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.

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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!

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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.

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Black Forest Cake Day! March 28, 2011

Filed under: Berries,cake,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,holiday,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:00 am

My foodie fame at work goes beyond my delicious weekly offerings. It actually started long before my first pitch-in. We have a special, in-house instant messaging system that allows us to not only talk to people at my branch, but also the St. Pete location.

We cannot access Facebook and Twitter, and I almost hate to admit this…when I first started my new job I was having social networking withdrawals. Plus, I wanted to get to know the people I was working with. There’s a status update feature on our IM system. One day, I updated my status to tell everyone Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The rest was history. If I don’t post an update every morning, I get 10 IMs asking what the food holiday of the day is. It’s started quite a few discussions–What’s your favorite soup/candy/pop? Every day its something different.

Today is National Black Forest Cake Day! I knew I had to make something for this holiday. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I turned this recipe into one of my trifles–it’s easier for me to transport to Indy without the whole thing falling apart. But feel free to make this into a layer cake as it was originally intended!

Black Forest Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

Filling:
2 cans cherry pie filling
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp Chambord

Cake:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cool Whip (I used two small tubs to make the trifle, you won’t need nearly as much to make the cake version)
1 Tbsp Chamboard (use Kirsch if you can find it)

Combine cherry filling, cranberry juice, and 1 Tbsp Chambord in a saucepan. Stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cake pans heavily with PAM or line with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In your mixer, combine butter milk, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until well blended.

Pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool.

Mix together Cool Whip with 1 Tbsp Chambord or Kirsch.

Layer cake, cherry filling, and Cool Whip either in a trifle dish or on a cake plate. Garnish top with cherries and chocolate curls.

 

Blueberry Noir Sorbet July 27, 2010

Filed under: Berries,dessert,Ice Cream,My Recipes,Spring/Summer,wine — hmills96 @ 5:42 am
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I have been a very bad blogging lady lately. I guess I’ve just been all blogged out or something. It’s not for lack of material–I’ve read 3 books, and I’ve made Blueberry Sorbet and Teriyaki Steaks. I just haven’t felt like blogging anything.

I started a journal, and have been recording my many misadventures there, maybe that has something to do with it, I don’t know. Really though, I just haven’t been spending as much time on the computer lately (as evidenced by the overflow of items in my Google Reader). I think I just needed a break.

This weekend was HOT. REALLY HOT. We had a garage sale on Saturday, and then Sunday I decided to go for a walk. Exercising when it’s 90 degrees outside–not a good idea. So I decided to use the last of the graduation blueberries (can you believe they lasted this long??) and make something cold.

I would suggest straining the syrup and freezing this in an ice cream maker. But I was hot and lazy and didn’t want to lug out my mixer, so I just blended it with a boat motor and froze it granita style. It was still really good but the hand blender definitely changed the texture. Straining it will give you a much lighter sorbet.

Blueberry Noir Sorbet

Original Recipe

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
1 cup Pino Noir

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except the wine. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain out juice into a bowl. Stir in wine. Chill in fridge.

Freeze in ice cream mixer per manufacturer’s instructions. Will probably need to let this set up in freezer for another 30 minutes to an hour.

 

Summer Fruit Ice Cream June 15, 2010

It’s been an eventful couple of days here at the Wall household. Yesterday, a friend asked me to go with her to a nearby shelter to look at dogs. The no-kill shelter was way over capacity and my friend had heard a rumor that things were not looking good for the animals…if you know what I mean (thankfully, we found out this was not true when we got there).

She and her husband were looking to adopt a dog, so down we went to Hamilton County Humane Society. If you live in this area and are looking to adopt, check them out. It’s a great facility, they REALLY care about their animals there. Even though they had so many, they knew them by name, personality. We spent about 2 hours with them and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The pens were clean, the animals happy (or at least as happy as they can be locked in a pound). I have never seen a pound that nice before.

J and I had talked off and on about getting another cat to replace Keira. She and Smokey had finally got to be good friends when she left us, and Smokey has always had a companion. I hated that my girl was alone. Plus, Keira was so lively, and we missed having that personality around. So, when we went to visit the shelter yesterday, we went into the cattery. I wasn’t really looking to take anybody home, I just wanted to see what they had. J wanted a kitten, but I like them old enough to have developed a personality (because any cat person can tell you, they all have VERY different personalities).

I looked and smiled at the fuzzballs as we went through the pens, just enjoying the way the kitties showed off, saying “Pick me!” But then, in the very last pen was the funniest face I have ever seen. He was sitting there pouting at me. I knew right then he was one of my family, as we have a hereditary Pout that we laugh about. I looked over his information, and he likes other cats, he likes dogs, adapts well to new places. Good, good, good! I watched him in the cage for a while, and my heart melted. Then I got to take him into the visiting room, and he played with some toys, sat in my lap. We bonded :). I noticed he was very laid back, but friendly, and active. Perfect. Now all I had to do was convince my husband. I paid part of his adoption fee to hold him until today, so J could come down and meet him.

J was reluctant, but he agreed to come down this morning. He had the same reaction to his funny face. How can you resist? Then when we went into the visiting room, Patrick was MUCH more lively than he was yesterday. Running all over the place, showing off for J. He couldn’t say no. So we packed him up and brought him home.

I was worried, but the introductions went fairly smooth. Smokey growled and complained, but Patrick just laid down and chilled, he was completely relaxed. No big deal. We still have a long way to go before Smokey is cuddling up next to him but with his laid back attitude, she won’t be able to find a reason to be mad at him for long (except that because she’s in such a bad mood, he’s getting more attention right now). He was even unfazed by a 60 pound bounding ball of wagging mud pouncing at him and following him around. He just keeps coming in here and rubbing on me like, “Dude, this is SOOOO much better than that cage.”

My Funny Fellow

All three got new collars today, and their tags have been ordered. After Keira left and never came back, I don’t want that to happen again. I’m sure she’s living at the top of a tree somewhere eating squirrels, but I miss her. HCHS microchips all their animals, and because they will microchip your pet for $30, I’m seriously considering having the other two done too.

In the chaos of welcoming a new family member, I managed to make ice cream last night! This is some seriously awesome stuff. You can play around with the fruit, do whatever looks good to you. You can do all one if you don’t want to mix it up, but I had those blueberries leftover from my sister’s party (and still have more!), and some strawberries and a peach that were about to turn. Also, if you don’t want to add the creaminess, or you’re lactose intolerant, just make it a sorbet. Just make the fruit syrup (and add the strawberries to the blueberries when cooking), cool, then freeze that. It would be delicious, and I may do that with the rest of the blueberries once this is gone.

Summer Fruit Ice Cream
Adapted from MyRecipes.com

1 1/2 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 large egg yolks
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
3 cups blueberries
1 sprig rosemary
1 peach, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pint strawberries, diced & macerated in honey while other ingredients are cooling

Beat together 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, and yolks. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk & half and half, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and gradually add to cream cheese mixture, with beater on med.-high so not to scramble eggs. Return to pan. Cook over medium low until thermometer reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes. Place pan on ice, cool completely.

Combine blueberries, peach, rosemary, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir often. Remove rosemary sprig and discard. Cool completely.

Stir blueberry mixture into milk mixture, add strawberries. Pour into ice cream machine and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions. Put in freezer-safe container and freeze until solid.

**Note–This made too much for my Kitchenaid attachment. Don’t overfill!

 

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.

 

Root Beer Float Ice Cream May 3, 2010

Filed under: dessert,Ice Cream,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 9:48 pm
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If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that I cannot have caffeine. I may have mentioned on here before that I suffer from horrible migraines, and last year it was suggested to me that caffeine may be one of my triggers. Giving it up was not easy, but definitely worth it! I miss coffee, mostly–and to those of you out there who are saying right now, “Just drink decaf!” Let me tell you, it’s just not the same. I have been caffeine free since June! Almost a year, that’s pretty amazing, considering I was drinking at least a coffee a day, plus a Diet Coke or two.

Shortly after, I saw a neurologist, who put me on Topomax. This has been my miracle drug. It’s a preventative medicine that I take to lessen the quantity and ferocity of the migraines. The downside is that it makes carbonated beverages taste like I’m licking a suede jacket. I’m not even kidding. It’s awful. Imagine a world without beer, or champagne, or God forbid, Diet Coke! That has probably been worse than giving up caffeine–in fact, it probably helped me give it up.

You’d think after 11 months of no pop, I wouldn’t crave it anymore, but I want it more now than I ever did before. I wasn’t a huge soda drinker–I would drink it with dinner or liquor, but I didn’t guzzle it all day long. But, now, NOW! If I could drink it, I would become my mother (in this regard anyway), and ALWAYS have to have a 32 oz Diet Coke with lots of ice.

Why am I telling you this sob story? Because I found a miracle recipe. For normal people, this recipe is good, probably delicious. For me, it was a revelation! This is a way I can have my pop! No caffeine, no carbonation. Now, if only I could find Diet Coke syrup! THAT would be a miracle straight from heaven. Are you listening, God?

Just for the record, No, I did not eat all of this!

Root Beer Float Ice Cream

Adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp A&W Root Beer dessert syrup

Whisk eggs until light and fluffy.

Whisk in sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until completely blended.

Mix in cream, milk, and flavorings.

Pour into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

**Note–Next time, I will use 2 cups milk and 1 cup cream. This was a little thick for me–perfect ice cream consistency, but I was hoping it would be a little icier, since it IS Root Beer Float ice cream. Also, the original recipe called for 1 Tbsp root beer extract instead of the dessert syrup, but my grocery did not have it. If you can find RB extract, I would use that instead, I think the flavor would probably be a lot more pronounced.

 

Strawberry Ice Cream! April 10, 2010

Filed under: Berries,dessert,Ice Cream,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 5:18 pm

It’s drill weekend! For J., that means putting on a uniform and spending two days being a completely different person (and since this weekend was PT testing, it also means almost killing himself to make time on the 2 mile). For me, it means I have the house to myself for the weekend, which means relaxation. All I’ve done today is catch up on my YouTube videos. I’m a huge fan of ShayCarl and SXEPhil, but I’ve fallen waaaaaaaaay behind. Sorry to all those who follow me on Facebook, you kind of got them all at once today, but check out their channels, they are pretty entertaining. The other thing I did today was break out my Kitchenaid Ice Cream Attachment for the first time this season! J. bought some strawberries on sale the other day, and they were a little tart for eating plain, but perfect for putting in a super sweet milky concoction! We don’t keep a lot of ice cream in the house–I don’t eat a lot of it, so I don’t usually buy it. But homemade ice cream–now THAT’s a different story. It’s so easy to do, and sooooo much better than the stuff you buy at the store. I KNOW what I’m putting in it, so no preservatives!

A couple of notes about this recipe–This made a LOT of base, so if you are using the KA, you’ll have to make two batches. In fact, unless you eat a lot of ice cream at your house, I’d recommend halving the recipe. (That is the downside of no preservatives…you do have to eat this pretty quickly, it won’t keep as long.) The other thing about this recipe is that I would recommend pureeing at least some of the strawberries in a food processor after they mascerate. Otherwise, you are just going to have vanilla ice cream with strawberry chunks. It is still delicious, but not what I was looking for when I went to make strawberry ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Ice Cream

From Recipezaar.com

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped (or pureed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whipping cream

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to bring out the berry juices. If pureeing, do this after refrigeration.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup sugar.

Add milk and vanilla.

Add strawberries and juice.

Add whipping cream.

Pour base in ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, don’t fill too full or it WILL overflow. The ice cream base WILL expand as it freezes. The ice cream will be about soft serve consistency at this stage, you will need to freeze in your freezer to get hard serve ice cream.

**Note–Another option is to leave the strawberries out of the base until after the cream mixture has frozen in the machine for 10 minutes. This is actually how Kitchen Aid recommends you deal with mix-ins, but I didn’t think about it until later. The cream might freeze easier without the chunks. Don’t let it freeze too far before you add the berries, though.