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!

 

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.)

 

Strawberry Lovers Pie

Well, here is the last of our fresh picked strawberries! Sitting on top of a cream cheese filling with semisweet chocolate drizzled on top of them. This pie was delicious! As I’m sitting here thinking of how to describe to you the taste of this pie this is what comes to mind, a chocolate covered strawberry with a little cream filling, oh and throw in a bit of a flakey crunch from the pie crust! That is how it tasted to me. Everyone loved this pie and it did not last long. I will be making this many many more times. I adapted the recipe from my cookbook Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam, melted
  1. In a saucepan, melt 2 ounces chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly; spread or brush over the bottom and up the sides of pastry shell. Chill.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over chocolate layer; cover and chill for about 1 hour.
  3. Arrange strawberries, tip end up, atop the filling. Brush jam over strawberries. Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over all.

Yield: 6-8 servings

 

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.

 

 

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Here is another great dessert I served on Superbowl Sunday along with the Football Cupcakes. This recipe for Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies is very good. I found it in an Allyou magazine. The brownies are moist with a nice peanut butter flavor. Everyone enjoyed them! The ingredients are:

  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 4oz. semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 20 Tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use all natural)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil; mist foil with cooking spray. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with 2 sticks butter, stirring until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter, brown sugar, cream cheese and remaining 1/2 stick butter until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg.
  3. Whisk 4 eggs, sugar and vanilla into bowl with melted chocolate; mix well. Stir in flour and salt. Pour batter into baking pan. Spoon reserved peanut-butter mixture on top and use a sharp knife to swirl mixtures together. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut and serve.

Football Cupcakes

Here is a yummy recipe for Football Cupcakes! I had some family and friends over for the Superbowl game on Sunday and I wanted to make a fun football themed dessert. When I saw this recipe in a Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate magazine I knew that this was the recipe I would make. If you like the chocolate and mint combination than you will like this cupcake! The flavor reminds me of a Thin Mint Girlscout cookie. Leave the football off of the top and you’ve got yourself a great Saint Patrick’s Day treat! The recipe is only for the frosting so use your favorite homemade or boxed Chocolate cake recipe. The ingredients for the Mint Frosting are:

  • 1 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • green food coloring
  • Grass tip
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and peppermint extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in green food coloring, one drop at a time, until desired color is reached. Use a grass tip to pipe frosting on top of cupcake.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello all! Hopefully everyone is enjoying the Holiday season. In my house the baking has officially begun and what better way to kick off the Holiday baking than with a classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. Who doesn’t love Chocolate Chip Cookies!! We definitely all do and these cookies are delicious! I got this recipe from Allrecipes years ago, added the toffee bits to it and love it. The Ingredients are:

  • 2/3 Cup Butter flavored shortening
  • 2/3 Cup Butter (softened)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 t.Baking soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pecans (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Semi Sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup Toffee bits
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the shortening, butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the pecans, chocolate bits, and toffee chips.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls. Place onto ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake 10 minutes until lightly browned. Don’t over bake!
  8. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes and then remove to cooling racks.