Mmmmm…..brownies….

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This brownie recipe is delicious. So much so, that certain family members have been known to “fight” over them. And my little one waits somewhat patiently for them to cool so she can dig in. If you love chocolate, and brownies, this recipe is for you! They turn out cakey and fudgy and are a perfect dessert. The recipe is easy to put together, and makes about 24 brownies in a 9×13 inch pan. They’re great as a quick dessert at home, or to bring along to a family dinner or pot luck.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs 

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp rum extract

Make it:

-combine flour and sugar in large bowl

-in a saucepan, combine butter, oil, water, and cocoa. Stir and heat to boiling

-pour boiling mixture over the flour and sugar in bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla

-mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon

-pour into a well-greased 9×13 inch pan

-bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes

-while brownies bake, prepare the frosting. In a saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder and milk. Stir and heat to boiling

-whisk in the powdered sugar and rum extract and stir until smooth

-pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as they come out of the oven. Let cool and then cut into bars.

 

Tips-y Tuesday Tip #6

Happy Tuesday everybody! Spring has arrived (according to the calendar) so I am inspired to talk about colour, since I am happy to put the dreary winter days behind me!

The colour I am talking about is of course, the kind you use for food. There are many kinds and they can be found in grocery stores, craft stores and even your local Wal-Mart. However, they are not all made equally, and some are better for certain purposes than others. I personally am a fan of the Wilton Icing Color pots. They are affordable, and a little can go a long way since they are very concentrated. They also come in a wide variety of colours. I use them for colouring frosting, royal icing,  and fondant since they are a gel consistency and don’t add any liquid to the frosting or fondant which can be a problem if you’ve ever used liquid food colouring for such purposes. With the liquid formulas, you basically end up with runny frosting or a sticky fondant mess, and nobody likes that!

Food colour markers (also by Wilton) are also a quick way to add some colour to dried royal icing and fondant, since you can basically “draw” with them. Sometimes if I need a small amount of fondant in a pale shade, I will just scribble on it with the marker and then knead the fondant to blend the colour. It literally takes seconds to do and doesn’t alter the texture of the fondant.

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Hope I’ve inspired you to add some colour to your day!

Until next Tuesday…

M xoxo

Tips-y Tuesday Tip #5

Hello everyone! Sorry for missing last week, things have gotten a wee bit busy around here! No fear though, I am back with an awesome tip to help your oven sparkle 🙂

We all know about self-cleaning ovens and the icky oven cleaners one can buy at just about any store. But….have you ever thought about what’s in those oven cleaners? There’s a reason the bottle says to use in a well-ventilated area and to wear gloves while using it. Friends, the stuff is TOXIC. And not just while you clean, think about the residue it leaves in your oven, those yucky chemicals are attaching themselves to the food you cook! Ewww! Personally, I can’t stand the smell of those cleaners, they literally make me choke. 

Anyway, my oven needed cleaning so I set out to find a simpler and less toxic way. And guess what? Two simple household ingredients, BAKING SODA and VINEGAR did the job! No yucky smell or chemicals to worry about either! Interested?? See the steps below:

-remove oven racks and set aside

-fill a spray bottle with white vinegar

-spray the inside of oven and the oven door with vinegar, then generously sprinkle baking soda on top

-leave to sit for a few hours, I left it overnight. It can be left as long as you like, since there are no offensive odours!

-when you’re ready to clean the oven, spray more vinegar on top of the baking soda until it is nice and wet. This part is really satisfying actually, since you can see the baking soda bubbling when it comes into contact with the vinegar. You can see it working! Show your kids, it’s a cleaning lesson and a science experiment in one 🙂

-now simply wipe out the vinegar and baking soda with a sponge. The stuff you wipe up will be yucky looking, but it’s worth it. You don’t even need to wear gloves! My oven needed minimal scrubbing, since most of the gunk wiped right off. 

-as for the oven racks, I soaked them for a bit in hot water and added some vinegar and baking soda to the water. After about an hour, they wiped clean very easily.

So, there you have it. No need to dread the oven cleaning, or invest in a HAZMAT suit just to keep your oven shiny. This is simple, easy, and best of all, non-toxic!

Until next Tuesday…

M xoxo

 

 

Tips-y Tuesday Tip #4

Who has trouble getting their royal icing to be just the right colour? Just about everyone! If you’ve ever needed a darker colour,  and had scraped out your pot of icing colour, stirred until you couldn’t stir anymore, and were basically ready to chuck the whole thing out the window and go back to buying your cookies at the store, then this tip is for you. You need………….

………………………………..

Drum roll, please…………

…………………………………….

COCOA POWDER!!! 

I kid you not, my fine feathered friends, cocoa powder is the answer. It gives just a hint of chocolaty flavour, and helps to darken your colours so that you don’t go insane or burn a hole through your hand from all that stirring. Just make sure to sift it before adding to your icing to avoid any pesky lumps, and if the icing turns out too thick you can always add a bit of water. I usually start with about a 1/4 tsp of cocoa powder and go from there. This works for reds, browns, blacks, etc, any time you need a bit more depth to your icing shades. As an added bonus, the icing will also smell and taste yummy! Just don’t eat it all, ’cause you know, it defeats the purpose if the icing never makes it onto the cookies……  😉

Until next Tuesday…

M xoxo

Two bananas walk into a bar….

…..and become banana bread! Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

Lame jokes aside, what do you do when you want banana bread but don’t have enough mushy bananas? You add peanut butter to the recipe of course.  And some chocolate chips, turning the boring old banana bread into a yummylicious dessert. Can’t go wrong with bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate! This recipe is also super easy, so you don’t need to drag out your stand mixer and make a big mess. You just need a bowl, measuring utensils, and a whisk and away you go. Love easy recipes 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

2 medium bananas, overripe and mashed

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tbsp white vinegar to the measured milk and stir, and then let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. Magic!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar

1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi sweet, but milk or dark chocolate chips would also work)

Make It:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your loaf pan with butter or the handy-dandy cooking spray.

-Stir the baking soda into your measured flour, set aside.

-In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, sugars, peanut butter, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. It will be lumpy, and that is okay.

-Add your flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and fold together until incorporated. Again, lumps are okay, just make sure all the flour is mixed in properly. Now, gently stir in the chocolate chips.

-Pour the batter into your loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 60-75 mins, until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. If it seems to be browning too quickly, you can place a piece of foil over the top. If you’d like an added crunch to the top of the bread, sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar about 10 minutes before it comes out of the oven.

-Once baked, let rest in pan about 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely. The bread can be stored at room temperature for up to a week, just make sure to wrap it in plastic wrap. 

And here it is, in all its yummyness!

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Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo