Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Cookies!

This past weekend when I was being especially productive, I made a lot of cookies. Baking cookies is the definition of productivity if you didn’t know.

Of the two varieties I made, this being one and the other coming to the blog soon, neither turned out quite the way I expected, but I can’t complain. Expectations are a funny thing. It’s nice to have something to look forward to – a vacation, seeing someone for the first time in awhile, and the important things like eating a homemade cookie… – but when expectations aren’t met, what happens? Disappointment can ensue.

Let me clarify. The cookies were not bad, and I really shouldn’t say I was disappointed, but they were different than what I was originally hoping.

The good: They were full of texture, not overly sweet, and the warm cinnamony flavor (from both ground cinnamon and cinnamon chips) made them perfect to be called a “breakfast cookie” if you so desire.

The bad: What they were lacking were enough Raisinets. I had a box (about 1/2 cup total) of dark chocolate Raisinets and was giddy over the idea of incorporating them into the cookie dough. But I needed MORE! One box was simply not enough to live up to my expectations.

The solution(s): A. From the beginning, expect a cinnamon oatmeal cookie with an occasional dark chocolate raisin surprise or B. Double the amount of Raisinets.

If you chose option B, please let me know how it is.

Once I took a second bite and got over the initial feeling of these not living up to my expectations, I quickly realized what I created was just as good as my original idea.

The moral of the story: let go of expectations and take one step in life (or one bite of cookie) at a time.

…Easier said than done, right?

One day, I’m sure I’ll get around to meeting those Raisinet overload cookies that formed in my head, but until then I have other cookie recipes to tackle. I have a difficult time repeating or trying to re-do a recipe when I have hundreds of others catching my eye.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen small, or 1 dozen large, cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate Raisinets, or other chocolate covered raisins
1/4 cup mini cinnamon chips

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda.
2. In a separate bowl add the butter and beat with a handheld mixer until creamy. Add sugars and beat again until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, beating on medium-low speed until just incorporated. Add oats and beat again until just combined. Fold in Raisinets and cinnamon chips. Chill in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into golf ball size balls and place about two inches apart on a cookie sheet (use silpat mats or spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray).
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before moving to cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars

Hi.
Are you ready for this? You’re Wednesday is about to get all kinds of delicious.
Speculoos, as in Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s, takes these Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars to another level. Those old bars are one of my most popular recipes on the site, and I can’t even take credit for the recipe. But these. These Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars are a game-changer.
The texture is almost scone-like. Moist and soft, yet just a tad bit dry and crumbly, in a good way. If you know me, (I’m talking to you Hannah, and Brooke…and GG!) you know how much I love a good scone. Especially when there’s cinnamon involved. In fact, cinnamon might be my favorite spice. On a daily basis, you can find me either stirring it into oatmeal and ice cream/frozen yogurt, shaking it on top of baked sweet potatoes, and of course mixing it into manymany baked goods

So it’s no surprise I like snickerdoodles, where cinnamon sugar takes center stage. I’m not sure what exactly qualifies a snickerdoodle as such. Whether or not replacing some of the regular dairy butter with cookie butter takes away from their “snickerdoodleness,” I’m not sure, but I doubt it. I’m standing by the name. You’ll still find brown sugar and butter in the dough, and you’ll still sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Cookie butter contains cinnamon as well, so you get an added punch by its incorporation.

Some other notable ways I changed the original recipe: I cut back on the brown sugar and I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. This is me trying to be better to my body.

As easy as it is to eat the cookie butter straight from the jar, think about these next time you have a jar (which hopefully is right now). It doesn’t take too much, only half a cup, to turn already amazing cookie bars into even more amazing cookie bars.

**P.S. It’s not too late to enter the GIVEAWAY for a $250 Food Lion gift card!!**



Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars
(Adapted from these Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars)

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Whisk well and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine butter, cookie butter and brown sugar. Use a hand mixer to cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Continue to blend on medium speed until everything is well-incorporated.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing between additions. Use hand mixer to blend until all ingredients are just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
5. Add batter to the 9×9 pan. Use your fingers to press down to fill the entire pan.
6. In a small bowl, combine white sugar and cinnamon. Stir together. Sprinkle evenly across the top of the batter in the pan.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. It is better to undercook then overcook! These will set up a bit after rooming from the oven, so you want to pull them out when then are just barely done.
8. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing into square and serve.

For best taste, bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

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Confession: I think I’m over pumpkin. I realize that may not be the best way to introduce you to these Baked Pumpkin Donuts, but it’s the truth.

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As usual, I got really excited about pumpkin at the beginning of fall. Our culture builds so much hype for the big orange squash and all of the flavor it brings to everything from baked goods to savory sides to espresso drinks. I get sucked in and dream about all of the pumpkin things I will consume. Then I take a bite or a sip of the pumpkin _______ (fill in the blank) and it hits me. Pumpkin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Don’t hate me :/
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And don’t get me wrong. Pumpkin is not bad, but I couldn’t eat it every day. I’ve always been a vanilla girl, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go coo-coo for cocoa puffs chocolate too. Those are flavors I go crazy about, as boring as that may be. 
I also recognize the value pumpkin brings to baked goods in order to make them super moist. I will be posting a cupcake recipe soon which uses pumpkin, but contributes more to the texture than the flavor. In that sense, I probably could eat it every day in some form or another.
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Now that I’ve vented a little about pumpkin, I have another bone to pick with you. (I don’t think I like that phrase, but what’s done is done…what’s said is said….what’s written is written). 
Issue #2 for the day: Baked donuts. Not the item itself, but the name. 
This isn’t the first baked donut recipe I’ve made, but I’m growing more and more dissatisfied with them. Again, I realize I’m not giving much credit to how tasty these really are. But calling them donuts is so misconceiving. 
Greg says they should be called “Baked Bread Circles.” He’s right. These are essentially a quick bread or muffin in a donut shape. 
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Sure, they have the shape of a donut, but they should not be mistaken for a real, true DOUGHNUT. I’m talking light, airy, yeasty, fried dough heaven. Even cake doughnuts (vs. yeast doughnuts) are on a different level than baked donuts. 
(Notice my intentional inconsistent spelling of the word. I’m using doughnut to refer to the real thing, while donut is the wanna be.) 
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Despite everything I’ve just said, I hope I’m not contradicting myself too much when I say these baked donuts are a perfect match to your hot cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning. They are slightly sweet, perfectly soft, and have the pumpkin flavor we all get worked up about. 
Just don’t expect a bakery style doughnut by any means. If you want one of those doughnuts, come with me to Krispy Kreme. 

Baked Cinnamon Pumpkin Donuts
(Adapted from Taste and Tell)

Makes 6 donuts

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cinnamon for coating

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, pumpkin and butter. Cream together then add the egg. Mix well to combine. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
4. Pour batter into a ziplock bag. Cut off one tip of the bag and squeeze into donut pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely. Pour 1/4 cup cinnamon into a ziplock bag. Add one donut at a time to the bad and gently shake to coat in the cinnamon.

*Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Halloweeeeeen!

I have a very festive fall treat for you today, so I hope you’re ready. Put that Halloween candy aside for just a few minutes while you indulge in a Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll. 

Being my first time baking cinnamon rolls from scratch, I quickly discovered how challenging they can be. It’s not like I didn’t know going into it. After finding this recipe weeks ago, I kept putting it off because I was a little intimidated by it. 

Sometimes you need to take on a challenge though. And when the result tastes like one of these babies, all of the time and effort is worth it. With just one bite I had already forgotten about how I had to impatiently wait for the dough to rise and how I just about quit when the rolling of the dough didn’t exactly turn out as pretty as I imagined.

I image a sweet pumpkiny roll of goodness will be the perfect way to console myself while watching horror movies tonight. As much of a scaredy-cat as I am, I love the thrill of a good Halloween movie!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from Life Made Simple)

Makes about 8 rolls

*Note the amount of each ingredient may seem odd, but that’s because I cut the original recipe in half

Ingredients:
For the dough- 
2 tablespoons warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of milk
1/2 of one large egg, lightly beaten (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of beaten egg)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

For the filling-
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin

1/2 cup cream cheese frosting (I used Pillsbury whipped cream cheese frosting)

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes while yeast dissolves.
2. Gently stir in milk, egg, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cup of the flour, sugars, and spices. Add to bowl of stand-alone mixer and beat on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes. Add the hook attachment to the mixer and blend another 2 minutes, while slowly adding the remaining flour.
3. Place dough on well-floured surface kneed 8-10 times. Let sit in a greased bowl for up to an hour. Dough should double in size.
4. While dough is rising, prepare filling by mixing the sugars, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
5. When dough has risen, roll into a rectangle, about 12×6 inches, onto a well-floured surface. Spread the softened butter and canned pumpkin evenly across the top, then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture. Roll dough into a log, starting from the wide end. Cut into 8 equal slices and set in a well greased round cake pan (7 rolls around the perimeter and one in the middle). Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let sit another 45 minutes until rolls have almost doubled in size.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until rolls have become golden brown.
7. Let rolls cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Ice as desired and serve warm.

Cinnamon Banana Nut Muffins

Muffins are the epitome of coffee shop food. Every trip to Starbucks tests my willpower to resist the giant muffins in the bakery case. If I’m standing in line, that means I’m already about to splurge on sugary, empty calories; so I avoid the double whammy and rarely ever buy a pastry too. 
But, seriously, how good is a hot steamy latte along side a big old muffin (or doughnut or scone or what ever other your baked good of choice may be)?
So good. That’s the answer I was looking for. 

Unlike the ones at the coffee shop, you don’t have too feel too guilty with these muffins, because they are made in part with whole wheat flour and bananas. Walnuts even add some healthy fats into mix. 

Now let me ask you this- what will you be eating for breakfast this lovely fall Friday?

Cinnamon Banana Nut Muffins
(Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

Makes 12 standard size muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed brown bananas (about 2 bananas)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini cinnamon chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, mashed banana, oil, egg and vanilla. Add wed ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in cinnamon chips. Pour batter into muffin tin wells. Spoon walnut pieces evenly across the tops of each muffin.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place on cooling rack to finish cooling.

Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars

Soooo. Let me tell you about these snickerdoodle bars. Like the title says, they are thick and chewy. What the title doesn’t say is that they may be the best thing I’ve made in quite awhile. Seriously addicting. I mean…seriously

They seem to get better with each bite I take. Even a couple days after baking, they are just as soft and haven’t lost a touch of flavor. I love that you can taste a hint of the saltiness too. Hey, as much as I love sweets, I am a salt-lover too. My original plan was to eat one or two for myself, let Greg have what he wanted, and bring the rest to work to share. 
Well, after polishing off my first bar and walking running back to the pan for a second and third, I knew these wouldn’t be going anywhere close to work. I was keeping these in the safety of my home. And in my home they shall stay for Greg and me to finish every last one for ourselves. 
The great thing about baking these is that since they are bars and not cookies, you don’t have to go through the extra steps of rolling the dough into balls, then rolling in cinnamon sugar. Just pour in a pan and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar right on top. Quick and easy. And trust me, the quicker the better. 

Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars
(From My Own Sweet Thyme)

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9×9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with hand-mixer until well blended. Add flour mixer and continue to beat until combined.
4. Pour batter into the greased pan and spread evenly.
5. In a small bowl, mix the white sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle overtop of the batter in the pan.
6. Bake about 22-25 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and pull away from side of pan. Let cool 5-10 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Baking note: One thing I have learned from my snickerdoodle-baking experience is that it’s best to slightly undercook them, because they always, always set up just right after they cool. If you wait until they seem completely cooked before taking them out of the oven, they will turn crunchy when they cool. If you ask me, a crunch snickerdoodle = no bueno. Soft and chewy is where it’s at with these comforting treats.

*Keeps well in airtight container for several days!

Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Raisin Bread and a GIVEAWAY!

Are you excited? I’m excited.

Today I have a delicious and guilt-free snack recipe to share with you. But that’s not all. You just wait…

This super moist and dense bread is make with Chobani’s Non-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt. I have always been a yogurt lover, but baking with it is a newfound love.

I previously made Blueberry Yogurt Cake Doughnuts, but those are longggg gone. I was ready for more. 


With my fresh supply of yogurt from my lovely friends at Chobani, I am exploring all of its possibilities. The great part about it is that the wide variety of yogurt flavors make recipe adaptations easy-peasy. 

A slice of this bread weighs in at just about 120 calories. All the more reason to spread on some butter while it’s warm and let it melt right into the bread.
Don’t mind if I do!
If are looking for the instant gratification of enjoying a cup of thick and creamy yogurt the traditional way (with a spoon), you are sure to never get bored either. Blueberry, Strawberry Banana, Pomegranate, Black Cherry, Apple Cinnamon…I think my favorite so far is probably Strawberry Banana. Mmmm.
**GIVEAWAY**

Now for the reason you really should be excited today. I have teamed up with Chobani to give one of you lucky readers o’ mine your own assorted case (12-pack) of greek yogurt! 

You will receive one entry for doing each of the following:

-Visit Chobani’s “Chobaniac Creations” Pinterest board and tell me which recipe you would make first
-Follow me on Twitter

You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry. 

Giveaway ends Sunday, July 1st at 11:59pm EST. Winner announced on this blog Tuesday, July 3rd. 

Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Raisin Bread
(Adapted from No Sugar Sweet Life)
Makes 10-12 small servings
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 container (6 ounces) Chobani Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray medium sized bread pan with cooking spray and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, yogurt and milk. Add to dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the bread pan and gently shake to flatten out evenly. 
5. Bake 40-45 minutes or until bread begins to pull away from the sides and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
6. Let cool about 5-10 minutes on cooling rack before slicing.