Monday, February 28, 2011

The Cure for Chocolate Cravings

One night while sitting on the couch, I found myself craving something delicious, rich and chocolaty. Rather than whine about it or picking something up from the 7-11 down the street (ew) I decided to be a real problem-solver and googled myself some brownie recipes. I honestly picked this one because I had all of the ingredients handy in my kitchen. I don’t actually own a 8x8 brownie pan, so I just used a round cake pan instead, shortened the time and the brownies turned out beautifully (not having a certain pan is not going to keep me from brownies). I also cut the sugar a tad form the original frosting in order to create a richer, not overly sweet frosting. I was really happy with the result and will keep this recipe in my pocket for when nothing but chocolate will do. 

Best Brownies (modified from All Recipes)

What you need…

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
Water as needed

What to do…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan.
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a fudgy consistency. Frost brownies while they are still warm. 

Everything can be mixed together in the saucepan...efficiency win

Freshly out of the oven and frosted

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To continue on the lemon theme…

I made this Lemon Frosted Lemon Cake to bring to an epic Female Sexuality meeting (I think it ended up being 10 ½ hours), and it was a big hit. One of my favorite things is too feed people, so this was a fun opportunity to share my food with a group of fabulous (and at some points exhausted and delusional) women. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Lemon Frosted Lemon Cake (from Joy of Baking)

What you need…

Lemon Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Lemon Frosting:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

What to do…

Lemon Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter, or spray with a nonstick spray, a 9 inch spring form pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and then add to the batter along with the lemon juice. Mix only until incorporated. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Bake about 40 - 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool, then gently remove the sides of the pan.

Lemon Frosting:
In a bowl, combine the sifted confectioners' sugar with the 2 tablespoons lemon juice. (You want the icing to be thicker than a glaze but still thin enough that it will just run over the sides of the cake. If not the right consistency add more lemon juice or powdered sugar, accordingly.) Pour the frosting over the top of the cake, allowing the icing to drip down the sides. Let the icing set before covering.
Makes one - 9 inch cake.

Fresh out of the oven


Ariel very excited to cut into the cake

Good food and cofac love: Monica and Tracey


Monday, February 7, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Upon the arrival of my roommate’s organic fruit box, I was thrilled to see the plethora of lemons that lay in waiting among the apples and oranges. Lemon flavored things are among my favorite to eat, and, as I make what I like to eat, bake with. After opening the box, I went on a search for some lemon-themed recipes and came upon this one for Lemon Blueberry Bread. Blueberries and bread also number among my favorite things, so trying this recipe seemed like a natural. The original site states: “this bread is best served on the day it is made” but I can’t tell you if that is true or not because the bread never made it to day two. If that isn’t a good review, I don’t know what is. 

Lemon Blueberry Bread (from Joy of Baking)

What you need…
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
Lemon Glaze:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

What to do…
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the ovenButter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch).
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter with a stand or hand mixer until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.

Incorporating the blueberries into the batter

Love the color of the blueberries with the lemon