Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Chocolate, Desserts, Gifts

Toffee and Coffee Brownies



This is one of my family’s favorite brownie recipes.  When my twins were headed back to Purdue after a short fall break, I decided to send along a special “study” treat.  The addition of coffee and chocolate in the recipe are sure to inject a bit of a caffeine boost needed for long study and homework sessions.  

Due to the use of a traditional boxed brownie mix, these chocolatey treats come together quickly.  Adding three eggs to the batter makes for a moist and chewy texture, while the toffee bits contribute to the sweet and crunchy topping for this dessert.  I guarantee these treats won’t last long after you cool and frost them!  They are super rich and delicious! 

By the way, finals week for college students isn’t far off…  Wouldn’t every student love to receive a batch of these gems in a care package? Simply bake the brownies, then cool and wrap.  Next, place a jar of pre-made frosting and a bag of toffee bits into a shipping box along with the brownies.  Your student can frost and sprinkle the toffee mixture over the batch after the package has arrived. Don’t forget to encourage your student to share with friends and floor mates.   Oh, yah… You’ll be one popular parent!

Toffee and Coffee Brownies

1 package brownie mix for 13 X 9″ pan

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup brewed coffee

1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, slightly cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup milk chocolate chips, optional

For Topping

1 16 ounce container of rich and creamy pre-made milk chocolate frosting

2 cups Heath Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13″ pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine brownie mix with eggs, coffee, butter, and extract.  Stir in optional chocolate chips.  Continue to stir until thoroughly combined, about 50 strokes. Evenly pour and spread brownie batter into prepared pan.  Bake according to package directions, usually 20 – 28 minutes. 

Allow to cool completely.  Spread a thick layer of pre-made milk chocolate frosting over brownies; sprinkle liberally with Heath Toffee Bits. Serve and store in an air-tight container.

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Posted in Crafts, Gifts

BOILER UP Bracelet

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Black and gold are the collegiate colors of Purdue University. In my family, the Boilermaker logo is near and dear to our hearts. Currently, we have three children attending the University. Whenever possible, we proudly wear the Boiler colors. Our closets and drawers are filled with black and gold sweatshirts, pants, jackets, and tops. Our cabinets are filled with Boilermaker plates, glasses, mugs, and platters. Over the years, we’ve purchased Purdue fleece blankets, sheets, and soft plush pillows to decorate dorm rooms.
While shopping last week, I spotted some great beads in the craft section of our local discount store and I thought it might be fun to glitz up my jewelry selection with a few black and gold bracelets for our next team event. I am certainly not a skilled jewelry maker so this project is incredibly quick and easy and you can use any combination of colors to tailor the bracelet to satisfy your needs. Elastic cord is used to assemble the bracelet so very few supplies are needed.
This is quite a simple and inexpensive project so next time you’re in the craft aisle, take a look at the bead selection. You might be quite pleased and surprised at the unique variety of colored beads you can assemble on a clear cord to recognize and celebrate your favorite team.
I’m lovin’ that black and gold… BOILER UP!

BOILER UP Bracelet

7″ clear stretch cord ( measure your wrist for a more exact measurement + 1″)
Tape
Assortment of colored beads (lots of shapes and sizes)
Clear gel Tacky Glue

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Measure and cut a 7″ piece of clear stretch cord. Fold a piece of tape across one end of the cord (to keep beads from falling while assembling). Arrange beads, as desired and string them onto the clear cord. Test the length around your wrist so that beads are evenly dispersed and the cord is completely filled when stretched around wrist. Carefully, tie the bracelet with a double knot, securing beads. Place a small dot of tacky glue on the knot, covering knot completely, let dry. Tuck the knot under a bead to keep it hidden.

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Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Food, lunch box

Triple Berry and Oat Muffins

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Lately, I have been sending quite a few care packages to the Purdue University campus as my three children have all decided to become Boilermakers while they work to complete their undergraduate degrees. I have been dehydrating fresh fruit and baking up a storm to send cookies, muffins, and snacks by way of UPS.
Last week, I sent these muffins to my daughters (my son is not a fan). I received rave reviews from both.
The muffins are filled with triple berry goodness. The oat topping makes for a moist and tasty center with a sweet and crunchy finish. …Absolutely delicious!

Triple Berry and Oat Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 pounds fresh berries, sliced (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)

Topping
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line with paper liners, two muffin pans. Mix flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and extract; stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Carefully fold in berries. Scoop into prepared muffin pans. Mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle over the muffins.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

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So, tomorrow my oldest will be leaving for college…I am surely going to miss her smiling face on a daily basis. It will be hard for me to let her go….
I have spent a good part of the morning baking goodies to pack in containers and load into boxes. Cooling on the counter top, there is a loaf of Irish soda bread, a tray of granola bars, and some Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe below).
I will wait for them to cool completely and then arrange them in containers for the long drive down to Purdue University. My hope is to continue to send her “care packages” on a weekly basis so that she knows that we miss her and that she is in our thoughts…sending a little “home-baked love” her way as she begins her journey through college life on campus. We love you, K!

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Extra oats for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter, oats, and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 1 inch balls (or scoop out dough with a small ice cream scoop) and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press down with slightly damp fingers. Lightly sprinkle with extra oats.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.