Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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Skillet Cocoa Brownies

Sweet and satisfying, these Skillet Cocoa Brownies are good enough to please any hungry teen, especially mine!

Skillet Cocoa Brownies | Sweet Baked Life

You see, today at exactly 5:11 AM marked the 14th year of my son’s life here on earth. I can hardly believe it. And yes, I say this every year — that time really does go by so incredibly fast. I vividly remember the day he was born, when he first smiled, when he first started talking, when he took his first step, and the list goes on and on!

And one thing I will never forget, is simply just him; as a baby, toddler, kid, and now a teen. He is an incredible person, with whom I fell in love with the moment he was conceived. He has bright spirit, big heart and a kindness about him that makes me wonder where he got it from. He is honest, responsible and super smart. I love this kid with my entire being — he lives within my heart and I am proud that he calls me mom.

Skillet Cocoa Brownies | Sweet Baked Life

A few weeks ago he asked if he could drive my car! What! Where did that come from? Drive, well it just seems like yesterday when he was zooming around in his fire engine pedal car, he then progressed to his bike, then next he became king of the garden fearlessly driving our ride-on tractor/mower.

And now he wants the keys to my car? No. Stop growing up. Stop it. Can you hear me? And also, strop growing – in height that is, the kiddo is now taller than me and soon will be taller than dad. The doctor told us that he will probably be 6′-2″ — lucky guy!

Skillet Cocoa Brownies | Sweet Baked Life

So what do you make an ever-changing, ever-growing, always hungry 14-year old? Yep, a big old skillet of cocoa brownies. He loves the sweet stuff, child after my own heart, and I so enjoy making all kinds of treats for him on special occasions, or pretty much any day!

Two years ago for his birthday I made him these Marshmallow Toffee Brownies and then last year I made him this Teenage Crush S’mores Overload Cake. Both had a chocolate base filled with lots of gooey additions and definitely incredibly irresistible. But to celebrate this year, I opted for a more simple and basic brownie recipe, since that his what he likes best.

These Skillet Cocoa Brownies are dark, rich and oh, so good! They are dense, yet moist on the inside and they have a bit of crunch on the top, not sure if that’s because they are baked in a skillet — but no matter how you slice and eat them, they’re darn delicious!

Skillet Cocoa Brownies | Sweet Baked Life

Skillet Cocoa Brownies

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In the top of a double boiler (placed over simmering water) add the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool until warm.

Stir in the vanilla then add the eggs one at a time, beating with a spoon to fully incorporate after each one. Add the flour and stir until completely combined. Pour into prepared skilled and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center has moist crumbs attached. Let cool on a rack, sprinkle with confectioners sugar (if desired) and cut into large squares and eat!

Skillet Cocoa Brownies | Sweet Baked Life

Happy Birthday to my favorite boy in the whole wide world! Indulge, if you like, in this entire pan of Skillet Cocoa Brownies — I’ll even make a second batch if you so choose!

Love you, forever and a day! xxoo, Mom

Sheila

{recipe adapted from Epicurious}


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Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas {garbanzo beans}

These Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas are a perfectly healthy snack to pop in your mouth while you’re on the go!

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - easy and healthy! | Sweet Baked Life

Not only are these Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas super simple to make, they’re also high in protein and fiber.

And if you are anything like me, I always seem to be looking for tasty, healthful snacks that I can bring to work with me, store in my desk drawer and pull out when I need something mid-day to nosh on.

You see, I don’t really like to frequent the vending machine at work. Even though it haunts me when I forget to bring something from home.  So, if you are in need of avoiding the tall, lit-up box that holds all kinds of snacks, and will eat up your dollars if you stare at it too long, then sway back over to your kitchen to make this quick snack that will satisfy your daily hunger pains!

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - a quick and healthy snack! | Sweet Baked Life

And when you walk by that monster machine, you can stare back knowing that it will not tempt you, as your delightful Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas are waiting for you in your desk drawer!

These are so simple. You only need 3 ingredients; chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olive oil and salt. And, you may even have these ingredients in your pantry right now. So pull them out and let’s get going!

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - get healthy on the go! | Sweet Baked Life

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas {Garbanzo beans}

1 (15 oz) can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Drain chickpeas in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Pour them onto paper-towel lined rimmed baking sheet. Place a paper towel on the top of the peas, and pat dry. Remove paper towels and skins. Drizzle peas with olive oil and mix together using your hands. Spread out the peas, making sure they are in one layer on the baking sheet.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the beans are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt. Store in an air tight container.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - easy and delicious! | Sweet Baked Life

Put a stop to spending your money at the dreaded vending machine, and take a step towards the healthy side; make these yummy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas today!

Sheila

 


11 Comments

White Trash Bars

Don’t let the name fool you, these White Trash Bars are heavenly!

White Trash Bars | Sweet Baked Life

When I stumbled across this treat on Pinterest, I was intrigued — just the name alone caught my attention, and knew it was something I would have to try!

And why does this recipe have such a strange name? Well, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because the ingredients are ones you have in your pantry that normally would not go together, or maybe it’s because you don’t use the basic butter, eggs, flour and sugar for baking a bar-type recipe.

In any event, I quickly got out the ingredients and began to assemble this unusual concoction. I even decided to make these bars a bit more “trashy” by topping them with additional toffee bits and adding some chocolate chips. As well, I think I also ended up making them just a bit less “trashy” by using homemade buttercream frosting; as the original recipe called for canned frosting, something that I just don’t really like!

White Trash Bars | Sweet Baked Life

You start with Ritz crackers — yes, you heard me, crackers! Then you toss in some toffee bits and mix the concoction with sweetened condensed milk. Weird, I know. That bakes up in the oven, and then once cooled, you top ’em off with some buttercream frosting, sprinkled with chocolate chips and toffee bits.

And if you don’t have the time to make your own buttercream, which takes less than 3 minutes to prepare, go ahead and be as “trashy” as you want and pile on the canned stuff! I won’t judge!

White Trash Bars | Sweet Baked Life

And what do you think the outcome is? Ah, it’s a sweet yet salty, chewy base with a creamy top and a bit of crunch from the toffee bits on top. Yummy!

Did my family like these? Well, you know the picky bunch, they tried a piece and told me they were too sweet. Not sure if that is possible, but I thought they were uniquely good! And a fun bar to make when you are short on time and ingredients and need to whip up something fast as last-minute dessert.

White Trash Bars | Sweet Baked Life

White Trash Bars

2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 -1/4 cups Heath Toffee Bits
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups vanilla buttercream frosting (homemade* or canned)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8-inch pan (I used an 8×10-inch pan) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large zip lock baggie, add the crackers, seal and crush with a rolling-pin. Open baggie and add 1 cup of the toffee bits, close baggie and shake until combined. Dump mixture into the prepared pan. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the mixture and stir until combined. I found this easier done with my hands! Then press into the pan until evenly distributed.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top and edges turn a golden brown. Cool completely on a rack. When cooled, top with your favorite buttercream frosting, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup of toffee bits. Cut into 12 squares and serve.

*Easy Homemade Buttercream Frosting: Add 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to a large bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If too thick or too thin add either more milk or more sugar, a little at a time, until frosting reaches the consistency you like.

White Trash Bars | Sweet Baked Life

Get ready to trick your taste buds with these no-joke sweet and sticky White Trash Bars!

Sheila

 

{recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups}


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The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Spring has sprung and with that, it’s time to share with you how to make The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs.

The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs | Sweet Baked Life

It’s quick, easy and what more can I say, “perfect”!

I have been making these hard-boiled eggs for years. I’m not sure where I originally got this recipe, I think it was from my best friend’s mom. But once you prepare your eggs using this method, you will be amazed how easy it is and how perfect your eggs turn out. You may even wonder why you did not know about this secret!

It’s so simple, and in a matter of minutes, you will have The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, ready for your springtime meal or celebratory occasion!

And once they’ve cooled get ready to peel and eat them, or use on your favorite salad, prepare deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, or whatever you choose.

Me, I personally love to just sprinkle them with salt and eat them!

The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs | Sweet Baked Life

The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs, as many as you need or as many fit at the bottom of your pan
Water to cover eggs

Gently place your eggs in the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the eggs. Then put the pan on your stove and turn heat to medium-high. Bring the water to a boil, then immediately turn off heat, cover and remove from burner. Let eggs sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Then rinse eggs in cold water. Place eggs in a bowl and put into refrigerator until cold.

The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs | Sweet Baked Life

Happiness is learning a new cooking trick; like how to make The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs!

Sheila

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