Tag Archives: Quick & Easy

Snow and Brownies

17 Feb

Hello faithful readers!
I got my laptop back, rescued from the grave. It had some kind of monster virus, but the computer people were able to wipe it clean and then reload all my pictures and documents back on. I don’t know how they did it, but I’m glad they knew what they were doing!

While my laptop was at the computer hospital for the week, it snowed and I made brownies. The snow arrived on Friday. I went with my three little brothers to watch The Lightning Thief and when we got out snow was falling. So we headed home and hunkered down for the weekend.

Friday night - view from the front of the house

See it coming down? It was really a beautiful sight, especially under the lamp posts when the light illuminated the snow falling all around. On Saturday morning, the backyard was especially pretty.

It was breathtaking. I was up early Saturday, when everything was quiet, and blanketed with snow. It was a really nice moment.

At some point this weekend, in between taking pictures of snow, I made brownies. I’m in the cake-y brownie fan club, not the fudge-y brownie fan club. Having brownie stick to the roof of my mouth and impair my speaking ability doesn’t really do it for me. I’ve got a tried-and-true recipe for exactly the kind of brownie I like, and I got it off the back of those cocoa canisters ages ago. How handy is that? And completely switching topics, you know how people enjoy the edges of the brownies the most? Some websites have started to sell “all-edge” brownies pans, with a wall-like thing zig-zagging through the pan so all the brownies pieces have edges. My solution to the brownie serving and edge problem is to bake them in muffin tins. Then you get the perfect two-bite brownie, with a ring of edge. And of course, it’s cake-y inside. Behold:

No crumbs, no arguing over who has the bigger piece. And delicious, to boot!

I was so pleased with myself when I first thought this up, and now I rarely bake brownies any other way. Muffin tins or bust!

Here’s the recipe I use:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (REAL butter! I’m serious.)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Beat in eggs. Blend in cocoa.
Stir in flour and nuts.
Bake in greased 8×8 pan for 30-35 minutes or in greased muffin tins for 30 minutes. (I wouldn’t recommend using cupcake liners because they get greasy)

It’s a pretty easy and straightforward recipe. And you can switch things up too. One time I used orange extract instead of vanilla, and enjoyed the result. You could try other extracts or nuts to mix things up. Or you can stick with the basics. It’s always a favorite around here.

Ciao!

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Food for the dogs.

29 Jan

Today, I made puppy chow. I got the recipe and idea while scoping out foodgawker.com, basically my favorite website ever. The Savory Sweet Life had posted about it and I bookmarked it to make at a later date. That date has arrived! Puppy chow is chex cereal covered in chocolate chips and peanut butter, covered in powdered sugar. It is super quick and easy to make, and contains only six ingredients!

First you take chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter, and you dump them in a bowl together. So far, so good.

Then you melt them.

Mmmm... Doesn't that look good! Or not.

Then you stir everything together and add vanilla. Everything’s better when you add vanilla. Speaking of which, I’ve got a couple of vanilla beans that some of my brothers gave to me for my birthday. I need to make something with them. But I feel so special having them. Like “Haha, I have vanilla beans and you don’t! Don’t you feel inadequate?!” Maybe when I finish admiring how they look in my cabinet, I’ll make something nice. But in the meantime, I’ll open my spice cabinet a couple of times a day and just stare contentedly at the beans. Life is good.

Or it’s super tame. Man, I need to get out more.

Back to business! You combine all that melty goodness with the chex cereal and you get this:

While this ultimately resulted in deliciousness of the highest order, I think next time I make it, I’m going to either increase the amount of chocolate-y coating stuff, or decrease the amount of cereal. I like my puppy chow with a thick coating of heart-attack inducing fun! None of this light, pansy coating. “Go big or go home,” I always say. And since I’m already home, I guess that just leaves “Go big.”

Still, once it’s coated in powdered sugar and its flaws are hidden to the world, this puppy chow looks mighty tasty!

Huh? Huh? What’d I tell you? I wouldn’t turn up my nose at that!

The recipe is from Savory Sweet Life.

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
9 cups chex cereal (I used corn chex, and next time I will use less than 9 cups. Maybe 7 or 8 cups.)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1-gallon ziplock bags

Dump the first three ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds and then stir until smooth. Add the vanilla. Dump it all over the chex (which should be in a big bowl at this point). Mix. Divide the chocolate-y chex in between the two bags. Add 3/4 cups powdered sugar to each bag and stir to coat.  It’s that easy!