And then I ate a lot of brunch

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I have this feeling 2015 is going to be RAD.

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Because it is. Because 15 is a nicely odd number, and also… It just is. Rad!!!

Also, a ton of brunch was consumed in this house in the last 24 hours. And because New Years = brunch (along with cabbage+bacon, cornbread and black eyed peas for good luck, natch… to be consumed in several hours), I thought I would do sharezies with my fave waffle recipe and the uuuuhhmaaazing brownies E and I made and ate to celebrate.

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I had a fab New Years! E and I did exactly what we wanted to, which was a lot of nothing. And eating. Like tortilla pizzas and brownies and ice cream! And we fell asleep at 10:30, sorry we’re not sorry. AND made brownies. Which were spectacular. And were devoured under a massive pile of Strauss ice cream because it is essentially the best thing ever and also I can’t buy it because if I do, I go through the pint like a beast.

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SO anyway. I don’t make resolutions for the new year, but I hereby declare that this one is going to be sparkly and glittery and fabulous and rad. All at the same time. Happy 2015!

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Let’s ring in the New Year properly, shall we? Recipes for New Year’s healthified indulgences:

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Whole Wheat Waffles

Lightly sweet waffles made completely with whole wheat flour and barely any oil for a healthier take on a typical brunch staple (because HELLO who doesn’t love waffles?!). These are perfect with an apple blueberry compote, or some other kind of fruit. I prefer them with almond butter or salted butter and fruit compote and pure maple syrup, but I think these could easily go a savory route with some egg and cheese? Probs. Maybe that will be dinner later this week…
Recipe adapted from Eating Well, here. Yield is about 6 or 7 in my round waffle maker. Whole grain and vegetarian.

  •  2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 c lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg yolk, avo oil, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry until just incorporated. In a grease-free mixing bowl (I always use stainless for this), beat the three egg whites until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the batter, then fold in the rest using a rubber spatula. Ladle the appropriate amount of batter into your waffle iron, according to the mandates of your specific waffle iron god, and cook accordingly. These come out of mine perfectly at 6 minutes. Store them temporarily in a warming drawer in a single layer on a cooling rack to prevent them from getting soggy if you’re not eating them immediately.

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 Deep, Dark, Flourless Brownies

Grain free, flour free, refined sugar free, and FULL OF CHOCOLATE. Basically, these are all you need. I like my brownies just this side of fudgy, with a crackly top and a salty bite. I also prefer mine dark and full of chocolate, instead of overly sweet. So… if dark chocolate is your thing… you need these. Immediately.
Recipe adapted from Running With Spoons, here!

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate [mine was 77%]
  • 2 oz dark chocolate [mine was 63%]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar, NOT packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • a handful of extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by 8 pan with foil, leaving extra hanging over two sides of the pan for easy removal.

In a saucepan over med-low, melt coconut oil+extra dark chocolate+dark chocolate until smooth, stirring occasionally (you can also do this in the microwave, stirring at 30 sec intervals if you are feeling supremely lazy). In a biggish bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla until pale and smooth, about 2 minutes. After that’s all good, beat in the coconut oil-chocolate goodness until incorporated. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and sea salt; then slowly use the mixer to beat that into the rest of the mix. Don’t overmix, just make sure there aren’t any pockets of cocoa powder. The batter should be thick and smooth. Stir in the extra chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean [mine was perfect at 25]. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then use the foil to lift them out to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or serve them warm with ice cream and eat immediately, for a happy gastronomical moment {I highly recommend this}. Store leftovers (WHAT leftovers?!) covered in foil at room temp.

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The usual nonsense

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More of that light side/dark side dessertyness.

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I actually made these last weekend but have been too busy/lazy/my novel is too good lately to actually get around to posting them. But they happened to be a big hit with the fam so I thought I would be nice and share them. These went well together—the super dense fudgy almond butter brownies played nicely with the lighter caramel bars—those aren’t super sweet, so it made a nice contrast.

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I’m feeling a little brain dead today so pardon the lack of text and written nonsense, I’ll just leave you with the photos and that drool that just hit your keyboard…

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Almond Butter Brownies

Super fudgy, tall brownies with a chewy crust. These are honey sweetened, and you could definitely taste the honey in my batch. I liked it, as a change from the typical brownies that I make, but if you’re not a fan of honey flavor in baked goods, I would sub maple or another liquid sweetener. Recipe only slightly adapted from Smells Like Brownies, here! Makes one 8 by 8 square pan (I had to use round since the square pan I have was currently in use, but I think there’s something weird about round brownies…). Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free!

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c raw, runny honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was unsalted)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice with coconut oil.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in almond butter. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry into wet, mixing until just combined and adding in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. The center should be slightly puffed, and a toothpick should come out mostly clean (a teeny bit of fudgy is okay, but excessively under baked is ew). Let cool completely before slicing, and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Salted Caramel Coconut Bars

This one is slightly adapted from Quiche-a-week (love that blog!) here! Chewy, thick salty-caramel-chocolate-spelt-coconut things. Vegan, refined sugar free! They’re made with spelt flour, which can be easier to digest than wheat, even if you aren’t wheat intolerant (though this is *not* gluten free). Yield: 9-12 bars, in an 8 by 8 pan.

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For the caramel:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • a hefty pinch (1/4+ tsp) sea salt

For the barz:

  • 1.75 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (preferably the separating kind)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • up to 1/4 unsweetened almond milk

Make the caramel first so it has a little time to cool! In a saucepan, melt coconut oil, coconut sugar, and maple until it starts to fizz and thicken. When it starts bubbling, add the almond milk. Let it bubble for just a bit, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3 ish minutes. Stir only occasionally, but mostly just let it sit. Once it’s thickened a little (almond milk won’t thicken too crazy much), turn off the heat, stir in the sea salt, and let it cool.

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For the barz….

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8 by 8 pan with coconut oil. Make your flax eggs and then set them aside to gel.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together spelt flour, almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in flax eggs, then stir the wet into the dry until just combined. You’ll need more moisture in the dough since spelt flour can be dry—I added about a 1/4 c of almond milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough was the right consistency. Fold in the chocolate chippies. Spread half the batter into your prepared pan (using your hands is encouraged), then pour half the caramel over the first layer. Add more chocolate chips to this middle layer because… just because. Spread the other layer of dough over the caramel (it’ll get messy but it’s dessert so who cares?), then pour the other half of the caramel over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack, then slice and eat/store!

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Light side? Or…. dark side?!

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So, are you on the light side?

Or…

The dark side?

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Both are equally appealing…

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B(lond)rownies are kind of like the Force. They have a light side, and a dark side… and they undeniably hold the universe together. My universe, anyway, I can’t speak for yours…

But really, when brownies are holding your universe together, that universe is pretty freakin fab!

I was a little more inclined to the dark side today with these. Dense, fudgy and rich, with small chunks of chocolate chips.. mmm. Doesn’t get much better than that. Except when there’s peanut butter added to your chocolate, in which case the ridiculous deliciousness of these skyrockets into the stratosphere.

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But then there’s these.

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And if you’re feeling like maybe your inclinations push you to the light side (blue, green and purple are pretty awesome lightsaber colors), there’s these. Dense, chewy-crumbly, with an almost graham cracker-like taste. And chocolate chips. Of course.

Actually, much like the dichotomy in the Force (and the real universe..) these two complement each other startlingly well. The deep dark fudgy of one plays nicely against the lighter molassesy flavor of the other.

So go ahead. Indulge your dark side and your light side, and make a batch of both. You never know when the mood might strike, or when your universe might become ruled by baked goods in the best possible way….

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Deep Dark Peanut Butter Brownies

This recipe is from Minimalist Baker, here! It’s freaking fabulous so I didn’t change a thing (other than omitting the powdered sugar and subbing in maple). Makes about 12 good sized brownies, in an 8 by 8 pan. Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free!

  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal+5 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c creamy salted peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan, and preheat the oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine flax meal and water and let sit for a few minutes. Add in beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Pulse to combine, and let it run for a minute or two—you want this to be very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour batter into the prepared pan. In a smaller bowl, stir together peanut butter and maple. Drop dollops of the peanut butter onto the tops of the brownies, and swirl it in with a knife. Top with extra chocolate chips (because, why not?!), and bake for just about 30 minutes. The center should have no jiggle and the edges will pull slightly away from the pan. Let cool almost completely before slicing, as they’re a little fragile when warm. Store in the fridge in an airtight container!

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Light Side Blondies

These are adapted only slightly from Worth Cooking, here! The recipe makes about 12-14 wedges if you make it in a 9″ round cake pan, as I did. E and I decided these reminded us slightly of graham crackers in the way they tasted, and they’re dense, chewy and vanilla-y. They’re gluten free with oat flour, as originally written, but I was out. Vegan and refined sugar free!

  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca starch
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 7 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (Yes, you read that right!)
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan (or square, or whatever). Preheat the oven to 350.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flaxseed, water, and molasses and let sit. In a larger bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add in flax mix, followed by coconut oil and vanilla. Stir to combine, tossing in the chocolate chips as you go. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 30 minutes. The top should be firm, and the blondies will pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. Let cool a bit before slicing. I have no leftovers… but if I had, I would have stored them in the fridge ;)

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I think you’ll find I’ve had a browniepiphany

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So you know how I’m always whining about how I’m soooo picky with brownies and that I never make them and blah blah blah?!

Yes, well…

I think that might have changed.

THESE.

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Gaahhhh… I can’t even.

Crackly crust. Fudgy, dense interior… IN. A. SKILLET. With ice cream. And date caramel. And two spoons.

Be jealous, it’s okay.

And yeah. They were so good I didn’t even really get proper pictures, but that should tell you just how good they really were. I think they might actually be too good for their own good…

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Everything I want in a brownie and then some. AND double bonus, they’re gluten free and dairy free! Not that I’m either (um, hello BUTTER) (and bread. obvs) but for all my little pallies out there who don’t do the gluten and dairy thing, these are for you. Because I love you and I want you to have fabulous brownies.

Time for second breakfast. I ate oatmeal for the first round, so obviously brownies make a logical second choice? Yes, I thought so too.

tis the season!
tis the season!

The Best Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Recreating Happiness, here! I made a 1/2 batch for a 5″ cast iron skillet, so I’ll post those measurements here. Double for a larger skillet, or an 8 by 8 pan. I highly recommend making them in cast iron, because eating them out of a warm skillet is magical.

  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%)
  • 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (Guittard)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice (I used a 5″ cast iron skillet and coconut oil).

In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil, dark chocolate, and 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside to hang out with the cooling chocolate.

In yet another bowl, whisk together coconut sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Whisk in egg—longer whisking creates the crackly crust! (who knew). Whisk in vanilla, then stir in the contents of the almond flour bowl and the chocolate chips. Pour/spread batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is set. Make sure not to over bake! No one likes dry brownies… I checked mine at 17 minutes, and then let them bake for another 4ish minutes. Mine were fairly thin, so test according to thickness and how hot your oven runs.
Let cool… or not.

Eat out of the skillet, preferably with ice cream and some date caramel… and someone else. Sharing is caring ;)

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Gooey delicious. Thank me later.

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Brownieeeeessss!!!!

These are as different as can be from the sweet potato brownies I posted not too long ago—if you like fudgy, dense deliciousness, these are for you. Prepare to have your tastebuds assaulted (in a really good way, obviously).

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I happen to be writing to you from my little vacation in Oregon! I’m currently very much enjoying some drizzly, wet weather (thanks for the welcome back, Oregon, it wouldn’t feel quite right if I wasn’t slightly damp) and taking a break from my horrifically boring online bio class. Snooooze. On the plus side, I will be doing nothing much besides eating for the next week. ALL the food… ALL the time. It’s too bad I couldn’t rent an extra stomach or something to go on vacation, you know? Someone should come up with that.

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Anyway. Pumpkin brownies. It’s fall, therefore there is absolutely NO excuse necessary to put pumpkin in EVERYTHING.

Like these.

Mmm.

Complete with gooey, delicious frosting.

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AND…..

Even better… these are good for you (or at least less bad than usual, and nutrient dense)!! Refined sugar free, grain free, and full of antioxidants (hello, super dark chocolate and pumpkin, I’m looking at you). They even have a bit of protein from the almond butter, so really, what more could you ask for?

Find some rainy weather, pop these babies in the oven, and eat them with company. Life is always a little better with a brownie, don’t you think?

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Recipe only slightly adapted from Specialty Cake Creations, here! Makes one 8 or 9″ pan, or anywhere from 9-16 brownies, depending on how hungry you are… Refined sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free!

Brownies:

  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 100% unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 c raw, unrefined honey
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Frosting:

  • 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 5-6 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375, and line an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 pan with parchment paper. I used a 9″ pan and they were fine, just a little thinner.

Melt chocolate, coconut oil, and honey together in a mediumish bowl (on the stove if you’re slightly less lazy than me, I used the microwave…). Stir until combined. Whisk in pumpkin puree and egg. In another smaller bowl, stir together almond flour and cinnamon, then toss that into the melted deliciousness of chocolate and pumpkin. Stir together until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the top just a bit. Bake for just about 30 minutes (a tester should come out clean), then let cool before frosting.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, pumpkin, pie spice, and maple. Adjust for taste!

Spread that goodness on your cooled brownies, and then find someone to share them with. Brownies are definitely better with company :)

[These keep best in the fridge!]

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Mondays are better with brownies, obviously

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Hiya!

Happy Monday! Because I knoooow these are going to make your Monday that. much. better.

They’re BROWNIES.

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Of COURSE they’ll make your otherwise slightly blah Monday better. Especially when I tell you that they are a) full of health bennies just for you and b) defs allergy friendly. And… as I said…

They’re BROWNIES!

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When have brownies in your inbox *not* made your Monday better? Right. I rest my case.

Have I ever shared my weird brownie proclivities on here? I’m not sure that I have so just in case you were dying to know…

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I’m weird. I like (no. Maybe love) brownies, but… I NEVER eat them. Nor do I ever make them. For some reason, I am never satisfied with the brownies that my kitchen produces. Why? Not crackly enough on the crust. Not chewy enough on the edges or fudgy chewy in the center. Whatever the reason, I am never quite sold on my own brownies, so they kind of get relegated to the bottom of the recipe pile. Which means that I only really eat brownies once a year… at camp.

Guys. These brownies are like CRACK. They are so ridiculously amazing, I can’t stop at one which means that I usually eat them all week long, multiple times a day (it’s a good thing the camp is at 8000 feet elevation…). I have a problem. But also. Those are, strangely enough, made from a mix!! I’m mildly ashamed to admit it (given that EVERYTHING on this blog is from scratch, and I never use mixes when I cook), but there it is. Favorite brownies come from a mix and are made in gigantic sheet pans in the temperamental Two Sentinels ovens that don’t heat evenly. But they’re fantastic. And they’re full of love, which is probably why I adore them so much.

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However. I broke my once-a-year brownie trend for these, mostly because they looked so tasty in the photos and they’re good for me. Ish. Obvs still a treat but whateverrrrrr, happy belated to me and vaccuum vati!

I’m not paleo. I like beans. But I also like a good cooking challenge and I have quite a few paleo friends, so here you go. Paleo brownies in yo’ inbox.

Happy Monday! Sorry I’m not sorry y’all want brownies now, heeheehee!

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Jackson Pollock-style brownies are WAY more fun…

Sweet Potato Brownies

Not quite cakey, not quite fudgy (which is good since a brownie somewhere between is my favorite), totally good for you and easy to whip together. High in Vitamin A/Beta Carotene, good fats, antioxidants, fiber, gluten free and refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Eat Drink Paleo, here! Makes 9 large or 12 small squares.

  • 1 sweet potato (I used orange), grated in the larger holes on a box grater
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c pure avocado oil*
  • 1/2 c maple syrup**
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5-2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-3 biggish squares of dark chocolate, melted (I used 75%), for topping
  • dairy or nondairy ice cream thing to make sundaes (you know you want to)

*I use avocado oil or coconut for anything above 300 or 325—-they have a higher smoke point. Mine is organic.
**I always use 100% pure organic grade B maple syrup.

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Preheat the oven to 365, and line a 9 by 9″ pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Get a bicep workout by grating the sweet potato. Toss grated bits into a medium sized bowl, then add in eggs, vanilla, avo oil, and maple. Stir in baking powder and soda, then cocoa powder (try to smash out any major lumps, but it doesn’t have to be perfect). Lastly… stir in coconut flour (avoid using too much, it will make the brownies dry and gritty)—start with 1 tbsp and work from there. I ended up using the full 2 tbsp, but I think I could have reduced it to 1.5. The batter should be thickish. Spread it into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. I took mine out at 25—a tester came out clean and the top was still a bit soft when pressed.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift the parchment out onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.

Once cool, “frost” with melted dark chocolate and shredded coconut. It’s a really excellent idea to make these into sundaes… juuust sayin’!

Store them in the fridge in the foil covered pan if you have any left over!

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Whoops-a-FAIL and Bailey’s for breakfast

EPIC. FAIL.

Who forgets the SUGAR when making brownies?! I mean, really. SUGAR. Psshhh.

Well, that would be me, apparently.

Whoops.

Not entirely sure where my head was the evening I was making these: perhaps screwed on a wee bit backwards? I realized what had happened (or rather, NOT happened) when the so-called “brownies” were about halfway done in the oven. Out of slight curiosity (and irritation: wasting food, especially baking materials, is like a cardinal sin in my book), I decided to let them finish baking and then taste them. Fully prepared to hate them, I whipped up another batch so that brownies could be had for Mutti’s reunion… and then took the *ahem* REJECTS out of the oven to cool before I attempted to taste them.

mmm

But wait.

Time for the bombshell. You’d think completely sugar-less brownies would be nasty, right?! But… they’re NOT! They turned out like some kind of brownie-bread, or at least that’s what Vati and I thought. So rather than throw them out, we decided to hang on to them for breakfast and dessert purposes. Waste not, want not! Besides, then you can have GUILT-FREE BAILEY’S for breakfast!! If that isn’t awesome, I’m not sure what is. The brownies themselves (properly made) actually aren’t too bad for you—they originally come from a Cooking Light recipe. QED, brownies minus sugar = healthy breakfast. Ha. Winning.

Do yourself a favor: make them, sans sugar. Top them with mascarpone cheese and blueberry jam and cinnamon… and eat them for breakfast.

Epic fail? Absolutely not.

Remind you of anything? Mayan calendar, perhaps??

Bailey’s Brownies

For REAL brownies, use sugar. Obvs. Please don’t leave it out. They’re wonderful brownies: hydrated and fudgy interior, chewy exterior and a crackly top. Perfection. For “brownie bread” (excellent for breakfast and all-purpose snacking), omit sugar and pretend you did it on purpose.

Recipe gratefully borrowed (and slightly adapted) from Gimme Some Oven, here! Makes an 8 by 8 pan of brownies.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • my-cup-runneth-over 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c (slightly overflowing, hehe) Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
breakfast is served..

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by8 pan with foil (this makes for ridiculously easy removal).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips together, using bursts of about 30 seconds. Let cool. Once cooled, whisk in eggs vigorously for a few seconds. Once incorporated, whisk in sugar, Bailey’s, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing out the top a bit.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs (don’t overbake, unless you like brownie bricks! I don’t exactly recommend this). Let cool in the pan for a bit, then lift the foil onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

stack o’ rejects

Shut the door, have a seat (and a brownie)

the Roger Stirling of the brownie world

Whilst watching Mad Men tonight, I came to a rather giggle-inducing revelation:

Apparently I never make brownies without spiking them…?!

I’m like the Roger Stirling of the brownie world.

so much yummy.

I mean really. It’s like Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce take over when I decide to make them. Am I satisfied with a normal, dense chocolatey brownie? Obviously not. Brownies are sooo much better when they have Bailey’s in them. Or Guinness. But really, at least if you indulge in these at lunchtime, you won’t be sloshed by the time you get back to work (*AHEM* Roger Stirling). That being said, I do love my Mad Men. And my Draper-style brownies. Dark. Mysterious. Imbibed. Heehehe. Besides, I’m graduating in a week and it’s finals for all those other underclassmen mortals. Pshhh, what else am I going to do besides bake and watch Mad Men?! I can think of so many other less appealing options (like studying. Post thesis… what is this studying you speak of?!).

you see what I did there?! Cleverly, with the slicer?!

But you see, I almost NEVER make brownies for myself. I might bake them for a friend or for a function or something, but usually I eat about half of one and max out. I’d much rather have a cookie or a huuuge slice of cake. Also because I rarely make a brownie recipe that I’m truly satisfied with. BUT. THEN. I watched some Mad Men and made these. And was INSPIRED. Because of course when you think of Mad Men, you think of alcohol, right?!
Soooo, what better to put into Nutella brownies than Bailey’s?! That’s like a match made in culinary heaven. Or at least that’s what Kira and I decided, so in it went. And ohhh, am I glad it did. These are perfect brownies: chewy on the edges, fudgey dense in the middle, and subtly flavored with Irish cream and hazelnut. Mmmm. AND they have that perfectly crackly top. Win win win, all around.

Just like SCDP at the CLEO awards, ha.

Come in, shut the door and have a seat. And maybe an infused brownie to chase your mid-morning cocktail…

mmm

Irish Cream-Nutella Brownies

Adapted from Alaska From Scratch, here!

Procure:

  • 1/3 c butter, softened (we used salted)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 c Nutella spread
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c Bailey’s (more, if you’re feeling particularly frisky)
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Couldn’t be simpler, just like Don Draper whipping out a creative ad campaign: Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan. In a largeish bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Mix in Nutella. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined, then toss in Bailey’s and stir until just mixed (don’t overstir, pretty please). Spatulaize the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Err on the side of slightly underdone though, as they will continue to cook in the pan and dry brownies are ickyyy! Let cool for about 10ish minutes, or however long you can resist them… then cut and devour. With more Bailey’s on the side, naturally ;)

flying brownie?

Lunch of Champions

Lunch of champions.

Guinness brownies.

Need I say more?

Nah, not really. Except that I’m going to,  because these aren’t your average chocolate-stout cake/brownie… oh no. Within these babies lurks a whopping dose of antioxidants and dietary fiber like no one’s business. Which is probably why Vaccuum Vati (for whom these were made in the first place, as he luuurvs Guinness and chocolate) ate two for lunch. With the remainder of the Guinness. Lunch of champions, most definitely. You know why? Because these brownies are made with whole wheat flour and black beans! Yeeeahh. Black beans provide an unbeatable protein-fiber combo, which supports digestive health, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. Beans, beans they’re good for your heart…! Ha. Besides that, beans AND cocoa powder have tons of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, which translates to the prevention of several cancer types, as well as a myriad of other health bonuses. YAYAY for beans! Especially when they’re disguised as dessert.

I for one LOVE beans straight out of the can (though definitely not with crumbled up power-bar thrown in there, like my chiropractor… oh Rob, what are we going to do with you?!), but these brownies are another beast entirely. They totally grew on me: straight out of the pan, I wasn’t a super fan, but after they cooled off, I found myself going back multiple times to “trim” the uneven pieces and swipe little crumbs that fell off when I was photographing. Definitely worth it. For lack of instant coffee powder, I used finely ground espresso, which might account for the stronger coffee flavor, but it pairs well with the Guinness and chocolate. And these probably have the BEST consistency of any black bean brownies I’ve tried: perfectly gooey in the center with slightly chewy edges. Deeelicious. Not super sweet, but just perfect (and this is coming from Vati, who swears by death-by-dessert sweets). A win all around, especially since you can fool your brain into thinking you’re eating a fully-fatted dessert ;) Besides all that, these are cholesterol-friendly, with no eggs, butter, or oil.

mmm.

Guinness Black Bean Brownies

I made a half batch, since these are mostly for Vati, but it still made a large-ish batch. I’ll give the half size measurements here, for an 9 by 9 square cake pan. Recipe with thanks from Farm Girl Gourmet, here!

Procure:

  • 7.5 oz black beans (1/2 a can), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c sugar*
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp finely ground espresso (or instant coffee, if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c stout beer (I used Guinness, what else?!)
  • 1/2ish c chocolate chippies

*More sugar than I would normal use in a recipe, but it’s necessary to balance the Guinness and the coffee flavor, and these still aren’t too sweet. If you want a sweeter brownie, feel free to add sugar to taste.

You'd never guess there were beans in these, would you?

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9 by 9 cake pan (If you double it, use a 9 by 13).

Drain and rinse the black beans, and then put half of them back into the can. Fill it with fresh water, just to the top of the beans. Toss all this into a blender or small food processor, and puree. Set aside in a smallish bowl.

In a larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee/espresso, salt, and baking powder. In the smaller bowl, combine bean puree, vanilla, and beer. Toss this into the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chippies, and stir until just combined (try not to over stir). Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. I took mine out at 24, and they were perfectly gooey (but I don’t like SUPER gooey brownies, so bake according to preference: 20 for goop, 24 for gooey with chewy edges. Whatever you do, pleeeease DO NOT overbake them. There is nothing worse than dry brownies! Ew.) I recommend letting these cool completely before eating: the flavors develop and become just that much better :)

hello there, up close and personal brownie...