Year in pictures?

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here. And rather than try and write detailed posts for everything I’ve done since January, I’m just dumping a bunch of pics and one liners about each item and if anyone wants a recipe let me know and I’ll provide the link, this way I can start fresh going forward into holiday baking season!

Is anyone listening to me (if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis). And I just lost my last reader to that somewhat obscure reference.

Here goes (and not even necessarily in chronological order because lord knows how my computer decided what order to load these)…

1. Spritz Redux: We remade the spritz that got jacked in the prior post for New Year’s Eve. Made in yellow with gold sprinkles. The 4 year old (at the time) was super excited about a cookie gun. Sigh.

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2. Chocolate cream pie – this was for New Year’s Eve too. It was awesome.

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3. I don’t even remember what I made these for but I think they were cake batter cookies. They were good.

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4. Superbowl Sunday football cupcakes. Nothing special, just chocolate cupcakes but frosted in football shapes.

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5. Valentine’s Day sugar cookies with my makeshift royal icing (I never have meringue powder on hand and am too squeamish for raw eggs so I usually just mix milk and powdered sugar). We used these for teacher gifts for preschool.

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6. Valentine’s Brownie Pops. Red velvet brownies cut into heart shapes, frosted with buttercream then shoved onto sticks. Except they were too heavy/dense to keep on the sticks and would roll over as soon as you picked them up. Tasted good though!

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7. St. Patrick’s Day thumbprint cookies. Just your typical chocolate cookies with hershey’s kisses, we just made them holiday appropriate with green sprinkles. I actually found them pretty blah.

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8. Chocolate chip cookie dough pie. The crust is a giant cookie. YES.

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9. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. OMG this frosting. I can’t share these recipes because they were from a dear friend who owns a bakery in California and is sweet enough to share recipes with me to use for the birthday of our twins we lost to prematurity. But this cake and frosting especially was AMAZING.

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10. Passover macaroons. Nothing special/fancy about these but we liked them. They’re not burnt, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate.

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11. Matzo crack. Like Christmas crack but made with matzo. I used sliced almonds for the topping.

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12. Easter cookies to follow Passover. Yeah, we’re confused. Just regular sugar cookies with royal icing but I got meringue powder and made real royal icing this time. It was a pain in the ass.

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13. Easter nest carrot cake cupcakes. These were all about presentation but also yummy! We brought them for Easter brunch at our best friends’ house.

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14. Purple cake. This was just a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, purple because it was the day of our annual March of Dimes March for Babies (and their trademark color is purple).

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15. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are from just a week ago. I intended to just make soft pumpkin cookies and ice them but they were so cake like they reminded me of whoopie pies so I found a cream cheese frosting recipe and sandwiched them. BIG hit.

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16. Halloween cupcakes. Recipes from my bakery owner friend, both vanilla/almond cake (I tend to swap vanilla extract for almond) and the orange had vanilla buttercream, purple had almond buttercream. Monster and bats.

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17. Tart cherry cobbler. We stupidly signed up for a fruit/veggie CSA this summer (stupidly because we don’t have time to cook all the obscure things they sent and the kids wouldn’t touch most of it). But we did get nice fruit for baking. I had helpers.

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18. Chocolate cake with salted buttercream frosting again. Remade this for Gammy’s (my mom’s) birthday.

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19. Peach cobbler muffins. Another made with CSA haul, we got SO many peaches.

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20. Memorial day berry trifle. Not really “baked”, especially since we used store bought angel food cake for the cake part, but it looks pretty and is a prepared dessert?

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21. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were more of a regular cookie (vs cake) consistency than the other pumpkin cookies we used for the whoopie pies. Delicious.

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Ok. Hopefully I’ll remember to post after each treat going forward so I can include more info. Thanks if anyone is still checking here ever!!!

Brownie Oreo Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly. I have only one word – OMG (ok, that might be three words, but whatever). I saw these on pinterest, linked back from a blog, but it’s not even really a recipe so I think I can just instruct you here.

 

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Get a pack of Oreos.

Spread about a TBSP of peanut butter atop two Oreos and stack them inside a cupcake liner in a muffin pan.

Prepare boxed brownie batter. Pour 2 TBSP of prepared brownie batter over each Oreo stack. Bake for about 20 minutes (probably about time on package).

Enjoy the deliciousness. These were SO rich but probably one of my favorite things I’ve made and so easy.photo 1

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Peppermint Brownie Pie

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This pie was for the same party as the cupcakes in my prior post. It was also my very first time making my own pie crust instead of buying a frozen one – surprisingly easy!

Recipe came from Midwest Living (I actually bought one of these at the grocery store last week, putting the final nail in the coffin of my hopes of ever being young or hip again). Link back to original recipe here.

Ingredients (for pie crust)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions

  1. Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon cold water at a time, until all the dough is moistened (4 to 5 tablespoons cold water total). Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough.

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Shortening grosses me out. That there, my friends, is a cup o’ lard. Yummy.

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If you’re like me, and reading the above instructions, you get to “flatten with hands” and think you’re done. Color me confused when there’s no way that was thin enough to be big enough to cover the pie dish…lucky me jumped back to the filling recipe (appears before the crust in the original recipe site) and found that it THEN instructed to roll it out and put it in pie dish.

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I did this all at once, then covered and put my pie crust in the fridge overnight. I pressed the edges with a fork to make it pretty.

Ingredients for Filling

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  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • Pastry for 9-inch single crust pie (see above)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mint-flavored semisweet chocolate pieces (couldn’t find them so we just used chocolate chips and mint extract. The recipe for this, not on the main page but on the lead in page, said to use 1/2 tsp mint extract. I couldn’t find that when on my iphone though so ended up finding a similar recipe which called for only 1/8 tsp so my brownie pie wasn’t very minty. Hubby thought it was perfect though as he usually thinks I over-mint things. See e.g. Mint brownies, Peppermint buttercream).
  • Whipped cream (store bought – seriously).

Directions

  1. For filling: In a heavy small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Cool 20 minutes.

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  1. Meanwhile, prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; trim and crimp edge.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate mixture and chocolate pieces. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.

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  1. Bake pie in a 350 degree F oven about 55 minutes or until filling is evenly puffed and edges of filling are slightly cracked. Cool on wire rack (center will sink slightly as pie cools). Serve with whipped cream. Makes 10 servings.

Testing, 1…2…?

Is anyone reading this? Anyone out there at all?

This blog has been a bit neglected, I admit…but in my defense, I did kind of have a whole bout of bedrest preventing me from standing in the kitchen for extended periods of time, followed by a baby, and then a lot of time caring for said baby while chasing a crazy 2 year old around and restraining him for numerous time outs a day.

I have baked a bit during the hiatus though (premade mixes are my friend when I have a 2 year old “helper” – FYI Ghiradelli dark chocolate brownie mix are the absolute BEST brownies EVER), more so recently, AND I just received a repaired lens form Canon in the mail so I’m back in business photo wise, so hoping to get this baby up and running again in time for holiday baking.

In the meantime, I did photograph a couple of things I made that were never published so I will post those shortly and promise to use this blog more going forward!

We’re Back! With MINT BROWNIES!!!

So, I now have a working oven again. Actually, it’s a new oven. Not because of the issues with the other, but because we ended up moving forward with our plans to redo our kitchen and replaced all of our appliances. Big fan so far.

And, to break in the new guy, we made some delicious mint brownies! I say we because, as most who read my other blog(s) know, I am expecting and high risk therefore doing all I can to limit activity, particularly at the point in pregnancy which I am currently approaching. So, rather than be on my feet for 45 minutes baking, I did some preliminary prep and then sat on the couch and directed my dear husband, who really did most of the work.

Recipe from Betty Crocker using a Ghirardelli mix.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Brownie Base:

  • 1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix (again, we used Ghirardelli instead, in the same baking aisle at the grocery store as the Betty Crocker, etc.) (* Apologies for pic quality in this post – my camera/lens was being a whore so to get it to auto focus I’d have to hold things like 4 feet away from the camera.)
  • Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsps butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 Tbsps whipping cream
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened (recipe says “from 3 oz. package” – not sure why that matters, ours came from an 8 oz. package).
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 2 drops green food color (we used the gel kind)

Topping (More on this below but we didn’t actually make this topping, rather we used the one that came with the Brownie mix).

  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/3 cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine)

STEP 1: Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan) NOTE – the brownie mix said 325 so that’s what we did. Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan (brownie mix said 8 inch square and that 9 inch wasn’t recommended, so we used 8 inch) with shortening or cooking spray. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.) Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours (We cooled about an hour, they were fine)

STEP 2: In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.

STEP 3: Meanwhile, in 2-quart nonstick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or until lukewarm.

So, here’s where we went astray. See, the whipping cream we used in step 2? Well, we didn’t read farther ahead, and DH, loath to cram our new fridge full of crap we wouldn’t use, said that since we’d NEVER use whipping cream before it expired, we should just toss the rest. So we did. Then we got to step 3 and said…uh…whoops! Luckily, the brownie box mix came with a fudge topping so we used that. It was in a packet and just required that you warm it in hot tap water for a few minutes before spreading over brownies. So, we did that and spread it over the brownies/mint frosting.

Didn’t get a pic before it went in the fridge but here are the final product.


THey actually came out much better than I anticipated (aesthetically). I did have some trouble getting them out of the pan though so the bottoms kinda fell apart as we sliced and removed. I ended up discarding most of the edge pieces and had a lot of scraps (which our little guy loved nibbling on as I finished).

(Scraps in the bowl that couldn’t be used b/c they weren’t presentable enough to bring over to our friends’ house for dinner).

(The poor tray after I’d hacked away at it).

They tasted pretty good. I didn’t think the mint flavor was quite strong enough, whereas the hubs thought it was almost too strong and said he couldn’t taste the brownie. We both liked them still, we just tend to have a mint disagreement (he thinks Shamrock Shakes are too minty, I think they taste like vanilla with a hint of mint and aren’t minty enough. Not sure which of us is closer to the norm).

Hoping to be posting more again now (even if many of the projects are done mostly by the husband under my direction). Thanks for reading!