Time To Make The Donuts!

Last night, as Stew and I sat on the couch watching TV, I did my usual Pinterest perusing and came across a luscious doughnut recipe. Something came over me, and I just had to have them! I got up right then and there and made the dough. I let it rise overnight and finished the process this morning. Needless to say, they were scrumptious. Soft, fluffy, and warm with a little crunch on the outside. I filled a few with the cream and topped the others with chocolate glaze and sprinkles. The chocolate ones were a huge hit!

I’ll admit I’ve never made doughnuts before, because the idea of frying things seems daunting and makes me nervous! The kids helped, and it was actually quite fun! It looked like a bomb went off in our kitchen, but it was well worth it. Have a great weekend!

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Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

The countdown to fall is ON in the Watson household. I’m really fighting with everything I have to not decorate the house. My friend told me I at least have to wait until the end of September. I won’t lie though, I’ve been burning my favorite pumpkin candle for over a month now. And I’ve been baking tons of pumpkin flavored goodies. These cookies are among my favorite new fall treats. They’re incredible! I searched a few pumpkin cookie recipes on Pinterest and created a healthier spin on them so Turner and Gracie could eat them too. Now, I say healthy, but they have butter and flour. The healthy part comes with no sugar and replacing with maple syrup. They’re delicious! Fluffy, soft, and satisfying. They actually taste like a muffin top…but hopefully won’t give you one ;o) Happy almost fall!


Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies
Yields 11
A healthy spin on this fall treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter softened to room temp
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup spelt flour*
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  11. 1/4 tsp clove
  12. 1 cup oats
  13. 1 cup craisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a standing mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Pour in maple syrup and beat another few seconds until well combined.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined
  5. Add vanilla and egg and mix until combined
  6. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and oats. Slowly pour into the mixer and mix until combined.
  7. Fold in craisins.
  8. Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, place mounds of dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-17 minutes until set and cooked through the center. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *I used half spelt flour as an alternative to all white flour. You could easily use all-purpose flour if that's what you have!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

These are Turner and my favorite summer treats. We love our ice cream over here, so I tried to think of a healthy alternative that I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating and feeding to my toddler. I even let Gracie taste them! These aren’t actually made out of ice cream. But they’re JUST as tasty. I promise! They’re made out of frozen fruit, almond milk, and a splash of agave nectar. That’s it! I use graham crackers as the “cookies”. There are a few steps, so bear with me. Once you get the hang of it, they’re really easy to make!

  1. Start off with frozen fruit of your choice (I used bananas and strawberries). Be sure to let them sit out at room temp for about 5 minutes before blending. Pulse in the food processor until the fruit looks like sand (scrape down sides as needed).
  2. Add in a splash of agave nectar and then pour in the almond milk while the processor is running. Scrape down the sides and keep processing until you have a mixture that resembles ice cream!
  3. Line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares and spread the ice cream over the graham crackers. This is the part that takes patience. I usually put my hand on one side of the grahams and spread the mixture towards my hand to keep the crackers in place. You end up with something like this:
  4. Top the ice cream with the remaining 12 graham cracker squares
  5. Run a sharp knife between the crackers to score the ice cream so they’re easy to cut after you freeze them.
  6. Place the dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours. Remove the dish and cut over the scored lines to separate the sandwiches.
  7. Store sandwiches in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Let me know what you think!
Not So "Ice Cream" Sandwiches
Yields 12
So delicious and addictive! These ice cream sandwiches will satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling guilty!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups frozen sliced banana
  2. 2 cups frozen strawberries
  3. 1 tsp agave nectar
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  5. 12 honey graham cracker sheets (24 squares)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen fruit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Let fruit sit for 5 minutes.
  2. While the fruit is sitting, line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares
  3. Pulse fruit until it resembles coarse sand. Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. Add agave nectar and pulse once to combine.
  5. With the food processor running, pour in almond milk. Pause to scrape down sides and pulse again. Keep scraping down sides and processing until the mixture resembles ice cream.
  6. Use the spatula to place dollops of ice cream over the graham crackers. Use an icing spatula or rubber spatula to evenly spread the ice cream over the crackers (I put my hand on once side of the crackers and spread the ice cream towards my hand. This helps hold the crackers in place).
  7. Place the remaining 12 graham cracker squares on top of the ice cream.
  8. Score with a sharp knife between crackers so the sandwiches are easy to cut.
  9. Place dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours.
  10. Cut sandwiches into squares and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
Notes
  1. Try mixing up graham cracker flavors (cinnamon, chocolate, chocolate on one side and honey on the other, etc). Also, play with flavors. Use chocolate grahams with a banana and peanut butter "ice cream" mixture. These are so fun and great alternatives to the sugar packed ice cream sandwiches!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Baking Cookies

The other day, I invited Turner into the kitchen to help me bake his favorite cookies. Here’s the original recipe, although I’ve made a few changes over time. I’ll put an updated recipe below so you can be the judge of which is better!

Usually, Turner drags his kitchen helper into the kitchen to play in the sink or play with dried beans (he likes to fill different size containers with the beans). But this time, it was to bake! He was loving it.


I’ve been dreaming of the day I’d have my own little munchkin to cook and bake with me! I really love this age. Turner is so much fun! He’s my little buddy. We do everything together. He’s turning into such a big boy right before my eyes!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
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Prep Time
8 min
Cook Time
17 min
Prep Time
8 min
Cook Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium ripe bananas
  2. 2 1/2 cups quick cooking or old fashion oats
  3. 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/3 cup agave nectar
  6. 1 tsp vanilla
  7. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  8. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  9. 1/4 cup peanut butter
  10. 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mash bananas with a fork in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients, except chocolate chips, and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Use a large ice cream scoop to place mounds of dough onto your lined baking sheet. Gently press down to flatten a bit.
  5. Bake for 17 minutes or until firm on the outside and still soft on the inside.
  6. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying!
Notes
  1. Cool completely and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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“Something de Mayo” Supper Club

We have had yet another successful supper club! This month Annie and Jeremy hosted. They picked Mexican Fiesta as our theme. It was fitting, considering it was Cinco de Mayo a few weeks ago!

Annie set the table beautifully! She is so crafty. She had a white table cloth with ribbons going across the center. She had big colorful vases in the center with bright flowers to match the ribbons. The CUTEST part was our M&M stuffed chili pepper name tags. She even had a festive chalkboard with an adorable paper wreath hanging from it.


The food was absolutely delicious! Kirsten was in charge of appetizers. She made spicy cream cheese stuffed phyllo cups with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Missy was on drinks. She definitely didn’t disappoint. The men had Modelo beer, while the ladies had Pomegranate Margaritas. Needless to say, we enjoyed our drinks thoroughly!
Annie was in charge of the main course. We started with a 7 layer mexican salad with a variety of dressings to choose from (our favorite being the creamy mexican). Then we moved on to pulled pork tacos with a variety of toppings and jalapeno cilantro cream sauce.

Last, but not least, was dessert! I made a Sopapilla Cheesecake (recipe below). Completely unhealthy (let’s just say the recipe is from Pillsbury) and not something I would normally make, but it was DELICIOUS!

We had an amazing night! There’s nothing like a night of good food, great friends, and strong drinks! Viva la fiesta!

Sopapilla Cheesecake
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
  2. 2 packages (8 oz each) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. 1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
  6. 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 cup butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Unroll 1 can of crescent rolls and place on the bottom of a 13x9 ungreased glass baking dish. Stretch the dough to cover the bottom and press together perforated lines to seal.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Scrape the sides with a spatula and beat until completely smooth.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the dough in the baking dish.
  4. Open the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese layer. Lightly press seams together.
  5. Pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the 1 tbsp cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the butter.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until center is set. Cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate for easy cutting. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.
Adapted from Pillsbury
Adapted from Pillsbury
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Cookie Baking Day — Gingerbread Cookies

Every year my mom, grandmother, and I get together to make Christmas cookies. Last year, Turner was only a few weeks old. So he was either sleeping or in the Bjorn while we baked cookies. This year was a lot more fun! Turner was very excited to go to Gigi’s house!

Turner had a blast. He had all of his cooking utensils on the floor so he could work on his own baking project!

Maybe I’ll let him eat some cookies next year! But, for this year, it was just his healthy snacks. He still loved them!


We made a bunch of different kinds of cookies. We made my great grandmother’s Italian Prune Cookies (they’re delicious, I promise!), pecan tassies, thumbprints, reindeer cookies (at least we tried, but apparently our “mini” pretzels were mammoth sized compared to the ones she used! We tried breaking them, but it turned into a hot mess), and Gingerbread Cookies (recipe below).



We had so much fun baking together, as usual! Turner had fun getting his hands on everything he could find and trying to pull the cookies off the table! And we had fun spending time together!


And, as promised, here is the most DELICIOUS gingerbread cookie recipe ever! It makes a few million, so you might want to cut it in half. Or, you could always freeze half of the dough! Merry Christmas cookie baking!!

Gingerbread Cookies

5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup Grandma’s Molasses
2 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl. Melt shortening and butter in a large saucepan over low heat until just melted, not hot. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Add, in order, sugar, molasses, eggs. Mix well.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer. Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add in 4 cups of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, using a spatula to scrape down the sides from time to time.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary, to make dough firm. Remember, you can always add flour, but you can’t take it away! Separate into four sections and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Take dough out 3 hours before using so it becomes soft.

Work with 1/4 of the dough at a time. Roll it out, on a floured surface, to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into whatever gingerbread shapes you like! We did stockings, reindeer, and gingerbread men. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Baking time depends on the size and thickness of the cookies. The thicker they are, the chewier they will be (my preference). The thinner they are, the crispier they will be. You can tell they’re finished because they will be puffed up in the center and crisp around the edges. That being said, check them at 8 minutes. Depending on their size, they could be done anywhere between 8 and 12 minutes.

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Peppermint Bark

I discovered Peppermint Bark when I was about 2 months pregnant. I know it’s existed a lot longer than that, but that’s when I fell in love! My mother-in-law bought us a tin of it when she was visiting last year. I don’t like white chocolate, so I never bothered to try it. OH.MY.GOODNESS…delicious! The only problem is, it’s pretty darn expensive! My solution? Save the pretty tin, and make my own! Here’s my version of peppermint bark. Try it! I promise, you won’t miss the store bought version, and you DEFINITELY won’t miss spending $20 on it!


Peppermint Bark

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate chips
crushed candy canes

Put a few candy canes into a ziplock bag and pound with a meat mallet until crushed. You can also buy the pre-crushed candy cane pieces. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 to 30 second increments. Stir with a rubber spatula after each. Repeat this until MOST of the chocolate chips are melted, NOT ALL. Stir with the spatula until all chocolate chips melt. This process makes the chocolate silky and shiny.

Pour the chocolate onto your parchment lined cookie sheet. Use an icing spatula to smooth it out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Set aside to cool and harden.

Once the chocolate hardens, repeat the melting process with the white chocolate chips. Pour onto the chocolate rectangle, and smooth out until it covers the chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle candy cane pieces over the entire white chocolate layer. Press gently so the candy cane pieces stick to the white chocolate. Set aside to cool and harden.

Use a sharp knife to cut unto pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

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Healthy Birthday Cupcake

Our little Turner is ONE! It’s hard to believe it. I feel like he was just born yesterday! He has made this the best year of our lives! I planned a construction party to celebrate and made him his very own “healthy cupcake” (I’m not quite ready to give him sugar). He absolutely LOVED it! He didn’t miss the sugar at all!

Cupcake
Makes 3 cupcakes

1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Avocado Icing
1 ripe avocado at room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all cupcake ingredients in standing mixer and mix until combined. Line three cupcake molds with paper liners. Use an ice-cream scoop to drop the batter into each cup. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely. Either store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or leave at room temperature to eat the day of.

In the meantime, add the avocado flesh, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil to a high speed blender (or food processor). Blend until well combined. Add to piping bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Take out the morning of to soften. Once the cupcake is cooled, decorate with icing. Enjoy!

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The Pumpkin Patch

I’m back! My blog has been down for the past few days! Luckily, I’m employed by a website guru (don’t get a big head now!). Anyway, he  got my site back up and running!

I would have posted this last week, when we actually went to the pumpkin patch, but better late than never 😮 I’ve been waiting forever to take our little munchkin to the pumpkin patch! He wasn’t that excited. He was more interested in playing drums on the pumpkins than picking them. That was ok though. It made for some great pictures! And this post is ALL about the pictures. Who’s ready to get some pumpkins??!!





When we got home, Turner was ready for a nap, and I was ready for some apple cider donuts. So, I found this yummy recipe and decided to put my own spin on it! I switched out the flour and used a mixture of spelt flour and almond meal. I also swapped the sugar out for coconut sugar. They came out tasting more dense, like muffins, because I used the Doughnut Maker. But they had great flavor! I’m sure they would be just as delicious fried the old fashioned way. I stored them in a tupperware and they were even better the next day! Here’s my recipe.

Healthy Apple Cider Donuts

1 cup apple cider
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tbsp Coconut Spread
1 cup Almond Meal
1 3/4 cup Spelt Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Plug in the doughnut maker to heat up. Boil the cider until it reduces to about 1/3 cup (6-8 minutes). Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugar and coconut spread. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together the almond meal, spelt flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions. Mix until just combined.
Do a test donut to check the heat and timing. It took me about 5-7 minutes to cook through my donuts. Scoop about 2 Tbsp into each donut well and close the lid. Cook for 5- 7 minutes until cooked through the inside. Serve with a steamy beverage and enjoy!

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Sea Salt and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA Heaven! So there is nothing healthy about this recipe. However, sometimes you just have to give in to a craving for a GOOD chocolate chip cookie. And I mean, these are GOOOOOD. The best part is that by the time I realize I feel like making chocolate chip cookies, I haven’t let any butter come to room temp. But with this recipe, I don’t have to! I adapted this recipe from a Nutella Stuffed Sea Salt Cookie. Don’t get me wrong, those look delicious. However, I was just wanting a plain chocolate chip cookie. So this is it…officially the best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER!

Now, you might be thinking, but can’t I just sprinkle some sea salt on top of my own chocolate chip cookie recipe? And I’m sure you can! But there is something to the brown butter. It’s nuttier tasting. And the yogurt adds a bit of fluffiness to the batter too! When you mix the dough, it will feel really soft (because of the brown butter) so make sure you chill it for AT LEAST two hours. And if you chill it longer than that, just take it out and let it sit at room temp until you’re able to scoop the dough. You might not be able to wait, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Ingredients

2¼ cup all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled use a small ice cream scoop (or spoon out about 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball) to scoop dough onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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