Monday, November 21, 2016

Bake it Better with Miss Jones Challenge

What inspires you to bake during the holidays? Bake up a treat of your choice using Miss Jones baking mix and/or frosting, and they will donate $1 to the SF-Marin Food Bank. Just use the hashtag #betterwithmissjones on social media or visit their website for more info at Your creativity is the secret ingredient! Great ideas could include candy cane Christmas cookies, maple cheesecake brownies, chocolate cake waffles, or any other tasty treats you can conjure. Miss Jones also offers tons of inspiration online at  Now, go check it out and get entered to WIN!

It's that time of year again - Baking Season! I was recently introduced to Miss Jones Baking Co. and I want to share them with you, too! Not only are their baking mixes and frostings totally delicious, they're certified organic, non-GMO, plant-based, responsibly sourced, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. That's serious baking firepower! Check out what I made with the mixes I received:

Chocolate Chunk Orange and Gingerbread Spiced Cookies
Chocolate Chunk Orange and Gingerbread Spiced Cookies

 Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting

Seriously Delicious! The first is a riff on my Orange Gingerbread and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and the second was totally Holiday inspired and the kids loved both! These were both made with Miss Jones Chocolate Cake Mix which is deep, rich and moist!

Between November 11 and December 23, Miss Jones Baking Co. is holding the Bake-it-Better Challenge, which gives you the chance to win a Grand Prize worth over $1,500—including a $1,000 gift card, the full line of Miss Jones products, a KitchenAid Mixer, William-Sonoma Goldtouch Baking Set, Scharffen Berger Chocolates, and much more!

Plus, every entry means $1 donated to the SF-Marin Food Bank  All of my readers know how close to my heart fighting hunger is, so if for no other reason, please do this very sweet thing for those less fortunate!

It's super easy to participate:

Step 1: Bake something fantastic using a Miss Jones baking mix or frosting. Get creative—ideas like pumpkin cake bars, chocolate and pecan cupcakes, maple and walnut sugar cookies. The Miss Jones website [] has great inspiration, and using one of their mixes makes it super easy (and yummy, obvies).

Step 2: Take a photo of your beautiful treat and post it to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #betterwithmissjones. If you're submitting via Instagram, be sure to tag @missjonesco, too! If you're submitting via Facebook, be sure to post your entry directly onto the official Miss Jones Baking Co. Facebook page [].

To learn more about the contest, go to:

Disclosure: Thank you to Miss Jones Baking Co. for providing cake mixes, frosting and other goodies! All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by free product.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells

Many moons ago I had the privilege of working for Disney on several of their websites. This is a recipe that was on in 2008. 

This fun recipe is perfect for this time of year. From harvest time to Halloween to Thanksgiving, these little pies are both cute and delicious. My mother has made them for dinners and she uses the tiny gourds that look just like pumpkins. Gourds are certainly edible, but can be very bitter. Moms were always wonderful, but I've decided to use mini pumpkins for these. Mini pumpkins are available just about everywhere right now and you'll need ones the size of a medium orange for this.

Corn syrup is not so good for us, so I've replaced it with golden syrup, a pure cane sugar derivative that is sold in most stores under the Lyle's label.

Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4


4 mini pumpkins - each the size of an orange
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Lyle's golden syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Cut the tops from each pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
2. Place pumpkins, cut side down, on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
4. While pumpkins are baking, get the pie mix together.
5. Combine syrup, brown sugar and eggs. Mix until well blended.
6. Add pecans and extract. Blend.
7. Remove pumpkins from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.*
8. Pour any excess water from pumpkins and pat insides dry with paper toweling.*
9. Fill each pumpkin with pie mix to just below the top - about 1/2 cup for each.
10. Bake for 30 minutes until set.
11. Let cool before serving.

Notes: *These steps are very important. Squash are full of water and baking them brings this out. If you do not let the pumpkins cool and remove the excess water, the pie will not set.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfaits with Gingersnap Granola

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait with Gingersnap Granola

What happens when you get a big, beautiful box of fun stuff from Cabot? You create! As soon as the most recent box hit my doorstep I was in the zone and knew exactly what I would make: Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits. Pumpkin yogurt is relatively new to the market, and as always I'm looking for ways to make things my own. My kids love yogurt with toppings and several of them can never get enough pumpkin pie, so I combined what I think it's a truly delicious version.

Cabot's Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt is absolutely to-die-for! My kids got their hands on it after I had made this parfait and it was gone in mere minutes. It's the creamiest version of Greek yogurt I've had this far and paired with the pumpkin and spice flavors, it was a knockout hit! I wound up making these again in a couple days' time at the kids' request.

This is so easy to make, I'll give instructions for one parfait with instructions for a full batch of Gingersnap Granola. Ready?

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait
Serves 1


1 cup Cabot Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup pumpkin pie mix*
A couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice - or about 1/8 teaspoon


1. Stir pumpkin pie spice into yogurt and spoon 1/2 cup into a small dish or mason jar if packing for later.
2. Spoon pumpkin pie mix over yogurt and top with last 1/2 cup of yogurt.
3. Top with Gingerbread Granola (recipe below) or put granola in a BNTO cup from Cuppow and seal with a lid.
4. Eat in layers or stir it up, either way is delicious!

*Pumpkin pie mix contains pumpkin puree, spices, and sugar. You can make your own by adding sugar and spices to pumpkin puree to your liking.

Gingersnap Granola

Now for the granola. I didn't use molasses for this as I found it to be overwhelming in granola that already contains gingersnaps. The maple syrup is milder and more complementary to the cookies and oats.

Gingersnap Granola

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling time
Serves: Makes 6 cups


4 cups rolled oats ("old fashioned"-not instant or quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies-about 20 (Do not pulverize to crumbs, leave larger pieces)
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice**
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup oil (I used olive)
1 cup maple syrup (Please, please use real syrup! This is thinner than artificial syrup and the taste is milder)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together oats, crushed cookies, nuts, and spices in a large bowl.
3. Blend maple syrup and oil and pour over oat mixture.
4. Stir together until everything is well coated and spread evenly on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and stir well. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and beginning to dry.
6. Cool for half an hour before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

**Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and/or allspice.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

No-Knead Cheesy Bread

I adore bread. I don't eat a lot of it because of health issues, but boy do I love the stuff. Cheesy bread? Yeah, even that much more. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour along with Cabot Cheese and it's the BOMB. So easy to make you'll find yourself doing this a couple times a week. The possibilities are endless and endlessly delicious!

I added Cabot Sharp Cheddar and Pickled Jalapeños to one loaf and Cabot Orne Meadows Cheddar, Spanish olives and black pepper to another. Total YUM!

King Arthur and Cabot Cheesy Bread
Cabot Sharp Cheddar and Pickled Jalapeños

Cabot Sharp Cheddar and Pickled Jalapeños
Cabot Orne Meadows Cheddar, Spanish olives and black pepper

Cabot Orne Meadows Cheddar, Spanish olives and black pepper

Risen No-Knead Dough

Cheese and chiles

One regular loaf - just as delicious!

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

5 mins. to 10 mins.

30 mins. to 40 mins.

4 hrs 35 mins. to 7 days 50 mins.

3 or 4 loaves, depending on size

The most basic of all no-knead loaves, this is a wonderful way to get into yeast-bread baking. The easy stir-together dough rests in your refrigerator, developing flavor all the time, till you're ready to bake. About 90 minutes before you want to serve bread, grab a handful of dough, shape it, let it rise, then bake for 30 minutes. The result? Incredible, crusty artisan-style bread. If you're a first-time bread-baker, you'll never believe this bread came out of your own oven. And even if you're a seasoned bread baker, you'll love this recipe's simplicity.

3 cups lukewarm water
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour* or Organic All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
1 cup diced or shredded Cabot Cheese
1/4 cup other mix-in if desired - make sure it's mostly dry or drained very well!
* See "tips" below


Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, "lukewarm" means about 105°F, but don't stress over getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; "OUCH, that's hot!" is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.
Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.

Next, you're going to let the dough rise. If you've made the dough in a plastic bucket, you're all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you've made the dough in a bowl that's not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it's going to rise a lot. There's no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it's time to bake bread.

Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you're pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it'll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it'll rise, then fall. That's OK; that's what it's supposed to do.

When you're ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It'll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.

Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface. Knead 1 cup diced or shredded Cabot cheddar into the dough and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don't fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.

Place the loaf on a piece of parchment (if you're going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking.

Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rests. If you're using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2" deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that's OK, it'll pick right up in the hot oven.
Place the bread in the oven — onto the baking stone, if you're using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it's on a pan — and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It'll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Tips from our bakers
  • The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe. If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups. Most accurate of all (and guaranteed to give you the best results), if you measure flour by weight, use 32 ounces. Using the same ratio/measuring, you can make a half-recipe if you prefer. While it's great to have dough on hand, it's fine to make less.
  • Want to try this with whole wheat flour? You can absolutely make up to half of the total flour whole wheat, either our Premium or white whole wheat flours. Add an additional 2 teaspoons water per cup of whole wheat flour to prevent the dough from being too dry.
  • Would it be better to use bread flour here? Bread flour has more gluten-forming protein, so if you choose to use it in this recipe, the crust will be a bit thicker and you won't get quite the same open-holed structure as with all-purpose. We really prefer the texture of both crust and crumb when all-purpose flour is used. If you do use bread flour, increase the water by about 2 teaspoons per cup of flour to make the requisite sticky dough.

Our thanks to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, whose wonderful book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," is the inspiration for this recipe.

Disclosure:   Much thanks to King Arthur Flour and Cabot Cooperative Creamery for the beautiful box of products and recipe! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pepperidge Farm Swirl Breads

Who doesn't love Pepperidge Farm Swirl Breads? Here's the thing, if you loved it before, you'll
love it even more now with a new wider slice and more cinnamon! For now it's Cinnamon Swirl and
Raisin Cinnamon Swirl, but let's cross everything we've got that this will soon include the
seasonal breads, as well!

To celebrate this new yumminess Pepperidge Farm is sharing this delicious recipe. I made mine with plain cream cheese and raspberry preserves, but check out the end of the recipe for alternatives!

Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread French Toast Waffle Sandwiches
Prepares 4 Sandwiches


8 slices   Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread
8 oz.  Cream Cheese
8 tablespoons    Jelly or jam of your choice
1/2 cup  Milk
5 each   Eggs
1 teaspoon   Vanilla
½ teaspoon  Cinnamon


1. Preheat a waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions
2. Divide Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread slices, spread cream cheese on half of the slices, and jelly on the other half then combine into sandwiches.
3. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are thoroughly combined, add milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
4. Dip the sandwiches in the egg/milk batter and allow to soak for 30 seconds.
5. Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray, place sandwiches in waffle iron, close lid and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Remove sandwiches from toaster and serve with maple syrup or your favorite yogurt as a topping.

Alternative Fillings: Banana with Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, Cream Cheese and Strawberries, Peanut Butter and Banana, Ham and Swiss Cheese, Apple slices and Cheddar cheese