Monday, March 12, 2012

Fudgy Peanut Butter Bars

I've been so inspired by pinterest lately. I came across this peanut butter bar recipe several times. I pinned it because it looked yummy--but I made it because it used a cake mix, and I was intrigued.

The dough consisted of:
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup peanut butter (most recipes said creamy, I used crunchy)
2 eggs
1 cup of butter
Mix well. Pat all but 1 cup into a baking pan. (I doubled the recipe and used a large jelly roll pan. If you do this, make sure to reserve the equivalent extra dough.)

Melt 1 bag chocolate chips, 2 T of butter, and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over low heat. Stir until it is smooth and thick, like fudge sauce.

Pour the fudge sauce over the uncooked cookie dough. I would reserve about 3/4 cup of the sauce if you double the recipe so that it doesn't fall over the pan while it's baking. (Use it on vanilla ice-cream......ooh! That would be so delicious.)
After I had the fudge spread out evenly, I took the remaining dough and patted it thin in my hand, and then laid it over the fudge.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or till golden brown; more or less, depending upon your oven.
Cool the pan completely before cutting. My kids were taking swipes at it with spoons while it was still warm. The fudge hasn't set up yet and just oozes into the open spot if cut too soon. At room temperature, the bars can be cut without any oozing. The butter in the recipe gives the cookie a crispy exterior, but is soft and moist, otherwise. They are super yummy and rich--so don't forget a glass of cold milk! Enjoy.

Corned Beef Brisket with Current Jelly

We had our St Patrick's dinner a week early. And if I had been thinking more Irish, I would have put the potatoes in the middle to mimic the tri-color flag. Anywhoo...
We had a "gorgeous" dinner with some family favorites. A few years back, a friend introduced me to corned beef brisket. It was so delicious, that we now have it several times a year and is one of Jeff's favorite meals. It's so easy to make and so worth sharing.

I start by putting a couple of large briskets in a crock pot and covering with water. I shake the little bag of seasoning from the package in and let it cook on low all day. The meat should be fork-tender after 5-6 hours. The I take it out and break it up into small pieces. Sometimes there is a lot of fat around the roast--I remove all of it. Then I put 2 bottles of Current Jelly over the top of the meat. [I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to loosen the jelly from the jar. If you microwave it for a minute, it starts to liquefy and become pourable.]

I pour the jelly over all the brisket. It seemed a little odd doing this the first time--but it was so worth the risk. Finding the Current jelly wasn't easy or cheap. At the bigger grocery stores, I noticed that this was a 'specialty' kind of jelly. I happened to also find it made by Smucker's for half the price. The only store I've found that carry the Smucker's version is Fred Meyer (Kroger). I've tried this recipe with cherry jam and other exotic jellies I find--but we always come back to Current jelly because it tastes so amazing.

After I spread the jelly around the meat evenly, I put it in the oven to broil on low for 4-5 minutes. It's just enough to melt the rest of the jelly and have it turn into a sticky glaze. Watch the heat and the meat closely so that it doesn't burn or get hardened and dry. I use tongs to mix up the meat afterwards so that every bit is nicely coated.

To compliment our delicious meat, I served it with scalloped potatoes and steamed Parmesan asparagus. After the asparagus was done cooking, I pour melted butter over it and then sprinkled Kraft Parmesan cheese on it. Because of the heat and steam from the vegetables, the cheese started to melt. It was amazing and didn't need any other seasoning or salt.

I lived in Ireland for a year and a half, and I don't remember having corned beef brisket even once. I know that corned beef is a typical "St Patrick's Day" meal--but our family enjoys it year round because it is so delicious. Erin Go Bragh!!