Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Soft Sugar Cookie

You know those Lofthouse Cookies™ sold at the grocery store? You know the ones, with pretty frosting and sprinkles  and are delicious.  Well, my best friend in college, Lisa introduced me to these yummy cookies.  Everyone seems to love these cookies and the homemade ones were a huge hit on blogs for awhile.  I’ve been making them for pitch-ins and parties and they are always a favorite.  You can adjust the frosting color and sprinkles depending on the occasion which makes these a great addition to any dessert table or cookie tray.  The bad thing about these—they are really good and hard to resist!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie 1-2

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Ingredients for the cookies:

4½ cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1½ cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for the frosting:

5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

⅓ cup (5⅓ Tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

6-8 Tablespoons milk (I’ve used 1%, 2%, and whole milk)

Food coloring (optional)

Sprinkles (optional)

Directions for the cookies

1.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy (if using a hand or stand mixer about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed).

4.  Beat the eggs in one at a time, allowing each egg to be incorporated before adding the  next.  Make sure to scrape the bowl as needed.

5.  Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

6.  If using a mixer, on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

7. Cover the dough and allow to chill for 1 hour.*

8.  Preheat the oven to 350°F when you are ready to bake the cookies.

9.  Depending on size you want of the cookies, scoop a ⅛ cup or ¼ cup of dough and roll it into a ball.

10.  Place the dough ball on the prepared cookie sheet and lightly flatten.  Make sure to place the cookies 2-3 inches apart.

11.  Bake the cookies 12-14 minutes, the cookies will just be set and should not brown.   Do not overbake.

12.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost after cooled (see below for frosting directions.)

Directions for the frosting

1.  Whisk the sifted powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until smooth.

2.  Whisk in the milk a Tablespoon at a time, until you have reached the desired consistency, you don’t want the icing too runny.  It should be easily spread on the cookies. If you add too much milk, just add a little more powdered sugar.

3.  If you want, add in food coloring.

4.  Frost cookies and add sprinkles or other toppings.

5.  Store the cookies in an airtight container.

*I have let the cookies chill longer than an hour, if you do this they might need to soften just a little prior to scooping.  I have also frozen the dough after shaping it into balls.  If you do this, you will want to let the dough defrost prior to baking so you can flatten the dough lightly.

Mangia!

Lindsay Lou

Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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Chocolate and peanut butter, quite possible the most perfect food pairing put them together in a cookie and it just doesn’t get any better.  I knew Matt would love these so even though I made them for work I made sure to save a couple for him.  These were a hit at home and at work.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed

½ cup (1 stick or 8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup smooth peanut butter (I used natural)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 Tablespoons water

1 ½ cups (about 21 or 8.5 ounces) Mini Reece’s® Peanut Butter Cup, lightly frozen*

Optional: additional Mini Reece’s® Peanut Butter Cup for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease baking sheets.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set bowl aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in the vanilla, egg, and water and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture and mix until the flour is incorporated.
  6. Stir in the peanut butter cups.
  7. Using a tablespoon or tablespoon cookie dough scoop, place a tablespoon of cookie dough on baking sheets.  Space cookies 2-3 inches apart.  Press cookies down with your hand so they are roughly 1-inch thick. Optional: place extra piece or pieces of peanut butter cups on top of the cookies.
  8. Bake cookies 7-9 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.  Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 20 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

Mangia!

Lindsay Lou

*Freezing the peanut butter cups makes it easy to chop them and mix them into the cookie dough without falling apart too much

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour and Annie’s Eats

Sugar Cookie Bars


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I made these for an Earth Day “green” bag lunch seminar for work and they were a hit both at work and home (I may or may not have had one or two for breakfast one morning).  These don’t take a lot of time to make and you can adapt the frosting to any color that fits your mood or whatever special occasion you are making the cookies for.  The same goes with the toppings, you could use different sprinkles, chopped up candy, dried fruit, nuts, or coconut.  The options are endless!  These are perfect for pitch-ins and barbeques.
Sugar Cookie Bars
Makes 48 bars
Ingredients for the cookie bars:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
Ingredients for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 Tablespoons milk (I used 1%)
food coloring (optional)
Directions for the cookie bars
1.     Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. 
2.     In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
3.     In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar and butter and cream on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
4.     One at a time, add the eggs to the butter mixture and mix well after each addition.  Scrape the bowl as needed, while mixing. 
5.     Scrape the vanilla seeds with the side of a knife and add into the butter mixture, with the vanilla extract. 
6.     Add in the flour mixture, and mix just until it is incorporated.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
7.     Spread mixture into prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to smooth the batter evenly.
8.     Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a wire rack.  Do not frost until the bars have cooled completely. 
Directions for the frosting
1.     In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until the butter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
2.     Add the vanilla, salt, confectioner’s sugar, and milk.  Mixing until the frosting is light and fluffy. 
3.     Add in food color as desired.
4.     Frost the cooled bars, in the pan.  Add toppings as desired. 
Mangia!
Lindsay Lou
Slightly adapted from: Annie’s Eats

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
 
Is it 2013 already??  Where did 2012 go?  I know I am not alone in thinking this.  I want to apologize for disappearing for 2012. Since I last posted I have had some very exciting life events take place including finishing my dissertation, graduating, moving, accepting a position that I love, and sadly caring for a very ill dog.  Our house is empty without our Leo.  He was my kitchen buddy, waiting patiently right outside the kitchen at our old house and right by the sliding glass doors at the new house.  When he got sick he chose to lay in front of the stove.  I would usually make him move before he was sick but I realized he just wanted to be as close as possible. Opening the oven door without hitting him while holding a pan became an art.  When we were caring for Leo, there wasn’t much time to cook or bake so my blog was neglected.  The little extra time we did have we chose to spend together since we didn’t know how many more precious moments we would have with our sweet pup.  After Leo passed we were heartbroken, we just never expected our time together would be so short.  Between being heartbroken, settling into a new job that requires considerable travel and a 2-hour round trip commute, I decided to give blogging a break.  Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I wanted to share why I had disappeared.  I know some people have asked where I was or when I would post, and that meant the world to me.  I am excited to get back in the kitchen and I realize it is what I need to mend my broken heart.  So for my readers who came back after a long hiatus, thank you and to those of you who are new, welcome. 
 
After a long break, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes.  My Aunt Cathy’s Red Velvet Cake is one of my favorites cakes.  I have had the joy of baking this with my Aunt Cathy for two very special occasions, my high school graduation and my mom’s 60thbirthday.  I still have my old tattered recipe card that my cousin, Stephanie, wrote out when we were kids after I first tasted this cake while visiting in Memphis.  Under “yields” Stephanie wrote out 10 lbs. fat cake.  I still get a good laugh out of that when I look at the recipe.  I made this over the weekend for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner for my sweetie.  So make this for your sweetie, you don’t need a special occasion to make this fabulous cake. 

Our sweet pup, Leo aka Mr. August for the Harford Humane Society 2012 Calendar.  Rest in peace, sweet friend.

 

Aunt Cathy’s Red Velvet Cake

Yields 2 9-inch cakes or 3 8-inch cakes
 
Ingredients
 
Cake
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 ounces red food coloring
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
Frosting
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 8 ounce package cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese/neufchatel), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (box) powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped pecans
 
Directions
 
Directions for Cake
1.  Preheat oven to 350F
2.  Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of 2 9-inch round cake pans or 3 8-inch round cake pans, then grease and flour the pans.
3. Cream sugar and oil, add eggs and beat well.
4.  Add vinegar to sugar mixture and food coloring, beat well.
5.  Sift dry ingredients and add alternatively with buttermilk, starting with flour and ending with flour
6.  Add vanilla and beat well.
7.  Pour batter into pans, evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, rotating after 20 minutes
8.  When the cakes have finished baking, let them cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on wire racks. 
 
Directions for frosting
1.  Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy about 1-2 minutes.
2.  Add vanilla and sifted powdered sugar, beat 2-3 minutes. 
3.  Add nuts to frosting and frost cooled cakes.*
 
*For these pictures, instead of mixing the nuts into the frosting I sprinkled the chopped pecans between the layers but I prefer the nuts mixed into the frosting.  
 
Mangia!
Lindsay Lou


Oreo Cookie Cookies

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Matt came home one day after eating out with coworkers to tell me about an amazing cookie he had – it was like a chocolate chip cookie but with Oreos he exclaimed.  I was jealous and asked if he brought one home for me  (the answer was no if you were wondering).  These cookies were great and were a serious indulgence. I mean a cookie in a cookie; it just doesn’t get any better.  This cookie in a cookie is not a new idea, I’ve noticed that it is all the rage to put an Oreo cookie in the middle of a ball of cookie dough and bake it.   Unfortunately, Matt can’t remember the name of the place they ate these so I couldn’t credit them with this fantastic idea.

Oreo Cookie Cookies
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Ingredients
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
18 Oreos, broken into pieces

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
3.  Add vanilla and eggs to butter mixture, beating well.
4.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and pudding.
5.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well.
6.  Gently stir in Oreo pieces.
7.  Place tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.
8.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, cooling for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool fully.

Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

Inspired by : Unknown Baltimore Restaurant
Cookie dough adapted from Kroger’s White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

 

I remember when I first saw these cupcakes on Annie’s Eats.  I knew I had to make them, I am just sorry I waited so long.  I actually made these months ago and since have tried to find occasions to make them again.  These cupcakes are simply amazing! I mean, cookie dough filled cupcakes, with frosting that resembles cookie dough and a yummy brown sugar cupcake base.  These are now one of my favorite desserts.  Go out today, buy the ingredients and make them before New Years Day comes and so do those pesky resolutions 🙂  All the steps involved were a bit time intensive so I would recommend making the cupcakes over two days or starting very early in the day. This recipe makes a little extra filling and frosting so I took the pieces of cupcake I cut out and pressed them in a small baking dish topped with the filling.  I baked them at 350F for about 10 minutes, just enough to get warm them topped it with frosting.  Talk about a decadent dessert from cupcake leftovers!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Yields 24 Cupcakes
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Ingredients for the Cupcakes
3 sticks (24 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

Ingredients for the filling
4 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 Tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Ingredients for the frosting
3 sticks (24 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3 ½ cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon milk
2 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For decoration (Optional)
Tiny chocolate chip cookies
Mini chocolate chips

Directions for the Cupcakes
1.  Preheat the oven to 350F
2.  Prepare cupcake pans with liners.
3.  In a large bowl combine the butter and brown sugar (use a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer).  Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4.  Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each egg and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
5.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
6.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.  Begin and end with the dry ingredients, just mixing until blended after each addition.
7.  Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
8.  Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners. Bake for 18-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
9.  Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Directions for the filling:
1.  Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2.  Add in the flour, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla until mixed well and smooth.
3.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
4.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture is firm, about an hour.

Directions for the frosting:
1.  Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes.
2.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
3.  Beat in the flour and salt.
4.  Add the milk and vanilla, beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Directions for Assembling the Cupcakes:
1.  To fill the cupcake, cut a cone out of the top of the cupcake.
Cupcake How to 2
2.  Fill each hole in the cupcake with some of the chilled cookie dough mixture.
3.  Frost cupcakes, optional: top with chocolate chip cookie and mini chocolate chips

Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

FromAnnie’s Eats inspired byHello Bakeroriginally cake adapted fromCupcake Bakeshop, frosting adapted fromThe Cupcake Review andHow to Eat a Cupcake

Cheesecake in a Jar

Cheesecake in a Jar

This is the best cheesecake I have ever had.  Matt even said not to look any further for THE cheesecake recipe that this was it.  I made these cute little cheesecakes when we had some friends over and they were a hit.  I served them with toppings so everyone could choose how they topped their cheesecake.  Toppings included fudge sauce, cooked cherries, whipped cream, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – yum!  The originally recipe said it would make 12 8-ounce jars.  I actually halved the recipe and filled about 6 ½ jars.  I am including the whole recipe below.  If you need to halve it like I did and are wondering how do you get half of an egg just whisk the egg and weigh out half of it or measure half of it if you don’t have a kitchen scale.  I bought these cute Ball canning jars at Target. 
These would make great desserts for a holiday party or Christmas dinner.  I mean who doesn’t like cheesecake and a choice of toppings? If you are pressed for time you could always serve this with pie fillings for toppings like blueberry or cherry.  

Toppings for cheesecake in a jar

Cheesecake in a Jar
Ingredients for the Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
Ingredients for the Cheesecake
40 ounces cream cheese, softened
14 ounces sugar (about 2 cups)
5 large eggs
2 ounces (1/4) cup milk (I used whole milk)
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
Directions 
1.  Preheat the oven to 325F
2.  Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Divide the crust between the jars and press down to have about a ½-inch thick crust in each jar.  Set aside.
3.  In a large bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
4. Slowly beat the sugar into the cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed. 
5.  Add the eggs, milk, flour, and egg yolks, beat until the mixture is smooth.  Scrape the sides to ensure everything is incorporated. 
6.  Pour the cheesecake batter into each jar, the amount will depend the size and shape of your jar.  I filled mine about 1-2 inches deep. 
7.  Tap the jars lightly on the counter to release any air bubbles. 
8. Place the jars in a roasting pan and pour boiling water into the pan, carefully so as not to get water into the jars.  Fill the pan up to an inch below the lip of the smallest jar. 
9.  Place the roasting pan with the cheesecakes in the oven and reduce the heat to 300F.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 20 minutes. 
10.  The edge of the cheesecakes should be firm but the center should still jiggle a bit.  Remove from the water bath and allow to completely cool.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.   

Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

Jars are Ball canning jars from Target.
Source:  Barely Adapted from Use Real Butter originally from The Good Housekeeping Book of Illustrated Desserts

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

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These are one of my all-time favorite cookies even though they contain no chocolate.  We used to make them at the bakery I worked at in high school but I had never had them before that.  Making these cookies brings back wonderful memories of working at the bakery with amazing women.  I had the best job in high school!  These are soft cake-like cookies that I adapted a bit to make these whoopie pies last year.  Every year I get excited for fall, I love the change of seasons and I love these cookies.  So bake some up and have 1 or 2 or maybe 3 😉  These would make a great addition to any cookie platter or Thanksgiving dessert table. 
Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients for cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Ingredients for Frosting
1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions 
1.  Preheat oven to 350
2.  Cream the sugar and shortening for about 1 minute.
3.  Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, mix until combined. 
4.  Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined. 
5.  Drop cookies on cookie sheet using a tablespoon, cookie scoop or other desired method (cookies do not spread much). 
6.  Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until bottoms are starting to brown – do not over bake. 
7.  While cookies are baking mix all the ingredients for the frosting in a bowl. 
8.  When the cookies are done, remove from the oven and let them sit on the tray for 1-2 minutes, move to a wire rack.  Frost cookies while warm.

Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

Source:  Baker’s Peak Bakery

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Brownies

My favorite cake is my Aunt Cathy’s red velvet cake.  I have yet to taste another red velvet cake as good and trust me I try a piece or cupcake any chance I get 😉  Don’t worry I will be sharing that recipe.  My love for this cake has translated to loving anything red velvet including ice-cream – yum and twinkies – yes they make red velvet twinkies (probably called snack cakes or something else as I think Twinkies is trademarked).  It is a regional thing, I guess because I have only found them in an area of Ohio which is a good thing, I guess or I would be eating them all the time!  When I saw red velvet brownies on Smells Like Home, I knew I had to make them.  Tara of SLH used white chocolate buttercream icing, which sounded delicious but I had some cream cheese and decided to use a half-batch of the frosting from my Aunt Cathy’s red velvet cake recipe.  These were amazing!  These would be a great addition to a goodie plate for the holidays or for tailgating.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Ingredients for the brownies
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces food coloring (about 2 Tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided (1 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the frosting
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted

Directions for the brownies
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
3.  In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to make a thick paste.  Make sure no lumps of cocoa remain.
4.  In a large bowl, either by hand or in a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes on medium speed if using a mixer).
5.  One at a time, add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.
6.  Mix in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla to the butter mixture.
7.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt; set aside.
8.  If using a mixer, turn it off and add the cocoa mixture.  Turn the mixer on to medium and beat until the cocoa mixture is mixed in.
9.  With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add the flour and salt mixture. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is mixed in.  Continue to mix until incorporated.  Do not overmix.
10.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (check at 25 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.
11.  When brownies are done, cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
12.  When brownies are cooled, either frost in the pan, cut and remove or remove from the pan, cut, and frost.

Directions for the frosting
1.  Either by hand or in a mixer cream the butter and cream cheese until mixed well.
2.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Source:  Brownies from Smells Like Home originally from How Sweet It Is
Frosting:  Aunt Cathy

Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey


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I was home sick at the beginning of the week when I read a recipe for Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey on Sweetapolita’s blog.  The story behind the pie broke my heart, I sobbed as I read it.  Jennnie, a fellow food blogger whom I never met, suffered a tragic loss when her husband died unexpectedly.   She asked people to make a peanut butter pie in honor of Mikey last Friday. I was amazed at how many people in the food blog world made the pie – what a lovely way to show support.  She reminded us all that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.  I don’t know Jennie but her story touched me and I wanted to share it and honor her family by making the pie, even if I was a week late.  I thought about how much I put off because I get buried in my dissertation.  It reminds me to come up for air and enjoy life.  I have been packing a piece of this pie in Matt’s lunch for him to enjoy each day.
Take the time this weekend to make something with love and share it someone you love.
I altered the pie a little to add fresh strawberry jam – like the peanut butter pie my mom made for me and my Papa when I was little.  Matt wasn’t so sure about the jam but he still loved the pie.  I strained the jam so it was a very thin layer on the pie, you don’t have to do this extra step or you could leave the jam off all together.  I also tried the pie frozen and it was delicious!  Freezing the pie actually made it easier to cut. 


Peanut Butter Pie
Ingredients for the crust
20 Oreos
¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the pie
4 ounces chopped dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup + ½ cup whipping cream, divided (1 cup and ½ cup)
¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1  can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup strawberry jam (after straining it will be about a ½ cup)
Directions for the crust
1.  Crush cookies until fine crumbs using a food processor or by placing in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin. 
2.  Mix cookies and butter then press into a 9-inch pie pan or 9-inch springform pan. 
Directions for the Pie:
1.  Heat up ½ cup of the whipping cream on the stove or in the microwave until simmering.  Pour over chocolate and mix until chocolate is melted and smooth. 
2.  Pour 1 cup of the chocolate over the bottom of the crust, smooth with a spatula and sprinkle peanuts over the chocolate.  Place crust in the refrigerator while finishing the filling.  Reserve rest of chocolate for the top of the pie. 
3.  Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or by hand with a whisk, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
4.  In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and peanut butter until light and fluffy.  If using a mixer, do this on medium speed.
5.  Add confectioner’s sugar and mix on a low speed until incorporated. 
6.  Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. 
7.  Mix in about 1/3 cup of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.
8.  Fold the rest of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. 
9.  Pour the peanut butter filling into the prepared crust and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour before adding the jelly.
10. While pie is chilling, strain the jelly using a mesh strainer.  Top pie with strained jelly and drizzle with reserved chocolate.  Refrigerate for at least four more hours, preferably overnight.  The pie is also good frozen. 
Mangia!
Lindsay Lou
Slightly adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen in honor of Mikey