Thursday, September 25, 2014

Moms Swirl Squares

I'm not sure if I've ever had these before, I mean I think I have, but I don't think I've had this particular recipe or even had Swirl Squares that my mom might have made, but... she has it handwritten down in her scribbler, so it was worth trying :)

Swirl Square

Going in to making these, I had no clue what they would turn out like. But after seeing them out of the oven, these are chocolate chip cookies baked in a pan ...and a lot easier to make!

I added a 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup of butter to the mixer and let it go while I got the flour, baking soda, and salt ready.

Once the sugar, butter, and egg mixture was mixed well, I stirred in the flour mixture and then the nuts. I was expecting a batter, but it was really thick. I was really thinking I did something wrong. I checked online for other recipes to see if I was missing a liquid, but I wasn't.  So don't be surprised when it's like a cookie dough!

I pressed it down in to a greased baking pan and dropped the square baking chunks that I had leftover on to the top.  The recipe says to bake for 1 -2 minutes to melt them, but I went for 4 minutes before taking them out of the oven.

Even at 4 minutes they weren't completely melted, but I did my swirling with the knife anyways. I have to say I was a bit concerned with the thickness of the dough and swirling the chocolate through it. I really felt like it would stay all mangled looking and not soften or even out!

I was happy when it came out of the oven looking half decent! But would it be dry and crunchy like toast or grainy or or or... my experience with marbled or swirled desserts has been mostly limited to cake or cheesecake, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out it was basically a giant square cookie.

I had frozen the leftover Nutella Frosting that I used on the Fudge Four O'Clocks, so after a bit of defrosting, I used it on the Swirl Squares.  YUM!

Notes on the recipe:

My mom's recipe has a bit of a glitch in it. She's got an additional measure that isn't tied to anything.

3/4 cup   1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar

But, it seems like her recipe is half of a Five Roses recipe, somewhat. The Five roses calls for 1 cup brown sugar CHECK! 1/2 cup of white sugar...WAIT! That doesn't add up, but if I cut it in half it's 1/4 cup and if I add it to the half of brown sugar then it equals the 3/4 cup...hrmm..what to do?... I really do think this is the Five Roses recipe from online.

I decided on the 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 cup white. It doesn't seem overly sweet to me, but try it out for yourself :)

Swirl Squares
The recipe and instructions are how she wrote it out.
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup   1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. In a large bowl measure butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg. 
  2. Beat until blended
  3. Stir in flour, soda, salt, and nuts
  4. Spread in a 9X9 inch greased pan
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top
  6. Bake 375 F for 1 - 2 minutes until chocolate chips are soft enough to marble.
  7. Run knife through batter
  8. Bake 20 minutes more.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fudge Four O'Clocks with Nutella Frosting


I've been slacking a bit. Back from visiting family and then back to work.  I pulled out the blanket I'm crocheting and tried to learn a few new stitches. I admit, I've been obsessed with crafting lately, it's creative like cooking and baking, but without the calories! Lets not talk about the 5 new quilts I've planned on making...and I've never quilted before!  Should be fun...but on to the baking...Fudge Four O'Clocks, it sounds like something Audrey Hepburn would have in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Fudge Four O'Clock with Nutella Frosting

I was going to make Brownies from the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cook Book, but the recipe for the Brownies is almost the same as the one for Fudge Four O'Clocks, and well, the Four O'Clocks have frosting!. I could also argue that the deciding factor was the 1950's picture...and the fact that I had a jar of Nutella in my cupboard just waiting for something chocolatey to be put upon :)

Fudge Four O'Clocks spread with fluffy frosting and crowned with nuts.

The recipe is quite simple with not a lot of ingredients, which I love. I think improvements on this recipe would be with the type of chocolate one uses. I just used some no name semi-sweet chocolate chunks that I had, nothing special, but it was still yummy. So better chocolate would make this even more wonderful!

Once you've gathered together your ingredients and have melted the chocolate, pour it over the shortening.

Chocolate and shortenings

And stir until blended well. It wasn't blended smoothly, most likely because the chocolate was only moderately warm, so I heated it for a few seconds in the microwave. Viola!

chocolate and shortening melted

Beat the eggs until yellow and thick and then gradually add in the sugar.  Pour the chocolate mixture in with the eggs and sugar along with a bit of the flour.

chocolate, shortening, sugar, and eggs

Add the flour and milk to the batter, and once mixed well, stir in the nuts.

Pour the batter into two 8X8 inch pans that are greased and lined with waxed paper.   Oh...the batter seems very runny. I'm not sure if all brownie recipes are like that since I don't make a lot of them.

Well...I remember my mom using waxed paper all the time for things like this. Birthday cakes were amazing things way back then. Sure they were lined with waxed paper to bake, but...BUT!!...they also had pennies, nickels, dimes, and the luckiest of quarters inside and all of them were wrapped in waxed paper and baked inside the cake. Each slice was a surprise to see what money you might find! I love those days, no one was worried you might accidentally choke on a kids, we knew what was in there. Ahh, the good old days of being able to eat dirt!  Haha, I digress... I didn't have waxed paper so I used parchment paper instead.

Fudge Four O'Clocks fresh from the oven

When I first took them from the oven they seemed a bit gooey...more gooey than a brownie hot from the oven should be, so I baked it another 10 minutes.

The frosting I used is from Remodelaholic's website and it's so yummy. It came out a bit thick, so I added a tiny bit of milk and then tried to spread it...oiy! It was like trying to spread fridge cold peanut butter and it was pulling up the fragile top of the brownies!  I added a bit more milk and thinned it up quite a bit more and spread it over the top of the thicker frosting to give it a cleaner look.  You can see it in the picture, it looks like there are 3 layers. But honestly, this is one accident I would do again! It was creamy and decadent!

I definitely recommend these!

Fudge Four O'Clocks with Nutella Frosting

Fudge Four O'Clocks
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950 (pg 743)

  • 2 ounces chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped
  1. Melt chocolate and pour over shortening. Mix well
  2. Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored.
  3. Add sugar gradually, beating well with each addition.
  4. Combine mixtures (chocolate/shortening and egg/sugar) and add a little of the flour.
  5. Sift rest of flour, salt, and baking powder together and add, alternatively with the milk.
  6. Add chopped nuts.
  7. Spread in 2 8X8 inch pans which have been greased and lined with waxed paper
  8. Bake in a slow oven (325 F)  20 minutes
  9. Cut into 32 bars 1X4 inches.

Nutella Frosting
(from Remodelaholic - click link above to visit!)

  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • one shake salt
  • splash of milk (if needed)
  1. Beat the Nutella and butter together until smooth.  
  2. Add the sprinkle of salt and the first 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, beat until combined.  
  3. Continue to add the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, beating between additions, until creamy and smooth.  
  4. Add a small splash of milk if necessary.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig!

Back home again after visiting the family. It was a great vacation. I spent time visiting friends and family....and a LOT of cooking and baking.  Sadly, the drive back through the parks was almost as miserable weather wise as going there, but I snapped a picture anyways :)

While visiting, I made all my goto's, Peanut Butter cookies, Ginger cookies, Iced pumpkin cookies, Nanaimo bars (Nanaimo is a city in British Columbia), and more of the yummiest Carrot cake ever that I made 2 weeks ago. Half I left for my daughter and the other half I froze for a friend of mine.

I also did a lot of cooking (homemade Pizza, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Shepherds pie ...well Cottage pie actually since it was made with hamburger, and Chicken Pot Pie). I think I gained 10 lbs!  but that is ok, my friend and I are going to be accountable to each other for losing weight...or at least behaving :)

While I was in the big city of Prince George (75,000 people), I stopped in at a used book store called The Final Chapter. It's a great store and the gentleman who works there (owner?) is very friendly and helpful. I highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for something to read. Downtown is somewhat ugly and in need of some tender loving care, but hopefully that will change soon, but unless folks go shopping down there - it won't revitalize...ok, enough about inner-city politics. The kids each picked out a book for themselves - Percy Jackson and a Halo novel, respectively, while I found myself a nice very well preserved copy of a 1950 shortening recipe booklet by Jewel Shortening. I've never even heard of them, but they are Canadian. The recipes listed sound delicious and I want to make everything!  Yay Canada!

I love these brand cook books. The recipes all seem tried, tested,  and published proudly by the company. The recipes were meant to represent the company and promote brand loyalty, they wouldn't fill it with recipes that did not do the company proud,  unlike a lot of cookbooks nowadays where it seems like they dumped in a bunch of untested recipes just to fill the books and make sales.

I think the older Purity, Five Roses, and Robin Hood cookbooks I have try their best to have great recipes, where as the Culinary Arts and American Woman's cookbook have some questionable recipes, but I think the objective of those 2 books are to be encyclopedic in nature and cover everything they possibly can.  That being said, up next are Brownies from The Culinary Arts Institute Cook Book from the 1950's.

Cya then!