Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Honey Nut Granola

As I am still practicing a clean eating "lifestyle" around here; I looked into other breakfast ideas as I have eaten my fill of baked cinnamon apple walnut oatmeal and banana oatmeal muffins for awhile.  Enter this honey nut granola.  It's perfect as a topping for yogurt or simply eaten with almond milk.  Making it at home guarantees that there are no processed ingredients being added and it's really easy to put together as well.

Honey Nut Granola
slightly adapted from AllRecipes
makes 5 cups

Ingredients: 4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, and cinnamon
Mix together the oil, honey, and extract.  Add wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Mix well.
Spread the mixture onto two un-greased baking sheets.
Bake for a total of 20 minutes, stirring the mixture every 5 minutes
Remove from the oven and let cool on a separate sheet.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Little Pony "Fluttershy" Cake

Not only did I make nutella brownies for Valentine's Day and cranberry bliss bars for a coworker's birthday, I made a birthday cake for my sister this week.  It is a known fact that she loves My Little Pony.  Given how busy I was, the best I could squeeze out was a buttercream transfer of her favorite pony, Fluttershy.  I did try to make it fun by making it a rainbow cake inside, as seen on my Instagram account.  I went with a yellow cake which I split into 6 bowls and dyed the colors of the rainbow.  Frosting was an orange butter cream frosting which my brother said tasted like Fruity Pebbles.

Orange Buttercream Frosting
A Baked by Jen Original
Makes enough to fill and frost an 8-inch cake

4 ounces of cream cheese frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1/2 cup of shortening
1 teaspoon of orange extract
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
6 cups of powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons of orange juice
1-3 tablespoons of milk

Beat cream cheese, butter and shortening together.  Add extracts.  Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Add orange juice and milk until desired consistency is reached.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cranberry Bliss Bars

The first time I had one of these cranberry bliss bars were when my boss shared them at work courtesy of his wife.  They tasted amazing!  Skip forward a few months, it is a coworker's birthday and one of her favorite desserts are these bars.  I had no idea there were so many copycat recipes all over the web; apparently these are popular at Starbucks every Winter.  My boss' wife was generous enough to share her recipe with me which is a slight adaption of one I found online.

Cranberry Bliss Bars
Makes about 30 triangular slices
slightly adapted from Mr Breakfast

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1 tablespoon oil

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9x13 pan with foil leaving an overhang and lightly grease it.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger powder, and minced ginger.  Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl, beating until smooth.  Stop and scrap the bowl down as needed.

Stir in the cranberries and the chocolate chips by hand.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 mins, or until the cake lightly browned.

Allow the cake to cool.

While the cake is cooling, beat all the frosting ingredients together.  Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Immediately sprinkle with the chopped cranberries.

Melt the chocolate chips with the tablespoon of oil and using a cake decorating bag or a ziploc bag with the tip cut open, drizzle the melted chocolate all over the cake.

Remove the cake from the pan using the foil overhang.  Cut the bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nutella Brownies

Happy Valentine's Day!  At work, we decided to exchange Valentine's; something I haven't done since middle school.  It was such a fun idea as there were plenty of cards (store bought and home made), candies, and treats.

What I shared with my coworkers were my favorite brownies which I added 1/2 cup of nutella.  However, the taste of nutella wasn't as prominent as I wanted it to be.  It did give the brownie a new richness which I liked.
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