Cookie of the Week-White Chocolate Raspberry Macadamia Cookies

raspberry cookie collage

Why do children feel the need to make noise simply for the sake of making noise? Remember the “Most Annoying Sound in the World” from the movie Dumb and Dumber? How about the scene in Family Guy where little Stewie tries to  get his mother’s attention until she finally screams “WHAT!” only for him to just say hi?

That is my life right now.

On repeat.

Andrew is talking to his friend on the phone, making God-awful noises just for fun. Of course he definitely has earbuds stuck in his head, so he is practically screaming. I ask him how his friend’s can handle listening to him, then realize the kid on the other end of the phone is most likely doing the exact same thing, and his mother is probably getting ready to wring his neck. Sorta like I am right now.

Oh, and did you know Nina can say her sixes (multiplication tables)?

I do. She just told me. Twice. Really fast.

And she would like a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. No wait! A cookie. Nope. It’s gonna be ice cream.

I wonder why I can never finish a thought. Any ideas? Anyone?

Time lapse a few hours and it’s finally quiet.

Back to my original thought.  These delicious cookies.

I had picked up these raspberry filled white chocolate morsels from Nestle and couldn’t wait to put them in a cookie. This recipe went along with them and came out perfect. Crispy edges and a chewy center with lots of salty macadamias offset by the sweetness of white chocolate and hint of raspberry.

I made these send in the mail to a friend. They didn’t quite get there.

Don’t worry, I picked up another bag. Someone’s gonna get a tasty little package in the mail. Of course, you can make these at home and you won’t have to wait for the mail.

White Chocolate Raspberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® DelightFulls® White Morsels with Raspberry Flavored Filling

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*If omitting nuts, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

Enjoy!

Original Nestle recipe here

German Chocolate Cupcakes

 

german chocolate cupcake

I haven’t been very present lately, but there’s a good reason. I have been working behind the scenes trying to create a new look for the site, establishing a format, taking a photography course, researching, organizing and cooking.  Of course, while I’ve been doing that I’ve forgotten the most important part of blogging.

Uh duh, blogging.

Yep, posting actual content. Kinda important.

Even though the site is still under construction, I need to keep posting and one day you’ll pop over here and it will be all new and shiny and pretty and we’ll all smile and do a happy dance.

Until then…

So, one of the girls at the office was having a birthday and she had mentioned that German Chocolate cake was her absolute favorite.

I personally, had never had it before. Something about everything being brown turned me off I guess. Cakes are supposed to be pretty and colorful. Not brown and sticky and chunky.

Well, I took it as a challenge and since Ina is awesome at everything and has never let me down in the past, I chose her recipe as my initial venture into the world of German Chocolate.

Um, yeh. Brown, gooey, sticky, chunky, deeply chocolately and decadent DEE-LICIOUS!  I’m a fan.

The true test was the birthday girl, since it’s her fave, she really knows the good from the bad when it comes to this cake.

“This is the best frosting I have ever had!” and “Oh my God!” (said with mouth full and cheeks packed) really said it all.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
²/³ cup granulated sugar
²/³ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Coconut Frosting (recipe follows)

For the Coconut Frosting
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1¼ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 extra-large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 14 or 15 paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee.
  4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk and flour mixtures alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Be careful not to overmix! Fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s mixed.
  6. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. (I use a 2-inch ice cream scoop.) Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Coconut Frosting

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.Whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and egg yolks and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. If the mixture looks a bit curdled, beat it vigorously with a whisk. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut, almonds, pecans, and salt. Allow to cool for about an hour. Frost the cupcakes with a knife or small metal spatula. This makes a lot of frosting, so pile it high!

Enjoy!

Recipe as written from The Barefoot Contessa

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

banana cookies

At the behest of my daughter, last week I bought a beautiful, bright yellow bunch of bananas. With the promise of eating all of them because she wanted to be healthy.

It goes without saying that this week I have a bunch of old, brown, mushy bananas.

But the bag of Doritos is gone. Just sayin.

I hate tossing bananas. But I didn’t really feel like banana bread. Nor did I want a smoothie. I really wanted a cookie. Ok, I wanted several cookies. These babies called to me from the pages of my Cookies book. They are soft and cakey and not too sweet. The addition of the oats and nuts transform them into hearty little snacks similar to banana nut oatmeal. I usually use crunchy turbinado sugar on top of my banana bread, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit and sprinkle the cookie tops with coarse sea salt. Just a little.

That was the cherry on top! Or salt on top. Whatever. It gave them a little sumpin sumpin that took these right to the top of my fave list. I have been instructed never to make them again. They were that good.

Got rotten nanas?

Make. These. Cookies.

You’ll never want to make banana bread again.

Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces), toasted
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional (but really, you must)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.

  2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, space about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on tops. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheets and transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 3 days.

**Note…I had several bananas so I doubled this recipe and good thing because I may or may not have eaten a few of them.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Lemon Wreath Cookies and the 2015 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

wreath

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m talking about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! It’s when a group of amazing food bloggers get together for a truly wonderful cause, to raise money for Cookies for Kid’s Cancer.

Each year we bake three dozen cookies and send a dozen each to three different food bloggers. I’ve met some great friends and have gotten to eat some pretty dee-lish cookies!

This year, I received incredible treats from Candace at Nifty Spoon, Crystal at Chasing-Saturdays and Jess at The Pintertest Kitchen. Please hop over and check out their recipes.

I found this sweet edible golden, shimmery star glitter and had to use them on something. These were pretty and dainty and since I wanted something refreshing and not chocolaty, these were the perfect answer. They were pretty and buttery and tart and so refreshing. A definite addition to the holiday tray this year.

So thank you to Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for putting together such a “sweet” event!

Ingredients

FOR THE COOKIES
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

FOR THE GLAZE
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
Edible glitter or white nonpareils for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse sugar and zest in a food processor until combined, about 2 minutes.

Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Scoop 1 tablespoon dough (or use a 1 1/8-inch ice cream scoop), and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough.

Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.

Make the glaze: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze side up, and sprinkle with glitter or nonpareils. Let dry completely.

Enjoy!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Sour Cream Pie Crust

pie crust

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I can’t believe it’s next week. No really, my husband just told me it was next week. I’m in shock.

I can do without the traditional Thanksgiving meal. To me, it’s all about the pie. Fruit pies, cream pies, whatever. Except mincemeat *GACK*.

Of course, with everything else there is to do, the thought of a homemade pie crust can be daunting. Especially if you’ve never tried it.

It’s tempting to grab a pre-made pie crust from the refrigerated section. I’ve been guilty of that, I’ll admit it.

This crust has changed all that. It is by far one of the best pie crusts I have ever had. And I’ve tried quite a few. It is buttery and flaky and comes together quickly with no food processor. It goes against all the rules of  pie crust making. It doesn’t require you to keep  your ingredients super cold and doesn’t use any ice water. It comes together with the warmth of your hands and sour cream.

If you’ve never made your own pie crust. I am challenging you to give this recipe a try. You will be forever converted. I promise.

What kind of pies are you making this Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear.

Sour Cream Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (260 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar (for sweet recipes, skip for savory)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cups, 8 ounces, 225 g) cubed, not chilled
  • 1/2 cup (115 ml) sour cream (full fat, NOT light sour cream)

Directions

1 Place the cubed, unsalted butter in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes to take the chill off

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar (if using).

3 Sprinkle the cubes of butter over the flour. Use your hands to work the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal with some chunks of butter.

4 Add the sour cream to the flour/butter mixture and incorporate with a fork.

5 Gather the pastry dough into a large ball and split in half with a knife. Form into 2 flattened disk, sprinkle with flour and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour of up to a day ahead. To freeze, wrap again in aluminum foil. To thaw, leave in refrigerator overnight.

6  To roll out, sprinkle a clean, flat surface with a little flour. As you roll, lift and turn dough and sprinkle a little more flour so dough doesn’t stick. Roll out to 12 to 14 inches wide, to an even thickness.

7  Place in your pie plate, crimp and blind bake or use as a double-crust pie according to your pie recipe. Before baking, brush with an egg wash. Whisk one egg with a teaspoon of water and brush gently over crust immediately before baking.

This is a great dough for savory pies as well. It makes a great chicken pot pie.

This recipe makes enough dough for a top and bottom crust for a 9-inch pie. If you are making a 10-inch pie, use 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces, 1  1/4 cup) butter for a double crust, or 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) butter for a single crust.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Dough chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes dough for 2 single crusts, or 1 double crust

Recipe from Simply Recipes

Dulce de Leche Shortbread Bars

dulce de leche bars

I love making bars. You really can’t get much easier. As we get into the holiday season, bars are where it’s at! They make great additions to your cookie trays with very little effort.

Here’s another simple, yummy dessert from the Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Cookbook from Jennifer at Bake or Break.

I had just made some Dulce de Leche, just because I found out how and had to do it immediately to see if was true (more on that later) and saw these in my new favorite cookbook. For real, I have every page flagged. And, I had to make them. I really shouldn’t have. Actually, I really should have given them away, because, well you know why. I didn’t share them like good neighbor or decent human being. Nope! Not this girl! I may or may not have even lied to my daughter and told her they were gross and I had to throw them in the trash.

I spent yesterday at the gym repenting  for my sins.

It was worth it.

These bars of buttery shortbread crust layered with dulce de leche and semisweet chocolate to balance out the sweetness make these bars look difficult, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Very little work for loads of flavor!

These will be a great addition to your holiday table or your own guilty pleasure.

Ingredients
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 can dulce de leche
9 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish. Line the pan with parchment paper so it overhangs the short ends of the pan about 2 inches.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined

reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour and salt, until just combined.

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the cooled crust and refrigerate 20 minutes or until set.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power in 30-second increments until the chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth and allow cool for several minutes. Then spread evenly over the top of the dulce de leche layer. Smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until set.

Use the overhanging parchment to lift out of the dish and onto a cutting board. Cut into bars with a sharp knife.

Squash and Spinach Lasagna

squash lasagna

I was looking through the October issue of Martha Stewart while flying home from Disney world. I had saved it just for the trip. Usually I race to the mailbox, make a cup of tea, grab my post it notes and make a night out of it. So it was tough to put it aside. But I was glad I had something to keep me busy on the flight.

Autumn is my most favorite time of year. I love the assortment of squashes and pumpkins you can find at the farms. They are so colorful and versatile and I was immediately drawn to the squash recipes in that issue. I proceeded to flag every single recipe in the article.

I decided to tackle the lasagna first because I dig layered food. Really, now who doesn’t love a good lasagna,trifle or seven layer dip for that matter. There are so many flavors all layered into one pretty, little, delicious package.

We Are Not Martha dished up another recipe from that article that I debated on trying. It was a toss-up. Looks like I’ll have to try it now though because it looks super delish and healthy. My new job frowns on yoga pants and Halloween hit me pretty hard.

Ok, back to lasagna.

Creamy, rich bechamel with bright, sweet autumn squash, earthy spinach and mild ricotta layered and topped with melted, savory Gruyere cheese was a perfect combination. A comforting Fall spin on an Italian classic dish.

Although there were quite a few ingredients, I was able to do all the prep work the day before assembling the dish. I roasted the squash and prepared the bechamel and filling (omitting the egg), then let each cool before refrigerating and storing in separate containers in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I mixed the egg into the filling, assembled and baked.

All in all it was actually pretty easy. And worth it. Honestly, no one else in the house enjoyed it. But any kind of vegetable sends them running for the hills. So don’t pay any attention to them.

I loved it! So more for me! Since even I can’t eat an entire lasagna, I cut it into individual servings and wrapped each and put in the freezer. I took it to work this morning and let it thaw in the fridge then heated it in the microwave and it was just as good, if not better than day one. SCORE!

INGREDIENTS

SQUASH

  • 1 medium butternut squash (3 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

BECHAMEL

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, minced (1/2 cup)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, plus more if necessary

FILLING

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (10 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg

LASAGNA

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles (12 sheets)
  • Coarse salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for baking sheet
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well to remove excess liquid (1 1/4 cups packed)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, stir squash,  butter and salt and pepper to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on a baking large baking sheet. Roast until tender (approximately) 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven, place in a bowl and mash (not puree). Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

  2. Bechamel: Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer; cook 3 minutes. (You should have 4 cups; add more milk if necessary.)

  3. Filling: Stir together ricotta, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere, and Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in egg.

  4. Lasagna: Cook noodles in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, gently stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 6 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain. Rinse under cold water and lay noodles flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet to drain. (Do not let them touch.)

  5. Spread 1 cup bechamel in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Dot with one-third of filling. Spread with half of squash, then spinach. Spread 1 cup bechamel over spinach. Top with 4 more noodles, one-third of filling, remaining squash, 1 cup bechamel, and layer of remaining 4 noodles. Finish with remaining filling and bechamel. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere.

  6. Cover lasagna with parchment-lined foil and bake until heated through and bubbling at edges, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn oven to broil, remove foil, and broil until golden brown in spots and bubbling, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Trick or Treat Cookies

TOT Cookies

So, here we are. A few days post Halloween. Kids are coming down off their sugar highs. Costumes have been discarded into a heap in a dark corner of the closet and there is a giant bucket of candy sitting on the counter.

Calling my name.

“LEEEEEESA!”

“You know you can’t resist my chocolaty goodness!”

And I really can’t. They know me so well. Especially those Almond Joys. It takes every ounce of willpower to resist them. I fail most of the time. Just ask my jeans.

That’s why they have to go. Even though I love them so. If you are picturing me as Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, eagerly wringing his hands together, wide-eyed and drooling, I would say that would be an accurate interpretation.

Fortunately, school was having a bake sale and I thought, hmmm I’ll just throw them all in and see what happens. It would be a win-win.

KitKat…good
Hershey Bar…good
White Chocolate KitKat…good
Reese’s…good
Reese’s Pieces…good

All together in a chewy cookie dough…Real good!

candy
I used a basic dough and simply loaded it with coarsely chopped candy bars and the result was delicious. These got rave reviews. They were thin and chewy with slightly crisp edges and loaded with chocolate.

Oh yeh, and I got to say farewell to those bite size diet busters. If you’re a brownie fan, check this one out too. You’ll be candy free in no time.

Trick or Treat Cookies
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 c. chopped miscellaneous chocolate candy**

Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually add dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in candy.
Drop by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on baking sheets for a 2-3 minutes then remove to wire rack to complete cooling.

**I usually press some of the candy onto the top of the cookie before baking. M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces are great for that

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Apple Crumb Bars and a Giveaway

apple crumb bar

I got the bestest cookbook in the mail the other day. The BESTEST! Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking from one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer McHenry at Bake or Break.

Jennifer and I have become friendly and I’ve got to say, she is awesome. She is so sweet. So helpful and so amazingly talented. I have been a huge fan of her site since like, forever. Her recipes are simple (and you know how I feel about simple recipes) and absolutely scrumptious.

I was beyond the moon excited when she asked me if I wanted to receive a copy of her book to try out. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I had already pre-ordered it but the fact that she wanted to share a copy with me made me swoon.

That being said, here’s the down and dirty tale of what’s been going down around here over the past few months, which I promise will bring you back full circle.

Kay, so we sold our house to a couple down the street. It just so happened that they wanted a bigger home and we wanted a smaller one. So, yup, you guessed it, we swapped. Isn’t that an HGTV show or something? Well, it should be.

So within a month we packed and moved. Two days after the move we left for a week at Disney that I had been planning for over a year. It was a bit stressful, I’ve got to tell but at least the stress of the actual move was behind us and I could go on my vacation without the thought of that looming over my head.

We had a wonderful vacation, but decided to come home a day early to get a jump on the week ahead. The upcoming week was going to be a bit stressful too.

Why you ask?

Well, the week before we moved, was the last week at my job. A job I had been at for over 20 years. I had been looking for something for almost two years and had almost given up when I was called for an interview. Then a second interview. Then an offer. Honestly, I was in shock. The timing of everything was crazy! New house, vacation and new job all in a 3 week period of time. These are three major life issues I was tackling all at once!

I know it was all positive and wonderful changes, but all at once was a bit much! Whilst this was all going on ( I love using the word whilst, don’t you?), there were technology issues. No phone, no voicemail, no email. As if that weren’t bad enough, I actually didn’t know I had these issues. I could receive emails but couldn’t respond to them. Which would’ve been ok (sort of, but not really) if I knew all the emails I was responding to were getting stuck in the outbox and never getting to anyone.

Which leads me back to Jennifer. Told you I’d get there.

Her publisher had reached out to me to send me a copy of her book before it went on sale. So I enthusiastically said “Oh my God YES! Absolutely! Without a doubt! Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! I can’t hardly wait! Here’s my new address!”

Then I was off to Disney, anxiously awaiting a package on my steps when I returned. But there was none *tear.

I didn’t hear from her, so I waited patiently (not) for my copy to come in the mail. I didn’t want to bug Jennifer, she was a busy new author, traveling and signing books and living in the spotlight and all.

I had ordered my own copy before Jennifer had asked to send me one, so at least I had my own copy to test out. And I certainly have been testing it out. Starting with these amazing Apple Crumb Bars. I really think I ate the entire batch myself. I’m a stress eater, what can I tell you and DANG they were yummy. So buttery and apple-y. And I got to use up a bunch of apples we had picked.

Because I love this book. And because Jennifer is so awesome. And because my life is starting to feel somewhat normal again. I’m going to share a copy of Jennifer’s book with one lucky reader.

Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and it might be you!

And just to wet your whistle a little, here is the recipe for Apple Crumb Bars.

Enjoy!

Apple Crumb Bars

For the Crust and Crumb Topping
2  1/2 c (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c (120g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For the Filling
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped or sliced
1/2 c. (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbls (28g) unsalted butter
2 tsp (5g) ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9x13x2 inch baking pan.

To make the Crust and Crumb Topping
Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the butter, and mix with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is combined and crumbly. It should hold together when pinched.

Reserve about a cup of the crust mixture for the topping. Press the remaining crust mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes and set aside.

To make the Filling

Place the apples, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a skillet and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is soft and bubbly.

Spread the filling evenly over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top of the filling.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the edges and topping are golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before cutting into bars.

Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway