I’ve had some unexpected girl time this week with my daughter, and have really enjoyed it. It isn’t that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it…I’m not that cold. I think because she is 9 now, we can communicate more than during the Dora years. (Oh, and maybe because I’m not working right now is another reason for my enjoyment?) She has been home from school due to the usual cold going around, and besides having a fever and a lovely new raspy voice, she has felt reasonably fine. But that doesn’t keep her from getting bored, so we have put on all our favorite Victorious episodes, agreed that the iCarly kids are no longer kids, and watched a marathon of Clean House. (I have a HGTV and Style networkee in training!). She and I discussed all the important things in life. I learned just how much Disney kids are recycled. She pointed out how iCarly was on Drake and Josh, some blond girl on Ant Farm is Crazy Connie on Jessie and many more. I also got to enjoy watching her make notes for Joy – our Elf on a Shelf who has been watching my kids for about a week. (I was a little late to that game). We painted toes, braided hair and rearranged her room. And being house-bound, I was in the kitchen of course. Chicken soup was made, braised turkey tacos were devoured, and so to top it off I wanted to make a sweet treat. To be honest though, I wasn’t in the mood for anything difficult (remember my skills as a baker are not concrete). So I scanned a few different brownie recipes and decided to make what I thought would be similar to my favorite indulgence of all time – soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. It is a blond brownie recipe that is a little healthier than most, so to counteract that – chocolate chips were added! I also threw in some dried cranberries for color. Oh who am I kidding! I threw them in for the hell of it. This recipe was super simple to mix together and came out just as I wanted them to. I got the nod of yumminess from my daughter, and so I had to immediately put the foil over the pan to keep myself from finishing the pan…in one sitting. Oh I’m finishing that pan though….
cranberry chocolate chip blondies (adapted from Cooking Light December 2008)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Non-stick cooking spray
get started on the brownies:
Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Add flour, baking powder and salt to butter mixture. Stir just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips and dried cranberries. (Make sure you separate the cranberries so you don’t have large chunks). Spread batter into a 8 inch square baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Store covered for up to three days (if they last that long!).
note: I read somewhere that the ‘scooping method’ of flour is preferable to the ‘spoon into the cup and level method’. I’m sure there is a slight effect using one method or the other…I don’t feel like researching that though. I’ll save my time for the results!