Category Archives: Cookbooks

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn

Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn @ NancyC

SallysCandyAddicitonWhen I think of autumn flavors, cinnamon is one of the first to come to mind for me. I use cinnamon in quick breads, muffins, cakes, all kinds of treats…and I guess that’s why this Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn stood out to me. I found it in my review copy of Sally’s Candy Addiction: Tasty Truffles, Fudges & Treats for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix. Written by Sally McKenney, the blogger behind Sally’s Baking Addiction, this book has over 75 recipes for wonderful homemade sweets and colorful photos of them that show how irresistible they are.

Just to give you an idea of what you’ll find in this cookbook, here are some recipes that were calling out to me:

  • Southern-Style Pecan Pralines
  • Chocolate-Dipped Cocoa Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark
  • Mint Truffles
  • Chocolate Sea-Salt Caramels
  • Salted English Toffee
  • Overloaded Cinnamon Spice Brittle
  • Pretzel M&M’s Puppy Chow
  • Birthday Cake Fudge
  • Crazy Candy Deep-Dish Cookie Cake

So you get the idea…so many yummy things to try!

And as I mentioned, because cinnamon has been on my mind with the arrival of fall, I had to try the Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn. Inspired by a caramel sticky bun drizzled with vanilla glaze, this caramel corn has a yummy, slightly cinnamony caramel coating and it’s drizzled with melted white chocolate–a combination that’s hard to resist! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it…

CINNAMON BUN CARAMEL CORN from Sally’s Candy Addiction

Makes 7 cups

  • 7 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 1 cup of white chocolate chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 200˚F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Spread the popcorn evenly onto the baking sheets. Set aside.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until butter has melted. Next, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. allow to boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. The caramel will immediately foam and bubble. Give it a quick stir, then stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss gently until all of the kernels are coated.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the pans, then break apart large clusters if desired. Melt the white chocolate,* being careful not to overheat it. Once melted, immediately drizzle over the caramel corn and allow to cool.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

*To melt chocolate in the microwave: Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and place the bowl in the microwave. Heat on 50 percent power in 15- to 20-second increments, stirring the chocolate between each increment (It took about 90 seconds for me to melt my 1 cup of vanilla chips). Also, Sally advises: When microwaving, you don’t need to completely melt the chocolate before removing it from the microwave, because the warmed chocolate will continue to melt as you stir it. Always stop early to be safe.

You do have to work fast once the caramel is finished cooking–pour it over the popped corn right after you mix in the baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla; if you don’t work fast, the caramel will start thickening as it cools and won’t be as pourable–and your caramel corn won’t be coated quite so evenly.

Caramel Corn is one of my favorite sweets and I really liked how this recipe tasted. Are you a fan of caramel corn too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Simply Sundays, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Inspiration Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Share Your Style, Feathered Nest Friday, Fabulous Foodie Fridays.

Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars

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DessertMashUpsHave you ever heard of a “Dessert Mash-Up”? If you haven’t, it’s simply a yummy creation of two different desserts combined into one! It’s also the name of a new cookbook that has recipes like Blueberry Muffin Waffles, Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast, Chocolate Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies, Snickers Cake Roll, Almond Joy Dip, and lots more. There’s also great color photos of the recipes that will make you want to start baking right away! Written by Dorothy Kern, author of the blog Crazy for Crust, the book has recipe sections for…

  • Breakfast
  • Candy
  • Cookies, Brownies, and Bars
  • Pie;
  • Cake and Cheesecake
  • Sweet Dips
  • Holiday Recipes.

There are so many yummy recipes I found in my review copy of Dessert Mash-Ups, it was hard to decide what to make! Since it’s autumn, I thought the Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars would be the perfect thing to try. I am a big fan of Magic Bars but never would have thought of adding a pumpkin pie flavor to them–what a great idea! The recipe in the book makes a 9 x 9″ pan of bars–I decided to double the recipe and make a 9 x 13″ pan instead. I had a feeling I would like these so much, I’d want a bigger batch! 🙂 The pumpkin flavor in these bars is pretty subtle–they have more of a gingery, caramel flavor combined with the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate chips in the middle. All-in-all, these are very rich and super yummy–just the thing for satisfying your autumn sweet tooth! 🙂

PUMPKIN PIE MAGIC BARS from Dessert Mash-Ups

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan (I doubled the original recipe; halve these amounts for a 9 x 9″ pan)

  • 48 to 50 gingersnap cookies
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 Tablespoons (or 1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups (one 12-ounce package) white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk (or you can use a 14-ounce can, which is a little more than 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray or line with foil and spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup.

Grind the gingersnaps to a fine crumb in a food processor; you should have about 3 cups of crumbs. Place cookie crumbs in a medium bowl and mix with the sugar and melted butter. Press into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the white chocolate chips, pecans, coconut, and toffee bits over the top of the crust.

Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl or measuring cup and pour over the top of the bars. The mixture will just barely cover; use a spatula to carefully spread it to the edges.

Bake for 29 to 35 minutes, until the edges have started to brown. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tip: Different brands of sweetened condensed milk come in different thicknesses. If it’s too thick to be pourable, you can transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high for 10 to 20 seconds until it becomes a little thinner.

These bars are definitely a treat–the sweetened condensed milk and the toffee bits combine to make a yummy caramel-like topping that really tastes great with the gingery crust! I think I’m going to have to try more of these dessert mash-up ideas–have you made any yourself?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Easy Pantry Minestrone from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now-and a Giveaway!

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51NVSI2WbxLLike so many people I know, I’m trying to eat a little healthier during this new year. So when I heard about the new cookbook, Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, I was definitely interested in reviewing it! Not only did I receive a review copy, the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, is also providing a giveaway copy! I’ll tell you a little about the book and share a recipe from it with you, and then be sure to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment–see the end of this post for details on how to win!

This cookbook has more than 300 new recipes and lots of color photos. There’s a wonderful variety of great-sounding recipes to choose from–meals and desserts that your whole family can enjoy. And they look easy to prepare, too. All recipes include nutritional information and the Weight Watcher PointsPlus® values so those of you in Weight Watchers can easily keep track of your points. Even if you’re not in Weight Watches, though, I’m sure these recipes would appeal to any of you who are wanting to eat lighter and healthier.

The book starts out with tips and helpful information on good nutrition, the well-stocked pantry, must-have kitchen tools, food safety, and choosing and preparing fresh fruits and veggies. Then you’ll find recipes organized in the following chapters: Breakfasts and Brunches; Lunches; Appetizers and Snacks; Main Dishes–Beef, Pork, and Lamb; Main Dishes–Poultry; Main Dishes–Seafood; Main Dishes-Vegetarian; 20-Minute Main Dishes; Side Dishes; and Sweets. So there’s lots to choose from! Here are some recipes I’d like to try…

  • Coconut-Almond French Toast with Tropical Fruit
  • Asian Burgers with Honey-Lime Slaw
  • Spinach and Endive Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Italian Beef and Mushroom Meat Loaf
  • Brown Sugar-Dijon Glazed Ham with Sweet Potatoes
  • Maple-Glazed Grilled Chicken
  • Pan-seared Tuna with Citrus-Avocado Salsa
  • Warm Mozzarella and Tomato Flatbreads
  • Gingery Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Garlicky Spinach and Fontina Pizza
  • Chocolate Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

For this post, I decided to try the Easy Pantry Minestrone from the Vegetarian section, since I had been wanting to make minestrone this winter. It’s a good, healthy soup with lots of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, zucchini), red beans, and chickpeas. Dried basil also flavors the soup, and you serve it with a teaspoon-size dollop of pre-made refrigerated pesto which also adds nicely to the flavor!

EASY PANTRY MINESTRONE from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole wheat macaroni or other small pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add broth, kidney beans, chickpeas, macaroni, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and zucchini and simmer until pasta and vegetables are very tender, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 teaspoon pesto.

PER SERVING (1 bowl): 307 Cal, 6 g Total Fat, Og Trans Fat, 1 mg Chol, 876 mg Sod, 53 g Carb, 10 g Fib, 14 g Prot, 120 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 8

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I really like the dollop of pesto–it gives the soup an extra little zing of flavor when you stir it in!

 

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to commentor #8, Aline, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday, January 22, at 10 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Thursday evening, January 23. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite healthy dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it just means I need to click on it to approve it before it’s visible–I do this because of spam comments that sometimes come through!

Edamame Snap Pea Salad from The Lemonade Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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the-lemonade-cookbook-southern-california-comfort-foodIn 2007, Chef Alan Jackson opened what is now L.A.’s favorite modern cafeteria–Lemonade, serving up healthy comfort food Southern California-style. This popular eatery has 10 locations and is still growing. Like me, if you didn’t live in Southern California, you were missing out…until now. Chef Jackson and coauthor JoAnn Cianciulli have come out with The Lemonade Cookbook (hardcover, St. Martin’s Press), filled with 120 unique, easy-to-make, tasty recipes and lots of great full-color photos of many of these dishes.

I received a review copy from the publisher, plus a copy to give away to one of you! See the end of this post for details on how to win this book! I’ll share a little more about it here, along with a recipe I made.

In The Lemonade Cookbook, there are recipes for salads, veggie sides, unique sandwiches, soups and stews, and desserts. Some of the recipes include:

  • Fingerling Potatoes with Dill and Lemon-Saffron Vinaigrette
  • Heirloom Tomato, Crushed Basil, Fleur de Sel Salad
  • Greek-Marinated Chicken with Tzatsiki
  • Buttermilk-Baked Chicken
  • Citrus-Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce
  • BBQ Brisket
  • Turkey with Dried Cranberry and Sage Gravy
  • Caesar Club (with Turkey, Ham, and Tomato)
  • Egg Salad Sandwich with Bacon and Heirloom Tomato
  • Creamed Cauliflower Soup
  • Mac ‘N Cheese
  • Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Lemon Drop Cupcakes
  • Caramel-Butterscotch Pudding

So you see, there’s quite a variety of recipes to try! And there’s even a chapter of recipes featuring their popular lemonade concoctions including Peach Ginger, Pear Basil, Cantaloupe Sage, and Blueberry Mint!

I decided to make one of the veggie salads, Edamame Snap Pea Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette, which was wonderful! I don’t know of many ways to serve edamame, but this is a great one! It’s easy to make and very healthy! It’s a slightly crunchy, tangy salad mix of edamame and sugar snap peas, and has a great Sesame Vinaigrette mixed in. If you aren’t familiar with edamame, it’s another word for green soybeans-it’s best to use non-GMO edamame. Here’s the recipe so you can try it out!

EDAMAME SNAP PEA SALAD WITH SESAME VINAIGRETTE from The Lemonade Cookbook

Makes 4 cups

This lean green edamame and snap pea dish adds just the right crunch, while sesame, shallot, and chive add another level of texture by coating the vegetables. The best part about this dish is it’s so simple to whip up.

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas (2 cups), ends trimmed
  • 2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans), frozen, thawed, and cooked
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds (I just used regular sesame seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.

Blanch the snap peas for only about 2 minutes; they become tender very quickly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the snap peas from the water and plunge into the ice bath to “shock” them, i.e., to stop the cooking process and cool them down right away. This procedure also sets the vibrant green color of the peas. Drain the snap peas in a colander.

Put the blanched snap peas in a mixing bowl. Add the edamame, shallot, chives, and vinaigrette, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper, tossing well. Serve chilled.

SESAME VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (it’s best to use non-GMO canola oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, canola and sesame oils; season with pepper. Whisk or shake to blend. Keep any left-over vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.

the-lemonade-cookbook-southern-california-comfort-foodThe Giveaway Is Now Closed!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The Lemonade Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, November 23, at 11 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, November 24. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite kind of side dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

This is a great book for anyone who loves trying unique recipes and using fresh, healthy ingredients! It would also make a wonderful gift! 🙂

Oatmeal Maple Bread from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day–and a Giveaway!

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You’ve probably heard about the bestselling book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, first published back in 2007. Because of its popularity, authors Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and NewArtisanBreadZoe Francois have completely revised and updated their original book that revolutionized bread-making. Their new book,  The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was just released on October 22. The publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, sent me a review copy, and I’m happy to say they are providing a copy for me to give away! They will send the giveaway copy directly to the winner, so see the end of the post for details on how to win this book! First, I’ll tell you more about the book and the recipe I made from it.

The New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day is completely revised and updated with forty new full-color images, one hundred black-and-white how-to photos, an expanded “Tips and Techniques” section, a gluten-free chapter, and more than 30 new recipes for homemade breads and sweets, including…

  • Gluten-free Cheesy Breadsticks, Pizza, Baguette and Sweeet Brioche
  • Beer-Cheese and Crock-Pot Bread
  • Pretzel Buns
  • Apple-Stuffed French Toast
  • Panini

I decided to try the recipe for Oatmeal Maple Bread–that just sounded so good and healthy! I definitely am a novice bread maker, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’m happy to say it turned out wonderfully! The bread has a great texture and rises nicely, and pure maple syrup gives it a delicious, slightly sweet taste. This recipe makes 2 loaves. I brought some of the bread in to work for my coworkers to sample and everyone loved it! I hope you get a chance to try the recipe out!

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OATMEAL MAPLE BREAD from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaves

A note from the book: This high-fiber loaf is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and tastes great cut into thick slices and then slathered with butter (and marmalade)…. It also makes a great sandwich with smoked turkey and cheese.

  • 2 3/4 cups (625 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 Tablespoon (10 grams) Granulated yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons (17 to 25 grams) Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon (170 grams) Pure Maple Syrup (the 1 Tablespoon is for brushing on top of the loaf right before baking)
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) oil, plus more for greasing the loaf pans (I used olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup (55 grams) Wheat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups (140 grams) Old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (130 grams) Whole wheat flour or White Whole wheat flour (I used White whole wheat)
  • 4 cups (570 grams) All-purpose flour (I used unbleached all-purpose flour)
  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast and salt with the water, the 3/4 cup maple syrup, and the oil in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
  3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 7 days.
  5. On baking day, grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch nonstick loaf pans. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and divide dough in half. Dust each dough half with more flour and quickly shape each of them, one at a time, into a ball by stretching the surface of each piece of dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  6. Elongate each ball of dough to form an oval loaf and place into the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 90 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. A baking stone is not required, and omitting it shortens the preheat.
  8. Using a pastry brush, brush the top crusts with the remaining 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (use 1/2 Tablespoon on the top of each loaf).
  9. Place the loaves on a rack near the center of the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until browned and firm (my baking time was 50 minutes). Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time.
  10. Remove from the pans and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

I let my loaves cool before slicing one of them and put the other in the freezer for later. But you may not be able to resist eating this bread warm right out of the oven! 🙂

9781250018281GIVEAWY IS NOW CLOSED. The winning comment was #5, Barbara. Congratulations!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, November 9, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, November 10. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite kind of bread is or if you have ever made homemade bread!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

This is a great book for bread lovers, so if you’re one, be sure to enter the giveaway! 🙂