Ultimate Brownie Bites

Since I have been laid up at home, and the kids have been around during their summer break, I have been dabbling in more baking than I probably should, not only to kill time and boredom but to provide a dessert for post dinner meals for the kids. I typically let my daughter handle most, if not all, of the desserts for the family. By default it is typically a small bowl of ice cream, however my daughter will jazz things up with crushed pistachios and a fresh raspberry coulis from time to time. For me, I have little patience and just want to get things done with dessert. This is where the ultimate brownie bites comes into play.

It’s similar to the dump cake I made last year, or maybe even the Ranger cookies where I purged a bunch of things from our cupboard. This is very identical and the inspiration was to get rid of things and make a chocolate dessert that I knew my kids would love. The things I do, I’ll tell you…

Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Not the prettiest of pictures, but trust me, the picture doesn’t matter as the taste made up for it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix, cooked according to its instructions
  • 16 small Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • 6 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of roasted, salted peanuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup of butterscotch chips, optional
  • vanilla ice cream, optional

Start by baking your brownie mix according to directions. Cook about 3/4 of the way through, then remove from the oven. We are only cooking partially as we are going to load it up and finish the rest with the toppings.

Once about 3/4 of the way through cooking, remove the brownie pan from the oven and set onto a non-burn working surface.

Take the graham cracker crumbs and sprinkle on top of the brownies, lightly coating the top.

Next, layer on about 16 of the Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Ultimate Brownie Bars Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Crumble on the Oreo cookies, then sprinkle with roasted peanuts and butterscotch chips.

Place this back into the oven, and cook until the top is nicely melted and the brownies are cooked to your liking.

Remove, let cool, and let the kids gaze at this sugary delight until it is time to dig in. Sure, it’s a mess when slicing into it, and it falls apart of the most part, but that’s where the vanilla ice cream come in and acts like a glue to capture all of that loveliness.

Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Was this a hit for dessert? You betcha, and let’s just say it didn’t last long in the house. The good thing is I was able to purge a few things from the cupboard while satisfying the rest of the family. A win, win. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

The slow cooker rarely gets put away in our house. Based on our busy schedules is pretty much the reason why, and I am typically the one hustling around trying to feed four hungry people every day. Not that I have a problem with that, but the slow cooker always comes to the rescue, and typically anything I throw in there is a real winner. This particular recipe known as Mexican Barbacoa is a real winner, and is something that is only typically served in our our Mexican restaurants on the weekend. This homey doesn’t have time for that, plus I typically stay away from local tacquerias on the weekend.

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe
Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

For one, we are big fans of shredded meat, especially when it comes to tacos, and this one is no exception. You are going to love the texture, flavor, and simplicity of this Mexican barbacoa.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 oz can of chipotle chilies in adobo
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, or chopped (your call)
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp ground Mexican oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • black beans, cooked, optional
  • fresh jalapenos, thinly sliced, optional

Start by adding the 2 tablespoons of oil to a large dutch oven or large skillet. Bring this to a medium heat. The goal is to add the beef in batches to get a nice sear on all sides before placing it into your slow cooker.

Once browned, add each piece to the slow cooker, and repeat with any remaining beef. Once the beef is added, rinse out the skillet or dutch oven, return back to the stove, let the water evaporate, then add in the additional oil bringing it back to a medium heat.

Add in the onion, garlic, and chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Add in the beef stock, and let this come to a quick boil. Add in the cumin powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and lime juice, and give a good stir Add the mixture to slow cooker, and add to your high setting. Cook this for about 6 hours.

Mexican Barbacoa Ingredients
Mexican Barbacoa Ingredients

After 6 hours, check on the beef and make sure it is fall apart tender. If not, continue to cook until it is and shred all of the beef, making sure everything gets nicely incorporated. Cover and let this cook for about 20 minutes longer to all of that shredded beef and soak up all of that delicious stock.

During this time, cook your beans, and warm up your tortillas. Slice up any additional things such as limes, jalapenos, or onions.

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe
Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

Now it’s ready to serve. I like getting a bit rustic, laying out some barbacoa, beans, chilies, and have things on standby like fresh cilantro, and salsa.

Layer your tacos to your desire and dig in like it’s no one’s business. Forget about waiting for the weekend for this Mexican barbacoa. Go for Tuesday, because who doesn’t love a Tuesday, right?

Coconut Pie

I’m always thinking of things to create to get one or more of my kids in the kitchen. Having three kids in the kitchen is quite the task, but I’ve been known to manage a couple, especially when teaching them how to make smoked pork ribs. When it comes to dessert creation however, I tend to go straight to my daughter for assistance, and this coconut pie was no exception.

I’m a big fan of coconut, and I knew that my wife and daughter were as well. Seeing that we had family in town, I decided to make a(nother) coconut pie as the first one I made was devoured in less than seven hours. Yup, I said it, in less than seven hours. That’s almost unspeakable in my kitchen. It was that darn good.

Coconut Pie Recipe
Coconut Pie Recipe

Let’s get started on this coconut pie which is way too easy to create.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon zested, and juiced
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup additional coconut flakes, lightly toasted
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 store bought frozen pie crust

This pie is pretty much a mix, and dump into pie crust, so yes, it’s really that easy. The only time intensive part is waiting.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mix all the filling ingredients, omitting the toasted coconut flakes at this time, until nice and smooth and then pour into the frozen pie shell.

Place the pie onto a cookie sheet to prevent any spillage, and then bake for 1 hour.

Coconut Pie Ingredients
Coconut Pie Ingredients

After 1 hour, remove the pie from the oven, and top with the toasted coconut flakes. Let the pie set and then place into the refrigerator for at least one hour to completely cool before slicing and serving.

You talk about an awesome pie, and when biting into it you get the great texture from the toasted coconut, then the creaminess, then the zing from the lemon. BOOM! This is one awesome pie. Hope you enjoy!

 

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding

Whenever pudding is on sale at the store, I grab some up for the kids. Typically the usual fare such as chocolate, vanilla, or the combination. Not too long ago, I decided to throw in the classic tapioca pudding to see if there were going to be any takers. There was one who had high interest, only due to the fact that the chocolate and vanilla puddings were already taken. When he asked me what it was, I said ‘pudding, try it’.  He tore into it, looking at it, nibbling on the spoon, much like we probably did as kids (I really liked tapioca pudding growing up, or any pudding besides butterscotch), but then he just scooped it up like there was no tomorrow.

That’s when I decided I would make a batch of my own tapioca pudding and get their take on it. Success? Yes, and with a gentle and awesome twist.

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe
Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of large tapioca pearls, soaked overnight in room temperature water
  • 2 1/12 cups of milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • additional sugar
  • fresh blueberries, optional

Start by soaking the tapioca pearls in room temperature water, overnight.
The next day, drain the water from the tapioca, give a gentle rinse, and drain again. Reminds me of making sticky rice believe it or not.

Set aside, then warm up your milk. You do not want the milk to come to a boil, rather just before a boil is ideal, so keep an eye on it.

Once the milk is warmed through, add in the salt, and the tapioca pearls. Give a good stir, keeping an eye not to boil the milk. Once the milk begins to slightly bubble on the sides of the pot, reduce the heat to very low heat, and cook those tapioca pearls for 60 minutes, making sure the the milk never comes to a boil.

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe
Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe

During this time, separate your egg yolks from the whites, making sure to reserve both.

Add the yolks to the bowl of sugar, and mix that together to form a nice paste. Now it is time to gently mix in some of the hot milk mixture to the sugar and yolk mixture. This is called tempering. The goal is to warm the yolks through without scrambling them. You can use a couple of tablespoons of that milk mixture, slowly, to achieve that process. Once you have that ready, add this mixture to the pot of milk and tapioca pearls and give a good stir.

Next, turn up the heat and give a good stir, cooking for about 15 minutes or until the tapioca thickens.

During this time, take those reserved egg whites and beat the crap out of them until you have nice, stiff egg whites. Once stiffened, slowly stir those into the cooked tapioca, adding the vanilla extract as well.

Pour into serving bowls, and place into the refrigerator to completely cool (unless you like warm tapioca, that’s your call).

Now the fun part, at least for me, and the kids. Add some fine sugar to the top of each tapioca bowl, get your kitchen brulee torch out, and caramelize the top of the sugar. Once done, add some blueberries (I used frozen for texture), and dig in.

Was this ever a fun treat? Heck yes! Did the kids love it? You betcha! Was it worth the time, effort, and expressions on their faces? Absolutely. If you are wanting to make some tapioca, give this one a try, especially bruleed as it was cool, refreshing, and delicious. Hope you enjoy!