The 12 Treats of Christmas: #7 Candy Bar Brownies

by , on
Dec 8, 2013

Chocolate. Peanut butter. These are my favourite brownies in the world. They don’t have any candy bars in them, but taste very much like a frosted candy bar filling. I had other photos, but this one pretty much sums up my feeling on these.

MommyDo Candy Bar Brownies

Recipe – I’d love to give credit for these, but my recipe photocopy has been hanging around since about 1999 and has no indication of where it’s from.

1 1/4 Cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 18 crackers)

1/4 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1/2 Cup butter (no substitutes) melted

1/4 Cup butter or margarine

2 Oz unsweetened chocolate (cut up)

1 Cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 Cup chopped peanuts

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 Cup butter

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 Cups sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp milk

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

For Crust:

Combine graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 finely chopped peanuts in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the 1/2 Cup melted butter. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 11x7x1 and 1/2 inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Cool.

For Filling:

Melt the 1/2 Cup butter or margarine and the chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally remove from heat; stir in the 1 Cup sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Stir in flour and the 1.2 cup chopped peanuts. Spread evenly over crust.

Bake: 20 minutes more. cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Peanut butter frosting. Cut brownie into small squares. (Or cut into 24 larger bars). Place a few honey roasted peanuts on each square. IF desired, pace each brownie in a small candy cup. Makes 50 to 70 small squares.

Peanut butter Frosting:

Beat 1/4 Cup butter and 2 tbsp peanut butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 sec. Gradually add 1 Cup sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 1 Tbsp milk and 1/2 Tsp vanilla. Gradually beat in 1 Cup additional sifted powdered sugar and enough milt to make a frosting of spreading consistency. Carefully spread over the brownies. Refrigerate before cutting.

 

The 12 Treats of Christmas: #6 – Easy Holiday Festive Fudge

by , on
Dec 8, 2013

Shhh, this is ‘my’ secret fudge recipe. The biggest secret is how little time it takes to make something this delicious. Confession: Though I usually make this with walnuts as per the directions, this year, in an effort to make more ‘nut-free’ goodies, I swapped the walnuts for Chippits Holiday Chips. Pretty good! And very festive.

MommyDo Easy Holiday Celebration Fudge

Recipe: (This is a Kraft recipe – One-Bowl Festive Fudge – from the 90’s, but I can’t find it exactly online. There are others that are close…)
10 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 can (330 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) (Or 1 cup festive chips)
4 squares Baker’s White Chocolate

LINE 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil.

Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 2/3 can condensed milk in medium microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM for 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add nuts (or festive chips); mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer.

PLACE white chocolate and remaining milk in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 1 min 30 sec., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Pour over fudge layer in pan. (I added extra chips to the top)

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares to serve.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Santa Magic Bars

by , on
Dec 5, 2013

Magic Bars are an oldie but a goodie. These combine tart cranberries, sweet coconut, gooey marshmallows and crunchy nuts. Delicious and so easy, Magic Bars are a great choice for baking with kids.

MommyDo Santa Magic Bars

You can find the recipe online here.

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus baking time
Preheat To: 350ºF (180ºC)*
Serving: 24 bars

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 mL) graham wafer crumbs
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, melted
1 can (300 mL) Regular or Low Fat Eagle Brand® sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
3/4 cup (175 mL) white, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries
1 cup (250 mL) flaked coconut
1 cup (250 mL) mini-marshmallows

Preparation:

1.  Combine graham crumbs with butter; press evenly onto parchment-lined 13×9″ (3.5 L) baking pan.
2.  Pour 2/3 Eagle Brand over crumbs.
3.  Sprinkle with pecans, chips, cranberries, coconut and marshmallows; press down firmly. Pour remaining Eagle Brand overtop.
4.  Bake in preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven* 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly and cut into bars. (Store loosely covered at room temperature.)

Notes:

*325ºF (160ºC) for glass dish

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

by , on
Dec 4, 2013

Ok – now we’re really cookin’. Or baking, or whatever. Yesterday I said I’d give you a little something that would help use up any extra melty chocolate. These little fellas are the #1 cookie in my arsenal. Gooey, chocolatey. And they really look impressive. Again, not a huge batch – about 36 cookies, but so rich and decadent, that seems to be just enough. These also need a little fridge time for the dough so the delayed gratification only serves to make them sweeter.MommyDo Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints (1)

 

Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

Yield: 36 Cookies

Prep 30 mins Chill 2 hrs Bake 350°F 10 mins  per batch

Ingredients

  • 1  egg
  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  milk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 16  vanilla caramels, unwrapped
  • 3  tablespoons  whipping cream
  • 1 1/4  cups  finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2  cup  (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1  teaspoon  shortening

Directions

1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.

2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

6. In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.* Let stand until chocolate is set.

I decided I’d take this delicious dough and invent a cookie of my own. This is one case where the idea was better than the end result. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious. But the candycane melted and made the cookie part very squishy and sticky. Letting them cool on the parchment greatly improved the outcome.

I give you Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

MommyDo Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

I made the dough as above, rolled in crushed candy cane instead of nuts, put a junior mint in the thumbprint and drizzled with white chocolate. Follow my lead at your own risk on these little fellers.

Happy Baking!

The 12 Treats of Chirstmas: Peppermint Patties

by , on
Dec 2, 2013

Ok, one cookie down. Now for something that takes a little more commitment. Homemade Peppermint Patties. I know I posted about these a few months ago, but when looking to the Top 12, you can’t leave these out. They always get tons of compliments – I mean really, who knew you could make your own peppermint patties? So, so good.

MommyDo Peppermint Patties

I usually let the innards sit overnight so they have a little snap. And, I find they take more chocolate than you think. The dipping is a real pain. You’ll want to quit about 10 times. But later, once you’re polishing off the last one, you’ll wish you hadn’t given up and tossed a bunch of undipped middles out. Trust me. Keep on dipping.

Remember to use bakers chocolate or candy coating so the chocolate hardens nicely. And, (like I really need to say this) be sure to save some for guests. I know it’s hard, but you’re not supposed to eat them all yourself. You can find this recipe online here on the Eagle Brand website.

Ingredients:

1 can (300ml) Regular Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk

1tbsp (15ml) peppermint extract (I add a little more to make them extra minty)

6 cups (1.5L) confectioners’ sugar (that’s icing sugar)

1 1/2lbs chocolate candy coating or dark or semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted.

1. Combine Eagle Brand and peppermint extract. Add sugar, beating on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

2. Knead lightly to form a smooth ball. Shape into 1 inch (2.54cm)  balls. Place 2cm paart o n parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2 inch (4cm) patty. (I used the flat bottom of a drinking glass lightly dusted with sugar.)

3. Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax-paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

4. Try very hard not to eat them all as soon as they’ve hardened.

MommyDo 3 Peppermint Patties

Enjoy!

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle cookies that you can make to use up the leftover chocolate after you dip the patties.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Whipped Shortbread

by , on
Dec 1, 2013

Are you ready to get baking? I’m digging deep into my legendary Christmas Baking Binder to bring you my top 12 Treats. Cookies, bars, brownies, bark, fudge and candy. We’re gonna make a little of everything.

Mommydo Whipped Shortbread

In my younger days I would make 30 types of treats and give goodie baskets to a rather long list of hungry and happy recipients. Sweet! Now that time is short, I’ve cut it down to my top 12, and bake mostly for family. After all this baking, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Before we begin, here are 10 things you should keep in mind when you set out to do a big bake.

1. If you’re baking on a budget, remember chocolate goodies are spendy. Fill baskets with cookies and just a few chocolate treats to keep the cost down.

2. Read through the recipes you’re planning to make and make a master shopping list. Spots like Bulk Barn have many of the things you’ll need, and if you’ve done your homework you can get your shopping done in no time at all and for much less than multiple late night trips to the grocery store.

3. Read the recipes all the way through before you start. There’s nothing worst than setting out to make a quick batch of cookies and realizing you need to chill the dough overnight.

4. Wear a short sleeved shirt. Trying to take off a sweater when covered in chocolate and flour is the worst.

5. Tie your hair back at the start. Same reason. Pushing your hair back with messy hands is a pain.

6. Parchment paper really is the best to line trays, and can be used more than once.

7. Pay attention to the part in the recipe that talks about cooling and when to transfer the treats. Your cookies will be better looking if you follow the rules.

8. Baking is not a ‘wing it’ sport. Precision delivers the best results. Measure carefully and you’ll find things bake as expected and taste better than if you guesstimate.

9. Sometimes experiments turn out well. Go ahead and try some new things. (You’ll hear about my cookie invention later this week.)

10. Having a few cookie trays on hand makes quick work of big batches of cookies. Borrow some if you only need once a year. Preferably from someone who’ll give you a nice glass of wine when you return them. You can enjoy it with some delicious fresh baked goodies!

MOMMYDO TREAT 1: Whipped Shortbread

This is an easy recipe from The Harrowsmith Cookbook, and credit is given to Shirley Hill of Picton Ontario. It’s quick to make and is always a big hit. I’ve been making it since I was in grade school. It doesn’t go that far, so I often double it. The key to these is to really beat them between ingredients. Don’t stop when the ingredients are mixed, give them a minute or more to beat at each step.

I finish the cookies 2 ways, with a little candied cherry or with a little silver ball.

12days

Recipe:

1/2 lb. Butter

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

Beat butter until light and add remaining ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork (I JUST DROPPED MINE).

Bake at 300F for 30 min.

Makes 3 dozen

What makes you feel like a winner?

by , on
Nov 5, 2013

For me, these days, it’s trying a new recipe and having it turn out to be as good as the picture looks. For one lucky blog commenter, it’s winning the stamp of their choice! For a little more on the stamp winner, scroll to the bottom of the post.

This weekend I tried 2 recipes from Pinterest and BOTH were great. There’s no point in showing my photos since the original posters’ look far more appetizing. I have to say both of these will be part of the regular rotation around here. They def get the MOMMYDO two thumbs up.

Both are slow cooker recipes. The first is from La Creme de la Crumb

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Tried it! So, so good. Like, leave-what-you’re-doing-right-now-and-go-to-the-store-and-get-what-you-need-and-go-home-and-put-it-in-the-slow-cooker-right-now kind of good. Quick and easy to prepare. Tastes super fab and is fancy enough company.

The second is from The Comfort of Cooking

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Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken.

Also super yummy and easy to make. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is sweet and tangy. We put both onto tortillas to make tacos one day and served on rice the next. 4 days worth of meals (with lunches) for less than 20 min prep each.

Awesome.

What’s also awesome is winning a stamp! There weren’t a lot of comments, and I didn’t count my sister. So, of the seven, it’s Lucky #7 that won.

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I’ll contact you to let you know you’ve won and give you the details. If you haven’t responded in 72 hours, I’ll pick a new winner.

Thanks to Lindsay at The Penny Paper Co. for donating our wonderful prize.

I’ll contact you with the details.

There’s nothing like…

by , on
Nov 3, 2013

the first whiff of the holiday season to make you miss the ones you’ve lost

Today is Starbucks Red Cup day – for me, that’s when the countdown to the holiday season starts in earnest. And, of course, there’s no time I miss my Dad more. This will be the 14th Christmas without him.

It’s true what they say, times does heal all wounds. At the same time, it makes the memories richer. Like my memory of a pot of hot soup on the first day there’s a chill in the air.

My dad wasn’t an excellent cook, but he wasn’t bad. And he could turn a few simple things into meals that still find a way to warm my heart.

Tonight I made his Tomato Macaroni Soup. I added a few little touches (garlic and broth) but it’s pretty much the same as he used to make back when I was too small to peek into the pot.

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Ray’s Simple Tomato soup

2 stalks celery

1 medium onion

1Tbsp butter

1 lg can diced tomatos

1 can water or broth (use the can from the tomatoes to measure)

1 can tomato sauce (or 1/2 jar)

A sprinkle of basil, oregano, fresh ground pepper or whatever vaguely italian seasoning you have on hand

1 crush clove of garlic

1 cup dry pasta (give or take – I eyeball it)

Chop the onion and celery. Place in microwave safe bowl with the butter and ‘nuke’ on high for 2 min 30 sec.

Meanwhile put the tomatoes and water or broth in a large pot. Throw in whatever spice you have on hand. Crush the garlic into the mixture. Add some tomato sauce from a tin or a jar.

Add the onion, celery, butter mixture to the pot.

Cook on medium-high heat until the soup begins to bubble.

Reduce the head and simmer for about 20 min.

After 20 min, add the pasta to the soup. Turn up the heat to achieve a gentle boil. You may need to add more water to maintain the ‘soup’ consistency once the pasta starts to cook.

Stir frequently to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Let the pasta cook a little longer than al dente to get a nice squishy soup noodle.

Variations include adding salsa instead of sauce, adding tomato juice instead of water or broth, adding browned ground beef (making it ‘hamburger soup’), adding cooked  chicken and garnishing with cheese and avacado…the possibilities are endless.

Serve hot.

If you keep leftovers, be prepared to have the noodles suck up all the juice. You can make the pasta separately and combine the soup and the noodles in each bowl – which does improve the state of the dish on the second day if you like a soupy soup. I usually just add water or broth the second day to rejuvenate the soup factor.

To me this is the ultimate comfort food. I hope you find some comfort here too.

Do you have a bread machine?

by , on
Oct 27, 2013

If you do, you need this book:

The Artisan Bread Machine by Judith Fertig

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It is DEF a MOMMYDO favourite. If you have the machine, but not the book, try this simple but delicious white bread recipe from page 24.

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Blue Ribbon Bread Machine Bread – 2LB loaf

8tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2tsp instant or bread machine yeast

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 cups flour

2 tsp salt

1. Add sugar, yeast and water to the bread pan. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.

2. Add oil. Spoon flour on top of liquid. Add salt.

3. Select the Basic/White cycle and Light Crust setting and press start.

NOTE: As with all bread machine recipes, it’s important to add the ingredients in the right order.

Or, um, you might get the loaf on the left. Image

Oops. The salt and the yeast need to be separated by the flour.

Live and learn. Live and learn.

Pinspired – Halloween Edition (and GIVEAWAY reminder)

by , on
Oct 25, 2013

I went looking for food ideas for Halloween. I pinned them. Then, instead of forgetting all about them and opening some chips and goldfish crackers, I tried them.

Two worked great. One, not so much. (Um, mostly because I didn’t follow the directions…)

They Do: Yummy Mummies:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.02.33 PM

MommyDo: REALLY Yummy Mummies:

dog3mark

They Do: Scary Ghost Pizza:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.05.14 PM

MommyDo: Scary-How-These-Don’t-Look-Like-Ghosts Pizza:

pizza5mark

They Do: Halloween Puppy Chow

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.07.13 PM

Mommy Do: Halloween Puppies-are-a-Mom’s-Best-Friend Chow

muddyb3mark

So three recipes.

The first, Mummy Dogs is pinned all over the place but can be found here on the Pillsbury site. The secret to the mummy wraps is Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough.

dog1crop

I used big fat dogs so they took a little longer to cook than expected.

dog2mark

I am a little food-safety nuts and did check them with a meat thermometer. I thought they were pretty delish but both my kid testers (4ish) pulled off the bandages and just ate the dogs (sigh.)

Pinsperiment #2 was the Ghost Pizza. This was the one I was most excited about. I bought a new cookie cutter just for this! I used some cheater ingredients to make it quick and apparently, just skimmed the directions. Which is not advised.

pizza1mark

The cheese looked so cute before baking…

pizza2mark

Which was part of my problem. You’re supposed to cut out the ghosts…

pizza3mark

…but you’re not supposed to put them on the pizza yet. You need to bake it part way then just add the ghosts at in the last 5 min. Or this happens…pizza4mark

I did cut a little meat to see how that would work and I think it’s a nice addition. I think I will try these again (following the directions) as I still think they’re so friggin’ cute.

The last one I tried was the Puppy Chow. At a time with all that candy there maybe aren’t so healthy a choice. Or a necessary one, given all the sweets just hanging around.muddypup1mark

But they are oh so delicious.

muddyb2mark

I halved the recipe. Which has been a good thing…does anyone really need to eat 18 cups of chocolate and peanut butter coated cereal tossed in sugar and scattered with Reeses Pieces? I think not. It’s super addictive though. The bowl you see above only lasted an hour.

On the photography front, I realize it’s still pretty abysmal. Good thing EMMA is coming to the rescue this November with all the food photography tips we’ll need to ensure all our holiday goodies will look as good as they taste.

****Don’t forget about the STAMP Giveaway running this week sponsored by The Penny Paper Co. Click here to read the post and leave a comment to be entered to WIN!****

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