Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies. Also known as Governor Cookies, Texan Cookies, or President Bush Cookies. This recipe has been passed around for years now and has been renamed multiple times. It became famous in 2000 when the lovely First Lady, Laura Bush, made these beauties for a bake-off and won first place.

So, lets recap real quick:

Cookies that originated in Texas, good.

From a recipe developed by Laura Bush, great.

Who is married to one of the best Texans to ever live, better.

I mean come on, what more can you ask for?

These melt in your mouth cookies have something in them to satisfy everyone’s cravings. They are packed full of chocolate chips, oats, coconut flakes, and pecans all mixed into a soft dough with a slight hint of warmth from a pinch of cinnamon. Like I said… What more can you ask for?

A small part of me is hoping they got the name Cowboy Cookies because a beautiful young lady made them for the best looking, sweetest, most hard-working cowboy around. He took one bite and they lived happily ever after. Maybe I’m just on a fairy tale kick ever since I saw the new Cinderella movie last weekend…… But if “a dream is a wish your heart makes,” I’m dreaming of these cookies because my heart loved them.

So, make these Cowboy Cookies while you watch Cinderella and dream about meeting your cowboy. Or having a waist as small as Cinderella. Maybe one day. HA. Just kidding, I ate too much cookie dough for that.

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The culprit to my not-so-Cinderellaish waist.

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See the coconut poking out of the cookie?! Told you they are packed full.

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The perfect dozen. 1 for you. 11 for me.

I would never actually eat 11 cookies.

Only 10.

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Ooey gooey chocolatey coconuty peacany oaty goodness.

Here is Mrs. Bush’s recipe: 

  • 3  cups of flour
  • 1  tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1  tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1  tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon of salt
  • 3  sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2  cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2  cups of light brown sugar
  • 3  eggs
  • 1  tablespoon of vanilla
  • 3  cups of semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer less, so I only used 2 cups)
  • 3  cups of old-fashion rolled oats
  • 2  cups of sweetened coconut flakes (I just used my entire bag, which was 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2  cups of pecans, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set that aside. In the bow of a stand mixer, cream the butter until it is smooth. Add in both sugars on low speed, scarping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add each egg one at a time, mixing after each addition. Finally, mix in the vanilla and add this to the flour mixture. Stir this (there is a lot of dough, so I got it started with my hands) and then add the chocolate chips, coconut, oats, and pecans. Combine this well, making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough to assure each cookie is equally delicious! Roll the dough into heaping tablespoon sized balls and place about 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15-16 minutes at 350. Serve to a cowboy. Live happily ever after.

Much love,

MT

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

If we are being honest, bananas are not my most favorite things in the world. I like them on their own, but if they are mashed up in something I’m usually not a fan. Usually. This cake though, is an exception. A moist, flavorful, dense, exception.

We had a few bananas laying around that had about .238546109 seconds before they went bad. Because dessert is on my mind 24/7, naturally I saw these poor bananas and thought of a recipe to give them new life! Banana bread? Too expected. Banana pudding? Too traditional. A multi-layered banana cake with chocolate chips, chocolate ganache, and chocolate butter cream? Perfection. Let me just stop talking and give you a visual of this beaut…

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Whip it. Whip it real good. The butter, sugar, and eggs that is. 056

Mashed bananas and lemon juice. Ew. Thank goodness this gets put into a cake.  057

Flour, baking soda, salt, ya know… Your basics.  060

The batter is almost complete! Just have to add mashed bananas and chocolate chips! This is my go-to vanilla cake at this stage. So good!

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There is something so satisfying about getting both layers out successfully. This task has tested my patience over the years……

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I always put a thin base layer of icing on the cake stand to keep the cake from sliding. Otis says “Hey. I’ll take some of that.”

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First,  Ganache!

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As if that wasn’t enough, add some chocolate butter cream. Wowzer. 070

How could this be bad? Not possible. 073

More cake, more ganache, more yum. 074

Top it off with one more thick layer of butter cream…. 081

Oh. My. Wow. Would it be crossing the line if I make this picture my desktop background…?

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Just look at that. If that doesn’t do your soul some good, I don’t know what will. 086

This might be my new favorite cake. Shhhhhh… Don’t tell Red Velvet.

Banana Cake:

  • 3 bananas
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of heavy cream

Chocolate Butter Cream:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate ganache (from the portion you already made!)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons heavy cream

This cake takes quite a few steps, but it is SO worth it. Preheat your oven to 350. Spray two circular cake pans and line each bottom with a layer of parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and oil together until smooth. Add the sugars and vanilla and beat until smooth again. Lastly, add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Once combined, beat it on very high for about 30 seconds. Alternately add the flour and milk into this sugar, egg, and butter mixture. ALWAYS start and end with flour. Mix well after each addition of milk and flour. Do this until both milk and flour have been completely combined. Add the chocolate chips and mashed banana mixture to the cake batter and beat on low speed until completely combined. Pour the batter equally into both prepared cake pans. Drop the pans against a hard flat surface to rid of some air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

While the cake is baking, make the ganache. In a medium pan, add the chocolate chips and butter and stir until melted. Add the heavy cream and stir until combined. Set aside until needed.

For the butter cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and beat until smooth. Combine the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the heavy cream and chocolate ganache, Beat on very high speed until combined and fluffy. Put this in the fridge until you are ready to ice your cake.

Once the cake is completely cool, ice the cake. Put down one cake layer, top with half of the ganache, then half of the butter cream. Place the second layer of cake on the first, top with the rest of the ganache, then the rest of the butter cream. Smooth it all out, lick your icing utensil, eat 13 pieces of cake, and feel no shame. Then repeat.

Much love,

MT

Pecan Pie Muffins

Sometimes during deer season I would gladly take on the responsibility of bringing a meal to camp. Since camp was a tiny travel trailer, bringing things that require a lot of dishes was not ideal. I already knew I wanted to do something like muffins or cupcakes for dessert because they don’t require plates or utensils. But why pecan pie muffins? My fiance’s dad is the inspiration behind that idea. You see, pecan pie is his favorite dessert. Everyone else there also happened to love pecan pie, so it was an obvious decision.

Now, I’m about to get real with y’all… The first time I made these I was a little disappointed in their appearance. They did not look like a fluffy muffin. I gave them a chance though, and I took a bite. LIFE. CHANGED. The texture wasn’t like a muffin at all, and I am SO GLAD! These are literally little pecan pies in muffin tins. They taste exxxxacccctlyyyyyyy like pecan pie. Exactly. Maybe even better than real pecan pie actually. I love it when “mistakes” lead to one of the best desserts I have ever made!

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I even put them in camo muffin tins since they would be traveling to the deer lease. I’m so festive. 094

Do you see how  these would be disappointing if I was wanting fluffy muffins?093

Well don’t be disappointed! Because they are sooooooooooooooooo good. 092

You see how the sugar in them crisped up and created a delicious top crust to the gooey soft inside?!

Yum. I want one. And by one, I mean twelve.

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark, doesn’t matter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups pecans, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened (which is one stick, plus 3 tablespoons, plus 1/3 of a tablespoon)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon (optional, but highly recommended!)
  • 2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a muffin/cupcake tin or use paper liners like I did and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, pecans, and cinnamon. In a different bowl, beat the eggs and butter together. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fill your muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degree for 15 minutes. They will be a little gooey, but give them a chance to cool and they will be perfect! Enjoy!

Much love,

MT

Rocky Road Cookies

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Rocky Road ice cream. Blue Bell preferably. Please and thank you. I don’t even need a bowl, just give me a spoon and I am good to go. Me being me, naturally I am always looking in the kitchen to find inspiration for the next creation I can bake. A few days ago I was standing there, staring into the freezer as if something new and delicious would magically appear, when the Rock Road caught my eye. I knew I wanted to bake, so I instantly thought of Rock Road Cookies! How could gooey chocolate cookies filled with pecans and marshmallows be bad? They can’t. So I got to blendin’ mixin’ and bakin’ immediately and the end product…… AMAZING.

The soft chocolate cookie is the perfect foundation for this delicious sweet treat. I am not a fan of a crunchy cookies, so I made sure to add enough butter to keep these babies gooey until they are all gone! Which took my family about… 5 minutes give or take. The sticky marshmallows, combined with the buttery crunch of the pecans, all mixed into the chocolately cookie base is pure decadence. As if that wasn’t enough, I added chocolate chips to tie it all together. I promise these will be a crowd pleaser!

Rocky Road, meet your new best friend, Cookie.

P.s. I really need to quit being lazy and get my real camera out. Phone pics aren’t doing these justice!

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If you’re like me and don’t believe raw cookie dough could ever actually be bad for you, eat some!

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Perfection!

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Can you see how gooey and soft they are?!

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One word: MARSHMALLOWSARELIFE

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I love this picture! It really shows the depth of flavor in these cookies. You can see the melted marshmallows, pecans, and chocolate chips! How could you want more?

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Get in muh bellay.

Anyways, enough drooling over pictures. Make them for yourself!

  • 1 1/2   cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, for melting
  • 1   stick of butter
  • 2   eggs
  • 2 /14   cups all-purpose flour
  • 1   teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-2   teaspoon salt
  • 3/4   cup granulate white sugar
  • 2 ish   cups marshmallows (I just eyeballed this measurement)
  • 1 1/2   cups chopped pecans
  • 1   cup semi sweet chocolate chips, not for melting

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small pan on low heat, melt the 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips and stick of butter together. Once melted, set it aside to let it cool. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Now, the chocolate and butter mixture is still probably warm, so crack the eggs into a small bowl and add spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture slowly while stirring to temper them. Do not dump the eggs straight into the chocolate and butter mixture or you will end up with chocolate scrambled eggs. Gross. Once the eggs are tempered (warmed up by the chocolate spoonfuls), pour it all into the pan of melted chocolate and butter and stir until combined. Pour this into the big bowl of the flour mixture you prepared earlier. Stir until just combined. Add the marshmallows, pecans, and chocolate chips. Roll the dough into about 1.5 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 11 minutes at 350. Enjoy!

I hope you love these as much as I did! Rocky Road never looked so good!

Much love,

MT

P.s. I updated my ‘About Me’ page! I got a certain sparkly ring that goes on a certain finger on my left hand! ;)

Pumpkin Puppy Chow

Hi! Remember me? It’s been a while, but I’m thinking this Pumpkin Puppy Chow will make up for my lengthy absence. Today was the first day it felt cold and fall-ish down here, so I took advantage of it! Originally I was planning on baking Pumpkin Snicker Doodles, or Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread (both of which will probably happen at some point this fall), but I decided to go for something much easier. Pumpkin Puppy Chow doesn’t require anything other than a bowl and a spoon. Don’t get me wrong, I love baking, but sometimes its nice to make something that doesn’t take as much time and effort. This stuff is delicious, easy, and most importantly… its fally. Which should totally be a word, by the way.

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Tasty…

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And pretty!

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of Chex Cereal
  • 12 oz. of Almond Bark
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 (heaping) tablespoon of pumpkin spice
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Some Autumn Mix candy corn

Directions:

Add the Chex to a large bowl and set aside. In a medium microwavable bowl, microwave the Almond Bark in 30 second increments until it is smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin spice. Stir until everything is combined and smooth. Pour this over the Chex and gently fold it, making sure not to crush the cereal, until all the individual Chex are evenly coated. Add the powdered sugar in thirds, mixing after each addition. Stir in how ever much of the Autumn Mix candy corn you want (I used about 1 cup), and serve!

Tip: This stuff loses its crunchy texture fast considering it is coated with liquids. To make sure it stays crunchy keep it in a sealed container or bag and eat it as quick as possible! I usually don’t have a problem getting rid of this within the first couple of days because it is so good though!

Enjoy the fally weather with this fally treat!

Much love,

MT

The PERFECT Pie Crust

Flaky but moist. Crunchy but soft. Light but fulfilling. This pie crust is the perfect contradiction. I use it for every pie, quiche, and tart I make and it has never let me down. Old-school simplicity is the key for a lot of things in life, but especially for pie crust. No fancy tools. No fancy ingredients. Just perfect crust every time.

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Dry ingredients + COLD butter. We are off to a good start.

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Once the butter has been cut in with the pastry cutter.

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Once the shortening has been cut into the mixture. It starts to hold its shape here if you squeeze it.

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Add the water and you’ve got a perfect pie dough my friend!

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Do you know that song called “Roll On” by Alabama? That’s what I think of when I see this picture… Ha…

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Beautimous!

 

Recipe for the Pie Crust:

3 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon on salt

3/4 a cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 a cup of vegetable shortening

4 tablespoons of ice cold water

 

In a large bow combine the dry ingredients then add the cold pieces of butter. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of peas. Add the Crisco and cut that in as well until the dough is firm enough to hold its shape when you squeeze it. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, cutting it in after each addition. Roll the dough into a ball and put it in the fridge until needed. Or just eat it raw. No shame in your pie crust game.

Pecan Pie

Everyone can pretty much agree that pie is a quintessential American dessert, I mean there’s a movie called American Pie for goodness sake! But pecan pie specifically seems to be especially patriotic to me, so on this Independence Day I made just that! Pecan pie is nostalgic. Its usually associated with fond memories, holidays with family, or the “good ‘ole days” in general. To me, if a recipe taste good that’s great, but if a recipe has the ability to take you back in time and allow you to reminisce, then THAT is an amazing recipe. The feeling of indulging in enjoyable memories is the majority of what makes this classic comfort food so delicious. Although, the butter and sugar might help some too. ;)

Last year for July 4th I made an apple pie that is to die for, but this year I was feeling a bit nutty…

 

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Before it bakes andddddddd….

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After it bakes. Mmmmmm.

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Perfection.

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And then there’s the not-so- fun part of baking: The messes I make… Whoops.

 

Pecan Pie: 

1 pie crust (store bought or my recipe!)

1 1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark, doesn’t matter. I also do dark though.)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

3 eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon (just trust me)

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then prepare your pie dish with your crust and spread the pecans evenly on the bottom of the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, cinnamon, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour that mixture over the pecans and bake for 50 minutes at 375. If you stick a knife in the pie and none of the filling drips off the knife, it is done. You can thank my Mimi for that tip!

And its that easy!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Much love,

MT

 

German Chocolate Pie

This pie… This is hands-down the best pie I have ever eaten in my entire life and I have tasted my fair share of pie. If you like German chocolate cake you will love this pie. If you like chocolate in general you will love this pie. If you like coconut you will love this pie. Even if you don’t like coconut (like me) you will love this pie (again, like me). Basically if you are a living, breathing being, you will love this pie.

How did I decide to make German chocolate pie? Wellllllllll my dad and I go to Lake Fork every year to fish, but also (and equally) to eat at Tiffany’s, which is a great little restaurant attached to the Lake Fork Marina. It is old fashion, home cooked goodness and they have the BEST pies. I always get the peanut butter pie that stares at me through the glass fridge from the point I enter the place until the point I leave. Last year I got my usual chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans finished off with a big slice of peanut butter pie. (No they don’t have cardiologist on deck, but it couldn’t hurt. At least I got green beans, right?). Well when we were checking out and telling ourselves we are never going to eat again, I saw a German chocolate pie behind the counter that somehow escaped my sight when I was picking my pie. The next morning before heading back home my dad went into the Marina to pay our room bill and came back out to the car with a slice of that beautiful German chocolate pie. He knows the way to my heart. As soon as I had a bite (which was like 10 minutes into the car ride, even though I swore I would never eat again) I knew I had to make my own version of it. So that is exactly what I did and it turned out fantastic. Better than fantastic. It is simply perfect. And I know you will think so too!

 

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Add COLD butter pieces to the flower, sugar, salt mixture. Room temperature butter makes chewy, not flaky pie crust. Ew.

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This ^ is what your dough should look like after cutting in the butter into pea-size pieces. It should still look dry, because it is dry…

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Then, when you add the Crisco it will start taking shape. At this point it will be able to hold a shape when you squeeze it, but won’t be able to spread out into a pie pan without making you insane. This is what you want.

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And the magic happens when you add water! After each tablespoon it will look more doughy until it is perfect. This is when I have to start hiding the dough from my mom. She is a pie crust monster and I’m pretty sure she is proud of that title. At this point, just throw some foil or plastic wrap (that annoying stuff that sticks to everything except the bowl) and put it in the fridge until the filling is made!

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When you melt the butter, sugar, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder together it will look nasty like that. Do not fear. It is supposed to look this bad.

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It will get ungross (I can make up words. I have a blog. Ha…) once you add the eggs. But first you have to temper the eggs! What does it mean to temper eggs? Easy, just add some of the hot mixture you’re about to pour the eggs into to get the eggs to a warmer temperature. If you put them in the hot chocolate mixture before tempering them you will get chocolate scrambled eggs. And that is not a good combo. Trust me.

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Once the eggs are tempered and added to the gross looking chocolate mixture, it will look creamy and smooth like this! ^

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Now its time for my favorite part, rolling the dough! It makes me feel like such a fancy shmancy baker.

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After you rolled you dough, sit your pie pan in the middle of it and lightly press down on the pan.

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The result should look a lot like this. ^

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Then cut a circle about 3 inches bigger than the pan indention and remove the excess dough. This is when the pie crust monster (AKA my mom) starts making her way into the kitchen to eat the scraps. Monster. Seriously.

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Wrap the edges in foil before you prebake it. This step is really important. Without the foil you could end up with a burned crust.

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So pretty after the prebake!

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It may be scary, but you haveeeeee to let the butter and brown sugar mixture boil pretty heavily while stirring it. This creates a delicious caramel flavor that will only develop through boiling. Put your big girl panties on and let it boil!

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Rather than just adding cornstarch to the bowl and having to whisk out all those pesky little clumps, make a paste! This will thicken the butter and sugar mixture.

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The cornstarch will create this! ^ Then you will add powdered sugar, coconuts, and pecans for the most delicious German chocolate icing you will ever eat.

*Drool here*

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Baked chocolate perfection! If you aren’t about that coconut pecan life, the pie would be a fantastic traditional fudge pie that your grandma used to make. Add some fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream you you’re set.

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But for my fellow sweet-toothers, spread that glorious topping over the pie as soon as it gets out of the oven.

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Sprinkle coconut and pecans over the top to make it look even prettier.

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And then eat a piece. Over and over again. And then go run. Over and over again.

 

Recipe for the Pie Crust:

3 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon on salt

3/4 a cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 a cup of vegetable shortening

4 tablespoons of ice cold water

 

Recipe for the Pie Filling:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter

3 (heaping) tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa

1/2 a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of instant espresso

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup of all-purpose flour

 

Recipe for the Pie Topping: 

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of light brown sugar

4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

1 (heaping) tablespoon of cornstarch +  2 teaspoons of water to make a paste

1 teaspoon of vanilla

pinch of salt

1 cup of powdered sugar

2-3 cups of sweetened coconut shavings

1 cup of chopped pecans

 

Directions:

For the pie crust, in a large bow combine the dry ingredients then add the cold pieces of butter. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of peas. Add the Crisco and cut that in as well until the dough is firm enough to hold its shape when you squeeze it. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, cutting it in after each addition. Roll the dough into a ball and put it in the fridge until needed. Roll the pie crust out into a circle, cut it to fit your pan, wrap the edges in foil, then set your oven to 350 degrees and put the crust in immediately (you do not want to preheat your oven for a pie crust). Bake it for 10 minutes.

For the pie filling, in a medium pan (a metal bottom is better than a telfon bottom pan here) melt the butter. Add the cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar, espresso, and salt. Stir until combined. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, separate 1 saving the yolk and adding it to the bowl of the other 2. Lightly beat these and temper them with the hot chocolate mixture from the pan. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth and combined. Add the flour and whisk until there are no clumps, but do not over beat. Pour the filling into the prebaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The toothpick trick will not work here to see if it is cooked because you want it to still be gooey inside.

For the pie topping, melt the butter and brown sugar in a small pan with a metal bottom. Bring this to a pretty heavy boil on medium heat while stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and let it boil while constantly stirring for another 3 minutes. Create a paste with the cornstarch and water, then add to the sugar and butter mixture. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until there are no clumps. Lastly, add the shaved coconut and pecans and stir until combined. Spread this topping over the pie after it has come out of the oven. Sprinkle some more shaved coconut and pecans over the top to make it look even prettier. Let it all cook slightly, then enjoy!

This is the best pie in the entire world. And that is saying a lot from a dessert loving, horrible decision making individual.

 

Much love,

MT

 

Peanut Butter Kissed Brownies

I think brownies are my favorite dessert. I seem to make a lot of varieties of them, but for good reason. They’re so delicious and almost impossible to mess up! Especially this recipe, because it started with a boxed brownie mix. If you’ve read any of my brownie posts before, you know I love a good boxed brownie mix. Unlike cake and cookie mixes (which tend to be dry and lack flavor), I feel like there is absolutely nothing wrong with good ole’ store bought brownie mix, especially if its Ghirardelli. Although I have finally perfected a brownie recipe better than a boxed mix, I still can’t resist the ease of emptying the ingredients from a bag and having delicious brownies just minutes later.

Today was one of those days I just didn’t really feel like getting chocolate down the front of my shirt, flour all over my face, and butter in my hair. So I used a trusty box mix for these lip smackin’ good brownies. Oh, and I also used peanut butter. Lots and lots of peanut butter. How can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter? You can’t. Not possible. Nothing goes together better than these two. Not  Barbie and Ken. Not Brad and Angelina. Not me and Chris Hemsworth. Chocolate and peanut butter is currently and will forever be the best couple on earth, although Chris Hemsworth and I are obviously a close second. Just don’t tell his wife. Or his three children. Or him….

ANYWAYS. Do you get it? Chocolate and peanut butter are great together. This recipe puts peanut butter chips inside the brownies, a peanut butter glaze over the brownies, and Reese’s sprinkled on top of it all. It. Is. Glorious.

 

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Here what you’ll need:

1 boxed brownie mix and the ingredients that box calls for (I always use Ghirardelli)

1 bag of peanut butter chips, divided (I used Reeses’ brand)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 bag of unwrapped, mini Reese’s, chopped

 

Here’s how you make it:

Preheat your oven to whatever your brownie box recommends and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, add the contents of your brownie mix and the ingredients it requires. Add 3/4 a cup of of the peanut butter chips into the bowl and combine everything. Pour this batter into your prepared baking dish and bake as the directions on the box suggest. While the brownies are baking, in a small pan add the rest of the peanut butter chips, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 a cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of butter and melt together. Once this is melted add the cup of powdered sugar and the tablespoon of cornstarch. Beat with a whisk until the lumps are all out and it is a smooth, creamy mixture. Pour this glaze over the brownies when they have cooled for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped Reese’s over the top and enjoy!

 

P.S. Rob, if you’re reading this, I love you more than Chris Hemsworth. Promise.

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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

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