Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cake Batter Blondies

I am writing this post as I sit and wait for my flight to D.C. I am off on a little mini vacation this week to visit a good friend. And it couldn't come at a better time as Boston is about to get more snow! Where is everyone going to park?! Of course D.C. is going to get lots of rain while I am there, but I will take that any day over snow. Anyway on to the recipe! I found this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction website. These cake batter blondies were very easy, especially if you use a cake mix. Of course I decided to make things more difficult and make cake mix from scratch. I got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. Check her site out! It is fantastic! So whether you go the 100% homemade way or the Sandra Lee way (aka semi- homemade) no one will mind. They will if you decide not to make these.

Cake Batter Blondies
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Spray 11×7 baking pan with nonstick spray. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly. You want to cake batter to be as dense & thick as possible. Mix in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared baking pan, sprinkle a few more sprinkles on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just turning brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares.
*The blondies will look like they are not fully done because the center will be quite gooey, but that’s what you want! After about 30 minutes of cooling, they will be easy to cut using a serrated knife.
* If you do make your own cake mix, I used 3 cups of my homemade yellow cake mix. I have read some people have used a little more- 3 1/2 cups up to 4. I would gauge your mix by the dryness. Start with 3 can always add more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Salted Caramel Flourless Fudge Brownies

During my trip to Washington D.C. I stopped in at Dean and Deluca. BIG mistake. Have you ever watched Julie and Julia? If not, rent it immediately. If you have then you know the scene where she says she stopped in there and spent "half her take home pay".  After perusing the well-stocked shelves, I know this was not at all an exxageration.   Shopping there is worse than taking me to a clothing store. If you have never had the privilege of shopping at Dean and Deluca it is like a food lover's dream come true. A mecca shopping experience overloading your foodie senses.

Let me take you on a little tour...  When you first walk in you are greeted with a glass display case filled with artisanal truffles with interesting combinations like honey, ginger, and lavender. From there you can buy locally made breads, cheeses, and pastries. Along the walls are exceptional products from a rainbow of icing sugars to hard to come by salts.  I had to find my self-restraint.  Ok I gave in a little who am I kidding? It's Dean and Deluca. It's a good thing that is not around the corner from me everyday.  What I did splurge on was some...

Fleur de sel ($13 for this tiny little bag)... Well worth it in my opinion.

and a jar of Fran's caramel sauce.  Forget the spoon, ladies. Dive in with two fingers. No one is looking I promise.

My friend of course simply shook her head at me in disbelief that anyone would spend thirty dollars on salt and caramel.  Hey I am on vacation people!  What I had in my mind when purchasing these two lovely souvenirs was these...salted caramel flourless fudge brownies. Yum, yum, and yum! Just look at that crackly top...perfection in brownie form.

 I knew when I came across this flourless fudge brownie recipe at Yammie's Gluten Freedom blog I wanted to add caramel and sea salt..that much I knew. I also knew that I really didn't feel like making my own caramel for this recipe.  OK yea fleur de sel may be out of your price range. Any sea salt will do. You definitely can also make your own caramel. It would save you a few bucks. Feel free. I on the other hand still wanted to catch this week's episode of Sean Lowe...err I mean the Bachelor.

These brownies make me wonder why flour ever was invited to the brownie party in the first place. They are ooey, gooey, fudgy bites of wonderfulness. Even if you are a person who walks around with an "I heart flour" t-shirt on, trust me make these. You will be donating that shirt to good will in no time.

Flourless Fudge Brownies
Slightly adapted from Yammie's Gluten Freedom
Print this recipe!

* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 4 large eggs

* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup caramel sauce
* 1/4 tsp. fleur de sel (or another kind of sea salt)

Please note: I sprayed my pan with a cooking spray only. These guys were definitely tricky to get out! I suggest lining your pan with parchment paper and saving yourself the struggle in the end!Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Combine the sugars and oil and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs and whisk together. Mix the vanilla and espresso powder together until the coffee powder is dissolved and add to the egg/sugar/oil mixture. Beat for about two minutes. Stir together the cocoa and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and blend until smooth. Swirl in your caramel and sprinkle with salt. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies (gluten free too!)

Happy vacation week to all you teachers out there! I hope you are all doing something fun and relaxing this week. I don't know about anyone else, but I definitely needed a nice long break.  It will be just long enough to restore a piece of my sanity.  You know what else restores sanity? Enjoying a nice glass of wine while watching the Bachelor (anyone else upset that Des got sent home?!)

You know what else restores sanity? Cookies. Even better..cookies with nutella. Aw now I have your attention I bet!

These cookes I found via pinterest. I was looking for recipes that were sans flour. I have been trying this past week to go gluten free. Let's just say my tummy so far thanks me. If I continue down this gluten free road, it might make baking a tad more challenging. Not impossible- just a little more challenging. The weird part is... I am kind of excited for this challenge. What can I think of to bake that doesn't have flour? Can I make a recipe better somehow by not adding flour and finding delicious alternatives? What new ingredients can I try? Almond flour... coconut flour, excuse to go to the grocery store, too. 

I think my first time in the kitchen baking a gluten friendly treat proved very successful. I debated making this version or these thumbprint cookies. I am definitely at some point going to try and make those. I decided in the end I wanted an fast, easy cookie to make.  These crunchy babies are ridiculously easy to make. You need one bowl and you don't even need to break out your mixer. (which is good because I broke mine the other day making homemade cadbury creme eggs) Oops.  Don't worry I promise I'll post that recipe soon!  My only suggestion if I was to make these again, add more Nutella. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Oh and do yourself a favor. Scoop now. Freeze later. And next week when the Bachelor is on...pull a couple out of the freezer. Get that bottle of wine out. And get a piece of your sanity back. You're welcome.

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies (gluten-free)
**Originally from

Print this recipe!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup Nutella
  • ¼ cup sugar, for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the Nutella. Stir until everything is well combined. Add the Nutella, and stir gently. You want to incorporate it into the dough, but leave a definite swirl. Scoop 1 inch balls of dough, and place on a cookie sheet. Dip fa for in the sugar, and gently press down on the balls of dough to create the cross marks. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Cool slightly on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes before removing to a wire rack.