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Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

Posted by on Mar 20, 2019 in bacon, Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, pork | 0 comments

Bacon, chocolate, and toffee complement each other in these incredible Bacon-Toffee Cookies.

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

Fact: My Bacon Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies (originally shared at the Holy Taco Church lo those many years ago) is among my most popular recipes.

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

This recipe is different. The previous take makes a crisper cookie, while these are chewier with some extra sweetness and crunch from the Heath toffee pieces.

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

This recipe makes a lot, too: about 70 cookies if you use a teaspoon scoop!

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

That sounds like a lot, but my husband’s co-workers inhaled them, so I don’t know how well they keep beyond a day. One of those good/bad problems to have.

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

Modified from Fall Baking 2016 by Better Homes & Gardens.

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

 

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

Bready or Not: Bacon-Toffee Cookies

These cookies mix salty and sweet in a chewy cookie. Using a teaspoon scoop, the recipe produces about 70 cookies.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Heath bits
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped up

Preheat oven at 375-degrees. Ina large bowl, beat butter and shortening together until turning fluffy. Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour.

Stir in the Heath bits, chocolate chips, and bacon. Use a teaspoon scoop or spoon to dollop dough onto baking sheet, spaced out to allow for minor spreading. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are just turning golden. Cool for five minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Store cookies in a sealed container.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

Posted by on Mar 13, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cookies, healthier | 0 comments

No one will be able to tell that chickpeas form the base of these healthified blondies, but the truth is right there in the name.

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

A food processor is necessary for this recipe as the chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) must be utterly pulverized. Weirdly enough, a lot of health cookbooks and blogs have discovered chickpeas end up eerily like bland cookie dough once they are mashed up.

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

I know, it sounds crazy, but I’ve tried out a few recipes like this and it’s the truth. And these blondies WORK. They taste good. The sweetness is just right, not hardcore, but it doesn’t taste at all like ‘health food.’

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

I found the base recipe in an issue of Cooking Light and significantly modified it into something new. The original had tahini (which I do not like, so I subbed almond butter) and dark brown sugar (which I usually don’t have).

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

The pecans add a wonderful texture to these blondies. If you don’t like pecans, I would suggest still using some kind of nut or seed for a mild crunch.

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

 

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

Bready or Not Original: Chickpea Almond Butter Blondies

These lightened-up blondies use chickpeas as a base, but trust me, you can’t tell they are there. These are just sweet enough with an additional crunch from pecans.

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15-oz can unsalted chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons half & half or milk
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.

Using a small saucepan, brown the butter, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl to cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Place chickpeas, almond butter, and milk in a food processor, and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides often. Stir the chickpea mixture into the butter mixture.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl and whisk together. Stir dry mix into the chickpeas. Fold in the pecans.

Pour batter into ready pan. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test in the middle.

Cool in pan for hour or two. Use foil to lift blondies onto cutting board to slice into pieces. Store in a sealed container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bars also can be frozen for later enjoyment.

OM NOM NOM!

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Book Blog: The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, S.L. Huang, and Rivers Solomon

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, S.L. Huang, and Rivers Solomon

available in text and audio, in episodes or in full, from the publisher, Serial Box

The Vela

Summary from the publisher:
In the fading light of a dying star, a soldier for hire searches for a missing refugee ship and uncovers a universe-shattering secret.Asala Sikou is used to looking after number one while crisis reigns in her dying planetary system. But when she’s hired to find a missing refugee ship, she discovers that this is no ordinary rescue mission, and she must play a role in deciding the fate of the whole universe.

What I thought:
I was sent an early copy of this book from the publisher.

I’ve heard good things about Serial Box–and had friends work with them–but I had yet to read any of their serialized novels. I admit to some skepticism. In the case of The Vela I’ve read and loved three of the four authors in the project, and they have unique styles. How would a book flow together? Would it feel disjointed?

To my delight, yes, the book flowed together, and to my surprise, no, it didn’t feel disjointed or like related short stories. It worked–and very well at that, as these are among the best science fiction writers out there right now. Their individual approaches were noticeable if the reader is familiar with their works (S.L. Huang writes breathless action; Becky Chambers has a knack for subtle, emotional touches) but they flowed together seamlessly.

The Vela is action-packed and visceral, full of emotions, insight, and punch-to-the-gut revelations. The sun is dying, the planetary system with it. The worlds closest to the sun struggle onward as the outer planets succumb to frigid temperatures. Asala is a child refugee from a dying world, grown to become a skilled assassin and bodyguard. When the president of a privileged planet tasks her finding a lost refugee ship, she balks. She has no desire to revisit the dark memories and places of her past. The fact that the president is including his meddlesome hacker child in the mission makes it even more unappealing. However, an uneasy partnership is struck, and Asala soon finds that the search for the Vela will uncover secrets that could save–or destroy–the entire system.

Every character in this is complex and real. Asala has a grittiness to her that is still relatable. Niko, the nonbinary hacker, is idealistic to a fault; I want to add that it’s fantastic to see a nonbinary lead character, and it fully showed how gender wasn’t necessary to define who Niko was or how they behaved. The pacing of the book is extraordinary, especially in light of the alternating chapters by different authors. This is a space opera that really has it all–intense action, near-death scrapes, and tear-inducing scenes. I came to love these characters, and the dramatic conclusion left me in awe.

I’m adding this book to my shortlist for best novel nominees for this year. It’s that good.

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Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

Posted by on Mar 6, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies | 0 comments

Eat your coffee in these Chewy Coffee Cookies, and get your day off to the right start.

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

These cookies are chewy with a slight crunch, with the outside pleasantly crusted with turbinado sugar and coarsely-ground coffee.

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

My husband’s work lives on coffee. It probably runs through people’s veins. Needless to say, they liked these cookies.

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

These are the sorts of cookies that are good for breakfast, snack, or a party spread. Just maybe an event early in the day because, you know, caffeine.

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

I am told these cookies also taste good with coffee. Who knew?

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

Modified from Food network Magazine December 2017.

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

These chewy, slightly crunchy goodies are perfect for the coffee lover!

  • Cookies
  • 3 Tablespoons coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • Glaze
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3+ teaspoons milk or water

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon of ground coffee with the turbinado sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the rest of the coffee with the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a big bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; using beaters, about 3 minutes. Add the egg. Gradually stir in the flour mixture.

Drop a teaspoon of dough into the coffee and raw sugar, and roll to cover. Place on parchment with two inches of space to allow for spread.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until set but still soft. Let cool on pane for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to fully cool.

Once all of the cookies are baked, make the glaze. Stir together the confectioners' sugar and liquid of choice until the glaze is thick but spreadable. Use the back of a spoon to glaze each cookie. Let set about 15 minutes before packing in sealable containers, wax paper between the stacked layers.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Chewy Coffee Cookies

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Book Blog: Miss Violet & the Great War by Leanna Renee Hieber

Posted by on Mar 1, 2019 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

Miss Violet & the Great War by Leanna Renee Hieber

out this week; order at Indie Bound, B&N, or Amazon

Miss Violet

I received this book through NetGalley.

Hauntingly hopeful, Miss Violet & the Great War explores the tragedy of the first World War with poetic grace. I found this not to be a book to blaze through in one sitting, but one to savor and appreciate in little bites. That’s not to say it’s a slow read, either. This is a book that felt like immersing myself into a cozily hot bath.

I’ve read one of the related books in Hieber’s world, The Eterna Files, and that was a few years ago now. I jumped into this fourth book in the current series and had no problem following along, and I immediately loved a number of characters. While The Eterna Files seemed to be more of a supernatural mystery to me, Miss Violet & the Great War comes across as more like a spiritual gothic in the very mode of early 20th century novels.

Though the book is about the horrific aspects of war, Hieber’s main focus is on the goodness and creativity of humanity. I’m rather left in awe by the grace of how she handled that. Miss Violet grows up haunted by visions of the War to come throughout her childhood, and prepares herself with intelligence and practicality; so many books are plagued by impulsive protagonists, and it’s refreshing to encounter one with such thoughtfulness and diligence. The latter half of the book is in the War itself, with battles of physical and spiritual natures.

I highly recommend this to readers interested in the Great War and historical fiction with a fantastical bent.

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Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

Posted by on Feb 27, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate, gluten-free, healthier, no-bake dessert | 0 comments

I’m here to set you up with a breakfast or snack bar that is delicious and mostly healthy. Plus, these No Bake Chocolate Almond Bars can be tweaked for several dietary needs!

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

If you need gluten-free, use GF rolled oats. If you need dairy-free, use different chocolate chips. If you have nut allergies… well, you could probably use all-purpose flour and a different nut butter or even Biscoff spread, but I haven’t tested that mod myself.

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

Though I did test this recipe. A lot. Because it kept coming out tasty, but still a bit off.

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

The first try, I used milk chocolate chips, which is always my preference in cookies. To my surprise, I found the end result to be too sweet.

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

The second try, I became quite frustrated when pressing the base layer into the pan. It was a big sticky mess.

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

Therefore, by the third try, I knew what to do. Use semisweet chips. Chill the oat mixture from the time it is mixed. I also found that these bars were fantastic to freeze; just use waxed paper between the stacked bars.

 

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

Bready or Not Original: No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Bars [Gluten Free]

Tweak this recipe to be gluten-free by using GF rolled oats–and it can even be dairy-free by using select chocolate chips! Plan to assemble this recipe over a few hours as you must chill the ingredients between each step. Also, best to avoid milk chocolate this time around, or the bars will be excessively sweet. Use semisweet or dark chocolate instead.

  • Crust
  • 3 cups rolled (old fashioned) oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup almond butter

In a large bowl, mix together all of the crust ingredients. The mixture should be sticky and clump together. If it's not cohesive, add more almond butter; if it's too wet, add some more oats and/or almond flour. Chill bowl in fridge for an least an hour.

Line an 8x8 or 9x9-inch pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray.

Press half of the crust mix evenly into the bottom of the pan. A piece of waxed paper or parchment and a heavy glass make it easier to compress as much as possible. Place pan and bowl in fridge for another 30 minutes.

In the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop, melt together the chocolate chips and remaining almond butter. When they become creamy and smooth, remove from heat. Pour the chocolate to completely cover the oat layer. Chill for another hour.

Dollop the remaining oat mixture atop the hardened chocolate. Again, compress contents into pan as much as possible. Chill another 30 minutes.

Use the foil to lift contents onto a cutting board. Slice. Keep bars for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, in a sealed container with waxed paper between the layers, or freeze for up to a month.

OM NOM NOM!

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