Rocky Road Brownies

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Rocky road brownies – not the most attractive viewed from above….

A pair of one-bowl wonders these are.  I was out of cocoa. (Le gasp, right? I couldn’t believe it either.) And it was like 10pm, so World Market was closed (which is about the only place in Tucson you can find Droste cocoa.) So I inquired chez my Amazon overlords.  Whilst browsing through a surprisingly large selection of alkali-processed cocoa, I came across some Valrhona. A two pound bag. Yes, to some this would be an unnatural quantity but not to me. I clicked it and two days later was opening the box.  Of course brownies would be the obvious test, followed by Ina’s chocolate cake. But this weekend, brownies.  I just bought a bag of minimarshmallows last week. (What? Stop looking at me like that. Hot chocolate season is upon us, people!)  

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Marshmallows….mmmmm……chocolate…mmmm…..nuts in the cupboard, too. Wouldn’t Rocky Road be fun! I’ve seen it tons in the foodie verse but of course when I actually went and looked  I wasn’t thrilled by the recipes I found.  Eventually I settled on a not-too-complicated one; I just needed a little fudginess to hold everything together.  I really wanted to find that brownie glaze from my childhood that everyone’s mom used to make – you the the shiny one, that formed a crust on the top? Encountered an epic fail in THAT Googlequest. If you know one, please share!

Well, these were QUITE the hit. Co-workers loved them. Himself’s co-workers loved them. Facebook frieds asked for the recipe. It’s been a very exciting time!

Rocky Road brownies - much more attractive from the side.
Rocky Road brownies – much more attractive from the side.

These were not hard. And you can make each in just one microwavable bowl.  Make these immediately – you will so be the belle of the ball. Trust me. 
Ingredients
For The Batter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 c. AP flour
1/2 c. dutch-process cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
For the Frosting
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cocoa
Mixed it til homogenous, then
Mix in
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1⁄2cups powdered sugar
3/4 c. mini marshmallows
3/4 c chopped toasted walnuts**
For the brownies
Preheat oven to 350*. Coat inside of 9x9x2 square pan with cooking spray. Take a sheet of parchment paper 9″ wide, and make an Alton Brown-style brownie sling.
Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute until it is almost liquid.
Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix on high for about 30 secs.
Add the eggs, mix on high about 30 secs.
Sift in the rest of the dry, stir just til combined and spread in the pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until tester comes out clean. You will see the brownies pulling a little from the edge. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
Cool 10 minutes, loosen the non-parchment side and *gently* lift the brownies from the pan for slicing.
For the Frosting
Boil together (I just did this in the microwave, two one-minute bursts did it.) the butter, water & cocoa.
Use a hand mixer, mix it til homogenous, then mix in vanilla & powdered sugar
This will be about the consistency of thick pancake batter. That is perfect, you don’t want it stiff like a frosting.
Stir in the nuts & mini marshmallows
Spread very quickly over brownies. It dries/cools fast and won’t spread. Although honestly you could put the whole brownie pan back in the still-warm oven for a couple minutes, then take it out and spread it if it cooled and set before you could spread it out.
Notes
**spread the chopped nuts on the cookie tray, and pop them in the oven after/during the brownies. Bake about five minutes, give them a stir and then five more minutes. They should smell toasty. Watch them so they don’t burn.
And, hey! These are seriously rich. I sliced the 9″ square three-by-three, then sliced each brownie square diagonally into two triangles. That was just the right size, so that’s where the yield of 18 comes from. Eat a whole one at your own diabetic coma risk.

serves 18
calories 179
fat 11
cholesterol 39mg
sodium 44mg
carbs 20g
-fiber 1g
-sugars 11g
protein 3g

Buttermilk Onion Rye & Apple Chutney

Fall apple day trips. Always these problems start with that autumnal urge to harvest. Then you wind up with twelve pounds of apples on the kitchen table, wondering what the hell to do with them all.  A quick poll from friends and got a great suggestion from K. for apple chutney. Mmmm. Sounded yummy.

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Then Karen happened, because what to put the chutney on? Oh, that onion rye bread would be delicious with a sweet and spicy topping. And maybe some cheese. And, poof! There went my Saturday!

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Three loaves for the neighbors!

 

Originally, I was going to post about the chutney. But I wasn’t super excited with the results. Honestly, it just had way too damn many raisins in it. And I wanted a stronger ginger and hot pepper taste. So, another day. My friend K. has excellent taste, so I know I just need a different recipe.    But this bread?! I love this bread. It is SO easy to make for a yeast bread,  and truly yummy.

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Make a sammich (with that chutney!), serve it in wedges with soup, put it on a cheese board. Yummy, moist, subtley oniony with that distinctive rye taste. Give this bad boy a whirl, you’ll be happy.

 

Ingredients
1 ½ c dark rye flour
2 ½ – 3c. AP flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ c. grated onion with juice (that’s about 1 medium white or yellow)
Instructions
Grate the onion in the food processor, if possible.
Put all the liquid ingredients in the bottom of the mixer with the dough hook attachment. Then all the dry.
Start on low, then once homogenous put to medium and knead for five minutes. The dough will be super springy and pretty sticky. It should hold its shape.
Grease a large bowl and the ball of dough, cover and let rise 1.5 hours. (Hint! Before putting the dough in the bowl, lightly oily your hands, too. Trust me on this – you’ll be glad.)
After the first proof, heavily dust your board with flour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Get the proofed dough out of the bowl and onto the board. (Some will probably stick to the bowl.) Keeping everything covered with just enough flour not to stick to you or board, shape one oval or two boules. Get good surface tension, and place the loaves on the parchment.
Lightly dust with more flour. Cover and let rise another hour or so, til double.
Heat the oven to 375*.
Right before baking, score the loaves (and X, a square, parallel lines – whatever floats your boat.), and bake about 40m until dark brown and hollow when thumped (or 190* interior).
Remove from the oven, cool.
Notes
The loaf will be somewhat flattish (because the dough was so soft), but makes excellent sammiches and goes great with a hearty soup. Or with some cheese and chutney!
I love this recipe. The dough is sticky, but thankfully I have the KitchenAid, so I only have to deal with it putting in a bowl for the first rise, and shaping the loaf. Try this, for a yeast bread it’s super low-maintenance.
Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye flour package recipe
serves 6
calories 425
fat 7
cholesterol 3mg
sodium 833mg
carbs 79g
-fiber 10g
-sugars 8g
protein 14g

Two Years, 100 Posts, 10,000 views

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I have had creativity-thwarting anxiety about this post for the past month. Everyone in the Foodosphere always does some kind of “Yeah for me! Here’s a picture of my blog’s birthday cake!” But I don’t feel like making a birthday cake. And I don’t want a whole birthday cake in the house. (Hello! Because cake! Do you people not know me?) So I decided fuck it. I’m not making a huge deal.

Let me just say thank you. Having the short attention span that I do, I never thought I’d make it to two years. Let alone a hundred posts. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I just updated the blog’s Pinterest board and thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of content.”  And although I have a slightly better idea what I’m doing, I still have no idea how long this will last.

Life is so weird. Still aimless after leaving the classroom, this blog has kept me grounded.  And always makes me think of Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame, saying:

 Live! Life is a banquet. And most poor suckers are starving to death. 

 Thanks for all the fish, and I’ll see you guys next week. 

 

Beef & Avocado Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette

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Crispy romaine base with sliced radish, perfectly ripe avocado, sliced cucumbers and roast beef slices, with pickled ginger, white & black sesame seeds. Delicious!

This adventure all began because I asked my lovely husband to pick up some sliced roast beast for sammiches at The Costco.  When he got home, I realized we didn’t have any horseradish.  Now, to most households that is probably meaningless. But, at ours, we have to have horseradish on a roast beast sammich.  Anything less is uncivilized.  So, no horseradish. But, hey! I do have wasabi in the fridge – maybe I’ll make some wasabi mayo. Then the work week happened.  I started to have guilt about making my low-carb man have a sammich. I started to think about that roast beast in cute little rolls on a salad.  Plus, I had some gorgeous avoschmados. Mmmmmm. Wasabi vinaigrette! Our Google overlords proved it had been done, and that was all she wrote. 

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It turned out fantastic. Truly an outstanding salad. Totally making this again.  As I was eating, it helped me figure something out.  I love sushi. But I hate raw fish. This little salad adventure made me realize what, exactly, made me like sushi.  It’s a combination of flavors – the creamy beauty of ripe avocado, the salty soy sauce, the piercing wasabi, the sweet crispness of ginger, and the crunchy nuttiness of sesame.  Ok, flavors and ironically, textures. (Since I hate the texture of raw fish.)  All the interwebs used this kind of dressing on a seared ahi salad. Living in the desert, I save the seared ahi for our trips to San Diego. Plus, this is much less expensive.  I also think cubed firm silken tofu would be awesome on this salad if you’re not in to the whole beef thing.

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What a fantastic dinner, with a gorgeous bowl of miso soup. (Wait. What? You don’t know how to make miso? Ya gotta be kiddin’ me! Easiest soup EVER. Seriously – do this, too!
Ingredients
2 Tbsp prepared wasabi
1/2 c rice wine vinegar
¼ c low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar or honey
About 1 c. lightly flavored oil
Instructions
Put everything in the blender (or your smoothie maker) and pulse a few times
serves 8
calories 264
fat 29
cholesterol 0mg
sodium 266mg
carbs 2g
-fiber 0g
-sugars 0g
protein 1g

Crumb Cake Muffins

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Yesterday my friend M. (who has found great love and happiness far away in England) posted a picture of a crumb cake she’d made for tea. It looked divine.  I could not get the thought of that crumb topping out of my mind. You know, the kind with the big clumps of crumb that almost take over the cake and that explode into crunchy, sugary, salty, buttery goodness when you bit into them, and leave a powdery, sugary mess everywhere? Yeah, that.

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Our Google Overlords led me to an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It’s got a lot of steps.  It’s a pain in the ass. But, my. There are times it’s worth it, and this is one.

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My only kvetch was that the first time I made these, the cake was a little dry the next day, I’m sure due to the fact that I made muffins instead of the cake. So, now I just add a little veg oil, for moisture insurance.

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Himself and I both took these to the office, and they were a big hit. What is awesome about this recipe (beside all.that.crumb.topping!), is that it’s not too sweet.

Enjoy. Goddess knows we sure did!
For the crumb topping
½ c. white sugar
½ packed dark brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinannmon
12 tbsp melted butter
2 ¼ c. AP flour
2 Tbsp corn starch**
For the cake, dry
2 c. + 2 Tb AP flour
2 Tb corn starch
¾ c white sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
8 Tbsp butter
For the cake, wet
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ c. buttermilk
1.5 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
plus powdered sugar to dust on top
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325*. Line muffin pan(s) with cupcake liners.
Throw all of the crumb incredients in the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until crumbly. It should hold large chunks of crumb. Set aside in another bowl.
Still in the mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients on low (yes that includes the butter) until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Then, pour in the wet and whip on med-high for a minute. It should look like thick frosting.
Scoop a heaping soup spoon of batter in to each cup. It should it a little less than halfway. Then, top with the crumb mixture. I found I needed to smoosh it a little to make the big chunks before I put it on the batter. However it clumps here is how the finished product will look, so……
Bake about 25 minutes, or until barely golden and a tester tests clean.
Cool and dust with powdered sugar.
Notes
If you don’t want muffins, this will make one 9×13 pan of breakfast cake.
** The original recipe called for cake flour. I don’t keep that on hand, so I use a little less flour and add in some corn starch. Link to the original if you want to use the cake flour.
By Karen Maginnis
Adapted from From an ATC recipe posted on Food.com

serves 24
calories 238
fat 11
cholesterol 41mg
sodium 138mg
carbs 31g
-fiber 1g
-sugars 12g
protein 3g