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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?!? 😉

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 Crème (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! 😉

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: Raspberry Layer Cake

Hello Again Baking Friends!

I had some family in from out of town, as I mentioned in my beer entry Monday, and so decided to bake a little bit in celebration. Try out some new recipes on some fresh mea—-I mean victi—-I mean taste-testers! Whew. Dang, that was almost really bad! Thanks for sticking with me for that!

I purchased two items from Hobby Lobby & Michael’s two weeks ago that had me SUPER excited. First, the candy & baking Raspberry Flavoring from Hobby Lobby. Second, the 3-pack Mini Round Cake Pan Set from Michael’s. I just wanted to make something, anything, with them, and so I decided to take them with me to bake for the family. Muahahaha. They didn’t know they would be guinea pigs, but they happily acquiesced. Having also looked at a recent Better Homes & Gardens recipe, I found a recipe I was inspired by for using food coloring to make layered cakes. So I couldn’t help but combine all of these ideas into one: mini layered cakes.

I concocted a Mini Raspberry Layer Cake, which actually turned out like I imagined it would — woohoo, score one for me! YAY! 🙂

Raspberry Layered Mini Cakes with Raspberry-Vanilla Buttecream Frosting!

I completely ignored the whole “follow the recipe exactly” concept, as usual…yeah, I know, you’re completely shocked and unable to contain your surprise. **yawn** I know, I know. It is not news. But hey, disclaimers are great for a reason!

So I decided to use a white cake recipe, but make a light yellow cake, and use that for my base of the entire cake thing. So in a nutshell, my plan was to make a batter, bake 3 mini cakes of that, then add some raspberry flavoring and red food coloring into the remaining batter, make 3 more cakes, make a frosting, and assemble so that they were layered ecru cake–>pink cake–>darker pink frosting when you cut into them! Now to see how that actually worked out!

Cake, based off (VERY loosely) the Food Network’s “Classic White Cake Recipe“… I took 3/4 stick of softened butter and mixed it with 1 cup sugar, basically beating it by hand into submission. This was a GREAT arm workout, let me tell you! Whew! Then I took 2 eggs (whole) and added them into the creamed butter. Mixed well until creamy. To this, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, a dash of salt (literally a quick tilt like a snap of the wrist so you get a bare sprinkle of salt), 1/3 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and then I mixed that really well.

Wet batter getting dried ingredients!

Once that was all incorporated, I added in my 1 1/4 cups of flour.

Add in the flour power!

Basically you want to add flour until this is a cake batter looking substance – for newbies, you want it moist, but thick enough so it is a slow plop when you pick some up with a spatula.

Moist cake batter results!

Now pour the batter into your greased mini baking pans (3/4 full)!

75% Full Mini Bake Pans!

Bake for around 20 minutes at 350 F, with the pans on a cookie sheet, until cake is firm on top to the touch, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The toothpick test is key to this! Let cool completely once removed from the oven.

Cooked Cake!

 Now to make the pink cake. I just added 1/2 of the jar (tiny jar) of Raspberry Flavoring to the remaining cake batter, along with 3 drops of red food coloring. Then I stirred the heck out of the batter (see below).

White Cake Turns Pink!

I redid the batter-int0-pan and baking process with the pink batter mini cakes, again with the toothpick test determining if 20 minutes at 350 is indeed sufficient. Let cool completely once removed from the oven.

Baking Pink Mini Cakes!

 Now to make the icing. I found a great recipe for a basic Buttercream Frosting from MyBakingAddiction, which of course I just used as a basis for my frosting. So first off, I took 2 sticks of softened butter (not melted!!!), and creamed the heck out of them (another great workout here!) until they were airy and fluffy. NO SUGAR at this point! Add in another dash of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the remaining 1/2 of the Raspberry Flavoring jar, and beat well. Now add in around 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar), and stif until it becomes really thick. You may need more sugar…

Base for Buttercream!

 While you are doing the frosting, take some frozen raspberries out of the freezer and let them thaw. Okay, now that you have your thick frosting, add in about 1/8 cup of milk and mix well. Do this a little at a time so you reach the desired consistency, and not over-liquid it! Once this is incorporated, add in 4-6 drops of red food coloring. Mix well, as per the below, to fully mix in the color to get a nice pink Raspberry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, like the below! Let sit about 20 minutes to thicken.

Mixed Pink Raspberry-Vanilla Frosting

 Now comes the fun and difficult part. Assembling the layer cakes. I took each cake and sliced them in half vertically (turned the cake on it’s side and used a bread knife to slowly saw the cakes in half). You want to have 3 tops and 3 bottoms for each of the pink and white/ecru cakes. Now that your frosting is thickened, take a small amount of it and spread across all 3 of the pink cake bottoms so it is a very light layer. Now gently place the white/ecru cake tops onto this frosting to make a whole cake. Cover the entire cake, sides all the way around included, with frosting. Top with a few pieces of your thawed frozen raspberries, and let sit. Repeat this process using the white/ecru bottoms with the pink tops.

Visual on the Layers of these Mini Cakes!

 Now you have 6 mini layered Raspberry and Vanilla cakes with Raspberry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting! Observe:

Frosted Layer Cakes!

 Also, I ended up having enough pink cake batter left to make two more normal mini cakes. So I ended up taking a handful of frozen raspberries and adding them to the batter, baking the same as above, and frosting them much lighter. To distinguish, I didn’t place raspberries on top of the frosting for these.

Leftover Batter Makes More Yummies!

Raspberry Cakes with Frosting!

So that is my experimentation, part 1, with my mini cake pans and my new flavoring finds! Hope you enjoy these, and I will definitely be making these for work at some point in the near future, but hopefully with more flavor variety! I will say I wish that the color was more pronounced between layers, so think I need to play more with the food coloring amounts. But that is something that you can play with as you do this! If you try this, please let me know how you like them – I always love hearing feedback!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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