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Chocolate Chunkers

Chocolate Chunkers

Hello Friends, I am back! What a crazy couple of weeks between work and home I have been up at dawn and on the go until I collapse at night! But I am back this week with another delicious Tuesdays with Dorie post selected by Claudia of Fool for Food. This recipe when mixing looked like a very thin brownie batter. But once I mixed in white chocolate chunks, mini semi-sweet chips, milk chocolate chips, chopped pecans and dried cherries. I am bored with raisins these days, so I have collected an interesting assortment of dried fruits including cherry, cranberries, blueberries, apricots and raspberries from Trader Joes and have been using all of them as a substitute. The cherries where very plump and provided a nice contrast to the very chocolatey “cookie”. I am glad I mixed the chocolates! The batter was very dark, thanks to some Valhrona cocoa powder I picked up (at a high cost) at Whole Foods. The mixture of the bittersweet, milk, white and semi-sweet was very nicely balanced.

I packaged some up for my son’s school counselor, who has been a great resource with the start of school this year! It is so rare when a middle school counselor, who is responsible for 200 – 400 students, takes time to be proactive with a student’s needs. This definitely is fitting for a batch of these little chocolate goodies!

Happy Tuesday!
Nicole

I was very excited by this recipe choice by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking. Why? Because it gave me an excuse to make granola!! I love making homemade granola because I think the ingredients you like in granola are very personal choice. And there are literally thousands of possible ways of making it. Also many of the store brands are soooo bad for you, loaded with fats and way too much sugar. I personally like simple granola with nuts and typically no dried fruit. I love to eat granola on top of fresh fruit for breakfast, so the dried fruit just gets in my way.

So for this week’s challenge I made Vanilla Scented Almond Granola. Sounds fancy, but really it is a very simple easy recipe that has a large helping of vanilla! And it is delish, my favorite kind. Sweet, crunchy and simple, perfect granola!

So after I baked my granola and let it cool I very quickly assembled the recipe for granola grabbers. It was very quick to make the dough. Instead of the raisins, I substituted dried cranberries and also added in a couple of white chocolate chunks (I am a bad girl!). I reduced the amount of almonds, since my granola was pretty loaded with them already.

These are incredibly tasty . . . a really nice twist on a traditional oatmeal cookie. If I had stuck to the recipe and left out the chocolate, it could have even been a reasonable snack . . . 🙂

Vanilla Scented Almond Granola
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tbl sugar
4 tsp vanilla

Preheat to 300 degrees and lightly spray a large baking sheet. Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Combine oil, honey and white sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture until well mixed. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown stirring every 10 minutes (unless you want chunks then don’t stir!).


This is my first OFFICIAL post since joining the Tuesday’s with Dorie blogging event. For those of you who don’t know, every Tuesday the group bakes/makes a recipe from the great baking book called Baking: From My Home To Yours .

This week’s selection involves a recent obsession of mine . . . ICE CREAM. I have never really been motivated to make my own ice cream until this year. I have always been satisfied with whatever Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Daaz put out. But, like with all things culinary I started to think about different flavor combinations and saw a ton of recipes popping up in Cooking Light and other locations. I have also read along with Cookie Baker Lynn and all of her ice cream adventures with David Lebovitz’s book the Perfect Scoop. So when I was at Costco I noticed a very beautiful ice cream maker from Cuisinart for only $50. I came home immediately and started researching ice cream makers (even if it was only $50 if it was not a good maker, it wasn’t worth the money). But it received great reviews, so I returned later that week and purchased my new toy. I also went out and got a couple of books including Lebovitz’s and immediately set to work mastering ice cream.

The first batch took a couple of days to come together, getting the rhythm for cooking and chilling the custard and the ice cream maker bowl. But the next day I made up several different custards and made a different batch every day that week. This left me with a very full freezer, luckily my co-workers happily enjoyed a little impromptu ice cream party and my freezer returned to manageable size. So I was thrilled with the idea of making ice cream this week for TWD. However, I was a little less than excited about the ingredients. Blueberries are just not my favorite! I enjoy them in the occassional bread or muffin, but the idea of eating pure blueberry ice cream just did not appeal to me!

Boy was I wrong! This is delicious, the sour cream really balances out the berries which I think are a little too sweet for my palate. I think I have always had them in pancakes, pies or compotes and they were too sweet. Also they always tasted a little metallic to me, which leads me to believe people were cooking them in reactive cookware.

So, Dorie, I am a blueberry convert! Thanks for the reminder, that it is not necessarily the ingredient but the preparation that can make or break an ingredient!

For the rest of you go buy the book, an ice cream maker and make this . . . . you will be a very happy person!