Thursday, December 6, 2012

Desserts - it never hurts to make a back up

Good morning crushers,

We have a "food fight" going on at work. The idea is that we split our office building into two teams (east side vs. west side) and we play various games and have drawings and things to support a local food bank called Hunger Task Force.
"Hunger Task Force believes that every person has a right to adequate food obtained with dignity. Hunger Task Force works to prevent hunger and malnutrition by providing food to people in need today and by promoting social policies to achieve a hunger free community tomorrow."
Last year, we raised over $14,000 in 10 days! One of the many activities we do to raise money is a bake sale. Hopefully, some of the desserts I made will help. I tried two recipes last night. One is a tried and true recipe and one is brand new.

First: Mint Chocolate Brownies
1 box of chocolate brownie mix (1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, 2 eggs)
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 - 1 whole bag of chocolate mints (I used Andes Candies) for the topping

Mix the brownies according to the box.
Tip: When cracking eggs, I like to crack them on their sides on a flat hard surface like the counter top because it cracks the egg in a nice line around the whole thing. I have less rogue egg shell pieces that way.
See? It broke evenly in half!
Mix in the peppermint extract making sure you get all the way to the bottom in the mixing process. Bake according to the box. When the brownies are done (a fork or toothpick inserted comes out clean), pour the mint chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies. In a few minutes, the heat from the brownies will melt the chips so you can spread them like frosting. It's a nice little chocolatey crust.

Minty and Melty!
I have to confess that I made these brownies as a back up for the cookies I'm about to show you. I had this box of angel food cake mix in my cupboard forever, so I really needed to do something with it. Since I can't find the pan that I would need to make that in (moving is hard), I did a Google search for "angel food cake cookies" and I got the recipe for Angel Macaroon Cookies. I wasn't sure how they would turn out, so I thought I would need a back up. Plus, I have very hungry women at my book club, so I figured it couldn't hurt to have more.

Here is how I made the recipe for Angel Macaroons (or as Steve calls them, Snow Angels).
1 box of angel food cake mix
1 small package of sweetened coconut flakes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Because the box of my cake mix said not to use a plastic bowl, I used my big ol' trusty glass mixing bowl with a handle on it. There were very specific directions on how long to mix things for and at what speed. Since I didn't read the directions about "folding in the coconut flakes" and I just dumped them in, I figured I should at least follow the directions for beating the dough more closely: Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl; beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Well, we all know that I'm likely to break hand mixers, but we bought a new one that should be able to handle a little coconut. And boy did it work well! This thing could have drilled through the wall!

Awesome new mixer! It even has a retractable cord, bowl rest, and lots of attachments!
After you have it all mixed up and it looks really sticky, drop by small, rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. This is important for two reasons: 
Oh how they grew... Especially that guy in the upper right corner.
  1. There is no "grease" in the mix, so the parchment paper is important. Angel food doesn't like oil - it doesn't get puffy if there is grease. I did not use parchment paper (ran out), and my non-stick pans didn't do quite the whole job.
  2. Be sure and separate them because they will grow. My little spoonful of dough turned into a big cookie.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove paper with cookies to wire racks to cool. Marvel at the deliciousness that is the Angel Macaroon. Steve saw how some of the cookies stuck together to look like snowmen, so he now calls these "Snow Angel Cookies." He's a bit disappointed that they are going in the bake sale. Fortunately, they're super easy to make. They'll make an appearance at our house again!

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