Posts Tagged 'work'

Pipe Dream #218: To Be Verbally Redeemed – Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

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Pop culture words get me sometimes. Like, I stop reading classic novels for a while and my whole vocab goes down the drain, and I start giving in to saying “brb” out loud. And my food blog descriptions get lazy because I can’t be bothered to think of a more creative way to describe how something tastes and smells and experiences.

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For example, right now, all I can think about these brownies is:

Giyyyyssss, the cricklllly cristtttttt.

Translation: Guyyyyyyzzzzzz, the crackly cruuuuust.

Translation Secondo: Guys, the crackly top of this brownie is everything I ever dreamed of on a brownie. Like box mix, but homemade.

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So you see? Not only do I give a bad description (even after two translations, no one would call that inspired), but my description is peppered with extra letters that are really just a product of society’s devaluation of the English language.

The only redeeming quality about the above sentence is that it conveys how dang excited I am that these brownies have a crackly top. Will you forgive me? I’m redeemed, but my language is not. Thanks.

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Apparently, the crackly crust phenom is something to do with the ratio of fat to saturated fat (butter to oil) in the recipe. The blog post I linked to below explains these finnicky science baking things.

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One change: I would double the fresh mint  I used in this. A whole 1/4 cup, because the mint in this was not evident. I’m a bit of a mint fiend, so maybe other people with less sugar-wasted palates could discern it, but I would err on the side of mintier. I mean, unless you just want a regular perfect crackly top fudge brownie.

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Sidenote: One of the most useful things I learned in this whole year is that 1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons. I am not kidding. I use that conversion at least twice weekly. Oh, food.



Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

Adapted heavily from Baking Illustrated via Brown-Eyed Baker

1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint (chocolate mint, if you can get it)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, fresh mint and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the in melted butter and oil. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous, then whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 30 minutes, then lift the brownies and parchment out of the pan. Let cool fully, about 1 hour.

Once cool, remove the brownie layer from the parchment and stick it back in the pan. You may need to cut the brownie into four large squares to transfer it without breaking the layer. Mine broke. Learn from me.

Frost with chocolate boiled buttercream (recipe below) and fresh mint leaves.

Chocolate Boiled Buttercream

Prepare the buttercream using this recipe. I halved the recipe because the pan of brownies was small. Heat 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until everything is melted. Let cool slightly, then beat the chocolate into the buttercream.

Pipe Dream #215: To Sweet Talk Pesky Traffic Violations – Choreo Cake

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First of all, can we talk about how alien neon those cherry stems look? I did not realize they looked that way until I saw them on another screen. What is happening in this world/my eyes? I need corrections.

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I made this cake at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night post traffic-citation, which I got because I was rushing home to make a cake that I was ultra jazzed about. Unfortunately, you can’t tell the cops that the reason you were speeding is because you were excited to get home and make a cake to bring back to them on their night shift. Unless you have cake in-hand, they probably will just think you are lying and bump up your violation.

If I could get away with it, I would have outlined all of the reasons I was rushing to make this.

Speeding Reason #1: I had the layers already baked and frozen, so I didn’t have to mess with them.

Speeding Reason #2: The layers have OREOS in them.

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Speeding Reason #3: This cake is a combination of fresh fruit and chocolate, which is always a total win. It’s kind of a play on a chocolate-covered cherry.

Speeding Reason #4: Cream cheese frosting. Duh. Especially when paired with that concentrated cherry flavoring oil I was so stoked to try.

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Reason #5: I knew it would make my work friends so happy on Friday.

Happiest of Mondays,


Choreo Cake

With a name like “Choreo,” this can only be an LH original

For the cake:

Half of any white or yellow cake mix

13 Oreos, crushed

For the frosting:

12 ounces (1.5 packs) cream cheese

6 ounces (1.5 sticks) butter

6 cups powdered sugar

a few tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring oil or cherry extract, to taste

a few drops red or pink food coloring

For the decoration:

Bing cherries


Chocolate-covered raisins (or chocolate-covered cherries would be appropriate here)

Prepare the cake according to package directions, then fold in the crushed Oreos. Split the mix into two 6″ circular pans lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake for a while. You’ll just have to watch it. The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake pans to a wire rack and let cool for a half hour before running a sharp knife around the cake edges and inverting onto the rack. Peel off the parchment, and let the cakes cool completely. If desired, you can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze so that they are easier to work with when you need them.

To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add cherry flavoring, then beat on high speed until the frosting is fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the food coloring.

Remove a heaping half cup of frosting to a small bowl and mix in cocoa powder until the frosting looks chocolatey enough.

Split the cake layers so that you have four even layers. Alternate filling layers beginning and ending with the pink frosting. Frost the rest of the pink cake and garnish as desired. Store in the fridge.

Pipe Dream #208: To DIY – Banana Bourbon Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache

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I made the mistake of Instagramming these babies a few months ago. I was so proud of them, I couldn’t resist. (I have #problems and #vices. See Pipe Dream #207.) What followed was a deluge of requests for them, which I dismissed because I am just one girl and I get tired of peeling bananas sometimes. I mean, go make your own cupcakes. This is why I have a blog. DIY, or something, and then pay people to make your sandwiches.

This is a bit of an unfair attitude, I am realizing, mostly because I wasn’t going to post these on my blog until three months later, meaning that no once could technically make these yet. So I guess the only reasonable thing to do is either never Instagram again or make these for everyone. Back to the drawing board. :] But guys, you know how I actually love making people treats. It was an off day.

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And these are such a double treat. The banana cakes are less dense than a typical banana bread and studded with butterscotch and chocolate chips. The frosting is the dreamiest bourbon swiss meringue buttercream and holds little puddles of milk chocolate bourbon ganache that threaten to burst their bounds. It’s like a little pre-dessert drink.

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All in all, these were some of the most interesting cupcakes I’ve made in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed the unusual flavor combination. Never mind the white balance/brightness in these photos. Just close your eyes and have that little pre-dinner drink.

Off-dazing, DIY-ing,


P.S. I think I will still Instagram things sometimes.

Banana Bourbon Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

For the cupcakes (makes about 9):
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/2 large egg, at room temperature (beat the egg, give it your best shot)
1/2 + 1/8 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed (about a 1/2 cup)
1/8 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or a mix of both

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 9 cupcake liners.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a regular bowl), whisk the egg and  brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the sour cream and melted butter and mix.

Stir in dry ingredients, then add the mashed bananas and milk, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate/butterscotch chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter in liners until they are 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack before frosting.

For the bourbon italian buttercream:

Adapted from The Faux Martha

2 egg whites, at room temperature
heaping 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cold water
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter

Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Measure a heaping 1/3 cup sugar and the water into a  heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently stir to combine. Measure the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar into a separate bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside.

Place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Do not stir after the sugar is dissolved, and wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals forming. I had issues with crystals forming and had to start over once.

Whip the egg whites on high speed to soft peaks. Add the additional two tablespoons of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245° degrees F. When it has reached 245°, slowly pour the syrup into the meringue, with the mixer running.  Hold the pan just above the height of the mixer and pour confidently, trying to hit the meringue and not the side of the bowl.

After a minute or two, reduce the speed of the mixture to medium for 6-8 minutes and beat until the meringue is totally cool. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, increasing the mixer speed to high for 2 to 4 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture looks soupy; keep beating until everything comes together and the frosting reaches a mayo-like consistency.

For the bourbon milk chocolate ganache:
2 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoons heavy cream + 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon bourbon

Heat the cream and cream in a microwave-safe bowl for twenty seconds–dont’ let it boil, but it should be really hot. Dump in the chocolate chips and let the mixture stand for a minute before whisking the chocolate and milk until smooth. Whisk in the bourbon, and let the ganache stand for at least 20 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.

To assemble the cupakes:

Using an extra large piping tip, pipe a big dollop of buttercream onto each cupcake. Use a small spoon to create a divet in each dollop. Fill, dip or drizzle the ganache to your heart’s content.

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