Archive for the ‘Recipes–Sweets’ Category

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

August 31, 2009

These are no bake cookies. You don’t need an oven, but you do need a stove top. They are easy to make. I used to make these a lot in high school. The girls love these.

Ingredients
2 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa (use Hershey’s Cocoa)
½ cup milk
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (do not use imitation)
pinch of salt
½ c peanut butter
3 ½ cups of instant oats (oatmeal, not the kind in a little bag, but in the cylinder, any brand, not old fashioned)

Tools and Equipment
Stove top
Wooden spoon
Tablespoon
Wax paper (cut a 2 foot strip)
1 cup measure
½ cup measure
Big bowl (for oats)
Sauce Pan (6” deep, this is one with a handle)
Watch or timer (or the ability to count to 60)

Instructions
Prepare ingredients ahead of time. Put the oats in a big bowl. Measure out the peanut butter and have it handy. Have the salt and vanilla easily accessible and ready to go.
Combine all the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter in the sauce pan. Turn the stove on medium-high. Put the sauce pan with ingredients on the stove eye that is on.
Melt the ingredients in the sauce pan. You’ll need to frequently stir this so the ingredients at the bottom of the sauce pan do not burn. Use a wooden spoon to stir. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil (bubbling). If this doesn’t happen (the boil), turn the heat to high and stir continually.
Cook (rolling boil) for 1 minute (count to 60, you know, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two…” or time it). Stir continually. Don’t stop stirring.
After 1 minute of the rolling boil pull the sauce pan off the stove eye. Turn off the stove.
Add vanilla and salt to the pan. Stir it in (10 seconds). Just pour vanilla into the vanilla bottle cap and then into the pan. The cap is 1 teaspoon.
Add the ½ cup of peanut butter to the hot mixture and stir it until it melts into the mixture. I would use smooth peanut butter.
After peanut butter melts, then add oats, 1 cup at a time. Stir the oats in real good and then add the next cup, until all the oats are in the pan and stirred up so that you don’t see white oats anymore.
Drop spoonful (use a table spoon) on wax paper and let cool. Putting them on wax paper minimizes clean up. Remember put all dirty equipment into the sink. After you eat she’ll help you clean. See my article, “Cook Alone, Clean Together” for details.
That’s it.
These are really good and will impress her!

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Rich Chocolate Brownies

August 21, 2009

This brownie recipe is simple, rich and fabulous.  You will never be satisfied with a box or bought brownie again. And the women you are trying to impress will go ga-ga over them. Your goal is for her to say, “These are to die for.” That’s the ultimate compliment.

These need to be served to your girl warm, with vanilla ice cream on top. Now let’s cut to the chase and jump into the recipe.

Brownie Ingredients

4 large eggs (to those real cooks reading this, yep, 4)

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour

Dash salt (that means a very quick sprinkle)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla)

2 sticks of butter (to those real cooks reading this, yep, 2 sticks)

6 Tablespoons Crisco (to those real cooks reading this, yep, 6 tablespoons of Crisco too)

6 Tablespoons cocoa

Good vanilla ice cream (don’t go cheap!)

Icing Ingredients (Optional, don’t do this your first try)

1 ½ Tablespoon Cocoa

1 Tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon butter

2 Cup sugar (confectioners)

Tools and Equipment for brownies

Large bowl (half the size of a basketball)

Small bowl (half the size of a volleyball)

Electric mixer with paddles (or wooden spoon)

Sauce pan (sauce pan is the pan with a handle, at least 5” deep)

Or larger microwaveable bowl (with lid) (large enough to contain 2 tennis balls)

Wooden Spoon

1 cup measure

Tablespoon measure

Teaspoon measure

Oven

9×13” baking dish (a baking dish can be glass, ceramic, stone or metal; just measure it out)

Cooking spray

Tools and Equipment for Icing

1 tablespoon measure

½ tablespoon measure

1 teaspoon measure

½ teaspoon measure

1 smaller bowl (half the size of a volleyball)

Electric mixer and paddles (or wooden spoon)

Brownie Instructions

Wash hands.

Gather your ingredients and the tools and equipment.

Take out the large bowl

Crack open eggs.

Handling eggs can be challenging. Get your 2 eggs and rinse them off. Bad stuff (bacteria) is never in the egg, but on the egg shell. So that is one of the reasons you rinse it off. But, hey, you can skip this step if you like. Crack 1 egg and empty egg contents (but not shells) into the big bowl. Now the way you crack an egg is by tapping it on the lip of the bowl. Be careful and don’t crack it so hard that it splatters and drains egg down both the inside and outside of the bowl. It’s ok if the yoke busts up at the bottom of the bowl. Crack open all 4 eggs.

If a bit of egg shell gets into the egg in the bowl the best way to fish it out is with a larger piece of egg shell. Usually the little broken piece will stick to another piece of egg shell, a larger piece that you can hold in your hand. So just take a half of the egg shell and dip it into the egg where the broken piece is and kind of scoop it out. It’s a finesse kind of thing.

Add all the sugar to the bowl.

Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer (or use a wooden spoon) at medium-high speed in your large bowl. The paddles are the spinners that do the mixing. They are usually fairly simple to attach. Beat until smooth (1 minute or so).  If you are using a wooden spoon it will take twice as long and that is stirring furiously.

Now add flour, salt and vanilla extract. Make sure you use all purpose flour and not self rising flour. It should be clearly labeled on the package and it will make a big difference. Remember to use vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla. By the way, a capful is a teaspoon. It costs twice as much and is well worth the extra expense. Mix all these ingredients together with the sugar and eggs. All you have to do is make sure that everything is all mixed together, until the white flour is all mixed in.

Set the batter aside. In the sauce pan (see description under tools and equipment) melt the  butter, cocoa and Crisco together. Set the sauce pan on one of the stove eyes and turn the heat up to medium-high (1/2 way between high and medium setting; stoves are all a little different; you can figure it out; it’s just a tool). You will want to stir this with a wooden spoon slowly as it cooks so it doesn’t burn. It will start melting pretty fast. It is done as soon as the last remnant of butter and Crisco disappear from sight. Immediately pull it off the stove eye. It will be hot so set it on something like a towel or pot holder. By the way, how do you measure the tablespoon. Technically you cut it off at the top of the measuring spoon, you know as if it were liquid. I like rounding off the tablespoons of cocoa and Crisco.

Or you can melt the butter, cocoa and Crisco in the microwave. Put the ingredients in the microwaveable container that I described under tools and equipment. You’ll need a lid, or at least a paper towel covering it. It will splatter and you want to keep the heat in the bowl. Set the timer for 2 minutes and zap it. Check it, stir with a wooden spoon and cook for another minute. After each minute check and stir. It is melted when you do not see any butter or Crisco in the bowl. If you pull it out and it appears close to being melted, just stir till it disappears.

Take your 13×9 baking pan and spray the interior of the pan with cooking spray. Just make sure that the bottom and sides are covered by the spray. You don’t have to drench the pan. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Spread the batter out using your wooden spoon. It’s ok if it isn’t perfect. As it cooks it will melt together. All you need to do is make sure the batter stretches all the way to the corners of the pan, and you make it relatively flat and even (not perfectly flat and even).

Heat oven to 350 degrees. With most ovens there is a light that goes off when you reach the desired temperature. Most ovens require you to switch it on to bake and switch it on the 350.

Set your timer. After exactly 12 minutes pull the pan out of the oven and stir the brownies with the wooden spoon. Remember the pan will be hot so use an oven mitt, towel or something. Also set the pan down on a towel so it won’t burn the surface of your counter.  You will find that there is some part of the batter, especially along the sides that has already begun to cook. Scrape that off the sides and mix it together with your wooden spoon. You don’t have to stir much, just 20 seconds. The batter should appear to be lumpy and after stirring it should stretch to all corners and it should be relatively flat except for some lumps sticky out throughout. Immediately return the batter to the oven and cook for 14 more minutes.

When 14 minutes is up remove it from the oven. If you are concerned for some reason that it isn’t done, take a fork and stick it in the middle of the brownies and pull it right out. If it comes out clean it is done. It will continue to cook for a couple minutes, just like a steak will when you pull it off the grill. If you judge it gooey and needing a little extra time, put it in for just another 2 minutes. Don’t cook longer than that. You don’t want them to dry out! Dry brownies are unforgiveable in the brownie making world.

After just a couple minutes of cooling they are ready to cut. Cut them into nice size hunks, put a couple in bowls, and then top with vanilla ice cream. Get a good brand of ice cream. Don’t go cheap. And don’t go with sugar free or low fat either. Get the real stuff. Serve it immediately with a spoon.

This is what you will hear, “Babe, this is to die for.” Now don’t take that literally, it is a female metaphor used for something that is excellent. This comment means that it is better than anything edible.

Brownies can be warmed up in the microwave, so if the timing isn’t perfect to serve them hot out of the oven you can make them earlier in the day and then warm them up in the microwave. Just cut a huge hunk of brownie, put it in a bowl and heat it for 50 seconds. That should do it. Then add ice cream on top.

By the way, don’t worry about the mess. Just put stuff together in the sink. After you are done with the brownies, you can clean up. Usually the woman will help clean up. And what I mean by help, she’ll take over the clean process all together. That is ok. This is considered quality time. You may end up just holding the dish towel listening to her talk. If that’s the case, good for you. You done good! See my blog entry on Cook Alone, Clean Together for more help concerning this.

Now after you have become a pro at brownies you can make icing. This enhances the brownies for take out, lunches the next day, etc.

Gather the ingredients listed above and the equipment. Just dump the ingredients in a medium size bowl (half a volleyball) and mix them together with the electric mixer (on high) until it is smooth and all lumps are gone. On cooled brownies just spread the icing over them all.

 Feed her the brownies! Oh yeah!