Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

S’Mores Brownies October 2, 2012

Filed under: Brownies,Chocolate,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,My Recipes — hmills96 @ 11:32 am

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went on our first camping trip. We’d both been dying to go, but these days it’s hard to find people who are willing to go out in the woods with no electricity, no running water, and no Internet. Not us–it was a perfect chance to unplug from the busy summer we had each had and get away from everything.


A lot of memories were made on that trip–from the near-tornadic weather that flooded poor Richard’s side of the tent (I stayed relatively dry), to the massive toothache I had on Saturday that was only lessened by large amounts of Wild Turkey 101. We hiked 3-4 miles on Sunday, and listened to football all weekend. It was a blast, and we cannot wait until next summer so we can head out to the woods again.

Ever since that trip, I’ve been craving S’mores like crazy. Lucky for me, we had some graham crackers and marshmallows still in the cupboard from when we unpacked. These were amazing. It’s the same brownie base from my Oreo Brownies, with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows on top.

A suggestion–make sure to leave plenty of room at the top of your pan for the marshmallows. They will expand quite a bit. Also, for that reason, don’t put them too close to the heating elements in your oven when you broil them. Line your pan with parchment paper, too. Butter and flour are not enough!


S’Mores Brownies
Original Recipe

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup butter
6 oz chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips)
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder

2-3 cups mini marshmallows (or cut up big ones)
2-3 graham crackers, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9×9 pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor or blender, mix graham cracker crumbs, salt, and butter. Push into bottom of pan to form crust. Bake for 5-7 minutes, while making brownie batter.

Melt butter and chocolate over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla.

Remove pan from heat, whisk in eggs one at a time.

Stir in flour and cocoa powder.

Pour batter over crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Toothpick should come out almost clean, but not completely.

Cover top of brownies with marshmallows. Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes, until toasted. Push graham cracker pieces into soft marshmallows.

Cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


Oreo Brownies March 17, 2011

Filed under: Brownies,Chocolate,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:02 am

This was actually the first recipe I did after the donation jar got started. I had a long going on that first week, and was going to wait until the next week to get started, after I had time to go to the store. But I had a special request, from my boss’s boss, who was visiting from Florida. She had heard about my cooking and wanted me to make something before she headed back. I had chocolate and Oreos. No problem, I’ll make brownies!!! Always a winner.

These are by far the best brownies I’ve ever had. Even before I added the cookies, the brownie base is incredible. I’ll use this recipe again, whenever I want fudgy, incredibly rich brownies.

Oreo Brownies
Adapted from Baking Bites

1 cup butter
6 oz chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60%)
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 package Oreo cookies, smashed

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and grease with Pam.

Melt butter and chocolate over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla.

Remove pan from heat, whisk in eggs one at a time.

Stir in flour and cocoa powder. Pour half of the batter in the pan, add a layer of Oreos, than pour the rest of the batter over the cookies. Bake for 35 minutes.

Cool for about 20 minutes, than lift brownies out of pan and slice.

Oh man do I want one of these right now!


1 year Blogoversary! And Peanut Butter Banana Bread for Kicks! October 2, 2010

I cannot believe I’ve been writing for a year! I started this blog just a few weeks before our first wedding anniversary. We had just bought and moved into this house, we had a dog. It was all very domestic. I was just discovering my love for cooking and I had so much to share with all of you!

Things have changed quite a bit in the last few weeks, but I’m still here. I’m not posting as much, mostly because I’m not cooking as much. It’s harder to motivate myself to cook for just one person. But I’m working on that. I’m collecting recipes that are easy to freeze in batches (ie chili) so that I can keep things ready for nights when I don’t feel like dirtying up my kitchen. AND, my coworkers love to have pitch ins so keep your eyes open for potluck recipes!

I’ve put up a Subscribe button in the sidebar. Since I’m not posting as often, I thought I’d enable email notifications so you guys will know when I DO post! Make sure you go sign up!

Our company is switching security companies, which means our long time guard is leaving us. So on Thursday, her last day, we had a breakfast pitch in to say goodbye. It was a last-minute announcement, and I had to babysit my cousin Wednesday night, so I needed something easy to throw together. This fit the bill. I made the batter before I left, and just threw it in the fridge while I sat, then popped it in the oven for an hour when I got home. It went over REALLY well. As in, everyone devoured it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from Sugar Plum

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch loaf pan.

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

In another bowl, mash together bananas, peanut butter, butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well mixed. (I left mine a little lumpy, so you could taste the banana in the bread.) Add eggs, vanilla and milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean (excluding the melted chocolate chips of course).


Beatty’s Chocolate Cake July 4, 2010

Do you have a recipe that you wish you had more excuses to make? I definitely do. The cake recipe below is to die for. I have dozens of different recipes for cakes in my binder that will probably never be tested, because whenever I have the reason to bake a cake, I pull this one out. I have to. I crave it constantly. Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many reasons to bake a huge, rich, expensive layer cake around here. And I’ll tell you now, this does not translate to cupcakes well. I don’t know why, but it does not work.

Since J’s birthday is Monday, and he was off work yesterday, I decided to throw him a last-minute party. Unfortunately, it was too last-minute and only a couple of guys came, but he had fun just the same. There are reasons I know that. I won’t share them here.

You’ll see a couple of new recipes over the next couple of days. Of course I made Buffalo chicken dip. J won’t let me have a party or go to a party or even THINK about a party without making that dip. I think he ate most of it himself! I also made watermelon margaritas and pico de gallo (the remains of which will be turned into guacamole for dinner today). And this cake. Oh this cake. I just had a piece for breakfast. And as a rule I never eat cake for breakfast. Hey, at least I had a few pieces of watermelon first. So it’s like breakfast dessert right? Right?!

I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, but I cannot. I think most of us in the food world will agree that Ina Garten is a master in the kitchen. I love her recipes. This one is by far my favorite (but you couldn’t tell that could you?). The only change I’ve made to it is to use 1 cup instant coffee instead of 1 cup freshly brewed. If I’m going to use instant in the frosting, what’s the sense in making a pot just for one cup in the cake? I don’t think it affects the flavor at all, but definitely do what you prefer.

One more note before I give you the recipe. The key to this is to use high quality chocolate. Don’t skimp and use store brand cocoa or standard baking chocolate. Use the best that your grocery store offers. For me, that’s Ghiradelli, on both counts. If you can get better than that, do it. Especially in the frosting. The frosting is the best you’ve ever tasted, and it’s quality matches that of the chocolate that goes into it.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa

For the Cake:

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice with 1 cup milk, let sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment (this is important, these cakes stick like crazy), then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low-speed until combined.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With mixer on low-speed, slowly add wet to dry. Add coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula (because this batter is so liquid, some of the heavier stuff gets stuck on the bottom, make sure you mix that in).

Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake tester comes out clean. For me, it’s best to err on the longer time, these cakes will fall if not cooked long enough.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack or wax paper and cool completely.

Place 1 layer (the less pretty one), flat side up on a cake pedestal. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on top and down the sides of the cake.

Not the prettiest piece but I wanted you to have a cross section. Look how moist!

Chocolate Buttercream
From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa

6 oz good semisweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli 60%)
1/2 pound butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp very hot water

Chop chocolate and place in heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until its light yellow and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, beat 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low, gradually add powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Dissolve coffee powder in 2 tsp of hottest tap water. On low-speed, add chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

**Note–One thing I do with this recipe, because I don’t often have reason to make a big layer cake, is turn it into a trifle. Make the cakes and frosting as above, but don’t assemble. Crumble cakes into small pieces. In a trifle dish or large glass bowl, layer cake, frosting, and homemade whipped cream. Decorate the top with cake crumbs or crushed Oreos. This is great to take to potlucks–it’s easier to serve large crowds, and it goes a lot farther!

**Another Note–This is a cake that needs to take all day, or at least most of the afternoon. Don’t rush this, or it won’t turn out. That’s actually how I discovered the trifle thing, because I rushed and the cakes fell apart. Plan ahead, you won’t be sorry.


Peanut Butter Brownies May 18, 2010

There are days in every woman’s life where we just have to make a batch of brownies. You girls know what I’m talking about. You might not even be hungry, or have any intention of eating them. There’s just something soothing about baking that is inexplicable. Even my mom, who hates to cook, would make a batch of Scotcheroos on such days (I loved those days).

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I just needed to bake. Even if there is no one here to eat them but me.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cram
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cram butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. reduce mixer speed to low, then mix in flour until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips and spread batter into greased 13×9 baking pan.

Bake until brownies are golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Put chocolate chips in heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan. Pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute. Whisk in butter until mixture is smooth. Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set.


browniesbrowniesbrowniesbrownies March 15, 2010

Filed under: Brownies,Chocolate — hmills96 @ 9:33 pm

I’ve been craving brownies ever since I saw this recipe. Seriously, my mind has been going “browniesbrowniesbrowniesbrowniesbrowniesbrownies…” You get the picture. And no, I’m not pregnant. Nice try.

Anyway, according to Brown Eyed Baker, regular scratch brownie recipes have a different fat ratio to boxed brownies. That is why boxed brownies always turn out sooooooooooooo much fudgier and delicious than home made. It just doesn’t make any sense. But this recipe apparently uses the fat ratio of boxed brownies, using homemade ingredients.

These were really good, and totally satisfied my brownie craving. I didn’t cook mine quite long enough. The recipe says to cook it from 30-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Mine were still really soft in the middle–not like brownies should be, it was more like thick pudding. They just never really set up. Like I said, I think I just needed to cook them probably 10 minutes longer, it might be my oven. But…nothing wrong with eating them straight out of the pan with a spoon. Right? RIGHT???? (PS, this is why I’m starting this running program!)

Chewy Brownies

From Brown Eyed Baker

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp boiling water
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (I didn’t have any, so I used 6 more Tbsp of cocoa and 2 more Tbsp of oil)
4 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp veggie oil (this is in addition to what I used as a substitution above)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I thought it was strange that there was SO much more sugar than flour. It seemed weird to me. Maybe that has something to do with the ratios but I wonder if this is why they didn’t set up all the way? Does anybody know?)
3/4 tsp salt
6 oz mint chocolate chips (or use whatever “extras” YOU prefer)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 inch baking pan with spray.

Whisk cocoa, coffee powder, and boiling water together in batter bowl. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk in butter & oil (BEB said the mixture may look curdled, but mine didn’t really come together at all at this stage, it just made the chocolate look stringy.) Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth (don’t worry if, like mine, your batter was seperated in the last step. It will look delicious after this!) Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Mix in “extras.”

Pour into pan and bake 35-40 minutes, or until tooth pick is clean. Let cool, or eat with spoon. Yum!


Wild Geese and Chocolate Cranberry Muffins February 21, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast,Chocolate,Muffins,Poem — hmills96 @ 10:28 am

First, a quick explanation–When I find a recipe online that I want to try, I print it off and put it in a binder. I keep a pile of scrap paper for this purpose. A big chunk of this paper is from old school projects. I recently dismantled my poetry anthology from high school, and a lot of my recipes have been printed off on those poems. As this blog IS in fact a combination of my love of food and literature, I feel it only right to share those poems when they pop up on the back of the recipe of the day! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things

–Mary Oliver

Roberts, Edgar V., ed. Literature:  An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall 2001. 957

Really, is there anything better than a warm muffin slathered in butter?

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

Adapted from And Then I Do The Dishes

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup veggie oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla (I just realized I completely missed this ingredient! Ha! They tasted fine!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare muffin tin.

In a large bowl, soak oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes. Stir in eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce, and VANILLA. Add chips and berries. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Stir into wet ingredients just until moistened.

Fill cups 3/4ths full. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack.

I like to wrap my muffins individually in plastic wrap and freeze them. Then I grab one and microwave it for a few seconds when I get to the office for a quick breakfast. Just make sure if you are going to do this that you use paper liners, NOT foil.