Palmer House Brownies

Palmer House Brownies
recipe can be found HERE
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 pound butter
1 pound granulated sugar (3 1/2 cups)
8 oz. cake flour (2 cups)
1 tablespoons baking powder
4 whole eggs
1 pound crushed walnuts

Glaze: (Optional)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt chocolate with the butter in a double
boiler or in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Mix dry ingredients
except the walnuts-- in a large mixer bowl on low speed for 4-5 minutes.

Add the eggs and mix until blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking
sheet and sprinkle with the walnuts, pressing nuts down lightly into
the mixture with the palm of your hand. Bake in the preheated 300 degree
oven for 40 minutes. You will know when it is done because the edges
start to become a little crispy and the brownie has raised about ¼ inch.
Note that even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test "gooey"
with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture.

After removing from the oven, allow to cool at least 30 minutes.

To make glaze: Mix together water, preserves and gelatin in a saucepan,
mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Use while hot. Spread
the glaze in a thin layer over the brownies using a pastry brush.

The brownies are easiest to cut if you can place the whole pan into the
freezer for 3 - 4 hours after glazing, then remove and cut with a serrated
knife.


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Chocolate Fudge Cake

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
shared at the event by Jen
recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson
For the cake:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup best-quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup corn oil
1 1/3 cups chilled water

For the fudge icing:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70 percent cocoa solids
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line the bottom of 2 (8-inch) cake pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring cup whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a standing or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this is using the hand mixer; the standing mixer comes with its own bowl), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins. And actually, you could easily do this manually; I just like my toys and find the stand mixer a comforting presence in itself.

Bake the cakes for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out on the rack to cool completely.

For the icing:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave – 2 to 3 minutes on medium should do it – or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.

In another bowl beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy (again, I use the stand mixer here) and then add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until everything’s light and fluffy. I know sifting is a pain, the 1 job in the kitchen I really hate, but you have to do it or the icing will be unsoothingly lumpy. Then gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.

Sandwich the middle of the cake with about a quarter of the icing, and then ice the top and sides, too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.


Fall Snacks Adventure Round Up!

It was a beautiful fall day in Chicago and a perfect time to get together with girlfriends. Our foodie theme du jour is fall & game day snacks! One snack that’s great during fall (and well, all year round,) and a must for game day is… popcorn. We soon learned how popcorn is quite versatile for both sweet and savory flavors. Read on to see how we transformed this simple snack into something even more delicious!

Homemade Caramel Corn

The first thing we made was caramel corn due to the length of time for it to bake. You can find the recipe I used HERE. To give it a twist, you can also add your choice of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc) too.

Old Taylor St. Cheese Popcorn

This cheese seasoning is one I picked up from my favorite spice shop, The Spice House. Just add 1 1/2 teaspoons of this flavorful seasoning to 3 cups of popcorn for a great cheese & herb flavor!

Buffalo Blue Cheese Popcorn

The Spice House also carries this amazing Blue Cheese seasoning, which we used. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning with 3 cups of popcorn, we drizzled 1/8 cup of buffalo wing butter and tossed to coat. The buffalo wing butter was made but combining 1 cup Frank’s hot sauce and 3/4 cup melted butter. Unfortunately, this popcorn was such a hit I couldn’t get a picture of it!

Chocolate Popcorn

For some sweet snacks, we got creative with various kinds of chocolate and nuts. I provided three types of chocolate including: peanut butter and chocolate; semi sweet chocolate and white chocolate. For the nuts, we had: almonds, walnuts, and pecans. I also had some dried cranberries as well. To prepare the chocolate, I used large packages of melting chocolate and white melting chocolate. Simply melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler until smooth. For the peanut butter chocolate, I combined creamy peanut butter and 1/3 package of melting chocolate. Heat both the peanut butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until smooth.In a gallon sized plastic zip bag, add 3 cups of popcorn, 1/4 cup of melted chocolate, 1-2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice. Zip bag closed and shake until popcorn is fully coated.

Here are the chocolate popcorn creations I made:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pecan Popcorn
White Chocolate Walnut & Cranberry Popcorn

To add to the fall snacks line up, we also made some chocolate covered pretzels with the chocolate we used for the popcorn!


Chocolate Covered Pretzels

For lunch, I stuck with the game day theme and offered some of my favorites including:



To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite muffin recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog! Karen will be receiving packets of the same seasonings we used today for popcorn including Old Taylor St. Cheese seasoning and Blue Cheese seasoning! Congratulations Karen and thanks to all those who participated. Read on to check out the recipe submissions!

Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog
from Florida
Cheese Ball with Blue Cheese
If you’re a cheese fan like me, then you definitely have to check out Karen’s Cheese Ball with Blue Cheese. She and her husband love this snack and is perfect for watching the big game. Check out her blog for the recipe and give this a try for the next game you’ll be watching!

Kate of Paved With Good Intentions
from California
BBQ Tortilla & Tortilla Dog
Kate gets creative with tortillas as she uses them for a BBQ Tortilla & Tortilla Dog! I love that these are not only a fun twist on traditional recipe ideas, but are perfect snacks if you’re craving for something quick and easy! Check out Kate’s blog for the recipes!

Mini Peppermint Patti Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Mini Peppermint Patti Muffins
made with Hershey’s Mini York Peppermint Patti Chips

Recipe adapted from HERE

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup Vanilla soy milk (Silk brand)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 package Hershey’s Mini York Peppermint Patti Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuing cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Add the Hershey’s Mini Peppermint Patti baking chips.

Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins
made with Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips

Recipe adapted from HERE

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup Vanilla soy milk (Silk brand)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 raspberry puree (thawed & mashed frozen raspberries)
1 package Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuing cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Add the Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips.

Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.n.

Banana Chocolate Chip Almond Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Banana Chocolate Chip Almond Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup Vanilla soy milk (Silk brand)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 rip banana, mashed
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuing cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Add the mashed banana, chocolate chips and almonds.

Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Saltine Toffee Candy

I prepared the following recipe for my Book/Movie club. You can read about my event and view other links to recipes I made for it HERE.

The Saltine Toffee Candy has been popping up in a few other blogs I frequent. I thought this was a perfect dessert to use up the extra package of saltines my husband bought. There are numerous sites and blogs that provide the recipe, including AllRecipes & Recipezaar. Both are similar and here’s the recipe I used: 1 stick butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
saltines – enough to line your baking sheet
1-2 cups semi chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts)

Preheat oven to 400.
Line your baking sheet with foil.
Neatly place your saltines on the foil lined baking sheet.
In a sauce pan, melt butter and add brown sugar.
Allow butter & sugar to caramelize and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Pour mixture over the saltines.
Bake saltines in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the saltines.
Allow it to rest for 2 minutes – enough for chocolate chips to melt.
Using a rubber spatula or spreader, spread the melted chocolate over the saltines to evenly coat.
Sprinkle the top with chopped nuts.
Refrigerate to harden the chocolate.
Break into random pieces and enjoy!