Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Power of S'mores

Brownie fever is in the air! This is my 2nd post on another awesome brownie recipe and it's not going to be the last one either. I have a few more on my list so keep posted for updates. 

I love S'mores (short for "some more"). That roasted ooey gooey marshmallow with a chocolate bar sandwiched between two graham crackers might be a simple campfire treat that doesn't need any real cooking skills but it has taken over the food blogging community like storm. From s'mores cupcakes, to s'mores pies, to s'mores cookie bars, to s'mores pudding, you just can't escape them.

This "Fudge brownies meet S'mores" is a pretty quick and easy recipe that's a breeze to make. You don't even need a mixer. Just put all the ingredients for the brownie batter in a bowl and mix with a whisk. Once it's baked, add the marshmallows, chunks of graham crackers and broil for a minute, then add the Hershey's milk chocolate bars to turn it into sugar-filled, gooey S'mores fudge brownies that will make you definitely want some more!

S'MORES BROWNIES
recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

1 pack Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix (made with Dutch Cocoa)  10.25oz
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
1 large egg

2 cups miniature marshmallows
4 graham crackers, cut into chunks
2 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, cut into each segment

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with non-stick baking paper.
Transfer the brownie mix into a bowl. Add the vegetable oil, water and egg. With a wooden spoon or a whisk, stir the mixture 50 times. It may be a little lumpy. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 25-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Remove pan from the oven. Set the oven to broil.

Cool brownies for about a minute then sprinkle the marshmallows over the warm brownies. Make sure to cover most of the area. Sprinkle the graham crackers on top of the marshmallows. Broil about 4-5 inches from the heat for 30 seconds to a minute until the marshmallows are golden brown. Watch carefully so that they don't burn. Sprinkle with Hershey's milk chocolate bars. 

I like my brownies big so I cut it into 9 bars or 3x3 rows.





Saturday, March 10, 2012

Angry Birds


I received my very first order for a dozen cupcakes a few days ago. I bake a lot just for the love of it but I always give most of it away to my colleagues. They are my tasters and  critics. Often, the girls encourage me to start a small home-based business and sell cupcakes and other baked goods but I've never really had the confidence. Until now. I used to tell myself, "Not yet, I'm not ready yet...not until I've perfected a recipe and I'm truly happy with the results." I suppose I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. Selling your baked goods to other people seems very intimidating. There is no room for mistakes because these people are expecting a product that's worthy of their money. Besides, I want to sell something that not only looks good but tastes even better. I want to make people happy and to see the look of satisfaction on their faces.

One of my colleagues ordered these cupcakes for a 5 year old birthday girl who totally adores Angry Birds. Moist and soft chocolate cupcakes are filled with creamy peanut butter, topped with a giant swirl of frosting, some fun, colorful sprinkles and of course, the Angry Birds toppers.  I tell you, your kids will love them! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Calling All Cheesecake Lovers and Cookie Monsters


What's your favorite dessert? 

I have spent enough time on Food Gawker to know the top desserts that people love: anything with chocolate, Oreos, Red Velvet, cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies. If you're someone who loves cheesecake AND chocolate chip cookies, then this is the perfect dessert bar for you - buttery crushed graham cracker crust filled with a creamy cheesecake layer topped with a slightly crunchy, chewy chocolate chip cookie dough. It's not overly rich and not too sweet. It doesn't make you feel sick after eating it. It's just right. THAT is a problem because these bars are so ridiculously addictive that you just can't stop at one. These are so good you'll gobble them up! Watch them disappear before your eyes! 

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CHEESECAKE BARS

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter>

Cheesecake Layer
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar 
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1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Layer
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick baking paper or parchment paper with a little overhang on the sides.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter over low heat. Combine the butter with the graham cracker mixture and mix well with a spoon. Press the crumb mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom of the baking pan, using the back of the spoon. Bake for 6 minutes. Transfer the pan and cool on a wire rack. Keep the oven on. 

Prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough while waiting for the graham cracker crust to cool. Beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl for about a minute until well combined and smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth and creamy with an electric mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled graham cracker crust. Scoop teaspoon-size clumps of cookie dough and flatten them slightly with your palms.(I actually forgot to flatten the clumps but it still turned out great!) Distribute the clumps of cookie dough evenly over the cheesecake batter. You will cover most of the cheesecake batter.

Bake for 30 minutes until the top of the cookie dough looks dry and the whole pan looks set when given a slight shake. Move the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely. Chill in the fridge for a few hours for easier cutting. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into desired sizes.