Slow Cooker Sunday: Cinnamon Almond Oatmeal

After the first time my dad got sick and returned home from the hospital I used to make oatmeal every morning for breakfast for him and I. I wouldn’t say I mastered making oatmeal, but, I got it down pat as to how much milk to oatmeal to sugar ratio I needed to make the perfect bowl of sweetness and creaminess. Funny thing is, now a few years later I struggle to make oatmeal for just myself. It either comes out too sweet, too blah, too thick or too watery. Somehow I have forgotten the magical combination. Maybe I’ve somehow blocked it out since I can’t have those morning breakfasts’ with my dad any longer. Our subconscious is a funny thing! Thankfully, my slow cooker is the answer and one of best things about it is that I don’t have to worry about walking away while the milk is heating up and ultimately boils over and leaves a mess on my stove. I cannot even count how many times that happened to me. And cleaning up warmed milk is no fun task.

After combining all of my ingredients in my slow cooker and letting it cook on low for a few hours I had a delicious breakfast. I topped mine with almonds, but since oatmeal is so versatile you can pretty much top it with anything. Have you seen some of the flavors they sell in the instant packets?

I’ve come to realize that I am not a big fan of cinnamon so I think I will reduce the amount I use the next time I make it, or omit it completely. I am sure the honey would provide enough sweetness for it.

One last thing, this was the first time I’ve made steel cut oats. My reason for using them… I thought they would hold up better in the slow cooker since they are not processed as much as much as old-fashioned and quick oats. They take longer to cook due to their texture, but taste just the same.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almond Oatmeal

  • Servings: 5 (1 cup each)
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Ingredients:

1 cup steel cut oats

5 cups almond milk*

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon**

1/4 teaspoon salt

Sliced almonds, for topping

*I used vanilla flavored almond milk

**Feel free to use more or less to your liking

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except for the almonds, in your slow cooker and stir until well combined. Cool on low for 4 to 5 hours, or until desired consistency.

*I cooked my oatmeal for a little less than 4 hours. I was planning on refrigerating it to eat for breakfast over a few days so I didn’t want to cook it to a point where it was super creamy, it was a bit watery since I knew that as it cooled it would thicken up.

Pumpkin Cannoli

If you visited my blog yesterday you saw my post for a Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate (YUM!) and I mentioned these Pumpkin Cannoli in that post. Today I am sharing the recipe with you. Sometimes with one can of pumpkin puree you can enjoy 2 or 3 delicious treats.

Pumpkin Cannoli

Ingredients:

4 large cannoli shells

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Fold the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag (or a gallon size resealable bag) and snip a half inch hole at the end (or corner) of the bag and pipe the mixture into both ends of the cannoli shells. Dust with confectioner’ sugar and enjoy.

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Slow Cooker Sunday: Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

You may be wondering why I would take the time to make hot chocolate in a slow cooker when I could easily just make it on the stove. Well, I saw a video on Instagram one day for it and thought it would be a nice treat, which it was. It was also a good excuse to use some white chocolate chips I had and to use leftover pumpkin puree I had from making Pumpkin Cannoli. All pretty good excuses in my book!

In my slow cooker I added whole milk, white chocolate chips, pumpkin puree, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, ground ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. Trust me, it’s worth using freshly grated nutmeg as opposed to the powder form. Ground nutmeg can sometimes leave a pungent flavor, but, using freshly grated nutmeg eliminates that. After giving all of my ingredients a good stir, I set my slow cooker to low and let it cook for 2-3 hours. For the first hour, I gave the mixture a good stir every 10 minutes to make sure the chocolate was melting and to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. As an aside, is it still right to say cook when it comes to making hot chocolate? Or, maybe I should say simmer? Hmmmm???

I enjoyed it topped with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick as a garnish/stirrer. I actually used one of the cinnamon sticks that I added to the slow cooker. This is the perfect autumn warm-me-up beverage. Or, thinking ahead, an ideal complement to your Thanksgiving desserts. You could easily double or triple the recipe for a large group of people.

If you’re curious about the Pumpkin Cannoli recipe check back tomorrow!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

4 cups whole milk

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

4 cinnamon sticks, additional sticks for garnish

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for topping

Whipped cream

Directions:

Combine the milk, chocolate chips, pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg in a slow cooker and stir together.

Heat on low for 2-3 hours, stirring every 10 minutes for the first hour to stir in the melted chocolate. And occasionally after that.

Serve in mugs, topped with topped whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Add a cinnamon stick that can be used as a stirrer in case the pumpkin settles.

5-Layer Brownie Cookie Cheesecake

A couple of things you’re going to need to make this cake… Patience, patience and more patience. You bake a layer, then you refrigerate it, you bake another layer and then you freeze it and finally you bake the last layer and then you place it back in the refrigerator so it can chill before enjoying a slice. But don’t worry, the first bite is worth the time and patience!

To make things a little easy for myself I followed the directions and used store bought chocolate chip cookie dough and boxed brownie mix.

I began by lining a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. After bringing the chocolate chip cookie dough to room temperature I pressed it into an even layer on the bottom of the pan, folded the plastic wrap over it and then placed it in the freezer.

I prepared the brownie mix per the directions on the box and then poured it into the 10-inch springform pan that I sprayed with baking spray after removing the cookie dough. I then sprayed the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan and pressed it in the center of the brownie mix until the batter reached about halfway up the springform pan. I baked this for about 45 minutes. I removed it from the oven after 35 minutes, per the directions, but felt that the brownie was a little too underdone so I placed it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. While the middle was still a bit undercooked, the outside was cooked. I think that if I make this again I will either cook it for 40 minutes, or reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake it for 45 minutes. While the brownie was still warm, I rotated the 8-inch pan into the brownie while carefully pressing it down to push the brownie further up the sides of the springform pan. I then refrigerated it for 30 minutes. I left the 8-inch pan in the brownie while it was in the refrigerator.

While the brownie was cooling I made the cheesecake batter by mixing together 3 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and an egg until it was smooth and no lumps remained. I set this aside. Once the brownie had cooled I removed it from the refrigerator and lined the bottom with Oreos.

And then poured the cheesecake mixture over it and baked it in the oven for 40 minutes and then placed it in the freezer, yes, the freezer, for 30 minutes.

Next, I arranged another layer of Oreos over the cheesecake…

And finally topped the whole thing with the frozen disc of chocolate chip cookie dough and placed it back in the oven for 20 minutes.

After letting it cool for a few minutes I placed it back in the refrigerator so it could chill.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty picture of what the layers looked like when it was sliced (I made this for a birthday dinner and really couldn’t stop to take the all-important blog picture once we started slicing it) but I can tell you that it did get RAVE reviews. You might be thinking it would be overly sweet with all of the different layers, but, it actually wasn’t. It was more decadent than anything else and something you don’t need a huge slice of. I won’t lie, I was apprehensive to slice it because I had no clue if all of the layers had cooked properly, especially that brownie layer that seemed undercooked in the beginning, but, I needn’t worry. It probably would have been better if I had left the brownie a bit more undercooked in the beginning. I knew that I didn’t want to overcook it since it was going back in the oven 2 more times, but, I was just worried about putting a half cooked brownie in the refrigerator. I never know what can and cannot grow dangerous bacteria.

5-Layer Cookie Brownie Cheesecake

Ingredients:

16-ounce tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, at room temperature

2 18-ounce boxed of brownie mix, prepared according to box directions

3 8-ounce cream cheese blocks, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 package of Oreos

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a 10-inch springform pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap long enough to hang over the sides. Place the chocolate chip cookie dough into the pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Wrap it with the plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

Spray the 10-inch pan with baking spray and pour in the brownie batter. Spray the sides and bottom of a deep (at least 5-inches) 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray and then press it into the brownie batter until the batter reaches halfway up the sides of the 10-inch pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes and then let cool for 5 minutes. While rotating the 8-inch pan press it into the brownie so the brownie can come up higher on the sides of the 10-inch pan. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and the egg with a hand mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth. Set aside.

After the 30 minutes, remove the brownie from the refrigerator and line the bottom with a single-layer of Oreos. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookies and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set, but slightly jiggles in the center. Let cool for a few minutes and then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

After these 30 minutes are up, place a single-layer of Oreos on top of the cheesecake layer and then place the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough disk on top. Tucking in any edges and bake for 20 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before removing the ring and slicing. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and an Oreo on top.

**A quick tip… Instead of placing the Oreos in a single-layer, crush them. It would definitely make slicing the cake easier and less likely to fall apart.

Recipe from Tasty

Chocolate Roll Cake with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling

In my opinion chocolate and pumpkin go together as well as chocolate and peanut butter. I say this because I’ve made a few desserts that have used this combination and they all turned out delish – Pumpkin Brownie Swirl Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Crepe Cake. There was also the Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies I made that tasted good but required a vast amount of ingredients and ended up being undercooked in the middle. I may have to revisit that recipe since it did taste good but just needed some tweaking. So, it should be of no surprise that I finally decided to make a simple chocolate cake with a pumpkin filling. Well, not completely simple, a Chocolate Roll Cake, which is easy to create but just looks fancier than your everyday layer cake.

Using a devil’s food cake mix, I made the chocolate cake in a jelly roll pan. While it was baking I prepped a clean kitchen towel by sprinkling it with confectioners’ sugar. Once the cake was finished baking I immediately flipped it on to the towel and rolled the cake along with the towel from one short end to the other and placed it on a wire rack to cool for an hour.

While the cake was cooling I made the pumpkin spice mousse and refrigerated it. This is the same mousse I used as a filling for the spice cupcakes I posted about almost two weeks ago. Unfortunately this was my last box of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O pudding mix. I have searched and just haven’t been able to find it at any of my local supermarkets. I’m not giving up hope though. As an aside, if you’re not a pumpkin fan or can’t find the flavor by you as well use another flavor of Jell-O  pudding. The recipe and directions are the same. I went on their website and was surprised to learn of all the flavors they make that I have never seen in the supermarket – cheesecake, red velvet, coconut and strawberry crème just to name a few. Here’s a link to the complete selection.

Once the cake had cooled I unrolled it and spread the pumpkin spice mousse on it leaving a small border around the edges so the mousse wouldn’t spill out when I rolled the cake once again. I used most of the mousse. I then rolled the cake again (without the towel). Placed it on a serving dish and sifted confectioners’ sugar over it. Now, as you can see my cake did break a bit when I re-rolled it. If this happens don’t despair just position the cake on your serving dish with that side down.

And when I sliced into it you barely noticed the tear. The roll design was still visible and more importantly the cake and mousse tasted delicious and that’s what really matters!

Chocolate Roll Cake with a Pumpkin Spice Mousse Filling

Ingredients:
For the cake:

1 box of Devil’s food cake mix

6 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

For the Pumpkin Mousse:

1 3.4oz. package of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding Mix

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch (Jelly Roll Pan) pan with foil or waxed paper, spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until the eggs are thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Add the cake mix, water and oil and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 1 minutes. Pour about 2 3/4 – 3 cups of the batter into the prepared pan. Use the remaining batter to make cupcakes, or as you wish.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Turn the cake out on a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with the confectioners’ sugar. While the cake is still hot, carefully roll up the cake and towel together from one shorter end to the other. Cool completely on a wire rack for 1 hour.

While the cake is cooking make the mousse. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

After an hour, unroll the cake carefully and remove the towel. Spread the pumpkin spice mousse evenly over the cake and roll it up once again. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and enjoy!

Recipe for cake from Betty Crocker

Slow Cooker Sunday: Zucchini Bread

I recently started using my slow cooker again. Ideally it is the perfect appliance to use in the warm summer months to avoid turning on the oven, but, I just find that the meals it produces are bit heavy for the dog days of summer. Granted, I should have been looking for recipes for desserts as there’s never a bad time of year for a sweet treat. This recipe today, Zucchini Bread, is perfect for the summer months with the abundance of zucchini available at the supermarket and at your local farm stands, but, thankfully zucchini is one of those vegetables that is available year round and always seems to taste the same.

To start I made the batter. Using my food processor I grated two small zucchini and squeezed out the excess water. In one bowl, I whisked together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl I whisked together eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil. I folded in the zucchini and then whisked in the flour mixture. I then transferred the mixture to my 4-quart slow cooker that I brushed with oil.

I covered it and set it to cook on high. Now, the directions said to leave the lid slightly ajar, I did this and after about 2.5 hours my bread was still undercooked in the middle. So, I decided to completely cover it and let it cook and it was done in about another 20 minutes. I turned off the slow cooker and let the bread sit uncovered for thirty minutes. I carefully removed it and let it cool completely.

I then sliced and enjoyed a piece. It was good, but, I think next time I make this I may use less cinnamon.

Slow Cooker Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups grated Zucchini, about 2 small zucchinis

9 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Brush the inside of a slow cooker (4 – 6 quarts) with 1 tablespoon of oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and the remaining oil until well combined. Fold in the zucchini. Add the flour mixture to the eggs mixtures and stir until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the greased slow cooker and spread in an even layer. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Uncover and let the bread cool in the slow cooker for 30 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread and then carefully remove using a large spatula. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Savory Online

Cookies and Cream Cake

If you love Oreos then this is the cake for you… A Cookies and Cream cake that has crushed Oreos baked into the batter as well as crushed Oreos folded into the buttercream.

I took the easy route and opted to use a box cake, a Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix to be exact. I made one minor adjustment to the batter, I added in an extra 1/4 cup of water so that the Oreo crumbs wouldn’t thicken the batter too much. Once the batter was ready, I then folded in a cup of Oreo crumbs. To create the crumbs I placed a bunch of Oreos in a Ziploc bag, sealed it and then rolled it with a rolling pin. I left some of the Oreos in fairly large crumbs so that the cake wouldn’t just be speckled with little pieces of Oreos, but have some noticeable pieces. I then divided the batter between two 8-inch round pans that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a350 F preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. I let the cakes cool for a few minutes and then inverted them on wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, I made the frosting. My go-to frosting is a Fluffy Vanilla Frosting that I got from a Martha Stewart cookbook and have been using for quite some time now when it comes to decorating my cakes. It tastes good (not overly sweet) and holds up well to piping and tinting. If frosting is too soft when you tint it it will only get softer and when you try to pipe it it inevitably droops. While I love using the frosting, I am not a fan of making it. It involves adding the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time and raising and lowering the speed of my stand mixer. What ultimately happens, even though I cover the mixer with a kitchen towel, is sugar dust gets everywhere on my counter. I was also concerned that the recipe wouldn’t yield enough frosting to fill, frost & decorate the cake. So, while doing a little research for this cake – I couldn’t decide in the beginning if I should make the cake from scratch or use a box mix – I came across a buttercream frosting that incorporated crushed Oreos that I decided to try. I began by beating the butter in my stand mixer until it was light and fluffy and then added in confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream and mixed it on low speed until the sugar was incorporated and then slowly raised it to medium until everything was well blended. Using a rubber spatula I folded in Oreo cookie crumbs. You may be tempted to make the frosting in advance and then store it in the refrigerator. I suggest not doing that. Doing so will allow the cookie crumbs to soften and when you go to use it your frosting may end up looking more gray than speckled with Oreos.

Once the cake cooled I torte both to remove the small dome that formed during baking and then spread some of the frosting on one the cakes and then topped it with the other. I then crumb coated the cake and refrigerated it for about 15 minutes so the frosting could set and then finished frosting it. I had some remaining Oreo crumbs so I pressed them along the bottom of the cake.

Next, I made the chocolate ganache that I poured on top of the cake and spread around. Using a squeeze bottle I tried to create a chocolate drip around the cake. Unfortunately it was a bit warm in my house so the chocolate didn’t set well (even after refrigerating it for a few minutes) so it was a bit runny, hence the chocolate drizzle running down the sides of the cake. Oh well! Finally, using a Wilton 1M tip I piped dollops with the remaining frosting on top of the cake and place a mini Oreo in each one. A little tip, if you plan on piping frosting that has crumbs in it make sure your tip is large enough for the crumbs to pass through. I actually had a few instances of the crumbs getting stuck.

And there you have it… A Cookies and Cream Cake.

 

Cookies and Cream Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 15.25 oz. white cake mix

3 large egg whites

1 1/4 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup Oreo crumbs

 

For the Frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/3 cups Oreo crumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

 

For the Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate (can use chocolate chips or a baking bar chopped)

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

*You will need 1 package of Oreos and 1 small container of mini Oreos

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray or butter and flour.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, egg whites, water and oil. Prepare according to box directions then fold in the Oreo crumbs. Divide the batter among the two pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then invert them on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream and beat on low speed until incorporated and then raise the speed to medium and continue beating until well blended. Using a rubber spatula fold in the Oreo crumbs.

Once the cake has cooled, torte, fill and apply a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes.

While the cake is in the refrigerator make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat until steaming and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and finish frosting. If you have Oreo crumbs remaining press them along the bottom of the cake. Once the ganache has thickened, transfer to a squeeze bottle and squeeze some of the ganache on the center of the cake. Using an off-set spatula gently spread the ganache towards the outside of the cake, careful not to let it spill over. Add more ganache is necessary. With the remaining ganache in the squeeze bottle drip the chocolate the chocolate along the sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator so the chocolate can set.

Once chocolate has set use the remaining frosting to pipe dollops on top of the cake. Add mini Oreos to the dollops or cut larger Oreos in half and add those to the dollops.

Frosting Recipe from the Preppy Kitchen