Friday, January 28, 2011

A fun and busy time at Nana's - Brownie Crackles and Baking Cup Flowers

Want to share a fun afternoon I recently enjoyed with two of my granddaughters...

Chloe (nearly 10) & Charlie (almost 12) live only a couple of blocks away, so it's fairly easy for us to get together, and we enjoy a fun time in the kitchen together.

They had a day off school, so I brought them here to help me, and help me they did!! 

I had mixed up some dough in the breadmaker (dough setting) earlier in the day, and they did a super job rolling it into balls, then ropes, then tying them into knots. It was their first experience doing anything with bread dough, and I thought they did great.  

OK - maybe they were having just a bit too much fun posing for the picture!   

Silly girls!!!!!

We truly love living up to our BAKER name! *-*

While the rolls were rising,  we mixed up cookies using a brownie mix.  They were a little messy, but oh so tasty.  This recipe will be at the end of this post, along with the dough for the rolls too.  ('final' pictures also)

In between baking times, we made some adorable paper baking cup flowers.  We used tootsie pops for the center of the 'flowers' and they were cute as can be. The girls went into their 'assembly line' mode and I was amazed at how quickly these went together. 

I made the leaves and that was the most difficult part, but not really that difficult.

credit: Skip to My Lou

Instructions can be found here at Skip to My Lou.
Cindy has tons of creative and frugal craft ideas there -
please take time to check her out.  There are great ideas for homemade gift giving, holidays and getting the kids involved.

The girls also played a new game that my family had enjoyed playing at my recent sibling get-together.

(Charlie is a redhead, but with the light shining above her, she looks blonde?)
Now Chloe REALLY is a blondie =)

We layed pencils, one at a time (though 2 at a time is even more challenging), on a table.  They would pick one up - balance it on the backs of their hands, toss it up and catch it, then add the next pencil.  They were determined to work at it, and they both ended up being able to catch 7 pencils at a time.  Pretty good I'd say!

But we had pencils flying everywhere a few times - it was fun to watch.

It is a great game for young kids...and adults.

This is the picture taken at the end of our afternoon together - quite productive, huh?


How thankful I am to have Nana times like this with family making memories to cherish a lifetime!  I trust this is a legacy I am leaving for them...
for all my family.

I was thrilled to send some of these goodies home with the girls so we didn't feel pressured to eat them all ourselves.

(Tidbit: When our firstborn granddaughter, (redheaded) Ashtyn McCrae (who is 16 & driving - on the road even! - was learning to talk, I could NOT wait for her to learn to say G-R-A-N-D-M-A (as I called both my grandmothers) so we went with the shortened version, and it wasn't long and she could say "Nana"...oh what music to my ears!  Now - both my dau-in-loves and their extended family members, all call me Nana...and I am blessed. (As I wipe a tear from my eye just typing that up=)

And while we're on the subject...just so you know and you can anticipate with me, our daughter Deb is due very soon with child #3 (grandchild #8 & grandson #3 for Papa & me).  Her due date is March 12, but the little guy (redhead?) isn't going to wait that long and will be a February baby. So if I'm gone from here for a while, I'll be at my daughter's, getting acquainted with Mr. Taylor, and cooking up some things for her freezer.

OK - Back to the kitchen...(kinda)
This cookie recipe is in my cookbook.

(Have I mentioned how MUCH I love having these favorite recipes right at hand?  What a joy that is for me!  I no longer have to search high and low to find the recipe from the last time I used it. Little did I realize what a favor I was doing for myself as I began to type up the 300 recipes in my cookbook!) 



1 (19 ozs) box fudge brownie mix
(9" X 13" size)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 (6 ozs) bag semisweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheet. In large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, flour, egg, water and oil; mix well. Stir in choco chips. Place powdered sugar in shallow dish; drop dough by tablespoonsful into sugar; roll to coat.  Place 2" apart and bake 8 - 10 minutes or until set.  Remove to rack to cool.  Yield: 4-1/2 dozen.

These are great with vanilla chips too!

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

(I made 1/2 batch in the breadmaker)

2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
(one pkg. is = 2-1/4 tsp.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
(I blended it, then used half)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. salt (I used less)
6 - 6-1/2 c. all purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm (not hot) water.  Add the sugar, egg, oil, salt and 4 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 - 8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into four portions.  Shape each portion into 12 balls.  To form knots, roll each ball into an 8-in. rope; tie into a knot.  Tuck ends under.  Place rolls 2" apart on greased baking sheets.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 - 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Spread butter over top while still hot. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen

Nutrition Facts: 1 roll = 78 calories, 1 gr. fat, 4 mg. cholesterol, 100 mg. sodium, 14 gr carbs, trace fiber; 2 gr. protein

I think it's time for a nap - I'm worn out from just reading about this busy time

Enjoy a lovely weekend!


  1. What a great time...makes me wish my grandkids were closer. I think I would love to have them right next door. Making memories is wonderful, and they will remember this day forever. Beautiful post Marsha.

  2. I love hearing about your life Marsha! You're grand kids must adore you! You make life so fun! I hope I can enjoy these kind of moments some day!

    Have a great weekend my friend! :)

  3. What a great and productive day you had. I love the idea of a chocolate cookie made from a brownie mix. How easy and delicious!