As promised, here is the amazing icing recipe I fell in love with a few weeks ago. I honestly wish this icing came standard with all brownies. I must confess that I used boxed brownies for the base, but it didn't matter in this case. I'm all for going the homemade route, but I don't see any reason not to take a shortcut on the brownies when the icing is the star of the show here anyways. I'm somewhat picky about my boxed brownie mix, and I'm definitely partial to Ghirardelli brownies. The Baked brownies are my favorite homemade. However, you could put both in front of me, and I would spend hours trying to decide which I liked better. Then again, you could also put a random batch of the cheap stuff in front of me and I'd most likely enjoy that too.

If you have time and feel up to it, by all means make the homemade brownies. But I'm telling you now, this icing will be just as impressive and just as good regardless of whether you put it on cheapo brand brownies, Ghirardelli or homemade. I'm still swamped so can't write much, but I figure you all come here first and foremost for the food! I couldn't pry myself away from these. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Iced Brownies

Recipe from: A Southern Plate

  • 1 box brownie mix, prepared according to package directions*
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 7 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoos shortening
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Prepare brownies according to package directions and allow to cool completely before beginning icing.
To make icing: In heavy saucepot combine the sugar, milk, shortening, margarine, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Once it reaches a rolling boil stop stirring and let boil for two minutes or until it reaches soft ball stage (I don’t use a thermometer, I just let it boil for two minutes). Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and peanut butter. Beat until smooth and quickly spread over the brownies.
*This recipe works fine for a 9×13 or 8×8. If making an 8×8 pan of brownies, I’d still use this same amount of icing and just let it be thicker.

You know those charts that show a breakdown of what people think about by parts of their brains–I'm pretty sure mine would have a giant section for food. I may be the only person who struggles with this, but I always feel somewhat conflicted when anyone asks me about my favorite food. While I thoroughly enjoy my daily bowl of cereal, and I don't think it gets much better than a grilled PB&B sandwich, there are other foods I adore as well: eggs benedict, funfetti cake with rainbow chip icing, a fresh toasted bagel loaded with cream cheese, milkshakes, croissandwiches (is that weird?), etc. 

But the other issue is that I never want to list off something that's too normal. Pizza is too normal. Everyone loves pizza. But favorite food or not, pizza didn't get so popular for being average. And yes, I do realize normal people never put this much thought into the "What's your favorite food?" question. Not surprisingly I've gone over this dilemma with many friends and family members, none of whom seem to understand.

The reason I bring this up is that I've been on a pizza appetizer kick recently. This one is by far the best of them all. In fact, it may be one of my favorite things I've ever made and posted on this blog.  I declared yesterday a baking day and made three things. Everything was good, but I think this pizza overshadowed the others. I kept it simple with just cheese, pepperoni, sauce and minced garlic. Many of you may omit the garlic for the sake of your breath or because you don't think it's necessary, but that may have been my favorite part of the bread. The whole thing comes together so easily that I have a feeling I will be making it a lot in the future. After just now eating two pieces (to serve as inspiration for this post, of course) I can also say that it reheats fantastically. Two posts in a row from A Southern Plate, and I've got another on the way that I'm equally obsessed with. Thank you, Christy Jordan!

Pizza Sticks
Recipe from Southern Plate
  • 1 Loaf frozen bread dough, thawed*
  • 1 Jar Pizza sauce (some for bread some for dipping)
  • 1-2 Cups Mozzarella
  • Your favorite toppings (Be creative and make this for your family’s taste!)*
*This is best when you only use a few toppings because they stay inside the sandwich better
*I happened to have a batch of regular (unfrozen) pizza dough on hand and that worked well too! 

Thaw bread dough completely. Roll out on floured surface until it is a rectangle approximately 14 inches wide by eight or ten inches tall (this is just to give you an idea, just eyeball it and you’ll be fine). Spread with 1/3-1/2 cup pizza sauce. Sprinkle with pizza toppings and cheese. Wet the edges and fold up sides and ends to seal into a loaf. Place seam side down in a lightly greased baking dish and lightly spray top of loaf with cooking spray. Cover with cling wrap and place in warm place to allow to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled.
Remove plastic wrap and place in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and then slice in 1-1/2 inch segments and serve with the remaining pizza sauce.

My amateur photography skills and limited plate options made it tricky to do justice to this. Think giant calzone.

I'll start by apologizing for two things. First, I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my last post! Time flies when you're having fun...or just when you're so busy that you haven't had time to go to the grocery store to buy sugar and bake. But even though my life just got exponentially busier I promise I'll be better about keeping up with my posting. I have a ton of recipes I love, but I don't love the pictures I've taken of the final products so they fall into the abyss that is my iPhoto collection. I've decided there's no use keeping a good recipe from you, bad picture or not. That brings me to my second apology: banana crumb cake.

I sincerely apologize for keeping this cake all to myself (and those who live in my vicinity) these past few weeks. It's not like in the 15 times I've made it in the past month that I couldn't photograph it again to get decent pictures. So, here it is – my new obsession. I have ditched every other banana recipe I thought I was loyal to for this delicious, easy cake. It's become a house favorite in such an extreme way that last time I made it I made two 9 x 13-inch pans of it because I knew we'd go through the first so quickly. Yes, 9 x 13 in just a little over 24 hours. Four college girls.

My favorite part is the brown sugar topping/filling. It's the perfect touch to add to the cake's otherwise simplistic flavor. I admit that I've never met a crumb topping I didn't like, but this one, with this recipe, is just perfect. I ate my usual peanut butter and banana sandwich today and honestly was upset with myself for wasting a banana that could have gone into this cake.  I can't decide which is worse, the fact that I combine bananas with mass amounts of peanut butter and call it lunch, or the fact that I now combine bananas with mass amounts of sugar and call it breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Banana Crumb Cake
Recipe from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate


3 bananas, peeled
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine - I used butter
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts, optional - I opted out
2 cups self rising flour*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb topping
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine - Still used butter
! cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup flour (self-rising or all-purpose, whatever you have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two 8 x 8 inch pans with cooking spray (or one 9 x 13-inch).Place the bananas in a large bowl and add the sugar. Mix until the bananas are liquefied. Add the margarine and mix until creamed together with the banana mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
In a medium bowl, combine all the topping ingredients. Cut together with a long-tined fork until well-blended. Pour one quarter of the batter into each pan and top with 1/4 of the crumb mixture (or half of the batter/topping into the pan if you are using the 9 x 13-inch). Pour the remaining batter over and top with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve from the pan.

*If you don't have self-rising flour you can make your own! Add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt for each cup of all-purpose flour.