Posts tagged brownies
Did you know chocolate is a vegetable? That’s right. Explaining her recent study results, which showed that people who get a daily dose of chocolate are slimmer than those who don’t, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego said, “It’s my favorite vegetable.” Dr. Golomb cited chocolate’s antioxidant prowess when comparing it to other vegetables. She also relayed that chocoholics those in the study who ate chocolate each day had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who didn’t.
Well, of course, I want to make sure that we’re all getting enough vegetables in our diet so here’s a week’s worth of recipes so you can get your fill.
Keep 100% whole wheat bread moist by adding in plenty of Greek yogurt and chocolate, of course!
These brownies have a boost of extra nutrition from a blueberry-spinach puree that you mix in the batter. My teen loves these brownies even though they do turn out a bit softer than your straight-chocolate recipe.
Easy peanut butter cups (no bake!)
These homemade peanut butter cups are easy to put together. Thanks for the idea Martha and Me.
From Garlic Girl, add cocoa to your chocolate chip cookies for a extra boost of the good stuff.
My signature dessert that I try to make infrequently because it’s soo tempting. (I should point out that technically you should be sticking to around an ounce of daily chocolate so you’d need to be nibbling your cheesecake slice.)
Chocolate and lemon make such a surprisingly perfect combo–add a toasty marshmallow topping to make this updated kid classic from Good.Food.Stories.
End your week with these simple treats that have both cocoa powder and mini-chocolate chips (although feel free to add the regular size if you feel like you haven’t been getting enough chocolate in your diet).
*Special thanks to the National Institutes of Health for funding this study and others like it. Dr. Golomb mentioned she needed to do additional studies. The big question: WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?
Nutella makes anything it touches creamier. And I’m still convincing myself that it’s somehow better for you than your average chocolate spread, what with all the ground hazelnuts in there. So when I was throwing together a homemade hot fudge sauce to dress up brownies I was serving to guests I figured mixing in a little hazelnut might make the sauce even better. Granted, it’s hard to mess up a hot fudge sauce, but the Nutella did exactly what I’d hoped–upped the richness of the flavor and texture of the hot fudge.
The best part? Well, besides having to do a little quality testing yourself on the sauce, that is. You can pour the melted sauce into containers to give to friends as gifts. As with the berry sauce (homemade gift idea #1), you might want to attach a couple recipes with the sauce, like the best brownies ever or even brownie waffles.
Nutella hot fudge
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup (easy to double, triple)
1/2 cup dark chocolate (I use semi-sweet Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons Nutella
- Place the chocolate and the half and half in a glass measuring cup.
- Heat at medium-high in the microwave for 90 seconds. Stir vigorously.
- Keep heating the sauce at 20 second intervals until the chocolate begins to melt.
- After stirring the chocolate until smooth, add in the Nutella and continue stirring.
- Cool slightly before pouring on brownies.
- The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long!) and should be heated before serving.
BONUS: Nutella is offering a giveaway until 12/31. You can enter here.
Let the Halloween cooking…begin! I’ve just been waiting to start posting fun spooky recipes. I’ll have more all week (taffy tongues are up next). But I wanted to start with this recipe that’s easy to pull together fast. AND kids can help you with every step.
Here’s how to create this 3-D Halloween scene:
What you’ll need
1 pan family-sized brownies (boxed varieties are fine)
1 cup white melting chocolate
Handful of mini-chocolate chips or raisins (yup, ghost eyes)
1/8 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
Oval crackers (Flipz work well)
Putting the brownies together
- Line a 9×13” baking pan with waxed or parchment paper and then lightly coat it with cooking spray.
- Bake the brownie mix according to package directions.
- Allow the brownies to cool and then cut them into six to eight rectangular pieces.
- Refrigerate the sliced brownies for at least 1 hour (or put them in the freezer for 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes on high power. Stir, and then keep heating in 30-second intervals until it becomes smooth.
- Let the chocolate cool slightly and create ghost shapes using the back of a spoon on waxed paper (so FUN). Add eyes before the chocolate sets.
- Allow the chocolate ghosts to cool completely and then carefully remove.
- Dip one end of the crackers into the white chocolate, then cool. Using the tip of a toothpick and melted semi-sweet chocolate write ‘RIP’ on the mini-tombstones.
- Working with one brownie at a time, flip it over and then use a fork to create crumbs on top (the soil of your ghostly graveyard).
- Carefully press the ghosts into the brownie along with the cracker to create your spooky scene.
Happy Halloween baking everyone!
Here’s the set-up: my daughter “had” to have brownies for an activity and I found out about an hour before. That’s when I reach for the nearest box of brownies. Nothing fancy, but it comes together quickly.
Once she got to the activity, someone else had already brought the treat. We had a pan full of lackluster brownies that needed a little enlivening. Enter potato chips.
I’ve been noticing the trend toward adding saltiness to add depth and interest to desserts. I like it. Have you noticed the ‘in’ flavor right now for ice cream is salted caramel?
That was in the back of my mind when I created a rich chocolate sauce–bittersweet chocolate, a touch of semi-sweet melted into heavy cream (it was slightly bitter to compensate for the sweet brownies). I made a swath of the chocolate sauce on each person’s plate, followed with a brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream and crushed potato chips. The crunchy, saltiness of the potato chips pulled all the dish together. Yum.
If I were to do it again, and trust me, my kids are making requests, I think I’d process the potato chips in a food processor until the were fine and then roll the ice cream in the pieces.
Your turn–have you noticed sea salt making an appearance in desserts? Have you tried adding a hint of salt to chocolate to bring out its flavor?
I’ve been meaning to pass along this recipe for awhile now but it seemed like the right timing with Memorial Day this weekend (knockout picnic treat anyone?) and school coming to an end. Not only are these the BEST brownies, but my youngest daughter has a chocoholic teacher so I’m planning on making a batch of these just for her. And if you’re looking for more ideas to thank your child’s teacher check out these ideas courtesy of Motherboard.
So what makes these so good? Chocolate. I know, that’s obvious, but we’re not talking just cocoa powder here or gobs of flour, the main ingredient in these brownies is the good stuff. And there are layers of chocolate–with the butter, mixed with the flour, the eggs. As with the best desserts–in my sweet tooth opinion–they’re better on day two when they’ve had a chance to densify (that’s a word we’ve invented just for these brownies; they’re airy on day #1, dense with dark chocolate day #2).
I bake these in a parchment-lined pan so I can easily lift them out and make perfect cuts and shapes with the brownies.
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 ¼ cups sugar
12 Tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons cocoa powder, Espresso powder, or black onyx powder
½ cup chocolate chips (optional, cuz there’s not enough chocolate already)
1 cup walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the chocolate, sugar and butter together in a large glass bowl in the microwave, heating it at half power in 1-minute intervals. Cook just until you can stir to combine. Step aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs together until frothy and all the Espresso powder.
- In another mixing bowl, mix all of the remaining dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, flour, cocoa) together.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat to combine.
- Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate just until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 9×13” baking pan sprayed with cooking oil. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick; when it comes out clean the brownies are done baking.
Optional directions for the perfectly cut brownie:
- Spray the 9×13” baking pan with spray and then add a sheet of either parchment or wax paper to the bottom of the pan, spray again. Pour the brownie batter onto the paper.
- Bake as directed above.
- Let the brownies cool and then place then in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
- Lift the brownies out of the pan and then remove the pan underneath before placing on a cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the outside edges, then cut the brownies into 11/2 to 2” squares.
- Keep in the fridge for best, most intensely chocolatey results.
Usually I don’t even notice when March Madness comes and goes. But this year all three of my kids are not only playing basketball but hungry for any and all things basketball, NCAA tournaments fit right in.
In honor of Ohio State’s recent big win, I just had to make Buckeye brownies. I ran across the recipe months ago while writing up a post about cookie bars. Granted I didn’t need much of an incentive to make anything the combines peanut butter and chocolate! So if you’re looking for something to munch on while enjoying Ohio State’s next game on Friday against George Mason University (they’re also predicted to win the whole tournament, OSU, not GMU), give these a try.
Now to figure out a treat to honor my own alma mater–Brigham Young University. I’d love to see the two play in the final game, but we’ll see…
Prep time: 10 minutes + baking
1 family size box brownie mix
1/3 cup oil
1 cup peanuts
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat a 9×13″ pan with baking spray.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the brownie mix, eggs and oil.
- In another bowl whip together the condensed milk and the peanut butter.
- Spoon the brownie batter onto the pan (it will be thick).
- Sprinkle the brownie batter with the nuts (the original recipe uses chopped nuts, I like them whole).
- Pour the milk mixture on top and swirl together using a fork or spatula.
- Bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- These are best on the second day–so chewy!
Sure, glorified Chex mix studded with chocolate and powdered sugar pops up (affectionately known as puppy chow at our house). But brownies seem relegated into the last-minute-I-just-remembered-I-had-to-make-something category. It’s too bad.
Here’s my theory–most brownies just aren’t pretty enough. I thought about that the other day as I was flipping through a flyer for holiday gifts and the Perfect Brownie Pan Set was right on page one. Really? A whole pan dedicated to baking neatly cut brownies. Again, my thought is that folks really want to make brownies good enough for the cookie tray. But forget about an extra pan!
If you really want to spruce up your brownie, try a few of these tweaks. And hey, if it doesn’t work for you, you can still buy the brownie pan later…
•Wax paper to the rescue!
Brownies get crumbly when you cut them in the pan. Try coating your regular brownie pan–mine is a 9×13″ casserole dish–with cooking spray. Then press in a piece of wax paper onto the bottom and sides of the pan (parchment paper works even better–but I always have wax paper on hand, not so for pricier parchment). Once the brownies have cooked and cooled you can lift them out of the pan on the waxed paper and then cut.
•Chill, then cut
Using a paper lining–either waxed or parchment–is the first step, the next is to wait to cut your brownies. If I’m not in a rush, I’ll put the whole brownie pan in the fridge overnight and cut on day #2. If I need the brownies that day, it’s into the freezer for an hour or so. Once the brownies are chilled, then lift them out of the pan, using the paper, and then onto a cutting board.
Resist the urge to just start cutting. Look at your rectangle’s worth of brownie and make your cuts from corner to corner instead of just across. Diamond-cut brownies are so much prettier! (And you’ll have to eat all the extra ends:)
Now that you have a perfectly cut brownie (no extra pan insert required), it’s time to add pizzazz. My standby is to melt about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with a tablespoon of butter in the microwave until smooth. Then, using a fork I drizzle chocolate across the cut brownies. Another trick: fill a Ziploc baggie with 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter. Place the sealed bag (make sure there’s no extra air) into a cup of warm water. Let it sit for a couple minutes and then trim a small hole in one corner of the bag. Make peanut butter patterns on your brownies then add chopped peanuts to complete the look. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour more to set.
•Top it again
Along with drizzling chocolate or peanut butter over your brownies, what about adding crushed Oreos, candy canes, mini chocolate chips…I could go on, but you get the idea.
Do you have any tricks for making your brownies, well, more presentable?
No, no, I’m not knocking Jeff Potter, after all, his book is called Cooking for Geeks.
I heard him interviewed on NPR’s Science Friday and I must admit, anyone who’s taken a piece of a rocket to refashion his oven so that it can reach temperatures hot enough to mimic a wood-fired stove, well, I want to know/read more.
So far, I’m only a few pages in, but flipping through the book is like having science experiment after delicious science experiment all centered around one of my favorite things–cooking. There are few recipes in the book, which I like. Instead of giving an ingredient list and directions, as a cookbook would, Potter explains the whys and hows of certain food techniques. Do you know why you use baking soda for some recipes and baking powder at other times–sometimes both? Nope, neither did I.
The section on flavor is not to be missed (and there’s an explanation of how to make your own Lego ice cream maker tucked in those pages–who knew?!). When my middle daughter spied me looking through the book, she asked what it was about. I happened to be on the page explaining the primary tastes–bitter, salty, sour, sweet, umami–so I gave her a quick lesson. She seemed disappointed that chocolate hadn’t earned its own category. (I’m with her on that.)
We’ve already had one success pulled from the pages–orange brownies. Get this, you hollow out oranges and pour brownie batter inside and bake. Easy, easy. Potter used one orange and trimmed it from the top. Instead I cut the oranges in half before filling. The kids could not wait to eat these. Okay, now back to reading…
Oranges + Brownie Batter = Yum. That’s it!
Well not quite. Here’s how we did it.
- Prepare your favorite brownie batter. (Add lots of Ghirardelli chocolate chips.)
- Cut 3 oranges in half. (I used the extra brownie batter to fill an 8×8″ pan).
- Hollow out each orange until you reach the white interior (if you don’t get quite to the white part, no worries, more orange flavoring in your chocolate!).
- Place the orange halves on a shallow baking dish.
- Fill the orange pieces half way up with batter (don’t fill to the top since the brownies will grow).
- Bake as directed in your brownie recipe. The orange brownies will take slightly longer to cook.
- Eat happily!