Scotcharoos

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local nestie GTG to meet up with some gals that I “talk” to on the forums. There was so much food to be had there, and I made sure to try a little bit of everything. One of the nesties brought these little bars, and WOW are these bars just amazing! She insisted that they were super easy to make, and boy, were they! I made a batch of these to include in the family holiday tins, and of course, snuck a few bars for me as well. :)

Scotcharoos
Source: MrsSpell of the Baton Rouge Nestie Boards

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1c. light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 6 c. rice krispies cereal
  • 1 – 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 12 oz package butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a large pot cook sugar, corn syrup, and butter over med heat. Stir until completely dissolved and mixture comes to a low boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir until melted together. Add cereal and stir until coated.
  3. Spread mixture evenly into a greased 9 x 13 pan and pat down using slightly wet hands.
  4. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips with the oil together in the microwave approx. 2 minutes stopping to stir every 30 seconds. Pour over the top of cereal treats and allow to cool for min. of one hour. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

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I think I’m pretty brilliant. I have to be. I mean, who in their right minds would join Weight Watchers the week before bake-palooza was going to happen at their house? That’s right, me. There WAS a plan here, I promise!

Bake-palooza happened this weekend for me, because I joined a team on Operation Baking Gals for the first time. I’ve been ITCHING to just have a weekend of baking bliss, and this was the perfect opportunity. My brilliance kicks in even more, because I got to give away all of this food to people I think completely deserve a little something to remind them of home. In other words, I only had one sliver out of this pan vs. eating half of the pan had it been left home with me for a couple of days b/c I felt that the box needed to be filled to the BRIM with goodies for these wonderful soldiers!

However, brilliance did meet with stupidity. Stupidity was this happy baker going to Albertson’s on a Saturday morning to get butter and eggs on sale. Not just ANY Saturday morning…the morning of an away game for LSU. Usually Saturday mornings are so slow, but no, this Saturday involved standing in long lines on Saturday morning surrounded by baskets of ribs, Doritos and LSU colored Bud Light. It took me 15 minutes of waiting in self-checkout (shortest line, or so I thought) to get out of the store, but I had my supplies in tow! I was ready to bake!

I decided to bake three things for the soldiers. This first recipe was featured on Bakerella in the beginning of the year. I’ve had this bookmarked for quite some time, but never got around to making it. I’m glad I did. These turned out to be some very sturdy (shippable) brownies, and the one sliver I tasted was so yummy!

Oh yeah, and these aren’t from scratch. Yeah, I broke a couple of rules here, but it was, after all, game day. Shortcuts needed to be taken since these were thrown together during half time!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Source: Betty Crocker (via Bakerella)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (w/ chocolate syrup pouch)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting (omitted for shipping reasons)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.
  2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Stay tuned for what I made after the game! :)

Blueberry Crumb Bars

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For the What’s Cooking Ingredient Challenge, the challenge ingredient was blueberry. Since the grocery store had blueberries on a good sale, I bought a pint and decided to make the Blueberry Crumb Bars from Smitten Kitchen.

I made these in a half batch since I didn’t have a quart of berries and plus, I’m usually hesitant with any desserts involving lemon. I hate lemony desserts. I know…weird. :)

These bars were pretty good, but I still noticed lemon and I think that’s what probably made the dessert not as tasty to me. Next time I make these, I’ll omit the lemon.

Blueberry Crumb Bars (halved)
Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter (1 sticks or 4 ounces)
1 egg white
1 pinch of salt
Zest and juice of one half lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 8×8 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar,  flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg white. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Yields: 16 squares

Eggnog Cookies and a couple of recipe revisits!

For my last day at my old job, my coworkers asked me to bring in some goodies for them. I decided to make Cranberry White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti (scroll down a bit for the recipe), Eggnog Cookies and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies.

The treats went over really well!

Here’s the recipe for eggnog cookies. These left for a very subtle spice taste, so if you want more eggnog, add more. Many people on Allrecipes adapted the recipe that way.

Eggnog Cookies
Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.

Check out the spread!!

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Cranberry White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

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Eggnog Cookies

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

 

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

So, yesterday I realized that I wanted to bake with more pumpkin. The Fall is only here another month and a half, so I need to enjoy pumpkin while it feels right! I saw on Cara’s Cravings a picture of these beautiful swirly pumpkin cheesecake brownies and knew I just had to try it. Thanks for the recipe, Cara!

As far as for the diet, I didn’t really skinny it up that much (not that it really needed it as you will see in the POINTS* value), because it was election night and heck, I knew my family needed some fun food to enjoy the night with! I did make some changes on here, though.

Pumpkin Spice Cheescake Brownies
Adapted from: Cara’s Cravings

Ingredients:

Brownie Batter

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (used 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup applesauce)
  • 1 cup sugar]
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    (added 1/4 oz. semisweet baking chocolate)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves (I used 1/2 tsp nutmeg instead)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ square metal baking pan.
  2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients.
  3. Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

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Don’t they just look great? Ok, I won’t keep you waiting. Here’s the POINTS* value.

Serves: 20 (I made them small because they are very flavorful brownies and you don’t need much to give the sweet tooth what it wants!)
POINTS*: 4

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Ina’s (Amano) Brownies!

I have been trying to figure out what to do with my Amano chocolate that I graciously received from Blake Makes.


Yesterday, I found on Annie’s Eats blog a recipe from Ina Garten of Food Network. Her post was great, because she compared two brownie recipes (Ina’s and Cook Illustrated), and gave a synopsis. Ina’s brownies won in her book, and I can totally see why. These brownies were so rich and chocolatey and gooey (I underbake my brownies a little, so what?)…just amazing brownies and I’m sure the Amano chocolate really tipped it over the edge. It was a really smooth, rich flavor…I could only eat 1/2 a brownie, but my mom, dad and sister went to town. This morning, there were only 6 brownies left!! (So much for sharing with coworkers lol!)

I ended up halving the recipe, since I had 6 oz of Amano chocolate and used that instead of the semisweet chocolate chips. Since there is over 70% cacao in this chocolate, I knew this would be more of a dark chocolate brownie. I also, in halving everything, forgot to half the 3 oz. of unsweetened chocolate, but really no big deal in the end. Very very good stuff here folks!

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Amano chocolate here)
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used a substitute of 3 tbs cocoa powder + 1 tbs butter for every oz.)3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 ½ tbsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1 tbsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup and 2 tbsp. flour, divided – ½ cup for batter and 2 tbsp. .in the chips
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups morsels (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or butterscotch)
    (for this recipe, I mixed Ghiradelli and Andes mint chocolate baking chips AND I didn’t half this haha!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×13” metal pan. (I used 8×8 for the halved recipe)
  2. Melt together the butter, 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. (I don’t have a double boiler, so I placed the Amano in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Then I combined all the butter and cocoa powder to make a sauce and folded the two together.) Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir together ½ cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the chocolate chips with 2 tbsp. flour (I only needed 1 tbs of flour here) to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, (mine took 20 minutes but I like mine a little underbaked) or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. (Oops! Forgot to do this…no big deal here) Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well (didn’t refrigerate…just dug in!) and cut into squares.



Dare I get the nutritional facts on this??

For 16 servings (with half the recipe), here are the facts…

Calories 275.8
Fat 14.8 g
Fiber 1.3 g

Points* 7

I believe the Reese’s factory exploded in my 8×8 pan

This is another recipe from bakingblonde’s blog. It’s sooo amazing! The kitchen smells heavenly and these are my first brownies I’ve ever made from scratch. They came out super moist too!! These are not for the dieters…oh well! I’m bringing half to work tomorrow so there isn’t that much to tempt me!

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

3/4 cup butter, very soft (not melted but softer than room temp)
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 c of splenda and 1/2 c of sugar)
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (I used another oz of semi sweet instead because I love sweeter chocolate)
1 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1/2 cups creamy PB
1/3 cup sugar (I used splenda here)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

5-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups (regular size) cut into 6-8 pieces each
IMPORTANT: Do NOT omit the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. They take these brownies over the top and add the “Double” Peanut Butter taste the title tepts tastebuds with

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil and lightly coat with PAM cooking spray.

In a microwave safe bowl melt the two baking chocolate squares in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth and melted after stirring. Do not scortch! Remove from microwave and allow to come to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix to combine. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and wisk together. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Do not overmix.

In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate brownie batter into prepared pan. Evenly drop 1/2 of cheesecake batter in dollups over brownie batter. Run a knife through both mixtures to slightly swirl.

Dollop remaining brownie batter and cheesecake batter over swirled mixture. Run knife through the brownie and cheesecake dollops (not all the way through the already swirled layer) to create a swirled pattern.
Bake for 35- 40 minutes**, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. Do not over bake or they will harden, if under baked they will be too gooey. Every oven is different so watch and check these after about 30 minutes of baking to ensure they are done.

**After about 30 minutes of baking (with about 5-7 minutes of baking time left, you just need to eyeball it) gently place cut up Reese’s cups over top of almost fully baked brownies. Finish baking until a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. The Reese’s PB cups will melt but hold their shape slightly. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and serving.


Here is the batter..

The finished product…

Want a bite? mmm…

Nutritional Info: (if I dare)

If you go by the regular recipe, it’s about 400 cals/brownie for 12 brownies. However, I cut them into 16 and my substitutions make them:

Calories 244.1
Total Fat 17.8 g
Total Carbohydrate 19.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 11.4 g
Protein 5.7 g

Weight Watchers Points: 6 (a splurge well worth it!!)