Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

For Christmas this year my sister gave us some wonderful homemade things.  It really was great.  I had been hankering to make some of my own vanilla extract but I hadn't gotten around to it. When I opened the gift from her I was so happy to see she had made me some.  I recently used it in the Old Sturbridge Village chocolate chip cookies and my husband, Derek, said they were the best he'd tasted.

Another thing she had in the bag of surprises was some gingerbread flavored coffee syrup.  I tried it and at once was hooked.  I ran out of it the other day and decided to try and make my own.  My version didn't come out exactly like hers but it is quite good.  My sister told me, though, that the recipe for the one she made is on her Pinterest account. I will definitely have to check it out and make that one when this jarful is gone.

 Here's the recipe I used:

Gingerbread Coffee Syrup


1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat.  Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Continue to stir.  Cook until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.

The original recipe can be found here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brown Sugar Granola

When I was a child, my mom used to make delicious granola.  I remember it having honey and oats, but beyond that my memory is blank.  She used to put in other add-ins, of course, but I when I wanted to make it, I just couldn't remember how.  My mom swears it's in the cookbook she put together for me, but I could not find it anywhere.

So, what is a girl to do when she wants granola? Go to the store and buy it?  No way!   I searched the Internet for different recipes, and for years I couldn't find one that I loved.  All the ones using honey somehow fell short in the taste category.

Then, one day when I was just browsing, I fell upon this recipe for Raw Brown Sugar Granola.  I made it not too long after and it was wonderful.   My husband who is not typically a fan of granola, loves it.  When making it for the family, I skip all the add-ins and just do the oats.  I like it with pumpkin seeds and raisins, personally, but I can just add those to my serving.

For the raw brown sugar I've used sucanat, sugar in the raw, or plain old brown sugar.  They each work equally as well.  One thing I would note is that you should not use quick oats.  I have done this and the granola doesn't come out as good.  Also, make sure you don't over cook it.

Raw Brown Sugar Granola


1/2 cup butter (original recipe called for margarine)
1 cup raw brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Himalayan or sea salt)
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup nuts or seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large 4 quart saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and water together.  Stir it well and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, oats, and cinnamon to the big pot.  Remove pot from stove and stir.  Make sure to coat mixture evenly.

Put granola onto a cookie sheet (9 X 13 with sides) and spread evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes.  It should be golden brown, but be sure not to over bake.  Add dried fruit, nuts or seeds if desired.  When it is cooled, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.    Serve as you would serve cereal with milk, or use as a yogurt topping.  Can also be enjoyed straight from the container.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Barbie Cake

My daughter wanted to have a Barbie theme for her birthday party this year.  Granted, we were having it at the local bowling alley, but a girl's gotta have decorations, right?  Well, we went to Walmart and got the necessary paper goods and picked up a couple boxes of cake mix.  I wasn't going to go all out this year with the cake. I was going to keep it simple and just frost it with colors that coordinated with the plates and napkins. 

Well, after talking to a friend of mine, Janna, I was convinced it would be easy to do a simple Barbie-themed cake.  She looked up a picture of the Barbie logo online and I took a peek.  From looking at it, I guessed it wouldn't be too difficult.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Auntie Annie's Copycat Pretzels

I love Amish soft pretzels.  They are chief among comfort foods.  My mom has an Amish farmer's market close to her house in Maryland, where the Pennsylvania Dutch come and sell things from meat to pickles to my favorite, pretzels.  Every time I visit her I try and make time to visit the market.  Last time I brought a few of the pretzels home so I could savor their delicious flavor. They were gone all too soon, however.

Enter my search to find the recipe for those very same Amish pretzels.  I decided I would scour the Internet to hopefully find them.  I ran across many recipes but landed on one that looked particularly good.  The reviews were good so I decided to print it out.  Unfortunately I didn't save the link, as I just copied the recipe into a word document and printed it off. These pretzels, although not exactly as delicious as the authentic Amish ones, are still very, very good.

Also, I changed one small thing from the original, and I will note this in the recipe.

Auntie Annie's Copycat Pretzels

Dough Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups water (approximately 105 degrees F)
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups minus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour*
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten