SRC: Coffee Blondies

If you like coffee, then you will love these rich and sophisticated glazed coffee blondies. They’re delicious!

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I was really excited to see that I was given Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Kate lives in New York with her family–including two adorable little boys–and she’s always cooking up something new in her kitchen. I’ve long admired Kate’s blog for her lovely photographs and creative, challenging recipes, and was thrilled to get to make something from it! She’s been blogging since 2010 so there were lots of recipes to choose from, and I was quickly overwhelmed [does that ever happen to other SRCers? There's just so many options!]. So I turned to my Pinterest boards, and found four of her dishes that I wanted to make–Quinoa Cakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwiches Cookies, Fish in Crazy Water, and what I ultimately chose… Coffee Blondies.

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Kate first made them to fulfill a craving for a flavorful, non-chocolatey dessert. And seriously? These blondies are the perfect way to do so! They’re rich and chewy, and taste like something out of a fancy bakery. Since this recipe uses coffee grounds [and not just brewed coffee], the coffee flavor is very prominent but really isn’t too overwhelming–similar to coffee ice cream.

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

The topping of these blondies is my favorite part, I think! I hardly ever make glazes for things, and truthfully almost just sprinkled powdered sugar on top of the blondies. But then at the last second, I changed my mind. Before I put the blondies in the oven I threw a handful of sliced almonds on top, per the recipe, and then after the blondies were cool, glazed them with a simple powdered sugar glaze. After the glaze hardened, I took one bite and was just overwhelmed by how delicious these blondies are! The almonds and glaze give them a nice crunchy, sugary bite that pairs perfectly with coffee… almost like almond flavored coffee. These blondies are perfect with a refreshing glass of milk, and I bet they’d be awesome with a nice cup of coffee for a double caffeinated treat! Thanks, Kate, for a great recipe!

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

one year ago: Pineapple Cream Pie
two years ago: Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins 

three years ago: Linda’s Caramel Ritz Bits Crackers

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Coffee Blondies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 45 minutes + time to cool
  • Print

Coffee Blondies | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclubfrom Kitchen Trial and Error

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper. Spray any exposed sides with cooking spray if you don’t overlap.

In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar, coffee, and salt. Add egg and vanilla; whisk to combine. Slowly stir in the flour and baking powder, then spoon evenly into prepared pan. Top with almonds–as few or as many as desired, then bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before icing.

To make icing, whisk together 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon water. Add more powdered sugar to make it thicker or more water to make it thinner. I liked it with a generous 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Ice blondies, then put in the fridge for a bit to harden. Cut into bars when icing is dry.

Be sure to check out what else was whipped up for SRC this month below:

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Kale Quinoa Salad

When I was asked to cater the bridal shower, I was told that the bride loooved kale and quinoa. This salad was the direct inspiration of that. Well, and of Smitten Kitchen. Ha. But anyways, this kale quinoa salad is just SO good, you guys. It’s so fresh and delightful, I could seriously eat it for breakfast and be happy. With a fried egg on top? Oh goodness, I think I’m going to try that really soon.

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

Like any kale or quinoa salad, the sky’s the limit on mix ins. I just used some basic, affordable pantry staples: dried cranberries, almonds, and feta, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences. I’m a huge pistachio fan myself and think think that would be yummy. Oh, and don’t skip the dressing! Sometimes I just wanna do a basic olive oil rub on kale or quinoa but taking a couple minutes to mix up this vinaigrette-eqse dressing is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Mexican Rice
two years ago: Black Bean Wraps

Kale Quinoa Salad [adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print

Ingredients:

for salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries [or cherries]
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

for dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, kale, cranberries, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, viengar,lemon juice, mustard, honey, and dill. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to set. Top with almonds and feta just before eating.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6-8 servings.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese & Bacon

Kale. Seriously can’t get enough of it. Ben can’t either. No complaints here.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

Normally, our kale is cooked–in pasta, fried rice, or as a base for chicken or pork. But this time, I decided to do something different and make a chopped kale salad. That’s right… raw kale, chopped into a billion teeny tiny bites and tossed with a fabulous array of toppings and the most spectacular dressing ever. Intrigued?

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

What makes this salad special and different is ALL the tastes and textures going on. Crisp carrots, sweet apples, salty bacon, pungent bleu cheese, tart cranberries, crunchy toasted almonds. And a sweet peanut butter-maple vinaigrette that is nothing short of amazing. I was literally eating it with a spoon, for goodness sake! It has a peanut butter base, so that’s totally legit, right?

By the way, if you aren’t the biggest fan of bleu cheese, don’t let this scare you. There’s only enough to give a hint of the flavor, but if you like it you can always substitute feta or parmesan. I don’t always include cheese in my salads but it really works in this one, to make it more substantial. Just FYI.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

I threw this recipe together quickly on a busy night when we were headed to a small group dinner, and it was all but polished off. Fortunately, there was enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day, but the salad definitely got a little soggy on day 2 so I would recommend adding the dressing just before serving if at all possible. I only made this a couple weeks ago and am totally craving it now, as I write this at 10:27 pm. I have a feeling this salad is going to become a regular in our house and I hope it will in yours too! Enjoy!

So you tell me… have you ever had a kale salad before? What are your go-to [kale] salad mix-ins?

a year ago… Man Cupcakes
three years ago… Creamy Baked Spaghetti

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon [dressing adapted from Iowa Girl Eats]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 bunches kale
  • 1 1/3 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large Fuji apple
  • 3 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • freshly ground black pepper

dressing

  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Directions:

Wash and dry kale, then tear into small bite-size pieces, discarding thick stems. Add to a large bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry cabbage, carrot, and apple, then shred. I used my food processor but a grater would also work. Add to kale, along with bleu cheese, bacon, almonds, and cranberries.

Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth to make dressing, then drizzle half over the salad. Toss to combine, and add more dressing as desired. I used about 3/4 of the total dressing made. Season with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 side salads, 3-4 meal size salads.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Mango Coconut Granola

Quiz time… what do I love but never buy?

GRANOLA!

Okay, that might have been a wee bit obvious judging from the title of this post, but alas… no permanent harm done.

Seriously though, I just don’t understand how companies that sell 10-12 ounce bags of granola for SIX to EIGHT dollars apiece each stay in business. [Please excuse my internet shouting. I get worked up about overpriced items. I'm cheap frugal.] I get why they have to charge those prices… many of the granola brands I’m thinking of are organic, have a variety of nuts or special sweeteners or dried fruit, etc. And the company has to pay its employees and stay in business too, of course. That’s all well and good, and these pricy granolas are mighty tasty. But for the time being, I can’t justify paying that much moolah for one portion of my breakfast that will be finished in a week, tops. Yup, grad student speaking here. So what do I do? Make my own!

I’ve actually been making quite a few different versions of granola that I haven’t blogged about over the past threeish months… mainly because I have so many recipes in the queue that are frankly more exciting. This time though, nothing is holding me back! This Mango Coconut Granola is a tropical treat. It is officially my favorite granola of all time, a prestigious title to be sure.

So what makes this granola so great? Well, let’s see. Quiz time again.

Is it:

a) the triple punch of coconut [oil, flakes, extract]?
b) the use of almonds, the greatest nut ever?
c) the use of very expensive dried mango that my grandpa bought me at Costco?
d) all of the above.

If you picked d, you are very, very smart.

Coconut times three plus almonds plus dried mangoes just cannot be beat, even though I realize that if I added up the cost of the ingredients for this granola they might rival the expensive brands. No bother though–making things at home is part of the fun, and if you can have homemade, crunchy, flavorful granola… why wouldn’t you?

So far, my favorite way to eat this awesome granola has been with Mango Chobani and blueberries, but it’s also great with any other fruit/yogurt combo.

By the way, in case you’re interested, I’ve recently started playing with instagram a lot. :) I’ve had it since I got my iPhone but never really used it til this summer. If you want to follow me, I’m @thepajamachef. Be sure to leave your username in the comments too so I can follow you back! Thanks and happy Friday!

Mango Coconut Granola [from Megan's Cookin']
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided [could use unsweetened]
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar [if using unsweetened coconut, could increase to 1/2 cup brown sugar]
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/3 cup dried mango, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, 1 cup coconut, and brown sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together coconut oil, honey, and cinnamon, then add vanilla and coconut extracts. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well.

Press mixture evenly into baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir, press again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool completely, then add dried mango and remaining 1/3 cup coconut flakes. Store in an airtight container.

Time: 45 minutes [15 minutes active]

Yield: about 9 cups.

OTT: Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo

After a long absence, my husband, Ben, is back with his guest post column entitled One Tablespoon Testosterone, or OTT for short. Enjoy!

———

Each weekend as my wife is planning meals for the upcoming week, she asks if there’s anything I’d like or if I have any ideas.  Generally, my answers range from nothing to worthless until this past weekend.  I knew we had unused pork chops, so I grabbed a cookbook and immediately found a recipe that sounded quite enticing.  This cookbook was by Rachel Ray, whom a friend of mine from my college town of Athens, Ohio [go Bobcats!!!!!!!] has a massive celebrity crush on [to the point where he's told his girlfriend that he would absolutely break up with her for the chance to be with the celebrity chef].  But anyways… Sarah agreed, and for possibly the first time ever, I felt good about my assistance in the meal selection process.

Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo on a plateSo come Tuesday night, my pork chops’ assigned cooking date, my wife decides she has absolutely no desire to cook.  Why?  Because she just wants to bake cookies.  As tempting as the idea of cookies for dinner was, I’ve put on a few more pounds than I would like in the last year so I shrugged it off.  This meant it was time for OTT to take command of dinner.

close up of Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo on a plateAnd what a delightful dinner it was. Salty pork, crisp almonds, juicy blackberries on spinach drenched in a sweet vinegary dressing. By the way, the cookies were good too. It was a messy kitchen sort of night.

OTT: Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo [from Rachael Ray's Look + Cook]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb orzo pasta
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 T ground basil
  • 1 c spinach leaves
  • olive oil
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1/4 c almonds
  • 2 T butter
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

This recipe basically consists of making three things:  the pork chops, the salad to top the chops, and the orzo to serve on the side.  Let’s start with the salad.  Put the balsamic vinegar in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Once it begins boiling, maintain heating for about 5 minutes, or until it’s reduced by about half and is a thicker, syrupy consistency.  Remove from heat.  Combine the blackberries [or strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or any other delicious berry], basil, and spinach in a large salad bowl.  You should cut the spinach into thin slices.  I elected to tear it into small pieces because I’m better at ripping things than cutting them.  Sarah was disappointed because it didn’t look as pretty [but she says she still loves me]. Once the vinegar has cooled, you can drizzle it over the salad.

But while it’s cooling, heat a pot of water to boiling for the orzo.  When the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook it however long the box/bag tells you to.

While the pasta’s cooking, you can get to work on the pork chops.  Season the chops with some salt and pepper if desired, pour some oil in a large skillet, and once the oil has heated add the chops.  Cook the chops for about 4 minutes on each side.  I would recommend covering the skillet.  Once the chops have cooked, remove them from the pan and roast the almonds for a couple minutes, then remove.

Back to the orzo.  When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and melt the butter in the pan.  Return the orzo to the pan and stir together.  Add the almonds and salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste.

Serve the orzo on the side with the salad topping the pork chops.  Or I suppose you could serve the salad on the side with the chops over the orzo.  Or even the salad over the chops over the orzo.  It all tastes good, so do what seems best to you.

Reader Question ~ If you could have any dessert for dinner on a weekly basis, what would it be? I would have cheesecake. Mmmmm cheesecake… strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, the works. MMMMM!

Linked up on Life as Mom.