Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

On Sunday, there was a talk given by a young man about following the spirit. He told a story about a women who randomly felt the urge to make cookies and some ones life was changed because of it. He spoke about following your promptings no matter how trivial they seem. The moral I got from the story was to make cookies whenever you get the urge. I get the urge all the time and usually resist. But after following the spirit I made these. I'm pretty sure no one's life was changed but these are my favorite cookies and make me happy. These are a twist on the traditional oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but don't worry there is still chocolate in it. When these are warm and the toffee is still gooey it is pure dessert bliss.


  • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1  cup  old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 1-2 Heath/Skor bars mashed to pieces
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in toffee bits.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best-Ever Banana Bread/Muffins

This recipe is a variation out of a ward cookbook from who-knows-where. My family has been making this banana bread for quite a while. If you can't tell by now, I really like the built in portion control of cupcakes/muffins, so today I made this as muffins and mini muffins to use up some super ripe bananas. My kids love their "cake"/mini muffins. Today I substituted 3/4 cup of agave for the sugar which adds moisture and reduces the sugar load. I always omit the nuts but sometimes do chocolate chips. If your bananas are as ripe as mine were today (black and required minimal mashing) omit the banana flavoring. Enjoy!

3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp banana flavoring (optional)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar or 3/4 cup agave
1 3/4 cup flour (for high altitude >4000 ft. add 1 Tbsp more)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup broken walnuts and/or chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Beat bananas to a liquid; add eggs and flavoring. In separate bowl, cream shortening thoroughly; gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add banana mixture. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Blend dry mixture into wet mixture. Stir in walnuts and spice.

Bake in a well greased loaf pan at 300ยบ for 1 hour 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Makes 1 loaf. For muffins: bake 50 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.
For minis: bake 30 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

Side note: These are actually not too unhealthy. Each muffin is only ~60 calories and each mini ~30. However, if you eat it all, it adds up to your whole days worth of calories: 1425. (Thanks mom for the calorie calculation.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yummy, Moist Chocolate Cake...with a Twist!

OK, so some of my readers may be aware that I have put myself on a "no dairy" diet for the sake of my darling baby. She is 6 months old and I am nursing her still. When I eat dairy her cheeks get red and scratchy, her nose runs, she gets a cough and she projectile vomits. She is most likely allergic to the protein in milk, which actually is quite a common problem for babies. Anyhow, it's been a TOUGH road for me. And I cheat more than I should, causing her grief. Because dairy is in EVERYTHING it seems like. It's of course in milk, cheese, yogurt, most salad dressings, cream soups (goodbye creamy casseroles and soups), ice cream, chocolate, but it's also in stuff like peanut butter chips, granola bars, some breads and cereals, doughnuts and of course all cakes. And I don't have a lot of willpower. So I cheat. And she throws up and is miserable.

But recently I have discovered the fabulous thing that is Almond Milk. And it is SO much better tasting than Soy! It costs about the same (under $3 for a 1/2 gallon carton) - you can find coupons easily and there's only 40-60 calories per serving depending on the variety you buy. What does any of this have to do with chocolate cake? Well I was using it for cereal mostly, but one day got this crazy idea that I could start cooking with it. I used it to make cornbread one day and it turned out so good. Better than when I use regular milk in fact --it was much moister and a better texture. So the other day I tried a white cake...yummy! ( I will post the recipe for that soon too!) Today, it was chocolate cake.

And now I am finally at peace :). Do you know what it's like to go without chocolate???? But plain cocoa doesn't have milk in it...so I substituted the buttermilk for almond milk and "voila!" Chocolate fix granted! I'll tell you I am in HEAVEN today! And again this is better than any chocolate cake you can buy or make from a box. I am getting to the point I might be done with milk for good just because I WANT to! Life is good today...

OK to the recipe...

Dairy Free Moist Dark Chocolate Cake (OK, so the name needs work...any suggestions?)

2 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Baking Cocoa
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 C Almond Milk (original recipe called for buttermilk, if you really don't want to try it with AM...but you will really thank me if you try it this way...I promise!)
1 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Boiling water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yep! this is a SLOW bake cake). Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until everything is blended and smooth. Pour into your pan. It will be thin. Bake for one hour. Test by sticking with a fork or toothpick. It is done when it comes out clean. Cool and serve with your favorite icing...or by itself!

Also - Did you know you can substitute applesauce or black beans for oil? I haven't tried it with this recipe, but will let you know if I do...if you try it, let me know the results!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Blueberries were on sale at my grocery store this week so I made these little pieces of heaven this morning. The recipe actually makes a little more then 12 muffins, so I typically make minis with the remaining batter. When making minis, bake 12-15 minutes.



  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. 2
    Toss blueberries with about 2 tablespoons flour and set aside.

  3. 3
    Combine remaining flour with the other dry ingredients and set aside.

  4. 4
    In a large mixer bowl, cream the cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth.

  5. 5
    Add eggs, then flour mixture, butter and milk and mix until just moistened.

  6. 6
    Fold in the blueberries.

  7. 7
    Fill paper-lined muffin pans 2/3 full.

  8. 8
    Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  9. 9
    Remove from pan immediately.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Banana Sherbet

I made this for our Memorial Day BBQ. I quadrupled the recipe to fill my ice cream maker. Sherbet isn't as thick as ice cream so it won't set up as well in the ice cream maker, it needs to be in the freezer for a bit as well. I didn't realize this so we served it in milkshake consistency. It was better a few hours later. As with most banana desserts, the riper the banana the better.


  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium banana, cut into chunks


  • In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved; set aside to cool.
  • Place the evaporated milk, orange juice, lemon juice and banana in a blender. Add the sugar syrup; cover and process until smooth.
  • Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 4 hours or until firm before serving. Yield: 2-1/2 cups.