Mint Cookie Brownies

One of my favorite food blogs is Baking Bites. Soooo many recipes to try off of there and I had to start somewhere. What immediately caught my eye were these Peppermint Cookies and Cream Brownies. Oh my gawd. These things are awesome. They are incredibly dense and minty and chocolately without being too minty. The only thing I will do differently next time is keep the brownies stored in the pan and covered. I took them out and cut them like the recipe stated and stored them in a tupperware but they ended up getting stale after a couple of days. I guess I dont have good tupperware. :) But other than that, make these! Soo good!

Peppermint Cookies and Cream Brownies
Recipe from Baking Bites

1 cup butter
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups roughly chopped peppermint oreo-type cookies (approx 18)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease lightly.
In a medium-large saucepan over low heat, melt together butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla, then turn off heat. Whisk in eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in flour and cocoa powder until mixture is uniform. Stir in peppermint oreo cookies and pour batter into prepared pan. Crush 3-4 additional cookies finely and sprinkle on top of batter, if desired.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but not coated with batter.

Cool brownies in pan for about 20 minutes, then lift brownies in the foil out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 36 brownies (or 48 bite-sized brownies).


Puffed Apple Pancake

Autumn. My favorite season. The heat of summer is gone and the wonderful cool weather is here. Autumn also means pumpkin farms, apple orchards, halloween, the smell of campfires and burning leaves (oh that smell...), driving just for the heck of it and hiking through the colored forests and feeding the ducks. :)

Well a cool day a couple of weekends ago I had a ton of apples from my mom who went to the orchard the day before. I didn't want to make an apple pie (too predictable and boring). So I scoured the internet and found this wonderful recipe for an apple puffed pancake. If you've never made a puffed pancake, its something to see. It rises super high in the oven and deflates while it cools. The texture of the pancake is smooth like a crepe but its thick like a regular pancake. The taste of this particular recipe goes soooo well on a cool autumn day. It makes for a great weekend breakfast or would go great with a holiday meal!

Puffed Apple Pancake
recipe found in the September 2002 Bon Appetit

1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-3 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons brown sugar
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl until well blended. Add flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Place butter in a glass pie dish. Place dish in oven until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Place apple slices in overlapping rows atop melted butter in baking dish. Return to oven and bake until apples begin to soften slightly and butter is bubbling and beginning to brown around edges of dish, about 10 minutes.

Pour batter over apples in dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake pancake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings


Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad

I know I'm a bit late in posting this recipe considering summer is over and all. But its been sitting in my (to be uploaded) folder on my desktop for some time now. I have to share it because its so amazing! This potato salad is so incredibly flavorful and is great to bring to parties. When picking a potato, I recommend small red potatoes because they hold their shape better after they are cooked.

Make it and you won't be sorry! :)

Dijon-Dill Potato Salad
based off a recipe by Dave Lieberman

3 Lbs. Red Potatoes (regular or small), also I dont peel them, but feel free to peel them if you like them better that way.
2 stalks Celery
1 cup Mayo
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup tightly packed chopped fresh Dill
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
1/2 Lemon, Juiced
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
4 or 5 Hard Boiled Eggs (roughly chopped)

Put potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover them by 1-inch. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender (about 25-30 minutes). Drain potatoes and return them to the uncovered pot off the heat. Let them sit until they are at room temperature.

While the potatoes are cooling, cut celery in half lengthwise, then into cut 1/4-inch slices. Stir the celery, 3/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper, 1 cup mayo, red onion, dill, vinegar, lemon juice and dijon mustard together in a serving bowl large enough to hold of the potatoes.

When the potatoes are cool, cut the potatoes into about 1-inch pieces, add them to the bowl as you go. Add the chopped eggs after the potatoes. Stir gently until all of the potatoes and eggs are coated in the dressing.

This potato salad tastes best the day you make it, at room temperature. If you keep the salad in the fridge for a couple of days and it gets stiff, just add a bit more mayo and maybe a little tiny bit of vinegar and mustard to bring back the original flavor.


Philly Cheesesteak and other ramblings

Its October and it got cold! My poor herblings are going to die! :( I guess its time to cut them and put them in the freezer. Another bad thing about this time of year is that the days are shorter so its ten times harder to take pictures of my food. We usually eat dinner later and thats when I take pictures. I wont post a crappy photo. So hopefully I'll be able to update this blog at least once a week. If you dont see me then you know why. :)

Anyways, completely different subject, I've been wanting to try to make my own Philly cheesesteak at home. I know there are lots of different versions of this sandwich but I really enjoy the Great Steak version with the provolone and the mayonnaise and tomatoes. So I went searching and found many recipes but one caught my eye: Its from a website called Closet Cooking. I based my recipe off of his but made a couple of changes, like putting cheese right on top of the meat while its cooking. :)

I made this recipe twice so far. The first time I used Rib Eye steaks and the second time I used a cheaper steak, Eye of round steak I believe. Anways go with the more expensive Rib Eye if possible. They are much more flavorful and tender. The other kind is hard to chew. Other than that its really quite simple to make and really yummy so I hope you try it. Here is my version of this recipe.

Philly Cheesesteaks (makes 4 sandwiches)
2-3 teaspoons canola oil
1-2 onions
1-2 green peppers
1-2 tomatoes
4 Rib Eye Steaks (I buy steaks depending on how many people i'm cooking for. So basically buy 1 steak per person)
salt and pepper to taste
4 french or sub buns
provolone cheese

Put Rib Eye Steaks in the freezer for about 15 minutes (this makes it easier to slice them thin) Slice steaks as thin as possible. Put in a bowl and set aside.

Slice onions, green peppers and tomatoes. Put in separate bowls. Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute until tender and translucent. Remove and set aside. Add a little more oil to pan and saute green peppers peppers for a couple of minutes, until tender. Remove and set aside.

Add the steak to the pan, salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. When steak is browned all the way through, take slices of provolone and put right on top of the meat in the pan. Cook until cheese is melty, about 1-2 minutes. Take a spatula and put the meat and cheese in a warm bun. Add toppings as desired.

I like to make this buffet style because I dont like green peppers and scott doesn't like tomatoes. So just assemble your sandwich as you like. I like to put mayo on the warm bun and then put the meat and cheese in it with tomatoes and onions. Oooo so good :) This is great with a light beer! :)