Category Archives: Recipes

Becky’s Brownies

A few months ago, I tackled the Maniac Fire Bread from Sweet & Vicious. It was pretty great, and one of my taste-testers was so in love that she HAD to have the recipe. Unfortunately, after reading the directions, she decided that the whole process was more than she cared to tackle with her limited baking skills. So I had a thought: what if I came up with something that combined the same flavors, but was much less complicated to complete? Say, something utilizing that most amazing of baking cheats, the box mix? Challenge accepted!


  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk Brownies
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp minced serrano chile


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray brownie pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine mix, cinnamon, milk, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Mince the serrano and then fold into batter and pour into prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy!


  • Obviously, this isn’t quite the same thing, you know, being brownies instead of a quick bread, but the flavor is there and you still have the dense texture that is dotted with chocolate chunks. Plus, it’s easier to cut and consume.
  • I know a lot of bakers gasp at the idea of using mixes instead of baking from scratch, but let’s be honest – life is busy, and you don’t always have time to make everything from scratch. Besides if most people were given the choice between box mix brownies or no brownies, I’m pretty confident in asserting that they’ll happily take/settle for the box mix bakes. Sometimes it’s just better to work smart instead of hard.

Sweet & Vicious: Kahlo Cookies (Strangely Hot Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.


  • For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
  • I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
  • If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure.  Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.

Sweet & Vicious: Jacked Up Ginger Cookies

After the relative success of the “Serious Oatmeal Cookies”, my mom and I decided to tackle one of the more holiday-y cookie recipes from my Sweet and Vicious cookbook, Jacked Up Ginger Cookies. Now, I’ve never made ginger cookies before, but if you are fond of the spice then these are the cookies for you.

I’m not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but I have had a few in the last couple of years that have amended my attitude from “Ewww” to “Well, I’ll give it a try”. I will admit though as I was chopping the various kinds of ginger and measuring out that full 1/4 cup of molasses my skepticism of this recipe was definitely growing. Not that I thought that it would be “bad”, just that I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, or bag of cookies as the case may be.


  • Flavor-wise these little ginger bombs delivered exactly what they promised. Plenty of big ginger flavor. Did I like them? Not really, but my mom and Andy did. So much so, that Andy “forgot” to remind my mom to take a few of the cookies to take home with her. He just waited until she left and then demolished the remaining cookies that day. It was kind of cute.
  • Texture and bake-wise these were pretty spot on, chewy when they first came out of the oven and then perfect for accompanying a hot beverage after they had set up after a day or two. Even though I didn’t care for the flavor, everyone else liked them enough for me to make them again anyway.

Also, my mom got me this cute little plaid plate for Christmas. It’s a set of four: a bunny, a fox, a raccoon, and a pug. The trash panda is my favorite by far. He reminds me of the cheeky little bandits that come to our back porch every night to eat the cat food for the outdoor cat.

Sweet & Vicious: Serious Oatmeal Cookies

My traditional holiday plans have been a bit wonky this year, but one of the things I knew I wanted to do while my mom was visiting was make cookies. I also figured it would be a perfect opportunity to knock another recipe or two off of the 12 I wanted to try from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook. Since I wanted to make something I knew she liked, I made a supreme culinary sacrifice and offered up the book’s take on my least favorite cookie, oatmeal raisin. Shudder.


  • These cookies turned out thick, chewy, and lightly sweet. There was a hint of kick from the ginger and the tang of the dried cranberries made them almost bearable for me. Almost. Andy and my mom, however, gleefully consumed cookie after cookie and then packed them up for Andy to take into work since they couldn’t stop eating them.
  • Despite a few quirks, this recipe was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. The only issue I had was the cook time. It may have been my oven, but I needed an additional 4 minutes of bake time per batch. Just keep an eye on yours and make sure to let them sit for a couple of minutes before trying to scrape them off the cookie tray.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my dislike of sweet potatoes has peppered any remarks around holiday recipes/meal planning. So this year I decided to set aside the distaste and give it another chance. I mean I eat broccoli now, and no one saw that one coming. Tastes change, right? Supposedly? Maybe? Okay, maybe not in this case. The cupcakes are good, but I’m still not a huge fan. My taste testers really enjoyed them. Oh well, at least I tried right?



  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 4oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together sweet potato, brown sugar and butter until smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  6. Add milk and flour mixture alternating until everything is incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  8. While cake bakes, brown butter in a pan and set aside to cool.
  9. Cream together cooled brown butter and cream cheese, then add vanilla.
  10. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency.
  11. Thin frosting with cream if it becomes to stiff.
  12. Frost cooled cupcakes, top with toasted pecans and enjoy!

Note: Now something I feel like needs to be said is that these are not your traditional light fluffy cupcake, they are a bit more dense. Still good, but more of a “one with a cup of tea” and less “holy crap, how did I already eat three of these”.