Brownies & Bars
Before Thanksgiving, hearing Christmas music turned me into a Grinch. Even seeing a billboard for a radio station playing 24/7 Christmas music annoyed me. But guess what radio station I tuned into yesterday while on my usual daily commute? I caved, but don’t really enjoy the newer Christmas songs. I tend to prefer the classics or covers of the classics. What is your favorite kind of Christmas music?
However since Thanksgiving recently past, here’s another recipe that will help you use up any leftover cranberry sauce while transitioning into the wintry holidays with the flavor of eggnog – eggnog cheesecake with a cranberry swirl! Awfully pretty arn’t they? I was a little sad that the swirls cracked away from the cheesecake a little, so next time I would mix the cranberry puree with a little bit of the cheesecake filling first. This would result in a paler color but hopefully keep the swirls intact with the rest.
If you need some more help getting into the holiday spirit, head on over to Twitter and retweet my tweet for a chance to win a giveaway from Baker’s Secret!
— Erin (@thespiffycookie) December 2, 2013
One year ago: Hot Cocoa Blossoms
Ohio State may not be playing a game this weekend, but here in Memphis I am still celebrating yet another PB+Choc Saturday in addition to continuing the celebration of Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Here in Memphis, everyone knows that Elvis’s favorite sandwich was peanut butter and banana. Today I am using PB Crave’s CoCo Bananas Peanut Butter to transform that sandwich into a rice krispie treat. The original recipe used banana chips as well, but I decided the banana flavor in the peanut butter was a adequate substitution. Although I will admit, I had planned on topping them off with banana chips but they mysteriously disappeared into the abyss that is my pantry (which means I probably used them and forgot). Regardless, you won’t want to miss out on these over-the-top krispie treats! One of my labmate’s eyes bulged out upon her first bite. Yea they’re good.
After making peanut butter baklava bars I immediately knew I wanted to try it out with pumpkin for the holidays. As much as I loved the peanut butter version, how could it not be just as good if not better with pumpkin? With the cinnamon, honey, and nuts floating around in there it was meant to be.
The result is what I imagine would happen if pumpkin pie and baklava got together and made babies. With a sugar cookie base, pumpkin-walnut filling, crispy fillo topping and completely coated in honey, it’s two deserts in one. As a bonus it’s easy to make and therefore should definitely make it for your upcoming festive gatherings.
As far as the job search is going, I have applied to many, but no hooks just yet. I just have to keep applying for those which interest me and I am qualified for and hope for the best. I probably should track down contact numbers to HR or whoever I can find to inquire about my applications. Unfortunately several to which I have applied explicitly say that calls are not welcome. Ugh… Thankfully I have a couple little projects to fiddle with in the lab to keep me busy in the meantime and will be resubmitting my paper now that I have finished addressing reviewers comments. Having that paper in press will definitely improve my CV!
It’s the day before Halloween, which means you should be fully stocked with Halloween candy (unless you plan on turning off all your lights). I rarely get any trick-or-treaters so I don’t bother buying any extra candy because I can easily scrounge up some from my stocks for baking. It’s practically a requirement as a food blogger to have all kinds of stuff on hand at all times. Although I admit I was a food pack-rat even before I started this blog.
But if you did need to buy large amounts of candy in preparation for tomorrow and you happen to have purchased more Halloween candy than you needed, you should make these 7-layer bars! I used the pumpkin spice M&Ms and candy corn but you can easily substitute any of your favorite or leftover candies. Throw those snickers and Reese’s cups in there, you won’t be disappointed.
Last fall I saw a few bloggers post about two-ingredient pumpkin brownies, which only requires a box of brownie mix and a can of pumpkin. I was skeptical but finally decided to try it out this year except I added in a couple more ingredients such as cinnamon, frosting and pumpkin spice M&M’s I found at Target.
Be warned, if you do not like dense fudgy brownies these are not for you. But if you do then stick around and stay awhile! As you can see from the pictures of these brownies, they are so fudgy that they actually look like fudge. I also think that the additions made them taste a little more like pumpkin than they would have otherwise. They really are a great way to make a slightly healthier Halloween treat!
Speaking of Halloween, while snapping photos of these brownies on my porch I spied a huge spider in the top corner of my porch, resting on an approximately 3-foot wide web spanning from the roof to the handrail. Commence freak out! His/her abdomen was about the size of a nickel. Add a head and legs and you’ll understand why I quickly snapped these photos and ran inside.
No I did not attempt to kill it, because when it comes to bugs, I don’t like feeling when I kill them and when they are that big that’s exactly what will happen. Besides, the spider was basically floating in the air on the web so it would’ve been hard to squash without catching it first. Who has a flame thrower I can borrow? I don’t think my kitchen torch will cut it.
In the meantime, thanks for the Halloween decorations?
A few years ago, my friend Brandi made baklava bars that had a sugar cookie base and was topped with a walnut filling and crushed mini fillo shells. Not only were they much easier to make than traditional baklava, but they were incredibly good. Surprisingly it took me until now to share this with you. However, it should come as no surprise that the recipe shared today is for a peanut butter version.
Instead of walnuts in the filling I used peanuts and added in peanut butter. Since peanut butter is a loyal companion to chocolate, the honey used for the glaze was chocolate honey (which I previously shared in my healthier cookie dough fondue post). In the end you get a classy dessert, with the comforting effect of peanut butter and chocolate. Ohio State may be having a BYE week, but that doesn’t mean I’d miss a chance to post a PB+C recipe!
One year ago: Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice
Last week I effectively defended and acquired my PhD. Today my friend and fellow labmate Stephanie is defending for hers! Not that there is any doubt about her passing and become at double doctor (she already has her PharmD), but to help alleviate her stress I baked treats for her captive audience and committee.
I’ve finally warmed up to the idea of fall despite the non-fall-like weather, and am attempting to will the changing of the seasons through baking seasonal things. I devised these with cozy fall flavors of apple butter mixed with cheesecake in order to impart warm and fuzzy feelings upon everyone.
After Stephanie’s grill session is over (during which I am sure she will blow them away) we are going out to celebrate both of our success! Now all we have to do is find jobs – what happened to the days when our parents were offered jobs upon graduation without even applying?
One year ago: Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls
Wow, it is October people! I have so much left that I need to do before the end of the year when I “officially” graduate that this whole time flying by thing is even less fun. More importantly is nailing down a job so that I don’t go without an income come the end of the year. Oh the joys of no longer being a student – boo real life!
When I was a writing/studying maniac and wasn’t baking as much, Sarah brought these delicious treats into the lab (not the actual lab of course, just our office). I immediately pulled out my camera and took pictures of them while asking for the recipe. I finally acquired said recipe, so today’s recipe was not made by me, but still felt the need to share it with the world. Just as the name indicates, they are graham cracker bars with a sweet cream filling with pecans and coconut. Yea, they’re pretty stinking amazing. They also don’t require turning on the oven which is always a plus.
For today’s PB+C Saturday, I am sharing a gluten-free brownie that you would never have guessed was gluten-free upon the first bite. Instead of using flour substitutes, these brownies are made with cornstarch. This produces the most amazing, fudgy brownies and as a bonus there’s a layer of peanut butter in the middle! Just like the state favorite buckeye truffle candy.
After four weeks of easy games, it’s time for a real test against our own B1G conference with Wisconsin today. It’s hard to tell this early who is good and who is not, so I am really excited to see how it plays out, along with the rest of the season of course.
I never thought that by joining the food blogging world that I would (virtually) meet so many awesome people, let alone meet them in person. Back in March I actually had the surreal pleasure of meeting Joanne, Kayle, Jennifer, Lauren and Tara. Even though I had never personally met Tara beforehand, she offered up her apartment as a place to rest my head (apparently I don’t come off as a complete psycho). Upon my arrival into NYC, I new we were going to be friends after having Thai from one of her favorite restaurants for dinner and a visit to a very expansive bakery for dessert (and subsequent leftovers for breakfast the next morning). We’ve already discussed an encore visit (which hopefully Tracey can join us for without any hiccups this time).
I am very happy to have Tara, of Chip Chip Hooray!, guest posting for me today. In addition to being an awesome person, she makes awesome food such as mini cookie dough donuts with chocolate glaze and biscoff white chocolate pancakes. She’s even made a typewriter cake – holy impressive! Stay turned to see what she has to share with you. P.S. She just got engaged!!
One year ago: Speculoos S’mores Cheesecake Bars
Two years ago: Baked Falafels
Hi friends! I’m Tara from Chip Chip Hooray!, and I’m super excited to be guest posting on The Spiffy Cookie today. I’m fairly sure Erin was one of the first bloggers I ever followed, and one of the handful I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person. I’m totally in awe of the way she juggles a full-time job as a researcher and Ph.D. student with her daily blogging life. Plus she’s just endlessly creative – she is constantly coming up with awesome uses for peanut butter, cake batter, and chocolate. Love it!
I’m here to lend a blogging hand to Erin while she finishes up all her awesome Ph.D. dissertating madness. You rock, Erin! I know how hard she’s been working on this (when she isn’t making Petri dish cookies), and how much of a relief and an accomplishment it’ll be when she’s finished. A virtual cupcake toast to her!!
So in the spirit of fall – which just happens to be my favorite season – I brought some pumpkin-y, streusel-y goodness to The Spiffy Cookie today. Read on, y’all.