Saturday, March 29, 2008

Blonde Magic

Magic Cookie Bars that is!
I LOVE the famous Magic Cookie bars, also known as 7 layer bars. The first time I had one of these chocolate/butterscotch/coconut goodies was at a church bakesale when I was a little girl. Ah the memories.

As a child I loved the taste, as an adult I also love that these bars are so quick to prepare and the possibilities are endless for the goodies to layer on. I had a bunch of slivered almonds to use up so I created a chocolate-free Magic Cookie bar, as I have named the Blonde Magic Cookie Bar. Ok, it's not chocolate-free as it does use white chocolate, but it is still Blonde! ha ha

I based my recipe off of the one from the Eagle brand website but altered it greatly. These bars turned out great! The toasting of the nuts and coconut before baking really intensify the flavors and the white chocolate melts to creamy goodness with its mild taste pairing beautifully with the almonds, coconut and almond flavored Sweet and Condesed Milk. All of this goodness lies atop a tender and buttery graham cracker crust. This recipe is a definate keeper in this house!

Blonde Magic Cookie Bars
adapted from Eagle Brand
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used 4 whole graham crackers and 1 half)
7 ounces (1/2 can) Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup coarsley chopped white baking chocolate (NOT white chocolate chips, they melt differently)
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (toasted)
1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil. Lightly spray with PAM.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Evenly spread coconut on half of baking sheet and the slivered almonds on the other half.
Toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes stirring every 3 minutes for even browning and to prevent burning.

In 8x8 baking pan, melt butter in oven (can be done while coconut and almonds are toasting). Once melted remove from oven. Sprinkle crumbs over melted butter and gently pat to cover bottom of pan.
Combine the 7oz. of Sweetened Condensed Milk and Almond extract, stir to combine.

Once the coconut and nuts are finished toasting remove from oven. Evenly sprinkle almonds over prepared crust, next sprinkled the chopped white chocolate over the almonds.
Evenly sprinkle the toasted coconut over the nuts and chocolate. Gently pour the Sweetened Condensed milk/almond extract mixture evenly over coconut layer.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Want one?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

These will Vanish Quickly

Oh how I do love this recipe. I recently blogged about my love for the Quaker Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Recipe. It truly is one of the best oatmeal cookie recipes out there in my opinion. The last time I made the recipe I used raisins that had soaked in some vanilla and warm water (to plump up) and they were great (this coming from someone who doesn't really care for raisins!).

Today I decided to whip up another batch of cookies using the Quaker recipe. This time I omitted the cinnamon, subbed Almond Extract for the vanillla extract and added some coconut. The results are Fabulous! The coconut makes these cookies a little sturdier and heartier. They have a lightly crisp exterior and edged but the interior is moist and bursting with flavor. The almond/coconut flavors play off of each brilliantly. Next time I might throw in some Milk Chocolate chips or chopped pecans/almonds not that these cookies need anything more, I just like to experiment. I suggest you make these sooner rather than later!

Vanishing Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
adapted from Quaker
2 sticks margarine or butter, softened (I used butter)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) (I used)
2 1/2 cups Quaker® Oats (I used Quick Cooking)

1/2 -1 cup Coconut (more or less to taste and texture: You don't want the dough too dry to stick together to form balls)

Heat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and almond extract; beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add oats and 1/2 cup coconut; mix well. Add more coconut up to 1 full cup until desired consistency (and taste is achieved).

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TCHO chocolate

I just got mine through Blake. I can't wait to blog about it later this week!! Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Vanishing Act

I baked something I seldom do, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. As much as I bake oatmeal cookies, I usually add pretty much anything BUT raisins (walnuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, white chocolate, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, M&M's............. not all at once!).

Well, today I was feeling rebelious and thought I would throw caution to the wind and add Raisins to my Oatmeal Cookies! I used a Tried and True recipe from the lid of the Quaker Oatmeal Box!

This recipe produces everything an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie should be, in my opinion, soft, chewy, wholesome (yet not "healthy" tasting) with a hint of cinnamon. The raisins were a welcomed addition to this much loved and altered Oatmeal Cookie Recipe!

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2 sticks margarine or butter, softened (I used butter)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) (I used)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked) (I used Quick Cooking)
1 cup raisins (I soaked in warm water and vanilla for 10 minutes and drained before using)
Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

I haven't baked forever (stupid work, keeping me busy) and couldn't wait to whip up some goodies this morning. I had half a block of cream cheese that needed to be used up and decided to experiment a bit and add a Cheesecake Swirl to a slight variation of my Basic Blondie recipe.

The results were great, even though the colors of the cheesecake swirl and the blondies blend together so it is hard to distinguish between the two visually. The cinnamon in the Cheesecake swirl was not overpowering and complimented the cinnamon chips and the hint of cinnamon I added to the blondie recipe nicely.

These were really good warm with a scoop of cinnamon icecream and warm carmel sauce drizzled over the top. MMM.

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies
6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Hershey's Brand Cinnamon Chips (optional, white chocolate chips or walnuts would be good as well)

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8x8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder and cinnamon.
Mix in Cinnamon Chips and/or nuts or other chips (if using)

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup cinnamon cream cheese mixture over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 27 minutes)Cool on rack before cutting.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You made my Day!

I would like to extend a huge "Thank You" to Chelley at Sugar and Spice for making my day! to I love Chelley's blog and visit it often for tride and true savory and sweet recipes. I admire her for the way she is constantly challenging herself with new recipes and techniques while participating in many "recipe challenges" such as the Daring Bakers and Tuesdays with Dorie.

Thanks again Chelley for making my Day!

Now, I am to pass along the good will to 10 other people that make my day… Deborah, Katie, Janey, Ally, Ashley, Erin, Jaime, Nikki, Julia, and Emily.

Please pass this along to 10 people that make your day!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cinnamon Coins

These bite sized cookies are perfect for snacking and fit perfectly in a lunch box for a quick afternoon snack. The great thing about these cookies is that you can make the dough days before baking and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Unlike many of my cookies that are soft, these are cookies that you slice from a preformed chilled dough log that has been rolled in Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw). The sweet, coarse texture of the Turbinado sugar is a nice contrast to the slightly spicy cinnamon flavoring and chips in the cookie. While the original recipe did not call for pecans, I find they add a welcomed flavor addition.

I crushed the left over cookies and used as ice cream topping and added to crushed graham crackers to make a pie crust for a cheesecake. So yummy!

Cinnamon Coins
from Cuisine at Home Holiday Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup coarsley chopped Cinnamon Chips (I used Hershey's brand)**
1/4 cup finely crushed pecans (my addition)
Turbinado Sugar (to roll dough logs)

**Make sure the Cinnamon chips are chopped or you will not be able to slice the chilled dough log into uniform slices. You can leave the cinnamon chips out if desired, just up the amount of cinnamon in the recipe a bit (to taste)

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Beat until combined. Gently fold in the flour, cinnamon chips and pecan pieces until combined. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Generously sprinkle a smooth countertop with Turbinado sugar.

Roll each dough half in the sugar into a 20 inch long dough rope. Add more sugar as needed to coat and prevent the dough log from sticking. Wrap dough ropes in Seran wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or until firm. The longer chilled the easier to slice.

When ready to bake: Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper. Slice dough ropes into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each slice of dough.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes and transfer to rack to cool completely. Store in air-tight container.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Wow! What an honor to have your blog be declared "Excellent" by a fellow blogger. A big thanks to Annie for the giving me this award. I love her blog as it has many tried and true favorites that have always been a success whenever I have made them. My blog is mostly sweets and baked goods. I love to cook but baking has captured my heart and I love to blog about my trials and errors. Being recognized for my fun hobby is a true honor that I am happy to pass along to the following bloggers whom I admire and feel are "Excellent"

1. Culinary Infatuation - Ally's blog serves as my "go-to" blog when I want a sure fire hit that I know my friends and family will love. Her creativity with common ingredients is always welcome and have yet to fail me.

2. Good Eats and Sweet Treats- Just as the title of her blog claims, it is full of wonderful recipes. I love love love Jaime's blog. Often times when I have a recipe in mind, she has just blogged about something very simlar. I guess great minds think alike! Her blog is full of wonderful sweets and great savory recipes that will please even the pickiest eaters.

3. Mary Ellen- I can't say enough about this blog. her recipes are winners and she offers new ways to cook and serve everything from chicken to rice. I love that she is always experimenting with recipes and offers suggestions as to how to improve upon one of her recipes ourselves. Her soups are to die for and are great when you are looking for something a little more 'special' than the same old recipe.

4. Sweet Savory Southern - Last but not least is Renea's blog. her blog is a no-nonsense approach to cooking that focuses on flavor and good old home-cooking. I love checking out her blog when I am in the mood for a good old piece of cake or chicken (she has over 25 recipes for chicken alone). This is one blog that offers recipes that make you feel at home!