7 Quick Takes, Thanksgiving Edition

— 1 —

So I entered the Dallas Morning News annual Christmas Cookie contest. I didn’t make the final 10 in my category. And I worked so hard and was so sure! I must have made 10 batches of these brownie bites getting everything just right and everyone loved them. So I’m sharing the recipe here. The chutney recipe is wonderful and I make it every year.

Cranberry Chutney Brownie Bites

Cranberry Chutney*
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
10 oz dried cranberries
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch of ground allspice
Large pinch of ground cloves

Combine granulated sugar and water in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil gently for 3 minutes. Add cranberries, apple, onion, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring back to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until mixture is thick, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Remove from heat and cool. Can be made in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks. Only a portion will be used for brownie bites and remaining chutney is delicious served as a topping on crackers with cream cheese as an appetizer or as a side to ham or turkey.

Brownie Bites**
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the lower-third of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F.

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a double-boiler. As butter softens and melts, stir frequently until mixture is warm, but not hot. Remove from heat. Mixture will appear fairly gritty. Stir in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well-blended, add flour and stir until it disappears, then beat vigorously for an additional 40 strokes.

Spray a 24-count mini muffin pan with non-stick baking spray. Fill each well approximately three-fourths full of brownie batter and top with approximately 1 teaspoon or less of cranberry chutney. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter. Remove pan from oven and let cool completely on a cookie rack. Once cooled remove brownie bites from pan.

*Adapted from Taste of Home Cranberry-Apple Chutney

**Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Best Cocoa Brownies

— 2 —

My mother, who is 75, lives in West Virginia with my sister and brother-in-law. She fell on Saturday afternoon and dislocated her left shoulder and broke the head of her left humerus. This was surgically replaced on Tuesday afternoon and she made it home from the hospital in time for Thanksgiving. Glad that she’s doing better.

— 3 —

Has anyone made it through Evangelii Gaudium? I made it to paragraph 131. Only 157 paragraphs left to go. I recommend that everyone read the papal encyclicals, especially the documents from Vatican II; all are very accessible.

I still haven’t made up my mind about Francis. But I am hopeful and open-minded.

— 4 —

We had our usual Thanksgiving feast with the in-laws. This year The Spare and I made this candy that’s been sitting on my Thanksgiving Pinterest board for almost a year. It was sooo easy. I made a complete batch to take to the in-laws but we ate them all. So I made another batch and that was eaten today. I may make another batch to take to work. One of the guests thought they were real acorns. Use Nutter Butter bites, Hershey Kisses, and chocolate chips. Melt some chocolate chips to use as “glue”. Take a Hershey Kiss, dip the flat end in the melted chocolate and attach to a Nutter Butter bite. Let sit for a couple of hours to set and then repeat the process with a chocolate chip.

Acorn candies

— 5 —

I refuse to participate in Black Friday. I think this very adequately sums up how I feel about the whole Christmas shopping season

black friday

— 6 —

My husband can do anything. He’s working on our back bedroom, which we are turning into another living area. He has some fabulous wood that he’s laying. Then today (Thanksgiving, of course) the sewer line clogged. He’s fixing that in the morning when Home Depot opens and he can rent a 100 foot auger. I’m thankful for a man who takes such good care of us.

— 7 —

Finally, I’m thankful that my mammogram returned normal and my annual well woman exam was within normal limits. So many I know have health challenges that I am well aware of how fragile good health is.

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