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Cooking for Best Friends


Mrs. Fields’ Super Fudge Brownies
(I changed a few things along the way)
300 degrees
45-55 minutes

6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate or high cacao semi sweet chocolate (I used a mixture of the following: 2 oz Lindt 72% dark chocolate, 2 oz Cadbury’s milk chocolate, 2 oz Hershey’s dark chocolate)
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1.5 cups granulated sugar (I only use fine baker’s sugar)
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • In a double boiler, melt unsweetened chocolate (or your mixes of chocolate) and chocolate chips over medium heat until melted.  Stir constantly until there are no pieces left and you have a smooth mixture.  Add butter.  Stir til melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir again until smooth.
  • In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat eggs until light yellow in color, about 5 minutes.  
  • Add sugar and mix on low until well incorporated.
  • Add vanilla and melted chocolate to the egg mixture.  Mix on low until smooth. 
  • Add flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour batter into a greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan. (I did not use a spray.  I have found that the old fashioned method of greasing the pan with butter and then coating with flour works best.  Sprays get too sticky and end up ruining your pan.)
  • Bake on center rack of oven for 45-55 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure the batter is cooked.  Do not overbake.
  • Cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Cut and serve chilled.



Date Rumaki
Makes about 24
375 degrees
1 box of pitted dates
1 bottle of green olives with pimientos
1 package of bacon
  •  Take the bacon out of the package and cut each slice in half
  • Slice dates down one side and place a green olive in the date.  Take a slice of bacon and wrap around the date, placing toothpick through bacon, date, and olive so it stays in place.  Place bundles on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until the bacon is slightly crispy.  Serve hot.




Artichoke French Bread
350 degrees
25 minutes

1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded white cheese like mozzarella, provolone, or white cheddar (I used the four cheese Italian mixture from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup shredded cheddar (use 1/2 cup for the artichoke mixture and the other half for sprinkling)
1/2 sour cream
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 block)
1 French bread loaf
Salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven at 350
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add minced garlic about a minute.  Do not let it burn.
  • Add artichoke hearts, cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese.  Stir until well blended.  Once all of the cheese has melted, remove pan from the heat.
  • Slice bread lengthwise and scoop out down the middle to create a well.  (Save the scooped out bread for later – you can use it to scrape down your pan – yum!)
  • Spoon the artichoke mix into the bread and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top.
  • Lightly wrap each half in tin foil leaving the top exposed.  Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted completely.
  • Let cool slightly then cut into slices and serve warm.



Apple Slices with Salted Caramel Sauce

HELPFUL HINT: Apple Slices That Won’t Brown
Soak apple slices in 7-Up, gingerale, or any lemon-lime soda for at least ten minutes.  Remove from soda and place on paper towels to dry.  This is a lot cheaper than the ones from the grocery store and just as good. 

Salted Caramel Sauce
(from BlissfulDomesticity.com)

1 cup water
2 cups sugar (I use fine baker’s sugar)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt, fleur de sel, grey salt, sea salt, or kosher salt

  • In a 2-quart saucepan (not smaller, pour in water.  Add sugar gently to the middle of the pan – it will probably mound and begin to melt into the water, DO NOT STIR. 
  • Cover pot and place over high heat until it comes to a boil.  Once the sugar is boiling, stick your candy thermometer in it and continue to boil over high heat until it reaches 300 degrees and is a lovely pale amber in color.  Once it reaches 300 degrees, turn heat down to medium and boil until it reaches 350 degrees on the candy thermometer and is a deep, rich amber color.  Remove from heat once it reaches 350. (I placed a splatter screen over the top of the pan because sticky water was spraying my stove.  Because of the candy thermometer it won’t lay flat but it does help.)
  • While your pot of sugar and water is boiling, you can work on the rest of the recipe.  Pour cream into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. If the cream simmers before the sugar is ready, simply cover and remove from the heat.
  • Add a little of the warm cream to the hot sugar, about a quarter of it.  Be very careful, this will bubble up a lot.  Slowly add the rest of the cream.  When the bubbling subsides, whisk gently to incorporate.  
  • Add the butter and salt and whisk until the butter is melted and all ingredients are well combined.
  • Makes about 2 cups.
  • If you are planning on canning this sterilize your jars and lids first.  Once the jars have cooled pour mixture into jars.  Put the lids on while they are still on so you have a nice seal.
  • If you are serving, put caramel sauce into a pretty bowl and serve with apple slices.



adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com
serves 6

1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup orange juice
1 bottle red wine (I used an inexpensive red from Spain)
1/2 cup triple sec
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
1 orange, thinly sliced into rounds
1 lime, thinly sliced into rounds
1 pear, sliced into cubes
1 small Granny Smith apple, cut into cubes
1 small Macintosh apple, cut into cubes
1/2 jar maraschino cherries with syrup
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
2 cups lemon lime soda (optional) 

  • In a pitcher or large bowl, mix together the liquids: brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, and triple sec.
  • Add fruit slices and cubes along with the 1/2 jar of cherries and syrup.
  • Stir a few times until well mixed.
  • Add sugar to taste. 
  • Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
  • If you would like a fizzy drink or even one that is slightly sweeter, or you just want to make the mix go further, add the lemon lime soda.  Add the soda to the sangria mix before serving.



Cinnamon Rolls
serves 6-8
325 degrees
about 30 minutes

2 packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
flour for dusting 
1/2 cup of milk
4 tbls vanilla pudding powder (do not use instant pudding)
1-2 tbls vanilla extract (I really like vanilla extract so I use it generously)
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 sugar
4 tbls pumpkin pie spice
2 tbls ground cinnamon
2 tbls vanilla extract
3 tbls honey

  • Mix milk, vanilla pudding mix, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl mix together the sugars and spices until well blended.  Add vanilla extract then the honey and mix.  Add the butter last and mix until smooth or until you think you have a nice consistently to spread with.  Set aside.
  • Dust your work surface with flour.  Take rolls out the package and begin to make a sheet of dough.
  • Since the crescent rolls are perforated you will need to pinch the seams together to make one long rectangular sheet.  Ideally you don’t want there to be any holes or perforations left and have just one long piece.  (Do one package at a time.)  
  • Spread half of your butter sugar mix on the crescent roll sheet until you have a nice even coating of buttery sugary goodness.  Don’t spread quite to the edge.
  • When you have finished spreading the filling, start rolling to make a log.  If you notice that your dough is tearing a little as you roll just pinch together or overlap pieces.  In the long run it doesn’t matter if you have little tears here and there.
  • Once you have a log cut into slices as if you were cutting a loaf of bread.  I cut them into 3/4″ slices.  As you cut, place the slices in a non-stick 9×9 pan.
  • Now that you are finished with the first package do the same with the second package.
  • Once your pan is filled with rolls pour the milk mixture over all of the rolls making  sure the milk gets in all of the nooks and crannies.  Let set for about 5 minutes.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Check the middle of the pan to make sure it is cooked all the way through.  If you think you need to bake it a bit longer I would suggest baking in 3 minute increments.  You don’t want to overcook and end up with dry rolls.

6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (I use salted but you don’t have to)
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbls of milk (use more if you want a thinner frosting)

  • Mix well until frosting is smooth.  Let your rolls cool some before spreading.  Serve warm.  


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