Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Every year I browse the candy aisles for Easter candy. Jelly beans, Peeps, and Reese’s Pieces Eggs, oh my! But most of the candies are coated in chocolate, meaning they’re off limits to me. I also increasingly find many candies are made in Mexico or even China. Um, no thank you.

This has led me online to Jelly Belly and Williams Sonoma, who both offer high quality, made in the US candies, many of which are cocoa free! I have a serious weakness for pectin jelly beans and sour gummy bunnies.

I’ve also taken a liking to making my own candy. Homemade candy has high quality ingredients that you control. The flavors shine through, and they are super fun to make. The kids can even get involved in a lot of them!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Last year around this time, I bookmarked a recipe for Homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs. I’ve been counting the days until I could make this recipe. I eliminated the food coloring, as a lot of people aren’t a fan of it. This also streamlined and simplified the process without altering the flavor in any way. It doesn’t exactly look like and egg, and I honestly don’t know if it tastes like the real thing, as I’ve never had one, but I promise you these are addictive little candies that no Easter is complete without.

The sticky, sweet interior has tons of little vanilla bean specks, so you know that pure flavor packs a big punch. The assertive carob matches the sweetness perfectly, though I also liked them with white chocolate. Of course, if you’re not allergic to chocolate, feel free to use dark chocolate to coat these.  Scroll down past the recipe for more fun Easter candy ideas!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 15-20 eggs

Ingredients

½ cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ cups carob chips or dark chocolate

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided

Instructions

In a large bowl, beat corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla bean paste with a hand mixer on medium speed to combine into a homogeneous mixture. A stand mixer may also be used.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. You may need to stir the final cup of sugar in by hand. Mix until completely smooth.

Place bowl in freezer for about 15 minutes to harden.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting, until fully melted.

Remove the butter mixture from the freezer. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the butter mixture and roll it into an egg shape using your hands. Using 2 forks or your fingers, coat the egg in the melted white chocolate. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Repeat until you have coated half the eggs.

Place the butter mixture while you melt the carob/dark chocolate. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt carob/dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting, until fully melted.

Remove the butter mixture from the freezer again, scoop it, form it into egg shapes, and coat in the carob. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Once all the eggs are coated, place them in the refrigerator to set completely. Eggs may be stored in the refrigerator 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 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ashley Rodriguez, courtesy Food 52

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I hope you are inspired to make your own Easter candy this year.  Here are a couple more recipes to get you set for the holiday.  Plus, all of these are gluten free as long as you double check the ingredients you add.  It looks like it’s going to be one sweet Easter!

Carob Peanut Butter Eggs – This classic candy is a blast to make and tastes just like the real thing!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Snickers Bars – Peanut butter nougat, peanuts, and homemade caramel combine to make one delectable candy.  Cut them in egg shapes to make them more festive!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Marshmallows – Forget about Peeps, these fluffy, pillowy morsels of goodness pack in real vanilla flavor.

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Peanut Butter Fudge – You won’t believe how easy it is to make this irresistible candy.  All the cooking is done in the microwave!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

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.

 

 

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:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin 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.

Ina’s Salted Caramels

 Ina's Salted Caramels

First, please vote for my blog for The Kitchn’s The Homies Awards.  I need to place in the top five to make it to the next round.  This would really help my dreams come true and could change my blog and possibly my life.  It would be a dream come true, but I need your help.  Please, even if you don’t leave comments and just like to lurk, please take a moment to click the link, sign up for an account and click the +1 next to Pies and Plots.  You should see the number of nominations go up.  I cannot begin to tell you how much this would mean to me!

Second, don’t forget to enter to win the Hungarian shortbread from Frog Hollow Farm.  I know you will love that little treat!  Now onto your regularly scheduled blog post.

Ina's Salted Caramels

I’m not one to be all fanatical about spoilers.  I realize in the strange world in which we live where most of us don’t watch shows when they actually air and yet feel the need to share all about them on social media, I need to be smart if I don’t want to know who won Top Chef or what happened on Grey’s Anatomy.

When I actually care about avoiding spoilers, I try to watch the show in a timely manner and avoid social media.  I’ve also learned to enjoy shows even when I know what happens.

But the Olympics are killing me.  I can’t get interested in watching twenty bobsled runs or ten ice skating short programs, which I swear are all the same, when I know what happens.  So I’ve been spending my days avoiding spoliers like it’s my job.  Coincidentally it pays about the same as blogging ;)

My local news is great.  They announce when they are going to talk spoliers.  They appear on the screen while they Olympic music plays.  When the music’s over, so are the spoliers.  Awesome.

Ina's Salted Caramels

However, my frenemies over at NBC have a bit of a different tactic, in that they talk spoliers all the time, without warning.  The moment I turn on Today in the morning, they are talking about results.  Ted Ligity this, Bode Miller that.  I love NBC Nightly News and their Olympic stories, but I can’t watch them because I have to turn it on mute and look away before I know who fell while ice skating.  Doesn’t NBC want me to enjoy their Olympic coverage?

Well, at least I definitely enjoyed Ina’s Salted Caramels.  I have a thing for homemade caramels.  I simplified the process here by removing the step of warming the cream and butter before adding to the cooked sugar and these are the best caramels I’ve ever made.  They set perfectly, are super creamy, and have that rich, complex flavor we all want from caramels with that perfect crunch of sea salt.  I say these are gold medalists, no spoiler alert necessary!

Ina's Salted Caramels

Ina’s Salted Caramels

Yield: 64 caramels

Ingredients

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 cup heavy cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Maldon Sea Salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

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

In a large saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture is a deep amber color. If you need to swirl the pan, you may do so gently.

Remove the pan from the heat once it is the proper color, and add the cream, butter, and vanilla. Place the pan back on the heat and stir until any clumps have dissolved. Stop stirring. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F.

Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour. Then cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 additional hours. Cut into pieces and wrap with parchment or wax paper. Caramels may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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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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White Hot Chocolate #SundaySupper

White Hot Chocolate - Gluten free, only 10 minutes to prepare!

When I was nine or ten, I became obsessed with coffee.  Perhaps it was a symptom of my deep seeded desire to be an adult or just wanting the warm comfort so many people seemed to enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t chugging the Folgers from the coffee maker Dad so enjoyed, nor was I drinking the French vanilla from the grocery store that didn’t taste a bit like vanilla.

I loved the sugary, milky drinks from fancy coffee shops that for the most part didn’t taste like coffee in the slightest.  While Starbucks would do in a pinch, The Coffee Beanery was my favorite.

White Hot Chocolate - Gluten free, only 10 minutes to prepare!

White Hot Chocolate - Gluten free, only 10 minutes to prepare!

At first, I was only allowed a taste or two of white chocolate mocha or peppermint mocha, my favorites.  Soon I got to enjoy a beverage all my own, whether with a baby sitter as an after school treat or with Mom and Dad as a weekend reward.

Before long, in addition to those warm drinks, I fell in love with Frappuccinos, especially the Vanilla Bean one.  It tasted just like a milkshake!  Those drinks and the special times with friends and family they helped create remain fond memories.  However, by the time high school rolled around, my fascination had ended.  For whatever reason, my coffee days were over.

White Hot Chocolate - Gluten free, only 10 minutes to prepare!

Sometimes I still crave a warm, comforting drink, especially during this cold winter.  I couldn’t think of a better recreation than White Hot Chocolate.  The perfect recipe to serve two, Mom and I sat down to our mugs full of happiness after making this dangerously easy recipe.  The steaming hot milk is wonderfully flavored with sweet, rich white chocolate and some vanilla bean paste.  I love seeing the little vanilla bean specks!  A few pink peppermint marshmallows make this the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

White Hot Chocolate - Gluten free, only 10 minutes to prepare!

 

White Hot Chocolate #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 drinks

Ingredients

4 cups milk (I used almond, but any kind will work)

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Marshmallows, for serving

Instructions

In a large saucepan, combine milk and white chocolate over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the milk is hot and all of the chocolate has melted. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Remove from the heat.

Divide between two mugs and top with marshmallows, if desired. Serve immediately.

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

Alluring Appetizers:

Exquisite Entrees:

 

Decadent Desserts and Drinks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter every 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.

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

You probably know I celebrated my birthday last week.  I had an awesome day!  Okay, so it was freezing out, but with the sun shining, I stayed inside and pretended it was sixty.  It kinda worked!

The day was spent with Mom – my favorite person in the world.  I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather spend my birthday with.  It began with oatmeal, a celebratory phone call from Dad, another call from my aunt and uncle, and some email checking and magazine reading.  Not a bad way to start the day!

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

Then, Mom and I made Funfetti Cupcakes (more on those in a bit) before cozying up on the sofa and watching About Time.  Not the best movie ever, but it was cute.  A surprise delivery of flowers later – bright, happy yellow lilies and peach roses – and Dad arriving home from work meant it was time for dinner. 

Mom and I have been ordering fresh wild Alaskan king salmon from the famous Pike’s Place Market in Seattle since the weather has made it tough to trek across town to our favorite market.  I could get addicted to this fish, though; the quality is unparalleled.  I want to order it all the time . . . but I’ve been trying to resist because overnight shipping . . . yikes!  Mom and I had salmon and a salad (Dad had chicken – he won’t eat fish . . . unless it’s fried!).  We all enjoyed some cupcakes and then it was time to open presents!

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

I’m in love with my Chanel credit card holder and I can’t wait to watch Despicable Me 1 and 2 again.  We watched them over the holidays and I fell in love.  It was a great day, and I know it kicked off my 24th year just right!

So, now, about those Funfetti Cupcakes.  Mom was all sprinkles aren’t my favorite and you don’t have to put any on top of mine.  But birthdays need sprinkles, so it was sprinkles all around :)

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

These cupcakes are just what I wanted them to be.  A soft, moist vanilla cupcake heaped with vanilla frosting.  I topped them with Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Buttercream because it’s my favorite and it was my birthday, but feel free to use whatever vanilla frosting you love.  I do highly recommend trying this one – you’ll fall in love with it too.  Yeah, birthdays and sprinkles definitely go together!

Don’t miss my awesome Peanut Butter & Company Giveaway!

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

 

From Scratch Funfetti Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 11-12 Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1/3 cup 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

Rainbow sprinkles, for topping

Instructions

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Add the vanilla and beat until once again light and fluffy.

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

Stir half the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the milk. Then stir in the remaining flour until just combined. Quickly stir in sprinkles, so the colors don’t bleed into the batter. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared pan and bake 20-23 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cupcakes 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.

Assemble the cupcakes. Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting and sprinkle with additional sprinkles. Cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about an hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

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Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

I’m not good at waiting.  But then again, are any of us?  Perhaps it’s a symptom of our instant gratification society.  If a text or email goes unanswered for five minutes we freak out, as though our world is going to end.  Really though, waiting has never been fun.

If you saw me sitting in doctors’ office waiting rooms you would think I’m being sent to a firing squad.  I shake like a leaf, rocking back and forth, and turn paler than my usual shade of ghostly white.  An inability to smile or focus on anything strikes as five minutes turn into ten and ten in thirty.  It’s even worse when no one else is in the office, as I can’t help but wonder what everyone is doing.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

And then there’s waiting at home for the cable/phone/plumber/general home improvement guy.  They give you those nice two or three hour windows.  You hope they’ll get there toward the beginning of it.  But do they?  Of course not.  With thirty seconds to spare, just as your about to call and complain, a day wasted unnecessarily, the doorbell rings.

I don’t text, but I frequently communicate with people via telephone or email.  When I’m just staying in touch or contacting someone for fun, waiting in between conversations doesn’t bother me.  We’re all busy.  I get it.  I often take my time responding as well.  But when I’m trying to make plans or find out important information, I go crazy waiting.  It’s all I can talk or think about.  I often just make another call.  And, man, if I had a dollar for every time the person on the other end said they were just about to call me, I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.

Brown Sugar Cookies

I have kept you waiting way too long for these Brown Sugar Cookies.  I made them awhile ago and knew I’d post them, I just wasn’t sure when.  I pulled one out of the freezer for a treat last week and fell in love all over again.  I knew I had to post them ASAP!  The edges are crispy while the interiors stay super chewy.  The rich, slightly nutty flavor from the brown butter is perfectly accompanied by the sugar coating.  Plus, no chilling is required – no waiting to make . . . and eat these cookies!

Brown Sugar Cookies

 

Brown Sugar Cookies

Prep Time:

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cookies

Ingredients

1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter

1 ¾ cups packed dark brown sugar

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup granulated sugar, for topping

¼ cup dark brown sugar, for topping

Instructions

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

In a medium saucepan, cook butter until it turns a deep amber color and smells nutty. This may take awhile, but do not walk away from it, as it can burn quickly. The butter will melt and then boil, continue to boil until it is brown and then immediately remove from the heat. Cool for 15 minutes.

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

In a large bowl, combine cooled brown butter and sugar until fully incorporated. A hand or stand mixer would also work, but this is easy to do by hand. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla before adding the flour mixture and stirring until just combined.

In a small bowl, combine remaining sugars for topping.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter and form it into a ball. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture so it is completely coated. Place on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the cookies have been formed, leaving as much space as possible between the cookies.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until cookies have spread and are beginning to set. Cookies may be served warm or at room temperature. 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 for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Joanne Eats Well With Others

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Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Sweet and spicy.  That’s how I would describe 2013.  Some of it was pretty great.  I feel like I’m doing the best writing of my life (2014 will show if I’m right), I spent a lot of quality time with my parents doing fun things like shopping, going out to dinner with friends, and seeing plays, musicals, and even a concert.  My blog has started to grow, though it is still not where I’d like it to be, and I made some rather tasty food.  But my struggles with trying to get my dreams to become reality, frustrations over blogging, fears about what the future holds, and a few other things I didn’t talk about here on the blog, made it a tough year.

Isn’t that how most of us feel about the years?  That they were good and bad, sweet and spicy.  We look back and think of the things that didn’t go right, the things that didn’t get done, the regrets we have.  And then a decade down the line, when we look back, those mostly little things have hopefully vanished and we only remember the good parts.  Life is always a series of ups and downs, and hopefully in the end, there are more ups than downs.

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

2013 wasn’t my favorite year.  I wanted it to be better.  I hoped it would be better.  And now I’m looking to 2014, hoping, wishing that it has some good things in store.  Only time will tell.  For now, I sit, thinking about this year, and all the things that occurred during it.  Reliving the good bits, and trying to forget the bad ones. 

Regardless of my feelings about the year, it certainly went quickly.  Thinking back, it seems like January was just yesterday, like 2013 just commenced, like I want it back, to do over again, to use my time better.  I was just filled with that nostalgia for 2012, pleading with it to come back; now here I am again.  This time, I’m not asking 2013 to come back.  I don’t want it back.  I’m proud of a lot of the things I accomplished.  And this time, I’m really looking forward to 2014, because I think it has great things in store for me.  I think it’s going to work out.  So, 2014, here’s to you; may you be far more sweet than spicy.

Speaking of sweet and spicy, these Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts are just that.  Okay, so these are definitely more sweet than spicy, but two heaping tablespoons of cinnamon bring that warm, comforting heat, I crave this time of year.  I thought these would be dense and chewy like a blondies, but instead they baked up soft and moist, a dense, cake-like bar that I fell in love with after one bite.  I’m much happier they’re cakey instead of chewy.  The crunchy walnuts are the perfect complement to the cinnamon cake and the vanilla glaze is quite literally the icing on top.  If 2014 is anything like these bars, I think we’ll all be just fine!

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

 

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups walnuts

Topping

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, line it with parchment and lightly butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work too. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until once again light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the walnuts until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar for topping. Sprinkle the topping into an even layer over the batter. Use it all.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Once the bars are cool, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, water, and vanilla until a thick, but spreadable glaze forms. Add more water to make it thinner or sugar to make it thicker as necessary. Immediately spread glaze evenly over bars. Cut into pieces and serve. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl Cookbook via Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

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

Breakfast

Appetizers & Snacks

Main Dishes & Sides

Desserts & Drinks

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