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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Belgian Chocolate Truffles

Hello Friends,

I mentioned yesterday in the Charlotte Beer Babes September Beer Class post that I would be giving everyone the lowdown on the Belgian Truffles that I made for the beer event.

As promised, here we go into chocolate land!

So I had been researching and trying to find some good, easy to transport Belgian recipe ideas for the Belgian Beer Class that we were doing for September, and all I could really find were mussels (I love y’all but not that much!), endive (doubt that would’ve been eaten), Waffles (hard to transport), and truffles (winner winner truffle dinner!). I think I chose well. 🙂

So to make the truffles, I needed a recipe to go off of, and I found a great one from the Belgian Travel site. I did change a little, but these were SUPER easy to make up. Warning: you will become addicted to these, and they do take some handling work to assemble… totally worth it though!

Take 1/4 cup of butter and 8 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli) and melt in a metal baking bowl placed inside a saucepan filled with water (double boiler cheat!) over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep smooth. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for best results.

Once completely smooth, remove from heat, stir for 15 seconds, and then add in 1 tbspn vanilla extract and 3/4 cup sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Place the mixture in the freezer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until starts to harden just a bit. Mixture should still be a little liquidy.

Remove the bowl from freezer and add 1/3 cup powdered sugar to the mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Take a cookie sheet that will fit in your fridge, and line with wax paper. Take 3 small bowls and place 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or similar nut) in each “topping bowl”.

Take pinches of your chocolate mixture and roll into 1-inch balls in your hands, then roll the ball in one of the 3 “topping bowls”. Place on cookie sheet in rows, and note that you don’t need to have space between these like you do anything you’re baking. Once sheet is filled completely, place in fridge for 1 hour to allow to set.

Serve and enjoy! (Tip: These go especially well with darker beers like the Pater 6 we tasted in Beer School!)

cocoa belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Cocoa Belgian Truffles!

coconut belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Coconut Belgian Truffles!

pecan belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Pecan Belgian Truffles!

Craft You Later,
Beth

September 11 Service Thanks – Baking

Hello Friends,

I am on the Volunteer Board for Charlotte at my company, and we recently did a pretty neat volunteer event which I thought I’d share with everyone.

In honor of the fire, police and sheriff personnel in our city who put their lives on the line and go out of their way for their community every day – we decided to honor their service with thanks around September 11. In recognition, volunteers were asked to provide any combination of baked goods, purchased snacks or drinks to any of 138 local stations for these three groups of service.

Due to being a bit special, I took on the 8 local Sheriff Department locations (605 people), and wanted to provide 2 cookies per person. Since I made this wonderful decision on Monday night, with  Tuesday being the last day to deliver for this event, I brilliantly consented to baking 1210 cookies in one night. Pre-planning is a brilliant thing, please let me tell you now!

Anyways, I enlisted a coworker to help me by making 8 dozen cookies (that is 96 for those not quick on multiplying-by-12 games). That left me with only 1114 cookies to bake! 🙂 Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right?!

Another coworker found me a basic English Shortbread recipe that is basically flour-sugar-butter-bake. So I adapted that. If I’m doing something easy, I want it to be tasty too, seriously!

To make this amount of cookies, I bought 10 pounds of flour, 8 pounds of sugar, 135 oz of Country Crock margarine (3 tubs, proceeds from which support the Wounded Warriors Project), 2 bags of mini chocolate chips, 2 bags of toffee chips (like these), and 1 5-oz bag of Cherry Craisins. I also used on-hand vanilla extract for this recipe, so make sure you have some of that!

Doing 1 batch at a time, combine 2 cups margarine with 1 cup sugar and cream in your mixing bowl on high speed. Once mixed well, add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and blend until well combined.

margarine sugar vanilla shortbread cookies

Cream the sugar and vanilla with margarine!

Gradually add in 4 cups flour to this mixture, on medium speed, and mix until fully combined. Dough will be very slightly sticky, but easy to handle.

margarine sugar vanilla flour shortbread cookies

Add in some flour!

Once you have this dough made, add your ‘extra flavor’ – mini chocolate chips, toffee chips, or Craisins (see note below).

margarine sugar flour vanilla chocolate chip toffee chip craisin shortbread cookies

Add in your flavor chips!

For the craisins: combine 1/2 cup craisins with 2 tablespoons sugar, and process in your food processor or pulse for 20 seconds in your Magic Bullet Blender. This allows them to be bite sized and easier to add into the cookies!

Preheat oven to 350, and spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. I put foil on all my cookie sheets then sprayed with cooking spray for easier clean-up later!

margarine sugar flour vanilla chocolate chip toffee chip craisin shortbread cookies

Scoop your dough onto your cookie sheets to bake!

Bake your cookies for 13 minutes, and immediately remove from oven to cool on an oven mitt away from the oven. Let cool 2-3 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack. Let cool an additional 2-3 minutes before putting into plastic quart-sized freezer bags for storage and delivery. Seal tightly, and deliver for a yummy treat!

Since we had 8 locations for what I signed up for, I took some paper grocery bags, labelled them for each location, calculated how many cookies (2 per person) for each location, and then bagged up the different cookies accordingly for each paper bag delivery!

margarine sugar flour vanilla chocolate chip toffee chip craisin shortbread cookies

Package cookies for delivery!

This is what it finally looked like when all cookies were completed and prepped for delivery:

margarine sugar flour vanilla chocolate chip toffee chip craisin shortbread cookies

Delivery bags for 8 locations!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Oatmeal PB Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I have another creation that I think you’ll enjoy! I had another birthday at work (yes, apparently Summer was the time to be born to work in our group!) and was requested to do something with oatmeal or peanut butter for them as a treat.

Of course, I was thinking about doing an array of cookies, and then decided that this was the perfect opportunity to expound out and try something new. So… I found peanut butter pie recipes, and decided to use an oatmeal cookie crust instead of graham cracker for the base!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pie, Oh My!

My inspiration was this Peanut Butter Silk Pie recipe, however (surprise!) I changed a couple things around quite a bit to make this one happen!

CRUST LAYER:
I took a box of basic Oatmeal Cookies and crushed 18 of them to make the crust. The box had 24 cookies, and they were each about the size of an average palm – to give you a reference. Anyways, my Magic Bullet Blender was my friend to crush these to smithereens, and ended up looking like this:

How The Cookie Crumbles!

Next, I added 1/3 cup of sugar to this mix. Now, instead of using the expected butter, I recently came into possession of (aka I purchased) some Butter Flavored Olive Oil. Smells and tastes like butter, and it’s geared towards substituting for real butter even. So of course I had to try it here! I used 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon of Butter Olive Oil in lieu of 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter. YUM!

It’s Crust Magic!

Finally, for the crust, I patted the crust into a sprayed-with-Pam 13×9 baking pan, in this case of the aluminum foil variety for easy travel. Bake this for 8 minutes at 375 to set the crust so it won’t completely crumble on you. Remove from oven and let cool completely – I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Crust Complete!

FUDGE LAYER:
While your crust is cooling, remove your 17.75 jar of hot fudge sauce from the fridge and let come to room temperature. I used the Smuckers Special Recipe Hot Fudge one, and you will use all but 2 tablespoons of this for the 13×9 pan just as a heads up for you…

Once your crust has cooled completely, and your fudge sauce has gotten pretty soft (you can microwave it for 20 seconds if need be), stir it up good and then spread it all over the crust layer until you cannot see anything but fudge sauce! Stick this back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until chilled (fudge will harden up a bit)!

Warning: The fudge sauce may be tacky and put up a fight with you about laying down on the crust, so just know that you WILL win the battle, and conquer the hot fudge!

MMMM Fudge!

Peanut Butter Filling (two versions):
Okay, so through trial and feedback, I wanted to give you two options for this filling. If you like super-sweet, creamy, and thick fillings, follow the way I did it. If you prefer lighter, airier, and not as heavy – then substitute ONE of the cream cheese packages for ONE Cool Whip “No Sugar Added” container. Trust me on this! 😉

Okay, so back to business. Here is what I did for the filling:
Combine 2 8-oz packages of 1/3-less fat Cream Cheese (softened) with 1 cup Whipped Peanut Butter. Once this is fully mixed, add in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Mix until fully combined. To this next add, one at a time, 1 8-oz Cool Whip Free (thawed) container, and 1 8-oz Cool Whip Extra Creamy (thawed) container! You will mix this until your arms are in pain, but it will be worth it!

Peanut Butter Filling!

Once this is nice and creamy, take your crust-fudge layers out of the fridge and spread this topping evenly over top of it all.

Peanut Butter Topped Dessert!

Once it’s spread evenly, I would make little waves in the topping, just for fun, like this (with a spatula):

Peanut Butter Waves!

Now crumble up 3-4 of the leftover cookies from your box of Oatmeal Cookies from the crust, and sprinkle those evenly over top of the waves of filling.

Oatmeal Crumble Topping!

Finally, take the leftover fudge sauce in the jar, add 1 teaspoon of milk, and microwave for about 40 seconds until nice and thin. Drizzle this over top of the oatmeal crumbles, and you will have a gorgeous dessert! Refrigerate this at least 2 hours, preferably overnight though, before serving to let all the flavors soak in!

Beautiful Fudge Drizzle!

Let me know how you enjoy this, and which version you use!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Birthday Cupcakes

Hello All,

Another friend at work had a birthday, so I decided to make her some cupcakes. I had some leftover Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting, so I decided to whip up a batch of Bittersweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting  and use a basic Vanilla Cupcake (recipe below) to host them both.

Birthday Cupcakes!

So to make these yummy treats, I started with creaming 1 cup of unsalted butter with 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Gradually add in 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt, 2 tspn vanilla and 3/4 cup skim milk.

Vanilla Cupcake Batter!

Once your batter is completed, pour it into cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the bakeware. Set in the refrigerator overnight or for 4 hours for best effect. Once they are fully cooled, frost with your frosting, top with a bittersweet chocolate chip or a salted peanut or a piece of Andes Mint or an M&M candy.

Vanilla Cupcake with PB Buttercream!

Vanilla Cupcake with Bittersweet Chocolate Buttercream!

Basically, have fun with toppings and frosting combinations! You can make  some great combinations and make it look beautiful as well, so play with frosting colors too! Enjoy!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Chocolate Cupcakes

Hello Friends and Baking Fans,

I have made a slight modification (**gasp**) to my chocolate cupcake recipe from  Valentine’s Day. I think I’ve improved upon it slightly, but I may be slightly biased on that. I found it a little smoother tasting and better as a stand-alone, but… You tell me!

Chocolate Cupcakes

To make the cupcakes, I started with 1 cup (sticks) of unsalted butter. I added 1 cup of sugar to this in my stand mixer, and creamed the butter out of it! (hehe, you laughed a little admit it!) Anyways, from there, once creamed really well, gradually add in 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt, 2 tspn vanilla, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Mix really well.

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Now this ooey gooey sticky deliciousness is ready to bake! I used these fun baking cups from Hobby Lobby, which (YAY!) don’t need muffin pans to bake them in – just stick the filled cups on the cookie sheet and bake away! Woooo!

Cupcake Batter To Bake!

So pour your batter into your liners and bake at 350 for around 20 minutes. It may be a little more or less, but mine came out to like 19:48 or something like that. Hence 20 minutes… I’d hate for you to have to time it that exactly! Yeesh.

Chocolate Cupcakes Done!

Once they have turned out and cooled, you can serve them with or without frosting or toppings. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes to cool them quickly, since I was getting ready to leave… BUT I served with and without frosting, and they went over really well both ways! So let me know how you like these cupcakes, and I hope you enjoy this yummy chocolateness amongst all this heat out there! Maybe dipped in cool whip if you don’t want to make frosting… 😉 Mmmm! Anyways…

Craft You Later,
Beth

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: Black Cherry Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I was recently up in the Traverse City area of Michigan visiting my grandparents, and they had gone cherry picking recently. Now, for those of you not familiar with that area, it is cherry country. So when they picked & bought the Cavalier cherries in a 3-pound bunch, they were ripe, fresh, plump, and oh-so-sweet. YUM.

Sweet As Cherry Pie!

To start, we took about 2.5 quarts of the black cherries and pitted and de-stemmed them. Now, there is a nifty thing called a cherry pitter

Cherry Pitter!

However I took a knife and just sliced (like an apple) around the cherry flesh to get the pit out. Ended up being like 2 slices for most cherries to get all the cherry flesh off the pit. This also ended up taking about 15-20 minutes when all was said and done. It also looked like a cherry bloodbath on the table, so be forewarned NOT to do this over white pants, or on a table that doesn’t clean up easily!

Now, take your cherries and add about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tspn vanilla extract and 2 tspn honey (drizzled), and mix well. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to soak in the flavor best.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a crust. Normally I use the Jiffy Pie Crust, however since we didn’t have any handy, I just basically made one up. Dangerous, I know, but since I sample as I go, I figured I’d be okay…

Crust:
Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt together. Add in 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter (softened & cut into pieces). Mix well until forms a nice dough. Place in a Pam-sprayed pie plate, with the crust going to the very edges of the dish in a thick layer. Take a knife and make a few indents in the bottom, to help avoid the crust trying to rise during baking, thus spilling the yummy parts onto the stove ‘floor’! Oh, and you should have enough crust leftover to do either a second smaller pie, or a thin top crust. 😉

Now that you have that created, pour in your cherry filling. At this point, you can either top with the thin top crust you had enough dough leftover for OR you can make a streusel-crumble topping. I did the topping, myself! 😉

Crumble Topping:
Mix together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tspn ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup butter (softened and cut into pieces) until, well, crumbly! Top the pie with this evenly.

VoilĂ : Black Cherry Pie!

Now bake the pie (preheated oven) at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes. The pie will look bubbly and browned on top, and will be very juicy – just to warn you!

I wish I had taken a picture of this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, however it didn’t last long enough for me to think of it! 😉 I think in about 15 minutes the whole thing was demolished! YUM!

So let me know what you think of this recipe, especially if you’re a pie lover like me, and how you like my sweet crust concoction! Until then…

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie

Hello Baking Fiends!

I had a special request from a friend to make a Lemon Icebox Pie for dessert. So I looked up a bunch of recipes and found these three that I really wanted to base my pie off of: AllRecipes’ Lemon Icebox Pie III, Emeril’s Lemon Icebox Pie, and Papa’s Lemon Icebox Pie.

So, typical me, I basically combined some elements from all of these recipes, added a Strawberry twist of my own, and came up with my own creation! Shocked? I figured you would be!

Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

What you’ll need:
1 box of Vanilla Wafers (you’ll use all but maybe 12 wafers)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 quart of fresh de-stemmed strawberries, divided
3 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8oz package 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 8×8 cake pan or 9×9 pie pan (preferably with a lid)

What you’ll do:
First, using a food processor, a blender or a rolling pin (and some repressed anger or frustration), make the wafers into a cookie powder-like mulch. You laugh or cringe now at that description, but just do it, I dare you. Dump the cookies into a bowl.

Next purÊe about 5 of the small strawberries (should be a small handful in total) until it looks like a smoothie. While that is going, melt your butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Dump the strawberries and butter in with the wafers.

Making the crust….

Once this is mixed together really well, and it will look more like cookie dough at this point, dump the crust mix into your sprayed-with-Pam pan (I used an 8×8 cake pan), and spread it out evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Crust to bake….

Bake your crust at 350 for 15 minutes, remove from oven and pat the bottom down (spreading it back out evenly) if needed, then bump the oven up to 425 to bake for an additional 8 minutes. Turn the oven off and remove, letting it cool.

While that is baking, in a bowl (I just used the crust bowl again) dump in the softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, condensed milk, juice of 3 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, and the pulsed (not fully purÊed) remnants of another 5 small strawberries. Mix really well with a whisk until fully incorporated.

Making the filling….

And now pour the filling into the crust and spread it evenly all up the sides. Slice the remaining 4-5 strawberries into quarters, and place on top of the filling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

VoilĂ : Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

Verdict on this was “delicious” across the board. This was definitely very lemony, so if you don’t like as much lemon, I would maybe only juice 2 lemons instead of 3. However I was impressed with how well the crust turned out, and think it would be fun to try other fruit purĂŠes in them, maybe even in place of the butter! Hmmm. Mmmm. 🙂

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Healthy Fudgy Brownies

Hello Baking Friends!

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted about baking, however I have now twice baked these brownies that I really think you’ll enjoy.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie!

I found this recipe from Baker On The Rise for Fudgy Black Bean Brownies. I know, I know… “Black Bean” + “Brownie” = ?!?!?!?!? I thought so too. But I thought they looked good, sounded intriguing, so I decided to attempt them after finding a few people (including my brother) who said they would try them. Victims volunteering, I just love it!

So here is what I did. And I mostly followed the recipe, you’ll be proud to know!

Drain and rinse out a can of black beans. Twice, maybe three times even. I like making sure my black beans are completely free of anything other than the beans!

Next, I took about 1/3 of the beans at a time and put them through my Magic Bullet Blender with 1 egg, for about 40 seconds. They’ll come out a bit foamy. Dump into a mixing bowl, and start over with the next 1/3 of the beans and egg. Since you need 3 eggs, this makes it very simple to not blow out your blender and also mushify all of the beans to a smooth and even finish. Yes, I did just say mushify, and no, I’m not taking it back. So there.

Mushified Beans + Brownie Mix-ins

Once all the beans are in the mixing bowl, I added 3 capfuls of blended oil, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 quick dash of salt. I mixed this with a plastic spoon for about 2 minutes until smooth.

Brownies + Chocolate Chips

Now take about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and put those in the blender, pulsing, for about 20 seconds until chopped up pretty good. Add those to the batter and stir until it’s not lumpy. Pour into a prepared (sprayed with Pam if you’re like me!) 13×9 pan. Sprinkle with some more (non-chopped) chocolate chips. Bake at 350 Farenheit for 27 minutes, then turn oven off. Let cool in oven 2 minutes, then remove and cool on stovetop for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dry place, with the pan(s) covered.

Brownie Batter

Additional notes:
– You can do 2 thin-layer 13×9 pans instead of 1 thick one and end up with 2 pans of smaller brownies – with 2 pans cooking about 27 minutes. The thinner layers taste more like brownies, the thicker layer tastes more cakey. Depends on what you want for how you should bake them!
– Or you can add coconut, nuts or dried fruit to the brownies’ batter and topping in addition to the chocolate chips.

Nutrition Facts: 
Prepared in 1 pan (15 thick brownies):
128 calories, 5.2g Fat (1.2g saturated), 38mg Cholesterol, 136mg Sodium, 18.2g Carbohydrates (2.6g Dietary Fiber, 12g Sugars), 3.6g Protein, 2% DV Calcium, 8% DV Iron

Prepared in 2 pans (30 thin brownies):
64 calories, 2.6g Fat (0.6g saturated), 19mg Cholesterol, 68mg Sodium, 9.1g Carbohydrates (1.3g Dietary Fiber, 6g Sugars), 1.8g Protein, 1% DV Calcium, 4% DV Iron

So I know this seems like a super big leap in the brownie world, however everyone seemed to really like these that has tried them so far. I’ve made them twice. I didn’t tell my coworkers they had black beans in them, of course, when I made them for them, though! Figured that way they’d actually try them un-biasedly! 😉 Hey I never said I wasn’t sneaky! Anyways, they said they tasted more cakey than normal brownies. However when I did the initial (2 pans of thin brownies) recipe, they actually tasted more like normal brownies and less cakey. Depends what you want, clearly! 🙂

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes

Hello Baking Lovers!

Today we are having Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes — à la Beth. I have a coworker who not only is allergic to chocolate (oh the HORROR of it!), but absolutely LOVES Strawberry Shortcakes of all kinds. His birthday is this weekend, so I decided to start our long weekend off right at work and make him (and the rest of my taste-tester victims) some sweet treats to make the day more enjoyable.

Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes!

I was looking at my favorite Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, which is courtesy of the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder, a Hannah Swensen novel, by Joanne Fluke. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 48 hours to let the Pound Plus Cake sit before serving, so I decided to shop around some more for quicker recipes.

In my search, I happened upon this nice blog site unsophisticook, and found some great stuff! I found what would be the basis for my Shortcakes, and a great Bisquick baking substitute for not having to buy the boxed product as well!

To start, I didn’t alter the Bisquick Substitute recipe. Contain your shock, I know it has your jaw agape, but please…miracles do happen! So to start the whole process off I knew I would only need 3.5 cups of the substitute, so I halved the recipe from the above link. I didn’t want extra since it is so easy to whip up!

Step 1: Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbspn baking powder, and 1/2 tbspn salt until thoroughly blended. Add 1/4 cup cold sliced butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives or a whisk, mix in the butter until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Step 2: To the flour, add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and stir completely until dough is lumpy and dry.

Step 3: Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and mix dough well: this will moisten the dough and make it sticky.

Step 4: Drop spoonfulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, mine is lined with foil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar, Bake for 14 minutes at 425 F (preheat your oven first!). NOTE: You want the dough balls at least the size of a hacky sack, otherwise you won’t have enough cake for the full effect!

Step 5: Slice up 2 lbs of fresh de-stemmed strawberries and put in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup sugar over top (distribute evenly).

Step 6: Combine 2 tbspn lemon juice and 1/3 cup cold water. Pour mixture over strawberries & sugar. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Step 7: To make the Crème Fraiche, put 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer on high for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and let whip for around 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Then add in 1/2 cup sour cream, switching the speed down significantly (on mine went from 10 to 3).

Now, I made all the stuff, refrigerated the crème and strawberries, covered the shortcakes (left on top of the cooled stove), and went to bed. You could do this immediately after everything has cooled, but it worked out great overnight for me!

Assembling the Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes:

Step 8.1: Split the cooled cakes in half horizontally.

Step 8.2: Place the bottom half of the cake in a cupcake holder (easiest way to keep them together AND transport them, I promise!).

Step 8.3: Place a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the cake bottom.

Step 8.4: Place 3 slices of strawberries on top of the crème. NOTE: you probably want to drain the juices from the strawberries before starting this process. I drained into a glass & enjoyed a yummy strawberry juice, with a few slices slipped in!

Step 8.5: Place top of cake on top of strawberries, dab a small dollop of crème on top, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, as this will enhance the flavors immensely!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

So that is the easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make these cute, individual sized Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes! Let me know how you like them – so far everyone at work has absolutely loved them! Have a great rest of your Friday, a great weekend (for those in the US – HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY weekend!), and until next time…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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