Category: Dessert

Seriously, just let them eat cake. Or peanuts.

What’s the big deal? “Let them eat cake!!” All she wanted was for those people to be able to eat cake! I meannnnnn, it’s not that hard of a concept. Have you seen the movie, Marie Antoinette? I only watched it because I like cake and shoes. Isn’t this scene below so beautiful? I have to be perfectly frank though (Can I just be Garth?!), I’d rather eat cake than get a pedi.

MarieAntoinetteCake

I also like Marie (we’re on a first name basis) because we share the same concerns (if I were in her shoes, get it?? Shoes!).

“But how will I eat cake if my head is over there, and my hands are over here?”
-Marie Antoinette
My kind of gal.
At the end of the day, all she wanted was to share cake. Or at least eat hers and let them eat theirs. Whatevs.
Let them eat cake
At the end of my day, all I want to do is share cake, too. Yesterday, I did that. I made birthday cupcakes for a friend and also shared some of the same recipe with my Mommy group at church. I think [I hope!] it was a hit. I’ve shared this recipe on this blog before.
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http://www.traceysculinaryadventures.com/2013/04/cookie-dough-stuffed-dark-chocolate.html#.UmRTarPMISk
Happiness is Cupcakes
While I was there, I had many friends tell me that they’ve been reading this blog and that they’ve been enjoying it! THANK YOU. That encouragement means a great deal to me. It makes me feel so good to know that not only am I having a creative catharsis, but that some people, other than me, actually get enjoyment out of it!
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It’s nice to show who I am…I am so grateful to have this blog to help piece me together…and so many wonderful friends to encourage that and foster my oddball sense of individuality.
Required Cake
Can I get a “Heck yes!”?!
And since we are on the topic of cake, which I so often am…let’s take a peek at this cake I made a while back. I made it for Husband’s birthday. It was easy and everything on it was homemade (also easy!). It’s a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, with mini chocolate chip cookies and homemade Sno-Caps on them. My husband doesn’t quite have the sweet tooth I have, but he LOVES chocolate chip cookies and ALWAYS gets Sno-Caps at the movies. And I believe cake is a must on a birthday. So I combined them all…because I do what I want (lol). That hasn’t gotten old for me yet!
Cake
https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake
The Faux-Caps were easy. I put chocolate chips on a piece of tin foil and placed them in my toaster oven. Once they were a teensy bit melty, but still maintaining their shape, I pulled them out and covered them in colored nonpareils and put them in the fridge. I think they came out cute. It was enjoyed.
Cake is Life
I couldn’t have said it more beautifully.
I hope you have the opportunity to make (more importantly, to EAT) cake soon. I feel it’s important to always have a cake on the horizon.
Julia Cake
Yes, Mrs. Child, YES.
Eat Cake for Breakfast
I need this bag in my life.
Also, I made Bigs an elephant themed lunch. It’s Pilgrim Day at school, but I just can’t seem to rally this morning. What’s adorable about elephants to us is the way Bigs says the word. He can say the word very well (he’s well-spoken), but he still uses the word he made up for them when he couldn’t say “elephant”. He calls them “Brrr-eat-peanuts”. Isn’t that adorable? It’s also BRILLIANT, if I can say so on his behalf. Elephants say, “Brrrr!” and they eat peanuts. He’s a genius. <3 I just hope that Smalls picks up the same word from Bigs so we can enjoy it for a while longer.
BrrrEatPeanuts
He has an elephant shaped crunchy (since Brrr-eat-peanuts EATS peanuts) PB&J and I used my Food Writers for the eye, crusts for the elephant to stand on, pretzels, an almond Hershey’s Kiss and a mix of mandarin oranges (washed of their syrup) and grapes.
Life is short. Eat the cake. And call elephants “Brrr-eat-peanuts” forever. Have a blessed day,
Kristin

Ho Ho Homemade Cookies

ChristmasCookie

I’m a planner. All part of having a Type A personality, I guess. I don’t mind. I’m weird. And orderly. And proud to be such. So, the second pumpkin everything starts infiltrating our lives (That’s a bit harsh isn’t it? Blessing our lives, not infiltrating), which I love by the by, my mind goes straight to its own little planning committee meeting. Mostly about food for the upcoming holidays, and lunches, of course. And outfits. All coordinating, as best I can. This holds true for all holidays for me. But right now, we are discussing The Christmas Cookie Baking.

ChristmasCookies

My Christmas cookies from last year (sugar cookie trees, salted double chocolate espresso cookies, soft ginger cookies and fruitcake bars). I can dig up these recipes if anyone wants them.

So, just know that I am planning ahead, not skipping Thanksgiving foods. Because…why, just why? That is my favorite food holiday. More on that at a later date. I have a few wonderful Christmas cookie recipes to share. I try to do new ones every year. By getting started on the planning part of this, it will help keep us (me) organized enough when the time comes to actually do the baking. Since I’ve already done these cookies, I’ll probably try something new. But maybe YOU can use some of these recipes!

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http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-chip-cookies-10000001622526/

These are chocolate chip cookies, lightened up, but still so good. I love how the cookies are still in their scooped state, post-baked. They look like ice cream scoops.

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http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/bevs_chocolate_chip_cookies.html

This is another chocolate chip cookie recipe, but using oats as part of the flour content. A little healthier, but hearty and delicious, and a bit rustic.

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Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites.

These were REALLY good. I think you’d need to keep them refrigerated, but that’s okay. I’ve received gifts before that required refrigeration and I didn’t mind. I am not sure anyone would mind if they received these little gems – an eggless chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed in between two salted pretzels and then dipped in chocolate. In this picture, they were freshly dipped in the chocolate, still resting on my Silpat.

And, it’s important to cater to all sorts of dietary restrictions, if you are kind (lol), because everyone deserves cookies. I’m an equal opportunity cookie baker (and eater). Here are two REALLY good gluten-free cookie recipes.

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http://food52.com/recipes/19209-divine-gluten-free-chocolate-cookies-no-seriously

And I’m not even kidding when I say that those chocolate cookies are some of the best I’ve ever had. I make them all the time.

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http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies

These GF peanut butter cookies are soooo good. They are nutty (obvi) and crumbly, in just the right way…melt in your mouth.

We love cookies in our house. Last year, as a little useful addition to my cookie bags for friends, I made non-edible cinnamon “cookie” cutout ornaments. They smelled so good hanging on my tree! I remember these from my childhood. Do you? But from your childhood (lol)?

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http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Other/Cinnamon-Ornaments

My kids love cookies. Especially the Publix ones that they EARN by being good the ENTIRE grocery shopping trip. I’m hardcore. I make them work for it. Hey, grocery shopping with two kids is not for the faint-hearted! Here is a picture of Bigs, last year, decorating a Christmas cookie at a Christmas playdate. He was very into pouring on the sprinkles. Did I say pouring? I meant dumping…with a quickness. Before I could stop him. Attaboy!

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Our family’s elf, Duncan (aptly named after our favorite place, Dunkin’ Donuts, of course – see here) was even caught, several times, getting into my decorating supplies. Everyone likes cookies around here.

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And, of course, and somewhat importantly, Santa enjoyed our cookies. Must be a fun job. Not the schlepping around of toys or ordering around a bunch of sweaty reindeer, but the eating of cookies. By the ton. And so many different kinds! If only!

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I hope you are able to use some of these cookie recipes. By starting now, you can plan out what you are going to do. This is somewhat [completely] hypocritical of me, as I currently have NO idea what cookies I am baking this year. Listen, I’ve been VERY busy. I’ve been schlepping around sweaty boys (similar to Santa’s duties). That keeps me busy. I’m going to get right on my cookie plans.

cookie doe

Cookie Doe.

The sweetest kind.

Have a wonderful Sunday,

Kristin

Sprinkles…On My Donuts

Donuts Sign

One of my very favorite foods is The Donut. I love love love donuts. Doughnuts, too. For writing purposes, I’m sticking with “donuts” because my spell-checker doesn’t even pick up “doughnuts”. That’s its own problem. And sort of rude. But whatevs. I have ALWAYS loved donuts. Despite “them” (whoever “them” is) saying bananas are the world’s most perfect food, I think donuts are. Baked, fried, filled, holes, iced, glazed, long, powdered, mini, raised, cake, jellied, creamed, I don’t care. I WANT!

Donuts

My husband even brought me donuts while I was in the hospital after having our first son. We made it a rule that if anyone goes into the hospital, they get donuts. I think it’s a legitimate rule. Somehow, in the hubbub of having our second son, this rule was forgotten. I got gypped. But I won’t worry too much. I’ve had more than enough (is that even a thing??) donuts since then to make up for it. My sons love them too. Every time we pass a Dunkin’ Donuts, Bigs tells me, “We should go on an adventure there!”…I’m with you, Kid.

Donutart

My husband got this sweatshirt for me for Christmas this year. He doesn’t know it yet. I almost can’t hold out and need to wear it just as soon as I won’t sweat to death. Although, donuts are worth it. Worth the sweating, worth it all.

Donutsweatshirt

“If you stop eating donuts you will live 3 years longer. It’s just 3 more years that you want a donut.
-Lewis Black

My sentiments exactly.

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Some delicious donuts I just got last week, actually. I meannnnnn…..

I got a mini-donut pan on sale a few years ago. It was wicked cheap. I’ve enjoyed making my own donuts with it since then. It is super tedious. Mostly because they are mini donuts (which I don’t mind eating, they are so small that I can eat more!) and also because the pan only holds 12 and the recipes usually make about eleventy hundred.

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Some little pink cuties that I made. I used the recipe that came with the Wilton pan.

http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Baked-Cake-Donuts

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Aren’t they cute?

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Then I tried them in yellow. Adorbs. So cheerful!

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Here’s a chocolate version! Donuts for days!

Then, I ran across a recipe for the type of waxy, chocolate-y donuts you find in packs of six or at gas stations. Sometimes, the very best kind. Yum. Of course Kristan, the writer of the recipe, makes them look way more professional. Mine came out delicious and adorable though. Here is the recipe:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/04/mini-devils-food-donuts/

“…life is a jelly donut. You don’t really know what it’s about till you bite into it. And then, just when you decide it’s good, you drop a big glob of jelly on your best t-shirt.”
Janet Evanovich, “Ten Big Ones”

I also made a delicious Coffee & Donuts Cake. Almost nothing compliments a donut more than a cup of coffee…or a moment of peace that I can share alone with my donut. I used a Serious Eats recipe and it was TDF (to die for). It was a lot of steps, but totally worth it. The best of both worlds!

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http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/let-them-eat-coffee-donuts-cake-coffeecake-recipe.html

I “donut” care if you already have plans to make something else – you gotta try these! I hope you do and enjoy these recipes as much as I have.

Have a rolled in sugar, jelly-filled kind of day!

Kristin

Pizza Party Friday!

Pizza Party

Remember pizza parties in school? Do they still have those? They were so fun! I could wear this:

Let's go get pizza

Don’t the words “Pizza Party!” just conjure up the most wonderful thoughts? Something to always look forward to in school. That and show-and-tell. And, obviously, on a more mundane, but absolutely necessary, level, lunch! My mom would pack mine. She would put sweet notes (and on the notes, she’d sign “Mom” and draw a happy face and curly hair on the “o” and I loved it.) in them and sometimes, little surprises. One time, she packed me space ice cream. SPACE ICE CREAM. How cool is that? Sidetrack! So, back to pizza. I think pizza is something to always look forward to. Like those surprise lunch notes and desserts I had. Sorry you didn’t get them. You’d have liked them. But you can enjoy pizza any time you want!

I love pizza

While I ADORE pizza from pizza restaurants (Pizza Hut is my favorite because the crust is so crunchy and almost caramelized from the butter…how could I not like that?! I also ate almost a whole Pizza Hut pizza by myself as I labored at home with my second son and I like to think it put me into labor. I also like pizza buffets because…yards and yards of pizza.), it’s fun to make pizza at home, too. I have a go-to recipe for a whole-wheat dough. It’s very easy and a delicious way to get my kids to enjoy whole wheat. I’ve also used it to make calzones and pizza pockets. I used to use the whole wheat and white fresh dough from our grocery store. That always came out tasty, but since finding this recipe for the WW dough, it’s so easy to make my own…even easier than driving to the store to buy prepared fresh dough.

Cheeseburger PizzaCheeseburger Pizza

Oven Pizza

Cheese Pizza

Grilled Pizza

Grilled pizza – the left one has figs, garlic and honey & the right is fresh bell pepper, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese and red sauce.

Ham and Pineapple Pizza

Ham & Cheese Pizza

Here is the recipe I use for my WW pizza:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianpizzarecipes/r/wheatcrust.htm

The only thing I do differently is use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil. I also use my locally harvested honey instead of sugar.

And when I think of Pizza Fridays (I make a pizza most Friday nights for my family), I also think of something sweet to end the week. Because also I’m always thinking of something sweet. And chocolate chip cookies come to mind. They sort of go with pizza. So does cake, like the food of kid birthday parties past. But then, cake goes with anything. Focus, Kris. Focus.

Let’s get ready to cruuuuumblllllle!

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies and am always looking for new and exciting recipes of such to try! I have two kinds of bars that are sort of chocolate chip cookie-ish in flavor, but different.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

The first is what Averie, from http://www.averiecooks.com/, calls Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sticks. The only change I made to her recipe was the shape of chocolate (chips vs. chunks) and the way I cut them (bars vs. sticks). They were SOOOOO good. Here is the recipe:

http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/06/chocolate-chunk-cookie-sticks.html

I could eat those until I pop. I’m pretty sure I did pop, the last time I ate them. And I didn’t mind.

The second recipe that I think would go deliciously after pizza is a Halfway Cookie. It’s more like a bar. And a cookie. And cake. It’s all those wonderful things wrapped into one. Have you heard of these? My neighbor, who is a Grandmother and a dear friend, shared her Mom’s recipe with me ages ago for these. And I’ve also found them on the web. I have found them to be very similar to Mud Hen Bars, with the exception of marshmallows. These do not have marshmallows. And let me tell youuu, they are DELICIOUS.

Halfway Bars

They have a layer of cookie as the crust (sort of like chocolate chip cookies without the chips), followed by a boat load of chocolate chips and topped with a baked meringue. Amazing. Please try them. It’s a very old recipe. And old is good. In most cases.

http://www.cookiemadness.net/2010/08/halfway-cookies/

Let me know if you make a pizza with that dough recipe! It’s so quick and fail-proof and delicious. And if you don’t, I’ll give you a pizza my mind! Just kidding. I won’t. But do try it. And enjoy! And please make some of these chocolate chip variations!

Have a wonderful Friday,

Kristin

A cake with CAT-titude

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I am not a cat person. Not in any way, shape or form. They scare me. I think they can be cute, but holding them and letting their nails or teeth touch me sort of freaks me out. They know stuff. They just look at you and know stuff. It’s weird. We are a dog-loving family. Anyways, I don’t want the real deal in my house, but I don’t mind having this Kitty Litter Cake! It’s a CAT-astrophe of a cake, but it’s hilarious. And disgusting. I’ve made it more than once and it went over….you know, about as well as you can expect a cake that is basically a potty for cats can go over. I made this for my brother’s birthday a few years back and am sharing this with you today (his birthday!!) to pay homage to him and to Halloween (wouldn’t this be perfect for a Halloween party?)! This is almost too disgusting to have on my blog. And I’m the mother of two sweet little boys…and everyone knows boys are gross. But this? This is almost too grody. If you DO make it, I hope it goes over as grossly as mine did.

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Here is the recipe I have used:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kitty-litter-cake/

Have a paw-sitive day (lol),

Kristin

Bon Appétit!

Julia

My passion for food runs deep. I don’t just love to eat, but I love to cook (still doesn’t mean I’m good at it) and bake and enjoy every experience that food offers. I love the rich, crunchy sound of onions being chopped, the soft sound of sugar and flour falling into my mixing bowl, like a gentle first snowfall. I love the way a yeasted dough will rise after being left alone in the dark corner of my kitchen counter top. I love the feeling I get when a recipe turns out as it should. I love tasting the dish I’m making, in every step of the recipe. Everything about food, I love. For me, it’s tied to my heartstrings, my emotions.

“Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”

-Charles Pierre Monselet

Have YOU found this to be true, as I have? As long as I can remember, most of my happiest memories can be associated with food. Not in the sense that we were obsessed with it, just that a good meal was always around as we went about our family business. I remember spending time with my Mom in the kitchen, licking the wooden spoon that she used to stir together her Strawberry Pie filling, still hot from the stove top. It would burn my tongue, but I wouldn’t care – it was so good – shiny and red. I remember the sugary date balls she would (and still occasionally makes) make every year at Christmas. I remember the savory smells and popping sounds of the cube steaks frying, and later, how tasty they were on my plate, paired with mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas. They always went together. If I make this dish, I always make it the same way my Mom did, because of how it makes me feel to have the same exact meal. I remember the pot roasts, laden with potatoes, carrots and onions, simmering in the crock pot that would greet me with waves of delicious smells when I would walk in the house after school.  It was agony to wait until dinner time, and inevitably, I’d lift off that crock pot lid and pinch a bite here and there. If my Mom ever knew! And don’t even get me started on the holidays! The sounds and smells of the hoe cakes crackling in the cast iron pan, the din of extended family gathering together, relaxing on that old creaky front porch swing, waving at every passerby, just biding our time until we could say our thanks and eat our meal, so lovingly put together by each family member. Ahh, yes, food has a very special place in my heart.

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food.”

-Erma Bombeck

In some situations, food is the ONLY collective connection we have. Perhaps not the type of food we enjoy that we have in common, but the physiological need for it,  the unique culinary traditions we each have and our own personal memories tied to them.

What are some of your food-rich memories?

Oh yes, and how could I forget?!  I made cake. A sweet, little birthday cake!

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Easy, but wonderfully delicious.  I used the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe (sans the frosting, recipe in link below) and used a Betty Crocker recipe for the frosting, except I used chunky peanut butter (recipe in link below). YUM. To me, it tasted like (I have to taste my product before giving it away!!) the kind of cake that you’d get at a greasy diner (all diners should be greasy), as a thick slab on a white china plate.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-peanut-butter-frosting/3b3b77bb-939a-4607-bd0f-428f1876903f

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Have a chunky peanut buttery sort of day (that’s the best kind!),

Kristin

Feeling Chipper

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

-Charles M. Schultz

There aren’t quotes galore about chocolate for no reason. Chocolate has a purpose (a big purpose in my life). It adds a lovely sweetness to desserts (and even some savory dishes!) and it is filled (using Italics to show how important this particular fact is) with antioxidants. Obviously, this is why I eat so much of it. It keeps me healthy. I can’t ALWAYS spend my time at the gym, even though it looks like I am there all the time, what with the sweatpants and all.

gym

Chocolate has a long history…I mean, the Mayans perfected drinking chocolate, something I find myself turning into a verb at every fondue party this side of the Mississippi. I digress. People love chocolate. I love chocolate. It makes us happy. It affects a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is known as an anti-depressant. So, we aren’t crazy – chocolate makes us feel GOOD inside!

Friends are like chocolate to me. More like chocolate chips…because they stud my life with wonderful little morsels….of sweetness, of knowledge, of humor. And you know what’s great about chocolate, besides everything? It comes in so many different ways! Dark, milk, bittersweet, semi-sweet…(white chocolate isn’t real chocolate, don’t even get me started on that. Who am I kidding though, I’d eat it!). Although I am likening my life as a whole to a cookie (sounds legit), I think the true joy lies in the richness I’ve gotten out of my friendships, all so different, like the many types of chocolate I enjoy. I still have my best friend since kindergarten (with whom it’s been discussed, this notion of being each others’ chocolate chips…some things start young!). I have wonderful friends from all facets of my life – the first friends I made after becoming a Mommy and doing “Mommy” things, my church and church group friends, my friends from years past still going strong, old friends with whom I’ve been reconnected, new friends from surprising places, the women in my family and who have become my family through marriage. I am so blessed with friends. My Mom is also one of my best friends. Can you imagine our history? I mean, she’s known me since the beginning (lol). I get and cherish something from each of these friendships and am so grateful for them all. They have all pushed me to be a better version of myself and to go out of my comfort zone constantly (and to a gal with a healthy dose of anxiety, this is life changing).

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”

-Linda Grayson

I try to always be the friend with chocolate.

You know what else is life changing? These cupcakes. These Cookie Dough-Stuffed Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. You must do them. As soon as humanly possible. Like yesterday. They were THAT good. And you know what else (I sound like my 3 year old)?? There is enough egg-less cookie dough leftover that you can eat it straight from the Tupperware or dip pretzel sticks in it while you watch Real Housewives dress more cupcakes or freeze for emergency snack attacks. If it even makes it that far.

Here is the recipe I used:

http://www.traceysculinaryadventures.com/2013/04/cookie-dough-stuffed-dark-chocolate.html#.UmRTarPMISk

I hope you try them! They are worth the many steps. Let me know how you enjoy them if you do make them.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Keep me sharp, Friends!

Kristin

Inauguration & Brownies

brownieswatermarkHappy First Blogging Day to me! This is my first post. Like, ever. I’m sure my writing skillz and spelling will get better as time goes on, let’s hope. But lest you think this is only about grammar…brownies.

I made brownies. Twice in one week. The same recipe. Although it isn’t a one-bowl recipe, which is clearly the dishwasher’s dream, it’s still an easy recipe. It seemed to go over well at my church ladies’ group fondue party and I am hoping the friends I just made them for will enjoy them also. I enjoyed licking the bowls. Both times. Here is the recipe if you want to try it (it can also be found on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Cocoa box). I added sprinkles, because…sprinkles.

http://www.food.com/recipe/nestle-chewy-cocoa-brownies-366301

Enjoy!

Kristin