Creme De Menthe Brownies – just like Andes Mints

Over 20 years ago a co-worker named Mike made this recipe for Crème de Menthe brownies for an office party.  He gave me the recipe printed from an email that I still have in my recipe binder.  The first time I wanted to make them, Mr. Bee offered to do the work and I’ve never looked back.  We refer to them as “Doug’s Brownies.”  They are rich, different and make a lovely addition to your dessert table because of the pretty green color.  These would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!  I promise people will be asking you for the recipe.  I made them for my Galentine’s Day party earlier this week.  Still amazing after all these years!

Crème de Menthe Brownies

Bottom Layer:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 16oz can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup (this is hard to find, you can substitute if needed with the syrup in the bottle)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar and add other ingredients in order.  Blend well. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.

Middle layer:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter

3 TBL Crème de Menthe liquour

Mix and spread over cooled brownies.

Top Layer:

1 cup chocolate chips

6 TBL butter

Melt chips and butter.  Let cool until easy to spread over the middle layer while slightly warm.  Refrigerate until ready to cut and serve.

Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins with Thyme Glaze

I love to bake and try out new recipes, especially with cookbooks I haven’t opened in a while.  If you want to impress your company with a beautiful breakfast bread, try this recipe for Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins with Thyme Glaze from Bake from Scratch.  I own their Bake from Scratch cookbook and it’s full of artisan recipes for the homebaker featuring cakes, pies, breads, cookies and pastries.  But you can also access tons of great recipes from their site Baked from Scratch and sign up for their Preheat enewsletter.

Makes 8 large muffins or 12 regular size muffins
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups (209 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (150 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⅓ cups (293 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries
  • Thyme Glaze (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 8 jumbo muffin cups with parchment or paper liners, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Fold in blueberries.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and continue baking until muffins are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Drizzle with Thyme Glaze, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Want to add a twist to your baked goods?  Try my trick – instead of baking them bare or in regular cupcake liners, use parchment lotus cups from Paper Chef sold at Target.

Thyme Glaze

Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups (150 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • Thyme Syrup (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and Thyme Syrup until smooth (the icing will be very thick).  Drizzle the tops of cooled muffins.

Thyme Syrup (try planting Thyme in your garden.  It’s cold and heat tolerant and very fragrant.  I have a patch of it right outside my front door, easy to pick for this recipe).

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, ¼ cup water, and thyme to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.

If you put a tray of these out for your guests, they will surely think you bought them and then you can take all the credit.  Happy baking!

Fall-ish Friday: Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Hello, it’s fall y’all!  Well, technically not until September 22, but as soon as pumpkin hits the shelves at Trader Joe’s my happy season has begun.  I did wait until this week, at least, to have a PSL from Starbucks to show some restraint.

Last weekend it was rainy and I baked up a storm — three new recipes in fact and I have to say they were all pretty tasty.  This recipe from Crazy for Crust for Pumpkin Coffee Cake was my favorite.  Here’s the thing, it doesn’t call for any eggs.  Don’t panic, it turns out fine (I was worried, so I wanted to offer you some reassurance).

Ingredients
For the Coffee Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (I swear by Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nonfat milk
For the Streusel
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9×9” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Stir in pumpkin, vegetable oil, vanilla and milk until mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir with a fork to
combine. Spread on top of pumpkin cake layer.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted 2” from the side of the pan comes out clean.
5. Store covered on the counter for up to 2 days or freeze for up to one month

This recipe along with 400 other yummy recipes for breads and muffins can be found on my Pinterest board.  Please feel free to follow!

Have fall-ish Friday!

Old Fashioned Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I posted a picture of a slice of this cake on my Instagram and Facebook and apparently alot of you like this kind of cake!  Does it bring back memories of Grandma making it for you for your birthday?  Because that’s exactly what it’s referred to when I found the recipe on Pinterest. It’s from the blog Modern Honey and she calls it the “Best Ever Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting!  White cake with white buttercream is my first choice on all occasions, but this cake will gladly be my runner-up!

It’s ultra rich and moist.  I think the longer it sits, the better is gets.  It slices perfectly, too.  It makes enough for three layers, but I chose to only bake two.  I think you could also convert it to a 9×13 cake as well.  There is just something so pretty, though, when you serve a layer cake.

Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Author: Melissa Stadler, Modern Honey

Ingredients
4 Large Eggs
⅔ cup Whole Milk or Buttermilk (I used buttermilk)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2¼ cups Flour
1½ cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 Tablespoons Oil
⅓ cup Vanilla Pudding Mix (instant)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1½ cups Butter, softened
1 cup Cocoa
5 cups Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Cream, Half n Half or Milk

*This recipe can make a two layer cake or a three layer cake (the layers will be thinner). If you would like to make an extra large triple layer cake, 1½ times the recipe and use three 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
3. In a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the butter into the flour mixture, one cube at a time. Continue to beat until it resembles coarse crumbs.
5. Add the ½ of the egg-milk mixture and oil and beat the batter is light and fluffy. Add remaining egg-milk mixture and vanilla pudding and mix just until combined.
6. Take a spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl.
7. Spread into greased pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
8. Bake for 16-22 minutes, depending on the depth of pans. If the cake layers are thin, they will cook for less time than the thicker layers.
9. Let cakes cool. Run a knife around edge of cake pan and flip over. Frost with milk chocolate frosting.
10. To make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
11. In mixing bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, powdered Sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. You may want to add more cream or milk depending on consistency. Once cake has cooled and has been removed from pans, frost each layer with frosting.
12. Top with chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, sprinkles, M & M’s or whatever your heart desires.
13. This is one baked good that gets even better the next day, if covered

I liked this cake so much I made two!  One for co-workers and one to share with neighbors…and maybe sneak another piece or two for me!

The Legend of Frieda’s Strawberry Cake

This week I had the chance to host my church lady friends for lunch.  I made a few favorites, in particular a recipe for strawberry cake that our whole family has enjoyed for generations.  There are five birthdays in the month of February and almost always this cake is requested.  My brother Jim and Mother loved it, too, when their April and August birthdays came ’round.  And it’s my nephew’s go-to dessert as well.  I got to thinking that I didn’t know the origin of the recipe and I messaged Sister Bee to get the story.  Here is her memory…

A recipe made with a lot of love

“It was Kent’s mother Frieda’s recipe.  She made it for us when we were in junior high.  She liked me alot (probably better than Kent) and she would always tell Kent before he left for school that she was baking a strawberry cake that day and invite Paula to come home with him after school for cake and a glass of milk.  Kent adored his mother so he happily obliged.  He’d always find me between classes and just wink and say, ‘Strawberry cake after school today?’  We did that alot over the course of junior high.  In high school we went steady (she inserted a winking emoji here).  I would go with him to his sister’s house for dinner and help her feed her little boy in his high chair.

Because Frieda was so precious to me, I kept in touch over the years after I married and had children.  After Carrie was born, Frieda would still want me to come and visit so she could see Carrie.  Suffering from MS made it difficult for Frieda to bake the strawberry cake, but she still did.  I was the one this time to slice the cake and boil the water for the tea.  We would sit and drink tea and eat cake while Carrie played on the floor in Frieda’s cozy living room.  I asked her to share the recipe for the cake to bake for Carrie’s second birthday.  That started the tradition of making the strawberry cake.Frieda passed away when Elizabeth was born so she never got to see her, but the cake lives on in our family. Carrie started baking it for her daughter, Violet.  Violet, now a teenager bakes it for Elizabeth’s daughter, Amelia.  Christina bakes it for Bryan’s birthday, and the beat goes on.”

Here’s Frieda’s recipe for her amazing strawberry cake.  It really is a winner and I hope when you make it, you will say a little “Thank you, Frieda!”

Mix together one box of white cake mix

One small package of strawberry jello

3 TBL of flour

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

3/4 of a small bag or box of thawed, frozen strawberries (if they are whole mash them with a fork).

Mix together and pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 350.

Frosting:

One box of powdered sugar

Remaining strawberries (mashed with the fork)

1 tsp of vanilla

3/4 cup of softened butter

Mix until all the butter and strawberries are creamy.  You may add more powdered sugar if you want a stiffer icing.

Iced completely cooled cake.