Happy Holidays, everyone! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice, or just another successful (?) trip around the Sun, you have to admit that this has been a year that challenged everyone’s concept of time. Some days seem to crawl by, and others feel like a time warp (including a jump to the left. And then a step to the right 🕺💃). One day we were trying to figure out how to exist on Zoom, and the next thing you knew it was Merry Hallowthanksmas! (Scene: Turkeys, wearing big-buckled shoes, sitting on pumpkins, while sporting Santa hats.)
No matter what day I think it is or isn’t, it’s apparently that time of the year where I spend four entire days baking, packing, and shipping holiday treats to family and friends. And since the Holidays crept up on us all (rude) I’m pulling out all my quick and easy recipes that are a cinch to pack and ship safely. Such as:
Making their debut on the list this year are my Brown Butter Cookies and Cream Blondies. Honestly, anything I don’t have to scoop and bake every 10-12 minutes is a winner in my book, but these new treats are a dream! Filled with chunks of cookies ‘n cream chocolate bars and oh-so-many Oreo cookies, they mix, bake, cool, and slice in no time, ready for shipping to all of your sweet-starved loved ones! (Read more…)
At the time of this writing, it’s a few days after Halloween 2020. It’s also the day after Election Day 2020. The true All Hallows Eve. Oh, and I almost forgot, it’s also the Year of the Pandemic 2020. You know, THAT year. Yeah. Lots going on here. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so let’s escape for a moment. Let’s pretend that none of this is happening. It’s a peaceful November day. In this version of the world, Election Day was just the regular amount of stressful. In this version of the world, old people freely mouth-breathe on your neck in line at the Mega Mart. And in this version of the world, the interweb did a “which candy is your favorite?” contest and the loser was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The world said, “peanut butter and chocolate? I’ll pass.” In this world, all you find at the bottom of your kid’s orange plastic pumpkin, two days after Halloween, is a bunch of unwanted Peanut Butter Cups. In fact, there are so many Peanut Butter Cups that you are now looking for things to do with all your Peanut Butter Cups. In that unlikely scenario, I’ve got you covered. (Read more…)
Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you, and for that I apologize. I don’t know about you, but it has been pretty darn stressful around here. There are some days that I just want to hole up with my family and then there are some days that I hate absolutely everyone and I just want to lay in bed and binge an entire season of The Real Housewives of Anywhere Else. That being said, I’m still cooking most days and you can usually find my current creations on my Instagram Story, but actually writing up a recipe and posting it can be more than my brain can handle. I’m sure you all understand. I will try to do better.
One thing I haven’t slacked on is making some kind of treat for the Emergency Room staff who work with The Boy day in and day out. No matter what is going on with me, no matter how I’m feeling, whether I like The Boy that day or not, I still push myself to make them something every Saturday to say “THANK YOU” for everything they do. It doesn’t matter how you feel politically, if you are an intelligent human being existing in 2020, you know that we are facing a serious health crisis, and these people put themselves on the line every damn day. Some days are worse than others, for sure, but they never know what is going to walk through those doors from one minute to the next. So if I can make them the best damn Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars they’ll ever taste, by golly I will!!
You should go make some for someone you want to thank, even if that person is you. Especially if that person is you (Read more…)
And now, a very special episode of Cook Sleep Read:
A good friend recently told me that baking is one of the few things that really gives her some measure of stress relief lately. Following a recipe exactly and creating something delicious gives her days a little more structure; something a lot of us are missing now, what with the whole global pandemic thing. Then she told me that she was considering not baking anymore because there were just too many sweet treats and loaves of bread in her house for her and her husband to consume on their own. But studies have shown that exercising your creative side in some way can help people feel more relaxed and happy in times of stress, so, especially now, it’s important to find a way to keep doing the creative stuff you enjoy. I suggested she might share them with neighbors, pack them up and deliver them to a local hospital, or even freeze them for later, more-structured days, when she has less time to indulge in the baking arts. For me, I’m giving my family some reprieve from my ever-growing mountain of sweets by baking up something yummy and packing it for The Boy to take to work with him in the Emergency Room every weekend. I even package up any extras and leave them at our neighbor’s door for a surprise treat. Sharing home-baked goods is my solution to all the stress of life today. Being in control of something, when we have so little control of so much, is no small thing. So bake someone happy, especially if that someone is yourself! (Read more… )
Where’s the peanut butter? Is there peanut butter? Can I have peanut butter? We’re out of peanut butter? If you hear any (or all) of these questions with any frequency at all, I’m here for you. For the past few weeks, I’ve been embarking on my own little Brownie Journey, and at every crossroad I have heard one of those questions from The Boy. He suffers from a little known nutritional malady known as Peanut Butter Insufficiency. If you, or anyone you know, suffers from this condition, I’m here for you. I have taken my Classic Fudge Brownies, and stuffed them with peanut butter filling. Edge to edge peanut butter. In the interest of science. I hope this helps you, or your loved ones, through troubled times. Eat responsibly. (Read more…)
So, last week I introduced you to what I believe to be the BESTClassic Fudge Brownies. Mostly fudgy, a tiny bit cakey, double-chocolate Nirvana ⛅️ So, I’m done right? Dust off my hands, hang up my apron, I made the best brownies, I’m outta here! But wait. There’s more. Let’s put stuff INSIDE and ON TOP of the best brownies ever seen in my lifetime! I know! Let’s fill it with chunks of salted caramel candies (that we make ourselves because we’re amazing), top it with EVEN MORE caramels, sprinkle on some flaky salt, and bake it until molten lakes of salty caramel lava form inside and out! Sounds like a good time. Got an hour? Let’s go! (Read more…)
I feel like anyone who likes to bake even a little bit needs a good classic brownie recipe that they can rely on. A reliable, easy to whip up, delicious recipe with no bells or whistles, just great chocolately flavor in a soft fudgy brownie. I mean, look how many brownie variations are out there on the Interweb. You can add almost anything to a brownie and make it taste great! BUT you need a good foundation. A no fail, delicious, great all by itself, or maybe with some ice cream, brownie recipe. This is mine. I mess with it a bit in future recipes, but this brownie is a winner all on its own 🏆 (Read more…)
I may have mentioned this before (see my Sour Cream Banana Coffee Cake), but I am not the biggest fan of bananas. They are singularly squishy, make a horrible noise in my mouth when I eat them, and the smell seems to be everywhere when you throw away the peels (I mean, can we just take the trash to the curb? 😖) But The Boy continues to buy bananas whenever he goes to the store. He rarely eats them, but oh man does he buy them. Like buying bananas is required by law. Go shopping, buy bananas, no jail time. I don’t know what to do with all the freakin’ bananas!! I just can’t freeze any more bananas that he will ultimately forget to use in smoothies, so I’m always trying to find ways to hide them in baked goods. I may have finally found the ultimate solution. A chocolatey brownie that stays extra moist thanks to mashed up bananas, gussied up with swirls of peanut butter, and topped with another banana for fancy reasons. Plus, the combination of chocolate, banana, and peanut butter is delicious enough to bring Elvis out of hiding! (Read more…)