Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coconut White Brownies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling-Improv Challenge



The theme that Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker chose for this months Improv ing Challenge was ebony and ivory.  At first I couldn’t quite put my brain around this one.  With an explanation that the recipe could be any combination of black/brown or whte/ecru, I began to develop an idea.

There are many recipes out there that combine brownies with a cream cheese filling.  I decided to reverse this idea and make white brownies with a chocolate cream cheese filling.  I took my favorite white brownie recipe and added a cream cheese filling which included melted chocolate chips.  I decided to add coconut to the brownie dough and pecans to the chocolate filling for a little extra zip.

This makes a very dense, moist cookie that will become denser as it sits in the refrigerator.


Coconut White Brownies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling
1 c. butter or margarine, melted (I use butter)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1/2  c. sweetened flaked coconut
1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 T. butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, regular or low fat, softened (see tip to soften quickly here)
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 T. cornstarch
1/3 c. chopped, toasted pecans

Melt butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl.  Let cool 5 minutes.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.  Beat in vanilla with the last egg.  Add flour and mix until well blended.  Stir in coconut.  Batter will be stiff.  Set aside.  In another microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter about 1 minute at 50% power.  Stir.  Continue to microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each until chips are melted.  Add cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and cornstarch and beat until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Spoon half of the white dough in a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pans.  Spread evenly to make a thick layer.  Spoon chocolate mixture over bottom layer, spreading evenly.  Dollop spoonfuls of white dough over cheesecake layer and smooth out as evenly as possible with a damp metal spatula.  Bake 30-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool and cut into bars.  Makes 36.  Store, tightly covered. in refrigerator.



Next month's challenge is lemon and lime.  To find out how to join in the fun, visit Kristen's Improv Page.

Check out the links below to see what other bloggers have made with ebony and ivory.




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easy Chickpea Spread-Secret Recipe Club

Secret Recipe Club


C Mom Cook was my Secret Recipe Club assignment for April.  Shelly began her blog in 2010 so it is crammed packed with great recipes.  I am really impressed by the amount of baking she does, and that she uses sourdough.  Her recipes almost make me want to make some starter of my own

Because of my sweet tooth I really want to make her Biscoff Banana Bread, Blondies, and Crispy Bars, but I will have to find the spread locally first.  It is not carried at the grocery stores where I usually shop.  Perhaps I will have to check out Walmart.

I have had a can a garbanzo beans in my pantry for awhile planning to make something out of them to see if I liked them.  I wasn’t sure that I would like hummus, and didn’t want to buy ingredients that I might never us again if I didn’t like it.  When I saw the recipe for Chick Pea Spread that contained only a few ingredients, I knew that was what I wanted to make.  I was a little torn about posting the recipe because it is so simple.  On the other hand, I think that this recipe deserves widespread distribution, and hopefully other people who are not sure about garbanzos will also give it a try

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I used the marinate and sauce from the Five Spice Honey Chicken recipe on some country style pork ribs, and they were delicious.  Unfortunately I did not get a chance to take photos of them.

Now that I have decided that I like garbanzos and have found this recipe, I have some ideas running around in my head.  The garbanzos seemed to have a pretty neutral flavor so I think that I can branch out from this recipe and use seasonings like cumin and ranch.  I will be sharing when I have done some experimentation. 

Thanks, Shelly for a great recipe.


Easy Chick Pea Spread (from C Mom Cook)
1 (15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 clove (or more, to taste garlic (I used 2 large cloves)
1 pinch salt
1 t. sesame oil (other oils may be substituted)
1 pinch pepper (this was my addition (not in the original recipe)

Drain most of the liquid from the beans, leaving just a little of it.  Pour the beans into a food processor.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper.  Process until everything is well chopped.  Add the oil and continue to process until the mixture is as smooth as you like.  Chill well before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.


You can check out Secret Recipe Club's information page to find out how to join in all the fun.

See what other group B Secret Recipe bloggers made this month below.






Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bunny Trail Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Frosting-Dessert Challenge


Sorry that I have been MIA so much lately.  I hope to be back here more often soon.  The ingredients that Sheryl from Lady Behind the Curtain chose for this month’s dessert challenge were Peeps and white chocolate.  She also said that marshmallows or marshmallow creme could be used.


When I think of Peeps, all that usually comes to mind is the little, yellow chicks.  However, recently I was in Michael’s, of all places, to purchase an Ott light bulb and saw these bunnies.  When I saw them, a whole plan came to mind, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  A Bunny Trail Cake.  It seemed only natural that the cake be carrot, and the white chocolate could go in the frosting.  Off I went to find recipes for inspiration.

Turning to my trusty recipe file on my computer, I found three recipes for carrot cake made with baby food carrots.  Since I am basically lazy and do not like the bother and mess that comes with shredding carrots, I thought baby food carrots was a good idea.  Then I got to the grocery store and saw that baby food carrots were around $1 a jar, and I needed two jars.  Well, I am also cheap, and decided I would figure out how to use either cooked or canned carrots instead of the baby food.

The original recipes I found on my computer called for 2 cups sugar, which I felt was a lot so I reduced the sugar to 1 cup.  I thought this was fine considering the amount of sugar in the frosting.  I am putting a range from 1 to 2 cups in the recipe.  If serving the cake with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, you might want to increase the amount of sugar in the cake.

I adapted a White Chocolate Frosting recipe from Food.com.  It called for 6 oz. of white chocolate bar, melted and cooled.  I chose to use half a package of Ghirardelli Classic White Chips.  Don’t use Nestle’ brand.  These do not melt well.  My butter was very soft so I did not need to add any cream or half and half.  I frosted the photographed cake pretty heavily so barely had enough frosting to cover the second half of the original cake.  I would recommend that another half cup of powdered sugar be added and liquid as necessary.  That should make enough frosting to frost both cake halves.

A cake decorator I am most definitely not, but I did color some coconut with green food color to use as grass and added some mini candy eggs for garnish.  I used toothpicks to anchor the bunny Peeps to the cake.  If anyone wonders why I did not use the green coconut on the ends of the cake, it is because these bunnies are coming from somewhere and going to somewhere.  I ran into one unexpected situation when I opened the package of Peeps.  They were attached to each other and so there were little uncovered spots of marshmallow left showing when I took the Peeps apart.

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Although I did not include them in the cake I made, I have listed pineapple, coconut and chopped nuts in the recipe as optional.  They were included in the original recipes, and I think one or all would be great in this cake.


Bunny Trail Carrot Cake
1 c sliced cooked or canned carrots
3 T. water or liquid from canned carrots
1 c. vegetable oil
1-2 c. sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 T. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, very well drained (opt.)
1/2 c. flaked coconut (opt.)
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (opt.)
1 c. flaked coconut (double this if making both halves.)
green food color
1 pkg.  bunny Peeps (12)
mini candy Easter eggs of your choice
White Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)

Place carrots and water or liquid in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place in the bowl for an electric mixer.  Add sugar, vegetable oil and beat until blended.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix to combine.  Add to carrot mixture and mix until smooth.  Pour batter into a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cake cool.  Meanwhile make the frosting.  Add green food color to the coconut and mix well. set  Set aside.  Cut cake in half, making two 4 1/2x13-inch halves.  Frost half of cake.  Sprinkle the coconut around the bottom of the cake and along the two long top edges.  Insert one end of a toothpick into a bunny Peep.  Insert the other end of the toothpick into the center of one end of the cake.  Repeat to make a line of bunny Peeps along the center of the cake.  You will need six or seven.  Use six if you want one package of Peeps to make two cakes.  Randomly place mini candy Easter eggs among the coconut grass.  Proudly share and slice between bunnies to serve.  Makes 6 to 7 servings.  You may either make another Bunny Trail cake with the second half of the original cake or freeze it to use later.

White Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Food.com)
half an 11 oz. pkg. (scant 1 cup) white chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
1 c. butter, very soft
1 t. vanilla
2 to 2 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1-3  T. heavy cream or half-and-half, if necessary

Melt white chocolate chips according to directions on the package, beating until smooth.  Add butter and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer or wire whisk until smooth.  Stir in sifted powdered sugar.  Add cream or half-and-half if necessary, beating until well blended.


Next month's ingredients are strawberries and cream cheese.  Come join in the fun next month.  Just visit Sheryl's Dessert Challenge page to find out how.

Check out the links below to see what other bloggers did with this month's ingredients.

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