Sunday, March 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

peanut butter oatmeal cookies from @bakeat350
You know what time it's Oatmeal Cookie time! This month (just under the wire!), my dad's oatmeal cookie of the month is a Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie.

peanut butter oatmeal cookies from @bakeat350
These cookies are lighter than you might think, even though they're pretty large in size. Quick-1 Minute Oats make these less craggy and more evenly textured than oatmeal cookies made with regular rolled oats. A little chewy, slightly crispy on the edges...these are perfect with a glass of milk...or sandwiched around some ice cream.

I hesitate to tell you how many cookies this recipe makes because then my dad will know how many we ate before shipping them. ;)'ll get about 3 dozen cookies from one batch. (If you aren't tempted by cookie dough like I am, maybe more.)
peanut butter oatmeal cookies from @bakeat350

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

{makes approximately 36 cookies}

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used Simply Jif)
2 cups quick-cook oats
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Mix in the peanut butter until well incorporated.

Stir in the oats and flours, making sure to distribute throughout the dough.

peanut butter oatmeal cookies from @bakeat350
Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to dollop onto the prepared sheets. Bake for 17 minutes, or until done. Remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

peanut butter oatmeal cookies from @bakeat350

Here are the other oatmeal cookies so far in Dad's year of oatmeal cookies:

Peanut butter & oatmeal...why didn't I think of this earlier?  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sweet on Trader Joe's: Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

This week, our "sweet" is breakfast...Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

trader joe's greek yogurt lemon poppy seed muffins review
The kiddo and I are big fans of lemon-poppy seed anything, and who can resist a muffin for breakfast? Certainly not this girl.

These are sold in a package of 4 for $3.99. Our Trader Joe's has them over by the breads, rather than by the baked goods.

trader joe's greek yogurt lemon poppy seed muffins review
A mom's (my) take: At first glance, what I love about these muffins is that they look homemade. They're not perfectly the same size, and the muffin tops vary in color from deep golden to pale yellow. I've been to many a buffet breakfast where muffins were purchase at a warehouse store, and they look like they were made by a robot (and they taste that way). In contrast, you could totally take these muffins out of the package and pass them off as homemade...not that we would ever do something like that. Taste-wise? Spot on. The muffins are nice and lemony with just the right amount of crunch from the poppy seeds. They're substantial, but not dense, and moist without falling apart. Paired with some of TJ's fresh cut fruit, these make a super easy breakfast for busy mornings!
Overall rating: 5 of 5 stars

A teenager's (kiddo's) take: I absolutely love the texture of the dough: it's moist, but not overly so. The taste makes it very obvious very quickly that they are lemon flavored, but it doesn't leave a weird aftertaste, and, as a bonus, the poppy seeds from these muffins never seem to get stuck in my teeth! Maybe that's just me. :)
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

trader joe's greek yogurt lemon poppy seed muffins review

Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins: A+ breakfast! 

Read all of our Trader Joe's sweet treats and dessert reviews!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Real Sweet: Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies

Oh, Sugar! You guys are going to love this recipe...and this book!

You might know Shauna Sever from her blog, or maybe from her first two books: Marshmallow Madness and Pure Vanilla.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies from the book Real Sweet ... treats made with natural sugars!
Get ready to fall in love all over again with her latest book Real Sweet: More than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars. It's a keeper.

First, the book is written in Shauna's signature style...she's funny, down-to-earth, and relate-able. I really enjoy just reading every bit of her cookbooks, not just the recipes. Second, Shauna KNOWS HER STUFF. I have no doubt that every recipe in this book is a winner.

Real Sweet cookbook ... treats made with natural sugars!
Real Sweet demystifies working with natural sugar. Whether it's coconut sugar, turbinado, honey, or muscocado sugar, the book walks you through exactly what you're dealing with and the best recipes for each type of sugar.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies from the book Real Sweet ... treats made with natural sugars!
For my first recipe from the book, I chose the Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies. Oh. My. Gosh. These guys are so good. Between the muscovado sugar, the brown butter, the toasted nuts, and the caramel icing...there is SO much flavor packed into these little squares. You hear the term "depth of flavor" on cooking shows a lot. Well, this has it.

iced muscovado caramel nut blondies sugar photo iced muscovado caramel nut blondies 2 of 14.jpg
The recipe actually calls for dark muscovado sugar, but I happened to have light on hand and used that. I can only imagine that the dark would add just another layer of flavor. I can't wait to make them again.

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Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies
{with permission from Real Sweet, makes 16 squares}

for the bars:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned* and slightly cooled
3/4 cup firmly packed dark muscovado sugar (I used light)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

for the icing:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark muscovado sugar (I used light)
3 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 TBSP milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic confectioner's sugar

*To brown butter: Place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, it will bubble and sizzle. Keep swirling the pan occasionally, and listen and watch carefully–when the foam begins to subside and the sizzling suddenly, the butter will quickly turn brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes total. Pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350. Lightly grease an 8x8" pan and line with a strip of parchment, long enough to leave an overhang on 2 opposite sides of the pan.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, energetically whisk together the butter and sugar until the butter has begun to absorb the sugar and dissolve, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Switch to a spatula and fold in the flour mixture until well blended. Fold in the pecans. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies from the book Real Sweet ... treats made with natural sugars!
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Don't overbake, or they'll dry out. Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

Make the icing: Combine the sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Melt together over medium heat, stirring often with a heatproof spatula. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the milk. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Dump in the confectioner's sugar and stir the icing energetically for about 3 minutes, or until the icing is thickened and smooth, is beginning to lose some gloss, and is a touch lighter in color - more of a thin icing than a pourable glaze.

Top the blondies with the icing and spread it evenly with a spatula. Let the icing set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before cutting and serving the blondies. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies from the book Real Sweet ... treats made with natural sugars!
Real Sweet by Shauna Sever: a must-have for your cookbook library!

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