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Brownies

And so we continue on this journey of chocolate bar inspired baked goods! I blame (not in a bad way) the baked site I found that mostly has these kinds of recipes and lots of oreo and nutella sweet treats too (all my favourite things!) Hurray! In all honesty, these bars don’t really require the frosting. But why not? Brownies without a frosting look a bit lonely to me.

Peanut butter cups were not as readily available in England the last time I was living there – maybe that has changed…

Frosted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

(from gingerbreadbagels.com)

Brownies

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 12 peanut butter cups, each one chopped into 4 pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and kosher salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer works fine), mix together the melted unsalted butter, packed light brown sugar, sugar and vanilla. Once that’s combined, add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until the batter is almost combined.
  5. Take a spatula and fold the ingredients together in order to incorporate everything together.
  6. Take 12 peanut butter cups and chop each one into four pieces.
  7. Add in the chopped peanut butter cups and fold them into the batter.
  8. Spread the batter evenly into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once the brownies are done, allow them to cool completely before frosting with the peanut butter frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Sift the powdered sugar. Set aside
  • Mix together the peanut butter, unsalted butter and vanilla extract at medium speed.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar at low speed. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed for about a minute.
  • Add the heavy whipping cream and increase the speed. Mix for a couple of minutes until the frosting is smooth.
  • Frost the peanut butter cup brownies with a thick layer of frosting! Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

This banana bread is most definitely more akin to some sort of brownie loaf. It’s dense and fudgy and full of delicious things like chocolate chips and nuts. It tastes better the next day, when it’s all perfectly moist.

I used the Hummingbird bakery recipe as the starting point, then took some tips from Nigella to make this delicious loaf of heaven.

Banana Brownie Bread

(adapted from Nigella Lawson and Hummingbird Bakery)

Makes 8 to 10 slices

  • 270g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g peeled bananas, mashed
  • 255g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 140g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 60 g chopped walnuts

- a 23 x 13-cm loaf tin, greased and dusted with flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 170DegreesCelcius.
  2. Put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (I used a bowl and a wooden spoon) and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. Mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the chopped walnuts and chocolate and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rach to cool completely.

EAT.

 

Red Velvet cakes have always seemed to me to be very luxurious and rather posh, but you are really just adding some red food colouring to turn your average cake/brownie mixture into something exotic, marvelous!

These brownies are dense and fudgy and the white chocolate topping on top is very sweet and delicious.

This was a big Friday hit (of sugar) at the office.

Red Velvet Brownies

(from smells-like-home.com)

For the brownies:
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring (this is one small bottle or a scant 2 tbsp)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the white chocolate buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz good-quality white chocolate
1 – 2 tbsp heavy cream

To make the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 8″x8″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla.  With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color.  Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined.  Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.  You’ll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies.  Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes.  Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.

To make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated.  With the mixer on low, add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.

On Saturday I became obsessed with Mars Bars. I blame watching the show Chuck’s Day Off in the morning. Here is happy jolly Chuck DEEP FRYING MARS BARS. What a sin, but I became consumed with the need to have one as soon as possible.

As the day wore on I annoyed my friends by asking them where I could acquire a deep fried mars bar, or just randomly shouting out ‘MARS BAR’ !! Eventually I bought some and managed to get my bake on. It’s not deep fried, but it tastes equally as sinful.

I took a candy bar brownie recipe and smothered the top in a condensed milk, melted chocolate, cream, butter concoction that I can’t remember how I created, it was quite good though..

Here is the candy bar brownie, a little trashy, very easy and completely yummy.

Mars Bar Brownies

(adapted from cookiemadness.net)

Candy Bar Brownies

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 3 Mars Bars, chopped up
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Stir eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; stir into sugar mixture. Fold in chopped 1 and a half Mars Bars
  4. Spoon mixture into pan and bake at 350° for 22 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle top with remaining chopped Mars Bars. Return to oven and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack then transfer to refrigerator and chill. When brownies are cold, lift foil from pan and score into squares.

Makes 16

My Mum tipped me off about these brownies after watching the BBC show Baking Made Easy with Lorraine Pascale – sadly I can’t watch her show from Canada but my Mum made these brownies and said they went down very well with her guests so I thought I would have to give them a try, especially as they had oreos embedded in the brownie mixture.

These brownies were an absolute hit, I took them into the office and they were just about depleted after 5 minutes. The oreos soften up and work beautifully with the fudgy texture of the not too sweet brownie. Yum yum yum.

Cookies and Cream Fudge Brownies

- Equipment and preparation: You will need a 20cm/8in square baking tin.

Ingredients

  • 165g/5½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only (or alternatively 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 165g/5½ oz soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 154g/5½oz pack chocolate biscuits, such as Oreos, broken into quarters
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, then line with baking paper with the paper overlapping the sides a little.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated (or chopped) chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes, or until the chocolate melts, and then stir together. Alternatively, you can put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave in 25-second blasts, stirring well each time.
  3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked in. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it – again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the biscuits and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter the remaining biscuits over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The middle should be very so slightly gooey. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin – the top will sink and crack a little.
  5. Pull the brownies out using the overlapping paper and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.

Another brilliant book I received for Christmas (from my wonderful fellow baking aunt) is The Fat Witch Bakery book.

It combines two of my favourite things, New York + Baking so this could never disappoint. The book is overflowing with so many brownies, blondie and bar recipes that I am so excited to try out. I thought I would start with the first recipe in the book, the plain brownie… and then I topped the whole thing with a chocolate frosting from the Toppings chapter!

I wish I could put more than two thumbs up for this brownie.

Fat Witch Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

Makes 12 to 16 brownies

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 and a quarter cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • pinch of salt
  1. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350degrees fahrenheit/180degrees celcius.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.
  3. Cream the sugar, eggs, and vanilla togther. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Measure the flour and salt and then sift together directly into the chocolate mixture. Mix the batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
  5. At this point, if desired, stir in any extras like walnuts.
  6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it.
  7. Remove the oven and cool on a rack for 1 hour. Cut just before serving.

Easy Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 4 ounces of your favourite semisweet chocolate bar chopped to uniform chunk-size pieces.
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly and do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat. With a whisk, beat in the half-and-half and vanilla. Measure and then sift the confectioners’ sugar directly into the pan and beat until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. After spreading the icing on cooled brownies or bars, put the pan in the refrigerator to harden the frosting for at least 1 hour. Cut the bars after the frosting has set or just before serving.

These super-simple, extra delicious brownies fixed my chocolate craving, on a Friday no less. Went down well with some Fat Bastard wine and another Nigella win.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

(from foodnetwork.com)

  • 3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate buttons, chips, or morsels
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate buttons, chips or morsels
  • Approximately 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • Special equipment: Baking tin (approximately 11 1/4 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches), sides and base lined with baking parchment.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy based pan over a low heat.
  3. In a bowl or large measuring jug, beat the eggs together with the superfine sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the white chocolate buttons or chips, and the semisweet chocolate buttons or chips. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it: the difference between gooey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.
  6. To serve, cut into squares while still warm and pile up on a large plate, sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar pushed with a teaspoon through a small sieve.

Either of the main components of this treat are heavenly products in a jar. So why not mix them together?

These bars are more-ish and not too heavy. A good way to fix that sweet craving.

Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies

(from cookiemadness.net)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Swirl Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 oz dark or dark chocolate with hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with non-stick foil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, using medium speed and high speed of an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until soft. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter, then add eggs and beat just until mixed in. Scrape sides of bowl and beat in baking powder and salt, making sure they are evenly distributed; Add flour and stir until it is mixed in. Spread peanut butter batter in pan.
  3. Make swirl mixture. Melt chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl at 50% power. Alternatively, you may use a double boiler or bowl set over a pot of barely simmer water. Remove melted chocolate from heat and stir in Nutella. Drop spoonfuls of Nutella mixture over peanut butter brownie batter and drag a knife through to make a marbled pattern.
  4. Bake on center rack for 30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the side of the pan and center seems set. Cool pan on a wire rack. When brownies hit room temperature, chill them for an hour or so. Lift from pan and cut into squares.

Woooooooooah. Brownie O’Clock. Not sure what it is, but when it comes to baking on a Friday, I am compelled to make brownies. I’m conditioned. And this is no bad thing. Brownies are fun, brownies are all about the party, they embody Friday for me. Maybe it’s their fail-safe nature, you know that even after a long week you can make some brownies stress-free and enjoy the results.

Everyday Brownies

(from Nigella’s Kitchen)

Makes 16

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 75g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • approx. 150g milk chocolate, chopped into small nuggety chunks
  • icing sugar, to dust (optional)

1x25cm square x 5cm deep foil-lined baking tin or 1 foil tray, approx. 30 x 20 x 5cm

  1. Preheat the oven to 190degreesCelcius/gas mark 5. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. When it’s melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over a low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.
  3. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb and a pinch of salt, and then stir into the pan; when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture, and not wholly blended at this stage), remove from the heat.
  4. In a bowl or jug, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownie mixture in the pan.
  5. Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour and scrape into a foil-lined baking tin or throwaway foil container, spreading the mixture with a spatula, and cook in the preheated oven for approx. 20-25 minutes. It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, you will sense it is still wibbly underneath and a cake tester will come out gungy. This is desirable.
  6. Transfer the tin to a rack to cool a little before cutting into 16 and dusting with icing sugar.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE
The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in airtight container. Will keep for a total of 5 days.

FREEZE NOTE
The brownies can be frozen for up to 3 months in airtight container, layered with baking parchment. Defrost overnight in cool place.

I’ll admit that I’m not Jamie Oliver’s number one fan, but there’s no denying that his recipes are pretty darn good. These brownies are dark and rich and fudgey and more like a pudding when I first pulled it out of the oven. But they taste SO good, it’s hard just to have one.

Bloomin’ Brilliant Brownies

• 250g unsalted butter
• 200g dark Fairtrade chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up
• optional: 75g dried sour cherries
• optional: 50g chopped nuts
• 80g cocoa powder, sifted
• 65g plain flour, sifted
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 360g caster sugar
• 4 large free-range or organic eggs
• optional: zest of 1 orange
• optional: 250ml crème fraîche

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 25cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the cherries and nuts, if you’re using them, and stir together. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate, cherry and nut mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray, and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares. These make a fantastic dessert served with a dollop of crème fraîche mixed with some orange zest.

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