Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

lf you’ve been following our Immaculate Baking blog, then you know that yours truly started out as someone who’s never even opened the oven in the apartment she’s lived in, let alone bake anything, until she got on to this brand. It was a manageable transition, starting from learning how to pop open a can of cinnamon rolls, and the break-and-bake cookies are always fail-proof. And then I graduated to adding ingredients to our refrigerated dough to make fancier recipes. And now. Now we’ve got flour in our goodies portfolio, now’s when things start to get interesting.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Who would’ve thought a non-baker like me would one day be making loaves of breads from scratch? If there’s any lesson to all this, it’s we should never underestimate our own abilities, our potential are all astounding, especially where it involves food!

In celebration of the Fall season, I thought there’s nothing more befitting than a couple loaves of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. You could make a glaze to go over it, but I like my pumpkin bread just the way it is – crunchy with the toasted walnuts and gooey with the melted chocolate, that’s plenty made-from-scratch yumminess for me!

You Will Need:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cups Immaculate Baking Co.™ Organic All-Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup chopped walnutsDSC04636

Here’s How to Start Bakin’:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix butter, granulated sugar, eggs and pumpkin with wire whisk. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Spread in pan.
  3. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
  4. In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over loaf. Let glaze set up before slicing, about 30 minutes.

Monday Morning Sneak Peek: Gluten Free Peanut Butter

IMG_3520While they can’t be found yet on store shelves, you’ll see them soon. . . Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough is coming, and I was lucky enough to bake some up this weekend. While they are amazing plain, I experimented with a reverse peanut butter cup. After baking them in muffin tins, I filled them with chocolate pudding. Wow — so good. The kids also reminded me I could make it even easier by using Nutella as filling. However you choose to dress them up or down, you are in for a real treat with these.

You’ll need a package of Gluten Free Cookies (this will totally work with Chocolate Chunk or Fudge Brownie varieties too).

A muffin tin with some muffin paper cups.

Pudding or Nutella or Your favorite filling.

Preheat the oven to 325, put the cookie dough into the muffin papers in the tins.

IMG_3514

Bake according to the directions, and right before they are done, I use a spoon to press down the middle; this will let you have more filling room . .

IMG_3517

Let them cool a bit and FILL!

IMG_3519

Guest Recipe Monday: The Ninja Baker’s Cookie Bento

 The warmest Immaculate welcome to the newest member of our Guest Blogger Team, Kim Watkinson, AKA the Ninja Baker. Before we get to her amazing, creative post, here’s a bit about Kim in her own words:

“Although I’m a towheaded American, my only knowledge of language and food was Japanese until age 5. Tokyo, my hometown of 17 years influences my blogging, baking and book writing. As the Ninja Baker, I seek the sweet stuff of life: Recipes for happy living as well as the how-tos of delicious Asian fusion, gluten-free and American standards. At NinjaBaking.com http://ninjabaking.com I highlight scrumptious recipes, fun factoids about Japan and other cultures, plus a cheery thought or two.”

The Ninja Baker’s Cookie Bento

1A_dreams-top-bento

“Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.” So said Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Amen! Right? And we want to make sure these cookies are full of wholesome and delicious ingredients.

Wishing only well-being and good health to all kids, little and big, I do my best to use good-for-you ingredients in my baking — like the ingredients from the Immaculate Baking Co. which “uses only the best natural ingredients.” In their honor, I created a cookie bento box. (A Japanese-style lunch box.)

Bento boxes originated in ancient Japan, where wives would prepare rice balls (onigiri also called omusubi) and arrange them artfully in a box along with some fish and pickles. The luxury of the lunchbox would depend upon the budget of the housewife. (Some things never change.) You can bet the samurai were getting some high-quality fish while fieldworkers or farmers were lucky to get a sliver of any protein tucked into the rice. O-bento were also sent to school with boys.

Originally made out of lacquered wood, over the centuries they have evolved and you can find bamboo, metal, plastic (and disposable) bento boxes. All these centuries of bento box-making have produced some magnificent works of art alongside cutesy lunches featuring popular Japanese anime characters. I’ve made standard bento lunches.  But I was inspired to think outside the box and create a cookie bento!

Here’s the how-to on the Ninja Baker’s Cookie Bento Box.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Bento lunch boxes (available online at Amazon.com and http://bentocrazy.ecrater.com)

Clean paintbrushes

Orange gel food coloring

1 ½ inch round cookie cutter

1 melon baller or a ¼ measuring spoon

Fresh fruit cut into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon softened coconut spread (or butter)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup raisins

1 cup of almond butter (organic peanut butter is great, too)

Immaculate Baking Co. products:

  • Vanilla Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Ready-to-Bake Pie Crusts

1. Pie Crust Cinnamony Carrot Cookies

Carrots

Mom always said eat your carrots =)

Ingredients:

1 Immaculate Ready-to-Bake Piecrust

1 tablespoon softened coconut spread (or butter)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup brown sugar

½  cup raisins

Instructions:

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Bring an Immaculate piecrust out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (about 30 minutes.)

Unroll the piecrust onto lightly floured wax paper.

With a clean paint brush, or chopstick, streak one side with orange gel food coloring.

Carefully flip over.

Smother coconut spread over the white surface.

Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the spread.

With a 1.5 inches round cookie cutter punch out circles.

Roll and shape into mini carrots.

Tuck a few small raisins on the top half to create the wider part of the carrot.

With a clean paintbrush, smoothly paint on more orange food coloring.

Place on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes before eating or placing the cinnamony carrot cookies into a bed of raisins in the bento box.

2. Vanilla Sugar Cookie Almond Sandwiches

1A_close-up-almond-sando-carrots-choco-cookie-fruit

A classic PB with a sweet twist.

Ingredients:

1 package Immaculate Vanilla Sugar Cookies

½ cup almond butter

Instructions:

Bake the sugar cookies per package directions.

Cool.

Smother the middles of cookies with almond (or peanut) butter.

Sandwich together and place two into your bento lunch box.

3. Chocolate Chunk Cookies Dessert

For “dessert,” nothing beats an old-fashioned chocolate chunk cookie.

Ingredients:

1 package Immaculate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Instructions:

Bake the cookies per package instructions.

Cool.

Place them into your bento box.

Until age 5, I only knew the Japanese language and food. Rice balls with pickles or fish in the centers were a standard lunchtime treat. (They’re called omusubi as well as onigiri.) So, I created an “onigiri” using Immaculate Buttermilk Biscuits.

4. Immaculate Buttermilk “Onigiri with a Plum Pickle”

1A_onigiri-closeup-with-carrot

A standard in many Japanese lunch boxes.

Ingredients:

Immaculate Buttermilk Biscuits

¼ cup of strawberry or raspberry jam (to resemble the plum pickle)

Instructions:

Bake the biscuits per package directions.

Cool.

With a melon baller or ¼ measuring spoon, scoop out a small bit of biscuit from the center.

Fill the hole with jam.

Place it into your bento lunch box.

Of course, my bento boxes are only ideas to spark your imagination and creativity. So assemble all of the above as you like along with some lovely fresh fruit or whatever your healthy self desires.

Wishing you sweet health and creative fun at lunchtime and always!

The Ninja Baker
 

Guest Recipe Monday: Dressing Up the Classics.

Dressed up cookies4

If you’re one of the few not succumbing to the New Year’s dieting craze, this guest recipe is for you! Thanks to Michele from PA who emailed me this great idea:

Here is my “Homemade Cookie” Recipe:
 Dressed up cookies1
2 Immaculate Baking Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough pieces
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp chocolate chips
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
Pinch of oatmeal (optional)
Mix ingredients and form into a ball.
Place on cookie sheet and bake as directed on package.

Dressed up cookies2

So, looking for a special sleepover dessert, I grabbed a package of Immaculate’s Organic Chocolate Chunk cookie dough. While the oven was preheating, I let the dough warm up a bit, and using Michele’s suggestions as the basis,  I fashioned a version of these treats. There were no chocolate chips or walnuts to be found in my house, so I substituted white chips and pecans. The result: 12 incredibly decadent, easy, mom-cheering treats.

Dressed up cookies3

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Ice “Cream” Sandwiches.

As we gear up for a big Independence Day bash on Cape Cod, I began experimenting with desserts. We certainly have lots of inspiration here, and I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. Then I remembered our friends and family with special diets: no gluten, no lactose, and it came to me: ice cream sandwiches. These are so easy to make using your favorite soy or rice ice “cream” scooped between our gluten free / dairy free cookies. And NO one feels left out because everyone will love them!

For my first batch, I baked some gluten free/dairy free fudge brownie cookies and let them cool.

Then I scooped some vanilla rice cream onto one cookie, squeezed another on top, wrapped in plastic or waxed paper and tossed them in the freezer. Each package of gluten free cookie dough will make 6 big sandwiches. I’ll fill a cooler with ice and bring them to the beach after the marshmallows are roasted!

Guest Recipe Monday: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Brownies.

This week’s guest recipe comes to us from  Nikki, founder of  metromomsboston.com, a groovy company in Boston that plans events for new and expectant moms. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Brownies

What you need:
A square brownie pan.

Square Brownie Pan

1 package of Immaculate Baking Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Peanut Butter Cups (Full size, not minis)

Your favorite Brownie mix prepared as directed.

Preheat the oven. Put 2 choc chunk cookie dough balls in the bottom of the pan and smush them to that the fill the square.

Put PB cup on top of the cookie dough, upside down.

Place upside down peanut butter cup on top of chocolate chip layer.

Fill the pan with brownie batter.

Pour brownie batter

Bake according to the brownie mix instructions.
Cool and enjoy!

Guest Blogger Monday: An Immaculate Childhood

For some of you, last week was school vacation; thanks to many of you who let us know how you incorporated Immaculate into your special week! This week, guest blogger, Melissa Bethoney, tells us about her own kind of special week. . . .

“We’re going to have a week of no tv,” was probably not the way I should have announced to my two-year old that I felt it was time to take a break from the tube. The afternoon habit of watching half an hour of programing had become an hour long ritual that I felt was getting a bit out of hand. “Noooooo!” was the reaction (quite predictably) that ensued. It was one of those Mommy Moments where I knew I had played the situation entirely wrong and needed to defuse things before an all out tantrum/melt-down/fiasco followed. Cookies, bake cookies… chocolate chip cookies – you have them in your freezer, said the voice in my head. Thank you, voice, that is exactly what we did. Disaster averted, toddler happy, house smelling like fresh baked goods, Mommy happy and television off. What have I learned? Aside form never announcing your policy change plans to your little one, it’s to have a package of Chocolate Chunk cookie dough at the ready in case of emergencies.

Marissa writes for her personal blog, http://www.sideofsparkle.blogspot.com

A magic wand and Immaculate Cookies!