Saturday, November 24, 2012


I know what you're thinking.  Brownies?! Really?! A box mix is perfect.  Trust me, after you try these, box mixes will be a distant memory.  Yes - you will never again make a box mix batch of brownies ever again.  I swear.  These are quick and easy and unbelievably tasty.  I had the whole thing done from start to oven in under 5 minutes.  I mean the longest part was baking them.  So don't be thinking that making things from scratch is hard.  Brownies are always easy, and I mean really, who doesn't love a brownie?  And not just any brownie, a fudgie rich chocolate brownie. 

I wish I took a food porn shot of these once I cut
them up but forgot to
I love my new job.  The people I work with are amazing.  I feel really lucky to have gotten this job, and love that I'm helping people.  I can't say enough good things about it.  And they have quickly learned that I will be bringing in treats - a lot.  No complaints from anyone yet.  In fact, I've been getting peoples likes and dislikes treat wise.  And I have to admit - it makes me happy.  I have missed my Treat Tuesdays and Treat Thursdays, so to have such happy reactions to my baking at work makes me want to bake a lot again.  I just hope they don't get sick of it any time soon.  Which I don't think will happen soon.  When the brownies got low and there were just a couple left, people starting calling dibs on them. 

So - bake these bad boys.  You need to.  Have I given you any bad recipes yet?  No? - then make them the next time you want brownies. The smell that will come from your oven while baking will give you a hint of how great these will be. 

makes 9-12 brownies
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
optional - 1 cup nuts, chocolate chips, mint chips, peanut butter chips - anything you wish to add
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the inside of a 9" pan with 2 lengths of foil or parchment paper, positioning the sheets perpendicular to each other with the excess hanging over the edges.  Lightly grease with butter or cooking spray. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate chips and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute (set a timer and mix like crazy until it goes off - if you skip this step your brownies will turn out flat, dry and crumbly), until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan.  If using, stir in mix ins. 
  3. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, rotating halfway through, about 30 minutes.  Don't over bake.
  4. Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Over my sisters birthday weekend, she had made some treats for herself since I wasn't there to make the standard birthday cupcakes for her. She sent me a picture of them and I said they looked amazing and I asked her to write up a guest blog post for me about them......and after some patient waiting on my part it showed up in my email.  :) 
So, I'm not much of a baker. Great cook...baking too much patience is required for this girl!!
But then, it's my birthday. And I'm having a party to celebrate...yay! But wait, CB has left me. What's a girl to do???
Enter my November issue of Food Network magazine, and an amazing ad by Snyder's of Hanover pretzels.
This girl is saved!!! I mean this recipe is so easy (and delicious) that even I can make it and look good!
yum! well - I heard they were
delicious, haven't made them
myself yet
PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL POPS (I made sticks on hand)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate candy melts or 10 oz baker's chocolate finely chopped
1 1/2 cups crushed Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel sticks
20 lollipop sticks
1. melt peanut butter and butter in a microwave or small saucepan, stirring until completely smooth
2. stir in confectioner's sugar
3. freeze for 30 minutes
4. scoop out heaping tablespoons of the cold mixture and roll into balls, using all the peanut butter mixture;
place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet;
freeze for 15 minutes
5. remove from freezer and insert one lollipop stick in each peanut butter ball
6. melt chocolate, following package instructions
7. dip and roll each ball in the melted chocolate and dip into the crushed pretzels;
place bake on baking sheet
8. when all are finished, place baking sheet in the refrigerator for a few minutes or until the chocolate is set
9. keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I had training class all week this week, which was a huge over load of information. But it was great training - and of course I was baking all week.  Which my co-workers loved.  So for our last day I thought I would make something using the pumpkin I had sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used.  I was on the hunt for a fast, easy and delicious pumpkin cookie - and I found it.  These were ready extremely quickly and were baked off and cooling in no time.  Once cooled, time to ice them.  Personally, I love this part - no matter how bad you are artistically (which we all know is not a strong point of mine), when you ice it always looks pretty.  I filled up my ziplock plastic bag, snipped the corner and away I went drizzling the icing over each cookie.

pretty cookies
Let the icing set and then they are ready to go.  The following morning, I packed up my tupperware full of cookies and off to work I went.  Everyone was excited for cookies on the last day - and after the week of information loading we had all gotten, these were a welcome escape for everyone.  I was happy that when the day was over I only had 2 cookies remaining to bring home. 

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
makes about 36 cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup Pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.  In a bowl of stand mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets, and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 15-18 minutes or until edges are firm.  Cool on sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Once cookies are cooled, in a small bowl combine confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer into a small plastic bag and snip a corner off.  Drizzle the icing over each cookie.  Let icing set.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cookies, cookies, cookies

It's no secret that I was no longer enjoying my job at the bakery.  Long hours, a schedule that changed every week, not having a social life, working extremely hard and getting paid very little for it, and in my little free time I was seriously job hunting since I need money to pay my bills. I am happy to say that I now have a new job - one that I'm very excited for and has a huge potential for me career wise.  And best thing of all - I work Monday through Friday, have weekends off and will be home every night.  This also means that I get to bake more!! Things have been so crazy here, I'm lucky if I knew what day it was and I wasn't baking at all. 

I hate not baking - it's been weeks since my last effort and not updating the blog and using Big Red really takes a toll on me.  I've been longing for Treat Tuesdays and Thursdays again lately. Last week was a rough one - tight on money, working all the time, feeling warn down and emotionally drained.  Then good news - I would start my training for my new job on Monday.  I was so excited.  I gave my notice at the bakery the next day and finished out my 3 remaining shifts.  I was on a such a high Friday I made some cookie dough.  Saturday rolled around and I started feeling sick (I had caught the plague that was going around) and then got yelled at by 5 customers who were unhappy with their orders.  I came home and passed out on my couch, woke up hours later and then went to bed.  Sunday was my official last day at work and it went smoothly.  Plus I got to work with a co-worker that liked working with so it was a good last shift. 

Monday was a long day of training, it's a lot of info to learn and absorb all at once, but I know at the end of the week I will be ready to do my job to the best of my ability.  By the time I got home last night I was ready to bake some cookies.  But that actually happened today.  I made some of my favorite Raisin Cookies for class tomorrow - and some Chocolate Chip Caramel Toffee Bit Cookies (that I ate a good amount of dough of) for myself.  Well, not just myself, I do have friends coming this weekend for a visit and there will hopefully be some cookies for them by the time they get here. 

All in all, I'm happy to be starting a great job, to actually be able bake more and be on here more often - I have truly missed it.