Monday, January 20, 2014

Caramel Pull-Aparts

Super easy breakfast. Put it together in 10 minutes the night before. Pop it in the oven in the morning. Voila! Fresh caramel roll taste without all the work. That sounds pretty good to me. Now, I don't know if everyone is on to this recipe where I live, but I can have a hard time finding the cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding. Instant pudding, easy to find, every flavor from pumpkin spice to white chocolate. But if you need the non-instant kind. The choices are limited to vanilla and custard at times. So if I can find the cook kind of butterscotch pudding I buy a couple for the pantry. You must use this cook variety or the caramel sauce won't thicken properly. Once you've got that pudding, and a Bundt pan, you are golden. And the caramel sauce this recipe makes up is rich and yummy. This is so easy it's almost embarrassing. Almost. I just love how easy these are and my family loves how delicious they are. I do too. 

Caramel Pull-Aparts
1/2 bag frozen dinner rolls, Rhodes (I use 18 rolls)
1 pkg cook and serve butterscotch pudding, not instant
2 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. pecans (Optional)

Night before: Spray Bundt pan with pan spray. Put frozen rolls in the pan, distributed evenly. Sprinkle with the dry pudding, cinnamon, sugar and nuts (if using nuts). Melt the butter, pour over the frozen rolls. Cover with wax paper sprayed with a bit of pan spray. Let the rolls rise overnight on the counter. 
In the morning: preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes then invert on a plate and serve warm. (Don't let cool longer than 10 minutes or the rolls will stick to the Bundt pan.)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blueberry Pecan Granola

Blueberry Pecan Granola ©Marcy Olson
Well, now that I've enjoyed the holidays and stuffed myself with sweets and fancy foods, it's time to get back on track. Not really a New Year's resolution, just reality. The holiday season is great—runs from about Thanksgiving to New Year's and at our house we also celebrate a birthday and Christmases with two families between those bookends. Now most of the celebrations are centered on food whether that means snacks, baked goods, or meals, we are sharing the table with friends and family. It's great. Here in Minnesota the days are short, the weather is cold (really cold this year!) Cooking, baking and preparing meals are the perfect way to warm the house and the heart and not get too discouraged by the long, dark nights. It also helps us spend time together as a family. We did a great deal of baking and cooking over the holidays. My last post was one for a super easy holiday cookie. We also made sugar cookies, gingerbread men, caramel corn, and spiced nuts. I'll be sharing all these recipes on the blog in the days and weeks ahead. 

Today I am sharing my original granola recipe. We like granola in the winter. It is hearty and delicious. It's great to eat with milk or by the handful. It is pretty calorie dense so keep mindful of the serving size. Or be sure you have a big day of activity planned... like snowshoeing which we enjoy here on the prairie. We get on a granola kick after the holiday season ends. I bought my husband a certain Minnesota made CRanberry APple granOLA a few Christmases ago, but it was expensive to buy regularly so I searched and searched for a good granola recipe.  I found a few that came close, but they just weren't right. So I ended up taking those attempts and experimenting with my own recipe. I started with the cranberry apple variety so I could get the flavor down that we wanted. Once I got the grains to the perfect crunchiness and sweetness, I created some variations based on what I had on hand. This one came from the combination of dried blueberries and chopped pecans. We LOVE it. I hope you love it too.

Blueberry Pecan Granola 
3 c. rolled oats (Quaker old fashioned oats)
2 c. rolled rye flakes
1-1/2 c. puffed rice cereal (see note below) 
1 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. honey roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 c. ground flax
4 oz. dried wild blueberries (wild berries are smaller than 'domestic' berries)
1/4 c. safflower oil
1/2 c. orange blossom honey (or your own favorite)
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup (use real maple, not flavored corn syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine GRANOLA ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine and bring the GLAZE ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over granola. Stir and spread coated granola on 2 bakers half sheets (13"x18"). With the oven racks placed in the middle of the oven, bake the granola for 10 minutes. Stir the granola and switch the pans top to bottom and vice versa. Bake 10 minutes more. Stir and scrape the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Do this until completely cool. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy with cold or warm milk. 

Note: I use a combination of puffed and crispy rice cereal that is called "Rice Twice" cereal, but it's hard to find so feel free to substitute puffed rice and Rice Krispies OR just add another cup and half of oats and rye flakes

© Marcy Olson