Friday, December 21, 2012

Double Mint Mocha Fudge Brownies

First of all, Happy Holidays to everyone! :) We're winding down here, but I still have a LOT to do! Most of my holiday orders are done and shipped out, just a few more goodies to take care of and I'll be done! 

Anyway, before I get cracking, I wanted to share this so simple recipe. So, you can wow your family and friends too. I promise it's so easy and it will literally take just a few minutes to put together. 

Double Mint Mocha Fudge Brownies

1 box of Pillsbury Mocha Fudge Brownies
Peppermint extract
A bag of York Peppermint Patties
A bag of Andes Mint baking chips (or you can a package and chop them yourself)

*You could also a tiny bit of instant espresso powder if you want a bit stronger coffee flavor

Make the brownies according to the package directions. At the end add about 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract, depending upon your taste. Then add about a quarter to half the bag of the Andes mint baking chips. Mix together until just combined. 

Pour half of your mix into your baking dish, only half! Then lay out your peppermint patties over the top of the mix. You can make any pattern you wish to do, I myself am a mint lover, so I literally didn't leave any space between the patties.

When you're done, top with the rest of the brownie mix and bake according to the directions. Once you've removed it from the oven, sprinkle some more Andes mint baking chips and holiday appropriate sprinkles over the top. The heat will help melt and keep them in place. How much mint chips and sprinkles, is entirely your call. You could even frost it and then add these but, these brownies are so rich and delicious I've found that they never needed frosting. 

I hope you enjoy this easy go to recipe to make in a pinch for the family. From our house to yours, may your holidays be filled with love, laughter and years of memories!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Double Chocolate, Marshmallow Crackle Cookies

So, I know I don't post much to the blog anymore. Just don't have a lot of time but, as you know, I do my best to keep that FB page going! :) This one though just could not be shared in a note on my page, so you're not dreaming, I'm actually posting something on the blog! lol

Christmas to me or any holiday around this time of year is a big deal to me. I love them. To me it's more about family than who has what. I still love to drive around more than the boys do to look at lights and while I was lucky this year to be able to find a great sale at a house and bring in a lot more decorations, I usually can't afford to do a whole lot. The one tradition that holds true though, is that every year, I bake dozens upon dozens of goodies for friend, family and neighbors. Including the ladies out at my mom's retirement center!

Double Chocolate Marshmallow Crackle Cookies

This recipe was given to me by a friend and I sort of adapted it a bit. So, I hope you enjoy it and unlike me, have fresh baking soda to work with! :)

3 cps of flour
2/3 cp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 cp white sugar
1cp of brown sugar, packed
1 cp salted butter, softened
2 lrg eggs
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 cps of semisweet chocolate chips 
8 oz. of mini marshmallows, frozen

**My notes: 
For some reason, every now and again, this recipe mix ends up a little drier than it should be. I have no idea why but, all I do is either add another egg or at least 1/4 cp of water. I am unsure the exact measurements because as Rachel Ray always says, I "eyeballed it". And the last adaptation is that I always put more vanilla than the recipe calls for, so probably about another half to full tsp of vanilla went in. These will make it a much richer, drier cookie so if you find it drying out on you, because a few times I've had this problem, just add that water a little at a time.
For more of a "crackle" cookie effect, add a little less baking soda, and the cookie will not rise as big. Be careful though, because too little and you'll have a puddle of a cookie on your hands!
You'll need a small bowl or cup of powdered sugar to roll your cookie balls around in. 
Also keep those marshmallows frozen until just the moment you need them! 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In one bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, soda and cocoa powder, whisk and set aside.
In a larger bowl blend sugars, and butter until you get a sort of grainy paste. Then add your eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Slowly add in your dry mix and chocolate chip and blend until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! This mix will be very stiff. So, don't panic. 

Grab abt. 4 - 5 marshmallows, though you can do less if you prefer, and take a nice rounded tbs of dough and wrap it around the marshmallows. No worries if you end up making them larger than the "normal" sized cookies because, they still turn out absolutely rich and delicious! 

Once you have your marshmallows covered by your cookie ball, roughly about 2 inches in diameter, just drop them in your bowl of powdered sugar and shake them around a bit, until they are nice and covered. Then you'll place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Parchment paper or even that non-stick foil works just as nicely. Make sure that they are roughly about 2 inches or so apart. and bake about 8 - 10 minutes. Again, remember your altitude does affect baking time.  

When your time is up, remove and let them sit on that pan for about 2 minutes before you remove to your cookie wrack or cool, flat surface. 

Here is where I stress something about baking or even cooking in general. If you remove something from the heat but, let it sit in the pan, or in this case on the cookie sheet, keep in mind that it is still cooking! So, don't hesitate when you go to pull them out and they look slightly under cooked  in the center or even a little light in color - this goes for all cookies too. So, if you leave them on the sheet, they will continue to bake just sitting there. If you were to leave them in the oven until all golden brown, you'll have over cooked them. 

Also, my last words of advice before I tell you to dive in, TEST this recipe out before the day you want to give it to someone! You'll learn what works and what doesn't, you can take out some cocoa powder or add the extra moisture, etc. if you have a practice run before you serve it to someone. 

Lastly, I do not have the calories, or carbs  in this cookie for us diabetics but, with the load of cocoa powder, chocolate chips and flour in this my advice would be to wait for the holiday and then if you've been good, you could treat yourself to JUST 1 SINGLE cookie! lol 

Hope you enjoy these, with a nice cup of mint tea, surrounded by family and friends! 
Happy Holidays!