Archive for April, 2010

The Baked Brownie

April 15th, 2010

Dark. Rich. Decadent. This brownie is over the top from its high quality ingredients to all its acclaim as the “Best Brownie”. Oprah even named it one of her favorite things and for some reason when Oprah says its her favorite somehow its gotta be a favorite of ours too. From the moment I saw this recipe in my newly purchased Baked:New Frontiers in Baking cookbook I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

Let’s start with the ingredients. This recipe required quite a few specialty ingredients: quality dark baking chocolate, Valrhona cocoa powder, and instant espresso powder. Took a few phone calls to find the elusive Valrhona cocoa powder, but I finally tracked it down at my local Sur la table. Next was the dark baking chocolate which I also found at Sur la Table. I decided to go with Scharffen Berger Dark Baking Chocolate (62% cacao) which was one of the suggested brands. Buying the best ingredients comes at a hefty price. One 6 oz. Scharffen Berger bar was $8.50 and a box of Valrhona cocoa powder was $10.50. Taking another look at my shopping list I realized I needed 11 oz. of chocolate, so I had to grab one more bar and that brought my total to $27.50 for just those two ingredients. Ouch. This is when the fear started to set in. What if it doesn’t turn out? What if I completely hate it? I’d hate to waste the most expensive brownie I’ve ever made. Not gonna lie here, I’m a brownie mix type of girl. Betty Crocker $2.99 box mix to be exact and I think it tastes better than some of the from scratch recipes I’ve tried in the past.

High end ingredients in hand, the moment of truth was just a recipe away. The process was relatively simple: combine dry ingredients, melt chocolate, mix, and bake. I made sure to be extra careful, following the directions closely and rechecked that I didn’t leave out any steps or ingredients. About 27 minutes later my brownies where baked and ready to be cooled. The aroma of deep rich chocolate filled my kitchen and it smelled so delicious. It was hard to be patient and wait until the brownies cooled before I could cut myself a piece, but when I did let me tell you it was unlike any other brownie I’ve tasted. So chocolately, so fudgy, so moist, and oh so yummy! I could really taste what a difference quality chocolate and cocoa powder could make. The chocolate taste was much more richer and deeper. I absolutely love dark chocolate and this brownie exudes dark chocolate to the point that I can’t help but love it. So, know I now exactly why this Baked Brownie was dubbed the “Best Brownie” and why it’s Oprah’s favorite and now it’s mine too. Don’t get me wrong, I still have love for my Betty Crocker brownie mix which is much more wallet friendly, but now I’ll have a favorite brownie recipe for those special occasions that will help it make it even more special and decadent.

Love my new cookboook

The Baked Brownie


A Dozen Easter Cupcakes

April 4th, 2010

Happy Easter! It’s been a long 40+ days and I’m excited to finally eat chocolate today! Giving up chocolate for lent was no easy task, but I made it and I’m definitely going to go on a chocolate binge for the next few days. It was interesting to not be able to have anything with chocolate. Whenever I crave something sweet I usually reach for a piece of chocolate, but I found myself replacing it with more healthy treats like fruit and yogurt or maybe some peanut butter on a banana. I guess I could have eaten candy instead, but I’m not much of a candy person anymore (can’t eat sour patch kids like I used to when I was little, and warheads, remember those?).

Although, my first instinct is to pick something with chocolate, giving up chocolate helped widen my view about desserts I would’ve never chosen otherwise. I was able to try all sorts of yummy non-chocolate desserts (strawberry tiramisu, salted caramel macarons, maple bacon donuts) on various outings and it didn’t make me miss chocolate at all. Maybe I’ve changed? But, then again I think I would still have to fight the urge to pick something chocolate over a non-chocolate dessert. At least I feel like I’ve tried a lot of new things and I know that I can live without chocolate, but in all honesty I wouldn’t really want to haha.

For Easter, I decided to make mini cupcakes (vanilla with vanilla frosting, it wasn’t Easter yet when I made this hence no chocolate). To make them egg-stra special, I decided to color the frosting with some nice pastel colors and arrange them in an egg carton. This makes for a great gift idea; easy to whip up and cute packaging!

On a side note, if you’re wondering what my first chocolate dessert will be, its a Sprinkles’ Red Velvet cupcake. I also picked up one of their flavors for the season, Brown Sugar Praline, which is really good. Love that praline topping! Too bad its seasonal, I think they should make it one of their regular flavors.

Looks like a regular egg carton from the outside...


A Dozen Mini Cupcakes - Ready for Easter

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Top Row: Brown Sugar Praline and Vanilla Cupcakes, Bottom Row: Red Velvet with a cute bunny