Thursday, August 30, 2012

Butterscotch Brownies

I love brownies.  Sometimes nothing is better than a chocolaty, fudgie brownie.  Typing this out right now makes me want to make some....I can't decide if that's a bad thing or not.  Sometimes, a treat out of the ordinary is called for, and these are a great alternative for a non-chocolate brownie.  They are rich, chewy and delicious.  Batter is ready in under 5 minutes and then they bake quickly.  Perfect treat if you need one extremely quickly. 

any takers??
I really need to find some taste testers out here.  I do have a couple of friends and family, and I'm sure it will take me a while to find some.  But for now the people that work in the sales office in my building are loving me - I keep bringing them treats and they keep telling me that I'm their favorite tenant. 

Butterscotch Brownies
makes 18 small bars
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar (if you use light brown sugar they will be lighter - I used dark)
1 egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
optional - 1/2 cup nuts, chocolate chips, favorite add-in
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8x8x2" pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large bowl, blend sugar and oil together.  Add in egg.  Add in flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Add in vanilla extract and add-ins if using.  Mix until combined. 
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Do not over bake! Let cool for 15 minutes and then but into squares. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Caramel Chocolate Ribbon Cookies

I'm all unpacked and loving my new place, it was finally time to bake in my new place.  But what to bake?  I still only have the necessities (for a lot of things) and don't have everything I usually keep in my baking pantry.  So with a limited list of ingredients in mind, I pulled out the cookbook my sisters gave me for my birthday, I have been dying to use it and this was the perfect excuse.  Not that I ever need an excuse, but sometimes it feels good to justify the need to bake.  I'm pretty sure we all grew up with a copy of a Betty Crocker Cookbook or have at least seen them.  So when I found out that they had one devoted to just cookies, I wanted it, badly.  But of course shortly after I got it I packed it away.  I'm happy to say that all of my boxes are gone, and I have some things lying on my living room floor, waiting to be put away.  But for that to happen I need to get some bookshelves and some end tables.  But stuff like that can wait until I get a job. 

It had been bugging me all week that I haven't been in the kitchen, and I have moved things around numerous times, Big Red being one of them. Time to get out the cookbook and start to bake.  And why not start with some easy things.  I picked out two treats and couldn't wait to get them going.  First up was the cookies.  The dough does need to chill for at least 4 hours - so you know that means that it can also be kept in the freezer for up to a month before you use it.  I made the dough, made the other treat and relaxed for the night.  I woke up the next morning and I saw the dough when I opened the fridge.  So on the oven went, and 8 minutes later.......

......perfect balance of caramel and chocolate.  You could also add mini chocolate chips to the chocolate layer if you wanted a little more of a chocolate boost.  Now comes my only problem, not a lot of taste testers here yet :/ The lucky recipients of these were the people in the office of my apartment building - they were so excited. 

Caramel Chocolate Ribbon Cookies
makes about 5 dozen
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, egg and vanilla until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add in flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until incorporated.
  2. In a small bowl, take half of dough and add chocolate.  Mix until chocolate is evenly distributed. 
  3. Divide both doughs in half and form each half into 2 strips that are 2" wide and 1/4" thick.  On a large piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place a layer of chocolate dough, then a layer of caramel dough, followed by another layer of chocolate and then caramel dough, making sure to press each layer together gently.  Repeat with remaining dough; you will have 2 dough logs.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate, at least 4 hours. 
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Cut each log into pieces that are 1/8".  Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden brown.  Let cool completely on wire racks.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cake Batter Fudge

It's too hot out - too hot to turn on my oven, too hot to do anything outside unless I'm sitting at the beach or a pool with a nice cold adult beverage in my hand floating around in the water.  When it gets like this, we have our AC going all the time - and it's not central AC (but I will have that in my new apartment), we just have a window unit in our living room and then fans everywhere else.  It has me dreaming of central AC and my countdown is on until I move.  But for now I'm stuck in the land of packing and sorting.  When I need a break, into the kitchen I go.  I've packed my non-essential items and am left with the things I use a lot - Big Red, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, things like that.  It's sad a little bit, but I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I've acquired over the years.  My goal is to fit it all in my car and drive on down - with no rental U-haul or anything like that.  Soon I will be off to IKEA to find myself a new bed and possibly a couch and see if they can deliver it to me in DC on the day I move in.  I'm a thinker. 

This is ready in no time - and I love anything Cake Batter flavored.  So this fudge was a no brainer. 

make sure to cut small pieces, it is really sweet
Cake Batter Fudge
makes (1) 8x8 or (1) 11x7 pan

(1) 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
Rainbow Sprinkles

Line your choice of pan with parchment paper or tinfoil and set aside.  Pour milk, white chocolate and salt into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat 2-3 minutes, or until chocolate is almost completely melted (can also be done in a medium saucepan on top to the stove).  DO NOT OVERHEAT! Stir until smooth.  Immediately add vanilla and almond extracts and combine thoroughly.  Add in handful of sprinkles and fold in quickly.  Don't stir too much, it will turn a grey color from the sprinkles if you over mix. Pour fudge into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Top with extra sprinkles.  Let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whiskey Balls

I'm in the land of packing boxes, getting rid of things I don't need or use anymore, and somehow trying to fit everything I own into my car.  Needless to say my ulcer has flared up from all the stress I'm under.  My last treat delivery and I wanted to go out with a bang - leave on a good note with something they would love and remember.  And it had to be something that was quick and easy, especially since I didn't trust using my oven. 

Lately things that are quick and easy seem to be making their way to the top of my list.  And lets face it, another no bake recipe is exactly that.  Plus this one has Whiskey in it - and they are delicious.  You can omit the alcohol and switch it out for apple juice, milk, or even chocolate milk.  So if you don't feel like turning on your oven because it's too hot out or you just need a quick treat, look no further.  These will please everyone. 

Whiskey Balls everywhere!!
Whiskey Balls

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed into crumbs (this turns out to be 3/4 of an 11 oz box)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup whiskey (see above for suggestions for non-alcoholic version)
1/4 cup light corn syrup

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips 30 seconds at a time until chips are mostly melted.  Stir until smooth.  In a large bowl combine wafer crumbs, confectioners sugar, salt and cocoa powder.  Add melted chocolate, whiskey and corn syrup.  Mix until well blended - dough should be firm.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Shape into small balls and roll in confectioner's sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or in an airtight container.    

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rice Krispie Treat S'mores Bars

Wouldn't you know it - my oven has crapped out on me.  Usually this would send me into a tizzy, freaking out over baking.  But since my move is rapidly approaching and most of my stuff is packed away, it didn't bother me at all.  My oven has decided that if you use it for more than 20 minutes it's going to do what it wants - it ruined 4 batches of brownies.  All were burned on top and completely raw in the middle and the oven was at the right temperature (I did a digital reading).  So instead of having a meltdown, I took this as a sign that it would be the end of my baking and do some no bake treats for the last days of my taste testers.  And this one combines two of my favorite childhood treats - s'mores and rice krispie treats.  I mean could it get any better?! I think not. 

oh hello new favorite
Even if you don't consider yourself to be a baker, try these.  Ready in about 10 minutes and then you just put them in the fridge to set.  I will warn you now that these are addicting - highly addicting.  They will be made repeatedly. 

Rice Krispie Treat S'mores Bars
makes 2 dozen bars

8 whole graham crackers
1 stick of butter (8 tbsp), divided
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
1 bag (10 oz) mini marshmallows (divided)
1 6 pack package of Hershey Bars
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 13x9 or two 8x8 pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray (Pam).  Line bottom of dish with graham crackers, cutting as necessary to fit the pan.

In a large saucepan, heat 6 tbsp butter and sugar until butter melts and mixture starts to bubble.  Pour over graham crackers and spread evenly.  Bake until sugar bubbles, 7-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with Hershey Bars, cutting to fit.  Let stand for 3 minutes or until chocolate starts to melt and then spread so there is an even layer of chocolate.

Meanwhile, return same saucepan to burner.  Add remaining 2 tbsp butter and all but 1 cup of mini marshmallows.  Cook, stirring frequently, until well mixed and marshmallows melt.  Stir in cereal until well incorporated.  Pour rice cereal mixture over warm chocolate layer, pressing on mixture to evenly distribute.  Sprinkle top with remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips, pressing to adhere.  Refrigerate to set.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a fan of chocolate chip cookies, they will always be one of my favorites. When I saw these I knew I had to try them out.  I mean I do have that giant bag of Mini Peanut Butter Cups that I bought from BJ's in my freezer just waiting to be used.  The time was now - these were going to be amazing.  

Surprise!! There's a peanut butter
cup in the middle!
Who knew that these wouldn't do it for me.  I mean they are great cookies, but I guess I'm just a chocolate chip cookie lover at heart - just plain cookie.  I think I remember feeling this way about the Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies - that I liked them but they just didn't really do it for me. 

I happily handed these out to people and they were all excited for them.  I left a good amount at home for my sisters to eat - they are trying to get their fill of my baked goods before I move.  Heay's had the best quote about these: "These are perfect.  They are what dreams are made of."

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 40 cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
40 mini Peanut Butter Cups, frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined.  Add in chocolate chips. 
  3. Keep a bowl of water to dip your hands in next to you so the dough doesn't stick while forming dough balls.  Using a soup spoon or cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place a frozen cup in the center.  Cover cup with dough - make sure that there is any of the cup showing.  Place dough ball on prepared sheet, spacing balls 3" apart.  Freeze each tray for 15 minutes. 
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

I'm all for not turning on my oven unless I need to - especially in the hot summer months.  And these cookies are so quick and easy you are done from start to finish in 5 minutes - but then you have to wait for them to set, which is the longest part of this recipe.  This was a great, quick distraction for me in a break from packing and I was back to packing before I knew it.  I have to say, for these to be that easy I wasn't expecting a lot from them.....they are so tasty.  I will absolutely be making these again and again and again.  If you have 5 minutes to spare, you can make these cookies. 

put them in the fridge to set quicker if it's really hot out

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
makes about 30-40 cookies

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.  Let boil for 1 minute.  Add peanut butter, salt, vanilla and oatmeal.  Remove from heat and stir until combined.  On a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper, drop mixture by teaspoons.  Let cool and harden.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Homemade Frosty's

I will always have a soft spot for Frosty's from Wendy's.  I still occasionally get them and they always make me happy.  I came across this recipe and couldn't of been happier. The fact that I could now make them at home and have it taste just like it came from Wendy's was all I needed to hear.  I'm going to tell you that it makes a lot - like 3 batches worth.  If you're like me and have an ice cream maker that you need to freeze over 24 hours in between each use, don't worry - the base keeps nicely in the fridge.  Just make sure you cover it tightly with plastic wrap. 

I wish I had a video of me making this - it was one of those times where I ended up with chocolate all over me and the kitchen counter.  And when I say this makes a lot - I mean it.  Like take out your biggest pot that you make pasta in and use that.  It came to the top of my pot - and this was after I changed bowls 3 trust me when I say use the biggest thing you have, and if you think it will hold it, it wont - go bigger.  Aside from that, it's so simple.  Toss everything in the bowl, mix it all together and then pour it into the ice cream machine and freeze it!! 

Don't over churn it - this isn't going to be thick and creamy like a normal ice cream will be.  Start checking on it at 15 minutes.  15-20 minutes is all you need.  It should be loose and creamy.  If you over churn it, it kind of breaks apart - yes, I over churned my first batch :( 

over churned, but tasty - and added some Oreos too
Festive - with chocolate chips and sprinkles
Homemade Frosty's
serves 16-20

(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 gallon chocolate milk
(1) 12 oz container Cool Whip - if you can find the Chocolate flavor use that, if not regular is what I used
large pinch of salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.  You will need to churn this in multiple batches.  Fill ice cream maker 2/3 full and freeze.  Repeat process with remaining liquid.