ATTENTION – SITE INFORMATION

The Simply Delicious Kitchen is currently undergoing some changes at this time so we apologize for the current state of the website. We are currently reworking our name, content and site. The Simply Delicious Kitchen will now be known as “Cozy and Homemade“. The new site will be launching soon and the new focus will be primarily on baking and sweet treats. There will be an archive on the new site for all of TSDK’s cooking recipes. We will keep everyone updated on the launch date of the new site at which point this site will become inactive and redirect you to Cozy and Homemade. Thank you for your patience as we make this very exciting transition.

Warmly Spiced Caramel Apple Muffins

Caramel Apple Muffins2

Autumn and apples are two of my most favorite things so I decided to combine the flavors of fall with some of the fresh, crisp apples I picked at the orchard and my delicious Warmly Spiced Caramel Apple Muffins were born! I came across the original muffin recipe which was for Peach Muffins in the “The King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion” but I made some tweaks to the recipe to create my own autumn version of this summer treat! Be sure to use a nice, crisp baking apple in the recipe to keep the apple bits from getting mushy and turning into applesauce when baking. A few excellent options are Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Winesap.

The batter will be very thick so I recommend using a cookie scoop to fill the greased or paper muffin cups, it makes the job much easier and far less messy. When pressing the caramel bits into the muffin tops I advise that you keep them close to the center of the muffin as caramel tends to melt and ooze in the oven. Placing them in the center will keep more caramel on the muffin and less on the pan. Lastly, I added a generous sprinkle of turbinado sugar to the top of each muffin for that little extra crunch and shimmer.

These muffins are very soft and fluffy with just the right amount of warmly spiced flavor. There are notes of allspice, cinnamon and apple pie spice all of which give a nice balance to the sweetness of the fruit. The little bits of caramel throughout add a nice chew, especially on the top of the muffin. These are the perfect breakfast treat on a cool, fall morning. Enjoy!

**MAKES 24 MUFFINS**

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups (19 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 tsp (3/4 ounce) baking powder
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) milk
  • 3 medium sized baking apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup Kraft® Premium Caramel Bits, plus more for muffin tops 
  • Turbinado sugar, for tops of muffin (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, allspice, apple pie spice and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk together until everything is evenly distributed and there are no lumps. Set aside.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Gently fold in the fruit and caramel bits.

Fill greased or paper muffin cups almost to the top. Press in a few caramel bits on the top and then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove muffins from the pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

**NOTE – These muffins freeze beautifully. Simply cool them completely, wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap and place in a tightly sealed plastic container.**

Overnight French Toast Casserole

overnight french toast

Need an easy idea for a warm, cozy Sunday brunch? Then look no further than Sally’s Baking Addiction delicious Overnight French Toast recipe! This recipe can be found in Sally’s first cookbook, “Sally’s Baking Addiction” which I highly recommend. The casserole comes together in just a few minutes and in the morning all you have to do is pop it right into the oven. In just 45 minutes you will have a hot, hearty breakfast on the table.

What I absolutely love about this recipe is that you first coat the bottom of the baking dish with a thick, sticky, sweet caramel sauce. When the casserole is ready to be served the caramel sauce serves as a delicious, sweet topping to each serving of french toast, you do not need any syrup or additional butter. I like to plate each serving, drizzle with the caramel sauce and dust with powdered sugar. It makes for a beautiful presentation and is ready to eat with no fuss!

The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can change up the flavor profile by adding in different flavored extracts such as rum or almond. You can also try layering in some fresh fruit, I personally love cinnamon apples but you can use anything from peaches to cranberries to pineapple. Try out different combinations until you find something you love. The casserole is best when served right from the oven however, you can re-warm leftovers just take note that it will not have the same texture. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter
  • 1-2 loves Challah bread cut into 12 thick slices, day old or stale is best
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Instructions

At night – Heat the corn syrup, brown sugar and butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat once the butter is melted. Spread into a 9X13 baking dish.

Layer the thick sliced challah bread on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs, vanilla, milk and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

In the morning – Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cover the casserole tightly in foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is cooked through.

To serve – Plate and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce and dust with powdered sugar.

To-Die-For Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Brown Butter Sugar Cookie

Brown butter. I mean, c’mon. What is better than the nutty, complex, delicious flavor of brown butter? Nothing much and it’s what makes these cookies from the Sally’s Baking Addiction website absolutely out of this world! You can click right here to access her original recipe as well as hundreds of others. I love sugar cookies but I often find that many recipes fall flat in flavor and texture. This variation is everything you want a sugar cookie to be and more. They are chewy, soft, slightly crisp on the edges and have a very complex, vanilla forward flavor. I really love them and I think you will too!

Take note, the cookie dough contains a good amount of butter, 1 cup in fact, so you will find that the dough is a little greasy. That’s totally okay though, it’s what gives the cookies their to-die-for flavor. Because you’re using melted butter in this recipe it’s very important you allow the dough to chill as directed to prevent them from over spreading during baking. The best thing about these cookies is that you can even make them ahead of time! Freeze the shaped, unbaked cookie dough balls for up to three months. They can be baked right from the freezer, no thawing needed. Just be sure to bake them 1-2 minutes longer. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups + 2 tbs (265g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles and/or nonpareils for topping

Instructions

First, brown the butter. Slice the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep whisking occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, remove from heat immediately, pour into a heat safe bowl. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the brown butter. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together on medium-high speed until relatively combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin beating together on low speed, slowly working up to high speed until everything is combined.

Roll the dough into balls, about 1 tbs of dough each, and dip the tops into sprinkles. Place dough balls tightly together on a lined baking sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and  place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Line chilled dough balls onto baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Cozy and Hearty Apple Cider Chicken

 

cider chicken plated

It’s fall and that means it’s time for cozy, warm, hearty meals. It’s also a great time to use up all of those delicious apples you harvested from your local orchard. I love to use apples in my cooking as they add a delicious flavor and sweetness to meals. They are also really amazing in salads because of their unexpected crisp, they go best with salads that have a lighter, sweeter dressing. Pure, fresh pressed apple cider is another wonderful ingredient to use in cooking and it’s what makes this chicken dish out of this world. Since the apple cider is a very forward flavor in this meal I recommend getting the best cider you can, name brand packaged cider will work however, fresh farm cider is really the absolute best.

This recipe comes from Sunny Anderson at Food Network®, for the original recipe click here . Please be aware, I did notice in the comments that people complained of the dish being “sour” and upon further reading, I realized that many people made the HUGE mistake of using apple cider VINEGAR in the dish instead of pure apple cider. These two ingredients are vastly different and cannot be interchanged whatsoever so please ensure you are using pure apple cider in this recipe. If you don’t have cider on hand, you can substitute apple juice however, you might find the end result a little less rich and a touch more sweet. 

One suggestion, because you are cooking so many pieces of chicken at once you’ll want to get as much in the pan at one time (without overcrowding) so you don’t have to cook multiple batches. I suggest using a large electric skillet because it can easily accommodate a large batch of chicken ensuring that your meal cooks quickly and all at one time. Lastly, I served this with homemade mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider

Instructions

Heat oil and 1 tbs butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then add to pan and sear until golden, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside.

Add remaining butter and onion, apple, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Sauté until apple begins to get color and onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Nestle chicken back into pan, add cider, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

apple cider chicken

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

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My daughter Emerson happens to be the world’s WORST eater. She is super picky about every single thing that goes into mouth from fruit to meat to pasta. For whatever reason she takes issues with the way most every food tastes and feels in her mouth EXCEPT pumpkin. For some inexplicable reason this child actually loves baked pumpkin goods. So for her birthday, I decided to make her a delicious Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Cake. I am not a huge pumpkin person myself however, this cake was incredible. It was moist, flavorful and the perfect treat for a crisp, cozy fall day.

This recipe comes from none other than Ms. Paula Deen who happened to put out this amazing Fall baking magazine a few years back in 2014. It was a lovely publication filled with recipes featuring pears, apples, pumpkin and squash. If you happen to have this issue in your collection of recipes and cookbooks, it can be found on page 83. I followed the recipe as written except for one minor change which was to replace the 1/4 cup of sour cream with a 1/4 of low-fat vanilla yogurt. I also threw in an extra splash of pure vanilla extract because you can never go wrong with a little extra vanilla. Happy fall, y’all! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream OR 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

Instructions

Topping – In a small saucepan cook the butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes or until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour until smooth. Turn mixture out onto a plate and allow to cool completely.

Cake – Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and sour cream/yogurt until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just smooth.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Break up the topping mixture into chunks and sprinkle all over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or allow to cool completely.

**Tip – Mashed cooked sweet potato or puréed cooked butternut squash can be substituted for the pumpkin.**

“How-To” Cooking – All About Onions

onions

Onions are one of the most popular and widely used ingredients in cooking and with so many varieties available at the supermarket it can be confusing to know which kind to choose. Yellow onions are generally the most commonly used in cooking but knowing what else is available will certainly elevate many dishes. Take note that garlic is actually considered part of the onion family even though it has a very different and distinct flavor.

When buying onions choose ones that have a dry, papery skin and are nice and firm. Avoid onions that have any soft spots or powdery surface mold. Always store onions and shallots at room temperature away from light, a dark pantry is a good place to keep them. Delicate scallions however, should be stored in the refrigerator. Place them standing up in a tall glass filled with 1″ of water and cover them loosely with a plastic bag. Lastly, store onions away from potatoes as they release gases which can hasten sprout growth in potatoes causing them to spoil more quickly.

  • Yellow Onions – Strong flavored and maintain their potency when cooked. Also labeled as “Spanish Onions“. Most common onion used in cooking.
  • White Onions – Pungent and strong much like a yellow onion however, their flavor is less complex. Most commonly used in Mexican or Latin American dishes.
  • Red Onions – Crisp onion with a sweet, peppery flavor. Perfect for use in dishes where raw onion is needed. Most commonly used in salads.
  • Sweet Onions – Sweet, mild flavor. Texture can become stringy when cooked so these are best to use raw. These don’t keep as well as other onions so use them up quickly. Most common varieties are Vidalia, Maui, Bermuda and Walla Walla. 
  • Pearl Onions – Crunchy and small with a sweet, delicate flavor. Most commonly used in soups and for roasting. Peeling these tiny onions can be arduous so it’s recommended to buy them pre-peeled in the frozen aisle.
  • Cipolline – Sweet, Italian onion with a flat top and squat shape. Similar to a pearl onion. Ideal for creaming and roasting. Can be served whole.
  • Shallots – Complex, subtly sweet flavor. When cooked they become very soft and almost melt away. Most commonly used in sauces.
  • Ramps – Eaten raw it has a strong, almost garlic like flavor. When cooked it has a mildly, sweet flavor. The entire onion from top to bottom is edible and is often presented in dishes intact.
  • Scallions – Earthy flavor with a delicate crunch. Used in dishes that involve little to no cooking. Can be used interchangeably with ramps. Most commonly used in Asian cooking.

Chef Grayden’s S’muffins

smuffin

S’mores are so delicious. Muffins are really delicious too. How do you make those two things even better? You turn them into a S’muffin of course! It’s the perfect marriage of ingredients and flavor! You end up with the moist, yummy texture of a muffin but with the sweet, gooey, graham flavor of a S’mores.

When my sweet little sous chef wanted to bake on a gloomy, rainy day I was all in but first we had to figure out something easy and yummy to bake. He wanted muffins but also wanted S’mores so he asked if we could mix them all together and make, what he smartly named, a S’muffin. It sounded like a great plan to me so we hopped online to do a little research and we came across this great recipe from the Taste of Home® website. We substituted vanilla low-fat yogurt for the sour cream, added a little splash of pure vanilla extract to the mix and very loosely measured the marshmallow creme. A little extra fluff never hurt anyone! If you have it on hand, feel free to use vanilla sugar instead of the granulated sugar that is called for in the recipe. It adds a nice little extra kick of vanilla flavor. Lastly, we used the leftover graham cracker crumbs that we had to top the muffins off. It added a nice texture to the top of the S’muffins and made them look extra cute.

Gray baking smuffins

The recipe as written only makes about 6-7 muffins so I recommend at least doubling the recipe. You can even triple or quadruple it and then freeze the extra muffins so you have delicious homemade muffins on hand whenever a craving hits. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp granulated or vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 6-7 tablespoons marshmallow creme

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg then add in the sour cream and milk and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Gently beat the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Line six muffin cups with cupcake liners. Fill the cups up about halfway with batter then spoon roughly 1 tbs of marshmallow creme into each muffin cup. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle the tops with leftover graham cracker crumbs.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

*Tip – To make your own graham cracker crumbs simply place a few sheets of graham crackers into a food processor or blender and pulse until coarse and crumbly.*

 

 

Quick and Easy Fried Rice

Fried Rice2

Who doesn’t love fried rice? Even my kids are a fan (after they pick out the veggies, lol) so I was interested in finding a quick and easy recipe that I could whip up at home. While Chinese take-out is delicious, it can be very calorie dense and laden with salt and sugar. I really love the idea of being able to control the ingredients myself and make a somewhat “lighter” version that is just as yummy as what I can get from a take-out place.

Enter this awesome recipe from the blog, Gimme Some Oven which is true to its name, “The Best Fried Rice“. It was really easy to make and it came out great! I made mine as the recipe specified leaving out the oyster sauce as I didn’t have any in the house. The resulting dish was still very good even without this ingredient. The most important step in this recipe is to use cold rice. Grab whatever leftover rice you have in the fridge or make the rice in the morning and chill until you’re ready to cook it up for dinner.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can get creative if you so desire. Add in a variety of different veggies or toss in some chicken, pork or beef. It is so delicious no matter how you serve it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked and chilled rice (preferably short grain)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tbs low-sodium soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce (optional)

Instructions

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add the egg and cook until scrambled. Remove egg and transfer to a separate plate.

Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add the carrots, onion, peas and garlic and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion and carrots are soft. Increase heat to high, add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Immediately add the rice, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using) and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil until combined.

Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Chef Emerson’s Brown Butter Blondie Bites

Blondie Bites Emme

If you love brownies you will love its vanilla forward cousin, the “blondie”. The texture and chewiness of a blondie resembles a traditional, fudgy brownie however, the cocoa is substituted for vanilla and brown sugar replaces the granulated sugar. Being a bonafide vanilla lover myself, I really enjoy the delicious flavor of a well executed blondie.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s super kid friendly so you can get your little chefs in the kitchen and let them have it! The recipe comes from a great, easy to follow cookbook for kids entitled, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen which in my opinion, is one of the BEST cookbook publishers out there. Their recipes are always easy to follow, delicious and fail proof.

My daughter made these beauties all on her own and except for a few very minor substitutions, she followed the recipe as written.

Emme Blondie Baker

The nice thing about this recipe is that because the blondies are baked in individual muffin cups they both bake and cool much more quickly. To enhance the flavor and give the blondies a more complex, nutty flavor she decided to first brown the butter which turned out to be an excellent idea. It really added to the richness and overall flavor. She also substituted the white chocolate chips that were called for and instead used Heath® Bit o’ Brickle pieces. Needless to say, these were a big hit in our home. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed (light or dark) brown sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or Heath® Bit o’ Brickle pieces

Instructions

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cooled melted butter until nice and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Add to the wet ingredients the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir gently until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips or toffee pieces.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups filling them up about halfway.

Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, place the blondie bites on a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

*To brown butter – In a light colored pan*, melt the desired amount of butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 4-5 minutes the butter will begin to foam and bubble, keep stirring and watching it closely at this point. As the foaming begins to subside watch the color of the butter, once it looks slightly golden brown remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl to cool. You will know the butter is browned and ready by the aroma, it should smell nutty and fragrant at this point.*