Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stirring things up: Double Chocolate Brownies with Caramel Frosting

I've also found more time lately for cooking and baking, just in time for the holidays.  I love trying new recipes, and when I discover a good one, I always want to share.

Below is a recipe I made recently to share with some friends.  They were some of the best brownies I've ever eaten. The recipe came from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (you can almost never go wrong with Southern Living, right?).  It's one of my favorite has great pictures and helpful tips for people like me who need lots of help.

Double Chocolate Brownies with Caramel Frosting

2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans, divided
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
Caramel Frosting

Melt chocolate squares in microwave or double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Add flour and salt, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in vanilla, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Spread batter into a greased and floured 13x9-inch pan.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread evenly with Caramel Frosting.

Caramel Frosting

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
12 large marshmallows
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Stir in sugar and remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 234 degrees (soft ball stage).

Remove from heat.  Beat at high speed 5 to 7 minutes or until frosting thickens and begins to lose its gloss.  Frost brownies immediately.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting back on track (I hope)

Here we go again...

I am finding that life is getting a little easier these days now that Allie is almost a year old, and I occasionally have some free time. I'm hoping to catch back up with blogging again, if for no other reason that to update our families and share pictures.

Since I'm not good at keeping a scrapbook or even photo albums for my children to look back on, this is somehow my record of their early years. Therefore, I need to catch up from the last year or so. (I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I can't leave huge gaps in the would drive me crazy).

So, over the next few weeks, I hope to catch up on pictures and happenings from 2010 in hopes that I can start fresh in 2011 and stay current. That is, until life gets busy enough that this gets pushed to the back burner once again. (I'm not an optimist...)

So, here goes...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Catching Up: February 2010

Allie's first couple of months were cold ones. It was a good time of year to be "stuck" at home with a newborn, although I was ready to get out of the house and get back to life as I once knew it.

We did take advantage of being stuck inside and used the time to potty train Caitlyn. We had tried once before Allie was born, and didn't succeed. This time Caitlyn was ready, and it only took her a few days to get the hang of it. She still wore pull-ups at bedtime and naptime, but did great during the day. I read the book Toilet Training in Less than a Day, and although I didn't follow it to the letter, I found it really helpful.

Caitlyn loved to watch the snowflakes fall, but never lasted long if we took her out to play in the snow. For the most part we stayed bundled up inside.

I love the tiny infant stage where they fall asleep in your arms. I miss it now that she's older.

Tiny one-month old Allie is swaddled up like a baby burrito. I wish I could sleep like that.

Uncle Peter came to visit and meet Allie. He's a natural with his nieces.

Caitlyn got to celebrate Valentine's Day at school and made her first shoe box for keeping her valentines. She was so proud of it and spent lots of time taking out all the cards and looking at them and then returning them to the box.

Allie was super-cute in her Valentine's pajamas.

I tried to take some pictures to use as a birth announcement, and I loved this picture. We never sent an announcement, though. I just didn't get to it...sorry, Allie. We still love you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A lot can happen in a year.

It's been a while...

We had a baby (in January). She's amazing and perfect (we still think so, almost eight months later). Her name is Allison Jane, and she was a tiny little thing, weighing in at 6 lb. 5 oz.

She is now almost eight months old and continues to be a delight and a blessing to our family. She is sitting up on her own and threatening to crawl any day now.

Caitlyn has been a wonderful big sister and tremendous helper. Allie lights up when Caitlyn enters the room, and she watches and mimics so many things Caitlyn does, especially her laughter.

Caitlyn has been going to preschool since last December, and for the most part, she loves it. She proudly carries her (Clemson) tiger lunch bag to school. I cannot believe she is almost three years old.

She loves to "read" anything she can get her hands on, and she looks forward each week to going to the library. She is also quite a little fish in the water and had a blast swimming this summer.

That was a very brief update on our lives in the last year. I hope it won't be quite such a long time before I post again (sorry, Mimi, et al).

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