Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Out of the Box

Once again I am having trouble uploading pictures onto our computer so that I can post them on here. And while I didn't have a ton of pictures for you all today, I did have some, and they would have helped to demonstrate my point of the blog. Anyway, I figured I would still post, sans pictures, and hope to get them posted later this week.

With the holiday season upon us, I have lots of baking to do, and last week was no exception. My husband need a Thanksgiving themed dessert for a pig out at his work. I also had some friends over for a jewelry party, and had promised everyone goodies. So to make life easier, I turn to my good friends Duncan Hines and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Now don't be so surprised and please pick your jaw up off the floor. Yes, there are times I use mixes. Duncan Hines makes a kick ass brownie, and it's a lot easier then chopping all the chocolate. I know people see using mixes as cheating or just buying store bought bake goods, but if you really think about it, even if you use a mix, it's still home made, it's just not from scratch. Now, don't get be wrong, I just didn't open a box, bake it off and then tried to pass it off as some wonderful creation. I doctored everything, adding components that were made from scratch to my mixes. For The pig out party at Jeff's work, I made brownies two ways. The first was a caramel apple brownie, were I topped the brownie mix with chopped apples and caramel chips. The second was a pumpkin cream cheese swirl brownie. Here I made the pumpkin cream cheese mix and then added it to the brownie mix. (when I get my pictures on here, I will include the recipe for the pumpkin cream cheese filling along with another recipe).

My next fancying up of mixes came when I made mini brownies for the jewelry party. I had some leftover pumpkin mix, so I made some mini brownie cupcakes, topped them with the pumpkin mix and baked. After they were cool, I topped them with a dollop of yummy ganache. They were the hit of the night. Also for that night, I took a roll of Pillsbury Crescent dough (the sheet, not the rolls), made up a filling of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, and made some mini cinnamon rolls. Once they were cooled, I took some cream cheese and some caramel sauce to make a nice icing for the rolls. And here's a little tip about caramel sauce. Caramel sauce is not something I usually keep in house, and I wasn't going to make a batch of it just for a little icing. So what I did was use the caramel sauce that comes with McDonald's Apple Dippers. You might find this crazy, but our kids don't eat the apples with the sauce (keeping part of the Happy Meal healthy), so we save a few for occasions just like this. Then you have caramel sauce and not the messy jar that always seals itself shut.

So after confessing to using mixes sometimes, I hope you all don't think any less of my baking skills, and see this post as a new way to make something spectacular, yet easy on you. You really can do a lot with mixes, heck there are books out there on this whole subject. And when you need something fast, mixes can be a great help, and still be home made.

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