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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bars

3 Oct

The other night we had a pumpkin night.  Pumpkin streusel pancakes and pumpkin smoothies for dinner.    I had a bit of pureed pumpkin left-over so I decided to try these bars.  All the other ingredients I had on hand. They are currently in the oven but the batter is AMAZING!  I could’ve eaten it just plain without baking it.  The recipe also suggests the bars be topped with  frosting or caramel. I want to wait and see how they taste before I decide which topping will be the best.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars 


(Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c pumpkin puree (i.e. Libby’sin a can and if you don’t have pumpkin puree in your market, use sweet potato puree either canned or sweet potatoes that you boil/puree yourself)

2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook)

1 c brown sugar, packed

1/2 c white sugar

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add raisins, nuts, chocolate/white/peanut butter chips to the mixture.  Start with 1/3 to 1/2 c and going from there based on taste preference.

Optional frosting ideas

Cream Cheese Frosting; add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice + cinnamon if you’d like

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Caramel Sauce, either jarred or homemade Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir by hand.  Spread batter (it will be pretty moist) into a foil-lined and spayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.

Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.  Allow to cool very well before slicing (yeah, right. I don’t think I’ve ever done that!).

Notes: All measurements are approximate and if you love peanut butter or pumpkin puree, add a bit more of either.

Reduce the sugar amounts if you wish or even attempt a sugar-free version by making with stevia, stevia “baking blends” or try other powdered forms of nonsugar sweeteners.


****I added Chocolate chips and thought that made the bars sweet enough.  No frosting or caramel required.  I think that would be too sweet!

Tomorrow morning is our next appointment with the OB!!!

Happy Birthday Sherri!


Almost 26 weeks and a healthy(ish) dessert

28 Sep

Tomorrow I’ll be 26 weeks.  I think my stomach shrunk a bit after coming back from California!!  I’m eating  a fraction of what I ate when I was there so I guess it’s possible.  I think the baby likes to be in very tight spaces.  I’ll lay on my left side and can feel her kicking away right where my stomach meets the bed then I’ll turn to the right and she’s moves there on the right side!   Anyway, she is just moving constantly all day long. I am at the very end of the second trimester.  Baby is the size of an eggplant; 13.6- 14.8 inches long and 1.5 – 2.5 pounds.

We really haven’t been up to much lately.  Christian’s dad and brother-in-law, Jacob, were here this last weekend and they bike some major mountain passes.  I just waited for them to come home and served them food. 🙂

Christian, Jakob, John

I’ve been busy planning my decor for the nursery.  I ordered some custom crib bedding from etsy which will be ready in about 8 weeks.  I also ordered a rug which is out of stock for about 8 weeks.   In addition to decorating the nursery, we have a crazy long list of boring things we need to do.   I used to be a procrastinator, but not anymore!  I want to do everything now!  Poor Christian, many of the things we need to do are actually things he needs to do. Haha.

I was looking for a lighter dessert (so I wouldn’t feel so guilty after I uncontrollably ate it) and this one is just what I was envisioning.  The cake itself is light and not too sweet and then you put the cream cheese frosting on top. Yum! Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?!!?

Carrot and Zucchini Cake Bars

From Better Homes and Gardens
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  * I did not add because I do not like almonds in desserts
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • recipe Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting
directions1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together eggs, carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, oil, honey, and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.2.Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars.3.Makes 36 bars4.Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl beat one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. If desired, stir in 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or orange peel.

nutrition facts

  • Calories125
  • Total Fat (g)7
  • Saturated Fat (g)2,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g)2,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g)3,
  • Cholesterol (mg)19,
  • Sodium (mg)44,
  • Carbohydrate (g)16,
  • Total Sugar (g)11,
  • Fiber (g)1,
  • Protein (g)2,
  • Vitamin C (DV%)1,
  • Calcium (DV%)18,
  • Iron (DV%)1,
  • Other Carbohydrates (d.e.)1,
  • Fat (d.e.)1,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Poppy Seed Bread

11 Aug

Poppy seed bread is and always will be one of my most favorite foods things. It is so moist and sweet, it really should be called poppy seed cake. The recipe my mother uses is most definitely the best in the world.

I am so happy my mom gave me this cookbook with the poppy seed bread recipe in it. The cookbook is an accumulation of recipes by ladies  ( I think there are  few recipes in there by men, too)  from my Grandma Hain’s Catholic church.

I’ve used this cookbook a lot. There are so many recipes in this cookbook that my mother made while I was growing up.

Unfortunately, today I could not make this recipe because I did not have any pudding mix in the house.  Or instant cake mix.  So I found a recipe  with a picture that looked very similar.

Before I  post the recipe I used, look at these bread pans I have to work with. No, I can not find the normal bread pan in Switzerland:

They are in two pieces, magically held together by who knows what.

I always wonder when they will drip batter out of the bottom. Well, today was my lucky day.  The batter leaked out and burned, leaving the oven and the whole apartment a smokey mess 😦 .  I quickly transferred one pan of batter into a cupcake tin and wrapped foil around the other.

Next time I’ll bring some proper bread pans back from the US!

Orange Glazed Poppy Seed Bread


for the bread:
3 c. flour
2-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 T. poppy seeds
1-1/2 c. milk
1 c. + 2 T. vegetable oil
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract

for the glaze:
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice (I like to use freshly squeezed.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Stir on low, just until combined.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients – the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer on low speed, beat until incorporated. Then raise the mixer speed to medium and beat for one more minute.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

While the bread is baking, prepare the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients and whisk until incorporated. When the baked loaves are removed from the oven, immediately brush the glaze over the warm bread tops. It will seem like alot of glaze, but it will soak in and make the bread ultra moist and flavorful, with a bit of a sugary crust once cooled. Cool loaves about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the pans before removing bread from pans.

This recipe definitely comes in number 2 of all time best poppy seed bread recipes!

***Warning, it is extremely difficult to stop eating poppy seed bread!***

S’mores Gooey Cake Bars

5 Aug

The other night a first happened.  Christian was wanting something sweet to eat and I didn’t.  When the situation is reversed, I am completely motivated and will quickly whip up a batch of brownies.  Poor Christian,  I just brought him a chai tea latte and told him that would have to do.

Today I thought I would make up for that insensitivity on my part with these:

Gooey S’mores Cake Bars

This  recipe is from I obviously had to make a few alterations for the items I could not find in Switzerland.

First of all, there was no yellow cake mix at the store.  There was chocolate, lemon and marble.  I bought the marble cake mix and omitted the cocoa powder.

There are also no graham crackers to be found so I bought these digestive cookies which have a similar taste. But they do not compare to graham crackers.

White Chocolate S’mores Gooey Cake Bars

1 box yellow cake mix

1 large egg

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

4 1/2 full graham crackers   ( the digestive cookies I used were thicker than graham crackers so I crumbled the cookies up)

10 ounce bag white chocolate chips   ( I didn’t feel like white chocolate so I used chocolate chips and a few caramel chips)

2 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8×8 inch baking pan with tin foil that’s been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure foil goes all the way up and over the edges for this one. It will be a full pan :)

2. Place cake mix, egg, and butter into a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until a nice dough forms. similar to a cookie dough. Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer with graham crackers, white chips then marshmallows. Top with remaining half of dough pressing evenly. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top then bake for 28-33 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes then take a plastic knife and run along edges to loosen marshmallow (this will make your life easier when pulling foil out of pan to remove bars :) Let cool completely then remove bars from pan with foil edges. Cut off all edges if desired, about 1/2 inch each side. I save the edges to snack on too. Cut bars into squares and serve. They are delicious room temperature or chilled.

12 to 16 servings

Gooooooey is the perfect description for these.