• ”my
    Award Winning Recipe Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
  • myTaste.com
  • Proud member of FoodBlogs
  • Advertisements

    Caramel Brownies

    Brownies.

    I love brownies.

    I’m not much of a sweet tooth person, but I am a total sucker for a good brownie. Tell me I can make brownies  in a small batch and you’ve won me completely.

    Most of my brownie recipes call for an 8×8 pan, so to me these aren’t really small batch, but still totally worth it.

    I am totally addicted to Dessert for Two … not just desserts, but dinners for two as well. With just the Dear One and I at home these days, I always have a hard time cooking for just two people. Christina is the solution for everything … desserts, mains, drinks, cookies! It’s all there!

    We invited our dear friend Dave for dinner and while dessert isn’t usually on the menu, one of the dear daughters brought chocolates, lots of chocolates to the house. One of the selections was Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel squares. The stars aligned. Tonight we needed dessert and this had to be the one.

    • 10 T unsalted butter, diced
    • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
    • 3/4 C + 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
    • 1/2 t espresso powder
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
    • 9 caramel-filled chocolates

    NOTE: I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel squares.

    Preheat the oven to 325, and make sure an oven rack is in the lower third of the oven.

    Line a 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper in two directions, overlapping. Leave enough excess to make handles so it’s easier to pull the brownies out once they’re baked.

    NOTE: My parchment paper is really wide, so I just used one piece and tucked it in. I always find it hard to keep the paper in place and those large metal clips do the trick.

    Next, in a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa powder.

    Microwave for 30 seconds, stop and stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds. The mixture will be quite hot.

    NOTE: So we don’t have a microwave. I know. I know. I’ve been living int he woods for far too long. But when someone who will remain nameless put something with metal in the microwave, she did us a favor. We really only use it to start potatoes and melt butter. Why take up all the cabinet or counter space? I did this on the stove top and it was fine.

    Let the mixture rest on the counter for a few minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.

    When the mixture feels warm, not hot, stir in the vanilla, espresso powder and salt. Finally, stir in the eggs.

    Add the flour to the batter, and using a spatula, vigorously stir the mixture for 50 strokes. This activates the gluten and makes for a rich, chewy brownies.

    Spread the batter into the prepared pan evenly.

    Bake for 23-26 minutes, until the top is dry.

    Unwrap the squares while the brownies are still hot, and press into the top of the brownies evenly. Slice and serve.

    Advertisements

    Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookeis

    Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I should start this with … these are THE BEST vegan chocolate chip cookies EVER. And quite nearly the best chocolate chip cookies. But …

    I am a carnivore. A carnivore through and through. A believer in a well balanced diet being far better for you than one completing omitting a food group.

    I now find myself surrounded by vegetarians and vegans, many of whom consider themselves foodies (?). Always hungry. Always looking for snacks. I need a cookie that would work for everyone and this is the one.

    I have found most homemade vegan cookies to be either tasteless, ridiculously complicated to make, way too many ingredients and ending up with a crumbling, sandy cookie like substance.

    Try these once and you’ll be hooked. It’s all in the mixing.

    • ½ C coconut oil
    • 1 C brown sugar
    • ¼ C almond milk
    • 1 T vanilla extract
    • 2 C flour
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1 t baking powder
    • ½ t salt
    • 1 C vegan chocolate chips (I love ‘Enjoy Life Mini Chips” for this)

     

    Preheat oven to 350

    Cream coconut oil and brown sugar. Best to use stand mixer, second best a hand mixed.

    NOTE: The key to this cookie is the length of time you spend combining the ingredients. This should look like butter and sugar having creamed before you continue. It’s not always quick.

    Add almond milk and vanilla. Mixture may be a little liquidy.

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

    Combine the wet and dry ingredients using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Fold in chocolate chips.

    Scoop tablespoon sized balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten the balls a bit with your hand.

    Bake 7 – 10 minutes

    NOTE: You want the dough to be the consistency of cookie dough and not crumbly or sandy as many vegan recipes tend to be.

    NOTE NOTE: I have varied the size of the cookie from half-dollar sized to 3 inches around. It holds up no matter the size. Just vary the cooking time.

    Blueberry Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Sauce #SundaySupper

    Done

    It’s been far, far too long since I have felt technologically suited for a Sunday Supper posting. Now that my computer is back, I am thrilled to be able to participate again!

    This week’s challenge hosted by Stacy of Food Lust People Love and Tara of Noshing With the Nolands? Share recipes with ingredients that are hunted or foraged.

    Now, I know, many of you won’t think of blueberries as being foraged. But, follow along …

    Beautiful summer day. The Dear One and I are tired of being in the garden every day (and, trust me, the garden nightmare dream hadn’t yet begun).

    Let’s do something fun, says I.

    Hey, great idea, says the Dear One. I have just the thing. Blueberry picking!

    Now, I’m not quite sure what sort of romantic notion I had in my head about blueberry picking, but, trust me, after this that notion was dispelled!

    We get in the car and we drive. And drive. And drive. Long, winding rural (what is more rural than rural?) Maine roads. We’re either headed for something that will be a lot of fun … or he’s taking me out into the woods to kill me!

    We turn off a main(ish) road and onto a dirt road. Now we’re going deeper and deeper into the woods. I realize I am a simple city girl, but even I know blueberries don’t grow in the woods! The theme from Deliverance is dancing through my head.

    We pass a ramshackle house with at least a dozen kids outside and dogs and cats and cars in all array of decay. Thinking to myself, this isn’t going to end well for me! I had lines from Eddie Izzard and his wonderful bit about the Druids and Stonehenge running through my head, “I don’t even know where I live now!” The children asked if we needed blueberry rakes or boxes (ah, we’re in the right place) and to just keep going … and going … and the road is becoming more and more narrow … and going. And SUDDENLY this tiny narrow “road” opened up into acres upon acres of blueberry fields.

    Blueberries

    WOW!

    Shirtless, shoeless, (dirty) bearded man ambles over to the car explaining where to pick and points further down the road.

    Pull over, hop out of the truck (yes, I said truck), grab some buckets, the blueberry rake (of which we have just one) and take off.

    Blueberry rake

    For those of you that don’t know … and, really, unless you live in rural Maine or New Jersey, why would you know? .. this photo is of a blueberry rake. It looks like a dustpan with a comb attached to it. You bend over, scrape it through the low blueberry bushes and pull up. You pick dozens of blueberries at a time. It’s fantastic.

    Drawback. We have one. Apparently, it’s one of those tools that fall under the ‘MAN’ category. Much too much for you to handle, little lady … HARRUMPH! I’ve decided to go with the Dear One being chivalrous. Yes, that must be it. I walked around taking pictures. Picking blueberries by hand. And just looking around.

    I think it’s better to pick them by hand. A lot of them get smushed with the rake and a many more leaves and twigs end up in your buckets.

    Now, a little blueberry trivia (bet you didn’t know there was such a thing) … those big fat blueberries you find in the supermarkets, mostly from New Jersey, are high bush blueberries. The tiny ones, often the ones you find frozen, referred to as wild blueberries, and mostly from Maine, are low bush blueberries. These were low bush blueberries.

    Blueberry fieldThat’s the Dear One out in the middle of the field raking away. I believe I was sent back to the car to fetch water.

    Completely exhausting, back breaking. Messy. You’re turning violet, Violet, colored fingers. Even with the down side, we now have 10 1-gallon freezer bags filled with wild blueberries in our freezer downstairs. There were more, but Smoothy Girl breaks into it, I’ve made this ice cream, muffins, drinks, etc.

    Would I do this again? Oh, hells yeah!

    This ice cream is great to make … NO EGGS. It’s very easy to put together. A little cooking of the blueberries, a bit of blitzing in the blender, mix, cool, voila! The color is fantastic. The taste amazing. Next time, at the suggestion of my pal Lisa, I may add some sort of crumble to the top before serving. I suppose making it a deconstructed blueberry pie! Even the picky people have been digging into it!

    I do think the chocolate sauce is unnecessary, but it don’t hurt!

    Try this with a scoop of blueberry ice cream, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, some of the chocolate sauce and frozen blueberries!

    Ice Cream

    • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
    • 2 1/2 C Maine wild blueberries (like Driscoll’s)
    • 1 C sugar
    • 1/8 t salt
    • 1 C whole milk
    • 1 T fresh lemon juice
    • 3 ounces bar dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet morsels)

    Dark Chocolate Sauce

    • 2 C heavy cream
    • 2/3 pounds (11 ounces) dark chocolate chips or bar chopped into small pieces
    • 2 1/2 T light corn syrup

    Ice Cream

    Mix blueberries, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 20 minutes. Puree in a blender. Stir puree together with heavy cream, milk and lemon juice. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Swirl in dark chocolate by pouring small chunks into machine during last 5 minutes of freezing.

    Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let sit until chocolate melts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. For warm ice cream topping, allow sauce to cool 10 minutes before serving. Otherwise, allow sauce to cool to room temperature.

     

    Check out these recipes from this week’s Sunday Supper Movement … On the Hunt!

    Spread it on Thick

    Nibbles and Sides

    The Main Event

    Sweet Treats

    Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    Dark Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream

    Done

    And so there are strawberries. And the strawberries have strawberries. There are many gallon bags filled with strawberries in our freezer.

    How many smoothies can you make?

    I cam across this fabulous ice cream recipe on Love & Olive Oil and knew this had to be added to my ice cream insanity.

    Really creamy ice cream, chunks of strawberries and CHOCOLATE!

    • C (8 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled
    • 3/4 C granulated sugar, divided
    • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 C heavy cream, divided
    • 1 C whole milk
    • 1/4 C cocoa powder
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 3 egg yolks

    Chop strawberries with 1/4 cup of sugar in a blender or food processor until coarsely chopped. You still want some strawberry chunks in the final ice cream, so don’t liquefy it. Just a few pulses should do it. Set aside.

    Ingredients

    Place finely chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat 1 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan until it just starts to bubble. Pour over chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Pour back into saucepan along with milk, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam.

    In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly ladle in some of the warm chocolate mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, until about half of the chocolate mixture has been incorporated and yolks are warm to the touch. You want to do this gradually; doing so will temper the egg yolks rather than cook them.

    Pour entire yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan as you do, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes (it will measure approximately 170ºF on a thermometer). Do not let it to boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup cream and chopped strawberry mixture.

    Ice bath

    Pour into a zip-top freezer bag and seal. Place in a bowl filled with ice water, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Alternatively you can use a traditional ice water bath, with a smaller bowl nested inside a larger bowl filled with ice water. When cool, transfer to refrigerator (cover with plastic wrap if using a bowl) and chill for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

    When custard base is completely chilled, churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. If desired, you can stir in a few more coarsely chopped strawberries at this point if you want larger, more visible chunks. Spoon a into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight until firm.

    Dutch Treat Ice Cream

    Scoop

    We’re going to start this post a bit bass ackwards.

    A young blonde girl walks into the kitchen … no, this is NOT a blonde joke … opens the freezer, grabs a spoon and tries the newest ice cream concoction … there was no sound. Another spoonful. And through an ice cream filled mouth mumbled, this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

    I don’t think complements come better than that!

    So, back to the beginning. This is another of those times I come late to the party. Cookie butter, or Speculoos Paste, is an amazing thing. On toast, on a spoon, on a finger. Why not in ice cream? But a ripple, the ice cream base flavor? There must be something different to try.

    Cookie Butter is not one of those ingredients readily available in my neck of the woods. When friends ask what I miss and would like sent … this is one of the ingredients at the top of the list. So now you understand why it had to be the perfect recipe. No way do I want to waste a single drop of this beloved spread on a clunk of a recipe.

    I agonized.

    I lamented.

    I HAD AN EPIPHANY!

    • Chocolate Ice Cream Base
    • 1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted
    • 30 – 35 Chocolate covered cookie butter balls (instructions below)
    • Chocolate Ripple (recipe below)

    Start off by getting all the goodies that go into the ice cream ready. It’s really the easiest way.

    For the chocolate covered cookie butter balls

    Using a 1/4 t measure, scoop the cookie butter and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Freeze.

    Specaloos balls

    Once completely frozen, dip the frozen cookie butter balls in chocolate. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer again.

    NOTE: We cheated a wee bit here. We used a Baker’s Dipping Chocolate tub.

    The almonds? Simple. Slivered almonds in a pan and just toast. We went a little more than lightly toasted and the flavor was for this recipe.

    For the Fudge Ripple:

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges.

    Continue to whisk until it just comes to a low boil. Cook for 1 minute, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator before using.

    So now we’re ready to go …

    Make the chocolate ice cream base. In the last few minutes of churning, add the cookie butter balls, add the toasted almonds. Finish churning.

     

     

    Done drizzle

     

    Spread a bit of the ripple in the bottom of the container you’re freezing the ice cream in. Add some ice cream, add some ripple, add some ice cream, some ripple … don’t mix the ripple into the ice cream or move it around too much or you’ll have a muddy mess.

    White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

    Brown Butter Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

    “Hi, Mom.”

    “Hi, lovey.”

    “I’m at camp.”

    “I know.”

    “I’m already homesick. The food is yucky. I’m broke.”

    “I’m sorry, honey. I’ll send you some money. And cookies … would cookies help?”

    “Mom, your cookies always help!”

    This was a conversation with my son, Tommy. The same child who is 24, living on his own, and away working at the same camp he has worked at for at least 7 years.

    But he wants cookies.

    What’s a Mom to do?

    Bake cookies, that’s what a Mom’s to do.

    So I off I went to the kitchen to bake cookies to ship to my starving, homesick child. Fortunately his favorite cookies will ship well and make enough to have in the house as well.

    You can sub cranberries for the dried cherries and white or dark chocolate for the semisweet chocolate.

    • 2 1/2 C rolled oats (Use old fashioned not quick or instant)
    • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1 C dried cherries
    • 6 ozs semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 C walnut halves, finely chopped
    • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 1 t ground cinnamon
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 t vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    Dry Ingredients

    Whisk oats, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; stir in dried cranberries, white chocolate, and nuts.

    In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat until the milk solids turn golden brown, about 4 minutes; take care not to burn.

    Browned Butter

    Pour browned butter into a large bowl and whisk in brown sugar until combined. Whisk in cinnamon, then whisk in eggs and vanilla, beating well after each. Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Mixture will be thick. Drop by generously rounded tablespoon 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

    Bake until light golden brown and just dry to the touch, but still a little soft inside, about 10 minutes.

    Cooling

    Slide parchment onto racks to cool cookies completely.

    One-Pan Fudge Cake

    Baked

    You’ll have to use your imaginations here …

    RING … RINNNGGGGGG …

    Me: Hello?

    SS: Hi! Whatcha doing for dinner tonight. I know the Dear One is away and you’re home alone. Come over for dinner and a movie. Just me and he kids. This way I won’t have to rescue you after you’ve done something I Love Lucy-esque.

    Me: Okay. That’s great.

    SS: Well, not just  me and the kids … 4 or 5 other people as well.

    Me: Oh? (Wishing I hadn’t answered the phone now) Sure. What can I bring? (when will I learn NOT to ask that question!?)

    SS: How about dessert?

    Me: Okay. What time?

    SS: How about an hour?

    Me: See you then.

    SS: Andrea? Don’t lock the door when you leave!

    AN HOUR? Come up with and make dessert and drive into town IN AN HOUR!? Now what am I going to do?

    Suddenly inspiration! I remembered seeing a recipe on Relish.com for a One-Pan Fudge Cake taken from the Junior League of Nashville cookbook.

    Simple ingredients. One pan. Quick to throw together. Cools in the pan. Baked in 30 minutes. I.AM.SAVED!

    Fudgey and dense, chocolatey without being too sweet, this cake is the answer to any last minute guests or dinner invitations!

    Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream is great on top of this cake.

    • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter
    • 1 C sugar
    • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/4 t baking powder
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
    • Powdered sugar

    Ingredients

    Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 8-inch square cake pan.

    Melt butter, sugar and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. When melted, add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add eggs, vanilla and pecans, if using.

    Pouring into pan

     

    Stir well and pour into prepared pan.

    Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares while hot. Let cool in pan.

    Sprinkling sugar

    When cool, dust top with powdered sugar.