Avid Bakers Challenge

I could eat brownies daily.  Good. Fudgy. Brownies.  The Man loves cookies.  Daily.  Any kind.  When I can combine the two it’s a good day.  Like today.  The Avid Baker’s Challenge made Deb’s brownies/cookies/ brownie cookies.  Whatever you call them are GOOD!!  Lots of chocolate flavor – not hard to understand since they have cocoa, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate in them.


The Browniest Cookies

Little bites of intense!  The perfect way to end a meal  Not sweet but not bitter.  Just right!

I did make a couple of small changes.  I subbed Splenda for the 2 Tbl of sugar {the cookies also have 1 cup packed brown sugar.}  And I subbed in 1/2 cup WWF for 1/2 cup of the AP flour.  It didn’t make any difference in the taste or texture but it made me feel better about the sugar and increased ‘healthiness’ of the cookie.  LOL

These cookies are for February’s Avid Bakers Challenge.  I haven’t baked with them in quite a while but decided to join back in since all the baking won’t be JUST sweet stuff this year.  We are baking from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen for 2017.  She is one of my favorite reads and recipe sources.   



I think of all the desserts out there, browinies are the ultimate ‘comfort’ dessert. Fudgy! Dense! Chewy! Yep, can’t go wrong with that.


      Who am I kidding, there is no BUT!!

These hit all the characteristics of a ‘regular’ brownie – except they are gluten-free, butter-free, and dairy-free. I know what you are thinking – why bother? But do, please, bother with these cause they are really, REALLY good.


Chewy! Dense! Fudgy! YES!!


      And, unfortunately there is really a BUT!

Too much sugar. The recipe called for two cups of powdered sugar. And while Sweet Tooth Hubby really liked them I cannot eat them (right now) because of all the sugar. I wonder if I could use an equal amount of Stevia in the Raw and some added Stevia for the sweetness? Worth a try cause these are good!!

The recipe is from Scientifally Sweet a blog by Christina Marsigliese. We are baking from her blog for 2015.

Want to join us in our sweet travels this year – just visit The Avid Baker’s Challenge for the list of recipes to come and bake along with us.

And don’t forget to ‘taste’ the other Brownies!

In January Avid Bakers Challenge moved from baking with King Arthur Flour to baking with Christina at Scientifically Sweet. Unfortunately I missed out on January (Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins) and February (Orange, Date & Almond Biscotti) so I knew I had to jump in for March. And it was a good decision.


This is a nice little loaf with plenty of lemon flavor. And although mine didn’t brown very well or rise very high it was a hit. I liked the texture the cornmeal added. More than cake, less than cornbread. It was just right.


You can find the recipe on Susan’s Page. The only change I made was to cut the sugar in 1/2 and sub in some Splenda and a little raw Stevia for the sweetness. Now I’m thinking – how good this would be with some Blueberries thrown in. Next time!!

You can see all the Lemon Loaves over at THE AVID BAKERS CHALLENGE.

Next month we are making Fudgy No Butter Brownies – I am definitely in for that one!!!

A new year. A new collection of sweets and treats for Avid Baker”s Challenge. For the last two years we have been baking from the King Arthur Flour site. This year we are changing gears and baking from Christina Marsigliese‘s blog, Scientifically Sweet. Cookies. Bars. Brownies. Cakes. Pies. Tarts. If it’s a sweet treat then it is on Christina’s blog. Like these choco chip muffins.


I did make a few changes in an attempt to “healthy-fy” them. My changes are in green. The original recipes is HERE!

3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon {I used a heaping tsp.}
¾ cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas, previously frozen)
1/3 cup LITE sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line mini-muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; whisk together to blend evenly and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in egg, sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract until well blended. Add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips and fold gently until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until the muffin tops spring back when touched gently and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean despite any melted chocolate chips, 10 – 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

YIELD: 36 mini muffins.


These were nice and chocolatey and just sweet enough with the combination of sugar and Stevia. Perfect little bites just the right size to satisfy a sweet tooth when your teeth want sweets WAY too much!!!

Check on The ABC page for more chocolate treats.

It is THAT time of year. FALL!! Time for pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries. And just in time for the holiday season we have these sweet and tasty rolls.


A basket of these sweet and spicy pumpkin cranberry rolls perched beside the turkey and dressing seems just perfect. The recipe calls for crystallized ginger, which I left out, and dried cranberries as well as your usual pumpkin pie spices: cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. I only made 1/2 a batch because I wasn’t sure how the family would like them. Guess I will need to make more before Thanksgiving, and probably Christmas. The recipe calls for using a muffin tin to help keep their round shape but I think they would make great pull apart dinner rolls or loaves. With lots of melting butter!

The recipe is from King Arthur Flour

The round-up of the Avid Bakers’ Rolls can be found on Avid Baker’s Challenge after 3 November.

    Stop by and enjoy!!


Making strudel, danish, Challah is, to me, a fun way to spend time in the kitchen. This tasty treat from KAF is not exception. Full of apples and cinnamon it is perfect for breakfast or snack or dessert or…anything!


The recipe starts out like cinnamon rolls. Roll out the dough, cover with the filling and then roll up and slice. But after rolling the dough, which was wonderfully soft with the added potato flakes and butter, and filling it with the apple and cinnamon, which I doubled, you slice it in half and then slice it in half horizontally and twist the two pieces together. While messy to work with it looks beautiful and tastes fantastic.

I basically adhered to the recipe except I doubled the cinnamon and and then 1/2 again as much apple mix on each roll. They seemed rather empty with just what was called for. I think I would add some pecans next time.

Hint: if you are using flour I would suggest draining the mix in a sieve before using – it is very wet.

One is already gone the other is in the freezer waiting for company and breakfast.


The other Twists can be found on the ABC page after October 3. Visit with them and see their beautiful twists.

And the recipe is on the King Arthur Flour page.

One of my favorite flavors is Almond. The flavor can be simple or complex depending on how it is used. This month, for Avid Bakers Challenge, we used it in some lovely little tarts. The crust and the filling both had almond flavors and ground almonds. And it was just right.


Topped with slices of peach and drizzled with a simple sugar/milk glaze it was a perfect dessert. Simple, but possibly quite elegant. The only change I made in the recipe from King Arthur Flour was to drizzle the glaze over the peaches rather than place the peaches over the glaze spread on the tart. It cut down some on the sweetness, but not the flavor. I made 1/2 of the rcipe and ended up with 3 well filled tarts.

You can find the recipe on the KAF site. After you check out the recipe, check out the tarts from the other ABC members.

If you know me, and the blog – Tea and SCONES – you know how I feel about scones. I love them! I don’t make them as often as I used to because I have NO WILLPOWER and would eat them all. All the time. With butter. And jam. And clotted cream. But when the KAF scones made the list for Avid Baker’s Challenge for June I knew I had to make them. I had, with some others, asked for scones. And these did not dissapoint.


The original recipe called for

    “1 cup to 2 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips, nuts, or a combination, optional”

so we were free to fill them with just about anything. I divided the dough in half. I left some plain and just sprinkled the tops with turbnado sugar. The other half I added in some Heath Bar bits. {About 1/2 cup}


Those added just a hint of sweetness. And the others were great with some butter and Blackberry jam. YUM!!


These are definite keepers. And most of them are in the freezer so I will be enjoying these for a while.

The original recipe for the SCONES is on the KAF page.

And after you have a look at the recipe, have a look at the scones the other ABC bakers made. It will be on the ABC page after June 3.

When I was young the Family lived in England for a few years. Dad was Air Force and back then stays in different places were never longer than two years. Sometimes we moved every 6 months or so. The four years we were in England we were stationed at three different air bases and moved four times. This was not a bad thing as we got to travel a lot!! And I have many, many fond memories of people, places, adventures. And food. Bangers and Mash. Treacle pie. Yorkshire Pudding. Etc. Etc. I especially learned to love McVitties Digestive Cookies. I am addicted to those things. I only buy them now occasionally because I know I will eat the whole package. Not a bad thing when they are less than a dollar a pack, but in the USA……

Anyway – when I saw this months Avid Baker’s Challenge was English Digestive Cookies I was very excited. Now I could make my own. My addiction was less of a problem!!


Easy to make. Nice soft dough. Baked up quickly. I didn’t change anything but the type of sugar. The recipe called for powdered but since I was out I used, as suggested, brown sugar. All pluses. BUT…I thought they tasted horrible. Nothing at all like the digestives I was craving. NOTHING!! I even painted them with some chocolate. Didn’t help. SOOO disappointed. I so hope some of the Bakers liked them. Somewhere I saw a recipe using digestive crumbs as a crust for a tart or cheesecake. That is a possible.

Sorry, guys. Not a repeat.

Visit ABC and check out what the others thought.

Avid Bakers Challenge is a group of friendly home bakers who are baking from the King Arthur Flour recipes. If you want to join the fun – visit the ABC website.

Mushrooms, cheddar, and red peppers. Is there any better combination for a tart? Nope, I didn’t think so. But then you add the cheese IN the crust and it really takes it to another level. I was soooo glad I bought the Vermont Cheese Powder on a whim one day!


    Mushroom Cheddar Tarts

As I was enjoying the tarts I was thinking – what is missing? Plenty of ‘shrooms, plenty of peppers, plenty of cheese, yet I still thought something was lacking. So before I baked a second batch I added more salt and thyme and a little cayenne to the filling. BINGO!! That did the trick! AND they were better at room temp then they were just baked. And by the next day the filling had had time to blend together more. They were so much better the next day.


I only made 1/2 of the recipe and I made them in 4″ tart pans rather than the muffin cups. 1/2 of the recipe yielded enough dough for 6 4″ tarts, enough filling for only 4. I also used Egg beaters for part of the eggs. Trying to lower our calories and cholesterol and fat. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour

And you can find the other Avid Baker Challenge Tarts on the ABC website after March 3, after everyone has posted their tarts. And if you want to join in – the rules are there.

see you next month with – 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

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