Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The best pancakes and syrup ever, must-try!

Yogurt Pancakes with Homemade Syrup

For the pancakes:
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 - 3 c. plain Mountain High brand yogurt (or 2 c. buttermilk)
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 c. all-purpose flour

Mix all ingredients. If it seems too thick, add milk a little at a time until it reaches a good
 "pancake batter" consistency.

For the syrup:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plain yogurt (we like the Mountain High brand)
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring first four ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, reduce

 to a simmer and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add baking soda and
 vanilla. Remove from stove and serve over pancakes, waffles or
 french toast. (The syrup will be thin-- this is normal. After it cools off
 a bit it thickens up. Store any extra syrup in the fridge for
 later use.)
**The baking soda will make it boil high so make sure you use

 a large pot.***

I've had this recipe bookmarked forever because I don't make pancakes
 that often. But the addition of yogurt in both the pancake and syrup was
 a different enough idea that I was intrigued, and I was amazed!  The
 pancakes were definitely pancakes, but more moist.  They even taste 
good plain.  The syrup is simply amazing and even though I'm not sure 
how healthy the recipe is with the butter and all, the yogurt balances it all 
out with its protein and bacteria!  

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars
  • 1 3/4 c. flour (I used 1 c. white, 3/4 c. wheat flour with great results)
  • 3/4 t. soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. oatmeal
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375.  Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla till fluffy and add dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chunks.  Press into greased 9x13 pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.  You can also double the recipe and press into 11x17.

I tried these at my neighbor's house and she used 3/4 c. wheat flour, and it was really good!  Makes it a little healthier, and the kids and I don't even notice.  I also shaved off a tablespoon or two of butter.  The pan was gone in no time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken and Artichoke Soup

Chicken and Artichoke Soup
  • 4 chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cans cream of celery soup (I used all cream of chicken, what I had)
  • 1 8 oz jar of artichoke hearts, chop finely
  • 1/2 box sliced mushrooms (I didn't have these and still good)
  • 1 can diced green chilies (I skipped to make kid-friendly)
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 1 pound pepper jack cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Poach chicken, then shred (or if you freeze your shredded chicken, this works great for it). In your stock pot, saute onion in a little olive oil. Add chicken. Then add cream of celery, cream of chicken, half and half, mushrooms and artichokes. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  

We enjoyed this thick and creamy soup.  We'll make it again!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Coconut Caramel Cookies

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

Makes 54 cookies
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 oz.) 
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Flaky Sea Salt (good, though optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Beat together butter and sugar with  mixer
 on medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, then add vanilla. 
With mixer on low, add flour a little at a time 1/2 tsp salt and
 beat to combine. Using plastic wrap, press dough together to
 make it a bit flat, and roll into 1 1/4-inch balls.  (I recommend 
doing all the rolling before you start the dipping.) 
Using a spoon, dip each ball into the beaten egg, let excess egg drip 
off, and then roll in coconut. (I had to use my fingers/the spoon to
 help make sure all the dough balls were covered 
evenly with coconut. Don't worry if you get messy!)

Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and press an indentation
 of your thumb into each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove
 sheet from oven and re-press indentations (I used the handle of a spoon).  
After that, put the sheet back in the oven and bake for another 9-10
minutes or until golden. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
 (Cookies will be hot- do this quickly!)

For caramel: Place unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a small 
saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels 
have melted and the mixture is smooth, 4-6 minutes. 
Spoon caramel into the indentations of each cookie and sprinkle with sea salt. 
If the caramel starts  to harden, rewarm it on low heat!
 (Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.)

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living Feb 2012

These cookies weren't that hard to make, though prep time is a bit longer!  
They turned out well, so I was happy.  If you like coconut and a buttery
 shortbread cookie, topped with caramel, then you'll want to try these.

Another vanilla ice cream recipe.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream and the half and half. Gradually whisk in the sugar until blended.
  2. Whisk in the vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until very cold, at least 3 hours or as long as 3 days.
  3. Whisk the mixture to blend and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Eat at once or transfer to a covered container and freeze up to 8 hours.

I am still figuring out my ice cream ingredients, trying to see how using different-fat ingredients changes taste and texture of ice cream.  Our family loved the vanilla ice cream recipe we have on here that used straight milk (though it doesn't freeze that well- it's a little icy), and this one is more delicious.  I used 4 c. half and half, no cream.  Next time I'll use the cream to see if it freezes better.  It's wonderful straight out of the ice cream maker, but it is a little icy when it freezes.  But it is SO yummy fresh.  I love how easy it is to make ice cream.