Friday, February 13, 2009

Brownie Sandwiches!

Ok everyone, we're in the home stretch here - Valentine's day is tomorrow and even if you're not really into it, I know you still either make a nice dinner at home, or maybe some cupcakes or cookies. Admit it. You know all the red & pink pulls at you just a little. Here is a super quick, easy, and special dessert - make them tonight!

I will admit that I executed these with a boxed mix and store-bought ice cream, but its the idea that I'm showing here - you can definitely make your own special ice cream and your favorite brownie or blondie (which I hopefully will be doing tomorrow).

Valentine Ice Cream Brownie Sandwiches
Your favorite ice cream (I chose low-fat Edy's slow-churned vanilla)
An uncut pan of your favorite brownies or blondies (I added pink & red m&m's and a little vanilla to this boxed mix)
Heart-shaped cookie cutters

1. Make your favorite brownies

2. Use your heart cookie cutters and cut out the brownies. Using a sharp knife, cut each heart in half so you have 2 sides for the sandwich.

3. To make an accurate heart sandwich, put one side of the brownie down and put the heart cookie cutter back on top loosely. Use a spoon and fill with about 1/2 - 3/4 inch of ice cream. Push it out of the bottom of the cutter and put the lid on. Place the done sandwiches on a tray in the freezer to get hard (you might need a few hours in there).

And, just as a small extra - check out this super easy craft. You can totally make these with kids too. I made a bunch to add to a flower bouquet for my mom and my mother-in-law.

Wire hearts

Super easy. Here's what you need:
Scrap paper (a thicker paper or cardstock, or leftover magazine cover works best)
Wire (any stick would work, but only wire will be bendable)

Fold paper in half. Cut out half of a heart so when you open the cut piece, its a whole heart (this will also make a crease for the wire). Use heart as a template to cut another the exact same size. Put a thin layer of glue on the inside of one heart, add a piece of wire on the crease and cover with the second heart. Let dry and thats it! Sometimes, I used paper clips to hold the hearts together while they were drying.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Make these for Valentine's Day!

I promise to be back here in time for Valentine's with some kind of cute heart-shaped dessert (like last year :), but just in case you are looking for something easy for Valentine's Day or anyday, try this recipe. I swear. Its not rocket science or anything - I make these all the time because I always have the ingredients and they take about 15 minutes. I've discovered that even people who think desserts without chocolate are not really dessert will eat it (and secretly love it!).

Individual Fruit Crumb Pies
Note: directions are more like guidelines rather than strict instructions; feel free to add whatever fruit combinations delight you and add other fun ingredients to the crumb topping. It all tastes good, I promise (although if you add something totally disgusting, the credit is all yours :)

Ingredients (for 4 mini-pies)
Assortment of prepared fruit (diced, chopped, or whole, depending on type): 2 apples (chopped), handful of strawberries (diced), handful of blackberries (halved) and a few blueberries (whole)
Squeeze of lemon juice

1 prepared pie crust, rolled and cut into 4 equal pieces (store-bought or homemade dough is fine)

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 sugar
1/2 stick of cold butter
Few tbsps of brown sugar
Handful of oats

1. Preheat oven to about 425 degrees.

2. Prepare fruit and place in a bowl; add squeeze of lemon juice so apples don't turn brown. Set aside.

3. Prepare bottom crust by rolling the dough into a circle (about 10-inch diameter or so should be fine, maybe about 1/8-inch or a bit better thick). Cut into four equal pieces. Fit each piece of dough into a ramekin. Now, these are not supposed to be perfect looking - since the dough piece is not a circle or perfect square, the edges will be varied. Some corners will flop over, some won't reach the top, it really doesn't matter - but if it matters to you, feel free to trim the sides or cut the pieces to better fit your containers. I won't give you a hard time :). Also, if your containers deviate from the average ramekin, make sure you review what size your dough circle needs to be so that you have enough to fit your container. Or make 2 instead of 4 ramekins.

4. Ok, now we're ready for the crumb topping. Super easy - add all dry ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Make a small dice out of the cold butter and add to the bowl. Use your fingers to form the mixture into small crumbs. Don't overmix because the butter will get too warm and you'll be left with something that does not resemble crumbs :).

5. Assembly - after you have the bottom crust in each ramekin, fill each with the fruit mixture and top with a handful of the crumbs. You will see a bit of fruit peeking out, but it should be mostly covered.

6. Bake until brown and fruit is bubbling - I've baked these anywhere from 12-25 minutes depending on the size of the ramekin, oven type and crumb/fruit mixture. Keep your eye on them and if the crust starts to get more brown then you'd like, put a bit of foil around the edges to prevent further browning.