Saturday, 24 March 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie

As the original post said, "Who could resist the combo?" We we certainly couldn't. It looks and sounds delicious!!

The process did not start out on the right foot for me. Put parchment paper in a greased pan, then re-grease the pan?  Why not just grease the pan?  I did as i was told and put parchment paper in the pan, and made quite a mess of it, BUT it was done.  Next oopsie, I didn't have unsweetened chocolate for the brownies, only semi-sweet. No biggie. Oh, and I didn't have light brown sugar packed, so I used a medium brown sugar. Another no biggie.

While these treats look delicious, they did not have the wow factor that I expected.  Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe my substitutions were the cause.  Either way, it was not the dessert I had in mind.  The brownie was not chocolatey enough for me, and it was not as moist as I typically like my brownies.  The cookie dough you could taste the butter and sugar.  It still had that sugary crunch. Maybe I should have whipped the butter and sugar together a little more.  The Ganache topping, well that was delightful and tasty.  Although, mine needs to be refrigerated to keep the topping solid.

I still think the idea of these brownies is fantastic.  My suggestion would be to use your favorite brownie recipe, and your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.  Go ahead and use the Ganache, its tasty and looks nice too ;-)

Here is a picture of my brownies, followed by the original recipe....

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies...adapted from Recipe Girl

Brownie layer:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour

Cookie dough layer:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Ganache topping:
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cream

Preheat oven to 325ยบ.  Grease 9 x 13 pan and line with parchment paper lengthwise with a slight overhang on each side.  Grease parchment.  Set aside.
Make brownie layer. Melt chocolate in the microwave using 30 second increments, stirring until melted and smooth.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar till well mixed.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Mix in melted chocolate. Stir in flour; don't over mix.  Spread into prepared pan.  Bake 25-35 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.

Make cookie dough. With an electric mixer combine butter and both sugars.  Mix in milk and vanilla; stir in flour.  Add chocolate chips and mix to combine.  Spread over cooled brownie layer.  Cool till firm (can freeze to hurry along process).

Make ganache. Melt remaining chocolate and cream together in microwave, stopping at 30 second intervals to stir till smooth and chocolate is melted.  Spread over dough layer. Chill for easier cutting.  You may pull the whole batch out with the parchment to cut or just cut pieces from pan.

Chicken Breasts with Cilantro and Red Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

Today was our first Experimental Saturday!  I made dinner and dessert, but I will put dessert in a separate blog so they are easier for people to find later!

I found this recipe browsing around on Pinterest, and we selected it as our first experiment because we had chicken in the freezer.  I though it would be relatively inexpensive to prepare. The only things I didnt have handy were ginger, cilantro, peanut oil, rice vinegar, red Thai curry paste, and coconut milk. Hahaha. Most of the ingredients.  The chili sauce and coconut milk were about $5 each, and the peanut oil was about $7. None of these items were sold at Walmart either, so it did require and additional trip to Thrifty's.

The final product not only looks nice, but it is quite tasty! Even Avery ate the chicken and peanut sauce.  I will definately recommend this recipe and make it again.  Although I will be including more of the Chilli paste, and maybe adding a little cayenne pepper to pep it up a little. We tend to like thinks a little spicier.

Here is my photo of our dinner tonight: (the pad thai is from a seasoning packet, I will be attempting it from scratch very soon).

This is the recipe I used, my comments are in red:
Chicken Breasts with Cilantro and Red Thai Curry Peanut Sauce
(4 servings, with lots of extra sauce for another use, from Fine Cooking Annual with slight adaptations by Kalyn - then readdapted a little by JoJo's Madhouse)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
2 T peeled and minced fresh ginger - I probably used 3, I didnt measure
1 T chopped fresh garlic - Again i probably used 3 here too
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter (without added sugar) at room temperature -
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not "seasoned" vinegar which has sugar)
2 T soy sauce
2 T Splenda or sugar (use Splenda for South Beach Diet)
1 tsp. red Thai Curry Paste (I like Thai Kitchen brand) - I used 2 heaping teaspoons, but next time I would probably use 3.  Also use Thai Kitchen brand
3 T homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth - i forgot to buy chicken stock so I just added a little water
fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 2 T peanut oil (depends on your pan)
1 cup unsweetened lite coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk)
4 T finely chopped cilantro (or more), plus more for garnish if desired

Trim chicken breasts so they are about the same size and remove any visible fat or ragged edges.  Put each chicken breast inside plastic bag or between plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound to even 1/2 inch thickness. 
Meh - i dont care if my chicken peices are the same size, and i dot have a meat mallet.  I did smack them around a bit to flatten them out to speed the cooking time.

Finely mince the ginger and garlic.  In food processor or immersion blender canister combine ginger, garlic, peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, Splenda or sugar, curry paste, and chicken stock. Taste to see if you want to add more red curry paste. (I didn't.)
I used my magic bullet and it worked just fine.

Heat the oil in heavy, large frying pan. Season chicken with black pepper, then add chicken to pan and saute over medium heat about until chicken breasts are nicely browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on first side, and 2-3 minutes more on second side.  (It's important not to overcook the chicken; it should feel barely firm to the touch when you take it out of the pan.)

Remove chicken to plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup coconut milk. (You can freeze the other 3/4 cup coconut milk for another time.) Scrape off browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then stir in peanut/curry/ginger paste mixture and heat through, about 2-3 minutes.

Add any juices that have accumulated on the pate and cook another minute or two.  Turn off heat and mix in chopped cilantro. Serve the sauce immediately over chicken breasts, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.

Website I found the recipe on: 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!! (and I hope it tastes as good tomorrow .. LOL)

Navigating Blogger

Good Morning!

Well here I am trying to navigate my way around blogger, and trying to make my page as user friendly as possible. I am not very tech savvy, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.  I have set up a few pages, but bare with me as I gradually build up the information within each page!

Home - this is obviously where my experience with trying to do all of the following will be documented.
About me - pretty self explanatory, and yes, it is empty (for right now)
Running - I will list some links to upcoming races. Mostly local for me, or races I am planning on running. 
Recipes - here I plan on posting links to the recipes that I am trying out for experimental Fri/Sat. Not sure what I will do if I decided to use my own recipe. 

Cakes - this will be a display of the cakes that I have decorated. Hopefully you will see some improvement as it goes along!
Crafts - a display of crafty projects I complete, and if appropriate links to the original idea.  That way you can compare my efforts to the original.
SLP Stuff - here I plan on compiling a list of useful links, resources, ideas etc.  If you have anything you would like to add, please contact me! (once I figure out how contact works)
Family - haven't figured this out yet, so stay tuned.

It's a beautiful day, so I need to get my day started. The baby needs a nap, I need to shop for the Experimental dinner (Chicken with Peanut and Red Thai Curry Sauce, and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake), and later this afternoon I need to take my bundle of energy to the park!!

Have a wonderful day,


Friday, 23 March 2012

Welcome to JoJo's Madhouse!!

Welcome to JoJo's Madhouse!!

A little about myself.... and where my motivation to blog comes from....
First and foremost I am a mommy to a beautiful 11 month old girl.  As my time to return to work approaches I decided to start this blog to track my efforts, and possible failures at doing it all.  Well maybe not it all, but what seems like an awful lot to me!  

Some of the things I am trying to accomplish include:
- Being the best mommy and wife I can be
- Returning to work in 3 weeks
- Training for a 10km race
- Decorating my first wedding cake
- Implementing experimental Friday or Saturday to test out new recipes  - thanks to Pinterest!
- STILL working on losing the last 5-8lbs of baby weight (depending on the day ;-))
- Always baking
- Planning my daughters 1st birthday, and of course the cake, invitations etc
- Expanding my cake decorating skills
- Avoiding housework
- Regaining my once fabulous self and style ;-)
- Getting my job skills up to date

I hope to be able to share some inspiration, recipes, and creative ideas.  I will try to incorporate pictures where possible, and leave all recipes I try out!

Looking forward to the many adventures ahead!!