Date Energy Bites

Cranberry-Date Energy Bites - A quick, easy and healthy snack! | browneyedbaker.com

Last summer when I was pregnant, I went through a handful of rather queasy months. I never got very sick, but from mid-morning through the afternoon it was always a little touch and go. I found that sometimes even though it was the last thing I wanted to do, if I ate just a little bit I would feel better. As a result, I began keeping snacks in my purse in case I needed to nibble on something while I was away from home. I picked up some Larabars at the grocery store and got totally hooked on them; I still keep a couple in my purse! If you’re not familiar, they are simply pureed dates with nuts and some salt and additional flavors. Not surprisingly, the peanut variety was my favorite. I loved that they include only a few basic ingredients and no preservatives.

These energy bites are modeled after those bars and the flavor combinations are virtually limitless.

Cranberry-Date Energy Bites - A quick, easy and healthy snack! | browneyedbaker.com

The pureed dates form the base for these snack bites, but beyond that, I encourage you to play around with different nuts and dried fruits. I love cashews, but you could also use peanuts, almonds, pecans, etc.; the same goes for dried fruit, as well. I think that the dried cranberries provide a nice tangy balance to the sweet dates, but you could also use dried blueberries, cherries, mango… whatever you’d like!

While I’m no longer nauseous throughout the day, meals and snacks are hard to come by some days, so having something healthy that I can easily grab and eat with one hand is crucial. These are the perfect solution and I plan to keep a stash in the refrigerator for emergency snacking!

Cranberry-Date Energy Bites - A quick, easy and healthy snack! | browneyedbaker.com

Four years ago: Broccoli Salad
Seven years ago: Cheddar Corn Chowder

Yield: About 20 bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Pureed fruit and nuts, along with flaxseed, are a perfect bite-size healthy snack!

Ingredients:

14 pitted dates
1½ cups unsalted cashews (or the nut of your choice)
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
½ cup dried cranberries (or other dried berry of your choice)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, puree together the dates, cashews, flaxseed and vanilla extract for 1 minute.

2. Add the water and dried cranberries and process until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute.

3. Scoop heaping tablespoons, roll into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer until set, then transfer to a resealable bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 month.

Brown Eyed Baker

Friday Things

Joseph David Baptism - April 12, 2015

1. This past Sunday was Joseph’s baptism (which also would have been my dad’s 62nd birthday) and it was an absolutely fantastic day. He somehow managed to sleep through the entire thing… like didn’t stir once. He fell asleep while I was holding him and talking to family before the ceremony began and didn’t open his eyes again until we were walking out of the chapel, after we had taken approximately one billion photos. I thought for sure the cold water hitting his head would jolt him awake but, nope. The little dude was OUT. The priest was beyond impressed. On a related note, Joseph slept through the night for the very first time on Saturday night!! He slept from 9:30pm until 6:30am and has been sleeping for 8 to 9 hours straight ever since. Woo!

(Also, the picture above is unmistakeable evidence that someone got daddy’s chin :))

2. One of my husband’s best friends came in for the weekend along with his wife and their daughter, who is 21 months old. I think it’s safe to say that Duke officially has a new best friend. Those two (Duke and the toddler, that is) chased each other around the house the entire weekend and she kept giving Duke her shoe, then would throw her head back and belly laugh at Duke holding it in his mouth, yelling “shoe!” After they left on Sunday, I immediately regretted not taking a video of the two of them playing together. It was a little glimpse of what it’s going to look like at our house in a couple of years and I think Joseph, Duke and Einstein are going to love playing together.

3. I discovered Mary & Martha products earlier this week, thanks to Bridget at Bake at 350. It is an absolutely gorgeous line of kitchen and home goods, many of which include inspirational and spiritual verses. I am in love with the pizza tray and bread board!

4. This organized refrigerator (complete with labels!) is totally getting my inner Type-A personality excited about a refrigerator overhaul.

5. Epicurious is putting together a list of their Top 10 cookbooks of all time – books that every cook should have in their kitchen. Which cookbooks would you add to the list?

6. I love this post from Cookie Monster Cooking on How to Stock a Healthy Pantry, and love that it includes a pretty printable!

7. These 100 Best Baking Tips & Tricks from A Spicy Perspective are a fantastic compilation of pretty much every useful piece of advice when it comes to baking. Definitely check it out!

8. The NHL playoffs started this week and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m currently all-consumed with the needs of an infant or because my beloved Penguins have really stunk it up the second half of the season, but I’m as ho-hum about the playoffs as I’ve ever been in my life. Maybe if we show some life in the first couple of games it’ll get me into the swing of playoff hockey. Who are you rooting for this year?

9. As you may have noticed, The Weekend Dish took a hiatus after Joseph was born, due in large part to the fact that I had basically zero time to take a shower let alone do my usual blog surfing. Now that we’re settling into a little bit more of a routine during the day, things are falling back into place and The Weekend Dish will resume tomorrow!

10. TGIF! These guys wish you an awesome weekend!

Duke & Einstein hanging out | browneyedbaker.com

Brown Eyed Baker

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake - A moist chocolate cake with a boiled frosting similar to Texas sheet cake! | browneyedbaker.com

Cola cake has intrigued me for years… it seems to be somewhat of a southern specialty and I’ve always been drawn to its similarity with Texas sheet cake (another Southern specialty). I’ve been obsessed with Texas sheet cake since taking my first bite of that utterly amazing boiled frosting that sets up like fudge on top of a warm cake. Talk about heaven.

This Coca-Cola cake is made in much the same way, except it also includes a can of cola in both the batter and in the frosting. It’s subtle, but you can totally taste the cola when you eat the cake, and I love the unique flavor. As if you would need any other reason to make this cake, but it can be accomplished using just one bowl, one small saucepan and a measuring cup. Low maintenance is always a big selling point for me!

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake - A moist chocolate cake with a boiled frosting similar to Texas sheet cake! | browneyedbaker.com

Let’s go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room and get it out of the way now… this cake contains a lot of sugar. There’s sugar in the cola, there’s additional sugar in the cake and even more sugar in the frosting. You might be wondering if you can reduce the sugar some way, somehow. The answer is… I don’t know, but doing so would very likely affect the final outcome. This won’t win any awards for being diabetic-friendly, for sure, but outside of health issues, I would just go ahead and adopt the “everything in moderation” mindset, grab a fork and dig in.

This cake is extremely moist and while it packs a big chocolate punch, it’s not overly rich, which I love. I also adore topping it with a big old scoop of vanilla ice cream, which of course is optional, but encouraged. This is way too easy a cake to not add it to your recipe rotation immediately… I’m thinking it would make a perfect Sunday cake!

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake - A moist chocolate cake with a boiled frosting similar to Texas sheet cake! | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting
Two years ago: Dark Chocolate Mousse
Three years ago: General Tso’s Chicken

Yield: 15 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A classic Coca-Cola Cake – supremely moist chocolate sheet cake with a boiled chocolate frosting.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) can cola
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
1 (12-ounce) can cola
½ cup salted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Directions:

1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

3. In a small saucepan, stir together the cola, butter and cocoa powder over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until moistened.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla until blended. Add to the batter, whisking constantly.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

6. Make the Frosting: About 15 minutes before the cake is finished, begin the frosting. In a small saucepan, bring the cola to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to ½ cup, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and cocoa powder until the butter is melted, then remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Pour immediately over the hot cake in an even layer. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. Leftovers should be covered and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Brown Eyed Baker

Saltine Toffee Candy with Pecans

Saltine Toffee Candy with Pecans - An easy and delicious candy recipe! | browneyedbaker.com

For as much as I love desserts, candy-making is one thing that I haven’t delved into much yet. For the most part, I stick to things like fudge and chocolate bark, but I’ve been wanting to branch out and try some different types of candy. I know that for many families, making toffee is a long-forged holiday tradition and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Not only has my family never made toffee for the holidays, but I can’t ever remember having it, period – not in tins, not as gifts, not on cookie trays. Nada.

As a result, I’ve been wanting to give toffee a whirl for quite awhile now, and I’ve seen versions of a recipe using saltine crackers as a base. I LOVE saltine crackers (with cheese, with pb&j, in soup, etc.), so I thought that recipe would be a perfect place to start.

Saltine Toffee Candy with Pecans - An easy and delicious candy recipe! | browneyedbaker.com

This was an incredibly easy recipe and I imagine it would be very simple to scale it up and make multiple pans at once if you are baking for the holidays.

First a baking pan is lined with saltine crackers, then butter and brown sugar are melted together and boiled. That gets poured over top of the saltines in an even layer and then baked in the oven until bubbly. Out of the oven, chocolate chips are sprinkled on top and left to soften, then spread evenly over top. Finally, chopped pecans are added as the finishing touch before it gets shipped off to the refrigerator for an hour to set.

Saltine Toffee Candy with Pecans - An easy and delicious candy recipe! | browneyedbaker.com

I love how the saltine crackers add a salty kick to counter the sweetness of the toffee and chocolate. I’m a huge sucker for the sweet and salty combo and this candy absolutely delivers. If you’re new to candy making or intimidated by using a thermometer, this is a great beginner recipe.

I just may have to start a new toffee tradition of my own come holiday time!

Saltine Toffee Candy with Pecans - An easy and delicious candy recipe! | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Strawberry-Pistachio Semifreddo
Four years ago: Ginger-Tea Lemonade
Six years ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Seven years ago: Homemade Marshmallows

Yield: 18 to 24 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

An easy recipe for toffee candy, combining the salty from saltine crackers with sweet toffee, topped with chocolate and chopped pecans.

Ingredients:

30 to 34 saltine crackers
1 cup salted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

1. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Break the crackers in half if necessary to fit around the edges.

3. Place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and immediately pour evenly over the saltine crackers. Use an offset spatula to spread it, ensuring that all of the crackers are coated.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the mixture. Allow the chocolate chips to soften for 3 to 5 minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

5. Cool at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the pan is able to be handled easily, then refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the chocolate is set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Brown Eyed Baker

How to Stock Your Freezer with Make-Ahead Meals

How To Stock Your Freezer with Make-Ahead Meals - Tips and recipe ideas! | browneyedbaker.com

Once I got into the third trimester of my pregnancy, I started to make a list of all the things I wanted to stash away in the freezer for after the baby was born. So many of my friends told me that it was a life saver, so I was all-in. My mom ended up making all of the main dishes for me, and I stashed away a lot of breakfast and snack foods. All of my friends were absolutely right – when you’re sleep-deprived and starving, it’s phenomenal to be able to reach into the freezer and grab something, throw it into the oven and have a hot meal.

There are definitely certain foods and meals that freeze and reheat better than others, and I’ve listed my favorites below along with some tips on how to keep your frozen meals as fresh as possible.

Freezer-Friendly Meals

If you’re planning to stock your freezer either because you’re expecting or maybe just to make things a little bit easier on weeknights, your first plan of action is to decide what to make. Some recipes freeze better than others, but your possibilities are vast. This list is nowhere close to being comprehensive, but here are some of my favorite freezer meals:

Tips for Freezing Meals

  • Sauce-based dishes: If you’re freezing something like baked ziti or enchiladas, I’ve found that adding extra sauce to the dish before freezing keeps the reheated dish from being a little dried out.
  • Pizza dough: Freeze after the dough rises, but before shaping. Just form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
  • Large-yield recipes: For things like baked ziti, chili or a big pot of soup, freeze in smaller portions. This lessens the likelihood that the food will go to waste or that you’ll get tired of eating the same thing for days on end.
  • Soups and sauces: To save freezer space, portion out soups and sauces into gallon-size freezer bags, seal and lay flat to freeze, then stack them.
  • Containers: Whenever possible, I freeze in disposable containers so that clean up is easy and there aren’t any dishes to wash. For baked pastas or casseroles, this means foil pans. For things like muffins, cookies or breakfast burritos, I wrap individually in plastic wrap then place then a freezer bag.

Whether you’re planning ahead for yourself or making something for a loved one, having an easy hot meal in the freezer is a fabulous idea.

What are your favorite recipes to keep in the freezer for a rainy day?

Brown Eyed Baker

Top 10 List: Favorite Bar Dessert Recipes

10 Best Bar Recipes | browneyedbaker.com

[We continue to update the “Top 10″ series of posts with bar cookies and desserts!]

I love bar desserts because of their simplicity. Not only are they typically quite easy to make, but they are also easy to slice, pack up to take somewhere, and eat with your hands, no fork required. (The one exception to the no-fork rule might be the strawberry pretzel squares, but they are worth that extra little effort!) Below are my 10 favorite bar dessert recipes – enjoy!! (And don’t forget to share your favorites in the comments!)

Below is an updated list of my 10 favorite bar recipes… Enjoy!

1. Blueberry Crumb Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Blueberry Crumb Bars | browneyedbaker.com

2. Chewy, Chunky Blondies

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Chewy Chunky Blondies | browneyedbaker.com

3. Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars – The very first dessert recipe that I can remember baking on my own, this is my grandma’s recipe for pecan pie bars with chocolate chunks mixed in. I still get totally addicted to these every time I make them!

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

4. Homemade Snickers Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Homemade Snickers Bars | browneyedbaker.com

5. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

6. Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Peanut Butter & Jelly Pie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

7. Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Peanut Butter Cup Bars | browneyedbaker.com

8. Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

9. Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

10. Zia Lena’s Date Bar Cookies

Top 10 Best Bar Recipes >> Zia Lena Date Bar Cookies | browneyedbaker.com

What’s your favorite bar recipe??

Brown Eyed Baker

Friday Things

Joseph David - 2.5 months old on Easter Sunday | browneyedbaker.com

1. Joseph enjoyed his first Easter on Sunday, and the bunny made a stop at our house to bring him a book, a stuffed animal, a couple of pacifiers and a new toy. He seemed pretty pleased with his basket haul :)

2. Yesterday I treated myself to a mani/pedi and it felt SO GOOD to get pampered for a couple of hours. I was getting regular pedicures while I was pregnant until the weather got really cold, but I haven’t had a manicure in years. My fingers have never looked so good!

3. Did you hear about the Full House spinoff that Netflix is planning? I LIVED for TGIF television on Friday nights during my tween years. I still enjoy Full House reruns to this day, so I am totally ecstatic about this news!

4. So apparently McDonald’s is going to start offering all day breakfast… my college self wishes that this had happened 15 years ago. Now I’m craving a sausage biscuit and hash browns.

5. These 41 style charts are insanely helpful for those of us who are fashion-challenged. Love!

6. Are you planning a garden for this year? I think I’m going to do some simple containers with herbs and maybe some tomatoes and/or peppers. Tell me what you’re going to be planting!

7. I’m loving this tutorial on how to make a chalkboard print in Photoshop… a cheap and easy way to customize so many different prints!

8. This graphic on how to store your groceries deserves a permanent place on your refrigerator… so helpful!

9. We still haven’t watched House of Cards yet… have you? Everyone I know who has watched it has been underwhelmed by this season, which has me a little bummed. On another note, I’m excited for Game of Thrones to come back on Sunday. Did you see the Seth Meyers skit with bringing Jon Snow to a dinner party? Hilarious.

10. TGIF! Einstein got to enjoy some one-on-one time with Joseph…

Joseph and Einstein | browneyedbaker.com

Brown Eyed Baker

Pimento Cheese Sandwich

The famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich sold at The Masters tournament | browneyedbaker.com

If you’ve been following for some time, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a pretty big sports fan. There really aren’t that many sporting events that I won’t sit and watch, although it took me a really, really long time to warm up to golf. Growing up when we’d have Sunday dinners at my grandma’s, there were basically two seasons – football season and golf season. The TV in her living room either had on Steelers football games or, in the spring and summer, my uncle was sitting in front of it watching golf while the rest of us moaned and complained about how boring it was.

I pretty much maintained that feeling until six years ago when I was spending the weekend at my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) apartment, and he had put on the final round of the British Open on Sunday while I was packing up my things and getting ready to head home. I sat down for a few minutes and saw that an older gentleman named Tom Watson was in a playoff to win the tournament. I love an underdog and got totally sucked into watching the finish and rooting for him to win (he did not). From that point on, I actually began to enjoy watching golf, and it’s now in my seasonal rotation of sports-watching.

The famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich sold at The Masters tournament | browneyedbaker.com

The Masters in Augusta, Georgia is famous for its pomp and tradition, and this year’s tournament begins today. My husband sent me an article about the concession stands at the event – apparently everything is very reasonably priced (a huge surprise if you’ve ever tried to buy a bottle of water at a sporting event) and there is a pimento cheese sandwich that might be just as popular as the tournament itself. This recipe is a replication of that sandwich, and if you love cheese, you’ll be in heaven.

I actually liken this to a cheese ball sandwiched between two pieces of bread, and the filling is also perfect for dipping your favorite pretzel sticks into! Are there any other golf watchers out there?

The famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich sold at The Masters tournament | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Bacon and Cheddar Beer Bread
Two years ago: Creamy Mushroom-Fontina Pasta

Yield: 8 sandwiches

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

The Pimento Cheese Sandwich – a staple at The Masters and like eating a cheeseball between two slices of bread!

Ingredients:

12 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
8 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1 cup)
4 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
1 (4-ounce) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 slices white bread

Directions:

1. Place the cheeses, pimentos, mayonnaise and mustard into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and blended, about 30 to 40 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

2. Transfer the cheese mixture to an airtight container and refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3. Spread the cheese mixture on bread slices and serve. The cheese mixture can keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Brown Eyed Baker

Nuts and Bolts Homemade Snack Mix

Nuts & Bolts Homemade Snack Mix with a secret ingredient - bacon grease! | browneyedbaker.com

There are two types of people in this world: those who snack, and those who don’t. Three square meals a day just don’t cut it for me. Sure, if I had big meals at each sitting, maybe, but I tend to get full quickly so my meals are often smaller, which means I get incredibly hungry long before it’s time for another meal. When I was packing my bag for the hospital I spent significant time shopping to make sure I had enough SNACKS. Priorities, of course. Actually, snacks may have been just about all that I used out of that much-thought-about and planned-to-the-nth-degree hospital bag, but I digress…

I love having things around the house that I can easily munch on throughout the day. Chex Mix has always been one of my favorite road trip staples, and after I made a homemade version last year, I was immediately hooked. A friend of mine posted her husband’s grandmother’s recipe for “nuts and bolts” on Facebook and as soon as I saw the ingredient list, I added everything to my grocery list.

The secret, killer ingredient in this snack mix? BACON DRIPPINGS. I asked if there was a substitute and I got the feeling that using anything else would be sheer blasphemy, so bacon grease it was! Trust me, you won’t want to use anything else either, but if you absolutely, positively MUST, then use butter.

I played around with the ingredients a bit, as her recipe didn’t include the bagel chips or Cheez-Its, but instead had Fritos. I love Fritos, but I kind of thought they would be overkill in this recipe since they’re so salty on their own. After I had made this, however, I realized that there are two other ingredients that would be fantastic:  rye bagel chips (you can buy them from Nuts.com) and Bugles. Do they even make Bugles anymore?! I used to love them as a kid… I’d put them on my fingers and bite them off!

This recipe makes an insanely large amount of snack mix; you could cut it in half and make one large roasting pan worth of snack mix. Which is to say, still A LOT.

Give me the scoop on your favorite add-ins to homemade snack mix… I can’t wait to play around with this recipe even more!

Nuts & Bolts Homemade Snack Mix with a secret ingredient - bacon grease! | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Oatmeal Cream Pies
Four years ago: Italian Pasta Salad
Five years ago: Triple-Chocolate Cookies
Six years ago: Banana Cream Pie

Yield: 2 large roasters

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A variation on homemade chex mix that includes bacon drippings!

Ingredients:

1 (12-ounce) box Rice Chex cereal
1 (12-ounce) box Corn Chex cereal
1 (14-ounce) box Wheat Chex cereal
1 (12-ounce) box Kix cereal
1 (8.9-ounce) box Cheerios
1 (13.7-ounce) box Cheez-It crackers
16 ounces plain bagel chips
16 ounces pretzel sticks
32 ounces salted peanuts
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup bacon grease
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon onion salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Place the cereals, crackers, bagel chips, pretzels and peanuts in a large roasting pan (you will probably need to use two) and stir to evenly combine.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter, bacon grease and Worcestershire sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the seasoned salt, garlic powder, celery and onion salts.

4. Drizzle the melted butter mixture evenly over the dry ingredients, then evenly sprinkle the seasoning mixture. Using your (clean) hands or a large wooden spoon, gently stir to ensure that all of the ingredients are evenly coated.

5. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Note: You can yield 1 cup of bacon grease from about 2 pounds of bacon. Just store the drippings in a glass jar or airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Brown Eyed Baker

Top 10 List: Favorite Brownie Recipes

Top 10 List: Favorite Brownie Recipes | browneyedbaker.com

[We continue to update the “Top 10″ series of posts with brownies!]

This is quite possibly one of my favorite top 10 lists… Brownies!! They are dense, fudgy, packed full of chocolate, and infinitely customizable depending on your favorite flavors. There are peanut butter brownies, salted caramel, cheesecake, frosted, frozen… you name it, and I guarantee a brownie has been made with it.

Below is an updated list of my 10 favorite brownie recipes… Enjoy!

1. Baked Brownie

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> The Baked Brownie | browneyedbaker.com

2. Buckeye Brownies

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> The Baked Brownie | browneyedbaker.com

3. Chewy Brownies

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Chewy Brownies | browneyedbaker.com

4. Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

5. Cream Cheese Brownies

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Cream Cheese Brownies | browneyedbaker.com

6. Frozen Brownie Sundae

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Frozen Brownie Sundae | browneyedbaker.com

7. Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

8. Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie Bars

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie Bars | browneyedbaker.com

9. Outrageous Brownies

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Outrageous Brownies | browneyedbaker.com

10. Sweet and Salty Brownies

Top 10 Best Brownie Recipes --> Sweet and Salty Brownies | browneyedbaker.com

What’s your favorite brownie recipe??

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Brown Eyed Baker

Friday Things

Joseph David - 2 months old

1. I’m totally biased, but I think that this might be the best baby picture in the history of baby pictures. My husband snapped this last weekend and I can’t stop staring at it. This week has been especially fun with Joseph – he’s starting to mimic our sounds, so when we say “hello” he concentrates for a second, opens his mouth, and then attempts to replicate the same noise. If my husband vibrates his lips like a motor boat, Joseph tries to do the same thing then breaks out in a huge smile. It’s awesome to watch; I love watching this little man discover new things.

2. Yesterday I went shopping for a dress to wear to Joseph’s baptism. Apparently, this season’s dress style is fitted at the waist, then puckered out. So not the type of style that flatters a new mom’s drastically transformed waistline. Or your average, run-of-the-mill, pear-shaped short girl. Thank goodness Loft came through with a very simple black v-neck fit and flare dress. Crisis averted.

3. Earlier this week, I dropped The Joy of Cooking on my foot. It was quite the opposite of joyful. I had flashbacks to spending the September and October of fourth grade in a cast with a broken foot. Luckily, the cookbook didn’t take out my foot for a second time.

4. I love this 21 Things That Happened on Friends That Would Baffle Kids Today – it makes me feel old and already nostalgic for a less hectic, more simplistic time. Plus, that show was pretty much my whole life in high school… I still get warm fuzzies thinking about Rachel sitting at the window and hearing U2 in the background.

5. This Baking Pan Conversion Chart is everything you’ll ever need for scaling a recipe or troubleshooting when you don’t have the size pan a particular recipe calls for! (h/t Allrecipes.com)

Baking Pan Conversion Chart

6. Remember those adult coloring books that I told you about a couple of weeks ago? My sister bought them for me for my birthday! I’m so excited to break them out and start coloring!

7. We’re on to season four of 24 and while it’s good, I’m missing a lot of the characters from the earlier seasons. The new ones haven’t really grown on me yet, but I love watching Jack Bauer kick butt.

8. I’m getting a haircut tomorrow and I am ecstatic to say the least. It hasn’t been trimmed since early November and it hasn’t been colored since before I got pregnant, so it’s been over a year now. To say that I’m overdue would be the ultimate understatement. I’m excited to get freshened up.

9. What do you have planned for the Easter holiday? We’re going to be spending it at my mom’s with a ton of family and my in-laws. I can’t wait to put together Joseph’s first Easter basket!

10. TGIF! Duke wants to know if you’ll play with him?

DUKE!

Brown Eyed Baker

Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup malted milk powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1¾ cups whole milk, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
12 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup malted milk powder
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin pans with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder.

3. Place the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and microwave in 30-second increments on 50% power, stirring in between each, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the oil until combined. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, along with 1 cup of the milk, and whisk until mostly combined (the mixture will be thick).

4. In a measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ¾ cup milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour half of this mixture into the bowl and whisk until incorporated, then add the second half and mix again until everything is combined.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about ¾-full. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

6. Make the Frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside.

7. Whisk together the malted milk powder and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and gently stir the chocolate mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula until completely smooth and no lumps remain. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled.

8. Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, begin beating the chocolate mixture on low speed and gradually add the pieces of butter, one piece at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is thick and smooth. If it’s too thick to pipe, you can add more heavy cream, a teaspoon at a time, to thin out the consistency.

9. Using the decorating tip of your choice (I used an Ateco #808), pipe the frosting onto each cupcake and top with chopped malted milk balls, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Brown Eyed Baker