Mexican Brownies

Something that bugs me is when people ask what is in something I’ve made.  If you have an allergy, that’s fine, by all means, ask…..but if you don’t, just be brave and give it a try and THEN you can ask what’s in it.  Why do I say that now…..these brownies have cayenne in them.  There!  I told you before you tried them.  But everyone who has tried these LOVE them, so be brave and bake some up.

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon (canela)

1/4  teaspoon pequín chili powder or cayenne pepper

1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 9×13 inch baking dishes with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.  Press the paper into the corners of the pan and lightly grease the paper with butter.

2. Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium-low heat; do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

3. Add the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and baking powder and mix until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fudgy, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack, then use the parchment paper to lift out the brownies before slicing.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Butter Sauce

I haven’t really mastered cheesecakes, but Marion, OH my sister, Marion!…she has!!!  And with the cheese cake AND the pumpkin….this recipe is “la crème de la crème”!


1 1/4 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 22 cookies)

2 Tbs minced crystalized ginger

3 Tbs sugar

1/2 ground cinnamon

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted


3 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup pureed cooked pumpkin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 Tbs bourbon whiskey or 1 TBS vanilla extract (go with the bourbon-the alcohol cooks off and it tastes AWESOME!)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first four crust ingredients in food processor until mixed well.  Add butter and pulse until incorporated.  Press into bottom and up sides of springform pan.  Wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Bake 5-7 minutes or until fragrant, slightly darker and slightly firm to the touch.

2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients one at a time, mixing just until blended.  Do not over mix.  Pour into springform pan with gingersnap crust.

3. Place springform pan in large shallow roasting pan (or broiler pan).  Fill pan with enough hot water to come 1/2 inch up sides of springform pan.

4. Bake 65 minutes or until edges are puffed and top looks dull and is dry to the touch.  Center should be less set than edges and will move when pan is tapped.  It should not ripple as if liquid.

5. Remove from oven:  remove from water bath.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

6. To make sauce, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in brown sugar until mixture is smooth.  Whisk in cream and bourbon, bring to a boil.  Pour into medium bowl, cool completely.  Serve with cheesecake.  Refrigerate leftovers

WIC Peanut Butter Cookies

Years ago (like BEFORE I had my oldest son) I was on WIC (Women Infants and Children) program for food.  I cannot say enough good things about the program in Alaska.  I still have some of the cookbooks they gave me (pamphlets really, but full of good info)  The following recipe comes from one of those cookbooks, called Legume Pages, put out by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.  My daughter made these the other night to take to youth group and they were a big hit (and she’s getting to be quite the little chef!)


WIC Peanut Butter Cookies

3 cups Kellogg’s Product 19 (we used cornflakes, it’s what we have)

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup margarine (we used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup canola oil)

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla flavoring


Measure Product 19.  Crush to 1 1/2 cups.  Stir together crushed cereal, flour, soda, and salt.  Set aside.  Combine margarine, peanut butter, and sugars in a large mixing bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Stir in dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Drop by level tablespoons full on to ungreased baking sheets.  Using back of fork, press dough flat in two directions to make a crisscross design.  Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove immediately from baking sheets.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 6 dozen cookies, 2 1/2 inches in diameter.