Wednesday, December 19, 2012



A few days ago L dropped in for an extended stay with J and me. We're also heading up north for a short road trip during the holidays. I'm hoping we drive into some snow, because I love wintry things, especially snow. We don't get much (or any!) snow here.

For the trip up, I decided to make some nutty brownies to snack on. I really enjoy brownies with nuts because it gives the brownie a crunch. This recipe is the one recipe that keeps me from buying box mix brownies. I have tried a lot of brownie recipes but never quite found any that I liked as much as the box mix. Until I tried this one. 


This one gives you that flaky top on the brownies and is fudgy and dense. It's also a one bowl, one pot recipe. So good. 

makes 9 large or 16 small
6 T butter
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c chopped nuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 350F (176C). Grease an 8x8in pan. I like to line my pan with foil and grease the foil. That way when the brownies are cool I just lift them out and then cut. 


Melt the butter, semisweet chocolate, and cocoa powder over low heat. 

Put the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in and large bowl and beat together. You can use an electric mixer but I just used my spatula.

Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture to the bowl. Beat together until combined. 


Then add in your flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix this all together well. If you are using nuts, add the nuts now.


Put the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Let cool, then cut. Eat!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mint Chocolate Macarons


I haven't blogged in awhile, due to the fact our oven died a bit ago. I'm not entirely sure what went on, but J investigated and figured out what happened. He ordered the part and fixed it right up. I decided to celebrate our oven's revival by making macarons.

I've made chocolate macarons before, so I used the same base recipe for the shells.

Macarons | makes about 16 cookies
from here
3/4 c almond flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 c sugar
2 large egg whites
mint oil 

adapted from here
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T light corn syrup
1/2 bunch mint leaves
80 g semisweet chocolate
80 g milk chocolate
1/2 T butter

For the shells:
You can buy almond flour or make your own. If you are making your own, chop the almonds before grinding  them up. I use a spice grinder.


Next, sift the confectioner's sugar and almond flour together.

Whip the egg whites until they are at soft peaks. When they have reached soft peaks, gradually beat in the superfine sugar.

firm and glossy
Keep whipping the egg whites until you get a firm glossy meringue. When you're at this point, if you shake off the beaters, the egg whites will just sit on top the the ones in the bowl. They won't sink in. You also know that you've reached that point when you turn the bowl upside down and the egg whites don't slide around the bowl or fall out.

If you want to put food coloring in, add it in. Also add the mint oil. I used a drop of mint oil. I put a drop of green food coloring in too, because I wanted it to match the mint flavor, but it baked out and the shells turned out cream colored. So if you want them to be colored, put a couple of drops in.

Beat the oil and coloring into the egg whites just until they're evenly mixed in.


Fold in the almond flour/confectioner's sugar mixture. Keep folding the mixture until it loosens up, enough for it to disappear into itself after a few seconds.


Put the batter into a piping bag and pipe out small circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Then let these rest for 30 minutes.


Bake at 290F for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 280F and bake 12 minutes more. Let cool on sheets and then carefully pry the shells off.

For the filling:
Put the cream, corn syrup, and mint leaves in a small pot and bring to a boil. Then take it off the heat and let mint infuse for 1 hour. Take the mint leaves out.

Heat the cream again and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir it all together to produce a homogeneous mixture. Let the mixture cool until it is pipeable and then use to sandwich the shells together.