Welcome to Natasha's Creative Confections! If you have stumbled upon this blog page, then you're in for a real treat! One of my favorite things to do is bake. If you choose to read on you will find pictures and recipes of some of the fabulous treats that I have created. So take a look around and enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloweeny sugar cookies

Just for fun, and to get into the Halloween spirit, I baked a quick batch of sugar cookies the other day and cut them out into fun Halloween shapes :)

My husband helped me decorate them with different colors of frosting and sprinkles!

What are your favorite Halloween treats?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maple Brown Butter Dessert Waffles

Yeah...they're as good as they sound :)

I got this recipe from my new Everyday Food magazine and was eager to try it. I absolutely LOVE brown butter, so when I found out that it was featured in this month's issue, I was so excited to see the different ways it had been used.

I made these for dessert the other night and they were delicious! They are extremely sweet, so it's hard to eat a lot of this dessert--which is probably a good thing because they aren't the healthiest of desserts :)

Try it and let me know what you think!

-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 c. granulated sugar
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. fine salt
-3/4 c. unsalted butter
-2 large eggs
-1 3/4 c. buttermilk, room temp.
-1/3 c. pure maple syrup
-1 c. confectioners' sugar
-nonstick cooking spray
-1/2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (i didn't have the pecans, but really wish i did!)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave 6 Tbsp. butter until melted, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and buttermilk; whisk to combine. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until batter is almost smooth; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and confectioners' sugar until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat 6 Tbsp. butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8-10 minutes. Immediately pour into maple mixture and whisk until mixture forms a ribbon when you lift the whisk. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

3. Heat a waffle iron according to instructions. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Pour 1 1/3 c. batter onto iron and close; cook until waffle is golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter.

4. Pour maple glaze onto a dinner plate. Dip one side of each waffle into glaze. To serve, cut each waffle in half and sprinkle with pecans.

**Be sure to get your waffle as crisp as you can--it makes for a much better texture!**

Monday, October 17, 2011

Homemade Granola

I've always wanted to make granola from scratch. I thought it would be a lot of work, but it actually was surprisingly easy! And I even had all (or, most of) the ingredients in my cabinet.

- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. almonds
- 1/2 c. hazelnuts---> which, i didn't have :( i used walnuts...probably not the best idea...
- 1/3 c. golden raisins (i used regular)
- 1/3 c. dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (DO NOT USE WAX PAPER. I learned this the hard way...it just sticks to it!)

2. In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

3. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand, and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

4. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return baking sheet to oven.

5. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and use spatula to lift and flip granola again. Sprinkle the hazelnuts and almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cherries over the granola and use your hands to transfer it to an airtight container. The granola will keep for 1 week.

After pulling the wax paper off, little piece by little piece, and finally being able to taste the granola, it was pretty delicious! And if you can use hazelnuts, I bet it would be even tastier!!

What other things would be good to add to homemade granola?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes

For our anniversary I made these adorable little shortcake hearts! And they were so tasty :)

They were quite a lot of work, but they turned out so well! And they make a lot more than the recipe insisted upon. I think I got 20 hearts out of the dough!

I know that I should be baking more fall themed items, but this was a special occasion. We won't be able to find good strawberries anymore for a long time, so I had to enjoy them while I could :)