best ever peanut butter blondies

You guys, I have no idea what’s gong on! The last two times I attempted to make Brownies have ended in utter disaster, and by that I mean undercooked or otherwise inedible brownies, yuck. That’s just bad. But I think there is a way to redeem myself. Maybe if I reverse direction and make the best ever Blondies, I can successfully make a return to the dark side.

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

Best Ever Peanut Butter Blondies

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and light brown sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix in the peanut butter and make sure all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour.
  5. Add batter to the baking pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

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Girl Scout cookie Thin Mints cake pops

I’ve reinterpreted everyone’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie into everyone’s other favorite thing– cake pops!

Thin Mints Cake Pops | sagebrousseau.com

Sorry for the lag in posts here, I’ve been buried up to my neck in this lovely Boston snow. But in between shoveling sessions, I’ve whipped up this little post to celebrate the only good thing about February: it’s Girl Scout cookie season!

Thin Mints Cake Pops

  • 1 Box chocolate cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 x 9 cake)
  • 1 (16 oz.) Can chocolate frosting
  • ¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • White chocolate chips (or white candy melts)
  • Green sugar sprinkles
  • Lollipop sticks (or popsicle sticks)
  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
  2. Add all the frosting to the bowl, and peppermint extract. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet (approximately 45-50 balls).
  4. Place in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
  5. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 sec intervals, stirring in between, until melted.
  6. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted chocolate coating and insert (a little less than halfway) into the cake balls.
  7. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the chocolate coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and gently tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off.
  8. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.
  9. Place about ¼ cup of white chocolate chips into a zip-lock baggie and microwave for 20 second intervals, until melted. Squish the bag with your fingers to mix and smooth the chocolate between intervals. When melted smooth, snip a tiny piece off of the corner of the bag and drizzle over pops.
  10. Sprinkle green sugar over pops while white drizzle is still wet.
  11. ENJOY!pops2

christmas bonus: bourbon pecan fruitcake bites

Like many folks, I have never been a fan of the traditional fruitcake.  Ridiculed for its brick-like appearance and studded with unnatural glossy green and red “fruits,” it never really tasted any better than it looked.

mini fruitcakes | sagebrousseau.com

Why does fruitcake have such a bum rap? Generally speaking, fruitcake is just a mixture of brandied fruits and nuts with a spiced batter to hold them together… sounds delicious, where did this holiday treat go awry? Since I enjoy reveling in Christmastime traditions, and fruitcake being among the most time-honored, I am determined to make a more palatable recipe!

Despite the fact that this is a dessert composed mainly of nuts and fruits, it is not technically a health-food. However, I did shop my favorite local natural-foods store for the necessary ingredients: dried fruits and nuts. I had all the other tasty ingredients already in my kitchen: butter, eggs, sugar… and bourbon, of course.

Bourbon Pecan Fruit Cake Bites bourbon pecan fruit cake bites | sagebrousseau.com

Yield 24

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups diced mixed dried fruits (I used dates, cranberries, and crystallized ginger– you could also try apples, apricots or golden raisins)
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¾ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 6 Tbls. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ to 1 cup flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Soak nuts and an dried fruits (omit crystallized ginger, if using) in bourbon for 8 hours. Preheat oven to 325º Cream butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy, add egg and beat. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt and cinnamon. Reduce speed on mixer and add flour mixture. Batter should be thick. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fruits (including ginger) and nuts to the batter, fold into batter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. If batter appears dry you may add some of the left over bourbon a teaspoon at a time.

Line mini-muffin pan with paper liners, use a measured scoop to fill each with a rounded teaspoon of batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly and the cakes are a light golden brown.

bourbon fruitcake bites | sagebrousseau.com

Because of the alcohol content, fruitcake may be stored (covered in the refrigerator) for up to one month, but these are so tasty, I don’t think that will be a problem! Happy Holidays.

not your grandmother’s rice pudding

You either love rice pudding or you hate it. I L-O-V-E it, and my grandmother’s recipe was actually pretty darn good.

coconut rice pudding | sagebrousseau.com

It’s so simple to make, and really may be my most favorite food. I loved when my Gram would make it for me when I was a little girl, it was her favorite too and we’d eat it together with spoons from the pot (“let’s not bother with bowls”), gobbling it down, right off the stove top.

Now, I savor every grain of warm, chewy rice before its warmth fills my belly, thinking about my Gram and imagining her here with me. It’s the perfect treat on a cool Autumn afternoon.

gram's rice pudding | sagebrousseau.comHere’s my spin on the classic recipe, scented of vanilla with a hint of cinnamon and coconut milk for a rich, creamy finish.

Coconut Rice Pudding

  • 1 14oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Combine coconut milk, milk, rice and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently for for approximately 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and no longer liquidy.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
  3. Eat all of it immediately. Serve warm or chilled.

coconut rice pudding | sagebrousseau.com

cranberries: New England’s superfood

It’s no wonder why cranberries are a staple of holiday cooking and eating, since they are freshest and in season September through December.

cranberries | sagebrousseau.com

There is no food more quintessentially New England than the cranberry, documentation from Ocean Spray even suggests that the first commercial cranberry harvest took place in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Not only are cranberries one of only three berries native to the U.S. (blueberries and Concord grapes are the other two), it is also considered a superfood full of antioxidants and rich in vitamin C and fiber.

Eating foods with antioxidants in them are believed to protect the body from “free radicals”, which are cells that have been damaged. Composed of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, the antioxidants help repair the damage to cells that free radicals have gotten a hold of and helps keep your immune system strong. Cranberries are higher in antioxidants than almost all other fruits and vegetables out there (outranking cherries, red grapes, and broccoli)!

cranberries | sagebrousseau.com

cranberry bread | sagebrousseau.com

I prefer eating my antioxidants in the form of baked goods, don’t you? Try this tasty cranberry bread recipe from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association:

  • 1/2 C. Butter
  • 1 Tbs. Grated Orange Peel
  • 3 Large Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 1/2 C. Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 C. Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, Chopped
  • 1 C. Sugar
  • 1Tsp. Vanilla
  • 3/4 C. Buttermilk
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 C. Pecans, Chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold cranberries and nuts into batter. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

 

apple cider donuts

Despite what the thermometer reads today, it is Fall in New England and that means it’s apple cider season!

Apple Cider Donuts

The onset of Autumn weather instantly fills me with a sense of nostalgia, I suddenly crave sweaters, bonfires, and apple cider. Of course apple cider is especially delightful served hot, but in my opinion the best way to consume cider is in donut form! Temptation got the best of me recently and I bought a donut pan… I know, now I have no excuse but to make and eat donuts all the time. Well, maybe not. But it is a lot of fun making your favorite treats at home.

ingredients

I can’t say these donuts are quite as satisfying as the true, fried variety, but they are tasty and you can bake these up at home and feel slightly less guilty when you polish off one (or more) with your morning coffee, or a glass of milk.

Ingredients:

yield: one dozen (this recipe can easily be cut in half)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp soft unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • for topping (optional):
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Spray two donut pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another smaller bowl, blend the eggs, buttermilk, apple cider and butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Batter will be thick.

Spread batter into prepared donut pan. You want to fill each donut mold about 3/4th of the way full. Place donuts in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until fluffy and slightly golden. Invert donuts onto a cooling rack, and let cool while you prepare the cinnamon sugar topping.

Place melted butter in a small dish and cinnamon sugar on a larger dish. Brush each donut with the melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Delish!

bite of donut

I dream of donuts

Here are somethings you need to know about me: I love donuts, and recently I fulfilled two dreams in one shot…

Top Pot!

For twenty years (eep!) I had dreams of visiting Seattle and I’ve been dreaming of the donut shop mecca Top Pot Donuts since I first saw it on a TV travel show. In February, I lived my dream and it was awesome! Confession: I did not sample all of the flavors, but I had a few… I mean, I was there for three days, how could I not stop in each morning?

so many donutsTop Pot Neon

Since I couldn’t take the donuts, or Top Pot, home with me I just collect donuts on Pinterest now and dream of more local donut adventures…

Follow Sage’s board donuts! donuts! donuts! on Pinterest.