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.

My new obsession

Tapioca Pudding
I was one of those kids who would decide something didn’t look good, and then convince myself it tasted terrible.

At least I know I’m not the only one, but now I kick myself for cheating myself out of years of delicious foods.

Like Tapioca pudding.
Tapioca Pudding

It looks lumpy. And maybe a little slimy. It must be gross! *Sigh*

I’ve now become obsessed with the stuff. Fortunately for me (and you), it’s really easy to make!

Although I’ve learned the hard way that there is a huge (huuuuuuge) difference between quick-cooking and regular tapioca pearls. (Duh! Are these honestly things I still struggle with? Apparently.)
Tapioca Pudding

You get to temper eggs, so you’ll feel very fancy. But that’s the hardest part.
Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca Pudding
Milk bubbles

Tapioca Pudding
Frothy foam!

Tapioca Pudding
This seems like it should be at least 6 servings, but it’s really just one. For me.

I’d better get more pearls soaking!

Tapioca Pudding
Indeed, this recipe will make 6 servings. Use that knowledge as you will.

Place 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (NOT the quick-cooking kind***) into a bowl and cover them generously with whole milk. Allow the pearls to soak for AT LEAST 8 HOURS. You may have to add more milk periodically as the pearls soak it up. The pearls will expand and become soft. After soaking, you will need:

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Place the soaked tapioca pearls, milk, sugar and salt into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Stir fairly constantly and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Cook for about 5 minutes longer.
Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture in with the beaten eggs to temper them. Then pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture and bring everything to a gentle simmer for about 2 more minutes. The pudding will start to thicken considerably.
Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

At this point, you can serve the pudding warm, or you can refrigerate it for later. I found that the pudding is best served the day you make it. Which is great because it doesn’t usually last longer than a day or two at my house.

***If you use quick-cooking tapioca pearls, skip the soaking process and just start the pearls, milk, sugar and salt in the saucepan together.

Banana with Honeyed Mascarpone & Caramel

Mascarpone Banana
Bananas are not my go-to dessert.

I do not like banana splits. Just give me the ice cream!

I’ve had Bananas Foster once, but I prefer apple crisp.

But my friends served this dessert a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!

It’s like a song that got stuck in my head. And the only way to stop obsessing about the creamy mascarpone and drizzly caramel was to make my own. Obviously.

The banana isn’t just a vehicle for the cheese and caramel, either! The textures pair perfectly, and the banana and mascarpone blend together in a creamy, soft goodness.

Maybe I should take another look at bananas, huh?

Bananas with Honeyed Mascarpone & Caramel Sauce
Makes 6-8 portions

8 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp honey
6-8 ripe bananas
Caramel Sauce

Whip the mascarpone and the honey until everything is thoroughly incorporated and fluffy. Put a dollop of the cheese on a plate, and top with a banana and generous amount of caramel sauce.

Game of Thrones Pie

Strawberry Almond Galette
I’ve read the Game of Thrones series. Twice.

I really enjoy them, and I was trying to bide my time until the next book in the series came out.

Oh poor, naive Jo.

Can we please please please have the next one? Pretty please?

I’ve also watched the HBO series (which is finally back for season 4!), and have been seeing all the Buzzfeed quizzes about “Which GoT character is your mom’s second cousin?”

Don’t let me fool you, you know I LOVE those quizzes.

You might call me obsessed with Game of Thrones, but I disagree. Everyone knows that my real obsession is food, and those books read like hard core foodie porn! George RR Martin is so tantalizingly descriptive of the food that the characters eat, that people have been able to create whole recipe books based off of the GoT series. The food ranges from brown mystery meat stew to entire royal feasts. Food serves as the great equalizer between peasants and monarchs. Everyone’s gotta eat!

So what better way to pass the time until episode 2 on Sunday than by recreating GoT food? And while I’m not willing to attempt lamprey pie or the raw heart of a stallion, strawberry galette I can do.

And you should too!
Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette

Strawberry Almond Galette
Makes one rustic pie

Crust
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, measure out your milk and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)

Add the flour, sugar, cornmeal and salt together in a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse several times. Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture starts to look like gravel. Turn the food processor on low and slowly pour in the buttermilk. Stop the processor several times to scrape down the sides, and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough together, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes–up to 24 hours.

Filling
2 1/2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

1 egg white whisked together with 1 tsp of water
Extra sugar and slivered almonds for topping

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine the strawberries, almonds, sugar and corn starch in a bowl. Set aside.
Roll the dough out into a large circle and place it onto a baking stone or sheet pan. You may want to use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Pour the strawberry almond mixture into the center and spread it out, leaving a 2 inch edge. Gently fold the edge over the strawberries and press the dough where it overlaps to make sure it stays together.
Brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle sugar and extra almonds over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

How I Survived the Blizzard

Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

You all know that I hate the cold.

I would take 97F over -25F EVERY. TIME.

And spending two hours shoveling my driveway, while a great workout, is not my idea of time well-spent.

But I have to say, getting a four-day weekend is pretty spectacular.

Guys. We got snow days!! Not one, but two!!

If you’re from Montana, this is basically unheard of. It could snow an entire foot over night and we’d still have to go to school.

Last week though, we got Friday off because it snowed a foot over night and then we had 50mph wind. I had to pretend I was hearing ocean sounds in order to sleep. It actually worked really well. There still weren’t enough streets cleared by Monday to safely open the schools, which meant that we got to stay home again.

So my mind naturally came up with this frozen treat. If you’re all bundled up and you don’t have to brave the cold, why not?

All you have to do is make some whipped cream
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches
We make whipped cream by adding heavy whipping cream and maple syrup into a mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy and add maple syrup in small amounts until it tastes right.

Get some graham crackers
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

Spread on some peanut butter
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

Then the whipped cream
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

Sprinkle on some chocolate chips. Drizzle on as much caramel as you can.
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches
More caramel! Caramel recipe can be found here.

Top them off and freeze them for a couple of hours.
Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

Frozen Whipped Cream Sandwiches

These sandwiches don’t get rock hard like you’d expect. Even after they’ve been in the freezer overnight! They were shockingly easy to break in half and bite through. The whipped cream retains its fluffy texture, and frozen caramel might be the best thing in the world. As my husband says, “These things will change your life.”

If I would have known I could celebrate the cold with treats, I would’ve had a completely different outlook on winter.

And Another

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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.

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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!

The things I do for love

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I should like cherry pie.

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I really, really should.

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But I just don’t.

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It’s ok, you can call me crazy.

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There are just some things I cannot like.

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No matter how sweet and pretty they are.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you on something mediocre! I’m told this was an excellent pie.
The bite I tried was…cherry pie.

If cherry pie is your thing, this one shouldn’t disappoint. It has a nice balance of tart and sweet, decadence and simplicity.

But man, it’s still…cherry pie.

Cherry Pie
Makes one pie

2 chilled pie crusts (making your own is easy!)
4-5 cups of frozen pitted cherries
1/3 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
juice from one medium lemon
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tbsp cool water

Preheat oven to 375F

In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss together until all the cherries are covered.

Roll out one pie crust, and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Fill with the cherry mixture. Roll out the other pie crust and top, crimping the edges together to seal. (If you don’t want to mess with a lattice top, I don’t blame you! Just make sure to cut slits to vent the steam) Brush the top with the egg wash, and then sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake for at least an hour, and as much as an hour and a half. Cover the edges of the pie with tinfoil after a half an hour to prevent them from getting too brown. You will know the pie is done when the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Allow the pie to rest at room temperature for several hours before serving. It’s even better (I’m told) the next day, so if you have time, make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.