Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not-So-Rocky-Road Brownies!

On this lazy, cold weekend afternoon I decided to whip us up a sweet treat. When I went to the pantry, I discovered a bag of mini marshmallows left from Christmas that I decided needed to be used ASAP.
For me, marshmallows are associated with three treats: fudge, rice krispie treats (or similar bar cookie), and smores. Since I still have fudge in my freezer and my pantry was without gram crackers and rice cereal it was time to broaden my horizons. I did a quick search on the Food Network and found this recipe. Since Chris and I share a love for brownies this seemed ALMOST perfect. I changed the recipe to create "Not-So-Rocky-Road" brownies by omitting the nuts since neither of us like nuts in our brownies. I also poured about 3/4 the mix in the pan, added the marshmallows and then drizzled the remaining mix on top. (I did this because I became nervous when some reviewers mentioned their marshmallows catching on fire...not really ;) )

Later on I served these warm with some vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce! I HIGHLY recommend it. Yummy!

Not-So-Rocky-Road Brownies
Adapted from Food Networks Tyler Florence’s Recipe

6 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
11/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows

To Serve:
Top with 1/2 cup caramel or chocolate sauce, store bought

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside (I used a 9x9 but agree these would be better if they were thicker).

In a glass mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is just melted. Mix it up to melt the chocolate completely. Stir the sugar into the melted chocolate until dissolved. Mix in the vanilla and eggs. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread 3/4 the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over batter and drizzle remaining batter over top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A love of chocolate: Amano Artisan Chocolate Review

My husband says there is no inherent gene for a love of chocolate. I have to disagree (sorry honey). Our family seems to prove otherwise. My mom has passed down to me her love for all things chocolate. She claims this love came from her mother. Regardless of where the gene came from, I am happy to possess it. :)

There are those few foodie blogs I visit almost daily. Blake Makes is one of them. In addition to doing some really innovative things in the world of blogging, Blake often hosts give-aways. This delectable treat was featured as a giveaway in December and I was luck enough to get one!

This Amano Artisan brand Jembrana Chocolate is very close to the best chocolate I've ever tasted! This 70% chocolate has a smooth and rich flavor. It isn't sharp or biting like some dark chocolates. You can taste the hints of fruit, spice, and honey that the packaging proclaims is found naturally in this cocoa bean. It doesn't leave a strong, unpleasant aftertaste once you've finished. The sleek box and pretty gold foil that encase this chocolate also make you feel as though you are unwrapping yourself an extra special treat. :) I give it two thumbs up! Thanks, Blake!

I encourage you to stop by Blake Makes and read more about Jembrana chocolate and check out his other interesting posts.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cheddar Beer Bread

A big thanks to Annie of Annie's Eats for her "recipe rewind". I have been anxious to use my new Williams Sonoma loaf pans that I got for Christmas and our ham vegetable soup dinner was in need of sidekick. :) I discovered this recipe on Annie's blog earlier this week during one of my many visits (she does such a wonderful job). I made a few changes as a result of ingredients I had on hand. I used all-purpose flour (rather then wheat) and added some white sugar to suite our tastes. I also added 2 more tsp. of butter (which could have been omitted now that I've tried the bread). This bread is wonderful! I used Sam Adam's Light (my husband's favorite) brand beer. I highly recommend this as an accompaniment to a hearty soup. Thanks, Annie!

Adapted from: Annie's Eats Cheesy Beer Bread

Cheddar Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
12 oz. beer
4 tbsp. butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9×5” loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flours, both types of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine well. Slowly add beer to dry ingredients and stir lightly until just combined, and all ingredients are completely moistened. Add cheddar cheese and mix to combine. Place into a prepared loaf pan and pour melted butter over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.