Saturday, December 31, 2011

Knock You Naked Brownies

Happy New Years Eve, Eve!!!

I've been doing a  little cooking/baking today for a pre-new years eve party we're going to tonight. And normally, I am not the type of person to bring brownies to a party. 

I mean, hello. BO-RING.

But I was doing my daily stalking of all my favorite food bloggers to see what ingenious ideas they came up with that I can copy and take all the credit for, when..........I found these. These brownies, that are soooo good. They will, in fact, knock. you. naked.

What does knock you naked mean, you ask?

I don't know.

But what I do know, is that you will be naked after eating these.

Because your clothes won't fit. 

But that's not a bad thing....what better excuse to go shopping for a new wardrobe???!!!

I'm genius. Stick with me.

The only bad thing about this recipe, is that you are supposed to wait to eat them cause they need to be refrigerated for a couple hours.

Buuuut, since I hate waiting for yummy deliciousness, I took a big scoop outta the pan, hot from the oven.

Best thing I ever did.

The choice is yours.

Knock You Naked Brownies
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 box (18.5 oz.) Devil's Food cake mix
1 Cup finely chopped Pecans
1/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk (additional)
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
60 Whole Caramels, unwrapped
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter.
Stir together until combined well- the mixture will be very thick!

Press half the mixture into a very well-greased 9x9 inch square baking pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove pan from oven and set aside.

In a pan on the stovetop on low heat, melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaportaed milk.
When melted and combined, pour over brownie base.
Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over caramel.
Turn out remaining brownie dough onto a work surface and using your hands, press into a square a little smaller than the pan.
Set it  on top of the caramel and chocolate chip layer.

Bake 20-25 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool to room temperature.
When cooled, transfer to refrigerator for a couple hours so caramel can set.
When ready to serve, coat generously with powdered sugar.
Cut into 9-12 servings. Or be a pig like me and cut into 6.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

I love the holidays.

I love everything about them...The family, the food, the reason why we celebrate what we celebrate, the sitting around the wood stove in my parents living room after we have eaten waaaay too much, the playing of the games with my massively massive family, the going in for second desserts after our around the wood stove nap and we don't feel like we are going to burst anymore..............Everything.

We always have waaay too much dessert. If there was even such a thing.
And I always tell myself every year after I am stuffed beyond recognition that I am never ever ever eating again.

And the next morning I swear I am going to eat super healthy for awhile to undo the sugar hangover I am experiencing.

Until I go to the fridge and see that extra dessert, just begging me to eat it for breakfast.

Don't tell me this doesn't happen to you.

Well, I'm going to share one of the too many desserts I made for Christmas day.

Prepare to die and go to chocolate peanut butter lover's heaven. Even if you aren't a pb/choc. fan, you will still die. My soon to be sister in-law doesn't even like peanut butter and she did. 

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

-A batch of your favorite brownies, from a box, or scratch. (9x13" pan)
-Chocolate Pudding, either from a box, or scratch. I used this recipe. (use a recipe that serves at least 4)
-1 bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
-1 Large Container of Cool Whip
-1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
-1 Cup Powdered Sugar
-2 Tbsp milk
-8 oz. package Cream Cheese

Make your brownies. While they are baking, make your pudding.
While your brownies and pudding are cooling, make your peanut butter mousse.

To make Mousse:
Combine cream cheese and peanut butter with electric mixer, and beat very well until smooth, scraping sides of the bowl often.
Beat in powdered sugar until well combined.Fold in Cool Whip.

Assembling the trifle:
Layer half the brownies on bottom of trifle dish.
Spread half the pudding over the brownies.
Spread half the mousse over pudding.
Spread half the Cool Whip over the mousse, then sprinkle with half the Reeses.
Repeat to the top of the dish.


Melt in Your Mouth Praline Cookies

Have you ever had Praline cookies?!

Neither had I. Until the day that I did. And that was the day I made these babies.

I had never browned butter before, either. It makes all the difference in the world. Except the first time I made these I used this healthy butter stuff that wasn't REAL butter. 

Did you know not real butter never ever browns? 

Don't even try to make these things a little healthy. It won't work.

I was standing there, stirring, and stirring, and stirring, and waiting, waiting, waiting. For hooooours.

Actually It was only like 15 minutes. But I was so aggravated it wasn't browning and bubbling, it felt like so much longer. Plus the baby was screaming. That makes everything seem a million times worse and longer.

So, I continued to make the cookies, even thought the 'butter' didn't brown....Safe to say, they came out horribly wrong and gross. 

I had to run out to the store, with the screaming, grumpy child, to go get butter. I was a none-to-happy momma.

But it was worth the 2 mile, down the road, trip.

Because once the butter browned, and the cookies came out how they were supposed to, it was SO WORTH IT.

So, don't make the mistake I made. Use REAL butter.

And don't burn your browned butter. That would be horrible.

Melt In Your Mouth Praline Cookies
Adapted from the girl who ate everything

2 cups browned butter 

2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (reserve 1/3 cup for sprinkling on frosted cookies)

-Pre-heat oven to 350.

-Place butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until deep brown with small flecks.

- Butter will melt, bubble, foam and then turn a deep brown, from the bottom up. Be super careful at this point, it can burn quite easily once it has turned brown.

-Remove from heat. 
-Take out 1/2 cup and set aside for frosting.

Beat slightly cooled remaining butter with brown sugar until it isn’t hot anymore. Add eggs, vanilla, soda, powder and salt. Beat thoroughly. Add flour and 2/3 cup chopped pecans.

-Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes depending on size of cookie you scoop out. I did tablespoon sized cookies for 9 minutes. 

-Combine frosting ingredients and beat well. Spread over cooled cookies and sprinkle remaining chopped pecans on top.

1/2 cup reserved brown butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Frosting is thick but you can add hot water a teaspoon at a time to make it spreadable if you need to.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3 Layer Pumpkin Cake

I don't care that its not fall anymore.

I will continue to share the best ever pumpkin recipes all year around til the day I die.

And when I say best ever, I mean.....Best EVER. Such as things like this cake. It is the greatest pumpkin cake in the history of great pumpkin cakes.

I would know. I am a pumpkin expert. Bet you didn't know that about me.

We had some friends over last night and I made this for dessert. I was trying to be polite, so I only had one piece, cause otherwise, I would have eaten the whole thing. No joke. 

And I was SO full. It was one of those times I wish I was a cow. I envy cows and other 7 stomachs. They have 7, right?

Don't tell me you don't wish you had more than one stomach.....

The thing with this cake that really makes it amazing is letting the caramel on top soak in, 

And it is one of the easiest cakes in the universe.....But it looks so darn fancy!

Oh, and try to not eat all your frosting. 

Triple Layer Pumpkin Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup applesauce
4 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip Whipped topping

1/2 Cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 Cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare 3 round cake pans by greasing and flouring.

-Cake mix, 1 cup of pumpkin, milk, applesauce, eggs, 1 tsp. of cinnamon and dash of nutmeg. Mix very well.
-Divide cake mix evenly between 3 pans.
-Bake for 12-15 minutes in pre-heated oven. DO NOT over bake. 
-Remove Pans to wire racks and let cook COMPLETELY.

-While waiting for your cakes to cool, make filling.
-Place cream cheese in an electric beater, and beat until creamy.
-Add in confectioners sugar the rest of the pumpkin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and dash of nutmeg.
-Fold in Cool Whip by hand until completely blended.
-Try to keep your fingers out of it.

When Cakes are cooled, place bottom layer on a plate/cake stand. Spread half of filling over bottom layer.
Place second layer on top of that and spread remaining filling. I like a lot of filling on my cake, but if it's too much for you, then I would recommend eating the rest out of the bowl with a spoon.
Top with caramel and pecans.
DEVOUR and try to tell me it's not one of the best pumpkin cakes you ever had.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mocha Coconut Fudge


Does fudge scare you?

Not the actual fudge........but the prospect of making it?

It's always terrified me. So I've never made it up until like, the last month. 

But I learned a trick. Make the easy kind of fudge. It's not called cheating, it's called being smart. I mean, how sad is it when you have a whole pan of what is supposed to be amazing-ness, only to have it turn out like poo and seize on you?!

So, un-complicate things, save money/ingredients, and enjoy more happiness. And by happiness, I mean fudge indulgence.
What could be better?

This fudge is seriously easy.

This fudge is THE fudge to make for the coconut lovers in your life.

Because this fudge, tastes like heaven.

Or, If you aren't familiar with what heaven tastes like, a better example of this gloriousness is a coconut mocha iced coffee from Dunkin's. Not even lying about this.

Coconut Mocha Fudge

Makes an 8x8 inch pan

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 tbsp. espresso powder (or instant coffee)
1 tso. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray.
First layer (mocha):Add  semi-sweet chocolate to a pan on the stove top and melt completely on low heat, careful not to seize.
Once melted, add in half of the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, the coffee powder.
Stir with a spatula until combined and fairly smooth, then spread evenly in the bottom of the greased pan. 
Mixture will be thick. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes while you make your second layer.
Second layer (coconut):
Add white chocolate to another pan and melt completely on low heat, again, careful not to seize.
Add in remaining condensed milk, and coconut extract, stirring til combined well.
Remove first layer of fudge from freezer and add white chocolate layer on top, spreading evenly to coat.
Top with toasted coconut and chill in the refrigerator for 60-90 minutes.
When you are ready to cut your fudge, fill a large cup with hot water, dip a very sharp knife into the water, blot with a towel and cut your fudge into the size you desire!
So easy!

Life Changing Peanut Butter Cup/Chocolate Chip/M&M Cookies

I'm about to change your life.

And make you gain 10 pounds.

So get your fat pants on, get your apron on, and put yo' hair up. 

Why, you ask?

Well, what if I told you I discovered the best.ever.peanut butter cookie.


neverending ever's.

yes, It's true.

Make them, eat them, and be merry.

Peanut Butter Explosion Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 bag reeses peanut butter cups, halved.
1 cup peanut butter m&m's (for variation, if desired)

-Pre-heat oven to 350.
-Hand mix butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla very well until smooth. 
-Add baking soda, salt and flour, mix just until combined.
-Fold in the chocolate chips.

-Scoop golf ball sized dough balls in an un-greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. These are big      cookies!
-Cook for 10-12 minutes.
-Remove cookies from oven and lightly press 4 to 6 Reeses halves (or PB m&m's) on the tops of    each cookie.
-Return to the oven for 2 more minutes.
-Cool on baking sheet for 2 Minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.
-These are definitely best eaten warm, but they're amazing no matter how or when they are eaten!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Me and my cousin Britt have grown up together and always been pretty tight.

We used to fantasize about marrying brothers. Or  these two guys from our favorite band. That we're 20 years older than us. But that's neither here nor there, true love knows no numbers.

We were seriously OBSESSED with these guys. We knew what kind of cars they drove, what foods they liked, how many tattoos they had and what one of the guys screen names was (remember the days of AOL Instant Messaging? Is that even still around?!), Safe to say we stalked them. 

But when you're going to marry someone, it's not called stalking. 

It's just knowing something they don't know yet.

We knew every single song they ever came out with by heart. And we listened to them RELIGIOUSLY. I'm surprised  no one in our families ever stole our little cd collection and threw it away.

But, our world came crashing down when we found out their band was breaking up. I cried.

And then, to make matters worse....they  had the nerve to marry some other girls that were not us.


I've moved on.

They just don't know what they're missing.

Coulda had us, boys. You made your spousal choices too soon before you saw what was out there...........

We've moved on since then. Well, I have. I don't know about poor Britt. She was pretty heart broken.

Gotta love friends like my cousin. We have some of the best memories together....Staying up ALL night, just because we wanted to see what it was like, having Dorito and Mountain Dew hangovers at our weekly sleepovers, criticizing every other girl that wasn't us, because we had it goin' on....they only thought they did, parting our hair in the middle and using way too much gel, making music videos to our favorite songs.......

Good times.

Thankfully, we've grown up a little, gotten married to cute, not rockstar men ( they're not brothers, sadly....but we're working on their BFF status), had babies, and we still manage to get together and maintain our closeness through keeping children out of toilets, talking married people talk, baking...........'mature' stuff.

Yesterday, I had a little baking extravaganza, and Britt came over to share in the joy.
Baking takes on a whole new meaning when you have 2 babies; my little girl is 4 months, and her little boy is 8 months. They're getting married.

As always, it was fun. And we made the best ever stuff.

Starting with these Hot Chocolate cookies.

They seriously taste like you are eating a cup of hot chocolate! 

They're so super chocolatey, yet they have that milky, cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top taste.

They're best fresh out of the oven, or just throw them in the microwave for 10 seconds to get the same effect. 

Hot Chocolate Cookies
Inspired by pip and ebby

Warning: The dough needs to be refrigerated for an hour, so don't make if you are in a rush!

Pre-heat oven to 325.

In a medium saucepan, melt together:

-1 stick butter
-12 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate (bars or chips)
Stir frequently over medium heat until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine:
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer, beat together:
-1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
-3 eggs
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Beat on low speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing on low speed until just combined.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Grease a cooking sheet. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange about 16 balls 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.

Mean while, open a bag of mini marshmallows, and a bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips or chocolate bars cut into 1-inch squares. I used chocolate chips cause that's what I had.

            Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and gently press a marshmallow half, chocolate side down, into each cookie.  
 Bake until the marshmallows are just softened, about 4 minutes. 
       Transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, marshmallows and chocolate.
Enjoy :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

My husband hates peppermint.
I mean he HATES it.

So, being the good wife that I am, I never make things with peppermint in them. Or onions. He hates those too.

I've never been a cupcake person. I would SO much rather have cake over a cupcake ANY day. Cupcakes are such a tease. At least with cake you can decide what size (very large, please) you want.....But cupcakes, it's like, here. No choices. One size. Hope you're not really craving dessert. This is a joke.

Now FILLED cupcakes on the other hand.........I will eat those. there's something about biting into something filled. Surprise! It's like Christmas!

My little brothers birthday was yesterday. So, naturally, I had to bake him something. And since I never ever ever get to make peppermint anything, It had to be peppermint. I knew my sweet 9 year old brother would appreciate and love it.

And I benefited a little. 

I had to do some research...............and by research, I mean tasting.

But really,these things are GOOD! The chocolate is soooo moist and wonderful and scrumptious.

And seriously, putting peppermint patties in the middle and in the frosting is just genius. 

Yes, I am a genius.

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes
Inspired by: bakingdom

Makes 16- 18 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
18 mini peppermint patties, plus a few more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture into the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Add half of the socupur cream, mixing until just combined. Repeat, alternating the remaining flour in 2 more additions with the remaining sour cream in one more addition (ending on flour).
Place 1 tablespoon of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Lay a peppermint patty in each cup and press down gently. Place another tablespoon of batter on top of each patty. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back lightly when touched. I baked mine for 16 and they were peeerfect!!! There is nothing worse than a dry cupcake. Better a little underdone then overdone, for sure.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Hint of Mint Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 peppermint patties, cut into quarters
Green Food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add 1 tablespoon milk and whisk on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add peppermint patties, extracts, and food coloring and beat on high or another minute. Refrigerate until ready to use.
                                                                                    Enjoy :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

I know I should be posting recipes about winter and magical stuff with Christmas right around the corner....But secretly, I don't want fall to end. ever.

Fall makes me happy.

And so does pumpkin.

I mean, really, who says pumpkin is only a fall food?! I am going to take a stand!

Figuratively and literally.....Cause I need to refill my coffee mug.

Same thing with peppermint and mocha. Like we can ONLY enjoy those flavors in the winter. 


That's like saying you can only paint your nails pink on tuesdays.

I'm sick of it. 

Pumpkin lovers, take a stand for what you believe in (related to food), make this bread, and may you live a long, orange filled life, no matter what the season!

oh, and this recipe makes 3 loaves. So spread some incredible pumpkin holiday cheer to your neighbors.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Maple Filling

For the Filling:
-2, 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
-1/4 C. Sugar
-1 Egg
-1 Tbsp. milk
-1 Tsp. Maple syrup

Whip all ingredients together til light and fluffy.

For the Bread:
-3 C. Sugar
-1 Can Solid Pack Pumpkin
-1 C. Canola oil (I used 2 cups Applesauce instead and it came out amazing!)
-1 C. Water
-4 Eggs
-4 C. All Purpose Flour
-2 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
-2 Tsp. Allspice
-1 Tsp. Cinnamon
-1/4 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
-1 tsp. Salt
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 C. chopped pecans
-1/2 C. chopped walnuts ( I didn't have walnuts, so I just did 3/4 C Pecans)
-1 C. raisins (optional, I didn't put them in)

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, oil (or applesauce), water and eggs.

In another bowl, Mix the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Gradually stir in dry ingredients to wet. Don't over mix!

Stir in the Nuts/raisins.

Pour half the batter into very well greased 8x5 loaf pans.
Spoon cream cheese filling over batter, spread gently with a spoon.
Spoon remaining batter over the filling to cover completely.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan to a cooling rack...BE PATIENT with the bread! I was not and took it out of the pan too soon and the cream cheese filling almost fell out. It was a disaster.
Store in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.

It is supposed to look a lot prettier, but due to my impatience, this is the mess I got. But what a delicious mess it was.

oooooh my deliciousness.