Country Music is Dying

WARNING: If  you like Luke Bryan you may want to avoid this article. Most of my examples are about him because he happens to be the most annoying of them all. Sorry. Not sorry.

Sooooooooo I’ve had a little problem with country music the past couple of years. “Artists” (if I should even call them that…) are singing songs about beer, trucks, and tight blue jeans instead of something that attracts the deeper, more intellectual mind. These one-dimensional songs about drinking a beer in the mud while your KC lights light up your easy girlfriend’s face are getting old. How many times can someone rewrite the same song? Too many.

Country music has evolved from singing songs about family, hard work, morals, cheating, God, and small towns that they actually came from… to big trucks, hot girls in bikinis, having lots of money, small towns they wish they were from, and most importantly… BEER. It has gone from just a guitar, fiddle, or banjo and a voice… to every rock instrument you can think of with some computer generated sounds thrown in as well.  From wrangler jeans for the men and classy dresses for women, to skin tight overpriced leather pants, and body hugging mini dresses, emphasis on mini… I wouldn’t be shocked if on next year’s CMAs or ACMs Luke Bryan walks on stage in a dress. I’m pretty sure he and I share a few of the same statement pieces.

Sadly, there are dozens of contributors to the pop country genre in today’s society who win awards for and boast about their 100% pop and 0% country mega-hits. Then there are those who started out as country as can be but are crossing over to pop country in the blink of an eye. Blake Shelton with his new rap infused single, Luke Bryan with his painted on designer jeans and repetitive lyrics (beer and trucks beer and trucks beer and trucks), and Tim McGraw, who actually wrote a song in the 90’s called “Back When” with lyrics that say “I’m readin’ street slang for dummies cause they put pop in my country, I want more for my money the way it was back then…” and is now one of the main contributors to the pop country industry. Come on Tim!

Finally, real country artists are starting to speak out. Collin Raye recently said in an interview with Fox that he is “really depressed at how it has dumbed down to basically just a one dimensional ‘lets party in the truck, gonna drink some cold beer.’”

I couldn’t agree more Collin. If Luke Bryan sings (whoops I almost typed “writes” there. That would’ve been a good one!) one more song about beer I’m going to lose my mind. You like beer, trucks, and slutty girls. We get it. Write about something meaningful. And get a new stylist while you’re at it. (The link for Collin’s interview is posted at the very bottom of the page)

As you all know, I am from Texas and am very proud of that. One of the many perks of living in Texas is having red dirt or “Texas Country” radio stations. If you are in the DFW area I recommend 95.9 The Ranch. They play songs by artists who actually write their music, sing about more meaningful topics than beer, and I’m pretty sure none of them wear black sparkly skinny jeans. Ackhmm… Luke… As a general rule, their songs have country roots and do not incorporate anything that distracts from the lyrics. But if your lyrics are as surface-level as “country girl shake it for me,”  “little Conway, little T-Pain. Might just make it rain,” or my personal favorite… “Girl hand me another beer!” I can understand why you might need a deterrent…

Over the years, some red dirt artists have released some pretty funny pop-country hating, Nashville producer bashing, real country music. I could provide for you the music videos of my favorite deep, meaningful, and heartfelt red dirt songs, but I thought these were even better for this post…

(I did not make any of these videos! All the credit goes to the video creator.)

“Cause you had to say something for people to listen, but now they just do what they’re told. Well it’s all about idols, pretty blonde hair and how many trucks you can sell out here in AM country heaven and FM country hell.”

He’s all about image cause image pays the bucks, but if he’s country, well then country really sucks. What happened to the outlaws who weren’t afraid to cross the line? What happened to the workin’ man who sang the truth about their troubled lives?”

They call god-all-mighty Nashville ‘Music City USA,’ but get out of the city to where the farmers play, you’re into real music country without them city ways.” 

George Strait is from Texas and gives all the credit to his success to it. He is one of the few to stay true, and stay popular in the “country” world. “For the steel guitars no longer cry and the fiddles barely play, but drums and rock ‘n’ roll guitars are mixed up in your face. Ol’ Hank wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio since they committed murder down on music row.”

 

So there you have it. Country music is dying and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Enjoy the rest of your Monday! Sorry Luke Bryan fans!

 

Much love,

MT

 

Thanks for the videos, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCrWp1kPHtw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNEniwpNmU0, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xI_WohVAnU, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny3K9irFC5k

 

Read More: Collin Raye Latest to Speak on ‘Dumbed Down’ Country Music | http://tasteofcountry.com/collin-raye-dumbed-down-country-music/?trackback=tsmclip

Caramel Cookie Bars

I’m not sure why, but I’m on this “bar” kick. I made Raspberry Crisp Bars, then I made these Caramel Cookie Bars, then Pioneer Woman’s Knock You Naked Brownies Bars (which are super good and highly recommended). There is something about a good dessert in the shape of a bar that makes it even better, and these Caramel Cookie Bars are no exception. Imagine the best chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever eaten, combined with the best caramel you’ve ever had and WHAM! You’ve got Caramel Cookie Bars. Caramel usually scares the neat-freak inside of me, but since it is tucked away in the middle of two cookie layers there is no mess, just pure indulgence!

Try them for yourself!

Oh wait not yet! Once I poured the caramel over the first cookie layer, I sprinkled some sea salt over the top before adding the next cookie layer. If you’re into the sweet and salty scene I recommend doing this. These bars are good without salt, but in my opinion they are GREAT with salt. If for some reason you’re not about the salted caramel life, go away. Just kidding, stay! Just ignore this and follow the recipe exactly as it is below. If you do want to salt the caramel, sprinkle sea salt (not regular salt. SEA SALT.) over the caramel until you think it is salty enough for you. I don’t want to give you a specific measurement because it is so personal to each individual’s pallet.

 

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I ate that whole spoonful. Just kidding. Maybe…

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First cookie layer before the oven and first cookie layer after the oven. It should be on its way to turning golden when you take it out. If only I could tan that quickly…

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Salted caramel on top of the first cookie layer.

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That’s the golden brown color you’re looking for!

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Ooooooooo la laaaa!

 

Cookie Base:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulate sugar (Plain ole’ white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla (No that is not a typo. Do 3, I promise you won’t regret it.)
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 chocolate chips

Caramel Filling:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of salt (literally just pinch some salt and throw it in there)

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9 baking dish lightly with non-stick spray. In a small pan on low heat add all the ingredients to the caramel. Stir until combined. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let it start to boil. As soon as you see it bubbling up begin to stir it constantly for about 3 minutes. At this point the sugar should be dissolved and the whole mixture should have turned a deep golden color. Take it off the heat and continue to stir for another 3 minutes to cool it down. Put it in the fridge to let it cool completely. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or just in a large bowl if you plan on using a handheld mixer) cream the butter, sugars, and salt together (about 1 minute of mixing). Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each. Add the vanilla and combine. Combine the flour with the sugar mixture by adding it gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) and then add the baking soda. Put your choice of chocolate chips into the dough mixture and stir until combined. Divide the cookie dough into two parts. Press the first half in the bottom of your baking dish and bake for 13-15 minutes. Once that is done, pour the caramel over the top (this is when you would salt it if you want to!). Press the remaining cookie dough flat and lay it over the caramel layer. Put it all back into the oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let it cool and eat one! Or seven!

Raspberry Crisp Bars

IT’S SPRING BREAK!! Or should I say Spring Bake?  There will be a lotttttt of baking and cooking going on this week partially because I have time to do something other than homework, and partially because I’ve got a little something up my sleeve. ;) It’s a secret for now, but keep in touch and maybe I’ll reveal it around summer time!

As the weather warms up I find myself using more and more fruit, especially in my desserts. For some reason fruity desserts seem more summery than chocolate or any other flavor. They are light, tart, and so colorful! I made these raspberry crisp bars for a get together my mom and her close friends had. They must have been a hit because she brought the pan home empty!

The star of this dessert is the homemade raspberry preserves. It’s such a bright filling in the traditional southern crisp. When you bite into these bars you will find an impeccable balance between sweet and tart, crunchy and smooth, modern and traditional, perfect and perfect, wait… what? But really, they’re perfect. I recommend them for your next brunch, late night get together, family dinner, church potluck, or just for fun! Not only do they taste good, they can be served in a casual or formal setting. Like I said, perfect. Cell phone pictures… beware.

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The preserves after running them through a sifter. I put back some of the seeds and as many pieces berry back into it as I could. In my mind this maintains its preserve-ness. Preserve-ity? Preserve-ausity? Whatever.

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Before cutting in the butter; while cutting in the butter; after the butter was cut in.

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Is there a better combination in the world? Yes, Brad and Angelina. But this is a close second.

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All done and ready to eat!

Here’s the recipe!

For the preserves:

  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 4-5 cups of berries (I used raspberries)
  • 1-3/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-1/2 lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the crisp: (Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s - http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/02/strawberry-oatmeal-bars/)

  • 1-3/4 stick cold butter, cut unto think slices
  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 pan. In a small pan combine the water, berries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat down to low and add the cornstarch. After stirring the cornstarch in until there are no lumps, the preserves should be thickening to a texture tight enough to stick to the spoon when you take it out of the pan. I ran mine through a fine mesh sifter to get most of the seeds out. Turn the heat off and set it aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold slices of butter with a pastry cutter (or fork if you don’t have a pastry cutter). It is combined when the butter is pea sized and the flour is not quite completely mixed in. Gently stir in the almonds. Press half of this mixture into the greased 8×8 pan, cover it with the preserves (I did not use all of mine, but it is up to you), and sprinkle the rest of the flour and oat mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

PS. You can totally use store bought preserves to save time!

Much love,

MT!

Texas Tumbleweed

Three reasons you should make these right now:

1) They’re named after Texas. That should be the only  reason you need.

2) They’re super easy.

3) They’re super tasty.

Sweet and salty is the name of the game and these little bites of heaven come in first place. Texas Tumbleweeds are a bite sized treat that is perfect paired with a potluck dinner, a holiday party, or a night at home with the family. In my house they don’t last long enough for any of those options, but maybe your family doesn’t act as famished as mine… This is one of those recipes that has been floating around the kitchens of Texan’s for decades, and every generation loves them. They get their name because they resemble an actual Texas tumbleweed, and if you’ve never seen one… Well you need to get out of town more often. Keep this recipe and pass it down to your kids, grandkids, best friend, cousins, crazy fifth aunt by marriage-twice removed-brought back-removed again-lost contact-found her on Facebook-looked hungry-gave her this recipe, or whoever else you want to share it with!

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The potato and nut mixture.

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Butterscotch mixed with white almond bark. I recommend licking the spoon at this stage.

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This is what it looks like once you add the marshmallows. It looks ruined, but it’s supposed to look like this!

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Once you add the milk it will turn back into something like this picture. Thin enough to stir but thick enough to stick to the spoon for a while.

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Try to refrain from eating this whole bowl. If I can do it, you can do it.

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Ready to be eaten! See how they resemble tumbleweeds? Love these!

Texas Tumbleweed:

3 cups of shoestring potatoes

1 cup of nuts (I used 1/2 a cup of roasted peanuts and 1/2 a cup of slivered almonds)

1 cup of butterscotch chips

4.5 ounces white almond bark (that’s 3 squares off the whole block)

1 cup of marshmallow

3 tablespoons of milk

In a medium bowl combine the shoestring potatoes and nuts. On low heat, in a medium sauce pan melt the butterscotch chips and white almond bark. Stir until combined. Add the marshmallows. Once the marshmallows combine it will turn into a dry, thick, dough-like texture. Add the milk and stir until it is back into a liquidy state. It is important to add the milk AFTER the marshmallows. Pour the butterscotch mixture over the potato and nut mixture and stir until all the potatoes and nuts are completely covered. Form it into tablespoon-sized piles and place them on a cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Put in the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Much love,

MT

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Chocolate Truffles

I haven’t posted since September. SEPTEMBER. School takes up too much of my life! Do my teachers not understand I have a blog to maintain? To make up for it I’m giving y’all one of the easiest, tastiest, chocolatiest recipes I know. From now until Christmas I’m going to be making simple treats to give away as gifts, to snack on while opening presents, or eat with your Christmas meal. Whatever you choose to do with them, I can assure you they’ll will be a hit!

First (and possibly best) are my truffles. I learned to cook mainly by trail and error, so one day I was trying to make a chocolate ganache and ended up with a thicker chocolate. Being the cheapskate that I am, I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away… So while I was thinking what to do with it, it cooled and hardened slightly, turning into a delicious chocolate with a nice fudgy texture. The rest is history!

These are suuuuuper rich. If you aren’t a big chocolate fan I have two things for you: 1) you’re weird. 2) you probably shouldn’t make these. (I will post recipes soon without chocolate, don’t worry!) But if you’re like me, you love a deep, rich, creamy chocolate. I make the actual truffle the same every time, but I occasionally change the coating on the outside. For example, today I did a truffle with a milk chocolate and peanut butter coating. Sometimes I do an all white chocolate coating, dark chocolate coating, butterscotch coating, or peanut butter coating. Sometimes I add food coloring to the white chocolate to fit the occasion (green and red would be cute right now!), sometimes I drizzle a homemade caramel over the top, and sometimes I leave them naked! You get my point… There’s a million things you can do with these.

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Melt the chocolate. Taste it. Continue to melt. Then add the most important ingredient, gold. Then taste it again.

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Roll it into little truffles and put them on wax paper. Don’t forget the wax paper. You will be angry if you don’t use wax paper. If I were you, I would use wax paper. Hey, you should probably put these on wax paper. Oh and before I forget, use some wax paper. WAX. PAPER. Wax paper. Waxxxxxxxx paperrrrrrrrr.

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Fa la la la laaaaaa la la la la. I love the white sugar flakes. They look like snow flakes! Love love love.

The actual truffle:

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (Why is it called that? Bitter is an antonym of sweet. It can’t be both…)

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Put this all into a pan until it is melted and combined. Let it cool for up to 4 hours. I let mine cool over night usually. I’m not sure how to describe the texture the chocolate should be now… It’s hard, but not so hard you can’t scoop it out of the pan. If that helps at all. If you just let it cool at least 4 hours you’ll be fine! Now scoop out a teaspoon-ish sized chunk, roll it into a ball, and put it on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. You HAVE to use wax paper. Pop them into the freezer for 15-20 minutes to reharden. (I’m making up all kinds of words today). Then cover them in whatever coating you choose to make! You can drizzle the coating over them, dunk them completely into the coating, make fancy designs, or whatever your heart desires. Put them in the freezer again for 15-20 minutes to set. No eat one! Or twelve.

Milk chocolate peanut butter coating:

I cup of milk chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 cup of peanut butter (You can do more or less than 1/2 a cup. This is customizable.)

Throw it all into a small pan and melt on low heat. Easy enough, right?

White chocolate coating:

8 ounces of white almond bark

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of milk

Melt this all together into a small pan on low heat. Add food coloring if you want!

Peanut butter coating:

8 ounces of white almond bark

1/2 cup of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of milk

Can you guess what to do with this? You got it… Melt it all together into a small pan on low heat.

Dark chocolate coffee coating: FAVORITE!

8 ounces of dark chocolate

3 tablespoons of brewed coffee

Put the dark chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over it. The coffee should melt the chocolate. For a dark chocolate coating without the coffee replace the coffee with milk and melt in a small pan on low heat.

Caramel drizzle coating:

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream depending on how thick or thin you need it

I’m not going to lie to you, caramel is kind of hard to make. You have to put all this into a pan and stir it CONSTANLY, which makes it kind of difficult. But I promise, it is sooooo worth it. Stir it until it becomes thick enough to stick to the spoon but is still pourable. It should get a little darker in color and richer in taste. The brown sugar granulates should be dissolved and you should not be able to feel any grit in the caramel. Let it boil while still stirring it for about 3 minutes. If you stop stirring for .29743592375 of a second it will burn. Don’t. Stop. Stirring. Take it off the heat and let it cool for however long you want. It should stay in a drizzly texture.

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Yummy.

Much love and only 10 more days!

MT

9/11 Never Forgotten

It’s hard to believe twelve years have passed since the attack on our country. To this day I still remember exactly where I was sitting… Mrs. Johnson’s 3rd grade class in the desk closest to the TV (most likely in the corner for a reason…). Even though I was only 8 I can still remember noticing how our country came together to form an unbreakable nation. No matter the color of our skin, north or south, democrat or republican, Christian or atheist, redneck or blue collar, we all put our differences aside to be there for our neighbors. And THAT is something to be proud of.

It’s hard for me to express all my feelings on this topic and on patriotism without writing 29370137491 words, so I’m going to put up music videos of songs I love on days of remembrance like today (and everyday for that matter!) Thank goodness for YouTube! Oh and I’m sorry about the commercials… I hate them as much as you do.

1) Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue: Toby Keith

Of course this is number one on my list with lyrics like, “As soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye, man we lit up your world like the 4th of July,” “Uncle Sam put your name on the top of his list and The Statue Of Liberty started shakin’ her first,” And best lyrics ever written… “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way”

How could you not feel patriotism while listening to this?!

2) God Bless The USA: Lee Greenwood

I made my mom go buy me this CD because I became obsessed with this song after 9/11. I ran around the house screaming (notice I said screaming, not singing…) “AND I’M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN WHERE AT LEAST I KNOW I’M FREEEEEEEEEEE!”

3) Oh Brother, Oh Brother: American Aquarium

This song rocks. Every single verse puts life today in a soldier’s perspective. My favorite parts… “My daddy live by the gun and his daddy did too, back when serving your country wasn’t up to you. He said ‘Some are born to talk boy and some are born to shoot’” And “My hands are tired and my feet are sore. And I’m sick of dodging bullets for another mans war…” Deep stuff!

4) Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning: Alan Jackson

The last song was a soldier’s point of view, this is a beautiful rendition of how all the rest of us felt. I think everyone can relate to this song in one way or another. It isn’t focused on revenge, it isn’t focused on American pride, it is all about love. Love for our country, love for our friends and families, love for our neighbors, love for God, and those are ultimately the reasons our country was able to recover from such devastation.

5) Have You Forgotten?: Darryl Worley

So many people go through the motions of their day without remembering the people who have died for this country. Whether it be innocent people from terrorist attacks like 9/11, or soldiers who fight for our freedom and protect us all day everyday, or firefighters, police men and women, and brave volunteers. This song is reminding us not only to not forget about what happened to our country on September 11th, but to also remember everyone who has fallen because of it. Like Darryl said… “There are some things worth fighting for.”

I encourage you to shake hands with the next soldier you see, hug a firefighter for everything they do, tell a police officer thank you, but most of all pray for them and our country as a whole. On your way home from work, while you’re running errands, before dinner, just at some point today I ask you to say a prayer for the families who have lost loved ones, and still have loved ones serving.

 

PS. I did not make any of these videos, all credit goes to the users who create them!

 

Much love,

MT

AMERICA!

Sad News….

Before I tell you the sad news, lets start with some good news! I’m back in Stephenville for my junior year! TWO MORE YEARS OF SCHOOL for the rest of my life! Crazy. 

The bad news is… because I’m back in school I’ll be posting a lot less often for a few reasons…

1) I don’t have the time I did over the summer 

2) I don’t have the money I did over the summer

3) I don’t have as many people to eat what I bake… Therefore I’d be eating what I bake and that leads to bad things. Remember… I have zero self control. None. Zero. Zip.

 

I can’t go too long without baking. It’s like an addiction. So I’ll be posting at least once a month because I’m sure I’ll have a baking relapse…. I’ll also bake when I go home (which happens about every two weeks). I think next up is a pecan pie this weekend. And maybe a birthday cake because it’s my dads birthday on Monday! 

So… See ya on the flip side. 

P.S. Happy (early) birthday, Dad! 

 

Much love and talk to you as soon as possible!

MT

Breakfast Bites

For the first time in weeks I haven’t had to be at work at 7 in the morning. So naturally I celebrated by making a massive breakfast including breakfast tacos with a spicy egg and hash brown filling, lots of fruit, and most importantly… breakfast bites. I usually make breakfast cookies but I was feeling adventurous this morning so I turned the dough into a batter and made little muffin cupcake thingys. Such professional vocabulary, I know.

These taste so breakfasty (more of that good vocab…) and they’re SOOOO easy and quick to make. One bowl and you’re ready to roll. Hahahaha. Okay, sorry. I’ll stop. But really, these are delicious. You won’t be disappointed!

breakfast bites 1

breakfast bites 2

breakfast bites 3

 

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened (unsalted)

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

dash of salt (1/8 teaspoon ish)

1 1/2 all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup instant oats

1 cup pumpkin flax granola (I used Natures Path brand)

More honey for drizzling

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer) in the order they are listed above. Mix until combined after adding each ingredient. Generously spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray and fill each spot almost all the way to the top. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. As soon as they’re done, drizzle as much honey as you want over the tops. Enjoy!

Have a good day! Much love,

MT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salted Caramel Brownies

I know I’ve said a jillion (that’s a number right?) times that I love a boxed brownie mix just as much and maybe more than homemade brownie. But I converted myself… Here’s the story:

As I was scouring through my kitchen to find ingredients for a new recipe to post, all I could find was lots of chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. I didn’t want to make cake, I just made cookies in the last post, and I was just really craving a nice, dense brownie and what goes better with chocolate than caramel? Peanut butter. Fine. But caramel is a close second!

 So, going against everything I believe in (as if brownies are instilled in my morals… ohhh the life of a baker)… I made homemade brownies. Because I don’t do this often, I wasn’t sure how to make them, unlike cake, cookies and other treats I have engraved into my brain from years of baking. I knew brownies required more eggs (this is why they are dense), melted butter (another reason they’re dense and moist), and lots of chocolate. So I started measuring, melting, mixing, and when I tasted my product I was AMAZED. Way better than a boxed brownie. Way way way way way way way way better.

And because I love ya’ll, I’m going to share it with you!

The pictures are not the best… I tried to turn on my camera to take pictures and it was dead, so I grabbed my moms and it was dead, so I grabbed my dads and it was dead. After losing my mind I regrouped and decided to just take pictures on my phone. Ugh.

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Caramel in the works!

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Seriously… make these today.

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So gooey. So great.

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I skipped the “let cool” step in the directions I’m about to give. Ain’t nobody got time fa dat. Sweet Brown, such a wise woman.

Here’s how to make ‘em!

Brownies:

2 sticks butter (unsalted)

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 oz. bitter-sweet chocolate

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

1 1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk chocolate chips

A couple pinches of sea salt (table salt works if you don’t have sea salt)

Directions For Brownies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium pan on low heat, melt the butter, semi sweet, and bitter sweet chocolate. Once it’s all melted together add both sugars and stir for about 5 minutes continuously. Take off the heat and add the vanilla. Add the mixture to the flour and stir it just a tiny bit to cool it down. Add the eggs one at a time mixing after each one. Add the milk chocolate chips. Bake for 35 minutes. The sea salt is for when the caramel (recipe below) has been spread over the top of the brownies. Once you’ve done that, if you want (I highly recommend it), lightly sprinkle the sea salt on top.

Tip: The tooth pick trick doesn’t really work with brownies. You want them to be a little under-baked and gooey.

Caramel:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions For Caramel:

In a pot on low heat combine the condensed milk and stir for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and butter. Stir until the caramel is thick enough to stick to your spoon when you lift it out of the pan. Take off the heat and add the vanilla. Spread over the brownies while it’s still hot! Let it all cool, and enjoy!

Much love and happy shark week!

MT

Cranberry and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These are kind of like a more interesting oatmeal raisin cookie. Its the same concept… except this is cranberries and sweet white chocolate chips. YUM. The tart cranberries mesh with the white chocolate so well you won’t be able to eat only one. I wasn’t able to eat only 10. Oops. I lack self control when it comes to sweets, but so does everyone else, right? I love these cookies not only for their deliciousness, but because when they’re in the oven the whole house smells like sweet, warm cookies.

I can’t find the words to explain how much I love these… They are perfect for summer or winter, late night snack or fancy tea, holidays or everyday! I promise they will not let you down!

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Here’s the line-up! Except I left out the cinnamon… And I didn’t have a bag of sugar… And I forgot the baking soda… Ha.

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Look how beautiful that is! The white and the red looks so scrumptious!

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Y’all, this dough is SO GOOD.

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Andddd so is the completed product.

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I wish I still had some of these left, but I brought them to church and we all know how Baptists like to eat….

Here ya go!

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter (softened)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 1/3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of instant oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the cinnamon, flour and baking soda and set aside. Beat the butter with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until its smooth. Add the sugars and beat, then add the eggs and beat again until its light in color and very fluffy. Next add the salt and vanilla and combine. Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until completely combined. Throw in the oats, white chocolate chips, and cranberries then combine. Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls (almost as big as a golf ball) then place on an unsprayed/ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 14 minutes and let cool for about 3. (If you can wait that long…)

 

Much love,

MT

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