Brownie Cakes or something like that…

I am not a chocolate person, but this is one of those recipes that I love to make. I have everything on hand – do love this kind of recipe – no grocery store – woo hoo. Also I do like to make the people in my life who like chocolate-things happy. I did try one of these muffins (if you can call them that) and it totally has a great brownie thing going on. I really made these for the Boy and I think he liked it, at least I hope so. I shared a few at our beach local now that we can get out there again – Shaggy’s.

It is kind of funny. I am not much of a sweet person. I guess that is not entirely true. I will try a new recipe, once, and then I am done. Now the MotH is not into sweets at all, but he will try something if I press on him a bit. I do want his opinion – it is important to me. So my “test subjects” are my office, the Boy, and Shaggy’s. I really think they mostly do not mind too much. At least it seems that way to me.  Although I do seem to get blamed for people gaining weight, but ……

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1 cup unsalted butter, 16 Tbs.
1 cup chocolate chips, Ghiradelli is my favorite and my go to.
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and chocolate chips over a low heat on the stove. I do not think this is a place for the microwave. Nope not at all.

Line your cupcake pan with paper liners. This makes 18 cupcakes which to my mind is really kind of annoying. I have a 12 cupcake pan – then had to wait till the pan cooled down to do the last six. Fine – I can do it, but I just do not want to. Guess I am just being fussy – but really?

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Beat eggs and sugar together. Sift flour over the egg mixture and add vanilla (I am very liberal with the vanilla – just saying). Fold in the chocolate – butter mixture and there we are – ready to make brownie cakes. Fill cupcake pan wells about 1/2 full.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Just like a brownie will do.

This reminds me of the brownie cookies. They are like small brownies with lots of crusty edges, which to my mind are the best part of a brownie. I am a brownie edge person, not a brownie middle person. Guess it is a personal preference, but I do like a little bit of crunch.

Source: All Recipes and love that this is a Grandma recipe. Old recipes are my favorite kind.

 

 

Butter Usage – by month – May 2016

11 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – Did not work – need to use a thermometer for the temp of toffee. Damnation

12 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Shortbread with mini chocolate chips & Heath pieces – just saying damn skippy – And my birthday – the 50th. So where do we go from here? Being old that’s where I go anyway. Just something I have to do. I have always said it is better than the alternative.

21 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – again. This time I got it right. It is stupidly good. Yep. Stupid. D&D_1465

This was not the best month for me. My Fred died and I miss him so. But I also miss my Mom and my little Bering and my big dog Duke. I am kind of tired of people and dogs I love dying.  Yep tired of all this.

Will do better next month – really need to get back into the kitchen and do something useful.

The kitchen always makes me feel better.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Bars

So when I buy buttermilk to bake something I try to find other things to make with what is left. I know, I know, you can freeze leftover buttermilk, but I never seem to do it.

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Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

 

It is funny I do not remember my mom making anything with buttermilk – really nothing. Not even biscuits and that is strange for a Southern woman. I do not have it on hand all the time, but most of the time.

Most recently, I have used buttermilk in Savory Herb Muffins and in Basil Sun-Dried Tomato Mozzarella Bread, and of course, Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze which was the original intent of the buttermilk purchase. And now another recipe with just a bit of buttermilk in it.

In the grand scheme of things, it is kind of a test. What can you do with it, and make it different. Not just cake or biscuits or whatever – try to make a variety of things. I am sure the next time I have buttermilk (like now) homemade ranch dressing will be in my future as is often the case in the spring. And that always means spinach and mushroom quiche. One of my favorite things ever and a recipe I have had since before the boy was born – way before.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (Renfroe’s, of course)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 13 inch baking pan*, spray with baking spray and line with parchment and spray again.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. In a small bowl, crack egg, add canola oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add flour a little at a time. Stir in chocolate and pecans.

Spread dough, it will be thick, into pan making sure to get dough all the way into the corners. Bake 30 – 35 minutes until center is set and the edges are golden. Cool bars in pan and the cut into bite-sized pieces with a plastic knife because you do not want to jack up the pan with a metal knife.

Source: Baking Bites – one of my favorite baking sites. Must, at some point, figure out how many recipes that I have used from this site. I think there will be several.

* Love William-Sonoma Gold Touch Pans – they really are the best. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for showing me how amazing these pans are. They really live up to all the hype.

M & M Cookies

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M&M Cookies – for Easter

This is one of those recipes I make over and over again. It is a family recipe that figures largely in my history of the holidays, especially Christmas. Though this is an any time cookie. The main reason is because it uses vegetable shortening, so no need to deal with getting butter to room temperature. I just had to buy spring M&M’s – I mean it is a limited time, right? They are kind of cute – ugh.

1 cup crisco
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups M & M’s plain (11.40 ozs) really nice spring colors (read: Easter egg colors)

Sift together, over a piece of waxed paper, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream together crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in M & M’s. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Dead Simple. My favorite kind of recipe.

Notes: a 11.40 ozs bag is a bit more than one and a half cups. But I usually just dump them all in the cookies. This time I mixed in one cup and topped each cookies with the extras trying to make them pretty. For nice spring colors. Yes, I did this and it is nothing like me at all. Nope. But they were pretty.

Shortbread Chocolate Squares

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Spiffy Shortbread bars with chocolate and pecans

You know I have to do a chocolate thing now and again. And this sort of sounded like a bit of riff on a blondie with some toppings. It is obvious, at least to me to try it, but I’m not sure about its original name. But what the hell is in a name after all?

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ozs semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) Ghirardelli is always preferred.
1 cups chopped pecans, toasted – Local Renfroe’s pecans are always best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan in parchment and spray with cooking spray – just in case. Thank you William-Sonoma.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Gradually mix in flour until just mixed. The dough will be stiff. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan.

Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through – this is required – I do it whether it is called for or not – kind of OCD that way. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Return pan to the oven for a minute or two. Remove and using an offset spatula spread the chocolate over the surface. Sprinkle the nuts across evenly.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into small squares – very small because they are rich. And excellent.

Source: Epicurious, but adapted.

Notes: these were called toffee squares, but to my mind really don’t taste much like toffee. Even though there is a cup of brown sugar in the crust. They are kind of a shortbread crust with chocolate and nuts on top. There is nothing wrong with that, by the way.

Butter Usage – by month (December 2015)

2 December – 16 Tbs Rugelach – this dough works …

8 December – 4 Tbs – Rugelach filling – but the filling does not.

11 December – 4 Tbs – Rugelach filling – again did not – annoying – total failure – should really do a better job of reading the comments.

12 December – 8 Tbs – Banana Nut Bread – competition

14 December – 8 Tbs – Brownie Cookie

17 December – 8 Tbs – Glazed Lemon Cookies

19 December – 16 Tbs – Butterscotch Blondies

20 December – 4 Tbs – Everyday Orzo – yes. Again.

20 December – 12 Tbs – Lime Sugar Cookies

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Lime Sugar Cookies – pretty damn amazing.

23 December – 2 Tbs – Cheddar-Stuffed Mushrooms

23 December  – 13.5 Tbs – Sunday Sweet Potatoes

23 December – 16 Tbs – Walnut/Pecan Tassies

25 December – 1 Tbs – Toasted Banana Nut Bread

26 December – 12 Tbs – Sweet Potato Biscuits

29 December – 8 Tbs – The Browniest Cookies See Above.

30 December – 13 Tbs – Chess Tart

Total 145.5 Tbs = 18.1875 sticks = 4.5468875 pounds

Not my best month this year, but a damn good month by any measure.

I’m a bit frightened by what the total for the year will be if this is any indication. I may not keep up with this again, or maybe I’ll add keeping up with eggs too in 2016. Again, slightly frightening. But what the hell – makes for an excellent recap in an odd sort of way.

 

 

Another Brownie Cookie

Why am I doing this? I am not, again. a chocolate person. But since I made the first version and they were, on the whole, successful when I saw this, I figured what the hell. I mean, right? Let’s try to figure out a really good way to make the brownie taste in a cool cookie form. Cookies are so much easier to transport and deal with and to be honest, I may not be a huge brownie fan, but if I am going to have one – it MUST be an edge piece. And I make so much lemon stuff that my friends put up with, sometimes you do something that may not be your favorite, but that others will enjoy. I am pretty sure that being “that lemon person” does not win you any popularity contests in the baking world.

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Brownie Cookies

I also have to admit that this recipe kind of caught my eye for the name. Since we are very near to Christmas and I only watch two cartoons from my childhood any more – 1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2. A Charlie Brown Christmas – great music in both in my opinion. But it is Lucy in ACBC that says,  “of all the Charlie Browns, you are the Charlie Brown-est.”

Yes, the cartoons also date me just a bit. That will be theme to this year. But it is better than the alternative.

The Browniest Cookies

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter
4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup (190 grams) dark or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, any kind will work
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (225 grams) chocolate chips or bitter- or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together — you can do this on the stove over very low heat, stirring constantly, in a double-boiler or in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each — and taking the chocolate out when it’s almost, but not fully, melted. Off the heat, stir until it is.

Whisk sugars into melted butter and chocolate, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk in baking soda and salt. If your cocoa powder is lumpy, sift it right onto the surface of the batter, other wise, just add it to the bowl. Add flour, too, and then stir until just combined. Add chips or chocolate chunks and stir until combined.

Place bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and up to a few days. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Longer than 30 minutes, they become difficult to scoop, but you can let them warm up slightly before you do. Here was the issue for me. Once they were in the fridge for a couple of days, they were a nightmare to scoop and to be honest, didn’t spread at all. So I baked for 11 minutes, turning half way through, and then kind of smashed them a bit to finish them of for another 2-3 minutes so they got a great soft interior with a bit of crunch on the outside. Me being an edge person, this worked really well for me. Minor quibble, but worth mentioning in my opinion.

Scoop into about 1 1/2- to 2-tablespoon sized mounds and space evenly on parchment lined baking sheets, allowing room for them to spread a little – a very little.  Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, and if you want a fudgy cookie be done with it, but if you are like me and like a bit of crunch, mash them just a bit (with wet hands – melting chips do burn) and give them another minute or two.  Let set on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool the rest of the way before eating. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar sifted through a sieve just for looks, but I liked it.

Do ahead: The cookie dough keeps in the fridge for up to a week and longer in the freezer. The original recipe says that if you want slice n bake cookies, after 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge, scrape dough onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and form into a 1 1/2- to 2-inch thick log. I may do that next time, but it worked fine just the way I did it this time.

I’m not sure which brownie cookie I like best. I’m waiting on the Boy’s vote. He is the lover of all thing brownie, but the MotH really like these, and that’s saying something.

Source: Smitten Kitchen