Great Aunt Corrine’s Fudge

Fudge

I used to love eating this as a kid. I took it to school as birthday treats instead of cupcakes many times. It’s not as soft as traditional fudge, but so delicious! As my mom says, it’s a tricky recipe, but so worth it. I had to call mom part of the way through to make sure I was doing it right. It turned out almost like I remember. I poured it too late (disaster photo at the bottom), which created some texture challenges, but it still tasted great.

This was also my first time using the candy thermometer I purchased from Pampered Chef. I’m really happy with my purchase!

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla.

Instructions 

Mix sugar, cocoa, and milk over medium heat until blended and sugar is dissolved. Add butter.

Heat and stir until candy thermometer reads 236. This will take a while and it’ll be bubbling.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly while beating with a spoon until fudge begins to lose its gloss. (These were her instructions, but I waited too long to pour mine and it didn’t spread like it should have. I thought I should’ve poured it a few times, but waited because it still had all of its gloss. Oops! I’ll have to watch it closer next time and see if I can find a better indicator than “begins to lose its gloss.”)

Pour immediately onto a buttered platter and spread it out. (Note: I poured mine onto a platter with parchment and it worked well.) Cut into pieces when cooled.

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What happened because I poured it too late. I was still able to salvage most of it into actual rectangular pieces, somehow! 

Brownie Stuffed Cookies

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I was at work last week, and we were having a get together to thank someone who was on a temporary assignment in our location. Someone brought in cookies with brownies inside. Another coworker who eats my baked goods often said “You HAVE to figure out how to make these!” With some trial and error, I figured them out.

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Oops.

The first batch didn’t turn out so well. I made a rookie mistake and didn’t refrigerate my cookie dough. I also didn’t flatten the brownie pieces. The result? The dough spread way too much and the brownies were sticking up in the middle. They turned out looking like nipples. Yep, go ahead and laugh.

The second batch was a little better. I flattened the brownies and refrigerated the dough, but the consistency was still off and they spread a little too much. They were close, but still not what I was hoping for.

Batches 1 and 2 used a traditional chocolate chip cookie dough, with the chocolate chopped into small pieces instead of in chip form.

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Third time’s a charm!

For the third batch, I changed the proportions a bit to make a dough that would have a consistency more like a sugar cookie dough that would hopefully hold its shape better. It worked! I didn’t chop the chocolate into small pieces and instead used chocolate chips, mainly out of tiredness. I chilled the dough for an hour and made sure the brownie pieces were squished flat.

 

Ingredients

Brownies, prepared according to recipe or box instructions.
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2½ cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

Instructions

Prepare brownies according to recipe or package and let cool.

Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add baking powder. Add flour, ½ cup a a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips.

Use plastic wrap to form the dough into a log and wrap tightly. Chill for one hour.

Use a very small round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out brownie pieces. Use a glass to flatten each piece. You can also take the pieces from between the cutouts, form them into balls, and flatten.

Roll out cookie dough and cut out with a slightly larger cutter. Press a brownie into half of the pieces. Top with another half of cookie dough, then press the sides to seal. If your oven is preheating, refrigerate them while you wait. Also refrigerate the ones that are waiting to go into the oven if you can’t fit all batches at once.

Bake at 375° (350° if you’re using convection) for about 10 minutes.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is one of my favorite flavors, and it’s not very difficult to make. You just need a good vanilla ice cream recipe, chocolate, and some mint flavoring. I have the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer. I was using the vanilla ice cream recipe that came with it, but it never came out exactly how I hoped. I stumbled upon this recipe from the New York Times. It’s called “the only ice cream recipe you’ll ever need” for a reason! I used 2% milk instead of whole milk (it was all I had in the fridge) and it turned out great.

I added 1 tsp vanilla to the cream/milk/sugar mixture at the beginning of the recipe. After it finished cooking and had several hours to chill in the fridge, I added 1 tsp of mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring before churning for 20 minutes. I added half a bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the ice cream at the end (with about 2 minutes of churning time remaining). I transferred the ice cream to storage containers and let it hang out in the fridge overnight to get a little firmer – but of course I ate a little bit right away, too. So good!

Mini Chocolate Cakes

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I had a party yesterday afternoon and needed a quick and easy dessert to make. I was already running behind schedule. I had some chocolate pound cake mix, which would be super easy to do something with. (I’m totally serious – you just add butter and water to this magical mix!)

Ingredients

1 package Tastefully Simple Classy Chocolate Pound Cake Mix
¾ cup melted butter
1 cup water
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 ¾ cups heavy cream
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup powdered sugar

If you want to use store bought whipped cream, you don’t need the powdered sugar or vanilla, and you only need 1 ¾ cups heavy cream.

Instructions

Cake

Mix the pound cake mix, melted butter, and water. Grease two 9-inch round pans. I probably would’ve used a jelly roll pan if I had one. Make sure you set your cakes up to bake flat. I have these Wilton bake even strips that go around the pan to promote even baking. A Cozy Kitchen also had a DIY method here. I totally forgot to use the strips, which is why you see some uneven layers in the photo.

Bake at 325 for about 15-18 minutes. I think I did 12 minutes, tested, and put it back for another 5. Like a regular cake, a toothpick will come out clean when it’s done. Don’t be scared if the toothpick comes out clean and the cake still looks a little jiggly in the center.

Cool cakes fully before assembling.

Filling

Beat 1 ¾ heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Add ¼ cup milk and the packet of pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Whipped Cream

Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla, and ¼ cup powdered sugar until it’s a whipped cream consistency with stiff peaks. I could’ve beaten mine for a few more minutes. It wasn’t runny, but it wasn’t quite as stiff as I wanted. Keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

Assembly

Remove the cakes from the pans. (Caution – don’t remove until your cake is fully cooled!) Use a biscuit cutter to cut the cakes into small circular pieces. You can use whatever size cutter you want. The one I used was about 2″ and I was able to get 16 pieces (for 8 cakes). Go smaller if you don’t want people to need a fork.

Use a piping bag to pipe the filling onto each bottom piece. Stack with the top cake piece and top with whipped cream. You could also add some chocolate shavings.

Lazy Cupcakes

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My old boss is transferring to the other side of the country, and today was her last day before she moves. I moved on to a new position a few months ago, but we still work in the same building. It’s hard to explain my old job to people who don’t work where we work, but I was basically her right arm for two years. There was a party for her today, and I needed to throw together something fast that would still be delicious. This was one of those “fake it until you make it” situations because I wasn’t even able to start this until 9:00 last night. And oh by the way, I’d kind of challenged a coworker to a contest, and I’ve never lost to hm. I don’t lose, so I had to figure something out fast.

The cupcakes are from a boxed mix. Then I made some chocolate pudding to fill the cupcakes. Normally when I do cupcake filling, I do more of a mousse custard thing, but I didn’t have the right ingredients. So pudding it was. I made the cupcakes and the pudding last night. I was too tired to wait for them to cool. I filled them and iced them at 5:45 this morning. I used an apple corer to make a hole for the filling and piped pudding into each one. The icing was just a store bought thing that I stuffed in a piping bag so it would look nice. Then I tossed some glittery sprinkles on top and called it a day. Everyone loved them.

Super Fudgy Brownies

fullsizeoutput_bedThese brownies are one of my favorites, and they’re not even super homemade. If you need to throw together a baked something-or-other for a bake sale, birthday, office party, or whatever – these are very easy and fast. And everyone loves them!

Ingredients

  • 1 box brownie mix + everything the box says you need
  • 1 bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box chocolate instant pudding mix

You can also use 1/2 bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of M&Ms instead of the whole bag of chocolate chips.

Instructions

Combine brownie mix and pudding mix. Add the other ingredients indicated on the brownie box and mix until combined. The batter will be a lot thicker than other brownie batter you might be used to. Mix in chocolate chips. Bake according to the instructions on the box.

If you really want a great brownie (using this recipe or otherwise), make sure you cook them until they are just done. Over-baked brownies start to become dry, and that’s no good. I normally set the timer for 1-2 minutes short of what the box says. I test them, and if they need more time, I usually keep bumping the timer for 2 minutes and testing until they’re done. If they seem very un-done the first time I test, I add 5 minutes, then do increments of 2 minutes thereafter if needed. If they seem like they should be finished, but the knife isn’t quite clean, test another spot in case you hit a chocolate chip.