Tag Archives: sweet

Gooey Brown Butter Blondies with Pecans

I’ve been feeling a little bored with my standard bakes lately. They’re still good, don’t get me wrong, but they just aren’t scratching that itch anymore. After a relatively brief tour around Pinterest, I landed on a recipe from Bon Appetit for Gooey Brown Butter Blondies with Pecans. I decided to go with something that was sweet, but really highlighting more savory flavor elements like brown butter and toasted pecans, and I have to tell you I was delighted with the results.

INGREDIENTS

Brown butter mixture

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour

Blondie

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1¾ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream (for serving)

RECIPE PREPARATION

Brown butter mixture

  • Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a medium bowl; let cool slightly. Add egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until mixture is light and falls back onto itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes. Fold in flour.

Blondie

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 13×9” baking dish and dust with flour. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.

  • Whisk baking powder, salt, and 2¼ cups flour in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

  • Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Fold in half of pecans. Scrape two-thirds of batter into prepared baking dish; smooth top, pushing batter to edges. Alternating, dollop brown butter mixture and remaining batter on top. Smooth and sprinkle remaining pecans over.

  • Bake until blondie is golden brown and firm (a tester will not come out clean), 30–35 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Serve with ice cream.

  • DO AHEAD: Blondies can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Notes:

  • This recipe was a little more complex than your standard dump and mix but well within the reach of the casual baker.
  • Hands down one of the best recipes I’ve tried. I loved it; my husband loved it; an office full of my new coworkers loved it. One guy even told me it was one of the best things he’d ever eaten. This is a fantastic option for a situation that calls for something a little extra special.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

With a month to spare, I have finally completed #3 on my 31 before 32 and made the last of the 12 recipes from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook! There are so many great recipes I still can’t wait to try out, but I am happy to have the ones I “had” to do behind me. Since I’d done a few of the main recipes and a couple of the extracts, I wanted to try something from the back of the book. The frosting area seemed as good as any so I decided to tackle Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

So light and wonderfully fluffy! It made for some very pretty cupcakes.


I took some pictures of the process, just so you’d have an idea of how things were going to look as you went along. I find that sort of thing helpful whenever I’m trying out a new recipe.
The egg white/sugar mixture when I put it on ⇑ and took it off ⇓ the double boiler. 
How the meringue looked when it was ready for the butter. 

Notes:

  • I think the thing I liked best about this was the sweetness. I like sugar as much as the next pudgy American, but I hate frosting that is sickly sweet. Standard buttercream is easy to make, but usually it’s a bit much and has ruined many a cupcake for me. It’s really nice to have this in my back pocket for future baking.
  • This recipe also pipes like a dream; I had wonderful frilly frosted cupcakes with minimal piping bag manipulation, and it held its shape and didn’t dry out overnight.

Becky’s Brownies

A few months ago, I tackled the Maniac Fire Bread from Sweet & Vicious. It was pretty great, and one of my taste-testers was so in love that she HAD to have the recipe. Unfortunately, after reading the directions, she decided that the whole process was more than she cared to tackle with her limited baking skills. So I had a thought: what if I came up with something that combined the same flavors, but was much less complicated to complete? Say, something utilizing that most amazing of baking cheats, the box mix? Challenge accepted!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk Brownies
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp minced serrano chile

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray brownie pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine mix, cinnamon, milk, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Mince the serrano and then fold into batter and pour into prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Obviously, this isn’t quite the same thing, you know, being brownies instead of a quick bread, but the flavor is there and you still have the dense texture that is dotted with chocolate chunks. Plus, it’s easier to cut and consume.
  • I know a lot of bakers gasp at the idea of using mixes instead of baking from scratch, but let’s be honest – life is busy, and you don’t always have time to make everything from scratch. Besides if most people were given the choice between box mix brownies or no brownies, I’m pretty confident in asserting that they’ll happily take/settle for the box mix bakes. Sometimes it’s just better to work smart instead of hard.

Sweet & Vicious: Kahlo Cookies (Strangely Hot Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.

Notes:

  • For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
  • I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
  • If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure.  Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.

Sweet & Vicious: Jacked Up Ginger Cookies

After the relative success of the “Serious Oatmeal Cookies”, my mom and I decided to tackle one of the more holiday-y cookie recipes from my Sweet and Vicious cookbook, Jacked Up Ginger Cookies. Now, I’ve never made ginger cookies before, but if you are fond of the spice then these are the cookies for you.

I’m not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but I have had a few in the last couple of years that have amended my attitude from “Ewww” to “Well, I’ll give it a try”. I will admit though as I was chopping the various kinds of ginger and measuring out that full 1/4 cup of molasses my skepticism of this recipe was definitely growing. Not that I thought that it would be “bad”, just that I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, or bag of cookies as the case may be.


Notes:

  • Flavor-wise these little ginger bombs delivered exactly what they promised. Plenty of big ginger flavor. Did I like them? Not really, but my mom and Andy did. So much so, that Andy “forgot” to remind my mom to take a few of the cookies to take home with her. He just waited until she left and then demolished the remaining cookies that day. It was kind of cute.
  • Texture and bake-wise these were pretty spot on, chewy when they first came out of the oven and then perfect for accompanying a hot beverage after they had set up after a day or two. Even though I didn’t care for the flavor, everyone else liked them enough for me to make them again anyway.

Also, my mom got me this cute little plaid plate for Christmas. It’s a set of four: a bunny, a fox, a raccoon, and a pug. The trash panda is my favorite by far. He reminds me of the cheeky little bandits that come to our back porch every night to eat the cat food for the outdoor cat.