Tag Archives: Dessert

Sea Salt Cocoa Brownies

19 Aug

This is how I spent my Sunday night: I had been eating BLT’s all day because that’s one of those common deliciously awesome things that I never think about, so when I finally have one I think “why not all the time” so we practically went through a full package of bacon making them with Sesame Semolina bread, Heirloom tomatoes, fresh Farmer’s Market lettuce, and fried (non fancy brand) bacon. Oh yeah, and Miracle Whip, because we had it and I like it, so save all the “how dare you not have Mayo”. After a day full of that type of food, one needs to finish it up with some as delightfully sweet for dessert (berries are tasty and in season and I love them but…c’mon, y’alls need come chocolate, amitrite). I also went through about 20 Bon Apetit magazines and pulled out all the recipes I want to make so I could recycle the discard pile with Good Will Hunting playing in the background. Matt Damon had such a 90’s hot haircut..but that is neither here nor there. Anyhoo, that’s just a long winded-way of saying “I made brownies”

So I made brownies. It’s been a little harder to cook in my kitchen as of late because of all the (please don’t judge me) fruit flies. They’re everywhere. And we even clean up everything as if we’re trying to pass military-grade bunk inspection. You call this a clean cutting board?! Get on your knees and clean this apartment with your TOOTHBRUSH. After weeks of luring these nightmare-inducing beings wrapped in teeny tiny packages into glasses of wine and/or orange juice (wrap the glass in saran wrap and poke a small hole in it…they can’t get out and drown…aaaahahaha). However, we’ve been losing the battle lately…until we got some great information from our good friend Internet, and learned that a glass full of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part dish soap (no need to saran wrap) was just the thing to clear these bad boys out. And it worked in about 15 minutes, it was INSANE. I was going to post pictures, but then I thought it’s best not to show a bunch of dead (but dish-soap-clean) fruit flies suspended in amber liquid. So, armed with a fly-less kitchen, I got to work.

Brownie

{ Best Cocoa Brownies – Smitten Kitchen }

Combine butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in a double boiler situation (or just put them all in a bowl and put them directly in simmering water because you already had that pan out)

DoubleBoiler

 

Give it a good stir until everything is all melted. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, until it’s glossy enough to check your hair, and see that you may have bacon grease on your face from that afternoon’s BLT.

Glossy

 

Now beat in some flour and vanilla. Once it’s nice and incorporated DO NOT STOP MIXING, continue to mix for a good 40 lashes….er, strokes until you’re so positive there is nothing that is NOT incorporated. Now pour your lovely mixture into a parchment lined 8 x 8 baking pan. Now get crazy and add some big ol’ flakes of sea salt to the top because you KNOW that going to be good.

Parchment

And bake for 20-25 min at 325. Let cool and easily lift out of pan with parchment paper (holy crap it’s clean), and try not to eat it all

Brownie

 

So, needless to say these brownies were really easy to make. And I just found out they freeze well, so I’m happy to say that Diabetes will NOT be in my immediate future!

Adapted from { Best Cocoa Brownies – Smitten Kitchen }

  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C + 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • A few pinches of large flaked sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Take off heat and allow to cool.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously [vigorously] after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then go crazy for 40 more strokes.
  4. Bake until knife comes out clean (about 20 to 25 minutes). Lift out with parchment and enjoy!
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A Feast of Berries and Nice: Pt 2

13 Jun

And our Strawberry extravaganza continues…

Final1

You know what my big dilemma is when it comes to Summer? The Farmer’s Market is brimming with all sorts of tasty delights, and it’s literally a 10 minute walk from my house. However, this is also the time where there are about 10,000 fun and exciting things to do every weekend, and many of them involve me traveling (weddings, festivals, concerts, lakes, beer excursions, etc) over the weekend. Needless to say, I’m having Farmer’s Market guilt since I haven’t been able to take much advantage of the bounty held mere blocks from my house. However, I was still able to pair this with my delightful produce-packed meal last week (and it even coincided with the Red Wedding during Game of Thrones, who could have matched that up so perfectly??).

So, without further ado, I present to you the second Strawberry-inspired post this month:

Strawberry Jam Biscuits – Yvette Van Boven }

You know what stresses me out about that title? Biscuits. Fellow blogger The Food and Wine Hedonist recently posted about why baking is a lot more stress-inducing than cooking, and I couldn’t agree more. Any time I’ve made scones on here I feel like I go into an hour-long rant about over-mixing and blah blah blah, but you know what? Over-mixing and blah blah blah! You know what’s worse than throwing away something you’ve spent minutes (and possibly hours) creating? Remembering that you also spent money on all the ingredients. Yes, baking ingredients are traditionally relatively cheap (flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, salt, water), but remember, I’m the type of gal that will stop mid-run to pick up pennies. And when I don’t have a pocket in my shorts, I’ll carry that red cent all the way home, and triumphantly announce said money to anyone in the near vicinity.

Sidenote: one time at a movie theatre John, my sister Jessica and I were waiting in line to get tickets. Jessica and I both locked eyes on a nickel that was on the ground about 2 feet away from us and started a mad dash to be the first to pick it up. Before either of us could get our grubby fingers on it, John took a casual side step to conceal the five cent piece under his foot. He then gave us a “are you seriously competing for a nickel” glare. He just doesn’t get it. But suddenly something happened, the ticket counter person was calling “next in line” which was us. What to do. We each paused for an uncomfortably long time, hoping John would remove his shoe from our monetary prize before we could purchase our tickets. Alas, he firmly stood his ground, and we had to make the heroic decision to go purchase our tickets to continue the flow of movie traffic. That was 3 years ago. I still often think about what could have been… So yes, I’m cheap, that’s what I’m getting at.

With the weight of messing up these biscuits on the shoulders, I decided to embark on this project, just to prove to myself I could do it. I started with the non-baking portion first: home made jam.

Jamm

 

Well, I’m never buying jam again, this is so easy, tasty, and idiot proof, it’s crazy. You take strawberries and sugar, cook them for about 12 minutes, then stir in some lime zest and lime juice. Boom, you’ve been jammed. I decided to add some blueberries to the mix since I had them and I like questioning authority, man.

While letting your jam cool, take a deep breath and start your biscuits. CAREFULLY mix/sift your dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then add some lime zest and PRECISELY cut chilled butter cubes

ButterLime

 

Here’s the tricky part: use your fingertips to mix the butter into the dry ingredients, but DON’T over mix it. It needs to be like a coarse, sandy texture. Don’t stress out though, I mean, it’s not like if you over-mix it you can’t go back and fix it…oh wait.

BiscuitMix

There’s something kind of vulgar about that .gif isn’t there?

Now add your buttermilk, and mix with a fork until the dough resembles something “shaggy” looking

Dought

Oh my god, that doesn’t look shaggy. What have I done!? Now the fun part (if you haven’t had a panic attack yet): roll out GENTLY and cut your biscuit circles with an inverted glass

GlassCut

 

Put your little deflated circles on a baking sheet, give them a good thumbing in the middle and a heavy-handed sprinkle of sugar. It’s Jam time.

Jamming

 

Don’t let the false hope fill you up while these are baking, because your home will smell AMAZING during the 18-22 minutes these are baking. Moment of truth time:

Biscuits

 

I don’t think it’s possible for me to have a shot without some type of beer in the background. Hmm.

So as you can see, they look DELIGHTFUL, however, not puffy and flaky like a biscuit should be. I hereby change the name of these to Strawberry Jam COOKIES, because these things are sweet, tasty, and very satisfying. Just not….biscuity.

Final

 

And I’m sorry about all the animated pictures. I’m one step away from 90s chic with the tail that forms on your cursor when you navigate around the site, or, you know, I could go with the classic toaster with wings…

 

Strawberry Jam Biscuits – Yvette Van Boven via Bon Appetit }

Strawberry Jam

  • 12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. Cook strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until jamlike in consistency, 12–15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime zest and juice. Pour into a shallow bowl and let cool.

Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream (for serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk sugar, baking powder, salt, and 2 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl. Add butter and lime zest and blend with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Add buttermilk and, using a fork, mix until just combined. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead just until a shaggy, moist dough forms, about 4 times.
  2. Roll out dough about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or inverted glass, cut out rounds. Gather scraps and repeat rolling and cutting until all dough is used.
  3. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your thumb, make a large divot in the center of each biscuit; brush with egg and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Spoon a scant 1 teaspoon strawberry jam into each divot.
  4. Bake biscuits until golden brown, 18–22 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if using, and remaining jam.

 

 

 

Lemon-Rosemary Scented Scones

25 Apr

 

 

There is nothing better than a good scone, emirite? I explored this topic a bit back in September and voiced my concerns regarding the baked and fluffy arts (over/under mixing). The trick to a good scone or biscuit is not over mixing the butter and flour mixture because it’s those bigger chunks of butter spread throughout the dough that creates the delicious layered fluffy goodness that you want in said pastry. Well, unfortunately I have not mastered the proper mixing consistency, however I am starting to get more confident.

With that said, not only do I like a good scone, I LOVE a good savory scone. Cheddar dill? Yes please! Keeping this in mind, I came across the following recipe and knew I had to have it inside of me:

{ Lemon-Rosemary scented Scones from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck } which I know I’ve talked about before, and it really is one of my most cherished cook books (go buy it!)

Yes, it’s not necessarily a savory recipe, per se, but the incorporation of the rosemary I thought would lend the perfect amount of “not-too sweet” to this (hopefully) fluffy treat. I also had all the ingredients readily available, so I knew it was the baking gods way of saying “yup, this is how you’re spending your afternoon”

Scones

So I thought “oh man, lemon and rosemary! What a great photo op” but I neglected to notice that I only had 1/2 of a sad lemon at my disposal. So I apologize for whatever this is:

LemonRosemary

 

Anyhoo, this recipe is super easy (and uses wheat flour, huzzah), even when you’re over-mixing your flour and butter. You also get to create a delicious mixture of sour cream, lemon zest, and chopped fresh rosemary for the dough.

SourCreamSo once you’ve added your sour cream mixture and overworked your dough, roll it out (read: gingerly smash down with your palms) into a circle, and cut into 1/8ths.

SconeDoughBrush buttermilk over the top of the scones and sprinkle a HEALTHY dose of sugar over each piece.

SconeSheetBake, take out, try to let cool, enjoy.

SconesAs I had feared, I completely overworked the dough, so I didn’t get my fluffy scone texture, however they were REALLY tasty. The lemon and the rosemary weren’t overpowering, and completely earned their “scented” title from the name of the recipe.

I’d say the thing I enjoyed the most was waking up the next morning to see a pile of these bad boys on the counter and thinking “holy crap, I forgot I made those! Happy Breakfast to us all!”

 

 

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