Tag Archives: snack foods inside

Chocolate Dipped BBQ Potato Chip Cookies – Gluten-Free

I’m excited to bring to you another gluten-free recipe this week. As you may know, I started doing gluten-free baking a while back because my wife does better when she eats less wheat. She can have some wheat without any ill effects, and so we sometimes don’t think about it. However, issues seem to accumulate over time, and that reminds us. Today while we were out grocery shopping, we did get some fun gluten-free foods, and having them around will definitely help.

But I don’t want her to miss out on my desserts, so I want to bake more gluten-free recipes again. I had that on my mind this week when putting this recipe together. I found a great recipe on smitten kitchen for potato chip cookies. It looked like a great recipe, and easy to make gluten-free, but it turns out I didn’t have any pecans. But by that point, I was kinda set on doing something to use up the potato chips I had. So I did some digging and found this other potato chip cookie recipe which looked good, so I ended up using that. But, I skipped the powdered sugar dusting from this recipe and went with the chocolate coating from the smitten kitchen recipe I had originally wanted to make.

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I tweaked the recipe a bit. One big change is that I went with gluten-free flour instead of regular. I didn’t have any of the Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour I usually use. But I had some Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour. I used some xanthan gum with it, as they recommend it in conjunction with the flour when making baked goods.

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Another change I made to the recipe was that instead of using plain potato chips, I used barbecue potato chips. They say that what you make can only be as good as the ingredients you use. So I didn’t use just any old barbecue potato chips. I used what I consider to be some of the best barbecue potato chips anywhere. They are Middleswarth kettle cooked barbecue potato chips. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a snack food snob (aka gourmet, aka connoisseur). These chips are ones I grew up on, so maybe I’m biased, but I think they’re really good. I used most of one of these 4.5 ounce bags. I crushed them by hand bit by bit inside a sandwich bag. Granted, I was also snacking on them at the time, so let’s say I used about three to three and a half ounces of chips.

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For the chocolate, I used what I had on hand. That may seem contradictory to my statement above about using the best, but I don’t think it is. I used half of a dark chocolate bar, the end of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks, and some bulk milk chocolate. It was all good chocolate, so no worries there. And I think one skill that’s useful for a cook or baker to have is being able to make something good out of whatever you have on hand.

The recipe was pretty easy to put together. I mixed everything by hand. I baked the cookies for about 8 1/2 minutes. I ended up with 35 cookies.

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After the cookies cooled, I melted the chocolate and oil in the microwave and stirred it together. I dipped the cookies into the chocolate. Actually, I dunked them a little bit and then splooshed on the chocolate with a spoon. (Yes, “sploosh” is an industry term.) The cookies were a little crumbly and there was some slight breakage during this process. I then let them sit so the chocolate could set.

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After the chocolate set, I tried one. First the cookie part without the chocolate. It’s really good! It tastes kinda like shortbread, but I can also taste all the little crunchy potato chip parts. There is just a hint of the barbecue flavor. I then tried the side with the chocolate. It’s also good! There are a lot of flavors going on there, but they all seem to work together. I think this gluten-free flour is pretty good, too. It’s not quite as smooth as Trader Joe’s, but not bad at all.

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After I tried one, I cleaned up the cookies. While the chocolate was setting, I let them sit on parchment paper on top of the cooling rack. I figured it would be a lot easier to clean up than having them directly on the rack. It was, but some of the cookies got stuck to the parchment paper, and as I pulled them up, some of the chocolate got left behind.

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I brought some into work the next day. After I offered them and explained what they are, a couple of my co-workers took two each before even trying them. I guess they just knew the cookies would be good. ūüôā One of my other coworkers gave me a very funny compliment. She liked the cookie, and gave me a thumbs up. Then she said, “I would give you two thumbs up, but one of them is holding my cookie.”

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As I was going on my dessert rounds, one person was in a meeting, so I was going to come back, but he waved me in anyway, seeing that I had cookies with me. He referred to me as one of the best bakers to his meeting mate. After trying one he said, “I would’ve thought you bought this in a store.” In short, everyone loved them. I didn’t mention to most people that they were gluten-free. No one seemed to notice.

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There’s one other thing I should mention. As it turns out, the particular potato chips that I used are not gluten-free. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I double-checked the ingredients, and the barbecue seasoning in these chips contains wheat flour. However, you could easily make these with another kind of chips. For instance, Middleswarth makes lovely plain potato chips as well, or if you prefer barbecue chips, Martin’s makes some that are gluten-free. Either one would be a lovely choice.

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Do you have a favorite potato chip? I’m biased towards the ones I know, and while I’ve tried many others, I haven’t tried them all. If you know of a particular chip I should try, let me know. I’m always interested to try new ones out. And if you try making these cookies, I’d love to hear how they turn out with your favorite chip in them. So, happy baking and happy crunching!

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If you want to make them how I did, here’s my version of the recipe, adapted and combined from the following:

Potato Chip Cookies recipe courtesy of The Washington Post.

Chocolate dip courtesy of smitten kitchen.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour

7/16 tsp xanthan gum (if your gluten-free flour calls for it, as mine does)

3/4 cup crushed barbecue potato chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the dip:

4 ounces of chocolate

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

I didn’t change the directions significantly, so you can follow along from the original recipes for those. Enjoy!

Chocolate Potato Chip Cookie Bars

Welcome to another special birthday edition of Needs Baked! I like baking for people. It’s fun. It’s a great gift. And people generally love it to pieces. You might remember the things I’ve made for different people’s birthdays. Like this cake, or this pie, or these cupcakes.

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So this time it was for a new friend’s birthday. I wanted to make something, but I don’t know him all that well yet. I consulted someone who knows him better. She said he had no real preferences, but he likes chocolate. As far as chocolate goes, this recipe is one I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s salty, it’s sweet. It’s snacky, it’s desserty. And it’s not your average dessert. So it seemed like a good choice.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

I still had no eggs, but I had plenty of aquafaba left from last week’s recipe, so I used that here. I wanted to avoid using the mixer, as I didn’t want to clean it. (It was late and my regular dishwasher was fast asleep.) So I melted the butter to make it easier to incorporate. I know that’s cheating a little bit, but I hope you’ll forgive me. I accidentally melted it too much. It was very liquidy, so it made the resultant mixture very liquidy. (Don’t worry, it turned out okay.)

Fresh out of the oven.

Fresh out of the oven.

The recipe calls for a tablespoon of vanilla. At first I thought that was a misprint. So I tried it with a teaspoon. After testing, it seemed okay to add more, so I ended up using a whole tablespoon after all. As a side benefit, I finally made it to my last bottle of vanilla! I know that sounds weird, so let me explain. At one point I had three bottles of vanilla, which is more than anyone should probably have unless you’re running a secret underground vanilla league. It all started off innocently enough. I had one, but I wanted to get ahead of it before I ran out, so I got some more. I then promptly forgot that I had already bought some more and got more again. So you can see I wasn’t trying to corner the market on vanilla. It was purely accidental. But I finally finished my last extra bottle and am now on my last bottle. Which is a big deal, considering you only use like a teaspoon or so for a recipe. Which means I made a lot of recipes to use up that much vanilla. Yay me! (It’s the little things.)

If you look closely, you can see the chips.

If you look closely, you can see the chips.

It was fun crushing all the potato chips. I didn’t know quite how much I would need to crush. I crushed just what I had in the bag. It turned out to be almost exactly the right amount. I was just a tiny bit shy of the amount for the top.

Mmm. Chocolate topping.

Mmm. Chocolate topping.

Putting it into the baking dish, it was a little greasy. That’s because the butter hadn’t combined properly (see melting above), but it was fun smooshing it in nonetheless. (Yes, smooshing is an industry term.) It looked and smelled lovely as it was baking. It came out with a nice golden color. I let it cool on a cooling rack.

See how it spreads? Nice and smooth.

See how it spreads? Nice and smooth.

Then I made the topping. That was fun, too: melty, melty, smooshy, smooshy. I ended up microwaving it for 1 1/2 minutes. It ended up almost like frosting. There was plenty to go around, and it was smooth and easy to spread.

More chips on top. Because, why not?

More chips on top. Because, why not?

I tried to press in the potato chips on top (easier said than done), as I had a feeling many would fall off while eating. It was a challenge, but it was definitely the way to go. At this point, I put it in the fridge to set. It was late (I had started on it late), so I let it set overnight. Overall, it was very easy and fun to make.

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The next day, I took it out while we went out grocery shopping. (You can’t make cookies without getting groceries sometime.) By the time we got back, it had gotten to room temperature. Much easier to cut it that way. The recipe said you should get 16-20 cookies out of it, but it seemed like they would be very big cookies. For my millionaire’s shortbread, I would get 50 cookies out of something that big. These probably weren’t going to be as rich, but still. I ended up with 30. I cut them a little unevenly, but that was okay as some people like bigger cookies and some like smaller.

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We were bringing them to the birthday boy’s celebration later that evening, but we needed to try them first. You know, to make sure they were okay. The lengths I go to for quality control. ūüėČ

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They’re nice. Rich, buttery, and not overly sweet. My chief taste tester said it was kinda like birthday cake (which is fitting). It’s a moist cookie and the fudge topping is like frosting. It reminded her of childhood. I definitely enjoyed the salty with the sweet. And there was a nice texture difference. Yum!

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How did they go over? Quite well. The birthday boy was very touched. He really enjoyed them. Another guest described them as “like a picnic in my mouth”. My wife was right. People at parties at bars really like desserts. And everyone seemed to particularly enjoy the chocolate and potato chips together, so it was definitely a good choice.

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So, easy and fun recipe? Check. Delicious results? Check. An ingenious way to get your daily recommended allowance of snack foods all together? Check. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. And if you have any other salty and sweet recipes up your sleeve, feel free to share!

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Recipe courtesy of A Spicy Perspective.

Pretzel Toffee Brownies

Our memories are important to who we are, and have great power in our lives. But I was recently reminded that forgetting can also be a powerful thing. This lesson is brought to you through another recipe from the Needs Baked archives, another of my recipes of future past, as life has gotten in the way of baking recently. I was reminded of this recipe the other day when I was reading another blog.

Here’s the story. One day, many moons ago, I went looking for a brownie recipe, and I came across the one I used for the brownies pictured here. I made it, it was good, and my life went on its merry way. However, this was before I had started the blog, so I wasn’t keeping track of recipes.

Apparently everything was blurry that far in the past.

Apparently everything was blurry that far in the past.

Some time after I made it, I thought I would make it again. I went searching for the recipe, but I couldn’t remember which one I used. I searched for a while, but I was unable to find it. That made me sad. ūüė¶ But I already had my heart set on making these again, so I had to find another recipe. Back to the internet! (Much less grueling than back to the mines, I would presume.)

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After much searching, I found and settled on another recipe. You’ve seen that one already. It’s the Baked brownie with pretzels and toffee. That one was delicious. This one was good (it must have been for me to want to make it again), but that one was much better. So in some sense, I have to thank myself for losing track of this one, as it led me to that one.

What possessed me to make this one in the first place I don’t know. Was it an interest in toffee? A yearning for pretzels? Unfortunately, that is lost to the sands of time. But it brought me eventually to the Baked brownie recipe, which is amazing, and is now my go to brownie recipe, pretzels and toffee or no.

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So as I said, these were good. If I could find the recipe, I might be curious enough to try making them again to see what the difference was. But with a much more delicious recipe in tow, I’m not that motivated.

But it begs the question, how many pretzel toffee brownie recipes are out there? It’s an interesting idea, but it’s not universal like chocolate chip cookies. Now I’m curious, who came up with it first? Anyone have any good techniques for recipe forensics?

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As I said, I don’t know what recipe I used back then. A little more digging now makes me think that the below recipe is a possible candidate. But we’ll never know for sure. If you try it, let me know how it is. I would also recommend the Baked brownie recipe above, as I know you can’t go wrong there.

Possible recipe source: Recipe Girl.

Creme Egg Popcorn

Do you ever come across a recipe that looks so wonderful, silly, and fun that you just know you have to try it? This is one of those. I stumbled across it and knew I had to try it. I’ve since been following the blog. There’s lots of fun recipes there that I want to try.

Generally, I’m not a big candy person. (I’m a real boy!) Candy isn’t generally my thing. I have no real special affinity towards Easter candy or Creme Eggs even (I know some people do), but I figured why not.

It was right after Easter that I went to find the Creme Eggs for this recipe. I thought I might not find any, but the store had tons of them, and cheap, because of after Easter sales when they’re looking to get rid of it all. So with all the ingredients in hand, life got busy, and I didn’t get a chance to make it for a few weeks.

Humble beginnings...

Humble beginnings…

And then I did. It’s a really simple recipe. Putting it together took all of about 15 minutes. I used a bag of microwave popcorn. It was maybe 4/5 of the amount of popcorn they called for, so I only used four of the five Creme Eggs called for to compensate. I didn’t adjust the other ingredients. Maybe I should have, but they were already such small amounts.

Post-microwaving.

While microwaving the mixture, I got distracted and forgot about stirring it. After about a minute I remembered to. Over all it took a little over 2 minutes. It seemed fine when it came out. But after I stopped for a moment to snap some pictures, it hardened a little. It wasn’t solid, but it was a little clumpy. (After the fact, I realized that maybe I should have heated it a little bit more.)

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I spread the mixture out as best as possible over the popcorn. I manually moved some of it around where it didn’t seem to be attached¬†to any popcorn. I used aluminum foil on the pan. I put it in the oven for 15 minutes.

Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

When I pulled it out it still looked liquidy, not hard as it was supposed to be. I tried mixing it up a little bit, trying to get the popcorn that was mostly uncovered into the piles of chocolatey stuff that were congregating¬†together. I was going to put it back in the oven, but as I was mixing it up, it quickly hardened, some of it into clumps. I let it cool some more, as recommended, but it didn’t really need to cool that much.

A little bit clumpy.

A little bit clumpy.

So after all the shenanigans, how was it? It tasted good. Really good. It was very chocolatey. There was a nice sweet and salty taste. Some bits had a little too much salt, so maybe I should have cut it down a little bit, or at least mixed it in better.

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So yes, it sounded like an odd recipe. But it was easy and fun to try. And most importantly, it was quite yummy. I look forward to trying more recipes from this blog. What about you? Do you have any recipes that looked unusual at first, but that turned out great? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe courtesy of sugar and sam.

Double Chocolate BBQ Potato Chip Cookies – Hometown Edition

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I promise you that I’m not ignoring the wide world of wonderful desserts to just focus on the same things over and over again. However, I am revisiting a previously made recipe. But with good reason. Last time I made these with some BBQ potato chips that were available. They were good, but as I mentioned before, I’m a bit of a potato chip snob. So I wanted to see how they would taste with my favorite BBQ potato chips (Middleswarth Kettle Cooked BBQ).

A few weeks before baking these, I happened to be back in my hometown for my high school reunion. (Go Colts!) While I was there I picked up some Middleswarth¬†and brought them back with me. They don’t distribute these chips out-of-state, so unless you order them online (yes, I’ve done that), you have to pick them up the old-fashioned way. I fully intended to eat them as I usually do, but other events conspired to change that.

I agreed to make a dessert for my family’s annual 4th of July party. When I say “annual”, I mean every year without fail for who knows how long. And when I say “who knows how long”, that’s not because I have a bad memory, it’s because no one can remember. It’s been going on at least 30 years. Why do we have a 4th of July party? I don’t really know that either. We’re as patriotic as the next family, but not any more so. I mean, I have a soft spot for the musical 1776, but that’s about it. My guess is that my parents decided to do it one year, and somehow it stuck.

Thirty or so years later, and here we are still celebrating it. It’s always a blast. A lot of things are the same, but some things have changed. My dad used to do all the grilling, but my brother and I have now taken over. We got a charcoal chimney to make lighting the charcoal easier and to get away from using lighter fluid. (From an ease of use perspective and an environmental perspective, I can’t recommend it enough.) A few years ago my dad put a bocce court in the backyard, so there’s a lot of that. And my friend Chris now brings his guitar and plays music for everyone. (Thanks, Chris!)

Even the desserts have changed. I remember growing up that I would help my mom make this awesome cake, topped with strawberries and blueberries to represent the US flag. (Like I said, patriotic.) She now makes a different dessert, still topped with strawberries & blueberries (see “patriotic” above), but since I’m coming in from out-of-town, I don’t get the opportunity to help with that. Since I’m baking a lot more these days, I offered to make something and bring it in.

I had made these cookies before, and I thought they would be a great choice. There’s already chips at the party, so I thought these would fit in¬†well. Since I had the Middleswarth chips handy, I decided to use those. Yes, it’s a little bit weird to take one trip back home, pick up chips, use those chips to make cookies, and then bring those cookies back home again. I didn’t plan it that way, and I would never encourage anyone to go to those lengths for these cookies. But since I already had the chips, I was glad the timing worked out.

The first bunch I cooked did not go as planned. I made them too big, and too thin, and they burned a little bit. (In retrospect, this could have been the problem with the first batch of these I made gluten-free.) I also used two trays, so one tray was not in the optimal position while baking. I then switched to using just one tray, and made thicker, but smaller cookies. After the switch in methods, they turned out great. They were a little crumbly, and they crumbled a little bit more during transport, but that was to be expected.

One other note about the baking process. I had a busy week leading up to the trip, so I didn’t get to make them as early as I wanted to. I took off work the day I was leaving, and I made them that morning. I’m glad I did. We had been having issues with the light in our kitchen (thankfully it has since been fixed), but the daylight made it possible to see well enough to bake. I’m also glad it’s a quick recipe. I managed to make them quickly enough in order to have them done in time to leave and catch the train.

Everyone at the party really liked them. I almost didn’t get a chance to take a picture of them before they disappeared. The picture in this post was the only picture I got, and I’m lucky I remembered to take it in time. One person even asked for the recipe. How about that?

I didn’t really get to eat that many,¬†because they were¬†gobbled up so quickly. I’m not complaining. In fact, I consider that a compliment, and I’m glad people¬†enjoyed them. My only regret is that I was wanting to have a few around to do a comparison (from memory) with the earlier batches to see if the BBQ¬†flavor came through more. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make them again. ūüėČ

Try them out yourself, and let me know how they are. I’m particularly interested in what kind of BBQ chips you use and how strong the BBQ flavor is in the cookies. I’d also love to hear if you have any traditional July 4th dessert recipes you want to share.

Recipe courtesy of the Pescetarian and the Pig.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels and Toffee

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A long time ago I had found a recipe for brownies with pretzels and toffee, but I had failed to bookmark it. I wanted to make them again, so I went looking for the recipe. I couldn’t find the one I was¬†looking for, but I found a bunch of other options. I narrowed it down to a couple of recipes, and I let my wife pick the one I used. She chose this one. Baked is a great bakery in our neighborhood¬†with¬†amazing baked goods, so I figured it was worth giving their recipe a try.

Now you might be asking yourself: why did I let my wife pick the recipe? Was it¬†because I’m a nice guy? Was it because she’s an enthusiastic supporter and taste tester? Yes and yes. But mainly I let her pick because I was making it for her. It was the night of the Golden Globe Awards. (As regular readers of this blog know, I bake and write up these posts far in advance of when I post them.) The Golden Globe Awards are¬†a big¬†thing¬†for her. It’s not because she was¬†nominated for anything, even though¬†I do think she deserves several awards. Rather, it’s because she’s a big fan of awards shows.

It’s a big night, and she has a special ritual. (As she has said, it’s like her Super Bowl.) She starts watching it early, to see all the pre-show coverage, flipping back and forth between a couple different channels, to get the best information. She has a dear friend, who long ago moved to a ¬†different town, who she still watches it¬†with via phone and text. She has particular foods that she prepares and eats.

Along with these particular foods, she was going to get something for dessert. I interjected and said I could make something. I could tell she was pleasantly surprised. Her eyes lit up, and her tone of voice changed. She said, “I didn’t know that was an option!”

I try not to have too much dessert in the house. I generally don’t make a new dessert¬†until the old one is finished. But the previous night we had just finished off the previous recipe. And I figure it’s better to have homemade desserts (or homemade anything really) than buying something in a store.

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So I set about to make this recipe. And I have to say it’s an awesome recipe, and it turned out great. There were¬†a couple of details about the ingredients, though. The supermarket didn’t have a ton of choice for toffee, so I picked up the milk chocolate toffee they had. And I ended up using regular semisweet chocolate chips for the chocolate, because I happened to have them handy. Also, I thought about making it gluten-free. I don’t know how it would have turned out, but I didn’t have gluten-free pretzels, so I figured it was moot anyway.

In fact, I didn’t really have great pretzels at all. All the supermarket had was Rold Gold pretzels. I have nothing against them. They’re perfectly fine if you want a generic, middle of the road pretzel. But they’re no Snyder’s of Hanover or even Utz. Yes, I’m a little bit of a snack food snob. (You can read more about my snack food snobbery here.)

And as long as we’re talking about the pretzels, it would have been great to have a measurement of the pretzels in weight or mass, instead of volume. Depending on how you break them, pretzels can have a vastly different weight for the same volume. (You can read more about my thoughts on measuring here.) Also, while the recipe calls for crushed pretzels, the pictures look more like broken pretzels, which is what I ended up using.

Between prep and actual time to make, these only took about an hour. Sometimes I feel I take a little bit longer than what the recipe says you should. I think part of that is due to being methodical and careful. But I also think part of that reflects a familiarity with the recipe already, masterful baking skills, and/or wishful thinking on the part of the recipe makers. This time I think it also took a little bit longer because I did all the mixing by hand. It’s a little bit more work, but it’s fun, and it really makes me feel connected to the recipe and to baking. It also feels a little bit like I’m stepping back in time. Like I’m baking how people baked before electricity.

Something that saved me time in the long run, however, is measuring out the ingredients ahead of time. It’s a little bit more prep ahead of time, but when it comes to doing each step, it doesn’t interrupt your baking rhythm or mojo. You can just keep going with the flow.

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Something that added a little bit more time though is doing what I call the “brown sugar trick”. If you’re like me, you will inevitably end up with brown sugar that is no longer usable because it has turned into one solid block. I can’t remember where I first learned about it, but there’s an easy way to make it usable again. Break a piece of it off, stick in a bowl, cover that bowl with a wet paper towel, and microwave it. Microwave it for 30 seconds and then check on it. Microwave it in 30 second increments until it reaches the consistency you need. It will eventually absorb the moisture from the paper towel and become usable again. It works! You should try it. Let me clarify that. Really, you should take better care of your brown sugar than I do, but if you’re in the same boat as me, you should try it. (Unfortunately for me, I had to do it twice this time. Once when I originally measured it, and then once again when I actually used it, as it had hardened again.)

The directions were a little unclear in step 3. I ended up adding the sugar to the saucepan I was using, then I removed it from the stove and poured it into a mixing bowl. I think it would have been easier to deal with if I added the sugar in after pouring it into the mixing bowl.

Other interesting things to note about the process: I added¬†the eggs in one at a time like they said. I’ve usually just added in all the eggs at once in a recipe, but I figured I would follow their lead. Also, instead of greasing the pan, I used parchment paper. I figured there was a lot of butter in there already. And I¬†used a regular spatula to smooth out the batter, not a greased one.¬†I baked them for 30 minutes in a¬†9 x 13 glass baking dish and¬†cooled them on a wire rack.

They were so fudgey, some of them were hard to remove from the parchment paper.¬†I¬†ended up with 33 brownies. I know it’s an odd number, but since they were so hard to remove, I ended up cutting some of them smaller to make it easier. Also, some of them fell apart differently than how I had originally cut them.

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Before even eating them, they looked and smelled delicious. And once it came to actually eating them, they were delicious. Absolutely delicious. Fudgey. Yummy. I had almost put more pretzels and toffee on top, because I thought they needed it. But they were so rich, they didn’t need anything.¬†Writing this up, I can still remember what they looked and tasted like. I kind of want to make them again right now.

Instead, I will do the next best thing. I will ask you to make them and let me know what you think. Alternatively,¬†if you have a better brownie recipe, send it along¬†so I can try it¬†out. I think this¬†is one of the better brownie recipes I’ve tried, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Recipe courtesy of Baked, via The Crepes of Wrath.

Chocolate Pretzel Pecan Pie

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For those of you who love pie, you’re in for another treat this week, as I bring to you another awesome pie recipe I found. In this case, found is actually a bit of a stretch. It’s more accurate to say “given”. I will often find recipes when I’m looking for something in particular. But this one was specifically recommended by a friend of mine, and I just had to give it a shot.

I had always seen pecan pie from afar, but I’m not really a big nut fan, so I had never ventured near it, let alone made it. But when this recipe was recommended to me, I was forced to examine¬†it, and upon closer inspection, it looked interesting. As it turns out, pecan pie is a bit of a trip on its own. Plus this one had chocolate and pretzels in it, so that pushed it right over the top, right into “let’s make this” territory. And I’m glad I did.

I had some dough left over from the pumpkin pie, so I didn’t have to start from scratch with making the dough. The night before I was going to make¬†this pie, I took the dough out of the freezer, and put it in the fridge. When it came time to make this pie, I rolled out the dough and used it following the same instructions as I did the last time. (I actually still had a little bit of dough left over after this time, which I put back in the fridge, and eventually the freezer. Not enough for another pie, but maybe something else?)

I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe. I used sea salt instead of kosher salt. Also, after adding the amount of pretzels requested, it definitely needed more, so I added another handful. Typically, measuring something like pretzels is hard to do using volume, because the amount of pretzels you get for a particular volume will depend on how small you break the pretzels. (See my thoughts on measuring here.) Thankfully, they specified a certain amount, but, as I mentioned, more were needed. And finally, instead of using chocolate chips, I used a dark chocolate bar. I figured out the mass of the chocolate chips and used an equal amount of dark chocolate instead. I chopped it up into small pieces so it would work like the chips were intended to work.

I learned a couple of things about corn syrup when making this pie. For one, it¬†is hard to stir. Maybe that should be obvious, but I hadn’t had much experience with corn syrup previously, mostly just a dab or two when making caramel for millionaire’s shortbread. This recipe calls for a whole cup of corn syrup. A cup may not sound like a lot, and in many cases, that’s true. A cup of flour or sugar is not hard to stir. Neither is a cup of milk or a cup of chocolate chips. But a cup of corn syrup is hard to stir, especially once you add in all the other stuff that gets added in for this recipe.

Another thing I learned is that corn syrup is super sweet. I mean that in a literal sense. When I was cleaning out the bowl, I tasted a little bit. Corn syrup is in a lot of the foods we eat, but I had never tasted it straight. Obviously, I knew it was sweet, but I didn’t know how sweet. Wow.

There was also some excitement when making this pie. Normally, there is some excitement when making any new recipe. It’s like exploring uncharted territory. You don’t know what you’re going to find or how you’ll need to react. But this time was a different kind of excitement. When cooking it for the second half with the foil on, I cooked it for 20 minutes more. However, a couple minutes of that was it cooking with the oven door open, because there was a smoke issue.

The pie was fine. It¬†wasn’t smoking. It hadn’t done anything wrong. But I had. I had neglected to clean something up in the oven. Whatever that something was had started smoking. So smoke started pouring out of the oven while I’m trying to finish baking the pie. I had to open the oven, turn on the exhaust in the kitchen, try to clear the smoke out, and try to clean up whatever had been smoking in the first place.

After a few minutes of that, the smoke finally cleared up enough, and I was able to close the door and finish baking it normally. So while it was on the 20 minutes side of things, if the oven door had been closed the whole time, it might have only needed 15. (What I’m trying to say is YMMV.) At that point, while it was kinda hard to tell, it seemed like¬†the pie¬†had set. The crust looked nice, and it was definitely done. At that point, I let it sit out to cool, per the instructions. I was on my way out anyway. (Yes, I made a pie right before I had to leave. I know. Great timing.)

And¬†after all that, how did it turn out? It is a ridiculous pie. In a good way, of course. It has all the yummy goopiness of pecan pie, plus the chocolate, plus the pretzels, plus the orange zest. There’s so much going on, it’s hard not to love it on ambitiousness alone. Don’t get me wrong, it tastes really good, but that’s only part of the reason to love it. At some point I should try making a regular pecan pie to see how it is without all the bells and whistles, but if this pie is any indication, it should be yummy fun as well.

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There were a couple of minor issues that didn’t greatly detract from the pie, but were at least worth mentioning. One issue was that I couldn’t really taste the cinnamon. I wouldn’t necessarily blame the pie. Maybe it needs more cinnamon, but it could just as easily be that my cinnamon is a little bit old and has lost its flavor. (Yes, it has checked behind the couch and under the fridge.) It’s also possible that I don’t have a sensitive enough palette to be able to taste an¬†individual ingredient like that, but that it¬†is¬†doing its job behind the scenes nonetheless.

The crust was also a little bit hard in places. That may be a result of having cooked the pie too long, because it was hard to tell when it was set. It could also have been my not yet perfected pie crust skills making the crust a little uneven and resulting in uneven cooking. Again, blame me, not the pie.

Also, the orange flavor was a little inconsistent at first. Some parts of the pie were super orangey. (Worst superhero name ever, BTW.) Some parts were not that orangey at all. Maybe I did a terrible job of mixing the orange zest in, so blame me, not the pie. Maybe I would put in a little less orange zest next time, or at the very least make sure I mix it better.

It’s also possible that I don’t really need to worry about the orange zest too much. Upon tasting the pie again over the next few days, the orange flavor tasted much better. It was much more evenly spread throughout. So maybe there were just a couple slices that were flukes. Overall, the pie tasted great for the few days it lasted. It was possibly even better as time went on.

I think the moral of the story is that this is a great pie. Many of the (minor) issues I had with it can probably be blamed on me. As they say, all pies are innocent until proven guilty delicious until proven otherwise.

Go ahead and try making this pie. You will be glad you did. And then let me know: how was your pie making experience? How did you handle the pretzels? How long did you bake it? How was your crust? How even was the orange flavor? And have you called your mother recently? (Okay, that last one isn’t necessarily pie related, but it’s a nice thing to do.)

Recipe courtesy of Woman’s Day.

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Double Chocolate BBQ Potato Chip Cookies

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If you¬†read my previous¬†post, you’ll know that I tried making these cookies already. They were what I categorize as a “delicious mistake”. They were tasty, but not quite what I intended. I decided to try them again.

Figuring the issue with the original batch was that I had used gluten-free flour (which had not failed me previously, btw), I decided to try making them with regular flour. I’m glad I did. They turned out awesome.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m a big fan of BBQ potato chips. While some people I spoke to thought the idea of BBQ potato chips in a cookie was a strange idea, I never ¬†did. BBQ potato chips are tasty. Depending on the chip, they have a slightly spicy flavor and knowing that similar spicy flavors go well with chocolate, I was pretty sure these would work out well.

The chips did work out well, but not exactly how I thought they would. There was a slight BBQ chip flavor in the cookie, with just a hint of the saltiness. Some people could taste it, some people couldn’t. For me, it was just a hint, and I would have been happy with even a little bit more.

But where the BBQ chips really shined in the cookies was the texture. Some people like cookies to be soft. Some people like them to be hard, or crunchy. These cookies are the best of both worlds. The dough part of the cookie is soft and yummy. But the chips! The chips maintain their texture. And since they’re scattered throughout the dough, they provide an amazing crunch in an otherwise soft cookie.

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Not to mention they look beautiful. The pieces of the chips are all irregular. They have peaks and valleys. Some curl back over themselves. Some stick straight out. Some burrow beneath the surface of the cookie. Each cookie is like a work of art. Unique. Amazing. Delicious.

I’ll also say that one of the most fun parts of making the cookies was breaking the BBQ chips by hand. This wasn’t mentioned in the recipe, but, for me at least, it was absolutely required. Given the aforementioned irregularity of the chips, if you just put in 2 cups of them, there wouldn’t have been that many. They’re big and oddly shaped, and they don’t fit that well into a measuring cup. You have to break them into smaller pieces so more will fit in.

Maybe there’s not supposed to be that many in there, and by breaking them down smaller, I actually put more in than were supposed to be in the original recipe. I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s possible. Since I like BBQ potato chips anyway, if that’s so, for me at least, the more merrier. I guess one way to solve it would be if the recipe used a measurement of weight or mass (ounces, grams, etc.) as opposed to a measurement of volume (cups). You can read more about my thoughts on measuring here.

Try out the recipe yourself, and let me know how it goes. I’m particularly interested in what kind of BBQ chips you use and whether or not you can taste the BBQ flavor in the cookies.

Recipe courtesy of the Pescetarian and the Pig.

Double Chocolate BBQ Potato Chip Cookies – Gluten-Free

Double Chocolate BBQ Potato Chip Cookies - Gluten-Free

Welcome to my first bonus post! For those of you who have been following this blog, you might have noticed that I’m posting once a week. But I’ve been doing a bunch of baking, and I have a lot of things to share. So this week I thought I would do a bonus post. We’ll see how it goes. And if I have more time in the future, I might do it again. What’s this bonus post about? One of my favorite things: BBQ potato chips.

I am a fan of BBQ potato chips. You might say I am a BBQ potato chip snob, or even a potato chip snob in general. Having grown up in central Pennsylvania, I had access to a lot of different potato chips, pretzels, and other snack foods, many of which you just can’t find anywhere else. Two of the best potato chip brands are Martin’s and Middleswarth. I’ll find myself looking up and down the snack foods aisle at the grocery store, unhappy with all the choices and not sure why, until I remember they just don’t have those brands where I live now. I’ve actually ordered them directly from the manufacturer and had them specially shipped here. They’re just that good. I’m not saying there aren’t other good potato chips out there, but the major brands pale in comparison.

So why all this talk about potato chips on a baking blog? Am I seriously going to tell you I put BBQ potato chips in a cookie? I mean chocolate and pretzels go together, but chocolate and BBQ potato chips? I had never even really considered it, but yes. They go great together.

How did I come up with it? As much as I’d love to take credit for it, it wasn’t my idea. I was looking for a new recipe to make a few weeks back and this one caught my eye. I’m a little bit of a sucker for BBQ potato chips, so I just had to try it.

Having none of my beloved Middleswarth or Martin’s on hand, I ended up using Deep River Mesquite BBQ chips. (Hopefully I’ll have some hometown favorites around next time I make them.) I have no particular affiliation with Deep River chips, they just happened to be in the local store.¬†They’re different, particularly the mesquite part, but they’re good chips. They’re kettle cooked, which is the way to go with potato chips, which provides a nice crunch.

I’ve had a lot of luck making gluten-free desserts. I have a go-to gluten-free flour that I use (Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour), and it has served me well. Time after time I simply substitute it for regular flour in a recipe, and voil√†! Yummy, gluten-free desserts.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of those times. I cooked the cookies on the lower end of the recommended cooking time, but they didn’t seem quite done. So I cooked them a little bit longer. They still didn’t seem done. I eventually took them out, because I was worried I was cooking them way too long. It turns out that I should have taken them out sooner, as they overcooked. They also didn’t end up looking like the pictures in the original recipe.

They were flat, almost cracker thin, with hardly any substance to them. I’m not sure why they didn’t work out. If I had taken them out sooner, I’m not sure how much better they would have been, as they were thin at that point, too. My guess is that there was something ¬†about the gluten that was necessary for making these cookies work.

Don’t get me wrong, they were still tasty. My wife and I ate them up. They just weren’t what we were expecting.¬†¬†I vowed to make them again.

Try out the recipe, either original or gluten-free and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Recipe courtesy of the Pescetarian and the Pig.