Monday, March 19, 2012

Milky Way Brownies

I have a special place in my heart from brownies. I love them. A lot. I prefer brownies to cake and cookies. The perfect dessert.... a warm brownie with vanilla frozen yogurt on the side drizzled with chocolate sauce and a dollop of cool whip right on top. Now, my husband is well aware of the obsession I have with brownies. He is so good to me. He loves apple pie, crips, cake.... but a good portion of the time we are eating dessert it is some variation of a yummy brownie. I try to branch out for him and I do (made him his OWN apple pie this past weekend) but once and a while I NEED a brownie. I justify my addiction by making them low fat. They are so very g-o-o-d too.

When my mom was alive, EVERY weekend we would have dessert and watch a movie. Living a couple blocks from each other was such a blessing! Again, my dad and rex are very sweet to put up with us. I would make the brownies, they would bring the frozen yogurt (nonfat of course) and the dessert feast would begin. So many good memories. Around here we save dessert for the weekend. Probably because we go all out and i have to set some boundaries for myself :) So it is a special occasion. I made these and oh baby they were good! A fudge brownie on the bottom, smothered in caramel and peanuts, topped with a chocolate ganache. Yeah, I will be making these again. Sorry honey :)


1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg white or 1/2 cup egg beaters (i have been using egg beaters because it saves my eggs)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
fat free caramel sauce
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts (more if you like:)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2-3/4 cup fat free half and half

1. Make up your brownies. Whisk together applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and egg whites. Add in your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix until smooth and combined. Pour into a greased 9x9 baking dish. You could always line your pan with foil and spray that if you want to pop them out and cut them. It is a bit prettier, especially if you are serving them to company....But if you aren't trying to take a picture or serving them to a crowd you can just pour all the yummy goodness right into the sprayed pan.
2. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until center is cooked in a 350 oven. When they are done let them cool for a about 20 minutes. Now what I did was after they had cooled for a bit I poked the brownies all over with a skewer and then drizzled the caramel topping all over until the brownies are covered. Yum. Next sprinkle your peanuts over the caramel. Ok, lets make ganache.
3.Very easy. Put your chocolate chips in a sauce pan and turn the heat to med-low. As the chocolate starts to melt add in 1/2 cup of the half and half. When everything is combined and smooth you can add a bit more half and half to thin out the chocolate. You are going to carefully drizzle the chocolate over the top of the brownies and WAIT for them to cool. Good luck it is really hard because they look soooo good! Cut and eat!

* With desserts that need time to cool or set I try to make in the afternoon or even in the morning. So after the kids are in bed.... those brownies are mine!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Big Soft Pretzels

I have been wanting to make homemade pretzels for a long time. I finally did it and I can't believe it took me sooo long. They were easy and so delicious! Seriously, we loved them and ate them for dinner one night with a big veggie platter and dips! It was a fun dinner and the pretzels were warm, chewy and had a nice salty bite to them. Amazing. Try them! This recipe is from Alton Brown and it got like a million 5star reviews...and now I know why!


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
kosher salt


1.Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

You could also brush with a bit of butter and sprinke cinnamon and sugar on them and dip them in a glaze. Yum! We dipped in mustard and had them plain, they were amazing!