Time for a Change & Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Don’t forget to nudge your clocks ahead an hour before you go to bed this coming Saturday night. Yes, daylight savings time starts at two o’clock on Sunday morning. A whole lot of people are kicking up their heels in glee at this news. I’m not one of them. I think we should wait until at least the spring equinox. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s one of two times during the year when day and night are equal in length.

At this point, sunrise to sunset is about eleven and a half hours long. Mornings come early at my house so it is a relief to see the sun not too long after my alarm sounds. I can take my morning walk without tripping in a pothole or slipping on black ice in the dark.

That relief is short lived. Come Sunday, I’ll be sleepy-eyed as I fumble around getting ready for the day’s adventure. I suppose I should rejoice when the sun stays up into the early evening. Yes, I’m happy but I’d be happier with a little more light in the morning.

So, who’s happy? Well, golfers are happy because they can play after work. Unless, they live New Hampshire. The golf course down the road and around the corner is still covered with snow. The course will stay closed for several more weeks. Same goes for anyone looking forward to taking their tennis game outside. A thick layer of snow sits on the courts. As for afternoon hikers, bikers and walkers, I suppose they are happy even if their morning counterparts are not.

Farmers are definitely not happy. It seems their cows don’t know how to tell time and see no reason to change their schedules. Same goes for pets. Just because you have to get a move on and out the door to work doesn’t mean your puppy wants to leap out of bed in the dark.

Okay then, it’s only Tuesday so we have some time to plan our strategies to cope with the lost hour. Here’s a little advice from some of the experts –

Take it easy this week and catch up on sleep before the time change.

After the time change, keep to your regular schedule. Go to bed at your usual time

Grin and bear it and get up at your regular time; even if it’s dark outside.

Get outside as soon as it’s light. Sunlight works wonders at changing your internal clock.

Avoid naps in the late afternoon or early evening. It will make it that much harder to fall asleep at bedtime … and that much harder to wake in the morning.

And when that alarm goes off next Monday morning; don’t for a minute stop and think – but it’s really only five or four-thirty or whatever time it would be without daylight savings time. Just stagger out of bed, brush your teeth and get on with the day.

Oh, one more thing – be kind. Be kind to yourself, to your family and friends, be nice to your colleagues at work and lady at the checkout at the grocery store. Many of us are having a hard time with the change; some more than others. A little kindness will go a long way.

Happy almost spring and bon appétit!

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

As a precaution only – you might want to bake a batch of whoopie pies to help you through the first few days of daylight savings time. Who knows – maybe they’ll make you forget about a nap? Enjoy!

Make about 3 dozen

  • 2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Set the rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Put the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda and spices, in a bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at time, and beat until well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Turn the mixer down to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Fold in raisins, chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop tablespoons of dough (a mini ice-cream scoop works great) about 3 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. With moistened fingers, flatten the cookies a little.

Turning the pan once for even baking and bake the cookies until they are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies set for a minute and then transfer to a rack to cool.

Spread a dollop of filling on the bottoms of half of the cookies, top with a second cookie and serve.

Can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days. Serve at room temperature.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1-1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rum

Sift 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and spices together into a bowl. Set aside.

Put the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the maple syrup and rum and beat until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. If the filling seems runny, add more confectioners’ sugar. Increase the mixer speed and continue beating until creamy.

Print-friendly version of this recipe.

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do you have a tip for dealing with the time change? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2020

Happy Birthday George & Chocolate Cherry Nut Brownies

Monday was Presidents Day. There’s a little confusion out there. Does the day celebrate George Washington, Washington and Abraham Lincoln or all presidents? If you look up federal holidays on one of those official dot-gov sites, the third Monday in February is listed as George Washington’s Birthday. However, turn on the television for five minutes and the long weekend is loudly lauded as Presidents Day and famous for big discounts on mattresses and winter coats.

I admit I was a bit chagrined when this whole third Monday in February began. In Massachusetts, we celebrated both Abraham Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday with a day off from school. Of course, one or the other inevitably fell during February vacation. However, there was always a five in seven chance that we’d enjoy another day off to ski or sleep late or whatever.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act put an end to that. A handful of holidays were moved to Mondays so people could enjoy a nice, long weekend. That might have been all well and good except that Honest Abe’s commemoration got lost in the shuffle. While George might have been the first, our sixteenth president is more or less everyone’s favorite. As consolation, everybody, or at least everyone I knew, began calling the new Monday holiday – Presidents Day.

There is a certain logic to having these two great men share a Presidents Day. Check any survey; they’re always neck and neck, claiming the top spots for best president. In addition, the third Monday never falls on either birthday but somewhere between the two. In case you’ve forgotten, Washington was born on February 22 and Lincoln on February 12.

That’s right; Washington wasn’t born yesterday. His birthday isn’t until Saturday. So, you still have plenty of time to celebrate. If you’re tempted to bake a cherry pie, feel free to do so. However, in the off chance that you haven’t heard – the story about Washington and the cherry tree, well, sorry to be the one to tell you but it’s a myth.

While the cherry tree story never actually happened, Washington’s first presidential residence was at 1 Cherry Street in New York. How’s that for a funny coincident? That’s right Washington is the only president not to live in the White House. It is a big house and took quite a while to plan and build. It wasn’t ready until 1800. That’s when John Adams, the nation’s second president, and his wife Abigail took up residency on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Although Washington wasn’t a skier (or at least as far as anyone knows – he wasn’t), an après-ski party would be an excellent way to toast George on his actual birthday. A cozy supper with friends by the fire is a wonderful way to spend a cold, winter evening. If it was in George’s time, you might serve a steak and kidney pie or fish muddle. Modern Americans aren’t much for kidneys but a nice beef stew might do. As for the muddle, it’s a wonderful mix of shellfish and a delicious option for sure. Alternatively, you could stir up a chowder. Otherwise, a casserole of some sort or the other would be perfect after a day on the slopes.

So, raise your glasses to George and bon appétit!

Chocolate Cherry Nut Brownies

Instead of birthday cake, give these brownies a try. They are perfect for midmorning coffee, afternoon tea or dessert after a casual dinner. Enjoy!

Makes 24 brownies

  • Butter and flour for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Put the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, cherries and nuts.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees until the edges begin to pull away from sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 20 minutes.

Cool in the pan, cut and serve.

Print-friendly version of this recipe.

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you celebrate George’s birthday? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2020

Peace & Joy for the Holidays plus Rosemary-Lemon Biscotti

Thanksgiving was late this year. Well, actually, it was on right on time. As always, it was the fourth Thursday of November. However, Turkey Day can fall as early as the twenty-second and as late as the twenty-eighth. This year, it fell on the latter. With fewer days, the Christmas season promises to be hustle-ier and bustle-ier.

In anticipation of a whole lot of running around, I wish you peace this Christmas. I wish you peace of mind, peace of spirit and peace in your heart. And, after what might have been a lively but somewhat contentious Thanksgiving feast, I wish you peace in your family, peace in your home and peace in your friendships.

Christmas is a joyful time. It seems to me that joy should come without strings or pressure. By all means, it’s fine to create a holiday bucket list. However, if that list is suddenly two or three pages long … it’s more than fine to let a few things slide. There is always next year and the year after that. And if you never take your children or grandchildren on one of those Polar Express train rides or make a turducken or build a miniature, snow-covered village … well, that’s okay too.

My mother loved Christmas. She loved everything about it – gathering with family and friends, shopping and decorating. Never an enthusiastic cook, she didn’t seem to begrudge the extra time in the kitchen. Once in a while, the enormity seemed to drive her a little nuts.

As a child, I never really noticed. It wasn’t until later when I was a teenager, or maybe it wasn’t until I reached my twenties. Although, she was quite fussy about her tree; it was never about the decorations. She rolled with any and all punches when it came to holiday feasts. No, her biggest worry was that she’d miss someone or come up short on a gift.

Even in the days before internet shopping, Mom seemed to find the time to get it all together. Of course, on top of loving Christmas, she liked to shop. Still, there were days, make that middle of the nights, when she was convinced that she’d forgotten something or someone. You know the feeling. It’s 3 a.m., two days before Christmas and you’re suddenly bolt upright in bed realizing that there is no present for Aunt Bess. Or maybe it’s Uncle Henry you forgot or, worst, your father-in-law.

Anyway, time is always at a premium but particularly during the holidays. You have a choice, go crazy, develop coping strategies or set priorities. Let’s avoid crazy and …

Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the wonder and beauty around us. Instead of cursing the snow, admire how it frosts the evergreens. Let nature heal any stress.

Make lists. Check them twice and, then, cut them in half. It’s okay to roll back the madness. Clear eyed and calm beats frazzled and crazed any holiday.

Remember being present is the greatest gift. Hug the people you love and tell them what they mean to you.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyful holiday and bon appétit!

Rosemary-Lemon Biscotti

A not-so-sweet cookie to enjoy with mid-morning coffee or afternoon tea. Celebrate the holidays with friends and family by sharing a simple treat and a good long chin wag. Enjoy!

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Put the flour, nuts, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until a soft dough forms.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Dust your hands with a little flour, pat the dough into 2 logs about 12-inches long and set the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the logs to form loaves about 2-inches wide.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool for about 20 minutes. While still warm, cut 1/2-inch slices on the bias with a serrated knife.

Lay the biscotti on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Flip and bake 5-6 minutes more. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

Printer-friendly version of this recipe.

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How do you beat holiday stress? Feel free to share your favorite tips!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019

We’re Better Than That & Another Peanut Butter Brownie

Feeling achy and slightly dizzy from a head cold, I was stunned last Thursday to learn that Elijah Cummings had died. As head of the Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives, clips of him at work were regularly featured on the morning and evening news. Elijah Cummings had been in my kitchen cross-examining Homeland Security officials while I cooked dinner. He had been in my bedroom speaking with Michael Cohen as I got ready for the day.

I have little if anything in common with Representative Cummings. He was a child of south, the son of sharecroppers. He was a brilliant student, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, who went on to become a lawyer and statesman. I have no ties to Baltimore or Maryland. I’m a child of the northeast, of suburbia, who now lives in rural New Hampshire. My dad was in sales; my mother a homemaker. There was never any question that I would go to college. My career path has had its twists and turns – teaching, business and writing. In college and beyond, I have always done well. However, I have rarely, if ever, been accused of brilliance.

Even with so little in common learning of his death took my breath away. He was so young. I come from long lines of octogenarians and nonagenarians so sixty-eight seems barely middle age. Today, life expectancy in the United States is 78.7. Why, he was still in his prime with more battles to wage and win. Along with relative youth, he was an inspiring orator. Through his words, he brought compassion and humanity to the Hill.

In particular, I was taken by two things he said in the last year or so. The first was to Michael Cohen. At the end of a hearing with Cohen, Representative Cummings passed along words that were both moving and empathetic. He challenged all of us, “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?”

It is a fascinating question. One that doesn’t just apply to 2019 or to the current chaos in Washington. Perhaps, when that day comes, when we are dancing with the angels, we should all ask ourselves, “What did I do, to make the world a better place.”

I’m sure that each and every one of us has a laundry list of good deeds. For a few of us, not me, some of those deeds are huge – saving a life, rescuing a damsel in distress or puppy from a storm drain. For most of us, our good deeds are quite small. Perhaps you made someone smile today or picked up trash along the road. Maybe you spent the afternoon baking brownies with or for a loved one. No matter how small, never, ever think of these deeds as inconsequential.

The second quote, this one I’ve heard more than once. It was a comment made anywhere and anytime that lawmakers seemed to have forgotten their humanity. That’s when Representative Cummings would assert, “We are better than that.” There are variations on this theme, including “We can do better.”

We all have our evil twins. Most of us do our best to keep that part of ourselves hidden. If, or perhaps I should say when – When you feel yourself slipping into that mean persona, gently pull yourself back and remember; I am better than this. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of negativity, even cruelty. Don’t; instead, always remember – you are better than that.

Rest in peace Elijah Cummings. Thank you for helping us find our better selves and bon appétit!

Another Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

I baked these brownies for my niece and her boyfriend a week or two ago. We drank tea, ate brownies and read old love letters. Letters that my grandfather had written to my grandmother from France during World War I. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon and, once again, proved an event doesn’t have to be big to be special. Enjoy!

Makes 24 brownies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Put the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees until the edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes.

Cool in the pan, cut and serve.

.

Printer-friendly version of this recipe.

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What are your thoughts and memories of Elijah Cummings? Is anything holding you back? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookie Time – Holiday Special

Have you finished – or even started – your holiday baking? If not, here are a few ideas!

Start with a twist on tradition! You’ll love the newest addition to my blog – Macadamia Snow Balls. Next, if you find sugar cookies a bit bland, then you must try my Citrus & Spice Sugar Cookies. For chocolaty delicious, how about baking up a batch of my Peppermint Bark Cookies? Want a more grownup cookie? My Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti are just the thing.

Shortbread is great for the holidays, so how about my Ginger Shortbread or Macadamia Nut Shortbread. For buttery deliciousness, you can’t beat my Snowy Pecan Balls.

Speaking of shortbread, you might like to add a few savory bites for cocktail hour.
Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam or Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam.

If you are feeling rushed (and who isn’t), Sweet Dream Bars are quick and easy. Chocolate lovers can’t miss with my Triple Threat BrowniesEspresso Brownies or Cheesecake Brownies.

Then there are lovely homemade chocolates and candies! One of  my favorites is Chocolate Almond Buttery Brittle. It is delicious but be careful, it is positively addictive. No less delicious, are my Chocolate Dipped Orange Caramels. For a luxurious treat, try my Chocolate Truffles. Christmas candies are a wonderful addition to your holiday buffet table and make great gifts.

If you are thinking of something sweet as a hostess gift or stocking stuffer, don’t forget my Death by Chocolate Sauce, luscious Maple Sauce or Caramel Sauce. Just be sure to make enough to keep a jar for yourself!

Enjoy everything the holiday season has to offer and bon appétit!

For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!!

What sweet treats will you be making during the holidays? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

The Holiday Season Bucket List & Macadamia Snow Balls


.
The run up to Christmas has begun.
There are all sorts of festive activities to get you in the spirit. From a sledding party to a midnight church service there’s lots to keep you busy. So busy that you might want to make a list and check it twice. You don’t want to let the everyday get in the way of holiday magic. So, here’s to getting in the spirit and filling December with lots of traditional holiday fun.

.
.

Need a little help to get started? Here are a couple of ideas:

Christmas cookies. Whether you track down Nana’s recipe cards or try something fancy and new, Christmas and cookies just go together. Should you decide to take it over the top, a palatial gingerbread house is always a possibility.

Deck the halls.
With several inches of snow on the ground and crutches under my arms, my house will not be ablaze in twinkle lights. Nor will I be climbing any ladders. However, I will definitely scatter some of my favorite decorations around the house. What about you?

Carol sing. If you are like me, you tend to hum Christmas carols throughout December. Fellow hummers will want to be on the lookout for opportunities to sing out loud and strong. In the unlikely occurrence that you can’t find a sing-along, invite friends in for a glass of wine and a song or two.

Tree lighting. A tree lighting is an excellent excuse for us country folk to head down to the big city. The sparkling decorations will make you feel like a kid again. Before returning home, be sure to enjoy a great meal in a fabulous restaurant.

Lights tour. If you can’t get to the city, a neighbor lights tour is a good alternative. A favorite childhood event, my family always spent an evening searching for the biggest and best displays. I’m sure we always found them.

Christmas craft. There is nothing like hot glue and pine cones to get you in the holiday spirit. For even more fun, invite the kids. A knitting lesson with Grandma or building a birdhouse with Dad will create lasting memories.

Read a holiday classic. A favorite Christmas story never gets old. Mine chronicles the life and adventures of Saint Nicolas. For years, it was our December bedtime story. Reading it draws me close to my mother and her indominable holiday spirit.

See a live holiday performance. Try a classic – like the Nutcracker. From big city ballet companies to your neighborhood dance studio, there are lots of opportunities to see Clara dance with her prince. Ballet not your thing? A holiday concert or Christmas Revels might be just the ticket.

Visit Santa. For shy kids, boisterous kids and everyone in between, a visit with Santa is a must. Even if you don’t have a child in tow, it’s a good time to visit with friends and neighbors. Seeing Santa will make you smile. And besides, there will probably be cookies and maybe even a sing-along.

Do good works. The end of the year is when many of us write checks to our favorite worthy causes. It’s also a good time to show your thanks for a wonderful life by helping others less fortunate. Drive a friend to the doctor, shovel a neighbor’s walk or share that batch of cookies you baked.

Have a wonderful holiday season and bon appétit!

Macadamia Snow Balls
Bake up a batch of these buttery cookies this holiday season. You’ll be glad you did. Enjoy! 
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

4 ounces macadamia nuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
White Chocolate Ganache
About 1 cup coconut

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the flour, baking powder and spices and pulse to combine.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on low speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl and chill until the dough is firm, about 2 hours.

Using a small cookie scoop or 2 teaspoons, make dollops of batter. Use your hands to roll the dollops into balls. Place the balls onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake at 325 degrees until pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

While the cookies cool, make the White Chocolate Ganache. Spread warm ganache  on top of each cookie and then dip in the coconut. Let the ganache set before serving or storing.

To store: layer cookies between sheets of wax or parchment paper in an airtight container. The cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week. If making ahead, freeze before frosting.

White Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces white chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons sifted confectioner’s sugar

Put the chocolate, butter and cream in a heavy saucepan over low heat. When the chocolate and butter are about 1/3 melted, remove from the heat, let sit for a minute or two and whisk until melted and smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and whisk again until smooth.

Let cool for a few minutes before frosting the cookies.

Printer-friendly version of this recipe.

One Year Ago – Ginger-Orange Cheesecake
Two Years Ago – Chocolate Walnut Tart
Three Years Ago – Citrus & Spice Sugar Cookies
Four Years Ago – Peppermint Bark Cookies
Five Years Ago – Mixed Reds & Greens Holiday Salad
Six Years Ago – Snowy Pecan Balls
Seven Years Ago – Chocolate Truffles
Eight Years Ago – Smoked Salmon Mousse
Nine Years Ago – Roasted Beans
Ten Years Ago – Winter Soup with Pasta, Beans & Greens

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

A Lot to Like about Halloween & Halloween Candy Brownies

Hang onto your hats (and your turkey legs), it looks like Halloween is poised to become the second most popular holiday in the country. Well, maybe not this year or next, but it’s trending in that direction. For as long as I can remember the triumphant trinity of holidays has been Christmas in the number one spot, followed by Thanksgiving and then Halloween. According to a Harris poll, Halloween is now more popular than Thanksgiving with millennials. That’s anyone between eighteen and thirty-five years old. Already thirty percent of the population, their ranks are growing.

Why do millennials love Halloween? Why not? Halloween has a lot going for it. You get to decorate. From cheery autumnal pumpkins and gourdes to ghosts, ghouls and gravestones, there are loads of options. You dress up in some fantastic outfit. What could be better than showing the world your alter ego, your true self or if-only self? There’s candy.

On the other hand, Thanksgiving has family, food and football. When it comes to family, Thanksgiving is famous for its meltdowns. A few weeks after the election, there is more than enough fodder for conflict. Even if you all agree, someone or everyone will begin to rant and rave. Right, left, liberal or conservative, it doesn’t matter. There’s discontent on all sides. Throw in a few alternative lifestyles, a dash of sibling rivalry and one too many glasses of wine and you have an explosion ready to happen. But the food is good and the football is never ending.

But back to Halloween, for little kids and big ones, there is a lot to like about this spooktacular night:

First my favorite part, you can let your imagination go wild. From scary to sexy to silly (or some combination) you get to be someone else for an evening. Try on a new identity; someone braver and wiser. Who knows? You might decide to keep it on for a week or so – maybe even longer. Literally or figuratively, is there anything more empowering than tights and a cape?

It’s all in good fun. As the days grow shorter and colder, Halloween gets us out and about. It’s a celebration. Whether you are a little kid dashing from one house to another or a big kid dancing the night away, there is nothing too terribly serious about Halloween.

There’s something for everyone. If you don’t feel like trick or treating or dancing, you can travel back through history and learn about the origins Halloween. The ins and outs of ghosts and goblins, witches and their familiars make for interesting reading and study.

The community comes together. Clusters of kids and their parents roam the neighborhood. Parks and parking lots are filled with cars for trunk or treat. Friends come together for festive cheer. History buffs gather at the library for a lecture on the Salem witch trials or some such thing. Superficial divisions melt like a jack-o’-lantern candle and cheery neighborliness rules. By the way, beneath our masks, we’re all human – suggesting that any and all divisions are superficial.

There is a spirit of generosity. Everyone turns on their porch light and stands at the ready with peanut butter cups and crunch bars. Well, not everyone. In quiet rural neighborhoods like mine, we see nary a ghost or superhero. However, we would be ever so happy to welcome you with a treat if you happen by.

Have a wonderful Halloween and bon appétit!

Halloween Candy Brownies
Start with your favorite brownie recipe and add leftover Halloween candy for a spooktacular treat. Enjoy!
Make 24 squares

About 12 ounces leftover Halloween candy – try M&Ms, peanut butter cups, Milky Way, Snickers, Heath Bars and/or Three Musketeers
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Cut the candy bars into small pieces – about 1/2-inch square.

Put the butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate in a heavy saucepan and heat on very low until the chocolate is about 2/3 melted. Remove from the heat and stir to combine until melted and smooth. Add the sugar and instant coffee and stir to combine.

Put the eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork. Beating constantly, a little at a time, add about a cup of warm chocolate to the eggs. Add the remaining chocolate and the vanilla to the chocolate-egg mixture and stir to combine.

Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the candies evenly over the top and gently push into the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and cut into squares.

Printer friendly version of this recipe.

One Year Ago – Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Two Years Ago – Chipotle Sweet Potato & White Bean Hummus
Three Years Ago – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares
Four Years Ago – Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Five Years Ago Ago – Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Six Years Ago – Chicken in Every Pot
Seven Years Ago – Roasted Carrots & Pearl Onions
Eight Years Ago – Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
Nine Years Ago – Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pearl Onions
Ten Years Ago – Mexican Chicken Soup

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018