baking

A&W Root Beer Float Cookie Bars

I was walking through Walmart not too long ago and saw a product that made me stop dead in my tracks. As a member of a Root Beer loving family, I knew I had to make something awesome with the mix I saw on the shelf. Betty Crocker actually released a Walmart-Exclusive Root Beer Float cookie mix. The first thing I thought? “This is either going to be absolutely amazing, or really off the mark…” I mean, you can’t make a root beer cookie… can you? Well, Betty Crocker succeeded, and I decided to tweak their cookie to make the perfect party treat. The best part? It’s really simple.

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Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Rolls

Oh, honey. I don’t even know where to begin with these breakfast rolls. They’re so simple. They’re so versatile. They’re perfect for breakfast or brunch or after dinner or anytime, and they’re just so refreshing and really, really simple to make. If you’re like me, you open your pantry door and you have a variety of cake mixes for “just in case.” You know the story– just in case someone in the church has a baby and you need to whip up a quick cake, or just in case you forgot it was someone’s birthday and you need to make something quickly, or just in case you see a to-die-for recipe using a cake mix on Pinterest.

Well, darlings… these simple Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Rolls are going to make use of that Lemon cake you have tucked in the back of your pantry, somewhere behind the Funfetti and Chocolate mixes. And trust me, you’ll be stocking up on Lemon cake mix after you try this, because it’s oh-so-yummy.

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Wacky Eggless Microwave Mug Cakes (With Giveaway!)

I love cake. If you’ve been reading here awhile, that’s no surprise to you– I post about cake a LOT. But sometimes, a full cake is just way too much to have around the house, which is why I love an easy mug cake.

So, when Wacky Apple sent me a great package of their products to try out, I knew that those applesauce containers would be¬†perfect¬†for mug cakes! And, after seeing the yummy applesauce flavors I had available, I knew I had to make more than one– I just couldn’t decide.

I started off with the Cinnamon applesauce. They’re so much you can do with a cinnamon flavor, and I thought a Carrot cake would compliment the flavors well.

To make an eggless microwave mug carrot cake, you’ll want to start out with frosting. After all, what’s a carrot cake without a delicious cream cheese frosting? This one is so easy for a single serving!

Mix 1 1/2 Tablespoons of softened cream cheese with 4 Tablespoons powdered sugar until it’s smooth, then pop it in the fridge while you make your cake.

For the cake, in a small bowl, mix 6 Tablespoons all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 salt, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.

In your microwave-safe mug, mix 6 Tablespoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and a grated baby carrot.

Add in 2 Tablespoons of Wacky Apple Cinnamon Applesauce. This will add a nice underlying cinnamon flavor to the carrot cake. Slowly add in the flour mixture.

If you’d like to, add in a Tablespoon of pecans (I like the cookie pieces) and some chopped raisins. Microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, then let stand for 30 seconds before removing and adding frosting.

The great thing about Wacky Apple Applesauce cups is that there’s about enough applesauce for 2 mug cakes per applesauce cup! If you’re not familiar with Wacky Apple, they’re a great Colorado based company that produces organic apple snacks, including juice, applesauce, and flat fruits fruit leather. The products are all made from organic apples, containing no pesticides, and the products contain no added water or sugar.

Another great applesauce flavor that Wacky Apple makes is a Mango Applesauce. I just knew it would be perfect for a tropical-inspired cake!

Start by mixing 6 Tablespoons of all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.

In your microwave safe mug, stir together 6 Tablespoons milk, 2 Tablespoons of Wacky Apple Mango Applesauce, 1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla extract, and 1 Tablespoon grated coconut.

Add in a Tablespoon of crushed or fresh pineapple, then microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Let sit in the microwave for another 30 seconds before topping with whipped cream and a cherry.

I decided to finish my mug cake trio with a delicious rich chocolate mug cake.

Start with 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour, 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder in a microwave safe mug.

Stir in 3 Tablespoons milk, 3 Tablespoons of Wacky Apple Golden Applesauce, and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Finish with 1 Tablespoon of white chocolate chips. The golden applesauce adds great moisture to the cake without overpowering the chocolate flavor of it.

Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, let stand for 30 seconds, and then finish with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

These cakes are honestly really good plain, without the frosting or whipped topping… but who can resist the fun toppings, right?

Oh my… now THAT’s a mug cake. Or three.

So you’ve seen how easy eggless mug cakes are with the use of delicious applesauce… but let’s talk about Wacky Apple a little more.

If you’re a fan of fruit leather sort of things, you’ll love these flat fruits. I seriously don’t know who loves them more– me or my son. They’re actually a really wholesome snack and they’re really satisfying when you want something sweet. I love them, and they’re the perfect size for stashing in a purse to take to church for the kiddos, packing in a lunch box with a sticky note of affection, or bringing to the park with you.

Of course, I already shared the delicious applesauces with you.

And their juice? Let’s just say that not only does it taste good, but it’s REAL juice. And that’s really important when you’re giving kids juice! It should have real fruit in it, and Wacky Apple uses real fruit, not just artificial flavors and added sugar.

So now the fun part. Who wants to win a pack of Wacky Apple products for themselves? I mean, if you win, sharing with your family is totally optional, because trust me, I could eat Wacky Apple all the time if my son didn’t fight me for it. One lucky winner will get a Wacky Apple pack of their very own!

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me which Wacky Apple product shown you’d like to try the most, and you’re eligible to win! I’ll pick a winner on February 19 at 11:59pm Central time, and Wacky Apple will ship the prize to the winner.

 

So what are you waiting for? Get commenting!

 

Disclaimer: I received free Wacky Apple product in exchange for my honest review. However, all opinions above are my own honest opinions.

Prize info: Open to US residents 18 years or older. Contest ends February 19, 2014, 11:59pm Central Standard Time. Only one comment entry eligible per person. Prize Package contents may vary from the images shown above.

Grandma Sybil’s Banana Bread

Some recipes are worth a sore wrist from stirring. Some are worth doing the old-fashioned way. And I’ve found that, even though there are a million and one ways that you can be creative with food, it’s good to have some staples in your recipe collection that are tried-and-true. This banana bread meets all of those requirements.

I first encountered this recipe in the recipe boxes I inherited from my grandfather. A nondescript recipe handwritten on a stained and tattered card, it held a lot of promise, and I kept saying “I’ll make this sometime when I have bananas that need to be used before they turn.” However, when I finally got around to making the bread, I realized it was a recipe worth leaving on top of the stack. It’s a favorite in my home, and I’m certain it’ll be a favorite in yours.

Because this recipe has to cool overnight for easiest slicing, it’s a great bread to make, cool while you sleep, and slice for breakfast the next morning. And, it’s easy enough that you can make it any night of the week.

The recipe starts with sifting together 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of salt into one bowl.

In a small liquid measuring cup, you’ll want to put a tablespoon of vinegar, then fill it to 1/2 cup with milk. Set this aside for a few minutes. If you’d rather use buttermilk in place of the vinegar-milk mixture, you can– they’re essentially the same thing.

In a second bowl, cream 1/2 cup shortening, then slowly add 1 cup of sugar. To this, you’ll add two eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy after each.

Before you even start the recipe, it helps to bring eggs to room temperature. See, chilled eggs didn’t used to be an issue. Farm fresh eggs are shelf-stable, and don’t need to be refrigerated. Many farm-fresh eggs are stored at room temperature from the time you get them. In the UK, even store-bought eggs are kept unrefrigerated, completely shelf-stable. The difference between the UK and the US is that in the UK, ALL hens are required to be vaccinated for salmonella. However, in the United States, vaccinating hens is a choice– not a requirement. That’s why store-bought eggs in the US are suggested to be refrigerated. Additionally, in the United States, we’re serious about egg washing– which means in addition to washing off the dirt and grime from the freshly laid eggs, we’re also removing that barrier that helps prevent yucky stuff from getting into the eggs. Unfortunately, sometimes in cleaning, we add more dirt. It happens. Bringing them up to room temperature before baking, however, is totally safe.

So, you have a light and fluffy shortening-egg-sugar mixture. You also have a flour mixture, and a milk mixture. Finally, you’re going to make one last addition in a separate measuring cup– 1 cup of mashed bananas. It took 3 very ripe bananas to make a cup.

In small amounts, and alternating between them, add the flour mixture, the milk mixture, and the banana mixture, whisking/stirring after each addition as it continues to thicken from the flour. While I’m positive you could use a Kitchen-Aid or hand mixer, if Grandma Sybil was mixing by hand, so was I. I wanted to try this recipe as authentically as possible– making it just as she did.

Turn the batter into a greased bread tin, and bake for 60-70 minutes. Mine was done after 65 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the bread from the pan, cooling overnight, or at least for several hours, before slicing.

You can, of course, add chopped walnuts to your bread. I chose not to, since my family has enough nuts in it that adding more seemed counter-intuitive.

This bread is really good microwaved for another 10-20 seconds and spread with a little bit of fresh butter.

Once you try it, you’ll realize that it’s a staple recipe, worthy of a hand-written index card in your collection. Hopefully, over time, your copy will become as well-worn and loved as mine, covered in splatters and stains.

The recipe, as Sybil wrote it:

Banana Bread

2 cups sifted all purpose flour, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tbl (tablespoon) vinegar plus milk to make 1/2 cup
Broken pecans or walnuts (optional)

Method:

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Cream shortening, blend in sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with bananas and liquid, beating after each addition. Turn into greased bread tin and bake 60 minutes to 70 minutes or until done at 350. Remove from pan and cool several hours or overnight before slicing. Nuts can be added last.

 

Do you have a favorite old family recipe? Don’t forget, if you love this recipe, or hope to try it, you can pin it on Pinterest, or share it on Facebook to save it to your profile!