Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Brickle



For the eighth year in a row, Yale lost The Game. That is sad.

But want to know what’s not sad? Thanksgiving being in 4 days!

I was actually in Massachusetts this weekend for the game, drove back down to New Jersey today, and will be driving back up again for Thanksgiving on Wednesday. That’s a lot of time driving through the worst state ever (95 in Connecticut is its own special form of torture – you can be cruising along, no problem, only to have to slam on your brakes, take 2 hours to drive 10 miles, and then the road will free up again with absolutely no explanation). With all of this time to think, I decided that I wanted to post a Thanksgiving recipe before Thanksgiving, thus being much more helpful for anyone who actually was browsing my blog for immediate use.

Initially, I wanted to make a Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie, thinking that there was no reason I couldn’t make a pecan pie and keep it in the fridge until Thursday, but the recipe said that it was best served same day, and I’m not one to argue with another’s recommendations. So, sticking with serious eats, I turned to another recipe that I knew would keep better, and which I’ve actually made for Thanksgiving before, though I didn’t post it here yet.

Also, as soon as I logged on to post this, I realized that last week’s recipe was chocolate and cranberry, too. Oh well, it’s a good flavor combination for the season. And next week is going to be a decidedly different combination – get excited.

So, first thing you need to do is line a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. On top of that parchment paper, lay out the graham crackers. I broke them into their little rectangles and used all 16 crackers, figuring there was nothing wrong with a thick base to this, but if you use fewer crackers to make a single layer, you’ll get more of a candy and less of a bar.



In a saucepan, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and the mixture boils.



Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes to thicken. I was nervous that I was going to burn it, but you’ll be OK if you stick to the three minutes.


Pour the caramel over the graham crackers and bake at 350°F for 12 minutes.


Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot caramel and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then, using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the graham cracker layer.



Sprinkle the walnuts and craisins evenly over the chocolate. Allow to cool at room temperature for two hours, or put in the fridge to speed up the process.


Once it’s hardened, you can chop it up as you see fit. I decided on triangles for no reason other than I thought they would be more fun to cut. You can store these for quite awhile in an airtight container layered with parchment paper.



Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Brickle


  • 16 graham crackers
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup craisins


  1. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. Layer graham crackers on top.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until it begins to boil.
  3. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour immediately over graham crackers.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot caramel.
  5. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before spreading evenly over graham cracker layer using an offset spatula.
  6. Sprinkle with walnuts and craisins. Allow to cool 2 hours at room temperature or in fridge until hardened before chopping.

Pumpkin Granola


I fully intended to bake something to bring into work tomorrow morning.  I even told more than one person that I would.  But then Shannon Rose didn’t have Pumpkinhead.  And though Octoberfest is well and good, I didn’t get my pumpkin fix and decided I needed to make myself something pumpkin instead.  I also didn’t really feel like doing a lot of grocery shopping, so granola was the clear winner.  I’ve made granola before, but this one might be even better.  It clumped really nicely (important in a granola), was slightly salty (also important), and was my first pumpkin adventure of the fall (extremely important!).

And, it’s quick and easy! First, mix the oats and spices in a large bowl.


Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.


Pour the liquid ingredients into the oats and stir to coat.


Spread the oats evenly over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.


Bake for 20 minutes at 325°F and remove from oven to stir.


Return to oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisp.  I think it’s because of the lower baking temperature, but this granola seemed much more resistant to the threat of burning than other recipes I have tried.


Stir in the craisins and pepitas and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  See? Easy!



Pumpkin Granola


  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup pepitas


  1. Stir together oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients to the oats and stir to coat.
  4. Spread evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325°F for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and stir oats.  Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  6. Remove from oven and stir in craisins and pepitas.  Allow to cool completely on baking sheet.

Banana Rum Raisin Rice Pudding



For some reason, whenever I’m baking for fellow teacher friends (and the dessert is not going to school), I always turn to my Boozy Baker cookbook. You’ve seen a recipe from it before in my Nightcap Tart. Maybe it’s because it was Friday.  Maybe it’s because I have a pretty well-stocked bar despite not drinking hard liquor.  But I found myself reaching for it again this week after inviting some of those teachers over for a working Friday night.

Now, rice pudding is one of those love-or-hate type desserts.  Some people are all about the texture, creaminess, and ability to eat it with a spoon.  Others think that the rice end up looking like larvae and can’t stand the idea of putting it into their mouths.  I happen to fall into the first group, but if you’re in the second, this week’s post is not for you.

The other awesome thing about rice pudding? It’s extremely therapeutic to make.  Which, after an admittedly difficult week at work, was just what I needed.  The key to not ruining it is almost constantly stirring it for over an hour.  This may sound tedious, but it’s actually wonderful.  You can try to figure out who all of Ed Sheeran’s songs are about, make phone calls you’ve been neglecting, do mini chores around the kitchen – you could probably even read a book if you were so inclined. But the constant stirring definitely calmed me down, and at the end I had a delicious way to continue to get rid of my worries.

First, bring the water to boil in a medium to large saucepan.  Add the rice and salt, give it a stir, cover it, and reduce the heat to low.  Cook until the water is absorbed, which is about 15-20 minutes.




Side note: my pans have awesome clear lids, which made this particularly fun.  I got to watch all the bubbles through the top and at the end I could see how it was going without lifting the lid.

Anyways, while that’s cooking, the boozy bit comes into play.  Put the raisins and rum into a small saucepan.


Bring the rum to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer it until the rum is mostly absorbed.  Give it a stir every once in awhile to make sure all of the raisins get nice and rum-filled.


When the rum is just about gone, remove the pan from heat and set aside.  This will make your kitchen smell awesome – the scent ends up being more sweet then alcoholic, which is more than I can say for the Jack Daniel’s cured bacon I made one time.


Make sure you’ve been checking on your rice, because it should be just about done.  When it is, it will look like this:


The next step is to uncover the rice, add the milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla, and increase the heat to medium low.


And here is where that therapy begins.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for about 35-40 minutes.  The mixture will get thick and creamy, but keep going until it is actual pudding consistency.  At around 20 minutes I was convinced it was thick enough, but I trusted the cookbook and kept going for another 15 minutes, and it definitely paid off.



Remove from heat and immediately stir in the rum and raisins from the small saucepan.



You’re not done stirring yet! Now, for this part, you don’t have to be quite as vigilant, but as you allow the pudding to cool to room temperature over about 30 minutes, make sure you give it a stir every 5 minutes or so.  This just prevents it from getting a weird crustiness that is definitely not appealing in the rice pudding world.


After the 30 minutes, mash up a large banana with a fork and stir it into the pudding.

IMG_1763 IMG_1765


You can serve the pudding warm, or put it in the refrigerator to cool further.  This one is definitely up to your preference – I’m used to cold pudding, but I did have a spoonful of it warm before chilling it, and that was equally good, and probably actually preferable on a chilly fall night.



Banana Rum Raisin Rice Pudding


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-large saucepan.
  2. Add rice and salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine rum and raisins in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rum is just about absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When water is absorbed by rice, remove cover and add milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately stir in rum and raisins from small saucepan.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as it cools.
  7. Stir in the mashed banana and either chill in the refrigerator or serve warm.

Apple Chips



Ah September.  It’s finally Fall.  It no longer feels like you’re going to melt when you go outside.  And sweatpants are finally comfortable again.  Oh, and school is back in session.

To kick off a new school year, a bunch of teachers from my school banded together to make team Passaic Runnerz and run a 10K for United Way.  It was a bit chilly, but still a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.  And shout out to Sarah, Kristen, and Ashley, for who this was their first 10K ever!  Here we are before and after:



I actually got a personal best, which I’m pretty stoked about.  But this is a baking blog, not a running blog, and I know you are really here for the sweets.  If you do want to know more about my running, you can check out my page here, where I explain why I’m running the NYC Marathon for Team Run for PKD.  Support is always appreciated!

Anyways, you know what else September means? Apple season.  It’s that awesome time of year where you can pick up full bags of apples at the grocery store for nothing.  Now, if you’re at all like me, these bags of apples used to cause me a bit of anxiety.  I am that person that will pick up and examine every piece of fruit before settling on the one I want.  These bags take away that luxury.  Instead, you have to trust by the top 5 apples (which always look pristine) that the rest of the bag is alright, too.

But I have a solution for your anxiety: apple chips.  Rather than shy away from these bags, I now embrace them.  I pick out the apples that look awesome to eat on their own, and then I use all the blemished ones for chips.  The whole issue of bruises and weird squishiness goes away.

And, apple chips are the lowest maintenance baked good in existence.  They are so easy.  The only catch is you have to be around for 4 hours, but you can do anything else you want during that time.  Like lesson plan.

So, start out with all your blemished apples that you don’t want to eat on their own.


Then, cut them horizontally (that’s perpendicular to the core) as thin as possible.  If you had a mandolin, this would be a great job for it.  I don’t, so its more of Russian Roulette with my fingers.  Don’t worry about seeds and such, they fall out when you bake them.  Lay them in a single layer on baking sheets.


I had enough for two whole baking sheets, which was exciting.


I forgot to do this, but you should line the sheets with parchment paper first.  I ended up with some sacrificial chips at the end that did not want to dislodge.

Sprinkle the apples liberally with cinnamon.  You could also use cinnamon sugar, but apples have enough sugar that it isn’t necessary.


Bake at 200°F for 2.5 to 3 hours, until on the crispy side.   Allow to cool in the oven for an additional hour before removing.


And that’s it!  It really is simple.  Store them in an airtight container.



Apple Chips


  • Apples
  • Cinnamon


  1. Slice apples perpendicular to the core as thin as possible.  Spread on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.
  3. Bake at 200°F for 2.5 to 3 hours, until crispy.
  4. Allow to cool for an additional hour in the oven before storing in an airtight container.






This past Thursday was Report Card Night at school, which means that we had a half day before having to come back to meet with parents in the evening.  Whenever this happens, a group of teachers uses it as an excuse to go out for lunch.  This time, we decided on Red Robin (mostly because I was in the mood for a burger).  Two of us got there a little early and were starving, so we ordered an appetizer of pretzel bites while we waited for our friends to arrive.

Maybe it’s because I don’t frequent hockey rinks or sporting events as much as I used to, but I totally forgot how awesome of a snack a pretzel is.  Pair it with some good mustard or beer cheese, and you’re golden.  So when it came time to bake this weekend, the pretzel bites for Red Robin were still on my mind, and I set out to make pretzels to enjoy all week long.

I found my recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, who I think I’ve posted to here before.  The only thing I changed was using sea salt rather than kosher salt, but that’s just because that was what I had on hand.

Also, you should all be very proud of me: usually I am terrified of baking with yeast.  I think it’s because of Home Ec in middle school, but I’m always sure I’m going to screw up and the dough won’t rise and I’ll have to start over.  But I faced my fears and made the pretzels anyway – AND IT WORKED.

So, first things first, stir together the warm water, sugar, and salt in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer.  I just turn my tap to its hottest setting and let it cool in the bowl until it’s warm to the touch.




Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it starts to foam.  I used this yeast:





Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time at half power.



By the time your butter is melted, the yeast should be foamy, which I think is supposed to look something like this:


Add the flour and melted butter to the bowl and mix using the dough hook on low speed until everything is combined.



Then, increase the speed to medium and allow to run about 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth.



Transfer the dough to a bowl sprayed with Pam and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.


While your dough is rising, you should prepare everything else you are going to use.  This means whisking together an egg yolk and tablespoon of water for an egg wash.



This also means combining the water and baking soda in a large pot and bringing it to a boil.


And don’t forget to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray that with Pam, too! (Pam is getting quite the workout with this recipe.)



By the time you get everything done, hopefully your dough will have doubled in size so it looks like this in your bowl:



Turn it out onto a pastry mat (also sprayed with Pam) and divide into 8 equal pieces.



Roll each piece into a 24 inch long rope and fold it into a pretzel shape.  My mat is conveniently exactly 24 inches long.  I love when things like that work out.



Put the formed pretzels onto your prepared baking sheet.


Then, 2 at a time, drop them into the boiling water and leave in for 30 seconds before removing with a flat spatula back to the baking sheet.




Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.  I didn’t have a paintbrush, so I just used a paper towel dipped in the egg wash to coat them.




Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until outsides of pretzels are golden brown.  Brown Eyed Baker says until they are deep brown, but I was afraid of setting my fire alarm off, so I stuck with golden brown.


Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.



I recommend serving with honey mustard (that’s what I’m eating on one now) or making a beer cheese if you’re feeling especially fancy.  Otherwise, store in airtight plastic bags to maintain freshness, or freeze for later use.





  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together
  • sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Stir together warm water, sugar, and sea salt in bowl of your stand mixer.  Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. Add flour and melted butter.  Mix on low speed using dough hook until combined.  Turn speed up to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes until dough pulls away from bowl and is smooth.
  3. Transfer dough to mixing bowl sprayed with Pam.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit on counter for 45 minutes to an hour, until dough is double in size.
  4. Turn dough onto pastry mat coated with cooking spray.  Divide into 8 equal pieces.  Roll out each into a 24 inch long rope and fold into pretzel.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet also coated with cooking spray.
  5. Meanwhile, bring water and baking soda to a boil.  Preheat oven to 450°F.
  6. Add pretzels, two at a time, to the boiling water.  Leave them in for 30 seconds before using a flat spatula to move them back to the baking sheet.
  7. Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Bake at 450°F for 12-14 minutes until pretzels are golden brown.  Remove from oven.
  9. Cool on wire rack slightly before serving.

Chocolate Biscuits



My boyfriend was visiting for the weekend again this weekend, and earlier this week he sent me a link for a whole wheat biscuit recipe he wanted to try, asking if it would work for my blog.  I love biscuits, but I also love sweets, so we compromised and made them into chocolate biscuits.  Unlike my other recipes, these are actually pretty good for you (no butter!), but probably not in the quantity we decided to eat them.

Anyways, after looking at a couple recipes online, I came up with how to modify the healthy biscuit recipe to make them chocolate.  If I had had more time, I probably would have adjusted a few things, but they work as is if you aren’t looking for something super sweet.

First, add the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa powder) to a large bowl and mix them together.



Then, add the yogurt (we used plain Chobani) and milk.  When you make biscuits, you should be using the well technique, adding the yogurt first and then the milk in small portions, but I forgot that and it still worked.  However, a step you don’t want to forget is handling the dough as little as possible – the more you mix it the denser they will be, and biscuits are not something you want to be particularly dense.




At this point, we tasted the batter and decided it wasn’t chocolatey enough, so I added another tablespoon of cocoa powder.  However, if I were to do it again, I probably would have added sugar instead, since that would have brought out the chocolate flavor better.


Once the dough comes together into a ball, turn it out onto a floured mat to roll about 3/4 inch thick.  Andy recommended (after I had already used the flour) to flour with cocoa powder, which would prevent the white spots on the final biscuits.



If you don’t have a biscuit cutter (like me), you can use a floured wine glass (which I definitely had) instead.  You should be able to get around 10 biscuits out of the recipe.



Put the biscuits on a greased baking sheet and bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them though, it’s very easy to forget and over cook them, at which point they end up dry and hard, not yummy and moist.  (I may have made that mistake…)



Fortunately, this mistake is very easily remedied by adding honey.  This also solves the not-super-sweet issue.  At first I wasn’t sold on the biscuits, but once you add some honey, they didn’t last long.  Like maybe 3 hours.  Between the two of us.  Oh well.  They were healthy, right?

If you decide to give these a try and play around with any ratios, let me know.  I’d love to make them again, but they could use a little bit of adjustment to become a true dessert.  Not that they didn’t do their job as is.



Chocolate Biscuits


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder (including the one I added after tasting the batter)
  • 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt (might be good to try a flavored one here)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk


  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Add yogurt and milk, mixing until it just comes together into a ball.  Don’t over mix!
  3. Turn out onto floured mat and roll about 3/4 inch thick.
  4. Cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or wine glass dipped in flour.
  5. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with generous amounts of honey.

Fruit n Nut Granola

Full Shot

To preface this post, Yale Bake Shop Granola is hands down the best granola known to man.  It has brown sugar, it has salt, it has raisins, it has large chunks that could pass as granola bars on their own if you take the time to sift through it.  If you’ve ever seen me in the Calhoun dining hall, you know that I can eat the stuff by the bucketful.  It tastes good in alone, in milk, mixed with milk and peanut butter and small pieces of banana and chocolate sauce…  Unfortunately, I graduated already and no longer have access to unending amounts of the stuff.  So this is my attempt to find a substitute, but (maybe?) even better.

First, mix the oats, cinnamon, and almonds in a large bowl.  Make sure you are using regular oats (old-fashioned), because instant oats are more processed and won’t hold up as well when you bake them in the oven.  Also, you can use any kind of nut you want.  Usually I use sliced almonds, but the whole almonds are good if you want an extra crunch.

Dry Ingredients

Then, add the molasses, honey, water, and oil to a medium saucepan.  Heat it over medium-high heat until it starts boiling.  Make sure you keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to boil, because the molasses will start to burn and smell awful if you don’t.

Liquids Boiling Liquids

How cool does that swirl look?  Once you can do that with the foam, it’s probably time to take it off the heat, though.  Burnt molasses smells really, really terrible.  Trust me, you don’t want that to happen to your kitchen.

Then, add the liquid to the bowl with the oats and mix until all of the oats are coated.


Spray a jelly roll pan (those are the cookie sheets with the sides) with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly across it.

Before Baking

Bake at 325°F for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven.  Take out the pan every 10 minutes to stir the granola around, preventing it from burning anywhere that was spread to thin.  Granola is really touchy when it comes to baking time, so don’t forget about it and think that 40 minutes will be fine.  It takes about 3 seconds to go from wonderfully golden brown and crunchy to blackened ash.

OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but really, keep an eye on it.  You may even want to pull it out a little before it’s super crunchy since it will continue to harden as it cools.  You’re looking for a golden brown color, a little darker than before, and maybe a couple places that are darker.

After Baking

Put the granola into a bowl and add the raisins and dates, mixing until combined.  Pour the finished granola back onto the baking sheet to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

Add dates and raisins

A note on dates:  dried, pitted dates are probably the most underrated dried fruit ever.  They are always impossible to find at the grocery store while things like prunes (which are disgusting) are abundant.  Dried, pitted dates taste like little balls of sugar, but not in the weird way that dried mango and pineapple bits taste fake.  I’ve never actually tasted a date in its original, plump-with-pit form, but that’s mostly because I’m sure it won’t compare to the dried variety.  Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong about that.

in bins from below

Anyways, this granola does not taste much like Yale Bake Shop Granola, but it is pretty excellent.  Rather than the brown sugar flavor, the molasses and honey make it a little less sweet and granola-bar like.  However, the addition of dates drastically improves the snack-ability of it, which is both dangerous and awesome.  And, since I adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe, you can even convince yourself it’s not quite so bad for you as other varieties of granola.


Close angle in pan

Fruit n Nut Granola


  • 4 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped, pitted dates
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Combine oats, almonds, and cinnamon in a large bowl, stirring well.
  2. Combine honey, molasses, water and oil in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil and remove from heat.
  4. Pour over oat mixture, stirring well until coated.
  5. Spray jelly-roll pan with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly onto pan.
  6. Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and stir granola every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
  7. Once toasted, remove from oven and stir in dates and raisins.  Cool completely and store in airtight container.