4-0h and Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake

Updated with pictures at the bottom.

It was (still is for another hour) my birthday today. Mostly, it was a day like any other day: taking care of kids, food shopping, cooking, cleaning and eventually getting the kids to bed. Aaah! Silence. Evening silence is always nice.

I received the best gifts this year. Mr Siili bought me a new-to-me laptop. It was a complete surprise. I was happily plugging along with my very slow laptop. This former business-owned laptop is insanely fast! I got to test it out the last couple of nights, but Mr Siili and the kids wrapped it up this morning and made me a card to go with it. Paxlet covered it with stickers and wrote his own name. Tadbit even drew on it a bit.
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Also, I received a package from my family last night. In the package was the redwood desk my dad made me when I was a little girl. Oh my goodness! I love it and am so happy to have it here. I’ll take pictures of it and post them soon.

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During this evening’s peaceful silence, I’m baking a Chewy Gooey Brownie Cake for my “party” on Saturday. This cake, if you can really call it a cake, is everything the title says and more. It is a dense, chocolatey, gooey heaven with a cream cheese like layer on top. I remember when I first tasted this at GCC, the coffee house where I worked at when I was younger. I didn’t try it for a long time because there is nuts in it. I don’t do nuts. Not in my Banana Nut Bread nor my Chocolate Chip Cookies. But this, it works! And nuts aren’t so bad in the other two recipes either, just if I have the choice when baking them, I leave the nuts out.

Here’s the crust (right) and filling already prepared and the spring form pan waiting to be assembled.
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I have taken to doubling the topping (filling) because it is yummy! And in my opinion, there’s not enough of it as the recipe calls for. Here you can see some of the crust drowning peeking out from under the topping. When a regular amount of the topping is made, you want to spread the topping close to the edge, but not quite going over it or touching the sides. Once baked and cooled, it creates a pretty edge/rim.
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The cake is still in the oven. I hope to post finished pictures soon/tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the recipe below.

Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake

Bake at 350F (325F) for 60-65 minutes
Use a toothpick to check for done-ness. The toothpick will come out clean when done.

Use a 9″ spring form pan. Put a layer of baking paper on the bottom of the pan. Cool the cake when done. Remember to remove the wax paper before putting it in the fridge to chill.

Crust:
Mix:
1 cup (8oz / 225g) melted butter
4 squares melted unsweetened chocolate (12 tablespoons baking cocoa + 4 tablespoons butter)
Beat in:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
Stir in:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Filling: (I usually double this.)
Beat until fluffy:
8oz (230g) soft cream cheese
Add and beat 2 minutes:
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Drop large spoonfuls on top of the chocolate layer. Use a knife to lightly score, in a crisscross pattern. (I don’t do this when I double the filing.)

Topping:
Mix together and cover the top of the cake and drizzle some drips down the side:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoons boiling water
Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans) on top

Update: here’s the finished cake on the left.
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And it cut:

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#MicroblogMondays – Soda Crackers

I have been looking for soda crackers (aka saltines) ever since I came to Finland, 16 years ago. I have found water crackers, soup crackers (almost the same), Ritz crackers and every other type of crackers imaginable, but not soda crackers. Until a couple of weeks ago! I found them! I found them in olive mixed with some other flavor and sesame flavor. Not exactly the plain soda crackers I truly want, but the the texture is what I want and the sesame flavor isn’t too strong for the purpose I have in mind: Soda cracker bars aka Faux Almond Roca.

I remember my mom making this recipe. And then I remember her teaching me how to make it before I moved out o my own. It is so easy and very delicious.

Soda cracker bars (as my mom gave me the instructions)

Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease. Then lay 40 soda crackers evenly over the bottom. Boil 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup real butter 3 minutes. Pour over crackers. Bake at 350F in the oven until bubbly (approx. 10 min) and crackers float. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes (or not). Cover with 6-12 ounces chocolate chips, spread when they melt. Put chopped almonds on top. Cut while warm.
Just like eating the candy!

My notes: Baking paper would probably work better/easier, plus no need to grease.
My stepmom says gluten free pretzels work quite well and give an extra crunch.

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s post at Stirrup Queens.

May Day

It’s May first and Vappu* here in Finland.

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This year Mr Siili and Paxlet made sima (lightly fermented lemon mead) and I made tippaleipä (funnel bread). I thought about taking both kids downtown to see what was going on, but Paxlet has a bit of a cold, there are just too many people downtown celebrating exuberantly and I just couldn’t get my act together today. So, we just stayed home and enjoyed a day together.

I’m too lazy to write up the recipes, so here are some links that do them justice.
Sima recipe #1
Sima recipe #2
Tippaleipä

*I’ve explained Vappu several times over the years, I can’t be bothered this year. If you want to know more, search my blog with the word “vappu”.

Potato bread

Paxlet and I made potato bread / perunarieska today. He poured everything into the bowl. He mixed things up. And he ate lots of the end result.
potbread

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This bread recipe is one of my favorites! It takes a bit of time, but the end results are so yummy. Especially when you put a bit of butter and cheese on them when they come out of the oven. Yum!

You can find the recipe for potato bread here. It’s the 3rd post I wrote on this blog.

Feeling guilt

It’s been 5 days since Tadbit was born and 3 days that us girls have been home to complete our family of 4. This whole thing: being a family of four, having a newborn in the house and life in general, is surreal. It is very different than before. I’m not even sure I can say it is different than what I had imagined, because I’m not even sure what it was that I had imagined before Tadbit was born.

What I do know is that I love Paxlet with my whole heart! And I love Tadbit with with my whole heart, yet I don’t feel it as strongly as I do with Paxlet at the moment. I think the difference in how I feel my love for the two has to do with the fact that I have a history (2 years and 7 months) with Paxlet and Tadbit’s history is just getting started.

But that’s not where I feel the guilt. The guilt comes from another place.

As I sat in Paxlet’s room last night, with Paxlet on my left leg and Tadbit curled up in my right arm, I sang “Sunshine” to Paxlet. You know, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshine away.” At least that is how I sing it to him. As I was singing that, I just started crying. And this is where the guilt comes in. I love my boy so much, that I worry that I (we) have screwed up Paxlet. Not screwed him up in his life or the fact that he won’t or will be a good person. I worry that maybe he should have stayed an only child. We’ve brought a 2nd child into our lives and who knows if we’ve really thought it through in regards to Paxlet. Does Paxlet know how much I/we love him?

I know most of this has to do with my hormones crashing post pregnancy (I remember it well with Paxlet), but man, I love my boy and girl. I just want what is best for them and to be the best parent I can be.

Mug cakes and cookies

I can’t take credit for any of the mug cakes and cookie recipes I have. I have found them all online one way or another. In any case, here are links to where I found the recipes I use.

Peanut Butter Mug Cake at Kirbie’s Cravings. There is also an eggless and lower calorie version on her website. If you really like PB, search her site, as I discovered many more PB recipes!
All mug cake/cookie recipes in one place. Uh oh, my waist line is in trouble!
I also just noticed that she has published a book of mug cake recipes. Hmm, more yum anyone?!

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup at No. 2 Pencil. There are a ton of choco-chip cookie recipes, in a mug or in the oven. This just happens to be the first one I found and I liked it!

Snickerdoodle Mug Cake at Five Heart Home.

These are just a few recipes I have found, tried and like! The recipe possibilities are endless, just as it would be if I were to continue search for more recipes. Let me know if you try one and like it or if you find something I’ve not mentioned and like (love?) it. I’m always game for a new recipe to try, especially when they only take a few minutes to make.

#MicroblogMonday – butter fingers

I’ve heard it said that pregnant women can be quite clumsy and I have found it true, at least for myself. My most recent butter finger incident was yesterday as I tried to grab a carton of eggs out of the fridge. There were 8 eggs in the 10-pack carton (yes, we have 10 in a carton here). I managed to salvage 5 in a usable way: 2 went immediately to french toast, as that was my original goal for even taking them out of the fridge and 3 were put in a container for later use. The other 3 had to be tossed out as they splatted on the dirty kitchen floor.

egg drops

Almost too perfect not to photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I used two of the yolks to make mug cookies in the microwave. The first recipe I tried was Sugar Cookie in a Mug from No. 2 Pencil. Meh, it was ok. However, the second one I tried was a 5 minute chocolate chip cookie from Jo and Sue. Y U M !

I’ve mentioned microwave mug-recipes before with my 5 minute chocolate mug cake recipe (YUM!). I have since found a peanut butter cake (YUM!), snicker doodle mug cake (decent) and possibly another one or two recipes I’ve found. I’ll try and remember to share them soon.

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s post at Stirrup Queens.