Happy New Year’s Eve!
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night, 2012. Let’s be honest… this isn’t a good-bye forever…I will continue to write you on checks and various other papers until at least February. I mean, just last week, I wrote 2010 on a receipt at the car repair shop, so I am guessing I will see you again around 2016 or so, when I am signing an oh-so-important document and I will try my darndest to turn a 2 into a 6…which never works as well as if it were a 5 or a 1…
Any big plans for NYE? Going out on the town, dressed to the nines, dinner and dancing, champagne toasts, and a midnight kiss? Or is it a night in with the kiddos with party hats and streamers and those noise maker thingys, which always seem like a good idea while you are standing in the middle of Target on a Wednesday afternoon, but when it is 12:30am on 01-01-insert year, and that sleep deprived child is still running around like a maniac blowing fiercely into a once-upon-a-time- good idea noise maker. And it may not be a small child running around, but perhaps a grown adult. And she might be me. If you invite me to your party…don’t le me near the noise makers. I have an affinity towards them. It is a once a year love affair. Suppose I will ever grow up? Ha!
I was going to make a champagne cocktail to ring in 2013….buutttttt, as of late, all I have had on the brain, booze wise, is bourbon and ginger ale…Don’t get me wrong, it’s worthy of an entire blog post, and maybe some day it will shine in all its glory…but not today and not on New Year’s Eve. NYE calls for champagne. And why make a cocktail out of champagne…the bubbly is rockin’ all on its own. Instead of anything fizzy or spritzy or liquor infused…I whipped together a batch of blondie brownies.
Peanut Brittle Blondies…nutty, butterscotchy, chewy, and caramelly….Plus, you get to use up that random tin of peanut brittle that your Great Aunt Lucy hands out at Christmas each and every year….or if you are like me, you have a bit left over since you made 3 batches trying to replicate a friends family recipe…either way, two birds, one stone.
Butter melting over medium heat…pay close attention. Please do not become distracted. It will turn fast!
Browned butter! Smells so nutty and almost caramel-like. Transfer to another bowl, and let cool…and go collect your other ingredients.
Besides browned butter…you are going to need brown sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and soda, egg, vanilla, and of course peanut brittle.
Browned butter and brown sugar are mixed
An egg and vanilla are added..
Next goes the flour…
And mix JUST until combined …
Peanut brittle needs to be folded in and sprinkled atop…and bake.
I hope you have a great New Years and that 2013 be filled with great joy, many laughs, good friends and family, and much happiness. Cheers!
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Butter, browned and slightly cooled
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Cup Peanut Brittle, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8×8 baking dish with tinfoil or parchment paper, leaving a little bit hanging over the edges for easy removal later.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling occasionally, until brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan and it begins to smell nutty (be patient!). Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend together, with a wooden spoon, browned butter and brown sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix until combined.
- Stir in flour just until combined.
- Fold in ¾ Cup of chopped peanut brittle.
- Spread batter into prepared pan and top with remaining ¼ cup of peanut brittle.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden brown and the center is just set. These are better if they are underbaked vs. overbaked.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
On days like 12-12-12 or 05-05-05 or maybe 10-10-10 … Don’t ya just expect more out of them? I sure do.
Days that only happen once a century…something special should happen. Right?
We won’t see 12-12-12 again until 12-12-2112. I will be 129.58 years old. I mean, seriously, something spectacular should happen on days like this. Unplanned greatness. As if the world had fireworks up its sleeve for days like today (or two days ago, by the time you read this). Or candy rained from the heavens. Or we all got five dollars in the mail, in a sweet little card like your auntie used to mail to you on your birthday. That would be nice.
Things like that should happen on special calender days like today…
But they don’t and so you have to make them special on your own account. If I was an elementary school teacher, I would have had a pizza party and a movie day. I watched ET in elementary smack dab in the middle of the 4th grade hallway. Track and field day had been cancelled due to rain and that was our consolation prize. But the movie and pizza on 12-12-12 wouldn’t be a consolation prize, but part of the celebration. It would be epic. Better than any Valentines Day party, that’s for sure.Read More
We need to discuss some things here today.
I am prematurely turning into an old person. And by old I am talking mid-70′s. There abouts.
1) I fell down the stairs yesterday morning. I stepped on the cat and tumbled down the stairs. Like an old person. Some how I managed to pull some sort of muscle in my chest, because I decided to grab for the wall because I figured that would catch my fall…because I am spider woman if you didn’t know. I didn’t know either. So that super human power failed me. I ended up with just a sharp pain just right of my breast bone…that is still there by the way. Old.
The cat. Stanley was limping, but seems fine now. I think the limp was exaggerated to make me feel bad. The cat was totally milking it.
2) I wake up before the sun rises on my days off. Before my alarm. Yes, I set an alarm for my days off. I don’t like sleeping in. Old.
3) I like scotch, and whiskey, and bourbon. Old people drink these…I should be drinking cosmos or pina coladas or other fufu drink, like other twenty year olds. But no. I have no idea where or how I started to enjoy these. It just happened.
4) I crave coffee after dinner. The only people ever in my life to drink coffee after dinner were my grandparents. Old.
5) I like to bake more than your grandmother. I spend more time in an apron than I would like to admit. I am cuter than your grandma…maybe. Grandmas are pretty darn cute…with their gray hair and wrinkles and polyester pants.
6) I LOVE cardigans with large buttons and pockets. I wear them year round. The only thing separating me from being an honest to goodness old lady is the fact that Kleenex do not live inside said pockets. At least not on most days.
I have come to the conclusion that when I get to be 70, God willing, I will be awesome at it. Probably better at being 70 than being 28 (almost 29). I am OK at being 28, I might even say I am good at it…but at 28, life is still up in the air. Right now, sometimes I feel like I am just aimlessly walking….aimlessy wandering is fun, but scary, a bit frightening, and a tad frustrating. I am cool with it. This is real life. I am not the only one in this boat…I have quite a few friends rowing along with me. We are having a grand time, on most days.
My 70 year old self is laughing right now…because she is awesome and happy with how life has turned out. She is whispering to just go with it, enjoy the ride, and take it all in. She is saying to chase after what scares me the most, because those are the most worthwhile opportunities. Those moments are what life is about.
Dear 70-year-old Mallory…
Your 29 year old self is working on it. Seriously.
While I am on this ride called life, thank goodness there are brownies to eat along the way. What is a good adventure without snacks? Am I right? I know I am right. Sorry, that was cocky…but there are just some things I am sure of. This is one of them. Snacks are my favorite part of any occasion. And these are kick butt….rich fudgy chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting. The brownies are top-notch without the frosting, but I am a frosting girl on my brownies. Always.
I hope you have milk in your fridge…
Brownies with PB Frosting
Makes 9 x 13 inch pan
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 6 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon Espresso Powder (optional)
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 6 Tablespoon Butter, melted
- 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar Sifted to remove clumps
- 1 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Smooth Peanut Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Baseball season has begun!!! ( albeit a little rocky for us Cleveland fans…) I have been waiting for this time of year since last October…it has been a long 5 or so months. One thing you should know about me….I LOVE baseball. Wanna play a game of pitch and catch, let me grab my glove. Got an extra ticket to tonight’s game…I’ll meet ya infront of the Bob Feller statue.
Summers were spent in the backyard playing pitch and catch with my brothers. Remember the game ‘five dollars’….I do, it was my favorite. Hours were spent at the ballpark…from endless games of pickle to mom hitting us ground balls and line drives. Summer evenings were spent actually playing the game. And if we weren’t playing or practicing…we were probably watching a Cleveland Indians game on TV.
I just love the game. I love that it takes forever to play. I love that it is played outside in the warm summer air. I love the simple rules. I love how there is no time limit. I love the anticipation behind each pitch. I love the sound of the baseball entering a glove. I love the crack of the bat. Oh and the field…well, that is a beautiful sight. The green grass and straight white lines…I even love the history of the game. I recommend watching Ken Burns ‘Baseball’ if you haven’t already. It is a must see for any baseball fan.
Did you know that the game of baseball actually makes hotdogs taste better? And beer colder? (and more expensive). Truth.
If I can’t be at a game – which now that I live a mere twenty minutes from
Jacob’s Progressive Field, I am able to go more frequently than when I was a kid – I like to listen to the games on the radio. A good thing since I don’t have cable.
That is what I am doing right now. I have the radio tuned to 1100 AM, Tom Hamilton’s voice is booming through my house, and I am baking. Life is grand.
This is my second go around with these blondie brownies. The first batch I tested out on my
guinea pigs family and they were gone by the end of the regularly scheduled Saturday gathering. Figured they were good. Good enough to post here. But since they were eaten before I could snap a few pics (because that is what I do now, take pictures of everything I eat – I am pretty sure my neighbors think I am a weirdo)…I was forced to make them again. Just in time for a visit from my family. A good thing, seeing how I can’t seem to stay out of them! Pecans, butterscotch chips, and brown sugar…do you blame me?
Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young. – Roger Angell
Pecan ButterScotch Blondies
Makes a 9 x 13 Pan
9 Tablespoons Butter
1 + 3/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
3 Large Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 + 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 + 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1 Cup Pecans Halves + extra handful for topping
handful of chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecan halves out on a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes ( they will be quite fragrant). Remove from oven, set aside, and let cool. Once cool, roughly chop and set aside. If they burn, toss and start over with new pecans. Burnt nuts will taste bitter.
Butter a 9 x 13in. pan. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Remove from heat and with a hand mixer (or using a stand mixer) beat in brown sugar until mixture has cooled. Stir in vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until well mixed.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Fold in pecan halves and butterscotch chips. The batter will be rather thick. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips and any extra pecans remaining over the top of the batter. Place in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. The center will be set as well. Remove from oven and let cool. Or cut while still warm and serve with a scoop of ice cream. Yeah I know…
I have been eating these, tiny sliver by tiny sliver.
Bit by bit.
There is even a knife, whose soul purpose for the next few days will be to cut these tiny slivers…it will lay beside the pan of brownies, until its duty is complete.
I have dedicated flat ware.
That is how a grown woman eats brownies.
A grown woman who tries not to scarf down a whole pan of rich fudgey brownies in one afternoon. And not just any brownie…brownies marbled with cream cheese.
Oh yeah, I meant business when I made these.
I figure if you eat little by little, then one brownie can last you nearly a whole day…maybe. Sometimes. Oh, and there are no calories in small tidbits of brownie. Did you know that? Totally true.
You wanna know when I like to eat my tiny bits and pieces?
When my real meal is cooking. When I am warming the milk for my oatmeal in the morning, or when my coffee is brewing, or when the vegetables are sauteing, or when the quinoa is simmering away.
Nibbling fills the time when I am waiting…
When I am able to nibble on brownies while waiting…well that my friends, that is a good day. A good day because on most days I don’t have delicious brownies to munch on while I wait for the main dish.
Generally, I am munching on tid bits of bread, a spoonful of PB, a handful of shredded cheese, a few almonds, chocolate chips, handful of cereal…anything really. Anything not moving that is. And then I wonder why half way through my actual meal I am full…*shrug*.
But brownies…well brownies and especially these brownies deserve more than what I am able to provide for them. So, it is up to you. Yep, you. Those of you reading this, it is up to you, to make, to share, and to enjoy these decadent brownies. They would love to be the centerpiece of an after school snack, dessert on Wednesday night, or packed in your lunch to brighten your afternoon.
I am however, going to freeze what I have left and enjoy them slowly over the course of the next few weeks. Whenever a chocolate urge strikes….I will have something in my arsenal (freezer). Something this girl most definitely likes to keep stocked!
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Makes 12-16 Brownies
6 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Cream Cheese Swirl
1 – 8 ounce brick Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8×8 square pan - or line the pan with parchment paper.
Place a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water – make sure the bottom of the glass bowl does not touch the simmering water. Into the glass bowl, place the semi-sweet chocolate and butter. Slowly melt the chocolate and the butter, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, sift together the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Once the chocolate and butter are melted, remove from the heat (keep bowl over pan of water). Once the sugar is whisked in, remove the bowl from atop the pan and then whisk in the slightly beaten eggs and then the vanilla extract. Do not overwhisk the mixture.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the chocolate mixture. With a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the dry ingredients just until combined. Do not whisk or stir, just fold.
Make the cream cheese swirl. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Beat ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Pour 1/2 of the brownie mixture into the prepared brownie pan. Drop 1/2 the cream cheese filling, by the spoonful, onto the brownie layer. Spread the remaining 1/2 of the brownie mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Then dollop the remaining half of the cream cheese mixture onto the top of the brownie layer. Pull a butter knife through the brownies, marbling the two together. Place brownies in oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs stuck to it.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.