Cream Cheese Rice Krispie Treats

If you’ve read this blog for more than a post or two, you’ll notice that I have a love for desserts and sweet things to share with friends and family. If it’s a weakness then I’m just fine with that, but one of my very favorite treats is the simple rice krispie (cereal) treat. For those who aren’t family with these treats, and I say shame on you, they’re a combination of rice krispie cereal, butter, a little salt and vanilla and melted marshmallow. It all comes together in a sticky, gooey treat with a great crunch.I love them, though I have to warn that eating too many in a short period of time can make the inside of your mouth rather raw.

Anyway, in the last few months I’ve seen a lot of variations on the classic treat. Some recipes encourage using other cereals, or other varieties of rice cereals and there are some of these options that I’ve really come to like. In particular I like the combination of Rice Krispies and Fruity Pebbles (Dino nuggets, whatever variety you like to purchase) as it adds a fruity flavor and some color to the mix.

Most recently though my sweetheart found a recipe for a treat that had a layer of krispie treats on the bottom topped with a white chocolate cream cheese layer and beautiful blueberry topping. So we had to try it and we LOVED the final result, even though we made some changes with Ultra Gel and topped everything with our JinaJ raspberry jam. The creamy topping is a great contrast to the cereal bars and the raspberry gives the whole thing a fruity, tart punch.

So while I can’t say that I’ll stop trying other recipes for this cereal treat, I can say that this one certainly falls in the top 10. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

Krispie Treats

Cream Cheese, Raspberry Rice Krispie Treats

Krispie layer:

1/4 cup butter

1 10.5 ounce pkg of mini marshmallows

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

4-5 cups Rice Krispie cereal (Generic is fine too)

Cheesecake layer:

8 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces white chocolate, melted

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon milk, if needed

Raspberry layer:

1 cup raspberry jam (we like the jam in a jiffy freezer jam)

Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Melt 1/4 cup butter with salt and vanilla in microwave. Add marshmallows and microwave an additional minute until marshmallows are melty and easy to stir. Add cereal and stir to combine. Pour out into prepared pan and press cereal down evenly. (It helps if your hands are a little bit wet or have a little cooking spray on them.)

In a stand mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla, beating smooth again. Add chocolate, powdered sugar, Ultra Gel and a dash of salt and beat until smooth and fluffy. Pour over krispy layer and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Microwave jam for 10-15 seconds until it is very smooth. Pour over bars and allow to cool.

Cut and serve!

Decadent Devil’s Foodcake

This month two of the wonderful men in my life (our oldest boy and my husband both have birthdays), additionally two of our good friends have April birthdays. So this weekend we did an Easter and birthday celebration! For this celebration it was decided that we needed the cake of all cakes (according to my husband) a dark, decadent, devilish Devil’s Foodcake. We love this cake. It’s rich and moist and can easily be frozen so you can enjoy it over an entire week. It’s a devil’s foodcake that goes hand in hand with chocolate icing, or cream cheese icing or butter cream or can just be eaten plain. Just make sure you get all the crumbs!

The original recipe started with our hero Alton Brown, but it’s undergone a few changes including the addition of Ultra Gel for that freezing and staying power I mentioned before.

And yes…one of these cakes is a bunny! It’s Easter, there has to be a bunny!

Decadent Devil’s Foodcake

1 cup boiling water

4 ounces dutch-process cocoa

8 ounces brown sugar

2 ounces molasses

4 ounces cake flour

6 ounces flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup applesauce

4 1/2 ounces sour cream

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder until well combined. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Combine sugar, molasses, flours, baking soda, salt and Ultra Gel in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well. In a separate container combine oil, apple sauce, sour cream, eggs and egg yolk. Add oil mixture to cocoa mixture. With the mixer on low add chocolate mixture to dry ingredients. Beat for 30-45 seconds. Scrape down the sides and beat for an additional 30 seconds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before depanning (if desired). Top with icing or serve with ice cream, or both, we won’t judge!

Jam in a Jiffy Strawberry Pie

A few days ago I gave you a recipe for a wonderful fast Strawberry Pie. Someone asked if it was possible to make this same pie using jam in a jiffy in the gel versus the recipe given. The answer to that is a resounding yes. :) The results are very similar but it’s a great way to use through your jam in a jiffy if you want to split it and use part for jam and part for strawberry pie. I don’t see anything bad about either of these things!

In other news a big shout out to our friends at the Petersen Family Farm who are now carrying jam in a jiffy side by side with their wonderful fruit offerings. The farm is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and they really are some of the most awesome people we know. It takes a lot of work to keep a farm going in the middle of the city and they do a great job.

fresh strawberry pie

Jam in a Jiffy Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

1-1.5 pounds of fresh strawberries, sliced (1 pound for a 9 inch crust, 1.5 or more for a 10 inch crust or a deep dish)

1 1/2 cups dry jam in a jiffy mix

1 package strawberry Kool Aid

2 cups water

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

Combine jam in a jiffy mix, kool aid and water and mix until jam in a jiffy is complete dissolved. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium set. You can add more or less water depending on the set you desire. So start with a little less than you think you need, see how it sets and then add more a little at a time.

Fold gel into strawberries until desired ratio of gel to berry is achieved. Pour coated berries into pie crust and top with whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This doesn’t cut really crisp, but it tastes amazing!

Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

One of the sure signs of spring, at least in this neck of the woods, is when the strawberries return to the store fronts. They will also return to my garden, but that’s admittedly closer to summer. Anyway…there are strawberries and I was fortunate enough to find a sale where I could get a full flat of 8 pounds for $7.49! Around here that’s a fantastic price so I got a full flat. Having a full flat lead to deciding that there must be fresh strawberry pie in our house, and fortunately with Ultra Gel it only takes 5 minutes.

Now, a couple of notes before I share the recipe. First of all the recipe calls for sliced strawberries. How sliced you want them is upto you. If you like a chunkier pie then cut your strawberries in halves or quarters. Otherwise slices or even diced will work just fine. It’s all according to your taste. Secondly this pie is an oddball as far as how long it keeps. The problem is that when the strawberries are refrigerated they tend to weep and this adds a lot of moisture to the glaze which will end up thinner than when you started. You can combat this by either making your initial gel thicker knowing it will thin down a little, or by cutting the strawberries and letting them sit in the fridge for upto an hour to pull the moisture out (which you then drain off and use, don’t waste strawberry juice!) before adding the gel, or by eating the pie all at once as soon as you make it. That last option is my favorite!

And make sure to always top off with lots of Ultra Gel Whipping Cream and a strawberry fan for flair.

fresh strawberry pie

Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

1-1.5 pounds of fresh strawberries, sliced (1 pound for a 9 inch crust, 1.5 or more for a 10 inch crust or a deep dish)

1 cups sugar

1 package strawberry Kool Aid

2 cups water

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

10 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine sugar, kool aid and water and mix until sugar is complete dissolved. Whisk in Ultra Gel one tablespoon at a time until completely combined. This will give you a medium set. You can add more or less Ultra Gel to taste, but remember Ultra Gel will keep thickening for 3-5 minutes after you stop adding more. So start with a little less than you think you need, see how it sets and then add more a little at a time.

Fold gel into strawberries until desired ratio of gel to berry is achieved. Pour coated berries into pie crust and top with whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This doesn’t cut really crisp, but it tastes oh so good!

St Patrick’s Poppy Seed Muffins

A few weeks back I promised to share an excellent recipe for Poppy Seed Muffins. This week seemed a perfect time to do that, and given that it’s St Patrick’s Day I opted to make them green! My daughter thought it was really fun to have green muffins. I’m not sure most of the rest of the household cared as long as it tasted good.

I like these muffins as they’re soft and moist with a little crunch of poppy seeds, but they’re not overly sweet. So if you’re a big fan of a cakey sweet muffin you’d need to add a lot more sugar in order to get the flavor you’re looking for. One of the other sneaky health factors of these muffins is that they are made partially with oat flour which increases the fiber, but melts away into the batter so you can’t even tell.

The food coloring is optional but fun for a holiday. I’ve made these for Easter in mini size in a bunch of colors and that turned out very effective too. I like to serve these with fresh jam or marmalade.

Poppy Seed Muffin

Poppy Seed Muffins

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon extract

4 Tablespoons oil

4 Tablespoons applesauce

3/4 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup oat flour

4 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 tsp poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add vanilla, extract and sugar to eggs and beat until smooth and lemon colored (If desired add 6-8 drops food coloring at this point). Add oil, applesauce, and buttermilk and mix well. Combine flours, Ultra Gel, baking soda, and salt and mix thoroughly. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in poppy seeds and spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake until lightly brown – About 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tins.

Oatmeal Bread

Okay, so today I was totally going to share Poppy Seed Muffins with you. I have a note here in my schedule, make and blog about poppy seed muffins. So why aren’t we doing that? Well…it’s because I was hijacked by something so yummy and happy tummy making that I must push poppy seed muffins off a little and talk about this anyway.

This particular inspiration came, as many do, from the combination of my husband and his food hero Alton Brown. The husband part is that he and I have been working on adding good things into our diet and pulling back on some of the not so good. One of the things that comes up all the time in this discussion is oatmeal. Oats are good for you, they are high in fiber and types of fiber that help to carry a lot of unwanted stuff out of the body. I love oatmeal. My husband…not so much. He likes the FLAVOR of oats and oat products, but something about that texture just kills him.

So we were watching old episodes of ‘Good Eats’ and saw Oat Cuisine II, in which Alton makes one of our favorite things: Oat Waffles. But then he also makes a loaf of oat bread. And we pondered this option. Oats in bread. With some adjustments and some Ultra Gel, could we come up with a bread that had all the lovely benefits of oats without the texture problems?

I am very happy to say that the answer is a resounding yes. We can create a bread that is the best of both worlds. This recipe for oatmeal bread makes one large loaf, which is perfect for sandwiches, French toast, or just slathering with jam in a jiffy freezer jam and cheese and having as a late night snack. And with all the fiber it’s pretty close to guilt free, and did we mention it’s yummy? So with credit to Mr Brown for getting us started, here you go.

Oatmeal Bread

1 Tablespoon yeast

11 ounces bread flour, give or take (This will change based on your altitude and the weather, but start with 11 ounces)

1/3 cup oat flour

1 teaspoon salt

12 ounces cooked oatmeal at room temp (In my kitchen at a little under 5000 feet this is one batch of 1 cup oats to 2 cups water)

1/4 cup warm water

2 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 tsp good quality vanilla

1 egg

1 Tablespoon water

Combine yeast, bread flour, oat flour and salt and set aside.

Combine the cooked oatmeal, water, honey and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry mixture to the cooked oatmeal mixture and combine thoroughly. (I did this in my stand mixer, though it can be done fairly easily by hand). Knead by hand or machine for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough will be slightly sticky but should not amoeba around the counter.

Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Punch dough down and shape into a 9×5 inch loaf. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. (If desired you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for an early morning bake).

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine egg and water in a small bowl and brush the top of the loaf. Additional dry oatmeal can be sprinkled on top of the loaf if desired. Bake 50-60 minutes until bread is done through. We test with a thermometer and in Utah, 200-205 is perfectly done. Closer to sea level that temp should be higher and higher up that will drop to 195-200.

Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool an additional 15-30 minutes before slicing.

Classic German Pancakes

One of my favorite food is breakfast foods. We’re known to have breakfast for dinner around here fairly frequently. Sometimes we even have breakfast for lunch. However, we do tend towards a lot of the same wonderful breakfast foods and these German Pancakes are a great break up in the routine. Now, we’ve talked Dutch Babies before and, yes, these recipes are related. They’re both a baked pancake made from a thin, eggy batter that poofs in the oven. The difference is that the Dutch Babies tends to be a thinner batter with a little more poof and the German Pancakes a thicker batter with a more solid bottom level and a little less poof. Both are fantastic, but I think the thicker nature of the German Pancake makes it better to serve with syrups and fruit and the Dutch babies are better with jams and powdered sugar with a little lemon! Your mileage may vary so try them both! Maybe you’ll find a new favorite in your kitchen!

Now, before the recipe just a note on baking vessels. German Pancakes can be baked in a 9×13 glass dripper pan and you’ll get a nice result from that. However, if you have a cast iron skillet with sides in the 10-12 inch range I would really suggest cooking in that instead. The skillet holds the heat more evenly and you’ll get a better crust on the top and bottom of the pancakes. If you don’t have this though don’t let it stop you from making the recipe as the dripper pan (cake pan) will work too.

German Pancakes

German Pancakes – Adjusted from Cherries, Chocolates and Children The Taylor Family Cookbook

4 Tablespoons butter

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place 9×13 inch baking dish or 10-12 inch skillet into oven to warm. Add butter to skillet and melt completely. In a medium bowl beat together the eggs and milk. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and Ultra Gel and mix well. Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Pour into hot baking dish/skillet and return to oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned all over. Remove from oven. Cool slightly and serve with fruit or syrup. Cornaby’s fruit syrups are particularly good!