Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sweet on Trader Joe's Saturday: Extraordinary Bark of the Finest Collection

trader joe's extraordinary bark review
Don't even try to dash into Trader Joe's this week and get back out "really quickly" like I tried to on Friday.  Cartless, I was scanning that city of sweets that lives above the freezer foods when I stopped dead in my tracks.  The holiday sweets are out.

Oh my gosh.  Where to start?  Where to start?  Everything looked so enticing!   And this leads me to why I'll never run through TJ's cartless again.  I managed to make it to the register with my armful of sweets without dropping any, but just barely.

trader joe's extraordinary bark review

This week, kiddo & I review Trader Joe's Extraordinary Bark of the Finest Collection.  This red and white box immediately caught my eye.  There's something old-fashioned and sweet about the packaging.

Trader Joe's describes this as "chocolate bark with layers of mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups, pretzels, caramel popcorn and crushed almonds."  (There's also a very lengthy, detailed description on the front of the box that would take me 30 minutes to type out here.) ;)  A 9-ounce box runs $3.99.

trader joe's extraordinary bark review
A mom's (my) take: This is one of those Trader Joe's items that I knew I would love, and didn't.  The chocolate base itself was delish, but I thought most of the toppings were a bit...stale.  In addition to all of the toppings listed in the description, the bark was also topped with TJ's Joe-Joe's cookies.  Those and the caramel popcorn in particular, I tried to eat around to get to the areas with the peanut butter cups. ;)  Would I busy this again?  No.  It looks pretty, though.
Overall rating: 3 of 5 stars

A teenagers (kiddo's) take: I don't know what my mom is talking about, because I absolutely love this bark. The chocolate slab is very tasty and very well complemented by all the wonderful toppings (especially the peanut butter cups :) ). Overall, the taste is great, and I love reading the description on front of the box. It's hilarious.
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

trader joe's extraordinary bark review
Trader Joe's Extraordinary Bark of the Finest Collection:
try it for yourself and let us know if you're #teamkiddo or #teammom! ;)

 Read all of our Trader Joe's sweet treats and dessert reviews

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Butter Pie with Cookie Crust, and rules for Thanksgiving

apple butter pie with cookie crust ... an easy pie recipe and a great alternative to pumkpin pie

Here are Bridget's Rules for Thanksgiving:

1. Stuffing.  Yes, it's technically "dressing," but we call it stuffing and there is no Thanksgiving without it.

2. Mashed potatoes are optional; sweet potatoes are not.

3. There is NO SHOPPING ON THANKSGIVING DAY!  Let the cashiers at Macy's enjoy time with their families, have a few glasses of Pinot Noir, and take a nap for crying out loud!  We can buy gloves for Aunt Sally at 50% at 4am on Black Friday.  *steps off soap box*

4. The Thanksgiving Day parade is on TV...whether anyone is watching it or not.

5. Desserts: there must be several.

apple butter pie with cookie crust ... an easy pie recipe and a great alternative to pumkpin pie

I want to introduce you to the Apple Butter Pie.  This is your new easy pie recipe to add to your Thanksgiving dessert menu.

The crust take 5 minutes (or less) to whip up.  The filling takes 5 minutes to create.  The hardest part about making this pie?  Waiting for it to chill before slicing into it.

apple butter pie with cookie crust ... an easy pie recipe and a great alternative to pumkpin pie
Made with a Speculoos cookie (such as Biscoff) crust and a creamy, spiced filling, the finished pie is then topped off with a brown sugar and spice whipped cream and a sprinkling of cookie crumbs.  It's very similar in texture to a pumpkin pie...without the pumpkin.  See, I can make recipes without pumpkin (sometimes). ;)

Add it to your Thanksgiving repertoire.  You'll be glad you did.

apple butter pie with cookie crust ... an easy pie recipe and a great alternative to pumkpin pie
I'm sharing the recipe at Imperial Sugar.  Come and get it!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Biscoff Coffee Cake with Biscoff Crumb Topping

Cake for breakfast?  Don't mind if I do. 
biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
There's no coffee in coffee's meant to GO WITH coffee.  (Apparently, there is an internet controversy about this.) You know, I might just start slipping the word "coffee" into every cake title to make cake for breakfast more acceptable: Devil's Food Coffee Cake,  Carrot Coffee Cake, Red Velvet Coffee Cake...y'all, I think I'm onto something here.

The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook
THIS cake is a Biscoff Coffee Cake.  I hope that you are familiar with Biscoff.  Biscoff cookies are the crunchy, cinnamon, completely additive cookies you get on Delta Airlines.  When I was a flight attendant, you can bet I was gobbling up as many packets of those in the galley as I possibly could during each flight. (Job perk.)  Biscoff Spread is creamy like peanut butter and made from crushed Biscoff cookies.  Oh yeah.

Katrina Bahl from the blog, In Katrina's Kitchen, has just published her first book:
The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More

Yes, Katrina loves Biscoff, but she also has a son who has a peanut allergy.  I can't imagine how scary that is.  Katrina was determined that he not miss out on homemade childhood sweets, and the tradition of candy-making that she formed with her family making Buckeyes each year.

biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook contains incredible recipes (beautifully photographed, too) that you'll enjoy whether you're baking for someone with a peanut allergy or not.

Would this book not make the cutest Christmas gift with a jar of Biscoff Spread, and a cute little red spatula???
(Note to all of my friends: forget you just read that.) 

Let's get back to this coffee cake.  A friend of kiddo's spent the weekend with us and I just knew I wanted to make this for them.  Verdict: it was a huge hit.  The cake itself is moist and spiced with Biscoff Spread baked right in.  And then the crumb topping....oh my word.  I love a good, GENEROUS crumb topping, don't you?

biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
(You'll need some Biscoff crumbs.  I thought you guys might get a kick out of our Texas Tough ziptop bags...or do they make every state?  I'm trying to picture "Wisconsin Tough.") ;)

  print recipe photo printrecipe.jpg

Biscoff Coffee Cake with Biscoff Crumb Topping

{used with permission from The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook}

for the topping:
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup crushed Biscoff cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted

for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Creamy Biscoff Spread
1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Greek yogurt

for the topping:
biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
Combine the flour with the crushed Biscoff Cookies.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir in the melted butter, then add the flour mixture.  Stir with a fork until large crumbs form.  Place in the refrigerator while preparing the cake.

for the cake:
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9x13" pan with foil, leaving at least 1" overhang over the sides.  Spray with nonstick spray (I used Crisco).

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, Biscoff Spread, and brown sugar for two minutes until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla until incorporated.

biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
Add the Greek yogurt and dry ingredients alternately in 3 parts until incorporated.  Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the crumb topping.

Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took 45) until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.  (If the topping is getting too brown while baking, cover loosely with foil.)
biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
I served the cake warm.

biscoff coffee cake with biscoff crumb topping
Cake for breakfast.  It's a good thing.

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