Originally being from the midwest, I didn’t get my first taste of Southern food until I was in my mid-twenties. And I’ve been a fan of it ever since! There’s something about Southern cooking that is so comforting and inviting. And because I love the charm of Southern food, I was excited to review the Southern Living cookbook, Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang, who is a ninth-generation Southerner!Continue reading
Do you like brownies? I think I hear a “yes.” Do you like shortbread? I think I hear another “yes.” If that’s the case, there’s a very good chance you will love these Shortbread Brownies! I found the recipe over at Better Homes and Gardens. They are really yummy…so nice and thick, chewy, and fudgy. The buttery shortbread crust has mini semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed into it, which is a nice extra chocolatey touch! The recipe calls for a 9×9″ square baking pan, but I used an 8×8″ pan and baked them a few minutes longer. I also added a few more mini chocolate chips to make them extra chocolatey! The original recipe says it makes 24 bars, but I cut mine into bigger pieces, so I ended up with 16 bars. Here’s the recipe if you want to try them out…
SHORTBREAD BROWNIES by NancyCreative, slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan (or an 8×8-inch pan) with foil or parchment paper; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in the 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
While shortbread crust is baking, you can mix up the brownie batter. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, 3/4 cup flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, melted butter, and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth. Stir in the 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Carefully spread over crust in pan.
Bake 40 minutes more (if using an 8×8″ pan, your baking time will be slightly longer). Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of pan by lifting up on foil or parchment paper. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars (unless you cut them bigger like I did; then you’ll get about 16).
If you want to make a bigger batch, you could double the recipe and make them in a 9×13″ pan…the baking time may be a little longer.
Hope you enjoy these brownies!
A few posts ago, I told you about a recipe for Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, made by Jane Ann for her department lunch. Well, Jane, who is also in that same department, madethis fabulous Texas sheet cake for the dessert. It was super-good…nice and moist, very chocolatey, and topped with a smooth layer of chocolate icing. Jane found the recipe over at The Pioneer Woman, where it’s called The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.
Some people call this cake a Texas Sheet Cake because it’s so big…it’s baked in a big 13 x 18″ sheet pan or jelly roll pan, which measures about 10 x 15″. It’s described on The Pioneer Woman website as “…moist beyond imagination, chocolatey and rich like no tomorrow, and 100% of the time, causes moans and groans from anyone who takes a bite.” And as someone who tasted the cake Jane made, I can verify that this is all true! 🙂Continue reading
My artistic friend Eileen made these delicious scones and gave me the recipe (and this wonderful photo she took of them!) so I could share them with you, too! Eileen adapted her recipe from a cranberry scone recipe she found in a cookbook called Scones, Muffins, and Tea Cakes: Breakfast Breads and Teatime Spreads. These are buttermilk scones made without eggs, flavored with dried cranberries, almonds, and almond extract, and topped with a sweet touch-of-cinnamon glaze–doesn’t that sound yummy? Here is Eileen’s recipe…it makes 16 scones.
CRANBERRY ALMOND BREAKFAST SCONES
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the dried cranberries and almond slivers. Pour in the buttermilk and almond extract and mix with spatula until blended.
Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half. On a lightly floured board, roll into 2 circles, approximately ½ to ¾ inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 wedges.
To make the glaze, combine the cream, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Bake the scones on the prepared baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. Remove scones from the oven and brush with glaze. Makes 16 scones.
Not only is Eileen a very good baker, she is also a talented artist! Here’s a still life she painted…
Isn’t that beautiful? Eileen is involved in art shows from time to time and has her work shown in galleries, too. She is such a talented artist!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful scone recipe with us, Eileen!
I have a confession to make…I have never made homemade pizza! I’ve been wanting to make some, though, and very recently I had the opportunity to review a cookbook/guide to pizza-making called Thursday Night Pizza, written by Fr. Dominic Garramone, and published by Reedy Press. So this was the perfect time for me to attempt making pizza from scratch.
Father Dominic hosted a popular PBS show, Breaking Bread with Father Dominic, for several years and has tested his pizza recipes for the past twenty years on his fellow monks at the Saint Bede Abbey. After all that testing, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with any of his recipes! The book includes instructions for making 3 different pizza doughs, 8 sauces, 2 pestos, and several dozen recipes for pizzas (including some pizza appetizers and a few dessert pizzas).
The hardest thing was deciding which recipe to try first…there’s the the Four Cheese Tomato-Top Pizza, Italian Beef Pizza, Carbonara Pizza, Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken Pizza, Spinach Pesto Pizza, and Muffaletta Pizza, to name a few. I finally decided on the Pizza Margherita, because all the ingredients–fresh basil, tomato, mozzarella, and garlic–are favorites of mine. In the cookbook, it’s described as “A classic pie that is both rustic and elegant in its simplicity.” I like rustic and simple! 🙂
Now as far as the pizza crust goes, Father Dominic says homemade dough is always the best, so I used his recipe for Italian style dough (for a thick crust) on page 32 of his cookbook. It’s not that hard to make, and the crust was really good! However, when you make homemade dough, it does add a few hours to your pizza-making process; if you don’t have the time, you can use pre-made pizza crust, like the Boboli brand, or whatever type of crust you prefer. For the Pizza Margherita, a thick crust works best. Father Dominic also recommends using a pizza stone instead of a pan if you have one, and I did have a round pizza stone. But if you don’t, just use a pizza pan.
Here’s the recipe…
PIZZA MARGHERITA (from Thursday Night Pizza)
- Recommended crust: 8-12 oz. of Italian style dough (from page 32) OR pre-made thick pizza crust
- 4 large plum tomatoes, diced and drained
- 1 garlic clove, mashed and minced
- 3 or 4 large leaves of fresh basil, cut into strips (I found some fresh basil at my grocery store; even in winter, more stores are carrying fresh herbs now and you definitely want fresh basil for this)
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces (I bought an 8-oz. block of mozzarella and shredded it with a grater)
- some cornmeal, for dusting your pizza stone or pan
Using your fingertips, hand-stretch the pizza dough to 12″ to 14″ and place on a pre-heated cornmeal-dusted baking stone or pizza pan. Toss diced tomatoes with garlic. Top the dough with the diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Bake at 500 degrees until the crust is lightly browned and the mozzarella is fully melted (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and top with strips of basil before serving.
If you like adding extra seasoning to your pizza, you might want to add a dash of salt or pepper to suit your taste.
This is a really nice and thick, cheesy pizza. And if I can make homemade pizza, I know you can, too! The recipes in Thursday Night Pizza are easy to follow, so don’t feel intimidated about trying any of them out!