Brownies & Bars
I’ve discovered one downfall to living in a home where the temperature is kept at over 68 degrees in the winter – dehydration. I have been dried up like a fall leaf ever since I got to my parents and I consider myself someone who drinks a decent amount of water. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about not needing to wear layers all the time (sometimes supplemented with a blanket), but didn’t anticipate the extra water that a couple extra degrees would suck up. Guess I need to pump up the water intake… and water is in Jell-O right? (Woo look at that transition!)
This “salad” isn’t really a salad at all, making be wonder how it acquired that name because it’s a dessert. During my pre-blogging years this recipe was one of my favorite finds but I have neglected to revisit it since. So when my parents had a couple friends over the other night to play euchre I decided it was finally time. If you are unfamiliar with this treat, it consists of a pretzel crust, cream cheese filling and a strawberry Jell-O topping. I actually used a new grocery store find for the filling – Greek cream cheese which is a blend of Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Talk about a brilliant idea.
Two years ago: Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes with Amaretto Cream
Before I begin I must get something off my chest. I missed World Nutella Day yesterday. I haven’t missed a single one since I started this little blog o’ mine. It’s disturbing because I’ve noticed many other food holidays pass my by, such as National Peanut Butter Day – now that’s shameful! This whole move-thing really threw me off my game. But I digress…
This recipe has been a long time coming. I first made during my cousin’s bachelorette party weekend it back in May of 2013. She loves Reese’s so I mixed some into the brownie batter before it baked in a graham cracker crust, followed by a broiling of marshmallows. It turned out super gooey and was quite a challenge to eat but we still managed to kill it off, and of course I neglected to snap a photograph before the destruction.
This time around I decided to mix it up a bit and replace the regular marshmallows (yawn), with Valentine’s Day themed marshmallow Peeps! Because evidently Peeps are for more than just Easter. Specifically I used the Vanilla Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts and one red marshmallow heart, because I thought it would look cute. Turns out I would’ve been better off using just the vanilla crème because the red one did not puff up at the same rate, but it was still fun!
Check out all the PEEPS® Valentine’s offerings:
- Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
- Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Bears (6 ct)
- Cherries Drizzled and Dipped in Chocolate (3 ct)
- Marshmallow Hearts (2 and 6 ct)
- Chocolate (milk or dark) Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts (individually wrapped)
- Strawberry Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts (9 ct)
- Vanilla Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts (9 ct)
- Sugar-Free Marshmallow Hearts (3ct)
One year ago: Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce
It is post PhD graduation week, and a short week at that with only 3 days left before I no longer have a “work” to go to. I’ll be whisked away for the holidays and return for just one last month in Memphis before packing up and moving in with family. Hopefully with the new year will come responses to all the jobs I have applied to but have yet to hear from. I am really excited/anxious to see where I end up next!
But on to these bars. After I became addicted to the snickerdoodle blondies that Alex sent me last month, I decided to make my own with eggnog in order to continue my eggnog streak. These bars turned out to be just as magical as the traditional version with some added holiday spirit, making them a great treat to make for your upcoming holiday parties (or a way to use up any leftover eggnog).
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