Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

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Lo and behold, I hit upon "it".  What is "it", you ask?  Well, apparently the smell of Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread baking in the oven is what "it" takes to lure my youngest son out of his bedroom.

He put down the X-box controller and emerged from his hibernation...in search of what smelled so good.  He told me "It smells like Christmas!  What are you baking?"  He knows I only make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  Yes, the labor intensive cinnamon rolls that are worth the effort comes but once a year at our house.  However, if you want to get the SMELL and the TASTE of cinnamon rolls ANY day of the week, then you MUST try this recipe.  

It's another "cheater" recipe.  Or as Sandra Lee would say, "Semi-Homemade" because it involves frozen bread dough.  

Here you go.

Begin with 1 loaf of frozen bread dough, 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.  
Spray or grease your bread loaf pan.  

Let your bread sit out a bit.  You want it partially thawed, but partially frozen, too.  (Hhmmm, what is she talking about?)  Well, when you can safely cut it into 24 thin slices without losing a finger or two, then you'll know it's thawed enough.  

Ok, melt your butter in a saucepan on low.  Don't burn it.  You'll remember I don't use my microwave except for popcorn or occasionally reheating leftovers.  If you want to use your microwave, go for it.  Then you can email me and I'll tell you a tip on cleaning splatters of butter off of the inside of your microwave.  

In a small bowl, stir together your cinnamon and sugar.  

If you haven't already, cut your bread into four equal pieces.  Then cut each piece into 6 slices.  Now, dip each piece in butter first, coating both sides, and then the cinnamon-sugar, again coating both sides.  Place in pan.  You will do this with all 24 pieces of bread.  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with non stick spray and let rise.  

Once assembled in the pan and completely risen your loaf should look like this.
Now, (this is hours later) you are ready to bake your bread.  Place your loaf in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  More depending on your oven.  Remove from pan and let cool for a few minutes.  

While it's cooling, prepare your glaze.   You will need 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, 2 Tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  Melt the butter and then mix in the remaining ingredients until thoroughly smooth.  

Turn your bread onto your serving dish, drizzle your glaze on it, and then grab a slice for yourself* before your family comes wandering in to devour it.  Your finished product should look like this.
*I should have told you days ago that I'm a "pusher", not a "user".  I make these delicious creations and force others to consume the calories.  Others, like YOU.  I'm luring you into the habit, the sweet tooth habit, don't tell your dentist about me.  

Hope you enjoy this bit of Christmas morning on any day of the week recipe!  

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
by The Hardscrabble Home

Bread Ingredients -
1 loaf of frozen bread dough
1/3 cup of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze Ingredients -
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 T. milk
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.  Let your bread thaw enough that you can safely cut it into 24 equal thin slices.  Melt your butter.  Mix cinnamon with the sugar in a small bowl.  Dip each slice into butter, then cinnamon-sugar, coating both sides with each.  Re-assemble in your pan.  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with non stick spray.  Let rise.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Cool for about five minutes and then place on serving plate.

Melt butter for glaze, mix in milk, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle over your bread and serve.  Keep leftovers* in an airtight container.  (*AS IF there will be any leftovers, hahaha).


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Monday, September 24, 2012

Banana Cream Pie

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I gave my better half three dessert choices for tonight:  Banana Cream Pie, Cream Puff Dessert or something with apples.   He chose Banana Cream Pie.  (I knew he would!)  It has been awhile since I made him his favorite pie.  It's been precisely 2 years, 2 months, and 8 days since I made him this pie.  Don't feel too bad, though, Marie Callender has made him a few in the meantime.  So, this morning I gathered up the ingredients...

One baked pie shell, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup cold milk, 1 pkg. (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding, 1 12 oz. cool whip, 3 medium bananas and a Dora doll.  Don't forget Dora.  She was placed in the picture by my helper Emily, who is four.  Actually, I should just name this Emily's Banana Cream Pie, because she took over and made it herself, I just supervised.  

We made this recipe super easy by using a frozen pie shell.  You can use a homemade one if you choose.  If it was my husband's birthday, I would use a homemade one.  But, it's not.  (He doesn't really take note of the crust either way, so he won't care.)  Here is Emily poking the holes in the bottom of the crust before baking.  (Look how fast her little hand is moving!)
 Whisk sour cream and milk until blended.  Add pudding mix, and whisk until pudding is dissolved.  Look at Emily go (Again, she is a FAST worker!)  Next, stir in your cool whip, combining well. 
Set the bowl of filling aside, as  you slice your bananas into slices.  Spread half of your filling into the bottom of your cooled crust.  Arrange your sliced bananas over the filling.  At this point, we decided to make the next layer of filling look pretty.  So, we placed it in our pastry bag with a large star tip and went to town!  That.  Is.  It.  That's the last step.  Here is our finished pie.

Emily's Banana Cream Pie
by The Hardscrabble Home

Ingredients -

One baked pie shell
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 12 oz. cool whip
3 medium bananas
A Dora doll

Bake pie shell according to instructions and let cool.  Mix sour cream and milk together.  Add instant pudding and stir until dissolved.  Stir in cool whip, incorporating it well.

Slice your bananas into slices.

Layer half of your filling into cooled pie crust.   Arrange banana slices on top.  Pipe remaining filling using a pastry bag and a large star tip.  OR, you can just spread the remaining filling on, it's your choice. 

Chill and serve. 

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

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Oh, YUM!!  You are going to LOVE this recipe.  It's not a quick fix it in twenty minutes recipe, there are some steps involved, but trust me, IT'S WORTH IT!  

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
By The Hardscrabble Home

Your Ingredients
For the Crust:

20 chocolate wafer cookies (I used Keebler Dark Chocolate Fudge Stripe Cookies)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coffee beans
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

For the Filling:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature

For the Glaze:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil.

Let's start with the crust: If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, which I am not, you can process the chocolate cookies in it.  I used my blender, it's good for more than making frozen margaritas!  Anyway, make crumbs of your cookies and add in there the butter, sugar, coffee and salt.  You want this to be pulsed to a fine consistency.  Once you have accomplished that, evenly press the crust into your pan making sure to cover the bottom completely.  Now, bake it for about 15 minutes or until it sets.   Set it aside to cool.

Let's move onto the filling. 
In a large mixing bowl, use your mixer to blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together until smooth.  Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and mix until just incorporated. 

On your stovetop, (you can use a double boiler) melt the chocolate.  Once melted, fold the chocolate thoroughly into the cream cheese filling, mixing until it is smooth.  Pour the filling evenly over the crust.  Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a teeny bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Now, it's time to make the glaze.  (I told you there were some steps involved but when you taste these you will thank me.) 

Melt the bittersweet chocolate with the butter and corn syrup on stove top.  You can also use your microwave, but I'm not a big microwave girl unless it involves popcorn.   Stir the ingredients together until smooth; lastly add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over baked filling. Cool completely, then refrigerate.

Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature.  

These freeze well.  Hahaha.  As if you are going to have any leftover TO FREEZE.  

There you have it A worth the time it took you to make it triple chocolate cheesecake bar that will make you the envy of the neighborhood.  If you share it, that is.  
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Surprise! It's Monkey Bread

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The "surprise" is that it is not your typical monkey bread, well, that and hidden inside each delicious bubble of sweetness you will find cream cheese.  That got your attention!  Cream Cheese = GOOD!   

Now, if you are like me, you probably only make Monkey Bread once, maybe twice, a year.  If that's the case, then go the extra step, use the recipe below and make it worth the effort.  There's no counting calories on the day you serve this!  

Surprise Monkey Bread

by The Hardscrabble Home


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 tubes (12 oz each) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I don't like walnuts, so I left the walnuts out as you can tell by the picture above.)

In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar and butter until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

Flatten each biscuit into a 3-in. circle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon in the center of each biscuit. Top with a cream cheese cube. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal tightly.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup walnuts into a 10-in. fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the biscuits, cinnamon-sugar and butter mixture and 1/2 cup walnuts.

Repeat layers.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 loaf (12 servings).
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

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September 22nd marks the official start of my favorite season...FALL!  While I promise to have many yummy recipes featuring all kinds of Fall like ingredients, let's give Summer a proper send-off.  

I've got the perfect recipe to do just that.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake
This was the cake of choice for my youngest son's 11th birthday this year.  

Here's how you do it.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake 

By The Hardscrabble Home

Your Ingredients

1 Chocolate Cake Mix
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (or which ever flavor you prefer)
Double Stuff Oreos
Chocolate Fudge Syrup
Cool Whip
Chocolate Bark or Chocolate Chips

Bake cake in 10" round cake pan according to directions on cake mix. Let cool, remove from pan, and slice into two layers. Take bottom half and place in the bottom of your 10" springform pan. Smash down and up sides a bit to form crust. Place in freezer until frozen. (You won't use the other half of sliced cake in this recipe, you can freeze it for another use or make cake balls with it).

On top of cake crust, spread a layer of ice cream, top with crushed Oreos, a layer of chocolate fudge syrup, another layer of ice cream, crushed Oreos and a final layer of ice cream. Top with more crushed Oreos and drizzle melted chocolate chips or chocolate bark on top. Return to freezer until firm, or overnight.

Remove from freezer and release/remove the sides of springform pan. Frost sides of cake with cool whip and pipe a border on top of cake. *Had I transferred the cake to a large serving platter I would have piped a bottom border, too, but as you can see, I didn't.

Return to freezer until ready to serve. 

Enjoy!    Pin It

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Uses For Old Objects

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WAIT!  Don't get rid of that!  I can USE that!  I can't tell you the number of times I have uttered that sentence, much to the chagrin of my ever patient and indulgent husband.  He used to ask, "For what?"  Not so much anymore.  

Not after I turned an empty gallon pickle jar into...  
a pretty cool looking lamp for the kitchen.  What's it filled with, you ask?  Dried peas of course!  I bought all of the dried peas Kroger had on their shelf.  As it turned out I bought too many.  That's ok, they didn't go to waste.  Hey, did you know that dried green peas turn to white if they are illuminated day after day by a light bulb?  Yep!  They most certainly do!  (See, you DO learn something NEW every day!)

One day while we were shopping around a quaint little antique store I came across the most unusual bucket type thing hanging on a wall.   It was an elevator bucket from a corn crib I quickly learned.  Home with us it came.  It's days of holding corn are long over.  Now it holds potatoes & onions on our pantry wall.

I love my little elevator bucket.

When I have an idea in my head it consumes me.  I needed two candle sconces for my bathroom wall to hang on either side of my mirror.  Yes, I said needed.  It was a need, not a want.  My poor mirror looked lonely hanging on that wall by itself.  I looked and I looked and I looked some more for exactly what I wanted to look at on that wall for the rest of my life.  (Maybe that's a slight exaggeration.)  I had just about given up when a friend suggested that the electric sconce I had recently taken down in the pantry would work.  I grabbed that sconce, took the shade off, yanked those electrical wires out of it, took my little flowered hammer that hides six little nesting screwdrivers in the handle, and up it went on the wall.  I topped it with a battery operated candle and sure enough!  It was EXACTLY what I was looking for the last three weeks.  I only had one but my local Ace Is The Place guy was able to order me one to match.  Now there is a matched set hanging proudly on the wall.  

Excuse the crooked picture but I really didn't want to stand in the bathtub to take a better one.   I suppose I could  also have superimposed something over that mirror so you can't see my shower curtain hanging open like that, but who has the time?  

My goofiest project to date occurred just a few short weeks ago.  I had a half hour to spare with nothing to do.  Well, I had stuff I could be doing, but I wanted to do something fun.  I grabbed an old pair of jeans that had seen better days, a pair of scissors, some fabric I had bought to make curtains but never did make the curtains, and my sewing machine.  I told my husband, "Watch what I make!"  20 minutes later I had made...

an Apron out of blue jeans!  Hahahahaha!  I wore that thing ALL DAY LONG.  My youngest son was horrified even though I didn't go out in public in it.  My daughter said I was weird.  She doesn't know yet that she will be sporting one when it comes time to make Christmas cookies in a few months!  Fun times.  

Last but not least, I still had the issue of those leftover bags of peas.  I used one bag for pea soup which led to disastrous results.  Keeping with my repurpose it way of doing things, I grabbed an empty vase that the most beautiful Valentine's Day flowers had arrived in, filled the vase up with dried peas, and plopped yet another battery operated candle on top.  Voila (<< That's the correct word, I googled it).

The best things about these projects were they were cheap, easy, quick, and I saved something from the landfill.  

The next time you are bored, I hope that you remember that a blue jean apron or a pickle jar lamp is within your reach.  (If you DO make a rhinestone blue jean apron, send me a picture so I'm not the only one sporting mine for the world to see.) Pin It

Monday, September 17, 2012

Garlic Herb Bread

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Well, here it is.   My very first EVER blog post.  Until now, my pictures and recipes and rants and raves have been forced onto my poor family and friends through text messages, forum postings and the occasional emails.  (My teacher niece Tara is probably cringing at that extremely long run-on sentence.  You can visit her blog http://tarasimpson.blogspot.com/ here.)  

My husband walks into the house last night and sees me taking pictures with my cell phone of a loaf of bread I just made.  He is used to it by now, me taking pictures of food.  I'm sure he thinks I'm a little weird though. I kept saying to him, "Look at how beautiful that bread is!!  I have to text my sisters.  They have to see this!"   I called my mom this morning telling her what a beautiful loaf of bread I made.  She asks, "More importantly, how does it taste?"  

It tastes absolutely wonderful.  Try it for yourself and see!  You don't even have to tell anyone just HOW EASY it was to make!  They'll never know. 

Garlic Herb Bread

by The Hardscrabble Home

1 loaf Frozen Bread Dough
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Place frozen bread dough on a buttered sheet pan to begin thawing, covering it with a piece of plastic wrap. When it is partially thawed, slice into 12 1/2 inch slices, but don't cut all the way thru to the bottom of loaf. You want the loaf to stay intact.

Place sliced bread in a greased loaf bread pan.

In a small saucepan, melt butter, then combine with the remaining ingredients. Brush each slice, front and back with butter mixture. Pour any remaining mixture over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until 1 inch over top of pan. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 20-30 minutes. (Mine was done after 20 minutes, but your oven may be different.)
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