Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Frosting

I have been on a brownie kick lately and have been experimenting with different flavor combinations. A few days ago I made my orange brownies and topped them with a new orange cream cheese frosting I had developed and everyone loved them! Awhile back I made some pumpkin brownies that people went wild for too and I decided to revisit those with a maple cream cheese frosting. These are fabulous! Save this recipe for your Fall and Thanksgiving tables but go ahead and whip up a batch now since the brownies are only 2 ingredients!

Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Frosting

For the brownies…
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin

For the frosting…
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat together the dry cake mix with the pure pumpkin until both are combined together. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting combine the cream cheese with the unsalted butter. Beat in the pure maple syrup followed by the confectioners sugar.

Frost brownies evenly. Cut and serve.

Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – Cake, I Love You

My current favorite cake cookbook!?

“Cake, I Love You” By: Jill O’Connor

I love cookbooks and I especially love cookbooks based on desserts and if that dessert happens to be CAKE – I am all in! I will flag up now though and say that I know the talented author of this beautifully genius cookbook, Jill O’ Connor but my friendship does not in any way sway me one way or another. I am here to give open and honest feedback and that is what I will do. BUY THIS BOOK! Ha! Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy it! Filled with wonderful recipes, mouthwatering photos, beautiful stories and descriptions – what more could you possibly want?

The cookbook is divided into the following categories – Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Caramel and Butterscotch, Citrus, Spirits and Spices, Garden and Orchard.

There is also sections on Baker’s Gear, Baker’s Pantry and Building A Better Cake – which all helped me tremendously when fully wanting to understand the operation known as: baking a perfect cake. I highly recommend reading these sections before you try any of the genius recipes included.

Just SOME of my favorite recipes include –

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Melted Chocolate Bar Frosting” (page 74). Which I made first and everybody LOVED! Here is a picture –

Banana-Brownie Swirl Cake” (page 28)

Salted Butter Pecan Cake” (page 94)

Sticky Toffee Pudding” (page 98)

Luscious Lemon Loaf” (page 111)

Sweet Potato-Praline Spice Cake with Marshmallow Meringue” (page 145)

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cake” (page 169)

In case you are wondering there ARE recipes for coconut cakes but I am not a coconut fan. So – there is that! Ha!

I would recommend reading the first sections of the book, then diving in and making your favorite flavor of cake. Everyone went WILD for her mayonnaise cake and honestly her recipe for “melted chocolate bar frosting” was my FAVORITE frosting of all of 2017. There I said it! It was amazing and I have actually had it on other things other than just this cake! Cupcakes – cookies – brownies – spoons! Ha! And yes – it tastes just like a melted chocolate bar! This recipe alone is easily worth the price of the book. Genius recipe – genius!

I would love to get together with Jill and have a “taste off” of mayonnaise cakes! Maybe one day. I am actually getting ready to finalize a new chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe that I hope to include in an upcoming “Chew This!” column. I will not let anything slip right now, but how does coffee sound with the cake? Ok, no more hints and back to the review.

I love this book and highly recommend it to dessert lovers and cake lovers alike.

To buy “Cake, I Love You” click here – https://www.amazon.com/Cake-Love-You-Decadent-Delectable/dp/1452153809

Shoutout and special thanks to Chronicle Books for the opportunity to review this cookbook. The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Mississippi Mud Brownies

I still sing the song when I spell out Mississippi. Do you? Do you know which song I am talking about? You know, the one that helps you remember how to spell it? No!? Ok. Maybe it is just me then. Anyways, these “Mississippi Mud Brownies” are delicious any way you spell them! Some people add toasted pecans to the tops of the brownies (with the marshmallows) but I prefer to leave them out for a number of reasons. Highly recommend you try these! Homemade brownie, topped with smooth peanut butter, marshmallows and a silky chocolate frosting. Hello, YUM!

Mississippi Mud Brownies

For the brownies…
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups mini marshmallows

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, white granulated sugar, large eggs and pure vanilla extract. The mixture will be bright colored, smooth and glossy.

Next, whisk in the pure vanilla extract.

Whisk in the white all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After baking, leave oven on and remove brownies. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread evenly the smooth peanut butter all over the top of the brownies.

Sprinkle on the marshmallows. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting whisk together the melted butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth and glossy.

Frost the brownies evenly then refrigerate for one hour before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!

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Coca-Cola Cake 

For years I have enjoyed the Coca-Cola Cake from “Cracker Barrel”. It is served warm and with a side of vanilla ice cream if you like, and I always do, and it is fabulous! It got me thinking that perhaps I could make my own? I have been playing around with recipes for awhile with this cake and I just could not get the taste I was looking for. Until I figured out the appropriate ratio of sugar, Coca-Cola, buttermilk and the secret to frosting the cake while still hot! This cake may very well be BETTER than Cracker Barrel’s version PLUS it makes a whole 9×13-inch pan full! That is dangerous for me! Most of this will be sent to my taste testers – I mean, what is left – I will not share how many pieces I have already eaten but let me say, I HIGHLY recommend you make this cake! Serve warm and with vanilla ice cream. What I do, is cut a piece, plate it, microwave it and immediately scoop some vanilla bean ice cream alongside. Fabulous!


Coca-Cola Cake

For the cake…
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 (4 oz.) stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk with 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting…
1 (4 oz.) stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. 

In a large bowl whisk together the white granulated sugar and white all-purpose flour. Add in the marshmallows. 

In a saucepan mix the Coca-Cola, unsalted butter and vegetable oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat and pour over marshmallows and dry ingredients. Beat well and continue to beat until marshmallows have melted. 

Combine the baking soda with the buttermilk. Add to the mixture and beat. Add in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Beat well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. 

With about 10 minutes of bake time left on the cake, start the frosting. In a saucepan combine the stick of unsalted butter with the Coca-Cola and unsweetened cocoa powder. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Pour this mixture into a bowl containing the powdered sugar. Beat. Add in the milk. Beat again. Add in the pure vanilla extract and beat until creamy. Add more powdered sugar to get desired consistency. 

Frost the cake while the cake is still hot from the oven. Allow to cool before serving. 

Enjoy! 

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…
















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Chew This! Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column features my “Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes” which when served in gold wrappers and a huge strawberry on top of each for garnish, makes one glamourous dessert! These were so fun to develop and my taste testers loved these! Do not worry about the champagne in these – the alcohol bakes off – while leaving a special “bubbly” flavor. Feel free to replace with white grape juice if you so desire. These are perfect for baby showers, birthdays or just an everyday celebration!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature contains information on where I buy the lemon sugar that I feature so often in my recipes.

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_37f30710-8ac4-5f04-b1a7-75f7f6c097d9.html

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Banana Brownies with Caramel Frosting

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest recipe is a recipe that I am in love with! Banana brownies with caramel frosting! How fabulous does that sound!? I am currently really involved with developing recipes for brownies that are not chocolate. I have made strawberry brownies, lemon brownies, orange brownies, these banana brownies and yesterday I started developing a recipe for pumpkin brownies. In the future I am thinking about blueberry brownies and pineapple brownies. My recipe today is so quick, so easy and beyond flavorful! The caramel frosting that goes on top really transforms these into that “much buzzed about” dessert that your friends and family will be talking about well after the dessert course is served. Highly recommend that you try these! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature answers the question on how I transform my chocolate chips cookies into something “special” once in awhile – with that sweet and salty touch. 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Banana Brownies with Caramel Frosting

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_81e9fff1-9bc3-5891-ab3f-0f61f72c50a2.html

Enjoy!

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Sour Cream – Banana Cake

This is the best banana cake I have ever had! The bananas – the sour cream – the cinnamon – the frosting! Delicious!

Sour Cream – Banana Cake

For the cake…
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
4 large bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups white all-purpose flour

For the frosting…
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F and spraying a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. 

In a large bowl mix together the white granulated sugar, softened unsalted butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. 

Beat in the two large eggs. 

Mix in the mashed bananas, pure vanilla extract, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. 

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. The batter may still have white steaks throughout – this is desirable. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread out the top to ensure the cake is even. 

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. 

To make the frosting, combine the melted unsalted butter and confectioners’ sugar. Halfway through the mixing add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. 

Once cake is baked, remove and cool completely before frosting. 

Cut and enjoy! 

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Chew This! Spring Celebration Cookies 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday!!! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com 

The first day of SPRING is tomorrow and I just can not believe it! It seems winter lasts SO LONG compared to the spring and summer months. Enjoy every second of the spring and summer because it is fleeting for sure. Why not start the celebration with my delicious and fabulous “SPRING CELEBRATION COOKIES”!? The cookies are tender inside and stable outside while the frosting on top is thick and flavorful! 

Feel free to leave the frosting off these cookies and serve as is – but part of the fun and celebration is the colorful frosting! Use any food color you desire – and any color that you want to match your mood. Experiment and enjoy!

Also in this column is my “Ask and Answer” feature about how you can make “steak house style” baked potatoes at home! No wrapping them in foil, poking the outsides – just follow my recipe and you will love it! The skins are flavorful and crispy and the inside is fluffy and tender. 


Spring Celebration Cookies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_43048498-019b-5792-99f0-575ac046db52.html

Enjoy!

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Bakery Style Chocolate Fudge Brownies 

This recipe is a take on one of the most popular bakery style brownies around. They are thick, fudgy and full of flavor. The frosting is thick and rich. Both pair together beautifully. The secret to these brownies is the cake flour! I am highly recommending you try these ASAP!

Bakery Style Chocolate Fudge Brownies 

For the brownies…
4 large eggs
2 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup water

For the frosting…
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon simple syrup
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk

For the simple syrup…
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar

Start by making the brownies. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour.

In a large bowl combine the large eggs, white granulated sugar, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract and baking powder.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the solid vegetable shortening. Do not boil. Once melted, add in the light corn syrup and stir together. Cool slightly then add to the above mixture, stirring everything together well.

Next, add in the cake flour and stir until everything is well mixed. Once well mixed, add in the water. Stir the batter until smooth and glossy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Before starting on the frosting, prepare the simple syrup. Combine the light corn syrup, hot water and white granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.

To make the frosting, combine the unsweetened cocoa powder, vegetable oil, solid vegetable shortening, light corn syrup and pure vanilla extract in a bowl. Once a thick paste is formed, add the instant coffee granules, light corn syrup, melted unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the simple syrup. Stir this together before adding in another 4 tablespoons of the simple syrup. Stir this together well. Next, add in 2 cups of the confectioner’s sugar with 2 tablespoons of the whole milk. Mix together until the frosting is smooth and combine. Next add in the remaining 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar along with the remaining tablespoon of whole milk. Mix together until the frosting is smooth and combined. If the frosting is thin, add in a little more confectioner’s sugar. If the frosting is extra thick, add in a little more whole milk. You are looking for a spreadable consistency that resembles ice cream. Use this whole batch of frosting to frost the cooled brownies.

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Chew This – Chocolate Fudge Whoopie Pies 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you already know, I write a food column in “The Courier-Tims” called “Chew This” that appears on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s of each month. I LOVE it! It never gets old to me seeing my work, photos and column in actual print! It gives me a thrill each and every time. If you live in the Henry County area, please pick up a copy! If not, you can subscribe ONLINE! Check out http://thecouriertimes.com for more details! If you are wanting to subscribe, and are having trouble, please let me know and I will help you!

Today’s column is all about the “Chocolate Fudge Whoopie Pie”! I LOVE a good, classic, Amish style Whoopie Pie. I have been tinkering with developing a recipe for quite some time, and I think I really nailed it with this one! The addition of the instant coffee granules, really makes a difference! As does my recipe for the perfect Whoopie Pie filling! I really hope you will try this recipe, because I just know that you will be delighted! 


Chocolate Fudge Whoopie Pies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/article_a3f0a59e-58f0-11e6-a0b5-133790724150.html

Enjoy! 

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For a peanut butter filled version use the following recipe instead of the traditional vanilla filling.

Peanut Butter Whoopi Pie Filling

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk

Combine melted unsalted butter with the smooth peanut butter in a medium sized bowl until combined. Stir in the pure vanilla extract and marshmallow fluff. Slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar alternatively with the milk until the consistency is that of a thick spreadable ice cream.

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…