Category Archives: recipes

Star Wars Treats: Bossk Brownies and Yoda Soda

A couple of years ago, we gave Will the Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking Book for Christmas.  GREAT book.  We have made over 75% of the recipes and have loved almost every single one.

This year, we gave Colin Wookie Cookies.  The boy is obsessed with Star Wars.  This week we broke it out and tried two of the recipes:

Bossk Brownies.

these were taken with iPhone (camera battery went dead immediately).  colin had been sampling batter…

It was the boys’ idea to decorate the top with the Star Wars figures.  These were very simple (no melting chocolate or other complicated steps) but very good.  The original recipe calls for white chocolate chips.  We didn’t have those and I doubt Colin would have Ok’d those anyway.  We used milk chocolate chips instead.

Bossk Brownies

  • 2/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. white chocolate chips (we used milk)

Preheat oven to 350 and butter 8 in. square pan.  Stir flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together.  Mix butter and both sugars until well blended and creamy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs and vanilla extract.   On low, add flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in chips.  Pour batter into pan and smooth top.  Bake about 25 minutes.

Yoda Soda.

Good this is.  We made these at the same time that I was making the Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars.  (awesome).  These are really cute and would probably be even better in the summer.  But we had them on a day that the temperature was above freezing which is – sadly – starting to feel pretty warm after 3 weeks of ridiculous cold and blizzard.

Yoda Soda

  • 1/2 c. fresh lime juice (took us 4 limes)
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 c. sparkling water
  • 2 scoops lime sherbet

Squeeze the limes until you get 1/2 c. of juice.  Pour it into larger container and stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Add the sparkling water and taste.  It may need a little more sugar.  Add one scoop of lime sherbet to two glasses.  Pour over the sparkling water mixture.  Your drink is to enjoy.

Chocolate Berry Bites

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I have been making a variation of these muffins for years and years but, up until now, they have never been chocolatized.  That changed last weekend when I had some berries about to take a turn for the worse and a craving for something chocolate but not super decadent.  Without further ado, I introduce you to Chocolate Berry Bites.  We all know muffins are usually just dessert masquerading as breakfast food but a mini-muffin?  Not quite so guilt inducing, right?

These are adapted from Martha Stewart’s Fresh Berry Muffins.  The recipe is pretty old (1995??).  I admit I only did a very quick search but I didn’t see the exact recipe on her website.  My variation is below.  I made both blueberry and cherry and preferred the cherry.  I usually use a combination of blueberries and raspberries when I make the full size and I think raspberries would work equally well in these.  If you despise filling mini-muffin cups as much as I do just remind yourself that it is easier than working off the calories of a full muffin.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Berry Bites

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Fresh Berry Muffins

  1. 12/3 c. AP flour
  2. 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  3. 2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. salt
  5. 1 stick of butter
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. ½ c. milk
  9. 24 pitted cherries or 2 c. fresh berries

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease mini muffin tin or line with paper liners.  Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl.  In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla but don’t overmix.  Add the flour and milk alternately, starting with 1/3 of the flour, then ½ the milk, ending with the flour.  For berries, fold them into the batter.  If using cherries, fill the muffin cups 2/3 to ¾ full and add one cherry to each cup.  Starting checking for doneness around 12 minutes.  Enjoy!

TWD: Blanc Manger? No way, Jose.

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Well, I don’t think anyone would mistake these brownies for blanc manger.  There isn’t any blanc manger from me this week nor will there be any coming soon.  One of the (critical it would seem) ingredients is gelatin.  As a vegetarian, I don’t generally cook with gelatin.  I say generally because I did make an exception for the Tuesdays with Dorie Marshmallow week.  It was my very first week with the group and I didn’t want to punk out.  As crunchy marshmallows have yet to take the country by storm, they were a total and unmitigated disaster.  I am pretty sure it was some kind of karmic comeuppance for my use of gelatin as a card carrying vegetarian (much easier to blame the elusive fates than my own substandard skills).  So, I won’t be tempting (angering??) those fates again.

These brownies, in fact, weren’t even my original plan for this slacker post.  But, as my family and I discovered, cupcakes really do need that sugar listed in the recipe.  Oops.  Can you compost rainbow cupcakes?  I should look into that whole composting business.

After almost an entire weekend with no (edible) baked goods from me, Will inquired late Sunday whether I would be making any dessert.  I was already getting dinner started and decided to throw together some quick brownies from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.  Despite the short list of ingredients and relative ease, this was my first time making these.  They were easy and good but I prefer the French brownies and Chipster brownies from Baking from my Home to Yours.   Sometimes, however, you need a quick recipe and chances are you have all of these ingredients on hand.  They would fit nicely into a brownie hot fudge sundae.

I would recommend the six minute chocolate cake from the book.  It is a staple in our house.

Next week:  Vanilla ice cream.  I have made this one more than once.  Yum.

Moosewood Fudge Brownies

  1. 1/2 c. butter
  2. 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  3. 1 c. lightly packed brown sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 1/2 c. unbleached white flour (i used a mix of AP and WW Pastry Flour)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat and beat in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Stir in the flour and mix until the batter is smooth.  Pour the batter into an 8 or 9in. square pan.  Bake for 20 minutes until the sides begin to pull away from the pan.

MONSTER Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Working on the theory that you can never try too many chocolate chip cookie recipes, here is another one.  We had some visitors again this weekend and the boys decided we would make homemade cookies.  Will has this giant set of cookie recipes he received last Christmas.  Somehow they managed to come up with a “working” pile of 19 to choose from.  Clearly, Colin can’t read because I am sure there were recipes in there that he would refuse.

P7110003P7110006 Helpers at the ready…

I narrowed it down to those recipes that did not require a trip to the store and we settled on MONSTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (requires all caps, don’t ya think?).  They were large indeed and a little crunchier than I expected.  Sadly, though, not my favorite Chocolate Chip cookie recipe.

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Flourless Clementine Cake

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This cake caught my eye over at Smitten Kitchen.  I am cooking for someone who, at the moment, has to avoid white sugar, flour, and butter.  So, not a lot of baked goods for that one.  This cake has no butter or flour.  It does call for sugar but I subbed in agave nectar.

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You start with boiled whole clementines.  If you have a box on your counter that will be never be finished, this may be the cake for you.  I, personally, found it too almond-y which is not in the least surprising since I am not a big fan of nuts.

It is very moist and keeps for days…big advantages when the cake is made for an audience of one.  I don’t think this was his favorite cake ever but it was a nice change of pace and a welcome addition to baked good-less diet.

Clementine Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Nigella Lawson

4 to 5 clementines (about 375grams/slightly less than 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
5/8 c. agave nectar
2 2/3 cups ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting, or for making a glaze

Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds. Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Butter and line an 8-inch (21 centimeter) springform pan with parchment paper. (I only have a 9-inch)

Beat the eggs. Add the agave nectar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 50 minutes, when a skewer will come out clean; you might have to cover the cake with foil after about 20 to 30 minutes to stop the top from over-browning.  I cooked mine about 38 minutes with no foil.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan and dust it with powdered sugar.

YWPWT: Christmas Time is Here Pie

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“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

“Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about…

Lights, please.”

If you recognize those lines then you will know exactly what inspired this pie.  I am going sentimental with this one.  Sure, I thought about a crazy Grinch inspired pie that would excuse any baking or decorating deficiencies I have, but I let the holiday spirit take over.

This month our You Want Pies With That? challenge was to create a pie based on your favorite holiday song.  I love – LOVE – A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I watched it with my parents when I was a kid. I watched it with my roommates in college.  One of my greatest joys in the holiday season is watching it with my kids, who love it.  My love for it even managed to survive the year my older son was two and he insisted we watch it on DVD until Valentine’s Day.

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This pie is my ode to the opening song, Christmas Time is Here.  The second I hear the opening notes I am instantly in a holiday mood.  To my everlasting delight, my husband bought the Charlie Brown Christmas songbook and plays them for us all through December.  (I would like an explanation of how we got from Vince Guaraldi to Yo Gabba Gabba).

The top layer is vanilla custard with edible glitter to invoke the ice on the frozen pond.  The bottom layer is chocolate custard flavored with Peanuts hot cocoa.  Because what do you absolutely need after ice skating?  Hot cocoa.    cocoa

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Mom and son pronounced it awesome.  I would love to have a picture of them enjoying it but, since the sun makes only a brief half-a** appearance this time of year, I will not subject you to another dark picture (for now).

Don’t you love the skating Snoopy?  My husband has a freak savant talent of being able to draw Peanuts characters…and only Peanuts characters.  He can’t draw anything else but he managed this free hand!  Awesome, I think and much appreciated.

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If you celebrate Christmas and haven’t seen Charlie Brown Christmas, first crawl out from under your rock, then purchase a TV (go ahead and get the one that comes with the DVD player – you don’t have time to shop around) and then head to Blockbuster.  NOW.  A teaser below…

Double Custard Pie

Vanilla Custard

 Ingredients

  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/3 C. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. milk
  • 3 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

Mix the sugar, flour and salt in bowl.  In saucepan, heat milk to scald.  Whisk in flour mixture.  When it starts bubbling scoop a couple of spoonfuls into the egg yolks.  blend thoroughly and add back to the pan.  Let it begin bubbling again and cook for about one more minute.  Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.  Cooll until you can add it to an already cooked pie crust.  I like mine chilled in the fridge.

Chocolate Custard

Add four tablespoons of cocoa powder or use 1/2 cocoa powder with 1/2 hot cocoa mix.  Follow the same directions for the vanilla custard. 

To make a double custard, halve the amounts above.  I made the chocolate first and let it chill in the crust overnight before making and adding the vanilla layer.

Dooonnut Muffins

dscn1362Is it a doughnut?  A muffin?  A doughffin? A muffnut (OK, that doesn’ sound right at all).

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I saw this recipe at Baking Bites and had to give it a try.  The only thing I changed was to coat slightly more than just the top of the muffin with butter.  Honestly, these were really good, especially right out of the oven.  The recipe only makes ten which is perfect.  They were good later but definitely best still warm.

TWD: Biscotti Virgin

If coffee tasted as good as it smells, I would be addicted.  But, to me, it tastes like skunk.  Yes, I know you can fancy it up with cream and sugar and complicated flavorings but then it might as well be dessert.  And I don’t want dessert to be something I barely remember at 7:30am because I need my “dessert” to function at that hour and, for the love of Mike, is that dessert done brewing yet?   Coffee is one of those things I sort of wish I enjoyed (like Brie – I keep trying to be an adult and like it but…blech).  But I just can’t go there.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like real official desserts that happen to have coffee flavoring.  In high school, I discovered coffee ice cream malts with hot fudge (sweet Jesus!) and I am a sucker for anything mocha.  I even went through a brief Frappuccino phase when I first started practicing law.  I gave both up cause they made me jittery and unpleasant.

So, I had zero frame of reference for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie.  Gretchen of Canela and Comino chose Lenox Almond Biscotti (full recipe on her blog).  Biscotti = cookie paired with coffee.  Me = no biscotti.  It has never once occurred to me to buy, eat or make biscotti.  I was flying blind here.  One thing I did know was that mine wouldn’t be almond biscotti.  I had literally one drop of almond extract and no almonds to be found. 

 So, I opted for dried pear and apricot flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.  In a bit of inspired frugality, I even dried my own pear.  It was almost past ripe and I just knew it was destined to rot alone on the counter without some intervention.

  The marching band?  More like a spine…

I was surprised how much I enjoyed these.  They were smaller and thinner than the fancy ones at the coffee shop down the block.  I ate one on Sunday (my baking day) and had two crunched into my yogurt on Monday.  I quickly put the rest in the kitchen at work.  Starting the week gorging on cookies for breakfast just isn’t a good idea.  But, I can definitely envision making these for some holiday gifts (maybe orange dipped in dark chocolate…yum).  Maybe even a little something for hot chocolate…but it’s not that season…yet. 

So, thanks to Gretchen for exposing me to something new.  Check out the marching band biscotti here.  Next week:  Pumpkin muffins.  My son already wants to know how many we are making for home and not work.   

You want (insert long name here) Pie with that?

 This was not the pie I was originally going to make for the inaugural You Want Pies With That? round.  But I was at the grocery store on Saturday looking at my overflowing cart and then at my purse and back to my cart…and you get the idea.  A sizeable amount of money changed hands at the ol’ Hy Vee.   I decided to hold off on some items.  It immediately reminded me of the scene in Terms of Endearment when Debra Winger (Emma) is at the grocery store in Iowa and doesn’t have enough money so she keeps giving items back to the snotty clerk.  And an idea was born.  This would be my Terms-of-Endearment-got-no-money-use-what’s-in-the-house-pie.  The name kind of rolls of your tongue, yes?

 It is fitting as I love that movie.  If you haven’t seen it, rent it.  I can’t explain it all here.  My husband says I have a sixth sense that allows me to know when and where it is on TV at any time.  If it were for some reason on the Weather channel at noon on Tuesday I would somehow be there to watch it.   It also does not matter how far the movie is along when I turn it on.  I WILL cry at the hospital scenes.  Now that I have two boys it is practically unbearable.

 

The whole underlying theme of the movie is how life does not always lead where you think it will (did Emma really plan to end up in Iowa with Flap?).  So, here is my unexpected peanut butter pretzel mini-pies  (that sort of turned out more like a cheesecake – but don’t tell anyone).  I had left over chocolate peanut butter cookie dough in the freezer from the blueberry ice cream TWD awhile back.  I had some cream cheese and peanut butter pretzels.  Left over caramel from this week’s TWD and voila!

 

Well, the “pies” took the theme of the movie and ran with it.  The cream cheese puffed and burnt.  I wanted a thicker layer of caramel to make it more “pie” like but oh well.  Some of the cookie crust burnt a little, too.  I was shaking my head at the poor little things thinking how can I post these to be compared with everyone else’s?  then it hit me.  I am Emma at the New York lunch with Patsy and her friends.  Keep that in mind when you are comparing.

The good news:  I really liked the taste.  I congratulated myself on the automatic portion control of the muffin size pies.  Then I ate two in 6 seconds.  With a little tweaking, it could be even better!

 

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 Crust: 

Maida Heatter’s peanut butter chocolate cookies (about 1/4 of a batch for 6 mini pies)

Filling:  (I had a little extra…)

  • 4 oz cream cheese (room temp.)
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • handful of peanut butter covered pretzels (broken)

 Topping:

Left over Dorie Greenspan caramel sauce

 1.                   Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare muffin pan. (I baked mine at 350 and I think a lower temp would be better).

2.                   Prepare cookie dough and press into six muffin cups.

3.                   Beat cream cheese until soft.  Add sugar and salt and beat to combine.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in broken pretzels.  Pour batter into muffin cups.

4.                   Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Check early if you get nervous.

5.                  Cool to room temperature.  Drizzle or pour carmel sauce over the top and chill overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brownies my A**

Take a look at this picture and tell me if youthink this resembles a brownie.  I think not. 

These are one of the “black bean brownie” recipes that are floating around.  Normally, I don’t like to confuse health food with dessert.  Never the twain shall meet for me.  When refusing to buy some non-food food item like purple applesauce or “fruit snacks”  (I love that fruit is even in the name), I tell my kids that we eat real food at meals so we can enjoy junk food for junk food.

Well, that works for one of them…because he actually eats the real food.  The other one?  Not so much.  So, yes, I am trying to sneak some good foods (and fiber!) into his diet.  I thought I would give these a shot.  Who doesn’t love brownies?

I don’t know what happened.  They boiled and boiled in the oven and never seemed to become the least bit brownie like.  I finally took them out and chilled them.  Forever.  Still goo.  If you have any clues, let me know.  Meanwhile, I will probably fold this into some ice cream or something.  I added some oat bran and raisins to Alton Brown’s chocolate chip cookies.  I will post those results another time.

Black Bean Brownies (from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional – I added it and you could really taste the coffee which I thought was unusal)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional – I forgot these)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 square baking dish.
    2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.