Olive Oil Tea Cookies

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This post is sponsored by Pompeian. They’re encouraging us all to get festive in the kitchen this holiday season with their personalized olive oil bottles!

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

One of the best things about the holidays is making family recipes. I always look forward to baking something with mom on Thanksgiving and Christmas and throughout the holiday season. Whether we’re making one of my Granny’s favorite recipes to remind us of her as we miss her so much this time of year. Or maybe we’re thinking of our friends and family we can’t always see.

And sometimes we’re just making memories, knowing before long I will be off on my own, with a family and a career. We won’t always have endless amounts of time together, baking, cooking, talking, making a mess.

Olive OIl Tea Cookies

It’s so fun to keep traditions going, we make cinnamon rolls every New Year’s Day, for example, as well as create new traditions like these Olive Oil Tea Cookies. I love to keep these memories engrained in my mind, so just in time for the holidays, Pompeian is offering personalized bottles of their extra virgin olive oil with a family recipe and a family photo featured on a printable label. Now long after these Tea Cookies are gone, I can remember the fun we had making them with the personalized bottle.

Personalized Olive OIl Bottle

It’s so easy to make a personalized label of your own, so head to Facebook.com/Pompeian or Pompeian.com to create a label of your own. I had a blast choosing a photo of a different great memory I had with Mom at Taste of the Lions. It will just take a few moments to make the label, so don’t worry about it taking up too much valuable time this busy time of year.

Personalized Olive Oil Bottle

I love both cooking and baking with olive oil, so I always have Pompeian extra virgin olive oil stocked in my pantry. It is the first and only extra virgin olive oil with the USDA Quality Monitored Seal. Plus, it tells you exactly what countries the oil in that particular bottle came from. How cool is that???

Like I noted before, it might be unexpected to bake with olive oil, but it’s one of my favorite baking additions. These subtly sweet cookies are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. The olive oil flavor shines through wonderfully, with a hint of orange in the background. Hazelnut meal adds complementary flavor and just a bit of texture in an otherwise pretty soft, melt in your mouth cookie.

Make some memories this holiday season by heading to the kitchen with your loved ones to make treasured family recipes. Don’t forget to make a label for your Pompeian bottle to remember all the fun!

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 15 cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup hazelnut meal

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup Pompeian extra virgin olive oil

1 orange, zested and juiced

Instructions

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

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

In a large bowl stir together sugar, eggs, oil, and orange juice and zest until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto prepared pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely on tray.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 1 hour of the microwave for 30 seconds.

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian.

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

This giveaway has ended!  Congratulations to Ashley on winning!

I was on the peppermint bark train way before it was cool to love peppermint bark. Ten or twelve years ago, when I could still eat chocolate, I’d stock up on Williams-Sonoma’s peppermint bark. It was one of my favorite treats not only at the holidays but as long as I could make it last.

There’s something so soothing about peppermint. The smell, the way it fills your mouth and nose. And whoever discovered it pairs perfectly with sweet white chocolate and slightly bitter dark chocolate is pretty genius.

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

When Peanut Butter & Co challenged me to make some cookies using the flavor combination of peppermint and peanut butter, I had to think on it for a bit. I’ll be honest, I was a little unsure of that particular flavor combo. It’s not something I experienced before.

The more I thought about it, I figured peanut butter would be the perfect neutral background for a peppermint bark inspired cookie. I mean since I can’t have chocolate any more, I have definitely missed the texture and flavor contrast the treat provides.

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies far exceeded any expectations I have. Peanut butter and peppermint is so going to pop up in more of my recipes. The gluten free, flourless peanut butter cookies I so love are the easy to make base with white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes mixed in. While I love warm cookies, I let these cool completely to coat the bottom in carob, but you could, of course, use dark chocolate.

Underbaking the cookies slightly keeps them soft and moist even when cool. The white chocolate chips blend right into the background, while the crunch of the candy canes provides awesome texture and a burst of that fabulous mint flavor. The snap of the carob on the bottom rounds the whole cookie out. I swear these really do taste like peppermint bark but better. Way better!

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

Plus, to stock up on some amazing Peanut Butter & Co products for all your baking and eating needs, they are offering 25% off at their online store. Just use code YUMSQUADLOVE for the rest of December to receive the discount. Remember the code is case sensitive.

Peanut Butter & Co has been kind enough to offer a giveaway for you all this holiday season. One lucky reader will win 1 jar of Smooth Operator peanut butter and 1 jar of Mighty Maple peanut butter.

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

To enter, answer the question: What unexpected flavor would you like to pair with peanut butter?

To earn additional entries:
Follow @piesandplots on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.
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IMPORTANT: This giveaway is open to residents of the US only.
The giveaway ends Sunday, December 14, 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!
As a member of Peanut Butter & Co.’s Yum Squad food blogger club, I received product and the giveaway in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

Peppermint Bark Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 9 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup Smooth Operator Peanut Butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

¾ cup white chocolate chips

4 large candy canes, crushed

1 cup carob or dark chocolate chips

¼ cup peanut butter chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions

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

In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, and egg until well combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips and candy canes until distributed.

Using a regular size ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto the prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and mostly set on top. Cool cookies completely on tray.

Once cookies are cool, melt carob and peanut butter chips and oil in a medium microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Stir in between to promote melting and prevent burning.

Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted carob mixture. Spread with a spoon if necessary to completely coat the bottom. Set back on the tray to cool completely.

Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or 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.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

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Funfetti Layer Cake

Funfetti Layer Cake

The holidays mean a lot of things to me. But one thing the holidays can’t be without is a little sparkle. Glimmer. Glitter. Shine. Glamour.

There’s something about Christmas and New Year’s that just goes with shimmer. It almost makes me feel glittery on the inside, so I need to be all glittery on the outside. Not that I’m not all glittery on the outside other times of year too!

Funfetti Layer Cake

I love the way Christmas lights sparkle in the darkness of night. The way the lights on the Christmas trees make the ornaments shine in just the right way. The crystal ornaments shine the brightest, looking like diamonds on the trees.

Getting dressed up to go out on the town or to a party definitely means busting out the sequined clothes, glittered shoes, and sparkly jewelry. And for once, I’m not the only one rocking embellishments.

Funfetti Layer Cake

And if you get a Christmas card from me, you know it’s going to be all glittery. And it will get everywhere. But then the house just looks extra festive.

You know what else is extra festive. This Funfetti Layer Cake. It’s all glammed up for the holidays. It might not be a traditional Christmas dessert, but I think we need to change that. I mean what’s more Christmas-y than a bunch of sprinkles?

Funfetti Layer Cake

It all begins with a fluffy, buttery white cake studded with tons of bright rainbow sprinkles. Then there’s the silky smooth Italian buttercream that will melt in your mouth and leave you doing a happy dance around the kitchen. Instead of coating the outside in more sprinkles, though you could totally do that, I used Fruity Pebbles. Not only is that classic, childhood fruity flavor a welcome addition, but it also adds great contrasting texture. The tender crumb of the cake, the creamy frosting, and those crunchy Pebbles are a match made in heaven.

Time to break out the cake pans and get festive in the kitchen!

Funfetti Layer Cake

Funfetti Layer Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

4 large egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ½ cups cake flour

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles

Frosting

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Fruity Pebbles, for decorating

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom only with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Mix in the egg whites one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. I did 3 additions of flour and 2 of milk. Mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the sprinkles until distributed.

Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Smooth the tops and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sprinkles. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes completely in pan.

Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this happens, stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over whip the egg whites or they will become dry.

Once the eggs are whipped and the syrup is at 240, turn the eggs to medium-low, immediately remove the syrup from the heat, and begin slowly and steadily drizzling it into the eggs. If the syrup is ready before the eggs, it can be turned down or removed from the heat while the eggs finish, before being replaced on the heat to bring to temperature. If the eggs are ready before the syrup, stop mixing them until the syrup is almost ready. Turn them back to medium-high briefly before turning them back down and adding the syrup.

Once the syrup has all been added, turn the mixer back to medium-high and beat the frosting (what is basically marshmallow crème and is delectable all by itself) for 10-13 minutes until the bottom of the bowl is barely warm or at room temperature. It is important for it to not be too warm or the next step will not work.

Once cooled, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix briefly by hand to make sure there are no clumps of butter. If the frosting is a bit soupy (because it was too warm when the butter was added) stick it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, beat it again with the stand mixer. It should come together.

Carefully remove 1 cake from the pan and place it on a cake stand. Cover it with a generous amount of frosting. Place the other cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake completely. Carefully press Fruity Pebbles onto the sides of the cake.

Cake may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Notes

Cake recipe adapted from Molly Yeh. Fruity Pebbles addition adapted from Butterlust Blog.

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Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

You know what Thanksgiving makes me think of? Christmas. I know Thanksgiving is its own holiday, but it’s pretty much the official kick-off to Christmas.

The stores have already been all decorated for Christmas and now that our annual day of thanks . . . and food . . . and football is upon us, I can get into the holiday spirit without feeling like I’m way too early.

It all starts with the parade. It’s funny, but living in Detroit, we have a huge local parade, so I’ve never seen the Macy’s parade. However, I enjoy our little local parade as a part of my morning before switching over to watch the Lions. Hoping for a win this year!

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Then there’s the fact that we put up our Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving. I know some of my blogging buddies out there have already decorated, but Thanksgiving is the perfect time for me. It’s close enough to the season that the house isn’t torn up forever, but long enough away that I can enjoy the decorations. When it comes to the taking down of decorations, well, let’s just say I like to extend the season a bit.

I try to wrap up my gift shopping around Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well. I’m so glad we have the Internet because I am not braving the stores and crowds on Black Friday. And yeah, I said it, I’m wrapping up my shopping.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Plus, there’s lots and lots of cookie baking. I mean, I’ll bake cookies year round no problem, but there’s something about doing it at Christmas that’s extra special.

Especially when I’m making these Sprinkle Sugar Cookies. They got rave reviews from friends as the best sugar cookies they’ve ever had. With those sprinkles, they’re all festive for the holidays too.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Soft and a little chewy, they almost melt in your mouth. The vanilla flavor shines though. And the sprinkles add not only visual pizzazz but a bit of texture too.

Fair warning, while they are delicious warm, they totally fall apart. Once cool they are easily transported for gift giving. If you need something to get you in the Christmas spirit, these cookies will definitely do the trick!

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 18-20 cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Sprinkles, for decorating

Instructions

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

In a large bowl, cream butter, oil, and sugars until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work as well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, stir together baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and flour. Slowly add this mixture to the butter mixture, and mix in. Once all the flour has been added and a dough is formed, use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter onto the prepared pans. Sprinkle with sprinkles of your choosing.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown around the edges and mostly set on top. Cool completely on pan or the cookies will fall apart. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

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Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

See these muffins? They look fluffy, rich, buttery. You want to reach through the screen and grab a crumb right off the top, don’t you? Would you believe me if I told you they aren’t made with butter? Not a drop. Instead they’re made with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! was a staple of my childhood. I smeared it on wheat bread (I swear I can still taste that addition to dinner), I mixed it with spaghetti and parmesan cheese, I started my morning by spreading it on toast with blackberry jam. But then, it slipped from my refrigerator and diet.

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

I’m so glad I rediscovered I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! now and realized it’s good for a whole lot more than spreading on toast. I mean, it’s still good for that, but it can also be used for sautéing, cooking, and even baking. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has enough recipes to keep you busy discovering the versatility of this product. And even better, it’s soft and spreadable right from the container, no waiting for it to come to room temperature. Woo hoo!

Even better, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has a new and improved formulation offered in Original, Light, and Olive Oil varieties. It has ingredients you’ll recognize and be able to pronounce: vegetable oils, water, and a pinch of salt. Plus, it’s the first spread from Unilever in the US to be made with non-GMO ingredients. All of that with a suggested retail price of only $3.09!

Coffee Cake Muffins

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! is a great replacement for butter because it has 40% fewer calories and 70% less saturated fat than butter. It’s a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as omega-3 ALA. These fats are similar to the good fats found in avocados, walnuts, and almonds. Butter can’t say that! It also has 0 grams trans fat, is cholesterol free, and has no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Now back to these muffins. Can you believe they have all those benefits from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!? I couldn’t either.  The buttery flavor is remarkable. And when combined with that cinnamon streusel topping, the smell and taste is indistinguishable from traditional coffee cake. The muffins are fluffy and springy, the topping a little crunchy, and that gooey streusel center? Is it okay if I steal that out of all the muffins?

I baked them with Mom, which brought me right back to those childhood days of eating dinner with Mom and Dad, a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! on the table. Memories like that are so important to keep fresh in my mind, especially at the holidays. Creating new memories is pretty awesome too!

I say stock up on I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! because it is going to be a new staple in your cooking and baking routine. Traditional butter better watch out! Check out the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and then leave a review on www.TheNewICB.com.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 10 muffins

Ingredients

Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup sour cream

Streusel

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners.

Make the muffins. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, cream I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and sugars until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully combined. Mix in vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture and stir it in until just incorporated. Stir in the sour cream. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture until a batter is formed.

Make the streusel. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, and sugars. Add the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and mix with fingers, forks, or a pastry cutter until it is distributed in pea-sized pieces.

Using a small ice cream scoop, fill paper liners about ¼ of the way full. Sprinkle with a generous amount of streusel topping. Scoop remaining batter over top. Sprinkle with another generous amount of streusel.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan. Muffins may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or 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 the microwave for 1 minute.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

It’s that time of year, unfortunately. It’s cold outside. It’s cloudy. And gloomy. And rainy. Not snowy . . . yet. And the polar vortex is already back. I saw it on Al Roker’s forecast so it must be true. It’s yucky out. So instead of venturing out on a regular basis, I stay home and I bake.

It makes me feel better. The warmth of the oven heating the house. The endorphins from the exercise of creaming butter and sugar by hand. It really is a workout! The smell of vanilla and cinnamon filling the whole house. And then of course, there’s the taste. The goodness of a homemade baked treat, calling my name to be devoured.

Olive Oil Cake

It’s also the holiday season. It’s busy. There are parties to be attended and thrown. Huge meals to be made. And shopping . . . lots of shopping to be successfully completed as far in advance as possible. There are crowds and traffic jams. Stress. There’s more than enough stress to go around.

So again, I turn to baking. It’s calming, soothing, and very sharable. Show up at a party with a homemade cake instead of a bottle of wine. You’ll be a hero. Everyone likes cake. I like cake. I know you like cake.

Olive Oil Cake

Cake is even better when it’s easy to make and tastes as good as this Olive Oil Cake. I know what you’re thinking. Olive Oil Cake? Have I lost my mind? I promise I haven’t. I first saw this cake from Maialino’s in New York on Unique Sweets. Then when I saw the recipe on Food 52, I knew I had to make it ASAP. I’m so glad I did. This citrusy, boozy cake is greatly enhanced with the moist density of olive oil. After one sumptuous bite, you won’t be questioning my sanity. Only if you really have to share with anyone!

Oh, and stay tuned . . . I have an olive oil giveaway coming up this week!

Olive OIl Cake

Olive Oil Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 generous slices

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ cups milk (I used almond)

3 large eggs

Zest of 1 large orange

¼ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup bourbon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan at least 2 inches deep and line the bottom with parchment.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs, zest, juice, and bourbon. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool cake completely in pan. Cake may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen in quarters, 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 the microwave for about a minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Maialino via Food52

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Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

I can’t believe the holiday season is nearly upon us. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I was celebrating last Christmas. I demand time to slow down!

Other than my issues with time vanishing before my eyes, I’m having another problem. I don’t have anything on my Christmas list.

I’m trying to think of things. Big things, small things. Fun things, practical things. It’s just not happening though.

This is totally not like me. Typically the list of things I want is about a mile long. From the time I was a little girl asking for a multitude of Barbies and accessories to now when I ask for clothes and shoes Barbie might be happy to wear, I’ve never been light on wants.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

Perhaps 24 years of accumulating stuff has left little for me to want. Plus a lot of the things I want aren’t tangible. Unless one of you know an agent looking to represent a new screenwriter or a way to magically teleport me to California. Or maybe I’m just – shudder – becoming an adult.

I’m sure my list will come along eventually. If not, the pressure’s on Mom and Dad to come up with gift ideas all on their own. Surprises are the best.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

One thing I do want this holiday season is to keep extra pounds from creeping up. While I fully intend to eat my favorite foods in moderation, as always, I’ll be sticking to mostly healthy foods just like any other time.

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars are a great compromise. While they aren’t going to replace traditional cinnamon rolls, these healthy, gluten free treats are a flavorful, filling breakfast or snack sure to keep you on track.

Ooey, gooey from almond butter, they also have crunch from walnuts and chia seeds, along with warmly spiced cinnamon. A simple, optional glaze adds a little extra sweetness and that great cinnamon roll twist. They are a gift all their own this holiday season!

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars

Cinnamon Roll Granola Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

Bars

2 cups old fashioned roll oats, gluten free if necessary

¼ cup oat flour, gluten free if necessary

1 cup walnuts

¼ cup chia seeds

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup creamy almond butter

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water, or more if necessary

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, walnuts, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon until fully incorporated.

Add oil, almond butter, honey, and vanilla and stir until distributed and a thick dough is formed. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and partially set on top. Cool completely in pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, vanilla, and water. Add more water or sugar as needed until a thick, yet spreadable glaze is formed. Drizzle over bars. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, 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 or in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

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Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

It’s clear that the holiday season is already in full swing. Halloween came up super quickly and all the stores are already decked out in Christmas decorations. Before you know it, we will all be surrounded with delicious, decadent, calorie laden food. Leaving us with a choice. Either we indulge at every turn and deal with tighter clothes and New Year’s Resolutions to get back into shape or we try to eat healthily without sacrificing a bit of flavor all holiday season long.

I’m picking choice two, and I hope you will too. That doesn’t mean you have to forego every single traditional holiday food. I intend to make pecan pie a part of my Thanksgiving. It just means making smarter choices. And, oh, those choices are going to taste AMAZING!

NatureBox

I was recently introduced to NatureBox. I’d heard of it before, but never really perused their website of checked out their snacks. Um . . . what was I waiting for??? They have a huge variety of snacks, some sweet, some savory, some gluten free, some vegan or dairy free or non-GMO. There’s a snack for everyone. Plus, all of their snacks are nutritionist approved with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, no trans fat, and no high fructose corn syrup.

When you sign up for NatureBox, you’ll receive five snacks each month. You can either choose what you want to receive (it’s going to be a tough decision!) or be surprised. Then you can rely on those healthy snacks to take you through the holidays and beyond in a deliciously healthy way.

NatureBox

Grab a serving of one of your NatureBox snacks before a party so you don’t arrive starving, ready to devour anything in front of you. Serve NatureBox snacks at parties instead of traditional greasy potato chips and heavy dip. You can even make a quick recipe to either serve at a party or bring as a hostess gift. These Flourless Fruitcake Cookies will be a huge, healthy hit.

Gluten free and full of wholesome ingredients, these cookies can satisfy you day or night. They make your holidays tasty, as well as those of the people around you. That is, if you can bring yourself to share. I loaded my favorite flourless peanut butter cookie recipe with Fancy Dried Figs, Dried Cherries, and Watermelon Fruit Chews from my NatureBox along with some walnuts for an exciting cookie with tons of different textures. The dried cherries are so plump and juicy and I love the unique texture and bright flavor of the fruit chews in the cookies. I bet you’ve never had a cookie like this. It will remind you of the best version of fruitcake . . . without all the calories.

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

I know I’ve convinced you to give NatureBox a try whether you just want to eat the snacks as is or bake with them. Luckily NatureBox is offering a free trial box that includes one full-sized bag and four single-serving pouches! That sounds like a great deal to me.

Click here to start your free trial with NatureBox!*

*Fine Crumbs: Free trial is available for new and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers”

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Flourless Fruitcake Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup walnuts, chopped

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup watermelon fruit chews

½ cup dried figs, chopped

Instructions

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

In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, egg, baking soda, honey, and vanilla until well combined.

Add in the walnuts, cherries, fruit chews, and figs and stir until well distributed.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet, mounding it together with your hands so that it doesn’t fall apart. Once all the cookies have been scooped, bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and set on top.

Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container 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.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

So things have been pretty busy for me lately. I’m working on blog projects, went to an event at Neiman Marcus, working hard on my writing, keeping up on fall TV. Oh, yeah, and I joined match.com and went on my first date.

It was nerve wracking joining Match. But I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. It has been an interesting experience. There are definitely some weird dudes on there. Some that seem nice and never write back. Some that are apparently way too busy and have no business stringing us ladies along. And there are some nice, genuine guys. They’re just a little harder to find.

Apple Spice Bundr Cake

So if joining Match had me freaked out, you can imagine what it was like going on my first date EVER! I mean it’s pretty scary venturing out in the world like that. But I was completely and totally ready for it, so my nerves didn’t take over as much as I thought they would.

The guy was nice and even brought me a book as a gift. We met at a nice restaurant and had a great meal. We didn’t really have a connection, we both agreed, and that’s okay. I don’t regret going on the date and I hope the guy finds the right girl for him. It was a good start and I’m excited to see what happens from here.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone and that is an amazing thing. It worked out pretty well and hopefully things will only go up from here. I mean, I got to cross going on a date off my bucket list. How cool is that?

I’ve also been busy baking fabulous things like this Apple Spice Bundt Cake. This cake is the perfect comforting fall dessert. Easy to make, it makes use of the wonderful apples available now, and adds in some warming cinnamon, along with a bunch of crunchy nuts for texture. The exterior of the cake gets caramelized and a bit crunchy while the interior is dense and moist. Some future boyfriend is going to be lucky to sample treats like this!

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups apples, peeled and chopped (I used Fuji and Gala – use what you love)

1 cup nuts (I used pecans and walnuts – use what you love)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.

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

In a large bowl, stir together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined and lightened in color and texture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the apples and nuts until distributed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake, rotating halfway through if necessary, for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes. Then loosen cake from pan and gently invert it on to a serving plate. Cake 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 for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Dorothy Mae Brown via the Martha Stewart show

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Carrot Cake Sheet Cake #SundaySupper

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

I’m a big fan of planning everything out. Like everything. My day is scheduled nearly down to the minute almost every day. I know what time I’m waking up and exercising and blogging and eating dinner. I know what I’m having for dinner and when I’m going to the store. Or the mall. I have it all neatly organized in my head.

And then things happen. Bad things. Very bad, schedule ruining things. Things that throw my entire day off track and send my brain searching for ideas of how to regain control.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Like the other day when I had it in my head I was going to eat dessert. A freshly made, cupcakey dessert with fluffy, silky smooth frosting. Cupcakes from a cookbook I’d just received from a well-known baker. And then I made the cupcakes and knew the batter wasn’t quite right. Okay maybe not right at all is more like it, but I went ahead and baked them off. Thankfully I put foil under the cupcake tin or the day would have gotten a lot worse.

The cupcakes didn’t rise. Instead, they kind of like . . . melted. And oozed all over the place. I baked them longer than the stated time. When they were still raw and gross, I have up.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

But I had that image of cake and frosting in my head and I couldn’t let it go. Nothing in the freezer met the criteria. Though I didn’t really have the time or energy, I had to make something else. After scouring my bookmarks, I settled on a single layer carrot cake from The Kitchn.

I mean carrot cake. Yum! And The Kitchen. Yay! I knew . . . okay my confidence was shaken, so I hoped, that it would turn out spectacularly. And it did. I kind of devoured a huge piece of this cake and loved every second.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

It was easy to make and made with all pantry staples, making it a great recipe to make without any preparation and also making it easy on the wallet, the theme of this week’s Sunday Supper. There’s not need to run to the store for crème fraiche or some other specialized ingredients. Nope. Just take a trip to your pantry and refrigerator and get to baking!

You will thank me once you do. This fluffy cake is so moist and has that classic slightly spiced flavor we have all come to expect from carrot cake. And the frosting. Oh my, the frosting. Creamy, melt in your mouth frosting with tons of vanilla bean seeds. I had to splurge on those because I don’t think cream cheese frosting is the same without them, but plain old vanilla extract will work just fine. So maybe for once I’m kind of glad my plans didn’t work out.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 12 generous servings

Ingredients

Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup canola oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups freshly grated carrots

Frosting

½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan.

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

In a large bowl, stir together vanilla, oil, and sugar until well combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and eggs to the sugar mixture, beginning with the flour and ending with the eggs, doing 3 additions of each. Mix until well combined. Stir in the carrots.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Carefully bang the pan on the counter a couple times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the cake has puffed, is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together using a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until creamy and fully incorporated. Taste the frosting and see if you want to add any more sugar.

Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake, cut into pieces, and serve. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen

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

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Sweet Treats

Sips, Spreads, and Snacks

 

Sunday Supper Movement
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.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



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