Peppermint Patty Brownies

Bakers Anonymous family, just so you know, I received two burns on my arms (one on EACH) in order to pull  these brownies out of the oven. I hope you appreciate the pain I go through for you.

But I do it with love. ūüôā

It’s been a week since my lovely hamster, Butterscotch, passed away, so I figured the best thing to do was to make a treat full of pep and happiness. Since¬†Pinterest exploded onto the Internet in the past two months, I’ve found a ton of new blogs and recipes. Today’s post is adapted from one¬†of those very finds.

Please do check out the rest of ¬†Amandeleine’s blog. She has an amazing collection of recipes and photos!

Peppermint Patty Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box of brownie mix (I used Ghiradelli Double Chocolate brownie mix)
1 egg
1/3 C applesauce (I no longer use vegetable oil in my baking. It’s one easy way to make your treats healthier!)
1/4 C water
25 York Peppermint Patties (the small ones)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your baking pan (I used a 9×9 pan glass pan) with foil for easy removal.
2. Mix together the egg, applesauce and water.
3. Slowly add in the brownie mix, making sure it is thoroughly incorporated.
4.  Pour two-thirds of the mixture into the pan.
5. Place peppermint patties across mixture, making sure to fill up any holes between the patties by cutting up patties into pieces.
6. Bake the brownies for 40 minutes. If your brownies turn out like mine, I’m sorry. I had no idea the mint filling expanded like that. Top will be shiny but firm.
7. Remove the brownies in the foil from the pan and let rest on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

This recipe will make one pan of brownies. Number of pieces depends on how you cut them, though I do recommend cutting them small. The peppermint patty pieces add some richness.

Chocolate Butterscotch Walnut Cookies and a fond farewell

Dear Bakers Anonymous family, Monday was a sad day for me. After nearly two years of close companionship with my teddy bear hamster, Butterscotch, I had to put my little pet down due to medical reasons. I’m still in recovery mode, so I did the one thing I know how to do best in times of crisis – bake. In honor of my lost buddy, I made these chocolate butterscotch walnut cookies, using the chocolate butterscotch-chip cookie recipe from 101 Things to do With a Cake Mix, a book I finally purchased. As much as I miss my hamster, I’m happy that she’s out of pain and off in Hammie Heaven.

Chocolate Butterscotch Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:
1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used Pillsbury’s dark chocolate mix)
2 eggs
One-third cup of all-natural applesauce (I used applesauce instead of vegetable oil. Cut out the bad stuff when you can! ¬†One 4 oz container of Musselman’s all-natural applesauce is about a one-third cup)
One and a half cups of butterscotch chips
1 C of chopped and halved walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
2. Mix together the eggs and the applesauce. Stir in the box of cake mix, a little bit at a time. The dough will be slightly stiff and sticky.
3. Add in the butterscotch chips, making sure to incorporate them to every part of the batter.
4. Drop the dough  by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the lined cookie sheet. The dough will not spread much, but it will puff up.
5. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Allow to cool for 30 seconds to one minute on the cookie sheet before removing to cooling racks. They might stick to the foil a little bit. Make sure you use a plastic pancake turner.

This recipe will make two and a half dozen cakey, light and butterscotch-y, delicious cookies, depending on how much dough you use for each drop.

Minty Sugar Cookies

Bakers Anonymous community, my life has been insane these past couple of months. I applied for graduate school (University of Baltimore, here I come!), started working on the outline for my second resident assistant musical and finally finished that portfolio website that’s been driving me crazy. On top of¬†all¬†of that, I work five days a week at two different offices and do freelance jobs here and there. Oh. And did I mention that I’m trying to better my food photography?

Don’t worry. My brain only explodes every other day.

I’ve been baking more often, though, as an outlet for all that stress, and it’s been a good thing (I even found some new banana recipes. More on that another day). Tomorrow, I’m taking the day off to have a fun trip with my little sister and brothers and I wanted to bake a treat that we could snack on. It’s St. Patrick’s day this Saturday, so I intended to make sugar cookies with an Andes Mint frosting, but would you believe that Target had absolutely no Andes Mints?

I know. Devastation.

So I substituted with these delicious mint MnM’s, which, believe it or not, aren’t even listed on the MnM’s product website. Not only are these MnM’s a delectable ¬†combination of dark chocolate and mint essence, but also each MnM is the same size as the peanut version.

The original sugar cookie recipe was pulled from allrecipes.com. Next time, I’ll probably lessen the amount of flour in the dough from three and a half cups to just three. They baked up nice and fluffy, but I would prefer to taste the butter and sugar¬†just¬†a little bit more. I also ditched the shortening in the recipe and used butter. I have an aversion to shortening, remember?

Minty Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/3 C butter
1 1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 bag of mint MnM’s
Extra white sugar for rolling
Green sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil or silicone mat. These cookies will slide easily off the tray right out of the oven.

2. Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. It is important to make sure that you do not melt the butter beforehand. This mixture is the base of your cookie!

3. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract, thoroughly incorporating them.

4. Next, add the baking powder and the salt. Usually I would mix in these two in with the flour, but it being a lazy afternoon, I mixed them in first. This also made sure that the baking powder and salt would reach all the corners of the batter.

5. Add the flour, one cup at a time. By the third cup, the batter will be stiff.

6. Roll into walnut-sized balls, and then roll in the extra white sugar for rolling.

7. While these cookies will spread and out and puff up during baking, flatten the balls out slightly. Press two to three MnM’s (on some I put four) in the top of the cookie. You may have to angle them in to get them to stay. Don’t worry! They’ll settle in during baking. I also sprinkled some green sugar on a few cookies for color.

8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned. My cookies only took 10 minutes.

9. Immediately remove the cookies to wire cooling racks.

Makes four dozen cookies.

Niki’s Note: Thanks for sticking with me during this whole transition time. I’m looking forward to when my schedule is less crazy and I can spend some more time with you!