Thursday, May 16, 2013

Baby Elephant Ears...#ImprovChallenge

Welcome to another edition of Monthly Improv. Hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, the Monthly Improv challenges bloggers to come up with fabulous recipes incorporating two ingredients. This month our ingredients are Cinnamon and Sugar!

I confess to having been largely absent from the blogging scene lately as I have been consumed with another cooking related obsession---entering recipe contests. In actuality, it's really just one contest I've been obsessing about-- the mother of all cooking contests-- the Pillsbury Bake-Off®.
This year, the Bake-Off® is all about easy. Recipes are limited to only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes or less of prep time. Funny how "easy" becomes an oxymoron when you are trying to come up with the recipe....yikes! Keeping it seven ingredients was hard!

I'll admit it...I don't always make my own pie crust...these are always in my fridge.

Even harder than coming up with 7-ingredient recipes is keeping all of my entries private. I really want to share and get feedback! So, while I have to keep the lid on my actual entries, I can certainly share a few "easy" ideas that came to me while I was using up some ingredients.

Just 5 ingredients for these very easy cookies....

Have you ever had an Elephant Ear? You know, those huge pastries that are flaky and full of pecans, cinnamon and sugar? My dad made the best Elephant Ears! Around here, I see something similar called a Pecan Crispie (good, but not quite there) or I see big deep fried dough versions that aren't the same at all. My inspiration for this month's Improv comes from the Elephant Ears from my youth and from the "easy" recipe concoctions I've been immersed in. Let me present Baby Elephant Ears!

Baby Elephant Ears

1 refrigerated pie crust, softened per package directions
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the pie crust onto the parchment paper. Brush with the melted butter. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the crust. Top with the pecans. Roll the crust back up. Cut into 12 slices (if you like a thinner cookie, cut into 18 slices). Use a drinking glass to press each slice into a 2" circle (the end pieces will be smaller). Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the sugar is caramelized and the cookies start to brown.

I may have cut them too time I'll try a thinner cookie. 

I initially used too much sugar, but it was all good since I threw the remainder over the tops.

Who knew easy could be so tasty? They went very quickly when I brought them to work, no matter that I thought I could have made some changes. Wouldn't these be fun to make with kids? You could leave out the nuts, make them smaller (or bigger!) and they will still taste good. Plus, there's no wasting of all bakes up. Another successful Improv!

Now, take a look at what everyone else is making with Cinnamon and Sugar.

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