Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Most Perfect Brownie Ever

Yes, I know that's a bold statement, but it's entirely true. Entirely! I've spent the last three years perfecting the most amazing brownie recipe ever, and I? I have achieved such perfection.

So, here you go. The most perfect brownie ever:

The Best Brownies Ever


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli, Green and Black, or Droste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (I prefer VB paste)
1 c mini chocolate chips


1 c chopped dark chocolate (you can use Ghirardelli chips)
1/4 to 1/3 c whole milk or heavy whipping cream
1 tsp extract of your choice or 1/4 to 1/3 c jam/preserves (I often use raspberry habanero jelly from Rose City Pepperheads; they ship!)


Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl in the order in which they're written, minus the mini chocolate chips. Stir, then beat the mixture till smooth. Add in the mini chips and stir just until blended.

Spoon the batter a 9 x 13-inch pan that you've greased with a little butter. Bake the brownies in a preheated 375*F oven for 27 to 33 minutes, or until they're just barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let them cool completely.

Once the brownies are completely cooled, make the ganache. You can either heat the chocolate and milk/cream in a double boiler or microwave them together in a glass bowl at 50% in one-minute increments. Stir until melted chocolate and heated milk/cream are smooth. Add in the extract (or 1-2 tsp espresso powder, cinnamon, preserves, jam, etc.) and stir until smooth.

Pour the ganache over the cooled brownies and spread evenly. Let the ganache set at room temperature, and then cover loosely and put in the fridge overnight (or at least 4 hours). The fridge is important! It's what gives the brownies their perfect, fudgy, not-too-moist but not-cakey-either texture. Remove the brownies from the fridge, cut, and serve. NOM!

Other variations:

You can also make these beauties with a homemade butterscotch sauce. The difference is you poke holes in the brownies when they come out of the oven. I use the round end of a wooden spoon and make a grid of holes, usually about 5 across the 9" side. And then you make the butterscotch and pour it over the brownies, making sure that plenty of the sticky, sugary goodness oozes into all the holes you've made. Let the brownies reach room temperature, and then pop 'em in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Slice, serve, nom, and die of happiness!

Salted Butterscotch Sauce


6 tablespoons butter (I usually use salted, but you don't have to)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, for sprinkling


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and then add the brown sugar and heavy whipping cream. Stir until the sugary goodness boils. Once everything's reached a boil, let it sit without stirring, and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Remove the butterscotch from the heat and stir in the vanilla. You can then either pour it in a jar and let it cool completely before putting the lid on, or you could be awesome and POUR IT ALL OVER THE BROWNIES OMG. And then die of happiness once the brownies are cooled, cut into delicious little squares, and nommed.


Brownie recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour; salted butterscotch sauce from Crazy for Crust

Friday, December 20, 2013

More Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Yeah, this post is exactly what it says on the tin: more coconut milk ice cream. Why? BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME.

The first one is pumpkin pie coconut milk ice cream. Om nom nom, you guys. Seriously! I can't even tell you how good this is.

Pumpkin Pie Coconut Milk Ice Cream

2 12-oz cans coconut milk, refrigerated for a couple of hours
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c pumpkin puree (you could go up to 1 c, depending on how pumpkiny you want it)
1 to 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend the ingredients together until homogenized, then pop into your ice cream maker and freeze. Then, you have two options. 1) Pour into prepared pie crust, cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't get ice crystal-y, stick in the freezer until you're ready for it, and voila! AMAZING. For serious. I don't think I'll ever make regular pumpkin pie again because this is just soooooo good. Or you could always go with option 2) in the last few minutes of freezing, add either gingersnap or graham cracker crumbles (about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup) and some mini chocolate chips for plain ol' pumpkin pie ice cream. This is also ridiculously delicious, and I can highly recommend it. I haven't yet met a person who didn't like it!

Here's another variation: Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

This one's delicious on its own or as a base for other flavor combinations.

2 12-oz cans coconut milk, refrigerated for a couple of hours
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
any add-ins you want (chocolate chips and/or nuts, mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, raspberry preserves, Heath Bar pieces, Nutella, mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces, etc.)

Blend the ingredients together until homogenized in your regular old household blender, then pop into your ice cream maker and freeze. Add in the add-ins (obviously!) in the last couple of minutes of freezing, and then turn out into an airtight container. I usually cover mine with plastic wrap pressed into the ice cream to keep the surface from getting ice crystals, but that's up to you. This stuff keeps nicely for a few days, and the flavor is divine. Give it a try! If you come up with any faaaabulous flavor combinations, don't hesitate to share 'em, okay?

Happy nomming, all!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rosewater Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Sometimes you just want something a little different. Sometimes you want something you can share with your vegan and lactose-intolerant friends. And sometimes you want all of those things together.

Fear not! For such a thing has arrived. The original recipe is at The Hungry Mouse, and it's a fantastic one. It's only got 3 ingredients (5 if you do my version), and it's ready for soft-serve nommification in less than half an hour. What's not to love?!

Nothin' at all, that's what.

Rosewater Coconut Milk Ice Cream

2 13-oz cans of full-fat coconut milk (don't get the kind that's already sweetened!)
1 to 1 1/4 c sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 3/4 c sugar, but I found it to be too sweet with that much)
2 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
a scant 1/4 tsp rosewater (or no more than a full 1/4 tsp rosewater)
1/2 to 2/3 c dark chocolate chips

1. Start with the coconut milk chilled -- it does make a difference.
2. Pour the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and rosewater into a blender (or into a large chilled bowl if you're going to use an immersion blender).
3. Blend for a couple of minutes until everything's all frothy and uniform throughout. It should look like glorious, fluffy clouds in liquid form! If glorious, fluffy clouds in liquid form looked like they ought to instead of being water vapor. Ahem.
4. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions! If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do this The Hard Way. The Hungry Mouse has directions if you scroll down her blog entry a bit.
5. In the last 3-5 minutes of freezing, pour in the chocolate chips. When they're evenly incorporated, turn out into an airtight container and finish freezing overnight, or you can do the loaf-pan-and-plastic-wrap method that Hungry Mouse mentions. Either one works nicely.
6. Once the ice cream has frozen through, eat it! And enjoy the delicious, delicious flavors. Let the rosy vanilla hit your tongue first, then marvel as it gives way to a smooth coconut flavor and finally settles into a lightly rose-scented aftertaste that dances on your palate. If you get a chocolate chip in your bite, the richness of that will tantalize your tongue, too. Woo!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nutella Cheesecake Ice Cream, Two Ways

Ayup. Here is the promised Nutella Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe. I tried it two ways (one with the Nutella mixed in the cheesecake base, the other with the Nutella swirled in during the last couple of minutes of the freezing process), and they both turned out uh!mayzing. I couldn't decide which I liked better! So you benefit from the indecision.


Nutella Cheesecake Ice Cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (you can use Neufchatel if you want a slightly different texture and flavor)
1 1/2 cups cream
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 c lowfat milk
3/4 c Nutella
3 Graham crackers, chunked
3/4 c mini or regular chocolate chips and/or chopped hazelnuts (optional for the Nutella-as-part-of-the-base variation)

1. Bring the milk to a gentle boil in a saucepan, and then lower heat to a simmer.
2. Beat the cream cheese together with the sugar. (If you're doing the Nutella-as-part-of-the-base variation, here's where you add it in. Be sure to lick the spoon! OM NOM NOM! You can also reduce the sugar by about 1/4 of a cup if you want less sweet ice cream, and you can easily add a teaspoon of vanilla, if you like. It's up to you!)
3. Add the egg to the cream cheese and sugar and mix thoroughly.
4. Remove the milk from the heat and add it to the cream cheese mixture. Stir!
5. Place the new mixture back into the saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk (to minimize any boo!hiss! cream cheese lumps which may be lurking).
6. After a few minutes of stirring, pour the contents of the saucepan into a clean bowl.
7. Add the cream and stir until completely mixed. Sniff. It will smell fantastic.
8. Chill the mixture in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, however long you can wait, until completely cooled.
9. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker. In the last few minutes of freezing for the plain cheesecake base, add in the Nutella in small dollops, then the graham cracker chunks. Turn out into an airtight container and finish freezing. For the Nutella-as-part-of-the-base variation, add in the mini chocolate chips, optional hazelnut pieces, and graham cracker chunks in the last couple of minutes of freezing. Turn the soft ice cream out into an airtight container and finish freezing. Feel free to lick the bowl!

I hope you think it's as delicious as I do. If you don't, well, pfft. MORE FOR ME!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fruit Coconut Oatmeal Bars

Om nom nom.

Yeah, that's right. That's the sound of toothsome and very satisfying bars being eaten by the handful. These are sweet, decadent, and utterly delicious. They're easy to make vegan and to change up, flavor-wise, to meet any of your dietary or taste needs.

I got the recipe from, over here, but I made some changes and have experimented with a few different variations, namely blueberry lemon, raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry, and apricot (next time I'm gonna try pineapple. Booyah!). They're all fantastic. I don't think you can go wrong with these.

Anyway, here you go. The recipe I've fiddled with and been using is below.

Fruit Coconut Oatmeal Bars
1 c sweetened or unsweetened coconut ribbons (shredded coconut works well, too; it's what I've been using)
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c unpacked light brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cinnamon
a dash of ground ginger
1/2 c cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 c cold margarine, in pieces (I like Earth Balance)
a generous 1 1/4 c old-fashioned oats
3/4 to 1 c fruit jam or preserves (I tend to go on the 3/4 c side of it; more than that makes these too darned sweet)
1/4 to 1/3 c mini chocolate chips (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 9×13″ pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.

2. Dump the sugar, flour, spices, butter, and margarine in a food processor and blend until a dough forms. Dump the dough into a large bowl, add the oats and 3/4 c of the coconut, and knead until everything's combined.

3. Set aside about 2/3 cup of dough to use as a topping. Press the rest of the dough evenly into bottom of the prepared baking pan, and spread the jam evenly over it. Sprinkle first the remaining coconut, the mini chocolate chips, and then the crumbled reserved dough over the jam.

4. Bake in the middle of the oven until it's tasty and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares. They're very rich and sweet, so 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares is good. Make sure the bars are completely cooled before you try lifting them out and cutting them! If they're still warm, they'll crumble and flop all over the place, and you'll have to use them as an ice cream topping. OH NOES, THE HORROR. I know. Tell me about it!

5. Nom. Share! Enjoy.

Notes: You can easily make these vegan by replacing all the butter with margarine. I'm going to try a recipe using coconut butter and margarine and see how that goes. I'll let you know when I get around to it. You can also make these all-butter, but I find the all-butter version to be entirely too rich. Experimentation has led me to the butter-to-margarine ratio you see above, which I think yields the best taste and texture.

Also, if you want to do other flavors of jam, I recommend zesting a lemon into the dough for the blueberry and boysenberry versions. You can also use white chocolate chips or large dark chocolate chips instead of the mini chocolate chips. Or leave them out entirely, but I think they add depth to the flavor profile, so I'm a fan of leaving 'em in.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Fig Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yep. That's right. Pumpkin and fig and honey and cinnamon and cream cheese and OMG, THESE ARE THE BEST CUPCAKES EVER! Seriously, everyone who had one told me these are the best things I've ever made.

I think I believe 'em.

Anyway! On to the awesomeness, yes?

Pumpkin Fig Cupcakes
From Southern Living's Big Book of Cupcakes, the "Pumpkin Patch" recipe, with some very slight modifications

1 ½ c butter, softened
2 ½ c sugar
5 large eggs
1 c canned pumpkin
1 ¾ c all-purpose flour (the original recipe calls for soft wheat, which, pfft)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
2/3 c buttermilk (I used lowfat since it's all the store had, and it worked out great)
1 tsp vanilla
7-8 fresh figs, medium size, chopped (this was the major modification)

Directions for cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy, but do not shame them. That's totally crossing the line, yo. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add in pumpkin, beating until blended.
3. Combine dry ingredients; add to butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk (begin and end with flour mixture). Mix until just blended after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and the figs, and do a victory dance because these are going to be awesome.
4. Line muffin pans with paper baking cups and fill each cup 2/3 full with batter.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Only stab one cupcake one time; there's no need to treat them like vampires and stake the lot, okay? Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
6. Taste test one, but I'd let them get cool first. They're very, very moist, and letting them set overnight makes them even more fabulous than nomming them fresh. Their texture is dense and moist, but not in the oh-god-too-much-ugh way. More like the oh-god-this-is-heavenly-I-want-another-one-gimme way. Makes 24 amazing cupcakes.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, cold
2-3 Tbs honey
¼ to ½ tsp cinnamon
2 c powdered sugar

Toss all ingredients into a large, high bowl. Beat with hand mixer or in stand mixer until smooth, making sure not to overbeat. If you do go overboard, your frosting will be sadly floofy and runny. Spoon and spread onto cooled cupcakes. If there isn't enough frosting to your liking or, like me, you've "tested" several spoonfuls and thus are a bit short, mix up another batch. Pile higher on cupcakes and eat the leftovers with a spoon. Try not to drool on yourself; it's unattractive. Om nom nom!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies to Die For

You guys, these were so good! Minty and chocolaty, soft but not too soft, and totally delicious -- I think these are my new favorites!

Adapted from this recipe over at Everybody Likes Sandwiches.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


1 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c York Peppermint Patty Pieces (the ones that look like blue and white M&M's)


1. Preheat oven to 360* F. Yeah, I said 360.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Or, if you're a lazy bum like I am, just measure them out and let them sit in a bowl, unmixed.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, blending well before adding in the second egg. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overdo it. Add in the York Pieces and stir until just mixed through.
5. Roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet that's lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake for 11 minutes until lightly golden but still a bit soft inside. Cool on wire racks.
7. Eat while still warm. Then eat some more when they're cool. Eat as many as you like! Delicious by themselves, with a glass of milk, or while taunting those who don't have minty delicious cookies of their own.