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Tag Archives: baking cocoa

  • Sugar Surprise Cookies

    sugar surprise cookiesI don’t know very many women who don’t love a good surprise! For mother’s day yesterday, it was the perfect opportunity to surprise both of our mothers with this very sweet treat that sure brought a smile to their faces. These Sugar Surprise Cookies are just that—sugar cookies with a hidden brownie inside!! Mouth-watering, ooey-gooey, and very rich, these cookies are amazing!! These cookies are actually pretty easy to make, and because the outer layers are sugar cookies, you can get creative and use cookie cutters to make these desserts even more special!

    mix a batch of brownies mix a batch of brownies

    Start by making a batch of delicious brownies. They’re very easy to make! For this particular recipe, it was easier for me to line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil before spraying it—this made it so I could remove the brownies easily from the pan and be able to use a metal cookie cutter if I decided to. To make this cookie-sheet-sized pan full of brownies, I used 3/4 cup of water, and blended it until smooth with 3 3/4 cups of the brownie mix. For a little extra flavor, feel free to add some mini marshmallows, some chopped nuts, or if you’re a chocoholic like me, mix in 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa powder.

    bake the brownies bake the brownies
    cut into round shapes with cookie cutter cut into round shapes with cookie cutter

    Bake the brownies in a thin cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Leave the oven set to 350 for the final baking of the cookies.

    Making it this way and using my smallest round cookie cutter gave me a total of 15 perfectly round brownie inserts to put inside the sugar cookies. If you want more than that, simply adjust your brownie mix using the ratio 1 part water to 5 parts brownie mix. It all depends on how many cookies you plan to bake.

    combine ingredients for cookie dough combine ingredients for cookie dough
    mix dough thoroughly mix dough thoroughly

    While that bakes, make the sugar cookie dough. The trick to making amazing sugar cookies is to use the same amount of butter as you do sugar and powdered sugar (the powdered sugar gets added in with the flour and baking powder later in the recipe). Then whatever measurement you used for the butter and sugars, use twice as much flour. Then be sure to add some vanilla extract for a little extra flavor. To make them rise, add some baking powder.
    For this recipe I creamed together 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar along with 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of milk.

    Next, I combined in a separate bowl 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of powdered sugar, and 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Dump the flour mix into the butter mix, making sure to only add 1 cup at a time to make sure it all gets blended smoothly.

    cut out cookie dough into round shapes cut out cookie dough into round shapes

    Once the dough is completely mixed together, lay out some wax paper and get out the rolling pin and a fairly good sized cookie cutter. For me, I taped the wax paper onto a cutting board so the paper would quit moving (seemed to work great!!), then sprinkle with powdered sugar (NOT flour) and roll out the cookie dough. Cut the sugar cookie dough however you want!! Just make sure they’re slightly bigger than the brownies so they’ll fit nicely between two sugar cookies.


    sandwich a brownie between 2 cookie dough shapes sandwich a brownie between 2 cookie dough shapes


    Sandwich a brownie in between two sugar cookie dough cutouts, then pinch the two sugar cookies together. Smooth out the edges on the cookies so you cannot see any of the brownie.




    bake the cookies bake the cookies
    baked cookies baked cookies

    Bake the cookies on a greased cookie sheet on 350 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. *Note that these cookies will expand a little bit, so don’t place them too closely together.

    To keep these fresh and soft, stick them into a sealed container or onto a paper plate and into a plastic bag. Enjoy as is or with some cream cheese frosting, or warmed up on top of some vanilla ice cream!

    Sugar Surprise Cookies!! Sugar Surprise Cookies!!

    Contributed by Angelia Kunz


  • Powdered Milk

    Milk is a basic ingredient for so many recipes as well as a favorite beverage.  But if you’re not able to run to the store for a gallon, powdered milk is handy and easy to use.  That’s why it is so important to include it in your food storage plans. 

    What is powdered milk?  Powder milk is made from fresh, pasteurized skim milk.  First, the milk is concentrated in an evaporator until 50% of the milk solids remain. Next, the concentrated milk is sprayed into a heated chamber where the water almost instantly evaporates, leaving behind tiny dry milk particles.  What is the difference between instant and non-instant powdered milk?  Instant milk is non-instant milk that has been puffed with air which makes it mix into water easier.  In fact you could just drop it into water and it would dissolve instantly.  Non-instant milk, also known as regular non-fat dry milk, requires more stirring and chilling before it can be served as milk.

    It is very simple to use powdered milk.  You simply mix it up and drink it!  Some people add a drop or two of vanilla or a spoonful of sugar to their milk to enhance the flavor. In your baking or cooking, you can simply add the dry milk powder with the dry ingredients and the water necessary to hydrate it with the wet ingredients.  One word of caution:  some companies sell powdered milk that isn’t REAL milk.   They may call it a “milk alternative.”  These contain a lot of ingredients to make it taste good including whey, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup.  It is not 100% milk.  As a result, it tastes yummier, but does not have as much protein, calcium and other nutrients.  It will also affect your baking.  It doesn’t have the vital milk protein which is important in some cooking and the extra shortening may change what you are cooking. 

    Having never used powdered milk before, I decided to try it in one of our favorite recipes:  Hot Fudge Sauce.  This recipe is so easy and tastes delicious on ice cream or brownies.  Here it is:

    mixing the dry ingredients mixing the dry ingredients

    Mix together 2 cups of sugar, 4 tablespoons of baking cocoa, and 4 tablespoons of flour until smooth.

    Add ½ cup of butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 12oz. can of evaporated milk.

    mixing the powdered milk mixing the powdered milk

    Instead of the evaporated milk, I used 9 tablespoons of powdered milk and 9 oz. of water.  I mixed it together separately and added it with the butter and vanilla.

    boiling the sauce boiling the sauce

    Bring this to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Boil for 3-5 minutes.

     Serve over ice cream.  You can store this in your refrigerator for several days.  Enjoy!

    hot fudge sundae hot fudge sundae

    Since I am always looking for new ideas, be sure to comment below on ways that you like to use powdered milk.

    Contributed by Pam Higley


  • Buttermilk Powder

    It’s reunion time at our house and that means pot-luck dishes and feeding extra people.  I always like to take a tried and true recipe to these gatherings.  I also like to experiment a little.  That’s why I made my favorite chocolate sheet cake with something I’ve never tried before:  buttermilk powder.  I also decided to be really daring by serving huckleberry pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup.   Buttermilk powder is made from real buttermilk that’s been concentrated with an evaporator and dried, either through spraying or rolling.  It is made with real buttermilk not cultured skim milk as liquid buttermilk is.  Because of this, it does not contain the live cultures needed to produce cheese and yogurt.  This means it doesn’t contain lactic acid, making it suitable for those who are intolerant to lactose.  It can be used in any recipe calling for buttermilk, such as waffles, breads, scones, cakes or biscuits.  Rainy Day Foods carries buttermilk powder in a #2.5 can, #10 can, and a 50lb. bag.  Simply mix the buttermilk powder with the other dry ingredients and then use water to supply the necessary liquid.  You should use 4 tablespoons of powder and a cup of water for every cup of buttermilk needed.  How did everything turn out?  Wonderful!  The cake was as good as it is with liquid buttermilk and the syrup was a big hit.  One note:  Buttermilk powder can be used only in baking; it is not meant for drinking.  Here are the recipes:

    chocolate cake

    Chocolate Sheet Cake

    2 c. flour

    2 c. sugar

    2 cubes butter

    4 Tbs. cocoa

    1 c. water

    ½ c. water

    2 eggs

    1 tsp. baking soda

    1 tsp. salt

    1 tsp. vanilla

    2 Tbs. buttermilk powder

    Sift together flour, sugar and buttermilk powder.  In saucepan combine butter, cocoa and water.  Bring to a boil.  Pour over dry ingredients while hot.  Stir together.  Add eggs, soda, salt, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Pour into a cookie sheet pan.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.


    1 cube butter

    6 Tbs. milk

    4 Tbs. cocoa

    3 c. powdered sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla

    Bring butter, milk and cocoa to a boil.  Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Pour on cake while still hot.

    buttermilk syrup

    Lanette’s Buttermilk Syrup*

    1 ½ c. sugar

    ¾ c. buttermilk

    ½ c. butter

    2 Tbs. corn syrup

    1 tsp. baking soda

    Mix all of this together.  Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes stirring often.  Add 2 tsp. vanilla.  Serve.

    *Lanette says her family likes to eat this on ice cream as well as pancakes.  I can see why.  It’s really good.        

    Contributed by Pam Higley


  • Storing Basic Pantry Items

    Treats can be so yummy, but sometimes they’re needed at inconvenient times.  Recently this was the case at our home.  Needless to say, I was so happy I had all of the ingredients on hand in my pantry.  This reaffirmed to me the importance of storing food.  Even if you’re not into storing emergency items like wheat, rice and beans, you might want to think about storing basic pantry items.  What a relief it is to be able to make something without making a trip to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient.   At Rainy Day Foods you can stock up on flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking cocoa, powdered milk, butter powder, and powdered eggs.  All of these were in the recipes for the treats I needed to make.  I love that you can get larger sizes of these items; larger sizes mean less shopping and less money spent in the long run.  And who doesn’t want to save money?  One note:  I did not use the powdered eggs, butter or milk in these recipes.  However, it’s nice to know that if I had been out of these refrigerated items, I could still make these treats.  Here are the recipes:







    8 eggs               1 lb. butter                    ½ c. baking cocoa              4 c. sugar              

    4 c. flour                                                                                                          

    Mix together.  Pour into large cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.


    ¼ c. butter         3 T. baking cocoa       ½ c. milk      4 c. powdered sugar

    Mix together.  May need to add more powdered sugar to get right consistency.       

    Sunburst Lemon Bars

    Crust:     2 c. flour       ½ c. powdered sugar         1 c. butter, softened

    Mix ingredients together on low speed until crumbly.  Press mixture evenly in bottom of ungreased 9x13 pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.

    Filling:    4 eggs, slightly beaten     2 c. sugar      ¼ c. flour    1 tsp. baking powder  

    ¼ c. lemon juice

    In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder, blend well.  Stir in lemon juice.  Pour mixture over warm crust.  Return to oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is light golden brown.  Cool completely.

    Glaze:      1 c. powdered sugar       2 to 3 T. lemon juice

    In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and enough lemon juice for desired glaze consistency.  Blend until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled bars.  36 bars. 

    Sunburst Lemon Bars





    contributed by Pam Higley


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