Sunday, June 27, 2010

Caramel Sticky Buns

These buns are not light.  They do not involve strawberries or blueberries or raspberries or cherries, or any other fruit, for that matter.  They require you to heat your oven to 400 degrees.  If you eat half the pan, I guarantee you will not look better in your swimsuit than you did before.

In short, there is nothing summery about these rolls.

But Beck and I figured that if they were good enough for the King Arthur Flour people to post in the middle of June, they were good enough for us.

These were very simple to whip up, though the cleanup was a bit involved, what with the pastry mat, several measuring spoons and cups, and a sugary baking pan and sheet.  But in the end, I'd say it was definitely worth it.

Although he will deny ever uttering the words, Music Man described these as having a "nice, soft, delicate texture."  Who knew he was such a food critic?

Caramel Sticky Buns
Adapted from Baking Banter
Makes 12 buns

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm buttermilk*
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • *Substitute 1/4 cup buttermilk powder + 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, if desired.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 2" round cake pan.
2) To make the topping: Combine the melted butter and brown sugar, stirring to combine.
3) Stir in the syrup.
4) Pour the topping into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle the nuts (if you're using them) atop the topping. Set the pan aside.
5) To make the dough: Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Note: If you're using buttermilk powder in place of buttermilk, add it here.
6) Pour the lukewarm buttermilk (or lukewarm water, if you're using buttermilk powder) and melted butter into the bowl with the dry ingredients
7) Stir to combine. The dough will look very shaggy.
8) Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead very briefly, just to smooth it out a bit.
9) Roll the dough into a 9" x 12" rectangle.
10) Brush the dough with water, and sprinkle with brown sugar, leaving a bare edge on one of the longer sides.
11) Roll the dough into a log, starting with the longer edge that's covered with filling. Pinch the seam closed as well as you can; it'll be a bit messy, with filling spilling out. That's OK.
12) Using dental floss or a serrated knife, cut the log into 12 slices.
13) Lay the slices in the prepared pan, atop the topping.
14) Place the cake pan on a baking sheet (to catch any sugar that bubbles over), and bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until they're golden brown.
15) Remove from the oven, and immediately invert the pan onto a serving plate. Let it sit for about 15 seconds, then remove the pan, scraping out any nuts or syrup that's stuck in the pan, and spreading it back onto the buns.
16) Serve warm (but not hot!).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Match Monday: Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Fudge Treats

In my own words: I'm intense - intensely sweet, that is! I always get reactions out of people. At first glance I might appear sophisticated and smooth, but underneath I'm still a kid at heart.
For fun: Hanging out with friends Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
Favorite things: Summers at the community pool, Reese's peanut butter cups

Today's Match Monday treat is yet another one suggested by Guy* and Gasp! it involves cereal, just like last week's treat.

Guy asked if I make Rice Krispy Treats. "Really?!" I thought, "Rice Krispy Treats? Aren't those for kids?" Then a little voice in my head that sounded not unlike our DaddyBob's answered, "No, Silly Rabbit, Trix Treats are for kids." Then that little voice laughed at its own joke, just like DaddyBob would have.

But I digress.

Guy made me think - have I ever made Rice Krispy Treats? I know I at least helped Mama B as she made them for every dance show, BBQ, birthday party, and camping trip of our childhood years.

I also remember that she made a batch and dropped them off at the dorms a month into my freshman year of college. For whatever reason - probably because we didn't have a real knife nor an air conditioner - cutting those bars made me really sweaty, which I announced to my still-new roommate, which was immediately awkward, then hilariously funny.

But I digress again.

My point is that I have definitely not made Rice Krispy Treats in my adult lifetime and didn't particularly care to. One, I overdosed as a kid. Two, no one in my life has requested them. Three, they pose absolutely no baking challenge. Four - RK Treats are for kids!

Enter Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Fudge Treats.

They're slick, they're sophisticated, they require the essential baking skill of patience (which I need lots of practice at), and they are certainly not for kids, unless you're prepared to deal with the sugar high and subsequent crash these babies cause.

And, they're moan-inducing delicious. Here's an exact quote from Mama B when she tasted these:

"Oh wow. Oh. Oh wow. Wow. Ooooohhhh Wooooooowwww."

It got slightly awkward. But then it was also quite funny.

So here's to our little Rice Krispy Treats all grown up. I look forward to making these again for birthday parties, and BBQs, and camping trips, and...and...

Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Fudge Treats

Rice Krispy Treats

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal (or any puffed rice cereal)

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

4. Cool. Make Peanut Butter Fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge
(recipe from Alton Brown)
1 cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioners (powdered) sugar
1. Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high.
2. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
3. Pour over the Rice Krispy Treats in the pan and spread evenly.
4. Let cool in the fridge while you make the Chocolate Fudge.

Easy Chocolate Fudge
2 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine butter, milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate, and vanilla. Beat for about 1 minute, or until marshmallows melt and mixture is thoroughly combined.

3. Pour over peanut butter fudge, spread evenly and place in the fridge to harden and cool.

4. Cut into 1-inch pieces or smaller. Store in fridge for firmer fudge; on counter top for softer fudge.

*Nicknames are my own. I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Katie and I recently spent an afternoon making a yummy mess in the beautiful kitchen at JW House, a hospital hospitality house for families of patients staying at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, California.

JW was a a good friend of ours - a typical teenage boy with a brilliant smile, mad drumming skills, and that "Oh geez..." sense of humor only 16 year old boys can have. And believe me when I say he gave some of the best hugs in the world.

But JW was more than a stellar hugger. He was also a visionary - a little guy with a huge dream of creating a place where families like his could rest and rejuvenate while patients like him received treatment at Kaiser. With a whole lot of hope, help, and heart, JW made his dream come true.

Today, the guests and volunteers at JW House consider it their "home away from home". And what says "home" better than the ultimate cookie classic? When it comes to comfort food, there's almost nothing I crave more than a warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. The recipe below doesn't disappoint. If I'd have to compare, I'd say that biting into one of these is almost, almost but not quite, as good as one of JW's famous hugs.

Oh, and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially our DaddyBob. We might be far from home, but this recipe is our gift to you. Consider yourself hugged times two!


The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from AllRecipes via Katie's awesome co-worker E.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

3. Stir in the chocolate chunks, chips, and nuts by hand. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30-40 minutes.

4. When ready to bake cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: The cookies in these photos were made with light brown sugar. We usually make them with dark brown sugar, but these were still amazing!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Match Monday: Gotta Have My Pops!

In my own words: I might be one of the sweetest catches you'll ever find.
For fun: Long walks in the corn fields of Kansas.
Favorite things: Corny jokes, Saturday morning cartoons

Today's Match Monday treat is another one suggested Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens.* (Is anyone else wishing I had picked a different nickname for Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens because you're tired of reading "Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens"? Yeah? Okay. Let's just call him Guy.)

Unlike many of my other Match Monday guys, Guy actually got to go on a real-life date with me, where we found out we had exactly two things in common:

1) An addiction to the Food Network.

2) A love for late night cereal.

These days, my late night cereal staple is Kashi GoLean Crunch with greek yogurt and loads of cinnamon. But when I'm feeling indulgent, I go for the bright orange bag of Malt-O-Meal Mini Spooners, aka, generic Frosted Mini Wheats...but only if I've been to Pathmark or C-Town, since our neighborhood Key Food no longer carries Mini Spooners.

What's that about, Key Food?! I mean, seriously. What's a girl gotta do around here to get her favorite less-expensive-but-better-tasting bite-sized squares of sugared wheat?!

Guy, however, never has a problem getting his favorite cereal, because his has been on the shelves of every supermarket and bodega across America since the 1950's - Kellogg's Corn Pops.

And boy, does Guy like his Corn Pops. Our (one-sided) conversation went something like this:

Guy: Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and just wanted a bowl of Corn Pops? That happened to me once. My roommate thought I was crazy. I just woke up and really wanted some Corn Pops so I put on some pants and went down to the bodega and got some Corn Pops and ate a giant bowl right there in the middle of the night. Ooooo! Do you think you could make a treat out of Corn Pops?! You know, like Rice Krispie Treats but with Corn Pops?!

Like I said, he was stoked about Corn Pops. I mean, I like my Mini Spooners, but this was something else.

So while Guy and I don't have a future together (because while love for cereal and the Food Network are definitely pluses, they are nothing to build a relationship on), I did feel like I owed it to Guy to at least attempt a Corn Pops treat.

Becky and I found this recipe on the Kellogg's website. It won out over the others because
1) it was already 10pm on a weeknight and this one was quick, and
2) we had all the ingredients in our cupboard (except for the Corn Pops, but a quick trip to the corner bodega fixed that).

So here you go, Guy. These are your favorite sugar-glazed corn puffs, basically glazed with multiple other forms of sugar.

Chocolate Corn Pop Clusters

adapted from Kellogg's®

1cup chocolate chips
1cup butterscotch chips
2tablespoons peanut butter
4cups Corn Pops®
3/4cup salted cocktail peanuts (optional)

1. Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter together in large saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth, or heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Add KELLOGG'S CORN POPS cereal and peanuts, if desired. Stir until well coated.

2. Drop by rounded measuring-teaspoons onto waxed paper or buttered baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature until firm.

*Nicknames are my own. I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oatmeal Carmelitas

The universe wants you to make this treat.  Really. 
You see, every so often, a specific recipe overwhelms the blogosphere.  Usually it's a viral thing - one popular blog posts something and suddenly everyone's making it.
But this recipe was different because last fall, a few of us heard the carmelita call individually.  First, I got the recipe in my Martha Stewart "Cookie of the Day" email.  A week later, Framed posted the recipe after seeing it in Everyday Food.  A couple months later, Kelli tasted a version in a bakery on Cape Cod and loved the bar so much that she recreated the recipe from scratch.
But this isn't a new recipe; versions of Oatmeal Carmelitas have been around since Erlyce Larson's recipe won the Pillsbury Bakeoff in 1967.
So why the sudden resurgence last fall?  The only thing I can think of is this: the universe wanted us to know how awesome these are. 
And who am I to argue with the universe?  I made one batch and knew they'd become a staple.
A couple words of warning though: 
1) With a buttery brown sugar crust similar to that of Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars and a rich caramel filling textured with chocolate chips, these bars pack a sugary punch. If you've been wondering if that aching tooth has a cavity, bite into one of these - you'll know right away whether or not a trip to the dentist is in your future.
2) When I took these to the office, we ended up with trails of oatmeal crumbs between the snack table and each person's cubicle.  So unless you're wearing lederhosen and hoping to find your way out of the forest without getting eaten by a witch, make sure you have a napkin handy to catch those buttery crumbs!
On behalf of all the other bloggers who heard the carmelita call last fall, I'd like to thank the universe. We appreciate your help in finding crowd-pleasing, self-indulgent recipes.  Keep 'em coming, please.

Oatmeal Carmelitas
adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 48 soft caramel-candy cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each short side.

2. Put caramels and cream in a small saucepan; melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

3. Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal; press half of mixture onto bottom of lined pan.

4. Bake until just set and starting to color around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.

5. Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips; drizzle with caramel mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before lifting bars out onto cutting board and cutting into squares.  For easier cutting, after bars have cooled, place in refrigerator until firm, then cut into bars.  Let come to room temperature before serving.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Match Monday: Peanut Butter Magic Bars

In my own words: People always say I'm a little over the top, but they also can't get enough of me!
For fun: I enjoy combining things to create something new and different, especially when the new creation turns out to be even better than each thing on its own.
Favorite things: Halloween, theme parties

If you can't handle intensity, I'm probably not your type!

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens.*  You remember Guy-Who-Doesn't-Like-Kittens from last week's post.  His request was simple: he likes anything that includes these:

It took me a while to figure out why I like this treat so much, but I've finally put my finger on it: These bars know how to commit to a theme.

And if you know anything at all about me and Beck, you know that when we're given a theme for something, we take that theme to the extreme.

Case in point: Friend K had a "Little Kid Birthday Party" party a while back.  Did the invitation say anything about dressing up in little kid party dresses?  Nope.  Did Beck and I dress up anyway?  We sure did:
And we didn't even get funny looks on the subway.

But back to these bars.  It's a peanut butter party over here!

Peanut butter in cookie form? Check.

Peanut butter in bite-size candy form? Check.

Peanut butter in crispety, crunchety candy bar form? Check.

Peanut butter, regular peanut butter form?  Check.

And just to top it off, butter, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk, because, well, those make everything better.

I'm calling these Peanut Butter Magic Bars because they are what you would get if you invited the classic Eagle Brand Magic Cookie Bars to a peanut-butter themed party.

So get your peanut butter party on! Costumes are optional, of course, but highly encouraged.

*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Peanut Butter Magic Bars
adapted from Framed
Makes 48 bite sized bars
  • 1 16-ounce package Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 7 & 1/2 ounces peanut butter cups (about 25 miniature cups), coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces Butterfinger candy bars (about 7 small candy bars), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13″x 9″ pan with parchment paper.

2.  Combine crushed cookies and butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

3.  Combine condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

4.  Sprinkle chopped candy bars and chocolate morsels over crust. Drizzle condensed milk mixture over toppings.

5.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. Using parchment, lift out of pan, and cut into bars.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars

Pssst.  Hey You.  Yeah, You.  C'mere.

Wanna know a secret? 

This recipe will greatly improve your self-esteem.

Wanna know another secret?

It's also one of the easiest recipes ever.

*Gasp!* What's that you say?  You don't believe me?

Okay, fine.  I'll demonstrate.

Here you go.  Try one of these.

Oh, my, well thank you.  Yes, I agree, they are quite tasty.  Just the right amount of tartness and sweetness, yes.  Sure you can have another.

Yes, I agree.  They are quite addicting.  You're gonna be like my co-workers and start calling these Lemon Crack Bars because of that now, aren't you?  

What?  No!!!!  Of course they don't actually have drugs in them.  My co-workers are just witty like that.  Geez.

Yes.  You can have a third.

What's that now?  I must be an incredible baker to have made such a heavenly treat?  

Ha.  Point #1 proved.  And yes, I am an incredible baker.

What did you say?  You'd like the recipe?  Sure, no problem.  Let me just look it up for you...

Oh wait!  No need.  I have it memorized since I make these so often.  This is where I prove Point #2 - this is one of the easiest recipes ever.  Here you go.

Yes, you're welcome in advance too.  Consider it my donation to the world's self-esteem.

Goodbye now!  And thanks for stopping when I creepily said "Hey you, c'mere!"

Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars
recipe by Katie
Makes 54 bite size bars

zest of one lemon
2/3 cup lemon juice
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c flour
1 c oatmeal (quick or old fashioned)
1 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
9 tbsp butter, melted

1.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine lemon juice, zest, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Pour in melted butter and mix with fingers until mixture is crumbly.

4. Press a little more than half the crumb mixture into the 9x13 pan.  Top with the sweetened condensed milk mixture.  Sprinkle the rest of crumb mixture over the top.

5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are just starting to brown.

6.  Let cool in pan on wire rack, then chill until cold.  Using parchment, remove bars from pan onto cutting board.  Cut into small bars.  Store in refrigerator.