Tag Archives: sweets

Crispy Farro Bars

16 Apr Far better than rice crispy treats... Crispy Farro Bars

Far better than rice crispy treats... Crispy Farro Bars

Yesterday evening as I was at the pharmacy picking up prescriptions I just may have purchased four Cadbury Eggs and two Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (vile I know… DON’T JUDGE ME!).  The pharmacist smiled, “Preparing for Sunday?”  I hung my head sheepishly.  I can’t and wont give Baby Bird chemical storm candy… but for me? Ugh… okay…

So they weren’t a tiny Easter stash for my child, they were for a full grown adult who knows better.

“I’ve got a toddler with hives… so they’re actually all for me.  Tonight.  Like, in the car,” I confessed, trying to shrink and disappear- digging in my purse for my sunglasses and any other suitable disguise items in case I ran into anyone on my way to the car (or as I sat in my car  binge eating candy eggs).

In lieu of judgement, he offered an earnest suggestion.  “Try making rice crispy treats!,” he said. “This started out as a rotten day.  I’ve had three rice crispy treat and somehow everything seems better!”

It didn’t prevent me from the impending Easter candy massacre, but is was a very sweet sentiment.

And I totally get it, because rice crispy treats are amazing!  Most of use grew up with them, they are inexpensive to make (even when subbing in the organic, non-GMO version of everything), and they will completely dominate a bake sale fundraiser.

Despite it’s lack of real nutritional value, the purist (organic, non-GMO) version of the rice crispy treat will always exist in my kitchen.  I’m an American.  I live in the South.  There will always be a place for it.

In our house, the humble rice crispy treat has also given birth to an elevated offspring- the crispy farrro bar!

It keeps its lineage’s simple gooey, square shaped goodness but gains depth and complexity thanks to the puffed farro and the addition of rich and slightly salty chocolate hazelnut butter.  I urge you to stay away from Nutella in this instance- eat it with a spoon and I wont judge you should you choose (remember the Easter candy debacle above) but it contains its fair share of unnecessary ingredients- including soy- which give it an unnatural smoothness and slightly mask the true flavors that make this bars a stand out.  Amidst the melty marshmallows, you want this fella to scream rich chocolate, sweet hazelnut, and malty farro.

And these will still clean up at a bake sale- even if, every once and awhile, you have to describe them as being “like eating a rice crispy treat with Nutella.”

And just like that, I have treat envy.  The pharmacist was right- I should have left the chocolate eggs and gone home to make some more crispy farro bars!

Far better than rice crispy treats... Crispy Farro Bars


Crispy Farro Bars

  • 3 tbs butter
  • 12-15 oz marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter
  • 4- 4 1/2 cups puffed farro cereal, unsweetened

Directions: Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper

In a medium saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows over medium low heat until marshmallows are melted.  Stir in hazelnut butter until well combined.

Remove from heat and stir in farro cereal.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and press down evenly with oiled hands (Careful- it’s hot!) or with another sheet of parchment.

Allow to cool before cutting.



Homemade Oat and Seed Granola

9 Apr Homemade Oat and Seed Granola with oats, salba, chia, pepitas, and flax

As I recently filled you in, I’m on a mission right now to keep The Hubs feeling full while watching his race weight as we continue the countdown to Boston.  This task is far more difficult than one might expect; on one hand he is the most relentlessly driven, self-disciplined person I’ve ever met, yet on the other- as soon as it’s territory he doesn’t have to dominate (read: any and all of the choices on the food he consumes)- he very willingly relinquishes all control.  Don’t read into this as a complaint, I take great pride in the fact that such a capable, intelligent person would entrust his diet to me fully.  It does mean that I have a very important job.

It also mean that my phone features a constant feed of questions about what he can and cant eat.  Which is pretty adorable:

text collage

A donut? Are you serious?

See… adorable.

In order to keep Mr. Adorable away from the donuts on the road to Boston, I try to send a variety of tasty, wholesome snacks along each day to help keep him feeling satisfied.  Granola is the absolute easiest option since it can be consumed a variety of ways- dry as trail mix, sprinkled over yogurt or cottage cheese, layered over sliced bananas and fruit, or in a bowl with alt-milk and a spoon.

For me, granola is one of those foods it makes me sick to think of purchasing because the store bought versions are A) infuriatingly expensive in comparison to their raw ingredients and prep effort level, B) normally contain lots of unnecessary salt and refined sugar, and C) are always lacking just a little something that would make it exactly what you wanted… but that you could easily make at home in the perfect, custom manner.

Chances are, you have the basic raw ingredients hanging out in your pantry just waiting to be used.  See what I mean:

  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • 1/2-3/4 cup nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (coarsely chopped if using apples or apricots)
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt or kelp flakes
  • 4-6 tbs of honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbs of coconut oil

From there you can get fancy with a pinch of this or a dash of that, but in the end it’s really all the same.  It ends up being a great way to use up odds and ends in the pantry- which is far more eco-friendly and budget conscious than buying store bought.

Granola making (and consuming) rarely looks the same way twice in this household, but I do have a favorite framework I like to work around that includes lots of fabulous seeds and other little nuggets of scrumptious goodness.  Give it a go in your kitchen, but don’t be afraid to change it up to your liking.  And- MOST IMPORTANTLY- don’t turn it into something that necessitates a trip to the grocery store… use up what you’ve got in that pantry.

Unless, of course, you aren’t yet someone who stocks oats, seeds, and grade B maple syrup. In that case, get thee to the market PRONTO!


Homemade Oat and Seed Granola with oats, salba, chia, pepitas, and flax

Homemade Oat and Seed Granola

  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • generous 1/2 cup raw almond, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 2 tbs salba
  • 2 tbs black chia seeds
  • 2 tbs quinoa (raw)
  • 2 tbs golden flax seeds
  • 2 tbs shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbs grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tsp local honey
  • 2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • slash of vanilla extract
  • splash of almond extract
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and, using a silicone spatula, toss well to incorporate.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss, and return to bake for 10-15 minutes more.

Allow to cool completely on baking pan before serving of storing.

*Frequency of tossing during cooking as well as length of cooling time will affect the size of your granola clusters.  If you like chunkier granola, toss less and allow to cool completely undisturbed.

Will keep in airtight container for about 2 weeks in fridge.

Top 13 in 2013

2 Jan My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

This blog has been a new adventure for me and, even though it only covered the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at my 13 most popular posts of 2013.

It’s been a lot of fun sharing, and I’m excited about another year with y’all!

Top 13 posts in 2013- Go Running, Mama!

13. Exhaustion, Smoothie Pick Me Ups, and a Virtual Half Marathon Comedy of Errors (September)- Forgetting water during a high altitude half marathon, finding out I had mono, and the smoothies that got me through the ordeal!

12. Carrot Top Tacos (July)- Spiced carrots and beans with carrot top chimichurri.  Never, ever waste your carrot tops again.

11. Maple Bacon Biscuits (September)-  Maple.  Bacon. Biscuit.  Trifecta.

10. Gifts from the Heart: Apple Cinnamon Ornaments (December)- An ultra non-toxic clay that makes heavenly scented ornaments or an amazing material for sensory play.

9.  #FirstontheFirst Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Penuche Frosting (October)- We were supposed to make candy, but I cheated and frosted a very yummy cake with this praline-esque frosting.

8. #FirstontheFirst Gateau Larsson (September)- My Scandinavian twist on a traditional Basque dessert.

7.  Gifts from the Heart: Baking Soda Clay Ornaments (December)- These smooth ornaments are an inexpensive (and toddler friendly) alternative to a trip to a ceramics studio.

6. Creamy Garlic Kefir Pasta (July)- A probiotic packed easy meal.

5. Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars (August)- Lunchbox snacks don’t get much healthier.

4. Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties (August)- Healthy food tastes even better in Mickey Mouse form.

3. #FirstontheFirst Candy Canes for Cheaters (December)- Once again, we were supposed to make candy.  And I didn’t.  But I think you’ll forgive me when you taste these cookies.

2. Frosty the Cheese Man: Snowman Cheese Ball with Hand Cut Tortilla Chips (December)- The most adorable, toddler friendly appetizer you’ll ever bring to a gathering.

1. Gifts from the Heart: Homemade Ornaments– Salt dough ornaments are a classic go-to holiday activity.

Looking for even more fun?  Here are my five favorite posts you may have missed this year…

My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

Leftover Bubbly: Strawberry Chiffon Bread with Champagne Glaze

1 Jan Go Running, Mama!-Strawberry Chiffon Bread with Champagne Glaze

It’s the first day of a new year.  Hooray for a new start!  Chances are if you’re an early to bed, no driving on NYE sort of mama like myself, you woke up with a partially used bottle of bubbly on your counter.  I hate waste, especially when it means wasting something like champagne so there is a tinge of guilt associated with those leftovers.

Now, if you’re a Diana Vreeland devotee you’re completely unconcerned about that bottle at the moment because you’ve already committed to washing your blonde child’s hair in dead champagne… you know, as they do in France. (Note to self: ask the French parents about the accuracy of this DV assertion next year when Baby Bird starts international school)  But if you subscribe to Ms. Vreeland’s line of thinking, you also keep a furry elk hide trunk in the back of your car and own twelve diamond roses of varying sizes.  And you possibly believe that every little girl should have geisha training.  So we probably have very little in common and you won’t end up reading my blog.

For those of you who aren’t queueing up your blonde children for a dead champagne hair washing (and haven’t scheduled geisha training for your nine year old), might I recommend a two yummy uses for your leftover bubbles?  I’m head over heels in love with Kate’s  champagne bread recipe over at Food Babbles.  It’s ever so slightly sweet, and makes a simple, beautiful loaf.  I’ve been known to open a bottle of prosecco just to make it… which left me with the same half abandoned bubble bottle dilemma each time and is how Strawberry Chiffon Bread with Boozy Champagne Glaze came to exist.

I realize that strawberries are out of season right now but, because this recipe relies on mashed strawberries, the frozen variety will stand in nicely.  Thanks to the whipped egg whites this bread stays nice and light so long as you keep a light hand when folding them into the batter.  It’s champagne and strawberries in breakfast form!

Cheers, y’all!

Go Running, Mama!-Strawberry Chiffon Bread with Champagne Glaze

Strawberry Chiffon Bread with Boozy Champagne Glaze

Ingredients for bread:

3 eggs, separated + 2 additional egg whites
1 c olive oil (plus additional if needed)
1 ½  c sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 generous cups mashed strawberries, washed & hulled, do not drain
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4  tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for glaze:

½ c butter
¼ c water
1 c granulated sugar
½ c champagne

Directions: Preheat oven to 325.

Combine egg yolks, oil, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix until well blended.  Add strawberries (including liquid).

In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients and gradually add to strawberry mixture.  At this point the batter will be a little thick, but should be smoothly incorporated and not dry.  If batter seems too dry, slowly add more olive oil or mashed strawberry.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until still peaks form.  Carefully fold egg whites into batter until well incorporated but not deflated egg whites.

Pour into two loaf pans fully lined in parchment paper.  Bake 50-55 minutes.

Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan.  Stir in water and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes on med-high, stirring constantly.  Mixture will become bubbly and thick.

Remove from heat and add champagne, whisking until smooth.

Remove warm bread from loaf pan still wrapped in parchment and place on a cooling rack.  Using a toothpick, poke holes in bread being careful not to pierce through the bottom of the parchment.

Slowly pour glaze over loaves, allowing it to seep into the toothpick holes.  Loosen parchment from the sides of the bread in order to coat the sides of the loaves, but do not remove parchment yet.

Let bread soak to absorb glaze for at least 30 minutes before removing the parchment paper.

#FirstontheFirst: Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding

1 Jan Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding- Go Running, Mama!

Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding- Go Running, Mama!

It’s a new year, y’all!  And thanks to our First on the First subject du jour, I’m kicking the year off by baking with an entire twelve months worth of richness- Sticky Toffee Pudding!

First on the First Kitchen Adventure

I can remember the first time I had sticky toffee pudding- I was at at Rose & Crown Pub at Epcot’s British Pavilion trying to hold custody of an amazing  waterfront table long enough to see Illuminations so I was slowly and systematically ordering my way down the appetizer menu when things looked appealing… which left me with limited options as Americanized traditional British pub grub just isn’t my cuppa tea. After exhausting all of my appetizer options, I decided to make friends with the dessert menu just in time for fireworks which is where I happened upon sticky toffee pudding.  By name it doesn’t seem very appealing but my patient yet slightly exasperated waitress recommended it so I decided to give it a go… and it was amazing!  Tender and moist, sweet but not cloying, with a depth of flavor I had never experienced in dessert.  Fireworks! An A+ to my young palate.

In the years since, I’ve tried sticky toffee pudding elsewhere and never really enjoyed it.  It always seems too sweet, excessively dense, and pointlessly rich.  I’ve not had it again at WDW though, so maybe there is a bit a ever present Disney magic in their recipe.  Or maybe it’s the fact that without the accompaniment of spectacular fireworks, sticky toffee pudding is just another dessert worthy of critique.

Either way, when I set out to make sticky toffee pudding my own I knew I wouldn’t be serving it next to fireworks and a spherical video display globe so I would probably notice if I produced a dessert with cloying sweetness- talk about pressure!

A little googling taught me that the cake portion of most sticky toffee pudding is usually made with Guiness.  First problem.  We aren’t Guiness drinkers outside of Ireland.  Just like we aren’t Pilsner Urquell drinkers outside of the Czech Republic.  We like our food at its best and freshest, so we apply the same rule to our beer in this household.  The Hubs seemed convinced that his current favorite beer, Founders Breakfast Stout, would be the ideal ingredient for sticky toffee pudding and I was inclined to agree.  It’s brewed with flaked oats, bitter chocolate, and Sumatra and Kona coffee.

Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding- Go Running, Mama!

Given that it’s my husband’s favorite beer right now I also decided I wanted it to have a decent presence in the toffee sauce, which would also help to temper the sweetness.  The flavor profile of the beer also seemed to be begging for an extra espresso kick in the sauce, and who am I to deny anyone a little extra caffeine?

As a final solution to the richness/sweetness/density overload I find in sticky toffee pudding, I decided to pour the sauce over the cake just as it is served.  But feel free to pour half of the toffee sauce on the cake immediately to let to soak in should you prefer.

Oats… coffee… maybe we should just call this Breakfast Sticky Toffee Pudding.  That works, right?

And yes, in case you are wondering, the toffee sauce is killer in a latte.

You’ve been warned.

Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding- Go Running, Mama!

Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding Ingredients:

  • 6 large dates, pitted
  • 1 cup room temperature breakfast stout carefully poured
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour minus 1 tbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Espresso StoutToffee Sauce Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbs breakfast stout

Directions: Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper covering bottom and sides.

Place the pitted dates in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. (It will fizz up a lot.) Pour the beer mixture over the dates. Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the dates to a food processor using a slotted spoon. Add a little of the beer mixture and process until a paste forms. Continue to process, gradually adding the rest of the beer mixture, until the mixture is very smooth. Scrape the date paste into a bowl and keep it covered until ready to use.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the eggs in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed just until incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half the date mixture and mix just until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining date mixture, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until the batter is uniform in color and no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway and continue to bake for another 12 to 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean when inserted in the center and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. using the parchment, lift cake out of pan onto a cutting board.  Remove crusts and cut into 2×2 square slices to serve. Serve at once, smothered in Espresso Stour Toffee Sauce, or reheat for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven if serving later.

Bring sugar, cream, espresso powder, beer and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow boiling to subside before spooning over cake slices. Store in refrigerator and rewarm gently before using.

#FirstontheFirst: Sticky Toffee Pudding

Check out some other fabulous Sticky Toffee Pudding Options from our other First on the First bakers:

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hand Heart Cookies

15 Dec Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

We’ve got hearts and hands on the brain at our house right now.  Baby Bird and I send lots of time talking about feelings and sharing affirmations, and it seems that hands and hearts are frequently in the rotation.

“I like your gentle hands… thank you for your caring heart… I’m glad I had your helping hands around… I appreciate your kind heart.”

These are good times, my friends.

It also makes it extra special to make our favorite cookie gifts for the helping hands in our lives since Baby Bird is becoming  hyper-aware of how kindness and helping affect her day and the lives of those around her.  Dance teachers, tutors, neighbors, and the nice ladies that give her big hugs at Daddy’s office- kindness deserves to be recognized and affirmed.

When making gifts I like Baby Bird to be as involved as possible in each step, and cookies are a pretty perfect way to engage her because she can contribute to each step.

I pre-measure all of our ingredients and let her add them to the bowl.  With a little help, she’s a great whisker too!  I even let her run the final pass of the rolling pin when rolling out our cookie dough.

And of course, her hand print creates the cookie shape for this gift.  I create a stencil of her hand and then hand cut the cookies from the dough with a knife.

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

I also create a heart outline stencil.  Once I’ve cut the cookies I lay the stencil over each one, paint the interior of the stencil with an egg wash, and let Baby Bird sprinkle the stencil with colored sugar.

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

We let the cookies cool completely on a rack… which is normally when Baby Bird volunteers to “help” taste them.

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

Once they are cool, Baby Bird gets to decorate the cookies with cookie markers all by herself!  She is always so proud of this part because she gets complete creative control.  And she always snaps a few “fingers” along the way, so I’ve learned to make about half a dozen more cookies than we need.

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

The end result is beautiful in a way that only gifts made by a toddler can be- so sweet!

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

Then we bundle up a pair of hands (right and left!) and attach a note thanking our special friends for their helping hands!  It makes a great gift for people who aren’t close enough to us to truly want a toddler made craft to hang on the tree or display in their home- but who would probably do so out of politeness- but who deserve a heartfelt gift for the way they contribute to our lives.

Gifts from the Heart: Helping Hands Heart Cookies- A great edible gift using your little's handprint and artistry at Go Running, Mama!

Helping Hand Sugar Cookies with Sanding Sugar Hearts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some additional for rolling)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk for egg wash
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • colored sanding sugar

Directions:  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in 1 whole egg and vanilla.  With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Divide dough in half and flatten into disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and freeze for about 20 minutes to firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove one disk of dough and let stand 5 minutes.  Roll dough 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  Cut handprints by hand or using a cookie cutter.  Carefully transfer handprints to a parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 8-12minutes.

Combine egg yolk with 1 tbs water to make an egg wash.

Remove from freezer, place heart stencil over each cookie, paint with egg wash, and sprinkle on colored sanding sugar.

Bake for 8-15 minutes depending on handprint size and thickness.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack using a spatula.

Repeat with remaining dough.

#FirstontheFirst- Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

1 Oct #firstonthefirst: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

We’ve reached the first of the month once again- another opportunity to join some fabulously talented food bloggers as we try something new in the kitchen during First on the First.

First on the First Kitchen Adventure

But I’m sort of cheating this month.

This month should have been penuche fudge, but exhaustion from mono + a busy schedule + a toddler DO NOT equal candy-making success so I made the (wise) decision to forego candy making for the time being, especially a candy that is new to me.  Granted, I know my way around a pan of fudge but I’m not familiar with penuche or penuche fudge.

Shhh… here’s a secret (Northerner ladies- cover your ears for a second): All my research into penuche makes it seem pretty similar to pralines.  Pralines, on the other hand, are something that any proper Southern gal- such as myself- has pretty well mastered.   I know plenty of pecan praline purists here in the South, but I’m inclined to believe that a good thing can always get better… like when Martha Stewart dolloped pecan pralines atop brown sugar cookies in Aunt Mary Dillon’s Praline Cookies.  And can I add how much better pralines are when married to a cookie?!

#firstonthefirst: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

When a toddler plans a party, things can get interesting.

This weekend I was committed to making cakes (yep… that’s plural) for Baby Bird’s self-styled “Fall Football Princess” party for her Grandpa so I decided that in true Martha style I’d frost one of the cakes with my own nod to penuche in frosting form.  Grandpa’s birthday necessitated dark chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream so the penuche was married to the pumpkin spice cake.

#firstonthefirst: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

The single pompon Baby Bird wanted… perfectly placed to ruin photos and stifle table conversations.

Oh what a marriage it is!  Moist and spicy meets pralinesque sweetness.

The pictures are a wreck (the cakes were half eaten before I could snag one) and the frosting finishing job is aesthetically half hearted (it’s what happens when you say to your husband “Frost this cake while I hang the Princess banner!”) but it the end what does it all come down to?

#firstonthefirst: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

Taste buds, my friends.  Taste buds.

That’s what really matters.

And my taste buds were oh so happy!

#firstonthefirst: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Penuche Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups organic canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 generous tsp freshly grated peeled ginger root
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Penuche Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • about 4 cups confectioners sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment rounds.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together sugars and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in pumpkin then add vanilla and ginger. Mix in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat on low until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until cakes are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Allow cakes to cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out to cool completely.

To make frosting, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, stirring constantly for two minutes. Stir in milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly as it reaches boiling. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Whisk in confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Frosting will begin to set quickly- fill and frost cake before frosting hardens.

Check out a few more fabulous penuche recipes:

Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

21 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies

It looks like we’re talking cookies this week!

Honestly, it’s probably mean for me to share this recipe as we close out peach season because it really necessitates getting your hands on a good number of lovely, ripe peaches.  There is always a chance that you can… and if you can, you now have a great way to use them!

This recipe is really a tweaked version of Martha Stewart’s Fresh Peach Drop Cookies that I’ve added to my repertoire to utilize the rosemary peach butter I made thanks to a fabulously easy recipe from Kate at Food Babbles. (Not familiar with Food Babbles? Do this now- open new tab, check out Food Babbles, drool, bookmark and pin recipes.  I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re done!)

The name of these cookies is a bit of a misnomer and comes from one of my husband’s coworkers.  At the end of each quarter, I become somewhat of a business team room mom for my hubby and his coworkers to help cheer them through moderately insane hours.  I made these cookies for his team last quarter the day after I sent a chocolate chop cookie cake that his coworker insisted could be considered a breakfast cookie since it arrived in the morning.  These Rosemary Peach Cookies went to work with my husband the following day with the understanding that they were a far more acceptable breakfast option than cookie cake.

You shouldn’t eat cookies for breakfast.

But if you did eat these for breakfast it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Especially since these are easy to make and best enjoyed warm and fresh.

I’m just saying…

Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies


Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

  • 2 c + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c coconut palm sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe peaches- peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/3 c + 1 tbs Rosemary Peach Butter
  • 2 tbs rosemary infused granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ceylon cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together 2 c flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/2 c granulated sugar, coconut palm sugar, and butter on medium-high until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add in egg and vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture in two additions.

Toss peaches with remaining 2 tbs of flour.  Mix peaches and peach butter into the batter until well incorporated.

Drop generous tablespoons of dough  about two inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Combine rosemary sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the tops of cookies with 1/8 tsp of the sugar mixture.

Bake cookies for 6 minutes then rotate baking sheet and bake 5-6 minutes more.  Cool slightly on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.

Makes 36-40 cookies.

Coconut Ginger Wafers

19 Aug

It’s a Monday.  Sometimes Mondays just need a cookie.  And sometimes baking and eating a sugary or chocolatey batch of homemade cookies leaves me feeling slightly (okay… OVERWHELMINGLY) piggish for the rest of the week.

On such Mondays, it’s good to have a cookie in your arsenal that feels less cookie-esque.  An uncookie.

“Where could I find such a cookie?” you might be asking.

Don’t worry dear friends- I’ve got you covered.

Go Running, Mama!- Coconut Ginger Wafer

Enter the Coconut Ginger Wafer (See… I’m not even calling them cookies so clearly there is no way you could overindulge!).  These babies are light, crisp, packed with healthful coconut, and just the right balance of zingy and tropical without being cloying.

Indulge your sweet tooth without sabotaging a new week of goals just waiting for you to put your best foot forward.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Go Running, Mama!- Coconut Ginger Wafer

Coconut Ginger Biscuits

  • I c + 2 tbs shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbs coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • ginger infused granulated sugar
  • water

Directions: Whisk together dry ingredients (excluding granulated sugar) in a mixing bowl.

Stir in water by the tablespoon to make a thick dough.  You will add around 6 tbs.  Thoroughly mix between each addition to allow liquid to distribute evenly and to avoid adding too much water.

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to make dough more manageable to work with.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll dough slightly thinner than 1/4 inch thickness between two pieces of parchment paper.  Remove top layer of parchment and cut dough into rounds using a two inch diameter circular cookie cutter.  Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake cookies 9-10 minutes until just beginning to brown on the edges.

Collect leftover dough, return to refrigerator to chill while cookies bake, then repeat from the rolling step until remaining dough has been used.

Transfer immediately to a cooling rack to cook completely before serving.

Best- and most crisp- if consumed the day they are baked.  Must be stored in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

14 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

This week is choreography camp at the dance studio which means every studio room is jam packed with company dancers from 9 am until 4 pm.  The energy is awesome and Baby Bird was beside herself with excitement when she got to step in and watch the big girls do their dances.  But bless our creative directors’ hearts… they are working like mad women!

Yesterday when we came home from Baby Bird’s combo class, she mentioned that she wanted to make a treat for her favorite instructor, whom she had seen running room from room that morning working on numbers for multiple company categories, to “help her feel better” (I can’t say enough about how much I love that little one’s kindness of spirit) so I suggested we make some Calm Down Cookies!

These little shortbread buttons are delicately scented both from the chamomile and orange blossom water and are the perfect conclusion to a hectic day.  We brought a batch up to the studio last night and I’m hoping Baby Bird’s favorite teacher found a moment to unwind with a cup of hot tea and a cookie or two… or twelve- dancers burn serious calories!

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Calm Down Cookies- Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

For Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 high quality chamomile teabags
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water

For Glaze:

  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbs local honey
  • 2 tbs almond milk plus more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp orange blossom water
  • pinch of fine salt

Directions: Empty four tea bags into food processor or burr grinder.  Grind contents until they are very fine.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt.  Using a fine sieve, sift ground tea leaves into bowl and whisk contents together.  Set aside.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, and orange blossom water in a mixing bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed and add flour mixture in two additions until just combined.

Empty remaining tea bag into food processor of burr grinder.  Grind contents until they are very fine.  In a small bowl, whisk ground tea leaves and granulated sugar together.

Divide dough in half, placing each half on a sheet of parchment paper.  Roll each half into a log about2 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle half of the granulated sugar mixture over each log and roll again to coat the exterior of each log with the granulated sugar.

Wrap each log in parchment paper and freeze for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove a log from the freezer and slice cookies 1/2 inch thick.  Place on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper about one inch apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until just beginning to brown on the edges.  Remove to cooling rack positioned over parchment immediately.

While cookies are baking, whisk almond milk, honey, and orange blossom water in a shallow mixing bowl to make glaze.  Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar in three additions and mix until smooth.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

While cookies are still warm, dunk the tops in glaze and return them to the cooling rack to set.  If  glaze thickens, thin with more almond milk and whisk until smooth.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze