Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cinnamon Crunch Bagels

One of the hardest parts about moving to Utah was knowing that I wouldn't be able to eat Panera for months. There are no Panera Bread restaurants in the whole state. My husband's hometown recently announced Panera Bread will build a new location there, which is only about 6 hours away! If I have to drive 6 hours to get their summer corn chowder and baguettes, I will!

 In the meantime, I needed a fix for my cinnamon crunch bagel craving. I looked online for recipes, and I found several. (Apparently bloggers are on the same page). I tweaked my recipe from Buns in My Oven.

Cinnamon Crunch Bagels

Yields: 12 bagels

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup brown sugar, divided use
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, and yeast. Mix it and let it sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy.

2. Add cinnamon, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir with a spoon or a whisk until combined. Attach the dough hook and slowly add flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl (it may not take all of the flour). Knead for 8-10 minutes.

3. Let rise in a greased bowl covered, for 30-45 minutes in a warm oven (turn your oven onto warm for 5 minutes, then turn it off).

4. Turn dough out onto a floured counter. Divide into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Poke your thumb through the middle and stretch the hole a little bit to shape it like a bagel. Let sit for 10 minutes.

5. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar. Boil the bagels, 2 at a time, for 45 seconds on each side. Pat dry with paper towels and place 2" apart on a lined cookie sheet.

6. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the bagels. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

7. Let cool and store at room temperature for 3-5 days. You can freeze them for up to a month.

*** I would recommend toasting these in a toaster oven with the sugar side up so it doesn't burn-- a regular toaster will probably burn the sugar! (I can't try it because we don't even have a regular toaster-- weird, right? My family always survived just fine without one so I don't see the point!)

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Every self-respecting Texan knows that it's impossible to make the drive from Dallas to Austin without stopping in West, Texas at the Czech Stop. For as long as I can remember, my family has always stopped in West to buy dozens of kolaches.

I have to clarify something for y'all: kolaches are sweet bread with fruit, cream cheese, or ricotta cheese filling-- NOT sausage in a roll.

Let's review-- Pigs in a blanket (while still SO delicious, definitely not a kolache):


Delicious, buttery rolls with a raspberry cream cheese filling and crumble topping-- yum. I adapted this recipe from Saveur Magazine. 


Yields: 16 kolaches

For the Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast (1/4 oz. package)
3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm milk

For the Crumble
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar

1. Combine water, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes until activated. 

2. Beat butter and remaining 3 tbsp sugar together. Add the egg yolk and salt. Then, add the yeast mixture, flour, and milk. Combine and knead until no longer really sticky. 

3. Grease a bowl and add the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled. I turned on my oven for 3 minutes, then I turned it off and let the dough rise in there. It was about 140 degrees. 

4. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. 

5. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Pinch them into round mounds, and place them 1/2" apart on the prepared pan. Brush with 1 tbsp of melted butter. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 

6. Prepare the filling (see below) and the crumble. (To make the crumble, combine the three ingredients until it's crumbly). When the kolaches have risen, press the center of each one down with your fingers. Put 1 tbsp of filling into each and sprinkle the crumble topping on each one. 

7. Bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. 

Kolache Filling
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk

1. Combine all of the ingredients together until completely smooth.

For fruit filling, use jam. I used raspberry jam. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chocolate Silk Pie

I love celebrating Pi Day. Pi Day is the day where you can unapologetically eat as much pizza and pie as you want, and that is a beautiful thing. It also happens to fall on my best friend's birthday. (Shout out to Kaki! Happy Birthday!)

While I love celebrating Pi(e) Day, I have to say that pie crust isn't my favorite. I usually prefer pies with a different kind of crust. For this Chocolate Silk Pie, I decided to use a brownie crust, but you can use Oreo crumbs if you'd prefer. I just didn't have any Oreos, and I did have some brownies in the freezer from a while ago that were begging to be used. 

I've tried and failed in the past to make chocolate curls. This time, I used a web tutorial. They turned out really well! To learn more, you can go to the link I used by clicking here. The recipe for this pie was adapted from Use Real Butter

Chocolate Silk Pie

Yields: 9-12 servings 

2 cups Oreo (or brownie-- I used a mixture of both!) crumbs
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar

Chocolate Mousse
8 oz dark chocolate
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup whipping cream

Whipped cream
2 cups whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Chocolate curls
3 oz chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Butter a 9" springform or pie pan. 

2. In a food processor, crush Oreo cookies or brownies. Add the melted butter and sugar. (I omitted the sugar and butter because my brownies were very moist already-- not at all crumbly). Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. 

3. Melt chocolate, stirring often, until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. 

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Add sugar and beat for 4 minutes on medium speed. Add chocolate and beat until incorporated. 

5. Add 2 eggs and beat for 3 minutes. Add 3rd egg and beat for 3 more minutes. 

6. In a separate bowl, whip cream for 4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream and mousse together until it's completely incorporated. 

7. Spread evenly on cooled crust. 

Whipped Cream

8. In a bowl, combine cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto the pie or spread it evenly however you desire. 

Chocolate Curls

9. Look at this link for directions on how to make chocolate curls.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and oatmeal cookies are definitely my favorite kinds of cookies. If I had to pick one, I'd probably say oatmeal.

These cookies are a simply a mash up of my three favorite kinds of cookies. They really are about 1/3 of each type. In each bite, you get a taste of each cookie.

These cookies are chewy and delicious. If you like crispy cookies, these probably aren't for you. They do have that delightful slight crunch on the bottom, but the inside is so chewy thanks to the brown sugar and peanut butter.

To make these cookies fit your dietary needs, you can make some simple alterations. To make them vegan, use margarine, vegan chocolate chips, and egg substitute. To make them gluten free, use gluten free flour and make sure there isn't hidden gluten in your other ingredients.

I bake all of my cookies on a Silpat, which is a silicone baking sheet that fits into your cookie sheet. I never bake anything directly on my cookie sheets. Silicone baking sheets prevent sticking, and the don't allow the bottom of things to brown too much. It's great! If I forget to take my cookies off the sheet, they don't stick and break like they would on a regular cookie sheet. Here's a link to a silicone baking sheet.

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yields: 2 dozen medium cookies or 3 dozen small cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with silpat or parchment.

2. Cream together butter and sugars for about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and stir. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla.

3. Combine flour, oats, and baking soda. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and mix.

4. Scoop onto the cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes.

Here are my traditional chocolate chip cookies:

(click photo for recipe)

What's your favorite kind of cookie?