Black Bean Brownies

I’ve been intrigued with that whole idea of hiding healthy veggies and other items within foods that you like. Pureed squash or carrots in mac and cheese and things like that. I read this article all about black beans. There was a recipe for brownies included. I had all the ingredients except for the black beans. A quick trip to the store and I have brownies from scratch.

Black Bean Brownies 7

I think the recipe needs just a slight tweaking or I need a new bottle of vegetable oil, since I could taste the oil in the baked brownies. After second thought (and more brownies) I just greased the corner of the baking dish too much and got an extra dose of vegetable oil. These were pretty chocolatey and had a rich, fudgey texture.

Black Bean Brownies 1

3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

You will also need a blender or food processor.

Black Bean Brownies 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stick the black beans and the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into the blender and puree. I had a hard time with this in the blender because there wasn’t enough liquid with the beans. I mashed them a bit with a spoon before moving on to the next step.

Black Bean Brownies 3

Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar and vanilla and then blend again. Melt half the chocolate chips and then add that to the mixture.

Black Bean Brownies 4

Put in the flour, salt and baking powder and pulse it a couple of times just to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Black Bean Brownies 5

The mixture should be a pudding texture.

Black Bean Brownies 6

Pour the brownie batter into an 8×8 pan that’s greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Check that the brownies are baked by sticking a knife into the middle and making sure it comes out clean.

Black Bean Brownies 8

Yum. If you like a moist, fudge brownie this is great. Plus it’s filled with fiber!

Have you tried putting black beans or any other sorts of pureed vegetables into your baked goods or other meals?

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Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup

Next on Make That Pin week,  No. 2 Pencil’s Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup. I’ve already made the Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup many times, so a peanut butter cookie sounded good.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 6

It really was good. Although I couldn’t wait for it to cool down, so I almost burned my mouth and windpipe on the tastiness.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 1

Start with a coffee mug. Put in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Stick that in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 2

Next, stick in a tablespoon of sugar and brown sugar. Then a pinch of sugar and a little vanilla. Stir it all together.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 3

Then add in an egg yolk, none of the whites. Stir again.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 4

Finally, add three tablespoons of flour.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 5

This is what it should look like. It’s a pretty thick dough. Microwave it for 45 seconds. I did check it at 35 seconds, but it wasn’t ready. 45 was perfect.

Peanut Butter Cookie in a Cup 7

Look at how tasty that it! It’s a fluffy, single serving of peanut buttery goodness.

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Mini muffin corn dogs

I can’t be the only person who loves going to a festival or county fair and eating a corn dog is on the list of things to do. I love when there’s a crunchy, golden brown exterior and then it’s a bit sweet. Yummy.

Mini corndog muffins 5

I saw a recipe like this awhile ago, but with homemade corn muffin mix. Ya, I had a box of Jiffy in my pantry that was waiting to be used. So, all you need is hot dogs and corn muffin mix, plus whatever the mix calls for.

Mini corndog muffins 1

Slice your hot dogs into small pieces, to be put into your mini muffins.

Mini corndog muffins 2

I oiled up the mini muffin tin (or silicone pan) and then used a tablespoon scooper to make everything equal portions.

Mini corndog muffins 3

Place your hotdog into the mix in the pans. Here’s where you need to make a decision. You can place them upright like in the photo or put them sideways. If you put them upright, there’s a chance the muffin will break along the hotdog. I would suggest not putting the hotdogs all the way to the bottom of the tin. Make sure there is some of the mixture at the bottom.

Mini corndog muffins 4

Bake according to the muffin mix instructions. The muffin will puff up around the hotdog.

Mini corndog muffins 6

Enjoy with your favorite dip! Ketchup is my dip of choice. Simple appetizer or snack.


So, I really have no idea what these cookies are called. Snowballs. Russian tea cakes. Mexican Wedding Cakes. They’re super simple and tasty though.

snowballs 7


If you need to bring a treat to a holiday party, these won’t take too much time!

– 1 cup (2 stick) of butter
– 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, plus a bunch of powdered sugar to coat the cookies
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla
– 2 and 1/4 cups flour
– A pinch of salt
– 1 cup pecan chips


snowballs 1

Bring your butter to room temperature and then cream it.

snowballs 2

Add in the 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and the vanilla.

snowballs 3

Mix together the flour, salt and pecan chips before slowly adding it to the butter/sugar.

snowballs 4

Mix it all together. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

snowballs 5

Take a scooper to measure out equal rounds. So they don’t have a flat bottom, roll them in your palms. I used a larger scoop and got just over 24 cookies. You can use a smaller scoop to get more. Bake them for about 15 minutes.

snowballs 6


Let the cookies settle on the pan for about 5 minutes. While they are still hot, roll them in powdered sugar. I fill the bottom of a larger tuperware and used my hands to roll the cookie around and cover the cookies with the sugar. Set them aside to cool and then coat them again. Yum!

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Pretzel, M&M and Candy Cane Kisses

Updated, see the note below

I’ve seen these little treats before, but made with the Hershey’s Hugs, the kisses that have white and milk chocolate. But I just picked up a bag of Candy Cane Kisses at the store on sale. If you’ve never had these ones before, omg they are so good! I love peppermint flavored anything and peppermint chocolate? Yes please! There’s also chips of candy cane in there I think.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 6

So I made a Christmas version of these snacks using the Candy Cane Kisses and Christmas colored M&Ms.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 1

Ingredients: bag of M&Ms, pretzels and the Candy Cane Kisses.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 2

Start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees. Lay your square pretzels out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath. You can stuff the pan more than I did.

Make sure if you get the square pretzels, you get the plain snaps and not the butter snaps. Those won’t taste as good. You could also get circle pretzels that’ll fit the bottom of your chocolate. I’d avoid the regular pretzel shape though.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 3

Stick the Candy Cane Kisses on top of the pretzels. This is probably the most laborious part of the task! As is the problem with anything involving individually wrapped candies. I suggest getting a helper (little kids are definitely up to the task) and have a garbage bowl a la Rachael Ray nearby.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 4

Stick the pan into the oven for about 4 minutes. If you compare the kisses in the two photos above, you can see the second photo (with the messy pretzel placement) the Kisses are sorta saggy, a bit more shiny. This means they’re melty in the middle. To avoid the pretzels moving around on the pan, I would definitely add more pretzels.

Note: If you use milk chocolate kisses, you may need to bake them a minute longer. They don’t melt as quickly as the candy cane versions. I don’t know how Hugs melt, so I’d put them in at 4 minutes, and then see if they need a little longer.

Pretzel M&M Candy Cane Kisses 5

Then, work quickly and place one M&M on top of the Kiss and push down. Once you’re done, stick the pan into the fridge for at least 15 minutes to help the chocolate set up. I’d say leave it in there longer just to be sure the chocolate isn’t still melty and gooey.

Now, if you want to give it an extra minty kick, you could use mint M&Ms. But I used the milk chocolate ones. These treats were seriously yummy and it’s a great little thing to bring to a party.

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making monday marvelous linky party DIY Show Off Mandy‘s Recipe Box

Shortbread bites

I’m someone who loves super sweet things. I have a big love for chocolate and sugary treats. But there’s something about shortbread that I just find irresistible. I love those Chessmen cookies. Shortbread is such a simple cookie and it’s just not that sweet. It’s just buttery and yummy goodness.

So when I saw the recipe for shortbread bites from Good Housekeeping floating around, I had to try it.

Shortbread bites 11

These are also nice and festive thanks to the Christmas sprinkles. The only thing is, this recipe doesn’t have a large yield. I’d suggest doubling the recipe if you’re doing this for a party or to give out. Or at least, it doesn’t seem like a large yield since they are bite-sized. You do get about 45 cookies.

Shortbread bites 1

Shortbread bites
adapted from Good Housekeeping

1 stick of butter
1 and 1/4 cup of flour
3 tablespoons of sugar

Shortbread bites 2

Take your butter and cube it up. Make sure it’s still sort of cold. I just pulled the butter out of the fridge and sliced it.

Shortbread bites 3

You need to use a food processor for this. I had to borrow my mom’s because mine is the size of a cup, a mini-food processor. Anyway, stick the flour and the sugar into the processor and pulse it a couple of times to sift the flour and sugar together.

Shortbread bites 4

Put the cubes of butter into the processor.

Shortbread bites 5

Pulse it all together until the dough comes together.

Shortbread bites 6

Transfer the dough into another bowl and add the sprinkles. Knead it together.

Shortbread bites 7

Form a square, not too sticky, not too thick. Stick the dough square into the freezer for 15 minutes. Also, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Shortbread bites 8

When you pull the dough out, cut it into cubes. Maybe a half inch to an inch.

Shortbread bites 9

Separate the cubes and put them onto your baking sheet. Bake for about 14-18 minutes.

Shortbread bites 10

Pull them from the oven and they’re ready to be devoured. YUM!

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Katie's Nesting Spot The 36th AVENUE

Cookie and treat stand

Making your own treat/cookie/cake stand is a pretty popular thing on Pinterest. I find all the holiday ones very alluring. But before choosing to do this craft, I had to come to grips with the fact that I don’t have enough cabinet space to store treat stands for every season. I also wanted a glass or porcelain stand, not one made with a melamine or plastic plate.

I’m happy with what I made. I chose a plate with a plain green rim. It’s perfect for Christmas and any other season. And I’m pretty stoked with the price: less than $4 to make this! I had the glue from a previous craft, so if you don’t have the glue that’ll add to your stand’s cost, but it should still be less than $10.

Supplies: a plate, a candle holder (from Dollar Tree) and a permanent craft glue like E-6000.

Flip your plate over and figure out where the center of it is.

Line the rim of the candlestick holder with your glue.

Place your candlestick into that middle spot and press down firmly. If the glue seeps out a bit, don’t worry. It dries pretty much clear.

Put pressure on the drying candlestick holder. I used a couple of heavy cookbooks that I had handy. I let the stand dry for several hours like this. Just forget about it.

Once your stand is dry wash it and it’s ready to use! I would only hand wash it from now on too. I sort of like the glass base as is, but I still might paint it white so it blends in with the plate better.

This would make a great gift for someone, even a host/hostess gift, too. Put some cookies or a pie on top, wrap it up nice with some cellophane and leave it for your party host or a loved one.

You can always add more layers to this too, make a cupcake stand or a stand for multiple cookie varieties. You can add a second plate to the bottom for two layers. Add another candlestick holder and plate to the top for three.

If you make a stand of your own please share in the comments or on the Crafting and Cooking Facebook page. And you can find plenty of Christmas crafts on the idea board on Pinterest.

The 36th AVENUE Katie's Nesting Spot Somewhat Simple