Top Ten Recipes of 2016

We are counting down the top ten recipes on our website in 2016! These are the top ten most visited recipes on our website throughout the year in 2016. It should be no surprise that our Old-Fashioned Biscuits (as shown on the back of the Clabber Girl Can) are at the top of our list!

  1. Old-Fashioned Biscuits (as shown on the Clabber Girl can) – This is the classic baking powder biscuit recipe that can be found on the back of the Clabber Girl Baking Powder can. You need to ensure your oven is very hot and ready to go before putting in the biscuits inside.
  2. Clabber Girl Baking Powder Hamburger Buns – Our hamburger buns are quick and easy to make – no yeast and no rising time. Now, admittedly, the dough is sticky, and things can get a little messy when you scoop it out and plop it on the baking sheet. But just keep a bowl of water handy and wet your fingers before you scoop and shape the dough to make it easier to handle.
  3. Baking Powder Biscuits – You can use this basic baking powder biscuit recipe and with a few minor changes make buttermilk, drop, cheese, sour cream or cornmeal biscuits.
  4. Good Ole Fried Chicken – This fried chicken comes out moist with a crispy crust; it’s the ideal old fashioned recipe that has withstood the test of time.
  5. Lemon Drop Cookies – These cookies are bursting with lemon flavor-you actually bake them with lemon zest and use frozen lemonade concentrate as your liquid.
  6. Orange Cake – Originally featured in our Brickyard to Backyard cookbook, this has become a favorite for the holidays when oranges are in season. The cake is light and delicate, the orange glaze is packed with flavor.
  7. Applesauce Spice Bars – There are 3 different spices in this bar, giving them so much flavor! Top them with cream cheese frosting for an extra decadent dessert.
  8. Golden Corn Bread – This corn bread only requires 8 ingredients and first appeared on the back of the Clabber Girl Baking Powder can.
  9. Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake – This recipe is another one of my favorites I have learned from my grandma! I know I have said it before with some other recipes, that I am wanting to learn some family recipes that everyone loves and that are favorites of mine. Texas Sheet Cakes are like a family tradition, you might have eaten it as a kid as well as your parents may have as well. Enjoyable every time!
  10. Irish Cream Bundt Cake – This cake is perfect for fans of Irish cream liqueur; it is an ingredient in both cake and glaze. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or a fun event where a special Irish-inspired cake is called for.

Birthday Celebration Cake

Birthday Celebration Cake Hero 2Birthdays are one of my favorite days of the year. Growing up, birth dates we’re a special day to celebrated, tailored to make it so uniquely about celebrating you. We never did anything too extravagant, as a child there were the “big” birthday parties with school friends. But by middle school, birthdays become more about celebrating as a family as opposed to having the biggest party. Every year it is the same, like clockwork, our birthdays have become a tradition.

Every time in the weeks leading up to your birthday, the customary “Where do you want to eat at?” would be asked and pondered. Growing up we didn’t go out to eat much, we enjoyed cooking

together at home and having “Pizza & Movie Night” every Friday. Going out to eat was a treat, something usually reserved just for birthdays. But the best party was dessert, we never had dessert at the restaurant, it was like an unspoken rule. Your favorite cake or dessert was ALWAYS made for your birthday. It changed from year to year, growing more consistent as we all grew older, but cake was always a mainstay.

Over the years I have taken up cake decorating for family birthdays, it’s the little something extra I can try and do to make someone feel special on their day. In my family vanilla cake is a crowd pleaser and one we make most often, but I love to mix it up a bit by adding in different flavors. For the birthday cake I am sharing with you, I went with my favorites: strawberries and lemons. With the simple sprinkle decorations and piping, this is a decorated cake that anyone can pull off for any number of occasions. Change up the colors, size and/or shape of your sprinkles to match your theme and you’ve got an easy to make birthday cake, tailored just for you!

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Pinterest Birthday Celebration CakeBirthday Celebration Cake

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling and Lemon Buttercream

(Get the full Birthday Celebration Cake Recipe Here)

Makes two 9-inch round layers

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon extract
3 eggs
¾ cup milk

For the Strawberry Filling:

1 lb. strawberries, stems removed and quartered
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Clabber Girl Cornstarch
Juice from 2 lemons

For the Lemon Buttercream

2 lbs. powdered sugar, sifted
1 # unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. lemon extract
Zest from 2 lemons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
    Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attached and beat on low for about 5 minutes or until combined and lightened in color. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract and mix to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and set aside. Reducing the mixer to low, slowly add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then ½ of the milk-egg mixture. Stop and scrap down the bowl on the edges after each addition or as needed. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining milk-egg mixture, scrap again as needed and add the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrap the bowl with a large spatula and pour the batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool the remaining time on the rack.
  5. For the Strawberry Filling: Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and toss to combine. Cook over medium heat, until the strawberries begin to soften and release their juices, stirring occasionally. Let mixture come to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened and cooked to desired consistency, stirring as needed. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
  6. For the Lemon Buttercream: Using the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and lightened in color. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the creamed butter and beat to combine, continue adding the powdered sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time until the mixture is lightly and fluffy. Add in the lemon extract and mix to combine. If the mixture is too stiff, mix in 2-3 tablespoons of milk to reached desired consistency.
  7. To assemble the cakes: Cut the tops of the cakes to create a flat even top. Place 1 cake layer, cut side down on your cake stand. Using a piping bag, pipe a circle around the entire rim of the cake top. Spoon ½ of the Strawberry Filling inside of the buttercream circle (this acts as a wall to keep your filling from spilling out of the cake). Gently place the second layer, cut side down on top of the first cake, lining up the edges. Ice and decorate the outside of the cake as desired with the remaining Lemon Buttercream.

**You will have extra Strawberry Filling, serve some on the side so guest and spoon more over their own cake slices as desired or reserved for a later use.

Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese Process
A friend recently told me that in an article she read a statics showed that the top consumer of macaroni & cheese in the Unites States was a tie between toddlers ages 3-6 and college students. These two groups also tied in the most amount of time devoted to taking naps (fun fact!). Since I’ve been away at college, I can one hundred percent attest to these stats. The amount of naps I’ve taken and the countless pounds of noodles and cheese sauce I have consumed is too high to count! And I regret none of it.

Macaroni & cheese is a classic in my family. My mother and I have been playing around and trying new recipes for years. In recent years, she discovered a baked mac and cheese recipe that has an insane amount of cheese and cubes of butter melted into it. It is heavenly! Maybe I’ll do a blog post about it one day? But you might be saying “Nate, wait a minute. I don’t even know the first steps to making homemade mac & cheese!” Fear no longer my friend, because you are about to see that mac and cheese is super easy to make and way better than store bought.

Macaroni & cheese is essentially noodles and a Mornay sauce (which is essentially a fancy term for a basic white sauce with cheese). A Mornay sauce is this equation = roux + cream + cheese.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is completely adaptable! Experiment with different types of cheeses, seasonings, and even infused creams to add a deeper depth of flavor. Below I have included a list of some ideas you (and I) could try and experiment with.

Herb infused cream can add a beautiful depth of flavor to any savory or sweet dish. In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 cup of cream (either milk, heavy cream, or half and half) until it begins to steam.

Take the sauce pan off the heat and in 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of any fresh herb or spice (ie. Rosemary, mint, basil, sage, lavender, chamomile, etc.). Cover and let sit for 25 minutes. Strain out the herbs and store in an airtight container.

  • Herb infused butter: Mix together softened butter with any minced herb. Cover and use when needed!
  • Try different cheeses such as Havarti, mozzarella, feta, and maybe even goat cheese!
  • Season your mac and cheese
    • For heat: use red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and/or cayenne pepper
    • Use fresh or dried herbs! My mother typically uses garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasons.
    • For a curry inspired dish: add a touch of turmeric for a beautiful orange/yellow color
  • Bake it in the oven!
    • Transfer to an oven safe casserole dish and top the mac and cheese with cheese, bread crumbs, bacon crumbles, fresh herbs, or even crunched up Cheetos or Fritos.
  • Chill it, bread it, and fry it! Great as an appetizer.
  • Have a “Build your own” mac and cheese party! Cook up a big pot of sauce with multiple types of pastas and toppings and let your guests build their own mac and cheese.

Macaroni & Cheese Beauty

Macaroni & Cheese Ingredients

12 oz. box elbow macaroni pasta
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1 c. milk
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. Gouda cheese
1 c. cheddar cheese
½ c. Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for Macaroni & Cheese

Fill a large Dutch oven halfway with lukewarm water. Add a pinch of salt and heat over medium heat until the water begins to boil. Once the water begins boiling, add the pasta and cook via the instructions on the book. Strain pasta through a colander and return to the Dutch oven.

Elbow Macaroni

In a medium sauce melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the corn starch. This mixture of corn starch and fat is called a roux. Allow the roux to cook for a few moments. Then slowly pour in the cream and whisk to combine.

Note. In order to have the sauce thicken up more quickly, heat the cream in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, just to warm it up. Having the cream roughly the same temperature as the roux will help it thicken up faster.

Whisk the cream occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Once the cream begins to thicken, lower the heat slightly and add the cheeses, whisking to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, add more cream. Stir continuously until the cheeses have melted into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the cheese sauce to the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Combining Macaroni & Cheese

Optional step: If you want to bake the mac and cheese, make sure to under cook the pasta slightly. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a greased baking dish. Top with bread crumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and a light sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

Cinco de Mayo Party: Margarita Bar

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and while everyone else may be thinking tacos and churros, I’m over here thinking about the salty, sour, and tart perfection of the Classic Margarita. As many of us gear up to celebrate, we often find ourselves focusing on the food and not the drinks. And it’s hard to fault that game plan, as the food is the star. This year however, I wanted to change things up and focus on the drinks for once. Because let’s face it, what’s a good party without a good cocktail? But then again, why settle for just one. While I love a classic lime margarita, I also love the versatility of it. There are so many variations on that drink it can make your head spin. But how to pull off multiple different flavors and combinations and still stay on theme?

Easy…enter the Margarita Bar.

Margarita Bar Cinco de Mayo

Behind every tasty and delicious margarita is good tequila and fresh ingredients. Like I said before, there are a TON of different flavor combinations that you can make, some of the ones that I came up with are featured in the pictures throughout this post. I went with 5, but you if you go with just 3 flavors you’re still headed in the directions of an amazing Cinco de Mayo party!

Here’s the low-down on how to make a margarita bar for Cinco de Mayo:

Simple Syrup:

This is where you’re getting the sweetness in the drink from, especially in drinks that are highly acidic (like a classical margarita), and the simple syrup helps balance the sweet and tart/sour flavors. To make simple syrup you just need equal parts water and granulated sugar. Place in a pot on medium heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita
Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita

Fruits/Juices/Herbs:

Whatever flavor combinations you decide on, this part is key to making a tasty margarita. If you’re just using juices and herbs you’re all set to throw everything in your shaker, shake, strain into a glass over ice and enjoy. If you’re using fruit, like the Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita then you can muddle the strawberries, jalapeno and mint together or blend everything into a puree like I did. This will give you a slightly thicker margarita, but nevertheless delicious.

Tequila:

This to me, is what makes a margarita a margarita. I prefer to use silver tequila in my drinks, especially for a classic margarita or the Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita so I get the drink color I’m looking for.

Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

Grand Marnier:

Is your drink still really tart from all the lime juice? Grand Marnier will help cut that too with some add sweetness. Triple sec or any other orange liquor will work, so go with your preference. Not all margaritas call for it, so it’s really up to you if you want to include it in your drink, but I’d really suggest making the trip to the liquor store if you don’t have it on hand as it can make a world of difference in the outcome of your cocktail.
Once all your ingredients are a go, it’s time to figure what you are going to serve. You can premix a large batch or have all the ingredients ready to guest can make their own drinks. Whichever direction you decide to go in, here’s a list of some of the essentials you’ll need on your Margarita Bar.

Pitches/Wine Carafes/Drink Dispensers:

Whether you’re going with large batches or single serve, you’re going to need a few of these for the beverage table. Premix large batches with all the liquid ingredients (the Lemon Basil Margarita is perfect for this) and serve in a large drink dispenser for guests to pour their own. If you want your bar a little more interactive, use full or half carafes to fill with different juice flavors for guest to choice from.

Lemon Basil Margarita
Lemon Basil Margarita

Drink Shakers:

Give everyone a change to be a bartender for a night! If you’re doing a serve yourself bar, litter your beverage bar with drink shakers for guest to use. Have one on hand just in case if you’re premixing, you never know if you might need it and it’s good to have on hand.

Ice Bucket & Scoops:

These are a must have. Even if you decide to go with drink dispensers, don’t risk pre-icing your drinks and watering that flavor down. Have ice available for guest to add to their cup before pouring themselves a drink. If you’re going for a self-serve make your own drink kind of bar than you can’t pull that off without a lot of ice. Not only do party goers need it for their drinks, but for the drink shakers as well. Be sure to have a bag of ice on hand just in case your ice dispenser can’t keep up too, you’ll thank me later.

Coconut Lime Margarita
Coconut Lime Margarita

Glasses:

You are going to need lots and lots of glasses! If you’re anything like me, than I doubt that you have a secret stash for tons of margarita glasses lying around. No worries though, I used all kinds of different glasses. I think it adds to the charm of a Margarita Bar, plus you don’t have to dish out any money to buy all new glasses just for the party. Pilsner and rocks glass, as well as some mason jars worked perfectly for me!

Little Plates/Shallow Rimmed Bowls:

You can not have a margarita without salt. Okay, you actually can. But you definitely can’t ditch the salt when hosting a Margarita Bar so little plates or shallow rimmed bowls are perfect for this. You can use ones that go with your theme colors or just stick with white like I did. Be sure to have one out for each margarita flavor you are going with or just a couple if you’re sticking with just one salt for all the flavors (kosher salt worked for me, but you can buy margarita salt too). The salt that you’re rimming your glass with is just another area where you get to impart different flavorings and put a spin on your margaritas to kick them up a notch (like the cayenne salt for the Mango Orange Margarita), so get creative if you want.

Mango Orange Margarita
Mango Orange Margarita

Bowls:

You’re going to want bowls of various sizes. This is perfect for garnishes if your serving out of drink dispensers and a must have to serve lime wedges needed to rim your glass with before dipping into the salt. If you’re going with a make your own bar, then little bowls are just right for all the herbs and various fruits you might be using.

Festive straws that match your theme are a great thing to have on the bar, as well as plenty of cocktail napkins. Little chalkboard signs are a great way to label the different drinks if your serving out of drink dispensers. If you can nab some larger chalkboard signs, write out the recipe for the single serving drinks that are available so party goers can make their own.

Once you have all the essentials gathered, it’s only a matter of displaying the bar in a way that is uniquely you. Keep it casual in the kitchen or set up a whole beverage bar station that is sure to be a talking point. Whatever you do, when throwing a Margarita Bar, have fun…and enjoy!

An American Tradition: Boston Brown Bread

Though not as well known today, Boston Brown Bread has a pretty interesting history story. Better known in the New England areas, brown bread started making in appearance in the early 1800s. Early settlers where trying to grow wheat, which was their preferred grain for baking. They soon realized that wheat did not grow well in the New England soil and this drove up the prices. Corn on the other hand was a crop that flourished on the east coast, making the price of cornmeal much cheaper and readily available. Another cheap alternative to flour was rye flour.

Mixing Rex Coffee, Buttermilk and Blackstrap Molasses
These two grains made up the main dry ingredients for the bread, occasionally whole wheat flour was added and eventually became a mainstay on the ingredient list. Molasses is added and gives the bread its signature rich color and sweet flavor. Because we are using baking powder and soda as our leavening agents as opposed to yeast, we are able to complete cut out having to factor in a rise time and can go straight from mix to dish to cook.

Making Boston Brown Bread in a Rex Coffee Tin
Another key element that sets it apart from most traditional breads, is the cooking method. Brown bread is typically steamed in a can of some sort until finished cooking. At the time, this was in large part due to the fact that this was a bread for the common people. Using the cheaper grains made this an affordable bread to make at a time when wheat was at an expensive price and not easily affordable to all. Steaming the bread in a can over a fire or stove top made it assessable to most, especially those that didn’t have a wood-burning oven.

Seal Boston Brown Bread Tightly
Somewhere along the way brown bread started being steamed in coffee cans. I’m not sure if this was because at the time canned foods where not as readily available as it is today, and this was just a common things to have on hand. But after doing loads of research on brown bread and reading multiple variations of recipes, almost everything listed a coffee can as the vestal to steam your bread in. So this took my brown bread adventure on an interesting twist.

Secure Boston Brown Bread with Twine
I am fortunate enough working here at Clabber Girl, to work someplace that has its very own coffee roasting company. In fact, all our Rex Coffee is roasted in house just 10 steps away from the kitchen I work in on a regular basis. So I started thinking about ways I could tie in our coffee with a bread that is known for being cooked in coffee cans throughout history.

Cook Boston Brown Bread in Large Dutch Oven
I gathered up old cans we had on hand and started wondering about different ways I could try and incorporate coffee into this historic bread besides just using our old tins. The obvious answer to me was to just try and add coffee to the batter…but would it work? After multiple tests working on the recipe, the ratios, and finally the final taste test…I can honestly say that it did!

Boston Brown Bread Final

Boston Brown Bread

Ingredients:
5 oz. whole wheat flour
5 oz. rye flour
5 oz. cornmeal
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. Blackstrap molasses
8 oz. butter milk
8 oz. Rex French Roast Coffee, room temperature

8-10 cups water
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, add all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add the molasses and Rex Coffee and whisk together.

Create a small well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and molasses-coffee mixture and whisk to completely combine the batter.

Spray the insides of two quart-sized cans with cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two cans. Using aluminum foil, cover the tops of the cans, folding the excess over the outsides of the cans. Use butchers twine to tie around the edges of the can to secure the aluminum foil to the sides. Place cans in Dutch oven or an oven safe pot.

Carefully pour in the boiling water, taking care not to pour the water over the tops of the covered cans, until the water reaches halfway up the side of the can. Bake in a 325 degrees F. oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Remove pot from oven, and using oven mitts carefully removed cans from pot and set on a cookie rack. Let cool 15-20 minutes and then gently slide bread out of can to cool completely. Once cool, slice bread and toast and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Boston Brown Bread

Top 10 Recipes of 2015

A year of sweets, holiday favorites and of course, biscuits!

blog collage

As another year wraps up, so does another year of dinner menus, sweet desserts, holiday parties and kitchen memories. At Clabber Girl, we like to offer you as many recipes as we possibly can to make your baking experiences memorable and delicious. Here are the top 10 viewed recipes from 2015:

10. Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies: These cookies are perfect for any holiday occasion. If you dress them up in festive icing and sprinkles, they’re a little sweeter!

9. Caramel Cheesecake Brownies: Caramel, Cheesecake, and Chocolate, do we even need to say anymore? These decadent brownies are perfect for sweet tooths and chocoholics.

8. Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookies: Cut these pumpkin cookies into pumpkin shapes for double the Halloween fun!

7. Corn Bread: Whether it’s a side dish for chili or a staple in the bread basket during Thanksgiving dinner, it’s no secret that corn bread is a favorite for all!

6. Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes: Not only are these cupcakes sweet, but they’re beautiful!

5. Snowball Cookies: A favorite from Mexico, these cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.

4. Blueberry Coffeecake Muffins: Breakfast just got a little better with these blueberry muffins topped with a cinnamony, nutty streusel.

3. Baking Powder Biscuits: These biscuits, topped with butter, smothered in jam or drenched in gravy, are versatile and yummy however you choose to serve them up!

2. Belgian Waffles Made with Clabber Girl Pancake Mix: Who doesn’t love waffles on a Saturday morning? Create a big batch of pancake mix to last you a while. You’ll be whipping out waffles before the coffee is brewed!

1. Old-Fashioned Biscuits (as shown on Clabber Girl can): Of course biscuits are our number one searched recipe! We pride ourself on our famous biscuit recipe and are honored that year after year you choose to put our biscuits on your table.

We look forward to meeting with you in the kitchen again in 2016! Here’s to another year of delicious baking!

Spring Break Snacks: On-the-Go or In-the-Home

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Perfect for the beach, the car or the couch

pbj 2

When Spring Break is in full swing you might find yourself with the daunting task of entertaining children of various ages for an entire week. This might mean that your family is enjoying a few uninterrupted days of relaxation during a “stay-cation,” or maybe you’re hitting the road for the beach or the mountains. Either way, you’ll need to find ways to keep your kids happy and fed, so why not find a way to do both?

Creative Spring Break snacks are the perfect way to occupy idle hands in the kitchen, or satisfy cravings on long road trips. From simple to savory, these snacks will feed the troops and fuel the fun.

On The Road: The days of fast food stops are long behind us. We have more opportunities to create our own road trip recipes, especially with kid-friendly dishes the whole family can create. After you pile your family into the car for your annual Florida trip, drive right past the gas station snacks and try out some of these homemade treats instead.

Sweet Popcorn Snax
Sweet Popcorn SnaxOn a long car ride, food is one of the best ways to keep minds distracted, hands busy and mouths occupied. This Sweet Popcorn Snax recipe from Clabber Girl’s kitchen is a lip-smacking, savory combination of sweet and salty.

Ingredients:
10 cups popped corn (not microwaved)
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

Gluten-Free-Whoopie-Pies-Cakes-FullWhoopie Pies (Gluten Free!)
These soft mini cakes with creamy vanilla buttermilk filling can halt any backseat argument. Quell repetitive chants of “Are we there yet?” with a delicious car ride cake that is sure to please palates of all ages.

Ingredients:
For the whoopie cakes:
1 1/4 cup rice flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder, dutched
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon xanthan gum-optional*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the filling:
8 tablespoons butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions

In the Kitchen: If your family is staying put this Spring Break, kitchen activities are a great way to occupy kids of all ages. Cooking brings your family together, laughing over culinary concoctions that teach teamwork and creativity, along with reading and math skills.

PB+J Cookies
You pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the kids’ lunches on a regular basis. Go a little crazy over Spring Break and turn the staple item into a cookie! Not only will you be serving them a protein-filled cookie, but it’s also gluten-free.

Chewy High Protein Carb-Busters Candy
Got a house full of high-energy teenage boys that need some wrangling this Spring Break? Put them to work in the kitchen making these healthy, yet tasty, high protein candy treats. An ideal snack for growing boys, these nuggets are chocked full of honey, nuts, cumin, chili powder and other delicious raw ingredients that wow the taste buds and boost the immune system.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup honey
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal, plain and unsweetened- any puffed grain cereal may be substituted*
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted nuts-almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews or a combination
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt

Instructions:

To prepare, brush both the bowl and beaters of a stand mixer very lightly yet thoroughly with vegetable oil, and brush a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Mix the puffed rice, roasted nuts and spices together in the workbowl of the stand mixer. Add the peanut butter in chunks and mix on low to distribute. Do not worry about mixing thoroughly, that will happen when you add the honey.

Bring the honey to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Boil to the hard ball stage, 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, once the honey has reached a full boil, continue cooking for a full four minutes. Immediately pour over the nut mixture in the workbowl. Pour slowly with the motor on low and be careful, this is very hot and will burn easily. When all the honey is added, turn the speed up slowly to mix evenly. Stop and scrape the bowl a few times to ensure even mixing.

Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking sheet and pack it in firmly with a spatula or your fingers. Let cool for a few hours and cut into bite size pieces.

Makes about 2 lbs of candy. Store airtight.

* Any puffed grain cereal may be substituted

Recipe by Mani Niall – Mix it up with Mani

Whether you’re home or away this Spring Break, we know one thing… it’s bound to be sweet!

Holiday Egg Nog Cinnamon Rolls – A Christmas Tradition

Egg Nog Orange Cinnamon RollsOrange Cinnamon Rolls with Eggnog Glaze by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

My kiddos are early birds and on Christmas morning they wake up even earlier. I’m pretty sure our household isn’t the only one — every child is excited to see what Santa delivered.

These citrus-flavored cinnamon rolls drizzled with a festive eggnog glaze were inspired by Christmas morning. They are the perfect warm treat to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee while watching your children’s eyes light up as they open all their gifts.

The holidays can be fun and festive, but they can also be stressful. Once I see the smiling faces and gleaming eyes on my kiddos Christmas morning all the stress melts away. This Christmas my goal is to relax and enjoy the moment, and now I will be able to with this recipe. This simple dough does not require a mixer and can be made the night before and refrigerated. In the morning all that will be needed to do is fill, roll, and bake.

I have so many fond memories of Christmas mornings as a child, and those memories were not about the gifts, but instead of the delicious aromas that lingered in the air. I have no doubt that my kiddos will also have special memories of these cinnamon rolls baking and filling the air with robust and sweet scents. These warm, soft, fluffy, and gooey orange cinnamon rolls drizzled with an eggnog glaze will surely be memorable making this dish ideal for Christmas. Get the Recipe!

Feliz Navidad!

Get a Fresh Start to the Baking Season

Strawberry Muffin TopsCooking and baking at home from scratch can save you money compared to dining out, and it can also be much healthier than using pre-packaged foods, since you are in control of the ingredients you use. There are no added preservatives, and the foods taste better when home made. That being said, it is good to note that the preparation of the baking season can help ensure you get off to a good start with fresh ingredients, a well-stocked pantry and a quick check of basic ingredients.

Once you are stocked and ready to go, try some of our best biscuit recipes we have listed! Personal favorites are Strawberry Muffin Tops and Old Fashioned Biscuits. One sweet, one savory but both are quick and easy! For quick tips and pointers on how to make biscuits, see the photos and information on our blog: Biscuit Techniques