Brownie Bottom Caramel Cookie Bars

13 Aug

Like most people, I like to spend my weekend mornings reading the newspaper.  Usually, this is when my creative baking juices come through and I spend my Saturday afternoons baking.  Since this has become a weekly thing, I like to call my Saturday afternoons, “Baking Saturday”.  This means that around 4PM on Saturday (give or take a few hours), I will stop whatever I am doing and I will bake up a delicious treat to be eaten throughout the week.

Today, I decided to make a combination of my two favorite desserts- – brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  For good measure, I added a caramel topping in between the layers.

 

The line up

Ingredients:

1 box of family sized Brownie Mix

4 eggs

½ cup canola oil

¼ cup water

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 3.4 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. sea salt

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups chocolate chips (Special Dark and Semi-Sweet)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Stir brownie mix, 2 eggs, oil, and water in medium bowl.  Pour into pan.  Bake for 12 minutes and set aside.

 

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and sea salt.  Set aside.

 In a separate bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 eggs, and vanilla. 

  

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.

Here comes the secret ingredient!

 

Pour can of sweetened condensed milk over brownies.  Spread evenly and coat. 

 Flatten cookie dough and place on top of sweetened condensed milk.

 

Place in oven at 350 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and top does not look raw.

 Cool completely before cutting.  Serve with a glass of milk. 

 Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

 

Fun Friday!

12 Aug

Happy Friday everyone!  Each Friday, I am going to bring you something completely unrelated to food and cooking; whether it is with a craft you can do, a movie, or something else entirely. 

Today, I am going to share with you how to make oobleck.  I know what you are thinking, why would I want to make something that I can’t even pronounce?  The answer I have for you is why not?

Oobleck is a mixture that is made from corn starch and water and was made popular by Dr. Seuss.  It is very easy to make and is a good stress reliever.

You can push it and make it a solid or try to pick it up and it will be a liquid.  I am going to be making it again this evening with my niece and nephew.  It is a quick and fun project for all ages.

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

1.5-2 cups of cornstarch

4 drops of food coloring (optional)

Mix the water and cornstarch together in a bowl.  Add food coloring if you would like.  Be careful because the mixture can stick to anything and may cause a mess in hair and clothing.  The most important part is to have fun!

I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

Taco Casserole

11 Aug

Sundays are normally my cooking days and I have been known to cook up a few days worth of meals to eat during the week.  On one of the cooking Sundays that I have had recently, I made something called a Taco Casserole.  I have always liked tacos and enchilladas and those types of foods, but I can’t really eat spicy foods.  This recipe doesn’t have a spicy kick to it, but feel free to add jalapenos or another type of pepper to kick up the flavors if you wish. 

Taco Casserole:

1 pound of ground chicken (you may also use ground turkey or beef and leave this out if you want a vegetarian meal)
1/4 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cup of roasted corn (I used a bag of frozen, but feel free to make corn on the cob and cut off the kernels)
1 bag of mexican cheese
1/2 cup of guacamole
1/2 cup of sour cream
20 crushed torilla chips

Coat a large skillet with oil and place on medium.  Brown the ground chicken with 1/4 cup of chicken broth.  Cook until there is no pink on the chicken.  Reduce flame to low.  Put the can of drained black beans and roasted corn in the pan and stir until warmed.  Add the mexican cheese and cook until melted.  Take off flame and plate.  Add guacamole and sour cream to desired preference.  Place a handful of crushed torilla chips on top of the casserole.  Stir to coat the mixture with chips.  Serve warm.  Makes 4 servings.

 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

11 Aug

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

 
I have told you about the moment I realized when I loved to bake.  It all started with some red velvet whoopie pies and I will now share with you the recipe for them.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies: adapted from the Paula Deen recipe, Cream Cheese filling from: simplyrecipes.com

For the pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
One 1-ounce bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

 
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two cookie sheets or whoopie pie pan. Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a mixer, beat the sugar and eggs together. Add the oil mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in small additions.  Add the food coloring to the bowl.

Drop the batter by tablespoons onto the baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between drops, as the cookies will spread. If you are using the whoopie pie pan, you can add up to 2 tablespoons of batter, depending on how large you like your cakes.  You’ll be making about 48 cakes (if  you use 1 tablespoon of batter). Bake until the cookies are set and firm, about 12 minutes.

For the filling:
Beat the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar in small intervals, stopping to scrape the sides every few minutes.  Cream until desired thickness.

Take a pastry bag or ziploc bag (cutting a corner off of the bottom) and pipe filling onto the side of one cake.  Be sure to put enough to cover the entire cake and top with second cake. 

This should make about 24 pies total.

Welcome!

11 Aug

Welcome!
It was about a year ago that my love of baking was started. I have always liked to cook and bake, don’t get me wrong. But one afternoon, something just clicked. I was waiting to take some classes at a local college and I decided that I would bake whoopie pies to kill some time during the day. I went to the store, gathered all of the ingredients, and started to bake. I had decided on red velvet whoopie pies because they encompassed everything that I loved- chocolate, cakes, and the color red. I set to work and spent several hours on this pastry.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a whoopie pie is, let me explain it a bit. It is a cross between a cake and a cookie and has a filling inside. The cake can be any flavor you like, from chocolate to carrot cake, to anything in between. The filling has the same idea and can be customized to your liking. It is the most delicious thing that you may ever eat.

Anyway, back to my epiphany. I had just filled all of my whoopie pies with the cream cheese filling that I made to go with the red velvet cakes. As I stood back to look at all the cakes that I had created, I smiled.

I realized that I love baking. It seems that know matter what happens, baking always has a way to make everything seem better. It transforms my day and all of the problems that I may be having at the moment seem to disappear because I have created something tasty and delicious. Everyone has to eat to live, but there are some of us who live to eat.

I am going to take you on a wonderful journey through my love of food. It may not always be neat and tidy, but it will definitely be tasty.

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