Espresso Brownies

When I was a kid I loved chocolate, and pretty much any chocolate would do.  I even loved the cheapo stuff that was mostly brown wax and left that awful coating on the inside of my mouth.  These days I’m a little more picky.  Ok, maybe a lot.  I’m willing to hold out for good, dark chocolate and it often comes in the form of a brownie.

Espresso Brownies single - Crafty Staci
Espresso Brownies single - Crafty Staci

This recipe was a result of my effort to make a brownie that was a little lower in calories.  I like the No Pudge Cappuccino mix, but I didn’t have any on hand and when you need a brownie, you need a brownie.  This is the nutrition info if these are made exactly according to this recipe:

Nutrition info for Espresso Brownies
Nutrition info for Espresso Brownies

Espresso Brownies

· 1 cup all-purpose flour

· 1/2 cup cocoa powder

· 1 (1.4 oz) package chocolate fudge sugar-free pudding mix

· 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

· 1 teaspoon baking powder

· 1/2 cup granulated sugar

· 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

· 2 egg whites (or 1/3 cup egg whites from carton)

· 1 egg

· 3 tablespoons butter - melted

· 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

· 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Espresso Brownies Ingredients - Crafty Staci
Espresso Brownies Ingredients - Crafty Staci

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.

Stir together flour, cocoa powder, pudding mix, espresso powder and baking powder in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine sugars, egg whites, egg, butter, yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Don't over stir.

Espresso Brownies batter - Crafty Staci
Espresso Brownies batter - Crafty Staci

The batter is very thick, and will need to be spread, rather than poured, into the prepared baking pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. These are at their best as soon as they're cool enough to eat.  Makes 16 brownies.

Espresso Brownies full pan - Crafty Staci
Espresso Brownies full pan - Crafty Staci

There are lots of ways you can play around with this recipe:

  • use pureed prunes or applesauce in place of half or all of the butter
  • replace the egg with chia seeds or egg substitute
  • if you avoid artificial sugar, use regular pudding mix, or leave it out entirely
  • use some wheat flour instead of all white
  • sour cream works as well as Greek yogurt
  • add chocolate or other flavor chips
  • for regular brownies, just leave out the espresso powder
  • you can even make blondies – just leave out the cocoa and espresso powders and use vanilla pudding mix
  • make your own mix by combining all the dry ingredients and store until you’re ready to add the wet ingredients

I think it’s time for another batch!

Friday Favorites–Stuff on a Stick

It’s Friday again, and the weatherman has promised we will finally see the temperature hit 80 degrees this weekend.  We haven’t seen 80 around here since the beginning of October last year, so we’re all kind of giddy.  I’m very ready for some sunshine.  What does any of that have to do with stuff on a stick?  Not a thing, but putting something on a stick has a similar effect to putting eyes on it – it just gets cuter and I’m in the mood for cute.

Most of my favorites this week are food, but I don’t know if I could bring myself to actually eat these Chili Pepper Cake Balls from Nikki in Stitches.

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These Cinnamon Rolls on a Stick from Artisan Bread in Five are cute too, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t keep myself from eating them.

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Visit Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for the Cream Pie on a Stick recipe, but stay for the hilarious story she tells along with it.

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My kids would LOVE these Donut Pops from Potter and Butler.  Don’t tell them.

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Speaking of my kids, here is their first, and so far only, Instructable.  They have detailed how to make their Fluffy Cheesy Weiner Kebabs.  Don’t knock it until you try it.

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This one is a little out of season, but I’ve still got Hot Chocolate on a Stick from Givers Log on my to-do list.  They might be good to take camping.  Or just freeze them and eat them like a popsicle.

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We’ve all seen the cake pops everywhere, which are delicious and cute, but my heart is all a-twitter for these Pie Pops from Luxirare.  The photos are gorgeous.

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I love these PopTarts on a Stick from Saucy’s Sprinkles.  I really just love that they’re homemade PopTarts – the fact that they’re on a stick is a bonus.

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Just so you know there’s other fun stuff that comes on a stick besides food, here’s an adorable Sock Stick Horse from The Napping House.

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These Soapsicles from TeachSoap look edible, delicious in fact, but unless you’re being punished for some colorful language, keep them out of your mouth.

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Friday Favorites–Cookies

I decided since next week contains both Mother’s Day and my birthday that I would feature my favorite dessert, and possibly food, on the planet – COOKIES!  If it were possible to survive on cookie dough with the occasional baked cookie thrown in for texture variation, I’d do it.

These Sugar Cookie Truffles from Cookies and Cups aren’t strictly a cookie, but they start out as one, so I’m including them here.  These would survive about two seconds in my house.

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I want to throw a full-on, girly tea party just so I can serve these Teabag Shortbread Cookies from Accent the Party.

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I’ve rarely met a cookie I didn’t like, but my most favorite is chocolate chip.  They just aren’t usually very cute.  Sweetopia has changed all that with these Chocolate Chip Decorated Cookies.

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Just in time for Mother’s Day, Mega Crafty shares these tattoo-themed Mom Cookies.

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I’m not a big fan of actual mojitos, but the mint/citrus combo sounds tasty in these Mojito Butterfly Cookies from The Cooking Photographer.

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I think these Popcorn Cookies from The Decorated Cookie are just adorable.  They look so comic bookish.

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I’m a little late for both April Fool’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, but I couldn’t leave out these Chips and Salsa Cookies from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle.

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These Tie Dye Cookies from What I Live For look like they would be fun to make with a pint-sized helper.

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Not quite as much as cookies, but I also love strawberries.  I ate so many when I was pregnant with my daughter I was afraid she’d come out all red and covered in seeds.  I’d happily replace the real ones with this version from Bake at 350.

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As I mentioned, my birthday is next week, so I’m going to wrap this up with Birthday Cake Cookies from 1 Fine Cookie.  I’ve had cookies instead of cake for the past several years – maybe this will be the one this year!

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Friday Favorites–Easter

Since next Friday is Earth Day, I thought I’d finish up my Easter favorites this week.  Easter is another craft-friendly holiday, with more great ideas and projects available than I could even begin to tell you about.  These are just a few that caught my eye.

There are actually two cute ideas here on The Crafting Chicks, but I love the cone chick the most.

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And, here’s the felt.  You knew it would turn up here somewhere.  Betz White explains how to make these Carrot Candy Pouches.

These Baby Chick Marshmallows from Living Locurto look pretty simple to make and would make a great kid-craft.

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I’ve seen several different methods of egg dying recently, but this has got to be the most unique.  Knuckle Salad used neckties to create these interesting designs.

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I’m not likely to make these myself, but I love the fact that the option is out there.  Thanks to scoochmaroo from Instructables for sharing her recipe for Cadbury Crème Eggs.

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Who would have thought to make a lamb out of Q-tipsCrafts for All Seasons did!

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The carrots on this Framed Carrot Easter Décor from Positively Splendid are made from fabric.  I also like that they stick out from the background.  The “Yum” in the corner is just icing on the cake.  Or carrot.

I’ve been wanting to try using natural dyes for eggs for years, but I’m not sure I could compete with these from Twig and Toadstool.  They’re so vibrant!

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This Jelly Bean Bark from Scissors and Spatulas not only looks pretty, but I’ll bet it tastes good too.  How could you go wrong with jelly beans and white chocolate?

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I think you could add coconut to just about anything and I’m in.  Chocolate Covered Coconut Easter Eggs.  That’s all I needed to know.  Except there’s also a link to Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Easter Eggs.  Now I have a decision to make.  Thanks to Simply Designing for the recipes.

Since I’ve got you in the Easter spirit now, please read my post yesterday about the family of a police officer with cancer and how you can help.  Thanks!

Cow Pie Cookies

I am well aware of what a horrible mental image that conjures up, but these were named by a fifteen-year-old boy and that’s the kind of thing he finds hilarious.  Frankly, I couldn’t argue with him – that’s exactly what they look like.  Fortunately, they’re tasty enough to make up for it.

I didn’t figure out the nutrition stats for these, but they should be fairly low in fat.  If you replace the oil with fat-free yogurt or sour cream and leave out the chocolate chips, they could be fat-free.

Cow Pie Cookies

1 box (13.7 oz) Fat-Free No Pudge Fudge Brownie Mix (we happened to use Cappuccino flavor)

1 box (1.4 oz) sugar-free, fat-free chocolate fudge pudding mix

1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Stir in chips.  Drop by heaping tablespoons onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  The cookies should be shiny on top and the edges should be slightly dull.  Cool.

This made about 13 large cookies for us and they were still fudgy inside.  They didn’t stay around for long, but they were so much yummier than they look.

Friday Favorites–Christmas Treats

Welcome to the Thursday edition of Friday Favorites and my last post before Christmas!

Holiday food is like none other.  Not only should it taste good, but it has to look festive.  Those two things aren’t always easy to achieve simultaneously.  Here’s a few things I’ve found that have the look down, and I’m betting the flavor is there too.  I know, I know, again with the sugar.  At least I have the holiday excuse this time.

Two of my favorite holiday treats are fudge and eggnog.  Thanks to RecipeGirl for sharing her Eggnog Fudge recipe and saving me a step.

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My daughter and I recently discovered Red Velvet Cake.  We decided we don’t care it’s just chocolate cake and food coloring, it’s still pretty.  These Red Velvet Cake Balls from Polka Dots and Pizza make me swoon.

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I’m kind of a sucker for reindeer.  And marshmallows.  And chocolate.  And cuteness.  Imagine me when I found these Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Reindeer from Betty Crocker Wannabe.

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There tends to be extra kids around my house during the holidays and they like to eat.  A lot.  This Peanut Butter Popcorn from I Am Just Lu on Leafy Treetop Spot would be a good way to keep them out of the stuff I don’t want them to inhale before Christmas.

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Most people I know seem to either love or hate coconut.  Our house is equally divided.  Personally, it’s one of my favorite flavors so I’d love to try this Almond Joy Cocoa from Delia Creates.  At least I only have to share it with one other person.

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I don’t know how long this Snickers Christmas Tree from The Crafty Chica would survive intact, but I’d kinda like to find out.

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What can you say about a gingerbread house that includes meat?  Seriously.  Go ask Almost Bourdain about the Chocolate Bacon “Not Gingerbread” Cake House.

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Sometimes you need something you can make quickly that still looks impressive.  Candy Cane Mint Milanos from Hostess with the Mostess – done and done.

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These Melted Snowman Cookies have been all over the place lately.  I’m not sure who gets credit for creating them originally, but the ones at Truly Custom Cakery are the cutest I’ve seen yet.

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A tiny gingerbread house that sits on the edge of your mug.  What will they think of next?  Thanks to Not Martha for sharing these.  They’re so cute I can’t stop looking at them. 

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Well, that’s it for my Christmas posts this year!  Happy Holidays from my crazy house to yours!