Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

Being healthy and eating well is something I have always incorporated into my life style.  It is tough, and I have battles when a cookie is calling my name, but everything in moderation.  I never deprive myself from something that I want, I just make sure I don’t over indulge {much easier said than done}.  I try to stock my home with many healthy and tasty snack options to help me make it to my next meal! What can I say, I am a snack-a-holic.  I would graze on food all day if I let myself.

I am always buying granola bars, but I wasn’t thrilled with all of the ‘extra’ ingredients on the label that I had no clue what they are.  So I took matters into my own hands, referenced my girl, Ina Garten, and searched for a granola bar recipe.  She never fails me, and of course had a recipe I was excited to try, but with my own twist of course.  These bars are satisfying, fill that craving of sweet and crunchy and flavorful.  They don’t take long to make and are great to make at the beginning of the week to grab on your way out the door to work, school, or running errands.  You won’t be disappointed if you make these.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
Recipe by Ina Garten
Makes 12-16 bars
Preheat oven to 350o

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.

Next, toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.  Now reduce the oven temperature to 300o.

In a small saucepan mix the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt together and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and using your fingers, lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.   This is easier to do if your fingers are wet.  Bake the granola bars for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Be sure to allow the bars to cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


1)      Experiment with different dried fruits, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc in the bars to make any flavor combination you prefer.  I haven’t worked any other combos yet, but I have some ideas in my mind. 
2)      I love using a different mix of nuts in these bars.  If you prefer a specific one over another, just make sure you use any type of combination that adds up to 1 cup of nuts.  Use what you have is my motto!
3)      These would be a nice substitute for a dessert buffet instead of the typical cookies, cakes, pies. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day Twelve: Cherry White Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Today is the twelfth day of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences!  It went by so quickly for me, and I hope you all found it enjoyable.  There were some delicious treats that were shared, a guest blog post by my husband, and a milestone 100th post for the blog!  On the final day of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences, the recipe is for cherry white chocolate cookies. 

These cookies are chewy, sweet and tart.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved cherries.  Cherries are a super fruit and an antioxidant powerhouse.  So, I am not sure if I am decreasing the benefits of cherries by baking them in a buttery, sweet cookie, but at least we are eating our fruits.  Try this unique cookie flavor combination and let me know what you think!

Cherry White Chocolate Cookies Recipe
Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking
Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 375o

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, chopped

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.   This will take 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Next, gradually beat in flour mixture until all is well incorporated.  Now stir in white chocolate chips and chopped cherries.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the trays and place on a cooling rack.  I find that doing this quickly upon taking the cookies out of the oven works best so the white chocolate chips don't stick to the tray. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day Eleven: Gingerbread Cake Pops Recipe

The Day 10 recipe of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences is for Gingerbread Cake Pops!  Cake pops are one of the hottest desserts to serve your guests.  They are so fun to eat and come in some many different flavor combinations.  For these cake pops, I wanted to use popular holiday flavors in this fun trendy dessert style.  I served these cake pops on a festive platter, but they can also be served on lollipop sticks standing up in a glass or vase.  Hope you enjoy!     

Gingerbread Cake Pops Recipe
Makes about 20 pops
Preheat oven to 350o

Gingerbread Cake
1 box of Gingerbread Cake Mix (plus, water, oil and eggs)

Cream Cheese Frosting Mixer
6 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar

12 ounces white melting chocolate

Prepare the gingerbread cake according to the recipe on the packaging. Bake in a 9x9 pan for specified time on packaging. Once cooked, allow cake to cool completely. Once the cake has cooled completely, crumble the cake into a large bowl. 

Next, it is time to make the frosting.  In a medium bowl, add in the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Beat the ingredients together until well blended.  Now add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until smooth. 

Now, with the large bowl with the crumbled cake, spoon about half of the frosting over the cake.  Mix well and check the texture.  You want the cake to be moistened by the frosting in order to hold the cake together in a ball form.  Add additional frosting until the cake/frosting mixture is firm. 

Roll the cake into 2 inch balls and place them onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Place all of the cake balls into the refrigerator and allow to set for at least an hour. 

Once the cake pops are set, melt the chocolate over a double boiler.  Dip each cake pop into the chocolate to fully coat.  Place them back onto the wax paper and place sprinkles on top to decorate.  Allow the chocolate to harden onto the cake pops before serving.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Ten: Baileys Spiced Cake Cocktail

The Day 10 recipe of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences is for Baileys Spiced Cake Cocktails!  Baileys is perfect to mix into any holiday drink.  The smooth, creaminess of Baileys goes well in so many drink combinations, hot or cold.  This cocktail tastes like liquid spiced cake!  You have to try this, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Baileys Spiced Cake Cocktail Recipe
Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces Baileys Irish Cream
1 ounce Cake flavored vodka
Dash of nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker,  mix 4-5 pieces of ice, Baileys, and vodka. Shake the shaker to mix the ingredients together.  Pour the cocktail into a small glass or martini glass.  Top with a dash of nutmeg and enjoy! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Nine: Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints Recipe

The Day 9 recipe of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences is for Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints!  These cookies are buttery and delicious.  Shortbreads are a butter based cookie that, to me, just sings the holidays!  These cookies are easy to make with short list of ingredients, but don’t let that fool you.  This simple combination of ingredients allows the different flavors to all shine through.      

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints Recipe
Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes
Makes approximately 42 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon water
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the softened butter, sugar and almond extract.  Beat at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, scraping bowl often, until creamy.  Next, add flour and beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.   Now, cover the dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 350°F.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place cookies 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.   Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly).  Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake 14-16 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheets, then remove to cooling rack.  Cool completely.

Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

1)      You can use any of your favorite jam flavors. 
2)      To drizzle the glaze over the cookies, I used a sandwich baggie.  I spooned all of the frosting into the bag, cut a small part of one of the corners off the bag and squeeze the glaze over the cookies.
3)      These cookies would also be good with melted white chocolate drizzled over top instead of the glaze. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day Eight: Pumpkin Scones Recipe

The Day 8 recipe of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences is for Pumpkin Scones!  For me, pumpkin flavored treats isn’t just for the Fall.  In my house, we enjoy pumpkin flavor into the winter months.  Pumpkin is always spiced with the warmest of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, which is perfect for winter too. 

These scones are beautiful and delicious.  The scone is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Plus, they are topped with a sweet and spiced frosting.  Have these for an indulgent breakfast or as an afternoon snack. 

Pumpkin Scones Recipe
Recipe adapted from Sweet Pea Kitchen
Makes 12 Scones
Preheat oven 425o

For the Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg
For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
For the Spiced Glaze:
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 425o. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with fit the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.   Add the butter and blend it  into the flour mixture with your hands.  Then, mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, heavy cream and egg.   Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball.  Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches.  Use a large knife to slice the dough making three equal portions.  Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough.  Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

While the scones are cooling, make the powdered sugar glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, spread the plain glaze over the top of each scone. Allow to firm.

While the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day Seven: Mulled Cider Recipe

Day 7 recipe of the PammiCakes 12 Days of Christmas Indulgences is Mulled Cider!  This warm cider is perfect for those cold winter days.  The aromatic spices steeped into the sweet cider will make you fall in love with this easy recipe.  Plus, your entire house will fill with the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg.  If you are in the mood, you can kick this mulled cider up a notch by adding a shot of your favorite rum to your cup before serving. 
Mulled Cider Recipe
Serves 12-16

1 gallon of apple cider
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 orange
Rum {optional}

In a large crock pot, pour in the gallon of apple cider.  Next whisk in the pumpkin pie spice.   This will be difficult to fully integrate into the cider, but as the cider warms, the spices will mix in better. 

Cut the orange in half and place both halves into the cider, cut side down.  Warm the cider on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours before serving.  Ladle cider into mugs to serve. 

If you would like to add rum to your cider, pour one ounce of rum into your mug, top off with cider. 

1)  Home alone and really in the mood for mulled cider?  No problem.  I tried this the other day and it worked.  In a mug, mix cider, 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin spice and 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest.  Microwave until warm, about 2 minutes, and enjoy! 
2)  Cut this recipe in half or even quarter it if you are having a smaller gathering. 
3)  If you don't have a crock pot, this can also be made on the stove top.  Simmer for 2-3 hours until warm and infused.   
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