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Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies: Baking With Kids

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Posted by Mariah | Posted in Desserts | Posted on 21-09-2009

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Peanut Butter Fudge BrownieWhen I got home from a conference last night, my daughter, Sophia, had something on her mind. Fudge. She was dying for me to make our family fudge recipe. I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so we compromised with this Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie recipe and she wasn’t disappointed!

Sophia and her brother, Gus, helped me make the brownies this afternoon. Now, let me tell you, baking a new recipe with kids is tough. The first ingredient you have to have is patience. And, with my kids, I need to have eyes in the back of my head. As you can see from the video, they love to taste test along the way!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_A8nMtyqWU]I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to kids helping out. First, the hand mixers. As I’ve said in an earlier post, this is a must-have utensil because it’s interactive and keeps the kids engaged, though it takes some practice to get used to it. Gus is four and he’s got it down pretty well.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1bFdgmS_So]My second trick for cooking and baking is to get a plastic “kid knife.” Kids can use these quite safely to cut anything from butter to veggies. Finally, we use a coffee cup for cracking eggs. This way, the shells are easy to fish out (though in this recipe I used crunchy peanut butter, just in case).

This recipe was sourced from the Southern Food section on About.com and is by Diana Rattray.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Batter:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Peanut Butter Batter:
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.

2. In mixing bowl, cream 2 cups sugar and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add  vanilla and 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups flour, cocoa, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in peanut butter chips.

4. In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and 1/3 cup butter.

5. Add 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour; blend well.

6. Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth.

7. Spread half of the chocolate mixture in prepared baking pan.

8. Spread the peanut butter batter over chocolate batter.

9. Spread remaining chocolate batter over top.

10. Gently cut through layers with a knife to create a marbled look.

11. Bake brownies at 350° for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top springs back with lightly touched in center with finger.

12. Brownies should begin to pull away from sides of pan.

13. Cool completely in pan.

Zucchini Birthday Surprise

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Posted by Mariah | Posted in Desserts | Posted on 06-08-2009

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Sophia's Birthday Cupcakes

What better way to celebrate a late July birthday than with fresh from the oven/garden chocolate zucchini cupcakes! Because I knew I was catering to LOTS of kids, I made this cake with (gasp) processed, granulated sugar! The next day, I learned from Nita from the Cedar Falls farmer’s market that you can get raw sugar locally (at Roots Market in Cedar Falls for those Cedar Vallians) and also use other sweeteners such as sorgum, molasses and agave as a sugar substitute. But, the point here is that one of the primary ingredients in this cake was zucchini grown and nurtured by our neighbors, Kristin and Jesse. And, incidentally, the eggs and milk also came from local producers.

Here’s the recipe, which combines the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe with some of my own modifications and, zucchini, of course!

Birthday Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cake papers.

2. Combine all dry ingredients

3. With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

4. Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

5. Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Butter Cream Frosting
I used this recipe from Wilton.