Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Bites

Remember truffles and cake balls? Are you ready for the next truffle style delectable? Don't hate me, but truth be told, as much fun as cake balls and cake pops are to make, I don't love the flavor. They have a slightly soggy and mushy taste to me that I sometimes can't get past. Granted, I also don't love cake, so there's a point against them already. But my family loves them, and everyone I've ever brought them to loved them as well, and they are fun to make, so I make them. But, back when I first made cake balls, my mom questioned what other concoctions we could dip in chocolate. At the time, she suggested brownies, and I sort of brushed it off, thinking they'd be too messy to work with.

Fast forward a couple months later, and I stumbled across these little brownie bites. And let me tell you, I love them. They taste just like brownies...and I never have a complaint with a brownie. And surprisingly, they were less messy than truffles and cake balls. There's so much oil in the brownie batter, that your hands stay greased and they don't leave a lot of residue. (That sounds gross, doesn't it?) Taste great and less messy... these are a keeper!

Recipe Source: Picky Palate
Makes about 25-30 brownie balls
1 box brownie mix (9x13 size)
eggs, oil, and water called for on brownie box

2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other dipping chocolate)
1/4 cup Peanut butter

1. Make brownies according to package instructions. Underbake them by just a few minutes, so they're really soft... not runny or gooey. Just really soft.

2. Allow them to cool completely. Once they're cooled, using a cookie scoop, scoop sections of brownie and roll them into balls, slightly smaller than 1 inch.

3. Place on a wax paper covered baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until completely chilled. I left mine in the freezer overnight.

4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, or in the oven, whatever your preferred method is for melting chocolate. Once it's completely melted, stir in the peanut butter.

5. Dip brownie balls into chocolate/peanut butter mixture, covering completely. The best way I've found to do this, is by using two spoons, and rolling the ball back and forth between the two spoons, allowing the excess to drip off.

6. Place dipped brownie ball on a wax covered cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Embellish as you please, with sprinkles, drizzled chocolate, nuts, etc. and enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flower Cookie Pots

I remember watching my mom make these over 20 years ago and finding them simply charming. I thought she was the most creative lady around. (I still do... I wish I had an ounce of her artistic talent.) I love the presentation of these little flower pots and they are the easiest thing around. My 5 and 7 year olds helped me make all the flower stems. And I let them help me. That's how easy they are. Plus they're cheap! The clay pots are usually under a dollar, wooden skewers are cheap, and the cookies can be cheap. Plus, one package of cookies will make several flower pots.

I love to bring these in the Spring as visiting teaching treats. There are far fancier cookie bouquets out there, but I love how easy these are. Plus, you can easily spruce these up with different cookies, or more variety of cookies, bigger gumdrops in the middle, etc. Or you could paint your flower pots or modge podge them. Or you can paint your skewers. Or your could add leaves. The possibilities are endless and they're super fun.

Supplies needed:

Terra cotta clay pots, in whatever size you wish (I buy these at Michaels, Jo-Ann's, Wal-Mart, or even Lowe's)
Wooden skewers
Cookies with a whole in the center (I've always used Keebler's Fudge Stripes, but I found those beautiful Nabisco Iced Lemon Shortbread cookies that are my new favorite. I'm sure there are lots of other options, too. Samoa's, come to mind...)
Gumdrops in a variety of sizes and colors (or other bright candies... Dots, etc.)
Dried Beans (for weight and stability)
Styrofoam (in lieu of beans... your choice. I actually used both)
Filler, such as dried Spanish Moss (I bought a bag of this at my local craft store)
Paint, Mod Podge, or other embellishing supplies
Ribbon (to tie around the clay pot)


1. Prepare your flower pot first. I actually prefer them plain, but I painted a couple this time for fun and more color. I painted the pots and then once they had started to dry, I wiped them down with a wet rag, to give them more of an unfinished look.

2. Prepare your skewers. I've always just used them plain, but this time I decided to paint them green first. I kind of liked how the stems were green, but be careful not to paint the tips of your skewers, or you may not want to eat the candies that have been skewered on top. Just paint them about 2 inches from the tip. Or save yourself some time and don't paint them at all.
3. Decide how you want to stabilize the cookie stems. In the past, I've always just filled my pot with dried beans. It works, but the skewers tend to move around a lot. I happened to have some 4 inch Styrofoam balls lying around that fit perfectly into my clay pots. I put them in the bottom and then covered the balls with dried beans, about 1.5 inches from the top of the pot. I liked how sturdy the Styrofoam made everything, but again, you don't need it.

4. Assemble your flowers! Gum drops get skewered on first, upside down. Then cookie (or two--we did a couple double cookies... that's what happens when my kids help.) Then a gumdrop on top of your cookie to hold it in place. And it's done.
5. Arrange your cookie stems in the pot, breaking the skewers off at different lengths, to create more height and shape to your flowers.

6. Top the pot with dried moss, tie a ribbon around the clay pot and you're done. So simple and so cute!