Monday, May 25, 2009
Lunchbox brownies are not too cakey so that they go stale, but they're not too fudgy so that they make a huge mess. They sit comfortably in the middle. Evidently, the middle is good.
According to my hubby (self-renowned foodie) these are just the very best brownies he has ever put in his belly. He actually demanded that I make another batch "as soon as possible.....which means today" (since the first batch is already gone, partly due to him and partly due to our Family celebration yesterday)
Now, I did follow the recipe exactly.....until it came to the "additions". I threw in (no kind of actual measurement) some milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and a little chopped pecan. Yummy.
This recipe was super easy to make and pretty quick. It makes a full 9 X 13 pan, so enough to go around a decent size crowd (or a couple of serious brownie lovers). They aren't too rich that you have to eat a teeny piece, but they're fudgy enough to satisfy the chocolate lover. A really good and happy medium.
Wanna make them? Here ya go:
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 C sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 9 X 13 pan; set it aside
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside
3. Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl and put in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat at 15 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. (You can also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter together, if you prefer)
4. Beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture with a whisk or with an electric mixer at medium speed (I recommend the electric mixer, you'll see why in just a second); continue beating until the mixture is well-blended. (About 6 minutes by hand or 3 minutes with the mixer) Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to be thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. After beating in the third egg for 1 minute, beat in the vanilla.
5. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Do not beat, although the batter will be very thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it gently to the corners.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Set the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 min - 1 hour.
7. Cut and serve. This will make 24 - 2 1/4 X 2 1/8 brownies.
*After cooling completely, you can wrap with plastic wrap and they'll stay fresh for up to 2 days. If you wrap them (individually) tightly with wax paper and seal in a freezer-safe bag, they can freeze for up to 4 months (allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving).
**To vary this recipe:
Whisk one of the following spices into the flour mixture - 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp ground mace.
Add one of the following flavorings with the vanilla - 2 tsp banana extract; 2 tsp orange extract; 1 1/2 tsp maple extract.
Stir in 1 1/4 C of any of the following mix-ins (or 1 1/4 C of any combination of the following) with the flour mixture - chopped candy bars; honey-roasted walnuts; chopped malted milk balls; chopped pecans; chopped hazelnuts; cocoa nibs; crumbled Oreo cookies; dried blueberries; dried cranberries; milk chocolate chips; peanut butter chips; white chocolate chips; pinenuts; Raisinets; shredded coconut; shelled sunflower seeds; plain or chocolate-covered espresso beans; or just about anything you love!
I leave you with a bite:
PS) Don't forget to enter to win Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook here.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Delicious. Trust me. The best blueberry muffins....ever.
First, I don't think I've ever had a blueberry muffin with pecans in them. Another thing, these babies have another addition - a brown sugar surprise....baked in. Yummy.
The recipe I found didn't say how many muffins would be made, but I was able to get 12 regular size muffins and this cute little ring, too.
The ring would serve another 4 - 5 people, I'd say. Though, if you wanted to stick to all muffins, you could easily get 15 - 17 muffins out of the batter.
The inside is so wonderful! Baked to perfection, honestly. There is a nice blend of cinnamon with blueberry and pecan. Wanna see the inside? Here, I tore a piece of the ring just for you:
Wanna try them at your house? Here you go baby:
Blueberry Pecan Muffins with Brown Sugar
2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 C buttermilk
1/2 C oil
1 Xtra lg egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 F
Combine flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in large bowl
Whisk buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Refrigerate batter for 10 minutes before scooping into the muffin liners.
Mix 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar, 1 Tbsp flour, and 1 Tbsp softened butter with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle about 1 tsp over each muffin. Top with additional pecans (if desired).
Bake muffins for about 20 minutes or until toothpick test is clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
*The brown sugar mixture will sink into the muffins and create little pockets of deliciousness. You could easily skip that step if you don't want the pockets.*
PS) Don't forget to enter to win Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook here.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Cheesecake can make me happy after a horrible day. Cheesecake can make me smile while I'm crying. Cheesecake makes me feel loved. There. I said it. Eating cheesecake makes me feel loved. So, it is only right that I love it back, right?
Well, no matter which side of the fence you're on for that one, I'm sure you'll love this:
Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake
This, my friends, is like eating a little (or giant, either way is fine with me) piece of Heaven! Now, as much as I love cheesecake....I love peanut butter, too. Putting the two together is, well, I'm at a loss for words, honestly. It was just fabulous!
*Just a small note from me: The recipe called for 2 cups of peanut butter for the swirls. I followed it exactly and ended up with close to 1 cup of it left over. So, the next time I make this particular recipe, I'll be cutting that part in half. Otherwise I think it would be way too overpowering, but that's just me.*
Not to mention....did you notice that there is not a "normal" cheesecake crust on that baby? Nope, that is SPONGE CAKE for the base! Yeah, I thought that might be a little weird, too, but NOPE! Delicious! Really.
All that topped with whipped cream, drizzled with peanut butter topping, and sprinkled with some milk chocolate chips. Absolutely delightful. Mmmmm.
I came across this book: Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook and had to buy it! Well, I have some seriously fabulous news for all of you.....I love this book so much that I want you to have it, too! (Well, at least one of you)
So, here is another giveaway for all my wonderfully gorgeous (yeah, I don't mind a little butt-kissing every now and then) readers, my friends. There are 50 To-Die-For Recipes for New York-Style Cheesecake found in this book. Awesome.
From the Peanut Butter Swirl to Pumpkin Swirl. From Key Lime Mousse Cheesecake to Creme de Menthe Cheesecake. Even Tiramisu Cheesecake!
Alright, alright....I know you're sitting on the edge of your chair wondering how you're going to get to enter this giveaway, right? Well, here ya go:
Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Thanks!
1 - Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite kind of cheesecake is (mandatory)
2 - Follow my blog (or just post if you're already a follower)
3 - Follow me on Twitter (see right-hand column for a button)
4 - Twitter about this giveaway (leave me either a permalink or your user name)
5 - Blog about this giveaway (leave me a link)
*You can tweet once daily and post each time you do for extra entries*
Please be sure to leave your e-mail address or that your profile has your e-mail address accessible. Thanks!
Comments for the giveaway will be accepted through May 31st at 8 PM Eastern. Winner will be announced shortly there after.
For now, I leave you with a nibble:
PS) I'll post the recipe soon for those of you who'll be wanting to try this out!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I ended up baking FIVE dozen cuppies to share at the event! It was fun, but a bit overwhelming, honestly. I pulled out a book that I have never consulted before, 125 best Cupcake recipes. I was pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of great recipes in there....125 to be exact. :)
Okay, so I baked the French Toast cuppies, Chocolate Mint cuppies, Chocolate Chip Cookie cuppies, Banana Nutmeg cuppies, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter cuppies. All of which were good....but the French Toast cuppies were FAB-U-LOUS! Really. If you like french toast or maple in general, those are for you!
Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry that I didn't get to take pictures of all the cuppies, which makes me sad. But I was able to get a picture of the Chocolate Mint cuppies before we went....and I had a couple left over that made it home with me, so you get pictures of those too!
Chocolate Mint with Chocolate Mint buttercream and a junior mint on top!
Chocolate Chip Cookie cuppie with Chocolate buttercream dollop in the center!
Banana Nutmeg cuppie with powdered sugar sprinkled on top - delightful!
French Toast cuppie - we split it open and doused it with some more maple syrup and sprinkled it with powdered sugar - just awesome!
Some of the other cuppies that were there:
Pineapple Upside Down cuppies
Pina Colada cuppies (which won the grand prize)
Jones soda cuppies
Strawberry Ice Cream Cone cuppies
I'll get the recipes up here for you all lovely people soon.
With Syndel in the National American Miss Ohio State pageant (which is upcoming), I've been very busy with taking her out to get sponsorship, getting her dress and outfits together (which I'm having custom-made for her), training sessions, etc. It really never ends.
Also, we took another trip to the Zoo Friday with some good friends of ours. We spent nearly the entire day there (from 11 AM to 5 PM). It was a total blast! Syndel accidentally fed the zoo map to a goat, who then split the map in half with the other goat. Sharing isn't over-rated, even for goats, I suppose. A baby cheetah tried to eat Syndel, not once, but twice (thank goodness for high fences and zoo keepers). I also learned how to tell apart male red-crested cranes from female ones......evidently, if they're digging in their own butts, they're male (according to Syndel anyway). Overall, it was a very eventful day with lots of interesting happenings.
Here are a few pictures from our recent trip to the zoo:
We LOVE all the beautiful flowers around the Zoo!
Syndel being silly in the Children's Zoo (part of the Zoo)
Just MOMENTS before that goat stole Syndel's Zoo map! If only we knew why that goat was getting so snuggly with Syndel through that fence! *tee hee hee*
PS) For those that might be concerned, I went and got a zoo keeper in fear that the goat would get sick. We tried grabbing the map back and he just wasn't going to give it up. The zoo keeper said that it happens at least once a day and that the goat would be just fine. :)
Thursday was full for me also. I am President of a local network of WAHMs (FFNOW) who get together and do "quarter auctions" for fun....and to raise money for local charities (Starfire and the Norwood Service League). I'm the auctioneer, so I definitely keep busy throughout the entire event.
Anyhoo - onto the real reason that following me DOES pay off.......The winner of "The Only Bake Sale Cookbook You'll Ever Need" is a follower! AND, her comment to say, "Hey, I'm a follower" is the one that counted!
Congrats Rose! I've already e-mailed you, so as soon as I get your address, your book will be on it's way!
Thanks so much to everyone who entered! It was a lot of fun!
I'll be baking this week, so I'll have more goodies up for you to check out! Also, more giveaways are coming soon!!!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
May's IronCupcake: Earth challenge is SAVORY! I thought I'd have a little trouble with this one, since I focus mostly on sweets....but I wanted to give it a nice effort.
I give you......Meatloaf Cuppies!
I know, I know.....it just sounds weird, doesn't it?
I created little cuppies of meatloaf first, yes, in my cuppie pan.
Then I whipped up a nice creamy batch of my Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes for the "icing". Diced up some green onions for "sprinkles"......
VOILA! Meatloaf Cuppies
If you'd like to know, they were fantastic! I always make meatloaf with mashed potatoes.....almost like it is a sin to eat meatloaf without mashed potatoes. Honestly, I don't know why I feel compelled to have the two together. Anyone else out there have something weird like this they want to share? Do you always eat your meatloaf with mashed potatoes? Would you feel normal not eating meatloaf with mashed potatoes....or is it just me?
Well, anyway, they were tasty. Confused Syndel (Ceryse didn't care, she'll eat [literally] anything) to all-get-out, but delicious.
Want a nibble? Here ya go:
Our May ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
something sweet and dangly from CHERRYCREEKCHARMS
a sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery
PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, JESSIE STEELE APRONS,TASTE OF HOME books, a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM.
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.
Oh, yeah! By the way - don't forget to enter my giveaway going on NOW through May 12th!
Friday, May 8, 2009
My daughters and I spent the day at the Zoo, we had such fun. We have a new Giraffe Ridge, where you can hand feed the giraffes (amazing). Snakes were out of the reptile house (with zookeepers, obviously), so my 4-year-old got to pet 3 different kinds of snakes. [No, Mom didn't join in on that one......yick!] It was a glorious day - sun out, but not too bright - breeze blowing, but not too much....just perfect.
Then we got FABULOUS news that Syndel (my 4-year-old) was accepted as an Ohio State Finalist in the National American Miss Pageant!!! How exciting that is!?! I just cannot express the joy she has right now. Her over-all goal for the entire pageant is to meet Mickey Mouse (please keep in mind that she is only 4 - LOL). Our over-all goal for her is to win a college scholarship (I know, boring for a 4-year-old).
Here is the picture that we submitted when she met with them last week:
MY MISS OHIO STATE PRINCESS
*They have termed her age category as "Princess", ages 4-6.*
Ok, so I'm already having a good day, right? Well, today is Friday, which means that my featured "appearance" for the *Ultimate* cuppie is TODAY! Interested to see what the article says? Go here and see for yourself, my friends.
In fact, I'm so very excited today, that I feel like a giveaway! How about you? Yes! I thought so!
How about The Only Bake Sale Cookbook You'll Ever Need? Sound good? Great!
This book is jam-packed with great recipes for just about anything "bake sale" related you could possibly think of! Fabulous!
Here is how YOU can enter to win this great book:
1 - Visit my *Ultimate* cuppie feature. Come back here and leave a comment telling me something that you found useful in the article. (required)
2 - Follow me (or post again if you already follow me)
3 - Subscribe via e-mail
4 - Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave the link/address in your comment)
5 - Blog about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
6 - Subscribe to The Back Burner (leave a comment here to let me know you did)
Each participant can get up to 6 entries.
Giveaway will close on Thursday, May 14th at 8 PM (Eastern).
*If you leave an ANON comment, please be sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win*
*If you're using an account, please be sure your e-mail address is accessible*
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Clusters of Heaven.
Recently I came across this site that is in charge of the FBI (Food Blog Inspection). It sounded like a really fun thing to do....and so, I have made Caramel-Maple Popcorn for the FBI as my initiation.
I've never even made regular caramel popcorn before (though I really like it....especially the "Crunch N Munch" version....Mmmmmm), so I was excited to try this. My hubby is in love with maple syrup, really. Once I even spied him taking a little sip after drowning his pancakes in it. (Shhh - don't tell him I told you. That was supposed to be a private moment for him) He is at work right now, but he sure is going to be happy when he arrives home tonight.
This was a really easy treat to create....so don't hesitate to try it at home!
I started with some popped popcorn and mixed in pecan pieces:
Then I made the caramel-maple mixture and poured it right over the top:
Good thing I knew this stuff was super hot, otherwise, I'd have stuck my finger right in there and had a taste!
Then, you just mix it all around and spread it out on a pan (I used my new handy-dandy paella pan....LOVE IT!) and wait for it to cool.
Pure goodness! This stuff is awesome....and what is even more awesome, it took me all of 15 minutes from start to finish!
This month's inspection is of Culinary in the Desert Country.
The recipe I recreated was Maple Caramel Popcorn Crunch. I had a lot of fun and look forward to doing it again each month!
Needless to say, I was (and still am) totally flattered that they invited little 'ol me! They wanted a segment on making "The Ultimate Cuppie"....so I set off to work. I asked some of my buddies what information they would like to see in such an article. Well, let me tell you, they delivered!
The article will be featured on their blog tomorrow....but here is a sneak peek at the finished "Ultimate Cuppie".
Monday, May 4, 2009
When you think of Chocolate Covered Almond Biscotti or Orange Creamsicles, you think YUMMY, right?
Well, not in this particular case....at least that is if you don't normally eat soap. Which, I'm going to pretend that none of my readers eat soap. That'll help me sleep better tonight. If you do eat soap, please feel free to keep that information private. *smile*
I've made a new friend, Silvia, from SVSOAPS. She has graciously offered one of my readers a free bar of her handmade Vegan soap and a handmade lip balm. Are you excited yet? Well, you should be - this stuff looks fantastic!
To tell you a bit about Silvia, this is a little interview:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, please.
I am the mommy of two adorable boys. My son Joshua is 4 and Nicholas is 6 months old. I am a WAHM. Some days it can be very challenging to balance everything but I would not trade it for anything.
How long have you been making bath and body products?
I have been making bath and body products for twelve years. I am always striving to make my products better and learn new techniques that I can incorporate in my products. Soap making is my obsession and my passion. I love to put a lot of creativity into each batch I make.
What inspired you to start?
My inspiration to start making natural bath and body products was the fact that the store bought soaps made my skin very dry and itchy from the chemicals and large amounts of fragrance in them. I started reading books on soapmaking and started to experiment. I must tell you they were sooooo ugly. But they smelled pretty and left my skin soft and itch free.
Making soap takes time, do you ever find yourself impatient for a batch to finish?
Yes, I get very excited when I come up with a new soap design. I can't wait to un-mold it and see how it has turned out. I have gotten better over the years to just stay away from the mold until the soap is ready. Then I am like a kid in the candy store. I get so excited when the soap turns out just as I had planned.
Do you accept custom orders for scents/combinations?
Yes, I do except custom orders. I think they are a fun way to challenge myself. And I love to hear customers ideas and make them into something they love. It is a wonderful feeling to see how excited they are with the finished product.
If so, what is the strangest request you've ever gotten?
I know this is a boring answer but I haven't had any strange requests yet.
What is your favorite scent?
That is such a hard question. There are so many. Everytime I get a new scent I think oh this is definetly my favorite and then I find something else I love just as much. But I have to say that after so many years of soap making I have always loved Satsuma and Love Spell the most. I never get tired of smelling them.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
I have many hobbies. I love to paint. I have another site on Etsy with my painted items. I love to knit, sew, decorate, bake, read, and being crafty (as my husband calls it).
Thanks so much for a little peek, Silvia!
Congrats Monica!!! Thanks so much to everyone who entered! :)
These cute little goodies now have a new home. I hope that you'll love them and cherish them always....but don't eat them, OK? I mean, I know they *look* good, but I assure you, they don't taste good. Really. You can trust me.
Well, let's hope that Vanessa takes my advice, shall we?
I'll be in touch for your address and get these babies on their way to you!
Thanks so much to everyone who entered (and voted in the IronCupcake: Earth April challenge!) - it was a lot of fun!
Be on the lookout for more great giveaways - there is one more on the way in just a little while. *tee hee*
Also, be on the lookout for more great cuppies - IronCupcake: Earth May challenge is SAVORY!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
She says she 'wings' it majority of the time....do you think she'll still wing it with this fabulous book at hand? I guess we'll see.....
I'll get this book right out to you! :)
Thanks to everyone who entered - you all make it fun! Be on the lookout for more exciting things.....later this week!
Here they are:
The inside of these guys are:
Now, these were more my speed. The Black Cherry soda wasn't very strong in these cuppies. You could tell they weren't just "regular yellow" cuppies, but if I didn't tell you they were black cherry, you probably wouldn't have guessed that.
Still yummy, though!
Again, you can find the recipe here.
Anyhoo.....I seen Watermelon Jolly Rancher soda and thought, "Why couldn't I find that last month?" IronCupcake: Earth had the soda challenge last month! Well, I just couldn't pass it up!
I give you Watermelon Cuppies:
Delish! The vanilla buttercream is infused with Watermelon soda, too! Then those little sprinkles just top it off....perfect.
These tasted interesting to me. I'm not a huge fan of Watermelon flavoring. I like it, just don't LOVE it. The cuppies tasted of a great deal of Watermelon....so my daughter LOVED them! My hubby will, too. He ate one before I even got the icing and sprinkles on. *smile*
The inside is pink:
I used the same recipe from here.
This is the 1,2,3,4 cake (first recipe in the book) with the Caramel Filling (from another cake) and the Chocolate Frosting (from yet another cake). So, I combined 3 luscious desserts into one beautiful baby.
This is one of the easiest and tastiest cakes I've ever made. Honestly, I've never had a cake bake so evenly (and level) before either! I didn't have to level them off before I stacked them - super! The cake was very moist and had the perfect crumb. Delish!
Now, as you can imagine...sometimes these goodies look so good it is hard for me to contain myself long enough to take good pictures to show you all. Well, evidently it is much harder on my 4-year-old daughter than me. *giggle*giggle*
Look at that expression! I couldn't help but turn the focus onto her when I seen her eyeing the cake from across the table.
She kept asking me for a taste, over and over and over again. All I kept saying was, "Hold on, Love. We'll get to eat it in a minute." Poor thing. What torture, yeah?
Waiting. Staring. Drooling.
Four years old and she already knows pain.
Just so you all know, I'm not totally brutal. The child did get a piece of cake after I took pictures. All is well in her world again.
So, have you entered the contest yet? It ends TONIGHT at 5 PM Eastern.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Well, today is the day! It is May 1st. As I promised, I'm giving away this fabulous cookbook:
I'll be featuring recipes out of this book over the weekend, so be on the lookout for those.
Want your chance to win this baby? Here's how you can do just that:
(You can get up to 3 entries total)
1. Post a comment here and tell me what your favorite cookbook is, the one you reach for over and over again. If you don't have any cookbooks yet, tell me why you'd love to have this book.
2. Follow my blog
3. Blog about my giveaway on your blog (be sure to post the link to the blog)
*If you leave an ANON comment, please remember to include your e-mail so that I can contact you if you win.
Contest is open until 5 PM Eastern on Sunday, May 3rd. Winner will be announced Sunday night!!!