Cocoa Buttons


One day as a thank you for delivering homemade cookies to her house, a sweet lady from my church gave me a recipe book. But it’s not just any recipe book, it’s “The Ultimate Cookie Book” published 19 years ago. I’m pretty sure the faded cover of the book proves a few years lying idle but it certainly hasn’t sat idle at my house. Why? Because Adelaide and Oliver discovered it. Once a week  I let them study the book for the cookie they want to bake together. We call it our “Weekly Cookie.” (I know … so creative.)

This week’s cookie is Cocoa Buttons. Considering my kids’ reading level hasn’t reached that of a cookbook, pictures are everything. I must admit they are cute (and tasty) cookies. I made a few adjustments  (as usual) which are noted below.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp Hersey’s chocolate syrup (The original recipe calls for instant coffee crystals dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water but I wanted to make it kid friendly but still have some richness.)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Cream butter with brown sugar. Add egg  and beat well.

Add chocolate syrup and mix well.

Add cocoa powder and then gradually add flour until well mixed.

Divide and shape the dough into a two logs about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (We did one batch after it was in the fridge for about about an hour due to kids’ impatience. They were all out of shape but still tasted good. We were more patient and did the second roll the next day.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Use a plastic drinking straw to punch four holes in each to round cookie to make it look like a button.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies become slightly firm. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!

Monster Pancake: A Saturday Morning Favorite 

Most Saturdays when I asked my kids what they want for breakfast they usually respond enthusiastically with “monster pancake!” Even better is after I make it Adelaide usually says “Mom, you’re the best pancake maker ever!”
This recipe is super easy to make, quick to clean up and refrigerates nicely if there are any leftovers.  Win win win.

Thanks to Heidi (one of my roommates in my single-and-fancy-free days) for the recipe!

MONSTER PANCAKE 

Ingredients :

5 eggs

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Melt butter in 9×13 pan. I usually do this in the oven as it preheats but you can melt the butter the microwave and pour it in the pan.

Blend the eggs for 4 minutes in a blender.  Add the flour, milk, sugar, salt and blend again for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan with the melted butter already in it.

Bake the pancake for 15 minutes and watch it grow as it bakes. It will be big when it comes out of the oven and deflates as it cools.

Slice and serve warm with powdered sugar  (my family’s favorite ), fresh fruit or preserves.

Babycakes for my baby

So today Adelaide bamboozled me. Yep … sure did. I’ve prided myself in the past on knowing when she’s faking but this morning she got me. She started to complaining that her “tummy was going in circles” when we were in the middle of breakfast. She (like her dad) can think her way into her sickbed and this has been a thing before. I figured it was the Monday-morning-don’t-want-to-go-to-school blues so I employed my usual tactic and encouraged to her continue getting ready for school. But when she told me 30 minutes later, “Mommy I’m 1000% I don’t fell good,” I second guessed my tough-love approach. So I told her she could stay home. But I DID make her pinky promise (that is the ultimate level of promise between us) that if she started to feel better that she would go to school.

Well … by 10 a.m. it was pretty apparent whatever “ailment” she had wasn’t there so I sat her down and reminded her of the pinky promise. By 10:30 a.m. we were in the car headed for her school. As I drove home, I just shook my head. I couldn’t believe she fooled me. She’s only five years old!

We also discussed why she didn’t want to go to school. It is heartwarming that my little girl wants to spend her days next to me, but it’s also heart-wrenching because she wants to so that she doesn’t have to feel the ache of separation anxiety  when we have to say goodbye for a little while.20160908_173218

So after school I busted out the Babycakes cake pop maker for my baby girl. Grandma gave this little gem to Adelaide as a Christmas gift and it has been a lot of fun. For a while my creativity was stunted and I just made plain ol’ cake pops using a box cake mix because they were easy to make with Adelaide and our decision to make them was usually spontaneous. A few weeks ago clouds lifted from my creative brain matter as I pondered the usual dinner dilemma and I thought, “Wait! I bet you can make all sorts of stuff in this thing!” And sure enough … you can. I found a ton of ideas online and have tried a few already.

Well … today we stayed simple because I was dying to try brownies in the cake pop maker! It was amazing. I used a box brownie mix and followed the directions to make cake-like brownies (I added a tiny bit more water because I like them a bit lighter) and viola! Delicious brownie balls. Some came out looking a little odd but delicious all the same. The brownie balls didn’t last the night and two-year-old Oliver definitely approved.

I recommend the Babycakes cake pop maker because, really, the options are endless with what you can do with it. It’s easy with kids who want to help make whatever you’re making, and the end product usual earns you extra cool-mom points and is just as impressive to adults.

Here are links to three of my favorite cake pop maker idea generators:

6 Things You Can Make in A Cake Pop Maker – Besides Cake by OneGoodThingByJillee

14 Things You Can Make For Dinner In A Cake Pop Maker by Diply

Tips & Recipes by Babycakes

 

 

 

Easy Banana Bread

I am sure I am not the only person who has the all-to-often “Gosh the bananas have ripened already?” problem. So … what to do? One common solution is banana bread. Everyone loves it, right? My sister Sarah included this recipe in the 2nd edition of the Borg Family Cookbook (seriously … one of the best ever) and it is exactly as the title claims: EASY. Not only is it quick and simple to put together but it always turns out wonderful. Ummmm … Maybe too much so because I think I ate half the loaf myself last night.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter your loaf pan (or use parchment paper which is my usual way). Bake for 1 hour.

(Note: My family likes the banana bread a little crusty so I usually bake it at 350 degrees until the top is hard.) 

Denise’s Amazing Apple Dip

We were chatting in her kitchen (the usual spot) when my Aunt Denise started to make one of her newest creations … an apple dip. At first I was skeptical because the only apple dip I had ever had before was the super-sweet-sticky versions found in grocery stores (not my favorite). Well … I almost wish I hadn’t tried Denise’ apple dip because it is aahmaazing and I make it often (like tonight which is what prompted this post).

This recipe is extremely versatile and you can personalize it to your taste. You can adjust the peanut butter and sugar to match your taste and include whatever add-ins you want. My aunt likes to add caramel balls and mini M&Ms instead of the mini chocolate chips. My favorite version is below.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup peanut butter (more or less depending on your taste)
1/3 cup white sugar (you can reduce this depending on your taste)
1/3 cup brown sugar
Mini chocolate chips (however much you want)
Heath chips (however much you want)

Whip the cream cheese with an electric beater. Add peanut butter and whip it until light. Add the sugar until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and heath chips. Serve with sliced apples.