cartoon by marc johns.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownies

Look at it all ooey-gooey.
This is DELICIOUS.  The tangy-ness of the cream cheese, to me, makes this taste better than a typical peanut butter brownie.  This is also a recipe where I cheated and used a box brownie as the base.  Obviously, you can make brownies from scratch for this recipe as well.  The peanut butter cream cheese frosting is what makes the recipe special, and I think this frosting would taste good on basically anything  (cupcakes, cake, etc).

Here are the ingredients:
3 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup of butter, softened
3-oz of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons of milk 
1 box brownies (and the assorted ingredients necessary to make them)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter

1.  Make the brownies according to the instructions on the box.  AND THIS WAS CRAZY, GUYS!!! I cracked ONE egg and TWO yolks came out!!!!  I researched it afterwards, and it turns out chickens can have twins that come from one egg.  (Who knew?)

The photographic evidence.
Ready for the oven.
2.  Make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, 1/4 cup of butter, cream cheese, and milk.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Powdered sugar, butter.

Peanut butter and milk added.
All mixed up!
3.  In a separate bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and slowly add the chocolate chips, allowing them to melt.
Ready to melt.
4. Spread the peanut butter cream cheese frosting over the cooled brownies.

All peanut butter cream cheesed.
5.  Drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the brownies and combine with a knife, swirling the two toppings together.
I think the pattern looks so pretty.
Final product.
Note: the frosting is pretty gooey, so do not store these brownies in a warm place.  I actually put them in the fridge and the frosting stiffened up and it still tasted really yummy.  Makes 10-12 servings.


Beautiful and so simple.
Recipe adapted from Grateful Prayer Thankful Heart blog.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ranch Pretzels!

Ranch Pretzels!

This is basically the easiest thing to do ever.  And it is SOOOOO good.  The concept is this: I took regular pretzels and flavored them with one of those "Hidden Valley" make-your-own-dressing packets. This time I used ranch, but next time I am TOTALLY trying honey mustard; I think it will be delish.  This takes about a half an hour and you have a delicious snack.  (Honestly, they are also good out of the oven and still warm.)

Here we go!!

Le Ingredients (said with a French accent).
1 lb. bag of pretzels
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 1-oz. packets of Ranch
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2.  Put the pretzels in a gallon-size ziploc bag.  Add the oil and toss to coat.

Pretzels in bag. 
3.  Add the Ranch packets and garlic and toss to coat again.  Make sure all of the pretzels get coated.
Ranch and garlic added.

Action shot!

4.  Spread the pretzels out on large baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until oil has absorbed into the pretzels.  Makes 15-20 hearty handfuls.  Enjoy!

Spread on baking sheet.
Look at the "ranch-iness!"
Recipe Adapted from Amber's Delectable Bites blog.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brown Sugar Cookies

BROWN sugar cookies.

These cookies taste super delicious and I recommend them highly.  They are also not hard to make.  We all know and enjoy the sugar cookie.  These are the same thing, but with BROWN sugar.  And because of the brown sugar, they taste better (I think).  Sugar cookies are yummy too, but they are kind of boring.  These brown sugar cookies are not.  They are rich and not too sweet (in spite of all the sugar) and molasses-y tasting.  They are awesome!  I was surprised by the level of delicious that came out of these cookies.  Hooray for delicious surprises!

By the way, there is a TON of butter in this recipe.  It does make 30 cookies, but there is a lot of butter.  The bulk of the butter you brown before you bake with it, and that is another reason these cookies have more depth of flavor than expected.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe from "America's Test Kitchen."

So.  Here we go!

14 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I know!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 extra egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla

To the baking:

1. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted.  Continue cooking for 2-4 more minutes, or until the butter is a dark golden brown.  
The butter melting.
The butter browning.
2. Once the butter is brown, immediately remove from heat.  Put the rest of the butter in a large bowl and pour the brown butter over it.  Set aside for butter to melt.

Blending the butters.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  While the butter is melting, in a small bowl or dish combine granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Mix well and put aside.
The 2 sugars.
Mixed well, if I do say so myself!
4.  In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Flour and the baking soda and power.
5. Combine the remaining brown sugar with the butter and mix well (for about 30 seconds) until the mixture is free of lumps.
Brown sugar and butter.
Blended, no lumps.  (Like shaken, not stirred).
6. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix again.
Egg, Egg Yolk and Vanilla.
7.  Add the flour mixture slowly, stirring as you go.  Mix until just combined.  
Flour mixture added.
Combined.  The dough.
8.  Break pieces of the dough off and roll into balls.
About this big.
9.  Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and brown sugar mixture.
Rolling in the sugar mixture.

A finished, pre-baked cookie,
9.  Put the cookies about 2 inches apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Ready for the oven.
10.  Bake one sheet of cookies at a time so you can rotate the trays halfway through.  Cook them for about 12-14 minutes.  They will look underdone and the center will still be soft, but they will harden out of the oven.  (I overcooked these because I thought they weren't done; I added an extra 3 minutes and the cookies were pretty hard, so be careful not to overcook!)  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!!!