Happiness Is…Recipe: Santa Hat Brownies

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Happiness is Christmas Eve Eve.

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Happiness is loving parents who are now amazing grandparents, too.

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Happiness is this face.

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And this one.

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And, this one.

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Happiness is kisses.

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Happiness is holiday baking, especially when it is in the form of these cute Santa hats

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When I decided to make them, I knew that I wanted to try out a new brownie recipe, too, but I was not sure which one.   I knew that I could turn to Jamie at My Baking Addiction and find something perfect.  She has not let me down yet, and she totally came though this time, too.  She originally found this brownie recipe through Three Many Cooks.  In my very humble opinion, these truly are the best brownies I have ever had.  And, add in the cuteness factor of the Santa hats that I found on Pinterest, and these brownies were amazingly wonderful and perfect in every single way.

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Santa Hat Brownies

Santa Hat Brownies

I found the brownie recipe on My Baking Addiction, and she had received it from Three Many Cooks.

Ingredients

Brownies

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

veg cooking spray

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

Santa hats

Frosting (I used chocolate cream cheese)

Whipped cream (I used this one)

Strawberries

Instructions

  1. To make brownies:
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Fit a sheet of foil in pan and up two sides, so you can use it as a handle to pull cooked brownies from pan (I used parchment paper). Spray sheet with cooking spray.
  4. Melt chocolates and butter in a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Continue to whisk until mixture is completely smooth and glossy. Add dry ingredients, whisk until just incorporated. Stir in nuts, if using.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out with wet crumbs, 35-45 minutes.
  6. Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Use handles to pull brownies from pan. Completely cool brownies on rack, at least three hours.
  7. To make Santa hats
  8. Using a small biscuit cutter, cut out circles.
  9. Move the circles to a plate (save the scraps for snacking).
  10. Slice the stem off of the strawberries. Cut a very small portion off of the top to make it flat, too.
  11. Place frosting on the top of the brownie, and stick the strawberry on the top.
  12. Pipe whipped cream along the edge of the strawberry, and add a squeeze to the top, as well.
  13. Watch the amazingly awesome brownies magically transform into super-cute adorable Santa hats.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/12/22/happiness-is-recipe-santa-hat-brownies/

Have a happy weekend!

I shared this recipe at Alli ‘n Son, Whipperberry, A Little Nosh, and Tidy Mom.

Holiday Treat Recipes

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I still have a couple more holiday treats to share.  But, for now, I just wanted to give you some quick links in case you are still baking and looking for Christmas goody recipes.

North Pole Cupcakes

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Thumbprint Christmas Sugar Cookies

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Candy Cane Cookie Cups

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Brownie Muffins

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie Cups

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Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

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Christmas Truffles

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Nonna’s Gingerbread Cookies

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Happy Holiday Baking!

I shared this post with This Chick Cooks, Sweetology, and Add a Pinch.

15 Years – Recipe: Anniversary Brownies

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Fifteen years ago today, I sat under a “Natalie” street sign at a little place in College Station, Texas.  We sat there together, looking up in amazement, both wondering if fate had placed my name above our table.

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Fifteen years ago today, I sat across from the man of my dreams…even though he was just a boy at the time.

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Fifteen years ago today, I could not help but wonder if he was the one, the one who would change my life forever by making me his one and only.

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Fifteen years ago today, I had my first date with my soul mate, the man who I would later marry.  The man who would give me three amazing children.  The man who I love more and more with each passing day.

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Fifteen years ago today, the process started of me becoming the person who I am today – a wife and a mom, two titles that I hold with such pride, such joy, such utter and complete happiness.

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Fifteen years ago today, we sat and talked and talked and talked.  It was a perfect first date, the beginning of a life together.

To celebrate, I wanted to make something special, something that reminds me of those first few months, eating mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at work together.

Anniversary Brownies

Anniversary Brownies

Ingredients

Brownies:

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 large eggs

1 cup flour

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

4 Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, cut into small pieces

Caramel Filling:

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    Brownies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and stir well. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa powder.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and whisk until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, and then add the chocolate chips. Set aside.
  5. Caramel Filling:
  6. Add the sugar to a 3-5 quart sauce pan, and heat over medium high heat. Whisk the sugar while it melts, and then add the butter. Bring the mixture to a boil while it darkens (about 3-5 minutes), making sure that the sugar does not burn. Remove from heat, and add the vanilla. Be careful. The vanilla will make it pop a little. Then, slowly pour in the heavy cream. The cream will also make it pop. Continue to whisk together. After it is mixed and smooth, cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Putting It All Together:
  8. Add half of the brownie mixture to the pan. Spread it around. Drizzle on about 1/4 cup of the caramel mixture. Then, sprinkle with half of the peanut butter cup pieces. Repeat with the remaining brownie mix, 1/4 cup of the caramel, and the remaining peanut butter pieces.
  9. Bake for 33-35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/10/04/15-years-recipe-anniversary-brownies/

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Happy Dating Anniversary, Sean. I hope that we never stop dating, never forget that 1st date, never lose sight of the important things in life – you, the littles, me.  All you need is love, baby.  Thank you for being mine.  I love you!

I am sharing this recipe at A Day in the Life.