Salted Caramel Pretzel Granola

salted caramel pretzel granola lbbakes

Oh, it’s been a couple weeks since I last shared a granola recipe. ¬†Which in my granola-crazed world means I’m overdue to share another. ūüėČ

I’ve expressed my love of sweet and salty snacks/desserts before, but here I am, about to do it again — it’s just that good! ¬†My latest craze: salted caramel. ¬†Have you jumped on the salted caramel train yet? ¬†If you haven’t, you really should.

salt caramel pretzel granola

Most recently, I’ve been hooked on Edy’s limited edition salted caramel pretzel ice cream¬†(go get it now before it’s too late!). ¬†I’ve never been the biggest caramel fan, but if you throw salt into the picture, I’m there… Which is what led me to bake this batch of salted caramel pretzel granola a couple weeks ago.

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Clusters of toasted oats and crunchy pretzels, lightly sweetened with caramel sauce and dusted with coarse sea salt… need I say more?

salted caramel pretzel granola

I think I just need to say this: make this granola. It’s perfect on top of greek yogurt, in a bowl with a bit of milk, or my personal favorite, as a snack on its own.

[print_this]Salted Caramel Pretzel Granola

If you enjoy sweet and salty food combinations, you will love this granola: crunchy clusters of oats and pretzels with sweet caramel sauce, lightly sprinkled with sea salt.  For added crunch and flavor, add 1/4 cup chopped peanuts.

Makes about 3 cups

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

  • 2 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 3/4 cup crushed pretzels
  • 3 tablespoons canola or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (+ extra for drizzling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, stir all of the ingredients until mixed.  Spread into the prepared pan.  Bake 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and stir; if desired, drizzle an additional 1/2 to 1 tablespoon caramel sauce over the granola.  Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the granola is lightly toasted.  Allow the granola to cool completely before serving or storing.[/print_this]

Peach Blueberry Crisp

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For many of us, August means an abundance of fresh fruit — berries, stone fruits, melons, you name it. ¬†I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy two “waves” of summer fruit season this summer. ¬†Since Florida’s produce season is ahead of New York’s, I was enjoying Florida blueberries and Georgia peaches back in June and July. ¬†Now, while I’m in New York for a few weeks, I’ve been able to enjoy the fresh, local fruit here as well.

With fresh fruit on the brain, I thought I’d sweeten things up a bit here today and share a fruity dessert. ¬†One that comes together in no time and highlights fresh fruit — specifically, peaches and blueberries (note: you could easily substitute other berries or fruit in this recipe!): peach blueberry crisp!

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Because the fruit I used was so ripe, I needed to do very little in the way of sweetening the crisp.  I opted to use pure maple syrup as my sweetener of choice, but you could also use honey or agave nectar.

The buttery, crispy, crumbly topping is the icing on the cake crisp.  Simple ingredients, just like the filling.  Since only a small amount of flour is required in the topping, I actually used brown rice flour, keeping this recipe gluten free, but you could easily use all-purpose flour instead.

peachblueberry crispYou’ll notice I made the crisp in small glass jars for a nice change of pace (and single servings). ¬†If you don’t have jars, you can just as easily make the crisp in a baking pan — I’d use a 6×8 pan, or if you don’t have that, a 8-inch square pan.

I didn’t happen to have any on hand when I photographed these crisps, but I do believe the perfect way to enjoy this crisp — especially on a hot summer day — would be to top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. ūüôā ¬†Either way, though, it’ll be delicious!

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[print_this]Peach Blueberry Crisp

A fruity dessert with fresh peaches and blueberries, topped with a crumbly, crispy oat topping.  You can substitute frozen peaches or blueberries for fresh (do not that before baking), or other fruits, if desired.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 2 cups diced fresh peaches
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup oats (either old-fashioned or quick)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. ¬†Spray 6 small jars (or a 6×8 or 8×8 baking pan) with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, stir the peaches, blueberries, maple syrup, and salt until mixed.  Spread into the prepared dish(es).

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the topping ingredients.  Stir until crumbly (use your hands if needed).  Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Bake about 20 minutes or until the topping is crisp and fruit is bubbly. Allow the crisp to cool before serving.[/print_this]

S’mores Muddy Buddies

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Happy Friday! ¬†I thought I’d pop in here quick to share an easy, fun, and tasty recipe just in time for… National S’mores Day! ¬†I can’t make this stuff up. ūüėČ ¬†National S’mores Day is August 10th, and I couldn’t let this little food holiday pass by without whipping up a little something s’mores-ish.

Although I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of cooler temperatures while in New York (I believe anything is more temperate than Florida’s August weather), it’s been a bit humid to turn on the oven the past few days. ¬†So I had no-bake s’mores treat on the brain. ¬†Something simple that still screams s’mores. ¬†Enter: s’mores muddy buddies!

Smores muddy buddy mix

Not only do you not have to worry about turning on the oven to make this recipe, but it really comes together in no time.

I use a mix of Ghiradelli white chocolate melting wafers and peanut butter to coat the rice cereal. Earlier this week, I received a package of chocolate goodies from Ghiradelli, including their new melting chocolates. ¬†I can’t wait to play around with the dark chocolate too!

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Anyway… if you’ve ever made muddy buddies (or “puppy chow”), you know the drill — you coat your cereal (rice Chex) with the melted chocolate/peanut butter mixture, then toss with powdered sugar. ¬†But! ¬†This recipe is different. ¬†Since this is s’mores mix, I coated the cereal in a graham cracker crumb mixture. ¬†So good.

Mini marshmallows and chocolate chips round out the mix, resulting in a sweet snack mix that is the perfect summer snack for s’mores lovers.

Smores muddy buddies

Warning: this recipe makes a lot. ¬†I made sure to make enough for my family to enjoy, and also to be able to bring some on a little road trip this weekend (to New York City, woohoo!). ¬†You can easily cut the recipe in half if you’d like, though if you’re like me, I’m sure you’ll find a way to inhale enjoy the big recipe. ūüėČ

[print_this]S’mores Muddy Buddies

A sweet cereal snack mix made with graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, and chocolate chips for a simple summertime snack.  For an extra chocolate flavor, use milk or dark chocolate in place of the white chocolate melting wafers.

Makes about 12 cups

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: n/a

  • 8 cups rice chex cereal
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups Ghiradelli white chocolate melting wafers
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Place the cereal, marshmallows, and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place the graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar in a large ziploc bag.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and peanut butter on HALF power, about 30-60 seconds, stirring occasionally, until melted.  Immediately pour over the cereal mixture; gently stir until coated.

Place the coated cereal into the graham cracker crumb bag.  Close and shake until well coated.  Allow the mix to cool before storing.[/print_this]

Cocoa Brownies with Chocolate Chips

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I’ve posted recipes on this blog for more than three years, most of which are baked goods, yet I’ve never shared a recipe for homemade brownies. ¬†And that’s because I’d never made them before! ¬†Until yesterday.

I always thought the box mix was the best way to go… the easiest way to go… obviously, I thought wrong. ūüėČ

CocoaBrownies-1

 

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t beat the simplicity of a boxed brownie mix. ¬†But honestly, this from-scratch version doesn’t involve too much extra labor. ¬†In keeping with my baking/cooking motto of keeping things simple, these brownies come together in minutes, all in one bowl.

Cocoa Brownies Top-1

Because cocoa powder is used as the primary chocolatifying (new word) ingredient, that means you don’t need to mess around melting bars of chocolate. ¬†Again, simplicity… and convenience, in my opinion — I always seem to have cocoa on hand, but seldom have bars of unsweetened chocolate.

The result? ¬†Well, I think the pictures speak for themselves, but, dense, rich, fudge-like brownies. ¬†I took these to a family party and they seemed to be a pretty big hit among the crowd — definitely chocolate overload, but in a good way. ūüėČ I suspect I’ll be making several variations of this recipe in the future!

Cocoa Brownies-1

 

[print_this]Cocoa Brownies with Chocolate Chips

Dense, fudge-like deep chocolate brownies with semisweet chocolate chips.

Makes about 24 brownies (depending on size)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1 1/4 cups (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. ¬†Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil (enough that it hangs over the edges for easy removal).

In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugars, cocoa, and salt.  Microwave on high about 1 minute, or until the butter is melted.  Stir until smooth.  Add the vanilla and eggs; stir until the batter is shiny and smooth.  Stir in the flour, mixing until the flour is completely blended and the batter is smooth.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with a small amount of batter (this is key for fudge-like brownies; do not overbake!).  Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting.

Adapted from this recipe.[/print_this]

Blueberry Apricot Granola

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Hello from southeastern Pennsylvania! ¬†I flew from Florida to New York almost two weeks ago, and it’s pretty much been nonstop travel throughout the northeast visiting people ever since. ¬†I’m definitely doing my fair share of summer travel. ūüôā

I had a break in travel yesterday, and since I seem to require homemade granola on a continual basis, I whipped up this batch of granola yesterday afternoon when I realized my supply was depleted.

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I’ve really been digging blueberries lately, so I decided to incorporate them into this batch. ¬†I had a feeling fresh blueberries in the granola might get a bit messy (although I’m still tempted to try it — we’ll see‚Ķ), so I used dried blueberries instead. ¬†While I was at it, I added dried apricots as well — really embracing the summer fruits, I suppose. ūüôā

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Because of all the fruit in the recipe, the granola really doesn’t need much in the way of sweetening. ¬†I added a couple tablespoons of honey, but if you like your granola nice and sweet you might want to add another tablespoon or so.

This granola would be perfect over a cup of yogurt, or in a bowl on its own with milk and a handful of fresh berries tossed in. ¬†It’s definitely a summer granola!

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[print_this]Blueberry Apricot Granola

Crunchy granola with dried fruit added for texture and natural sweetness.  Substitute your favorite dried fruit for the blueberries and apricots, if desired.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

  • 2 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, blueberries, apricots, and salt.  Stir to combine.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, oil, honey, and vanilla. Microwave on high about 30 seconds or until the peanut butter begins to melt.  Stir until smooth.

Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oats; stir until combined.  Spread into the prepared pan.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the granola is lightly toasted.  Allow the granola to cool completely.  Granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. [/print_this]

Blueberry Recipes

Did you know July is national blueberry month? ¬†It is! ¬†Judging by the size of the blueberries I picked yesterday morning, I can’t argue that.

Blueberries the size of grapes!

Given the occasion, I thought I’d reminisce a bit and share some of my favorite blueberry recipes I’ve posted here over the years. ¬†While I brainstorm new blueberry recipe ideas, of course. ūüėČ

Blueberry Muffin Blondies. These soft, chewy bars taste like a muffin but in blondie form. They’re made from a mix, but you could easily toss in fresh blueberries to up the blueberry factor a bit.

Blueberry “CHO”conut Cookies. ¬†Made with greek yogurt, these cookies are soft and moist with crisp edges, bursting with blueberry and subtle coconut flavor.

Blueberry Coconut Muffins. They’re like the cookies above, but in muffin form. And my favorite greek yogurt -infused muffin recipe on the blog to-date.

Blueberry Muffin Snack Cake. Perfect for breakfast on-the-go or a quick snack, this simple cake is made with greek yogurt for extra moistness.  You could add fresh raspberries or blackberries for an extra sweet cake.

Vanilla Blueberry Ice Cream. I don’t own an ice cream maker, which means whenever I’m at my mom’s house, I inevitably take advantage of the one she owns. ¬†This vanilla blueberry ice cream is perfect on a hot summer afternoon.

Blueberry Corn Muffins. The name alone speaks for itself — how can you go wrong when you combine two classic muffins?

Blueberry Banana Scones. Ah, my newfound love for scones. These bake up super-soft thanks to banana and greek yogurt, while the blueberries add pops of sweetness and color throughout.

Have a good weekend! I’ll be back next week with a new (blueberry) recipe. ūüôā

Almond Butter Granola with Toasted Coconut

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I think I’m addicted to granola. ¬†I’ve reached the point where I’ve always got at least one type of homemade granola on hand, but it’s typically more like two or three. ¬†I’m pretty sure it’s reflective of my (obvious) greek yogurt addiction. ¬†Yogurt + granola just go hand in hand, in my opinion.

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One of my favorite things about making my own granola is being able to control what goes into the granola. ¬†It seems like so many products we purchase at the store can contain extra, random ingredients. ¬†By taking matters into my own hands, I’m able to use only the good stuff, you know?

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The granola recipe I’m sharing today is one of my favorite granolas yet. ¬†I really believe it tastes like a healthier, less sugary version of honey nut cheerios. ¬†And who doesn’t love honey nut cheerios?

It’s packed with healthy, nutritious ingredients like homemade almond butter, coconut oil, and oats. ¬†I love using a combination of nut butter + oil in granola for the subtle nuttiness it yields, and this particular pairing of almond butter + coconut oil is no exception.

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The toasted coconut is the finishing touch to the granola and one that I, as a lover of all things coconut, think puts the granola over the top. ¬†I used coconut chips (from Trader Joe’s) in my recipe, but if you can’t find those you could also use unsweetened shredded coconut.

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[print_this]Almond Butter Granola with Toasted Coconut

Subtly nutty and sweet granola flavored with almond butter, coconut oil, and honey.  Coconut chips add extra crunch to the granola.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups oats (old-fashioned)
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips or flakes

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, and honey.  Microwave on high about 30 seconds, until the almond butter is melted slightly.  Stir to combine.  Add the vanilla and oats; stir until mixed well.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes; remove from the oven and stir in the coconut while tossing the granola to prevent burning.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.  Allow the granola to cool completely before eating or storing.[/print_this]