Fudgy Salty Brownies

Brownies

These are the brownies.

The. Brownies.

Sure, it takes three bowls, but look at that fudgy layer under that crispy layer!

Brownies

And yeah, I added salted caramel sauce. It was the next logical step. If I’d had ice cream, I’d have done that too.

HOWEVER! These brownies are more than capable of standing on their own.

No extra flair needed.

Bowl #1

Brownies

Brownies

Bowl #2

Brownies

Bowl #3

Brownies

Brownies

Brownies

And done!

Brownies

Brownies

Fudgy Salty Brownies

 

1 cup butter
1 (heaping) cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I have used both Dutch processed and dark chocolate with great success)
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp extra course-grained salt for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350F, then grease an 8×8″ pan and line it with parchment paper.

Add about three inches of water to a sauce pan. Then place a heat-safe metal or glass bowl over the top, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water underneath. Turn the burner on to medium heat, and then add the chocolate chips and butter to the bowl. Stir frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn, and melt everything together until smooth. Turn off the heat, but leave the bowl over the pan.

In another bowl, whisk or sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt together.

I use my stand mixer to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together, but regular beaters will also do the trick. Slowly add the chocolate mixture while continuing to beat the eggs until it’s all combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and sprinkle the course-grained salt over the top.

Bake for 1 hour or longer. If you insert a knife into the center of the brownies to see if they’re done, the knife will never come out clean! You sort of have to go by sight, which I know can be frustrating. I know they’re done when the brownies just barely start to pull away from the edges of the pan. Just be careful not to over bake. Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then use the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan onto a flat surface. Allow them to cool for another 10 minutes before slicing.

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Cinnamon Twist Bread

You guys!!

Cinnamon Twist Bread

I did it!!

Cinnamon Twist Bread

I made pretty bread!

Actually, I’m going to say that this bread is beautiful.

Not even sorry about bragging here, because if you guys know me, you know how much I struggle with bread. I have cried, laughed, given up, and tried again when it comes to making bread look pretty. I’ve gotten so upset over pie crusts that my husband has to take over. I have pretended that “it’s supposed to look rustic” so many times that it’s shameful.

But I did this all by myself! (Cue the squealing and jumping around.)

Cinnamon Twist Bread

You’ve got to try this too! Because, really and truly, if I can do this, a nine year old can probably do this.

For real.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

It starts out with flour, sugar and salt.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Water and yeast.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Which combine into dough.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

And then rest.

Up until that point, I can manage without any problems. Here is where things usually get tricky for me.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Cinnamon Twist Bread

The dough is rolled out into a large rectangle. (And yes, this is really my attempt at a rectangle shape. I swear I did not fail kindergarten.)

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Then you just spread on some butter, and sprinkle it with a heavy layer of cinnamon and sugar. (Don’t be like me. Use more butter and make sure your cinnamon sugar goes much closer to the edges.)

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Cinnamon Twist Bread

And then you roll it up as tightly as you can. With practice, I’ll get a tighter roll. This was ok, but not great. (I was already freaking out by this point, but trying to keep it together.)

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Then transfer the roll to parchment paper, and cut it down the middle with a sharp knife. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top uncut.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

I couldn’t get pictures of me twisting the bread, because I was afraid that if I paused to take a picture it would be ruined and I’d cry again. So! All you have to do is twist each side a little so that the layers are facing the ceiling, and then cross the strands over each other all the way to the bottom. Then just tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Like so. And then let it rest. Then all you have to do is brush the outside with an egg wash and bake.

Cinnamon Twist Bread

Voila!

This is best served warm, and on the day you make it. We ate it plain, but my son suggested that this bread should be frosted like a cinnamon roll. Do what makes you happy.

Cinnamon Twist Bread
Makes one loaf

3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3-4 tbsp butter, at room temperature and very soft
cinnamon sugar
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

  • Combine the yeast and warm water, and allow it to activate for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn the mixer on for about a minute to mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients with the mixer on low, and turn the mixer up to medium speed for about 5 to 7 minutes. You might have to use a scraper to get the dough off of the dough hook during mixing.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about an hour in a warm spot. It should double in size.
  • Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface. You’re going for a nice big rectangle, about 12 inches by 15 inches.
  • Spread the butter onto the dough, going almost all the way to the edges. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar.
  • Start at one short edge and tightly roll the dough to the other short edge. Transfer the roll to a sheet of parchment with the seam on bottom.
  • Cut the roll in half, starting about an inch from the top, all the way to the bottom.
  • Turn the cut side up towards the ceiling, and tightly cross the strands over each other until you get to the bottom. Tuck the ends under the loaf.
  • Let the bread complete a second rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Brush the bread with the egg wash, and then transfer the bread and parchment paper to a baking stone or sheet.
  • Bake the bread for about 20 minutes, and then turn the heat up to 425F. Bake until the top turns a nice golden brown.

Keep It Simple

Bacon and Onion Pizza
I love making pizza.

I have this magical bread machine that makes the pizza crust for me. It’s so fluffy! I highly recommend getting a bread machine. Even if all you ever use it for is pizza dough, it’s totally worth it.

Rising Pizza Dough
I do stray a little from the original bread machine’s recommended whole wheat pizza crust recipe. I’ve found that an extra 20 minutes of rising time makes a huuuuuuuuuuge difference in the ease of shaping. And whole wheat pastry flour has consistently turned out softer, crispier crust than regular whole wheat flour.

Pizza Stone
I also find that scattering cornmeal on my pizza stone is essential. There is nothing worse than a pizza slice that won’t come off the stone. Truly a sad business.

Pizza Dough
I roll the dough out right on the stone. That way, I know exactly what size to make it, and I don’t have to try to transfer the dough. We all know how **awesome** I am at working dough.

**Ha!!**

Curled Crust
Just roll the dough out slightly larger than the stone, and then curl the edge back onto itself.

Pizza Sauce
When it comes to sauce, less is more. You need to make sure it touches all the edges, but too much sauce gives you pizza soup when you take it out of the oven.

Pizza
I make no judgements on how much cheese you want to use. Cheesiness is a personal choice, and I believe that we should never judge each other’s choices.

I tend to love pizzas that don’t have too much going on. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s pizza, I will like it. But my favorites tend to have only one or two toppings. Bacon and onion; pineapple and Canadian bacon; arugula and prosciutto; just olives.

In the oven
And whatever you do, do not take your pizza out of the oven before your cheese is bubbly and starting to brown! It’s important.

Bacon and Onion Pizza
Pizza and salad. The perfect, simple dinner.

Bacon and Onion Pizza
Makes one medium pizza. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

Pizza Crust:
**Every bread machine will probably have different instructions, so be sure to read the directions. The way mine works, it takes about an hour and a half from the time I throw in the ingredients to the time I’m pulling out the dough for an extra rise.

1 1/4 cup of warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in order into the bread machine. Use the “Dough” setting.
When the machine is fully through the cycle, place the dough into a greased bowl and let it sit, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes. Then spread some cornmeal onto a pizza stone, and roll the dough onto the pizza stone, draping the dough over the sides of the stone. Curl the edges of the dough back onto itself, pressing gently.

Toppings:
3/4 cups pizza sauce (I made a batch of this sauce, and then pureed it in the food processor)
1 1/2 to 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella
2 strips of bacon, diced
1/4 cup of thinly sliced onion

Preheat the oven to 400F. Assemble your pizza, in ingredient order, onto the uncooked pizza dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is crispy and browning. Slice with scissors or a pizza cutter, and serve hot.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Cookies
I’m not sure what happened to all of my cookies. These lasted all of two hours before they vanished.

Apple Cookies
I restrained myself from eating the dough, which was no easy feat.

Apple Cookies
And they definitely came out of the oven…

Apple Cookies
They made it to the cooling rack. But then?

Apple Cookies
One by one, they disappeared!

Huh, I guess I’ll just have to make more.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Makes approximately 36 cookies

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (this is the amount before blending), blended
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 large apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F

Start by making oat flour. Place 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal into a blender or food processor. Pulse on low until the oats resemble gravely sand.
Cream butter, applesauce and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
Add flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda and mix. Add the apples and gently combine.
Drop onto a cookie sheet or stoneware pan, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, just until golden brown.

These cookies are perfect on their own, but you can add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an extra decadent dessert.

Steamy Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
I love elaborate recipes. I really do.

But 90% of the time, I’ll look at an elaborate recipe with 20 ingredients and think, “Yeah right! Not tonight, my friend.”

Which is a pity, because ingredient lists can be deceiving as far as effort involved.

On the other hand, if I come across a recipe with only 3 or 4 ingredients, I’ll probably dismiss that one too. “Not exciting. Probably has ‘boxed something’ as an ingredient.”

Sometimes I’m too judgmental.

While this list looks medium-longish, just look at the process:
Rice and Beans with Chicken
Rice

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Sauce

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Broth and chicken

Cover and cook. Eat.

And don’t get a steam burn!

No seriously, DON’T get a steam burn. I went to pull off the aluminum foil, and my hand got in the way of the escaping steam. It was one of those burns that actually took a second to reach my brain. At first it was like, “oh that was kind of hot,” and a second later I was jumping around the kitchen waving my hand in the air like I just didn’t care. Then I remembered to run it under cold water.

I’m quick like that.

Hours later, I was STILL icing my fingers because they felt like my skin was melting off. Unwrap with caution, folks.

Steamy Rice and Beans
Serves 4-6
Adapted from eat, live, run

2 chicken breasts, diced (or leave out the chicken!)
1 cup dry rice (I used Jasmine rice)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on how much kick you’re looking for.
guacamole for topping (I’m kind of obsessed with the Wholly Guacamole from Costco. Best ingredients list I’ve seen on store-bought guacamole.)

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a 9×13″ dish, pour in the rice, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Add the spices to the broth and whisk together. Pour the broth over the rice and beans, and give the pan a little stir. Add the chicken, and then cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 90 minutes with the foil on.

CAREFULLY remove the aluminum foil, top the casserole with guacamole, and serve.

Yours truly with peeling fingers,
Jo

Fool Proof but without any proof Quiche

Let’s pretend this is a photo of a beautiful quiche, ok?

Quiche Drawing

And it’s all steamy, and delicious smelling, and puffy.

Puffy is a very important quality in quiche. And don’t tell me you can’t smell food photos. You may need to get your nose checked, ok?

In true Jo fashion, I made yet another meal that I took no photos of.

Not one. Not even an instagram shot.

I am so winning at being a food blogger!

Oi.

Vegetable Quiche
serves 6-8

1 Pie crust (this is the one I used)
9 eggs
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 or 1/4 tsp cayenne (or none if you don’t want any kick)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F

In a bowl, beat the eggs until all the yolks have broken and are combined.
Add the milk and spices and continue to beat until the egg mixture starts to get thick and frothy.
Stir in the vegetables and half of the mozzarella, and then pour the mixture into your pie crust. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the middle. If your pie crust starts to get too brown, line it with some tin foil. Serve while hot.

I’ve never had good luck saving quiche for leftovers. I’ve just never been able to reheat it well. Anyone have any suggestions?

And Another

IMG_0028

How on earth has another year passed already?

You know what is the biggest difference between last year and this year?
Reading his own birthday card!

My child, my amazing child, is READING HIS OWN BIRTHDAY CARDS!!

Obviously that’s not the only difference this last year has made, but I’d say that’s a pretty exciting difference. Wouldn’t you?

Other changes include:
Hailey
A gorgeous niece added to the family.

photo.JPG
A newly developed sense of…ahem…style*.

*Who am I kidding, I wish I was half as stylish as this kid!

And about 4 inches of vertical growth! I think I may have to keep up this feeding him thing…

By the way, I really need to thank Alton Brown for the most amazing Angel Food Cake recipe ever. The birthday boy was especially pleased.

A few notes about the recipe:

1. I didn’t have cake flour, so I made my own by measuring a cup of all purpose flour, and then taking two tablespoons out. I then added two tablespoons of cornstarch and mixed well.
2. I didn’t really wait for the egg whites to reach room temperature. I forgot. But it was just fine!
3. I used vanilla extract because that’s what I had. But it was just fine!
4. I used my new oven. This has no bearing on the recipe, per se, I’m just really excited about it still.
5. I served this cake with home made whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and homemade caramel sauce. Yeah mama!