Easy & Inexpensive Summer Activities For Kids, Part 2

Okay, so I am really beginning to wonder where all of these cool crafts were when I was younger, especially ones like this weeks craft: glow in the dark jellyfish!

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As a kid (and I must confess that this has not changed…) I was enthralled with octopus, squid, jellyfish, and just about any sea creature in general. I mean, one of my biggest dreams was to see a live octopus… or bigger yet, a giant squid! so you can imagine that even though these are not octopus or squid, how excited I would have been to put together a craft like this. Anyway…

This craft is super fun, super cute, super easy, and CHEAP. As I have mentioned before, please visit the website for a step-by-step tutorial, but just to give you an idea these are all the materials that are needed (and again, there is a good chance that you probably already have some of them):

~ heavy-weight paper bowls
~ white yarn
~ glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint (under $3 for a 2 oz bottle of Folkart paint)
~ paint brushes and painting supplies
~ scissors
~ zipper sandwich bags
~ skewer or sharp pencil

We got three different colors of paint: pink, yellow, and green. While my nieces were doing something else, I set everything out, cut the yarn and divided it between different bags (each girl got three bags, one for every color). Then when they were ready, I put some paint in each bag and let them “squish” away! Then, while I went to hang the yarn outside to dry, I let them paint their bowls.

The great thing about this Texas sun and heat is that when you hang something wet outside, it’s dry in a flash!

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To get to the point and not bore you with details of what exactly we did, this craft is really a great one for kids of many ages (my nieces ages span from 6 to 3) and is not too time consuming. Plus, I think they would be great to hang up in a bedroom or playroom!

Glow In The Dark Jellyfish Tutorial

Enjoy!

Aunties secret: mommies make homemade juice popscicles, aunties BUY juice (um, natural of course… 🙂 ) and stick it in the popsicle molds.Voila! No muss, no fuss, and the kids are just as happy! 😛

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A Super Easy (and very tasty) Ice cream Recipe

Well I’m glad I enjoyed the extra months of no miserable heat this year, because it sure is hot and miserable now…

IMG_0800 (1)Do you ever get really excited over certain recipes? I did on Tuesday when I made this ice cream that came from an old magazine dating back to 1984. Look at that picture, doesn’t it just look old? Come to find out my mom acquired this recipe after a friend brought the ice cream to a church potluck – apparently it was raved about for days afterwards. I had seen this before while browsing through our dessert recipe collection, but never thought much about making it. I guess I have not really been interested in making ice cream that wasn’t made in a machine (yes, I’m one of those people… but I’m learning to branch out and try more simple recipes). So when looking through the recipe collection recently, I decided to give it a try. It looked good enough and then what really clenched it for me was coming across this blog, and seeing what the blogger had to say about a very similar recipe.

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My mom was right, the blogger was right: this is so good! I am now very much in love with this ice cream and its simplicity – I can’t get over it! 5 ingredients (more or less depending on what combinations you try), that’s it! And seriously, this tastes about as good as anything that I have gotten out of the ice cream maker, and bonus! it’s so much EASIER. I have already been thinking about the different combination possibilities…

But don’t listen to me, go try it for yourself and I bet you will be just as in love as I am!

Also, if you like gelato, then you have an added incentive for trying it, as that is what my sister said this tasted like to her.

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The lowdown:
I made two different combinations, both with a chocolate base and Oreos, but two different flavors. Both were equally good. By the way, let me tell you that I am privileged to have five happy (and sometimes probably not so happy..) taste testers around, it can really come in handy! Anyway, to get back on subject, one combination was a double chocolate Oreo, and one a chocolate mint Oreo. The double chocolate consists of chocolate ice cream with double chocolate stuffed Oreos mixed in. The mint chocolate has chocolate ice cream with mint Oreos mixed in and a little mint extract for more even more mint flavor.
Also, if you would like some extra chocolatey goodness on top, let me then recommend some ganache. I used Alton Brown’s recipe.

Cottura felice!

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Easy Double Chocolate Oreo Ice cream
(makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely (or big chunks, however you like it) crushed chocolate creme filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookies
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.

If desired, serve with ganache (highly recommended) or hot fudge topping.

Chocolate Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. (about 1/4 tsp. more if you like a very minty flavor) pure mint extract
1 C. coarsely crushed Mint Creme Filled Oreos (or any other brand of sandwich cookie)
2 C. (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (do not use whipped topping)

Directions
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, mint extract and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Fold in cookies and whipped cream.

Pour into a 2 quart container (a loaf pan would also work well). Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm.

Easy & Inexpensive Summer Activities For Kids, Part 1

Everybody needs things to do with kids, especially in the summer, right? And I’m not even necessarily talking about things just for mommies; I’m also talking grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any person spending some time with kids and in need of some fun and (big bonus!) cheap things to do. I am an aunt who currently babysits her three nieces every week, so you can imagine my interest in finding some fun, easy, and inexpensive things that they will enjoy doing with minimal stress on the adult party!

During my searches, I have been very happy to find activities that have fit into these categories, so each week that I (or my Mom, sister, or brothers for that matter!) do a new activity with my nieces, I will try to post it along with a link. Please don’t expect any good pictures however, as most likely any pictures will be taken in the moment with a phone/iPad. 🙂

I hope you find these crafts/activities just as helpful as my family has – some of them can be quite fun – where were these things when I was a kid??

The craft I want to share with you this week is rather genius and I was wondering who came up with this idea (whoever you are, thank you!). It is simple, quick, and inexpensive as you most likely already have most (if not all) of the supplies needed. The craft I am referring to is sandpaper art t-shirts. This activity is great for kids of all ages and is especially good if the child loves to draw. All it involves is white t-shirts, crayons, sandpaper, paper towels, and an iron.

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Don’t you just love it when you are reading a tutorial for a craft for kids on a mommy/crafting blog and they always look so perfect? Well don’t be fooled, this right here is the real deal! Hey, that actually looks like a child’s drawing on that t-shirt…

Basically, (these are not the detailed instructions, so please visit the website for a step by step tutorial) what you are going to do is, have the kids draw on a piece of sandpaper and then (you the adult) iron it on to the white t-shirt. How simple is that?

Sandpaper art t-shirt tutorial.

Here is also another (tasty!) activity that is inexpensive and so easy for kids – check it out! Although, be sure to explain it better than I did – my nieces ended up eating the pretzels fondue style: dip, eat, repeat…

Enjoy!

What are some fun, easy, and inexpensive crafts/activities you like to do with kids? I would love some new ideas!

Reese’s Stuffed Oreo Brownies for your BOTW

Summer is definitely upon us as is the summer weather. It is that time of year when some days are so hot, you can be in an air conditioned building and STILL be miserable! Ugh.

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So one would think that since it is summer, I would (a.) have more time for baking/blogging and (b.) be making things that do not require any heat whatsoever – meaning use of the oven. But in answer all I can say is, well, what can I say? Somehow few posts have been appearing (it’s all I can do to get the Brownie Of the Week Post up – and that’s only twice a month! I also have a post that’s been hanging around in the “drafts” section for awhile…) and me being the glutton for punishment that I am, have not (yet) stayed clear from use of the oven. But you wait, I’m sure the ice cream, no bake, and beverage posts will start pouring in (I say pouring, by the time I get around to posting again, it may be Fall) soon enough.

 

Okay, so what did all that have to do with this weeks brownie? Nothing, I suppose.

 

When at the store recently, my mom pointed out a package of Reese’s Oreos. I don’t eat Oreos as a rule (wouldn’t you much rather have something homemade?), and they are rarely found sitting around the house except in cases like these, but when you see something like that, the immediate thought is that I need to use these for a recipe (for the blog)! Which is exactly what my Mom pointed out.

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Allow me to tell you about the brownie that evolved from this package of Oreos. Here you have a brownie with chocolate chips (of course) and Reese’s Peanut Butter stuffed Oreos thrown in (I was going to add a peanut butter swirl, but the batter was too chunky) and a lovely chocolate ganache adorned with more crushed Oreos and drizzled with melted peanut butter.

 

The result: One of my favorite combinations (aside from this one) yet! I could have eaten a bunch of these, and would have, had I not had to share the small pan 6 ways… methinks next time I will make more?

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They are so yummy – the peanut butter flavor is just right and the ganache (how I do love ganache!) just adds that extra something, not to mention the additional Oreo’s on top…

 

Now that you have the low down, go try them. You will find that turning on the oven was worth it!

 

Cottura felice!

 Notes 

~ Please be sure to leave PLENTY of time for the brownies to reach room temperature, as they are not quite as good cold.

~ For breaking the Oreos into chunks, I placed them inside a ziploc back and used what I think is an old, old meat tenderizer to break them up slightly.

 Reese’s Stuffed Oreo Brownies 

Ingredients

½ C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 ½ C. granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
ž C. all-purpose flour
½ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 C. semisweet chocolate chips
12 Reese’s Peanut Cup flavored Oreos, broken into chunks (see note above),

For garnish:

About 7-10 Reese’s Peanut Cup flavored Oreos, broken into chunks (see note above),
2 tbsp. peanut butter, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 8×8 in. baking dish with alluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk (or mixer), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in chocolate chips and Oreo chunks.

Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

When the brownies are room temperature, make the ganache.

For the ganache:

Ingredients

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use good quality chocolate chips, it’s so much easier!)
1 C. heavy cream (heavy whipping cream works just as well)

Directions

Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl.

Heat the cream in a small microwavable bowl for 3 to 4 minutes on high, or until it is just beginning to simmer; make sure not to allow the cream to boil over.

Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes.

Whisk together until mixture is smooth.

Pour on top of brownies and spread evenly.

Top with crushed Oreos.

Place brownies in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until ganache is set.

When ganache is set, remove from the refrigerator and allow brownies to come to room temperature.

Before serving, drizzle with melted peanut butter.

 

 Brownies adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies, ganache recipe is Alton Brown’s Ganache Frosting

 

Vintage Lemon Bundt Cake

IMG_002-Edit Oh my! Have you ever searched the internet for a very old recipe – in other words, one that was like your mother’s from the 1950’s or so? I could not find this particular recipe anywhere and was in despair mode because of course I had lost the original copy mom had written down for me…. But, after turning the kitchen upside down searching for it, I finally found it, ahem, atop the slightly (I’m being generous here) unorganized bookshelf in the bedroom…..IMG_004-Edit This cake brings back such sweet memories of my mom baking in our large, sunny kitchen in Michigan and me eagerly awaiting the finished product. It is simple to prepare, beginning with a box cake mix (it was the 50’s after all) and ending with a melt in your mouth lemon bundt (or tube pan as mom originally used) heavenly cake. I have never tasted anything like it, so lemony, so simple to make and so satisfying. I think it would also be amazing with raspberries served on the side or decorating the top, because who can resist the combination of lemon and raspberries, especially in the summer?

By the way, if you enjoy reading the history of cooking in America here is an article on the history of the oft used, but much maligned box cake mix.  Enjoy!

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Lemon (Icepick) Bundt Cake With Lemon Glaze

With a lemon marinade seeped in and a lemon glaze on top, this cake is so moist and perfect for summer.

Ingredients

Cake

6 egg whites

1 1/3 C. buttermilk

1/3 C. unsweetened applesauce

1 (16.5 – oz) package lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)

1 (3.4 – oz) instant lemon pudding mix

2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest

Marinade

1 C. powdered sugar

1/3 C. fresh lemon juice

Glaze

3/4 C. powdered sugar, sifted

5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° f. and lightly coat a 12 C. bundt pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer at high speed for 1 minute.

Add the buttermilk and beat until blended.

Beat in applesauce.

Add the cake mix, pudding mix, and 2 tbsp. lemon zest and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour and spread batter into pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cake springs back in center.

While cake is baking prepare marinade.

For the marinade:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until blended.

Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack.

Using a toothpick or cake tester, poke holes around the cake (the holes should be a 1/2 inch apart from each other).

Pour marinade over the cake and allow to seep into the holes.

When the cake has cooled to room temperature, make the glaze.

For the glaze:

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix until blended.

Invert cake onto a serving plate and pour glaze on top.

Serve or garnish with raspberries, if desired.

Posted by Kathy

It’s here! Your first Brownie Of The Week!

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Cinnamon rolls? Do you like them? Do you love them? Thick, puffy, warm, melt in your mouth? If you do, then this is the brownie recipe for you (I sound like a sales person, don’t I? 🙂 ).

Even if you don’t, you may still find that this brownie appeals to you more than the best cinnamon roll. Like me. I like cinnamon rolls. I don’t really love them, and hardly crave them, but I’ll take them (as long as they’re the right kind). But these brownies? Oh, yeah!

Maybe you are wondering to what kind of brownie I am referring to? With all this talk about cinnamon rolls, there could only be one kind: Cinnamon Roll Brownies! Yep.

 

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For these beauties, I am using an ingredient that I have given nothing but a hard time to my sister since she used them in some scones once twice, and that is cinnamon chips. Don’t know what I am talking about? They are these; I buy the Hershey ones, but I don’t know if there are any other brands out there.

After my sister used them in the scones, it’s been a big joke that she keeps threatening me to make them again * UPDATE: has made them again* (in case you couldn’t tell, they weren’t my favorite). The cinnamon chips and I just didn’t get along. But when it came time to construct a cinnamon roll brownie? Well, the chips and I had to patch up our differences. I did that which I thought I would not. I used them.

So now what can I say? The darn things worked!!

Let me give you the lowdown: A brownie with chocolate chips, a touch of cinnamon, cinnamon chips to boot, and a cream cheese frosting.

Sound good? Try them; they are really delicious and a fun spin on a breakfast favorite!

Cottura felice!

Notes

~ For the cream cheese frosting, feel free to use your favorite recipe as opposed to this one; I have also used one from Sally’s baking addiction and it was quite good.

~ Also, for the cream cheese frosting, you may need to add a little more confectioners’ sugar than what is called for – however, I had let my cream cheese get way too soft so that could have been the problem… 🙂 

~ Finally, for the baking times, you will have to be patient. There is a lot of chocolate chips in there so it can be kind of hard to tell when they are done!

 Cinnamon Roll Brownies

For the brownies

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 C. all – purpose flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (maybe a little less, depending on how strong you like your cinnamon flavor)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 C. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. cinnamon baking chips (I use Hershey brand)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk (or mixer), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the chocolate and cinnamon chips.

Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 30 -35 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

Once brownies have cooled to room temperature (or at least not warm enough to melt the frosting) make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, sofetened
1 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. sour cream

Instructions

Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until combined.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and sour cream and beat until blended well (about 2 minutes longer).

Spread evenly over the brownies and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon, if desired.

Store leftover brownies in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Brownie recipe adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies and the Cream Cheese Frosting is from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball

Happy Memorial Day and a cake recipe for you!

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First of all, let me begin by wishing you a happy Memorial day – I hope you enjoy the holiday and have some time to just kick back, relax, honor those who have served and those who are continuing to serve our Country, spend some time with family/friends, and best of all, eat!

 The latter brings me to my next topic:

Crowd pleasers. We all look for them, don’t we? Crowd pleasing cake, crowd pleasing cupcakes, crowd pleasing cookies, the list goes on. Why? (which might be the dumbest question to date) For me, when I’m looking for a good recipe, one thing I know is is that if it’s a crowd pleaser, it must be good. I mean, it’s a crowd pleaser for a reason, right? Not to mention the obvious; when we take a dish/dessert somewhere, we want to be sure it will please.

Anyway, you get what I mean: we like crowd pleasing dishes/desserts.

So on that note, here is a crowd pleasing bundt cake. This cake dates back to I don’t know when, but it’s been made in my family for as long as I can remember. There’s a reason for that: it’s really, really, good. It is a sure crowd pleaser.

I don’t know if there has ever been an event where this cake has gone to and not been raved about. And, do you know what’s even better? It’s easy. Plus, it’s one of the only things that comes from a box mix that I just love – and trust me, that’s saying a lot.

The cake mentioned is a Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake, and I don’t think there is a single thing to not like about it. It’s moist, it’s super delicious, it’s easy to make, easy to take, super hard to stay out of, good the next day, gosh, even the batter is good!

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If you make this, I know you will love it – and when eaten warm??? My oh my.

So if you decide to whip this up and take it to an event, you tell me if someone doesn’t come up to you with compliments and maybe even ask for the recipe! 😉

I hope you enjoy this old family favorite of ours – cottura felice!

WARNING: the content you are about to consume below is super addicting! 🙂

 

See how old this recipe is?

See how old this recipe is?

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake

This cake is sure to be a crowd wower at any gathering – it is so delicious and moist, I think it’s the only party dessert you will ever need, really!

Ingredients

1 package Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix
1 sm. (3.5 oz) package vanilla instant pudding mix
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
5 oz. chocolate syrup
16 oz. package chocolate chips
1 c. nuts, chopped if desired (just as good without, in fact, I am not sure I have ever eaten this with the nuts!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10 – inch tube or regular bundt pan.

Mix dry cake mix, pudding mix, and oil.

Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

Stir in sour cream and vanilla.

Add nuts, if desired.

Pour half of batter into another mixing bowl; set aside. To remaining batter, add chocolate syrup and chocolate chips. Mix well.

Pour half of plain batter into prepared pan; top with half of chocolate batter; add remaining plain batter; then chocolate batter. Cut through batter with knife to marbelize.

Bake for 1 hour or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick or cake tester when inserted.

Cool before removing from pan.

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Sempre Dolce in NYC

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I just got back  last week two weeks ago from a whirlwind trip to NYC and it was amazing! Let me tell you a little about it:

I went to New York to play in a winners recital (this competition here)  at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall – I wanted to hop over and see Louis Lortie who was playing in Stern Auditorium that same evening) and while I was there tried out some eats, however nothing really worth writing about – like I said, it was a whirlwind trip. However, it is amazing how much of NYC one can see in 24 hours! One place we ate at that is worth writing about however, is Alice’s Tea Cup. It was really good and quite a fun experience as well. Each one of us (my Mom, sister and my cousin, we left my brothers to find some place to eat on their own…) tried something different and of course we each had tea. As mentioned before, it was an enjoyable experience from the way the tea is served (you get your own teapot), to the cute tea cups, to the food itself; this place is definitely worth trying if you are visiting NYC . Another place would be this French bakery my siblings went to without me – I was on a plane. Oh my. The lemon and chocolate tarts were to die for! Another must for a visit. We also made it by the Magnolia bakery and aside from the chocolate cheesecake and lemonade (although it was slightly over sweet, but still good though) there was nothing really worth bragging about. The chocolate cake was good, but nothing that couldn’t be made at home. The flourless chocolate cake was a flourless chocolate cake (I love flourless chocolate cake, but this one just wasn’t anything, again, that couldn’t be made at home) and a little dry at that. I had heard the cupcakes were a close rival to Sprinkles Cupcakes, but truthfully I didn’t quite see that quality in them – don’t get me wrong, they were good and I have had FAR worse cupcakes, but I still like Sprinkles and maybe even Hey Cupcake in Austin better.

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Other than eating, one highlight of the trip was Central Park. I know, how touristy can you get, right? I am not a big fan of doing the touristy stuff on vacation (like please, please do not go to Times Square – trust me)  but Central Park is an exception. I must confess it is different than I imagined. I always envisioned a large city park (maybe somewhat like the Boston Commons?), but this was like park meets nature. In the middle of the city. Lots of fun to be found there (if I had more time I would have liked to have tried the row boats :)). Another highlight (if you can call this a highlight, maybe I am easily amused?) was riding around in taxis for the first time. Unlike Boston, where the subway is pretty easy to figure out and for visitors preferable, I found walking or taking a taxi easier and less confusing (although I must confess that I did not even try to take the subway. My brothers did however and they confirmed that fact). But regardless, riding in taxis was fun (other than the fact that they are costly… but it’s New York, right?) as it reminded me of the old classic movies I love to watch so much. By the way, you know you are a big classic movie enthusiast (I am too; I do not often watch movies that were made past the 1950’s) , when you go around NYC thinking of all the movies that take place there and even quoting some lines as well. 🙂

Anyway, I had a wonderful 24 hours in NYC and can’t wait to go back someday. So with that said, on to other subjects.

I am posting another brownie recipe that I think you will love, but before you kill me for providing yet another brownie recipe, let me give you a little announcement:

I partially chose to post a brownie recipe today because it helps (or maybe a better way to put it would be that posting another brownie recipe is helping) give me an introduction to my new Brownie Of The Week (isn’t that just a brilliant name?) post that I will be doing every other week or twice a month. As you can tell and as I have stated before, brownies really excite me, so the idea of the many combinations that I can and am going to be fooling around with just excites me all the more. I hope you enjoy this venture of mine – I can’t wait to start!

Below are some of my creations thus far.

On this particular brownie recipe:

There is nothing that I did here that is much different from the original recipe except to add another source of chocolate. I added these. I know it’s past Easter and due to my lateness in posting this, you may not even have any left, but it is a good way to use up any extra candy coated chocolate Easter eggs you might have. I used the Hershey ones and they turned out really awesome! I mean, really awesome. So if you do manage to have any extra Hershey (or similar) chocolate candy eggs left or you stocked up when the Easter candy went on sale, then make these. Enough said. Make them, you won’t be disappointed; even my niece who can be a picky eater liked them, they’re that good!

Cottura felice!

Notes:

~ You want to let the brownies cool before eating but if you want the ultimate chocolatey experience, then I highly recommend eating them while they are still somewhat warm. You won’t regret it!

 

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 Easter Brownies  

For the brownies

1 C. ( 2 sticks ) butter, melted
3 C. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. all – purpose flour
1 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 3/4 bag Hershey candy coated chocolate eggs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13 in. baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk ( or mixer ), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in chocolate chips and chocolate eggs.

Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

 Barely adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies

Spring and Brownies

 

Spring is in full swing here in Texas and I am pleasantly surprised at the very mild weather – usually by this time the gorgeous 70 degree days are gone and the weather starts ascending into the hot summer months. *UPDATE*: since I wrote that sentence two weeks ago, the weather has now started ascending into the hot summer months…

Like Valentines Day, in the Fall/Winter I never look forward to spring. In fact, I really can’t bear the thought of it! But alas, also like Valentines Day (except more so, I am not – no pun intended –  in love with Valentines Day 🙂 ) Spring arrives and I am in love – especially this year with the unbelievably beautiful weather. One of my favorite events that takes place every April (Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival) was a couple of weeks ago, and as always, was quite fun. This year I was especially excited at the addition of classical music (although I must admit, I am not sure that solo piano works too well at  a noisy festival such as this one)  to the other genres of live music presented at the festival every year (it’s about time!). One bad side though, is that they did not have as much to offer in the way of the culinary arts as they normally do – oh well, I guess it’s a trade off?

Speaking of culinary subjects let’s talk brownies. What? Again? Is this all she does is post brownies? Can she not bake anything else?

What can I say? I like – I mean really like – brownies and they are perfectly easy to whip up on a whim. Plus I have a lot of fun making different variations with this favorite recipe of mine. This time though, I didn’t do much to the brownies except add a very delicious buttercream frosting to the top. If you are not a buttercream fan then leave it off – you still have great brownies underneath. But if you do like buttercream… pile it on! I used this recipe here and it really complimented the brownies very well. If you are in need of a fairly quick dessert or have a sweet urge that can’t wait long to be satisfied, then I highly, highly, recommend you make these. Buttercream frosting piled on top of nothing but chocolatey goodness – oh my.

Cottura felice!

Notes

~ For the buttercream frosting recipe, please visit the link above. I did not post the actual recipe as I find the blogger’s comments very helpful.

~ To make these brownies extra springy, try adding a light pastel colored food coloring to the frosting and top with sprinkles – kind of like those sugar cookie bars you see at the top of this post!

~ I cut the frosting recipe in half, and for me it was plenty, but use your own judgment based on how much/how little frosting you like.

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Chocolate Brownies With Buttercream Frosting

For the brownies

1/2 C. ( 1 stick ) butter, melted
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 C. all – purpose flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 in. baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk (or mixer), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

let brownies cool completely before adding frosting.

Barely adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies

Photos Š Sempre Dolce