Box of Delicious! {Foodie Pen Pal June & Coffee Brownie Recipe}

This month, as a part of the Foodie Pen Pals, I received a box from Heather and sent a box to Dustin.

A few weeks ago, I gave you a peek inside the box I got from Heather. Now it is finally time for the reveal!

Here’s what I got:

In case you can’t read all the labels, it’s Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar-Caramel with Black Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee, Dark Chocolate (filled with) Speculoos Cookie Spread, Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups, Artisana Pecan Butter, Jessica’s Vanilla Maple Granola, Artisana Coconut Butter, and Trader Joe (Jaques) Fleur Del Sel Caramels. (Heather did say she loves Trader Joe’s in her note, which, by the way, is the card with the cherries on it in the background.)

Thanks, Heather for the yumminess and for making me want to visit my local TJ’s! :)

For Dustin, I used some of the coffee from last month’s box to make brownies. I really like the idea of using something from the last box to forward on to the next one. Just a fair warning for the other foodie pen pals reading this right now.

I forgot to include the recipe in Dustin’s box, so I am putting it here:

Adapted from Epicurious: (original recipe)

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 15 tablespoons (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal pan with nonstick spray. Combine sugar, butter, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk until butter melts and ingredients are blended (texture will be grainy). Remove bowl from over water; cool mixture to lukewarm if necessary. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour over and fold in.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in pan.

Note: the original recipe includes pecans in the brownies and a mocha frosting, but I thought the brownies were good as is.

“…and in the morning, I’m making WAFFLES.”

This post’s title/quote comes from the first (and best, IMO) Shrek movie.

I bought the waffle iron from a garage sale that was down the street from me. It’s old, but works great. I added cinnamon, maple sugar, and some toasted, chopped pecans to the batter made from scratch. They came out well and I hope that the ones that I froze will reheat well and taste just as good as the fresh ones. This is the first time I’ve made frozen waffles from scratch, so I hope they’re just as good (if not better) than Egos/Bisquick. Continue reading

Easy as pie: the pictures: part one: pie pops.

the three fillings: pumpkin, pecan, and blueberry, and a little chunk of the cookie dough.

cutting out the cookie dough

first one up, blueberry.

next, pecan. look at how gooey they are!

pumpkin is last.

baked blueberry pie pops! a little bit messy, but still really yummy!

a bunch of baked pie pops!

Easy as pie.

Last night, with the help of my assistant pastry chef (Benjie), I finally had a chance to make pie pops. Although fun to make, it is a long process, especially if you are like us, and like to make things from scratch. You could do things the more convenient way, and buy pre-made dough, and pre-made pie filling, and then just put all of the ingredients together, but where’s the adventure in that?
So, first came the dough. The other blogs that we found the pie pops on used traditional pie crust, but I wanted to try something different, so I made a dough that is similar to cookie dough. In fact, the recipe I used is from the Culinary Institute of America‘s book, Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft, called 1-2-3 cookie dough. You may be thinking it is called that because it is easy as 1-2-3, which is true, but it is really called that because the recipe’s formula is a 1 to 2 to 3 ratio of butter, sugar, and flour. (ex: 1lb butter, 2lbs of sugar, and 3lbs of flour, with the addition of eggs (4) and flavorings.) I also used pie dough, just to see and taste the difference. The cookie dough recipe is similar to the CIA’s recipe for traditional pie dough, which they conveniently call, 3-2-1 pie dough. (3 parts flour, 2 parts butter, 1 part water.) I will share all recipes used at the end of this post. All of the recipes I used were really easy, mostly containing steps basically including “put all ingredients in bowl and mix together”. As far as textures go, the cookie crust was crunchier, and the pie dough was flakier, but both were good. I also liked the look of the cookie dough pops better, they came out shiner and just all-around nicer-looking.
Next, we made the fillings! We tried three different pie fillings, blueberry, pecan, and pumpkin. While it was fun to have all of the different flavors in the end, next time we are going to stick with one flavor. This is for simplicity, and because you do not use a lot of filling for each pop, we ended up making a full pecan pie, a blueberry cookie crumble, and have the left over pumpkin pie filling waiting it’s turn to be made into a full-sized pie in the freezer. So much pie! I think the pops made with the cookie crust were the best, because you can add more filling, and the ratio of crust to filling was perfect, compared to the pie dough, which left little room for filling, and therefore, the high ratio of crust to filling was not good.The fillings were all good, my favorite was the blueberry, not to sweet, not too tart. The pumpkin filling was okay, but would be better with real pumpkin, and not canned. (Yes,we used some convenience items. Perhaps later, when pumpkins, and other squash items are in season, I will make pumpkin pie from real pumpkin.) The pecan filling was gooey, and tasted good, but since it was the runniest, it created the flattest pops. I am happy to have used the rest of that filling for its own full-sized pie (made with leftover pie dough). Yum! I have not tried the blueberry cookie crumble, which was leftover cookie dough, left over blueberry filling, sprinkled with brown sugar, a little bit of flour, and cinnamon. I am sure it is good, though.
Okay, time for recipes! The filling recipes all came from the wonderful internet and the dough recipes came from the CIA’s Baking and Pastry book, as previously mentioned.

1-2-3 cookie dough: I scaled down the recipe to yield about 3 pounds of dough. This may sound like a lot of dough, but it gets used quickly. If you do have leftover dough, you could make a crumble, like I did, or refrigerate or freeze for later use. This makes really great tart dough, for those of you who like fresh fruit tarts.
Ingredients:
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
1 pound of sugar
2 eggs
1.5 pounds of flour
Method:
Cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Slowly incorporate all of the flour. Be sure not to over mix, just be sure that all of the ingredients are combined.
Cover, and chill until cool to the touch.
Use plenty of flour underneath dough when rolling it out. However, too much flour will prevent it from sticking together.  If using for pie pops, you should be able to roll out pressed together scraps 2-3 times.
Since I don’t want to make this post uber long, I am just including links to the filling recipes I used:
Blueberry, Pumpkin, and Pecan.
Although I like the recipe for 3-2-1 pie dough, from the CIA, I did use this one, which follows the same recipe formula, but is easier to measure for those Suzy-homemakers out there with out the convenience of a kitchen scale. This makes enough for a bunch of pops, or one 9″ pie crust. This can also be refrigerated or frozen for later use.
Pie Dough:
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup of water, cold

 Method:
Place flour in a bowl. Cut butter into small pieces, about pea-size, and place in bowl. Toss around butter pieces, to be sure they are all completely covered in flour. Start to press dough together. This will help determine how much water should be used. My dough was coming together nicely, so I started out by adding only 1/4 cup of water. Then I pressed the dough together, and added just enough water to form a soft, smooth dough.
I was able to keep pressing together all of the scraps of dough and adding some dough that had not been rolled out yet, which allowed me to re-roll numerous times.
We followed the instructions on Bakerella‘s site on how to make the pie pops. Despite all of the work to be done for the dough and the fillings, the actual assembly is pretty easy.  Basically, cut out the circles of dough, place them on the cookie sheet, press on lollipop sticks (found at a craft store), place on a spoonful of filling, place another circle of dough on top, use another stick to help press down the top layer of dough, brush tops with egg white, bake in 375-degree oven for about 10-14 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!
Okay, I am currently having trouble uploading the pictures, so you will have to use your imagination for now, and I will try to upload them soon!