Make Your Brownies Extraordinary by @Donna_Fasano

Have plain ol’ brownies ever made you yawn? Here’s a pick-me-up that is sure to make you smile. When the box of brownie mix sitting in my pantry made me say, “Meh,” I knew I needed a solution. Quick. So I concocted this fast and easy fix that will turn ordinary brownies into extraordinary! I’ll never look at brownies the same way again.

I call these Double Chocolate English Toffee Brownies and my husband LOVES them.

Bake a batch of brownies as directed on the box. As soon as you pull the pan out of the oven, sprinkle the brownies with 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate pieces (use more, if you like). I use Nestles Mini Morsels because they melt faster than the regular sized chocolate chips. Wait about five minutes and then use a butter knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the brownies. While the chocolate is still lusciously melty, sprinkle about a cup of Heath English Toffee Bits over the top. Wait until the brownies cool and then cut into squares. Delicious!

Do you have a quick and easy fix that changes a recipe from ordinary to extraordinary? Please share in the comment section below. 

While I have your attention, can I tell you about the newest book in my A Family Forever Series? A REASON TO BELIEVE is a cute little fairy tale that’s chockfull of Irish Folklore. It’s available in ebook and in paperback. I hope you’ll look for it!

About the book: 

It seems like a grand idea, temporarily trading her pixie wings for a womanly form to help handsome widower Paul Roland with his baby girl. And the moment she holds the precious bairn in her arms, Fern knows true happiness for the first time.

But Fern never anticipates the dizzying emotions she feels for the man who not only needs her as a nanny, but as a woman whose passion can heal his wounded heart. Suddenly the forbidden fairy rule she gently bends because of the baby is in danger of being irrevocably broken.

Some things are meant to be…

ALL THE FOURS Luscious Sponge Cake by Katy Walters

To make this ALL THE FOURS Luscious Sponge Cake, you will need two 7-inch cake baking tins lined with greased paper or baking parchment. I usually forget the parchment and it turns out okay.

Lemon Sponge Cake

Four ounces butter, softened, or you can use margarine. But butter does give a richer and sweeter taste. Not good for the waist, but there are times when we have to forget our figures.

Four ounces of self-raising flour.

Four ounces caster sugar. Ordinary granulated sugar can be used if you have run out of caster sugar. I always run out so I use granulated. It tastes and looks the same. Save some money too.

Now back to the ingredients for the sponge cake.

Three good-sized eggs.

For that Chef’s touch of expertise, cream the sugar and butter together until the mixture is soft and creamy – no lumps! You can do this by hand using a spoon or fork. Or, you can use your mixer.  Don’t use your hands or fingers, it can get too sticky. I don’t. Some insist on all ‘handmade,’ but I think this does not apply here.

Then, one at a time, beat in the eggs. Be gentle!!

This is not the time to do the Zumba. Swinging hips and jumping with wriggles does not a sponge cake make! Actually, I have never done the Zumba, I don’t know the steps.

Sift in the flour and gently fold into the mixture with a large spoon. Don’t lick the spoon!!! The infants might be watching.

Now, the mixture should be very thick and creamy.

Pour the mixture into the pre-heated tins and put the tins in a preheated oven on 180C Fan or Gas 4.

The sponges should be baked for 25 minutes. Test with a knife but don’t be too rough. It needs a smooth surface, not gauge marks. Someone will start looking for blood. And that’s a big put-off.

Make sure the cake is baked and not sticky. If it is, leave the tins in the oven for another few minutes, but don’t forget it and start watching some hunk on the TV or some lady from the 18th century teaching tapestry. Forget the hunk and discard the tapestry. Check!!

LEMON ICING

Mix together:

  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 150 grams icing sugar

Plaster this mixture over the sponge.

Enjoy. Leave some for the family.

If you love cozy mysteries, check out MURDER IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, a savory selection of ‘Whodunnits’ by some of your favorite award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Authors, perfect to enjoy any day of the week.

Murder

End of Summer Peach Buckle #Recipe by @Donna_Fasano

Early each summer when fresh blueberries are plumb and ripe, I make Blueberry Buckle. At the end of each summer when the peaches are fragrant and juicy, I make Peach Buckle. This cake is buttery, moist, and delicious. It tastes like sweet summer sunshine. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Peach Buckle

Peach Buckle

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying the paper and side wall with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until sugar is melted and mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and mix it in well. Batter will be stiff. Stir in the peaches until they’re mostly coated with the batter. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the batter to the pan, making sure to get every last drop of batter. Spread batter evenly in pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the coconut sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the side wall before opening the spring and removing side wall. Enjoy this cake on its own or with softly whipped cream. It’s also great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Looking for a great Beach Read? RECLAIM MY HEART is sure to satisfy your need!

Reclaim My Heart

USA Today Bestseller

Sixteen years ago, Tyne Whitlock cut all ties to her past and left town under the shameful shadow of a teenage pregnancy. Now her fifteen-year-old son is in trouble with the law, and she is desperate for help. But reaching out to high-powered attorney Lucas Silver Hawk will tear open the heart-wrenching past in ways Tyne never imagined.

Forced to return to the Delaware Indian community where Lucas was raised, Tyne and Lucas are tempted by the heated passion that consumed them as teens. Tyne rediscovers all the reasons she found this man irresistible, but there are scandalous secrets waiting to be revealed, disgraceful choices made in the past that cannot be denied. Love is a powerful force that could heal them both—if the truth doesn’t rip them apart.

Available for Kindle worldwide.

Available in Paperback and an MP3 CD and in Audio. The audiobook is FREE with a free trial of Amazon Prime.

Easy Cherry Clafoutis #Recipe by @Donna_Fasano

Dictionary.com pronounces “clafoutis” as Klah-foo-tee and defines the dessert as “a tart made of fruit, especially cherries, baked in a thick, sweet batter.” I define is as absolutely delicious, and Cherry Clafoutis is the perfect way to use the beautiful cherries that are now in season. I believe home-cook-turned-TV-icon Julia Child first introduced this dessert to Americans after she had spent time living in France.

Cherry Clafoutis

I’ve seen recipes for this custardy fruit tart call for all different measurements of flour and sugar. Some recipes call for melted butter, others do not. I wasn’t sure which recipe was best. That’s why I decided to nail down this recipe for myself. The end result of the recipe below is a wonderful, fruit-filled, custardy delight that will have your friends and family screaming for another slice. You can serve this warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Easy Cherry Clafoutis

  • 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the dish
  • 1 lb. stemmed and pitted fresh cherries
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners Sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Use the 1 tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch quiche pan. Set the pan aside.
  2. Wash, dry, stem and pit the fresh cherries. For a tart filled with fruit, there should be 1 pound of pitted fruit for the tart so start out with over 1 pound. Add the cherries to the tart pan and spread into an even layer.
  3. Crack the 3 eggs into a bowl and beat with electric mixer until well combined. Add the sugar and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup melted butter, heavy cream, milk, flour, salt, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture and beat until all ingredients are combined.
  5. Pour the batter over the cherries. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden. The Clafoutis will deflate as it cools. Top with confectioners sugar if desired.

Feel free to substitute other fruit for the cherries—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, strawberries—any fruit that is in season. I have made this with frozen berries. The result tastes just as delicious. However, it isn’t as pretty as when using fresh fruit because frozen fruit tends to bleed its juices into the custard.

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This month, I’m celebrating Christmas in July by pricing my 3 holiday romances at just 99¢. I hope the books will help you ho-ho-ho your way through the rest of the month.

Donna Fasano Christmas

Her Mr. Miracle

An Almost Perfect Christmas

Grown-Up Christmas List