Sunday, September 13, 2009

Double-Decker Confetti Brownies

I know it seems that I've been posting a lot of sweets lately, but with all four kids in school and packing lunches, I've been baking a lot of sweets and love sharing each of them with you! :) I promise to post some great new dinner recipes that are quick and delicious and perfect for your busy weeknight meals.

These double layer brownies were fantastic and pleased both the brownie lovers and cookie lovers in our family. My "confetti" (the mini M&M's) in the cookie layer sunk, so the bars weren't as cute as I was hoping for but they were still a huge hit with my little critics. The entire pan was devoured in one day between lunches, after school snacks and my 42 year old cookie monster.

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Double-Decker Confetti Brownies

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 cup M&M's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Baking Bits, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 13x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside.

In large bowl cream 3/4 cup butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla.

In medium bowl combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt; blend into creamed mixture.

Divide batter in half. Blend together cocoa powder and melted butter; stir into one half of the dough. Spread cocoa dough evenly into prepared baking pan.

Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup "M&M's" into remaining dough; spread evenly over cocoa dough in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup "M&M's".

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container.

Source: The Great American Cookie Cookbook

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cake

This past weekend my friend Sarah's son (Josh) celebrated his 3rd birthday. Josh is a huge fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I mean, the boy LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Did I mention that Josh Loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? I did? Oh...okay. Sorry. Can you guess what the theme of Josh's big party was? Here it comes.....wait for it....almost...there....Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Yay-you guessed correctly! You're SO smart!

Well, anyway, I was thrilled when Sarah asked me to help her with creating Josh's birthday cake. When she showed me her plan for the cake I knew we would have so much fun baking and decorating together. She baked the cakes, I prepared the fondant and we got together Friday night for the fun. Between giggles, pizza, six kids and two husbands we completed Josh's cake. I must say that we were pretty pleased with how it turned out. But, more importantly, the very special birthday boy LOVED it and that's all that counted!!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Black and White Cookie Ripple Coffee Cake

When I saw this cake on Donna's (My Tasty Treasures) blog I nearly drooled and knew instantly that I would be making this cake SOON!! I mean, seriously, who could resist eating a coffee cake loaded with Oreo cookies? This is my kids' definition of breakfast perfection! Have your precious little ones ever asked if they could have cookies for breakfast? Just this once, Mom...PLEASE?? Well, now you can say "Yes, you can!" You'll immediately become "World's Best Mom" in their eyes when you serve them a generous slice of this delicious coffee cake. :)

The cake itself is pretty much a standard coffee cake recipe, nothing too sweet. The sweetness and goodness is added with the cookies, and for our cake I used Double Stuff Oreos. To me, there is no other Oreo comparison. If it's not Double Stuff, leave it on the store shelf. I thought the double cream would be wonderful in the cake and it certainly did not disappoint! The kids loved, loved, loved this cake and ate it for their after school snack as well as breakfast. This cake will certainly be making future appearances at our table!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Black and White Cookie Ripple Coffee Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
30 + coarsely chopped sandwich cookies (OREOS!)

Soften butter by letting it stand for 30-45 minutes at room temperature or cut into chunks and allow to stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Coarsely chop the
Oreos (I followed Donna's suggestion and put 20 chopped cookies in one bowl for the filling and the remainder in another bowl for the topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a mixer bowl, cream softened butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs 2 at a time, and blend on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl often to make sure no butter or sugar sticks to the bottom. Add vanilla
and buttermilk and blend well. Fold in the dry ingredients and blend until batter is smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle 2/3 of cookie pieces over batter (the 20 cookies), putting more on perimeter than directly in the middle (cookie pieces are less likely to sink when dispersed this way).

Top with remaining batter and top batter evenly with remaining cookie pieces.

Bake 45 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Finish baking until cake tests done with a cake skewer that almost comes out clean, another 15-20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan before turning cake out onto a serving plate. Let cake cool completely before adding glaze.


1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-6 tablespoons buttermilk

For glaze, whisk sugar, butter and vanilla together. Slowly add enough buttermilk to make a thin glaze. (I used about half the milk). Drizzle glaze over top of cake with a fork or whisk. Let glaze set.

Source: Donna of
My Tasty Treasures

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Pleasing His Chocolate Cravings" with Chocolate Thumbprints

If you read my previous post then you understand the title to this one. As I previously stated, I've been baking special treats to put in my kids' lunches to let them know that I'm thinking of them during the day. My first "special" treat was met with a 75% approval rating, only disappointing our 9 year old son because of the lack of chocolate in the blondies. So to appease his chocolate craving, I searched and found the recipe for these remarkable, delicious cookies. Plus, Marty was headed to a meeting with some men who had requested some baked goods. I was thrilled to make two of my boys happy with one recipe. :)

These were a lot of fun to bake up and filling the centers of the cookies with the peanut butter filling gave me a little creative outlet. The only change I will make to the original recipe is to use mini-chocolate chips instead of regular sized. Using mini chips would allow making the "thumbprints" easier than maneuvering the larger chips.

Oh, did you ask how these tasted? Well, they were irresistible! If you've ever eaten a buckeye (the peanut butter ball covered in chocolate made to resemble a buckeye) then you can imagine the taste of this cookie. The filling was fluffy and creamy and complimented the chocolate cookie perfectly and tasted so similar to the buckeyes my family loves!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Chocolate Thumbprints

1/2 Butter Flavor Crisco Stick or 1/2 Cup Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Cream Filling
2 tablespoons Butter flavor Crisco Stick or 2 tablespoons Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheet with shortening. (I used parchment paper)

For cookies, combine 1/2 cup shortening, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, vanilla and egg yolk in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add melted chocolate. Mix well.

Combine flour and salt. Add gradually to chocolate mixture at low speed. Mix until blended. Add chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Press thumb gently in center of each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Do not overbake. Press centers again with small measuring spoon. Remove cookies to cooling rack and cool completely.

For peanut butter cream filling, combine 2 tablespoons shortening and peanut butter in medium bowl. Stir with spoon until blended. (I used my hand mixer.) Add confectioners sugar. Stir well. Add 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Fill centers of cookies.

Source: The Great American Cookie Cookbook

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fabulous Blonde Brownies

School is now in full swing. There's a part of me that is glad to be back into a routine, but I have to say that I desperately miss my kids!! One of the ways I find to let them know that I'm thinking of them during the day is to send yummy, homemade treats for their lunches. :) I baked these little blondies up late one night after our youngest had perused the "treat" drawer and found that we were out of cookies. GASP! She turned to me and asked, "Mommy, what will I have in my lunch for dessert?" :( I couldn't let my baby down and send her to school without something to satisfy her sweet tooth, right?! After saying our prayers and tucking four sleepy heads into bed, I went on a search for something that would be quick and simple to bake up. These little babies fit the bill. I loved that the recipe called for toffee bits with the white chocolate, gotta love that combination. The next day three of the four kids commented on how much they liked these. My 9 year old son came to me and said, "Mom, no offense, but I didn't really like the dessert you sent. It didn't have any chocolate in it. Can you please fix something chocolatey for tomorrow?" Hmmm, don't you love his honesty and truth be told...the apple didn't fall far from the tree! I MUCH prefer desserts with chocolate too!! Check back soon to see what I baked up to satisfy our chocolate cravings!!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Fabulous Blonde Brownies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 cup (4 ounces) blanched whole almonds (I omitted)
1 cup English toffee bits
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; mix well. Combine white chocolate chips, almonds and toffee bits in medium bowl; mix well.

Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended. Stir in 3/4 cup white chocolate chip mixture. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 20 minutes. Immediately sprinkle remaining white chocolate chip mixture evenly over brownies. Press lightly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on wire rack.

Source: The Great American Cookie Cookbook

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Last spring, when my friend Sarah was enjoying her maternity leave, I spent many an afternoon at her home while her oldest and my youngest played...I also lavished the opportunity to snuggle with a precious, new baby!! Our lunches often consisted of left overs from our dinners. On one occasion, Sarah reheated this awesome tuna casserole. It was unlike any tuna casserole I had ever tasted and I asked her to share the recipe with me.

It's taken me several months to fix this for my family but it was such a huge hit with everyone, that I'm sure it's going to be on our dinner table often. Marty and I LOVED the "grown-up" flavor that the roasted red pepper added to this dish and the kids raved about the abundance of noodles and the bread crumb topping. The original recipe is prepared in an 8x8 dish, but I doubled it and baked in a 13x9. I was planning (and hoping) that this would be a success for dinner and needed plenty of leftovers for lunches and our buffet-style leftover night. :-) If you like tuna casserole, you'll LOVE this version of the favoured dish!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Tuna Noodle Casserole
8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 cup frozen broccoli florets
1 package (1.8 oz) leek soup mix
1 1/2 cups milk
Dash pepper
1 can (5 oz) albacore tuna, drained
2 tablespoons chopped drained roasted red bell peppers
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain linguine as directed on package, adding broccoli for last 2 minutes of cook time.
Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, mix soup mix and milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Add linguine, broccoli, tuna and roasted peppers to soup mixture; stir gently to mix well. Spoon into baking dish. In small bowl, mix butter and bread crumbs; sprinkle over linguine mixture. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden brown.