Paper and Ink Imaginings

just playing with paper and ink


Mini M&M Brownies

mini m m brownies

So, I am in a funk here.

Lack of motivation.

Loss of mojo.

Heavy sigh.

I think I watched half of “Grey’s Anatomy” season 5 (Netflix) on Sunday.  (I did laundry, weekly ironing, ran errands, and helped with brownies – not a total couch potato)

Offspring3 wanted to bake goodies for some school friends. We made a double batch of Baker’s Chocolate One Bowl Brownies, and sprinkled mini M&M’s on top (Target has 12 ounce bags, so I can use them for baking – YIPPEE!). Photo taken by Offspring3 prior to baking.

Have a good Monday.


Sour Cream Pound Cake

sour cream pound cake

Before Christmas, I made Sour Cream Pound Cake muffins (same recipe, just in muffin tins) specifically for my Dad (my Mom was on dietary restrictions, and she was not baking). Something went wrong in the baking process…I don’t know if I added my eggs too quickly (not enough mixing in between), or if my oven temperature was off. The muffins fell, and totally stuck in the Pam-sprayed tins. The broken pieces tasted fine, but were the wrong texture. No worries, we (including my Dad) ate as much of the batch as I could dig out of the muffin pans!

I’ve made the recipe in loaf pans twice since Christmas, with no problems. We ate (gobbled) the last of the second batch last night.

A family friend gave us the recipe years ago. This one from Taste of Home is almost the same: Taste of Home Sour Cream Pound Cake . (The recipe I use has 1/4 cup LESS sugar.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Mini Brownies

mini brownies

Hubby and I went to college town late Saturday afternoon to take Offspring1 and Offspring2 out to dinner. We haven’t seen them since their spring break (4 weeks), but we didn’t want to disrupt their schedules too much. Offspring1 suggested a restaurant named Sardi’s Pollo A la Brasa, that serves Peruvian Chicken (rotisserie chicken, similar to what we get from Giant or Sam’s). A VERY busy cafeteria style restaurant in an old Pizza Hut building. A bit loud. It was really good food. Sadly, Offspring3 was working and didn’t get to join us.

Of course I had to take a treat for the Offspring!

I love Baker’s Chocolate One Bowl Brownies – quick, easy. I used mini muffin tins (sprayed with PAM), and added a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of Nestle’s Mini Tollhouse Morsels to each one prior to baking. Baking time will vary, I think mine were in the oven for 18 minutes (and it was probably a minute too long).

Offspring1 and Offspring2 each got a disposable container of brownies (along with other supplies they had requested).

The Pillsbury Doughboy is so right, NOTHIN’ SAYS LOVIN’ LIKE SOMETHING FROM THE OVEN!


Chocolate Trio of Treats

chocolate trio
I am volunteering in the high school guidance office again today. During this scheduling time (2.5 weeks in February… this is my 7th year volunteering for this annual process), the employees in Student Services bring in special lunches for everyone to share. They have always been gracious enough to invite me to eat with them on the days I volunteer. On Friday, I looked at the lunch schedule and spoke with the person responsible for today’s lunch, and offered to bring dessert. As long as CHOCOLATE was acceptable. 😉

I made Black Bottom Cupcakes (top right), Mini Cheesecake Bites (bottom), and Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting (top left).

Looks like a lot of work, right? Not really. I made the 2 parts to the Black Bottom Cupcakes recipe, but baked some of them individually (hence the Mini Cheesecake Bites and Chocolate Cupcakes). And I have already shared my favorite Fudge Frosting Recipe in THIS Chocolate Cupcake post from April 2013. I got 84 treats out of the single batch recipe today (I did aim to make them a little small – maybe my inner Top Chef thought we were doing an Amuse Bouche challenge!).

Rather than typing my Black Bottom Cupcake recipe , I found ALMOST the exact one at – Black Bottom Cupcakes Recipe . The difference – my recipe calls for a 12 ounce bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (to be added to the white part of the recipe). I normally get 60 Black Bottom cupcakes (mini muffin pans) out of the recipe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mint M&M Chocolate Cookies

mint m&m cookies 2013

Mint M&M Chocolate Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups Mint M&Ms (plus more for decorating)

I drop the dough by teaspoon onto the cookie sheet, then decorate each lump with 3 M&Ms. Bake at 375 F degrees for 10 minutes.

YUM. Mint M&M bags are smaller than regular bags – 9.9 ounces. I used a bag and a half (between the 3/4 cup in the dough and the M&Ms to decorate the tops).

The snowman on the left is a German or Austrian smoker (Put lit incense inside, the smoke will come out the mouth near the pipe…in theory, anyway. I am not an incense burner – too many allergies!). The train ornament on the right is something my mother gave me in the mid to late 1970’s. It has a watch battery and plays “Jingle Bells”. Both are on the mantle in the family room this year.

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies 2013

Christmas baking season has begun here!

I made a double batch of peanut butter cookies, and rolled the dough balls in mixed sugars (granulated, decor blue) before baking.

Pillsbury Peanut Blossom Recipe

Obviously, I skipped the Hershey Kiss “blossom” with this batch. I will make another another double batch with Hershey Kisses.

My mother always made three kinds of cookies for Christmas – Tollhouse, Russian Tea Cakes, and Peanut Blossoms. These have a special place in my heart, if not my arteries!  😉 I copied the recipe into my recipe binder from the original insert that had come in a bag of Pillsbury’s Best Flour back in the 1960’s. I will have to ask her if she still has that piece of paper stashed in her cookbook.

Christopher Radko snowman ornament – I surf the internet for ornaments on sale Christmas day. Try Macy’s (Holiday Lane category) . (Have no fear, I am not abandoning my family or guests in the middle of the gatherings to go internet shopping…even after I have been up until 1:30 am wrapping gifts, I still seem to wake up at least an hour before any pre-agreed-upon Christmas morning wake up call.)

Santa mug – unknown origin (from my childhood).

Cinnamon Muffins

cinnamon muffin close up

After driving with Offspring3 Sunday morning, I made a double batch of Cinnamon Muffins (which was 20 muffins). The muffins that didn’t get eaten were put into a Ziploc bag and popped into the freezer for later consumption.

This recipe is from 7th grade Home Economics class in Sudbury, Massachusetts. I have to say, we got to make some of the BEST things in that Home Ec class, and I was only there for the second half of the school year. Before over regulation of what can be consumed inside of school buildings.

Basic Bisquick Muffin Recipe

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together all ingredients. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray of choice. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 10 minutes.

Cinnamon Muffins: Make cinnamon & sugar mixture (2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon), set aside. Mix Basic Bisquick Muffin Recipe. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full (I use my cookie sized scoop instead of my muffin sized scoop). Sprinkle 1/3 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon/sugar mixture over each 1/3 muffin batter. Fill muffin tins to 2/3 full. Sprinkle 1/3 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of each 2/3 full muffin batter.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

(I don’t normally measure my cinnamon & sugar mixture, I keep that premixed in a spice jar (cinnamon toast anyone??) and just sprinkle it over the batter. I did measure while making them on Sunday, to be able to document it accurately.)

cinnamon muffins plate

One of my Facebook acquaintances posted a recipe for Snickerdoodle Muffins last week. I commented that I had a recipe for Cinnamon Muffins that was an easier version than the posted recipe, and really quick. No one seemed interested. (Horrors! Not feeling validated on social media! Whatever shall I do? Blog about it, I guess!)

The Snickerdoodle Muffin recipe does look great. Reading the ingredient list, I think a better name would be “Snickerdoodle Sour Cream Pound Cake Cupcakes”! I will try them when I have more than 30 minutes.  😉

And…if you are still reading and interested, here is a quick video that explains the differences between muffins and cupcakes.


No Knead Yeast Rolls

yeast rolls

This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking. When I make them, I make cloverleaf rolls (3 small balls of dough in each muffin tin), and the recipe usually yields 24 rolls in my normal size muffin tins. I never refrigerate the dough, I bake the rolls all at one time, and freeze the ones I don’t need for another time.

Instead of me retyping the recipe, I found it online in another blog, Rather Be Baking No-Knead Dinner Rolls.

Watch the baking time – I find mine are done in 10 – 12 minutes (not 15 – 18 minutes as stated in the recipe link).

Guten Appetit!

Reverse Tollhouse Cookies

reverse tollhouse 2

When Offspring1 moved home from college in the middle of May, I asked the loaded question: “what kind of cookies do you want?” The response was Reverse Tollhouse. At least that is what we call them in this house! I add cocoa to my favorite Tollhouse recipe, and then add chopped up white chocolate instead of semisweet morsels. I like Ghirardelli bars the best for this recipe.

ghirardelli bars

So, I add 1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa to my favorite Tollhouse recipe (Nestle’s Tollhouse Cookie Recipe), and then substitute 8 ounces (2 4-ounce bars, chopped) of white chocolate for the semisweet morsels.


Homemade Pizza

homemade pizza

I started making homemade pizza 20 years ago when we lived in Germany. The pizza in town was fine, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t American (sometimes you want things that taste like home!). And this was cheaper than going out to eat. I use a recipe that was printed on a  Fleishmann’s Yeast envelope, Master Pizza Dough Recipe.

I get 2 14 inch crusts out of the recipe. I skip the cornmeal step – a little messy, and I don’t find it necessary. I also don’t oil the pans (I have non-stick pizza pans). I pre-bake the crusts for about 5 minutes at 450 degrees F.

When we moved back to the States, I found Don Pepino pizza sauce in our local grocery store, and that is all I use now. The 15 ounce can is plenty for 2 pizzas.

don-pepino-pizza-sauce 1(photo credit –

I usually use about 3 1/2 cups of cheese between the 2 pizzas. As you can see, I added Italian sausage (about 1/2 pound, cooked, mild) the night I took the photo. From starting the dough to putting the pizza on the table takes me an hour. I find it is time well spent!