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There are times when you want a light, fluffy cake and there are times when you want a dessert that is hearty and satisfying. This Old Fashioned Oatmeal Pecan Cake is the latter style of cake. It’s moist, dense and loaded with the flavors of oatmeal, cinnamon and vanilla. It’s not quite as hearty as a big bowl full of cooked oatmeal, but it is an excellent cake that captures the same flavors and can be served either for breakfast or dessert.

The cake can be made in a single saucepan and actually starts out with partially cooked oatmeal. The reason for cooking the oatmeal is to tenderize and hydrate the oats. Oatmeal absorbs a lot of liquid and can actually cause some baked goods to dry out (imagine the difference between a stale cookie and a fresh one) through absorption. By partially cooking the oats, they are full hydrated when going into the cake batter, which yields a much moister cake.

Once the oatmeal has been cooked and cooled slightly, the rest of the ingredients can be added directly to the saucepan. This means that this is a one bowl/one pan recipe. That being said, you can absolutely transfer your oatmeal to a secondary bowl if you feel your saucepan is too small to easily mix up the rest of the batter in or if you simply want to cool...

Banana pudding is a favorite Southern dessert that reminds many of us of childhood. It’s a twist on a trifle, made with layers of vanilla pudding, vanilla wafer cookies and freshly sliced bananas. You can make all the components from scratch, but you can also assemble it with completely store-bought ingredients, which makes for a very quick and easy after dinner treat. This Banana Pudding Bread Pudding is a spin on this traditional dessert. The recipe is for a bread pudding that is made with real vanilla pudding and fresh bananas, capturing the flavors of banana pudding in an even more comforting format.

To make this bread pudding recipe, you’re going to need some vanilla pudding. Most bread puddings use a custard made with milk and eggs and this recipe is no exception, but it also includes actual vanilla pudding I recommend using instant vanilla pudding, so you can mix it up a few minutes before you assemble the rest of the ingredient. I used Jell-O Simply Good Vanilla Pudding, an instant pudding made with real vanilla bean. If you want to make vanilla pudding from scratch, however, make sure that you prepare the pudding a day ahead.

The pudding is combined with milk, sugar and eggs, then cubes...

Rice Krispies are my go-to cereal when it comes to making marshmallow cereal treats. The plain, puffed rice cereal is a near-perfect base for a coating of marshmallows and butter. But as delicious as they are, Rice Krispies aren’t the only cereal that you can use to make marshmallow-covered treats. These Lucky Charm Cereal Bars have a dose of colorful marshmallows for a cereal bar with a little extra sweetness.

You’re going to need just a handful ingredients for these treats: Lucky Charms, Marshmallows, butter and a little pinch of salt. You’ll probably notice that my Lucky Charms only seem to have green marshmallows – and they do! These cereal bars were made using a St Patrick’s Day edition of Lucky Charms cereal that contained two different colored clover-shaped marshmallows instead of the usual multi-colored assortment. To make the cereal treats, melt together the butter and marshmallows, then stir in the cereal and salt. Salt may seem like an unexpected addition, but a pinch of it helps to balance out the sweetness of the cereal and the marshmallows. If you’re a big salty-sweet fan, you can even increase it a tad.

Since Lucky Charms contain marshmallows, you might expect them to melt when you stir them into the hot marshmallow mixture. While some of...

One of my favorite nightcaps is an Irish Coffee. This classic cocktail is made by spiking hot, freshly brewed coffee with Irish whiskey, then topping things off with thick whipped cream. It’s a delicious combination and is a perfect way to take off the chill on a cold night when you need a little pick-me-up. And if you don’t want too much pick-me-up, you can make it with decaf.

These Irish Coffee Cheesecake Bars are an easy dessert option inspired by a traditional Irish coffee. The cheesecake filling is flavored with coffee and Irish whisky, creating a creamy bar that will probably remind you of tiramisu, a dessert that also involves alcohol and coffee. I used instant coffee dissolved in a little bit of hot water to flavor the cheesecake without compromising the texture. I actually like Starbucks Via in this recipe, if you happen to have it instead of traditional instant coffee, because it delivers a little more coffee flavor.

I used Jameson as my whisky, though Bushmills or Redbreast are fine choices as well. You’ll only get a hint of the whisky, so these bars are not too boozy to share with those who might be under the drinking age. That said, feel free to save them all for yourself.

The dense,...

Oversize bakery cookies are satisfying when you’re looking for a chewy cookie that can stand in for a meal, but there are times when you want something smaller to snack on. These Tiny Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies are mini-sized – just about an inch in diameter when they are baked – and they’re so good that you’re going to want to eat them by the handful. And thanks to their small size, you’ll be able to!

This recipe is inspired by the Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Trader Joe’s, which are a favorite of mine. They come in a tub and are perfectly snackable. The cookie dough is a very straightforward one, made with white sugar and plenty of vanilla extract. White sugar helps to ensure that the cookies are nice and crisp after baking. The dough is relatively soft, which allows the cookies to spread nicely as they bake. I used mini chocolate chips and highly recommend that you do the same. Mini chocolate chips are so small that they will be very evenly distributed in the finished cookies. If you only have full size chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks), I recommend chopping them into smaller pieces before folding them in.

The most time consuming part of...

The food processor is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. My full size processor is a Magimix and it is fantastic – but it is also quite large, and while it does come with smaller bowls for making smaller recipes, there are times when I want something even easier to use. I recently picked up a KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Mini Food Processor, a pint-sized (ok – 1 3/4 pints-sized!) processor that takes up much less real estate on my countertop and is ideal for small processing jobs.

The mini food processor stands just under 9-inches high and is about 7-inches in diameter. It weighs less than 3 pounds and it comes in 15 colors, from brushed silver to bright green so you should be able to find something to go with every single kitchen design. It has a stainless steel blade, a pour spout in the top (just like many full sized machines) and a dishwasher safe bowl. Unlike a larger machine, it only has two settings – chop and puree – but those are likely the settings that you’ll use for most food processor applications. The food processor is very easy to put together and, once you’ve set the lever to the setting that...

Dense, chewy blondies are always a hit when I bake them. They’re easy to make and very delicious – a combination that I can’t resist. It is easy to put a twist on a basic blondie recipe, just as it is easy to change things up with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe by substituting in various flavors of chips. These Salted Whole Wheat Butterscotch Blondies with Pecans have just a small differences from other blondie recipes, but pack in lots of flavor and have a slightly healthier twist to them.

The blondies are made with white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. White whole wheat flour performs almost exactly like all purpose flour, but it has more fiber, vitamins and minerals because it has about the same nutritional benefits as regular whole wheat flour. It is a great option if you want to easily incorporate some whole grains into your baking because it can be substituted for all purpose flour 1:1 in many recipes, including cookies and muffins. If you only have regular whole wheat flour and all purpose flour to choose from, make your own substitute by combining equal parts whole wheat flour with all purpose flour and use that in place of white whole wheat.

While the flour gives these blondies a slightly healthier base (though these aren’t health food, I must admit)...

These Banana Coconut Muffins may just be one of my new favorite variations on traditional banana bread. They’re much quicker to make than a full sized loaf and are incredibly satisfying to eat – especially if you enjoy all baked goods with banana and coconut.

While I wouldn’t consider banana bread to be a tropical dessert, adding some shredded coconut to the mix definitely gives these muffins a slightly tropical vibe. While I frequently point out that you can use unsweetened and sweetened coconut interchangeably in almost any recipe, I recommend the sweetened one for these muffins because that bit of additional sweetness really helps to highlight the coconut. That said, there is actually a great balance of both banana and coconut in these muffins and you’ll taste both in every single bite. The vanilla in the muffin batter comes through very well, while the spice of the allspice is very subtle. Cinnamon can be used in place of allspice, if you don’t have any on hand, but the allspice adds a lovely hint of complexity to the mix.

The muffins are made using the traditional “muffin” method of combining the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together, with one simple twist: the butter is added in last. Adding the butter in last really tenderizes the muffins and gives them a great texture. While there are some muffins that should feel light and...

I am a sucker for oatmeal raisin cookies, especially when the raisins are plump and fresh, as they add so much natural sweetness to the buttery cookies. Most of my oatmeal cookie variations are based around different spice combinations and mix-ins, but these Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies change up the flour for a cookie that is not only tasty, but suitable for those working with dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy. They’re also a great recipe if you want to simply give gluten free baking a try!

The cookies start out with a gluten free all purpose flour blend. I like to use King Arthur or Trader Joe’s blends, both of which work consistently well in cookie recipes. The flour is blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda, then added to the rest of the dough ingredients, which include butter, sugar and plenty of oatmeal.

Oats do not contain gluten but not all oatmeal is gluten free, as the plants where oats are processed sometimes also process wheat grains, leading to the potential for cross contamination. I am not on a gluten free diet myself, so this is not a problem for me, but you should take care to read the labels on your oatmeal to ensure that it is gluten free before using if you are baking for yourself or someone else with dietary restrictions.


Pour over coffee – sometimes written as pourover – is a style of making coffee that coffee enthusiasts love. But you don’t have to be a coffee fanatic to give it a try because it’s just a simple way to make a good cup of coffee. Pour overs don’t require a machine, and you will only need a pour over dripper – which resembles the basket inside a traditional drip coffee maker – that can be placed on top of a cup or carafe to brew your java.

How to Brew a Pour Over Coffee Step by Step

  • Step 1: Place a filter in a pour over dripper and fill it with your coffee grounds, then place it on top of a cup or carafe.
  • Step 2: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil for each cup you intent to brew.
  • Step 3: Remove water from heat and pour a small amount over the grounds to moisten them.
  • Step 4: Slowly pour the rest of the hot water over your grounds, filling the filter and replenishing it as needed until the whole cup is brewed. You will likely need to refill the filter 2-3 times. Your fresh coffee will drip out into your cup in just a few minutes.

How Much Coffee Do You Need?

Pour overs use about the same amount of coffee:water as most drip coffee makers do. Coffee that is ground for...

Bread pudding is classic comfort food and most of these custardy delights are baked – and served – in large casserole dishes. This “family style” format is perfect when you have a big crowd to serve, but it’s not the only way to bake bread pudding. This recipe is for Muffin Tin Bread Puddings, where individual bread puddings are baked in muffin cups. These single-serving puddings are just the right size for an after-dinner treat and they’re very easy to transport if you plan to take your dessert on-the-go.

The recipe starts out like almost any bread pudding, with cubed bread added to a custard mixture flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. I used plain white bread for this particular bread pudding, but richer breads such as challah and brioche are always excellent choices. I also added raisins to the mix. Not only do raisins go well with vanilla and cinnamon, but they plump up and become more tender as bread pudding bakes. If raisins aren’t your thing, however, feel free to leave them out entirely or replace them with another dried fruit, chocolate chips or chopped nuts.

Dividing the mixture into the muffin pans is the trickiest part of this recipe. I recommend using muffin wrappers so that it is easy to remove the puddings from the pan. They will shrink back from the sides of the pan slightly, so don’t worry if...

The Instant Pot might have been one of the popular holiday kitchen gifts last season, but the Dash Mini Waffle Maker has consistently been a best seller this year. The pint-size waffle maker is just a bit bigger than the palm of your hand and produce 4-inch waffles that are almost too cute to eat. It comes in a variety of colors and has a price tag right around $10 – making it a perfect impulse purchase, whether you’re shopping online or see it in the store. As a waffle fan with a Belgian-style waffle iron that I really like, I wondered how the Dash stacked up to its full size competitors and ordered one so I could give it a try.

The waffle iron is so small and lightweight that it almost looks like a toy at first glance, but the waffle iron has a surprisingly heavy duty nonstick iron inside once you open it up. It has an indicator light on the top that lights up when you plug in the machine, then clicks off when the iron is hot. It does not have a on-off switch or any audible indicator, but that is true of some larger machines and not something I mind much. It does,...

Whole grains are an important part of a balanced diet, so it never hurts to include them into your recipes when possible. These Buttermilk Whole Wheat Waffles are made with white whole wheat flour, which makes them a better choice for your daily breakfast than some other waffle recipes. Despite their high whole grain content – something that might make you worry that these waffles with be dense instead of delicious – the waffles still bake up to be crisp on the outside with a fluffy interior!

The batter for this recipe is easy to put together and can be made up in just one bowl. It uses white whole wheat flour, along with a generous dose of buttermilk, vanilla, melted butter and a bit of sugar.

Whole wheat flour is made using the whole grain of the wheat, including the outer bran. The bran is typically brown or reddish, which gives whole wheat flour its brownish color. White whole wheat flour is made from a variety of flour where the bran is extremely light in color and has a much milder, sweeter flavor profile than that of traditional bran. This means that the flour itself is lighter in flavor and, though it packs in a generous serving of whole grains, it looks and feels more like all purpose flour in most recipes.

The waffles have a hint of whole wheat nuttiness, but you primarily...

This beautiful Lemon Swirl Bundt Cake is perfect for those times when you want to bake a cake with a bit of a surprise to it. The vanilla bundt cake has a gorgeous swirl of lemon running through it – a swirl that is bright yellow in color, but all natural in both coloring and flavoring. As a bonus, this cake is quite easy to make, so it will look like you put more time and effort into baking it than you really did.

This cake uses one vanilla batter as a base. The pound cake-like mixture is generously flavored with vanilla extract and buttermilk, which gives it a buttery flavor and a tender crumb. The vanilla cake is very white in color because, like many white cakes, it only uses egg whites. The egg yolks are reserved and added to a small portion of the batter along with plenty of lemon zest, creating a batter with a sunshine yellow hue that is packed with citrus flavor! You will be surprised at how much color just a few yolks can add to your cake!

You should add the cake batters to your pan in layers to get a white-yellow-white effect in every slice of the bundt. I didn’t run a knife through my...

Skillet cookies – with their gooey centers, crisp edges and shareable size – have been steadily gaining popularity over the past year or so. They’ve gone from unusual dessert menu item to a treat that many people bake at home. You can make a skillet cookie with almost any cookie dough, including prepared dough, but Trader Joe’s decided to make things even easier with their new Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie. The 16-oz cookie comes frozen, in it’s own baking dish (not a skillet, but close), and ready to become your next quick-fix dessert.

The cookie is pre-baked and includes instructions for heating it up in either the microwave or in the oven. While I’m usually a proponent of using the oven to cook frozen foods, I strongly recommend that you use the microwave for this one. Since the cookie is fully baked before being frozen, baking it a second time in the oven tends to dry it out a little bit, making it more of a “large cookie” than a gooey-in-the-center “skillet cookie.” When you microwave it, not only does it take a fraction of the time, but the cookie is softer and gooier – just as it should be.

The cookie has a nice molasses and brown sugar flavor, and it is loaded with chocolate chips. All of the melted chocolate is what makes this cookie worth...

Growing up, I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lunch more times than I can count. I still love the combination of sweet, fruity jam and savory, sticky peanut butter whether I’m enjoying it in a sandwich or in a PB&J-inspired dessert. This Peanut Butter Coffee Cake with Raspberries is a brunch option that is inspired by this classic sandwich, featuring a peanut butter cake that is studded with fresh raspberries and topped with a buttery streusel.

The batter for this cake is very easy to put together and can be mixed up in just one bowl. That being said, a small portion of the dry ingredients should be set aside towards the beginning of the recipe so that they can be turned into a bit of streusel for the top of the cake. Coffee cake is always better with streusel, isn’t it? There is a nice dose of peanut butter in the cake batter and raspberries are folded in after the other ingredients have been combined.

I used fresh raspberries in this cake and prefer to use them, when they’re available. If fresh raspberries are not in season, you can use frozen berries. When using frozen raspberries, use them from frozen – not thawed – and try to get the cake into the oven quickly after mixing it up so that the...

These tuxedo Black and White Chocolate Brownie Bars have something for every chocolate-lover, whether you prefer dark chocolate, white chocolate or love them both equally. The bars have a vanilla layer and a chocolate layer, with both dark and white chocolate chips packed between them.

The bars start with a blondie-like batter made with melted butter and a very generous amount of vanilla extract. This recipe is a great one to use vanilla bean paste in, if you have it, because the specks of vanilla bean will make the finished bars look even more delicious. That said, classic vanilla extract is fine, too. The batter is divided into two parts and cocoa powder is added to one portion, giving it a deep chocolate color and flavor. The chocolate batter makes up the base of the bars and the vanilla batter is spread on top – but not before a generous amount of white and dark chocolate chips is packed in between.

White chocolate chips work extremely well in this recipe because they have a creamy vanilla flavor that amps up the vanilla in the top batter of the bars, while contrasting nicely with the chocolate batter below. As always, use good quality white chocolate made with real cocoa butter and not with other vegetable fats. Dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips make up the rest of the filling,...

Waffles are one of those breakfast foods that I used to save for weekends. My desire to turn them into a “special occasion” breakfast food stems from the fact that growing up, it was rare that we had waffles for breakfast. And when we did have them, we all knew that our old-school waffle iron was time consuming to use and difficult to clean (we had a stovetop waffle iron in addition to a plug-in version that did not, in hindsight, work particularly well). These days, I have a much better waffle maker in my kitchen and know that waffles are an excellent choice for breakfast any day of the week – particularly if you’re making a relatively healthy batch of waffles, like these Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles that I’m sharing over on the Craftsy blog (it’s free!!).

These waffles are surprisingly light, given that they’re made with only whole wheat flour, with a crisp exterior and a tender interior. The whole wheat flour gives the waffles a slightly nutty flavor that, in my opinion, makes them pair even better with maple syrup than your average waffle recipe. You’ll be able to put the batter together in just a few minutes, which means that even on a busy morning, you can be enjoying fresh waffles in no time at all.

The post Baking...

Crepes are a wonderful addition to the breakfast table, but the thin, tender pancakes are versatile enough that they can make an appearance at any meal. Crepes stuffed with ham and cheese can be a savory meal any time of the day, while cinnamon sugar crepes are a delicious breakfast or snack item. When it comes to dessert, you can make things a little more indulgent with these Chocolate Crepes instead of their plainer cousins.

Crepe batter is very quick and easy to make – and these chocolate crepes are no exception. The batter is very similar to that of traditional crepes, but it has a little bit of cocoa powder and vanilla added to it. The crepes can be whisked up in one bowl or made in the food processor. The food processor really streamlines the process, so I tend to use it when I need a double batch of crepes. You can use the batter immediately or let it sit in the refrigerator over night if you want to make it ahead.

These crepes are not particularly sweet on their own because there is very little sugar in the pancake recipe. Too much sugar in crepe batter can lead to crepes that are crisp, rather than tender. The chocolate flavor of the crepes starts to come through when you add fillings and toppings to the crepes –...

Skillet cookies have really taken off in popularity in the last year or so, and if you’re not making them at home already, you should definitely put them on your “must try” list. The huge cookies are baked in oven-safe skillets and are jumbo sized, with crisp edges and slightly gooey centers. You can wait for them to cool and cut them into individual slices, or you can serve them up while they are still warm, just as you might serve a fruit cobbler. Skillet cookies can also be packed with more add-ins than your traditional cookie. This decadent White Chocolate Raspberry Skillet Cookie is packed with white chocolate and bright, sweet raspberries.

Fresh and frozen fruits aren’t a typical addition to regular drop cookies because the extra moisture in the fruit leads to a soggy cookie. With the skillet cookie, since it can (and should) be served while it is warm and soft in the center, you can easily get away with adding fresh fruit. The result is somewhere between a cookie and a cobbler – and it is incredibly delicious.

For this recipe, I paired sweet-tart raspberries with creamy white chocolate. There is white chocolate both in the cookie dough itself and added in the form of white chocolate chips....