Friday, July 1, 2011

Leaving Home, Cherry Jam, and Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Brownies

This week we celebrated the official move-in of my Grandparents into their new home at Kendal with a blackberry cobbler on their new porch.We also had my other grandparents and Uncle Den over for supper on OUR new patio (to be porch sometime in the near future) with its new furniture we had purchased and assembled earlier that day. One might ask whether mosquitoes were a problem, but fortunately it was fairly windy and has been cool and dry enough for the past couple days that mosquitoes have not really come out (until it gets darker, then I usually move in from the patio to just inside the kitchen door.)


We have also officially launched Sam into the great world beyond (by that I mean, Madison, not a separate dimension). After days of packing and collecting and eating, Sam left early in the morning with his UHAUL of possesions. A hard goodbye for sure, though we will get to see him again soon, and since he is going off to gradschool after this year, it is not like he is totally and completely in the real world forever, he still has a buffer coming up.
music. I missed this dearly whilst in Australia
goodbye, can you tell it is morning?

My kitchen adventures began with a batch of homemade cherry jam. Clara, Mama, and I went cherry picking in the morning. I must say that this is my favorite kind of berry picking, as long as the mosquitoes are not bad. One gets to be in the shade, reaching up or straight as opposed to bending down or looking in thorny bushes (like strawberry and raspberry respectively). Also, one can sit on ladders, and the buckets fill up fast.

Anyway, we made jam (my favorite jam btw) using sour cherries and a recipe that is found on the pectin/surejell/jamifying substance box. Basically, precise amounts of alot of sugar and precise boiling times before canning in sterile jars. The result is jars of the best jam in the world, and some extra for immediate eating purposes.

of course ANY good chef samples during the process and cleanup

Since my dad was out of town on business and taking Sam up to WI, I decided now was a perfect time to try the brownie recipe. My dad does not like 'fudgy desserts' as he calls them, and 'cookie dough brownies with peanut butter chocolate ganache' are apparently in that category. So, I took the opportunity of his being gone to attempt this recipe that I found on Foodbuzz. I think they turned out rather well, though I have a few edits of course.

Notes for the Brownies:

 I used a cup of peanut butter since that is what the original recipe called for, but I found that to be WAAAAAAAAY too much, it made the topping basically just pb and not chocolate. So in the below recipe I changed the amounts of pb and chocolate for the ganache. I would also say that mini chips are not essential, just chips are. Also, the original recipe calls for NON-natural pb, but the natural stuff worked just fine for me, it just meant the ganache was not quite as smooth as it could have been. Lastly, I did not try this, but I think this recipe would be really good as ice cream bars (cookie dough on the bottom, then ice cream, THEN the topping). Or just using the dough recipe to make cookie dough pieces to mix into ice cream. Anyway, lots of idezas! Here is the recipe I used for my batch!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips (semi sweet, or milk).

I cannot take credit for this photo, it is from the original recipe


mix together the butter and light brown sugar until creamy

add in vanilla

mix in the the flour and sweetened condensed milk gradually, alternating between the two (so, a bit of flour, then a little milk, then a little flour etc until all is added). Mix until combined.

Add in the mini chocolate chips and fold them in with a spatula.

Line a 8 by 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, greased waxed paper, or just grease the pan itself (we really don't want them sticking to the pan). Press the cookie dough into the pan. If the cookie dough starts to stick to your hands, put a small amont of flour on your hands. Or, just enjoy the fact that it means you will have that much more to lick off your hands later. Don’t use too much though.

Cover the cookie dough bars with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out in the fridge. Place the cookie dough bars in the refrigerator for 3 or more hours until they’re firm. I refrigerated them for about 3 and it was sufficient, really the idea is that we don't want the bars mixing with the ganache so they have to be cold enough to prevent that.

To make the ganache:

Combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwavable bowl. Melt in the microwave. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate or burn the peanut butter.

Take the cookie dough bars out of the refrigerator.

Pour the melted chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cookie dough.  and spread evenly to all the edges

Chill the bars in the refrigerator for an hour or more until the topping is firm.

Cut into pieces and enjoy!

help with cleanup
not clean during, but I clean after

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