Sunday, January 19, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: The Best Frosted Brownies Ever

Once again it's time for the Secret Recipe Club. Group C took the month of December off to celebrate Christmas, so we are back and ready to go! Now I have to apologize for my lack of posts lately. My husband was seriously hurt in an accident involving a bucking horse and my attention has been needed elsewhere. He has required a lot of care and we still have a long road to full recovery, but at least there will be a full recovery and that is what matters.

But enough about me... I have an awesome blog to tell you about today. The Savvy Kitchen has something for everyone. I found so many great recipes and my super secret Pinterest board is chock full of goodies to try. The Slow Cooker Cuban Pork, Herb-Mustard Vinaigrette, and Bananas Foster are just a smattering of the delicious recipe selection. And all of them happen to be on my menu this month. I can't wait to try them.

I've been on a brownie kick lately and any recipe titled The Best Frosted Brownies Ever is just begging to be tried. My favorite part of the brownie is the corner piece. It is the perfect combination of crunchy edges and chewy inside. And these brownies are perfect. Once they were cut they didn't have a chance, and yes, I ate all 4 of the corner pieces. All. By. Myself.

I wish I could have cut these brownies to show you how chewy and delicious these are, but at my house, a cut pan of brownies is a gone pan of brownies. Had I cut these, there wouldn't have been one left to photograph, even if I was home alone. But with 6 ravenous kiddos at home, these didn't stand a chance. Better to be safe than sorry!

The Best Frosted Brownies Ever

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Creamy Brownie Frosting (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Add chocolate chips and combine well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Prepare Creamy Brownie Frosting; spread over brownies. Cut into squares. About 16 brownies.
Creamy Brownie Frosting

3 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
3 tbsp. Hershey's Cocoa 

1 tbsp. light corn syrup or honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup powdered sugar 
1 tbsp. milk
Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. About 1 cup frosting. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

SRC: Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Powdered Sugar Glaze

It is Secret Recipe Club time again!  this month I was assigned to stalk Mangia.  Chelsy's blog is full of great recipes.  Especially if you are looking for amazing gluten free, vegan or paleo recipes.  There are a great variety of recipes to choose from.  The creativity of people who follow gluten free and vegan lifestyles never ceases to amaze me.  You'd never know there was anything different about the recipes.  They are so good! But for this month I chose to try a taste of the season. And of course that means something made with pumpkin.

These Mini Pumpkin Loaves are delicious!  The bread is moist and full of pumpkin flavor.  They really hit the spot on a blustery fall day.  We had this bread for dessert with some creamy pumpkin hot chocolate.

Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Powdered Sugar Glaze
Makes 4 mini loaves

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. Mexican vanilla
1 1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 tsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 4 mini loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
Using an electric mixer, combine all of the wet ingredients.

 In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
With the electric mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into each of the 4 mini loaf pans and bake in the oven for 48-50 minutes. Remove for the oven and allow them to cool completely.

Make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and water together in a mixing bowl. Drizzle each mini loaf with a good amount of powdered sugar glaze.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

SRC: Apple Cream Cheese Muffins

Hello everyone!  It's time for another exciting installment of the Secret Recipe Club.  Every month I seem to get the best blog ever!  This month I had a blast snooping around Our Eating Habits.  I love Jamie's blog because we seem to have really similar tastes so it was really hard to decide what to make.  I also love it because there are some great recipes for dishes I've never had before.  Comfort food and something new.  It doesn't get better than that.

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't like to bake.  At all.  I find it tedious and annoying to put a new batch of cookies in the oven every 10 minutes or to use a dozen mixing bowls to bake something.  I avoid it at all costs, much to my children's dismay.  Knowing that, it is a huge testament to these Apple Cream Cheese Muffins that I've made them three times this month.  They are sooooo good.  First they are made with brown sugar.  It gives them a rich almost caramel apple flavor.  Oh, and did I mention they are full of apples?  Now for the streusel on the muffin, there is a cream cheese layer hiding inside waiting to ambush your taste buds.  These are a little bit of heaven on your breakfast plate.

Apple Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour    
3/4 cup brown sugar                      
1 teaspoon baking powder                                             
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon                                             
1/2  teaspoon salt                                             
2  eggs, beaten                                             
2/3 cup oil                                             
1/4 cup applesauce                                             
1 teaspoon vanilla                                             
1 large apple, peeled, shredded (about 1 cup)                                             
1/3  cup cream cheese (from 8-oz package)                                              


 3  tablespoons packed brown sugar                                             
 2  tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour                                             
 1  tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
Place cream cheese in small mixing bowl. Measure out brown sugar, remove 1 Tbsp. and add to cream cheese. Place remaining brown sugar in large mixing bowl. To brown sugar add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Beat eggs in separate small mixing bowl. Remove 1 Tbsp. of egg to cream cheese bowl. To eggs add, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.
Beat into dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in grated apple.
Beat together cream cheese, brown, sugar and egg.
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Place a spoonful of muffin batter into each cup. Top with a heaping tsp. of cream cheese. Top with additional spoonful of muffin batter.
Mix together streusel ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

Hello all!  It is Secret Recipe Club time once again.  Its been so fun poking around my assigned blog this month!  Melissa's Cuisine is a fantastic site!  Even though I'm almost old enough to be Melissa's mother, we are kindred spirits food-wise.  We seem to have very similar tastes and I found so many yummy recipes that it was really hard to choose what to post today.  In fact, I prepared an entire meal from her blog one night then let my kiddos decide what I posted.  I tried the Roasted Pork Loin, which was delish, the Cucumber Tomato Salad, also yummy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and the Peanut Butter Eclair Cake.  All the recipes were really good, and it really shouldn't have surprised me that my kiddos picked the dessert as their favorite.

This was a really great twist on regular eclair cake.  The addition of peanut butter was genius and made it so much more memorable than plain old pudding ever could. It was a flavor you just didn't expect when you bit into it.  I also love that it didn't heat up my kitchen.  We are still in the grips of summer so this dessert was the perfect treat on a warm evening.

Peanut Butter Eclair Cake
Serves about 12

1 box  graham crackers
2 (3-1/4 ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3-1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line the bottom of a 9x13" pan with whole graham crackers.   In bowl of your stand mixer, mix pudding, milk and peanut butter. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Fold in whipped topping.

Pour half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers.  Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer.  Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

In the microwave or in a pan over medium low heat, melt the chocolate chips and cream together.  Whisk until smooth and silky then pour over the top of the graham crackers.

Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving (We couldn't wait that long to taste it, 6 hours is good too). 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Garlic Bread Tomatoes

 Well hello everyone!  I've been on hiatus lately, which is code for I've been really busy and haven't managed my time well enough to get everything done.  No, actually, I've been enjoying the summer with my 7 fantastic children.  They are growing up so fast, and I didn't want to miss the last summer we would ever all be home.  You see, my oldest son, Colton is spending the next 2 years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  in the great state of Montana.  So far, he has thoroughly enjoyed his time there and has met so many wonderful people!  Amazing, down to earth, good people.  I'll tell you more about that later, but right now, these lovely tomatoes are the order of the day.

In my area, the tomato plants are just loaded with what is, without a doubt, the main reason we have summer.  The only reason to endure the 105° temperatures is to go to the water park and eat tomatoes.  I have so many tomatoes I've been searching for new ways to use them.  I've already made several batches of my favorite home canned salsa, eaten more tomatoes and cottage cheese than should be allowed by law and shared them with everyone I know and I still have them coming out my ears!  I've tried to incorporate them into every dish I make.  Then I found these.

Let me tell you about this dish.  It is so delicious and wonderful and different that it will knock your proverbial socks off.  It really is a great side dish.  Just a touch of garlic and a hint of fresh basil topped with a crispy crumb coating.  It's a party in your mouth.  It is also low fat and really quite healthy.  And as I sit here writing this I'm contemplating how I could make these on the grill to add a smokey outdoor flavor to them.  Hmmmm....  I think I know what I'm trying for lunch today. 

So grab a tomato out of the overflowing bowl you have sitting on your counter (come on, you know you have one of those this time of year too) and give these a try, you'll love them.

Garlic Bread Tomatoes 
Serves about 4
1 large tomato, cut into fourths horizontally (Be sure to use a nice meaty tomato, or you could end up with a watery side dish)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Chopped basil leaves (fresh is best, but dried will do in a pinch)
pinch or two of coarse salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and chopped basil leaves together.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with garlic and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Don't over do it on the garlic.  A little goes a long way in this dish.  We are going for light garlic flavor, not vampire repellent.  

Then  carefully add spoonfuls of the Parmesan/bread crumbs mixture to the top of each tomato slice. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from:  Savoring the Thyme

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SRC: Fried Banana Fritters a la Mode

It's Secret Recipe Club time once again!  I haven't posted much the last little while with everything that's been going on in life, but now that things have slowed down and gotten back to normal I'm happy that this is my first post back.  I was assigned the most awesome blog!  Simply.Food is written by Nayna who lives in the UK.  I had such a great time snooping through her recipes.  They are fantastic!  I scrolled through her blog for over an hour before I realized that everything is vegetarian.  I don't think there is a higher compliment than that.  I totally forgot there wasn't any meat anywhere.  Coming from a T-Rex like me, all I can say is wow!  I was stunned by the creativity and the mixes of spices used.  I never thought vegetarian food could be so interesting and diverse.  Nayna also has a ton of international recipes.  Everything from French to Middle Eastern to South African.  Her blog is a fantastic resource!

Now this blog also provided some challenges for me.  A lot of the ingredients I needed for what I wanted to make weren't available to me unless I drove 45 minutes each way to the store or ordered from Amazon, so that limited me on what I could make.  My other obstacle was my kitchen.  I swear it's only 2 degrees cooler than Hades in there and I couldn't stand the thought of heating it up even more.  Then I saw these golden little beauties and thought "Fried bananas, caramel and ice cream.  What could be more perfect?"  So Fried Banana Fritters a la Mode was born.  And I was right, it was perfect.  The bananas were hot and crunchy, the caramel sweet and gooey and the ice cream cool and creamy.  It was the perfect snack on a hot day (we're talking 104°).

I am so excited to have another resource for our meatless meal nights and I can't wait to try some more of the recipes. 

Fried Banana Fritters a la Mode
Serves about 6

3 sweet  firm medium bananas (Do not use over ripe bananas)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. flour
1/4 cup Corn flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
water to make batter
oil for deep frying.
Icing sugar to sprinkle
Caramel ice cream topping
Vanilla ice cream

 In a  bowl add the flours and salt and gradually add the water to form a  thick batter that coats the back of a spoon.(It should be fairly thick so that it coats the banana and doesn't drop off)

Peel and slice the bananas into two lengthwise .Cut each slice into two pieces and keep aside

Heat the oil and when it is hot, dip the  banana pieces into the batter and drop them gently into the hot oil.

Deep fry the banana fritters on medium heat  until golden brown , remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Serve over ice cream and drizzle with caramel.  Sprinkle some icing sugar over the bananas.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SRC: Chocolate Fudge Brownie Parcels

It's Secret Recipe Club time once again.  This month I was assigned the coolest blog.  Lavender and Lime is written by Tandy, who lives in South Africa.  I have to say, I had the best time reading her blog.  For one thing, her life is so different from my own.  I loved reading her stories and tidbits about her daily life.  But best off all, I learned a ton from her!  I spent the past few weeks with 2 windows open whenever I read her blog.  One was Lavender and Lime and the other was Google.  There were so many ingredients I'd never heard of  and methods I wasn't familiar with (at least I wasn't familiar with the terms she used for  them).  So this month was a bit of a challenge for me.

I wanted to use an ingredient I hadn't worked with before, but that was available in my area.  So as I went through her mouthwatering recipes, I decided on her Chocolate fudge Brownie Parcels.  And let me say, they were delicious!  I loved learning to work with Phyllo dough.  I've always been a little intimidated by Phyllo because I've heard how hard it is to work with.  But this recipe helped me over come my fears and I won't skip over a recipe just because Phyllo is an ingredient like I have in the past.

I did have to make a change or two.  Her original recipe called for fudge.  I wasn't sure what kind she used.  The only kind of fudge I know of besides the stuff I make at Christmas (that wouldn't work in this recipe at all) is hot fudge.  I know it probably isn't remotely like what Tandy uses, but it added a great fudgy quality that my family loved.  Other than that, I kept things as close to Tandy's recipe as possible. 

As we sat around the table eating these little beauties for dessert, we all decided that they were screaming for strawberries, and wouldn't you know, I didn't have any.  They are so rich and chocolaty that a nice tart berry would have been perfect perched on top of the sweet cream. 

So thank you Tandy for a wonderful dessert and for teaching me so much about cooking in South Africa!  I can't wait to see what amazing dish you come up with next!

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Parcels
Makes about 8

4 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce (I used it straight out of the jar.  Don't warm it.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pkg. phyllo pastry
Melted butter for brushing

Melt the butter and chocolate over a hot water bath and mix until smooth.  Add the hot fudge and stir until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.

Add the eggs and mix until it is smooth and silky.  Set aside to cool.

To assemble the parcels:

Heat the oven to 350°.  Work with only one sheet of Phyllo at a time, keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel.  Make sure the plastic wrap is between the dough and the wet towel.  Cut each sheet of dough into 4 rectangles.  Place 1 rectangle into a well greased muffin tin.  Use a pastry brush to spread with melted butter.  Add another sheet of pastry dough to the same muffin cup and spread with butter.  Repeat until you have 4 layers of phyllo in the muffin tin.  Repeat with the remaining muffin cups, spreading butter over each layer of dough. 

Fill each cup about 1/2 full of brownie batter.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  The brownies will be slightly doughy and the phyllo will be golden brown.  Allow to cool completely.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream.  Enjoy!!


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