Pin It! Party #1

Lindsay had this wonderful idea for a PIN IT PARTY, that alone sounds fun, where we write a post with five posts (of our own) that we’d love to see pinned on pinterest. Then link up on Lindsay’s blog and see some other posts!

Here are my 5

Flour’s Lemon Lust Bars

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Hands down the best lemon bar I have ever had or made.

Bake it in a Cake’s  Ultimate Birthday Cupcake

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This cupcake was labor intensive but the outcome was awesome and I loved everyone’s reaction.

Joy the Baker’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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I am not a fan of traditional angel food cake or bundt cake and I love that this can replace those items for a summer strawberry short cake

Mocha Protein Smoothie

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This smoothie is the perfect afternoon pick me up; cold, creamy and a little caffeine.

Gifts for runners under $100

 

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This was originally a Christmas post, but with lots of new runners starting in the spring and summer months, I thought this would be a helpful list!

Did you link up with the Pin It Party? What’s your favorite post lately?

 

Year of Baking: Bake It In A Cake’s Halloween Brownies with Reese’s Pieces.

As I am sure you have noticed, I moved the Year of Baking to Tuesday. I have a big post planned for tomorrow that follows more the WIAW ideas, and both of these together would be TOO much.

This week I made Bake It In A Cake’s Halloween Brownies with Reese’s Pieces.

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I had a bag of Reese’s Pieces kicking around and I didn’t want to chow down on them so I looked up to see if any my cookbooks had a recipe where I could use them. Originally, I was just going to replace chocolate chips in a recipe, but I ended up finding this recipe that had reese’s pieces as part of the ingredient list. The brownies also had a peanut butter icing, but honestly I just wasn’t in the mood so I didn’t make it.

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Ingredients

Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken or chopped
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Reese’s Pieces

Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 mini muffing tins with paper liners
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 90 seconds, stopping halfway through to scrape the sides and mix
3. Do not heat for longer than 90 seconds or the chocolate can burn
4. Using a wooden spin mix in the sugar, it will be thick & grainy, the sugar should be mixed in evenly
5. Stir in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth
6. Add the salt and vanilla and stir for another 20 seconds
7. Mix in the flour until just combined
8. Stir in Reese’s Pieces
9. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, spoon the brownie batter into the tins so the cups are about three-quarters full
10. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brownies have set (check with toothpick)
11. Cool the brownies for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack

Frosting
1. Whip the butter and peanut butter together for 30 seconds
2. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, until fluffy
3. If the frosting is too thick add the milk until the frosting is fluffy
4. Pipe or spread on cupcake and decorate with leftover Reese’s Pieces.

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Notes

I halved the recipe, because I certainly don’t need 36 mini brownie bites, and I decided to use a mini pan (for 12) and fill as many regular size cupcake tins.

Next time I would butter the tin instead of using paper because the brownies stuff to the liners and half the brownie didn’t come out of the liner.

I definitely prefer the Valentine’s Day brownie bite to this one. It wasn’t chewy on the outside, but these ones didn’t have a buttery taste, so I know to cut down the butter for the next time. I love peanut butter, but I would love a peanut butter swirl in the brownie instead of the Reese’s Pieces.

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Do you bake with candies? What’s your favorite recipe?

Year of Baking: Bake It In A Cupcake’s Conversation Heart Brownie Bites

Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter the FitnessGlo giveaway!

For Valentine’s Day I made a pretty luxurious meal — at least in terms of our weekday meals. I made bacon wrapped filet’s and roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus and baby red & purple potatoes. I apologize in advance for the photos, I forgot to take photos in the daytime and I ended up taking them when the sun was setting.

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For dessert I went with your typical valentines dessert — chocolate.

A friend from college sent me a link to the Bake It In Cupcake blog a few years ago when I started blogging. I have pinned a ton of the recipes and this year Nick bought me her book.

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There were two Valentine’s themed recipes in book, and getting a heart in a cupcake seemed a little complicated…so I went with option two, Conversation Heart Brownie Bites – but since I decided last minute the store I went to was out of conversation hearts, so I picked up a bottle of white, red & pink jimmies (or sprinkles from you non-New Englanders). I also only had one mini-muffin pan and you need two for this recipe, so I made muffin size brownies.

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Ingredients

4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup conversation heart candies, plus more for garnish

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line 2 miniature muffin tins with paper liners
3. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds
4. Stir and microwave for 45 more seconds
5. Continue to stir the butter & chocolate until the chocolate is melted
6. Using a wooden spoon stir in the sugar — it will be thick and grainy and the sugar should be evenly distributed
7. Stir in the eggs in one at a time until the mixture is smooth
8. Add the salt & vanilla and stir for 20 seconds
9. Last – stir in the flour, until just combined — do not over stir.
10. Use a 1-inch cookie scoop and spoon the batter into the muffin tin cups so they are about 3/4 full.
11. Press a few of the candy hearts into the top of each brownie, with the words facing up, do not cover them.
12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brownies have set
13. Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack

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Notes

I used one regular size muffing tin for 12 brownies, I also used semi-sweet chocolate because I did not have unsweetened chocolate (even thought I did not — whoops).

The brownies turned to be very sweet but not too bad, I also felt like it would have been fine with just one stick of butter, I felt like the butter taste was very strong.

What I did love was the that the brownie was nice and chewy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Next time I would definitely make them in a mini tin since the large size was a bit much. As much as I loved these, the Flour brownies are still my favorite though.

Check out more great eats on Jenn’s site for WIAW


Year of Baking: Flour’s Intense Chocolate Brownies

In case you are new to the blog, check out weeks one and two of the year of baking.

For week three, I went back to the Flour cookbook. I was having a major chocolate craving, you know the girl kind, TMI oh well.

I was immediately struck by the Intense Chocolate Brownie recipe.

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If you read the description in the book Chang talks about finding the right balance between dry brownies and thick dense brownies. I have to say, I have made my fair share of brownies. Box mix and from scratch, and these so far are my absolute favorites.

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She got the balance perfectly, although a part of the baking (as with any baking recipe) is knowing your oven. When a time is given you want to make sure you know if your oven cooks fast or slow. Mine cooks a bit slower (so far) and so I checked the brownies at 5 minute intervals to make sure that they were not going to be overdone.

I waited not so patiently for the brownies to cool, and Nick, B and I dug in.

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These will be my go-to brownies for a long time to come. They were nice and chewy, but not too fudge, and they were not dry. Perfection. Even B loved them.

So far this has been my favorite recipe of the year of baking, and no that’s not the PMS talking.

What’s your favorite brownie recipe?

I am linking up with Jenn of Peas & Crayons for this wonderful WIAW


My Favorite Things

Sorry for the hiatus, this no pantry business is quite the hindrance. I decided for this weeks baking to make something a little less “high-maintenance”. My mother-in-law and I both love Oprah, and one of our favorite episodes lately was the “My Favorite Things” episodes. We were both intrigued by the Bakers Edge brownie pan.

 

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and the Ghirardelli brownie mix, because Ghirardelli has some of the most amazing chocolate.

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So for Christmas my awesome mother-in-law gave me both the pan and the mix. Today, I decided to break them out and test both. I set the oven to 325 degrees and got ready to bake. First I mixed the oil, water and 1 egg.

 

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Then I added the brownie mix, which had chocolate chips in the mix, yum.

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I poured the mixture into the pan, and this was a little tricky, I was not used to pouring into a pan that had a lot of sides, so I ended up getting some of the mixture on to the sides of the pan.

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I also thought that the depth of the pan meant that the brownies were going to be super thin. I made sure the oven was ready, put the pan in and hoped for the best. 40 minutes later the brownies were ready!

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I let the brownies cool, and when they were ready, I used this handy tool that came with the pan to release the brownies from the pan.

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While the brownies were a bit thin, they were chewy and moist, just the way I love them! I would recommend the pan to anyone who loves chewy brownie edges, and I would recommend the brownie mix to all chocolate lovers! These items definitely make my favorite things list.