Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Brownies

I love Valentine's Day. I even loved it when I was single because it's just a fun time of year to make goodies. These brownies are the perfect treat to make for your special someone ... or just make them for fun! :)
Valentine's Brownies (adapted from RecipeGirl)
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter
2 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz. unsweetened baker's chocolate
7 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 tub chocolate fudge frosting
decorative sprinkles

In a large bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Set aside.
To melt the chocolate, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water like so:
In the bowl, place butter and chocolates and melt (and stir) until smooth.
Take the melted chocolate off heat and let cool for about 20 minutes. Then, a little at a time, stir into the egg mixture.
Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Line a greased cookie sheet with parchment paper and then grease the parchment paper, too. (This allows for easy removal of the brownies.) Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes. Mine started to bubble over at about 25 minutes so I took them out!
Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight. Once they're firm, dump them out on a clean surface and peel the parchment paper off.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. (Naturally for Valentine's Day I used a heart.)
Heat the tub of frosting in the microwave until warm and runny. Use a spoon to frost the brownies. Top with sprinkles.
I had a lot of scrap brownies left over. I think I'll freeze them to use later. They might work for this trifle recipe or for brownie pops. Maybe we'll just eat them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I'm pretty sure my hubby will be happy when he comes home tonight. I have finally made something that he's been asking me to make for years: cinnamon swirl bread. The reason I haven't ever made it is because I'm not a great bread maker and, to be honest, I've been really intimidated to make this. But yay for me because I did it and now I'm not afraid! :)
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1/3 c. warm water
2 packets (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
1 c. warm milk
6 T. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c. sugar, divided
1 1/2 t. salt
5 1/2-6 c. all purpose flour
2 T. cinnamon
raisins (optional)

Dissolve yeast in water.
Add milk, butter, eggs, 1/2 c. sugar, salt, and 2 1/2 c. flour. Mix well.
Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Dump onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn over so that the whole thing is greased.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour.) Meanwhile, mix remaining 1/2 c. sugar with cinnamon.
Punch dough down and divide in half. On a floured surface, roll out half the dough to about 8"x18".
Spread with half the cinnamon mixture and a few raisins, if desired.
Roll up from one of the short ends so you have an 8" log.
Pinch the seam and the ends.
Place loaf, seam-side down, into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with other half of dough.
Let loaves rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours) then bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Remove hot loaves from pans and place on a cooling rack.
I immediately cut into it while it was hot. Mmmmm delicious.
This would make some yummy french toast. It's also great all by itself. Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baked Chicken Dip

Ever since I got this recipe from my good friend a few months ago, I seriously have made it about six times! I am IN LOVE with this chicken dip! I've adapted it a little because the original recipe makes a whole casserole dish and my little family can't eat quite that much. But the next time you're in a snacking mood make this dip. It's amazing!

Baked Chicken Dip
1 (12 oz.) can chicken, drained
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese* softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 c. grated cheese, any kind
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 c. red onion, minced)
1 bell pepper (any color) chopped

*I always use 1/3 less fat cream cheese in place of regular. It's an easy way to cut calories without sacrificing taste.

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Spread evenly into a pie pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I like to serve this dip with Ritz crackers or veggies. Honestly, I'm pretty sure you could dip anything into this and it would taste wonderful!

Mmmmm! I just had this yesterday and now I'm tempted to make another batch. It really is THAT good! Try it and then you'll believe me. Enjoy!