It’s a chain reaction. Left over bits and pieces accumulate from the things I buy to help me use up the leftovers I already have. And then what do you do with those leftovers?
Sometimes I think convenience foods or mixes are the perfect thing to balance the playing field.
A few weeks ago I had half a bar of cream cheese sitting in my refrigerator and nothing on the menu that could use just half a bar. Then I remembered that I had one round layer of Italian Wedding Cake in my freezer that I made from half of my Italian Wedding Cupcake batter just before we went on our California Road Trip.
I took the cake out of the freezer and made a batch of Cream Cheese Frosting to ice the single cake layer. I just frosted the top and it was nice. Kind of pretty and very tasty, I served it to some friends.
Now the cream cheese was used but half of the Cream Cheese Frosting was leftover because the cake was only one layer. What should I do with that? I didn’t think it would freeze well.
Then I saw Robin Sue's recipe at Big Red Kitchen for Fancy Brownies. They were really pretty! They seemed like they would be fun to try. I almost always have a box of brownie mix in the cupboard, so I could make them quick and wouldn't need to go to the store. It seemed like a great way to use the frosting and try something simple and new.
My Fancy Brownies didn't turn out quite as pretty as Robin Sue's but they were a hit! Rich and chocolaty, they made a great casual dessert with very little prep time. I used Cream Cheese Frosting instead of the Buttercream Frosting Robin Sue suggests but I think Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting or almost any frosting would do the job. I can also imagine stirring a little mint flavoring or a cup of crushed oreos or butterfinger bars into the frosting before spreading it onto the brownies. Use your imagination!
1 to 2 cups of frosting (I used Cream Cheese Frosting, see below)
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
Bake the brownies as directed. Let cool on a wire rack.
Spread the frosting over the cool brownies.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips over low heat stirring constantly until smooth.
Spread the glaze over the iced brownies smoothing to the edges. Allow the chocolate to set before cutting.
Cut, serve and enjoy!
Cream Cheese Frosting
From "Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook"
1 3-ounce package cream cheese (I used 1/2 of a larger bar of cream cheese, or 4 ounces)
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted powdered sugar (I usually don't sift it but that risk lumps)
In a medium sized mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla at medium speed until smooth and uniform. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix at high speed until the sugar is incorporated and the icing is smooth and fluffy.
Note: If the frosting seems too soft to spread as you would like, refrigerate it briefly before spreading. Store leftover frosting in the refrigerator.