More sweet treats

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I’m revisiting some favorites,  Ginger Oatties and Praline Crunch.  I feel like I should try some new recipes, but sometimes the old standbys are very comforting:)

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Fudge Brownies

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This is a sweet, chocolately treat, perfect on a rainy day (of which we’ve had several this week).  Although these squares are definitely a favorite around here, we don’t make them very often as they’re not exactly low-calorie.  Although I did this time, we don’t usually add any nuts, which results in a denser, more fudgy texture.

Generally speaking there aren’t usually a lot of ingredients in a brownie recipe, and it seems like a simple thing to whip up a batch in short order.  There are however some brownie pitfalls that should be avoided:  overheating the chocolate, overmixing the batter, over or underbaking, inaccurate measuring of ingredients.  I know that’s these things seem like no-brainers, and apply to all baking, but brownies don’t seem to have the latitude for even slight inaccuracies that most baking has.  If the chocolate is too hot, the eggs won’t be incorporated properly (ew, you want to really avoid having cooked bits of egg in your brownie!).  Overmixing the batter producing a thin, crumbly layer on the top that that makes it hard to cut into attractive squares.  Overbaking produces a dry, crumbly brownie, while underbaking leaves the middle of the pan a bit of a gloppy, eggy, unappetizing mess.  Too much chocolate and the brownies won’t rise properly.  I could go on, but you get the picture.  Having said all that, don’t be put off, go ahead and make a batch, even when they are less than perfect, they are still delicious!

Fudge Brownies

½ cup butter

2 oz ( 2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate OR 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup flour

½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Melt butter over low heat, avoid browning the butter.  Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, stirring until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely incorporated in the butter.  Stir in sugar.  Blend in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla, flour and nuts.  Mix just until combined.  Spread in a greased and very lightly floured 8” x 8” pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Brownies should be done when the sides have just barely started to pull away from the pan.  The color should be even (if the edges are browner than the middle, that’s likely overbaked).  Cool thoroughly before cutting into squares.

Cowboy Cookies

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I have no idea why these cookies are called “Cowboy” cookies, maybe they taste their best out on the trail, or after a long hard day of wrangling cattle, but even if you’re not a range rider/cowboy, the cookies are still a delicious treat.  A hint of cinnamon adds a nice depth of flavor.    If I remember correctly, I think the original recipe called for chopped pecans, but I’ve substituted almonds.

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1 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla (extract or paste)

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans

3/4 cup shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugars till mixture is light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly, then add vanilla.   In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in two orIMG_2211a three additions.  Then stir in oats, chocolate chips, almonds and coconut.  Roll dough into 1 1/2 ” balls, place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 9-10 minutes, being careful not to overbake.  Makes about 3 dozen.

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Praline Crunch Redux

It’s that time of year again when sugar cookie dough appears in supermarket coolers.  And out comes this recipe for squares that is so simple, but so delicious.  I know it would be possible to make a scratch batch of cookie dough for the crust, but sometimes quick and easy is the name of the game.  Either way–yum!

Praline Crunch Bars

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1/2 cup toffee bits, for the crust

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips,

1/3 cup  toffee bits, for the top

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large ziploc bag, place cookie dough, 1/2 cup toffee bits and chopped pecans.  Close bag and knead the dough together with the toffee  bits and pecans.  Alternatively, combine cookie dough, toffee bits and pecans in the bowl of  your stand mixer and mix.   Empty dough into a 9×13″ ungreased pan and press out evenly.  Bake for  about 12-13  minutes, until starting to turn lightly golden.  Do not overbake.   Sprinkle with chocolate chips immediately after baking; let stand 5 minutes until chocolate is softened, then spread evenly.  Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup toffee bits.  Chill in the fridge about 20-30 minutes to set the chocolate.  Cut into squares and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Ranger Macaroon Cookies

This is a nice sturdy cookie, perfect for packing in lunches and having on hand in the freezer.

Ranger Macaroons

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups cereal (corn flakes or rice krispies or shredded wheat)

1 cup chocolate chips  (1 1/2 cups  for chocolate lovers)

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped nuts (we like sliced almonds)

Beat butter till soft and creamy.  Add sugars and vanilla and beat again until mixture is lightened in color and fluffy.  Add eggs.  In another bowl stir together remaining dry ingredients, then slowly begin incorporating dry mixture to the sugar batter.  Once dough is thoroughly mixed, shape dough into slightly larger than walnut-sized balls, place on ungreased cookie sheets, flattening slightly, and bake about 10 minutes, at 350 degrees F till very lightly golden.  Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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