Eggnog Sugar Cookie Bars

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InsideBruCrewLife.com

I had high hopes for these bars. Wouldn’t you love a recipe that promises the flavor of a sugar cookie with all the ease of a brownie or a bar? This version from InsideBruCrewLife.com popped up on my Pinterest feed at just the same time that I wanted cookies to eat during a Star Wars marathon with the family. How convenient for me!

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With no egg yolks, cream of tarter, corn starch, cream cheese or sour cream, this very basic assemblage of ingredients were gathered (under the supervision of two-thirds of the household’s pets). Also adding to the ease of directions- no refrigerator rest time, no smushing with glasses dipped in sugar. I changed only a couple things by omitting the rum flavoring from the cookie dough and icing, and using less sugar in the icing.

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click for WilliamsSonoma.com’s link for this good nutmeg grinder

Eggnog Sugar Cookie Bars
(as inspired by InsideBruCrewLife .com)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup eggnog
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg- use freshly ground nutmeg for out of this world flavor!
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside flour mixture.
  • In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, mix until combined; add eggnog, mix.
  • Add flour mixture to wet mix and stir until combined, but do not over mix.
  • Press dough into greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool before frosting
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My nutmeg grinder… love it!

Overall, I’d say that we like these cookies. They definitely were super easy, and fast to prepare. They are not a substitute for a really tender yet crisp sugar cookie, though. Sometimes you have to go through those extra steps and use those slightly different ingredients to get exactly what you want. It will be worth it.

Eggnog Icing
Cream together until very light and fluffy one stick of butter and 2 1/2 cups of butter. Slowly add 1/4 cup eggnog and add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Makes more than enough to frost the above recipe

 

 

 

Irish Cream Liqueur Brownies- A Delicious Experiment and Two Recipes

All Costco’s Kirkland brand drinks seem to be great- the wines, the liquors, and now… how about this Irish Cream Liqueur? Into the cart it went since I couldn’t pass up the possibility of a good drink.

We have since tried it, and the Kirkland Irish Cream Liqueur is a winner! On ice and in coffee, The Husband and I have loved it. The Bunco Club has indulged and gave their approval, but the level in the bottle has still barely dropped.What am I supposed to do with an enormous bottle? It’s time to experiment because this is a seriously ridiculous amount of booze…

How about brownies? Yum.

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The Ingredients

Irish Cream Liqueur Brownies

Oven at 350. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Into a large bowl put:

  • The brownie mix

Mix together in a small bowl or measuring cup:

  • 1/4 cup Irish Cream Liqueur instead of water (or amount of liquid as directed by recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee crystals

Beat together in a medium bowl:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or as directed)
  • 2 eggs (ditto)

Stir together the liqueur and egg mixes, then slowly add all the liquid mix into the large bowl with the instant brownie mix. Add in chocolate chips now, if you are using them in your recipe. Stir until combined, but don’t over mix. 

IMG_9748Pour batter into prepared pan. Follow your usual baking directions, and in about 25 minutes you should be in Brownie Bliss!

I need about a half gallon of milk right now, or maybe a big mug of black coffee… or two. I just tasted my brownie concoction and WOW. Very sweet, but Very good. I think that the brownie mix could have stood another tablespoon or two of liqueur, as the batter was not only more stiff than when usually made with water, but also- the Irish Cream Liqueur flavor is pretty mild.

Irish Cream Liqueur Icing (makes about 1 1/2 cups icing)

  • In bowl of stand mixer, slowly beat together one cube of butter, two ounces cream cheese(1/4 of an 8 oz. block) and two cups powdered sugar. Beat on high speed for three to four minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Stop the mixer and add one teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup Irish Cream Liqueur. Mix again, on low speed until combined, then high again for one to two minutes.

 

My Baking Notes:

-I used my family’s favorite boxed mix as a base and added my not-so-secret ingredients (instant coffee, vanilla, and chocolate chips). Remember, if you are going to use instant coffee crystals to punch up the chocolate flavor, you must add the dry coffee to the water/vanilla/liqueur and NOT directly into the batter, or they won’t dissolve.
-If you mix together all your liquids before stirring them into the brownie mix, you are much less likely to over mix the batter.

Bonus Tip!!

Ever hear that if you slice your brownies with a plastic knife, that they will slice more evenly and not get all ragged? Well, it is true.

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Metal knife vs. …

 

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…plastic knife (see the difference?

Yep. It works, slice up your brownies with a plastic knife from now on, everyone!

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Quite Possibly The World’s Best and Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup!

IMG_9715Part II, as continued from yesterday’s post…

This recipe is fantastic because it is so versatile. Everything can be thrown together with pre-made convenience foods, but honestly? It is unbeatable if you use your own salsa and make stock from scratch. Like all the best food, this dish is as good as the ingredients you use.

 

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(left) Yesterday’s stock from the slow cooker!

Ready? Here it is:

The Best, Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • shredded chicken
  • chicken broth
  • frozen corn
  • salsa
  • chili powder
  • shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips

Need exact measurements? I’ve got those:
(but remember, this is a very forgiving recipe in that you can change the amounts of each of the ingredients)

  • 3-4 quarts chicken stock (home made is best)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (home made or your favorite)
  • 2-4 teaspoons chili powder

Simmer the above ingredients for as long as you have patience, 20-60 minutes is fine. 

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…shredded chicken, frozen corn.

About ten minutes before you want to serve, finish the soup by adding the following two ingredients and heat through but don’t overcook:

  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels (12-16 ounces)
  • 2-4 cups chopped, cooked chicken (most of the meat from a rotisserie chicken)

Serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

A plop of sour cream is good on top, too. I never offer this, as The Husband doesn’t like the added dairy- he leaves out the cheese, too. Cretin.

This soup is also great with hominy instead of corn kernels. Buy your favorite prepared salsa if you don’t make your own, no cheap cilantro-less crap with added sugar allowed. Again, this soup is as good as the ingredients from which it is made.

Want this dish without any of the prep work? Break out a couple cartons of chicken broth, cooked chicken strips from the convenience section of the market, store bought salsa, chili powder, a bag frozen corn, tortilla chips, and pre-grated cheese. So easy. So good.

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Overnight Stock in the Slow Cooker -and- World’s Best and Easiest Tortilla Soup Recipe!!

IMG_9680Costco’s Rotisserie Chicken has its own Facebook fan page, I kid you not. There is a good reason why- for $4.99 you get close to a 3.5 pound, nicely roasted bird with better tasting meat than the pre-made, pre-sliced, supermarket fridge section fodder. While it isn’t organic or”free range,” (a nearly unregulated term), it does provide a whole bunch of “clean eating” protein.

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about two pounds of meat

From this 3.5 lb bird came a little over 2 pounds of meat… and the skin, bones and junk left over? DON’T THROW IT AWAY!!

If you want delicious, home made soups but don’t have half a day at home to make stock on the stove, your slow cooker is your ace in the hole! I’ve never tried this method, and have let the chicken carcass simmer for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours on my stovetop, and wanted to try this method for once. Is it easier with the slow cooker?

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THIS IS NOT WASTE

Observe:

Here’s all of the non-meat leftovers- about 1.5 pounds of carcass, in the slow cooker and covered with water to about an inch from the top of the crock…

This muck sat on low for about 12 hours overnight. In the morning I put a pot in the sink, the strainer in the pot, strained the broth, put it in the fridge, tossed the bones in the trash, and washed out the crock. Bonus- if you are trying to cut calories, the fat will float to the top of the pot and solidify, just scoop it off for fat-free stock.

This was by far the easiest and tasted like any of the best broths I’ve made before. I’d say I ended up with close to just under a gallon of broth, too. Broth that tastes better than from a can or carton and nearly free to boot? Can’t beat that with a stick!

P.S.

Wonder what the difference between a Broth and a Stock? Stock is long simmered and has bones, basically. Click here to read about it at TheKitchn.com

As for The World’s Best Yet Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe… turns out I don’t have any salsa, so the soup will be in tomorrow’s post. Whoops.

 

SoNo Fest- Chili Tasting Meets School Fundraiser

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A lot of people trying a lot of chili… and will be sleeping with the windows open tonight, said one of our friends, ha.

And the Genius Award in the category of Fundraising goes to (drumroll)… The Originators of The SoNo Fest and Chili Cook Off Fundraiser for McKinley Elementary School in San Diego.

The South Park/North Park community has a gold mine here. You buy your little sampler pottery bowl for $20 and get to taste five chilis. Want more? Buy another five sample pass for $15 and reuse your bowl. Bring your bowls back from the previous year, too, if you like.

All of the tax deductible proceeds from this event go to benefit the Spanish, art, and music programs at McKinley Elementary… to the tune of over $50K last year.

IMG_9555I realized really quickly that the best strategy for tasting the best chili is the most simple- when my bowl is empty, I try the chili from the nearest booth. It is that simple- they are all are delicious!! One of my favorites was the Duck Confit, Lardon, Sausage and White Bean Chili from Café Madeleine for a non-traditional chili. I’m not the biggest chili fan… OH MY GOSH THIS WAS DELICIOUS!!

IMG_9557My overall favorite was a Pork Belly and Smoked Brisket from The Deck at Moonshine Flats. An unbelievable, savory, meaty, flavorful taste and overall the best chili I’ve ever had. So there. Eat your heart out, every other place. This is something that is served in Heaven, I am sure.

IMG_9558Another out of this word chili came from City Tacos, and may well have been completely unplanned. When they ran out of their Albondigas Chili, they substituted Carnitas. I am already a huge fan of carnitas, and this sample was pushed over the top when topped by chicharrones and tortilla chip strips. I KNOW, RIGHT??? CHICHARRONES!!!

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Finish that beer, there is more chili to taste!!

“Into the fun zone we go,” declared the ID checker we entered the Beer Garden. When one of our group (we’re looking at you, Johnnie!!) was holding up the Chili Sampling (Round 2!) with their unfinished beer, we decided to institute a new motto: Drink for Those Who Can’t… as in, if you can’t finish fast enough, we are now going to help finish it for you!

Music at both ends of the festival, student pottery available for purchase from the incredible gallery that is partly responsible for the SoNo Fest, unique vendors, and a handful of food trucks rounded out the sights for the day. Food trucks? I guess if you think you don’t like chili, you still will find some great eats here.

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Thorn Street Brewery, a festival sponsor
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Happy puppy, happy drinkers inside Thorn St. Brewery– nice people, too. If you two see this, hi!!
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Inside the San Diego Ceramics Connection, major sponsor and partly responsible for the SoNo Fest
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Buy my son some bow ties, Deedee, go ahead! Find these great ties online at ZBSavoy.com

More gratuitous chili photos: