Salty Bourbon Squares

As I perused the My Pinnable Kitchen Board trying to decide which recipe to do next, I came across the Salty Bourbon Squares. What a perfect way to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary than by stealing 2 tablespoons of my husband’s good bourbon…er. Well, he likes bourbon anyway and I am pretty sure he likes chocolate chip cookies too, so, perfect!

The blog that this recipe comes from, The Vanilla Bean Blog, is quite funny! If you have children, you will relate and have a giggle too. The photos are also quite beautiful. Really great blog!

This recipe was SUPER simple. I made it during one of my son’s naps. If you’re a parent you know that the time a child is napping is precious and fleeting and sometimes endless. But you usually have to be somewhere at a certain time after said nap. So the fact that I started AND finished this recipe during a nap says something.

I think that there is one reason why I don’t usually make everything I pin. I usually don’t have the exotic ingredients that I need. This recipe is one that I didn’t attempt before because I didn’t have Fluer de Sel. It’s an ingredient that is easy enough to get ahold of; it’s just rather expensive and you never know when you’ll need to use it again. Of course, I suppose, you could use it instead of regular salt.

Wow! I just googled what Fluer de Sel is. It’s hand harvested French salt! No wonder it’s $13 for 4.4 ounces! Well, the French do know cooking. And it was worth buying for this one recipe. I will be making it again.

Just from the pictures, you can tell that it was delicious. I have already had Facebook requests for one.

The one issue that I had was with the chocolate. Even though I followed the directions of the recipe and let the sugar and butter mixture cool before adding the egg/bourbon mixture (which didn’t curdle in the sugar), when I added the chocolate, it melted into the batter. As I was mixing it in, a few of the chips (I didn’t have time to cut up a chunk of chocolate) melted! I never thought that it would turn out a lighter brown color, but it did.

I also used the Bronski Gluten Free flour mix. I find that in most recipes, you can substitute the gluten free flour 1:1 unless the recipe is butter heavy. If there is a lot of butter, as there was in this recipe, I always add the gluten free flour at about 1.5:1 ratio, or heap tablespoons full in until the batter looks and/or feels the right consistency. In this case, I figured that since it is a giant casserole cookie (pedestrian term),  the batter needed to look like cookie batter.  This worked out perfectly!

The smell of chocolate chip cookies wafted into the nursery and I knew that we weren’t going to be able to wait on this treat for another day.  I took some to my best friend, whose in-laws are visiting. They all enjoyed. I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe.

Below are the pictures.  This week, I’m making Walnut Jam Scones for my Bestie’s birthday since she and her husband are such fans of Milo & Olive in Santa Monica.

Until then!

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Tonight, I tried this “recipe“. I put it in quotes because if you follow the link, you’ll see that it is a list of ingredients with no amounts or directions posted. There aren’t even specifics on the ingredients i.e. onion as opposed to white onion or red onion. As I’ve stated before, I’m not a cook, so I did my best at guessing the proper ingredients and quantities. I prefer my ingredients to be real, organic and non-GMO so when shopping, I could only find green bell peppers at my local Whole Foods. I would have prefered to have a variety of color, but I was stuck with what I got. 

The recipe was fairly easy. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish. I was able to start after my husband arrived home from work and dinner was served and devoured before we had to bath the Babe for bedtime. 

I opted to broil the bell peppers instead of grilling them. If we had our own grill, I think it would have added to the flavor. 

I rinsed 1 Cup of brown rice. Then I drained the water off and added 1 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1 Tbl unsalted butter and cooked the rice. Meanwhile, I chopped 1/2 of a medium sized white onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 7 large leaves of basil, and halved about a dozen cherry tomatoes. When the rice had boiled down for about 20 minutes until all the broth had absorbed mostly into the rice, I then added the onion, garlic, basil and cherry tomatoes and let the rice cook the rest of the way down. Once the rice was ready, I added 4 heaping soup spoons of grated parmesan cheese. Once combined, I took the peppers, which had broiled for about 15 minutes, out of the oven and stuffed them with the rice mixture. Then I took fresh mozzarella cheese and sliced it 1/8″ thick and placed it on top of the rice mixture. Then I placed the peppers back into an oven set to 350° F for about 5 minutes, until the cheese had melted. 

While they look delicious, they were very plain. By the smell of it, they should have been very flavorful, but they just weren’t. We got a pop of flavor here and there, but nothing like I was hoping. 

My husband and I discussed what could make them better. Here are some ideas that we came up with:

Use red and yellow bell peppers. The green pepper flavor really overpowered everything else. 

Use more garlic. I was going to, but again didn’t want the predominant flavor to be garlic. I would use maybe 4 cloves? 

Use olive oil instead of butter when making the rice. It is an Italian dish….

Actually saute the onions and garlic and then add the fully cooked rice? I didn’t want to dirty more pans

Use more parmesan. Cheese always makes a dish better. 

There are numerous ways that I think my best friend could take this dish and make it something mouth watering. Maybe you have your ideas too and if they work, please share. This recipe seemed to have so much potential, but in the end fell flat. That’s what this is about though. Finding out and expanding our “Usual dinners” list. 

Here are the pics! Enjoy! See you soon!

Ingredients almost done Cooked