Milk Chocolate Brownies
I wasn’t always a brownie fan but now, there’s nothing like a warm pan of rich, chewy brownies with a cup of coffee! I enjoy cutting out designs and decorating them for various occasions. I used to make this recipe with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Once I tried milk chocolate, I’ve never gone back.
WHERE DO I GET MY CHOCOLATE?
I’ve been asked this question quite a bit. I have tested so many brands... There can be a difference depending on what you’re making.
I used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips in this recipe and it tastes amazing!
Trader Joe's used to be my favorite but after the pandemic, something changed. The chocolate chips have a liquor taste and it distracts from the other ingredients I have tried to balance in the recipe. So, if you use your favorite chocolate and the recipe tastes different or fails, it may be a change in the supplier's recipe.
After cutting heart shaped brownies, I placed them on a pan with a rack, melted 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, then drizzled the white chocolate on the brownies using a spoon. The drizzle lines don’t have to be perfect. Have fun with it. I made two passes over each brownie.
When done, add sprinkles.
The brownie is a canvas for different flavors of chocolate and the thousands of sprinkle options available. It’s a great gift for family and friends!
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
I grew up inhaling Oreos. Plus, when they invented Double Stuf, I just about lost my eight year old mind. I couldn’t understand how anyone could ever go back to the original. Flash forward to adulthood and Oreos’ taste has changed a bit. I started looking for other sandwich cookies with less preservatives and more taste. They are hard to find unless you make them yourself.
Introduced in 1898, the merging of several companies formed the National Biscuit Company, or as we know it today, Nabisco. After rolling out the very successful Barnum’s Animal Crackers in 1902, Nabisco had an idea for a new cookie…well, it was sort of their idea. The two chocolate disk cookie with creme filling had already been made by the Sunshine Biscuit Company in 1908 called Hydrox. Four years after, Nabisco introduced their version, the Oreo, It quickly surpassed the popularity of its predecessor and in 1912, Nabisco filed for a trademark.
Why the name Oreo? Well, the cookie first appeared as the Oreo Biscuit, then the Oreo Sandwich, then the Oreo Creme Sandwich…then in 1974, right before I lost my eight year old mind over Double Stuf, they settled on the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. It would be the public who decided it was just the “Oreo”.
If you ask Nabisco, no one seems to know where the name originally came from. Some believe the name is from a French word for gold, taken from the original color on the packaging. Others claim it was the hill-shaped prototype that never made it to the shelves to be named oreo, the Greek word for mountain. Or, it could be a combination of letters from “cream” and “chocolate”.
No matter where the name originated, as of last year, an estimated 450 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since 1912. I may have eaten about half of those.
In my recipe, the chocolate cookies are not super sweet. I held back on the sugar because the vanilla creme and jam are packed with sweetness. I was looking for balance and I think I nailed it.
Bonnie’s Jams has become my new favorite. She really knows how to balance the flavors. I could eat a case of the Peach Ginger. Not kidding. I ate it in the cookies, on roasted chicken, toast, mixed it into a salad dressing… You can find out more about Bonnie’s Jams by reading about her in our latest edition of Nourish & Flourish. Visit her website and order jam for family and friends this holiday season. Don’t wait because I know she will be very busy!
Download the recipe and give it a try! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or tagging us on Instagram and Facebook.
Ahhh . . . Apple Pie!
Apple pies or tarts have been around, in one form or another, since the Middle Ages. Before the Pilgrims set sail for the New World, Asia and European cultures had already incorporated apples into their cuisine thousands of years earlier. The first written mention of the apple is that of Alexander the Great in 328 BCE: he noted Kazakhstan’s apples appeared to be ‘dwarfed,’ before bringing them back to Macedonia to be cultivated. By the late 14th century, sweet and savory pies were already an important part of the food culture in England, and so it comes as no surprise that apples made their way into these pastries; however, they traditionally were made without crust due to the high price of sugar. It wasn’t until the 15th century that Dutch bakers transformed the crust-less apple pie into the lattice-style pastry we commonly see today. Just a century later, the pies could be found across Europe.
It wasn’t until the mid-1600s through complex sea trade routes, that edible apples made their way to North America. Even then, they came in the form of trees, and required extensive pollination to bear fruit; as such, the fruit didn’t flourish until European honey bees were introduced decades later. Only one type of apple -- the malus, or “crabapple” -- was native to North America prior to this, and it was incredibly sour and foul-tasting.
According to the American Pie Council, Americans consume $700 million worth of retail pies each year -- and that doesn’t include those that are home-baked, or sold by restaurants and independent bakers. Of those who responded to surveys, 19% of Americans -- some 36 million people -- cited apple is their favorite flavor. That’s a lot of apple pie.
Though we’ve made the case here that apple pie isn’t so American after all, one could argue that just because something originated somewhere else doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t become a source of national pride elsewhere. America took the apple pie to heights it had never seen before -- elevated it as a treasured part of its lore and history. And though it wouldn’t be fair to call apple pie “American” without acknowledging its past, the baked good seems to be just at home here as anywhere else in the world.
I love to try new recipes from other bakers and I've fallen in love with this buttery pie crust from simplyrecipes.com! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or tagging us on Instagram.
Big Green Egg S’mores with Bananas
LET'S CELEBRATE NATIONAL S’MORES DAY!
National S’mores Day is today, and it recognizes one of the most popular campfire treats! Millions of people of all ages love this warm, gooey, chocolatey treat.
S’mores consists of a roasted marshmallow with a layer of chocolate bar sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. The origin of this tasty snack is credited to the entrepreneur Alec Barnum. However, the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the 1927 publication of "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts" Even though the Girl Scouts were not the first ones to make s’mores, Girl Scout groups describe them in their reports as early as 1925. Earlier recipes used the name “Some Mores.” It is unclear when “S’mores” became the more common name.
Today, many variations on the original s’more find their way around a campfire.