Posts Tagged 'bars'

Pipe Dream #176: To Be As Far From Rihanna As Audrey – Kicky Fudge Brownies

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It might have been a while since you have seen something really chocolate on this blog.

Sidenote, I just went to check on that statement to see if, in fact, it really had been a while. Imagine my surprise when I discovered dark chocolate sugar cookies  and chocolate lava cakes and Nutella cupcakes all in December. Clearly, I went on a kick. More clearly, I have a problem.

All the same, though the end of 2012 was rife with cacao, we now find ourselves at the end of February with naught but stray foil wrappers leftover from V Day, am I right? Clearly, it is time for a fix.

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I was playing around with the idea of a Nutella brownie, since we still had Nutella in the house (Incidentally, the promise of Nutella on toast is the reason I get out of bed in the morning during the work week [not kidding], so it is a good thing we still have some). I found some decent recipes promising crackly tops and extreme hazelnut flavor, but I found myself worrying that it just wouldn’t be enough. So I went crazy did the only possible thing a girl could do and added insane amounts of chocolate and booze. 200 grams of semi-sweet chocolate, Frangelico, creme de cacao, cocoa powder and, oh, a buncha browned butter later, we have ourselves a brownie.

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Needless to say, these should do the trick.

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Crackly top? Chewy edges? Underdone middle? Check check check. Because of the nearly-double amount of chocolate and lack of leavener in this recipe, these brownies are as far from “cake-like” as…as Audrey Hepburn is from Rihanna. Best metaphor I’ve pulled all year maybe.

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You should likely have more milk handy than I do. And don’t even think you can slice these larger than 1 inch square. Man, please. Your fudge tolerance is not high enough.

Also, I have it on good authority that these pair well with coffee, for dessert or, you know, for breakfast.

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Just can’t get enough? Check out these other chocolate fixes:

Minted Cocoa Brownies

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Secret Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Whiskey Truffles

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate SMBC

Blood Orange Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Chocolate Churro Cake

Kickin’ it in style,

L

Kicky Fudge Brownies

Inspired by Raspberri Cupcakes

200 grams semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

100 grams butter, browned

scant 1/4 cup creme de cacao

scant 1/4 cup frangelico

2 eggs

heaping half cup Nutella

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8″ baking pan with parchment, letting the paper hang over the edges for easy removal.

Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it melts, stirring occasionally and scraping up the bits until the butter turns an amber color and smells nutty. Set aside to cool.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted. Stir in the Nutella until blended.

Whisk together the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Add the melted ingredients, creme de cacao, Frangelico and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Check at around 18 minutes.) Remove from the oven and place tin on a wire rack. Cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting into tiny squares. Serve with much milk.

Pipe Dream #169: To Live Life With Regrets – Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Do you ever have regrets? I know some people who are like, “I have no regrets. I just want to live my life with no regrets.”

And I am amazed because I don’t believe them. Now, come on, it’s a nice idea and all, but there is no possible way you’ve never done something regrettable, or caused someone else regret. Then you would be perfect and the Gospel wouldn’t be true, and I know that the Gospel is true (mostly because I know you’re not perfect? Haha, jokes. But it’s ok, me neither.).

What they are actually saying is, “Yeah, I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not going to dwell on them, because they’re already done, and it would cause me pain to think about them.”

Welp, hello regrets, I actually like you and your pain. Regrets mean that I am a regular person. Regrets mean that I have actually lived on the edge. And having real regrets makes me a wiser and more compassionate person. Every time I experience regret, it reminds me not to make the same mistakes. I’m all for living with regrets.

But I like being free of them. I’m not all about living with guilt, but that is a different story for a different day. For now, you will just have to forgive me for not using enough caramel in the following recipe of awesome.

Soapbox removed, commence baking.

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First off, brown butter. Totally not regrettable.

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Second off, chocolate chip cookie dough, with liberal chips. Also, highly unregrettable.

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Then, caramel. This is where I am experiencing a little bit of remorse.I was trying to use up some leftover caramels, but I didn’t really have enough to make the texture/flavor stand out. Don’t get me wrong, it was still there, but if I’m stuffing cookies, I’m all about go big or go home.

Double your caramel. I didn’t. I had regrets.

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Next, liberal sea salt, of the flaky variety. No scruples to be had.

Then bake at 325 and pose away. I got a little carried away, I’ll admit. But they were so photogenic, I couldn’t resist.

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Piled  on plates.salted cookie bars 5

Stacked in towers.

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Wrapped in parchment.

This is one for the books, guys.

Free from regret,

L

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, browned
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
6 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped (or more, mine was skimpy)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up the bits on the bottom until the butter is amber-colored and smells nutty. Set this aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Mix together the cooled browned butter and sugars until well-combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds for about 2 minutes total.

Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour the hot caramel over the cookie dough and spread evenly with a spatula, leaving some empty space around the edges. Sprinkle the caramel with the kosher salt, then drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently press in the rest of the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional salt.

Bake the cookie bars for 25 minutes, or until the bars are light golden, but don’t overbake. Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Leftovers will keep in at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #87: To Befriend People Who Don’t Like Chocolate – Walnut Blondies

This is a true pipe dream of mine. How close can we really be if you don’t like chocolate? Chocolate is a significant part of my life, and if it is not a significant part of yours, well…

Blondies are kind of the perfect dessert because they get people who don’t like chocolate. Although these interesting specimens are few and far between and barely deserve to be called human, I sometimes like to practice mercy and make non-chocolate desserts. With blondies, you get all the consistency of a brownie, and the absence of chocolate opens up the door to any number of interesting flavors. In this case, toasted walnuts.

The thing that attracted me to this recipe was that it didn’t include any baking powder or baking soda. This just speaks dense and rich to me. The opposite of angel food cake!

 

I added some frosting on the top not because I thought these needed it, but because I figured I might as well do as much as possible while I was in the kitchen. And bonus, frosting stars are cute. I’ll show you this frosting later because it is ultimately awesome.

And by ultimately awesome, I am for serious,

L

Blondies

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) butter melted

1 cup (218 grams or 7 3/4 ounces for light; 238 grams or 8 3/8 ounces for dark) brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

pinch salt

1 cup (4 3/8 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour

Butter an 8×8 pan (or line with parchment).

Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.

Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions, like toasted walnuts, or a 1/2-1 cup of anything that strikes your fancy.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. Underbake them a bit, duh, then let cool before cutting.

Pipe Dream #3: To Make the Perfect Caramel (or “How To Win Friends And Influence People”)

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I am not a candy maker. I have tried it plenty of times. Last November, I tried making these maple-nut truffle things. I didn’t add enough sugar because I miscalculated when halving the recipe. Typical. More recently, I tried making Penuche Fudge, a Martha Stewart recipe. This was actually a complete bomb. The last I heard, my little sister had taken half of the batch to school and told her friends it was ” dry fudge.” Ahaha. Apparently the 15-year-olds were raving about the recipe. I wasn’t.

But my real trouble is caramels. Caramels are irresistible. Probably, they have all read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” They have won me and influenced me in almost every area of my life. Perhaps I exaggerate. However, I have tried many times unsuccessfully to make them on my own. How easy! all the recipes taunt me. Essentially, they are just sugar and cream. My most notable failure-turned-success in caramel-making is actually another Martha Stewart recipe for Caramel-Dipped Hazelnuts. Martha, why are your recipes so tricky?

While the caramel sort of came together, I was left with a bunch of hair-like sticks and some messed-up hazelnuts to ponder. Luckily, I was able to salvage enough of the sticks for a few photos…

All this to say, anyway, that I have finally found a caramel recipe that hasn’t defeated me. I can’t explain why. I was being blessed with heretofore unknown ability. For a two-hour period. Shortly after I made these Homemade Twix Bars, I forgot to stow them in my car. They were supposed to be a hostess gift. I just tried to be extra nice to my hostess instead. A poor substitute, I know. I’ll make it up next time.

Here is the glorious product of my work. I make a lot of recipes. This one I highly recommend.

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Please make this immediately and then give me one,

Lauren

Homemade Twix Bars

Adapted from “Desserts By The Yard” by Sherry Yard

Shortbread

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground rice (I ground mine in a food processor, which did about half the job. Then I tapped it through a sieve. It took forever. I’m pretty sure you could do without it.)

Make the Shortbread:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-X-13-inch baking pan with pan spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment.

In a large bowl  cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour, ground rice and salt and allow the dough to come together. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when you squeeze it.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and bake for another 10 minutes, until the shortbread is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Caramel

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling over the caramel layer

Make the Caramel:

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Remove any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan by wiping down the sides with water. You can use your hand or a pastry brush. Place the pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Wipe down any stray sugar crystals that appear using a very clean and wet pastry brush. Do not stir from this point on, but keep an eye on the pan. The mixture will be very bubbly.

When the sugar syrup starts to turn golden brown, insert a candy thermometer to check the temperature. When it reaches 300°F, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for one minute, or until the bubbles subside. Whisk in the heavy cream. Stir until smooth, then whisk in the condensed milk. Add the salt and whisk until smooth.

Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly over medium heat until the caramel reaches 240°F. Remove from the heat and pour over the shortbread. While the caramel is warm sprinkle the surface with the best quality salt you have. Note: the caramel will burn you severely if you try to dip your finger in it at this point. Believe it. Let it set for 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Bittersweet chocolate chips also work)

2 tablespoons butter

Make Chocolate Glaze:

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. If using the microwave melt it slowly in 30 second intervals. Stir well after each interval.

Once completely melted, pour over the caramel.  Using an offset spatula or whatever you want, smooth the chocolate into an even layer.

Place in the refrigerator to set. The caramel cuts best when chilled, but the chocolate needs to be finnagled into cutting nicely, so be careful or it will crack. I used a serrated knife to decent effect. Cut into desired shape and size and serve. Store in the refrigerator.


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