December 18, 2011

Baking Success!

I've really enjoyed learning how to cook...still have a long way to go but it's been fun.  I haven't had to cook at all the past couple weeks with the move and just being so busy so I'm looking forward to getting back to that tomorrow.  But on Thursday I went to my friend, Christy's, annual Christmas party and wanted to bring sweets. So I attempted to bake some brownies from scratch.  Since I have been known to really mess up cakes before. (made a cake with unsweetened chocolate. yeah, it was disgusting!) I also have ZERO attention to detail so baking has always been a little difficult for me.  But I managed to find an easy recipe and made some White Chocolate Peppermint Brownies.  They turned out pretty good.  To be honest, I thought they were great...but that was only because I was comparing them to other baking experiences I had.  I'm super pumped to try other recipes now that I finally have one success story under my belt.  If I can make them, anyone try these this Christmas season!

Double Chocolate Brownies - - - from Real Simple magazine
Hands on time: 20 min 
Total time: 3 hours (includes cooling) 
Makes 16 brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled*
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I bought Ghirardelli)
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, buttering in between and leaving an overhang on all sides; butter the parchment

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside

3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, vanilla until smooth.

4. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined (do not over-mix)

5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.

6. Holding the paper overhang, lift the brownies out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares (4 rows by 4 rows)

Peanut butter cup brownies
Make the above brownies according to the recipe, but at the end of step 4 fold in 1 1/2 cups chopped mini peanut butter cups (about 20). Makes 16.

White Chocolate and Peppermint Brownies (what I made)
Make the above brownies according to the recipe. When cool, melt 6 oz chopped white chocolate (again, I used Ghiradelli) with 1 teaspoon canola oil and spread on top of the brownies. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped peppermint candies; let set before cutting into squares. Makes 16.

*measure the flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup, then sweep off the excess with a knife

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