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Rich Chewy Brownies

We would usually be out on a Saturday but today the force is strong with the wind. Blowing at 46km/h and gusting at 63km/h at one point, home we stayed. I tried this brownie recipe from Anna Olson. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. I like that it’s quick to make; no butter to measure out, just vegetable oil.

When it was baking, the aroma was so good that it drew Little Guy out from his room to ask me what it was.   I told him it was brownies and he exclaimed, “BROWNIES!!” then proceeded to thank me for making brownies. So sweet. :)

These brownies are hard to photograph, they are so dark!

Verdict: They are true to name, rich and chewy. Very nice, my boys like it so it means it’s not too bitter even though I reduced the sugar to 1 cup. Would be good with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!

Update: I have to add that they are very chocolatey too! I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chips and they’re   larger than regular chips so they didn’t fully melt and it’s wonderful! 

Rich Chewy Brownies (from Anna Olson’s website)

These brownies are rich and dense, and get that beautiful shiny, crackling top to them. Another secret to them: they are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!

If you wish to make these using traditional wheat flour, replace the 1/2 cup of rice flour and 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan

Cuts into 25 brownies

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process (alkalized) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips (I left out the nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the pan.

Stir the sugar, cocoa and oil together until moistened.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Add the rice flour, cornstarch and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in the walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes, until they lose their shine and when a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the brownies to room temperature before slicing.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Baking

 

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Finding My Routine

It’s the new school year, the kids have been back to school for two weeks now, and I’m trying to get a smooth routine running. I drew up a timetable for Big Kid and he appreciates it. He likes having a schedule, that kid. He likes to check the chart, stuck on the fridge, to see what he should be doing. I need a schedule too to make my life more organized and productive. The big thing now for me is the daily meal planner. Big Kid has after-school programmes every day except for Fridays. I have to plan the dishes according to how much time I have to cook e.g. Mondays – I have 30 minutes to cook and I do my prep in the afternoon, Wednesdays – dinner has to be ready by 5pm the latest and we’re out of the door a quarter to 6pm. The last two weeks have been a trial run for both of us since most of his programmes have not started.

French Fridays have taken a back seat until I find the time to make the recipes. (Blogging too for that matter!) I could have made the honey-spiced madeleines, which is this week’s recipe, this past weekend but I made Dorie Greenspan‘s Brr-ownies as York Peppermint Patties 8-pack were on sale for $1 at Wallyland. Furthermore, a family has invited us over for dinner and, I could be wrong but, I think brownies make better desserts to bring over than madeleines.

These brownies are a pretty good snack but they sure aren’t pretty to photograph! However, these fudgy brownies with bites of peppermint patties were eaten so quickly that I could only get a photo like that before they were all gone.

Since I have sour cream to use up, I also made Dorie’s Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake, another not-so-pretty-to-photograph cake. (Click the link to the recipe for a second recipe from Dorie.) I used only pecans and mini chocolate chips for the swirl as Hubby doesn’t like raisins. I love the flavour combination of the swirl – cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and chocolate – and it goes so well with the buttery, orangy cake.

I’m not surprised there was no picture for this recipe in the book but it really tastes better than it looks. :)

One new thing this year that I’m very happy about is Little Guy going to school twice a week at the school just 10 minutes from the house. As long as the weather permits, we would walk there and back. This morning I let him cycle to school on his bike that has never seen the outdoors before. It has always been an indoor toy and now that it’s almost time to give it away, I decided to let Little Guy use it on the streets before he really outgrows it!  Time to seek out a new bike for him…

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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Fried Rice-Pork Chops Casserole and Brownies

IMG_5980 (600x400)I made another recipe from the Ultimate Casseroles magazine tonight. It’s Sweet and Sour Pork Chops over Fried Rice, a recipe contributed by popular food blogger, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen. It’s basically fried rice topped with pork chops and a sweet and sour sauce. I like the taste and the ‘casserole twist’ of this dish. If I don’t want to make it as a casserole, I could serve the rice and the pork chops separately.

Sweet and Sour Pork over Fried Rice
(Adapted from BHG Ultimate Casseroles)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups day-old cooked rice, clumps well separated
1 cup frozen peas and carrots or other mixed diced vegetables
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 3/4-inch-thick boneless pork top loin chops (about 1 pound total)
Salt
IMG_5993 (600x400) Freshly ground black pepper (I used white)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar (I used 2)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into thick wedges

1. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add eggs; cook until nearly set and scramble them. Add rice, using a spatula to stir-fry and incorporate the eggs throughout the rice. Cook till rice is warm. Stir in peas and carrots and the 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Transfer rice mixture into an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. Season pork chops on all sides with salt and pepper. Wipe the wok or skillet clean. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to wok or skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Add pork chops. Cook about 4 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Arrange pork chops on rice mixture in baking dish.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the water, sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup and the 2 teaspoons soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Return wok or skillet to the stove top over medium-high heat (you should still have some vegetable oil left in the pan). When hot, add onion, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, stir-fry for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes; stir-fry for 1 minute more. Add rice vinegar mixture; stir-fry for about 1 minute or until heated through. Pour sauce over pork chops. Bake, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork chops are cooked through (160 degrees F). Makes 4 servings.

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I also made a Cranberry, Chocolate and Kahlua brownie. It is chocolatey and delicious and I like the tart bites of cranberries in it. Use good quality chocolate and cocoa powder for the best flavour. I used Côte d’Or dark (70%) chocolate and Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa.

IMG_6048 (600x555)

The recipe is from Kitchen Flavours. I followed her step in reducing the amount of sugar and I only used half the amount of cranberries as Hubby is not crazy about fruits in his brownies. Check out her other recipes while you’re there!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Cooking, Food

 

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Brownie Buttons

You know how sometimes you are looking for something and you don’t see it even though it’s right in front of your nose? This was the case for me with these brownie buttons. I had some time to kill before dinner and wanted to make a simple brownie recipe. I went looking online and went over to Seasaltwithfood’s website. I know Angie had a brownie pop recipe in there. I found it and what do you know, her recipe was adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours and that book is just sitting on my kitchen counter!

I made Dorie’s Brownie Buttons and they were great little bites for dessert. Best of all, they were quick to make, if you don’t count the glazing. I dressed them with a bittersweet chocolate glaze instead of white chocolate and put sprinkles on them to make my boys and I happy.

In Dorie’s recipe, she said adding grated orange zest is optional but if you love the combination of orange and chocolate, add them. It’s really good!

BROWNIE BUTTONS
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan – Baking from my home to yours)

Grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Optional Glaze
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted in a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly butter a 24-cup miniature muffin pan and place it on a baking sheet.

2. If you’re using the orange zest, combine the orange zest with sugar in a small bowl, rubbing them between your fingers to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

3. Melt the butter, chocolate and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and cool for a minute or two.

4. Stir in the vanilla, egg and the zest into the chocolate mixture. Stir until well blended. Add the flour and stir only until it is incorporated. The batter should be smooth and glossy.

5. Spoon the batter into 16 of the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters full. Put 1 teaspoon of water in each empty cup.

6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the tops of the brownie spring back when touched. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 3 minutes before carefully releasing the buttons. Cool to room temperature on the racks.

7. If glazing, dip the tops of the buttons into the melted chocolate, twirling the buttons to coat. Refrigerate the buttons for 15 minutes to set the glaze.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

It’s Saturday and we didn’t have any plans to go out so I baked. My neighbor gave me 2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese so I decided to make something with cream cheese. I selected Dorie Greenspan’s Espresso Cheesecake Brownies. It’s brownies with an espresso-flavored cheesecake layer on top. I upped the chocolate flavor in the brownie by adding an ounce of unsweetened chocolate to the batter and replaced the sour cream in the cheesecake with whipping cream because I didn’t have any sour cream. The original recipe also called for a sour cream topping but I didn’t do that. Maybe it’s due to the changes I made but I find this dessert rather… ordinary; nice but just another cheesecake brownie. Hubby likes them a lot though!

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies
(Adapted from Dorie’s Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours)

For the brownies:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cheesecake:

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter, flour and line an 8″square baking pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water. Whisk sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla and beat vigorously for a few seconds.  With the whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixture only until they disappear into the batter. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake.

Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water; set aside to cool to tepid. Meanwhile, working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth. Add sugar and beat for another 3 minutes or so, until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla and the espresso mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the whipping cream, followed by the flour. The batter will be smooth.

Stir the brownie batter and pour three quarters of it into the prepared pan. Smooth the brownie layer and pour the cheesecake batter over it. Dot the top of the batter with spoonfuls of the remaining brownie batter, then, using a table knife, swirl the dark batter into the cheesecake batter, taking care not to plunge the knife into the lower brownie layer. Swirl sparingly.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan and the cheesecake layer is beige in the center, and lightly browned around the edges and puffed all over. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. When the brownies are completely cook, refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled before cutting.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 10, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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