Triple Triple Blondies

Triple chips. Triple nuts. Triple nerms. These blondies leave behind the walnuts and butterscotch chips, and have cashew, almond, and pecan along with (wait for it) caramel chips. What what???? I know, right? Well, let me tell you a story….

Wandering in the grocery a couple weeks back, I discovered that Ghiradelli makes a caramel chip. So of course I bought them, along with some dark and white chocolate ones.  I was thinking that they would be awesome in some blondies.

We’re going on a little hike and picnic today – probably one of the last days it will be enjoyable to be outside at this elevation for a while. So, along with the muffaletta, pasta salad and aranciata, we will need some blondies.  They are Himself’s favorite treat. I’ve given up trying to recreate a flavor from his memory and just bake what I think sounds yummy. And this definitely fit the bill.

These are really rich, so slice ‘em small. After I wrapped up ours for the picnic (Himself: “Wait. You’re packing only two? What if we have a blondie emergency?” He is such a dork.), I wrapped the rest and put them in a zippie bag in the freezer.  They’ll last a couple months that way, and a quick zap in the micro-onda and it’s instant deliciousness (perhaps with a scoop of vanilla [non-dairy] ice cream…) Plus, having them safely in the freezer keeps a tray of blondies whispering your name every time you walk past the kitchen counter. A win/win, so to say.

These are super. Super easy. Super fast. Super delicious.  And a one-bowl, one-spoon wonder, to boot. Give ‘em a whirl!

Triple Triple Blondies

1 stick unsalted butter (½ c.)
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. AP flour
1 tsp.Vanilla
½ tsp. Salt
⅓ c. each white, dark, and caramel chips (total 1 c.)
¾ c. nut mix (almonds/pecan/cashew)
(Opt) Kosher salt & sparkle sugar to dust the top

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 8” square pan and lay in an Alton Brown-style parchment brownie sling.
Use a medium microwave safe bowl, and melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine.  Stir in the egg. Set aside a half-handful of the chips and nuts, and add the rest along with the flour to the bowl and stir it vigorously (you want to develop a little bit of that gluten to get some chewiness).
Pour and smooth the batter in the pan, sprinkle with the reserved chips/nuts (and some flake salt and sparkle sugar, if you like). And bake 25-ish minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Don’t over bake – you want them just this side of cooked. Cool completely, then lift out the sling and slice in to at least 16 squares. Snarf ‘em right then and there, or wrap ‘em up and freeze ‘em.

Bon appetit!

Nutritional Information from’s calculator, based on 16 blondies.  Each blondie has:
211 cal
13.1 . fat
150mg sodium
21.8g carbs (fiber 1.1g, sugar 14.5g)
2.5 g protein

Spicy Chocolate Loaf Cake

ChocolateSpiceCake03I came across a really intriguing recipe on Pinterest a few months back, it said for a Starbuck’s Chocolate Cinnamon Bread. Thing is, I have never seen this chez Star Chuck’s. Maybe it was a regional release, maybe it was a long time ago, I don’t know. But, I made it and we loved it. It was delicious, but I decided if I made it again I wanted more spice. And more chocolate.
ChocolateSpiceCake 1
Then I forgot about it. Until last week. I was out of cocoa powder. (What?!? I know, right?) After some browsing on the interwebs, I decided to take a chance on Valrhona alkali processed cocoa powder. I’d always been a loyal Droste girl. Ever baked with Dutch processed cocoa instead of regular cocoa? It’s a huge difference – you know how some cakes and brownies have that deep, dark, almost black color and rich chocolate taste? That’s from the alkalized cocoa; that cocoa is essential for this cake. Go nuts and use Valrhona or just buy some Hershey’s Special dark cocoa powder at the grocery.

This is a lovely, densely chocolate indulgence. The spice adds a lovely warmth without outshining the chocolate or being obvious. The chocolate chips make it decadent. The sugar spice on top lends a wonderful, crunchy top layer that is a fantastic contrast to the rich chocolate interior. Have a slice with afternoon coffee. If you want to go over the top, warm it up ever so slightly so the chocolate chips are a bit melty. Or, you can make it dinner party dessert-worthy and dress it up with some spiced whipped cream* and a salted caramel sauce.

Ok. Chocolate cake. Let’s do this:

Double Chocolate Spice Cake
Makes two 9” loaves
Based on this recipe I found through Pinterest –

for the cake:
1.5 c. butter
3 c. sugar
2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 c. dutch process cocoa powder
¼ c. warm water
1 c. buttermilk
5 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chocolate chips (your favorite kind – semi-sweet, 72 percent – wha’evs)

for the topping:
¼ c sugar
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp turbinado or sparkle sugar, if you have it.

Grease and flour the pans then line each loaf pan with parchment. Preheat oven to 350*. Mix together the topping.
In the mixer bowl with the paddle, mix the flour, sugar, spices salt, leavening and butter. Mix on low until it resembles moist, clumpy crumbs. While that is mixing, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together first the chocolate and water, then the eggs, vanilla and buttemilk. Add the wet to the dry and mix on high for about 30 seconds. Add in the chocolate chips and give it a quick whirl.
Divide the batter between the pans, smooth the top. Sprinkle evenly and generously with all the spiced sugar topping.
Bake 50-60m. until a tester comes out clean. Cool to just warm, then remove from the pans to finish cooling.

Cool complete before slicing. Seriously. Or it will look like raccoons tried to eat your baking. Unless you live by yourself, in which case have at ‘cuz this is luscious warm.

**Now, to make that whipped cream… You can even do this a day or two ahead and keep it in the fridge. Just don’t eat all of it, because it’s amazing. You need heavy whipping cream for this. Commit to the indulgence – nothing else will do. For each 8oz of heavy whipping cream, in a glass measuring cup or small saucepan mix 1 tsp of unflavored gelatin with 4 tsp of water. When the gelatin is thickened, heat the mixture on low while stirring until it is clear (or 20 seconds at a time in the nuker), and cool it to room temp. You want it pourable, not set up. In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the 8oz of heavy cream with about 1/4c powdered sugar and the spice (1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice, or Chinese five-spice powder). When it starts to thicken a little, slowly drizzle in the liquid gelatin while mixing. Keep whipping it on high until it becomes dull instead of shiny, and looks like, well, thick whipped cream. If you take this too far, you will wind up with butter so don’t go nuts. This stuff is so stable you can frost cakes with it, and it will keep for DAYS in the fridge. Just one caution – cover it tightly, you don’t want it to absorb the flavor of whatever’s next to it on the shelf. And! do not.stir it when you take it out of the fridge. Just scoop and go. Stirring will pop all those tiny bubbles you worked so hard to incorporate to make it fluffly. Whenever I make the pumpkin pie spice one. people seriously just start shamelessly eating it out of the bowl with a spoon. It’s that yummy.

Originally published June 2016. Edited to correct omission of chocolate chips in ingredients list May 2019.

Rocky Road Brownies

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!)  


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. 
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.
**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

T’s Birthday Cake

It’s an unpost this week. Just one pic of a mini triple chocolate layer cake for one my favorite co-worker’s birthdays.  This is Ina’s recipe (well, half a recipe, actually), and it is a smashing success every time. 



I split the recipe in half, and used two 6″ layer pans.  Baking time was about 27 minutes total.  Once I’d removed the layers from the pan, I poked them with a toothpick and sprinkled them with Kahlua. Because Kahlua. 

I had some white and semi-sweet chocolate chips lying about, so I melted about 1/3 cup each in their own ziplock sammich sack in the ‘wave for about 30 seconds, then snipped off a corner to squeeze the tempered chocolates in to  this candy mold.  Ten minutes in the freezer, and poof! Cake decorations!  Plus, to demold the hearts, you get to WHACK the mold on the counter really hard and they just pop out. Fun!! (Directions come with the mold.)

This is my go-to cake recipe. People go nuts over it every time.  Give it a try.  

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Cupcakes. Chocolate, of course.




Do you dream of chocolate? I do.  I love Ina’s chocolate cake recipe, but it just never works as cupcakes for me. The palette is too small for the bold, airy structure of that cake.  So this necessitated a quest for a good chocolate cupcake.  These were tasty.  My only complaint is the glaze is too hard, and slicing in to it smooshes the cake. But hey, if that’s ya got to complain about…..
Bon apétit, tout le monde. 

Cupcake2BCOther than a different-sized cupcake liner a little sliced strawberry garnish, these are just a food network recipe. But honestly, they stayed moist for days.  And the glaze is a double batch of this. 

Give ’em a shot – pretty tasty stuff. 



Brownies. With Nuts.

Mmmm brownies

These are always a hit. A long time ago these started out as the cocoa brownies in  Betty Crocker’s Best of Baking, slowly evolving with some grown-up touches like Kahlua and some salt on top.  These are a quick and easy rich treat to be munched in a little over half an hour.  Just remember the Alton Brown sling when preparing the pan! (You remember that one, right? Where he uses parchment to line the bottom and go up the sides?)


You can almost make out the sugar and salt on top
Extreme close up to see the sugar and salt on top


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Blondies. Bill has this memory of earth-shatteringly good blondies from the Just Desserts bakery in San Francisco from [cough cough] years ago.

I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve tried over the years, hoping to give him that little slice of bakery happiness…. but have yet to find THE ONE. 

Blondie  mis en place
Blondie mis en place

These are not them, but they are damn tasty.  They’re from Smitten Kitchen, with walnuts and (in honor of The City) Ghiradelli white and dark chocolate chips, some walnuts, and crystal sugar on top.

Alright – now that the photo’s up, it’s time to go make a pot of coffee to do these bad boys justice.

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