Archive | October, 2012

Heads or Tails Oreo Bars

31 Oct

Hi again!

I made blondies today!!

I made brownies today, too!!

I put Oreos in the middle, baked them together, and made Heads or Tails Oreo Bars!! 

I know, I know….I love you too!!

Lately, I am totally obsessed with the Oreo section of the cookie aisle.  There are Mint Oreos, Peanut Butter Oreos, Berry Oreos, Neapolitan Oreos, Gingerbread Oreos, Candy Cane Oreos (which I can’t find!!), Triple Double Oreos, (SERIOUSLY!?!) and the list goes on and on. 

When I found the Heads or Tails Oreos, I was totally psyched!!  Golden and Traditional Oreos all in one…and Double-Stuffed to boot!!  Woo-Hoooo!

I’ve been wanting to make a brownie topped blondie for a while, and these gave me the perfect excuse!!

They are really easy.  I made the first batch and baked it all together at the same time…..they took forever to bake, and they didn’t look so pretty.  So, I started over, and this is what I came up with…..

I made the blondies, and baked them first!  Not completely…. just a few minutes to give them a little head start!

Top the blondies with Oreos!

Pretty brilliant, huh??  Ok…..now for the brownies!!

Bake!

They look pretty awesome when you cut them, and they taste even better!

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Heads or Tails Oreo Bars

     For the blondies

  • 1/2 cup  unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

–  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 11 x 7 in. pan with cooking spray, set aside.

–  In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and egg until well mixed.

–  Sift  flour, baking powder and salt into creamed mixture.  Mix until completely combined. 

–  Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 12 minutes. 

–  Remove pan from oven and immediately press 15 Oreos into the blondies.  (They should only be half-baked at this point.)

     For the brownies (prepare while blondies are baking) *adapted from Allrecipes.com “Best Brownies”

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder

–  In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and egg.

–  Sift cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder into creamed mixture.  Mix until completely combined.

–  Spread evenly over the Oreo-topped-blondies. 

–  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the middle of the brownies are set.  Do not over bake, they will firm up a little bit as they cool. 

–  Allow to cool before cutting.

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Keep in mind….the blondies and brownies can be made on their own!  Just throw some white chocolate chips in the blondie batter and you are good to go.  Same with the brownies, and they are excellent iced, as well!! 

But, these really take the cake……(or the bar?)!

Enjoy!!

Love, Lara

Raggedy Robins (No-bake Cookies)

30 Oct

Hi again!

I made cookies today!

Hurricane cookies!! 

Normally, we call them Raggedy Robins. (I’ not sure why we call them that, but they are  traditional chocolate, peanut butter, oat filled no-bake cookies.)  Today, I think we should call them Hurricane Cookies! 

It  just sounds so much more exciting, don’t you think??

Since I live on the east coast, and pretty much directly in the path of Hurricane Sandy; I wanted to make a few quick snacks that I could finish if the power went out. 

It would totally stink if I was in the middle of baking something, and lost power!!  So keeping that in mind, no-bake cookies seemed like a good choice! 🙂

Seriously……..6 kids with no power…….can you say EEKS!?! 

It’s definitely in my best interest to have snacks to keep them happy! (or keep them on a sugar high) And,  if I’m lucky….make the t.v/video game withdraw a little bit easier to handle! 

Luckily, the lights have yet to flicker….KNOCK ON WOOD!!!

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Raggedy Robins

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine (I used unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups quick-oats
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

–  In a large saucepan, bring sugar, cocoa powder, butter, milk and salt to a boil.

–  Boil rapidly for 2 minutes.

–  Remove from heat, and stir in oats and peanut butter until completely combined.

–  Quickly drop large tablespoons of the mix onto wax paper to set. Let cool. 

*  There are quite a few differing opinions about what order to add the peanut butter and oats.  I prefer adding the oats first.  I think they soften better in the hot chocolate mixture.  Then, I add the peanut butter.  Some people stir the peanut butter in until mixed and then fold in the oats.  Do whatever you prefer. 

**  These cookies set different almost every time I make them.  I think it largely depends on the complete boil time.  Make sure the boil rolls for 2 full minutes.  Sometimes they come out shinier as well, which I think has to do with the oil content in the peanut butter or the margarine. No worries though….they always taste great!!

*** I’ve had this recipe for years and years, I’m not sure who it originally came from; but it has become a classic recipe in many kitchens…..so thanks! to whoever claims ownership!! 🙂

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The rain has started coming down harder,and the wind is blowing like crazy.  I hope everyone stays safe, dry,  and warm! 

There’s something to be said for being “stormed” in….you get to spend time just being together. 

Off to play Connect 4, and have a cookie….or two!!

Enjoy!!

Love, Lara

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

29 Oct

Hi again!

I made cupcakes!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes!!

My highschool bestie loves them, and I have been promising her the recipe. (Hiya Miss!)  

It just so happens, these cupcakes were for her middle son’s 5th birthday….along with 2 dozen pumpkin spice, 2 dozen chocolate/vanilla, and 2 dozen sprinkle cupcakes….it wasn’t a big party or anything!!!  Ha! 

We live about an hour and a half apart now, so I was a little anxious about getting all of the cupcakes to the party safely….I mean, one hard brake on the highway and I could have had a tasty buffet on my front windshield! 

I drove very gently for 10 miles before traffic came to a complete halt….yup SHUT DOWN…..COMPLETELY!!! 

So, I really shouldn’t have been worried about them looking nice, considering now I had to figure out how to even get them to the party. 

Traffic ended up being  detoured off of an exit ramp and onto a few country backroads….very scenic and calming, which was good; considering I was ready to burst into tears!  (Ok…that is a total lie….it was scenic, but not calming!)  If I thought I could get away with driving past the mile-long-line of cars on the shoulder without infuriating the other drivers, I totally would have!  But, I just stayed in line and made my 25 m.p.h. way up the road……atleast I was moving, and THAT is what kept the tears at bay!

I was also afraid to run the heat, because I didn’t want the frosting on the cupcakes to get too soft.  It was F. R. E. E. Z. I. N. G. !!! 

 The trip ended up being about an hour and a half longer than normal.  I got to the party about 5 minutes before it started…..and the cupcakes made it just fine!

Whew!!

Baking them was by far the easiest part of the whole adventure!! 

If you use a chocolate cake mix, they are super easy to make.  But,  if you have a homemade chocolate cake recipe that you love; definitely use it! ( I will post my favorite chocolate cake recipe soon!) 🙂

Unwrap and freeze the peanut butter cups first!

Put about 2 tablespoons of cake batter into a cupcake liner and then stack two Reese’s Cups into the center….

Top them with another tablespoon of batter.

Bake!

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

     For the cupcakes

  • 1 box Milk Chocolate Cake mix, and the ingredients to prepare
  • 24 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, unwrapped and frozen (keeps them from melting into cupcake)

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake liners into the  muffin/cupcake pans and set aside.

– Prepare cake batter according to directions on the box.

–  Put 2 Tbsp. of batter into each liner.

– Stack 2 peanut butter cups into the batter of each liner. 

– Put additional 1 Tbsp. of batter onto the stacked peanut butter cups. 

–  Bake about 14-16 minutes, or until the middle of the cakes are set. (I press them with my fingers, if they bounce back; they are done.)

–  Cool completely.

     For the peanut butter frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, or milk

–  In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter.

–  On low-speed, add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

–  Mix in marshmallow fluff. 

–  As the mixture thickens, slowly (1 Tbsp. at a time) add the whipping cream or milk until the frosting is smooth. (You may need more or less than the 1/4 cup depending on humidity and oil base of your peanut butter, so go slow and test the consistency often.)

–  Increase speed as all of the ingredients combine and whip until fluffy.

–  Spread onto cooled cupcakes, or use a decorating bag and tip. 

*  I also topped each cupcake with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Mini. (Different than a miniature.)

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It was pretty cool listening to people trying to figure out how I got the peanut butter cups inside!! 

Most everyone thought they would melt if I had baked them, so I must have cut the cupcakes and filled them after they were baked!

The secret’s out!!

Enjoy!!

Love, Lara

This week’s Mom Bakes

27 Oct

Hi again! 

It’s been a busy week!

I was a good Mama and baked embellished Peanut Butter Cookies!

I was in the middle of an action-packed adventure in a Wal-mart parking lot!  Once I was home safely, I baked apple comfort food!

I had a little party and made these cute Chocolate Covered Cherry cups!

I made 3 layers of chocolate peanut butter goodness!

I had a momentary brain-lapse while baking this Pumpkin Cake! (Which turned out just fine!!)

I started a Mom Bakes Facebook page, which you can “like” here !

And, I am trying to figure out how to “Tweet”  here ! I imagine that it will take me awhile to get accustomed to it…so bear with me, please! 😉

I also attended 2012 Online Blogcon……AWESOME!  So much great information!  Big thanks to all the people who made that happen…..I’m still trying to soak up all of the information that was given!

Here are a few recipes that caught my eye!  Definitely check them out!

Reese’s Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark  from Sally’s Baking Addiction. (She actually posted this last week, but…..HOLY COW!)

Take 5 Bites  from the Domestic Rebel. I had never even heard of a Take 5 bar…I’ve seriously been missing out!

Chocolate Chunk Cream Cake  from Love From the Oven.  Beautiful!

Cookies ‘n Cream Magic Bars  from Crazy for Crust.  Have I told you I LOVE cookies ‘n cream?  I think these were made just for me!

I hope you have a super week-end!!  Thanks for reading! ❤

Love, Lara

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

26 Oct

Hi again!

I made cake today!

Frosted Pumpkin Cake !!

It’s like a pumpkin roll without the roll…..does that make sense??  It’s dense and moist….ALMOST a bar, but a little too cakey to be a bar. 

SO…..now that you are totally confused……. just make it.  You’ll see!  And you’ll be glad you did!

I originally intended on adding a marshmallow layer in the middle of the cake. Too bad I had already put it in the oven when I noticed the cup of marshmallows still sitting on the counter. Right where I left them!  Ugh….FAIL!

I made a marshmallow cream cheese frosting instead.  Woot!! Woot!!

I think the kitchen fairies must have sprinkled me with temporary memory loss dust so I would forget the marshmallows, because it was pretty tasty……1 bite……turned into 2……2 bites……turned into……well……lunch! 

Oh my waistline…..but it was GOOD!

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Frosted Pumpkin Cake

     For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of pure pumpkin

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

– In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice together. 

– In a separate bowl, mix eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil until combined.  Add pumpkin and thoroughly mix.

– Sift flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix completely.

– Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake 22 – 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

     For the frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff

– In a medium bowl, beat until combined and fluffy.  About 3 minutes.

– Smooth onto cake.

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So, it  turned out to be a win-win!  The cake was super, and I can look forward to making it again…..with marshmallows! 

Enjoy!

Love, Lara

Triple Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treat Bars

25 Oct

Hi again!

I made Peanut Butter Bars today!

Not just any peanut butter bars…..Triple Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treat Bars!! (Whew, that’s a mouthful!)

Yep….you read correctly…..THREE  layers!! 

I made the first layer with Cocoa Krispies Cereal…..

Next, I spread on a  Reeses-like peanut butter layer…….

And for the 3rd layer……Chocolate!

I know…..I’m kinda genius!!  Aren’t you glad we are friends??

They are a mix of traditional crispy cereal treats and peanut butter bars….both stand well on their own, but together…..W O W!!

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Triple Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treat Bars

     For the Crispy Treat Layer ( adapted from The Original Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treat Recipe)

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups Mini-marshmallows
  • 6 cups Cocoa Krispies Cereal

– Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add marshmallows until completely melted.

– Remove from heat and stir in cereal.  Mix until all of the cereal is coated with marshmallow mixture.

– Press into a sprayed 13 x 9 inch pan. (I used wax paper to flatten.  Just tear of a sheet that fits inside of your pan and press evenly….I used the back of a spatula.)  Set aside.

     For the Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped graham cracker crumbs (I used a food processor, try a blender if you don’t have one)
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

– In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Set aside.

– In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. 

– Mix peanut butter into the melted butter, stir until totally incorporated.

– Pour peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.

– Spread onto the Crispy Treat Layer.  (I dumped the entire bowl on, and spread as best as I could with a spoon.  Then, I pressed evenly with wax paper until it was smooth.)

     For the Chocolate Layer

  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • sprinkles, optional

– In a microwave safe bowl, melt chips and oil for 30 second intervals.  Stir between each until completely melted. 

– Pour over peanut butter layer.  Set aside until chocolate hardens.  (You can chill to speed up the process.)

– Top with your favorite sprinkles.

–  Cut and serve.

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These are the bars I had planned on making for you on Tuesday, but after I had my action-packed adventure in the Wal-mart parking lot; I decided I needed something a little more simple that day.

I hope you can forgive me for holding out on you for two days!

But honestly….. had I made them that day,  I probably would have turned into an emotional eater and downed the entire pan before my children got home.  When they asked me where their snack was….I would’ve had to tell them I ate it all and they would have to eat an apple or something.  And well……that would seem greedy and not very motherly….i’d probably feel super bad and start to cry.   

So I waited….for my children’s benefit…..you understand!

Now that you have them….I hope you enjoy!

Love, Lara

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cups

24 Oct

Hi again! 

I made a something new!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cups!!

I had a little soiree and needed a recipe for a  finger dessert.  These babies jumped out of the cookbook yelling “PICK ME, PICK ME!” 

They looked elegant and grown-up …..which you have to understand is always a nice change for me.  Having 6 children, (ages 3, 9, 12, 14, 15, and 17)  I tend to make things super kid-friendly and  B.I.G ,  but these were little and dainty and just so girly! 

The taste isn’t small….they are full of flavor!

The kids reaction was the same though!  They stood next to the table and were all…”NowMom? Theylooksogood,Mom!Canwehaveonenow,Mom?Mom,yourguestssaiditwasok….doyoumind?Mom,Mom…..Mom?” I should have known they would be all over them, despite the fact they were LITTLE, and pink (5 boys!)!! 

Needless to say, they were gone in 2.5 seconds flat.  Mental note….next time arrange a night out for said little vacuums!  These were for the grown-ups!! (insert foot stomp!)

On the other hand, kids tested…..kid approved! 

You should plan tea party RIGHT NOW, so you can make these and impress all of your friends.  Or just make them, hide them in the back of the fridge, and when you need a break from fruit snacks and Goldfish pop one of them in your mouth.  GOOOOOODstuff!

There are a few steps, but the recipe flowed nicely.

Take care of the cherries first.  Rinse them and set them aside to dry…or pat them dry.  I love the color of maraschino cherries!

When they are dry, dip them in chocolate.  You can stop here if you want! 🙂 YUM!

The phyllo shells get an inside coating of chocolate, and then chocolate cherry filling.  (which is pie worthy!  Stay tuned!)

Then top with a chocolate cherry and Wa-lahhhh!

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cups

  • 2 packages frozen mini phyllo shells (15 each)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (set 3 Tbsp. aside)
  • 2 tsp. oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 2 (10 oz.) jars maraschino cherries with stems, rinsed drained and patted dry. (set 30 of the prettiest aside for dipping-keep stems on, finely chop the remaining cherries and pat dry)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped topping

– Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

– Bake Phyllo shells about 3 minutes….until crisp and warm.  Set aside to cool.

– Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

– Microwave the chocolate (1 and 1/2 cups) and the oil in a microwave safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring between each; until chocolate is smooth and melted.

– Dip the 30 cherries (with stems) into the chocolate almost to the stem.  Place on wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is set.

– Pour the rest of the melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag, cut the end off and drizzle evenly into the shells.  (I squeezed the chocolate around the edges and worked my way in.) Do this for all 30 shells. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.

– In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. 

– Stir in whipped topping and chopped cherries until completely incorporated.

– Fold in remaining 3 tbsp. mini chocolate chips.

– Scrape filling into a resealable bag, cut off a small corner (large enough for the cherries and chocolate chips to fit through smoothly). Squeeze into chocolate filled phyllo shells. 

– Press one chocolate covered cherry into each cup.

*recipe adapted from Season’s best recipe collection by The Pampered Chef

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These would be awesome near Christmas time!  They look pretty festive.

You should definitely try them!  You won’t be sorry….honest!

Enjoy!

Love, Lara

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