Here it is, the end of November, and we still have tons of Halloween candy in the house. The bad news is that I only have so much willpower, and that candy is calling my name. The good news is that it's time to start holiday baking, and that giant bag of Halloween candy is a fabulous chocolaty resource.
These brownies are a delicious way to use up fun-sized Aero bars, but you could also use other chopped-up chocolate bars such as Hershey's, Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp, or Kit Kat. Needless to say, Smarties, M&M's, or Reece's Pieces could also be incorporated nicely into this recipe. The possibilities are endless! No Halloween candy? No problem! Substitute 2 cups of chocolate chips for the chopped up Aero bars.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or spray a 9x13 baking pan.
In a large saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat; stir in sugar, flour, eggs, salt, and vanilla extract. Gently fold in approximately 3/4 of the chopped Aero bars.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining chopped Aero bars.
Wait five minutes, then, using a butter knife, spread the melting Aero bars gently over the surface of the brownies to form a coating.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.
The lead-up to the holidays is always hectic and busy, but when the kids are out of school and the snow is falling and there is nowhere I need to be, my favourite thing in the world is to curl up on the couch with a big mug of steaming coffee and Baileys. It's such a cozy, seasonal thing for me; reading a good book in my warm flannel pajamas, or maybe watching "The Price is Right" with the kids, curled up under a knitted afghan, but always, always with a coffee and Baileys.
It signals the real start of the holidays to me, suddenly being thrust into a lazy, nothing-to-do-and-nowhere-to-go state. It's a welcome change from the rush to school and activities and holiday parties and the grocery store. Baileys and coffee means that I can stay in for the day; I can look out the window at the beautiful frost and snow - beautiful because I don't have to go out in it.
The problem is this: I have a hard time digesting dairy and, sadly for me, Baileys is a CREAM recipe. Last year, after the lovely Maija posted her recipe for homemade Baileys Irish Cream, I wondered if I could make a non-dairy version. I experimented a little and came up with this recipe, which even my non-vegan, dairy-loving husband enjoyed. If that's not a high commendation, I don't know what is. So give it a try - so easy, so delicious, and so much like the Bailey's Irish Cream that we know and love, but without the cream.
In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milks, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until somewhat thickened, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Add coffee and whiskey and stir well. Allow to cool before serving.
This makes an impressive hostess gift; pour into a pretty jar and tie a ribbon on it; you will be the hit of the party!
This keeps in a glass jar in the refrigerator for one week; be sure to shake or stir before serving as the coffee and whiskey settle at the bottom.
NOTE: I made a lot of this, more than could be feasibly consumed in a week, and so I froze it in mason jars. It worked quite well; if you do this, after thawing give it a whirl in the blender to mix it all up. (Put the whiskey in the coconut and mix it all up...)
Serve with coffee, or on ice, or in hot chocolate - pajamas optional but recommended.
In baked goods, eggs are used as a binder, emulsifier, and a thickening agent. But what do you do if you are unable to eat eggs? Flax "eggs" are a great substitute for the real thing and they are very simple to make. Use one flax "egg" as a one-for-one substitute for recipes that call for up to three eggs. Flax "eggs" (flegs?) work particularly well in loaves, cookies, and cakes. If you find that your baked good is not rising as much with a flax "egg," increase the amount of baking powder in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.
Ground flax is often available in the grocery store, but it is very easy to make your own - and it's often fresher this way. Simply grind up flax seeds in a cleaned-out coffee grinder, a grain attachment for a blender, or even with a mortar and pestle.
Ingredients for one flax "egg" (Fleg)
In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax and water.
Set bowl in refrigerator for 15 minutes; this will thicken the mixture so that it will be a similar consistency to egg whites.
Use as a one-for-one substitute for regular eggs in any baked good recipe.
Double or triple this for 2 to 3 egg substitutes.
Take regular flax seeds...
...and run it through a cleaned-out coffee grinder, or a grain attachment on a blender. An old-fashioned mortar and pestle works too!
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