It was a hot (brownie) mess

October 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

Today, God taught me a lesson through baking. I was reminded that even in trials and mistakes, things can turn out alright. Heck, they might even be better than we expected. We need only to trust and be patient. Every Wednesday I bake something for my house church, so this week I went with brownies. Although I hate to admit it, I bought Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix instead of making them from scratch (it’s just so much cheaper and quicker — life of a college student). Don’t get me wrong, Betty Crocker’s mixes are all amazing, but I take pride in my family’s recipe.

So to add my own twist to these traditional brownies, I added a handful of chocolate and butterscotch chips, a few mini marshmallows and Betty Crocker chocolate frosting. 

Here’s where the problem came in; a dorm kitchen only supplies one pan, and people love to steal it. Since I was in a rush, I failed to make sure the pan was in the cupboard before I made the batter. The closest thing I could find was a cupcake pan, so I sprayed some Pam in each holder, I poured the batter in and sprinkled some marshmallows on top. While the recipe calls for 24 minutes, I thought I’d better start with 10. Unfortunately, by the time 10 minutes were up, the tops were over the edges but the middles were still gooey (to check, stick a toothpick in the middle and see what comes off). Fail. I decided to take them out before I made an even bigger mess. After a few minutes of cooling, I tried to pry one out of the pan and though the edges were cooked, the centers were still batter. Oh, well.

I apologized to my leader that I would not be bringing a snack since I messed up. He asked if they were still edible, so I thought I might as well try. I spread some frosting on it and ate a spoonful. I didn’t care how hard it was to eat or how messy it looked – I had to share it. I put a dollop of frosting over the melted marshmallows in the other cups, grabbed a handful of forks and watched as people struggled but loved this melty, chocolatey, delicious dessert that doesn’t really follow any sort of guideline.

So whether it’s in life or in baking, just remember that even when things don’t go according to your plan, something even better could come out of it. 

What masterpieces have you accidentally created?

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Creative Cupcaking

September 29, 2011 § 4 Comments

Now let’s celebrate the talent and ingenuity of some other bakers in an area that I have always struggled with: cupcakes! The cupcake is no longer just a “cookie-cutter” (pardon my pun) dessert with only one way to make it. People are getting crazy and creative with the recipes they are coming up with. Although I am partial to my grandmother’s cupcakes (a personalized version of Jiffy devil’s food cake and homemade chocolate frosting), I have been blown away by what others have concocted.

After spending over a year in Nashville, I finally made the trip to Gigi’s Cupcakes this past Saturday. I had heard about it numerous times and decided it was time to go. I am a chocolate lover through and through, so I was determined to get a traditional chocolate-on-chocolate cupcake. No exceptions. I underestimated Gigi’s; the only thing I love as much as chocolate is bacon. So what do I see in the middle of the cupcake display? A Canadian Maple cupcake with bacon baked into the cake and bacon bits sprinkled on top of the maple frosting. Heaven. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Some of the other inventive flavors were Hot Chocolate, Birthday Surprise and Champagne.

A large portion of my baking inspirations come from Pinterest, a website for anyone to post or “re-pin” recipes and creations. I urge any of you adventurous or curious bakers to check out the Food & Drink page for some awesome ideas. I’ve come across an Ande’s Mint Cupcake originally from Your Cup of Cake, a Mocha Cupcake with espresso icing from Brown Eyed Baker and a S’more Cupcake from Simply Pix. There are tons of other recipes I can’t wait to try!

What cupcake inventions have you tried or come up with yourself?

Famous McNutt Cookies

September 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

Here it is, world. The famous secret recipe for Mrs. McNutt’s Chocolate Chip Cookies making its internet debut. My mother has been using this same recipe that she developed in the early nineties over and over to the delight of all who get to enjoy it. Among our family, friends and even school, the round, gray tupperware has become a symbol of our cookies. They are present at every gathering or event, but mostly just because we love to make them and people love to eat them. My brothers and I could bake these cookies from memory by the time we were in elementary school. Although the ingredients and process are simple and don’t stray too far from the usual Toll House recipe, McNutt cookies are unlike any other.

Ingredients:

1 stick yellow Crisco

1 cup brown sugar (I prefer C&H)

3/4 cup pure cane sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (mini, regular or chunk)

Steps:

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-In a large mixing bowl, mix Crisco and sugars into a smooth consistency.

-Add two eggs and vanilla and whip until very smooth.

-In the 1 cup measuring cup, mix baking soda, salt and pinch of flour.  Fill up the rest of cup with flour and add

to mix. Add the other 1 1/4 cups flour.

-Mix in chocolate chips!

-On a cookie sheet, use a spoon or scooper to make whatever size cookies you want. Be sure to place a few inches away from each other.

-Bake for nine minutes and check. You may have to wait another minute or two.

-Take them out just when they turn golden and allow to sit on sheet for a few minutes.

-Place on cooling rack for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

EXTRA, EXTRA!

Some delicious options with this recipe are to:

-Roll dough into balls and dip in melted milk chocolate morsels to make cookie dough truffles.

-Put ice cream between two cookies and freeze for ice cream sandwich.

-Spread dough in a 9×9″ pan and add brownie batter on top for a wicked dessert!

Simple & Delicious Rice Krispies Recipes

September 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies is a classic cereal. I watched my mom eat it every day growing up and it is definitely one of my favorites. It was just another cereal, however, until some culinary genius added marshmallows to the mix to transform this breakfast food into a dessert loved by all. Along with this original recipe, the Rice Krispies website contains many other fun and delicious recipes.

I’d like to share with you two of my personal and favorite variations of easy ways to use Rice Krispies in baking. They’re both quick and require few ingredients. Most importantly, they’re sure to be delicious!

Scotchies:

Ingredients:

1 cup Karo light corn syrup

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy)

5 cups Rice Krispies

1 generous cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 generous cup butterscotch chips

Steps:

-Use large pan on stove

-Bring corn syrup and peanut butter to a boil while stirring with spatula

-Add Rice Krispies and stir thoroughly

-Spray Pam into a 9×13″ pan

-Before Rice Krispies mixture gets too cool, pour into pan and distribute evenly

-Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in a bowl in microwave (usually about 1 minute, stir, 1 more minute)

-Spread on top of Rice Krispies, cool, cut and enjoy!

Seven Layer Bars: 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks of butter

10 honey graham crackers (I use Honeymaid Original)

1 cup Rice Krispies 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use Borden’s)

*1 cup shredded coconut (*I prefer no coconut!)

Steps:

-Melt butter in saucepan (do not boil) *preheat oven to 375 degrees

-Pour into a 12×16″ cookie sheet (with edges)

-Crush graham crackers in a baggie with a rolling pin; consistency should be very small crumbs

-Pour crumbs evenly over butter; shake pan to make sure all butter is covered (use one more cracker if necessary)

-Sprinkle Rice Krispies evenly over crumbs

-Sprinkle chocolate chips and butterscotch chips evenly (I always use more than a cup of each!) 🙂

-Drizzle entire can of condensed milk over ingredients (tip: puncture a hole on one side of lid and a smaller one across from it to let air escape for easier pouring)

-Bake for approximately 13 minutes on 375; the condensed milk should be a caramel color and bubbly

-Cool, cut into squares and enjoy!

Do you have any delicious Rice Krispies recipes?