Sunday, October 08, 2006

Apple Picking

On Friday, my class went apple-picking. This was a Lower School fieldtrip, and so the five classes in the Lower School went together. Parents were invited, a few therapists from the school accompanied us and off we went. So, here's the thing about fieldtrips. They're quite stressful for teachers! And this was even more so, simply because I didn't plan it and thus there were moments of ambiguity that are killer for kids with special needs. Standing around and waiting - definitely leads to trouble with any kids, especially the ones I teach. But we survived. The other thing that made this trip in particular stressful is the fact that parents of special education students vary tremendously in their personalities, and ability to chaperone. There is a saying in special education, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Some of the parents of my students have similar issues to my students, and so having them as chaperones really means I have to watch the parents as well as my kids! But all in all it was a success. No blood was shed (minus a student who lost his tooth into his sandwich), and we all made it back to school in one piece!

When I got home, I was exhausted. Way too tired to cook. But, I did have a burst of energy that lasted long enough for me to whip up the Irish Cream Brownies from Cooking Light's October 2006 issue. I'm really loving the October issue, and have cooked a surprising number of recipes from it in recent weeks. This one was another winner.

I have a love/hate relationship with Cooking Light baked dessert recipes. Sometimes they're just too lightenend, and therefore don't taste good enough to warrant the calories. Or, they taste great, really aren't that light at all and thus the serving size is tiny to make the recipe qualify as light. This recipe had neither problem, and was an all out winner. The brownies were dense, fudgey and you could taste the Bailey's in a pleasing way. The serving size was appropriate, and the recipe was really easy to prepare. I had them in the oven ready to go within ten minutes, which is a definite plus. And, they taste great chilled from the fridge so this would be a great recipe to make ahead. I am so taken with this recipe that I think I might make it again to serve to the teachers at my weekly team meeting on Tuesday (thank goodness for three day weekends). Even if I don't, I know this will be a recipe I will often repeat both for the ease of preparation and just how wonderfully the brownies came out.

Irish Cream Brownies
Cooking Light, October 2006

My notes - I made this recipe with the new Chocolate Mint Bailey's. I think this only added to the recipe, but I would make the recipe again with regular Bailey's Irish Cream if it were on hand.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place the chocolate chips and the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until the chocolate chips and butter melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla extract), stirring well with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring every 30 seconds. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spread batter in a thin layer into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 brownie)

CALORIES 145(30% from fat); FAT 4.9g (sat 3g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 2.5g; CHOLESTEROL 8mg; CALCIUM 8mg; SODIUM 93mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.8g

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