Mississippi Mud Brownies

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Book Update:  I have not read much because I finished my last lesson in Positive Psychology Friday, and this week is the final.  Somehow I am supposed to type 6 pages…. I bet I could do it if I don’t sleep.  Who needs that anyway?

Recipe:  I think homemade brownies should be on everyone’s bucket list.  Making them yourself can create a brownie that you can never find in a box and this recipe is one of them.  It is dense, thick, chewy, soft, chocolatey and delicious.  Hey, it’s chocolate and I even liked it!  They really don’t take very long to make and most of the ingredients are easy to find.  Imagine a brownie you would purchase at a coffee house and this comes pretty close.

The Dutch Processed Cocoa can be found at Whole Foods, purchased at King Arthur Flour, or possibly substitute for Hershey’s Dark Cocoa which is a mix of natural and dutch processed cocoa and found in many grocery stores.

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Mississippi Mud Brownies
serves 24

6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 sticks (8 oz. or 16 Tb.) unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) AP flour
1/3 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups (21 oz.) sugar
5 large eggs (or 4 XL eggs)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup marshmallow creme
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. vegetable oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 13×9 pan or line with parchment or nonstick foil.
2.  In a microwave safe bowl, put the unsweetened chocolate and 2 sticks of butter.  Melt in the microwave.  I put mine on 60% power and stirred every 1-2 minutes.  After 4 minutes or so almost everything was melted and I just kept stirring until it came together.  Let this mixture cool slightly so we don’t cook the eggs later!  About 5 minutes.
3.  In another bowl, mix your dry stuff:  flour, cocoa and salt.
4.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix the sugar and eggs.
5.  Take the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and mix it into the sugar and eggs.  I used medium-low power on my mixer.  Then, add the flour in a little at a time (about 3-4 installments) until mixed thoroughly.  Don’t beat it more once it is combined.
6.  Fold your pecans into the brownie batter.  Pour all this batter into your 9×13 pan. Bake 35 minutes.
7.  Spray one or two spatulas or spoons with cooking spray.  Once you take out the brownies, dollop the marshmallow creme onto the hot brownie with the sprayed utensil.  Don’t touch!  Just let it sit and melt.   See?  It is nice and melty now.  Use an offset spatula or spoon to smooth the mixture over the brownies.
8.  In a small bowl, microwave the semisweet chocolate chips and oil together.  Once melted, drizzle this onto the marshmallow creme layer.  Cool for 2 hours.

Mississippi Mud Brownies_4 on Whisk Together

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Cook’s Country”

Sticky Bun Cake

Sticky Bun Cake_2 on Whisk Together

Book Update: I finished reading “The End of Overeating” by Dr. David Kessler and highly recommend it.  The book does get technical, but fully explains why we crave food the way we do.  Well, for some of us.  Not everybody can look at a bowl of M&M’s and go “meh.”  So, he discusses the brain chemistry and how we crave sugar, fat and salt like a cocoaine addict (not that extreme, but closer than you might think).  Then, the book presents several inside scoops into the restaurant and processed food industry.  For example, they focus on the food trinity: sugar, fat and salt.  Lots of great info on how the restaurants try to hook you.  Finally, the last few chapters are how to get over the food eating habit.  Now, the book’s weakness is that he repeats himself a few times.  It was worth it to get past this flaw.

Recipe:  I wanted a cinnamon roll cake, but the recipes I found online started out with 3 sticks of butter!  Yep, 3!  Just a little too much for some simple cake I wanted to make on our snow day.  I found this recipe instead and tweaked it into tasting like a sticky bun.  The texture of the cake is more like a coffeecake.  The topping is sweet and the pecans add great flavor and crunch.  Next time, I will chop the pecans smaller because the larger ones would almost sink into the cake a little.

Sticky Bun Cake

yield 10-18 servings (depending how big you cut it)

1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (I added 2 Tb. lemon juice to a measuring cup then filled to the 2 cup line)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups AP flour

4 Tb. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar (use 1/2 cup to cut the sweetness)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup diced pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or spray a 9×13 pan.
2.  Cream butter and brown sugar
3.  Add eggs.
4.  Add buttermilk and vanilla.
5.  Mix until smooth.
6.  Add the dry stuff:  baking soda, salt and flour.
7.  Pour into the 9×13 pan. Bake 35 minutes.
8.  Topping:  Mix the melted butter and sugar.  Stir in the milk, pecans, cinnamon and salt.
9.  Slowly drizzle the top of the cake with the topping and put it in the oven for 10 more minutes.  The glaze will just look glossy – it won’t bake through which is fine.
10.  Serve hot or cool.

Sticky Bun Cake on Whisk Together

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Easy Mini Sticky Buns

These are quick and easy and delicious!!  I have made homemade sticky buns before.  They are divine, but require a lot of time for the dough to sit.  This is a great weekend breakfast or an awesome addition to a brunch.  You can easily put these together in 10 minutes.  They bake in 10 minutes and you are done!  This recipe originates from my Tree-Lightful Wilton pan.  They usually come with recipes and I have made it in this pan for ages.  I included the full recipe under the smaller version since most people are not usually feeding 10-15 people at a time.  But if you do – then go to the recipe underneath for the tripled/original version.  My tree-lightful pan is a regular cake pan, so I would think I could put these in my heart pan or any fun shape really.  It doesn’t need to be in the shape of a tree, though that is fun around Christmas time.  Enjoy!

I also saw these as cinnamon rolls on another website.  They put them on lollipop sticks.  Cute!

**Update:  Fiesta Chicken Casserole – I made this again and didn’t have Fritos as I normally do not.  But I did have some tortilla chips and they worked great for the topping!  I used Trader Joe’s Red Quinoa and black bean tortilla chips.

Easy Mini Sticky Buns
yield 4-6 servings

For small family:

1 package of crescent roll dough (8 oz.)
2 Tb. brown sugar
2 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tb. raisins (optional)

1 tsp. light corn syrup
1 Tb. butter
1 and 1/2 Tb. brown sugar
1 and 1/2 Tb. chopped pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Take your mini muffin pan and spray with baker’s joy spray or brush 12 wells with some melted butter.

3.  Roll the dough out and seal the perforations very, very well.  (I read somewhere they now make one that is a sheet instead of cut into triangles!)

4.  In a bowl, stir the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and raisins together.  Sprinkle on the dough and press lightly.  Try to leave 1/2 ” free of sugar – easier to seal this way.

5.  Roll the log up tightly starting with the long way in front of you.  Seal any holes as you go.  Cut into 12 rolls.  I do this evenly by cutting it in half.  Then, cutting each of those in half.  So now you have 4 neat logs that you can eyeball 3 cuts to make 12 rolls. **Tip for cutting:  use a serrated knife or strong thread to twist and cut the dough, so the rolls don’t flatten.

6.  In a small saucepan, or microwave bowl, mix the corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar.  Heat until the butter melts.  Stir.  Add pecans and stir more.

7.  Take about 1 teaspoon of the pecan sauce and pour it into each well.  Then, place a cinnamon roll cut side down into each well.

8.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  They will be light golden brown – like a regular crescent roll.
9.  While they are baking, prep a piece of parchment, silicone or serving platter to flip the rolls onto once they are cooking.
10.  Pull the done sticky buns from the oven and immediately flip onto a serving platter.  Cool for 30 seconds to a minute and Enjoy!

Easy Mini Sticky Buns – for a crowd

3 packages of crescent rolls (8 oz. each)
6 Tb. brown sugar
6 Tb. sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tb. raisins (optional)

1/4 cup butter, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tb. light corn syrup
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Follow directions per above.  Increase oven time to 20-25 minutes.  Invert onto serving platter.

Recipe adapted from Wilton

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

This cake was awesome!  We stored it in the fridge due to the cream cheese filling and it was still delicious 3 days later.  Even if you don’t want to make the entire thing, the frosting is exceptional.  I’m trying to think up other applications for it – maybe cupcakes or muffins.  Very simple and delicious – my two favorite combinations!

The cake is moist and flavorful with bits of apple and pecans throughout.  The spices really shine through and the crumb is tender and medium sized.  It was easy to slice and serve.  Decorating was simple and pretty and a breeze.  I may be a new fan of bundt cakes  – I really don’t care for decorating a whole lot.   The cake does take a little time especially since I had to finely chop 4 Gala apples.  I saved some time using my apple/corer/slicer and this cake didn’t seem to take as much time as a lot of my cupcakes other layer cakes do.   The reviewers on the original Southern Living website all gave this 5 stars as well!  I couldn’t wait to bake it – even the batter was good!

**Update 11/10** The cream cheese filling is difficult to keep inside.  I did it the first time.  The second time I made this I am having a little trouble and here is what you can do:  make the cream cheese filling and then put it in the fridge.  This will firm it up and then it won’t spread in the middle getting all over the layer.

Apple Cream Cheese Cake
serves 12

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 Tb.) butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tb. flour
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
3 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 4 medium ones, 1.5 lbs.)

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (4 Tb.)
3 Tb. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1.  Filling:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With an electric mixer in a big bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed.   The mixture should be smooth.  Add your egg, flour and vanilla.  Beat on LOW speed – cream cheese mixtures usually need to take it slow.  Mix until blended and set aside.
2.  Cake:   Make sure your pecans are toasted:  you can toast them in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes – making sure they don’t burn!  Stir once in a while.
3.  Mix your dry ingredients together in your mixer.  I used the whisk attachment:  flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and allspice.  Then using the paddle attachment, add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla.  Remove from the mixer and stir in the apples and pecans by hand.
4.  Grease and flour your bundt pan (12-14 cup size) or use Baker’s Joy.  Baker’s Joy is a ton easier.
5.  Add about 1/2 of the cake mixture to the pan.  Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture.  Try to avoid the edges.  It is difficult… but try.  I used a cookie scoop to help.  Use up most to all of the cream cheese mixture.  Now, spread and add the rest of the cake batter on top.
6.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  Cool cake for 15 minutes.  Then, invert onto a wire rack and cool another 2 hours.
7.  Frosting:  In a saucepan, heat the brown sugar, butter and milk.  Boil over medium heat.  Whisk and whisk.  Continue to boil 1 minute and whisk some more.  Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla.  Whisk in the powdered sugar and allow the mixture to cool to thicken a little bit before pouring over the cooled cake.  I tried using regular powdered sugar and it seemed clumpy, so I started to sift it and it stopped being clumpy.

Recipe from Southern Living

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