Category Archives: All Recipes

Lunch Lady Brownies – My Version!

 
If you’ve been on Pinterest for at least ten minutes, you’re probably familiar with the popular Lunch Lady Brownie posts. It began on a site that’s long abandoned called SaltBox House Creations, and has blossomed into a Pinterest megahit. The photos are amazing and people get excited to recreate the brownies from that elementary school cafeteria lady back in the day. I don’t remember brownies, but I do remember those fluffy, buttery rolls they made (I’ll try to find that one, too!).

I’ve never used frosting on a brownie – just a preference because they’re usually gooey and sweet and don’t need it. Bret doesn’t think a brownie’s a brownie without frosting, so I knew he’d like these.

Even though there are 2 cups of sugar in the brownie, it’s not particularly sweet. The frosting is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and complements the barely sweet chocolate brownie. I think these are a great special treat!

The brownie is thick and soft, but not gooey. The frosting is fluffy and smooth and just right for these brownies. You frost them while they’re still warm and it creates kind of a glaze right on top of the brownie and then the rest of the frosting gets that kind of cracked look. Almost like you get on a Coca-Cola cake. So very, very good.

We’ve enjoyed these brownies and Bret gave them a thumbs up, reminding me once again that brownies aren’t complete without frosting. I think I may agree.

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Lunch Lady Brownies - My Version!

****Outstanding brownie with frosting - a throwback to the good old days and as good as you remember!  Adapted from SaltBox House Creations.

Ingredients
  • 1 C butter melted
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/4 C butter softened
  • 1/4 C evaporated milk
  • 1/4 C plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, on the bottom and up the sides so you can lift it out after cooled.  Spray foil with non-stick spray.  Set aside

  2. In a large bowl of an stand mixer, combine the butter and cocoa powder.  Blend until smooth.  Add the flour and sugar.  Beat together then add the eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until completely combined, but don't over mix.  Batter will be thick.

  3. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread out evenly.  Bake 25-28 minutes, checking at 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes away with a few crumbs.  Remove brownies from oven and let the pan stand on a rack for about 20 minutes.  The brownies will still be warm when you frost them.

  4. For the Frosting:  Beat together all of the frosting ingredients until completely smooth (about 4 minutes to blend powdered sugar in completely).  Pour and spread over the warm brownies.  Let cool completely before lifting the brownies out by the foil ends.  Cut and serve with a cold glass of milk.

Recipe Notes
Tips and Stuff Don't over bake them. They won't be gooey, but will be thick and "bendy." When you lift the brownies out they will bend a bit so put your hand under the bottom to steady them. Don't worry about the wrinkled frosting - it gives them character!

Turkish Yogurt Cake

 
I just joined a new group, The Cake Slice Bakers, and am so excited about participating in the upcoming baking challenges! Each month four very different cakes are chosen from the cookbook of a prominent baker – in this case, Roger Pizey’s “World Class Cakes” –  and we get to choose one of those to bake and post. The best part of this? We get to eat a different and fun cake every month!

This month’s Turkish Yogurt Cake caught my eye, as it was described as being simple, light and “a little like a cheesecake.” So off to Turkey we go.

I’m not sure about the simple part. It was a little more tricky than it looked! It was beautiful and creamy and then whipped egg whites were folded into it, making a light, fluffy batter. One of the main ingredients is strained Greek yogurt, which I surprisingly found at my local grocery store. It’s a little messy to deal with and I’m still cleaning yogurt out from under my fingernails…

Roger Pizey’s photos of the cake were just beautiful! I decided to try to duplicate them by turning the cake out onto a plate. It didn’t quite cooperate and split in a few places, so don’t look too closely at it.

The cake definitely had that yogurt tang. I’d call the cake a cross between an egg souffle and a fluffy cheesecake. It’s an unusual, but not totally unpleasant texture and besides the pungent yogurt taste, also has quite a bit of lemon flavor. If I make it again, I’ll definitely put a teaspoon or so of vanilla for a deeper flavor.

This first cake challenge with The Cake Slice Bakers was so much fun! I look forward to getting to know the other bakers and diving into the next challenge!

3.5 from 2 votes
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Turkish Yogurt Cake

A cross between an egg souffle and a light, fluffy cheesecake.  From Roger Pizey's World Class Cakes.

Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs divided
  • 1/2 C superfine sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 3/4 C strained Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon grated and juiced
  • confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 9" round cake pan.

  2. Beat together the egg yolks and the sugar.  Ad in the sifted flour, the yogurt, the zest and juice of the lemon, and mix all the ingredients thoroughly together.

  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the yogurt batter.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is brown.  It will puff up like a souffle and then subside.

  5. When completely cooled, dust with confectioner's sugar.  

Recipe Notes
Tips and Stuff:   Make sure and have all of the ingredients ready to blend together - it can get messy!   I didn't have an 9-inch cake pan, so I used a tall 8-inch and baked it until the top was golden brown - almost the full hour until a knife slid gently into the middle of it came out clean.


Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan

 
If you’re looking for a last minute addition to your Easter brunch or lunch, I highly recommend this Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan. I love asparagus, if it’s cooked correctly, and this roasted garlic is absolutely perfect. It’s tossed with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan, then roasted and sprinkled lightly with lemon juice.

It’s savory, tangy and delicious. It’s the best asparagus can be and that’s high praise from an asparagus lover like me! This would go great with ham, chicken, beef or lamb, or it would stand on its own on vegetable-only night. Since it’s asparagus season, we’ll be having this often!

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Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan

****My new favorite asparagus dish.  Savory, a bit tangy, and totally delicious!

Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  In a shallow container, toss the asparagus, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese, and garlic, until well coated.  Place nonstick aluminum foil on a baking sheet and arrange the asparagus in a single layer.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese.

  2. Roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, turning the asparagus once halfway through.  Place on serving platter and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:   Check on the asparagus after 10 minutes and make sure it doesn't burn.  Roasting times will vary according to how thick the asparagus is - mine was quite thick and took 12 minutes.  If you don't have nonstick aluminum foil, just use regular and turn one more time during cooking.

Easter Egg Salad Sandwiches

 
What to do with those leftover eggs? Well, you can make deviled eggs, use them sliced in a spinach salad, make a nice potato salad or other various salads, or make egg salad. There are probably more options, but my little brain isn’t that imaginative, so I decided on a kicked up version of an egg salad sandwich.

I like tangy egg salad, so I added a little mustard and vinegar to it. Adding bacon and jalapeno just sounded good, kind of making it like a totally deconstructed jalapeno popper. Besides, what doesn’t taste better with a little bacon? The result was a nice, creamy egg salad with a bit of a tang and crunch.

Make sure and put this on a sturdy bread – I chose jalapeno cheddar and toasted it. It goes perfectly with some chips on the side and a big glass of sweet iced tea.

When I was putting the sandwich together, I noticed something strange about the shape of the bread. It looked like a bunny! So I put a little jalapeno for the eye and voila – an Easter Egg Salad Bunny! The cheddar cheese at one end even looks like its little haunches. OK, maybe it’s a stretch, but I thought it was cute.

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Easter Egg Salad

***A creamy, crunchy egg salad with a bit of a kick.  Be sure an use a dense or toasted bread to hold the sandwich together.

Servings: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 boiled eggs chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small jalapeno finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeno (optional) chopped
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon cooked and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Stir together the ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes unless using immediately.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:   I liked the tang that the pickled jalapeno gave the egg salad, but that's purely optional.  If you don't have fresh jalapeno, go ahead and use just the pickled jalapeno.  If using thinner bacon, fry up three pieces.  Add the mayo until it's the consistency you like - some people like it less creamy and more chunky.

Easter Jelly Bean Cookies

 
I wanted to make Jelly Bean Cookies for Easter and dug in my old standard recipes, trying to decide what to make the base cookie out of. I found this really good basic sugar cookie (not a cut-out cookie) and remembered a wonderful butter cream frosting that would go great on them. I did some jelly bean tasting (now I’m a jelly bean expert) and found Starburst jelly beans had the best flavor – sweet and just barely tart.

You probably noticed the cute green grass the jelly beans are sitting on. I found that in the middle of the Easter stuff at Target and thought it was so cute! It’s edible, but not really that tasty. If you’re wanting cute cookies, go for it! If you want awesome cookies, make the sugar cookie, frost it generously with the butter cream and put the little jelly beans on top, leaving the grass off. You could also dye some shredded coconut green and use that for grass.

Here’s a photo of the different ways I decorated the cookies – sugar cookies with frosting, sugar cookies with jelly beans and no frosting (those were cute, too), and cookies with the frosting, grass and jelly beans. Oh, and some have frosting with just jelly beans on top. I tried to make the ones with just jelly beans look like bunny feet. Awwwww.

I think my favorite are the cookies with the purple jelly beans. The flavor combinations are just perfect. Bret doesn’t like jelly beans (what?), so I made some plain and some with just frosting. These cookies are so cute and perfect to make with the kiddos for Easter, or really any time!

5 from 1 vote
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Easter Jelly Bean Cookies

****Terrific sugar cookie with a dreamy butter cream frosting and sweet dots of jelly beans.  Perfectly Easter!

Servings: 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and mix until well combined.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, into the butter mixture, then add the vanilla.  Mix until combined.

  3. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Slightly flatten the cookie.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  Bake for 9-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.  The top will not brown.  Cool cookies on rack completely before frosting

  4. For the frosting, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl,  Add the softened butter and mix until combined and smooth.  Add the vanilla and stir.  Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time until the consistency you want (kind of thick).  Frost the cookies generously, then sprinkle with grass (if using) and gently press jelly beans on top into the frosting.

Recipe Notes
Tips and Stuff: Be sure and use a heaping tablespoon of dough - you want these to be larger than usual so you can decorate them. I always put cookie dough in the refrigerator between batches. If you're not going to use the frosting and want to make bunny feet, press the jelly beans gently onto the cookies before baking (4 across the top and 1 sideways on the bottom). If you'd rather use dyed coconut for the grass, it would work, too.