Tag Archive | "chocolate"

Nutella Bomb Brownies


I’m going to try this or this blog will never be updated ever again: tapping away on the iPad (mini, which is perfect for typing with my small hands) at 2am in the morning with what might turn out to be… a post! I already finished drafting the recipe on Evernote earlier, as a gift to myself instead of brownies, after clearing the dining table and cleaning the kitchen. This is the kind of busy I’m in now. I’ve never stopped cooking or baking, but producing content for the site is a different story altogether. And what about photos taken with the DLSR, you ask? I could take one tomorrow IF there’s any left by the time I get around to it. For now, iPhone 4S photos would do. Please bear with me as I return from my writing slumber.

Now these brownies.

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Do we need another one of these recipes, really? For Nutella Day, why not? It is, after all, the sweet and equally evil equivalent of bacon. I picked a drier and fluffier brownie from Alice Medrich’s book as the carrier of the gooey fudge “bombs” of Nutella, making sure to decrease the amount of sugar to accommodate the spread’s sweetness.

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The resulting brownie has pockets of Nutella in every bite.

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Better Than Ultimate Brownies


** You may also want to check out the Easy Fudge Brownie recipe **

Every now and then, an idea will spark for me from even the smallest triggers in life. This in particular was the result of a discussion about surprises. Mine was to be about dessert. The person that this surprise was for is someone special, so one cannot simply buy something from the store. I wanted to know what would make the best of the best. A kind of channeling of Tyler Florence, if you will.

I gave it a thought and I knew exactly what to do. Since my brother does not like cake, and my nieces and nephews tend to be picky, and my sister will eat generally anything with a sweet tooth, the only thing that made sense for me to prepare were brownies.

A quick google search led me here, The Ultimate Brownie Recipe. And I thought I had all the ingredients listed.

The result is this:

Ultimate Brownie

What was I missing? 3 unsweetened cocoa squares. Over 25% of the ingredient I needed was already used from what I thought was a full box of unsweetened cocoa.  What did I do? I dug up some semi-sweet chocolate chips and measured out on the scale 3 oz of the sweetened stuff.  I also reduced the amount of sugar by 1/4th cup to compensate for the sweetness coming from the chocolate chips.

Another thing I did differently was the choice of flour. I didn’t know the immediate impact on brownies but I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. I am also not a fan of nuts in my brownies, so I omitted the walnuts.

The result is this adapted recipe:

Better Than Ultimate Brownies Download the recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 1-oz squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 9 x 13 pan.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate squares and chips, and butter; set aside.

3. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. [I definitely recommend a stand mixer for this.] Add melted chocolate mixture, salt and bread flour and mix until just blended. Let the batter sit on the counter for 20 minutes before pouring into the greased pan. Let air bubbles escape by tapping the pan.

4.Bake for 30 minutes and test with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take the brownies out to cool before serving.

I believe my substitutions made these brownies above and beyond that of the original Ultimate Brownies! Each square is dense and chocolate-y, and has a nice chewiness to it. It’s better than store-bought or just-put-in-the-oven brownies. If you happen to be lucky enough to have some left over after a few days, you’ll be fighting over the the last few bites of super-moist and ultimately soft and chewy brownies. A little sacrifice of instant gratification truly pays off for these. ;-)

Give them a try in your kitchen and let us know how they turn out!

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Filipino Champorado and a Happy New Year!


All the dishes and accouterments from Christmas have been cleaned and the kitchen is ready to face another round of cooking for the New Year (not by much as I would like to greet the new year in peace, literally)…we’re slowly getting back to posting.

Ah, New Year! It’s all about beginnings. Good beginnings, I hope.

And to end the year 2008 and start anew for 2009, I’ll introduce you to a beloved Filipino breakfast, called Champorado. I figured that a day that begins with champorado is good, and a year that starts with champorado would be even better. Haha! This comfort food tugs at heartstrings of Filipinos everywhere. Back in the Philippines, being a tropical country, we especially like eating this on rainy mornings. Here in Canada, winter is a darn good time to have it. Warm, filling and very comforting.

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

I’ve seen it being called Chocolate Rice Pudding and Chocolate Rice Porridge in English, but it’s always going to be Champorado for me. It’s basically glutinous/sticky/sweet rice cooked with a lot of water to make it soupy-gooey (think oatmeal and congee), with chocolate and sugar added, and enjoyed with evaporated milk, powdered milk, milk or cream. As a child I’ve always wanted it with evaporated milk or powdered milk. The chocolate used was a traditional locally-produced chocolate (and us being very regional, the way this is made is different depending on where you go and who makes it). We’re a mishmash of cultures like that.

The day after Christmas I had the yearning to make this for whatever reason. Perhaps because we woke up to 3 feet of snow and that the possibility of our next Christmas celebration with friends for that day was getting slim. I have to admit that we were snowed in for good that day. After a few phone calls between friends, we all decided that it’s better to stay home. And then, I made this for dinner. I needed some comfort food.  This is also Dan’s introduction to this very Filipino (“Pinoy“, as we refer to it) breakfast.

Champorado -- yummy!

Champorado -- yummy!

So how do you make this super simple concoction?

Ingredients:

1 cup of white glutinous/sticky/sweet rice [What is this?]

3 to 4 cups water, depending on your thickness preference

1/2  cup cocoa powder [this will be very chocolate-y, you can decrease it up to 1/4 cup if you prefer]

1/2 cup sugar (I like to use brown)

Procedure:

Combine rice and water in a pot and wait for it to boil under medium-high heat. Stir regularly. Boil in medium for about 10 to 15 minutes minutes. When the mixture thickens and the rice starts to become translucent (meaning, it’s cooked), mix in the cocoa powder and sugar. Cook to your desired consistency. Serve hot with milk or cream mixed in the porridge.

Yeah, that’s it!

It’s super easy, relatively effortless and definitely delicious!!! And with that we wish you all an easy, relaxing and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We wish you the very best for 2009!

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Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me tell you now that these are by far THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I’ve ever made and tasted, even better than the full-fat ones. And I really wish I have myself to credit for the recipe, but alas, no. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes. This is the 2nd recipe of the two that I’ve tried from that issue and I’m continued to be impressed with it.

Seriously. Make this. It’s worth the hassle of cooking and straining the dried pitted dates. You read that right. I know it doesn’t sound so palatable now, but trust me on this: You won’t even know it’s there but boy oh boy this tastes magnificent. It’s like the magical switcheroo, which will have you clamoring for more.

The recipe makes 18 big cookies and it only contains 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar. The chewiness is phenomenal, the full chocolate-y and there’s-something-else-so-good taste is something you’ll remember for days and weeks to come.

I just made this again while I’m here in Vancouver. I would have to emphasize the importance of using a really good cookie sheet to get the best results. When I first made it, these chocolate-y mounds came to life on an insulated cookie sheet [we got ours from Crate & Barrel and I highly recommend it!] and they came out PERFECT — as perfect as gourmet cookie store-bought cookies can be. I used regular cookies sheets the second time around and the results weren’t as stellar. It was disappointing. So, please, invest in a good insulated cookie sheet or use your trusty silpats and bake away. You won’t regret it and the cookie lovers in your household will love you more for it.

I’ve taken the liberty to take step-by-step photos for your viewing (and learning/cooking) pleasure.

Go bake ‘em! This is sure to be a hit at your next picnic. Or just enjoy it at home or pack it in your brown bag and make your co-workers jealous.

Here’s the recipe: Read the full story

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