Monday, February 27, 2012

let's talk about this...

chocolate. I try not to be so stereotypical, but really somedays chocolate is everything you need. I'm serious.

Introducing my new favorite brownie variation.  I'm calling them cupboard brownies, for the simple fact that these are the ingredients I had, and that no part of me felt like going to the store. It was one of those days.

But really, I don't think they're lacking. Not at all.

Salted Dark Chocolate Cocoa Brownies (aka Cupboard Brownies) 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces  unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/2 teaspoon flaking sea salt plus some for sprinkling 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional) 

Melt butter, cocoa, and sugar in a heat resistant bowl over simmering water until smooth.  Add in eggs and vanilla, incorporating after each one.  Once batter looks smooth, stir in flour until fully incorporated. Stir vigorously for 1 minute with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in candied ginger. Pour mixture into greased 8 by 8 inch pan and bake 25-30 minutes at 325 or until edges begin to pull away and the center is still a little bit gooey.  Trust me, you want these a little underdone. Their fudge like consistency sets up as they cool and makes for one decadent, moist, chocolate reprieve. 

Remove from oven. Let cool, or throw in the freezer to speed up the process.  Cut into small bite size pieces, really these are rich, once completely cool.  

Eat. Enjoy. Get on your chocolate, no one will judge you- least of all me.... 

Friday, February 24, 2012


I've been negligent. I know. But I promise I've been up to something. Something wonderful.


I'm on a mission. A macaroon mission.  I've also been reading A Brief History of the World, but I promise that is not what's been keeping me away. Really.  Macaroons may just be the most perfect cookie.  Light, chewy, sweet, and when done by a professional (aka not me) they look like perfect little colored dots-- something out of a Mad Hatter -Alice and Wonderland tea party scene.

Or if you think about it, tiny, brightly colored hamburgers.

Whatever your preference, macaroons are all there are for me these days.

Step #1




I wish it were that simple.  Especially because I'd like to make them everyday.  This is what I learned this week:
1. Making evenly spaced and sized dough circles is harder that you may think. Also, I am terrible at it. Really awful, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all I need is a little more practice.

2. Lemon and chocolate, specifically meyer lemon and chocolate, is my new favorite flavor combination.  I was skeptical at first, but after being assured by some fairly reputable sources that lemon and chocolate are indeed a amicable match, I gave it a a try.  The result? Heavenly....

3. Meyer lemon's make the best kind of lemon curd.

3. Aged egg whites are the way to go. I know, it seems even stranger than lemon and chocolate, but it's worth it for both the consistency and airiness of your macaroon.  I let mine sit for 48 hours on the counter, although some recipes call for just 24 hours.

4. Finally, the world is a much better place when you have a box of macaroons to share.

I am still working on perfecting my recipe, but don't worry... there'll be plenty of experimenting.  Happy Macaroon March everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

cold weather nuptials

On saturday my sister got married.

On top of mountain.

It was cold, and sunny, and altogether perfect.

These are the things I learned:

 Someone will always sing Wagon Wheel, no matter where you are or where you go.  And if it's the grooms brother, you may even cry.

Wax paper and parchment paper are not the same thing. A very important lesson learned especially when making salted caramels for 85 people.  Use parchment paper. Trust me.

And finally,  airport security will confiscate your maple cream and they won't think asking them for a spoon so you can start eating it right there, in the airport, at four in the morning, is very funny.  

But I did make cake. Several of them actually.

While my little Cannon wasn't really up for the job. They did have a lovely photographer who captured this, amongst other things....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

any given sunday.

I think that's a movie title. Something about football. Regardless, Sunday was the Superbowl and while I can't talk that much about it for fear of getting a little weepy-- I will give you this.

Rice Crispy treats. Specifically, Salted Brown Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Rice Crispy Treats. 

Despite the heart crushing loss I suffered, I can only imagine I will be able to recover by sharing these with you.

The recipe I used is adapted from Smitten Kitchen . The adaptions I made, while simple, I think are pretty crucial.  First the salt. I added a lot of it. A lot. Enough that I almost worried they were too salty, as if that could ever be a thing.  Secondly, the milk chocolate.  Personally, I think milk chocolate often goes overlooked. While I love dark chocolate with all the buzz it has been getting lately it seems like milk chocolate is going the way of white chocolate or say, vegetarianism.   Let's not let that happen. It's delicious and with the salt and brown butter, it's the perfect touch of sweetness for these treats.

6 cups rice crispy cereal
10 oz. marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Let's talk brown butter.  It's nutty, dark, and of course buttery.  Start by heating butter in a saucepan over medium heat. It will melt, foam, turn translucent, and then brown.  Make sure to stir frequently and keep your eye on it because the time between brown and burnt is often less than a minute.  You should be able to tell when it's sufficiently brown by the smell.  Remove butter from heat and mix in marshmallows.

Stay tuned because this month I am perfecting my marshmallow recipe and then you can make your own. Yum.... For now I used the regular grocery store kind. Once butter marshmallow mixture is melted and smooth, pour over rice crispy treats and salt, and combine quickly. Mixture will start to stiffen fairly quickly so don't be afraid to use some force. Add it chocolate chips, mix to combine and press into a buttered or sprayed 8 by 11 inch pan. Let cool. Cut into squares. Enjoy with football, oysters, and beer.

In reality, despite the special occasion of this particular Sunday, I would say this is an any given Sunday sort of treat.....

I'd make them just for the sake of sun. Enjoy.