An Untraditional Dead Bread

An Untraditional Dead Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Growing up in the southwest we learned Spanish in school and at the start of every November we would celebrate Día de los Muertos with our class. Día de los Muertos is a three day celebration in Mexico, during which families celebrate their relatives that have passed. It is believed that during these three days, family members return to the living world to visit, therefore offerings are made to help them celebrate. You can read more about Día de los Muertos here. One of the most common food offerings is Pan de Muerto, or Dead Bread.

During school we would make and eat this bread at our Spanish class festivities. Traditional Dead Bread is an enriched yeast bread, made wth milk and eggs and flavored with anise seeds. However today we wanted to present an alternative to the traditional Dead Bread.

Our first variance from the tradition is the omission of anise seeds. Al is not a fan of anything licorice tasting at all, therefore we left them out.

Our next variance was born purely out of an accident. Our original recipe included sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk. While perusing the options at the grocery store, we picked out a couple of cans of our go to brand, Eagle Brand but then we also decided to try a different brand, La Lechera. The La Lechera brand also had some other interesting options including Dulce de Leche Caramel. Very pleased with our purchases of all the different options, we waltzed home to make our Dead Bread. We decided to try the La Lechera sweetened condensed milk but with all the cans looking similar, instead of opening the correct can, we opened the Dulce de Leche Caramel. This is probably the best baking mistake we have ever made! The bread turned out extra moist with a deeper yellow color than other versions we have made with whole milk or sweetened condensed milk.

Another switch we made from tradition is the finishing of the bread with granulated sugar, which is usually sprinkled on right right after the loaf comes out of the oven. We love cinnamon so we decided to substitute cinnamon sugar and then we helped it adhere better by brushing melted butter on the top then sprinkling the cinnamon sugar onto the loaf.

Forming the shape of the Dead Bread is probably the most challenging step of this whole process. Traditionally the loaf is topped with a skull and crossbones. How elaborate this decoration is, is up to the baker. We kept it pretty simple. We took 8 ounces of the dough after the first rise and separated it into 5 pieces. With the remaining dough, we formed it into a round loaf and then made a golf ball sized indentation in the middle. Next, we formed the skull and crossbones. We rolled four of the pieces into cylinders, lightly brushed one side with water and placed them on the main loaf, meeting in the middle. The fifth piece we rolled into a ball and then flattened it slightly. We also brushed a little bit of water on the underside of this piece and placed it in the center, covering the mesh points of the crossbones, to be the skull.

One last tip before we share our recipe. While baking, leave the loaf uncovered for the first half of the baking time to allow the loaf to brown, then tent the loaf with a piece of aluminum foil to protect it from over browning and drying out.

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast and pinch of sugar. Mix to wet the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat butter on low until just melted. Add Dulce de Leche Caramel. Whisk to combine. Make sure not to heat over 115°F.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, whisk in salt and the warm butter and caramel mixture.
  4. Carefully add the egg mixture to the yeast mixing bowl.
  5. With dough hook attachment, mix to combine all of the liquid ingredients.
  6. While mixing, slowly add the flour a cup at a time. Once you have added 4 cups, keep adding a little until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
  7. Let the dough knead fro 5 minutes in the stand mixer.
  8. Spray a large mixing bowl with oil. Add the dough and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour, until doubled.
  9. Cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  10. Remove 8 ounces of the dough and set aside.
  11. With the remaining dough, shape by folding it onto itself, forming a round loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet. Make an indentation in the center of the loaf about the size of a golf ball.
  12. Divide the 8 ounces of dough into 5 pieces (1.6 ounces) roll four into long cylinders (bones), roll the fifth portion into a ball (skull).
  13. Brush a small amount of water onto one side of each of the long cylinders (bones) and form a cross with each piece meeting in the indentation of the main loaf. Brush a small amount of water on the ball (skull) and press into center of loaf.
  14. Cover with oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise for 40-60 minutes, until doubled.
  15. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Tent the loaf halfway through baking to avoid over browning.
  17. Remove loaf from oven.
  18. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  19. Working in sections, brush melted butter onto the loaf and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
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Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Oatmeal Apple Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

As you guys know, we LOVE cookies and we also LOVE warm spices. We had some leftover apples after we made Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake so we decided to make these cookies. While Mac enjoys a good oatmeal raisin cookie, Al finds raisins to be most unpalatable. Consequently, we replaced the raisins with apples. They turned out to be a perfect substitution.

The moisture from the apples permeates the oatmeal which keeps the cookies soft for a couple of days. The cinnamon and nutmeg are perfect to warm you from the inside out in the cold winter weather. These cookies are delicious for any occasion.


In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
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Peel, core and finely dice the apple. Place in a separate bowl.
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Cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
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Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix well until combined.
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Add the dry mix until combined, then mix in oats.
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Finally add the diced apple.
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Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes at 350°F.
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They taste great warm, but if you can resist eating them for a couple of hours or even overnight, they taste even better. Store in refrigerator.
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Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 c quick oats

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
  2. Peel, core and finely dice the apple and place a separate bowl.
  3. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix well until combined.
  5. Add the dry mix until combined, then mix in oats and finally the diced apple.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake 12-14 minutes.
  10. Store in refrigerator.
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Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

posted in: Desserts, Food | 8 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Thanksgiving week is here! Are you still undecided on what to serve for dessert? We are big fans of the traditional pumpkin pie while others are fans of apple pie or pecan pie. But what do you do choose if you don’t like any of the traditional choices? This terrific cinnamon apple cake might be the perfect solution!

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It is a moist cake since it has both butter and cream cheese in it, plus yummy apples. We love to use Granny Smith apples whenever apples are needed in a recipe, however any type of baking apple will do. If you like Rome or Honeycrisp, use those instead. We have been making cinnamon apple cake for years and have yet to tire of it.


This may be an unconventional tip, but this cake is even more delicious if you eat it cold. Sure it’s good fresh baked and at room temperature, but straight out of the fridge, this cake tastes divine! We feel that if you want to maximize the tastiness of this cake, eat it cold. So if you desire a non-traditional dessert, give this cake a try this week! Now, let’s bake!

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
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Peel, core and thinly slice three Granny Smith apples and place in a medium mixing bowl.
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Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture for later. Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar over the sliced apples.
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Stir to coat all of the slices.
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In a large bowl cream together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.
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Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
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Add the dry mixture.
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Stir in apples, taking care to make sure batter gets between every slice.
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Pour into greased 9 inch springform pan.
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Top with reserved cinnamon sugar.
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Bake at 350°F for 60-65 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
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Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then release outer ring to let cake cool completely. Refrigerate leftovers.
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Serve warm cake with ice cream. Or enjoy a slice straight from the fridge. Delicious!
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Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Our Favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 medium granny smith apples
  • 1 3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • Special Equipment: 9 inch springform pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set 2 tablespoons of this mixture aside for later. Pour the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the sliced apples and mix thoroughly.
  6. In a large bowl cream together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, butter, vanilla and cream cheese. Mix until completely combined.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  8. Carefully stir in flour mixture.
  9. Stir in apples. Take your time, making sure to get the batter between the apple slices.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved cinnamon sugar.
  11. Bake 60-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan then release the outer ring. Cool completely then store in fridge.
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Date Pecan Cookies

Date Pecan Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Cookies are delicious any time. Our year-round of love of cookies is apparent from our previous recipes for Mini M&M Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. But once the weather starts to become cooler and the leaves start changing, cookies are even better. They warm your house and your soul at the same time!
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These Date Pecan Cookies are moist from the chopped dates but also a little crunchy with the chopped pecans. The hint of cinnamon is what really takes these cookies over the top! If you are a chocolate lover, you could also add chocolate chips to these cookies for added deliciousness.

We told you about how our Grandma was keen to distinguish between figs and dates in our recipe for Roasted Bacon-Wrapped, Blue Cheese-Stuffed Fresh Figs. When dried, figs and dates do look rather similar and upon further research, they have more similarities. We discovered that both have origins in the Middle East and have been cultivated for their delicious fruit since ancient times.

Furthermore, both plants can be quite drought tolerant. There is even a date farm in Yuma, Arizona: Martha’s Gardens. However, dates come from the date palm, while figs come from the deciduous Ficus carica tree of the mulberry family. We enjoy eating both! Now let’s start baking!


Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
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Cream together the butter and granulated sugar.
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Add eggs, one at a time and mix after each one. Then add vanilla.
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Add dry ingredients.
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Mix in chopped dates and pecans. Mix until incorporated. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
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Dough will be very hard, use a heavy duty spoon to scoop heaping tablespoons of dough. Then roll in your hands to form a ball.
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Bake 10-11 minutes at 350°F.
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Let cool on wire rack then devour.
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Date Pecan Cookies

Date Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 c chopped, pitted dates

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla and mix.
  5. Carefully add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add pecans and dates, mix until evenly distributed.
  7. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat oven 350°F.
  9. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Dough will be very hard, use a heavy duty spoon to scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough, then roll to form a ball. Continue with rest of dough.
  11. Bake 10-11 minutes until cookies are golden brown and center is cooked.
  12. Let cool on wire rack.
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Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese

Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy Halloween everyone! We hope you have a spooktacular day with plenty of tricks and treats! For today’s Recipe Monday, we will be making Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese.

Mac n Cheese is one of those foods that we cannot deny. We love cheese and we love our carbs so Mac n Cheese is one of our all-time favorite foods. We have tried many different recipes for homemade Mac n Cheese, but this one stands out. It is different from other roux-based and egg-based Mac n Cheeses. Both of these styles of Mac n Cheese have a downside.

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Roux-based Mac n Cheese tastes pretty good fresh out of the oven. But when you reheat the leftovers the next day, the roux breaks and you are left with cheesy, butter-coated noodles. Not very good in our opinion. Egg-based Mac n Cheese tastes too much like egg and not much like Mac n Cheese at all.

Another wonderful aspect of this recipe is that it all takes place in one pan. It was also extremely quick to make and we had all the ingredients on hand. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It is creamy and cheesy, plus it still tastes delicious and fresh the next day!


To begin, combine 4 cups of milk, 1 t salt and macaroni in a large pan. Heat on medium.
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Bring to low boil and stir frequently.
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Cook until macaroni is tender and milk is almost all gone. Milk will have curdled slightly, which is good.
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Remove from heat and add 2/3 c milk, shredded mozzarella, shredded sharp cheddar, cream cheese, butter, Dijon, and pepper.
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Stir to combine. Look at the ooegy gooegy goodness!
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Return to heat on low to melt cheeses. Stir frequently. Salt to taste.
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Plate and enjoy!
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Someone’s ready for their close-up!
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If you want some spice, you could add a little freshly ground nutmeg or a dash of cayenne. We are Mac n Cheese purists and therefore did not add such invasive ingredients. 😉

We do like spice in our Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies, however, which you can read about in last week’s Recipe Monday. These cookies are perfect to welcome in November!

Creamy One Pot Mac n Cheese

Creamy One Pot Mac n Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 lb elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz cream cheese cut into small pieces
  • 2 T butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. In a large frypan, heat 4 cups of milk, 1 t salt and uncooked macaroni over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a low boil, being careful not to scald the milk. Stir frequently.
  3. Cook until macaroni is tender and most of the milk has been absorbed. There will be clumps of curdled milk, but that is good.
  4. Remove from heat and add remaining 2/3 cup milk, shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, cream cheese, butter, Dijon and ground pepper.
  5. Place back on burner at low heat, stir until smooth and creamy. Salt to taste.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

These days, it seems that the arrival of fall means the arrival of pumpkin spice flavored everything at the supermarket. Pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice cereal, even pumpkin spice lip balm. While some may bemoan this trend, we love pumpkin spice!

However, we’ve noticed that the homemade pumpkin spiced goods seem to taste better than many of the commercial options. This might be because when you make them yourself, you can control how much and which spices are included, tailoring the mixture exactly to your tastes. Commercial options are generally under-spiced for our tastes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This pumpkin cookie recipe meets all the requirements to be a great cookie. It is moist, well-spiced and still tastes great after a couple of days. The twist to this pumpkin spice cookie is the addition of mini chocolate chips. The small size chips are great in this cookie and are, in our opinion, preferable over regular sized chips. The larger chocolate chips can take away from the pumpkin and spices, which throws off the flavor balance of the cookie.

Try this recipe out this week to celebrate a couple of food holidays: Wednesday, October 26th is National Pumpkin Day and Friday, October 28th is National Chocolate Day!

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg. Mix to combine and set aside.
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In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars.
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Add two eggs and mix.
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Stir in pumpkin.
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Carefully add the dry ingredients from step one. Stir until just combined.
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Add the mini chocolate chips.
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Scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
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Bake 9-10 minutes at 375°F. Pumpkin perfection awaits!
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Are you passionate about Pumpkin Spice? Let us know with a comment below!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and ground nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add eggs and mix.
  5. Mix in the pumpkin.
  6. Carefully add the flour mixture then stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Use small scoop to portion out dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake 9-10 minutes, until lightly golden.
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The Best Brioche Buns!

The Best Brioche Buns!

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 5 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

While we love a good hamburger bun from the grocery store, after a trip to Fuddruckers last month, we decided to try to make some hamburger buns of a similar caliber.

The brioche buns at Fuddruckers had a glorious sheen on them that you just can’t get from Sara Lee. Brioche is a French dough based on eggs and butter which give this bread a smooth texture and rich taste.

The Best Brioche Buns

We made our brioche buns free form, but you can use a pan like this one to make the buns completely uniform. The buns turned out to be fantastic and although it is a two day process, it is definitely worth the effort.

Here’s what you will need.
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Start by mixing the eggs, warm water, yeast and half of the flour.
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Mix one minute, until smooth.
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Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise 45 minutes. Mixture will have risen slightly and have lots of little bubbles on the surface.
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Add remaining flour, salt and sugar. Use dough hook to mix for 8 minutes on level 4.
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Dough will be moist, don’t add more flour. Add cubed butter, a little at a time until it has all been incorporated. Takes 7-8 minutes on level 4.
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Dough will be shiny and still moist at this point. Place dough into oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
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The dough will have doubled during its time in the fridge.
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Portion out the dough and form into flat disks. Cover with tea towel and let rise 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.
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Mix egg yolk and water to make egg wash.
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Gently brush egg wash over the tops of the buns.
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Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.
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Slice the buns in half.
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Add your favorite burger recipe and top with delicious toppings!
The Best Brioche Buns

The Best Brioche Buns!

The Best Brioche Buns!

Ingredients

  • 480 grams all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 packet yeast (which equals 2 1/4 t)
  • 3/4 c warm water (between 105-110°F)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T water

Instructions

  1. In Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, combine half of the flour (240 grams), yeast, water and eggs.
  2. Mix with with flat beater slowly to incorporate ingredients, then one minute on level 4, until smooth. Scrape off beater and remove. Scrape down side of bowl.
  3. Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise 45 minutes.
  4. Add remaining flour (240 grams), sugar and salt. Using dough hook, beat on low until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Beat 8 minutes on level 4, scrape down sides occasionally.
  6. Slowly add cubed butter, a couple of cubes at a time while the mixer is on level 4. Continue until butter is incorporated, about 7-8 minutes.
  7. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  8. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Weigh the dough. Calculate how many grams or ounces you need to measure out for 8-10 buns. Portion out the dough and place onto prepared baking sheets, 4 or 5 per sheet. Roll dough into balls, then flatten into 3/4 inch disks.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Cover baking sheets with tea towels and let rise 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  12. Mix egg yolk and water. Brush mixture over the tops of the buns.
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.
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Peanut Butter Cookies (GIFT #7)

Peanut Butter Cookies (GIFT #7)

posted in: Desserts, Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs) | 8 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We have loved peanut butter cookies since we were little. They are salty and sweet and they always have that lovely crosshatch pattern across the top. When our grandparents lived in a separate state, they would mail us a box about every 6-8 weeks. This was always exciting. Our grandma would include lots of different things in her shipments: interesting newspaper clippings, new recipes she thought we might like that she found in a magazine or the newspaper, some of her tomatoes if they were ripe. But the best part of her boxes, were the baked goods. She loved her sweets and loved sharing them with us. One of her favorite cookies was peanut butter cookies.

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We have tried making all kinds of recipes for peanut butter cookies, but they never were satisfactory. They would taste great fresh out of the oven, but the next day, they would be hard as rocks. Always a disappointment! Eventually, we kind of gave up on the perfect peanut butter cookie and perfected the mini M&M cookie to satisfy our cookie needs.

After we started our series of Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats, we were flipping through one of our grandma’s recipe books and found a recipe she had modified for peanut butter cookies. Could this be the recipe she used when we were little? Most likely yes, but who knows, we prefer to think yes. In the original recipe, it called for 2 teaspoons baking soda, but she had crossed it out and wrote down 1/2 teaspoon baking powder plus 1 teaspoon baking soda. Maybe this was the secret to great peanut butter cookies! We had to give it a try.

First, mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
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Cream softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy.
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Add eggs and mix, making the mixture even more creamy!
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Add a cup of creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the batter.
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Incorporate the flour mixture into the batter.
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The batter is ready!
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Dollop out batter with a small ice cream scoop.
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Smoosh the cookies with a large fork to create the classic peanut butter cookie cross-hatching.
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Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
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The resulting cookies are the best peanut butter cookies ever. They are excellent coming out of the oven and still soft a couple of days later too!
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Peanut Butter Cookies GIFT

Peanut Butter Cookies GIFT

Ingredients

  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda, then set aside.
  3. Cream both sugars and softened butter together.
  4. Add eggs and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add peanut butter and mix until incorporated.
  6. Mix in flour mixture.
  7. Scoop balls onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  8. Use fork tines to mark the cookies with a crosshatch pattern.
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly brown.
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Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

French Dip sandwiches are always one of our top choices when we go to a cafe. They seem quite fancy, but they are easy to make for fine dining at home, especially if you make a brief stop at the deli.

You only need a couple of ingredients before you can devour this delicious sandwich: beef au jus, a soft hoagie roll, roast beef and cheese.
Super Easy French Dip Sandwiches

For the Au Jus

Beef au jus seems like a really fancy ingredient but today, it is very easy to come by without slaving over the stove. You can buy dry packet mixes to make the au jus, but recently we discovered this jar of amazingness: Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base.
french-dip-sandwiches-1
Even though it is labelled as reduced sodium, we found it to be perfectly salty, and very meaty tasting. The preparation is also very simple, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the base into 2 cups of boiling water, stir and it’s done.
french-dip-sandwiches-2

Toast the Roll

The perfect roll for a French Dip is soft and easy to bite. These Francisco French sandwich rolls are perfect!
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Heat some butter in a frying pan to toast the inside of the roll.
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The end result is a beautifully toasted golden roll.
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Like Arby’s, We Have the Meats

We love Costco and we just recently discovered they have sliced deli meat that is both inexpensive and tasty. This roast beef is very yummy.
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To heat the beef, let it take a quick dip in the au jus made in the first step.
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Then put it directly onto the toasted bread.
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And Now, Some Cheese

Some people don’t put cheese on their French Dip sandwiches, but we are cheese lovers so we can’t resist. We went with this velvety baby swiss.
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Put the cheese onto the heated beef and let it melt.
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The last step is to ladle some of the au jus into a bowl.
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Et voilà!

A feast!
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Beautiful layers of beef.
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Going in for a dunk in the delicious au jus.
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The bread soaks up the au jus, making for a perfect bite.
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Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Ingredients

  • Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
  • Water
  • Francisco French Rolls
  • Butter
  • Sliced Roast Beef
  • Sliced Baby Swiss

Instructions

  1. For au jus: Follow instructions on jar, you may need to add more base to your liking.
  2. Toast the roll: Heat butter in a frying pan, open roll to expose inside, place face down in butter and toast until brown.
  3. Heat roast beef in the prepared au jus.
  4. Place heated roast beef on toasted roll, then top with cheese.
  5. Ladle au jus into a small bowl.
  6. Serve warm.
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Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 6 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our family loves bananas, we always have a supply on hand. Even when you eat them everyday, you can still get a couple that ripen too quickly and are better for baking than for eating alone. We have previously shared a couple of banana recipes: Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Banana Chocolate Chip Scones.

twitter beautiful banana bread

Today’s banana recipe is for the very best banana bread. We have tried lots of banana bread recipes and this is the only one that we can all agree tastes delicious. It is the same one our mom baked for us when we were little kids!

The most important ingredient in banana bread is of course B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Make sure to mash them up well, you don’t want too big of chunks in your bread.
banana bread - 1
The dry ingredients, flour and baking soda.
banana bread - 2
Softened butter and glorious granulated sugar.
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The butter and sugar creamed together.
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Add in the eggs and vanilla.
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The liquid mixture is now complete.
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Carefully add in the dry ingredients.
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Mix until incorporated.
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Now it’s time for the bananas.
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Take your time mixing in the bananas, at first it will be a little difficult but in the end, you have banana pieces all throughout.
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Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan.
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Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Slice and enjoy!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a 5x9 loaf pan.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Combine flour and baking soda, then add to liquid mixture.
  6. Stir in mashed bananas.
  7. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
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All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

There is something magical about baking. Not only the magic of chemistry but also the magic of soothing the soul. Baking has a way of decreasing the stress of everyday life.

All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

As you can tell from previous recipes, we love baked goods. We have shared our recipes for Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Peach Muffins. Last week, we also shared a recipe for Blueberry Crumble. Today, we wanted to share our favorite cookie recipe.

To us, a cookie should be sweet, soft, and include some form of chocolate. Our favorite form of chocolate for these cookies is mini M&Ms but you can use any kind, semi-sweet, milk, or dark. Whatever suits your fancy.

Another important characteristic for the perfect cookie is to not be over-baked. The cookie should be slightly brown on the bottom and just barely cooked in the middle. This yields a soft, moist cookie instead of a hard crumbly kind.

This recipe is quite fast. From beginning to end, it only takes 45 minutes to make 3 dozen cookies!

ALL TIME FAVORITE MINI M&M COOKIES

Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) in a bowl and set aside.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 1

Place softened butter, granulated sugar, and packed brown sugar into electric mixer.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 2

Cream together until fluffy.
Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 3

Prepare vanilla and 1 large egg.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 4

Here is the batter after all wet ingredients have been combined.

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Add the previously mixed dry ingredients into the batter.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 6

Mmm cookie dough!

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Get those Mini M&M’s ready!

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Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix in the M&M’s.

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Scoop ’em out with a small ice cream scoop. Pop them into a preheated 350°F oven. Farewell, dear cookies. We shall meet again.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 10

So much waiting!

 
10 minutes later…

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 11

Sweet Perfection!

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 12

All Time Favorite Mini M&M cookies

Yield: 36 cookies

All Time Favorite Mini M&M cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 6 ounces mini M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and both sugars together.
  5. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  6. Carefully mix in dry ingredients.
  7. Using spatula, fold in mini M&Ms.
  8. Scoop dough onto prepared pan, about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake 9-10 minutes, until bottom is lightly brown.
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Perfect Rich and Sweet Blueberry Crumble (Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat #5)

Perfect Rich and Sweet Blueberry Crumble (Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat #5)

posted in: Desserts, Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs) | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our grandma was born in Oregon, the third highest cultivator of blueberries in the US, behind Michigan and Georgia. But that is not the only reason this recipe reminds us of our grandma.

Grandma Inspired Blueberry Crumble

The second reason was her dentures. She had “soft teeth” from an early age and consequently, she was sporting dentures before her twentieth birthday. She wasn’t bashful about it either. She considered it a talking point and even a point of pride, for no one else she knew had been wearing dentures for so long.

Anyway, whenever we would go grocery shopping with her, we would pass the blueberries. Then we would joke and ask her if she wanted some, and she would exclaim, “NOOOO, they turn my teeth BLUUUUE!” and then she would laugh, which in turn made us laugh.


We actually have a love-hate relationship with blueberries ourselves. Like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get,” and that is a disconcerting fact about these little indigo orbs. Sometimes they can be so squishy. That being said, blueberries have been proven to have several health benefits, including being high in antioxidants and a low Glycemic Index.

This Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treat is a deliciously sweet blueberry crumble. It manages to make blueberries delicious and brings a smile to our faces with memories of our grandma.

For the Crust and Crumble

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, diced butter, egg, and salt in a food processor. Mix until roughly the size of peas.

blueberry crumble - 1

Here is the texture we’re looking for.

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Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

blueberry crumble - 3

For the Filling

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Whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, vanilla and cornstarch. Then pour over the blueberries, giving them a gentle stir to coat. The cornstarch will help keep the filling together.

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The blueberries are ready for action. Pour them over the bottom layer of crumble and tilt the pan around for even liquid distribution.

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Top with the other half of the crumb topping. It’s ready to go into the oven!

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Bake for 35 minutes in a 350°F preheated oven.

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And there you have it, perfect blueberry crumble. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for yummy deliciousness.

Mind the dentures though, this stuff stains. ?

blueberry crumble - 9

Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumble

Ingredients

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 t cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease 13x9 pan with butter
  3. Using a food processor, mix first 6 ingredients
  4. Pour about 1/2 of the crumb mix into the prepared pan
  5. Press crumb mix with fingers to compact the bottom layer
  6. Whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, vanilla and cornstarch
  7. Pour liquid mixture over blueberries and gently fold to coat all the berries
  8. Pour blueberry mix into pan over the crumb layer
  9. Tilt pan slightly to move the liquid all over the crumb layer
  10. Maneuver blueberries into a uniform layer
  11. Pour remaining crumb mix over the top
  12. Bake about 35 minutes, until top is golden brown
  13. Let cool and store in refrigerator
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Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping: GIFT #3

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping: GIFT #3

posted in: Desserts, Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs) | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Every time we see peaches we think about our Grandma. Our grandparents had lots of different jobs during their lifetimes but the one that they most talked about was when they had a farm and ran a roadside fruit stand.

It was hard work but Grandma was a people person and the fruit stand let her chat up the customers. On this particular stretch of road, there were a couple of rival fruit stands, run by other families.

Grandma took great pride in her wares and took the time to set out her fruit carefully so the fruit were not bruised. She also believed that her customers should treat the fruit with respect and care. So when customers stopped by to pick out peaches, they thought the best way to tell if they were ripe was to squeeze them. This was unacceptable to Grandma and she scolded the customers for doing this.


Since it was a small town, she knew everyone and everyone knew her. Eventually, word spread that Grandma wouldn’t let customers squeeze her peaches and a rival fruit stand put up a sign that said, “YES, you can squeeze my peaches.” Grandma thought this was hilarious. She loved to tell us this story and we loved seeing her face light up with delight.

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How to Make Perfect Plump Peach Muffins

So for today’s Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat, we made some delicious Peach Muffins. Peach season is in full swing. According to Reference.com, peaches are in season May through September, peaking in July.

peach, peach chunks

Peeling and dicing up the peaches can take awhile to accomplish, we usually allot 30-45 minutes to do this. You can blanch them for easy peeling, but we usually just use a knife.

crumble, muffin crumble

The yummy crumb topping, a mix of brown sugar, quick oats, flour and butter.

brown sugar, flour, spices

The dry ingredients, looking sweet and spicy.

brown sugar, flour, spices

The dry ingredients are now prepped, awaiting the wet ingredients.

eggs, milk

Milk, eggs and vegetable oil all whisked and foamy.

batter

Tempted to eat some of this batter.

batter with fruit, peach

Now gently folding in the peeled and diced peaches.

batter with fruit, peach, cupcake pan, cupcake liner

We use an ice cream scooper to portion out the batter into prepared muffin tins.

batter with fruit, peach, cupcake pan, cupcake liner, crumb topping

The crumble topping finishes off these muffins and they are ready to go into the oven at 350°F.

finished peach muffins, muffin top, crumb topping

Lovely, golden brown peach muffins. Let cool and store in refrigerator.

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping

Ingredients

  • For Crumb Topping
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • For Muffins
  • 4 1/2 c flour
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 c milk
  • 5 peaches, peeled and diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 24 muffin cups.
  3. Combine ingredients for crumb topping: brown sugar, flour, quick cooking oats and melted butter. Mix to combine and set aside.
  4. Combine dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  5. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, oil and milk. Stir into dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in peaches.
  7. Scoop batter into prepared cups. Cups will be be full.
  8. Sprinkle prepared crumb topping on top of each muffin
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  10. Let cool. Store in fridge.
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Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Since it is officially summer, it is also officially grilled corn season. Corn can be found at just about every grocery store now.

Our local Walmart just got renovated with a large grocery section and we found the best deal on corn there. 10 cents an ear! What an awesome find!

corn on the cob 1

We have found that the best way to pick the perfect ear is to peel down the leaves and silk to look at the top of the corn. You want to see that the kernels are mostly developed to the end of the cob and it hasn’t started to rot.

corn on the cob 2

corn on the cob 3

When you get the corn home, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Shucking corn isn’t really a dirty process, it just takes some strength to pull the leaves and silk off.

Once the corn are clean, give them a quick wash to remove any leftover silk, then you are ready to prep them for the grill. Tear off about 12 inches of aluminum foil to wrap the corn in.

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Slather them up with butter, season generously with salt and pepper and wrap tightly.

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An alternate name for this recipe could be Butter with a Side of Corn. Yum!

corn on the cob 6

I prefer a folding method on the ends instead of twisting. Folding decreases the leakage of butter while cooking.

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This is the end result! Plump, juicy corn!

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You can eat it straight off the cob, like Mac prefers it, or cut off the cob, like Al prefers it.

 

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • Ears of corn
  • Softened butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sheets of aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Soften butter to room temperature.
  2. Preheat grill about 350-400°F.
  3. Place corn on aluminum foil.
  4. Generously spread butter all over the corn.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Fold and seal the aluminum foil.
  7. Place on grill, set timer for four minutes.
  8. Turn a quarter turn and re-set timer for four minutes.
  9. Continue until you have turned the corn four times.
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