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A Chocolately, Pumpkiny TWO Ingredient HUG

Who doesn’t like two ingredients recipes? Seriously, I’m always curious about these ideas. I read the “recipe” and ask myself………. “really?”

Like, “Could it BE just that easy??”

Ok, I didn’t actually ask myself that. I just thought “Hey, seems like a cool idea that I need to try”.

I’ve tried other minimal recipe desserts before like THIS one. Oh, and  remember the CHEATER COBBLER? That one as was a two ingredient recipe as well. Both of those recipes turned out pretty damn well, I have to say. ESPECIALLY the Cherry Chocolate Cake. Oh lawdy, was it good!

So in the spirit everything pumpkin this season, I bring you another two ingredient, Thanksgiving/fall/pumpkin themed type recipe that seriously makes you want break out the sweat pants and fuzzy slippers, and get ready for the coming hibernation.

Alright! First up, here’s your ingredients!

One Chocolate Brownie Mix (any brand you prefer)
One 15 ounce can of Canned Pumpkin (or Pumpkin Pie Filling)

That’s it! I know, it’s easy isn’t it? I love easy!
(don’t go there.)

Moving on, here’s the photo of the ingredients:

pumpkin brownies 3

*NOTE: In the photo above, you’ll see that I bought the 540ml (18 ounce) can because that’s all they had. I weighed 15 ounces and it came to roughly 3/4 of the can.  Please keep this in mind when making your own, and adjust according to the can you buy.

Here’s how you do it!!

1. Preheat your oven to 350!

2. Empty the box of brownie mix and about 15 ounces of the pumpkin pie filling into the cake mix and mix together.

I know, pretty difficult so far, right?

pumpkin brownies 4

3. Now, you don’t need it, but I happen to seriously love anything pumpkin spice.

So you can add up to a teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the mix to “make it sing”

( I DESPISE that term, but it’s really the only word I thought appropriate to explain what I”m trying get across).

So I added 1/2 a teaspoon.

Twice. :)

pumpkin brownies 5

4. Next, pour the mixture into a parchment lined 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 pan. No parchment?

No problem!

Grease the hell outta the pan, and you’ll be fine.

pumpkin brownies 6

So the recipe that I followed which is here, calls for baking the brownies for 25-30 minutes until set. I found that I had to double that time to make it work, so you might wanna keep an eyeball  on the pan just to make sure it’s baked thoroughly. No one likes raw brownie dough…… I think anyway. Maybe it’s like a raw cookie dough concept?  Meh, not for this chick – I like my baked desserts… BAKED.

When a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean, you’re good to go.

Let cool COMPLETELY before you decide to frost or sugar these babies.

pumpkin brownies 7

Ok. So let me tell you, this isn’t your typical brownie. It’s more dense, and has a soft pumpkin flavor mixed with the chocolately goodness of the brownie. Be warned though, my gorgeous reader. If you like the flavor of chocolate, this chocolate brownie with the chocolate frosting can quell any chocolate craving you might have. HOWEVER, the denseness of these brownies from the pumpkin seem to almost intensify the chocolatey taste to the point that well,… it’s teetering on craziness.

I ADORE chocolate, and ONE small brownie with the frosting was enough to lull me into sweet, dreamy chocolate land, where one might be tucked into their chocolate bed and given chocolate kisses and yummy chocolate hugs sprinkled with warm pumpkin spices.

Yes. It’s like that.

JUST like that.

Yeaaahhhh.

Square One might need to start back at…. well…..

Square One
#32 993 Fir St
Sherwood Park, AB

Square One is a new restaurant opened in Sherwood Park recently. While there’s TONS of new, cool eateries that have opened that I still need to try in Edmonton, I’m the first to say that I’m a lazy ass driver and if I can meet with one of my besties for a long lunch on my home turf in suburbia…. I’m gonna make sure it happens. Lucky for Square One that they’re on my turf, yes?..

Hhmm.. maybe not so much.

The decor is nice, and well, based on the last few restaurants I’ve been too – is getting a bit copycatty. Dark woods, chrome, clean lines… blah blah, snore snore. I initially liked it with The Canteen, and with The Phork, but it’s getting old now. Please. Let’s inject some originality here. (IE: De Dutch). Oh, and by originality, I don’t mean the framed print of Darth Vader they have on the wall…….The ONLY piece of “art” they have in the whole place that I could see.

Really?

Anyway, the menu is “international” – a little bit of this.. a little bit of that, all from over this great eclectic globe. They use local ingredients that showcases the grower/producer which scores HUGE points in my book. Sadly, not a lot of mention of the big “O” – (ORGANIC, people…. come on now!).. but maybe that will change with time.

I have to mention that our server was awesome. Didn’t get her name, but if I ever owned a spot, I’d try and poach her from this place. Really friendly, thoughtful and accommodating. She was always there to refill and take away, and ask us if we were cool or needed anything without hanging around and being creepy.

My friend and I decided to share an appie (or appy, or, APPETIZER.. sheesh.. so many choices now a days.) to start. We decided on the Plaza Machado Tostadas – Crispy house tortillas, huichol, pork belly, spicy onions, crème fraiche, lettuce, lime… It was the recommendation of our server as one of the more popular items on the menu. She said she actually dreams about them because they are so good.

My expectations immediately raised a full point.

tostada1

They came three to the plate, all pretty and styled. Pretending to be ladylike, I sort of tried to use my knife to cut them into more manageable pieces so I wasnt so dork-like while trying to pick one up to eat.

Yeah…. the idea was great in my mind.

The actual effect was more….. land mine looking. (Our server said she forgot to tell us they’re messy…… Yeaaaaaaah….thanks). So now resembling more of a tiny bundle of nacho’s, we tried them.

Meh.

Yeah.. that’s about it, really. As my loving mother would say – “They didn’t twirl my beads”.

She actually says that. In private…. most times.

The pork belly was a monotone note of just a spicy heat and we tasted no hints of lime at all. The crème fraiche was basically decorative only and the onions were ok. The crispyness of the house made tostada was really nice though. I wouldn’t say I hated the appetizer, but it was just….*shrug*. I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt that it needed over it and that elevated it up a notch to “not bad”. FYI – for those who are spice scared, these puppies are a nice challenge.  They aren’t too hot, but there’s enough heat to make you say “phew! Those gotta kick!” (And you’d say it just like that, right?)

Our main meal for lunch was the Chicken Wrap- Grilled chicken, apples, Gruyère, raisins, greens, quinoa. My friend and I had decided to share the dish and the kitchen was incredibly awesome to actually split the order onto two plates for us with our own little cute bucket of fries.

chickenwrap
Let me tell you, friends and neighbors, this dish was MORE than enough for two of us. Given that we’d had the appetizer, the half wrap each was filling to the point that we both couldn’t really finish it.. never mind eat all the fries. ( We needed to leave room for dessert ok??)

The wrap itself was decent. The quinoa, being what it is, is fairly neutral in taste, so it only added bulk and a slightly weird texture, but the chicken was ok. The apples and raisins were a nice contrast off the chicken and actually, this is the first place I’ve seen that grills the wrap. Nice touch!

So anyway, the wrap was good, but you wouldn’t say it was AMAZEBALLS  good or anything. Again, you wouldn’t go home and blog about it…. (wait, what?) However, if you’re some burly dude who works at a crazy labor job that makes you eat like a hairy Sasquatch, – this would do the deed to fill that cavernous hole.  The fries were better than the wrap, hands down, and my spoiled self was disappointed that it seemed to be the ketchup was made by Heinz and not in-house. (I had a wicked smoked ketchup once and nothing has compared since.) Plus, the wrap left you with a heavy taste of garlic in your mouth afterwards.

Like.. HEAVY.

Like, ban you to the couch for the night, heavy.

Dessert – Saskatoon Berry crème brulee- arrived happy and inviting in a longish styled plate with a pretty brulee’d top on it perfectly sized for sharing.

saskatoonbrulee
The top was nice, warm and crunchy while the filling was lightly dotted with saskatoon berries. The texture of the filling was not what I was used to. Usually it’s nice and smoooooth.. like a luxurious pudding made for a queen. This filling was made for more for the person who gets to do the queen’s laundry because it was a bit lumpy… sort of.  Here, look:

saskatoonbrulee1
That being said, it won best of show at lunch today. The weird texture didn’t deter the decadent taste of the cream and berry mixture to show up. The brulee’d sugar on top was just as  François Massialot‘s 1691 cookbook said it should be (I’m guessing, anyway) – with a properly caramelized sugar taste with a crack-with-a-spoon crunch. I kinda doubt he said it like that, but you get my drift.

So, overall, Square One didn’t impress me to go back, sadly. I think they have awesome service and a super cool menu, but from what I sampled today, balanced with the cost of lunch with a few sodas and coffee (around $55.00 not including tip), they have to REALLY step up the taste train to twirl my beads.

Oh, and on a side note, they had the CUTEST cream containers for coffee!! Check it out:

milkcow

Square One on Urbanspoon

Cheater Cobbler

It’s one a.m. in the morning…..
and I’m jonesin’ for pie.

AS IF I’m going to make a pie at one a.m. right?
Buuuuut I remember a recipe I saw called “EASY FRUIT COBBLER”.

Easy they said. Hmm.
Ok… it’s not pie, but I’m always down for anything easy.

(Don’t go there.)

So to follow, is cheater pie… but in a crumble, or cobbler… kinda.

Actually, I’ll call it, Cheater Cobbler.

Pie, cobbler, crumble, whatever. It’s sweet, warm, and comforting. What more do you want at one a.m.??

(Don’t go there.)

Check it out my gorgeous readers:

White Cake mix
Package frozen berries/fruit
2 lemon/lime sodas
Pan.

cheatercrumble1

It SERIOUSLY cannot get easier than this.

Put frozen fruit in pan:

cheatercrumble2

Sprinkle cake mix evenly over fruit:

cheatercrumble3

Slowly pour first can of soda over mixture. DO NOT MIX IT AROUND, DO NOT STIR!!!
Let it foam up in all it’s glory. Don’t freak out, don’t make it wierd.
Just marvel at your grade 10 chemistry class coming alive in front of you.

cheatercrumble4

If it seems a bit too dry still, start pouring the second soda in. You won’t need it all, maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 a can.

cheatercrumble5

Place in the oven at 350 for 40-45 min.

This whole thing took me less than 4 minutes to put together. Yes.. I timed it. I had to see how “easy” they really meant, and peeps, I gotta say, they were right! It took longer for the oven to heat up than it did for me to throw this together.

Now, it’s totally up to you what you do for 40-45 minutes at one a.m. in the morning while your cheater cobbler bakes. Just be sure to set the damn timer on your stove. No one likes burnt dessert plus you’ll be mad because the infomercial operator distracted you with the fatblaster 2000 on the phone.

When you take it out, be astounded at how much it looks like a cobbler… or a crumble… or a betty.. or whatever. I don’t know the difference between all those, (but if you do, PLEASE comment below and fill me in!!), but you get where I”m going with it.

Don’t expect this to taste EXACTLY like your sweet ole grandma’s cobbler,.. but it’s a superb stand-in. Besides, it’s the middle of the night and you’re not Gordon Ramsey.

(Although having Gordon Ramsey in the middle of the night would spell =AWESOME.)

cheatercrumble6

Smell its berry/peach happiness. Hear the bubbling sound of encouragement, asking you to curl up with the whole pan and a spoon.

But that would just be too much. ……………. or would it???

Yes…. yes it would.

Eating the whole pan would :
A- be too ridiculously much, and
B- be asking for a huge case of bubbly guts.

So, instead, practice restraint dear readers.

cheatercrumble7

Besides… it’s the new year… time for new  resolutions, new beginnings, portion control, fat blasters……………………
and a side scoop of ice cream to keep the cheater company.

My Christmas Love Affair

I’m in love.

Yes.. that’s right. LOVE.

And it happens every damn year around this time.

I’m in love for about a month.. month and half… and then we breakup. It’s the same old thing every year. You’d think I’d get tired of those messy shenanigans right?

Nope.

Around the middle of November, my mind starts to flash intermittently on images of years past with the great times we had. The smiles I smiled, the happiness I expressed, (sometimes even with a little dance), the loving looks that always linger longer than they should.

I get weak. I forget the previous year’s ugliness with the breakup. By December, I’m full into it.

I long.. I pine. I cannot stand it any longer.

I fall in love, all over again for another year. With who you ask? Not so much with who, but more with what.

Yes my dear readers, with the simple

BUTTERSCOTCH CONFETTI SQUARE.

Obviously you know I’m over exaggerating.

(ok.. KINDA over exaggerating.)

Anyway – Truth is,  is that the lowly confetti square treat is probably my most favorite Christmas “baking” to eat. Easy as hell to make and when you take your first bite.. peanut buttery, butterscotchy devine-ness… sweet,… smooth, …it melts in your mouth with the sweet whisper of “hello again, Lover”.

Add the pillowy texture of fruity mini marshmallows and you pretty much have the reason why love was invented.

I LOVE this dessert. But we always have to breakup after Christmas because well, with any good relationship, you don’t want to burn out on each other, and well… the unhealthyness of it all. OMG, the calories!

If I didn’t stop eating it, I’d be like some 800lb strung out dessert addict shoving a bag of mini marshmallows in my pants at Safeway so I could go home and make my next hit.

So, we have our little love affair for the season, and in the new year, we say goodbye.

I just don’t want to think about that part right now.

Butterscotch Confetti Squares

Ok. Here we go:

1. In a super cute pot like mine, melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 stick butter
2. Add 1 cup of Peanut Butter, and 1 bag of butterscotch chips

consquares2

3. Mix till melted and let cool a bit. DO NOT DRINK. It is NOT a beverage!

consquares3

4. Add 1 bag mini marshmallows. Do you like the action shot?

consquares4
5. Mix together till well coated and put into greased dish

consquares5

consquares6
Chill dessert for at least an hour to set up.

Take heed. Your love affair will begin after the first bite,
but don’t come crying to me when you can’t stop. I warned you.

Enjoy!

confetti squares

KickYourAss Gingerbread Cookies

Short and sweet today. I have found THE very best Gingerbread Cookie recipe. EVER. This was probably handed down, mother to daughter for centuries, who originally got it from the gingerbread inventor themselves. They are THAT good.

Trust me on this all my proper gingerbread challenged friends –  Make this.

You can shower me with your thank you’s later.

KickYourAss Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup        Butter, softened
1 cup        Brown sugar
1 cup        White Sugar
1/2 cup     Molasses
1               Egg
3 cups      All Purpose Flour
2 tsp        Baking soda
1 tsp        Cinnamon
2 TBS      Powdered Ginger
1/2 tsp     Allspice
1 tsp        Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream together sugars, butter, molasses, egg, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, spices and soda
Add dry to wet ingredients, and combine thoroughly.
Scoop onto baking sheet in nice sized rounds

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on your baking sheets. Just keep an eye on them. They will be thick and soft when you taken them out, but on cooling, will flatten, firm up and become crunchy on the outside.

These cookies are so good. Sweet, crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. The two tablespoons of ginger is AMAZING in them, makes them nice and spicy with gingery goodness!

gingercookie
Sorry about the quality of the photo… it was a phone pic!

Hershey shmershy… You can make candybars too!

All right all you chocoholics out there. Here’s one to saddle your candy lovin’ ass up to. Do you like the taste of toffee and chocolate laid upon each other? Maybe a threesome with some nutty ground pecans?

I heard you scream “Yes!” from way over there you candy freak.  Get your pots and pans out, wipe the spittle off your chin and let’s get this show on the road.

I have a crazy cookbook that a friend gave me that replicates famous recipes. Being a lovely and somewhat sheltered Canadian, I am not familiar with a lot of the American wanna be recipe clones. However, I DO know what a Heath Bar is. Oooh yes fellow chocolate addicts, I am familiar. We have Heath’s sister bar here in Canada called The Skor bar. I’ve had hundreds a few of those bars in my lifetime.

 So not only did the promise of buttery toffee smeared with milk chocolate spur me to make this recipe, it was THIS genius line that was included in the instructions:

” Boil first three ingredients until it thickens and looks like a paper bag”.

Ummmm huh?

Who gives cooking instructions like that?????

I was sold.

This is how I did it:

Take one cup of sugar, half a cup of butter, and half a cup ground pecans.

Combine in a pot…… like this:

heathpot

Begin to heat and start to constantly stir.

Stir some more.

Then stir even more.

FINALLY, when it begins to boil…

stir more.

heathpot1

As I was stirring, I was finding that the butter didn’t want to incorporate nicely into the rest of the mixture, but well.. I just kept at it like the dedicated blogger I am…

(Hope your happy. Sigh.)

 I’m assuming that this is the stage that the paper bag look was supposed to magically appear. I was hoping that the author REALLY meant that the mixture would look like a paper bag, and not just mean THE COLOR of a paper bag… otherwise, it would make more sense to just SAY that, right???

Anyway.. this is what it looked it at that stage:

heathpot2

No paper bag appeared….. only shattered expectations.

So when it reached the COLOR of a paper bag, I took it out of the pot and spread it on the parchment lined tray. I spent some time and smoothed it out, pushing it into the corners. The excess butter from the pot was somehow reabsorbed, so, hey, thank you science.

The mixture was not enough to spread on the whole pan unless you want it the thickness of saranwrap, so I just used half the pan – it’s not rocket science.

heathpan

heaththickness

I took my chocolatey kisses and spread those little bubbas all over the SCREAMIN HOT mixture you just spread on the pan. The heat will melt all the chocolate so you can spread it all over. Ooooohhh yeah… melty spready warm milk chocolate. You’re pretty much emotionally dead if you don’t love that moment….. that, or you’re a guy – one of the two.

Check out this love in:

heathkisses

heathchocolate

It took a while to cool off because obviously, melted sugar is pretty much molten LAVA.  I geniusly hastened the cool-off  period by putting it in the fridge and when it cooled, cracked it all into pieces.

Do me a favor. When you make this, (and I know you will), and break it up to pieces, slide a piece in your mouth. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue then crunch up that buttery tasting toffee/pecan mixture.

heathfinished

Close your eyes in pure culinary ecstasy.

You can thank me later.

Of course, this recipe gets a 12 out of 10.

blueforkinfoodiestamp