Sugar Overdose

We were planning to visit our 5 acre lot to water our baby trees and burn some yard waste, and I didn’t have the ingredients on hand for the mandatory assemblage of S’mores that is associated with our bonfires. Tragedy!

But I had lots of mini M&M’s and mini marshmallows leftover from banana split/ice cream sundae making last week, so I was sure I could come up with something that would at least contain the two most important ingredients of S’mores — chocolate and marshmallows. The cracker is there just to keep your hands from becoming *too* gooey! 😉

In the Tase of Home Baking Book, a gift from my mom, there was just the thing — Fun Marshmallow Bars. The only modifications I made were to use mini M&M’s and I used almonds instead of peanuts. The kids love the rich marshmallow top. I think I could come up with a better brownie recipe for the base, but this works. Calorie for calorie, I think I’d prefer to have a bowl of ice cream, but if you want a kid pleaser and something that’s simple from the pantry, this is a decent dessert.

Fun Marshmallow Bars (from The Taste of Home Baking Book)
1 pkg devil’s food cake mix
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. water
1 egg

3 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. M&M’s
1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix, butter, water and egg; mix well. Press into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with marshmallows, M&M’s, and nuts. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until the marshmallows begin to melt. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Trial and Error

Once again I thought I’d try some new recipes from one of my many cookbooks, and I turned to the King Arthur’s Flour All-Purpose Cookbook, despite my less than thrilling results with the chocolate chip cookies. After all, you hear rave reviews of something and, when the first thing that you try that isn’t to your taste, it doesn’t squelch your interest entirely and you have to try something else. I made the ‘Ultra-Butterscotch Brownies’ but used the variation for blondies and omitted the butterscotch chips.

I wish now that I would have tried these in one of my glass dishes, because I think they may have baked better than in my metal 9×13 pan. These were looking quite done — pulling away from the sides of the pan, glossy on top, gooey but not runny in the middle, so I pulled them from the oven and *FOOM* they collapsed like the Stardust but without the fireworks, cheering, or dust. But the part around the edge is sooo yummy. Oh, man, how can you go wrong with that much butter and brown sugar together? I may have to try these again. And on the next page in the cookbook is ‘Raspberry Truffle Brownie Bars’, so I’m not ready to throw in the towel on this cookbook, yet.

Butterscotch Blondies (from The King Arthur’s Flour Baker’s Companion, p. 324)

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) soft butter
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 t. vanilla

1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl in the microwave, and mix in the sugar, salt, baking powder, and flavoring. Stir in the flour, then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in 1 c. of the nuts. Scoop the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top of the batter.

Bake the blondies for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is shiny but the middle is still gooey (though not liquid). Just like a fudge brownie, you don’t want to overbake these; underbake a bit for chewiest texture. Remove them from the oven and cool completely before slicing.

More Meaty Muffins

This weekend our place is going to look like a bed and breakfast, I think. Tonight, The Husband’s Cousin is coming with a crew of 10 9 who will bike across Iowa next week, the Tartlets are having a sleepover on Friday night, and we have a family of six seven staying with us on Saturday night! It’s nice to be able to use our space. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned before, breakfast just isn’t my favorite meal, nor where my kitchen skills shine best.

After the raging success of the Bacon Cheese Muffins, I decided to try a similar meaty muffin from the same out of print cookbook. I made a double batch, using Johnsonville Polish Sausage, and to half I added a can of chopped green chilies. I haven’t made a taste comparison of the two, but I did try the ones with green chilies and thought they were very good. We’ll definitely make these again. The ones in the cookbook have little bits of sausage peeking out. To do this, reserve some of the sausage and drop it on top of the muffins just before baking, rather than stirring all the sausage into the batter.

Sausage Corn Muffins (from The Muffin Cookbook, 1989)

1/2 pound smoked sausage

1 c. flour
3/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut sausage into quarters lengthwise, the cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Lightly brown sausage in medium skillet over medium heat. Drain on paper towels.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder in medium bowl. Add buttermilk, oil, eggs, and sausage. Stir only until blended.

Fill muffins cups 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Makes 15 muffins. (Note: I filled mine about 3/4 full and got 12 muffins)

Cookbook suggestion: serve with honey butter (1/2 c. softened butter stirred with 1/4 c. honey).

Chocolate Swirled Peanut Butter Brownies

From the same book as the Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Brownies, I bring you Marbled Peanut Butter Brownies. These have more of a bar cookie or traditional brownie texture. I didn’t have the nuts called for in the recipe and used some unsalted roasted peanuts. I think it would have been better to have salted nuts. The peanut taste in these is stronger than the chocolate taste.

Marbled Peanut Butter Brownies (from Chocolate Lover’s Cookies & Brownies)

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. peanut butter

1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs
1 t. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt

1 c. chocolate syrup
1/2 c. coarsely chopped salted nut mix

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan.

Cream butter and peanut butter in large bowl until blended; stir in sugars.

Beat in eggs, one at a time until batter is light. Blend in vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Stir into creamed mixture.

Spread half of the batter evenly in prepared pan. Spread syrup over the top. Spoon remaining batter over syrup. Swirl with knife or spatula to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Is it a Brownie or a Cake?

Last week we hosted a group for dinner and I was assigned to dessert. Because it was a casual meal, I wanted a casual dessert and thought I would make some brownies. I turned to a seldom used cookbook from my shelf and thought I’d try to find a use for it. The Chocolate Chip & Sour Cream Brownies sounded good, so I started there.

When it comes to brownies, there are many variations. Some are densely fudgy, some are a little more dry and bar cookie-like, some are thick and cakey. This is one of the latter. In fact, although I didn’t sprinkle powdered sugar after they were baked as the recipe suggests, I almost wished I had spread them with chocolate frosting and just called it a chocolate chip cake. It’s very tasty, but I’m not sure I’d call it a brownie.

Chocolate Chip & Sour Cream Brownie/Cake (from Chocolate Lover’s Cookies & Brownies)

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar

1 egg
1 c. sour cream (I used part sour cream and part plain yogurt)
1 t. vanilla

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 pan.

Cream butter and brown sugar in large bowl until blended. Add egg, sour cream, and vanilla; beat until light.

Add cocoa, baking soda, and salt; beat until smooth. Blend in flour until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips; spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Cool in pan on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over the top.