended. Add the sour cream egg, and vanilla and beat until well blended; the mixture may look curdled. Beat in half the flour mixture, scraping down the sides several times. Beat in 3 tablespoons hot water, then beat or stir in the remaining flour mixture until evenly incorporated.
Drop the dough onto the baking sheets using a 1/8 cup measure or coffee scoop, spacing about 2 1/2" apart. Using a lightly greased hand, pat down the tops just slightly.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops begin to flatten and the cookies are just barely firm in the centers. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies are slightly firm, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks. let stand until completely cooled.
FILLING: In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate morsels and butter for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir well. Continue to microwave stirring at 30 second intervals. Stop before the chocolate is completely melted and let the residual heat do the job. Let cool to warm.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the malted milk powder and cream cheese until well blended and completely smooth. Beat in half the chocolate mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well blended. Beat in the remaining chocolate mixture and the vanilla until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until somewhat thickened but not stiff. Beat the filling on high speed until light in color and very fluffy, about 3 minutes more; scrape down the sides several times.
Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the filling on the underside of half of the cookies. Top each cookie with a second cookie about the same size. Press the two together until the filling squeezes out the edge. Let stand for at least 5 mintues so the flavors can mingle before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
Preparing for a recent trip to Phoenix I came across an article about Phoenix's best cookie. It was a Salted Chocolate Chip cookie from LaGrande Orange. I was obsessed with trying this cookie and it was worth all the hype. It was a good hearty, giant chocolate chip cookie on the chewy side coated in one of my favorite things on the planet, Maldon. It was so amazing that just eating the one in Phoenix was not enough. I needed to make at home.. so here we go. These are a bit more cake like but a great upgrade to the standard chocolate chip friend.
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie
makes about 72
1 1/2 cups butter -- softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar -- firmly packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup Maldon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars with electric mixer.
Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to egg mixture
and blend until combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
In a small bowl, place Maldon salt. Form dough into rounded tablespoons
and flatten slightly. Press tops of dough into bowl of sea salt.
Place on prepared baking sheets about 2" apart.
Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes. Cool slightly before removing to a
No suprise that I love making sweet treats... and giving them as gifts. This is a simple one that everyone seems to love! It comes from Family Circle magazine of all places! I use my favorite local Milwaukee Omanhene chocolate, either the light or dark is great in this.
FRUITY CHOCLATE CLUSTERS
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups pretzels, broken up
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, stir together cranberries, almonds and pretzel pieces.
Place chocolate in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway through; microwave another 15 seconds if necessary and stir until smooth.
Stir cranberry mixture into chocolate until completely coated. Place 1 heaping tablespoonful of chocolate mixture onto prepared baking sheet, shaping into a mound. Repeat with remaining mixture. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".