Granola Goodness (again)

Can you tell I love homemade granola?  I am always trying to make the perfect batch.  And this last one has come extremely close if not made the grade.  What did I do differently?  Well, I took my recipe and then looked at my friend Alison’s from this cookbook and sort of did this:

I used my granola recipe (which basically is cleaning out my baking cabinet because I use up any nuts and fruit etc. that needs to be used.)

6 cups of oats or more (I use what’s on sale, but Bob’s Red Mill are my faves)
1 cup coconut (today I used a whole bag of unsweetened)
2 cups wheat germ (sometimes I do flax seeds ground up or half and half)
1 cup sliced almonds or walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
1 package of sunflower seeds (I used about 1 1/2 or 2 cups)
1 cup of baby oats or wheat flour
1 cup dried fruit (more or less to taste, I’m allergic to almost all fruit so I used dates)
This is where things got different…
Normally I microwave or cook my liquids to a syrup to melt the butter etc.  Today I did this:
1/2 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cup of molasses (I like dark or blackstrap)
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of agave syrup (or a little less depending on how sweet you want it)
Mix the dry ingredients (except for fruit) in a bowl and wait.  Mix liquids in a bowl and pour over dry ingredients, adding a little at a time until it looks fairly wet.  Mix well and put in greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.  I actually use my turkey pan because it’s deeper and things don’t fly out when I stir.
In another small bowl take some oats and flour and a little brown sugar- to equal about 2 cups.  Melt about 2 T of butter and pour over this mixture and add some of the syrup from above if any remains, if not add some honey and water to make a cookie dough consistency.  I pat this in a small greased pan.  
Bake both at 350, checking every 5 minutes to stir, until lightly browned. (About 20 minutes or so total.) Just depends on how brown you like it. (I like my crispy to stand up in the milk!)  Take the mix that was patted in the pan and flip out onto a cutting board.  Break it up into chunks.  (Adds crispy bits to the cereal!)
Store in the oatmeal containers!
*I’d love your input on granola. Here is a post to my friend’s recipe. She is a fantastic cook!


Flim, Flam, Flan

My daughter had a Spanish final project to do and decided to do a presentation on flan.
She did the project by researching the history of flan (which was very interesting believe it or not) and then making a traditional flan and making a power point presentation on it all.  I think she did a great job.

Her finished project (not quite cooled so it looks a little lumpy)

Here is the recipe she used from Cocine A Gusto, a great cookbook I picked up when mom lived in Puerto Rico.  It’s published by the University of Puerto Rico, but is actually a really old cookbook originally- I think the first publishing date is in the 1950’s.  (That made for interesting Spanish cooking terms.)

The recipe: (translated for your pleasure)

6 eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (we used 2)
For the Caramel-
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of water

Beat the eggs enough to mix the yolks and whites.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Prepare the caramel and pour a little in the bottom of each of the molds or ramekins.  Fill the molds and place in a pan with some hot water (water bath or bain marie.)  Cook in the oven (not preheated) at about 350 for one hour.
Makes 8 flans.

 Making the caramel (cook the sugar in a pan stir until it browns and bubbles)
Filling the Ramekins

Chocolate Cream Pie for What Ails Ya

My little guy wanted chocolate pie for lunch, and of course I wouldn’t buy him a piece.  To console him (yeah, he gets worked up over food like his mama) I promised we’d make a chocolate pie together for dessert tonight and he could be the taste-tester.   (It worked.)

I’d made apple pie last week for a neighbor and made extra crusts and froze them so we had a crust ready.
We baked the crust- I failed to put beans or such in to keep it from rising so it shrank and puffed a bit, but oh well. 
Then he helped me make Chocolate Pudding for the filling. 

Chocolate Cream Pie

3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
3 c milk (I use whole organic)
4 ozs of unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped up (I used Ghiardelli)
4 egg yolks, beaten lightly
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons (good) vanilla

In saucepan on medium high heat whisk together first ingredients quickly. 
Add chocolate. 
Stir and cook until it boils and thickens.  Then once this happens boil 2 minutes more and then remove one cup of to the bowl with the beaten egg yolks.  Mix with a whisk or fork and add back to the saucepan with the rest.   Boil 2 more minutes, add butter and vanilla, and take off heat.  Pour into buttered ramekins or dishes (or in this case put in fridge to cool.)

The messy pan after we filled the pie (lots left! Yum!)

While this cooled I made my whipped cream (1 pint of cream, some powdered sugar, some vanilla)

When the pudding is cooled off spoon into the cooled pie crust, then top with the whipped cream and chocolate shavings if you desire!  YUM!

Molten Chocolate

The kids wanted those stupid Molten Lava Cakes that they get when we go out to eat sometimes.  I told them we’d make them tonight.  So easy!
I used Paula Deen’s recipe here.  (Thank you Paula and the Food Network!)
Talk about bad for ya! Don’t think this on is on “Lose It.”  I won’t be able to eat anything tomorrow!

Molten Lava Cakes 

(Makes 6)


  • 6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

*I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate, so I used chocolate chips and some unsweetened dark chocolate to equal 8 ounces. 

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur  (*I was out so I used good rum instead.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.

Snow Candy like Laura’s

I’ve always wanted to try this recipe from The Little House Cookbook.  (Remember from Little House in the Big Woods when Ma helped Laura and Mary make this candy?)

Molasses-On-Snow Candy

For 3/4 lb. of candy you need:
Dark molasses, 1 cup
Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup

Fill pie pans full of clean snow and keep outside until time.
Combine molasses and brown sugar in saucepan (2 qt.) don’t use smaller as it will boil up.
Bring to a boil.  On medium heat cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning. 
After 5 minutes you can test using a drop in a glass of hot water to see when it forms a firm ball.
(I just use a candy thermometer and wait til it gets 245 degrees F. Remove from heat.  Pour into 2 small
heatproof pitchers (I didn’t have any so used my measuring cup, which didn’t work all that great.)
Fetch pans of snow and pour hot syrup onto cold surfaces.  When hardened break into bite sized pieces!

I was thinking it would taste like maple syrup candy, but it really doesn’t.  Sort of like a hard caramel, pretty good but sticks to your teeth! 🙂

Cocoa & Cinnamon Rolls

Hot Cocoa Recipe

  1. Take a small saucepan and cover the bottom with turbinado sugar (you can use regular but I just like the taste of raw sugar.) 
  2. Add about 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa.  (I use Penzey’s High Fat Content Natural Cocoa.)  If you use Hershey’s or such you’ll need to add a Tablespoon or so more and also add a Tablespoon or two of butter.   Also put in cinnamon if you’d like (I sprinkle a bit of Penzey’s Korinjite Cinnamon.)
  3. Stir the cocoa and sugar and water to cover, about a 1/2 a cup or so.  
  4. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and immediately pour in milk to fill up pan (about 4 cups.)
  5. Add about 2 teaspoons of vanilla and heat til warm and stir with a whisk occasionally.  
  6. Serve with whatever you like- a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle of cinnamon, marshmallows, (shot of Bailey’s or Kahlua for you stressed out folks!)

There are so many different hot cocoa recipes and variations. 
If you use shaved or chopped up chocolate instead of cocoa it’s then called “hot chocolate!”  Also good but I like the way the cocoa totally dissolves myself.
Did you know that “real” hot cocoa originated with the Aztecs?  Some say it actually had chicken broth, wine, and hot peppers in it!  I made it once to see what it was like and it was good, but different.
The Kuna indians in Panama drink 5 or more cups of hot cocoa a day!  (They make it from fresh cocoa beans though…) 

(There are small beans inside covered with a yummy white fruit- we used to love to get these as kids in Panama!)

I made these delicious cinnamon rolls this morning that my mom gave me the recipe for.  So yummy!
Served with hot cocoa, just about perfect on a cold day!