Bulldog Brittle

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baking shows. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas time; there are so many holiday themed baking shows to enjoy. This past Christmas Food Network had a Kid’s Holiday Baking Championship special, and on it, one of the contestants made bulldog brittle. According to this girl, it’s a Georgian speciality, hence bulldog (the bulldog being University of Georgia’s mascot). It looked so simple and the judges raved about it so I knew I needed to try it. I found a couple recipes online and decided to use all butter and white sugar to make mine. Some recipes call for a stick of margarine and a stick of butter, some called for brown sugar, but I knew I didn’t want a toffee flavor in this brittle so white sugar was the winner. All in all I was really happy with this recipe. It would make a great gift for teachers or holiday goodie bags.

  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 box graham crackers

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 10×15 rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lay out your graham crackers, filling as much of the pan as possible. In a saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. After the butter is melted, add in your sugar, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for two minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and add in the pecans. With a large spoon, spoon the mixture of the graham crackers, trying to get it as evenly distributed as possible. Bake for 10-12 minutes. When it looks caramelized and gooey, take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely. Break into pieces and serve once completely cooled.

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

I was having a couple of friends over for a little get together and wanted to have some protein to snack on. In the past I have gone to my crockpot smokies recipe, but I had meatballs in the freezer and wanted to try something different. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it sounded too good so I knew I had to try it. I’m glad to say that it was a success and I really liked that the sauce made by the cranberry and chili sauce was nice and thick and didn’t need a cornstarch slurry like my smokies recipe sometimes does. Another bonus is this recipe comes together so quickly and lives in the crockpot til you are ready to serve so it’s great for entertaining.

  • 14-oz can cranberry sauce 
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb bag of homestyle meatballs, frozen

Pour your meatballs into a medium size crockpot. Combine the sauce ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8.

Crockpot Mexican Shredded Beef

I have a bunch of chuck roasts in my freezer and was looking for something different than my usual Mississippi Roast to make with them, so it was off to Pinterest! I found this shredded beef recipe and it was a winner for everyone. It would be great in a rice bowl, on nachos, or in tacos. I tweaked the recipe a little bit because I was missing a couple of ingredients but I’ll note those substitutions at the bottom. Recipe and photo courtesy of asouthernsoul.com.

  • 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounce can green chilies
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Layer sliced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chuck roast on top of onions. Sprinkle chopped garlic around the side of the beef. In a small bowl, add green chilies, chopped chipotle, beef broth, vinegar, and lime juice, whisk together then pour over the roast. Sprinkle the top of the roast with cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Place lid on the slow cooker and set the timer to 8 hours for low OR on high for 4 hours. When the roast is done, remove it from the slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. Drain off 3/4 of the liquid from the pot. Add shredded beef back into the pot and gently toss with remaining juice. Serve immediately.

*I didn’t have chipotles or green chiles, so I left out the chipotles and substituted 1/2 a cup of salsa verde for the diced green chiles and it turned out great.

How To: Thin Crust Pizza Dough

This recipe is very similar to my other pizza dough recipe, but it makes less dough, and you don’t proof it before baking. This leads to a nice, thin crust that bakes up well and holds up to multiple toppings.

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, about 110°
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour*

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, mix together yeast, water and sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy**. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture.  Then, using the dough hook on your stand mixer, or a sturdy spoon if using a bowl, mix in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough has started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix the dough with the dough hook for 3 minutes on medium speed until the dough has completely pulled away from the sides and is smooth.  If you are not using a stand mixer, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Shape the dough into one ball, and slice in half evenly. At this point you can roll out both balls of dough for two 10 -12-inch pizzas. Or, store the remaining dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or the freezer for up to one month. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and transfer to prepared pan.  At this point you can add whatever toppings you like and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your pizza.

*All purpose flour is fine too if that’s all you have in the house!

**I use instant yeast so you can just add all the ingredients to the bowl and proceed with mixing.

Butter Dijon Parmesan Chicken

This is another quick and easy meal that is simple and delicious and can pair with any side dish you can think of. Even my family who doesn’t like mustard likes this chicken.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • honey for drizzle if desired

Preheat oven to 400°; if you have a convection feature in your oven it will help brown the crumbs. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, then spray with cooking spray. Pat dry and trim any extra fat off the chicken thighs. Melt your butter in a microwave safe bowl, then mix in the dijon mustard. Combine the panko, parmesan, salt and pepper in another bowl. Coat the chicken thighs in the butter/dijon mixture, then into the panko mixture. Place the chicken on the prepared sheet then spray the tops with more cooking spray to help with crisping. Bake for 25-30 minutes until coating is crispy and brown and the internal temp is 165. Drizzle with honey if desired and serve with your favorite side.

Apple Butter Cookies

Every October we go to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins for the house. Some years we carve them, some years we don’t, but we always pick up a couple of jars of apple butter while we are there. I was in the mood to make some cookies the other day and found this recipe. These cookies are so good, slightly chewy with a wonderful apple butter flavor. My oldest son called them a national treasure, so I knew it was a winner.

  • 1/4 cup butter, I used salted
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar, for rolling

Cream together butter, apple butter, and sugar. Mix in egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until dough forms. Place into fridge and chill for 2 hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, roll cookies into a ball and roll each ball in cinnamon sugar. Place cookies onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms have started to brown. Move baked cookies to wire rack to cool. 

PB&J Scones

Another scone recipe! Are you ready? If you are like the rest of my family and not as excited about scones as I am that’s okay, I have enough excitement for all of us. This scone had the perfect balance of peanut butter to jam, although I would recommend using a thicker jam, a la Bonne Marie, so it doesn’t get lost in the center.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, salted butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup jam of choice

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Grate the frozen butter on a box cheese grater, then mix into your dry ingredients. Add in the peanut butter chips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream and peanut butter. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It should have a slightly dry texture and hold together, but not be crumbly. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream if the dough seems too dry. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and make two balls. Flatten each ball into a circle about 2/3 of an inch thick. Spread a layer of jam onto the bottom disk, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch border around the outside edge of the circle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Chocolate Peppermint Scones

Last Christmas I bought some Ghirardelli peppermint baking chips but hadn’t even opened the bag all year. As we have gotten into fall I’ve been craving those holiday-esque flavors, and with my current scone obsession I wanted to try a scone using them. I’m really pleased with how this scone turned out, it was my first foray into cobbling together my own recipe based on what end result I was hoping to achieve and it turned out tasty!

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup peppermint baking chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more depending on how the dough comes together)
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones

Preheat your oven to 400° and line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. Place flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Grate the cold butter on a box grater and mix into the dry ingredients. Add the peppermint chips and stir very briefly to evenly distribute. Place the eggs and 1/2 cup heavy cream into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the egg mixture into your flour mix and stir gently, until a soft, crumbly dough forms. You want it to hold if you press the dough together, but not be sticky and wet. If the mixture is still too crumbly, add in the extra cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I live at altitude and added 2 tablespoons and probably could’ve added one more.)  Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and press into a large disc, around half an inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the disc of dough into 6-8 wedges. At this stage you can leave the scones cut but together, or use a spatula to spread the scones around the baking tray with a 2 inch gap in between each one. Sprinkle some white sugar onto the top of each scones and then place in the oven for 13-17 minutes. (I left mine in a round for about 14 minutes because my mixture was pretty crumbly, then I separated them and baked for about 5 more minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are risen, golden around the edges and sound light when you tap on the top.

Blueberry Lemon White Chocolate Scones

One of my best friends in the world loves blueberry lemon desserts. When I started making batches and batches of scones, she requested one with that flavor combination and I knew exactly which recipe I would use as a base. This recipe is based on the cranberry white chocolate scones on my site and with the addition of lemon extract they turned out really well. Because I don’t put a glaze on my scones, it is very hard to get a prominent lemon flavor from juice alone, so I added lemon extract and it did the trick.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries; frozen won’t leak as much into the batter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more depending on how the dough comes together)
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones

Preheat your oven to 400° and line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. Place flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cubes of butter into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you have a coarse breadcrumb texture. Some pea sized lumps of butter is fine. (I was using frozen butter so I grated mine with a cheese grater.) Add the white chocolate chips and blueberries and stir very briefly to evenly distribute. Place the eggs, heavy cream and extract into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the egg mixture into your flour mix and stir gently, until a soft, crumbly dough forms. You want it to hold if you press the dough together, but not be sticky and wet. If the mixture is still too crumble, add in the extra cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I live at altitude and added 2 tablespoons and probably could’ve added one more.)  Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and press into a large disc, around half an inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the disc of dough into 6-8 wedges. At this stage you can leave the scones in a circle, or use a spatula to spread the scones around the baking tray with a 2 inch gap in between each one. Sprinkle some white sugar onto the top of each scones and then place in the oven for 13-17 minutes. (I left mine in a round for about 14 minutes because my mixture was pretty crumbly, then I separated them and baked for about 5 more minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are risen, golden around the edges and sound light when you tap on the top.

Easy-Peasy Homemade Biscuits

The other night I was making dinner and since it was pot roast, it really needed some bread to go with it. I knew I wouldn’t have time for rolls, so after a quick internet search I found this recipe. Start to finish it took 20 minutes and they tasted amazing. I cut the recipe in half because I didn’t want leftovers, but if you are feeding a crowd definitely make the full recipe. Recipe and photo courtesy of momontimeout.com.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup COLD butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 450° The secret to excellent biscuits is super cold butter. I like to grate my butter on a box grater to get uniform size pieces of butter, then just toss it into the flour. Add in the milk and egg and mix just until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be sticky but don’t keep working it. You should be able to see the butter pieces in the dough. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on to the top of dough so it won’t stick to your fingers and knead 10-15 times. If the dough is super sticky just sprinkle on some additional flour. Pat the dough out to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or glass. I ended up with nine this time but depending on who is snacking on biscuit dough, I can get up to 12 biscuits.  Place the biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. For extra yumminess, brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.