Monday, August 3, 2020

CHURCH WINDOWS: Guest Post & Recipe by Mystery Author Alice Loweecey

Church Windows: Guest post and Recipe by Alice Loweecey

Time has no meaning anymore, can I get a witness? I’m working from home five days a week, but my co-workers and I often ask each other what day it is. I get in my car once a week to drive to the grocery store and back, a total of three miles.

Which brings me to the Christmas cookies i made this week. Yes, it’s July. At least I presume it is, since it’s been a steam room here in Buffalo for weeks. I’ve been making cookies a lot lately. My current favorite is frosted orange with a touch of lemon, but I try to make something different every week.

As an aside, I’ve also discovered a YouTube seven-minute exercise video which claims you’ll drop a dress size in seven days. I don’t know about the dress size, but I lost an inch at the three usual measurement points after the first week. I’m keeping this routine up because of another important result: more chocolate for me with less guilt!

Last Friday at the grocery store I saw bags of fruit-flavored mini-marshmallows. It’s been ages since I saw those. They leaped into my cart of their own accord, I swear. As they nestled among the strawberries and lettuce, I mentally paged through my pantry. This would happen.

When I was a kid, a family friend made Church Windows at Christmas. I’ve always been the baker in the family, and I glommed onto this one. They’re no-bake, easy to make, and delicious. And they have chocolate. The perfect combination. They have another benefit: They’re very sweet, so I can’t eat more than two at a time. My waistline approves.

Here’s a childhood memory from me, no longer trapped in Christmas. Enjoy!

Church Windows 

Ingredients
8 oz chocolate chips
1 tsp oil
3 cups flavored mini-marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
A long sheet of wax paper

Directions
1. Pour the nuts and marshmallows in a large bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave (the oil helps make it smooth).
3. Pour the chocolate over the marshmallows and nuts.
4. Spray your hands with cooking spray and mix everything up.
5. When all the marshmallows are coated, pick the mixture up and set them on the wax paper. Form them into a log, wrap them, and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Slice and serve. They're really good cold.

Note: I’ve heard of alternates: rolling the log in flaked coconut before chilling, and using extra chocolate for a more defined stained-glass window effect.

***

Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, ex-nun Alice Loweecey celebrates the day she jumped the wall with as much enthusiasm as her birthday. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she's not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll (9 cozy mysteries) or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan (3 stand-alone horrors), she can be found growing vegetables in her garden and water lilies in her koi pond.

Website: aliceloweecey.net
Facebook: facebook.com/alice.loweecey
Twitter: @AliceLoweecey

Sunday, August 2, 2020

CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

I've posted lots of easy Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich recipes including one for making your own Chipwich, but here's another recipe from Martha Stewart for a very sturdy chocolate chip cookie which is essential for chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. I'm always looking for new chocolate chip cookie recipes.

One change I would make is to use either Chocolate Chip Ice Cream or in my case Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. One other TIP for making ice cream sandwiches is to soften the ice cream and use a cookie cutter to get the size you want rather than just spreading on the cookie. This is great because when you squeeze, ever so lightly, you'll have a perfect center with very little cookie crumbling.

And, of course, you can use packaged big chocolate chip cookies if you're in a hurry.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 pint Ben & Jerry's Jerry Garcia ice cream (or whatever you like)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Using  electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix in 1 cup chocolate chips.
Using 1 rounded tablespoon per cookie, drop mounds of dough, about 1 1/2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. (You'll have 25 to 30 cookies.) Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Scatter remaining chocolate chips on a plate. Place about 2 tablespoons ice cream between 2 cookies--or cut a chunk of ice cream using a cookie cutter the approximate size-pressing slightly until ice cream exceeds or matches the size of the cookies, bottoms facing in; press gently.
Roll sides of each sandwich in chips. (If ice cream is melting, place sandwiches in freezer until firm enough to roll in chips.) Transfer sandwiches onto baking sheets. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours; then wrap individually in plastic.
Freeze up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

SPICY CHOCOLATE MUSTARD COOKIES: National Mustard Day

Today is Mustard Day, and these Spicy Chocolate Cookies are a great way to celebrate. Make these and ask your family to identify the 'surprise' ingredient! How fun! Remember, you can never have too many chocolate cookie recipes! Thanks to Colman's Mustard for providing this great recipe!

Spicy Chocolate Mustard Cookies

Ingredients                            
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate  
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour       
1 tsp baking powder          
1/2 tsp cinnamon                 
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp Colman’s Original Prepared Mustard

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt chocolate in small heavy saucepan over low heat and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, and set aside.
In electric mixer, cream together butter and 2/3 cup sugar. Add melted chocolate and egg and beat well. Dissolve Colman’s Mustard in heavy cream and add to chocolate mixture. On lowest speed, fold in sifted flour mixture. Divide dough in half.
Place each half on sheet of waxed paper and form into 10-inch strip. Using waxed paper to help, lift and roll each strip into 10-inch cylinder. Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper, twisting the ends secure.
Chill for two hours.
Slice in 3/4 inch rounds.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cool and enjoy!



Friday, July 31, 2020

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE: National Raspberry Cake Day

I love chocolate and raspberries, especially when they're together in a cake. So here's another great recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cake for National Raspberry Cake Day! It's so easy. Recipe below from BUTTER with a side of BREAD. Main ingredients you need - a chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) and a bag of frozen raspberries. And, you can make this in a bundt pan, so it's also pretty. You can frost or not. Of course, if you're a purist, here's a link to my all time favorite 'from scratch' Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Martha Stewart. Not only does it use fresh raspberries, but there's a splash of of raspberry liqueur in the recipe! Two choices to celebrate the day!

EASY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE 

Ingredients
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 (12 oz) bag frozen raspberries

Directions
Partially thaw raspberries  (set out for 20-30 minutes before making cake).
Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, and oil together with electric mixer.
Fold in frozen raspberries (Tip: Use electric mixer for about 5-10 seconds to chop up raspberries a bit but still have some larger pieces of raspberry in cake).
Pour into well-greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting pan and placing the cake on plate.

(optional)
CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Ingredients
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add milk and sugar and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat.
Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
Let set for minute or two to set up a little bit, making it the best consistency to pour/spread on cake.

And, as I mentioned above, you can always make a Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Scratch using fresh raspberries.