Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Nutcracker Sweets...

Well, here it is... the last of the Eat Christmas Cookies submissions to Susan's Foodblogga. Originally I didn't want to burden her again (since I had already sent in, what, nine other posts?) since it was the busy Christmas season, but she gave me the green light and I really do want to share these brownies with you, especially these first ones.

If you lived in Canada in the late 80s and early 90s, chances are you know of the children's entertainers Sharon, Lois and Bram. These singer-actors, like Mr. Dressup and Fred Penner, were such an integral part of my childhood life that even though I haven't seen or heard it in years, I can still do the entire Skinnamirink Dance and song by heart. One of the recordings released by the band, along with a TV special, was a Christmas CD known as Candles, Snow and Mistletoe. Basically a take-off of many well known songs, the best songs on the disc had to do with... you guessed it... food! Mrs. Fogarty's Christmas Cake, Don't Bring an Elephant (To a Family Meal), and Winter Sweet would blast from our tape player every winter without fail. Winter Sweet is the song that brought this first dessert into being, since most of the music is interrupted by Lois Lilienstein asking about where the brownies were! If you get your hands on a copy of the music, give it a listen for me for old time's sake. You won't be disappointed! Brownie Cravings from Sharon, Lois and Bram
Recipe courtesy Lois Lilienstein
Yield: 30
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13” pan.
  2. Melt chocolate, 1/2 the chocolate chips and butter together. Cool slightly.
  3. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add chocolate and beat smooth.
  4. Mix flour, salt and baking powder and add to chocolate mixture, stirring gently.
  5. Add remaining chocolate chips, marshmallows and nuts, fold in gently.
  6. Scrape into pan and smooth top.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes. Do not over-bake or they will be dry!

NI (without nuts) Per Serving:
Calories: 189.0
Total Fat: 10.5 g
Cholesterol: 45.8 mg
Sodium: 60.2 mg
Total Carbs: 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 2.3 g

These brownies were this year's feature in all my Christmas cards... I made up the recipe when I had an abundance of fresh mint on hand, and it works beautifully with the rich chocolate and tangy cherries. I just love it when a plan comes together, don't you? Don't be squeamish about using the silken tofu, it really does give these brownies a richness eggs don't, and the prune puree deepens the chocolate flavour ever so slightly more. The key, as with all other brownies, is not to over-bake!

Holly Brownies
Serves 16
¼ c. butter or margarine, melted
¼ c. pureed prunes, unsweetened (baby food)
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ a 12 oz box silken tofu, or 2 eggs
½ c. flour
½ c. cocoa
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. dried cherries
½ c. fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” pan.
  2. In large mixing bowl blend melted butter, prune puree, and sugars.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine vanilla and tofu until smooth.
  4. Add to butter mixture and beat well.
  5. Separately, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  6. Blend gently into wet mixture.
  7. Fold in dried cherries and fresh mint.
  8. Spread into prepared pan.
  9. Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan and chill before cutting.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 107.7
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 34.3 mg
Sodium: 12.4 mg
Total Carbs: 17.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.7 g


  1. That looks wonderful, I like white chocolate chips in them too. Thanks for sharing:-)
    X M

  2. Are those holly brownies the fudgiest, moistest brownies ever? Oh, my, they look wonderful, Sarah. Thanks for the delicious submissions and for being the most enthusiastic submitter of all! You get a gold star in my cookie book. :) Cheers,Susan

  3. Sharon, Lois, and Bram was an integral part of my upbringing. My mother was an elementary school teacher, so we were constantly surrounded by "kid music." SL&B were the household favorites! We even have home video of me doing the Skinnamarink song n' dance. I miss them! Your brownies look fantastic. I am going to have to try my hand at baking them!

  4. Hey Sarah! Just wanted you to know I included your delicious brownie in my latest article at Foodie View. Happy Holidays!


Thanks for the feedback!