Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Brownie Base

My Favorite Brownie Recipe - or your favorite 9x13 box brownie mix


2 1/2
cups powdered sugar
tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
tablespoons whipping cream
oz cream cheese, softened (from 3 oz package)
to 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
drops green food color


cup whipping cream
1 1/3
cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
cup butter (do not use margarine)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.) Make and bake brownie mix as directed in recipe or on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.
Meanwhile, in 2-quart nonstick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or until lukewarm.
Pour topping over filling; spread to cover. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until set. Before cutting into bars, let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

From whence it came:  That wonderful gal, Betty!  Betty Crocker that is.  I was in the mood to make mint brownies and I didn't have a recipe so I Googled it and Betty came to my rescue.  (I borrowed her pretty Mint Brownie picture, too.  I hope she doesn't mind.)

Why it's blogable:  Mint Brownies?  Are you kidding?  You need to know why they are blogable?  Because they are amazing!!!  These are always a crowd pleaser.  They look harder to make than they are.  They really are easy, and worth a couple of extra steps.

Make these and you will create smiles!  And creating smiles feels good!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Homemade Oreos

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams, but cocoa weights can vary greatly) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups (200 to 300 grams) sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 140 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 55 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable shortening
2 cups (240 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.
From whence it came:  We can thank the Smitten Kitchen for this doozie!!!  And I want to be sure and give Smitten Kitchen full credit!  You can find the recipe here:

I Googled "Homemade Oreos" and this was the first recipe that came up.  I've made homemade Oreos before using a recipe that used a cake mix, and they were good, but these are better.  A.Lot.Better.

Why it's blogable:  You might read the recipe and think these cookies are too much work.  They're not.  The payoff is well worth making the filling and taking the time to put it between 2 heavenly chocolate cookies.  It's really not a difficult recipe.  Make it.  Make it now!  Why are you still reading?  I said go and make these now!

Why I made them today:  We have one of the coolest people I have ever met visiting us right how and these are his favorite cookies.  So I just had to make them for him.  Because he is cool, and funny, and nice, and so many other wonderful words.  His name is Grant Gagon, but I call him Elder Gagon, or Elder G. because I first met him when he was a missionary serving in our neck of the woods.  Our family fell in love with Elder G. and eventually we met his family and we fell in love with them, too!  The Gagons are great and we are so very grateful for our friendship with the Gagons!! 

I can't believe you're still reading this post and not in your kitchen whipping up a batch of these marvelous cookies.  They have basic ingredients that you probably have on hand so no excuses.  Go make 'em.  

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tortellini Sausage Soup

Tortellini Sausage Soup
3 links Italian sausage
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 onion, diced
½ c. water
2 15-oz. cans chicken broth
½ c. apple cider (don’t leave this out! I did once and it wasn’t the same…)
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated (great way to use your food processor if you have one)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
8-10 oz. package cheese tortellini (check the freezer section of your grocery store; if you can find it there, it will almost always be way cheaper than fresh tortellini. Also, Barilla makes a great dry cheese tortellini)
2 Tbsp. dried parsley (yes, that’s two tablespoons)
If you’re using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into a large soup pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing.
Chop onion and add to pot with garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, water, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add the tortellini and cook until tender, and then serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.
From whence it came:  My sweet as pie sister-in-law, Geralene, must really love me because for Christmas she gave me the new Our Best Bites Cookbook!
I've been having so much fun trying the recipes in this amazing cookbook!  I told you before that I really don't buy cookbooks anymore because you can find almost any recipe you want online.  But this book is worth having!!  Big time!  Thanks, Geralene!  Your gift hit the spot!!
Why it's blogable:  I have a talent.  It may be my only one but I do have this one.  I'm pretty good at recognizing a good recipe when I see one.  I can read the ingredients and pretty much know if it's gonna be good or not.  As soon as I read this recipe I knew!  And I was not one bit wrong.  I made this last Sunday and I ate the leftovers for lunch twice this week.  I would have eaten the leftovers every day but there were only two servings left over.  This soup is one of my all time favorites!  It is in on my top ten list of best soups ever!  (I don't really have a list like that but if I did, this soup would be on it.)  The flavor is great and it's easy to make.  Try it!!!  I beg of you!
Those wonderful Our Best Bites girls will give you step by step instructions here.  I've been trying to cook healthier, eat less and exercise more (so basically I'm pretty cranky!)  Just kidding!  About the cranky part.  Not about the healthier part.  That part is true.  I used sweet chicken Italian sausage that I bought at Sprouts.  Dontcha just love Sprouts?  Me too!  I made the butcher put his hand on this cookbook and swear the sausage wasn't really sweet.  He did and I trusted him.  He said sweet meant not spicy, and he was right.  And it was really good sausage.  And it wasn't in casings so I didn't have to deal with that ugly process.  Gross!!!  I bought the tortellini in the refrigerator section at the grocery store and it was so good!  Also, I didn't have any apple cider because I didn't remember to buy it because my brain is deprived of calories so I borrowed a packet of spiced cider from a friend at the very last minute (thank you Kerinda for saving our Sunday dinner) and it worked perfectly.  I was nervous to use it because it seems like such a strange ingredient, but I made the cider and added the right amount and the soup was fab so there ya go.  
Make this soup people!  It's a winner!
Click here to get the printable.
Hope you enjoy stirring it up!