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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 11/26/11

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES! WWWOOOOWW!

   This recipe comes from www.mybakingaddiction.com.  Take these to work and everyone who smells and tastes them will want to be your friend.  Good Luck!

Double Chocolate Brownies…





Brownies…they are one of those desserts I think I will continue to experiment with for the rest of my life. There are so many recipes and methods out there, so I have a hard time making the same one twice. HOWEVER, these brownies are so close to perfection that I made them three times last month…yep folks, you read that correctly three times in one month! As most of you know, chocolate does little for me, but there is something about the smell of brownies in the oven that settles my mind…a calming aromatherapy of sorts. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t have to actually eat them to de-stress or I would be in BIG trouble, or shall I say my rear end would be in BIGGER trouble! The original recipe does not call for the addition of the frosting and I am sure they are just dandy without it, BUT I was told that it’s the frosting that makes these so delectable! So if ya had a long week, you’re in a funk, or you’re just plain cravin‘ something sweet, make these brownies…I am betting they will improve your mood! Have a great weekend, stay warm and thanks for stopping by!


Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (extract will work just fine)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (folded into the batter before baking)


Method
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 8×8 inch square pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture and fold in the mini chocolate chips. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up. Do not overbake! Cool in pan and cut into squares.
If you choose to frost these bad boys, here is the recipe from Hershey’s!


Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine (I used butter)
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Method
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting. Frost brownies and garnish with a handful of mini chocolate chips, if desired.


7 WHACKY CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!

   What make the holidays super special apart from the food, family and friends, are the traditions. Some traditions are…well, very traditional. But others can be fun and very weird. Here’s a highlight of the weirdest and most interesting Christmas traditions from around the world.


1. Christmas Pickle






   First in line, the Christmas Pickle.
    It’s an old tradition where a pickle ornament is hidden on the Christmas tree. The first person to find the pickle among all the other ornament is said to recieve an extra present on Christmas. The tradition has stories originating from the Spain to Germany, but either way it seems like a fun and not to mention weird tradition!



2. Skating to Mass


roller-skates-outdoor


   From December 16th to December 24th, there’s a very unique tradition that takes place in Caracas, Venezuela. The busy city streets of Caracas are closed off before 8 AM to any motor traffic. This allows the streets to be open to traffic on 4-wheelers! It has been customary in Venezuela to attend Misa de Aguinaldo (Early Morning Mass) and by closing traffic off to bulky cars and buses, everyone can skate to mass on time.



3. Webs?





    Here’s an odd item you wouldn’t automatically associate with Christmas.
   On a Ukrainian Christmas tree the site of a spider or web is not unusual. The folk tale that goes with the tradition says a poor family woke up on Christmas morning to find their once bare tree decorated with spider webs that shined silver and gold in the morning sun.



4. Crackers


christmas-cracker
  

   Christmas crackers or bon-bons are a fun item to celebrate with in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. The cracker is a cardboard tube wrapped in holiday wrapping twisted at the ends. The fun part starts when you hold on to one side of the twisted end, another person holds the other, and you pull! With a BANG, the cracker will split unevenly, and the luckier individual will be holding the longer end of the cracker — which holds a special prize. (Image credit: Sparkly Kate via Flickr)
   Crackers are also a part of New Years celebration in some places. Wouldn’t it be just fun if crackers were a part of every holiday?


5. Fried Chicken

  

Make reservation for your Christmas Chicken today! Those residing in Japan have already begun the process of pre-ordering their fried chicken for Christmas.
   Unlike the traditional ham or turkey Americans are used to seeing during the holidays, many in Japan celebrate by eating fried chicken. While less than 1 percent of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, by the power of marketing and advertising it has become common practice to eat KFC during Christmas. The meal is also accompanied by a delicious Christmas cake for dessert. Let the feasting begin!



6. Christmas Witch

la-befana-xmas-witch
  

  In Italy, children will go to bed waiting for a magical being to bring presents, and I don’t mean Santa Claus.
   In Italian folklore, an old witch delivers gifts and candy to children on Epiphany Eve (January 5th). Santa’s competitor, La Befana, is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick, usually covered in soot as she enters homes through chimneys. Very similar to the tradition of leaving cookies and milk for Santa, children will leave wine and food out for the Befana.



7. Brooms


multiple-brooms


Ok — so going along with the Christmas Witch story, here’s one about brooms. There’s a superstition in Norway that advises households to hide their brooms on Christmas Eve. It is believed that witches and evil spirits will rise from the graves and use the brooms to fly through the sky and create chaos until dawn. Doesn’t this sound very much like Halloween?