2012, Most Popular, BOOM!

MonsterCookies1Let’s review. 2012, holy crap. Stuff….happened. Went on two awesome vacations, I met some amazing new people from all over the US, got engaged, bought a house, got a new job, blog better. BAM.

Let me start by saying thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my followers!!!! Over 3000 hits this year, dozens of followers, explosion following on my Pinterest, and two #1 Google search hits. More than all of that, I’ve had a blast with the blog this year, dabbling more in photography and editing, and just having an absolute blast blogging. I read some great advice about blogging (food blogging specifically) and she said, “Never blog to make money, once you start trying to for the bills, you lose sight of your hobby. Make it something you love, pour yourself into it, be a better Kitchenateer’ Isn’t that fantastic?? I’m in!

What’s the most popular post of 2012 for ClairevsKitchen???

Scotcharoos: Chocolate Devil Fingers!!

Go figure the simplist recipe would be the biggest hit, you goofsickles.

the runners in sequential order are…..

Runza/Bierocks

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Blueberry Buckle SconesIMG_1294

66 Calorie Lemon BarsIMG_1008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars2439664553_76f083f469

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Celebrate tomorrow with a Rose German Apple Pie. 😉

Cinnamon Crunch Cake: It’s for Bressert!

Cinnamon Crunch CakeStarting off with a Confession this time: I had planned on making blueberry muffins, and it was an epic fail. Like a big horrible fail. Quite literally un-edible fail. Apparently my lack of focus or perhaps a congested head was to blame. While destroying an entire batch along with my whole stock of blueberries, the evening was quickly slipping away and I needed to fulfill my promise on bringing something to work for the following morning.Considering the ragging blizzard taking place outside, leaving wasn’t exactly an option. Well, it was an option, but probably not an intelligent one. Explaining to my insurance company that I REALLY needed blueberries during a blizzard probably wouldn’t be the best idea in the world.

It was getting late and I needed to get something in the oven pronto. When I think breakfast and I’m out of fruit, and didn’t feel like destroying another muffin recipe….it’s a breakfast cake! Could this be a recipe that would come together on accident with a variety of strange ingredients I happened to have in my cabinets?? Why, yes, yes it just may!

Cinnamon and sugar, I love it!! I find the combination comforting, and always manages to hit all my senses perfectly. It’s often my default go-to on where to start a new recipe, whether it’s breakfast, or a dessert. And if it works for both, a Bressert! haha, right?! Maybe not, but I like it.

The aroma of the cinnamon, the smell of the cinnamon sugar cooking in the oven with a buttery cake is an absolute favorite of mine. I hadn’t used my bundt pan in ages, so heck, why not, what better to go with an interesting array of ingredients I have stocked. Cinnamon, sugar, butter, left over homemade pumpkin poptart filling? Um, yes! I had vowed to myself while throwing the ingredients together that if I screwed up two recipes in one night, I wasn’t going to bake for a month.Ready, set, bake!

The Recipe: Although this recipe isn’t overly difficult to put together, it’s a little messy. Hope you have a dishwasher, because I used a vast array of bowls and utensils! Considering it’s the holiday season, this is a great idea for a family gathering if you have company, or not, just make it. It’s really good, eat it all yourself. Bonus: I enjoy chocolate   in things,like in the form of cocoa, but chocolates and candies ect have never really tripped my trigger too much.The trays of sugary sweets, an ‘chocolate-covered-everythings’ around the holidays are nice, but, for other people. Another reason this is a great dish to make and set out, be different, and give your guests a little variety of goodies to sample.


TIP: the pumpkin was a great accidental find and gave the dish not only a beautiful orange huh, but extra moisture. Be creative! Add some mix some Greek Yogurt and some spices!

Cinnamon Crunch Cake

Ingredients
Bowl 1: Bottom Crunch
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter, softened
 
Bowl 2: Middle Crunch Layer
1/2 brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
 
Bowl 3: Batter
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp pumpkin galore (pumpkin filling, plus dashes of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, tsp of sugar) If you want to skip this part, throw in some greek yogurt the above spices instead.
 
Preheat oven to 325
 
Bowl 1: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl with your hands until combined
 
Bowl 2: Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar.
 
Bowl 3: With your mixer, cream butter and sugars on med speed for 1 min. Then add in your eggs, vanilla, and oil on medium speed for 1 min. Then add your milk, buttermilk, and your pumpkin (or yogurt) mixture.
Add in your flour, baking powder, baking sode, and salt and mix only until combined.
 
1.Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray.
 
2. Spoon in half the bowl 3 batter mixture. I used a spatula and ran it over the very top of the batter while turning the pan to get a flat even layer.
 
3. Dump your bowl 2 mixture evenly over the batter and spread evenly.
 
4. Dump the remaining half of the batter,and again run the spatula level across the top to even it out.
 
5. Take your bowl 1 mixture and spread it evening over the top, I used my hands and pressed it in gently. This way when it bakes it won’t all crumble off, giving it the batter to adhere to.
 
6. Bake for 38-40 minutes.
cinnamoncrunchcake1
 

Fluffy Snickerdoodles

Fluffy Snickerdoodles

Fluffy Snickerdoodles

Mmmm. I love fluffy, cakey, moist cookies! Crisp and snappy has never really tripped my trigger, I’m not opposed to them, but hey everyone’s got their favorite! Snickerdoodles are my Dad’s all-time favorite cookies, and they’ve been on the request ‘Treat Sheet’ at work for several weeks now, so with December baking month wrapping up, I need to keep all these holiday cookies a bakin’! The last four weekends I’ve been crossing all kinds of goodies off of my list, this one being no different, yay baking!

Confession: I’m selfish….ooops. Whenever I make treats, sweets, or snacks, I love them…but I only want one 🙂 I give the rest away. Trying to watch my lady figure extra lately, I’ve gotta put this butt in a wedding dress in a few months! So, even though I’m literally giving away 99% of what I make, I cave and make sweets the way I WANT…even for just one or two cookies 🙂 See, selfish, told you so.

I love simple recipes, but sometimes I reallllly want to use my mixer/s. Yes two, I have two, and use two! But lately I’ve been creating everything by hand, no mixer required. Shucks, oh well…it’s not like they’re going anywhere I guess!              I feel like I should have known this, but I didn’t. I was doing some sugar research and I found that dark/brown sugar makes things ‘chewy’ if your looking for that effect like these cookies have. There is more molasses in brown sugar so if you want to make a simple non-threatening change to your cookies, go for it! If your recipe calls for 1 cup of white sugar, split it! Make it 1/2 cup white, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Love it!

Not that you will need push these on people…because they disappear VERY quickly….but just a quick reminder tip. The more butter in your goods, the less amount of time they stay good! So make sure they are sealed in an airtight container to keep that air out.

Fluffy Snickerdoodles

3 dozen
 
2 sticks of butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 shakes of cloves
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
 
Rolling Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Heat the oven to 425°F.Melt your butter, let it come to room temperature and mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the sugars, flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter and add the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until it comes together.

2.Place the dough mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours. This step isn’t necessary, but it makes the cookies a lot easier to work with and less of a sticky mess when you ball them up.

3.Mix the white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a shallow dish. Roll small 1 1/2-inch balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon sugar( I just used a tablespoon to make them all even).

4. Line your baking pan with parchment paper (as always for even and clean baking!) and place the balls a couple of inches apart. Bake for 6 minutes then remove and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them off and onto a cooling rack.

*You can refrigerate your dough for a couple of days if need be, just make sure to keep them covered and sealed tight. snickerdoodles2

Christmas Excited: Almond Bark

AlmondBark2Almond bark…impossible to screw up right? All you do is heat it up and dip. Oh, and burn your fingers. Just part of the process, don’t worry about it.

I finally figured out that my fancy larger serving Fork works perfect for these! It’s about three times the size of a regular fork and it’s perfect! Grabbing just enough pretzels,but there is a large enough space between the prongs for the extra bark to drip off.

Easiest recipe for people who aren’t savvy in the kitchen, but need something to make for a work potluck or family gathering, I just like them because their pretty and I add red sparkles….I mean sprinkles! 🙂

Confession: I’ve never tried the Chocolate Almond Bark…my Mom always stuck with vanilla, but it was requested….and I’m glad I tried it! Plus….it ALSO goes with my red sprinkles.

*Want to fancy up your Christmas Goods? Dip your pretzels in chocolate like normal. Before they completely dry, use your pretty red sprinkles and also finely (but roughly) chop up some of the vanilla almond bark and sprinkle it on. Yay for festive things!

Vanilla Almond Bark

Vanilla Almond Bark

Pumpkin Poptart Strudel: They Don’t Taste Horrible Anymore!

Pumpkin Pie Poptart Strudel

Pumpkin Pie Poptart Strudel

Let’s play one of my favorite games. “Awesome, not awesome’. Awesome: Homemade Poptarts.

Not Awesome: Poptarts bought prepackaged at the store that are horrible for you and that smell like fingernail polish. Ooooo, I love this game!

Confession: Everyone at some point in their life has tried a Hot Pocket of some sort right? Not horrible, not great, not overly filling…but one thing you can always count on sure and steady….they will BURN the roof of your freakin mouth because NO ONE waits for them to cool enough before biting. Here is where the roof of your mouth is burned and started peeling, so now you can’t even taste what you’re eating, and you have a shredded mouf. You know it’s true, everyone’s done it. Poptarts are similar…but with a less aggressive burn. Let’s avoid all this and make our own shall we?

Oh…second confession—I drank wine during this entire process. NOT the worst idea I’ve ever had.pumpkinpoptarts2

I haven’t had a Poptart in years, but I came across a lengthy list of awesome pumpkin recipes this season and a friend from work pointed this one out for me to make, so I gave them a whirl. Let me warn you, this recipe takes some patience…and some time. I only yelled at the dough twice so I’ll consider it a success. I think I was a little overconfident since having just made a pie the weekend before, and the dough is similar. Similar yes, the same: false. These take much more finesse. But hey, that’s what Sundays are for….baking experimentation!

I blame Joy The Baker for making these look so easy, but, they were really fun to do regardless! They really turned out more flaky like a Toaster Strudel which was pretty stellar, because flaky crust is delicious. They were always the better ones anyways right?!

Tips Before you Start! One thing you need to check for before doing this recipe is that you have fridge space…or that it’s cold out so you can set your pans outside 🙂 I didn’t have fridge space… Yay winter! One thing about these is the dough is much easier to work with when it’s chilled and because there is a lot of butter in it, and gets to room temp pretty quick while manipulating it.

pumpkinpoptarts1Pumpkin Pie Poptarts Yield 10-12 Crust2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 large egg (for brushing the dough)

Filling:

3/4 cup Libby’s Pumpkin

1 egg

pinch of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Maple Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons milk

To prepare the Crust:

In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt.  Add your cubbed butter. Here is where they say to use your pastry cutters or a food processor, but I think your hands do a better job. Just get in there and squeeze it with your hands really working the butter into the flour. Once you hands start to warm the butter, the butter will turn into small shreds. Work until the flour and butter all come together.

Beat the egg with the milk in a separate bowl, and then add it to your crust mixture. Use your hands again and work it all together. I found that it works really well if you just work it in the bowl and add flour as needed instead of moving it to the counter and kneading it. The consistency of your dough will be really similar to pie crust at this point. Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to harden up the butter again.

Filling: In a small sauce pan, heat pumpkin and spices over medium heat.  Just heat through until the spices become fragrant,you’ll know when you’ve hit that point. It will make your kitchen smell like a delicious pumpkin Yankee Candle 🙂   Remove from heat and let the temp come down. Whisk in egg, salt and sugar (make sure if you let the temp come down enough or you’ll start to cook the egg) and place in the fridge.

Flour your counter and press out the dough into a rectangle, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness.  The dough should be around 9×12, bigger than a piece of paper. Trim the 4 sides so you have straight lines, then each side into thirds, creating 9 squares.  Place dough squares on a pan lined with parchment paper outside (I mean in the fridge) while you roll out the second piece of dough in the same way.

Brush one set of 9 squares with beaten egg to help glue the dough together. Spoon about a tablespoon of pie filling into the center of each square. Don’t smooth this around too much, 1. It won’t work well after brushing with egg, 2. You’ll have a better filling if you let it fill out when you place the top square on. Top with your top square and use a floured fork to crimp the sides closed. Use your fork and poked two sets of holes in the tops for a vent.

Preheat to 350 degrees F. Place the tarts outside (I mean in the fridge) for a about 10-15 minutes while the oven preheats.Making the dough and filling firm again will cause less leakage of your filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Glaze:combine ingredients and set aside. Let tarts cool before glazing….although I do recommend eating them warm  (mic them for a few seconds) really makes the filling gooey and the crust flaky and warm again… ❤

Engaged, and Eggs: Simple Breakfast Burrito

SImple Breakfast Burrito

SImple Breakfast Burrito

We’re officially moved!! The extended absence was for a good cause, promise. I went from my galley kitchen… to a big girl one! 🙂 Got engaged, bought a house, gutted it, remolded the whole thing. BOOM. Clearly the past month has been quite busy. Today as December 1st, is the season for Christmas Cookies and extensive holiday music and radio that will fill my kitchen… but before any holiday cheer I’d thought I’d  keep it simple in my kitchen that is still working on being put together with breakfast burritos this Saturday morning.

Here along with a simple 10 minute recipe I’ll show you my kitchen swap.Talk about an upgrade..I can’t believe everything I was able to churn out in such a small space before. Kind of crazy when you think that I got everything to even fit in that apartment after moving into our new house!

706243_10151105357681148_1813057218_oOld…..(yes there is a cat in the box….)

……New!!

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Yes, I NEED two mixers.

So there it is…still in the works, and still needs a tile floor, but we’ll worry about that later. We still are in the process of organizing, tossing stuff out, and just learning where everything is….or what we can’t find! 🙂

Back to food stuff, so this breakfast burrito is for one, so double the recipe as you need! Enjoy your December 1st, I hope you all have started your Christmas Cooking List, I have!!

Simple Breakfast Burrito

2 eggs
2 Tbsp Milk
s/p to taste
dash of of Paprikia
dash of Chili Powder
Crushed Red Pepper
Cilantro
Srircha
Tortilla
2 Tbsp of Chopped Onion
 
1. In a pan on medium heat, add your onion (I added just a tiny bit of Smart Start butter so it wouldn’t stick) Add your s/p and cook down for a couple minutes.
2. In the meantime, whisk your eggs and milk together, as well as turning your oven on the lowest heat setting.
3.Once the onions have cooked add your egg mixture and turn the heat down a setting, then your spices. Stir occasionally.
4. Remove from heat about 2 minutes before you think they’re cooked thru, add your cheese, and cover with a lid. This will make them fluffy.
5. Put your tortilla on the grills of the oven for about 40 seconds each side. This will toast it and make it nice and pliable and warm.
6. When the tortilla is ready, add your eggs, cilantro, and sriracha, roll up!