Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TWD: Chewy Chunky Blondies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick was chosen by Nicole of Cookies on Fridays. They were the perfect dessert for a summer pool party! David and I had a group of friends over (and their kiddos!) last Saturday for a swim, and these cookies were gobbled up in no time!
These blondies really are chewy and chunky! They're absolutely full of good stuff...nuts, chocolate chips, and Heath bar pieces. I left out the coconut because...well...I forgot to put it in until I slid the pan in the oven. But I decided that it was probably best that I left it out, because lots of people don't like coconut.
Look at the fudginess! Yum! I had a couple of problems with these, but I'm not exactly sure what caused them. First, they baked up in the same way as my Chipster Topped Brownies...with lots of gaps and holes around the edges, with super-flat middles. The other problem was with baking time. I baked them for the prescribed 40 minutes and let them cool for 15 minutes. I went to turn them out of the pan...and SPLAT! part of them plopped onto the cooling rack and the other part stayed in the pan. I was able to get it all back in the pan and cooked it for another 10 minutes. Not done. Another 10 minutes. Not done. Another 10 minutes...still not done, but I was tired of dealing with them. I let them cool overnight in the pan, then inverted it, and they were still a little moist, but not really underdone. But they were good. And sweeeet! They're pretty rich, but that didn't keep us from eating the whole pan on Saturday! These are definitely a recipe to make time and time again...and maybe next time I'll remember to add the coconut. If you want to give these blondies a try, visit Nicole's blog, Cookies on Friday for the recipe. Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD: Lots of Ways Banana Cake

I love bananas, but I'm really picky about eating them. They have to be just right, or they're no good, in my opinion. But even a banana that's past its prime for eating can be turned into a delicious dessert. And that's why I don't feel guilty when I buy 6 bananas a week and only eat 3 before they're "too ripe." Instead of going to waste, they get tossed in the freezer where they'll wait until I decide to make banana bread.
Even though this recipe wasn't banana bread, it was just as delicious (and maybe even moreso). Dorie lists at least half a dozen different variations on this recipe. You can change the liquid ingredients (coconut milk, buttermilk, regular milk, or my pick...sour cream) or the mix-ins (coconut, dried fruits). My mix-in of choice? Mini chocolate chips. Oh, yes I did. I love banana and chocolate together. I knew that these were destined to be muffins/cupcakes, so the mini chips were perfect. Dorie suggests frosting the cake with marshmallow frosting, whipped cream frosting, or chocolate ganache. I had planned on topping my cupcakes with ganache, but as you can see, they ended up being nekkid. David and I both decided that they were perfect as-is (He ate 5. FIVE!) and I was afraid the ganache would overwhelm the banana. And the chocolate chips were just chocolatey enough.
David took some of the muffins to work with him, and I took the rest with me. And I think everyone loved them. These were really moist, which is something I definitely appreciate in a cupcake/muffin/quickbread. If you want to use up some ripe bananas, you can find the recipe over at Kimberly's blog,Only Creative Opportunities. Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TWD: Brrrrownies

This week's recipe is one that I've considered baking several times over the last year or so. And I'm not sure why, because I'm really not that big of a fan of peppermint. So I was glad that Karen, of Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life chose these for this week's installment of TWD. It gave me an excuse to take the plunge!
The brownie recipe is great (a little fudgy with a crackly top), with little chunks of peppermint patty mixed in. David and I enjoyed these, but we both decided that we prefer our brownies without peppermint. I think it overwhelmed the chocolate flavor. But then again, we're not really "peppermint people." They were good, though! I made them Saturday evening, then we had them on Sunday evening (at room temperature) with vanilla ice cream. Then, we each had one last night as an appetizer before dinner (again, at room temperature). I much preferred them on their own.
I think that my future baking endeavors will probably include this base brownie recipe studded with Reese Cups, or maybe with a ribbon of caramel running through them. Yum!
Please stop by Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life for the recipe. Happy baking!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Luke 1:37

I'm so very sad to report that little Luke passed away Saturday morning at around 12:10am. I am amazed at the number of people that Luke and his parents ministered to over the last few weeks. I think it's safe to say that Luke did more for God's kingdom in his 12 days than many of us will accomplish in a lifetime! I ask that you please remember Benson and Kristin during this difficult time.
Even though Luke's time here on earth was short, he will continue to be an influence on everyone who hears about him. His parents have established Luke 1:37 Ministries in order to keep on bringing glory to God through Luke's life. Please continue to visit their blog, The Sexton 3...Luke's story is only beginning!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heavy Stuff

If you stop by very often, you've probably noticed that there haven't been very many posts around here lately. Well, we've been a little preoccupied over here at The Sweet Life. The last couple of weeks have been psychologically and emotionally stressful for a couple of reasons.
Let me introduce you to someone...his name is Luke Sexton:

Isn't he beautiful? This handsome little guy doesn't belong to me and David, but he is the newborn son of Benson and Kristin Sexton. (I went to Lindsey Wilson College with Benson and worked with him in Freshman Advising for a couple of years.) Luke was born last Tuesday evening, and he's a very sick little boy. He was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, and he needs your prayers. In the past week, he's had a heart catheterization and at least one surgery. Lately, he's really impressed his doctors with his progress, but this morning, we got a bad report. It seems that Luke isn't responding well to his medications anymore, and his doctors have told Benson and Kristin that Luke's only hope of survival is a miracle. I ask that you please pray for miraculous healing for Luke, for guidance and wisdom for his doctors and nurses, and for strength and peace for Benson and Kristin. They have set up a blog called The Sexton 3, and they update it regularly to share the story of Luke's miracle. Please visit their blog to get Luke's full story, and if you'd like, leave them a comment to let them know that you're thinking of them. This little guy's situation is very serious, and I know that the family covets your prayers.
David and I have not only been thinking a lot about little Luke, but we also learned that someone else that we love has been hurt. It's hard to think about much else when someone you love is hurting. So...David and I are a little preoccupied and I'm not sure I can promise many recipes or exciting posts in the near future. I've been thinking for a couple of weeks that maybe I should switch the focus of the blog from strictly cooking and food and include some other things. I might start working on that soon.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that The Sweet Life hasn't disappeared, but I'd love for you to spend some time in prayer for Luke and his family today. Take care!

*Edit* One of the links to Luke's blog wasn't working, but I fixed it.

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