Thursday, 31 July 2014

Homemade Granola Bars {a Running to Bake FAVE}

I can't believe I haven't told you guys about these. I've been making these bad boys for over 4 years now. They are my absolute FAVOURITE granola bar, they are SO easy to make & they're perfect for putting in your purse, tucking in a lunch bag and having on hand for when hunger attacks! They aren't the healthiest thing, but they're a lot better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store!

I came across this recipe 4 years ago when I was really, really struggling with my eating (more so than I am now, if you can believe it). My boyfriend (now husband) and I had just moved out together and the food we were making often came from a can, a box or the freezer. I knew this wasn't the way I wanted to eat, but I didn't really know where to start.

Enter my friend: her family was in the middle of doing the 100 mile diet and she had to be VERY creative with what they ate. Her kids were also VERY active and got hungry a lot, so she had to have homemade snacks on hand all the time. She said one of her favourite things to make was granola bars!

GRANOLA BARS! What hadn't I thought of that? Of course you can make your own granola bars. The next day, I googled "homemade granola bars" and found the recipe I'm going to tell you about. The result? Ah-mazing! So good in fact, my husband requested them all the time, along with his friends when they came over. The best part is you can add almost anything you like to this recipe to make them healthier or more chocolate-y or more nutty, etc.

Looking back on it now, I think it is safe to say, this recipe really re-ignited by love for baking. Before this, I had pretty much stopped baking entirely, but once I made these, I remembered how much I loved it. So here you have it folks, the granola bars that changed my life!

Homemade Granola Bars

4 & 1/2 cups large flake oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan & set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey & brown sugar with a wooden spoon. Stir in the chocolate chips (and any other mixin's you might have) until everything is evenly combined.

Press the mixture into your prepared pan. You want to make sure it is packed in, nice and tight. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until the top is a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. NOTE: this is the ONE time I actually wait the full time to allow to cool, it is very important with these to wait, otherwise they will crumble

Cut into bars & allow to completely cool before you remove (see note above, same applied here).

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, in the freezer for a couple months!



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls + Glaze

So, I have this weird fear of working with dough. More specifically, any dough that needs time to rise. I'm always worried - what if I don't leave it for long enough, too long, what if the water is too hot, not hot enough, etc. etc. Plus, it takes a lot of time & I'm not exactly patient (nor is my taste tester), so I typically don't try dessert recipes that require rising or really any waiting time.

Until I saw these "Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls" on Pinterest. I simply couldn't pass by these beautiful looking things without taking a closer look. I even couldn't resist them when I saw how much time they took. Plus, I haven't done much baking recently, so I decided to go all out. Hashtag Yolo...or whatever.

Man, these things are GOOOOOOOD. I'll have to admit, I don't really get a "cake batter" vibe from them, but even still, they are worth every second spent on them.You also MUST make the glaze. It takes them from "This are really good" to "AJNFKSJN!##!(U@!!!!!!!"

Be warned - these take time, so this is not a good last minute dessert to whip up before a BBQ (as I may or may not have tried to do). Also, it's a little bit tedious working with the dough, rolling it up and cutting it, but after a couple tries, you'll be a pro!

Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls + Glaze

For the dough:
1 cup milk (any)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 & 1/2 tbsp active yeast (2 packets)
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt 
4 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting/rolling)

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp dry milk powder (any will do)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, cold & cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sprinkles
6 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla

First, we make the dough. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is lukewarm (make sure not to scald the milk, that will cause problems with the yeast). Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Manually stir in the white sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit for about 5 minutes (or until the mixture is nice and foamy). Manually stir in the butter and eggs with a whisk. Attach the dough hook and set to medium speed while you slowly add the flour. Once all added, scrape down the sides and turn to medium high speed. Let the mixer knead for about 6 minutes. 

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands for about 2 minutes. Form into a ball and set in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 - 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper making sure there is extra at the ends. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 10 x 24 inch rectangle. It is important that the dough has even thickness and is nice and smooth. 

Now we make the filling. In a food processor, combine sugar, flour, milk powder and salt. Process for 10 seconds. Add the butter and chop for another 10 seconds. Add vanilla and process again until the mixture is crumbly. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the sprinkles. 

Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle cinnamon over top. Sprinkle 3/4 of the filling you just made over top (there will be some left, head over to Sally's blog to check out how to use the leftovers). 

Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24 inch log. Using a sharp knife, slice the rolls into about 1.5" pieces (will make about 15 rolls) and place in your prepared pan, filling side up. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 2 hours (or even overnight if you want to make them for breakfast!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover rolls with tinfoil and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer your pan to a cooling rack and let sit for 15 minutes. 

To make the glaze - whisk together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla. Add milk or icing sugar to reach your desired texture. Drizzle over buns and serve warm!

Store unglazed buns in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. Microwave for 30 seconds and add glaze before serving.



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Apple Crumble Muffins

WARNING: The recipe you are about to read is extremely delicious. Also, these muffins are beyond addicting. There is nothing "clean" or healthy about them, but they are SO GOOD I couldn't resist sharing them with you! They are best served fresh out of the oven with some cinnamon coffee but they are also delicious warmed up in the micro for about 20 seconds a couple days later.

Either way...these are to DIE for!

Apple Crumble Muffins

For the Crumble Topping:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all purpose flour

For the muffins:
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 & 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples (I used Granny Smith)

First, we make the crumb topping: in a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Add in the flour and "chop" in with a spatula. You want the topping to be thick and crumbly. I found I needed to add a bit more flour to achieve this consistency. Set aside.  
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 14 liners. 

Next, the muffins!: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachement (or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer) beat the butter until it is nice a fluffy (about 1 minute). Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or until fully creamed together. Scrape down the sides of bowl and bottom a couple times just to make sure everything is fully integrated. 

Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes or until everything is combined evenly. Again, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl a couple times.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together with a whisk. Add the milk and gently combine with the whisk. Fold in the apples with a wooden spoon. 

Spoon the batter between the 14 liners, filling them almost all the way to the top. Press a generous amount of the crumb topping on each. Don't be shy with this, this is one of my favorite parts of the muffin!

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for about 18-20 minutes, watching them after the 18 minute mark. I took mine out a little early, but if you want a really dark golden crumbly top, leave in for the 20 minutes. 

Remove and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Truth be told, we ate one RIGHT away and it was sooooooooo good. 


- Lisa