Crunchies Update

Hi Crunchie lovers,   I’ve been getting tons of comments and requests for my Crunchies recipe (traditional South African Oatmeal Cookies)—some nice and some well, umm, not so nice.   The reason I had to pull the recipe was that I had an opportunity for manufacturing my Crunchies and therefore had to remove the recipe from my site. (I’m sure you can understand!)   However, since it has caused such upheaval (I guess there really isn’t another great Crunchies recipe out there…?!) I’ve decided to not only repost my recipe—the traditional recipe and a healthier version—but also to make a YouTube clip of it in my brand new kitchen (COMING SOON – yippee!!!!).   I’m planning the re-launch of my website with all this—hopefully within the next few months. (Fingers crossed for a smooth remodel 🤞)   Stay tuned! (And stay happy 😉)   xoxo  ...

Read More
Old Tradition Meets New: Ginger Cutout Cookies
Oct28

Old Tradition Meets New: Ginger Cutout Cookies

I didn’t grown up with Halloween, so even after living in the US for 21 years (how did that happen?!), it doesn’t have the same meaning for me as the die-hards around me. (I’m sure if I had grown up collecting pails of candy with my friends, and dressing up in lavish costumes, it would be my fayyyvorite holiday!)  But I did grow up with a tradition of ginger cookies. My love for ginger “biscuits”—as we called them in South Africa—began with these very gingersnaps that my step-mom, Pam, used to make. They’re characteristically crunchy, but if you prefer a chewy cookie, just bake for less time. I like them perfectly crispy around the edges with just a little chew in the middle. Yum! If you’re not gonna frost them, painting them with egg gives them a glossy sheen, but if you forget this step (like I did) they will still be delish!   My favorite taster said they’re just right! (She’s munching on a ghost cookie—in case you’re wondering.)   I found the cute jack-o-lantern cookie stamp set at Sur La Table. Would you believe I FORGOT to use them and just managed to scrape three together with the last offcuts of dough!     And even after being rolled and re-rolled they were still pretty yummy! Though I did leave these in the oven for about 30 seconds too long so they’re crrrrrispy! Make sure to keep an eye on them because every minute counts!   In my recent trip to South Africa, I poured over Pam’s recipe book, taking snaps of all my childhood favs. (I sure wish I would’ve been more interested when I lived there.) How cool is this? The original recipe from her mom, Nan, who was a fabulous baker.   You know I just couldn’t stop there though, right? I modified the recipe (after my usual hours of research and testing) which called for creaming the eggs and sugar. (Yes, you read that correctly) There are so few recipes that require this step, that I decided to go with the simpler method of whisking and stirring—from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book (fabulous book) . I mean, why bring out the mixer unless absolutely necessary, right? And this way my daughter can be involved in the mixing too—not just the cutting and frosting. You might be wondering why they call for such a large amount of baking soda (2 teaspoons). This is so that they rise dramatically and then collapse, leaving the cute crackles on the surface. It also allows for better browning and the cracks in the dough allow more moisture to escape, making them crispier. Refrigerating the dough deepens...

Read More
Olaf Cupcakes
Apr03

Olaf Cupcakes

My four-year-old is obsessed with the movie Frozen, so I thought it would be a fun project to make Olaf the Snowman cupcakes with her. And I was right!   I was surprised at how easily she bit his cute little head right off. (cold!)   Making fun cupcakes has been on my to-do list forever, because ever since my husband, Sam, put the Hello, Cupcake! app on my iPad, Aja has been completely enamored with it.   Highly Recommend this iPad app!   I then bought the book for her (when she was about three), and she would stare at the pages for hours on end. Hello, Cupcake: $9.20 on Amazon >>   I learned some great tips from her (my little one!) as she watched, learned, and quoted from this fantastic book and app! She had been nagging me to make something from the book, so I thought I’d combine her love for the movie and the book in this project. There wasn’t an Olaf Cupcake in the book, but I got some great tips, ideas, and inspiration from it. Don’t feel like you have to go to ten different stores and spend a fortune on special gels and gadgets—you can easily pull these together with some cupcakes, frosting, and a few candies. I just gave you details for the way we made them.   Aja insisted that we NOT use licorice (I’m guessing most four-year-olds find it as offensive as she does…?), so I fortunately—or unfortunately—discovered my new favorite candy whilst looking for a substitute. Licorice (my fav) and chocolate?! You’ve got to be kidding me! (I won’t tell you how many I ate while making these cupcakes.)   I’d love to see your versions of Olaf—PLEEZ send me pics! Especially the ones of your little ones making them. 🙂   Tips From Hello, Cupcake For fantastic cake mix cupcakes: Use buttermilk in place of the water, and add an extra egg (I used Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix) Use a freezer Ziploc bag for piping the batter into the muffin cups   What You Will Need for SIX Olaf the Snowman Cupcakes 6 colored cupcake liners or mini doilies to set him on (Michael’s/Party City) 12 vanilla cupcakes (completely cooled) 12 mini vanilla cupcakes, papers removed (completely cooled) 1 – 2 x 16 oz cans vanilla frosting (recommended: Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Classic White) 12 mini marshmallows for the feet Chocolate Twizzlers for the hair and arms (or licorice or pretzels) mini eyeballs for the eyes (or mini brown M&Ms) (Michael’s/Party City) mini chocolate chips for the buttons (or brown M&Ms) Sunkist Orange Slices or Fruit...

Read More
Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies
Sep15

Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

This is the ultimate, chewy sugar cookie—and you don’t even need a mixer! The browned butter and brown sugar gives them a rich, toffee taste, and a delightful chew that kids and grown ups alike will LOVE. And they’re super easy and fun to make. What you will need. Weighing ingredients is more accurate and makes for easy cleanup. Melting the butter makes for a chewier cookie than the usual creaming method. The only tricky part is getting the brown butter just right. I bust out my fancy All-Clad saucier pan, but you can use a 10-inch skillet. Don’t use non-stick because the dark finish makes it hard to judge the color of the butter. Swirl the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. There’s a fine line between brown enough and burned, so don’t take your eye off it for a second!   Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Carefully add remaining butter so it doesn’t splatter and stir until completely melted.   Mix brown sugar and salt into cooled butter with a wooden spoon, squishing any remaining sugar lumps with the back of your spoon. Add egg and yolk and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.   Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Use a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons dough) and roll into balls. Place on prepared sheets, spaced 2 inches apart Kids will love to roll them in the sugars! Bake 12 – 14 minutes until browned and edges have begun to set, but centers are still soft. They will look underdone, but will develop out of the oven; if you leave them in too long they will get crisp and hard. After 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool completely Cool Tools Salter Aquatronic Glass Electronic Kitchen Scale Oxo Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop Parchment Paper Sheets Brown Sugar Cookies 2013-09-15 17:34:07 Yields 28 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for one cookie Write a review Save Recipe Print 154 calories 24 g 22 g 6 g 1 g 4 g 36 g 73 g 17 g 0 g 2 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 36g Yields 28 Amount Per Serving Calories 154 Calories from Fat 53 % Daily Value * Total Fat 6g 9% Saturated Fat 4g 19% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 22mg 7% Sodium 73mg 3% Total Carbohydrates 24g 8% Dietary Fiber 0g 1% Sugars 17g Protein 1g Vitamin A4%Vitamin C0% Calcium2%Iron1% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on...

Read More
Low Fat Cinnamon Apple Cake
Jun14

Low Fat Cinnamon Apple Cake

You don’t have to be a baker to make this cake! It’s super-easy and absolutely delicious. Only 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus values per slice.   Your family will be chomping at the bit to try it, after inhaling the wonderful aroma while it bakes. The cream cheese in the batter—even though fat free—gives the cake its moist, luscious texture, and cuts the calories and fat. Delicious for dessert, as a coffee cake, or even for breakfast. I love that you can make it the day before and it will still be moist and delicious. I went with Trader Joe’s 0% Frozen Vanilla Greek Fat Free Yogurt. Slightly tart, but deliciously smooth and creamy. (If you’re a Pinkberry fan, you’ll love it.) If you’re going to all that trouble to bake a low-calorie cake, it seems a little silly to add full fat ice cream to the plate! Don’t you think? Only 100 calories and zero grams of fat for a 1/2 cup serving. Compare to 160 calories and 16 grams of fat in TJ’s Super Premium French Vanilla Ice Cream. Springform Pan If you don’t have an 8-inch springform pan, you can use an 8 1/2 or 9-inch springform, but reduce the baking time to 50 – 60 minutes. It’s really worth it to invest in good baking equipment because you will see a huge difference in your baked goods. Apples Always buy an extra apple or two just in case! The original recipe calls for Rome apples, but I’m partial to Fuji for their flavor and texture. From reading reviews online, it seems as if almost any apples will work. Click here for an easier way to peel and core apples >> Cream Cheese Fat free  or low fat cream cheese work just as well, but make sure to use the one in a block, not in a tub. I usually use Fat Free Philadelphia, but this time I used Trader Joe’s Low Fat Cream Cheese and it was delish. Half the fat of regular cream cheese What is Softened Butter (and Cream Cheese)? Softened butter (65 – 67 degrees) should easily bend without breaking, and should give slightly when pressed. Let refrigerated butter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. For faster softening, cut it into slices. It shouldn’t be melting at all, or it won’t retain the air incorporated during creaming. Tips for Success Don’t overmix the batter; when you see the last traces of flour disappearing it’s time to stop mixing!   Gently stir in the cinnamon-apple mixture with a silicone spatula. Mix in the apples just until incorporated evenly. Mmm… yummy batter! Smooth...

Read More
Page 1 of 3123