Cheesecake Brownies

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More shindig food, so you’ll have to forgive my less than ideal photos – I’ve been doing a lot of night baking and then shoving everything whole into the freezer, so I can’t get the best pictures. So needless to say, these freeze really well. If you want better photos, go to Yammie’s Noshery, which is where I got the recipe.

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Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

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Start with 1 cup butter and 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and melt those together in a pot until smooth and bubbly.

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Let that cool for at least 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 350°F.

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While that’s chilling out, whisk together 1 1/4 cups cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Set that aside for a wee spell.

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In another bowl, whisk together 8oz softened cream cheese (remember that the warmer it is, the less lumpy it will be), 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg. You may want the hand mixer for this job. Set THAT aside.

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Grab another bowl (so many bowls) and whisk together 1 teaspoon vanilla and 4 eggs.

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Tip in your butter-sugar goo and whisk it until it’s glossy.

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Then tip all that into your flour-cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

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THEN dump in 2 cups chocolate chips and mix those in.

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Smooth all your cocoa batter into the pan. Try your best to dig little troughs down the length of the pan and fill those with the cream cheese batter. As you can see, my best is not the best. My batter was more fluid I think than was intended so the troughs kept filling in. It was like trying to build a sandcastle in a rising tide.

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Then grab a butter knife and cut into the batter, dragging the knife perpendicular to the troughs.

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I hope yours looks better than this.

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Bake for 25-35 minutes (25 for gooey, 35 for non-gooey; mine was in-between) and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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I can’t wait to eat one of these puppies on Saturday!

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White Lace Brownies

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These not-too-sweet brownies are accented with a pretty “lace” overlay of white chocolate. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper (you can skip that but it makes it easier to pull the baked brownies out later).

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In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and set that aside for a second.

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In another bowl, beat together 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

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Beat in 3 eggs until smooth.

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Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until smooth again.

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Pour the batter into your baking dish and shove it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the dish comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

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I pulled the still-warm brownies out of the pan and set them on a rack to cool completely.

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While that was going on, I melted about 3 oz white chocolate in a double boiler and let that cool as well.

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When both were cool, I piped the white chocolate in an overlapping pattern onto the surface of the brownie and let it harden.

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Then you just cut it into pieces and serve!

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Breakfast Brownies

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When Atlas posted this recipe to my Facebook newsfeed and suggested I make it for the next time we went over for dinner, I knew it wasn’t really a suggestion.  I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand (because as we all know I’m a huge fan of butter, eggs, and refined sugar, and that’s not likely to change any time soon), so I did make some substitutions.  If you’d like to go for the original version, just check it out at Eat Drink Love.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and spray a 8″ x 8″ baking dish.  Line the dish with parchment paper so that you have two little handles sticking out.

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Grind up about 2 tablespoons flax in your coffee grinder (wipe it out before and after of course, or use a separate one). Flax is amazing for you, but it will do you no good if you don’t grind it up first.

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Add the flax to a bowl with 3/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 cup cocoa.

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Give that a good stir.

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Find a lovely ripe banana and smush it up with a fork.

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Add that to the oat mixture, along with 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/2 cup milk.

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Stir that around and then slop it into your prepared pan.

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I forgot I was supposed to stir these in and so I sprinkled 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top.  Very decorative.

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Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the centre is solid and tests clean with a toothpick.  Set on a wire rack to cool completely.

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After cutting the brownies into little pieces, store them in the fridge.

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To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of this recipe.  I don’t like baking with coconut oil as I find it too heavy and greasy, and so that’s all I could taste, but everyone else seemed to like them just fine.

Chewy Caramel Brownies

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Some day, I intend to do this recipe right, the way that Smitten Kitchen actually did it, with DIY caramel and unsweetened chocolate.  But this is not that day.

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I had a bag of caramels I’d purchased with the intention to do something else, and I felt obligated to use them.  Plus I doubled the recipe and thus ran out of  unsweetened chocolate.  So basically this recipe is all wrong.  But it’s still edible (read: extremely tasty) so whatever.

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First you’re going to need to unwrap and cut your caramels.  Start with about 10oz wrapped caramel candies.

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Unwrap them and cut them in half.

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When you double the recipe there are a million to do.

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But finally they were finished.  I recommend keeping this bowl cold because the caramels like to stick together otherwise. I discovered this by accident. There was swearing involved in solving this issue.

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Now you can preheat your oven to 350°F and butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.  Line it with parchment paper and butter that again.

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Take 3oz unsweetened chocolate and roughly chop that up.

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Because I doubled the recipe I ran out of unsweetened chocolate, so I chucked in this Cadbury hazelnut bar as well.

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Throw your chocolate into a heatproof bowl with 1/2 cup butter.

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Set the heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt it until it’s almost all melted away.

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When you just have little bits left solid, remove it from the heat and stir it until it’s smooth.

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Whisk in 1 cup granulated sugar.  Then whisk in 2 eggs, one at a time.

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Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon sea salt over top and stir that in, too.

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Then slowly stir in 2/3 cup flour.

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Finally, add in MOST of your caramels (like 4/5 of them).

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Spread your batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining caramels on top.

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Bake that for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  In the meantime, feel free to lick the spoon.  I won’t tell your mother.  Just don’t tell my mother.  She’s always paranoid about salmonella.

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When your brownie is cooked, put it on a wire rack to cool completely.  Mine didn’t look anything like Smitten’s, alas.

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When it’s completely cool you can cut it into bits.  It’s easier if you wait until the caramel isn’t running around everywhere.

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Seal whatever you don’t eat in an airtight container.  Who am I kidding?  You’ll eat them all.

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Slutty Brownies for My Birthday

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It’s my birthday.  Hooray!  Happy birthday to ME!

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As such, it means I can do whatever the eff I want to do today.  And I choose to be totally lazy and completely unhealthy and make these brownies*.  I’ve been hearing amazing things about this thing called a “slutty brownie,” and after looking them up on the interwebz I decided to go to the source, which, apparently, is a lady known as The Londoner.  Seems legit.  I could definitely get behind this sort of recipe.

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Normally I’m not one to make stuff out of pre-packaged food.  It’s just not my style.  For the most part, if you make something from scratch it tastes way better and is far more satisfying to make.  In this particular case, however, I think I can make an exception.

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It IS my birthday, you know.  But I have to say that the word “chocolatey” versus “chocolate” is always worrisome, though these did include real chocolate after all.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking dish with parchment.  I figured that seeing as some of the contents of my dish would fit normally into a square pan, and because I had extra ingredients on top of that, I should use a bigger pan.

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So you take a some chocolate chip cookie dough. In the British version, cookie dough comes in a box like cake and brownie mix, but here, unless you want it in bulk, it generally comes pre-made in refrigerated rolls.  The Londoner recommends using a teaspoon extra oil and water than recommended for the dry mix, because the cookie dough will be baking longer than usual and might dry out.  And you want this baby to be moister than moist.  So mix that up according to directions and add a bit more liquid. Smoosh the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.  Use your fingers to make it all even and stuff. I decided I needed an extra roll of cookie dough.

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Take a package of Oreo cookies (double-stuffed is better, apparently), and line them up in the tray.  She says not to use the broken ones, but how else would one fill the gaps?  It’s thrifty.  However, I didn’t have any broken ones.  Way to go, modern packaging.

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And I didn’t have enough Oreos, actually.  So I moved everything to a smaller pan, which just involved some re-smooshing, and was very easy.

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Still didn’t have enough Oreos, though, and I couldn’t justify going out for another package when I was only a few short.

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So I just moved them over a bit.

THEN.  Then.  You take a box of brownie mix.  And you mix that up according to its directions. Mine had chocolate chunks in it!

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No need to add anything extra.  Just do it.  Giv’er.

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Pour that loveliness over top of the Oreos.  I’m serious.  Do it.  If you used a bigger pan like me you will need to spread it carefully so everything is covered.

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Bake that sucker for 40-50 whole minutes, then remove from the oven and put on a wire rack to cool.  Mine was big, so it actually took an hour.  A smaller pan would probably take you about 30 minutes. Look at that lovely shiny/crackly top!

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When it’s still a little warm, use the parchment as handles to remove the gloriousness from the confines of the pan, set it on a cutting board, and cut it up.  I recommend smallish cubes, as larger cubes of the stuff might result in DEATH.  And nobody likes death.

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Serve it up with a dollop of ice cream on top, or whipped cream, or caramel sauce, or fudge sauce, or all four in combination.  With a cherry on top.  And sprinkles.  Okay maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

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And I’m not going to give you storage instructions because if you have any sense, there won’t be any left to store.

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* This is actually a lie.  I don’t do ANYTHING on my birthday.  It’s a rule.  I made these a week BEFORE my birthday (because despite what you may believe I don’t get up at the crack of dawn and bake in time for a 7AM NST post).  The Pie is creating a magical birthday cake for me as we speak.  There may be a post on it.  Who knows.

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My new favourite Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

I don’t know what it is about chocolate, but it just lends itself so well to gluten-free cooking. This recipe I pulled from the most recent issue of EDF and I think it’s the best brownie recipe I’ve found in a long while (Frugal, I know you think you’ve made enough, but this one is worth a try!).

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

I made a triple batch for a friend’s bake sale, so ignore the massive quantities in my photos.  If you follow the recipe below you’ll end up with a single pan of ooey-gooey nutty brownies.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a baking dish (remember that the smaller the dish, the thicker your brownies will be).  Lay some parchment paper in there as well, to make it easy for you to remove the brownies when they’re done.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup cornstarch1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon fine salt.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

In a larger, metal bowl, chop 12 oz chocolate (I used a mix of milk and dark).  You can use chocolate chips and melt the whole thing in the microwave if you want, but I’m picky.  Add in 6 tablespoons butter and melt until smooth and glossy.  Remove from the heat.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla to the chocolate mixture and then 3 eggs, added one at a time.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Add in your cocoa mixture and stir it as vigorously as you can until the mixture takes on a sort of cohesiveness that has it following the spoon around the bowl as you go.

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Then you can stir in 1 cup chopped pecans if you like.  I prefer pecans to the more bitter walnuts, but you could also add almonds or hazelnuts or even white chocolate chips — whatever floats your boat.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until set and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs.  Put the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

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When it’s all cool, you can cut it up and eat it.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

It was extremely difficult to cut all these brownies, which filled the house with the scent of butter and chocolate, and then wrap them all in little baggies and seal them in a box to be eaten by other people.  Ah well, it’s all for a good cause, right?  I just may have to make them again very soon.

Gluten-Free Pecan Brownies

Brownies Better than Sex?

Better than Sex Brownies

Well these ones sure are.  Apparently, so the recipe says.  I haven’t had one yet so I’m not sure what I can tell you about them.  They smell really good.  I made them for my students for the last day of class.  I hope they don’t get the wrong idea.

So here’s how you make ’em.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Spray two pans and line them with parchment and spray them again.  Get trigger happy.

Better than Sex Brownies

In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together 12-15oz chopped chocolate and 1 cup butter.

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It’ll get all smooth and shiny.

Better than Sex Brownies

Remove that from the heat and stir in 2 cups sugar.

Better than Sex Brownies

Add in as well 4 large eggs, slightly beaten, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until smooth.

Better than Sex Brownies

Then stir in 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder.  Whisk it good.

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Divide your batter between your pans and bake for 21 minutes.  It seems like an odd number but it seems to work.  When you pull them out they should be all lovely and crackly on top, like some kind of shiny brown salt flat somewhere.  I love the surface of a good brownie.

Better than Sex Brownies

Let them cool (and cook a bit more) in the pans, set on wire cooling racks.  When they’re completely cool you can cut them up and eat them.  I haven’t cut mine yet because I’m afraid of eating them all before I get to class.  And then I will have nothing to show for myself, save a fat belly and a sugar high.  Not a good way to start a three-hour lecture!

Better than Sex Brownies