Tag Archives: brownies

Top 10 Recipes of 2016

A few weeks ago, I posted some of my very favorite photos from this year. Now that it’s the last Thursday of 2016, I’m throwing back to some of this year’s most popular and viewed recipes!

top-10-recipes-of-2016-collage

10. Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

copycat-red-lobster-cheddar-bay-biscuits-5-121913

If you secretly make trips to Red Lobster just so you can stuff your with their famous, melt-in-your-mouth buttery Cheddar Bay Biscuits, here’s some good news for the new year: now you can make (and enjoy) them in your own home! (Recipe here.)

9. Slutty Cheesecake Bars

slutty-cheesecake-bars-8-051913

A thick layer of chocolate chip blondie, rich cheesecake on top, and whole Oreos crammed all throughout give these infamous bars their name. One of the very first recipes that I posted on Wallflour Girl (note the tacky rainbow wrapping paper backdrop) and still one of the most popular after five years! (Recipe here.)

8. Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies with Kahlua Icing

extra-fudgy-kahlua-brownies-1-071813

I’m not a booze kind of girl…usually. But put a plate of these extremely fudgy Kahlua brownies (and maybe a White Russian!) in front of me and they’ll be gone before you can say “boozy.” (Recipe here.)

7. The Very BEST Tiramisu (from America’s Test Kitchen)

best-tiramisu-from-americas-test-kitchen-1-101913

 My shortlist for best recipe sources is, well, short–but I would trust America’s Test Kitchen with my first-born baby. This simple but authentic tiramisu recipe is the best that I’ve ever made and constantly requested at family functions! (Recipe here.)

6. Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Bars

idiot-proof-healthy-chocolate-chip-oat-bars-7-012214

Here’s an idiot-proof recipe that you can hand off to even the most baking-illiterate of your friends! These one-bowl, dump-and-stir chocolate chip oat bars are healthy, too, making them perfect for kicking off a brand new year. (Recipe here.)

5. Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake

hawaiian-chantilly-layer-cheesecake-cake-2-073014

This recipe holds a special place in my heart: inspired by one late-night, post-movie dinner conversation at Lenny’s Deli, my ex shared his fond memories of a dessert known as Chantilly cake.… Read more

6 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes, Cheesecakes, Cookies, Lunch & Dinner

Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls

chocolate-kahlua-rum-balls 1

Posts might be sparse around here these weeks, but food is most definitely not in short supply! Part of the reason for this is because I just got back from a Charles Dickens conference in Santa Cruz, where 300 Victorianists from all over the world  congregated to discuss Dickens’ 1848 novel Dombey and Son and lament the dining hall food in tearful, poetic unison. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our week-long stint, it’s that no academic event is complete without good, old-fashioned booze–and lots of it! Which, of course, makes these booze-soaked chocolate Kahlua rum balls super topical and super-duper intellectual.

chocolate-kahlua-rum-balls 5

chocolate-kahlua-rum-balls 6

As we say in the academic world: don’t be simplistic, but do be simple. While not every lecture during this conference adhered to this rule (though the wonderful majority of them did!), you can bet your Victorian ball gown that this simple chocolaty, silky, boozy dessert does. (Have I mentioned that it’s no-bake?) All you need are five minutes and six ingredients: crumbled brownies, walnuts, light corn syrup, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and–oh yeah–lots of rum. Rum to your heart’s delight. One days, two days, rummy days. Rum, Forrest, Rum!

chocolate-kahlua-rum-balls 9

Meanwhile, I’m off to recover from the, er, festivities, but never fear–I’ll be back soon! After an entire week of 18-hour days, Victorian-themed (dance) parties all night every night, and endless socializing with some of the most amazing people on this planet, though, I’m ready for a bit of well-earned R&R. Not that you’ll miss me much: just make sure you make these silky chocolate bites every few days or so and I’ll be back before you notice!

chocolate-kahlua-rum-balls 11

Sending my chocolaty love,

Ala

Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls

These simple chocolate Kahlua rum balls are perfect for making ahead! They require no baking and offer a silky, rich flavor profile that will make the ideal treat for any booze-lover.

Read more

2 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Caramel Coffee Toffee Sticky Pudding Brownies

Happy Teachers’ Appreciation Week, everyone!

Caramel Toffee Pudding Brownies 1--050216

It’s crazy how much you take for granted until you’re the one standing in front of the classroom–that, and the amount of baking that you end up doing for your students in any given school term because you genuinely love them and want them to be happy human beings, even if they sometimes ask you questions whose answers are on the syllabus and expect responses when they email you 5 hours before a paper is due. I guess it’s good practice for the 40-kid family I plan on having someday.

Caramel Toffee Pudding Brownies 4--050216

Facetiousness aside, though, I owe a lot to the teachers in my life who pulled me through my brighter years and supported me through my tougher ones. Two in particular stand out to me: the first is my high school English Lit AP teacher, who was a total tough cookie and set us a timed essay on our first day of class after having us write multiple essays throughout the summer on 1984, My Name is Asher Lev, Typical American, and (I think) something broadly Shakespearean. He had a reputation in the school for being something of a hardass, but I never received anything but fair judgment and respectable guidance from him. Granted, I was a pretty strong writer already in senior year and didn’t struggle nearly as much as my peers did in that class, but I also knew it was because I worked my butt off that year to put out my very best work for this teacher. And in a way, that year was the year when I first learned what it’s like to fall deeply, irrevocably in love with literature.

Caramel Toffee Pudding Brownies 6--050216

The second is a very special lady whom I admire to the stars and back. Katharine taught my children’s lit seminar at university during my junior year, and I was lucky enough to spend that quarter with her exploring New York City in Stuart Little, strolling through the rolling cityscapes and hills of the Rootabaga Stories, laughing and crying over the images in American-Born Chinese and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Read more

4 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Cheesecake Brownies with Fudgy Chocolate Ganache

Cheesecake Brownies with Fudgy Chocolate Ganache 4--102115

Somehow the gods of time have managed to speed us straight through October. In less than two weeks, I’ll be flying to Florida to compete in the World Food Championships–and you know it’s official because my completely un-glam face and bio have somehow been plastered on their website.

Watch out, WFC: your competition is about to get a whole lot derpier.

Cheesecake Brownies with Fudgy Chocolate Ganache 2--102115

As folks around me can attest, I have been baking a LOT lately. My friends, who have graciously volunteered to be guinea pigs help me taste-test my recipes over the past few weeks, are keeping me on track and–more importantly–helping keep me within the boundaries of sanity. Between writing and teaching and researching and emoting, the last thing I honestly want to do at the end of a long day is try recipes by myself, so thankfully these lovely folks are around to make the trial-and-error process a little less arduous.

My pants and the scale, on the other hand, are less happy campers.

Another downfall of all this prep is that I’ve temporarily suspended my no-added-sugar regimen in favor of the opposite: complete and reckless sugary abandon. My kitchen, which I’ve been too tired and too lazy to clean properly (why bother when it will just be coated in flour again the next day?), is now an artistic landfill of granulated sugar and egg splatters worthy of being transported to a modern art museum. The one upshot is that I’m also inclined to bake as much as I can during this interim period, which means that I’ll occasionally produce gems like these glorious cheesecake brownies with fudgy chocolate ganache and not even bat an eye as I photograph and devour the entire stack.

Cheesecake Brownies with Fudgy Chocolate Ganache 6--102115

Somehow I managed to salvage enough of these brownies from my ravenous maw to bring them to campus a couple of weeks back, which is how I know that they are some of the best brownies in the world.… Read more

12 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies for #SundaySupper

GlutenFreeBlackBeanBrownies 1--030115

When I was 5, my mom told me I was allergic to chocolate.

GlutenFreeBlackBeanBrownies 4--030115

Now, you’d think that a future 20-year product of the public education system would have smelled something fishy, but I smelled nothing but the tantalizing, forbidden scent of chocolate.

Believe it or not, the ruse lasted until age 10, when we were selling Hershey’s bars for a school fundraiser and I sank my teeth into a gorgeous, silky chunk of chocolate heaven.

Half a decade of my life. Irretrievable. Lost. Goner than a koala chucked into a black hole.

GlutenFreeBlackBeanBrownies 6--030115

Aside from those five years of chocolate-less existence–and opting out of meat–and okay, my insanely picky palate–I’ve never had eating restrictions, really. At least not the kind of allergy that will debilitate you and close your throat and send you to the hospital with an EpiPen sticking out of your arm. Thank goodness.

I’m lucky in that respect, but it really wasn’t until grad school that I met friends who really did have food allergies. One of my closest classmates is allergic to a whole score of things, including nuts, dairy, and soy. I’ve told you about my recent student who has all of those allergies, plus corn, bean, fruit, and gluten allergies. Another guy in my office has Celiac, meaning gluten is a no-go for him, either. And this one’s not just a fad diet or a “gluten sensitivity,” I’ll tell you that much.

GlutenFreeBlackBeanBrownies 8--030115

That’s why you may have noticed a lot more “allergy-friendly” recipes around the blog lately. Have you checked out last week’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumble Peanut Butter Mousse Parfait Cups? Seriously though–gluten-free doesn’t need to mean un-tasty. In fact, I’ve had so much fun baking GF lately, my friends with gluten allergies have started asking whether the latest batch of treats is gluten-free–and it’s so nice when you can make someone who usually can’t participate feel included in something as simple as dessert.… Read more

57 Comments

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

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies (Vegan) + PB&Co. Giveaway

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Brownies 2--112114

Fact: Everyone else’s life looks cooler than yours.

Did you just get a promotion at your accounting firm? Congratulations! Your former classmate just got bumped up to CEO of a high-profile tech company that makes life-saving microchip nanobots.

Also, that dorky kid whom you all made fun of in high school is now happily married with a newborn on the way and wedding pictures that make you want to drown your face in your toilet bowl. Meanwhile you are blasting Hunter Hayes’ “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” on repeat and devouring a tub of cookie dough ice cream like your life depends on it.

If you’re me, you’re also watching that wonderful 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed” featuring 25-year old journalist Josie Gellar (played by Drew Barrymore opposite the extremely dreamy Michael Vartan) and wondering vaguely to yourself if you’ll feel quite so warmly about this movie when you’ve gotten beyond 25 and are, alas, still very much a chronically romance-challenged Josie Grossie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Brownies 4--112114

Fact: You are 99.9% convinced everyone else’s life IS cooler than yours.

Fortunately, this “fact” confirms one thing for you: you’re certainly not alone in this feeling. While you’re busy hovering jealously over your friend’s newly published YA novel, somebody else is contemplating whether or not to Like your recent post about your new blog. Maybe they do decide to Like it, and you would never know the full 10 minutes of internal struggle that went into that seemingly simple choice.

Would it seem creepy to Like this, considering I haven’t actually spoken to them in four years? your brain asks in torment. Do I want to endorse their coolness? Would doing so make me feel worse about myself in comparison?

The wonderful Nancy from Gotta Get Baked, for whom I have immense respect and love (she is one amazing cookie), called my attention not too long ago to an article on this very topic.… Read more

47 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Rocky Road Brownies for #SundaySupper

Rocky Road Brownies 2--101914

These brownies aren’t the only crazy thing happening around here this week, though they are insanely fudgy and I made boxes of these for friends who loved them and I’m selling them online here so if you want them without so much as stepping a toe into your kitchen, I can make that happen now.

Crazy? I love crazy.

Rocky Road Brownies 4--101914

Just about 45 minutes ago, I got off an epic long late-night phone call (yes, it’s 3 AM and I manually pressed the Publish button on this post) with my friend. I’ve been prone to lots of anxiety and high-stress nights lately for seemingly no reason, so catching up with her (instead of spending the evening wringing my wrists to a pulp) was a pleasant change of pace.

At one point, she mentioned rereading this blog post I published back in June about defining self-worth–if you haven’t read it yet, I spill a whole bunch of juicy confessions in it about my life and insecurities that are interesting and probably mildly entertaining. From there, we started talking about just about everything: about the difficulty of living up to expectations, feeling burnt out from Life, piecing together bits of our life through expert stalking social media surfing, the recent guys in my idiosyncratic love life, and, oh yeah: my recent tendency to eat my feelingz.

Mostly because #school. And maybe some of the aforementioned guys stuff. (Thankfully none of them think big-picture enough to actually read my blog #middleschoolalloveragain)

Rocky Road Brownies 6--101914

Rocky Road Brownies 9--101914

With these brownies just schlumming around the house all the time now and getting wrapped up for Etsy orders, I shouldn’t be surprised I’m eating my weight in feelings these days. Thick, fudgy, gooey, crunchy feelings.

However, one of the best reminders to come up in our conversation was the importance of taking time to reflect on our own lives.… Read more

74 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

German Chocolate Brownies for #SundaySupper

I’m not usually an eat-my-feelings kind of girl.

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 2--083114

Lately, though, I have had ALL the feelings, and that called for eating my weight in brownies. Because let’s face it–who the heck did I try to kid 5 seconds ago when I said that eating a whole panful of chocolate won’t solve every problem, ever?

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 17--083114

Exactly.

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 8--083114

Truth be told, I have been particularly terrible lately about eating my way through feels. Is anyone else this way, or did you all just sprout from miracle baby trees where this stuff doesn’t happen?

I was definitely born on a food pantry tree, probably of the sweets variety, because this pan of absolutely rich but not-too-cloying brownies did not make it out the doorway unscathed.

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 5--083114

I’ll admit it: one of the reasons you see brownies and bar cookies on my blog so often is that, unlike cookies (which are a solid, impregnable unit) and cakes (which, let’s face it, look butt ugly when you’re not supposed to slice into it yet and you start picking off random pieces anyway so it looks like a freakin’ mouse got to it first), brownies are SO easy to cut into.

Slice a smidge here. Oh, I’ll trim a little bit more off the edge. Now OCD dictates that I must make all the brownies the same size, so let’s do it–for the better good. You can even see the knife marks since I sliced into them after they were cold from the fridge.

Let’s trim them ALL and stuff our face with the scraps!!

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 14--083114

These brownies: lord. After making this bomb Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake for #SundaySupper a few weeks ago, I knew I had to use up that scrumptious frosting on something else, and thus these big bad brownies were born. With an incredibly fudgy base using one of my favorite brownie recipes, topped with a creamy not-too-sweet chocolate frosting, and topped with toasted coconut, nuts, and some of that chantilly frosting…

It’s a damn good thing I’m running 13.1 miles tomorrow morning.… Read more

48 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Chocolate Cake/Brownies (GF, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, & Weird-Free)

Hi there. Yeah, you. I think you’re a really smart and charming person.

No, really! I mean it. And if you leave me a note after reading this post, I’ll take the time to personally tell you what’s great about you, too.

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 2--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)But now stop and think for a moment: when was the last time you accepted a compliment?

And I mean honest-to-goodness, wholehearted, modesty-exempt acceptance?

Was it yesterday?

Was it a few weeks ago?

Was it just now, when I told you you were charming and smart and a wonderful human being who has somehow found this hideaway blog of mine?

(And if it was that last one–good on you!)

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 5--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)

Recently I watched this video about the power of accepting compliments. I am a complete sucker for Making Life Meaningful clips. In the video, these social science-y folks do an experiment where couples split up and the one with lower self-esteem gets complimented–genuine compliments, mind you–by their partner.

And here’s the best part: the first person has to accept the compliment with only the words, “thank you.”

The idea behind this experiment is that accepting genuine compliments is a) hard for people who tend to have lower self-esteem, and b) great for boosting self-confidence, since the act of acceptance allows us to reflect on ourselves positively.Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 17--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)

Now, I can honestly tell you that I suck at accepting compliments. My ability to accept them is inversely proportional to the amount of chocolate I have consumed on any given day, so if you have the godforsaken misfortune to catch me on a day sans Chocolat, be prepared to have your compliments shot down to the point of awkward embarrassment. I usually enter any conversation armed with an arsenal of “no’s,” “it’s really not’s,” and “no seriously, it’s nothing’s.”

It’s not Compliment Fishing.… Read more

19 Comments

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

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.

Hot Fudge Larabar with Killer Choco Frosting 8--062914

“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.

Hot Chocolate Larabar 2--051614

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.

Hot Fudge Larabar with Killer Choco Frosting 5--062914

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.… Read more

17 Comments

Filed under Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Healthy