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  1. Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    Grandma Blomquist’s Brownies

    The very first recipe I ever made on my own was my Grandma Blomquist’s Brownies. I was in 5th grade and the experience was very memorable for me, not just because I burned both some chocolate and my arm in the process, but also because the brownies came out great, starting a lifetime of brownie baking.

    grandma blomquist's brownies from @janemaynard

    Last week when Cate was in charge of dinner, she asked if she could bake something for dessert on one of the nights. Of course I pulled out my grandma’s brownie recipe. I’ve never written a post about the brownies, but I did put the recipe on the blog ages ago with a cute picture of 2-year-old Cate stirring the batter. Last week when Cate baked her first batch of brownies, I took a few photos for a Babble post I’m working on. Today, as I got this post ready, I stuck the photos side by side and it made me smile. It also made me a little sad. Where did my baby go?!

    grandma blomquist's brownies from @janemaynard

    I needed to take some nice photos of the brownies for this post, so I asked Cate if she could whip up a batch for me. She happily complied. I’m kind of loving this whole Cate cooking thing, especially since her “thing” is brownies.

    grandma blomquist's brownies from @janemaynard

    These brownies are on the fudgy side of the brownie continuum, with a delicious crispy crust on top. It’s a basic, reliable and wonderful brownie recipe. Although, the brownies always taste best when my Grandma Blomquist or Cate bakes them!

    grandma blomquist's brownies from @janemaynard

    Grandma Blomquist's Brownies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    My grandma's recipe that my family has been making FOREVER. Fudgy with a crusty top!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 tablespoons butter
    • 2 ounces baking chocolate (substitution: 6 tablespoons cocoa + 2 tablespoons butter)
    • 2 tablespoons corn syrup syrup
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 well beaten eggs
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup flour
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease/butter an 8" x 8" baking pan.
    2. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Add corn syrup and baking chocolate and stir until all melted. Remove from heat.
    3. Stir in sugar.
    4. Stir in eggs after the sugar has been mixed in.
    5. Stir in baking powder, vanilla and salt. Slowly stir in the flour until well combined.
    6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until fork comes out clean.

    Dishes from Q Squared NYC.


  2. Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Perfect Chocolate Frosting + One Pan Chocolate Cake

    Today is all about chocolate.

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    When we were on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law Pat made a chocolate cake, complete with homemade frosting that was TO DIE FOR. When it comes to cake, I generally like the cake more than the frosting. Not in this case. In this case the frosting, well, takes the cake. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist that one.)

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    And, if you’re looking for something to put that perfect chocolate frosting on, let me introduce you to the one pan chocolate cake. This recipe comes from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food and was originally called “dump cake,” since you just dump everything in the pan and then bake. The cake turned out beautifully.

    one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    There’s only one drawback to the cake recipe: since you mix the ingredients directly in the pan, you can’t butter and flour the pan ahead of time. This means you’ll be serving the cake directly from the pan. Plus, you kind of have to scrape the servings out with a spatula to keep them in one piece, and the first slice of cake will be a bit tricky to get out of the pan. Because of this, the one pan cake may not be the best choice for serving guests or for special occasions. Or maybe it is. You decide. All I know is that this cake recipe is easy and delicious, and maybe that’s all that matters in the end.

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    Perfect Chocolate Frosting
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Recipe from my mother-in-law Pat, adapted from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder container
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup butter
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2½ - 2¾ cups powdered sugar
    • ⅓ cup milk
    Instructions
    1. Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, in 20 second increments until butter is just melted.
    2. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
    3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, start on low and beat in the powdered sugar, increasing the speed to medium and mixing well. Add half of the milk, following the same blending technique. Add 1 more cup of the powdered sugar, mixing as described, then the rest of the milk, mixing once again starting on low and increasing to medium speed.
    4. Add ½ cup of powdered sugar (this brings you to 2½ cups) and blend well, starting on low then moving up to medium speed. If you want the frosting to be a little thicker, add up to ¼ cup more of powdered sugar.
    5. Makes enough frosting for a 9" x 13" cake.

    One Pan Chocolate Cake
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Originally from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food, written in my own words
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
    • 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1 cup cold water
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. In an 8-inch square casserole dish or baking pan (I like to use a pyrex casserole so I can see if the batter is full mixed), whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
    3. Make a well in the middle, then add the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in the center. Whisk those ingredients together, then start to incorporate the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined.
    4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.
    5. Let cool completely before frosting. If you use the chocolate frosting recipe above, you will have some frosting left over.

     


  3. Thursday, July 16, 2015

    Fab Faves: CC Made & barkTHINS

    Hey everybody! I am officially on vacation and enjoying every second. Also, flying with kids is SO MUCH EASIER now that I my youngest is almost 4 years old and my oldest is 10. I didn’t even have that anxious feeling in my stomach that normally accompanies our plane rides. I really am shocked at how much easier it was than it has been for, oh, the last 10 years.

    Okay, enough travel talk, today I have a public service announcement. I must share two of my favorite goodies with you because it would be a crime not to.

    fab fave: cc made dark chocolate caramel sauce from @janemaynard

    First off, we flew through SFO this week and had a layover in Terminal 2. That terminal is, in the words of my friend Rebecca, magical. I love it when I have a layover there and usually spend a small fortune on food. My favorite spot in the terminal is a shop and deli called Napa Farms Market. They carry a vast array of wonderful Bay Area food products. One of the brands they carry is CC Made, a Berkeley-based artisanal caramel company I discovered at a food show years ago. CC Made has a dark chocolate caramel sauce that is TO DIE FOR, but they never have it at Napa Farms Market…until this week! When I saw it on the shelf I think I may have done a little jig. I know I at least squealed. I believe you can buy the sauce on the CC Made website, in case you need to get your hands on a jar, too!

    fab faves: barkTHINS by @janemaynard

    The second item I want to share is barkTHINS. Fair Trade USA has sent me samples of barkTHINS several times and I even created a granola bar recipe using their pumpkin seed flavor. Anyway, suddenly I’m seeing barkTHINS EVERYWHERE…from gas stations to grocery stores to Costco, so I can regularly feed my addiction. My kids are addicted, too. barkTHINS are dangerous. So, maybe this public service announcement is more to warn you about the addictive power of barkTHINS than anything else! 😉

    That’s all for today! Enjoy the goodies!


  4. Friday, October 3, 2014

    Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Granola Bars to Celebrate Fair Trade Month + A Delicious Giveaway

    October is Fair Trade Month and I’m so excited to help support the cause! Plus, I have a completely delicious dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bar recipe for you. Basically there’s a whole lot of goodness going on in this here post. Before we get to the fair trade chocolate granola bars (mmmmmm….), let’s talk about fair trade for a moment and meet some of the farmers!

    fair trade dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars from @janemaynard

    There are a lot of labels on our foods these days. Gluten Free. Organic. Cage Free. Natural. GMO-free. The list goes on and on and ON. With so many labels, it’s easy to stop seeing them when you’re shopping. But one label that I always notice is the ‘Fair Trade Certified’ label. And, when I do see that label, I try to stop and think about the people behind the label, the farmers benefiting from that product.

    Miguel & Lucia, Fair Trade Divemex farmers (from @janemaynard)

    Two of those people are Miguel Romero Martínez, 22, from Tlapa, Guerrero, and Lucía Simón Mariano, 18, from Veracruz. Miguel and Lucía have an adorable two-month old daughter named Dulce Yamilet. Miguel’s family has been living permanently in the Chula Vista II residential area within Divemex’s La Veinte Agricultural Complex in Culiacán since 2006, while Lucía first came to Sinaloa with her parents in 2010. Divemex is a produce cooperative in Mexico that grows bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Both Lucía and Miguel are now employees, have an apartment of their own and currently Miguel is the recipient of a Fair Trade-sponsored employee scholarship as he studies open adult junior high school.

    The Martinez-Hernandez family, whose first language is Nahuatl and originally come from Tlapa, Guerrero, is one of the most successful cases of migrant families from Southern Mexico, with numerous family members employed by Divemex and recipients of Fair Trade-sponsored scholarships. Currently, two family members receive open adult education scholarships while two others receive stipends given to children of employees. All must keep a monthly B+ average in order to maintain the scholarship status.

    Divemex family From Left to Right: Miguel Romero Martinez (22, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient), his wife Lucía Simón Mariano (18, employee) with two-month old daughter Dulce Yamilet, Floriberto Romero Martinez (16, Junior High School scholarship recipient as child of employee), David Romero Martinez (20, employee), Andres Romero Martinez (24, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient, and only indigenous member of the Ten-person Fair Trade council at Divemex), Ana Martínez Peralta (family matriarch and employee), Heidi Hernandez Martinez (8, elementary school scholarship recipient as child of employee) and Felipe Hernandez Guerrero (employee, father of Heidi, and step-father to the four young men). 

    Don’t you love seeing their pictures and hearing just a small part of this family’s story? It’s kind of amazing. Plus, in learning about this family I discovered that fair trade doesn’t just apply to non-perishable goods but to produce, as well. Very cool!

    fair trade barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark for granola bars by @janemaynard

    Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies (which I will also be giving away in just a minute) and challenged me to use some of the ingredients in a recipe. As I was gearing up to make our weekly supply of granola bars, I decided to change the bars up a bit. So, here’s the deal. We love our chocolate chip granola bars so much I can’t bring myself to change the flavor. But, this week, I decided adding more chocolate would not be a bad choice.

    dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars by @janemaynard

    I added fair trade cocoa powder from Lake Champlain Chocolates as well as barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark with sea salt to the granola bars instead of boring chocolate chips. The result was SPECTACULAR. As I was making the granola bars, I realized that I had fair trade brown sugar, fair trade coconut oil and fair trade vanilla to use in the recipe as well. These granola bars are pretty soundly fair trade!

    fair trade dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars by @janemaynard

    Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky commenters will get the same package of fair trade goodies I received, including products from Equator, Guittard, barkTHINS, Lake Champlain Chocolates, LÄRABAR, Traditional Medicinals, Dang Foods, Numi Tea, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Eco Lips, Alter Eco, Badger Balm, Third Street, Celestial Seasonings, SunSpire, Nourish Organic and the book Where Am I Eating?.

    Here’s how to enter the giveaway!

    Time for granola bars! Happy Fair Trade Month!

    (>> Find out more…)


  5. Friday, May 9, 2014

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday!

    First, if you haven’t already, go read this excerpt from Rob Lowe’s new book. It’s a tear jerker and beautifully written. And, amazingly, I love Rob Lowe even more than I did before.

    sangria recipe roundupPhoto source: Diethood

    Just a few fun posts from Cosmo to share with you today!

    Okay, you know the drill. Show and tell means share your stuff! Anything is game!


  6. Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Chocolate Chunk Shortbread and Fair Trade Brunch

    Today I’m excited to partner with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day through their Moms Make a World of Difference efforts. Today’s post is full of goodies, including a delicious recipe for the Fair Trade Brunch, a really awesome giveaway, and the story of a mother in Rwanda who’s life has been improved thanks to fair trade practices. I studied international relations and women’s studies in college and these issues have long been dear to my heart, so I’m more than delighted to help spread the word!

    chocolate chunk shortbread | celebrating moms who make a world of difference through fair trade | by @janemaynard

    Fair trade benefits all of the farmers it touches, but I can see how it is especially helpful for women. So many women in developing countries are tasked with both supporting their families monetarily and being the primary caregiver for the children. The burden can be great, but I have heard stories time and again about real women in these countries who, through fair and good employment, are able to not only provide for their families financially but also spend more time with their children.

    fair trade usa | quote from rwandan worker and mother mukantelina soline | from @janemaynard

    As I started looking through the Moms Make a World of Difference website, this quote from Mukantelina Soline, a mom and coffee farmer in Rwanada, really stood out to me: “Growing coffee is hard work, but it is work that I love because it helps me improve the lives of my children.” Let me preface my next comment with this – I always feel incredibly blessed and grateful for my work and my situation. But that doesn’t mean that the stress of working and being the primary caregiver in our home doesn’t sometimes get to me. Even though my life and my work is different than Mukantelina’s, reading her words made me feel a kinship with her. It also made me realize that, when the stress starts to get me down, I just need to be grateful.

    fair trade usa | rwandan worker and mother mukantelina soline | from @janemaynard

    As I read more of Mukantelina’s story, I learned that she has three children – one in school, one who can’t go to school due to chronic illness, and a third who joins her as she works each day. By joining the Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative in 2003, Mukantelina has received extra support with the processing and sale of her coffee as well as additional income. Now she spends more time with her family, and she has been able to get electricity for their home and a cow to provide milk for the family. This is why fair trade products are so amazing – when you buy these products, you know that it is making a real difference in real lives.

    chocolate chunk shortbread | celebrating moms who make a world of difference through fair trade | by @janemaynard

    To prepare for the Fair Trade Brunch, Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies from 12 of their partner companies. SO MUCH GOODNESS. I was challenged to come up with a recipe for their online Mother’s Day brunch that uses 2 of the ingredients. I knew I had to use the Guittard chocolate because I’m completely obsessed with their chocolate (theirs are the only chocolate chips I buy and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can finally get them at almost all grocery stores!). There was also a bag of brown muscovado sugar by India Tree that intrigued me. I thought about recipes that really feature brown sugar and shortbread immediately came to mind. And then I got cooking!

    fair trade guittard baking chocolate and india tree muscovado sugar from @janemaynard

    fair trade chocolate chunk shortbread from @janemaynard

    These simple shortbread cookies are, quite simply, delicious. The buttery, brown sugar flavor pairs nicely with the little punches of chocolate. These cookies would be a great addition to a brunch – a little something sweet that’s not too sweet. They are also good for just eating any old time. Like right now while I’m typing this post. (I literally just walked into the kitchen to get one!)

    fair trade goodies giveaway from @janemaynard

    The winner of the giveaway was Kim, who said, “Your cookies look fabulous!” Thanks, Kim! And I hope you enjoy all your goodies (I’m sure you will)!

    Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will win the same goodie box that I received. Here is what you’ll get!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway! (All comments must be posted by midnight PT on Sunday, May 11 and prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.)

    Now, let’s make some yummy shortbread!

    making fair trade chocolate chunk shortbread from @janemaynard

    (>> Find out more…)


  7. Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Cut-Out Sandwich Cookies

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to break out the cookie cutters!

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Anna and I decided to make some cute heart sandwich cookies yesterday to deliver to the neighbors. We used my favorite recipe for chocolate cut-out cookies (SOOOO good) and my other favorite recipe for cream cheese frosting, combined into one delicious sandwich of goodness. You can, of course, make these any time of year with different shapes and we do!

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    A quick rundown of how we made the shapes for the sandwiches and why this is a great way to decorate cookies with kids. If you want to make them exactly how I did, you’ll need 3 heart-shaped cookie cutters that are different sizes but the same shape. Using the largest cutter, cut an even number of cookies. In half of those cookies make holes with the next smaller cookie cutter. Plan it so you end up with an even number of the middle-sized cookies, too. Then take the smallest cookie cutter and cut out holes in half of the middle-sized cookies. Get what’s happening? In the end you will have two different sizes of peek-a-boo sandwiches and a bunch of tiny, super cute chocolate cookies. You can of course still do this with just two heart cookie cutters, you’ll just have one size of the peek-a-boo sandwich cookies.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    I really liked having the two sizes of sandwiches along with the tiny cookies because it looked really cute on the plates for the neighbors.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Once the cookies are all baked and cooled, spread frosting onto the rough side of a cookie with no hole and top with a cookie that does have a hole, then fill the exposed frosting center with pretty sprinkles or colored sugar. This ended up being a really great way to decorate cookies with kids. It’s super easy for them to fill the holes with sprinkles and Anna had such a fun time with it. The other nice thing about making these cookies with Anna was that she was able to spread frosting on the cookies and it didn’t have to be a perfect spreading job because the frosting gets sandwiched inside the cookie and then covered with sprinkles. The project ended up being empowering for her because she could make a sandwich cookie from start to finish without any help and they looked just like mine, well, with maybe a few more sprinkles. 😉

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies!

    Rolled Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup butter, softened
    • 1¼ cups white sugar
    • 1 egg
    Instructions
    1. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth – this will take several minutes. Beat in the egg and mix well. On low, beat in the sifted ingredients and mix until you can’t see any white flour.
    2. Divide the dough into two and form into round balls. Place each ball on a large pieces of plastic wrap then press the dough out into a dish, about ½”³ thick. Refrigerate for about an hour. You can refrigerate longer than that, but you’ll need to let it soften up a bit before you’ll be able to roll it out. It is important to refrigerate it so that the dough is workable, otherwise it’s too sticky, but the original recipe said to refrigerate for 2 hours and whenever I do that the dough is just too hard to work with.
    3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a surface that has been floured pretty heavily, roll out the dough to ⅛ inch thickness. When I do sandwich cookies I go pretty think when rolling it out so that when you bite the cookies later they aren’t too heavy on the cookie. You’ll definitely need to flour the rolling pin and make sure you keep the surface below the dough floured to avoid sticking. Even after refrigeration, the dough is prone to sticking.
    4. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies on cookie sheet – I like to line mine with a Silpat. The original recipe says to place them 1½ inches apart, but the cookies do not spread that much, you can definitely get them closer together, about ½ inch apart.
    5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven (mine are always done at 8 minutes). Cool cookies on a baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove them with a spatula to cool on a wire rack completely.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out cookies from @janemaynard
    Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ¾ cup butter, softened
    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3½ – 4 cups powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Cream the butter and cream cheese with a hand blender or in a stand mixer until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want, somewhere around 3½ to 4 cups. (Whenever you add powdered sugar, be sure to start on low and then work the speed up so you don’t blow powdered sugar all over the kitchen. I may or may not have done this many times before. I plead the fifth.)

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard


  8. Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Two Sweet Treats

    In December I had the chance to write a few pieces for the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas website. And then, once Christmas was over, the posts were gone! Two of the posts had some mighty fine recipes, so I just added them to the Babble website so they can still be accessible.

    polar express hot chocolate from @janemaynard

    The first, hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars. You know, like in The Polar Express. The dreamy, wonderful hot cocoa we all imagined as kids!

    lemon cream cheese sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    The second is a super simple cookie recipe that is SO GOOD. You definitely want to add this one to your recipe box – Lemon Cream Cheese Cookie Sandwiches!

    Double yum!


  9. Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies {and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway!}

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading because the cookie recipe is FABULOUS. Also, the winner is announced at the end!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Today marks the end of Gifts & Giveaways. I know, I’m sad, too. But we are ending this little shindig with a bang. But before we get to that…

    When I was growing up, my family was a bit obsessed with mint M&Ms. I remember my mom would spot them at the store at the beginning of the holiday season and would snag them as fast as she could. (Fun fact: I grew up on a hill overlooking the town where M&Ms are made and it smelled like chocolate in the early mornings. Also, mint M&Ms are not made in that factory but in a different place because the mint flavor basically takes over anything it touches – I hope you all appreciate those high-maintenance M&Ms!)

    chocolate mint M&M cookies from @janemaynard

    Now that I’m a grown up, whenever I see mint M&Ms at the store my instinct is to start hoarding. My common sense, however, reins my instinct in and keeps me from spending all my money on those little minty treats. Thank goodness for practical, boring common sense. But I do still buy a few bags every year and enjoy them immensely!

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    I’m going to switch topics completely for a minute but I promise it will all come together. Meet Candy. She’s my new Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl. Her name is kind of a mouthful that’s why we call her Candy for short. I love her because she’s GORGEOUS. Yes, I am that shallow. I mean, that GLASS BOWL. And that SHINY RED PAINT JOB. I could stare at her all day.

    I have a white professional series KitchenAid mixer that Nate gave to me years ago. Old trusty is still around but has been relegated to the shelf in the garage in favor of the younger, hotter model. I told you I was shallow. But I do love how Candy works, too. She’s much quieter and, oh, that glass bowl.

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    Back to M&Ms (are you experiencing blog whiplash yet?). I really wanted to make chocolate cookies this week with mint M&Ms. Most chocolate cookies fall a little flat and I wanted something that could stand up to the M&Ms, both in shape and flavor. Then my friend Irvin shared his recipe for Chocolate Crackle Cookies last week and I knew it was the cookie recipe I had been looking for all my life. Well, all my week, at least.

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    I was right. These chocolate mint M&M cookies are PERFECT. Truly. They have wonderful texture, with a nice crispy outside and a rich, chocolatey interior. The mint from the M&Ms is not overpowering and gives you a fresh pop of flavor. These cookies are perfect for giving as gifts during the holidays, that is if you can stop yourself from eating them all yourself! (Recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Wouldn’t you like to make those cookies in a candy apple red artisan stand mixer with a glass bowl? I mean, the way the chocolate mixes with the butter, it just looks so pretty through that glass!

    GIVEAWAY TIME!

    One of you unbelievably lucky people is going to win a Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl (retail value $399.99), just like mine! WOOHOO!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, 12/18/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Good luck and happy mixing!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #168 Itzia – one of her bonus entries got her the prize, but her original comment was, “I love anything with mint. Yum!” Well, Itzia will love these cookies AND her beautiful new mixer! Congrats!

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies
     
    I slightly adapted this recipe from Irvin Lin at Eat the Love. Irvin’s original Chocolate Crackle Cookie Recipe is wonderful, with a great technique for making the powdered sugar coating especially white and pretty. The ingredients for the cookie base are exactly like Irvin’s recipe, but I change up the technique a bit for my M&M purposes.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ cup cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup milk
    • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 9.9-ounce package mint M&Ms
    • Granulate sugar for coating cookies (about ½ cup)
    Instructions
    1. If you are using a block of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chop it. I used Guittard’s bittersweet chocolate chips (63% cacao). Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
    2. Cream butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until ingredients are of a paste consistency. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until just mixed but thoroughly combined.
    3. Sift cocoa powder over dough then beat until mixed. Add milk and beat until mixed. Add the flour and beat until just mixed but fully incorporated.
    4. Stir in M&Ms by hand with a strong spoon. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Form cookie dough balls (with your hands or a scoop – I used my medium-sized scoop, which is about 2 tablespoons). Place cookie dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. At this point you can either bake the cookies or store the dough until later (for storing, place the cookie dough balls in a large ziploc bag and store in the fridge or freezer).
    5. Preheat oven to 350ËšF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar, coating well. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 13 minutes, until cookies are just set and are starting to “crackle.” Cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then finish cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
    6. Makes about 40 cookies.

    Big thank you to KitchenAid for hosting this giveaway! I received a mixer from KitchenAid but all opinions are 100% my own.


  10. Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Trick or Treat? Chocolate Pumpkin Butter

    Okay, so, a couple of weeks ago I had this brilliant idea to create a recipe for chocolate pumpkin butter. That just sounds like it should be good, right? I did a little searching and there are practically no recipes for it out there, at least not for what I was envisioning in my head. (Side note: I should have taken that fact as a warning but, alas, I plowed on.)

    trick or treat? chocolate pumpkin butter | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Anna and I created the recipe together other day and were feeling pretty good about our butter. It had the texture I was looking for and it was nice and chocolatey. We tasted it quickly and saved it for Halloween morning. I got up early today, made waffles and broke out the special chocolate pumpkin butter. AND…here is how breakfast went down.

    Anna: “It’s good!” (She proceeded to eat all of the pumpkin butter on her plate.)

    Cate: “I can’t decide what I think of it.” (Cate would never say anything bad about anyone or anything, so I think we can all guess what she really meant.)

    Owen: He didn’t say anything but he didn’t have to. He left the pumpkin butter untouched on his plate and ate the waffles plain.

    trick or treat? chocolate pumpkin butter | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Nate walked into the room about halfway through breakfast and asked how the pumpkin butter was. I actually  enjoyed it on my waffle and, as I started to tell Nate that I though it was pretty good but that next time I would use water instead of apple juice for the liquid, Owen piped in with a very loud, very clear, very spirited “YUCKY!”

    Nate took one bite and said, “I have to admit, I do not like this at all.”

    And THAT is how my special Halloween concoction turned from treat to trick.

    Okay, seriously, I liked the chocolate pumpkin butter on my waffle. Anna liked it, too. But we were the only ones in the family who did. So, I’ll share the recipe with you but please know that you will probably think it is “yucky.”

    Trick or treat!!!

    trick or treat? chocolate pumpkin butter | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Chocolate Pumpkin Butter
     
    Created by yours truly”¦which may or may not be something to brag about. Hey, we can’t win ”˜em all.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ¼ cup water (I used apple juice and that was a bad choice, stick with water!)
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 pinches salt
    • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Instructions
    1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir well until all chips are melted. Set aside.
    2. Add all the rest of the ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat. As it starts to simmer, it will actually start sputtering a lot, so make sure you are constantly stirring. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. It should be steaming throughout this process.
    3. Remove from heat then stir in the chocolate.
    4. Store in refrigerator.