“Aunt Lisa’s Brownies” (Double Chocolate Fantasy Bars)

I don’t know where time goes, it’s going to be August this weekend! Yikes!  Life has been busy, per usual.  Last week I flew to California for work, I was there for approximately 21 hours.  Flew right to Syracuse from there, spent the weekend with the fam (my brother and his fiance were home for a friend’s wedding), and then drove back to DC with Matt on Sunday so the studying could continue!  Test is on Wednesday and I hope to report back about a preliminary passing score next time a recipe goes up! They give you a preliminary score right away (thank God for computer based testing), and then you get your official score 3 weeks later.  I’m told it’s highly unlikely that it will change from the preliminary one, especially if the preliminary score says pass.

These brownies are DELICIOUS!  I made them for a BBQ a while back (I think it was the Fourth of July, but I’m not at all behind on here…).  They’ve always been a hit and this was no different.  They’re also seriously addicting, so consider yourself warned!  They’re called Aunt Lisa’s Brownies to me because my Aunt Lisa made them for the first time back when I was in high school, when she sent me the recipe I saw that it was actually called ‘Double Chocolate Fantasy Bars,’ but they’ll always be Aunt Lisa’s Brownies to me.  Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Aunt Lisa’s Brownies

Makes: 24+

Ingredients

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ – ¾ cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixer bowl, beat cake mix, oil, and egg on medium speed until crumbly. Add nuts, if using (I don’t).
  3. Reserve 1 ½ cups crumb mixture. Press the remainder on to the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the 6 oz chocolate, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  5. Over medium heat, cook and stir until chips melt.
  6. Pour evenly over prepared crust. Top with reserved crumb mixture, then top with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
  8. Cool, cut into bars, and enjoy!

IMG_5077

Coffee Ice Cream

Hi everyone!  Sorry for being MIA lately.  Studying has really taken over my life and this is what my kitchen table currently looks like:

IMG_5097

The review program I’m taking has a benchmark “review readiness” quiz that I took last weekend, and according to my results I am 99% likely to pass the CFP exam.  I’m still not completely convinced so this is where I spend all my spare time.  That is, the time that I’m not hanging out with these cuties:

FullSizeRender (4)Seriously, two of the cutest kids ever!  We went to Jazz in the Garden Friday night and got to hang out with them (and their mommies, and a few other friends) before bedtime.  Other exciting things happening in life – I’ve been helping with the Financial Peace University class at our church on Wednesday nights.  This spun out of the Money Matters series they did at church.  It reminded me how passionate I get about teaching people about money and financial planning and I emailed our pastor during it and he asked me (and a few other people from church with similar passions) if we’d be interested in helping out with the class.  It has been great!  Dave Ramsey has some extreme opinions, but they work.  And if you can get a room full of 50 people listening to him and following his plans even just a little, we’re making big moves.  More exciting news to follow along those lines, but not today.

We have been cooking!  I’ll get the recipes on here eventually.  For now we just have one – coffee ice cream.  YUM!  This was some of the best ice cream that we’ve made yet.  The one problem – we’d have ti as dessert after dinner and then Matt wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at night!   So our genius friend, Katie, suggested something we hadn’t thought of (and no, it wasn’t work from home and have it with lunch….we did that too) – make it with decaf beans!  So yeah, do that.  It’s what we’ll be doing next time.  Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Coffee Ice Cream

Makes: 1 Quart

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups whole coffee beans
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, divided
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. finely ground coffee or espresso powder
  • chopped up dark chocolate, or other mix in

Directions:

  1. Combine the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt and ½ cup of the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. After steeping, return the saucepan with the coffee mixture to the burner over medium heat. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Once the coffee mixture has become warm again, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
  5. Return the egg-coffee bean mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F.)
  6. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans (I used a heavy-bottomed drinking glass to do this.)
  7. Mix in the vanilla and ground coffee or espresso powder.
  8. Chill the batter over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator.  Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Stir in the chocolate pieces and freeze until the ice cream solidifies.

IMG_5068