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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Saucepan Cocoa Brownies

Brownies are a favourite cookie dessert, especially for chocolate lovers.  Now, I'm not a big chocolate lover but I can force down a brownie if given a chance.  For me, the best part is the chewy outside crust which is missing from the brownies cut from the inside when baked in a square pan.  But, if you bake the brownies in a muffin pan, each little brownie is surrounded by the much desired chewy crust.  The muffin pan baked brownies are often referd to as "Two Bite Brownies" but if you gobble them down quickly they could be called "One Gulp Brownies".  Ha, ha.  

I have another great brownie recipe on this blog, Bernice's Easy Brownies, which is made with melted baking chocolate.  These, as you can tell from the title, are made with cocoa.  I don't always have baking chocolate in the cupboard but I always have cocoa on hand.  These Saucepan Cocoa Brownies can be made anytime I need a batch of brownies.  And to make them more appealing, they are made in the same saucepan in which the butter and cocoa are melted--just one pan to wash.

This is one of the recipes I collected when I was babysitting Benjamin while his mother finished her university degree.  The original recipe for Saucepan Cocoa Brownies can be found at RecipeCurio. The recipe was from a 1943 Women's Day Kitchen and according to the information given the entire recipe would have cost 51cents!  Today, that would hardly cover the cost of the eggs.

I've changed the recipe just a little by adding baking powder as an optional ingredient.  It's just a texture preference for me.  

Saucepan Cocoa Brownies
½ cup butter
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
¾ cup sifted flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder, optional
½ - 1 cup broken walnuts or pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease or pan spray an 8x8-inch square baking pan or you may also use small muffin pans for two-bite brownies.  Line the square pan with waxed paper or parchment for ease of removal.

Heat butter and cocoa together in saucepan over low heat, stirring out all lumps.  Sift the cocoa if it is very lumpy. Cool the mixture and then beat in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well mixed. Sift flour, salt and baking powder if using and combine with the cocoa mixture. Add the nuts if using and blend well. Turn into prepared pan or muffin cups.   

Bake square pan for 25 minutes or until surface is dull.    Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before turning out on cake rack.  If you leave the parchment paper hang over the pan you can use the paper as handles to lift the brownies from the pan.  Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in tightly closed container. 

For two-bite brownines bake the muffin sized brownies for 10 - 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool about two minutes and then turn out on cooling rack.  

Makes 16 squares or 24 small two-bite brownies.  

The Brownies may be eaten plain or iced with a Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.   

Melt the butter and add the cocoa.  Stir until there are no little lumps of cocoa remaining.  I like to sift cocoa.  Once the cocoa and butter are blended together, mix in the sugar and vanilla.  Let the mixture cool and then beat in the eggs one at a time. 

Sift or mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.  Add to the cocoa mix and blend until no flour remains showing.

If you like nuts in your brownies, add them now.  I didn't put nuts in mine because I was taking them to a church dinner and you never know if someone may have a nut allergy.  When serving them at home I always put walnuts in brownies.

Place the brownie batter into a prepared 8x8-inch pan or in small muffin pans.  I used a heaping tablespoon for each two-bite brownie.

The brownies baked lovely in my little cupcake pans.  If you look closely, you can see, they are pulling away from the sides which indicate they are baked.  Be careful, though, not to overbake brownies.

Each little two-bite brownie has a bite of chewy crust in every mouthful.

 Someone wants four bites!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Barbecued Baked Beans. . . Perfect for Potlucks

Barbecued Baked Beans are a nice change from the regular baked beans we usually have.   Because they are made with canned beans they come together quickly and can be on the table in just over an hour.  

There's no story to go with this recipe.  I just threw a few ingredients in a casserole dish and ta-da out came these delicious Barbecued Baked Beans.  This happened many years ago and I've been making them ever since.  

Barbecued Baked Beans
½ cup diced onion, about 1 small onion
½ cup diced sweet pepper, green, red, yellow or orange or mixture
1 tablespoon oil
2  14-ounce/398 ml cans baked beans in tomato sauce, drained and rinsed
1  14-ounce/398 ml can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup brown sugar (omit for less sweet beans)
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
¼ cup barbecue sauce, your favourite flavour
2 tablespoons molasses
½ cup pineapple juice, drained from pineapple (Add water if you don't have a full ½ cup juice.)
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-ounce/250 ml can pineapple tidbits, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Sauté  the diced onion and pepper until soft but not browned.  Combine cooked onion and sweet pepper with remaining ingredients except pineapple tidbits.  Place mixture in a covered casserole dish. Bake covered 30 minutes.  Add pineapple tidbits and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered.  If beans become dry during baking add a little more pineapple juice or water. 

Serves 6-8.

Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil until soft.  

Mix the cooked onion and pepper with the remaining ingredients, except the pineapple tidbits.  If you like less sweet beans omit the brown sugar. Place in a casserole dish and bake 30 minutes, covered.

After 30 minutes, mix in the pineapple and bake and additional 30 minutes uncoverd.

Just out of the oven and baked to perfection!
Sweet and tangy Barbecued Baked Beans.

Ready to serve to the hungry crowds.
Get your plates.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vandeman Breakfast--Peanut Butter Toast & Applesauce

When I was a little girl, we didn't have a television.  That wasn't a rare thing back in the 1950s as many people didn't have the much coveted new technology in their living rooms.  My aunt and uncle, however, did have a TV and many Sunday mornings we would trot the couple of blocks to their home to watch "It Is Written".   Pastor Geroge Vandeman was the soft-spoken speaker on the program.  My sister and I were a bit young to be really interested or understand what was being preached but we were expected to sit quietly and listen while the grown-ups enjoyed the television sermon.  Many other families also tuned in to the program and when a few years later, when I was a teenager, Pastor Vandeman came to St. John's to hold meetings, the church was packed to the rafters. 

Courtesy of Adventist News Network
Pastor George Vandeman, founder and first speaker of "It Is Written", the first Christian television program to broadcast in color.  "It Is Written" began broadcasting at 13 stations in the spring of 1956.

About the same time Pastor Vandeman came to St. John's, I was old enough to attend Junior Camp, which was held at Adam's Pond in Paradise (in Newfoundland not Heaven).  What fun we'd have.  It was a wonderful time for the girls and boys who attended with swimming, crafts, games, and campfires.  What great memories I have of those days.  And, of course, one of the outstanding memories for me was the meals we'd be served.  (I've always been interested in food.) Some of the dishes were strange to me (Red Flannel Hash comes to memory) but most of the food was nourishing, tasty camp grub.  

One morning we were served something none of us had ever seen or heard of before in our young lives.  Pastor Howe, the camp director, introduced this new food with some fanfare.  It was toast, spread with peanut butter and topped with warm applesauce.  It was called Vandeman Breakfast and it was eaten with a fork just as you would pancakes.  We were told it was Pastor George Vandeman's favourite breakfast and we would have the honour of eating it, too.  That was kind of exciting, to be eating a celebrity breakfast.  It was like being served the favourite breakfast of Elizabeth Taylor or The Beatles. 

I don't know how the other kids liked Vandeman Breakfast but I LOVED it and so did my sister, Heather.  We've been eating it ever since and so have our children.   The peanut butter and applesauce combination has found a place not only on toast but pancakes and waffles as well.  It's a good partnership. 

Recently, I came across this Facebook page and was delighted to see the original recipe.  
I just had to hit "Like" even though the post was a few years old.

Here's my version of this Adventist classic.

Vandeman Breakfast
For each serving:
  • 1 or 2 thick slices whole wheat bread, toasted (May spread with butter or margarine if desired.)
  • At least 1 tablespoon or more of any style peanut butter for each slice
  • Water, milk or fruit juice as needed, optional
  • About ¼ - ⅓ cup warm applesauce for each slice, more or less to taste
Toast the bread to the desired shade of doness.  While bread is toasting heat the apple sauce and mix the peanut butter.  To the peanut butter add a little water, milk or juice.  Add a tablespoon at a time.  Keep mixing until you have a nice creamy emulsion.  The peanut butter will break at first but will eventually come together.  (You can skip this step and just use the plain peanut butter, if you wish.)

Spread each slice of toast with a thick layer of the creamed peanut butter and lay on a plate.  Top with warm applesauce and serve.    

 Toast thick slices of whole wheat bread.

Cream the peanut butter by using a little water, milk or juice.  Measure a tablespoon or more of peanut butter for each slice of bread.  Add a little liquid a tablespoon at a time and mix until smooth and creamy.  The peanut butter will break but eventually you will have a nice creamy mixture.

Heat the applesauce.  I used homemade cinnamon applesauce but purchased applesauce will work just as well.
Spread each slice of toast with a thick layer of peanut butter.

 Top the peanut buttered toast with as much warm applesauce as you like.  

I like banana slices with my Vandeman Breakfast and, of course, a few orange slices always go good with breakfast.

A delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Banana Pancakes--Pancake Day 2016

Today is Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras or whatever you call it in your part of the world.  In Newfoundland, where I live, it's Pancake Day.  There will be pancake breakfasts and suppers taking place in many little towns and coves.  Most of them will be fundraiser events for charities, churches or service clubs.  Although, today, most of them will be cancelled until another day because we are in the middle of a raging blizzard.  Most people will have to make their own pancakes at home or skip them altogether.  

We like pancakes.  (I'm sure I've stated that before.)  Last night as I was contemplating sleep, I was thinking of today's menu.  For sure pancakes would be on the menu, but what kind?  I had a couple of rough looking bananas sitting on the counter, just begging to be eaten some way or another, so I decided to incorporate them in my Pancake Day pancakes.  

The pancakes turned out just lovely--fluffy and bananay and delicious.  I had mine with peanut butter (the classic peanut butter and banana combination) but there are several ways a banana pancake can be dressed besides the ho-hum pancake syrup.  In the picture above you can see a buttered maple syrup with walnuts gracing the layers of pancake.   But I think chocolate syrup/sauce and whipped cream would make a delightful dessert pancake offering.  

I made my pancakes without any optional add-ins but chopped nuts or chocolate chips are perfect companions to a Banana Pancakes. 

Banana Pancakes
1 cup flour, all-purpose or whole wheat
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ salt
¾ cup mashed bananas (about 2 ripe bananas)
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg, beaten

Oil for frying, as needed

Optional Add-Ins:
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup mix the mashed bananas, sour cream, milk, vanillla, brown sugar, oil and beaten egg. 

Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix with a spoon or whisk until just blended together.  Do not over beat.  Fold in any optional add-ins now. 

Heat frying pan or griddle over medium low heat.  Add a little oil to keep the cakes from sticking.  When frying pan is hot enough spoon ¼ or ⅓ cup amounts into the pan.  Fry until bubbles appear on the surface; then turn and fry until golden brown.  Take care not to have the pan too hot as the natural sugar in the bananas will burn. 

Serve hot with your favourite syrup or fruit sauce. For a special treat serve with whipped cream/topping and a little chocolate sauce.

Makes 9-12 pancakes.

Mix the dry ingredients together.  A wire whisk is good when mixing dry ingredients.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl or large measuring cup.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet.  Gently mix with a spoon or whisk until just blended.  Add any optional ingredients at this time.

Fry pancakes on a lightly oiled pan over medium low heat.  Because the bananas contain natural sugar they will burn if the heat is too high.

When bubbles have formed, turn the pancakes over and fry until golden.

The buttered maple syrup with walnuts was a delicious topping for the Banana Pancakes.

Nan had her pancakes with maple syrup and a side of whipped cream. 

I think I need to have another serving of pancakes.

 Banana Pancakes--Delicious any time of the year!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Brownie Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

When faced with the dilemma of which dessert to chose I often end of having a serving of both (which may account for my more than ample girth).  Really, one should only have one dessert but they all look so tempting.  What to do?  Combine both for a decadent and mouth-pleasing treat that will be the hit of the party.  Brownie Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake is just such a dessert.  Who doesn't like brownies or cheesecake?  

When Peter enrolled at the College of the North Atlantic all freshmen and new students were given a welcome package with information about the school, town and other pertinent particulars.  One of the booklets in the package was about being away from home for the first time and included a few easy recipes for the fledglings to try out on their own.  Peter, of course, living only a few kilometres from the school, lived at home and didn't have to try to survive on his own so I got the booklet with the recipes. 

This Brownie Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake was the only recipe I made from the booklet and it turned out to be a real hit.  The recipe is quite versatile as the brownie base can be made using a box mix or your favourite brownie recipe.  Just make sure the mix or recipe makes only enough for an 8 or 9-inch pan.

Brownie Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
1 package brownie mix (8 or 9-inch pan size) or your favourite brownie recipe
Ingredients for brownie mix 
2 -8ounce/250 ml packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9-inch springform pan. 

Prepare basic brownie mix as directed on package or use your favourite brownie recipe.  Pour batter evenly into springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees, 15 minutes. 

While brownie base is baking, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 

Melt the chocolate chips. 

Pour the cheese batter over the hot brownie layer.  Spoon chocolate over cream cheese mixture in blobs.  Using the tip of a knife, cut through cheese and chocolate mixture several times to achieve a marble effect.  Bake at 350 degrees for and additonal 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and run knife around the edge of the cheese cake and pan.  Cool before removing rim of pan.  Before serving chill overnight for best results.  Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 12-16 servings.

Prepare your favourite brownie recipe or use a box mix.  The brownies should just be enough to fill an 8 or 9-inch pan.  Spread the brownie batter in the 9-inch springform pan and bake for 15 minutes.

While the brownies are baking melt the chocolate chips and prepare the cheesecake filling.  Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature and soft.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Don't over beat the mixture.

When the brownies have baked 15 minutes remove them from the oven and pour the cheesecake mixture over the hot brownies.

Drop the melted milk chocolate chips in blobs over the top of the cheesecake batter.

Using the tip of a knife, swirl the chocolate through the cheesecake batter.

 Bake the cake an additional 30 minutes. 

When the cake comes from the oven, run a knife around the edge of the inside of the pan.  This will help prevent the cake from cracking as it cools and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

When the cheesecake has cooled, release the spring on the pan. Allow the cake to chill overnight for best results.

When the cake is thoroughly chilled, use a sharp knife to cut into servings.

To cut neat slices, use a knife that has been dipped in hot water.  Dry the knife before cutting.  This will also remove any crumbs that may have stuck to the knife.

I cut half the cake in 8 pieces and the other half in 6 pieces. You can see how neat the cake sliced using the heated knife.  

Serve the Brownie Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with a little whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

A piece for a friend to take home.

A decadent dessert to share with family and friends.