Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies #SundaySupper

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Innovation is one of the best things about America.  We might not be top in math or science, but our constant ability to think outside the box is impressive and inspiring.  Anything is possible because we believe it is.  In all realms, from food to technology, we are never satisfied.  We believe there is always room for improvement.  I say that innovative spirit is way more important than having the best grades on paper.  Those grades will never go as far as innovation.

I like to think I can be pretty innovative.  When I’m writing, it’s important for me to think of new and exciting stories and new and exciting ways to tell those stories.  It’s fun to sit at my computer and type something no one has ever typed before.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Blogging has also inspired innovation in my life . . . or at least my kitchen!  Whether I’m mashing some new flavors together or turning my favorite pie into cookies, there’s no way I’d rather spend a day than whipping up a super cool treat.

The other thing about innovation is it doesn’t always work out.  I have yet to impress an agent with my creative ideas and sometimes those recipes are total failures.  But the other thing about innovation is that it’s infectious.  The energy it gives me makes me immediately return to the drawing board, knowing gold will soon strike.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

I came up with the idea for these Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies unsure if they’d turn out.  I thought and hoped they would, but it was still a risk.  With fingers crossed, I took them out of the oven and busted one open, the pretty purple blackberry jam greeting me.  Success!  Not only are these gluten free cookies giant, delicious, and sturdy (no crumbly cookies here!), they also taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I hope these cookies inspire you to do something innovative in your life!

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

 

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 7 Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

About ¼ cup jam (I used Smucker’s seedless blackberry)

Instructions

Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and vanilla until fully combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 7 rounds of dough and place them, spaced as far apart as possible, on the baking sheet. Flatten the balls of dough and place about 1 teaspoon of jam in the center of the flattened dough.

Scoop 7 additional balls of dough and place on top of the jam. Using your fingers, smooth the dough over the jam and seal the edges, making sure as little jam as possible is peeking out. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until they are crinkled and slightly firm on top. Serve warm or cool completely on tray. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Additional chilling time is required

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Please check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Starters and Snacks

Entrees and Mains

All things Sweet

sunday supper Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

 

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Finally spring is starting to take hold.  Hopefully it’s doing some serious weightlifting because it needs to be crazy strong to kick winter all the way to the curb and keep it there.

All the springtime signs are like a weight lifted from my shoulders.  The birds are singing, the chipmunks have come out of hibernation, the days are so much longer, the snow is almost melted (yeah, some of it’s still hanging on), and I didn’t even have to wear my coat the other day!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

If winter comes back again, I swear I’m gonna barricade myself in the house.  And maybe have a load of dirt and some flowers delivered to start a garden in the house because you can have anything delivered today.  Just ask my BFF, the UPS man.

There may have been some talk on the local news that snow is meteorologically possible until June.  But I put my fingers in my ears and chanted “la, la, la” like a five year old, so we’ll pretend like it didn’t happen.

Fluffernutter Pie

This Fluffernutter Pie definitely happened.  And I’m so glad it did.  I mean does it get better than a thick graham cracker crust, silky smooth peanut butter pastry cream, and homemade marshmallow fluff?  Um . . . no.  You’ll be tempted to eat the peanut butter pastry cream straight from the pot with a spoon, but save some for the pie.  You’ll thank me later!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Pastry Cream

2 cups milk or cream, divided (I used almond milk, use what you love)

¼ cup cornstarch

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 whole large eggs

4 large egg yolks

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, use what you love)

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Marshmallow Fluff

½ cup water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pour into a pie pan and press in firmly with your hands, going all the way up the sides. Using a measuring cup press the bottom in very firmly. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely.

Make the marshmallow fluff. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.

Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the marshmallow is thick, glossy, and voluminous. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix about 1 minute more. Marshmallow may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I recommend doing this as it makes assembling the pie easier.

Make the pastry cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup milk and cornstarch. Place the remaining milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture just starts to bubble.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks into the milk and cornstarch mixture until well combined. Slowly add about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan and place over medium low heat. It is important to keep the heat low so the mixture does not curdle. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla bean paste until fully combined.

Assemble the pie. Preheat the broiler. Pour pastry cream immediately into the baked and cooled crust. Top immediately with the marshmallow fluff. Make peaks in the marshmallow using the back of a spoon or a knife. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the marshmallow is golden brown. Do not walk away during this process, as it will burn quickly.

Allow the pie to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Pie may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Additional cooling and chilling time is necessary

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Five Tips to Get Your Body Beach Ready

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways http://mydisclosur.es/OBsstV

It’s been a long, harsh winter. If you’re anything like me, the weather has left you wanting to do nothing but hibernate in your house, avoiding going outside in blizzards and below zero temperatures at all costs. Even though it might not seem like it right now, spring and summer are on their way, and you’ll want to be looking your best to hit the beach and wear sundresses after perhaps putting off exercise and indulging in a little too much comfort food over the past few months. So today, I have five tips that will help you slim down and tone up easily.

1. Set Manageable Goals

I get it. We all want to eat healthy and exercise an hour a day and cook dinner every night and organize the house and save the world, but it’s just not possible. It’s not. If you set really lofty goals, you are most likely setting yourself up for failure. One slip up on that long list of goals, and you’ll want to give it all up. However, if you set smaller goals, you are likely to accomplish them and feel awesome! Want to lose twenty pounds? Start with five and set new goals from there. Want to run a 5k? Start by walking for 30 minutes a day. After a week of walking everyday, you’ll be so proud of yourself and encouraged to keep up the great work.

2. Make Exercise a Priority

In order to be healthy, exercise simply has to be a part of life. But this doesn’t mean you need to spend all your free time in the gym, run a marathon, or chain yourself to the treadmill. Instead pick activities you like to do. Have a group of friends in your neighborhood? Take walks or jogs with them. Addicted to video games? Get one that forces you to be active instead of sitting on the sofa. Always wanted to try tennis? Sign up for some lessons. And if you are super busy, park a little further away from your office or the store so you have to walk further, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and exercise while you watch TV. That’s my favorite tip. Hold a plank during the commercial break. Jog in place for one segment. Do crunches for one scene. In no time, you’ll be seeing lots of results.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

3. Snack Smart

We all hit that mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump. We’re rushing around and on the go, and hunger is bound to strike, often at the most inopportune times. Heading to the vending machine or reaching for a candy bar is the worst thing to do, because not only are you going to crash following your snack, but you’re also going to feel guilty for eating junk. Instead, stash some healthy energy bars in your bag or pre-portioned bags of your favorite nuts. You can also swap out high calorie tortilla chips for homemade baked ones. They are easy to make, gluten free, low calorie, low sodium, and a wonderful premade snack kids and adults alike will love. Delicious eaten alone, they can also be topped with your favorite healthy dip, like salsa, guacamole, or hummus. Check out the recipe at the end of the post.

Sunkist TEN and Homemade Tortilla Chips

4. Cut Out High Calorie Beverages

We all love soft drinks, sports drinks, and fancy coffee drinks. But they are worse for you than any candy bar or greasy burger because they have no nutritional value and don’t fill you up. While adding lemon or cucumber to water is super healthy, it’s not exactly a soft drink replacement. Enter Four Ten Calorie DPSG products. These soft drinks have only ten calories per serving without sacrificing a bit of flavor. That’s right, low calorie, but full flavor! The Four TEN flavors are 7UP, Sunkist, A&W, and Canada Dry. Sunkist has always been one of my favorite soft drinks, so I was so excited to pick up this TEN version to compare to my memories of the real thing. It is awesome! As soon as I opened the bottle, the smell intoxicated me. The flavor took me right back to childhood, but I didn’t have to worry about downing hundreds of calories. I mean, we all have room in our day for ten calories! You can learn more about the Four Ten Calorie DPSG products by visiting their Facebook and Twitter pages.

To further sweeten the deal, Walmart, where you can pick up the Four Ten Calorie DPSG products, is offering $0.50 off the purchase of TWO 2 liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN, or Sunkist TEN. Plus, if you would like to share this coupon offer via email, Facebook, or Twitter, that offer will become $1.50 off the same purchase. Offer available while supplies last, from 3/27-4/17. Just head over to Walmart’s site to get the coupon. And if you are interested in a specific flavor, call your store ahead of time to see if they have it, as not all flavors are available at all stores.

Sunkist TEN

Sunkist TEN

5. Reward Yourself

Once you meet your goals and have your body ready for summer, you have to give yourself incentive to keep up the awesome work and set and meet new goals. While one splurge meal a week is an acceptable reward, I love non-food rewards. Perhaps you’ve been wanting a new lipgloss to protect your lips from that summer sun. Oh, or an awesome new book to read while you relax on the beach. Or how about a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your house until summer actually does arrive. Pick a reward based on what your passions are and it is sure to keep you motivated all summer long.

Flowers

I hope these tips help get you set for summer. Fingers crossed it will be here sooner rather than later.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

10 5-inch round corn tortillas

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Take one tortilla and brush 1 side lightly with oil. Set it down on a plate or cutting board. Brush the top with olive oil. Continue brushing and stacking tortillas on the plate or cutting board.

Once all the tortillas have been brushed with oil and are stacked together, cut them into 6 wedges. Arrange the wedges on the baking sheets, so that they just overlap a little. Bake for 12-15 minutes, turning and rotating the pans halfway through, until starting to brown and crisp. Tortillas will continue to crisp as they cool. Serve warm or cool completely before placing in a zipper bag and storing at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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Lime Meltaways #SundaySupper

Lime Meltaways

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday.  I’m part Irish and love celebrating a little.  Green is a bright, happy color, and I’m all about four leaf clovers, pots of gold, and anything that might bring good luck.

But it’s a hard food holiday.  Not that many foods are inherently Irish.  I’m not a big fan of the ones that are either.  Corned beef?  No thanks.  Guinness?  Not so much.  I do like mint, but most of the green mint candies out there involve chocolate, and they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day only because they’re green.  I have plenty of red mint candies, but we’re talking March 17, not December 25 here!

Lime Meltaways

Lime Meltaways

So this Sunday Supper is celebrating green foods.  Okay, I realize these aren’t exactly green.  I didn’t go color blind or anything.  I had trouble thinking of many green foods to bake with.  Hopefully my Sunday Supper friends will forgive me because there is some bright green lime zest under all that confectioners’ sugar.  I promise!

These Lime Meltaways taste green.  I was skeptical that a little lime juice and zest would flavor all these cookies, but they pack a serious lime punch.  The bright flavor of these cookies totally made me smile.  The texture is a winner too.  They’re a bit crunchy before living up to their name and basically melting in your mouth.  Green or not, I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with these cookies and you should too!

Lime Meltaways

Lime Meltaways

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: About 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided

Zest of 2 limes

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add lime zest and juice and vanilla and mix until mostly combined. It’s okay if it doesn’t fully incorporate.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated and a soft dough comes together.

Place dough on a large piece of parchment paper and roll into a log 1 ½ - 2 inches in diameter. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut dough into ¼ - ½ inch thick slices and place on baking sheets about one inch apart.

Bake for about 13 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown but the tops are not. Cool about 10 minutes on trays. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Coat each cookie fully in confectioners’ sugar before placing is back on the tray to cool completely. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Additional chilling time is necessary

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes!

Green Light Appetizers and Sides

 

Getting Greens Through Salads

 

Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy

 

Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green

 

 

 

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST.  Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

 

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

I’m always hot.  No, not that kind of hot.  I’m talking temperature hot.  I have no idea why, but I’ve always become overheated very easily.  Even in this icy cold winter, I’m warm.  Put me outside and I turn into a human icicle instantly, but inside with the oven on and the heat running, sometimes my face is flush and my body craving a cool breeze.

Some of the heat waves are triggered by stress, others an intense workout, and some have no cause that I can pinpoint, though I do find the heat to be very irritating.  When it comes on I feel like I’m being strangled and find myself willing it to go off.

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

In fact, the heat never gets turned up higher than 68 during the day, and at night things dip down to a chilly 59.  It is worth noting I can’t give up blankets when I’m sitting and chilling or sleeping, so that probably has something to do with my being warm.  My parents are always cold.  But they can bundle up.  What am I supposed to do?  Walk around naked?  I’m not Lena Dunham!

This phenomenon must run in my family, as my aunt keeps her heat on 62 all day.  That’s too cold even for me!

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

You might wonder why I love summer and want to move to a warmer climate.  Summer brings a different kind of heat that rarely bothers me.  In fact, I crave it on a daily basis.  Plus, I love when the air conditioning comes on, the ceiling fan is always on high, and I have a little tabletop fan that blows cooling air right at me, Beyoncé style.

These Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars were a hot commodity in my house.  Mom, Dad, and I all loved them.  I know I just posted Breakfast Bars, but these no bake, gluten free beauties could not wait!  The hearty, chewy oats, the crunchy almonds, the sweet raisins, and that classic Fruity Pebbles flavor make these totally irresistible.  Plus, those bright Pebbles make me smile!  I know these bars will make you smile too :)

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

2 ½ cups quick cooking oats

1 ½ cups Fruity Pebbles

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup almonds, chopped

½ cup raisins

Instructions

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a large bowl, stir together oats and Pebbles. In a medium microwave safe bowl, stir together peanut butter and honey. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave on high for an additional minute. The mixture should then be bubbling. If it is not, microwave it an additional 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla extract

Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until fully combined. Add almonds and raisins and stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed and a cohesive mixture is formed.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth into an even layer, then press mixture down firmly with your hands. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to allow bars to firm before cutting. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

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Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Up until a few years ago, dinner without meat was pretty much unthinkable.  Whether beef, chicken, or pork, my dinner plate was a balance of meat, starch, and vegetables.  Then my taste buds changed and my horizons broadened dramatically.

I realized I don’t even really like chicken, beef and pork taste a lot better when eaten less frequently, and even fish doesn’t need to be on the plate every night.  Some of my favorite dinners are not only meatless, but also vegan.  Quinoa salads, chickpea salads, guacamole, pureed vegetable soups.  I crave these foods regularly.  My ten year old self would be shocked at my current food preferences.

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Because this is primarily a baking blog, almost everything I make is meatless.  So for this meatless Sunday Supper, I wanted to challenge myself and make something vegan.  I can whip up a gluten free recipe in a heartbeat, but vegan recipes are much more difficult.  A lot of recipes just need eggs and/or butter.

Rest assured neither is present in these Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars.  These are an awesome on the go breakfast or snack.  Though they fell apart a little, their irresistible flavor and soft texture make them a recipe I’ll make again and again.  The almond butter and maple syrup shine through, but the orange juice soaked prunes and apricots are the real stars.  They are little flavor explosions in your mouth!  I’ll be starting many more days with these healthy bars.

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

Zest and juice of one orange

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup prunes, chopped

1 cup almonds, chopped

2 cups quick cooking oats

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup almond butter

¼ cup canola oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

Place the orange zest in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, apricots, and prunes. Set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl, stir together almonds, oats, and cinnamon.

In the same bowl as the orange zest, add almond butter, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until fully combined.

Pour the orange zest mixture over the oats, and add the dried fruit, leaving excess orange juice in the bowl. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed and the mixture comes together. Press it into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly golden brown and set. Cool completely in the pan before slicing and enjoying. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Salads, Soups, Stews and Starters

“Meat”balls

Pastas, Pizzas and Casseroles

Burgers

Tacos & Everything Wrapped

Other Main and Side Dishes

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Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday!
 We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

 Pecan Bars

First of all thank you so much for voting for Pies and Plots in The Kitchn’s The Homies Best Sweets and Baking Blog Contest!  Your support means so much to me <3  I finished in fourth place.  While I didn’t technically win, I feel like a winner thanks to all of you.  I mean who would have thought this little blog could compete with all the others out there?!?  I can already tell this is going to be an awesome year!

Here in the Detroit area Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day.  If you are unfamiliar with them, paczki are big, yeast doughnuts typically filled with jelly or custard and coated with glaze or sugar.  They are buttery, dense, soft, and pillowy.  The best jelly doughnut you’ll ever have.  At least that’s what people say and what I remember from being a kid.

Pecan Bars

Last year, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hamtramck, the paczki capital, to pick up some super authentic and sure to be delicious paczki from one of the best bakeries that make the time consuming treats.  It was a cold, snowy day, but it was gonna be so worth it to sink our teeth into these glorious goodies.

The bakery wasn’t that crowded since we went the weekend before Paczki Day, as wait times on the actual day routinely exceed an hour.  It smelled intoxicating and they looked great.  I could barely wait until after dinner for my treat.

Pecan Bars

But wait I did, and when I took that first bite . . . I was not impressed.  They were hard and chewy, almost like bread.  There wasn’t enough glaze.  Or was there any at all?  And the jam tasted like nothing.  I tore open almost all of the paczki, hoping one of them would be good, but they just weren’t.  How could this be possible?  Even the guys at Dad’s work were unimpressed when he took in the leftovers. 

This year, I figured I’d stick to my own treats (though Brown Eyed Baker’s Paczki are on my list for next year!), so I made Pecan Bars and I am so glad I did.  These are the best Fat Tuesday treat ever!  The crust is so buttery and crumbly, and then there’s that filling.  Gooey and caramel-y with tons of toasty pecans.  I kept taking little tastes of these bars just to make sure they were good ;)   Plus, I found these really easy to make.  I think Paczki Day just became Pecan Bar Day!

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Crust

1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 stick unsalted butter, very soft, almost melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it is in pea sized pieces. Add the water and continue working the dough until it comes together when pressed. Firmly press the dough in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully combined and all streaks of butter are gone. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans until fully coated.

Pour the pecan mixture over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 additional minutes. Cool bars completely in the pan. Once cool, cut bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bars may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Cocktails & Other Beverages:

Appetizers:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

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Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola

It’s the last day to vote for Pies and Plots in The Kitchn’s Best Sweets and Baking Blogs contest.  Thank you so much for your continued support!  I would really appreciate if you would vote for me if you haven’t already.  Though it seems impossible for me to win at this point, with your help, anything is possible!  Dream big!

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola - Healthy and Gluten Free

One of the coolest things about being a food blogger is that sometimes I get boxes of goodies sent to me.  I mean we all love when the UPS guy delivers a package, but it’s even better when you didn’t have to pay for it.

Though any box gets me jumping for joy, I am always especially happy when one from Bob’s Red Mill comes.  I love Bob’s!  I’m constantly ordering products from their website and picking up even more from the grocery store.

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola - Healthy and Gluten Free

I order Bob’s Gluten Free Rolled Oats literally by the case.  One of the reasons I love Bob’s, other than the crazy high quality of their products, is their customer service.  One case of oats I ordered was full of hulls.  One quick phone call later and they shipped a new case to me, though I still used the one with all the hulls – I couldn’t bear to throw it away.

I also love their quick oats, nut flours, corn flour, oat flour, chickpeas, carob powder, different kinds of coconut, and more. I need to buy stock in Bob’s Red Mill.  Wait, do they even have stock?

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola - Healthy and Gluten Free

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola - Healthy and Gluten Free

I also love their quinoa.  The new Tri-Color Quinoa was included in my box.  I barely had the box open before I headed to the kitchen to try this new quinoa!  One of the best things about Bob’s quinoa is that it comes pre-rinsed.  I love that I don’t have to go through that time consuming step.  The Tri-Color Quinoa is even better than the traditional because I found it to be a little sweeter.

While I have made plenty of quinoa salads loaded with avocado, onion, parsley, cilantro, and vinaigrette, my favorite way to use it is in granola.  Granola always gets my morning off to a great start, especially this Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola.  The quinoa and nuts give a lot of crunchy texture, while the creamy peanut butter adds flavor and makes sure there are more than enough clumps to fight over!  The peanut flavor isn’t super intense, so if you would like to amp it up, increase the peanut butter by ¼ cup or swap some of the nuts for peanuts.  This is a healthy and gluten free breakfast treat, so long as you use gluten free oats.  Just add some milk and a little fresh fruit and breakfast is served!

Disclaimer: I was provided with product samples by Bob’s Red Mill, but all opinions, as always, are mine.

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola - Healthy and Gluten Free

 

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: About 12 Servings

Ingredients

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup almonds, unroasted, unsalted

½ cup hazelnuts, unsalted

1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

¾ cup quinoa

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup honey

¼ cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup dried blueberries

½ cup dried currants

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, hazelnuts, coconut, quinoa, cinnamon, and ginger until fully combined.

Add honey, oil, vanilla, and peanut butter, and stir until fully combined and distributed. There should be no clumps of peanut butter. Spread mixture into an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. If your oven runs hot, check it at 15 minutes.

Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with blueberries and currants. Do not stir the granola at any time – this will ensure it is extra clumpy. Cool completely on the pan. Once cool, break into clumps and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

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Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Post Pebbles, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #PostWalgreens http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

I’m a bit of a cereal addict.  Mom and I are the only people who eat cereal in the house and there are at least ten boxes in the pantry.  Yep, you read that right.  Ten boxes.  But constantly eating cereal with milk and maybe a banana for breakfast can get a bit boring after awhile.  I need some cereal variety in my life.

Luckily cereal is one of those foods that is super versatile.  Depending on the variety, it can be used to coat chicken or fish, to top a casserole or macaroni and cheese, or for baking.  I absolutely love baking with cereal.  There’s something fun about it that almost always brings me back to childhood, when life was simple and cereal for breakfast or a lunch box surprise at school was all I needed to be instantly happy.

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Picking up Fruity Pebbles at Walgreens!

All kinds of heart healthy sweet treats can be made with cereal (in fact, stay tuned for a scrumptious granola bar recipe coming up!), but today I bring you cookies.  Not just any kind of cookies, but healthy cookies.  Cookies that are meant to be eaten for breakfast. That’s right, cookies for breakfast!  Cookies that you can feel great about eating for breakfast.

It’s so important to get a good, heart healthy start to the day, which led me to create Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies to help celebrate American Heart Month.  They are full of super healthy rolled oats, which add fiber, protein, and iron to the cookies and help to lower that pesky cholesterol.  Peanut butter adds some more protein and super healthy fats.  There’s some pure maple syrup for sweetness, and one egg to bind.  But eggs aren’t the bad guys they are often made out to be.  In fact, they are often called the perfect protein and are an important component of a healthy diet.  Plus, there’s the star: Fruity Pebbles!  They happen to be gluten free, so if you use gluten free oats, these cookies are gf friendly!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

The resulting cookie, is soft and moist in the center with a bit of crunch on the outside.  The peanut butter flavor really comes through with a hint of maple syrup in the background and plenty of that bright Fruity Pebbles flavor I crave on a regular basis.  Make a batch of these and freeze the leftovers for quick weekday breakfasts!

Walgreens is the perfect place to pick up a box of Fruity Pebbles or your other favorite Post cereals.  It’s perfect one stop shopping to pick up cereal and any other little things you might need.  When I was there, I stocked up on candy too!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

1 cup Fruity Pebbles

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, Fruity Pebbles, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add oat mixture and stir until fully incorporated.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes until cookies are golden brown and just set. Cool completely on pan. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Cookies may be thawed at room temperature for 1 hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

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Confetti Cookie Pie + Giveaway!

Confetti Cookie Pie // Pies and Plots

We’re having a celebration today!  It’s my second blogiversary!  The past two years have flown by.  While blogging definitely frustrates me sometimes, it has opened up some pretty cool worlds for me.

I’ve met all kinds of people I never would have.  Okay, so it’s not like we’re hanging out and going to events together, but I have definitely made friends through emails and leaving blog comments.  I feel like I belong to a group for the first time ever.  And that’s a pretty awesome thing.  I hope to become friends with even more bloggers, so I can feel like a more important part of the community.

Confetti Cookie Pie // Pies and Plots

I have made some pretty awesome recipes.  Knowing that I have to post new and exciting recipes frequently gets my creative juices flowing.  Sure, I still have my favorite recipes that I make all the time without posting them.  Hello Almond Butter Granola and Peach Blackberry Pie.  But I also love getting in the kitchen, developing a new recipe, and crossing my fingers it turns out.  When it does, it’s pure bliss!

Working with different companies has been a blast too.  It’s always nice to make some money when I’m working so hard and to feel like I have something to offer the world.  The challenges companies issue really open me up to new ideas.  Souffles were on my recipe bucket list, but I didn’t tackle them until KitchenAid asked me to.  Making that souffle was one of the best days I’ve had working on this blog.  We’ll forget about those pesky companies who want me to promote them for nothing in return.  Really though, how cool is it that my job is making delicious food, Tweeting, pinning, and Facebooking?

Confetti Cookie Pie // Pies and Plots

Readers like all of you are the most important part of what I do.  Without you awesome readers, there are no companies, no money, no joy when you leave comments or send emails.  By the way, if you didn’t know, I love when you leave comments and send me emails – it never fails to make my day!

I really want to keep my little blog growing and turn it into one of the great big blogs out there.  So I need your help.  Please tell your friends about my blog, Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and Instagram.  Also, The Kitchn is holding its annual The Homies awards for the best blogs out there.  It would mean the absolute world to me if you would nominate my blog.  Just follow this link.  You will need to either sign up for an account or sign in to your existing account, but it’s easy, I promise!  It would really help my dreams come true!

Confetti Cookie Pie // Pies and Plots

Lately I am definitely a fan of sprinkles for celebrations.  It just couldn’t be a blogiversary without some fun rainbow sprinkles.  They are one of the stars of this Confetti Cookie Pie.  That’s right it’s a cookie and a pie, one with lots of sprinkles and white chocolate no less.  The soft, slightly underdone center is the perfect complement to the crunchy edges.  Though I’m typically a gooey middle cookie kind of girl, I loved the crunch of these edges.  This cookie pie was a huge hit, especially with Dad, and is certainly fit for any celebration!

As a small token of my appreciation for your support, I’m holding a giveaway!  You know by now that Frog Hollow Farm is one of my favorite companies.  I love all of their fresh produce!  They also make scrumptious looking baked goods.  Today, one reader will  win their Hungarian Shortbread.  This delightful treat has a crumbly shortbread crust with their homemade apricot conserve in the center.  I know you’ll absolutely love this!

Confetti Cookie Pie // Pies and Plots

In order to enter the giveaway, answer the question: What’s your favorite celebration food?

To earn additional entries:

Follow @piesandplots on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Like Pies and Plots on Facebook. Come back and let me know you’ve liked me in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow @piesandplots on Instagram. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Like Frog Hollow on Facebook.  Come back and let me know you’ve liked them in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow @froghollowfarm on Twitter.  Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Subscribe to Pies and Plots via email using the form at the top of the page on the right hand side. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

IMPORTANT: This giveaway is open to US residents only.

The giveaway ends Saturday, February 22, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST.

The winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was provided with this giveaway by Frog Hollow, but all opinions, as always, are mine. 

Confetti Cookie Pie + Giveaway!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 10-15 pieces

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 large egg

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a pie pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla bean paste and egg and continue beating on medium for about 5 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips and sprinkles by hand until distributed.

Bake 20-22 minutes. The edges should be golden brown and the center barely set. Allow to cool completely in pan. Pie may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature about an hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Wishes and Dishes

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