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S’mores please :-)

8 Aug

So tomorrow is my brother’s 22nd birthday. Equally as important it is one of my good friend’s birthdays as well.

I’ve been on such a sugar kick lately (not super unusual, but it’s been bad). I’ve been buying chocolate, ice cream, whipped cream, cookies, etc. like it’s going out of style. Anyway, birthdays. Focus.

So what do we do for birthdays? We bake. But not birthday cakes, especially not the icky kind with frosting (I’m not speaking from personal preference, I like frosting, but my friend, the one with the birthday, not so much on the frosting). I’ve been toying with ideas on what to make… and then, I had that little light bulb pop over my head like in the cartoons.
She and I both have a slight, okay, huge obsession with Edy’s S’mores flavored ice cream. It only comes out in the summer but it’s delicious. Chocolate ice cream with chunks of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. It doesn’t get any more s’morey than that unless you’re sitting at a campfire. I perused some blogs and found lots of recipes for s’more cookies, s’more cakes, etc. I found this idea on Picky Palates website and decided it was a winner…

And simple. Double winner.

S’more Bite Sized Brownies

1 box of chocolate brownie mix, or a brownie recipe of your choice (I used the family sized Pillsbury box)

miniature marshmallows, approximately 48 or 12 large marshmallows quartered

4 sheets of graham cracker, each divided into 12 parts

2 Hershey bars

I mixed my brownie mix as directed on the box and divided it equally into my mini-muffin pans. I filled 48 and had a little extra batter leftover that may have ended up in my mouth instead of being baked… or it just disappeared into thin air. You could make them in a brownie pan or regular muffin tins. Then, I added a mini marshmallow, half a square of Hershey chocolate and a chunk of graham cracker to the top of the muffin. I baked them (in the mini-muffin pans) for about 6 minutes at 350 degrees. You have to watch them toward the end. The marshmallow will get bubbly and brown (yum, toasted marshmallows!). The second batch was finished up by around 5 minutes.

The brownies are so moist and soft and just slightly undercooked (the way I love them) and the chocolate and marshmallow spread so cutely over the brownie and graham cracker.

Now I have 48 46 delicious s’mores brownies to celebrate said birthday with 🙂

What does my brother get for his birthday? Well, um, if he ever drags his 6’5″ self up here I’ll let you know.

Bacon makes everything better…

4 Aug

Today I was making jello, couldn’t tell you why I was craving it. Cherry, of course. Mixed it all up, poured it into containers, open the cupboard above my counter. The peanut butter attacked me. Clearly it was pissed I was eating cherry jello instead of it in all its creamy glory. Needless to say it landed smack in the middle of my jello. This caused a chain reaction of things falling, jello flying everywhere, basically causing a hot mess.

So, now my carpet’s red. It looks like I murdered someone and left a trail. Seriously? I just got the blue food coloring that my jack russell used to paint the carpet with a few months ago. Mom thinks it’s patriotic. I do not find the humor in this.

I went out for cleaning supplies on my way to the gym. Here I sit scrubbing my carpet and every time I just get a towel full of red and a slightly pink carpet. I’m rebelling and leaving it until tomorrow. Maybe it’ll be easier? I know logically that if the stain sets it probably won’t be. Whatever. I’m not getting my deposit back after 3 years and 2 dogs anyway. Sigh. Epic fail.

Good thing I had some of my peanut butter bacon chocolate chip cookie dough left. It did the trick I’d say. Look at the bacon pieces in these babies.

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped, cooked bacon

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate M&Ms because they were sitting on my counter and I love the extra crunch they give to cookies)

Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together until light and whipped looking. Add the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and slowly add those to the wet mixture until combined. I baked them at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes; I like my cookies soft. Bacon + chocolate + peanut butter = bliss. They will be devoured tonight.

And then I’ll have bacon and a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast since I now have an abundance of these things in my fridge and cupboard. Hopefully the peanut butter won’t be all suicidal tomorrow. Sigh, again. But on the bright side that little piece of bacon was begging me to just devour it.

If only these guys were carpet cleaners as well…

Oh well. I’ll settle for deliciousness in my tummy.

Change

3 Jul

I love when unexpected people come back into my life. I’ve started spending more time with people I went to college with who now live in the same area as me. It feels good to rebuild connections and build stronger relationships. I still sometimes marvel at the fact that I went to a college where I literally knew everyone but didn’t really necessarily know them. So now, I’m getting to know people that I didn’t really know. I like that. I mean, you can stalk people as much as you want on Facebook, but you still can’t say you know them. When opportunities pop up and people pop back into your life, take advantage of it because you never know when they’ll pop out again. So this summer is to spending as much time as possible with people who make me happy… that and celebrating this 4th of July weekend since it’s a holiday I haven’t celebrated in about 6 years. Fireworks, good company, music and of course, food.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (modified from the recipe that comes with Crisco shortening sticks)

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 tbsps. milk

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups of any combination of chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup dark chocolate M&Ms)

Cream the butter, shortening and sugars in a large bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the egg next. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Once combined, add the chocolate. Drop onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 8 minutes (10 if you like your cookies a little crispier). You can make them any size you want, just be consistent or you’ll end up with some overdone and some underdone cookies. I make standard tablespoon sized cookies, spaced about an inch apart.

Condensed milk makes everything better

1 Jul

When I lived in Brazil, I discovered that sweetened condensed milk is like peanut butter; it tastes good on just about everything. They sell it everywhere, it’s super cheap and you can bake with it, cook with it and just eat it straight from the can. We’d pour it over strawberries and mangoes, ice cream and cakes. I have a sweet tooth and it’s just the right amount of sweet.

When I got back from Brazil the second time, I invested in a pressure cooker. I’ve never used it to cook anything except cans of condensed milk. Why would you cook a can of condensed milk? To make doce de leite/dulce de leche, of course! You just pop a can of condensed milk (completely unopened) in the pressure cooker filled with water and a little vinegar (so the inside of the cooker doesn’t stain black). Put it over the burner and let it cook for 20 minutes to an hour depending on how you want the consistency of your doce de leite to be.  20 minutes would get you a thin, syrupy doce de leite, which is perfect for ice creams and cake drizzles. 45 – 60 minutes gets you a nice chewy caramel like product. You can cut it into pieces and eat it by itself. Delicious. And trust me, it’s so much more than just caramel.

This leads me to the other two most amazing things to do with condensed milk. Brigadeiros and beijinhos. I’m a little partial to the brigadeiros because I love chocolate. They’re a small Brazilian candy best described as a chocolate caramel. Beijinhos are coconut based with no chocolate but still have a chewy caramel consistency.

Minha mãe brasileira taught me how to make both and I make the brigadeiros basically every chance I get. They’re a little time consuming by the result is completely worth it.

Brigadeiros

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

sprinkles (chocolate or colored), chopped nuts or additional cocoa powder; you just need something to roll the brigadeiros in once they’re cooled

In a medium sized pot, combine the first three ingredients over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the ingredients thoroughly. You’ll have to continue stirring throughout the cooking process or you’ll scorch the condensed milk. Once the mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat to a medium-low and continue stirring. You want the mixture to be slightly bubbly but not really boiling. As the condensed milk cooks, it will start to thicken. If it starts to boil, reduce the heat slightly (and make sure to keep stirring!). The time is always different depending on the heat used. It usually takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s done when you tilt the pot slightly and the mixture completely sticks together. It’ll be one giant blob (that’s the scientific term) of thick condensed milk. As you tilt the pan, there shouldn’t be anything left on the bottom; it should all have run to one corner. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool.  You can place the pot in the refrigerator to speed up the process or just leave it on a counter. When it’s cool enough to handle comes the fun part. Pour the sprinkles or nuts or whatever you’ve decided to use as coating onto a plate. Butter (or cooking spray) your hands. If you skip that step, you’ll be licking brigadeiro off your fingers and palms forever (which may not be such a bad thing). Pick up pieces of the brigadeiro and roll between your palms to create balls. You can really make them any size you want. I prefer smaller ones because I can eat more. Once you’ve rolled a ball, drop it onto your sprinkles and coat completely. Repeat the balling process. You’ll have to re-butter your hands periodically as you notice the brigadeiros becoming sticker and more difficult to roll.

And that’s it. The hardest part for me is the waiting for the brigadeiros to cool. Mostly because I’m so anxious that I just want to eat the stuff right off the spoon.

I’ve seen places in Brazil that put strawberries and cherries in the center as they roll the brigadeiros. Maybe not so traditional but delicious nevertheless.