Browsing the blog archives for January, 2011.

Marriage Monday & A Chocolate Tart

Churchy, Domestic, Marriage, Small Town

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

Today’s an exciting day because it’s the first day of the Good Morning Girls Bible study of the book of James and it’s also the day the first book for the Bloom / (In)Courage book club is announced. No lie, I will be picking up (or ordering) that book as soon as I know what it is!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on and on about scripture (unless you’re interested – email me!), I’ll stick to the theme of marriage and family on Mondays.

I’m going to give you a recipe for a chocolate tart that my husband adored last week – in just a sec.

First a quick note on not freaking out over your husband taking the lead.

I have had a great start to 2011 in my teeny tiny little town. The teeny tiny little town in the woods that I never in a million, billion years would have chosen to move to. My husband has been trying to get me to move to the middle of nowhere for years, but since neither of us drove it wasn’t really feasible until the summer of 2009 (when he got his license and a car) and I really wasn’t feeling it. Up to this point I had handed most major decisions to my husband without any trace of weirdness but this decision just felt too much. It was crazy. I’m a through and though city kid. I took streetcars and buses to school! I loved walking everywhere. I have a real affinity for the Toronto Public Library system. Most of all, I’m a seriously social creature and most of my dear friends either live in Toronto or pass through it a couple times a year. If I’m totally honest, that last point is the one I held on to the longest.

Eventually, I started to see that he wanted to live in the woods even more than I wanted to stay in Toronto. Friends reading this probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. He was borderline miserable. And now? Now that we’ve been here for 4 months I feel like so much in my life is better than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends and the ability to take the streetcar to the library (or, well, anywhere), but I don’t miss the reality of three kids on a packed streetcar AT ALL.

I have found something out here that I never would have found within my life in Toronto. I have found a new, deeper connection to my husband, I have found that my priorities were not at all in line with really nurturing my family and I have found…wait for it…a desire to slow down. I still do a million things in a day, but I used to do 2 million. Now, when I look out the window while in the middle of the day’s ‘to do’, I see nature and God’s creation everywhere! I know He’s present in Toronto too, but out my old kitchen window I saw a concrete backyard, a neighbour I longed to avoid and rows upon rows of similar houses with hardly a few feet between them. Out this back window, I see snow. Lots and lots and lots of snow, and some days it comes down in such huge beautiful flakes that I have to just stop. I stop and I take my coffee to the big patio doors and I just stand there and watch it fall. So there we have it. He was right, and to put that better, he knew something I didn’t know, something he never could have explained to me. I had to experience it to know that it was better.

And now, onto the chocolate tart! Hilariously, I the title of the blog post that introduced me to this tart is No Bake Chocolate Tart for a Happy Husband. Ha!! It’s a brilliant recipe because it only has three ingredients (unless you count the ingredients for the crust which is only another 6 anyway).

Pate Sucree (Sweet Tart Dough) – from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached)

It’s pretty self-explanatory but here goes. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla & egg yolk, mix till combined. Now add flour and mix until the dough is crumbly and most of the flour is mixed in. Mix the rest by hand until the dough forms a ball. Pop it in the fridge for 4 hours before you roll it out. I’ll wait here.

Of course once you take it out of the fridge you’ve got to let it warm up a little, say 20 minutes or so before you roll it out between parchment paper (or on a floured surface if you must) and pinch it into a cute tart pan, or pie plate.


Chocolate Tart (for a Happy Husband) – also from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
baked and cooled sweet tart crust

First, warm the cream in a stainless steel bowl (I set my bowl over a frying pan of simmering water but there are much fancier ways to do it), when it’s scalding add the chocolate. I took it off the frying pan of water for this part (because, as you probably know, water + chocolate = bad).


Once your chocolate is all melted and mixed in well with your scalding cream, pour it into your cooled tart shell. Pop it in the fridge and wait – forever. Ok, so technically it’s actually 2-3 hours, but when your husband is in the fridge every few minutes poking at it, it seems like forever.


Then, naturally, you take it out an hour early and have the first slice when it’s all gooey and not set up yet. Whoops! Yummy anyway! Hours later, once this treat is completely set, take another slice for photos and then eat that too. 😉



Miss America 2011

Domestic, Kids, Pretty

I adore pageants, their extreme cheesy factor doesn’t bother me at all. The bigger the hair and the more glitter on the evening gowns, the better! I eat it right up. So, naturally, I love, love, love the mother of all pageants, Miss America. For the last few years, I’ve gathered my girlfriends to wear plastic crowns and cute dresses and drink champagne and watch the show. This is my first year in the woods – and just my wonderful luck – its also the first year Wee One #2 is interested and oh boy is she interested.

The celebrations around here started early. I was wearing my rhinestone tiara and my biggest Urban Decay lashes at breakfast (just for the record, these are my dailies). Here is Wee One #2 all set for the show about an hour before it started, the one of me was taken in the morning and then I shoveled and cleaned like this. I adore these lashes, they’re so fun.


We baked up some girlie treats last night and watched Miss America together. She was rooting for Miss Oklahoma (she was the 4th runner up), and I was rooting for Miss Nevada, who unfortunately didn’t even make the semi-finals. Our second choices were Miss Hawaii (my choice, she got 3rd runner up), and Wee One #2’s second choice, Miss Nebraska WON! She’s just 17 and carried herself really well through the whole competition.

I have baked all of these creations before, I just decorated them differently for our girlie evening.

These cookies are Martha’s Snickerdoodles (posted about here), minus the cinnamon and sandwiched with leftover ganache from a treat I made for my amazing husband that I’ll post about tomorrow in Marriage Monday. The ganache is the typical combo of 12 oz of good chocolate pieces, 3/4 cup heavy cream and 6 tablespoons butter (heat the cream and the butter until it’s almost boiling, then pour it over the chocolate and mix).


These little babies, of course are just mini chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and multicoloured coarse sugar. I used the Stir and Bake Chocolate Cake recipe I posted about here.



More chocolate cupcakes, more buttercream frosting. Here I tinted half pink and half purple. I filled the pastry bag half and half so when I piped it, the colours would swirl together. Cute!!

So she now wants to be a beauty queen. So adorable it almost hurts. Here’s some So Very Domestic trivia for you. I was in a beauty pageant when I was 8. I won Miss Sunburst and Miss Photogenic. True story – I still have the trophies to prove it! 😉


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cookie #2

Domestic, Kids

Introducing the second cookie of the year – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. I bet your Granny made these, or makes if you’re lucky. My Granny made them, and then I made them with her. This isn’t her recipe exactly, unfortunately. I got a bunch of her kitchen gear and two cookbooks after she passed, but I don’t have her scribbled down recipes on messy and stained index cards – yet. That’s what I really want.

So, anyhoo. These cookies are very close to the one she used to make, I adapted the recipe just a teeny bit by swapping chocolate chips for whole peanuts from the excellent cookbook, Great Cookies. I have used this book over and over, and I’m sure I’ll be turning to it a lot during this Year of the Cookie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from the Peanut Jumbles in Great Cookies

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

First up, of course, you sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and set that aside. Then, using a stand up mixer if you have one, cream the butter till smooth and add the peanut butter. I love the way it looks, so silky! Next add the brown sugar and granulated sugar.


Plunk in your eggs, one at a time while mixing, then the vanilla. Now put your mixer on the lowest speed, and add your dry ingredient mix very slowly so it all gets combined properly, but don’t over mix! The take it off your stand mixer and fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.


I have always, always, always put the cross hatch marks on top of peanut butter cookies with a fork. I don’t know if that’s a thing or if it’s just a thing my family did, but I’ve always done it. The addition of chocolate chips didn’t deter me from doing it here too. 😉

8 minutes at 375 and they were perfect. I made great time on these treats too because as soon as I was done pulling the last batch from the oven….

…it was time to set the table for the kids’ after school snack!

Yes, I set a little tea party for my kids every day after school. Trust me, they’re amazing and totally deserve it

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Hearty Winter Stew (The French Way) – Daring Cooks Jan 2011


In this post I’m participating in (of course) The Daring Kitchen, and also in Social Parade.

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

Oh. My. Goodness. This challenge? Was challenging. I mean that in the best possible way too. At first it was a little overwhelming to even read the recipe. Me, who makes all kinds of crazy meals and desserts, I was totally intimidated by the concept of a stew that takes 3 days to make. That’s not even days of prep either. It’s involving!

Anyhoo, I’ll start with the recipe itself and then attack you will three days worth of French stew making photos, which ended up being about eleventy billion.

There were a whole lot of substitutions allowed thankfully! Some items I wanted but couldn’t get (like duck for some reason) and other items I just super didn’t want to get (like duck fat).

Cassoulet via The Daring Kitchen

5 cups dried Great Northern beans
2 huge pork hocks (original recipe calls for pork belly)
1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 pound bacon (original recipe calls for pork rind)
1 bouquet garni (tie together two sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and one bay leaf)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup Becel/butter (original recipe calls for duck fat)
12 small pork sausages
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
8 confit chicken legs (original recipe calls for duck legs)

First, you’ll need to make the confit.

Chicken Confit

4 whole chicken legs (leg and thigh)
sea salt, for the overnight (at least 6-8 hours) dry rub
2 cups Becel/butter
a healthy pinch or grind of black pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove

Making the confit is pretty easy. The first day all you do is rub down the chicken legs with a generous amount of sea salt and pop them in the fridge overnight.


One the second day, preheat your oven to 375, melt the butter in a saucepan. Then season the chicken legs with black pepper and put them in a casserole dish. Add the thyme, rosemary and garlic with the chicken legs and pour the melted butter over them. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook for about an hour. Till the bone easily slips out.


Now let it cool, as is, and then pop it in the fridge overnight.

Day one of the actual Cassoulet is painfully simple. Just soak your beans.

Day two, you drain the beans, and put them in a large pot. The quartered onion, herb bouquet and pork hocks all go in with this too. Cover with water and simmer for 1/2 hour. Season with salt and pepper and then simmer for another 1/2 hour.


Let this cool for about 20 minutes and toss the onion and herbs. Take out the pork hocks and take off the meat. Strain the beans and keep the water.

Now, saute the sausages in the butter till they’re well browned. Then drain them on paper towels. Now, in the same pan, brown the onions, garlic and meat.


Once that’s browned….ok follow me here because I had to read this again and again to be sure I was reading it right. There are even photos to go along with this that clearly illustrate what comes next. Ready?

So the meat from the pork hocks and the onions and garlic? You put that in the blender. Yeah, I know! You put it in the blender and make a really super gross looking goo out of it. My husband was in loooove with the smell of it browning and even had a little nibble of the meat and of course reacted with ‘What? The blender?!’


Why is this perfectly delicious snack pulverized? So it can be poured between each layer of this crazy stew, sillyhead!

But wait! It gets even better! Now, you line your dish with, wait for it…bacon. Yes, pork rind is listed in the original recipe but not only is bacon a suitable sub, it was used by one of the hosts this month!


All that’s left really is layering and cooking. This is what I did; beans, puree, sausages, puree, more beans, more puree, chicken confit, more puree and finally even more beans. Cover with the bean liquid before putting in the oven, but make sure you save a cup of the liquid in the fridge.


This is cooked for an hour at 350, then the temp is lowered to 250 for another hour. Then it’s cooled and put in the fridge overnight (notice a trend here).

Now the next day, cook it again at 350 for an hour. Then, break the crust that forms on the top and pour in the liquid you saved. Lower the temp to 250 like the day before, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Voila! Easy peasy, right? 😉

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge seems about as easy! Wish me luck!

 Smart and Trendy Moms


Baking with Kids – Basic Bread

Domestic, Kids

This is the kids’ second recipe from this book so far this year and they’re having a fun time with it. Wee One #1 has been helping in the kitchen since he was old enough to push a chair up to the counter and mix so he has lots of practice. Wee One #2 has been baking for about as long, but is 5 years younger.

Anyhoo, they’ve both helped bake all kinds of neat things, but they’ve never made plain old bread before, so here we go, on their second recipe all by themselves – they made bread!

Basic Bread – from Baking With Kids (p. 58)
5 cups white or whole wheat bread flour (or 2 1/2 cups each)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water or milk


First they added the flour and the salt and the yeast (we used half white and half whole wheat flour). Then I put the hook attachment on the mixer and they poured in the warmish milk.


Taking the bread out of the mixer to get messy and knead it on the counter was the highlight of today’s bread baking session! They really got into it.

Then we covered it with a sort of damp towel and put the bowl on the oven (we turned the oven on super low to give a little heat to the room and bottom of the bowl), and then we waited about an hour.

Once the hour was up and the dough had done it’s thing, they took it out again and punched it down (as per the hilarious instruction).


Wee One #2, who is my official pan-butterizer, set to greasing the pans. She’s pretty serious about it. If she happens to come into the kitchen when I’m baking without her (like say first thing in the morning and she’s barely awake) she mortally offended I’d butter my own pans.


They decided that instead of baking a single 1lb loaf, they wanted to each have their own loaf. Which, of course, changes the baking time and the final look, but they were in charge of this kitchen venture, so two 1/2lb loaves it was.


You know what? Their loaves came out terrifically! They were obviously on the short side, lol, but very, very good! This is a great recipe for anyone to make bread for the first time.

This house feels like the perfect house for kids to cook and bake in because one of the counters is really low! My Kitchen Aid lives there for easy access. 😉

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Work in Progress Wednesday #3

Crafty, Kids

In this post, I’m participating in three WIP Wednesdays; Freshly Pieced, Tami’s Amis and Musings from the Fishbowl.

I have something that isn’t being knitted this week!! Do you need a moment?

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t knitted at all this week, but I have been sewing! So far, I’ve stuck to very small items, like baby dresses and bags. Technically, curtains should be incredibly easy after making cute little baby dresses that actually fit and were totally wearable. So I figured instead of potentially ruining new fabric, I did just what I did with the baby dresses – I used sheets!

Hilariously, even after measuring the window, I cut my panels too short. Of course. They cover the window…mostly. Also, it really looks like I used the wrong stitch for my hems too, doesn’t it? Like it was too tight because it almost looks like it’s puckering. I think. I dunno, but it looks ‘weird’. I definitely need a do over, but after having made that mistake with practice sheets, next time I’ll do them properly, with more fabric.

These curtains are as plain as humanly possible – to try to minimize the mishaps lol! I made a little folded over sleeve from the wide hem at the top of the sheet, then I hemmed the edges. They’re a WIP, not a FO because (if I was going to keep them, but I’m not) they’d need a backing before they could be officially finished and some kind of trim would be nice. However, I’m not keeping them so they’ll serve their purpose while I find more fabric and and try again.

I also ordered some fabric from Fabric Closet for Wee One #1’s bedroom. No pink princesses here. I know I ordered enough and hopefully this time, I wont find a different way to muck it up. 😉

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Deceptively Delicious French Toast

Domestic, Healthy

In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, and Hearth ‘n Soul.

I was looking forward to making this because I love French Toast and the kids usually do too. I say usually because if you add too much to it it’s not always acceptable to their discerning palettes, dontcha know?

Not sure exactly why one would need to hide bananas in other foods (I thought all kids loved bananas), but she also offered up pineapple, sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash and pumpkin as alternatives). I went with banana even though I just made fun of it because I didn’t have any purees on hand and making a banana puree is well, the easiest thing in the world.

French Toast (with banana) – from Deceptively Delicious (p. 49)

4 large eggs
1 table spoons banana puree
1/ tsp cinnamon
4 slices whole wheat bread
nonstick cooking spray
2 tsps Becel
maple syrup
flaxseed meal (optional)


So, of course, start by whisking your eggs with your banana puree and cinnamon. Once it’s blended well together, plunk your bread in.


Some people have trouble with how long to leave the bread in the egg mixture or they get hung up in which is the correct tool for flipping the bread. Leave it in a few seconds past ‘just wet’ and use a fork!


Just a few minutes each side and it’s done!! French Toast is so fast! I love it! By now, the house smells like cinnamon and banana (and really strong coffee) and at around 150 cals per piece I was game to have one with the kids.

I was a little nervous they’d think the banana taste was weird by they were down and all three wee ones at it up like it was a tray of pancakes! Hey pancakes! I bet I could hide things in there too!!


Peace on Earth Recap

Churchy, Kids, Marriage

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

I looooooove Courtney’s blog and her challenges. She’s an inspiration to me and a lot of other like-minded wives and mommies out there. I have participated in three of her challenges, the last one, Peace on Earth, challenged us to stay focused on what was really important during the holidays. Not the cookies and the gifts, or even the gatherings or even our families – but our faith! That’s what it’s all based in, right? Anyhoo, I really took to heart the first two challenges, to take a night just for me to pamper myself a bit, and to take a night to go to bed early. I made taking care of myself a priority and I started going to bed a little earlier on a regular basis. Then, I dropped off the blogosphere all together!

I did do my challenges though. <3 The next one, (#3) was to make a hot drink - I went with green tea - and sit alone in the quiet dark with the twinkling Christmas tree and just be alone with God. I didn't fall asleep, I didn't really let my mind wander much, I just thought about God and life and all the ways I am so thankful and appreciative for all that I have. It was so nice I did it a few more times before we took the tree down. The fourth challenge was to get outside and be alone with God in nature. As you've read over and over on this blog, I live in the woods and have nature to spare! LOL So getting out and being in awe of all that He has created is a daily occurrence, but I did make sure to go out and with that in mind and just wander around the property for a while. I was greeted with blue jays, squirrels and chipmunks and the same day my husband was so lucky he got to drive (slowly) through a group of deer - they even ran with him for little, until he was going too fast. What a treat!! The newest challenge is actually hosted by her other site, Good Morning Girls, it’s a full out study on the book of James. I’ll be tackling this with my Good Morning Girls group, so I likely will not be posting my deets about that here. However, there is a new link up on Women Living Well, called Living Well Wednesdays. That’s a bit of an issue for me though because, of course, I’m doing Work in Prorgress Wednesdays now. I think I will stick with Marriage Mondays, and just post my Monday link in the Wednesday linky. 😉

I’ve blathered on quite a bit already, and I have a tart to make, but I want to share with you that I have been reading Come Have a Peace, the creator of Marriage Mondays, quite a bit in the last year or so and she’s taught me so much about being humble in marriage and taking a step back. A lot of people will tell you that if you have a servant’s heart and you work on being meek, it’ll come back to you tenfold. I tried several times in the past to make this work, but when I wasn’t met immediately with the response I had hoped for, I’d give up. Which was my mistake in the first place. I didn’t really have a servant’s heart if I was only giving of myself to get something back, was I?

So, when we moved out here in September, a lot of things changed. My husband’s home office is now on the main floor of our house when before it had always either been in the basement or tucked away in a spare bedroom. Now, the office is off the kitchen so I see him all day. Also, since my husband is the one who runs all the errands (his idea!), and now that we’re deep in the woods, there’s no way I could possibly go anywhere without him, he is on the same schedule as me and we are together all the time. Keeping that in mind, at the same time as this, I started really, honestly working towards having a servant’s heart. For about a month or so, we were pretty much the way we had always been – we had an amazing marriage but there were days of bickering, and heated moments (and not in the good way).

But then? After a month or so of this, something really amazing happened. There has been no bickering at all. Honest! Times when we’ve disagreed, if it’s been a subject that doesn’t actually affect us, we let it go, if it’s a decision that needs to be made, I have just given it to him and believe it or not, more than half the time my willingness to hand it over to him has opened him up to either rethinking my point of view and making a compromise or even making a full out concession. There is more joking and playfulness, there is a lot more time spent as a family. He even has taken a full out interest in my knitting and wants to play in the kitchen with me when I’m testing out new recipes. I hardly even need the tripod because he’s there lending a hand and making it even more fun.

Wait. I’m not gloating. I’m not going to air the dirty laundry of months and years prior with you either, but please know that our marriage was never this amazing, until I was willing to let go of myself and devote myself to it. Even the kids are turning a corner with my new approach because I’m not raising my voice to them anymore, I’m not short or rude when they forget their lunch bags at school or have a shower with the curtain on the outside of the tub <--that was a serious test, let me tell you. This has them reacting to me differently as well. But, it took at least a month (longer with the kids) of me modeling this behaviour before I saw it come back to me. So. Totally. Worth it. <3


Homemade Spaghetti / Lasagna Sauce

Domestic, Healthy

In the last few months, I have mastered my husband’s favourite lasagna – his mother’s recipe. Last summer, I was buying frozen lasagna and now I’m making it myself! Doing more and more from scratch around here has really inspired me to keep going. So now, I’m breaking down the ingredients to make them from scratch too – which just means the sauce, stock and the pasta, really.

The pasta and stock will wait for another day, this week I made the sauce from my father’s classic recipe.

May’s Dad’s Pasta Sauce

2 lbs ground meat
(beef, chicken, pork, turkey or a combo)
1 onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
2 cans tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
5 tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
oregano to taste

Chop your onions and garlic first. It’s a big joke in my family that my father will chop onions and garlic before he even knows what he’s making, so all his recipes start like this. Anyhoo, once your onions and garlic are browning a little, add your meat. My dad tends to use pork and beef or turkey and chicken. I sometimes use pork and beef, but this time around I just used beef. Let that cook on a back burner, stirring from time to time to keep it from burning horribly.



Then put the tomato paste and chicken stock in a large pot and whisk together. As I was emptying the cans of tomato paste into the pot, I thought about making my own tomato paste too, because even though the ingredients on the side of the can just say tomatoes, we all know the can is full of chemicals. Eww. Next round, I’m doing the paste too! You decide if you use store bought chicken stock or homemade. I love homemade chicken stock and I swear you can taste the sodium in the store bought stuff after tasting scratch stock. I had no scratch stock though, so I went with the new little jelly-style stock from Knorr. It actually worked out really well and the sodium content wasn’t bad. While that’s simmering, chop your veggies, then add them to the sauce. Now sprinkle in your nutmeg and oregano, maybe salt and pepper if you feel the need. 😉

Meanwhile, your meat is probably cooked through now and the smell of garlic and onions have no doubt filled your kitchen at this point. Mmmm. Drain your meat through a colander lined with cheesecloth (or paper towel) and then add it to your sauce.


The sauce can sit as it is for as long as you’d like on a very low simmer, as long as you keep stirring. I left it simmering for about an hour or so, while I cleaned up my kitchen and got the cheese and pasta and all that ready for the lasagna I was making.

This recipe made about 4 mason jars full. I say ‘about’, because I usually go through 2 jars when I make it with store bought and here I used a bit more than typical and I still had 2 mason jars full.

It was fun to make, my kitchen wasn’t too much of a disaster and it makes lots. You can do two big lasagnas with it or four pots of spaghetti!


Peanut Butter Brownie Biscotti – Cookie #1


In this post I’m participating in Social Parade.

I don’t mean that as in, these peanut butter brownie biscotti are the #1 cookie, I just mean that they’re the first official cookie in my Cooke Year 2011 series. Yes, I have a cookie series and yes, I know that’s weird.

I made these first for Christmas, but loved them and tore into them with the kids. I dunked in coffee and they dunked in hot chocolate (how cute is that?!), so I had to make more. Then my husband discovered that he liked biscotti after all, and we tore through the next batch too. The third time, I didn’t even intend to include them in our Christmas cookie tins, and I made them just for us.

Peanut Butter Brownie Biscotti – from Christmas Cookies Magazine (BHG) (p. 68)

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter
1-2 tbsp milk


Start by mixing the peanut butter and butter with a mixer for about 30 seconds, then add sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Once it’s combined, beat in eggs and vanilla.

Then beat in the flour (unless you’ve got a serious mixer, you may need to switch to a wooden spoon at this point), and then stir in the chopped chocolate and you’re ready to shape the dough into loaves.

Make sure your countertop is floured and divide your dough in half. Shape each half into a 9″ long roll, and flatten them out a little so they’re about 2″ wide. Put them both on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, 3″ apart and bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 1 hour.

Slice each baked and cooled log into 1/2″ thick slices (16 pieces, give or take a couple), arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake them for 5-10 minutes more, flip them, and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Sidebar; please note that much like how ‘Tres Leches’ cake (translation: three milk cake) has four kinds of milk in it, ‘biscotti’ (translation: twiced baked) is actually baked three times…sorry for digressing. Ahem, moving on.

Let them cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.


To make the icing, stir together 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons peanut butter and about 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk – just add enough to make the icing the right consistency for dipping. I just dunked them in a little, upside down and set them aside to dry.

These froze very well (lasted 2 weeks in the deep freeze before we raided it) and according to the recipe, they can be frozen for 3 months and soak up my Italian roast like no other. 🙂

Hopefully, anyone here from Social Parade likes my biscotti!

Smart and Trendy Moms

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