Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teeny, Tiny Bites of Heaven ~ Mini Brownie Bites!

I was kindly asked to make some goodies for a dear, dear friend's going away party ~ something that is always the biggest compliment!  Knowing that I am always willing to get my baking fix, I gladly obliged.  This could turn out to be quite a large shindig so I knew I would want to make something that could feed many mouths.  I am in love with tasting parties, finger foods and mini desserts, so knew immediately I wanted to make some mini brownies and top them with yummy things!

My imagination ran wild and I had to quickly reign it in.  I made myself decide on 3 flavors.  The winners were Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Marshmallow and Strawberry Cheesecake. 

I can make a mean homemade peanut butter frosting, if I do say so myself, but so can you.  It is the simplest recipe but will cause your friends to beg for the recipe.  So here it is!

Homemade Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Simply combine all ingredients and beat until smooth!  ** I found mine to be a little runny and I was out of powdered sugar at this point, so I simply placed it in the fridge for about 20 minutes and it thickened up.

I piped the frosting on top of mini brownies that I made in here from a simple Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix (bake at 350 for 12 minutes and pop out of pan 1 minute after removing from oven!)I then topped them off with a mini-buckeye each that I found at a little sweet shop a little bit ago.

For the Strawberry Cheesecake brownie bites I did the same thing in terms of the mini brownies, but then whipped up the frosting on my own again.  Deeeelish! 

Homemade Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting

1/2 cup strawberries (pureed in food processor)
1/4 cup butter (room temp)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)

1.  Cream the butter and cream cheese
2.  Mix in the strawberries.
3.  Add the powdered surgar to taste / consistency preference.

Just as with the Peanut Butter frosting, this was a tad soupy so I chilled it for a few minutes and then it was good to go!  I topped them with a single white chocolate chip and they were complete.

Lastly, I did Chocolate Marshmallow.  Thankfully Riley had begged for some pastel mini marshmallows at the store recently as though she would just die if we didn't buy them ... and then never ate a single one ... so I had cute garnish right in my pantry.  I knew it was love at first sight recently when I saw the Frosting Creations by Duncan Hines at Target.  Have you heard of these?  They are tubs of plain white frosting but then about ten different flavoring packets you can pick from that you mix into the plain frosting.  Brilliant!  When I saw Chocolate Marshmallow, I knew I had to try!  I quickly mixed the packet and the frosting together, piped it onto the mini brownie, and then topped it with a mini marshmallow.  How simple is that?!

The final product?  A beautiful display of teeny, tiny bites of heaven ready to serve up!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Ice Cream" Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

The more fun the food, the better chances I have of my daughters finishing every last bite.  This was the case earlier this week when I made "Ice Cream" Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for them.  I cannot claim this brilliant idea as my own; it is something I found on Pinterest over the weekend.  I knew immediately that I needed to make it.

Ingredients (per sandwich):
1 banana
2 buttered slices bread
1 slice of cheese
1 quarter of strawberry

  1. Cut off the crust of each piece of bread.  Do this carefully, as you will be using the crust to make the ice cream cone detail.
  2. Create the grilled cheese sandwich as you normally would.  (Place a slice of cheese between two buttered pieces of bread and place in skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Grill until golden brown).
  3. Cut the grilled cheese into a triangle shape, representing the cone.  (Save the extra for when your kiddo(s) would like seconds!)
  4. Place the crust over the bread in a waffle/criss-cross pattern to turn into the ice cream cone.
  5. Slice bananas (I love using this to quickly slice my bananas and in uniform shape in seconds!)
  6. Arrange banana slices on plate above the "cone" and top with the quarter strawberry!
  7. Watch your child's eyes widen in delight at their FUN lunch or dinner!

Super Fast Veggie Dip

This is a great recipe to keep in mind when you need something quick to set out for unexpected guests.  I've used it many times in that situation but also make it quite a bit for my family and I to munch on veggies with.  I bet you have everything on-hand already:

1 cup fat free mayo
1 cup fat free sour cream
2-4 Tbsp* of your favorite rub (this is our favorite - gives it a GREAT bite)
     * I say 2-4 because this really is a recipe that you have to add to your preferred taste. 
       Start with 2 Tbsp and increase from there if you prefer.

1.  Mix all ingredients together.  Enjoy!

SIMPLE, right?!

Death by Chocolate Trifle ~ YUM

I was doing a Pampered Chef show for a friend a little over a week ago and she had made a Death by Chocolate dessert for her guests.  At one glance (and then at many bites), I knew I had to make my own.  As she described her steps to me, I knew I wanted to make mine into a trifle.  Afterall, I love all things trifle and most love that you really never need a recipe - just throw together lots of different things that sound good together and somehow they always come out looking - and tasting - amazing!

That was the exact outcome here.

I literally left her show and drove directly to Target and picked up some candy, as I had all the other ingredients on hand already.  Here are all of my ingredients:
~ Chocolate cake mix (+ ingredients to prepare as directed)
~ Mini Reeses Cups
~ Kit Kat bars
~ Reeses Pieces
~ Chocolate syrup
~ Large Cool Whip (you'll want it thawed for this recipe)
~ Large box chocolate pudding

Is your mouth watering yet?  Just wait.

I was actually preparing this quickly to take next door in an hour to a friend's party, so I had to be quick.  To make a normal 9x13 cake according to the cake mix directions, I needed to let it bake for 33 minutes.  I didn't have that time.  Instead, I pulled out my trusty Brownie Pans and poured the prepared batter into each well.  I had enough for nearly two full pans.  I baked the cake at 350 for 17 minutes instead and they came out PERFECTLY done.  I saved 16 minutes, cutting the baking time nearly in half!  Since I'd be crumbling the cake anyhow, it didn't make a single difference.

During those 17 minutes I pulled out my Food Chopper and started chopping away at the Kit Kat, breaking it into a fine crumble.  I prepared the pudding as directed and let it sit for the suggested 5 minutes.  After that time I combined it with half of the cool whip, creating a mousse-like concoction.  Then the fun began! 

Once the cakes came out I crumbled them by hand into the bottom of my Trifle Bowl.  My layers went like this:

1.  Crumbled chocolate cake
2.  Cool Whip
3.  Assortment of three candies, sprinkled over Cool Whip
4.  Crumbled chocolate cake
5.  Half of mousse-like concoction
6.  Assortment of three candies, sprinkled over mousse
7.  Crumbled chocolate cake
8.  Second half of mousse-like concoction
9.  Assortment of three candies, sprinkled over Cool Whip
10.  Crumbled chocolate cake
11.  Remaining Cool Whip

(Do you see those little eyes hoping that Mommy forgets to take this with her?)

To finish it all off (as if it needed more), I drizzled chocolate syrup over the top cool whip layer and topped with the remaining assortment of candy!  This dessert was absolutely sinful and you can bet that it was completely gone by the end of the party!  And, better yet, created in 20 minutes or less!  YUMMY!