Ghost Brownies

Here is a super fun and easy dessert to make for Halloween! It’s so easy you don’t even really need a recipe. Just make a 9 x 13 pan of your favorite brownies (boxed or homemade it doesn’t matter). Cut them into squares, unless you have a brownie pan like me and then it does that for you (thanks dad I love my brownie pan)! Place a large marshmallow on top of each square. Get a container of vanilla frosting, take the tops off and microwave for 20 seconds. This makes the frosting looser so that you can drizzle it over the marshmallow. Drizzle about a tablespoon of frosting over the marshmallow. Allow frosting to set for about 10 minutes and then with black decorating gel pipe on eyes and mouth. That’s it, nothing fancy. The kids were so excited when I brought these over to dinner the other night. they loved them!

 

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One-Bowl Brownies

 

 

 

I was searching for a lactose free dessert when I came across this recipe for One-Bowl Brownies in my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook. Not only were these brownies delicious, they were so easy to make. Just as easy as a boxed mix, and these my grandma could eat since they are lactose free. This brownie recipe is the perfect recipe to have on hand, you could add to it for different flavor combinations. My mom made them and added marshmallows, I just sprinkled powdered sugar on the tops of these ones. I think next time I might try a peanut butter or caramel combo.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, eggs and vanilla; stir just until moistened. Do not overmix.
  2. Spread in a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 to 2-1/2 dozen

This is the same recipe with marshmellows!

 

 

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Showdown

Last month was my son’s birthday (I know I’m a little bit behind on posting my recipes). I asked my son what treat did he want to bring in to his class to share for his birthday and his reply was chocolate chip cookies. So I thought to make this even more fun for him we would have a chocolate chip cookie showdown. I chose two new chocolate chip cookie recipes, baked up a batch of both and he got to choose which ones were best and those would be the ones he would bring in to his class. Can you tell that our favorite shows in this house are Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Cup Cake Wars? Only my son would say to me after I made him homemade belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast…”Mommy…. You could so win Chopped with this recipe!” Love it! So.. anyway back to the chocolate chip cookie showdown. The two recipes I chose were McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. And the winner was………and it was unanimous……McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie! Not that the Food Network’s Chewy Chocolate chip cookie wasn’t good, it was, those stayed at home and we polished them off. It’s just that everyone including the birthday boy thought that McCormick’s was better. So here is the recipe for McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I did not use)
  1. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low-speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  2. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated 375 F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Makes 5 dozen (I must have made mine bigger because I didn’t get that many.)

 

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

The family got together for a wonderful Mothers Day BBQ to honor all of our wonderful Mommies. My grandmother being the first, my mother and aunts being next and then me! It was a great day with lots of delicious food (of course)! I woke up mothers day morning wanting to bake, so I made three desserts to take to the BBQ. This Cream Cheese Sheet Cake was one of them. The cake was so moist and the thin layer of chocolate frosting was perfect! I got the recipe out of my Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour

Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Pour into a greased 15-in. x 11-in. baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  2. For frosting, combine sugar and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes (do not stir). Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted. Cool slightly. Stir; spread over cake.

Yield: 24-30 servings

Mexican Chocolate Cake

 

The dessert I made for our Cinco De Mayo dinner was this Mexican Chocolate Cake. I found the recipe in an old Gourmet magazine (April 2004). This cake was perfectly moist, the glaze like frosting was rich and delicious, and the hint of cinnamon was perfect. We all really enjoyed this cake.

The ingredients are:

For Cake

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Glaze

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 5 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: a 9-inch tube pan or 12-cup bundt pan

Make cake: 

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pan well and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
  2. Melt butter (2 sticks) in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa. Add water and whisk until smooth, then remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl, then sift again into cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (don’t worry if there are lumps).
  4. Pour batter into cake pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 45 to 55 minutes. (my cake was done at 42 minutes)

Make glaze:

  1. Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, then stir in half-and-half and confectioners sugar. Add chocolate and cook, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Cool glaze until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon glaze over top and sides of cake (cake will still be warm) and spread with a small offset spatula or knife to cover completely.

Cooks’ note:

Cake (with glaze) can be made 2 days ahead and kept at room temperature in a cake keeper or covered with an inverted bowl.