Category Archives: Brownies & Chocolates

Hot Fudge Chocolate Brownie with a Killer Choco Frosting (V, GF, Raw, No Added Sugar)–And the Importance of Meeting Strangers

My earliest memory of talking to a stranger goes back to Ala at age 6, standing in a ballet class, chatting happily and obliviously in her pink tutu to one of the nice ladies sitting near the side of the room.

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“My mom told me not to talk to strangers,” I confidentially informed the lady, whom I remember now as friendly-faced and quite tall. “I’m Ala,” I continued, holding out my hand and solemnly shaking her, which was proffered with a smile. Then I added, just in case she didn’t understand, “Now we aren’t strangers anymore.”

And then I went right on chatting.

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My mom still laughs about this incident now, but in many ways it foreshadowed my later affinity for striking up random conversations  in the most unexpected places. Some of my closest friends or most interesting memories today have emerged from chance encounters of the Love Actually sort: getting a ride with another grad student to a surprise banquet, sitting down at a conference table with a Disney Imagineer, chatting with the night shuttle officer on my way back from school, catching public transportation and whiling away the time with surprisingly fun conversation.

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Though I don’t consider myself particularly confident (blog name, anyone?), I still love love love to meet random people. One of my best grad school friends is a bright, energetic gal I met in a Zumba class my first year: we spent the entire quarter beaming at each other in the mirror as we grooved and moved and body rolled with as much grace as flopping fish–and when we both arrived on the “last day of class” only to realize that the last day had been last week, we ended up jamming to our own tunes by setting up an improv class with her friends. Anytime anyone asks us how we met, we turn and positively grin at each other before launching into one of our favorite stories.

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Meeting strangers isn’t only an exciting way to make new friends–it’s good for you, too. Friends frequently ask me how I manage to stay so friendly and open to meeting new folks all. The. Time.  Well, a) I am not friendly and positive and open all the time. Just this week I had a total meltdown at 1 AM and practically shook my parents with my not-too-generous hysteria over the phone for 90 minutes. (Thank you, Mom!) b) When I am friendly, though, and that’s most of the time–it pays off. And it’s addicting. This month alone, I’ve met three people while standing in lines for things and actually managed to stay in touch with them. And most of the time, if they’re willing to engage in a random conversation with you, chances are that they’re lots of fun to be around, too.

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Like any book-crazy kid, I distinctly remember reading this book about the Berenstain Bears and stranger danger. I’m not advocating dumb, reckless danger-seeking encounters with sketchy people–I’m talking about putting away your cell phone as you wait for the cashier to ring you up and asking them if they still have a long day ahead of them. 95% of the time that’s where the conversation ends, but trust me: for the tiny amount of effort it takes on your part, other people sure notice it a lot.

Recently, a friend asked me where I get my endless stream of conversation starters from. How do I keep a conversation going organically? My answer was first, nervousness–I’m really not a “casual silence” kind of person, so if I sense the end of a conversation coming up, chances are I’ll already be thinking ahead to the next tangentially related thread. Second: questions. I once attended a keynote about the art of communication, and the speaker made a point that has resonated with me ever since. Do you ever notice how nervous we get when we get up to speak in public, but how comfortable we are listening?

Well, the same goes with conversations. If you’re nervous, ask a question and make the other person do the talking. They’ll feel like you’re genuinely interested in their lives (and hopefully, you are), and you’ll feel much more at ease for having got the ball rolling. You may brush off your hands and congratulate yourself on a job well-done now!

Hot Fudge Larabar with Killer Choco Frosting 14--062914 It takes some time to adjust, but as I’ve grown more comfortable reaching out to more and more strangers, I’ve found myself encountering an incredible new circle of acquaintances and–I’m proud to say–even friends. For 30 minutes every morning this month, I chatted with a bus driver named David, who turned out to be one of the most intelligent, gracious, and knowledgable people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Forget my preconceptions about what bus drivers do–this man, who has an oldest daughter my age–even gave me some of the best advice for dealing with rambunctious neighbors that I have ever received. He transferred bus lines recently, but it’s still amazing to think that our paths still have every chance of crossing again in the future, and in the most unexpected circumstances.

More recently, I got to know a guy on the airport shuttle and we got dinner while talking about our PhD programs, vegetarianism, and cooking. I befriended so many children’s literature conference folks that I probably wouldn’t have met had I mummed up and kept to myself during the breakfast lines. I met another vegan friend while waiting to get airbrush tattoos drawn at a festival. I met yet another acquaintance while lining up for cake at an event.

And yes, I’ve kept in touch with all these people that I have met in the past 30 days: people who may end up flitting in and out of my life eventually, but are for the present moment at least such important, fun players in my daily excitement. You never know if the next person you meet may be your future employer, a great friend, a romantic interest, or just a plain pleasant person to chat with.

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While I’ve singing all these preachy praises about de-dangering strangers, however, you’ve probably been wondering about these brownies–these wonderful, gorgeous, delectable little bites (or huge hunks) of raw brownie. Many folks I know think that “raw,” “vegan,” and “gluten-free” are crazy fad words accompanied by terrible food. If you haven’t met raw bars like these before though (and I’m betting you haven’t, though you may have seen similar versions like my recipes for this and this)–keep an open mind and try them out. They’re sweet but only naturally so–they satisfy all those processed-sugar cravings you’ve been getting and trying to deny–and they’re actually insanely delicious. They taste more like chocolatey larabars than brownies, but the raw chocolate frosting sends these bars over the top.

In short, these are probably the best strangers you’ll ever meet in the food spectrum. Make them! And don’t forget–every person (and recipe) you pass could be the next connection you’ve been waiting to meet!

Ala

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This week, I challenge you to put aside your phone, book, distractions, whatever–and to meet one stranger. Try striking up conversation in the supermarket or ask them a question about the book they’re reading, and then report back here. What was your experience like? Was it a positive, negative, or neutral one? How did you feel afterwards?

Hot Fudge Chocolate Brownie (V, GF, Raw, No Added Sugar)

The perfect chocolate fix without any of the guilt--a refined sugar-free, no-bake, 3-minute recipe that my friends have been requesting left and right. Perfect for the vegans, chocolate-lovers, or general human beings in your left!

Ingredients

    Raw Brownie Recipe:
  • 35 pitted dates, any variety (I used pitted deglet noor dates)
  • 1 1/4 cup almonds (or your preferred nut)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Chocolate Frosting Recipe
  • 15 dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Instructions

    For the Brownies:
  1. Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together.
  2. Pour dough into aluminum foil, smushing dough until it forms a rectangle about 2/3-inch thick. Pour or spread chocolate frosting (recipe below) evenly on top. Chill in fridge until ready to cut into bars.
  3. For the Frosting.
  4. Blend dates in food processor until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and cocoa powder; continue blending until completely smooth, to a thick liquid state. Pour evenly over brownies.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/07/02/hot-fudge-chocolate-brownie-v-gf-raw-added-sugar/

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Filed under Bars, Brownies & Chocolates

Two-Toned Red Velvet & Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

As I’ve grown older and the weary years have coated my hunched back like a film of unwanted snail slime, I’ve come to the wary conclusion that there are two sides of me: the one that you know, and the one that you wouldn’t want to know for all the holy flying bats in the world–though what you would want to do with a colony of holy flying bats, I haven’t the faintest idea. You tell me.

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Of course, unless you’re my mom and have witnessed the stormy tantrums I still throw all the time used to throw as a kid in the Polly Pocket aisle of Toys R Us, I’m pretty much an “As Seen in Stores” kind of girl. Peppy, extroverted, painfully enthusiastic at times, and totally predictable.

But at rare little moments of extreme environmental stress or unceasing irritation, my trigger–like any normal human being’s–will trip. And boy, you don’t want to be the person standing in front of it when it does. If you’re the one who tripped it up, all the bleaker for you. My judging glare is not something you want to experience from the receiving end. Nor is my adult, I-will-smack-you hands-on-hips gesture when I appear, glowering, in your doorway.

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On the latest battlefront, my neighbors have been demons from the darkest depths of Dante’s nine circles of hell. Zac Efron (who, by the way, visited us for the premiere of Neighbors last month) has got nothing on my. Freakin’. Neighbors. Continue reading

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

Baked Brownies: Guest Post at Gotta Get Baked

These are the quintessential brownies: gorgeously chewy, deeply fudgy, and perfectly crackly on top…and you can read more about them today at my quite awesome friend Nance’s blog, Gotta Get Baked!

And if you’re here visiting for the first time from Nance’s blog–welcome! I’m so honored to have you here. Please stick around and say hello <3

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Nance and I met up two weeks ago when I visited Vancouver for a children’s lit conference. She is the most absolutely lovely person ever–like the dopplegangers we are, she totally blogged about our meeting too–and I am so excited to be posting over at her fantastic blog!

We had been toying with the idea of swapping guest posts for a while before we met, so I was panicking a little about what recipe I wanted to share. Something fancy? Something simple? Something so whimsical and fun it will hurt your brain?

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Well, when I finally met up with Nance, we had a wonderful dinner and she made the very wise decision to get dessert (because what baking bloggers wouldn’t order dessert? Duh). She ordered a fabulous, creamy rich pot de chocolat with chile in it, which was topped off with two large scoops of vanilla ice cream. This was also a very good idea, because that night is when it hit me.

Chocolate.

Gotta get baked.

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Baked brownies. Bingo!

Today’s topic is the Little Things–the smile on your significant other’s face when you get home after a long day battling the coffee machine or the smell of the freshly-mown lawn as you step outside before the rest of the world wakes up. You know, all the things that we are–sadly–sometimes only too willing to overlook in the midst of our crazed, overachieving lives. So go share some blog love and read the post on Nance’s blog now!And don’t forget to say hello to her as well while getting the recipe (and some pretty awesome gifs/photos) for my hands-down FAVORITE brownie!

Only the best for my blogger double.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Healthy Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars (Gluten-Free, V)

It’s gif season!

(Pssst–if you like this gif, maybe you should consider following my shiny new Twitter account for the latest WG updates. Also, have you entered my personalized care package giveaway yet?)

Healthy Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars Gif 1

I know what you’re thinking. 

Actually, I’m just saying that. If I really knew what you were thinking, I wouldn’t be hanging around my toybox apartment scrounging up pennies to pay the rent. I’d be out there investing in a get-rich scheme that would involve a crystal ball, inch-thick spectacles, and tons of foggy incense.

But. I still know what you’re thinking.

“YUM.”

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Pretty close, right? It’s hard to believe these bars are vegan, raw, gluten-free, and fudgy to the max.

I’m pinning them to the Eat Clean Challenge Pinterest board this week, so go check it out! And while you’re there, why not check out Wallflour Girl on Pinterest, too? (;

So what’s the Eat Clean Challenge? Let me tell you while we both drool over some more in-your-face fudginess…… Continue reading

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge

Epic Dulce De Leche Brownies

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It’s that time of the year again. You know, December: the month of Christmas lights, good cheer, the smell of warm apple pie wafting around every street corner, the murmur of family chatter over holiday feasts, and the universally-acknowledged wish that we all had the metabolic capacities of high school swimmers again.

Yeah, that time.

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These fudgy, rich, and not-a-dry-crumb-in-sight brownies made me wish really, really hard for that metabolism. Ditch the woolen socks (although after these I could use a roomier pair of jeans) and come onnnn, Santa!

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In our extended household, holiday dinners are always something of a battlefield. Imagine the Spartans meeting the Huns meeting Napoleon Bonaparte, then imagine them getting squished into an itty-bitty little corner by Brobdingnagian knocking elbows and clattering plates. Stretchy pants are the phrase of the day, and chopsticks are our surprise weapon of choice here.

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I like to think we burn off all of our food just by fighting for it–but I may or may not have majored in Wishful Thinking in college.

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So as you sit there at your computer regretting all the extra stuffing, strudel, and sausage you shoveled onto your plate this lovely weekend-after-Thanksgiving (for all you Americans out there, at least!), I am going to sit here at MY computer–completely blameless, thumbs twiddling–and introduce you to these Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies. Please enjoy the photo-music I have prepared for you while you wait…

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La la la la lots, and to all a good–no, amazing, awesome, EPIC brownie! And you can feed them to the people around you so you feel better about yourself, ha ha. <– But seriously, this actually works…have you tried it? Then don’t talk until you have.

These are, hands down, unlike any brownie I have ever made–and I say that having made all of these uh-mayzing variations. You saw the “Dulce de Leche” in the title and thought these were just normal dulce de leche brownies, didn’t you? Oho, not so, my fast friends. Here’s the secret to these incredibly fudgy, and possibly most flavor-packed brownies ever: the dulce de leche goes straight into the batter. Not swirled, not drizzled. IN.

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Although I have recently taken to creating my own recipes (including my all-time favorite Best Chewy Biscoff Blondies recipe–have you checked it out yet?), I have Sommer from A Spicy Perspective to thank for this recipe. She even goes to the trouble of diagramming the epic proportions that make up this extra-thick, ultra-fudgy brownie! Talk about dedication. I was sold faster than a Black Friday Playstation 4 combo set (which, sadly, I have not yet been gifted).

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But really, you need to make these to believe these–they will have your family and friends caroling your praises all season long! And with New Year’s resolutions galore right around the corner, you’ll want to make these NOW. There’s no time like the present–and what better present than gifting yourself a batch of the best brownies ever?

Happy holidays!

Ala

Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies

Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan; 16 large squares

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective, who is basically a genius

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (or approximately 1.5 cups) dark chocolate chips–semi-sweet will work in a pinch
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
  • 7 ounces dulce de leche OR homemade dulce de leche (Recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 5/6 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, crushed
  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (other add-ins, such as nuts or chopped candy, may also be added)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with lightly greased foil and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, chocolate, and dulce de leche together in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval.
  3. Beat white sugar into melted chocolate mixture.
  4. Add vanilla and egg, then mix until combined.
  5. Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and coffee granules. Stir in until just incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and other desired add-ins.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out MOSTLY clean–trust me, your brownies will be ready to party at this point! Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the tops of the brownies.
  8. Allow to cool completely on stovetop before cutting brownies into fudgy, delicious squares of epic proportions.

Dulce de Leche Recipe

There are many ways to make dulce de leche at home. I used the oven method, which is simple and requires 1 (16 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk–for the recipe above, you will only require half of this amount, or 8 oz.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Pour the condensed milk into a baking dish and loosely cover it with foil.
  3. Place this baking dish in a roasting pan or a larger baking pan; fill the large pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Then slide both pans into the preheated oven.
  4. Bake for approximately 80-90 minutes, stirring at 15-minute intervals. Your dulce de leche will achieve a rich golden caramel color and should be fairly thick. For more visual and detailed instructions, see the Wiki page for How to Make Dulce de Leche.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookies and Oreo Butter: An Online Bake Sale for the Philippines

How does one not lose all control when digging a fork into this warm, melting gooey Oreo lovers’ mess?
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Oh, that’s right. One doesn’t. If you couldn’t tell by the gif.
But before I get started on these outrageous Oreo cookies ‘n cream brookies (yes, that’s a brownie + cookie smashed into one sugar-coma-inducing concoction), I want to tell you about a really important event, and the story behind why I decided to tackle these in the first place.
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As anyone who even remotely follows world news knows, a terrible storm hit the Philippines a few weeks ago. While the story has sadly faded off the radar of our fast-paced, sensation-seeking U.S. media, the relief and rebuilding efforts–as is true with any disaster, big or small–are still happening around the clock, around the world, to help the affected people and areas. I have spent ample time researching and making my own donations to the Philippines Red Cross (which, by the way, I definitely recommend if you’re considering making donations but worry about where your donations actually go–they’re one of the established agencies that you can count on to get your money to the relief spots), but wasn’t sure what I could do beyond that to spread the word. Then, by some unlooked-for chance, I stumbled across Tina’s blog, and get this: she is hosting an online bake sale to raise funds to support the relief effort! Very important? YES. I almost never do plugs for other blogs, but please consider learning more about how you can help through a small gesture that will go a long way, no matter what source you choose (as long as it’s a reliable one).
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How it works: 1. Tina is accepting ‘virtual baked good donations’ until FRIDAY, 11/22/13. All you have to do is fill out a pledge form and send her a photo of the goods you will be ‘selling’ for donations.
2. Starting on MONDAY, 11/25/13, bidders can view all of the goods-for-sale at Tina’s site. Bids start at $20. The highest bidder at the end of the day ‘wins’ the baked goods he/she bid on and will donate that money directly to Sagip Kapamilya, a relief foundation for the Philippines.
3. The baker will ship the goods directly to the bid winner. That’s it. Simple, and good.
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(Sorry, this up-close shot of gooey melting fudge and gooey cookies is necessary.)

If it’s within your resources to do so, please consider bidding! Again, this is a really worthwhile cause that I love because it emphasizes what we have: an amazingly strong community of bakers and readers who champion all sorts of causes, not just ones that deal with food. In case you’re curious about my particular entry, I’ve decided to go all out by theming my package with one of my all-time favorites: the Oreo cookie. Below is the description I included for my package:

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Oreos are the yin-and-yang of the cookie world: A creamy filling sandwiched between two decadent chocolate cookies. Like Oreos, life is a mix of yin and yang…and when it hits, it can hit us hard. Fortunately, now’s your chance to do some good while getting outrageous Oreo good out of it. Your Outrageous Oreo package contains a variation on my most popular brookie recipe: a fudge-packed chocolatey brownie layer topped with a gorgeous cookies ‘n cream chocolate chip blondie and whole Oreos jammed into the gooey center. You’ll also want to prepare to sink your teeth into two GIANT Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. And if you aren’t Oreo’d out by the time you reach it, a jar of homemade Oreo white chocolate peanut butter spread will be sure to tempt your spoon (and your willpower) for as long as it lasts. The perfect package for any Oreo lover. So what do you say: Are you out, or Oreo in?
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I know this isn’t “my” bake sale…but thank you, thank you, thank you!

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But before I wrap things up here, I seriously want to give you an idea of how awesome this explosion of outrageous Oreo baked goods really is. I kid you not: one entire 15.3 oz. package of Oreo cookies went into the making of this package. So whoever gets this is advised not to look at the nutrition label on a package of Oreos for the next month or so. Holy mackerel, that’s a lot of Oreos!

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The Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookie: Maybe you’ve heard of a brookie before. For those of you who haven’t, it’s made of crack a cookie layer smooshed on top of (or under) a brownie layer. Sound simple? Hang on while I say ‘ha ha ha’ and dispel that funny little notion from your head. Of course, a brookie CAN be simple. But what I love about this ramped-up killer cookies ‘n cream version is that it takes the fudgiest, gooiest brownie base, crams a whole layer of WHOLE OREO COOKIES all up in the there, and then tops that off with a crazy chunky, chewy, cookie-n-creamy chocolate chip blondie bar layer.

YEAH. BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. WHAT NOW BROOKIE.

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Oreo Butter: What happens when you throw half a package of Oreos into a food processor with white chocolate and peanut butter? AWESOME. That’s what happens. A perfect way to spread the love to all your favorite things, including cookies, waffles, sandwiches, and–yes, you guessed it–even Oreos.

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip CookiesWe’ve all heard about them. You’ll just have to try them to believe it. ‘Nuff ‘stuff said.

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Don’t forget to check out the online bake sale on Monday, 11/25/13! Thank you!

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Love,

Ala

Killer Cookies ‘N Cream Brookies
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan; 16 large squares
For Insanely Fudgy Gooey Brownie Layer: (this recipe is my own creation but was inspired by a mix of Allrecipes, Smitten Kitchen, and Something Swanky brownie recipes–thanks!_
Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 16 whole Oreos

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together melted butter and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Gently mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Reserve whole Oreos for assembly (see instructions below)
For Cookies ‘N Cream Cookie Bars:
Slightly adapted from Picky Palate‘s wonderful recipe
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • Approximately 14 Oreos, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes of strong creaming.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in until just incorporated.
  4. Gently fold in both chocolate chips and chopped Oreos.

To Assemble Your Killer Brookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with lightly greased foil.
  2. Pour brownie batter into baking pan. Spread evenly.
  3. Top with 16 evenly-spaced whole Oreos.
  4. Drop cookie dough evenly over the layer of Oreos. Spread dough gently so that it covers the entire top of the pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 27-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and your cookie layer looks slightly crispy (it should be a golden brown color) but is not yet overbaked.
  6. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes in pan before cutting and serving.

Oreo “Butter”

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped/crushed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place Oreos in a food processor and grind them until they achieve a crumb consistency.
  2. Add peanut butter and white chocolate. Continue processing for another 5-7 minutes; the time will depend on the power of your food processor. Your Oreo spread will clump up at first, but as you continue processing it will begin to turn into a gritty paste, and then slowly turn into a much smoother, almost liquid-like spread.
  3. Store your Oreo butter in a jar at room temperature. Spread it on anything and everything (waffles, crackers, sandwiches, more cookies–the possibilities are endless)!
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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Dips/Spreads

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Brownies

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Think this recipe name is a mouthful?

Wait until you actually EAT one of these. Talk about one mouthful after another…and another…

So here’s a gif, since gifs need no words. (Note: I’ve noticed that the gif takes some time to load, so it may appear slow the first time you watch it–but just wait for the second loop, it should play just fine after that!)

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Please. Don’t speak. Just print and share this recipe, pronto, kay?

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These are insanely fudgy brownies. So. Fudgin’. Good.

Dump in peanut butter buckeye-style truffles, melted cookie butter swirls, a whole load of chocolate chips, annnnd…

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Seriously, do I need to come over to your kitchen with a spatula and tell you to pin these, print these, share these with all of your friends and enemies?

Because I will.

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You have been warned.

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So FUDGIN’ good. Gifs do not lie, and neither do my taste buds. Go shove one (or two, or an entire pan of these) into your mouth right now.

Don’t forget to print, pin, and share away!

Ala

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Cookies
Adapted from Bakergirl
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (you may substitute cookie butter)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  •  2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water (or you may substitute an equal amount of coffee or Kahlua)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter

Directions:

  1. Start by making your delicious peanut butter (OR cookie butter) truffles: Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter or cookie butter and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1/2-inch-sized balls and place them separately on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least half an hour before baking, or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, you may brown the butter by placing it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and allowing it to cook until it turns an amber brown, goldenish color. Just be careful to remove it from the heat when it reaches this stage–otherwise it will burn! Browning butter adds a wonderful nutty aromatic flavor to baked goods, and I highly recommend it.
  4. Pour cooled butter into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and cocoa powder; beat well until completely smooth. (The mixture should not be gritty at all.) Add salt, water (or coffee, or Kahlua–YUM), and vanilla, and mix until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add flour and mix in until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Press in frozen peanut butter (or cookie butter) truffle balls.
  6. Place 1/2 cup cookie butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 15 seconds, or until melted. Drop by dollops into brownie batter and swirl a knife through to create a marble pattern.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out pretty much clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan before cutting brownies into squares.
  8. Serve, and fudgin’ enjoy!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies with Kahlua Icing

Ever have one of those years, or let’s be honest, decades days where you sit down at your computer, grab your mouse…then stare at your screen and realize you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re supposed to be doing?

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Yes. Hi. We should have cookies and milk together sometime, because I’m really not sure what I’m doing here at the moment. Aside from eating these really killer Kahlua brownies, that is (because really, what better way to get in your booze fix and still look like a respectable human being than through a forkful of chocolate?).

Sorry if this sounds completely scatterbrained. It is. I haven’t had full use of my brain cells since maybe the summer solstice, though I’m sure the two events are unrelated.

Or at least, I’m pretty sure. 85% sure.

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Anyway, the point today was that I came up to my computer (I work at a standing desk) and it took me a full 37 seconds to realize two things:

1. I’d left my SD card at work, where I was taking funny photos of our department members for our website, and

2. Not having my pictures on hand, I completely forgot what recipe I was supposed to post. Think black hole status. Szchooop. (That’s the sound of a black hole doing black holey…stuff.) Nada.

Oy.

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On my kitchen table: The Italian (1797), by Ann Radcliffe. Hailed as a forerunner of the gothic novel genre! (And you can even see my awesome tropical hammock study spot, hehe.)

That being said, it took me one trip to the kitchen and lots of decadent bites into probably the best fudgy boozed-up brownie I’ve ever made to remember. And then some extra bites for good measure. Just in case I, you know, almost forget again. I’m all about preventative measures, people. (Studying for grad school is tough work–notice a trend with the Kahlua from last week’s amazing mocha cheesecake bars?)

 In other news, I’m making progress in my Productibaking for Part I’s (i.e. qualifying exams)  and admittedly unable to keep my oven on at the same pace as my reading, which I suppose is a good thing. However, if anyone would like to volunteer to edit my photos, write my blog posts for me, and spread them to all your BFFL’s and Tastespotting and Foodgawker and linky parties, I would be a very productive baker, I’m sure.

Again, 85%. And I’m also accepting Time-turners in lieu of labor hours.

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On that note, for those of you with food blogs, I’m truly sorry that I haven’t been able to keep up with most of them lately. My reading load really can’t justify more than about 5 seconds of actual procrastination every day (which usually involves blinking really long five times before getting back to work), so I’ll be kind of AWOL from blog-reading until I finish studying (hopefully) in November.

That being said…I also wanted to let you know that I also truly appreciate all of you who continue to drop by and take the time to leave your kind wishes! Studying is tough, and attempting to study while working one full-time and another part-time is taking some adjustment. But seriously, if I didn’t love every moment of what I did, I wouldn’t be enjoying this summer as much as I already am!

So leave a note if you have time, and in the meantime, take care! You might even go and give these extra fudgy, boozed-up coffee-flavored brownies a try while you have the time. I trust we’ll see each other soon enough.

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Back to the books–and hopefully, back to the oven soon. I’ll be posting a recipe for these amaayyyzing cookie butter snickerdoodles soon, so look forward to it. Cheerios!

Ala

Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies
Slightly adapted from Recipegirl
Yield: 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup Kahlua (or other coffee-flavored liqueur), divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with lightly greased foil and set aside.
  2. Place butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high at 20-second intervals, stirring between each interval until chocolate and butter are completely melted, and smooth. Set aside and allow to cool while proceeding to next step.
  3. Beat together brown sugar and eggs. Stir in 1/2 cup Kahlua. Mix in chocolate mixture until completely smooth.
  4. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt, until just incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Remove brownies from oven and prick all over with toothpick. Immediately brush with (up to) 1/4 cup Kahlua–because really, who doesn’t want more Kahlua?
  6. Frost with Kahlua frosting (below) if desired. And really, you shouldn’t deny that desire (when should you ever?), because it’s really, really good.

Kahlua Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened to the point of almost melting (a bit warmer than room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 2 1/2 cups (approximately) powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together butter and Kahlua. Beat in powdered sugar, adding more or less as necessary for a frosting that is thick enough to spread and hold its shape. Frost on Kahlua brownies–or anything that needs boozing up.
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Fudgy Chocolate Tunnel Cake

This is not a cake for the weak.

This is a cake for the fudgiest, moistest, chocolate-iest, veganest (if you want it to be!), cake that you will ever make, or ever be requested to make again, ever.

That huge GLOB of fudge you see running throughout the base of cake there? Ah-MAY-zing.

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As I mentioned in my last post about possibly the best Oreo bar cookies in the world, I’m currently following a regimen of intense “productibaking.” I searched this term on the internet  expecting to see some slang dictionary entry for it and I’m the first person to coin it!  Apparently, I’m the first person to think about baking as a positive rewarding force (as opposed to the popular procrastibaking) and actually give a name to it.

So here I am. Productibaking.

Actually, not. The photos from this absolutely fudgy and delicious cake that you must make (are we LOOKING at the same pictures here??) are from last month for a potluck I hosted. Which I guess means that I haven’t been productive enough yet.

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Oops.

Well, in the meantime, enjoy the recipe! I’m keeping this post short so I can go off and procrast–I mean, be productive now.

:)

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This may be my FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE TO DATE–Make this!!

Ala

Fudgy Chocolate Tunnel Cake
Slightly adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth
Yield: 1 12-cup bundt cake pan
for the pan: 1 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted for the cake: 1/2 cup boiling water 1/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips 2 cups all purpose flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp salt 5 large eggs, at room temperature 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup light brown sugar 20 tbsp (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (use lactose-free margarine to make this vegan!) for the ganache: 1 cup white sugar 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4 cup milk (substitute soy milk for vegan option!) 1/4 cup butter (use lactose-free margarine to make this vegan!) 1vanilla extract

directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and melted butter, and use a brush to evenly coat the inside of a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over them; whisk together until smooth. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. In a third small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until very light and fluffy (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture and beat well. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the pan.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least an hour before inverting it onto a cake platter. Serve warm or cooled, as desired.
  5. For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil for one full minute. Turn off heat and remove pot; beat icing for an additional 3 minutes, until it begins to cool and thicken. Allow icing to continue thickening until it reaches desired consistency, then pour over your fudge tunnel cake and enjoy!
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars & producti-baking

o.m.f.g.–stick around, I’ll explain. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this post OR recipe.

omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 21--060113

We’ll get to the o.m.f.g. factor in these bars in just a second.

omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 4--060113

For those of you who are just joining in here (welcome!) and for those of you returning folks (welcome back!), you should know that I am an avid literary gal. My appetite for books and brownies is voracious. If it ever boiled down to choosing between (Lewis) Carroll and chocolate chip cookies, we would have a dilemma on our hands, and we’re not talking the insignificant moment of panic you experienced in high school when you saw that huge zit pop up on your nose five hours before senior ball.

No, we’re talking tearing-my-heartstrings-and-running-them-through-the-paper-shredder dilemma.

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I love books.

I also love to bake and cook.

In fact, Bake + cOOK = book. True story.

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The problem is that sometimes, reading for my program (I’m a second-year grad student, en longgg route to an English Literature Ph.D) can sometimes be a drag. Trying to sludge through hundreds or even thousands of pages a week, in addition to grading Mt. Everest stacks of student papers, evokes horrors unrivaled by even the most chilling Gothic novels.

The solution is, of course, procrastibaking. It’s just what it sounds like–procrastinating through baking.

omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 5--060113

This coming Fall quarter, I will be taking my qualifying exam to receive my Master’s and (hopefully) move onto writing a dissertation prospectus. Big, big stuff. As incentive to get me through reading lists of over 140 literary and scholarly works before November, I’ve come up with what will hopefully be an effective counter to the problem of procrastibaking.

I call it PRODUCTIBAKING.

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(On my kitchen table: Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. British Romanticism List Book #1)

So here’s the idea:

I have approximately 140 works of literature to wade through between now and November. Rather than using my baking as a way to procrastinate from working, I’m reappropriating it as an incentive for productivity.

For every book, volume of stories, or other text I finish this year for my qualifying exams, I will bake something and do a photoshoot that includes the book in some way.

omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 18--060113

The idea behind this is threefold:

1) I’ll be more effective with my work if I operate on a reward rather than guilt-based system.

2) I’ll have you guys to keep me accountable as I work towards this monumental goal!

3) I hope I’m bringing my love of books and baking together in a way that is as fun for you as it is for me.

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As I plow through my reading lists, I’ll update a visual photobook of items I’ve checked off and the ones still to come, so you can keep up with me and my progress. Check out the “Producti-baking” page on my blog (coming soon!). I’d love to hear what you guys think about this, so be sure to leave any feedback or other brilliant suggestions for improving this system.

Okay, but enough of that. Let’s get on to some real o.m.f.g.

omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 1--060113

o.m.f.g. bars, otherwise known as Oreos made for gods bars. 

Did you see the Slutty Cheesecake Bars that I posted and were a smash success two weeks ago?

 omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 8--060113

  These chewy, flavor-packed bars operate on the same principle of souping up an Oreo, but this time we’ve got a chewy mocha chocolate chip blondie base topped with a perfectly spiced cinnamony snickerdoodle, both of which sandwich whole, unadulterated creamy Oreos.

And yeah, I’m taking full credit for this one.

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So what are you waiting for? Grab a book, snatch up an o.m.f.g. bar, bask in the summer sun, and get ready to turn over the leaf to a new chapter in our lives.

Summer productibaking, here we come!

  omfg (Oreos meant for gods) Bars 13--060113

Your Creative Timeout Linky Party Button

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Ala

o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars 
Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
For mocha chocolate chip blondie base (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 16 whole Oreos

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9×9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Dissolve coffee granules in vanilla and stir into wet mixture. Add flour and salt; mix in until just incorporated.. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Place 16 whole Oreos on top of blondie crust and press them gently in until they stick to the dough.
  3. Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake for about 7 minutes in oven–it should not be fully cooked through. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool briefly while you prepare snickerdoodle layer.

For snickerdoodle layer:

Original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction: (I’ve used this recipe before for standalone snickerdoodle blondies, to great

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar + 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 6 tablespoons brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and 1/2 egg yolk (reserve the over half for part of a breakfast omelette!). Add vanilla, then mix in flour, baking powder, and salt until just incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  2. Pour batter over prepared mocha blondies + Oreos (recipe above).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over snickerdoodle batter, then gently swirl through batter with the tip of a knife. Place entire pan into preheated oven (still 350 degrees F) and bake for 25-35 minutes, until snickerdoodle layer has set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into 16 squares. Then…omfg, enjoy.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates