Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TWD--Cherry--Nope, Fudge Brownie---Yep,Torte?

I did not make the Cherry part of this week's chosen TWD recipe, Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte.  I also did not make the mousse.  The recipe was chosen by April of Short + Rose.  You can get the full cherry laden, mousse-y recipe on her blog. 

I actually kind of like cherry and chocolate together, but my husband does not--at all.  He even makes a nasty face when we pass by the boxes of cherry cordials at the stores during the holidays.  I didn't think the boys would like it either.  And the mousse, well, sounds de-lish, but I decided against the cream cheese, mascarpone and heavy cream.  After looking at the richness of the brownie recipe, I just thought we didn't need all the extra fat involved with the mousse.  Maybe someday.  Yes, I'm sure someday we'll "NEED" that fat.  (eye roll)

SO, I halved the brownie recipe, scooped three ounces of batter into six ramekins, injected (with a pastry bag) the batter of each one with some ooey, melty caramel (12 unwrapped caramels and 1 1/2 tablespoons cream--melted together).  I wanted them to be more on the underdone side, so they baked for 19 minutes. 


Mmm, grab a fork and dig in.   Um, no, not yet.  They need something more.  Okay, my plan all along was turtles!  I don't know what it is, but I've really been in to caramel lately (my recent Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Rice Krispies Treats and Halloween Oreo Caramel Rice Krispies Treats to name a few things).  I almost feel like I cannot have something caramel without nuts, specifically pecans.  BUT, I made these individually like this so the boys could all have a snack and we have a few here who don't like nuts (or so they say ;).  So I removed the brownies from each ramekin with just a little lifting with a spoon and they all came out nicely.  (Whew.)



Um---YUM!  But, that's not all!  Since I was skipping the mousse, I wanted to "challenge" myself with something, so I did something I hadn't done before and I whipped some cream (using  my arm and hand, a whisk, a bowl, some cream and a tablespoon of powdered sugar).  I feel a little proud about this!  After just a short time and a little arm pain, I had fresh whipped cream!



Some may know, I grew up a Cool Whip girl and I cringe a little to tell you that well, I still prefer Cool Whip to the real stuff.  But we had the fresh real stuff with these brownies!  After a nice dollop of whipped cream, whoever wanted to sprinkled a generous amount of pecans over the top and then just because it seemed like the right thing to do, another drizzle of some caramel.  Oh, and the boys, of course, had to have some sprinkles on theirs!



This. was. good!




I would now like to try this recipe as just some regular brownies sometime.  Thanks for the fun pick, April.  Feel free to check out the other "tortes" at the Tuesday's With Dorie blog.  I can't wait to see all the mousse tortes out there!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Very Random Post Because I'm a Little Behind and Some Blogger Linky Love


Lil' Smokies Mummies--the boys loved these.  Lil' Smokies sausages and Pillsbury crescent rolls cut into thin strips.  Spooky eyes those mummies!  Wait a second, those aren't mummies, those are babies wrapped in swaddling clothes.  No.  Okay, they're mummies.

And I made mummy pizza for dinner tonight.


Used string cheese for the cheese.  Guess what Parker wants to be for Halloween?  Yep, a mummy.  I don't know if I can get the string cheese to wrap all the way around him.  Hmm, Pillsbury crescent rolls?  No.  Well, ya'll are no fun.  I'll have to see what else we can come up with! ;)  Okay, moving on.

I didn't take any photos, but I made this delicious Black Bean and Sweet Corn Soup with Cilantro and Lime that I found at Maria's blog, Two Peas and their Pod.  It was SO good.  I cut her recipe in half and added some chopped chicken for a little added protein.  I even made homemade tortilla strips as Maria suggested.  Love them.  Great recipe.

I also made a yummy Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Soup from Nick's blog, The Peanut Butter Boy.  It's a thick soup and I even added an extra cup of chicken broth, but it also makes a great sauce for pasta.  I enjoyed on top of some spaghetti squash and with some sauteed spinach stirred in.  Good stuff--the peanut butter in it was awesome!




Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Nutella), recipe from Holly at Phe/MOM/enon, which she got from a Gale Gand book.  This is so good!  It "hardens" up a little a few days after making it, but is still spreadable.  It has a little bit stronger hazelnut flavor, but it's good.  If you love Nutella, you've gotta try this.



Taylor's birthday.  Believe it or not, I didn't post very many pictures from his actual  birthday.  He wanted to make his own cake--chocolate, and decorate it.  And decorate it he did!  I let him go to town with the sprinkles!


We  made the ever popular and simple Crazy Cake.  Where did I originally get this recipe?  None other than--Anna at Cookie Madness.  It's made right in the baking pan. 


I let him do this last year, too.  Whatever holiday sprinkles I had, he sprinkled them.  You're only 6 once, so live it up!




I love this next picture.  Parker found a couple of cool rocks at school.  He decided to wrap them up and give them to Taylor for his birthday.  He worked so hard on the "card" he made to wrap them in and give them to him and was so excited.  That's true brotherly love.







Another birthday--over.


These are some really good Blue Cornmeal Pancakes I made recently.  I got the recipe from Marye at Baking Delights.  She made hers with blueberries.  I did not.  But these are good.  Guess where the recipe is from?  Mesa Grill's Cookbook.  Marye added lemon zest.  So did I.  These were good pancakes.



This little stinker.  He was being awfully quiet the other day.  Never a good sign.  He got Kevin's laptop off the floor near the bed, got up on the bed and was working on something very important, just like Daddy does!



If that's not the look of a Little Stinker, I don't know what is!


He's starting to not like me taking so many pictures of him, especially when he's "in trouble".  Love this little stinker!


Hang on, I'm almost done.  For now.

My friend April came to visit and brought me these awesome cookies.  The boys gobbled them up!  April has many talents, one of which is cake and cookie decorating.  I thought these were awesome!  Thanks, April.


When April brought me those cookies, another friend of mine,  Meagan, came with her.  Meagan has a fun blog called Domestic Wonder.  She brought me some cookies, too.  They are good and different.  They are made with a spice cake mix.  I've made cake mix cookies before--chocolate and yellow cake mixes.  But I'd have never thought to try spice cake.  Check out the recipe on her blog.  She also posts other recipes and lots of fun, cute, easy ideas of crafts and activities to do with kids.  She has a cute little boy who is two and another one on the way!  Thanks for the cookies, Meagan!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Oreo Caramel Rice Krispies Treats


Really, need I say more?  Rice Krispies Treats with a thin Oreo cookie layer on the bottom, Halloween Oreos broken up and mixed in the treats, a layer of gooey caramel with a chocolate ganache on top--Halloween Oreo Caramel Rice Krispies Treats!

I feel like these didn't photograph as well as the Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Rice Krispies Treats I recently made and posted, but if you like Oreos, these are awesome!  These, as well as the others, seem so rich to me that just a small cut square is a perfect bite (or two).  And then, try not to snitch a little more.  To me, these are like having a Fun Size candy bar and they are SO good!  I'm just going to say--play around with the Rice Krispies Treat recipe, you'll be surprised and amazed and how many good and different options there are for them.  They are one of my favorite goodies to make--and so easy--no baking required.  You could leave off the caramel and chocolate ganache and just add Oreos to the Rice Krispies, but dang, that caramel is good!

I like these refrigerated, the caramel is still gooey, but more set, but I also love when they are room temperature and the caramel is more ooey gooey!  You decide.  Wanna know what I did to make these?  Okay.

Halloween Oreo Caramel Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

10 Oreo cookies

2 tablespoons butter, melted

9 ounces marshmallows

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces (4-5 cups) Rice Krispies Cereal

7 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped

24 caramel candies, unwrapped (duh!)

1/4 cup cream

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

4 tablespoons cream

More Oreo cookies for top (4-6), broken up or chopped

Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In bowl of food processor, grind Oreos finely.  Add melted butter and combine together.  Sprinkle into pan and flatten evenly.  Set aside.

Melt marshmallow and butter in large saucepan or microwave safe bowl and stir until combined well.  Add cereal and mix well.  Fold in the 7 chopped cookies.  Spread in pan over Oreo layer.  Press down evenly using a potato masher sprayed with cooking spray--works great! 

In small saucepan, melt caramels and cream together until smooth and gooey.  Pour over Rice Krispies.  In small microwaveable bowl (or small saucepan), heat cream to just boiling.  Pour over chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.  Let sit for a minute, then stir with a wire whisk until smooth and glossy.  Spread over caramel layer.  Sprinkle with broken/chopped Oreos.  Put in refrigerator until chocolate layer is hardened and set.  Remove from pan using foil edges.  Cut into desired size pieces.


These are as good as you are thinking! 

Oh, I meant to tell you the reason I decided to do an Oreo crust on the bottom of these.  The day I made them, I received this----in the mail.


I received this fun, cute 4-cup food processor from Cuisinart.  When I attended the Food BlogHer Conference last month in San Francisco, they gave us a coupon for one of these food processors!  How cool is that?  I was excited to try it out and had to grind up some Oreos!  I like that it is small, sometimes I just don't need to get out my big processor.  Thanks, Cuisinart and BlogHer!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TWD--Sweet Potato Biscuits and/or Pumpkin Biscuits

I made half a batch of the Sweet Potato Biscuits chosen by Erin of Prudence Pennywise for Tuesday's With Dorie this week.  They are good biscuits, but I learned that no one here really likes biscuits.  Well, I do.  But I shouldn't eat half a batch of sweet potato biscuits.  I only wish they actually taste like sweet potatoes.  I didn't think they really had much more of a taste than regular biscuits.  I used real steamed sweet potatoes that I pureed, instead of canned.  I pulsed the dry ingredients and cold butter in the food processor, carefully.  It worked great.  I carefully folding the sweet potato in with a fork.  I also added about 1/2 tablespoon of cream to get the dough together and moist.  And I added a pinch of nutmeg.  (Can't taste it.)   **Update, write up was Monday.  Tuesday--today, the sweet potato in the biscuits is much more noticeable in taste!  There may be some peanut butter on these in the very near future!


I thought these were good warm out of the oven with some butter.  Good pick, Erin, I'm glad I made these.

But that's not the end of the story.

On Saturday, we had a little birthday party for Taylor, it was the one where friends are invited.  I planned it a little too late to get very many of his friends to come.  But I think it worked out great.  His best little buddy, Joey came and together with Scott and Parker, we helped them each carve a pumpkin and then as Taylor wanted, they all got to frost and decorate a cupcake.

Picture intermission----



Taylor and Kevin thought it was fun to leave some of the guts hanging out of the pumpkin's face.  Taylor and Joey drew a picture of a jack-o-lantern face on a piece of paper and Kevin and I cut them out.


Kevin actually got Scott to pose for a picture and it looks good.  This is rare.  Yay!  Scott cut his pumpkin all by himself, although he made me do most of the gutting.  No one likes to gut a pumpkin.  Go figure.  Actually, I loathe it, too.


Parker drew his face on a piece of paper, too, and we used a star cutter to cut one of the eyes.  He did some of the cutting himself and I helped with some.


Sam napped through the pumpkin carving (thank goodness!), but he was excited to see them when he woke up.  I love this next photo.  Sam LOVES the Flip Camera, which I affectionately called "The Bertolli"  (Thanks BlogHer and Bertolli who gave me the camera when I got to go to the dinner sponsored by Bertolli at St. Supery Winery on my trip to San Francisco last month.)  Sam can use the camera with ease and he's only 2!  He gets it out of my purse now when we're at the store (instead of my cell phone, which would drive me nuts!).  Anyway, Sam grabbed "the Bertolli" so he could take pictures of the pumpkins just like his Daddy was.  I love how you can see their reflection in the (dirty) window in this picture.


The cupcakes I made were from a yellow cake mix.  But I decided to make part of the batter orange (in color) and part of it I added some cocoa.  This is what the cupcakes turned out like.


I made some chocolate frosting using the recipe on the Hershey's cocoa container.  The boys when to town.



It's all about the candy and sprinkles on top at our house!






Sam's got "The Bertolli" right there with him.


Didn't they all do a great job?  Oh, kidding, these are the ones I did.

Back to TWD Biscuits!  I decided just for the heck of it that after carving four nice sized pumpkins to just cut off the flesh from all the eyes, noses and mouths and cook the pumpkin and use it for the biscuits.  It made exactly one cup of pumpkin puree that I drained in a tea towel in the fridge overnight.  It was perfect puree.

But if you know me, I didn't just make regular pumpkin biscuits.  (No, I didn't add chocolate this time, although, hmmm? ;)

I wanted the biscuits to be kind of scone-like and I wanted to really get a sweet cinnamon flavor.  While again I didn't think the pumpkin taste was very noticeable, I did get some really nice "biscuits" that were even better the next day!

Here's the biscuits after I just brushed the tops with some cream and sprinkled some turbinado sugar on them.


Then I tried them as I sometimes think of biscuits--with butter and honey.


Good, but still not what I wanted. 

THIS is what I wanted them to be like.


I made a very simple icing with powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, a little cream and some cinnamon.  These were great!  Dorie mentions that these are good when completely cool.  I thought these were even great the next day.  They were flaky, but dense and moist and the icing added just the sweetness I was looking for.  I had read on the P&Q board that Laurie had asked Dorie about using pumpkin and she said to add some extra flour and sugar.  So I did. 

I iced 9 of the 15 biscuits.  I also added cinnamon to the dough, but not quite enough.  Would I make these again?  Probably, as they seemed to be a perfect, quick way to make a breakfast treat when there's just not enough time for cinnamon rolls.  So thanks again for the fun pick this week, Erin!  Check out the other TWD blogger's biscuits, too!

Come back later this week for some more amazing Rice Krispy Treats I've made.  In case you missed it, I recently made and posted these killer treats!  If you can imagine it, I've kicked them up another notch!