Ice Day Brownies

Peanut and Meatball returned to school after the holiday break on January 2nd. They also went to school on January 3rd, but then it snowed and they had snow days on the 4th and 5th. Meatball was also sick on these days so we made popcorn, watched movies, did Shrinky Dinks (still just as fun to press my nose against the oven door and watch them as it was when I was the boys’ ages), and busted out some new colored pencils and sketch books. Over the weekend Meatball was feeling better so they played in the yard, went sledding in the woods with Wombat, and we all made the short drive to a neighborhood hill for bigger, faster sledding. On Monday the 8th, they returned once more to school.

Then it rained, and the rain froze. The county turned into an ice rink overnight. A two hour delay became a school cancellation for Tuesday January 9th. It was an ice day.

I’d already used all of my aces in all of the holes.

Meatball “helps”.

What were we going to do? I’ll tell you what we did. ALL the screens. Computer, TV, video games, handheld video games. If it blinks and beeps, the kids sat in front of it today. Three days of school since December 22nd of last year and Mom threw in the towel. We also made brownies, since I decided that enough time had passed since we ate the last of the Christmas cookies that we could once again bake. I say “we” but in reality I made the brownies and Meatball stirred the chips in and licked the bowl while Peanut watched Pokemon.

I already have a favorite brownie recipe, it’s tucked away inside every box of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, but the February/March 2018 issue of Cook’s Country magazine had a one bowl brownie recipe in it, and they’ve not yet steered me wrong. What really interested me was that this recipe also had several variations, including White Chocolate Raspberry Brownies. I had a comically teeny (3 tablespoons) jar of raspberry jam and some white chips in the pantry, so I didn’t even have to brave the now dry and perfectly safe roads!

Original recipe is below, my notes are in bold. This recipe is slightly altered from the original in that I incorporated the instructions for the white chocolate raspberry variation into the text of the original chocolate chunk brownies recipe.

Easy White Chocolate Raspberry Brownies (serves 8-10) When I math this out, I get 24 brownies, which at 2-3 brownies per person means either this serves way more people or someone is FINALLY incorporating actual consumption into serving size here.

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water Boil the water, then measure. If you’re a scale baker like I am, it’s 5 ounces.
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped fine Half a Baker’s bar. I use a serrated knife to chop chocolate. The teeth of the knife seem to move more gently through the bar, if that makes sense. All I know is that it’s quieter and I end up with less chocolate on my counter than with a regular knife.
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam I used 3 tablespoons because that’s what I had. Peanut isn’t a big fruit fan so that works out for us too.
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling for 13 by 9 inch baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil; first sheet should be 13 inches wide and second sheet should be 9 inches wide. By the time I reached the semicolon I knew I would be skipping this step. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray. My trusty Baker’s recipe says to just line the pan with foil and spray it. One sheet of foil. 2 steps. No semicolon. I took the easy way.
  2. Whisk boiling water, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa in a large bowl until chocolate is melted. Whisk in sugar, oil, eggs and yolks, melted butter, and vanilla until just combined. Gently whisk in flour and salt until just incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chips. I added the chips just before the flour was incorporated. Since we’re trying not to over mix the flour, I figured a few stirs could be saved by adding the chips earlier.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Dollop jam evenly over top of batter and swirl into batter with the tip of a paring knife. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Totally forgot to do this. Rotated at 30 since it took 35. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. 2 inch squares. From a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangle. My inner control freak will have to be appeased by getting the extra inch from each side all to myself. 


There are three more variations: Nutella-Hazelnut, Chocolate-Mint, and Peanut Butter-Marshmallow, plus the original recipe in the magazine. If you happen to come across it at the store, it might be worth picking up! I also recommend the Fried Brussels Sprouts.

7&8/52 Honey Sage Bourbon Cocktail & Candied Ginger Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Not a meal. Not saying it couldn’t be. There’s fruit in it.

Susie Homemaker I am not. I’m not particularly tidy. I avoid cleaning, which means I let things go until crisis point (eating off orphaned plastic container lids and going sockless) or we have company arriving. I enjoy cooking and baking, but cuisine is one of the first priorities to go when adulting gets to be overwhelming. Any military wife will tell you that popcorn or cereal can be a meal (ANY meal) during deployment or any other service member absence (it’s never JUST a deployment). I like to think I have perfected the art of lazy feeding when my husband is gone and the three of us (plus dog) are left to our own devices. My crowning achievement was the invention of “Big Bowl of Food”, where, writhing in the throes of a back injury, I desperately assembled a lunch of snack items (crackers, raisins, nuts, Cheerios, fruit snacks?, pretzels) in a – you guessed it – big bowl and plopped it on the coffee table with two cups of milk and let the boys have at it. It’s become one of my most requested creations.

In fourteen days, this house has seen three injuries above the neck (all on the same kid, looking into having him fitted for a helmet), three days of fever (other kid), and mild flu-like symptoms (Mommy). Only the dog remains unscathed. Meals these past two weeks have been of the lazy variety. Store-bought rotisserie chicken with noodles and steam-in-the-bag broccoli for three nights, a standby meatball recipe that lasted until no one ever wants to see a meatball again (especially Meatball, who doesn’t care for them in the first place), and teriyaki chicken have pretty much seen us through, augmented with a couple of trips through the Chik-fil-A drive-thru. *Bonus recipe for teriyaki chicken: Pour one bottle Soy Vey Teriyaki sauce into slow cooker. Add 4-5 skinless chicken thighs (boned or not, doesn’t matter), cook on low for 4 hours. Serve with rice.* I’m patting myself on the back for not resorting to Big Bowl of Food and celebrating with the cocktail I had wanted to make when I did the Maple Bourbon Rosemary Cocktail.

Honey Sage Winter Bourbon Cocktail

As usual, my edits are in bold.

Honey Winter Bourbon Cocktail with Honey Sage Syrup No need to say honey twice here, honey. Winter Bourbon Cocktail with Honey Sage Syrup or Honey Sage Winter Bourbon Cocktail.

Honey Sage Syrup I halved this recipe knowing I barely had enough Bourbon for one cocktail

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 10-12 Fresh Sage Leaves


  • 2 ounces Bourbon Normally, I prefer Buffalo Trace for cocktails but it is extraordinarily difficult to find in Southern Maryland. I found it ONCE in our local booze-selling grocery but had just bought some Makers Mark and couldn’t bring myself to buy more Bourbon and now I’m kicking myself. 
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 fresh sage leaf
  • 3 Tbsp honey sage syrup
  • Servings: 3 Nope. Three teetotaling 85 pound gymnasts, maybe, but these quantities make ONE decent drink. 


Bring the water, honey, and sage to a boil in a pot over medium high heat. Reduce to
lowand simmer 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let syrup cool.
You’ll have extra syrup unless you’re mixing for a crowd. Mine is in an airtight container in the fridge.

Fill a short glass with ice. Pour bourbon and cooled syrup over ice. Twist your orange peel directly over glass until you see the oils release. Place in glass with bourbon, stir, and garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

It really was the “Last Pass” for that bottle of Bourbon. Plane etchings adorn all of our barware. Naval Aviation wife problems.

Doing this again, I would muddle an orange slice in a shaker with the syrup and then add ice and bourbon and shake until the shaker is cold, then pour over fresh ice before adding the twist and the sage leaf. This cocktail improved as the ice diluted it and I’d rather just start there. Plus, it was a bit flat until I enhanced the orange.

This cocktail is not sweet so if you like sweeter drinks, feel free to add more honey. Eh, being almost HALF syrup makes this drink quite sweet. It’s also quite strong because the honey is the only mixer, but it certainly doesn’t need to be any sweeter. 

I’d love to try it again soon, but I used the last of our Maker’s Mark (and even had to augment with a splash of Pendleton), and I’m not sure this is worthy of the Blanton’s. Besides, I need the Blanton’s for the fast-approaching Julep Season.

I have a bit of a grocery neurosis. Whenever I come across a hard to find ingredient, it gets stuck in my head, and the next time I see that ingredient, I stock up. Like a squirrel getting ready for winter. (I’m still so mad about not buying that Buffalo Trace I saw IN NOVEMBER.) In this manner, I found myself sitting on close to a pound of candied ginger. That’s a LOT of candied ginger, even for a relatively prolific baker. So, cocktail in hand, I went to Pinterest to find a new way to use some of it up. I’d been craving cookies for a while and always have plenty of chocolate on hand (second grocery problem, I rarely leave the store without chocolate), so this recipe for Candied Ginger Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the Minimalist Baker caught my eye. The recipe uses sea salt chocolate, which I didn’t have on hand (but now I’ll stock up the next time I see it!) but I do have sea salt and chocolate, problem solved.

Candied Ginger and Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pillowy chocolate chip cookies with tiny little flecks of homemade candied ginger and sea salt dark chocolate. I would not describe my results as “pillowy”. Tasty, certainly, but pillowy, no.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Serves: 30 cookies
1 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup sea salt dark chocolate, chopped I used chopped dark chocolate and then added a half tsp sea salt to the dough, then sprinkled a few flakes of sea salt on each cookie
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped

CANDIED GINGER If you feel like making your own candied ginger, here’s how. That would have defeated the purpose for me, though. If you bought candied ginger, skip to the next bold text.
4-5 small-medium pieces fresh ginger
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
To candy ginger, peel and thinly slice fresh ginger, then add to a saucepan with equal parts water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Next, drain and place ginger on a plate or other flat surface to dry, preferably overnight but at least 5-6 hours. Lastly, toss in white sugar.

Let’s get down to business.
To make the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars together. Then add egg, vanilla and mix again.
Add dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing as you go. Lastly, fold in chocolate chunks and chopped candied ginger.
Scoop into rounded 1 Tbsp. balls and place on cookie sheet. Here’s where I put a few flakes of San Juan Island Sea Salt on each cookie. I’m partial to this brand but unless you have a connection to the Puget Sound, it’s hard to find. Any sea salt will do. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set in the middle – they should hardly be brown. I will try chilling the scooped dough next time. my cookies came out flatter than I wanted them. Still delicious, but not very pretty. Also, in this manner, you can scoop and FREEZE the dough then store it in a sealed bag in the freezer and bake the cookies in single serve batches!fullsizeoutput_2b29
Leave on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container or bag for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in freezer to store longer. These did not last 4 days. Storage was not a problem. 6 thumbs up because two of our thumbs were on a business trip and missed out.