Easter Bunny Biscuits for Dogs

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

 

Before everyone found the last egg in the hunt, I wanted to share with you a recipe that is sure to please that hopping, four-legged, bushy tailed animal that is enjoying Easter right along with you. And, no, I don’t mean the Easter Bunny!

Whenever I celebrate a holiday where I plan to indulge a little, I try to whip up something for my two pups to enjoy right along with me. They share my life each and every day, so why not include them in the joy of holiday festivities? With a quick and simple recipe like my Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Dog Treats (here, with a couple of changes) your dogs will be just as excited to see the Easter Bunny … and not just because they want to chase him around the yard.

Beef & Cheddar Dog Treats

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter *
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 plain yogurt (optional, for bunny tail decoration)

*Be sure to not use peanut butter containing xylitol. The ingredient is not harmful to humans, but is toxic for dogs.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, olive oil and beef broth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, oats, and cheddar. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until combined. If your dough is too dry add more beef broth one tablespoon at a time.

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

Transfer the dough to a flour dusted surface and roll the dough to about 3/8″ thick. Use a cookie cutter (I used a bunny shape) and cut out your treats. Combine the scraps and keep rolling to get as many treats as you can out of the dough; I ended up with 26. Place the unbaked treats onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a small pipping bag, place a small dollop of plain yogurt as a “bunny tail” on each treat. Place the treats directly into the refrigerator until the yogurt is hardened, about 30-45 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature (yogurt will remain hardened).

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

My pups love it when the Easter Bunny leaves them some homemade treats in their baskets and I am sure yours will too! Happy Hoppy Easter, everyone!

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

 

 

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Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never had a pumpkin spice latte in my life? It might be hard to accept, but it’s true. I actually gave up drinking caffeine completely more than 5 year ago so I have to pass on the seasonal coffees and teas. But before you start feeling bad for me, rest assured that I make sure to get my all-things-pumpkin fix in during the fall season. I LOVE the time of year when pumpkin flavored treats line the shelves of local grocery stores and bakeries. Then again, who doesn’t?

In my last post I shared the recipe for the Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie that sat on our dessert table this Thanksgiving. You’ve probably guessed that there was more than one sweet treat sharing the stage and you are right. My husband loves pumpkin rolls and I love cake, so here you have it: Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. After all, marriage is all about compromise, right? This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is rich, moist, and has that pumpkin spice flavor no one can’t get enough of during the fall. It is definitely a keeper.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, Sifted
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ x 18″ sheet pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter. Whisk in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until combined completely. Whisk in boiling water until mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined. Pour into the pan and smooth until even. Tap the tray against the counter a few times to release the air bubbles. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Add milk and check the consistency. You want it to be thick and smooth, but still thin enough to spread easily over the cake. If your frosting is too thick add additional milk until desired consistency.

Spread the frosting all over the surface of the cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts (optional). Cut into squares and serve.

*If you like a very thick layer of frosting, you can easily double the frosting recipe. I actually reserved some of my frosting to top homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls the next morning. So, so good!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

The size of this cake is perfect for sharing with friends and family at any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. For one, I was born on Thanksgiving, so I kind of think of it as a second birthday (a celebration my parents really never got on board for). Secondly, it’s a day devoted to spending time with family and friends and reflecting on what we are truly thankful for. And, of course, it’s a day where we can wear our stretchy pants and eat all day long without guilt. I LOVE Thanksgiving!

I know some people dread the prep work and cooking, but I actually enjoy it. Since moving away from family, my *now* hubby and I have spent the last three years perfecting our own little Boston Thanksgiving dinner and testing new dishes to put on the “it’s a tradition, we have to make it” list. The main course is pretty solid, so dessert is really where I get to experiment.

One thing missing from our table is cranberry – anything. Walking through the grocery store right before Thanksgiving, cranberries are everywhere! On this year’s pre-Thanksgiving trip I decided to see what all the fuss was about and tossed a bag of fresh cranberries in the cart. I had no idea what I was going to make with them at that point, but was certainly up for the challenge.

I adore extra-tart treats, so this Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie definitely hit the spot for me. The crust, which is more cake-like than a traditional pie crust, will really stand out against any apple or pumpkin pie at the table. The addition of citrus zest compliments the cranberries and adds an unexpected pop of flavor. If you prefer sweeter-sweets, just add some whipped cream, ice cream, or honey to the top of the pie before you dig in. Just as the pilgrims would have wanted.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

  • 2 heaping cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest from one clementine)
  • 1 and 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted + extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a pie pan. Add whole cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the cranberries, followed by 2/3 cup of sugar (it is going to seem like a ton of sugar, but the cranberries are very tart so sprinkle, sprinkle).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, orange zest, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour the batter slowly and evenly over the surface of the cranberry, pecan, and sugar layer. Spread out gently if needed.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. 5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle the surface with 1 tablespoon sugar for a little crunch (if desired).

Cut into wedges and serve with fresh whipped cream or a honey drizzle.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

And there you have it, a quick, easy, and most importantly delicious cranberry dish for your fall table that isn’t shaped like a can. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Happy Birthday, America; you don’t look at day over 200!

If you are anything like me, than not only do you love a good themed part, but you also LOVE themed baking! I couldn’t resist baking up a little red, white, and blue breakfast to start our Fourth of July celebration. This was my very first attempt at making a homemade scone and it will certainly not be the last. They were flavorful, flakey, and just the right amount of sweetness for me. With a dollop of fresh whipped cream, I would also gobble one of these up for dessert. In fact, I am already thinking about different flavor combinations I can bake up in the future … orange blueberry, cranberry almond, chocolate-anything … yum!

Red Raspberry & Blueberry Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (reserve a little extra for work space)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
  • natural honey drizzle (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into mixture. I use two forks to break up the butter and then my hands to further knead it in. Don’t worry about catching every small piece of butter, some larger pieces are just fine.

In a small mixing bowl wish together the egg, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), vanilla extract, and almond extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture. Fold until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the berries and lemon zest.

Sprinkle flour onto your work station and turn the dough onto the surface. Knead it into an 8-inch round. If the dough is too wet to work with, add a little more flour. If it is too dry, add a small splash of milk.

With a large knife, slice the dough into 8 equal sized pieces (like a pizza). Using a flat spatula, transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure dough is at least 2 inches apart to allow for the dough to spread while baking.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until very lightly golden. Allow scones to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cooled (if they last that long), drizzle with a little all natural honey and enjoy!

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Wishing each of you a very Happy Fourth of July!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Happy first day of October everyone! If you are like me, than you try to hold on to summer just as long as you can. Unfortunately, for us on the East Coast summer came late and fall didn’t follow in suit. But now that it is officially October (and fall) I am gearing up for my favorite season, full of baking, decorating and holiday celebrations! I thought it would be appropriate to kick off the season on Pretty Little Pastimes with a pumpkin cookie recipe. While the lines grow longer for PSL’s, non-caffeine drinkers like me have to get their pumpkin fix in other ways. So, I present to you the Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodle! Fluffy, sweet and full of fall flavors, this has to be one of my top five cookies of ALL TIME! I hope you love them as we do. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of sugar together until no lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth. Set aside.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspooons cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula. Fold in the butterscotch chips. Cover the dough and let chill for at least 30 minutes. This is an important step, so don’t skip it!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into balls (about 1/2 tablespoons each). Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll each of the doughballs generously in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating all sides. Arrange on the two baking sheets. Slightly flatten the dough balls, as the dough will not spread much while cooking.
pumpkin butterscotch snickerdoodles I Pretty Little Pastimes

pumpkin butterscotch snickerdoodles I Pretty Little PastimesBake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. You can store at room temperature for up to one week … but they NEVER last that long!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

 

Follow along for more fall-inspired treats this season!

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies I Pretty Little Pastimes

The chocolate chip cookie, a classic that we all grew up eating hot out of the oven with a cold glass of milk, right? Well, consider this a grown up version of your favorite go-to cookie. This Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie has all the sweetness you remember, with an added citrus zing and sea salt finish. What’s not to love about that?

Next time you find yourself face-to-face with Blood Oranges, grab some of these colorful cuties and add them to your favorite orange recipes. I can’t wait to try them in some frosty beverages for a pop of color and tartness! But for now I will take my Blood Oranges with a dose of chocolate!

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pure granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • zest of one medium blood orange
  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla, zest and blood orange juice. Mix until evenly distributed.

Slowly add in the flour mixture, stirring to combined. Once thoroughly mixed, stir in the dark chocolate chips (be careful not to over-mix).

Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop the chilled dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.

Sprinkle tops with a small amount of sea salt and enjoy!

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies I Pretty Little Pastimes

Blood Orange, Salted-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies I Pretty Little Pastimes

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little PastimesWe are only three days into the new year and we have already seen our first blizzard! With temperatures falling into negative digits today, I decided it was time to share a warm and tasty dessert that will help make you forget about all that snow piling up outside!

Combing through my pantry after the holidays I always seem to find a random can of this and that, that never got used during my holiday baking. Today it was the giant can of pumpkin puree that I skipped over during Thanksgiving. I know the “pumpkin everything” season has ended at our local coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean that I am quite ready to give it up completely. This weather is perfect for a hot pumpkin bread pudding and why not add a Jameson-spiked whiskey sauce? It is a snow day after all.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (30 oz.) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup pure granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 loaf of French bread (about 12 oz.)

Pecan-Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cut the French bread into 1 inch pieces and set aside in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, half & half, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, until well blended. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread and stir to coat evenly. Cover will plastic wrap and let chill for 8-12 hours.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

Waiting 8 hours might seem like torture once you smell this, but you can do it!

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the pecan-caramel sauce. 

Heat the pecans in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cook brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

Remove bread pudding from oven and drizzle with the Pecan-Caramel Sauce. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.

Now it is time to make the whiskey sauce.

Whiskey Cream Sauce

  • 2 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey (I used Jameson Irish Whiskey)

Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the nutmeg. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean add to the milk with the bean. Heat gently until small bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Set aside to cool, then strain the milk and discard the bean.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to allow the mixture to color.

Remove from heat and slowly add the vanilla milk, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Return to low heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together the yolks and milk. Pour in a quarter of the, now hot, sauce, stir together to blend and return the mixture to the remaining sauce in the pan. Add the whiskey and stir constantly over medium-low heat until heated through, without allowing the sauce to boil. Finish by straining.

While everything is still hot, spoon a portion of the whiskey sauce onto the bottom of a plate. Layer the bread pudding directly over the sauce and, if desired, top with fresh whipped cream. This recipe might not shovel your driveway, but it will help make this bitter-cold weather a little more bearable. Now, curl up under a big blanket on the couch and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

 

 

Whiskey Sauce recipe source: Christmas by Le Cordon Bleu