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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Snickers Brownies

Hello again baking fiends!

I was browsing around Pinterest the other day and found a link to this Snickers Brownie recipe from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy!

Holy droolfest. I love Snickers. To my mind, it has chocolate which is good for your mental state, caramel which is good for your stress levels, nuts which are good for your health, and nougat which just makes it all taste good. (I don’t care what you say, that is my story and I am sticking to it!!!!) And make it into a brownie? Ambrosia!

Snickers Brownie Heaven!

After tricking my coworkers into the Fudgy Black Bean Brownies a few weeks ago, I had to swear on my life that there was nothing ‘weird’ in these ones. I didn’t have time for weird, this brownie had a LOT going on of its own!

Disclaimer: while I stuck mostly to the Jasey recipe, I did make a few changes. Shocking, isn’t it?!? πŸ˜‰

First:
Take a box of Betty Crocker Fudgy Brownie mix and mix in 2 eggs, 1/4 cup water, 2/3 cup canola/blended oil and 1/4 cup (or thereabouts) of Hot Fudge Sauce (y’know, the ice cream topping stuff? yeah, that.) that is at room temperature. Mix well.

Brownie Batter!

I baked 2 8×8 pans, wanting one for work and one for home. That said, I baked these for 24 minutes, then turned the oven off and let them sit for 3 minutes then removed them from the oven to let them cool completely. Perfecto!

While that is baking, make your peanut butter nougat filling! Take out a saucepan over medium heat and melt 1/4 cup (half a stick) of unsalted butter. Once that’s fully melted, add in 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (2 oz) evaporated milk, stirring until fully incorporated. Next add in 1 1/2 jars of Jet Puffed Marshmallow CrΓ¨me (7 oz jars), and stir constantly (this will bubble, so the stirring is key). Gradually add in 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. (This differs from the recipe greatly). Stir until completely smooth. Remove from heat and keep stirring. After about 2 minutes of cooling time, pour this into a small mixing bowl, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Peanut Butter Nougat!

Now make your caramel sauce. To do this, put that saucepan (rinsed out) back on the burner set at medium-low (more low), and pour in 1 14-oz can of Sweetened Condensed milk. I typically use the reduced fat or fat free kind. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, and stir every few minutes. This will take about 25 minutes to complete. It should start to gradually boil, and you will need to stir it more for about the last 8 minutes. Taste as this will let you know when it’s perfect. WARNING: It WILL be extremely hot!

Homemade Caramel Sauce!

As your brownies have cooled, and your caramel is going, top the brownies with the peanut butter nougat, spreading evenly. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes to set it.

Peanut Butter Nougat Topping!

Once the 15 minutes is up, your caramel should be about ready. Remove the caramel from the burner and let sit about 3 minutes, stirring once. Take your brownies out of the freezer (nougat will be slightly spongy but firm) and top with a thin layer of caramel sauce, spreading evenly. Stick back into the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Caramel Topping!

For your chocolate topping, rinse out your saucepan again and then set it on medium heat with 10oz bittersweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter in the pan. Stir occasionally until this is a smooth and creamy blend of yumminess, then remove from heat and let sit 2 minutes.

Caramel Topping!

Remove the brownies from the freezer and top with an even layer of the chocolate topping. Cover and put in the fridge overnight, or at least 2 hours, to let set. Keep cool as this will melt and it’ll already be super gooey when it’s just out of the fridge! πŸ˜‰

Finished Snickers Brownie!

Minus one slice!

Disclaimer: this is VERY thick and VERY sweet, so smaller pieces are best for serving….with a drink handy! Everyone LOVED them at work, though the consensus was that these are high enough in sugar to put you into a sugar coma easily! Hope you enjoy, though, and let me know if you try them, and what you think!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking is Science for Hungry People: Honey Almond Berry Crostatas

Hello Baking Buddies!

I had a request at work to make a specific recipe for my coworkers. They volunteered themselves as guinea pigs this time! Okay, fine, I should be honest. Three of them volunteered everyone up as guinea pigs. But that still counts!!! Right?!? Please?!? Yessssssss, success!

Honey-Almond-Berry Crostatas!

The Recipe: Betty Crocker Mini Honey Almond Cranberry Crostatas
The Task: Bake for us please.
The Date: I missed a good friend’s birthday (I thought it was 2 days later, dangit) so decided to bring this in for his birthday treat on the day I thought his birthday occurred.
The Challenge: Follow the recipe exactly.

WHOA! WHAT?! Follow the recipe exactly?!? What madness is this, you ask? I was challenged by a friend to actually follow a recipe without straying from it by even a smidgen. He didn’t think I could do it. Honestly, I didn’t think I could, either!

Ingredients Compiled!

So here are the ingredients: 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup honey, 1.25 cup fresh or frozen berries, 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (thawed), 3 tablespoons almond paste (3.5 oz tube), 1.5 teaspoons sliced almonds, 8 teaspoons honey.

I decided that I wanted to make a double recipe of fruit, so I actually had 1.25 cup frozen cranberries AND 1.25 cup fresh blackberries (hey, a Harris Teeter sale for $1 per pint, heck yes I bought some!). I started off with the cranberry. Partly to prove that I CAN follow a recipe, and partly to make sure it worked right before wasting blackberries. πŸ˜‰ See, I plot and plan when I bake!

So first step, preheat the oven to 425. Second step, place a sheet of wax paper down on the counter. Third step, put aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.

1) Heat 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup honey (okay, I probably had closer to 1/3 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon, but that is from not wanting to dirty more stuff than necessary) over medium heat until boiling. You will only need to stir a few times, promise. This should take about 4-5 minutes, tops. Once boiling, add in your berries, reducing heat to medium-low setting (halfway between the two is where I put it). Cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until berries are tender (blackberrie) or popping (cranberries). Once this happens, remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Cranberries Cooking!

2) While the berries are popping, unroll one of the crusts onto your wax paper. I used a lid for my Magic Bullet, but a normal drinking glass should work also. Take your ‘cutter’ and cut rounds out of the pie crust dough. Take scraps, re-roll out and cut again until all used up. Move them from the wax paper onto the aluminum foil on the cookie sheet. The recipe says make 4-inch rounds, however I think mine were more like 2.5/3-inch rounds, so I scaled the portions up accordingly. I love almond paste, so I was a bit generous here. Take a pinch of almond paste and center it in your pastry rounds. Make sure this is like a small dot in the center, though, and not taking up too much space!

Cranberries Cooking!

3) Once the berries have cooled, and the liquid is thicker, take a spoon and top the almond paste with 1 teaspoon of berries. For the cranberries it was about 4 berries per round, and for the blackberries it was about 3 berries per round. Once these are topped (and be sure you’re not putting in the juice here!), pinch the crusts together so they form balls. Don’t roll them into balls, and don’t worry if a few areas are thin, or a little holed on top. Just make sure the bottoms are solid! Top with some slivered almonds. Since mine were going to be smaller, I actually pounded the slivered almonds a bit so they were more like crushed pieces, and just sprinkled those on top.

Completed Crostatas!

4) Bake 14 minutes until golden brown, and remove from oven. Let cool 2 minutes then remove from pan. I actually moved mine into cupcake foils (cute ones) since I was taking them into work and that makes it easier to transport AND grab. Once they are moved, though, drizle the top of each crostata with a dollop of honey. Let cool the rest of the way.

Honey-Almond-Cranberry Crostatas

5) Repeat steps above with the other berry, using everything the same. The recipe says it will make 8 crostatas with 1 pack pillsbury pie crust (which is 2 8-inch crusts), however I was able to make 12 crostatas with EACH crust, only using 1 package for both berry varieties. So I made 24 crostatas using 2/3 cup water, 1 cup honey (total), 2.5 cups berries, 3.5 oz almond paste, 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, and 1 package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust! WOOHOO! GO ME!

Honey-Almond-Blackberry Crostatas

My coworkers really enjoyed these, and a few people tried both. The consensus was that the Cranberry tasted better than the Blackberry for these, probably because the flavor profiles match up better for the overall effect. However if I were to do these again, without having to TRY (and fail) to prove that I can follow a recipe, I would probably add some vanilla extract with the Blackberries as they are cooking, and maybe use a walnut or pecan instead to sprinkle on top (while still using the almond paste inside). New idea for next time, woohoo!

Okay that is it for today, so I will catch you all next time, and hope you enjoyed this blog entry! Definitely think these are a GREAT baking idea if you are pressed for time, not wanting anything too complicated, and are needing a cheap item. I think I spent $15 for the actual items that were used (I bought extra paste, pie crust and fruit), counting having honey & water already… πŸ™‚

Craft You Later,
Beth

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