A Couple of Recipes I Don’t Want to Forget

We’ve found a few more winners in the dessert category this summer.  First off, I made myself these brownie ice cream sandwiches for my birthday this summer, and G and I loved them. They were better the second day than the day I made them; as the brownies froze, they got fudge-like. And I love the combination of salty and sweet, so the flakes of salt in the brownies were a great touch. I put Edy’s Grand Slow-Churned Light Mud Pie ice cream in the middle – I love the combination of coffee and chocolate, so it was right up my alley. I can’t wait for another occasion to make them! 

Friday night, I decided to try some of these Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats. Talk about elevating the rice krispie treat (and piling on some extra calories, but I try not to think TOO much about that) – these are sticky and salty sweet, and the caramel flavor is pronounced. It’s a good thing C doesn’t really like sweets, because I’m not sure I want to share! 

My sweet tooth was very satisfied with these recipes, and I know I’ll be making them again!  

 

 

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Dessert

Charlie is not big on ice cream, but when we were visiting my mom’s family in upstate NY, he decided he would try an ice cream cone when the other kids were, and suddenly he was a convert…sort of. When we got back home, he wanted me to buy cones and ice cream, but only vanilla – and he has yet to eat it. 

I like vanilla ice cream fine, but if I’m going to have the calories, I’d rather add something to it. So Friday night, I made a half recipe of this butterscotch sauce.

As the title says, it is VERY easy, and it has the combination of sweet and salty that I love. I used light rather than dark brown sugar, so mine isn’t the deep, dark color hers is, but it makes up for color in taste. 

My birthday is not far away, and I’m thinking there may be a homemade brownie sundae in my future, with this sauce on top! 

Best Sugar Cookies Ever

I signed up for the Valentines treat at Charlie’s school – and Valentines Day was a snow-out, so the kids are celebrating today (Presidents Day). Which was actually perfect, because instead of having to throw something together on a weeknight, I had the whole weekend to make a treat. So I decided to bake and decorate cookies.

I am not a huge sugar cookie fan generally, and I’ve tried recipes in the past that I really haven’t liked. I don’t like shortening, and even the ones I’ve tried without shortening haven’t been very good.

Enter Our Best Bites Sugar Cookies. I will never make another. These are delicious!  Buttery almost like shortbread, but not at all greasy – and perfect for decorating! I followed her tips to freeze the cookies overnight after they were done baking and fully cooled (lesson there – the first batch wasn’t cool enough when I stacked and froze them, and I ended up throwing away a large blob of stuck-together cookies!) and then made her glace icing and decorated them yesterday. I am no gourmet decorator (you can see a photo on Charlie’s blog – pretty funny) but they dried really nicely and, more importantly, tasted delicious. How can you go wrong with pink, red, and white cookies? I think the kids will love them.

Carnitas, Round II

Not that I don’t love my family, but it’s really, REALLY nice to get an occasional weekend away to hang out with old friends. And that’s what I was supposed to be doing this weekend. But due to the aforementioned sickness, I couldn’t leave my husband at home alone with the kiddo – and even if I could have pawned the kiddo off on someone, George was sick enough that I couldn’t in good conscience leave him on his own either.

So since we had no plans all weekend other than a birthday party this afternoon, I decided to cook.  Todays’ recipes were slow cooked pork carnitas (different recipe from last time) and lime sherbet.

First off, there’s nothing better than slow cooker recipes on the weekend. I don’t really like them during the week because even though I know they’re made for cooking things while you’re gone, I can’t really wrap my mind around leaving something cooking all day when I’m not in the house. Our nanny and Charlie are in and out, but not with enough frequency for me to feel all that comfortable leaving food cooking. But on the weekends, bring it on. Food prep started by 10 a.m. means dinner is ready by 6:30 or so, with no scrambling around. This afternoon, for instance, Charlie and I went to a birthday party and then I came home, put him down for a rest (George was also home resting) and went to the pool to swim laps. When I came home, all I had to do was cook some black beans and heat up some tortillas, and dinner was ready.

The pork was good, but not great. I have been spoiled for carnitas by the place by my Maryland office that makes spicy, tangy pork and pineapple carnitas that I love. These didn’t really have the kind of flavor/kick I was hoping for. They really just tasted like pork – juicy, succulent pork which is good, but I’m still looking for a carnitas recipe that knocks my socks off. With this one, I think you could drain the meat and toss it with some barbecue sauce and have a pulled pork sandwich. It didn’t have the flavor I was expecting for carnitas.

The lime sherbet is delicious!  Well, I’ve only tasted it in “soft serve” form, right out of the ice cream maker while I was packing it up, so I haven’t had much yet. But it’s now in the freezer, and I plan to have more very soon. Nothing says summer like homemade ice cream!  And this recipe couldn’t be easier – no custard making, no crazy prep – just zesting and juicing some limes to mix with sugar, half and half, water, and a pinch of salt. Right out of the ice cream maker, it was fresh and creamy and delicious. I can’t wait to try more!

Chocolate-chip – or just chocolate – brownies

So I am the worst at reading recipes. For someone who likes to read as much as I like to read, you’d think I could handle recipe reading. But the thing is, I’m too eager to get started to set out all the ingredients first, and then I’m busy running and grabbing stuff as I go – and it often leads to me completely mis-reading something.

Like tonight. I saw a review of Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Brownies on another blog, and thought they would make the perfect gift for the NICU. Tomorrow, we’re hoping to go for a quick visit, to drop off some Valentines treats and some paperwork about the DC March for Babies. We haven’t been back to the NICU in a couple of years, and I’ve been meaning to take Charlie for a visit. I know as soon as we set foot in that place, the smell will transport me back to that scary time – and be a welcome reminder of how far Charlie’s come!  But I digress…

This recipe calls for 8 oz of semi or bittersweet chocolate, as well as a cup of chocolate chips. Yum! You are supposed to melt the 8 oz of chocolate with the butter, stir in the sugar, add the eggs, stir in the flour mixture, and THEN stir in the chocolate chips. But like a dummy, I read the step to place the butter and chocolate in heat-proof bowl over simmering water to mean that I should put ALL the chocolate (including the chips) in there. As soon as I did it, I thought to myself, “Well, that’s weird – why would you melt the chocolate chips if these are supposed to be chocolate chip brownies?”  I even glanced back over the recipe again. But since mixing in the chocolate chips was basically the last step before putting the batter in the pan, I missed it. Until I actually got to that step, of course, and no longer had any chocolate chips to mix in… Duh. So my chocolate chip brownies will instead be SUPER EXTRA chocolate brownies. Hopefully they’ll still turn out, and nobody will complain! One of these days, I’ll learn to read more carefully. In the meantime, mistakes are how people have recipe epiphanies, right?  Where the finished product turns out even better than the recipe would have?  Humor me here.

Butterscotch Spice Cookies

My mom made these butterscotch spice cookies for us to eat while we were at her house after Christmas. If you, like me, feel that butterscotch chips are a sadly underused ingredient, you will love these cookies!  I made them tonight and they were just as delicious as I remembered. My kiddo, who really isn’t a big sweets fan (though he’ll eat anything salty anytime), just begged his way into his third cookie – and they aren’t even fully cooled. The recipe says to cool the dough for at least an hour, but I didn’t give it that much time in the fridge, and they still turned out great. Mine don’t look like the picture on Sweet Pea’s website – mine came out looking much more like chocolate chip cookies.  Maybe if I’d chilled the dough longer, I would have gotten a thicker cookie. But as far as I’m concerned, they’re perfect!