S’Mores Brownies

Marshmallow, chocolate, graham wafers… how can you go wrong, really?

Bakerella had the recipe for these up on here website, and I knew that I had to try them.

You can follow the directions on her site, but here’s what I used for ingredients (I didn’t quite follow her list):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 10 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 8 whole graham crackers, crushed in your hand
  • 12 regular size marshmallows

After I put the batter into a greased 9×13″ pan, I spread the marshmallows out over the top.

S'Mores Brownies

And then when the brownies came out of the oven, they looked like this:

Smores Brownies

I didn’t quite have the problem that Bakerella had of too much marshmallow.  But really, when is that ever a problem?

Smores Brownies

Next time, I will add more marshmallows, and I will cut them in half, so they spread out over the top of the brownies a little better.  Also, it could have used some more graham wafers, maybe just a couple.  Other than they, they were very yummy!

Fruit Pizza

I was making some sugar cookies to go along with a birthday cake that I was making today, and I realized that I didn’t want to have a bunch of cookies lying around.  I needed to do something different with the dough.  I took about half of the dough that I was using, and spread it out on my pizza stone.  I baked it at 375º for about 18 minutes, until the edges started to brown.

Sugar Cookie

  After it cooled, I mixed up some vanilla pudding and greek yogourt, and then topped with fruit.  Everyone in the family thought it was pretty darn tasty!  I do, too!

Fruit Pizza

Sugar Cookie Base

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 C margarine, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T water (optional)
  1. Beat together the margarine and sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla and beat well.  Gradually add the flour, salt and baking powder.  If you find it is too dry, you can add the water.
  2. Knead the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness.  If the dough cracks a lot, you will need to wet your hands to moisten the dough.
  4. Bake at 375º for about 18 minutes.

**Note – I used about half of this recipe for the pizza base.  If you want to use the whole recipe, go ahead, but it may not all fit on your pizza pan.  Use the left overs for cookies!

Fruit Pizza

  • Sugar cookie crust, already baked and cooled
  • 1/2 c vanilla pudding (or use one serving of the prepacked pudding, like a Snack Pack)
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogourt
  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  1. Mix together the pudding and the yogourt and spread over the base.
  2. Add your fruit toppings.
  3. If you wish, you could add white chocolate ‘cheese’ to the top of the pizza (shave some white chocolate).  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate what you don’t eat.

Chocolate Cornflake Drop Cookies

I’m not sure if that’s exactly what they’re called, but they’re one of my favourites.  When I was a little girl, my mother used to make them, and then I started making them.  We originally called them ‘Sharon’s Cookies’, because I think Mom got the recipe from someone named Sharon.  Possibly an aunt of mine.  And you don’t bake them, so they’re quick to make!  (And only one pot and spoon get dirty, bonus!)

Chocolate Cornflake Drop Cookies

Anyway, we used to put weird stuff in our baked goods.  I’m going to give you both the original recipe, and then my modified version.

Chocolate Cornflake Drop Cookies (Original Recipe)

  • 1/4 c parowax
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 c corn flakes

Melt parowax and chocolate chips.  When melted, add peanut butter, icing sugar, and salt.  When all well dissolved, stir in corn flakes.  Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper, and let set (takes about 5 minutes).

Chocolate Cornflake Drop Cookies (Updated Version)

  • 1/4 c chocolate melting wafers
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3-4 c corn flakes

Melt chocolate and peanut butter together, and then add icing sugar.  When well dissolved, stir in corn flakes.  Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper, and let set (takes about 5 minutes).  Yield: 30 cookies this size:

Chocolate Cornflake Drop Cookies

**Notes on the updated version**
I omitted the wax, which makes the cookies shiny and firms them up once they’re set.  Using just chocolate chips makes them not as hard.  I decided to try adding the chocolate melting wafers, because they harden nicely.  And they did turn out shiny!  I might even change it to 1/2 c melting wafers, and 3/4c chocolate chips.
 
So… there are 30 cookies.  Well, 29, because I ate one yesterday when I made them… actually, now there are 28, because I ate another when I took the picture… I may have to make another batch (or two) before Christmas if they’re going to make it to Christmas dinner…

Happy 2nd Birthday (Cake!)

The little guy will be turning two on Wednesday.  Today is the day of his party.  Here’s how I made his birthday cake:

Using an old family recipe for chocolate cake, I made a cake in my half-sheet pan.  This chocolate cake recipe is my grandmother’s, and everyone has it on their birthday.

I mixed up some frosting using Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.

I divided the frosting, and tinted the first part green, and then started to spread it on the cake.

I used a tooth pick to etch out where I wanted my ‘2’ to be.

I should mention that at this point, the dog was already outside.

The reason being for what she did to his baptism cake a year and a half ago.

She was definitely not the taste tester I had in mind.  Anyway, back to the cake.  I spread black frosting in between my ‘2’ lines, and topped with car gummies that I had found at the bulk barn.

Happy second birthday!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 1/2c flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 2/3 c oil
  • 1 c sour milk (put 1T of vinegar in a measuring cup, and fill with milk until you reach 1c)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients together.  Put in a pan and back at 350° for 35-40min.

**Note** I doubled this recipe for my half-sheet pan.  I also reduced the temp to 325°, and baked for 25 minutes.  The above directions are for a tube pan.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the case for my cake:

It’s an under-the-bed storage container that hubs found at Home Hardware.  It fits this size of cake perfectly!

Just Another Friday Night

We had a night in Friday night.  Life’s been busy, so we just decided to stay in, and relax.  My little kitchen helper helped me make some cookies.  I decided to try making macarons again, because I had some aged egg whites from Tuesday, but because little boy didn’t like them, we made some pre-made cookies.  They were on sale at the grocery store, and came with a coupon, so I decided to pick up a package for the two of us.  He had a great time arranging them on the cookie sheet:

And then patiently watched them cook:

He even found the oven mit and put it on himself!

Meanwhile, I was trying macarons out again.  Yeesh.  Maybe I’ll get them right one of these days.  At least they weren’t hallow:

But by the time I put in the ganache, they were a little too tall for my liking:

Ah, well… at least they tasted good.  I’ll get the knack of them someday!  This is what happens when the mixture is too thick.  I don’t think that I had enough egg whites.  I had measured out 90g on Tuesday, and took 45g then, and I thought that I had 45g left, but I think it was probably a little less.  I’ll keep at it until I have them perfected, and I’ll be sure to share the secret with you!

How to Make Macarons

What is that?  You may be asking.  Well, my friends, it is a delicious little French cookie called a macaron (say macaroni without the ‘i’, and you’ve got the pronouncation down).  It is delicious, and gluten-free!  I was first introduced to these by Bakerella (check out her blog!), who was introduced by Tartlette.  They are a little finicky, and do take some advance planning, but are SO WORTH IT!  It was also my chance to use this bad boy for the first time:

I got it on sale at Candian Tire for less than 10 dollars.  And I also got to use my wonderful little chopper because I had halved the batch of cookies:

Now, here are all the ingredients you need for the cookies:

That’s right, folks.  4 ingredients is all you need!

Step 1: Age your egg whites.  I was making a half batch, so I used 45g of egg whites, and aged them on the counter for 1 day.  You can refrigerate your eggs after they’ve aged, but they should sit for at least a day.  Apparently you can age them for up to 5.

Step 2: With and electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high until they become foamy.  Add up to 25g of white sugar.  You’ll have enough when it’s shiny and stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Using a food process or chopper, finely grind up 55g of blanched almonds and 100g of powdered sugar.  You may need to separate out the lumps and process a second time.

Step 4: Add the almond mixture in with the eggs and begin to fold.  At this point, you may wish to add in some food colouring.  Both Barerella and Tartlette recommend powdered food colouring, but I couldn’t find any.  I used liquid, and I think it turned out ok.  Maybe gel would work?

Step 5: Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a circle tip.  On parchment paper, make circles of almond-sugary goodness.

Let them sit for about half an hour until a skin forms, then bake them at 300 for about 20 minutes.  Mine browned a little on the edges, so next time I will cook them a little lower for a little longer.  They will puff up beautifully.  If you want to make a filling, a chocolate ganache, it only required two ingredients:

1/4 cup of cream, and 4oz of semi-sweet chipits.  I melted them in the microwave.  When both the cookies and the ganache has cooled, you can spread the ganache on the macarons, and allow them to set.

Now I ate some right away, and they were good, but I made a plate for some guests, and then hubs put the rest in the fridge for me.  They were AMAZING that night, and even better when they were completely cooled and set.

A half batch made about 12 or 13… I forget how many exactly, because I think I had eaten at least 1 by this point.  They were really good, but not perfect.  They were hallow (which they weren’t supposed to be), and they had browned.  I am definitely trying them again.  In fact, there are egg whites ageing on the counter as we speak…

Crockpot Apple Crisp

We had thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house.  Their house is in the middle of an apple orchard (in fact, my uncle’s family has an apple u-pick), so whenever we visit in the fall, we go out and get some apples.  Hubs and my darling son went out and played in the orchard and got a few good pics:

I guess maybe there was a little apple sampling going along with the picking (my husband calls it ‘quality control’).  Anyway, I told them that I wanted some Cortland apples to make an apple crisp, and I received some beautiful good-sized apples:

The first thing I did was core them and chop them.  I did not peel them.  Everyone in our house likes apple peels, and hey, they’ve got a lot of nutrients for them, I’m not throwing them out!  Besides, they turn pretty mushy, and you won’t even notice them.  I cut up approximately 6 cups of apples and put them in the bottom of my slow cooker.  And here’s why I saw ‘approximately 6 cups’.  I had someone helping me out there, too.

I then mixed together 2T of cornstarch, 2T of brown sugar, and some cinnamon sugar in with the apples, topping them off with 2T of lemon juice.

I don’t make pie crust very often, so I whipped out my seldom used pastry cutter for this next step.  I mixed 1/2 c of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown, 1 cup of flour, almost 1t of cinnamon and almost 1t of nutmeg.  By almost, I mean I didn’t quite fill up the full teaspoon.  And then I cut in 1/2c of margarine.  When it’s nice and crumbly, you can put it over top of your apples.

Because crockpot times vary, once the apples are soft, it is almost done.  We cooked ours at low for about 4 hours.  Once the apples are soft, remove the lid for about an hour so the top to crisp up a bit, and then serve with ice cream or whipped cream.