S’more Brownies

Hey, there! I’m jumping on the summer s’more obsession bandwagon. And I’m not ashamed by it one bit. There’s a reason the s’more is the most popular summer food trend. Ooey-gooey melty chocolate and marshmallow. Sitting around a camp fire with family and friends. Enjoying warm weather and late nights. Getting all messy and not giving a care about it in the world.

Unfortunately not all of us have access to a backyard fire pit, but that doesn’t mean we can’t partake in the fun! Make these brownies and you’ll be transported to your favorite childhood memory.

S'more Brownies

You can follow the recipe below, or feel free to take a semi-homemade philosophy and use a boxed brownie mix! Just don’t skip out on making the graham cracker crust. I wonder if you can even fill two pie crusts with the brownie batter and turn these s’more brownies into s’more brownie pies!

S’more Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 15 graham crackers, divided use
  • 2 1/2 C sugar, divided use
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C mini marshmallows
  • 3 chocolate bars

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Crush 12 of the graham crackers into crumbs. You should have about 1 1/2 C of crumbs. Combine crumbs with 1/2 C sugar and 6 tbsp melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan and bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together 2 sticks softened butter with 2 C sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract.
  5. In a bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Add to the stand mixer and mix until incorporated.
  6. Pour batter evenly over graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Break chocolate bars and remaining 3 graham crackers into bite size pieces. Top brownies with chocolate, crackers, and marshmallows. Bake another 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. If you have leftovers, they’re best reheated in a toaster oven for a few minutes until chocolate and marshmallows are again melty and gooey.

*This recipe is modified from Nikki at http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/07/smore-brownies/*

S'more Brownies

Vanilla Honey Roasted Pecans

April 14th is National Pecan Day.

I’ve been wanting to try using the honey we brought back from Hawaii and after a trip to the Marietta Square farmer’s market in Atlanta where we inhaled Angel Pecans from Ye Olde Christmas and Candy Shoppe I knew that roasted nuts in honey would be a great way to utilize the Hawaiian honey. But first, I needed to do test runs with cheaper products.

National Pecan Day was an excellent excuse to try it out. I already had pecans in the pantry and my friend Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table gave us vanilla bean infused honey for Christmas. I happily used that, roasted the pecans in the oven, and tossed with a little powdered sugar.

Vanilla Honey Roasted Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C vanilla bean infused honey
  • 1 1/2 C pecan halves
  • 1/8 – 1/4 C powdered sugar

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place honey in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 20 seconds.
  3. Toss pecans in honey. Place pecans in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove pecans from baking sheet and allow to cool in a single layer. Toss in powdered sugar, to taste.

Honey Roasted Pecans

For other nut recipes, check out my Sugar and Spiced Nuts, Pecan Pie, or Pecan Crusted Salmon.

Olympic Ring Cupcake Display

The Opening Ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics is tonight at 7:30/6:30C. If you are having a watching party I have the perfect display for your dessert table. I know there are many wonderful Olympics-related food ideas on Pinterest – hopefully this post will add me to the party!

I used two different boxes of cake mix for this project – one chocolate and one white. I really did this because that’s what I happened to have in my cupboard, but I firmly recommend following suit. Not only does it offer your guests options, but it makes it much easier to place the cupcakes prior to frosting.

Olympic Rings Cupcake Display (pre-frosting)

Make a double batch of butter cream (single recipe listed below) and divide evenly into four bowls. Color the frosting in red, blue, yellow, and green. Frost the respective rings appropriately. YOU WILL HAVE LEFT OVER FROSTING! Combine the left over red, blue, and green along with 3/8 C of cocoa powder. Now you have chocolate butter cream frosting for the black ring. I opted to not create black frosting because I find it to be unappetizing, additionally black frosting tends to stain mouths, hands, etc.

If you want to avoid dying frosting, you can easily use plain frosting and then use respective sprinkles – in which case I approve of using black! 😉

Olympics Rings Cupcake Display

Butter Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat butter. Add in powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until combined. (If frosting doesn’t come together, add just a little bit of milk at a time until a smooth texture is reached.)

*This recipe comes from my friend Kate*

Candy Corn Popsicles

I saw this one floating around on Pinterest. It’s actually what prompted my candy corn theme for the week. You only need 3 ingredients, yogurt, apple juice, orange juice. Or you can follow the Pinterest version using orange juice and pineapple juice.  Because I have Simply Apple apple juice it’s darker than the from-concentrate counterpart.

You can feel comfortable giving these popsicles to your kids before sending them off Trick or Treating for mountains of candy because there is zero added sugar, and depending on the brand of juice and yogurt you buy, you could be tricking them into a sugar-free dessert!

Candy Corn Popsicles

Here’s the How-To for Candy Corn Popsicles:

Using a tiny spoon put some white yogurt (plain, vanilla, Greek or regular) in the bottom of your popsicle mold. Place the mold in the freezer, covered with plastic wrap, until hardened.

Put apple juice on top of the frozen yogurt. Put in the freezer, covered with plastic wrap, to let solidify just enough so that the third layer won’t mix. If you let it harden completely it’ll be near impossible to put the popsicle stick/handle into the mold.

Top off the popsicle with the orange juice. Put the sticks into the mold and freeze.

When you go to remove the popsicles from the mold run it under cold water first. Doing so will loosen them from the sides of the mold. Or you can set the mold in a bowl of cool water.

Candy Corn Popsicles 2

CIC: Avocado & Caramel

Last weekend we had a wonderful Korean-style supper at our good friends’ house. Tara is the host of Tara’s Multicultural Table and my blogging mentor. She told me about this new blogging-world challenge. It’s a challenge where you mix two ingredients that wouldn’t normally be paired together and create a recipe that encompasses both of them.  Almost like Chopped! This month’s challenge is Avocado and Caramel.

I was surprised at how quickly an idea came to me! I had just watched a Giada at Home episode where she stuffed peanut butter cupcakes with caramel. That fulfills requirement number 2. But what about requirement number 1? I’ve seen many vegan/vegetarian recipes that substitute avocado for eggs in baking, so here we have it! We stopped at Publix on the way home and the next morning I was making these!

I know my blog isn’t exactly vegan friendly, but here’s a recipe you could (dissect and) serve to your meat-free guests! I substituted cow’s milk, but you could switch it back to soy milk! However, Stuffing these chocolate beauties with caramel and topping them with frosting voids the vegan requirements…

Stuart was not excited about this avocado cupcake idea. But I had him taste the batter (that’s the best part about vegetarian/vegan cupcakes! No eggs means you can lick that spoon clean without any guilt), and he conceded to the avocado cupcake. He was even disappointed that this recipe only made 12 cupcakes!

Avocado is changing the baking world one cupcake at a time. A coworker even told me that this was the best cupcake he’s ever had, and I had a request from another for the recipe because his daughter is allergic to eggs.

Caramel Filling 1 Caramel Filling 2 Caramel Filling 3 Wet Ingredients: Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes Dry Ingredients: Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes Chocolate Avocado Cupcake Batter Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 1 Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 2 Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 3

Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

  • 25 caramel squares
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 C pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1/8 C + 1 tsp milk
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp caramel

Steps

  1. In a saucepan over low heat melt caramel into the heavy cream. Stir occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a food processor, puree avocado, syrup, milk, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry.
  5. Assemble cupcakes: put a spoonful of batter, a spoonful of caramel, and another spoonful of batter into paper lined cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Make the frosting: In a stand mixer beat together sugar, butter, and milk. When combined fully add in the peanut butter. Using a spoon, swirl in the caramel. Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes and drizzle with extra caramel sauce if desired.

*The cupcake recipe was adapted from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/glazed-chocolate-avocado-cupcakes/. The frosting and filling were adapted from Giada deLaurentiis at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/stuffed-peanut-butter-cupcakes-with-swirled-peanut-butter-frosting-recipe/index.html*

Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado CupcakeI have to admit, I was disappointed when I cut into a cupcake and wasn’t met with lava flowing caramel. The photo of Food Network’s page is very misleading; however, my results mimicked those aired on the “Stuff It” episode. (The last photo is a “cheat” 😉 )Stuart’s advice: If you think you put enough caramel in the cupcake, add a little bit more.

Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 3

Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 1 Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 4 Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 2

Caramel Filled Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting 5Here are the other blogs that participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge.