Chef Julie Interviewed Me!

https://noshwithchefjulie.com/

My new friend Julie over at “Nosh with Chef Julie” interviewed me for her blog and the post is up today if you’d like to check it out! Here is the link for the interview if you’d like to read it:

https://noshwithchefjulie.com/2020/07/03/featured-foodie-interview-with-penny-johnson/

You might learn a thing or two about me but then you already know that I love food!

Also while you’re there, check out Julie’s blog which is great, lots of fun tips!

Thanks Julie for the fun post!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Oh these were good. And if you don’t tell anyone that there is zucchini in them, I swear they will never know.

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded or blended

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners

2 In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3 In another bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs, sugar and brown sugar then stir in zucchini.

4 Add wet mixture to dry and stir just until combined then fold in chocolate chips.

5 Scoop into prepared pans and bake 20 -22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 24 muffins

recipe from Bake Eat Repeat

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bar Donuts

My whole family has become hooked on Provo Bakery‘s Buttermilk Bars, they are amazing! So crunchy on the outside but yet nice and tender on the inside. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a go. It’s not very difficult but it is time consuming and also messy, every surface of my kitchen was covered in something so I will probably stick with Provo Bakery’s bars except for maybe a special occasion. Buttermilk Bars from The Provo Bakery have been one of our special treats during quarantine.

donuts

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

3 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting (I didn’t have any cake flour but you can make your own by taking a full cup of all purpose flour and removing 2 tablespoons from it and then adding 2 tablespoons of corn starch)

2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 egg

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup buttermilk

about 2 quarts vegetable oil or Crisco for deep frying

vanilla glaze (I had to double it)

2 – 4 cups powdered sugar

1 – 2 tablespoons vanilla

1/4 – 1/2 cup boiling water

1 For the donuts, melt butter in microwave safe bowl then set aside to cool a bit.

2 Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3 Place butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add 1 whole egg and then egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each to combine. Add buttermilk and mix until combined.

4 Add dry ingredients all at once and mix just until a few streaks of flour remain. Continue mixing by hand until no flour streaks remain. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to overnight.

5 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Heavily flour a work surface and your hands with cake flour. Transfer half the dough to the work surface and sprinkle with flour. Pat dough into 3 x 24″ rectangle with long side facing you, adding more flour as needed. Use a floured bench scraper or butter knife to cut the rectangle into 1 1/2″ wide bars. (I found it easier to work with the bars if they were more of a square shape than a rectangle because they were smaller and easier to handle and also to fry.) When all bars are cut, dip bench scraper in flour and very gently press it down the center of each bar making a slight indentation.

6 Using a brush, lightly brush the excess flour off the bars. Using a thin metal spatula transfer bars to cookie sheets, flipping over so they are indentation side down. Brush excess flour from the other side of the bars. Refrigerate and repeat with remaining dough.

7 Fill a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven (I use my electric fry pan) with at least 2″ of oil. Heat on medium high heat until 350 or a bit above. While the oil is heating, put a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet.

8 Remove first tray of bars from fridge. Fry in batches of 4 – 5 so as not to crowd the pot, use a thin metal spatula to transfer the bars to the pot. Fry until dark golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer donuts to rack with thin spatula. Repeat with remaining dough then let cool.

9 For the glaze, whisk together glaze ingredients until shiny and smooth. Dip fully cooled bars indentation side down halfway into glaze. Lift up and let excess drip off. Return to rack and repeat.

OR go to the Provo Bakery and buy them!

recipe from Kitchn

Italian Zucchini Boats

And just like that zucchini season is upon us, I wish you safe travels my friends as we navigate the zucchini wilderness.

I’m coming up with new zucchini recipes since my kitchen counter is already covered with the little beasts and they sit there mocking me . . . and this one is a winner, I’ve already made it twice!

1 jar spaghetti/pasta sauce

5 – 6 smallish zucchinis

1/2 – 1 cup shredded Mozzarella

1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

about 10 – 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 Preheat oven to 400.

2 Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9 x 13″ pan. Cut ends off zucchinis and then cut in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller or a spoon, make a trench down the middle of each zucchini.

3 Place zucchini halves in pan skin side down. Spoon more spaghetti sauce into each trench of each zucchini half then sprinkle with mozzarella and then the Parmesan.

4 Place in oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a fork pierces the zucchini easily. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil.

I know I’ll be making these again and I think some hamburger or some sausage would make this a real meal so I’ll keep you updated when I try that.

Chocolate and Vanilla Bridal Shower Cupcakes in Grey, White, and Green

My friend texted and asked if I would make some cupcakes for her daughter’s bridal shower. If you follow my blog, then you know I do love to make cupcakes. The only directions were chocolate and vanilla flavored cupcakes and then her wedding colors for decorations which were grey, white, and green. Grey is a hard color to use in food so basically white and green.

I think they came out really pretty. Everyone else seemed to think so too!

Both the cupcakes are just straight from the box cake mix but I added 1 cup of white chocolate chips to the vanilla ones and 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the chocolate ones. My friend got the cupcake liners which were from Sweet Tooth Fairy, super cute.

The frosting is my favorite buttercream made with heavy whipping cream, recipe here. I tinted it to match the cupcake liners with my Wilton Performance Color System which you can find at Michaels.

I made some little white chocolate hearts and white chocolate roses using Wilton Candy Melts which you can get at Michaels, you can also find chocolate molds there too.

I used the following sprinkles – Silver Dragees (the little silver balls), White Sugar Pearls, and then a Sweet Tooth Fairy bag of sprinkles which I think were a Christmas sprinkle mix but the white and grey colors were perfect for these cupcakes. You can find the sprinkles with the above links to both Michaels and Sweet Tooth Fairy.

Congratulations Bailey! Thanks for letting me be a part of your shower! Love you!

Salted Butterscotch Blondies

Salted Butterscotch Blondies

We have new neighbors next door and I’ve been meaning to make them some treats to welcome them to the neighborhood and so yesterday I found this yummy looking recipe and threw them together. They were awesome! It’s a weird quarantine/social distancing time and I wasn’t sure if people would be comfortable accepting baked goods from someone they don’t know but they seemed fine with it.

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 3/4 cups brown sugar, divided

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla, divided

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

flaky sea salt for topping

1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

2 Combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and heavy cream in small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

3 In a larger saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter then let cool slightly. Stir in 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.

4 Spread batter in prepared pan and pour sauce over top. Gently swirl sauce into batter with a knife. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 – 35 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and let cool completely before cutting.

recipe from Food Network

Ultimate Quadruple Chocolate Brownies

Ultimate Quadruple Chocolate Brownies

The day I made these, they were so gooey that you almost couldn’t eat them but then the next day they had set up and were nice and fudgy so if you are going to give them a try then do it the day before you want to eat them. More quarantine baking shared with the neighbors!

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

4 oz unsweetened or semisweet chocolate

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

2 Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Microwave butter and chocolate for 1 minute and stir then microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Add flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in chips. (I mixed in 1/2 cup of each chips then sprinkled the remaining 1/4 cup of each over the top.) Spread in prepared pan.

3 Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely before cutting.

recipe from Wilton

Peanut Butter Lovers Swirl Cake

Peanut Butter Lovers Swirl Cake

Doesn’t that look amazing? It was.

Peanut Butter Lovers Swirl Cake

And even more amazing when you see the inside right? It was my neighbor Riley’s birthday yesterday and he loves chocolate and peanut butter so this cake was perfect! And my quarantining baking continues.

cake

1 box yellow cake mix

1 cup water

3 eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup chocolate syrup

toppings

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 – 3 tablespoons milk

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

20 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, cut in half

1 For cake, heat oven to 350. Spray two 8 x 4″ loaf pans with cooking spray for baking.

2 Beat cake mix, water, eggs, peanut butter, and butter on low for 30 seconds then on medium for 2 minutes. Put 1/2 cup of batter in a medium bowl and then stir in chocolate syrup.

3 Spread half of the peanut butter batter evenly into loaf pans so 1/4 of the batter into each pan. Spoon chocolate batter onto center of peanut butter batter in loaf pans. Spoon remaining peanut butter batter evenly over chocolate batter. Swirl batters together with a knife in a circular motion.

4 Bake 50 – 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan then invert onto serving platter to cool completely, about 1 hour.

5 For toppings, whisk together peanut butter and milk until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Divide glaze into 2 small bowls. In one bowl, stir in the chocolate syrup. Drizzle glazes over cakes then top with peanut butter cups.

recipe from Betty Crocker

Penny’s Porch Treats

Penny’s Porch

Why am I showing you a picture of my porch (with my corgi Finn for added cuteness)? Because I want to share with you something that I started doing last month during quarantine, I call them “Penny’s Porch Treats”. Once a week I make treats, bag them all individually, and then put them on a tray on a little table on my porch. I then go onto my neighborhood Facebook pages and let everyone know that the porch treats are out and then I sit back and watch all the happy faces come to my porch for a treat. It makes me happy, pretty sure my love language is feeding people. Since I view my blog as my own personal food diary, I decided to blog about it.

May the Fourth Chewbacca Oreos

Porch treats kicked off on May the 4th aka Star Wars Day with these Chewbacca Oreos, directions here. I made these for fun but then realized that there were far too many for my family to eat so porch treats were born and the response was great so I decided to keep going.

Funfetti Cake Pops
Funfetti Cake Pops

The following week I made these Funfetti Cake Pops because I had a couple of layers of Funfetti cake in my freezer which weren’t good enough for the wedding cake I made but were great for cake pops, recipe here. Who doesn’t love cake pops?

Reeses Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

The week after that I made these Reeses Peanut Butter Brownie Cups, recipe here. Everyone always loves these treats and the porch treat kids were no different, plus one box of brownie mix makes a lot of these guys.

Chocolate Filled Sugar Cookie Cups

The following week I made something similar called Chocolate Filled Sugar Cookie Cups, only they were sugar cookie cups with one of four different candies in the middle – Rolos, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, half a mini Kit Kat or half a mini Hershey Bar. You can find a similar recipe here, just sub the candies for the truffle filling or you can use the brownie cup recipe and just sub a sugar cookie mix for the brownie mix.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

And the week after that there were some bananas laying around which were perfect for banana bread or banana muffins so I made these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, recipe here.

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

And now we are caught up to last week when I made these Chocolate Rolo Cookies which were insanely good and which I will make again for us at some point, recipe here.

UPDATE 6/25/20

This week I made M&M Cookie Bars from this recipe here. The recipe is very easy and very adaptable to whatever flavor cake mix you want to use and whatever kind of mix in you like and everyone loves them!

UPDATE 7/3/20

This week I made these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins for the porch treats, recipe here because it’s zucchini season and my garden has exploded with zucchini! They were really good and chocolatey and if you don’t tell people there is zucchini in them, they will never know!

I’m going to update this post every time I make porch treats so if you are curious, you can check back!

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

Look at those, the stuff of dreams . . .

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

and just when you though it couldn’t get any better, it does with a caramel filling. Be still my heart.

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

60 Rolos, unwrapped

sugar for topping* (see note below)

1 Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silpat or grease lightly.

2 Cream butter and sugars in mixer bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3 Whisk together dry ingredients then add slowly to butter mixture until fully combined.

4 Wrap 1 tablespoon of dough around 1 Rolo then dip top in sugar.

5 Bake for about 9 minutes then cool on racks 2 minutes before removing.

*A note about the sugar for the topping – I tried three different kinds – granulated sugar, Trader Joe’s Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar and Bob’s Red Mill Decorative Sparkling Sugar. Bob’s Red Mill Decorative Sparkling Sugar was the clear winner. The granulated sugar got absorbed into the cookies and you didn’t even know it was there, it was almost the same with the TJ’s sugar but the Bob’s sugar looked great and also gave the cookies a sweet crunchy bonus exterior.

Yield: 5 dozen

recipe from Creations by Kara