Monday, December 6, 2010

Peppermint Brownies

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law mentioned how much he likes Starbucks peppermint brownies - that got my attention because I've been loving chocolate and peppermint together lately! So I decided to come up with a similar recipe to Starbucks. If you've had one from Starbucks, you will notice that mine don't have the extra layer of chocolate frosting on top. I decided that a decadent brownie topped with peppermint frosting was enough richness for my brownies!

Peppermint Brownies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking pan.

In a large bowl whisk together first seven ingredients. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; beat until well combined.

Spread in prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Peppermint Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T. water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a medium bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or more water if the consistency is too thin or too thick - you want the frosting to be spreadable, but not too thin.

Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into squares. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To Die For Brownies

Seriously, these are the most amazing "from scratch" brownies I've ever made or eaten. My family and friends agree too! Yes, there are black beans in them, but no! you cannot tastes them at all!

The black beans take the place of oil and eggs and they also add good fiber and protein! Sounds pretty healthful to me...except for the outrageous amount of sugar. But all brownies I have ever made from scratch or from a box have a ton of sugar in them.

Ok, here's the recipe:

To Die For Brownies (adapted from $5 Dinners)
(Printable Version)

2 (15oz each) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa (I used Hershy's Special Dark)
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 (12oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Puree black beans in blender with water until smoothie like consistency. {I added a 1/2 cup of water first and then added a little more during blending}

Combine black bean mixture, sugar, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer until well combined.

Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. {Feel free to lick the bowl since there are no eggs in it!}

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. {Mine were done in 30 minutes and they were a little gooey in the middle - Love that!}

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Homemade Grilled Pizza

I know grilled pizza sounds hard, but it really isn't! Jacob and I tried it for the first time tonight, and loved it. I especially liked that I didn't have to use the oven and heat up the house.
  • Make sure your grill is clean! You don't want your pizza to stick. 
  • Turn grill on to medium heat.
  • Mix up your favorite pizza dough. This is my all time favorite recipe. It's super quick and easy and oh so tasty!
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured baking pan or stone. We made two smaller pizzas so they would be easier to handle.
  • Brush olive oil lightly onto both sides of the dough. You don't want to overdo on the oil or you will have flare-ups!
  • Gather all your toppings. We used sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, onions, and parmesan cheese. The onions didn't get quite cooked, so next time I will grill the veggies a little before putting them on the pizza.
  • Take pizza dough, toppings, and spatulas {pancake turners as we call them} out to the grill.
  • Lightly spray grill rack with cooking spray.
  • Carefully pick up pizza dough a lay it on the grill. Don't worry, it will not fall through the grate!
  • Close lid and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until the bottom is browned and there are bubbles on top {like pancakes get}.
  • Use pancake turner and flip the dough over.
  • Working quickly, slap on your toppings and close grill lid. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until bottom is browned and cheese is melted.
  • Carefully remove pizza to the baking pan or stone you used to roll the dough out on.
  • Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Beans & Rice

red beans & rice

One of my friends shared this recipe with us. I love that you can just throw it in the crockpot and forget about it!

Red Beans & Rice
(Printable Version)

1lb small dried red beans, rinsed & sorted
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 T. Tony Chachere's (creole/cajun seasoning)
7 cups water
1 lb sausage or kielbasa, sliced
Hot cooked rice

Add first 7 ingredients to a large crockpot. Stir gently, cover and cook on High for 5 hours. Add sausage and cook 2 more hours. Serve over hot rice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brownie Bites


I made these adorable little brownie bites to give my family for Valentine's Day. They really are pretty easy even though there are several steps involved!

Brownie Bites
(Printable Version)
1 family size brownie mix
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 T milk
2 drops red food coloring
1 cup semisweet (or dark chocolate) chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the mini cupcake holders in a mini muffin tin. Make brownie mix according to package directions and fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in pan 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating in 30 second increments as needed until all chips are melted. Spoon into a quart size ziplock bag. Let chocolate cool in bag 10-15 minutes. Cut the tip off the bag {just the very tip!}. Pipe chocolate into heart shapes onto waxed paper. Refrigerate until hard.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, 2 T milk and food coloring. The mixture will not look like frosting. Beat for 5 minutes {this is very important!}. Add remaining tablespoon of milk as needed for the right consistency. You want the frosting to be light and fluffy so it will be easy to pipe onto the brownies. Fill a large ziplock bag or decorator's bag with frosting. You can use a large star tip, round tip, or no tip at all. I used a ziplock bag with just the icing coupler in it because I didn't have a large round tip.

Now you are ready to assemble the brownie bites! Pipe frosting onto cooled brownies starting at the edge of the brownie and ending at the center. Carefully remove chocolate hearts from waxed paper using a metal pancake turner. Gently stick a chocolate heart into the frosting on each brownie. You have to work fast because the chocolate will start to melt in your hands.

Yield: about 48


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cranberry Bliss Bars

My hubby found this recipe online for me to make for him because he loves Starbucks Bliss Bars so much! He said these are a little more cake-like than Starbucks, but he really liked them.

Cranberry Bliss Bars - modified from Mr. Breakfast

Cake base:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup dried cranberries, minced
1/4 cup white chocolate, chopped (I used white chips)
1/4 cup crystallized candied ginger, minced

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla

2 T dried cranberries, minced
1/3 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Beat butter and sugar together for the cake base, and add eggs/vanilla beating until fluffy. Sift together flour, ginger, and salt and then add to the butter/sugar mixture beating well. Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread thick batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden.

When cake is cooled, mix all frosting ingredients together and spread a thin layer over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the minced cranberries. Then use a cake decorating bag of melted white chocolate with a tiny decorating tip (like the size used for writing on cakes) and drizzle the chocolate over the cake.

Cut this into bars immediately because the white chocolate hardens pretty fast and makes cake cutting messy.