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Category Archives: Brownies

Thanksgiving and the Least Baking Fails Ever

The only picture of the apple pie.  Also, I can’t crimp so I don’t crimp.

This year I went a little overboard.  All in all I made eight things for Thanksgiving.  Yup, you read that right.  EIGHT.  And I would give myself a good 6 out of 8.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

Every year I make pre meal appetizers.  They are mostly sweet with a savory one slipped in for good measure.  Usually I don’t get to make the main desserts.  It is mostly because my family always has millions of people over and it is easier for the ones that don’t know what to bring to pick up a pie.  Last year I was responsible for rolls and they turned out quite wonderful.  I have made them again since but still never gotten around to blogging about them.

The bane of my existence on “baking day”.

Anyways, this year for some wonderful reason, I got to do the desserts!  I made apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cheesecake (for my Aunt’s birthday) for the big “end of the meal” desserts.  This was the first time using Joy the Baker’s recipe for apple pie and I liked it immensely.  If you make the crust the day before, it is really not that much work.  Also, macerating the apples allows you to put it aside and do other things.  It is a very friendly recipe for Thanksgiving day baking.  I usually make a Dutch apple with a pressed in crust.  I also used Joy’s crust for the pumpkin pie.  The recipe I use for the pumpkin pie I have used for a good 3 or 4 years now.  I fall in love with it more and more every year.  The same goes for the cheesecake.  This year was probably my best cheesecake in awhile.  I need to branch out more, though, with cheesecake flavors but my Aunt likes a big plain cheesecake.  She will go for the berry topping that goes with it, though.

The recipe I use makes about one and 2/3 of a pumpkin pie so I always have one for me! Also, the only semblance of a picture of the cheesecake is the pan on the upper left that at that point only has the crust in it.

With all that fruit and cheese, something was missing.  I could see my sister in the corner whining about not liking anything.  Chocolate was in order.  Now, while I would love to find the best chocolate cream pie recipe out there, time was of the essence as was ability.  I have tried it before and failed (multiple times) so I thought I would go simpler.  Nutella brownies and cheesecake brownie bites to the rescue!  The Nutella brownies were OK but I think I over baked them.  I made them mini sized and there was advice in the comments on the time to bake if making minis but I still think it was a bit too long.  They looked beautiful though, especially with the chopped hazelnuts on top.  The cheesecake brownie bites, however, came out better than anticipated and I made minis and about half a dozen cupcake sized brownies (which I put on the main dessert table) and all came out beautifully.

Just before going in the oven. Sadly no pictures of the finished ones and no pictures of the chocolate cheesecake brownies.

Onto the bread!  First off, two days before Thanksgiving I made my crusts and another batch of Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread.  That turned out to be a great decision because I now have a whole extra loaf in my freezer!  My aunt couldn’t believe it was vegan.  I also made a variation of my Ham and Cheese Pull Apart Party Bread.  I basically cut them like you would a cinnamon roll and baked it in two 8 inch cake pans.  Simple, easy, and yummy.  My biggest baking fail came from my sourdough.  First off, I just gotta say, this year’s starter is a VERY happy starter.  Happy starters make me happy, SERIOUSLY.  When I start mixing ingredients into the sponge and it is still bubbling at me saying hi with every turn of the spatula, I am one happy baker.  Anyways, it was late.  The sourdough was the last thing I made and it wasn’t going to be served on Thanksgiving but rather given to family that wanted some.  I may have shut off the alarm on my phone instead of snoozing it.  Also, the last thing my husband said to me was to make sure the oven was off (and it WAS, when he left and then I turned it back on).  So the sourdough was baked a good 30 minutes or so longer than it should have been.  There were no alarms or smoke, nothing happened (luckily) except I over baked it.  I still gave them away but I don’t know if anybody ate them.  I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t.  It still would’ve made great toast.

Pull Apart Party Bread

Today I don’t really have a GeekyLink just a little story.  Today I went to our local comic book store to look for something specific for a Christmas gift*.  I wrote down all the information I needed so I could get what I wanted or get it ordered if they didn’t have it.  My husband wanted to come with me.  He took our son so I could talk to the sales guy.  I asked the guy questions.  I answered some questions.  I didn’t get what I wanted because it turns out it is exclusive to Midtown Comics and I’d have to order it from them.  When we left, my husband asked me ” So you know all the lingo?”  but what I heard was, “How much of a nerd ARE you?”

*I can’t say what it is before Christmas, duh!

Chewy Blondies and Running Out of Time

I only had to make these twice.  No fault of my own, I made my adaptations and they were good and all would have been fine but my daughter had her soccer party the night I made these and time ran out and I couldn’t finish baking them.  However, remember when I talked about happy accidents?  The same thing here.  I added 3/4 of the add ins called for in this recipe and even with the undercooked batch I HAD to taste them.   I realized that there still were too many for me.  I really wanted to go for more of a “plain” blondie.  I love these now and am super glad I had the opportunity to adjust them!

Man, time is just getting away from me lately.  I made the blondies last week.  I wanted to post on Sunday but it just didn’t happen.  Last week was filled with trimester awards for my girls during the week and early morning participating in the 100 Mile Club.  They run for about 30 minutes but I have to stay there and walk my kindergardener to class because they start 10 minutes before the rest of the school and that is about 2-3 laps that her big sister would be behind.  The girls had Friday and Monday off and those were big work days for me and the kids.  Friday, I gave the girls a list of things to get done and all the kids and I cleaned the house.  Saturday, as always, is soccer.  Even though my daughter’s season just ended I still have two nephews that I gotta see through to playoffs!  Sunday we rented movies and stayed in but that day I tried to rest.  Monday was awesome!  My son’s preschool was still open and so I took him to school but then I took my girls to breakfast.  I had no business spending that kind of money on breakfast (I mean Christmas is coming up for goodness sake) but one thing my mom taught me is no matter how much money we didn’t have, we always had money when an opportunity to do something special came up.  Justin called us during breakfast wondering where we were and he understood.  He didn’t even make me bring him breakfast back.

The picture on the left is with one cup of chocolate and butterscotch chips and walnuts EACH. On the right is the one I prefer with just a half cup of each.

On the way back home, we returned our movies and rented Just Dance 4.  It is killing the 9 year old that we don’t have it yet and after the kids played it for awhile, it is kind of killing me too.  I actually haven’t gotten to play it yet and we kept it an extra day.  I need to sneak a session in because I have to return it today.

O yeah, did your realize Thanksgiving is next week?  Let’s just say at some point this week I realized it and began to panic just a little bit.  So I will have this week’s Sundays with Joy and that will probably be it till after Thanksgiving and then I can show you all the things I am making for that.  If you want a sneak peek of some of what I may be making, check out my This Week board on my Pinterest page.  There is one more pie that is in a cookbook that I am especially making for my dad, but other than that the board has all that I hope to bake for Thanksgiving.  I actually think I might get to make desserts this year!  Usually I get rolls, which if you know how much I am in LOVE with bread is not a bad thing either.  Speaking of bread, I believe my sourdough starter is finally done and I am making a sponge tonight and my first sourdough of the fall tomorrow!!!   I really want to make a sandwich with it but we have all gone so long without it that I do believe we will just tear into it and eat it outright.  I can’t wait!

Yes, I brought up Christmas earlier.  Your GeekyLinks today, add to my growing frustration over what to get my oldest.  Not that I don’t know what to get her, I know EVERYTHING to get her.  It is hard not to JUST BUY ALL THE THINGS!  So here now, in addition to Doctor Who stuff, My Little Pony stuff, she wants “real” Legos (we’ve got buttloads of Duplos for the under 6 set) are some gifts that cater to her love of reading.  Also, when we got our iPad, all my husband used it for was to read.  Now he plays an annoying soccer game that he is always yelling at so to get him back to reading I think I am going to get him some gift cards for eBooks.  Last year, he had a big list of books he wanted but I gotta pay attention right now to determine what he wants this year.

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Sundays with Joy/S’mores Brownies and Frickin Mars!!!

Yadda, yadda, yadda mmmm yummy brownies.  Duh.  I can’t concentrate on anything today.  I am waiting for 10:31 PM PST.  I am waiting for it ALL DAY!  You have no idea how hard it is to write this post.  I just want to get my chores done for the day (which hopefully includes packing my girls to go away with their grandparents for 5 days, daddy is being a big baby about it) and spend the rest of the day searching for links or watching updates.  Breaking Bad?  I can DVR it and watch it tomorrow.  To prep for tonight I think I may watch my favorite episode of From the Earth to the Moon That’s All There Is (watch the first minute of this clip and you’ll get a feel for the whole episode).  Dave Foley, an all Navy crew (my husband was in the Navy) what else could you want?  Maybe Mars instead of the Moon but…whatever, space is awesome!  That episode is the main reason I love that series.  Ahhh, I can’t wait!  I hope it all goes well.

So if you haven’t guessed, this post is going to all be GeekyLinks and unfortunately not give enough attention to Joy’s fabulous S’mores Brownies.  But what else do you need to know except that they are S’mores Brownies!

So to start off did you know the Curiosty Rover has its own twitter handle?  Yup, @MarsCuriosity in case you were wondering.  There was already a Prelanding Update earlier this morning so check it out.  I have only seen a bit but believe me, that is what I am doing after I am finished writing this post.  Also, awesome astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of StarTalk (@neiltyson) actually had a twitter conversation with the rover yesterday and luckily the whole exchange survives on the internet.

NASA has released a few videos on the whole thing (no doubt they will be shown during the NASA JPL open house next year).  One narrated by Wil Wheaton who I now hate because of the envy in my heart at the fact that he will be at JPL for the landing.  I guess that is a perk of doing a voice over for NASA, whatever.  So get down with the excitement and the tension (my fingers are crossed so hard for this thing that I can’t type)!  Also, if you are reading this and are asking What Makes “Curiosity” Different from Other Rovers?, watch this and find out!  And watch the whole thing tonight (or early tomorrow morning depending on where you are) on NASA TV or on Ustream.

As always if you want the recipe for the brownies please buy Joy’s Cookbook.  I am not sure about the rest of the groups links, one of our group administrators had some technical difficulties this week so I will update the post if we get something up.  I hope you have a great night and I hope it involves staying up late and watching history!

Andes Mint Brownies and Cookies (and Fringe and Star Trek and Doctor Who)

O man, sometimes my husband’s job takes its toll.  Not just on him but on all of us as well.  He mostly works at night but one day of the week he works in the early evening and on his days off he tries to keep to his sleep schedule as much as possible while being awake with us in the afternoon, so basically his sleep patterns are all mixed up.

I would be fine with that.  I am a mom.  I get up with babies that need to be sleep trained or are sick, kids that need to get up for school, up early with three kids dressed and prepped for a random day at Disneyland or family function, and also on occasion try to stay up late and spend time with my husband.  When I am tired, I sleep.  He is not one of those people.  If he NEEDS to sleep, he feels the pressure of having to sleep and then he CAN’T sleep.  The weird hours he works just make it worse.  Some days it is not a problem, or mostly just a problem for me trying to keep the 3 and 4 year old as quiet as possible while he is sleeping.

Some days, the days that he can’t sleep, o geez, we are all in for it.  It will be quiet, for an hour or so and then he will come out of the bedroom to use the restroom.  Quiet for another hour and he will come down and get something to eat, saying that food will help.  Quiet for another hour, then just rail about how he is in for it and he will NEVER get to sleep.  At this point I know I am going to have to take my son with me to my daughters’ dance class (which I HATE because what is a 3 year old boy supposed to do in a confined space for 2 hours with limited distractions?), I know I am going to have to make his lunch, and feed him dinner after everyone else is finished.  It ends up being such a mess.  It has to be done, though.  I do feel bad for him but sometimes I feel like he makes it worse.  He claims this current schedule (his schedule also changes every 6 months!) is worse but actually I think he hasn’t had as many of these kind of days lately as he has in the past.  However, today is one of those days, ugh.

Overall this week has also been kind of weird (let’s not even talk about Valentine’s Day).  I usually have my kids chomping at the bit for the things I am baking.  This week was WAY different.  My nephew was the one that had asked for mint buttercream on his Despicable Me cupcakes, the cupcakes that my daughters wanted nothing to do with because of said (completely yummy!) buttercream.  No fun.  So I knew when I decided to use my Andes Baking Bits that I bought at Target about a month ago, that the bulk of these treats would be going to my sister’s house.  My baby boy had a couple of cookies and my husband sampled some brownies but my girls wanted nothing to do with them, I don’t know what their problem is.  As a mother and a baker, it is really disappointing.  Really? I can’t get you to eat a chocolate brownie or cookie, geesh!

Anyways, I was thrilled and happy with both.  If I had to pick a favorite though, it would have to be the cookie.  I adapted the recipe from one that called for peanut butter in it and replaced it with Nutella.  I just love the flavors of that cookie and it is a nice chewy cookie.

The plate that went to my sister's house.

I have a backup of GeekyLinks right now so you will get a few and also wanted to tell you about all the nerdy and exciting things that I have been doing lately.  First off, my Friday nights and Sunday lunches have just gotten FABULOUS!  I have been watching Fringe live on Fridays (as much as I can because Justin is trying to get out the door during the first 20 minutes and it is all “bye daddy” and “can you help me with my lunch”) and have been following along with The Fringe Podcast at the same time (Tweeting as well, whatever it takes to keep the show on the air!)  At the end of the show, you send in your Bunsen Burners (your ratings for the episode) and during the show you can try to figure out what the glyphs spell out.  Sundays, Clint and Darrell do the podcast live and you can chat and comment during it and sometimes they will ask the chat room questions and such.  If you sent them feedback about the show either Friday or Saturday, they may play it and comment on it during the feedback show immediately following the recap show.  It is a fun few hours if you are a fan of Fringe.

My other GeekyLinks just go to show how GREAT science fiction just goes together 10 actors with roles in both Doctor Who and Star Trek and Doctor Who/Star Trek – The Official Crossover.

Also, hopefully I will be able to go to this on Friday with my daughter who has the day off from school.

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