Monday, December 26, 2011

S'more cake IN A JAR!

I have in the last year grown quite fond of the humble mason jar.  Well just jars in general really.  They are so useful and pretty. You can keep your flowers in them. Put your rice in them so it's not spilling out of the bag. Throw some pencils in for the most convienent little pencil caddy. Tie on some ribbon and fill it with candy and oh my look at your beautiful present! But that's not why you stopped by, to hear about my jar infatuation.  You came because someone said S'MORE, more importantly, S'MORE CAKE! (raises hand) Guilty as charged.  But let me tell you something, these are perfect anytime betweeen now and next Christmas, because really is there a season for s'mores? I think not.  So saddle up parter and grab your mason jar, empty peanut butter jar or cleaned out pickle jar (please clean it first) as we whip the easiest, and by far most decadent, s'more you will have in your life. 

s'mores cake in a jar
(adapted from How Sweet It Is)

This will make 4 pint sized cakes, or 8 1/2 pint cakes. I made the pint sized and they were over the moon sweet.  If you make them this size, have a friend or at least someone you like, handy.

For crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 stick of butter :)
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and combine with graham crackers and salt until well mixed.  Spray the jars with non stick spray and dividing the crust among the jars, press it down into the bottoms.  I used a tart tamper I had, anything to get it spread even and packed tight.

For the cake:
1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sour cream

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth, then add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in the sour cream. In a seperate bowl sift dry ingredients together and add them to the wet mixture. Mix it all up until the batter is smooth.

If you're using pint jars, use a 1/4 cup and measure out the batter one scoop at a time. You only want to fill them up about half way and the batter should work evenly for 4 jars. I used pint jars and ended up having enough batter for 2 additional half pint jars as well.  Not sure why. But that's how I discovered that these are better in smaller packages.

Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set. I eneded up baking mine for 40 minutes, probably because of my stellar oven. Either way, when the cake is done, remove it from the oven and press large marshmallows down on top, being careful not to burn yourself. It's easier to to this in the smaller jars.  There is no set number of marshmallows to use, just cram some in there. But if you must know, about 4-5 mallows. Move your rack to the second lowest position and crank up your broiler in your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not take your eyes off them.  I hovered and peered through the crack of the door and watched them brown up. I'm slightly paranoid with the broiler.

Serve immediately!

You might like to know that I had success reheating the crust/cake part and then adding marshmallows the next day and it tasted just as delicious as the first.  If you make more than you think you can eat immediately, just don't top all of your cakes with mallows and start the delicious magic all over again later. 

To reheat/redo:
Heat oven to 350 degrees and set the jars in a pan with some water and reheat in the oven for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.  Repeat the topping steps of the original recipie and enjoy, again!

Now grab your bff, your kids, or your sister and dig in!

Life is better homemade,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pecan Brown Rice

       Rice is one of my favorite side dishes--it's so versatile. Making rice with pecans, however, is one way I have never heard or thought of preparing it. So when I came across this recipe my interest and curiosity was instantly piqued. I thought it would make a delicious fall/winter side dish--I was right. The spices freshened up the flavor, while the pecans brought the dish down to a complex and earthy taste. In the original recipe, the pecans were nearly completely pulverized, but I decided to keep mine small yet chunky. This way, the rice had a bit of a crunch to it. Besides making a good side dish, I personally think it makes a good light-ish afternoon meal as well. In fact, that's what I did with the leftovers. Super handy for the college student on the go. =)

Pecan Brown Rice
Recipe barely adapted from

  •  3 cups cooked brown rice
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  •  1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  •  1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (or finely, however you prefer)
  •  2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  •  1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt

--Heat skillet over medium heat

--Put in the 2 tablespoons of butter to coat the pan

--Toss the onions, pecans, parsley, basil, ginger, pepper, and salt into the hot skillet


--When the onions are tender and translucent, remove the pan from heat

--Stir the cooked brown rice into the pan, combining all the ingredients. Only keep the rice in the pan until it is heated through, then transfer to a serving dish.

--Serve and enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Maple Spice Peanut Butter Granola

With the holidays here, it seems that there is far too much sugar around and no matter how strong my will power may be the other 10 months, it sucks from October 31st to January 2nd.  What normal person can really resist all of the deliciousness that comes around the end of the year? The smells, the flavors, the perfectly decorated cookies are far too much for me to ignore, so I taste and nibble while trying to ignore the voices in my head that tell me not to.  But I haven't ignored them completely, in fact I created something just for them: wholesome maple spice peanut butter granola.  It's filling, it's satisfying, it's good for you.  Throw it on top of some greek yogurt or eat it with milk.  Pile some on your ice cream and drizzle with caramel.  See how you are imagining other ways to eat this right now?  It's a powerful little recipe.  Plus making granola yourself is A: cheaper and B: better for you because you get to control what's in it. Clearly there is no way you can go wrong with this simple, easy, and quick to make granola, so what are you waiting for? Get to the kitchen and whip some now to pack for your kids' lunches and for your breakfast or mid day snack, your tastebuds and stomach will thank me....and this sweet little blog!

Maple Spice Peanut Butter Granola
(From: little bitty bakes)


        1 3/4 cups rolled oats
        1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional but so much better for you with it)
        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
        1/3 cup smooth (or crunchy) peanut butter, melted
        1/3 cup light maple syrup (the real thing! (cant't harp on that enough sorry))
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, give a quick stir.  Stir in the melted peanut butter and maple syrup, and vanilla and mix well.  Dump onto a cookie sheet and smooth out into a fairly even layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and light brown.  Make sure you keep your eye on it, it will brown pretty quickly before you know it.  Cool the granola completely before storing in an airtight container. A quart Mason jar, or reused (cleaned) spaghetti sauce jar does the trick just nicely. 
Now forget about those chocolate covered oreo's that you just ate hoping no one was looking and eat something that you don't have to feel guilty about. You're welcome.

Life's better homemade,