Category Archives: baking

pumpkin cranberry bread

I am in my happy place when I walk into the grocery store and see the stacks of Ocean Spray cranberry bags in the produce section. I don’t understand why we can’t get frozen cranberries year-round!? Well this year, I will be shopping in my freezer until next November when the cranberries are back…I’ve already frozen a dozen bags ūüôā

I will probably add more cranberries to the next batch I make.  I loved the tart bursts of flavor!


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY’S¬ģ 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped, frozen cranberries (I use a cuisinart to chop the frozen berries. ¬†You could always use whole or thaw and then chop)

Preheat¬†oven to 350¬į F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with baking cooking spray.

Combine flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a stand mixer, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice. Beat on low until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Divide into the two pans and smooth tops.

Bake for 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans to cool completely.

Recipe makes two loaves.

Recipe slightly adapted from

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, my friend Kristina calculated that each slice (12 slices per loaf) has 6 Points Plus per slice.


Posted by on November 12, 2013 in baking, points plus, snacks, vegetarian


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fig and anise biscotti

What happened to the month of September?!  And half of October?!   It blew right on by.

The Washington State Fair was earlier last month, and this year I thought I’d try something different….only enter one contest! Last year’s six entries left me and my family a little crazy. So I pared it down and picked one. As the reigning blue ribbon winner two years running, I decided to try to keep the streak alive with a fig and anise biscotti.

The blue ribbon was not mine to be had this year, but I did win a white ribbon (third place). So now I have two blues, one red and one white ribbon in the biscotti contest. is it time to put my cookie sheet away? Only time will tell…. ūüôā


Fig and Anise Biscotti

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. anise extract
  • 1 Tbsp. anise seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Bean Sea salt from SaltWorks
  • 1 cup chopped dried¬†figs soaked in 2 Tbsp. Port wine
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat silicone mats.

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light.  Add anise extract and eggs, one at a time..  Mix together flour, baking powder, anise seeds and salt in separate bowl.  Add to wet ingredients.  Stir in figs (drain if any Port remains) and coconut

Spoon batter onto silicone mats in 2 strips, 10 ” long x 2 ” wide.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.¬† Remove from oven and cool 30 minutes on a rack.¬† Cut loaves diagonally in 1/2″ slices.¬† Return to baking sheet.¬† Bake 10-14 minutes.¬† Cool.¬† Store in airtight container.


Posted by on October 13, 2013 in baking, desserts


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gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

Hello everyone, Anna here with another fabulous guest post ūüôā

The story behind these cookies begins with a babysitting job. Four o’clock in the afternoon, warm, sunny day. I took the 3 and 1-year-old I was¬†watching into the backyard to play. When I went to go retrieve my phone from my purse inside I discovered, to my horror, that the backdoor was locked.

At this point I¬†have to¬†add that I admire all adults who manage to remain calm in panic situations to keep¬† children from freaking out. Maybe I’m over exaggerating, but this felt like a panic situation.

I have never been locked out before, let alone with two small children and no cellular device.

The good news is that I know the next door neighbors (they had previously referred me as a babysitter to their neighbors, whose house I was now locked out of). So, after checking all doors, I grabbed the kids and we marched over to their house where, thank goodness, they were home. After a little explaining, a lot of window checking, and a few phone calls, I finally got the garage door code and was able to get back inside. And right before the pizza man arrived, whew.

As a thank you, I wanted to bake some cookies, which would have to be both gluten-free and nut free (so our delicious gluten-free almond butter chocolate chip cookies weren’t going to cut it).


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/8 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a standing mixer, combine butter and brown sugar well until light brown.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, drop 12 cookies onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Cool.

Recipe slightly adapted from

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, each cookie has 7 Points Plus.


Posted by on August 2, 2013 in baking, desserts, snacks, vegetarian


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parent-child cookie contest

Alex and I entered Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies¬†into the Puyallup Fair’s Parent and Child Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest sponsored by C&H Sugar.¬† Except for using the oven, he made the entire recipe.

I took him to the Fair this morning¬†and showed him the ropes of entering the culinary contests.¬† I tried not to be too much of a nerd, but I did utter “stay cool, stay cool” several times under my breath as we watched the judge sample our cookie.¬† (I’ll put it in writing once again….I’ll be happy to pay for his therapy when he is older).¬† There were 28 entries and it looked like we had some good competition.

We took home the 3rd place prize!  Alex received an apron, a nice ribbon and a cash prize of $25.  All that is great, but I do hope my kids are also learning important life lessons:

Be involved.

Try new things.

Have fun.

Eat lots of cookies.


Posted by on September 14, 2012 in baking, desserts, points plus, vegetarian


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chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart

I’ve been bitten by a bug!!¬† No, I don’t need antibiotic ointment, and no, I don’t need an intervention (just yet).¬† Buoyed¬†by my first place¬†win of my Mexican Chocolate Biscotti, ¬†I entered the Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Championship at the Puyallup Fair.¬†I decided on a peanut butter cup-like dessert with a trendy pretzel crust.¬† It was an easy recipe with a ton of chocolate flavor, both of which were part of the grading criteria.¬† I’m a little worried about my Weight Watcher’s weigh-in, since I’ve made three in the past two days, making sure I had the correct ratio of ingredients (all in the name of science, of course).

In my haste to get out the door to meet the deadline, I forgot to take a “good” picture with my fancy camera.¬† Here’s a mediocre picture I took on my phone.

Drumroll please…..I placed third!¬† I won a huge basket of Ghirardelli’s chocolate and a very nice embroidered apron.¬† No cash prize for third, but I have a giant white ribbon for my trophy case. ūüôā

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 ounces Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • additional peanut butter, heated, for decoration
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine pretzels, melted butter and sugar in a bowl.  Press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.
    Combine peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.¬† Spread onto the bottom of the cooled crust.
    Heat whipping cream until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate chips and let stand 2 minutes.  Whisk together thoroughly.  Pour over peanut butter.
    Quickly drizzle melted peanut butter over ganache and swirl with a toothpick.  Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Posted by on September 11, 2012 in baking, desserts


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mexican chocolate biscotti

Here’s my entry into the Dillano’s¬†Biscotti Contest at the Puyallup Fair this year.¬† After weeks of playing around with a fig soaked in port cookie idea (weeks which included a teary statement of “maybe I shouldn’t enter this year.¬† Isn’t this supposed to be fun?”), I switched gears and decided to do a chocolate biscotti.¬† I remembered a delicious cookie my step-mom made with cayenne and black pepper, so in it went.¬† And I had to add the Bob’s Red Mill shredded unsweetened coconut since I am convinced this lends to its wonderful texture.¬†¬† For the finishing touch I sprinkled Flavorstorm’s Cinnamon Sugar on top….it sparkled!

Oh, and by the way….the judge loved it!¬† I won the Blue ribbon for the 2nd year in a row!¬† Is a biscotti cookbook in my future? ūüôā¬† The judge’s comments:¬† “Wow!¬† Outstanding work.¬† Different and tasty.¬† Real “pop” of flavor with lingering heat.¬† Thank you!”

I’m pretty sure I let out a little squeal when I saw my cookies in the case.¬† People may have thought they were in the pig barn.¬† ūüôā

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips (I used King Arthur’s)
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with silicone pad or parchment paper.

Combine flour through espresso powder in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Stir in cinnamon chips, chocolate chips, coconut, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Form batter into 2 logs, approximately 3 inches wide x 12 inches long.  Smooth top with an off-set spatula and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 30 minutes.  Slice on the diagonal and bake an additional 10-12 minutes.


Posted by on September 7, 2012 in baking, desserts


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potato focaccia is one of the few websites that spurs me into immediate action. ¬†Nordstrom happens to be the other one ūüôā ¬†I read this recipe Sunday morning, and 15 minutes later the dough was rising. ¬†Our family loves potato pizza¬†, so I thought this would be a nice treat for lunch. ¬†I served it with a homemade vegetable soup (0 PointsPlus) to rave reviews.

I’m on a baking kick, since this Tuesday is the due date for the biscotti entry for the Puyallup Fair. ¬†I am finalizing my recipe…hopefully it will be a winner! ¬†Stay tuned.

Potato Focaccia

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (.25-oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, warm (100-110F)
  • 3 ‚Äď 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • approx 1 lb cooked potatoes, cooled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp herbs de Provence
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt or sea salt

Combine sugar, yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 1/2 cups flour and salt.  Add liquid and combine.  Using a bread hook, knead for 3-4 minutes, adding up to an additional cup of flour, until a smooth ball forms.  Place dough in a bowl coating with olive oil or non-stick spray, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Line a jelly roll pan (12×18 pan) with parchment or spray with non-stick spray. ¬†Pour dough onto pan and using your fingertips, press and spread dough into a rectangle approximately 10×16. ¬†Brush with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence. ¬†Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice cooked potatoes 1/4 inch thick.  Arrange potatoes on top of dough, pressing down lightly.  Brush potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil and sprinkle with remaining herbs and salt.  Let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.  Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe from

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder:

12 servings = 5 PointsPlus each

16 servings = 3 PointsPlus each


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