What’s thick, rich, chewy, and buttery with lots of pecan chunks baked in? Pecan Chewies, that’s what. I saw a recipe for these bars over at Southern Bite, and just had to try them. They look like blondies, but they’re much chewier…and so yummy! Continue reading
With flowers starting to bloom and trees starting to bud, I’ve been enjoying all the spring color outside. And it put me in the mood to make something colorful! I saw some Trix Marshmallow Bars at BettyCrocker.com and just had to try them out! I had forgotten how fun and colorful Trix cereal was–after all, I hadn’t had it since I was a kid. I made these marshmallow bars a little differently from the original recipe, using mini marshmallows instead of marshmallow creme and a little more Trix cereal. These thick and chewy bars just look like a celebration waiting to happen, don’t they? How can your day not be brightened when you look at all these colors? They’re perfect treats for kids or kids-at-heart!
TRIX MARSHMALLOW BARS by NancyC, adapted from BettyCrocker.com
Makes a 13 x 9″ pan
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
- 9 cups Trix cereal (there’s about 8 cups in a 10.7 oz box, so get the next larger size)
Line bottom and sides of 13 x 9″ pan with parchment paper; set aside. In large saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows over medium-low heat until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is smooth; remove from heat. Add Trix cereal to marshmallow mixture and stir until cereal is well coated. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan (use a greased spatula or wax paper to make the pressing easier). Cool, then cut into bars.
Note: if you want thicker bars, don’t press the mixture all the way to the ends of the pan–just press to desired thickness (it will still fill most of the pan). I pressed mine about 1 1/2″ short of one of the short edges of the pan.
Colorful treats like these are always fun, especially in the spring and summer. What kind of colorful goodies do you like to make?
I’d never heard of Brigadeiro until Marieli, one of my readers, told me about this Brazilian-style truffle some time ago. I also read that it’s a popular candy in Brazil, was created in the 1940s, and is thought to have been named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes. As Marieli says, “The ingredients are always the same: condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder.” There are some different versions, but she gave me the instructions for the traditional Brigadeiro. Marieli recommends using a large wooden spoon to stir the mixture if you have one, which I did, and it worked beautifully.
These candies are chewy, chocolatey, and super yummy–they remind me of chocolate caramels. They would make great treats and food gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter–anytime you want to make or give some special sweets. If you need to make a large batch, you’ll want to double the recipe!
Marielli also said she often uses this Brigadeiro mixture poured over cakes as a frosting (see note in recipe below)–she did that with Pam’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake, pouring the warm Brigadeiro mixture over the cake instead of frosting it with the cream cheese frosting. She also sprinkled roasted almonds on top. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?
Here’s the recipe–thanks so much, Marielli, for sharing it! 🙂
MARIELI’S BRIGADEIRO (BRAZILIAN-STYLE TRUFFLES) from Marieli G.
Makes about 20 to 24 truffles
- 3 Tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, plus an additional Tablespoon unsalted butter to use on your hands when rolling mixture into balls (if using unsalted butter in recipe, add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the mixture when you’re cooking it)
- 2 Tablespoons sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder (Marieli uses sweetened; I used unsweetened since that’s what I had on hand)
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup of chocolate sprinkles for rolling the truffles in (you could also use shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts)
- Mini baking cups
Place a small to medium non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat on your stove. Add the butter, letting it melt slowly and completely (don’t let it get to a boil).
Remove saucepan from heat and mix in the cocoa powder, blending well to avoid lumps.
Place saucepan back over medium-low heat and add in the sweetened condensed milk, blending everything well. Stir mixture continuously for 20 to 30 minutes, or until you pass the spoon across the bottom of the pan and notice the mixture is thick enough to separate for a few seconds (my mixture was cooked enough after 20 minutes). Note: It’s important to stir the mixture continuously so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and sides of pan, making the mixture lumpy).
Turn off heat, remove pan from stove and pour mixture on a large plate (Note: if you want to use the Brigadeiro as a frosting, you can pour it over your cake at this time). Let mixture cool on plate for easier handling (to cool more quickly, place in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes–but don’t cool it too much, or the sprinkles won’t stick to the mixture when you roll it into balls).
After mixture has cooled a little, rub a small amount of unsalted butter inside your hands so the mixture won’t stick when you’re rolling it into small balls.
Scoop the mixture with a regular tea spoon (not the measuring teaspoon) and put it in the palm of your hand. Roll into the shape of a 1″ ball (mine were slightly smaller). Then dip and roll the ball in sprinkles, covering the entire surface and place in a mini baking cup.
Repeat with the remaining mixture, rolling into balls, covering with sprinkles, and placing in baking cups. Add more butter to your hands as necessary for easier rolling.
Have you made or eaten Brigadeiro before?
I bought some salted caramel sauce earlier this summer at the grocery store, and I could hardly tell that it was salted! So I made a note to try making a homemade salted caramel sauce sometime, and I finally had the chance. This Easy Salted Caramel Sauce is definitely salted and has a great buttery, sweet-salty flavor!
My recipe uses both granulated sugar and brown sugar–if you use dark brown sugar (see jar of sauce right behind the plate of apples in the photo), your sauce will have a darker color and just a very slightly stronger caramel flavor. If you use light brown sugar (see jar of sauce in background), your sauce will be lighter in color and slightly more buttery in flavor. I’ve made it both ways and I like both–the difference is not that big and the caramel sauce tastes great both ways!
Use this caramel sauce as a topping over ice cream, as a fruit dip for apples or pears, or drizzle it over cakes or muffins…it adds a great flavor when you’re wanting something sweet, salty, and caramel-y! I like drizzling it over apples, and the apples I used here are called SweeTango® apples (I received a few complimentary apples to try out), which are crisp and sweet with a little tart punch. They tasted great with this caramel sauce!
EASY SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE by NancyC
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (dark brown sugar with give you a deeper-colored caramel sauce)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half and half (light cream)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cut into slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or sea salt (for less of a salted flavor, just use 1 teaspoon)
Mix the sugars, heavy and light creams, and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir gently for 15 minutes while ingredients are melting and cooking–mixture will thicken slightly. Turn up heat to medium and cook for another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, as mixture comes to a full boil. Then let mixture continue boiling for an additional 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat and stir in salt. Cool caramel sauce for about 15 minutes and pour into a canning/mason jar.
Use caramel sauce warm or let cool in jar another 15 to 20 minutes before storing in the refrigerator, tightly covered, until ready to use. The caramel sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
To reheat, place uncovered jar in microwave and heat for 30 seconds; remove and stir sauce, then heat for an additional 30 seconds (or longer, if needed) and stir again before using.
I love the flavor of caramel, especially in the fall. You can’t beat caramel and apples together! Do you have a favorite caramel treat?
If you are a fan of Downton Abbey (or even if you’re not), this is a recipe you may be interested in! It’s from a cookbook called Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (softcover), which features 80 recipes inspired by this PBS series. Author Larry Edwards, who is also the food editor for the San Francisco Independent, includes lots of recipes for foods you would find at an Edwardian table including…
- Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Cream Tea Sandwiches
- English Popovers
- Cream Scones
- Majestic Potato Soup
- Royal Cheddar Cheese Soup
- Asparagus in Cider Sauce
- Leek Pie
- Orange Glazed Beef Brisket
- Lemon Cream Souffle
- Queen Victoria Rice Pudding
- Raspberry Nut Sponge Cake
As I looked through my review copy one unusually chilly spring evening, I decided to try the Downton Pound Cake. Since I had to actually turn the heat on that evening, I thought I might as well bake something to make the place even more cozy! Besides, pound cakes are wonderful, and this recipe suggests drizzling the cake with some melted dark chocolate, so I was sold on that! 🙂
I have to say, though, that this is not your typical, fool-proof pound cake. This is very crusty on the outside (which is a little different for a pound cake) and has a dense, moist texture on the inside. I just want to mention that so you’re not disappointed with the crusty outer part. Everyone I served it to really liked the crustiness, however. This cake has a wonderful almond flavor, too! You may think putting a whole Tablespoon of almond extract is too much, but it really isn’t in this cake. It did have a somewhat splotchy coloring when I took it out of the pan after baking, and perhaps it was because I used too much oil when I was greasing my pan–the recipe says to give your pan a light coat of oil, but I’d rather over grease than under grease to prevent a cake from sticking. My cake came out of the pan pretty easily–I had to loosen the edges a little with a knife before removing, though.
The splotchiness doesn’t really matter anyway if you drizzle the top of your cake with dark chocolate, like I did–in fact, I highly recommend doing that! It’s wonderful with the dark chocolate on top–I don’t think the cake would be as good without the chocolate. I just melted a 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips in the microwave–I melted the chips in a small microwavable bowl for a minute, then stirred, then melted and stirred every 30 seconds till all the chips were melted–it only takes about 2 to 3 minutes total microwave time to melt all the chips. After the chips were all melted, I also stirred in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to make the chocolate extra creamy and easier to drizzle.
DOWNTON POUND CAKE from Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
Makes 1 bundt cake
- 3 cups flour (I used all-purpose unbleached flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- Optional-1 (10-ounce) bag of dark chocolate chips for drizzling over cake
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly brush a bundt cake pan with oil or use a cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and pale.
Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract until smooth.
Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Remove half of the egg whites and stir them into the pound cake batter. Fold the other half of the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Place into the oven and bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
Remove cake from the pan and let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve. Note: If you want to do the holiday version, simply melt some dark chocolate with a touch of butter and drape it along the top of the cake, letting it run down the sides, and scatter some slivered almonds (I melted 1 (10-ounce) bag of dark chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for my glaze, and decided to leave off the slivered almonds. Make sure you stir in the coconut oil after the chocolate chips are melted).
One thing I did a little differently from the recipe: I couldn’t find my egg separator, so I didn’t separate the yolks from the egg whites when I was mixing them in the batter. I think the pound cake would have risen a little more had I separated the eggs and whisked those egg whites, so be sure to follow those recipe instructions for best results. Despite my not doing that though, the cake still turned out good and tasted yummy!
The book doesn’t include any photos, but there are lots of great-sounding recipes. Are you a Downton Abbey or a pound cake fan? Or both? 🙂