Category Archives: Recipes of Future Past

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Muffins

Happy October everyone! Now that fall is in full swing here, it’s clear that pumpkin overload is in full effect. (Not to be confused with Full Force.) I’m sure you see it too, with the overflow of pumpkin-y things in every shop. We often shop at Trader Joe’s, and it’s clearly the case there. They have more pumpkin products than you ever thought could exist. (Or should exist, really.)

You can almost plot out the seasons by what food is prevalent at Trader Joe’s. The season before pumpkin season at Trader Joe’s seems to be mango season. It’s the same as with pumpkin, just with mangoes. I knew the seasons had started to change when the mango and pumpkin products overlapped briefly. But the mangoes have been fully replaced by pumpkins now.

Alas, seasons change. Time marches on. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. Most recipes I write about soon after I make them, but some sneak past (they’re sneaky like that), and I don’t get to write about them till much later. So I’m writing to you this week about another one of those. I bring you another entry from my (soon-to-be-picked-up-and-become-a-major-tv) series, recipes of future past.

I haven’t been baking as much gluten-free these days. Which means I have a lot of gluten-free flour stocked up, so I really need to do so again. But this was a good gluten-free muffin recipe from the New York Times. You might remember the gluten-free whole grain cheese and mustard muffins I had written about previously. These banana chocolate muffins are their siblings. That is to say, they came from the same article.

These days I generally use regular recipes and just substitute in gluten-free flour. But back in the day when I made this, I wasn’t as confident that I could do that, and so I sought out recipes that were specifically gluten-free. In this case, I followed the ingredients listed in the recipe and I used the different gluten-free flours they listed.

Bananas seem to go well in muffins. They’re in this recipe. They’re in the gluten-free peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins I made. And they’re in one of my favorite muffin recipes ever from Moosewood Cookbook.

It’s been a while, but as I remember these, they were good muffins. Banana-y and cocoa-y, with bits of chocolate inside. As with some other gluten-free baked goods, they were best fresh or warmed up. After a while though, the texture is different, and they end up being more grainy.

They look pretty decadent, but they’re not as ridiculous as they might seem. Check out the ingredient list.

As they’re way in the past at this point, and I didn’t have much in the way of notes, I don’t have much more to say on them. But let me know if you try them out. I’d love to hear your take on them. Or if you have any favorite muffin recipes, gluten-free or otherwise, feel free to share those as well. Or favorite banana recipes. Or, you know, the location of the fountain of youth. I’m not picky.

Recipe courtesy of The New York Times.


Sorry for the delay in getting this week’s post out to y’all. It’s been a bit of a busy and chaotic week on both the home front and the work front, so I haven’t had time to bake or write or much of anything else.

So this week I again dig back into the Needs Baked archives with another post from my soon to be hit series “Recipes of Future Past“. Snickerdoodles. They have such a funny, lovely name. It seems to fit them, actually. I know some people are really into them, but they weren’t really a passion of mine in that way.

They’re such an easy cookie to make. You most likely have all of the ingredients sitting around. (Except maybe cream of tartar, although I’m sure you could substitute something for that, or possibly find a recipe that doesn’t use it.) They don’t take a lot of effort. And they’re delicious. I think one day I wanted to make something easy, and I ended up deciding on these.

As I recall, they were quite yummy. Sweet and cinammony as they should be. Soft and chewy. A light but fulfilling cookie. Also, I think I might have made them smaller than intended by the recipe, because looking at the pictures, I made a lot of them.

So, about the name. According to Wikipedia, it could come from the German word “Schneckennudel”, which is also an awesome name. The linguist in me can see that word turning into the word “Snickerdoodle”.

Snickerdoodle is also the name of a dog. One that you’ve probably never seen or heard of. It’s the name of our imaginary dog. Yes, you heard that right. We have an imaginary dog. My wife really likes dogs, but we’re not allowed to have any in our apartment. So we have an imaginary one. He’s a rust colored toy poodle, and his name is Snickerdoodle. He’s adorable. Or he would be if he were real. Every once in a while when we see a real dog that looks like how we imagine he would look like if he were real, we joke that it’s Snickerdoodle’s cousin. I’m not sure if he likes the cookies he’s named after, but it wouldn’t surprise me, as who doesn’t.

As is often the case with these posts about old baking adventures, I’m not quite sure what recipe I used for them. I’m fairly sure I didn’t use cream of tartar, as I never really have that on hand. So I’ll bet the recipe didn’t call for it, or I substituted something for it, as hinted above. If you want to make them, there are a million recipes out there. I imagine that the ones I made could have been something like this one or this one, but I don’t know for sure.

My apologies also for the low-quality pictures. Many of the pictures from the Needs Baked pictures vault are unfortunately of low-quality.

Do you have a favorite Snickerdoodle recipe? Do you have a good cream of tartar substitution? Any imaginary pets in your life? Drop me a note below!


Gluten-Free Whole Grain Cheese and Mustard Muffins

This week I bring you another recipe from my long-ish running series, “Recipes of Future Past”. This one also happens to be gluten-free, and is near the beginning of my gluten-free baking.

Before we discovered that my wife didn’t get along that well with wheat, I had never considered baking gluten-free. I had heard of it, but there wasn’t any real impetus to do so. Shortly after we found out, I decided that I would try gluten-free baking.

I looked up some gluten-free recipes that looked interesting, and I went out and got a whole bunch of different gluten-free flours. I used them in a couple of recipes, but after that, they mostly just sat there unused. That’s because it got complicated. I found that many gluten-free recipes used specific flours. There are so many different kinds, and everyone uses different ones. So having enough for all of the different recipes would mean stocking many, many different kinds of flour. It just wasn’t practical.

What I soon realized though, is that I didn’t have to go that route. I stumbled upon a really great all-purpose gluten-free flour from Trader Joe’s. At that point, I didn’t need to seek out recipes that were specifically gluten-free. I could use any recipe and just substitute the all-purpose gluten-free flour for the “regular” flour. And with this particular gluten-free flour, it works. No more stocking up on half a dozen different kinds of flour. No more researching recipes specially crafted to be gluten-free. Just one substitution and I’m done. Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

But this recipe was made before I figured all of that out. IIRC, I went out and found some millet. It was not a grain I was familiar with, but hey, why not. I don’t remember what gluten-free all-purpose flour I used for this, as I believe it predated my using Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour. My guess is that it was probably Bob’s Red Mill, as that’s the brand I generally find when I’m looking for alternative flours. I did not use the optional walnuts.

I enjoy mustard, and I enjoy cheese, so I figured this would be a good gluten-free recipe to try. And as I recall, it was. I remember them being decent muffins. The only caveat is that between the cornmeal and the millet, I believe they were a little grainy.

It was a while back that I made them, so I don’t remember them all that well at this point. I would have to try making them again in order to have more to share. But given that I would have to get millet specifically in order to make them means I’m not all that likely to do so, unless I can find a reasonable substitute. If that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I should also mention that around the time I made these, I also made another set of muffins that I found at the same time from the same source: Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Muffins. As I’m constantly expanding the Recipes of Future Past section, you will probably hear about these sooner or later.

If you happen to make these, let me know how they go. I’d love to hear. And if you have any other gluten-free recipes, or recipes that you’ve successfully gluten-freeified, feel free to share. I’d love to hear about those, too.


Recipe courtesy of The New York Times.

Dirt Cookies

Fret not true believer. These are not some ridiculous attempt at putting actual dirt inside a cookie. (To paraphrase our dear friend Roger, we bakers may act idiotic, but we’re not stupid.) Rather, the name is a reference to how the cookies look.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought an ingredient for use in a recipe only to have a lot left over when you’re done and nothing else to do with it. Because I don’t have magic powers, I can’t actually see you right now. But I’m going to assume there are a lot of hands raised. This recipe was one of my attempts to use up said extra ingredient and not let it go to waste.

So what was the magic ingredient I was looking to use up? You may laugh, but the answer is chocolate cookies. Yes, there are cookies in the cookies. As I hinted at above, they’re not a usual staple around here. You might remember a recipe I made a while back called chocolate crusted banana blondies. Yes, that goes quite a while back. This week’s recipe is from then as well, part of my series called “recipes of future past”.

Those blondies were delicious. I made them many times. The crust required crushed up chocolate cookies. I experimented with a bunch of different variations. And at the end of it all, I had a bunch of chocolate cookies leftover. Granted, chocolate cookies are not like saffron. You probably aren’t going to just munch on a handful of saffron if you have it leftover, but you could easily just eat the cookies as is.

Never one to back away from a baking challenge, however, I wanted to find a way to use them up in something else. After combing through much of the wild internet, I found this recipe.

You see, they’re called dirt cookies because the crushed up cookies inside look like dirt. They’re effectively like chocolate chip cookies, with the crushed up cookies substituting for the chocolate chips. In the end, not the most creative or exciting way to use them up, but they turned out alright.

And I’ll let you in on a secret that you might have already figured out. You’ve seen these before. If you ever looked at the picture at the top of the page, it’s a picture of these cookies. I’ve thought about changing the picture before, but I really like how it looks. The rows and rows of cookies stretching on seemingly to infinity.

As I recall, they were pretty good. Not the world’s most amazing cookies, but good. Interesting, a little bit different with the cookie within a cookie thing.

Now that I’ve found a good chocolate cookie recipe, I’d probably use that and just scale to fit, so I didn’t have so many leftover cookies. But if for some reason I did have leftover cookies, this is a decent recipe to use them up.

How about you? Got any good recipes for using up leftover bits and bobs? Got any other “cookie within a cookie” recipes? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.*

*I’m 99% sure this was the original recipe, but it’s been so long I can’t be 100% sure.


Pretzel Toffee Brownies

Our memories are important to who we are, and have great power in our lives. But I was recently reminded that forgetting can also be a powerful thing. This lesson is brought to you through another recipe from the Needs Baked archives, another of my recipes of future past, as life has gotten in the way of baking recently. I was reminded of this recipe the other day when I was reading another blog.

Here’s the story. One day, many moons ago, I went looking for a brownie recipe, and I came across the one I used for the brownies pictured here. I made it, it was good, and my life went on its merry way. However, this was before I had started the blog, so I wasn’t keeping track of recipes.

Apparently everything was blurry that far in the past.

Apparently everything was blurry that far in the past.

Some time after I made it, I thought I would make it again. I went searching for the recipe, but I couldn’t remember which one I used. I searched for a while, but I was unable to find it. That made me sad. šŸ˜¦ But I already had my heart set on making these again, so I had to find another recipe. Back to the internet! (Much less grueling than back to the mines, I would presume.)


After much searching, I found and settled on another recipe. You’ve seen that one already. It’s the Baked brownie with pretzels and toffee. That one was delicious. This one was good (it must have been for me to want to make it again), but that one was much better. So in some sense, I have to thank myself for losing track of this one, as it led me to that one.

What possessed me to make this one in the first place I don’t know. Was it an interest in toffee? A yearning for pretzels? Unfortunately, that is lost to the sands of time. But it brought me eventually to the Baked brownie recipe, which is amazing, and is now my go to brownie recipe, pretzels and toffee or no.


So as I said, these were good. If I could find the recipe, I might be curious enough to try making them again to see what the difference was. But with a much more delicious recipe in tow, I’m not that motivated.

But it begs the question, how many pretzel toffee brownie recipes are out there? It’s an interesting idea, but it’s not universal like chocolate chip cookies. Now I’m curious, who came up with it first? Anyone have any good techniques for recipe forensics?


As I said, I don’t know what recipe I used back then. A little more digging now makes me think that the below recipe is a possible candidate. But we’ll never know for sure. If you try it, let me know how it is. I would also recommend the Baked brownie recipe above, as I know you can’t go wrong there.

Possible recipe source: Recipe Girl.

Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

I can honestly say I’m not a time traveler. The closest I get is watching Doctor Who. Watching and wishing I could follow him into the past and see what things were like in a different time. But the next closest I get is probably by rediscovering old recipes. It’s like a window into the past. Not a door I can step through unfortunately, but a window I can peek into and observe from a different perspective.

If you had asked me when I made this recipe, I couldn’t have told you. But in looking up the photos I took when I made it, I see that it was made in September of 2013. It’s what I like to call one of my “recipes of future past“. It harkens back to a time before I was really writing the blog and taking careful notes. So, I’m not even sure what recipe I used. I’ve included a recipe at the end to give you an idea, but you’ll have to use your judgement, as I can’t vouch for that one in particular.

I do remember what the impetus for the recipe was, though. I had some apple syrup I wanted to use. In theory, this is to be used for making drinks with. But, adventurous baker that I am, I thought it would be fun to use it to make a cookie infused with appley goodness.

So I had the idea for the star ingredient for the cookie, now I needed a recipe. I did a little digging around, because of course someone must have done this before. I did find some apple cider cookies, but they all used this apple cider drink mix. I couldn’t really find one which used a syrup. So I had to do some digging to figure out how much apple cider would be made by the drink mix. Then I had to figure out how much of the syrup would be used to make a similar amount. Then I tried using that amount in the cookies, in order to have a similar apple potency.


I don’t remember at this point if I compensated for the fact that the drink mix was powder and the syrup was liquid. As we know, having different ratios of solids and liquids than the recipe originally calls for could have unintended consequences. I don’t know if that’s what caused the issue, but there was definitely an issue.

As the name implies, these cookies call for caramel. These days, when I need caramel, I generally like to make it myself. However, I made this recipe before I started making my own caramel, so I used the pre-made kind. The cookies were fairly straightforward to make, and right before baking you stick a caramel into each cookie. The cookies cooked fine, but the caramel was unhappy.


I tried to pull the cookies off the baking sheet, but the caramel hadn’t melted properly. As you might be able to see from the pictures, the cookies kinda fell apart. That’s because the caramel sat like a small, yummy, and unmovable brick in the middle of the cookies. The cookies themselves were fine, but the brick wouldn’t move with the cookies. In each case it basically separated out, and took a good chunk of the cookie with it.

I’m not sure if I didn’t cook them long enough, if the caramels were too cold when I baked them, if I didn’t form the cookies properly, or if the aforementioned solid/liquid ratio was the issue. I’d have to give them another shot to investigate why.


I remember the cookies as being good. They weren’t the best recipe I ever made, but they were good. I mean apple and caramel together in a cookie, right? Right.

If you try these, please let me know how they turn out. I’d love to hear your stories. And if you have any good ideas for using apple cider in a baked good, I’d love to hear about that, too. I just recently came into a good quantity of apple cider, so I might be tempted to try something else.

Probable recipe source: The Cooking Photographer.*

*I say probable, because I can’t remember where I got the original recipe. But it looks like this is the original version, regardless of where I found it.

Chocolate Drizzled Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week we have another installment of “Recipes of Future Past”. You can read more about why they’re called that in this earlier post. But a quick summary is this: they’re recipes I made long before the blog existed, so details and pictures are scant.

These cookies were pretty good as I remember. Who doesn’t love chocolate, toffee, and then more chocolate? I believe the inspiration for them was a cleaning out the cupboard kinda thing. I had used some toffee in a previous recipe, and rather than let it go to waste, I looked for a recipe to use it up in. These cookies fit the bill. And IIRC, they were pretty easy to make. Take a regular chocolate chip cookie, add in toffee bits, and bake. Then melt some chocolate and drizzle it on top to look fancy (and taste yummy).


I’d like to make these again some day for a couple of reasons. One, these pictures are kinda terrible. My apologies for that. They were taken with a not-as-great camera without any real regard to resolution, lighting, or even focus apparently. So it would be good to get some pictures that do these cookies justice. Also, since they are pretty simple cookies, it would make sense that the chocolate would feature prominently. I’d like to see how they taste with some good quality chocolate.

Since the recipe was made so long ago, I don’t know which one I used. I did some digging around, and while I can’t be sure, this recipe seems like a likely candidate. Even if it wasn’t the one I used, it definitely looks good enough to try.


Have you ever made a cookie like this? Do you have any other recipes with toffee? If so, I’d love to hear about your recipe(s). Or do you have any recipes that either have been lost to the sands of time or that you’ve made so many times you don’t even need the recipe any more? I’d love to hear about those as well. Thanks!

Super Treat Bars

Today I wanted to introduce you to a new thing I’m trying out for the blog. Something I’m (not so) cleverly calling “Recipes of Future Past”. Those of you who are comic book fans may recognize that as an homage to an awesome comic book story called “Days of Future Past“.

These are all recipes I made and took pictures of before I started the blog. So there’s generally no recipe to refer to, no detailed description, just a couple of pictures and some thoughts. Some of them I would definitely like to try again, though. So they could be called “Recipes of Past & Future”, but I couldn’t resist the homage. And while these recipes don’t involve superheroes or time travel, they are fun and a peek into the past.

This first one is something called Super Treat Bars. Imagine a chocolate chip bar cookie with M&M’s and caramels. They’re kind of ridiculous. I remember making these growing up. I particularly remember we made them inĀ order to help us stay up late one night and watch something cool on TV. I believe part of that evening’s food preparations also included Sugar Daddies candy and Ice Tea Cooler. (Ice Tea Cooler belongs in the realm of awesome Central PA snackitude.) We were seriously going for the sugar and caffeine express.

Another creation made for TV watching that I clearly remember was cinnamon sugar popcorn. We made popcorn in the popcorn popper, back before the days of microwave popcorn. Then we melted some butter and poured it over the popcorn, which helped to make the surface more adherent. Then we mixed some cinnamon and sugar and poured it over the popcorn. Yum. Those were the days.

The cinnamon sugar popcorn was normally consumed on Saturday afternoons while watching Doctor Who on PBS. For those that don’t know, those years were nothing like the current fancy Doctor Who. These were the Tom Baker years, whenĀ the BBC had no special effects budget to speak of. When, for instance, one episode featured a creature that amounted to basically a guy (maybe two?) walking around in what looked like a giant garbage bag. I’m not making this stuff up.

By the way, when I say “we” in this whole story, I’m referring to my brother and I. We were (and still are) the best of friends, and we did everything together. That included making ridiculous recipes and watching ridiculous TV.

In any case, the cookies. I know we didn’t make up the idea or the name, I know we got the recipe from somewhere, I just don’t remember where from. When I started thinking about them again not too long ago, I didn’t have a recipe to fall back on. I searched for them in vain, but I couldn’t find the recipe. I really wanted to make them, so I just had to recreate the recipe. There isn’t much to them. As I said, they’re basically chocolate chip bar cookies with M&M’s and caramels. Simple, sure. But when we were younger, we thought they were the coolest thing ever.



It was a while ago now when I recreatedĀ them, so I don’t remember exactly what I did. What I believe I did was go with a chocolate chip cookie bar recipe, and then just added in the other ingredients. I might have also found a recipe that had one or the other extra ingredients, or maybe some different onesĀ and adapted them from there. They should be pretty easy to make.

And as far as taste, I remember them to be exactly as ridiculous as you would expect them to be. In a good way.

So after this trip down nostalgia lane, does anyone else remember these? Do you have the recipe or at least remember where the recipe came from? Or what about your favorite childhood recipes and the circumstances that made them so? Let me know!