Best Recipe: Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

IMG_1934Cook’s notes: These are similar to the Best Recipe: Dark Cocoa Brownies but the preparation method is different (and flour reduced with cocoa increased). I was out of chocolate chips and wanted to make decadent brownies for a party. These are amazing and very rich. They bake at a slightly lower temperature.

Beating the eggs vigorously is the key to the crackly top. Beating the batter too much once the flour and cocoa powder are added will “create air in the batter, which will give you cake-like textured brownies.” That is not our goal, according to Cafe Delites.

Makes 16 brownies

1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, olive oil, and sugar for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, one at a time. Eggs will lighten in color.

Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Beat on low only until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain, and do not beat too long. (Note: You may want to do this step with a rubber spatula.)

Pour into pan, and bake about 25 minutes, or until brownies are set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Source: Reduced the sugar and adapted recipe for a stand mixer from Bon Appetit and Cafe Delites.

Reducing a 9 x 13-inch pan recipe

Cook’s notes: I’ve been fascinated by small batch baking and reducing recipes for baked goods lately. Here are some notes I’ve found useful.

9 x 13-inch pan. Volume: 15 cups (24 to 36 cupcakes)

  • Cut recipe in half and use an 8 x 8-inch square pan
  • If recipe calls for 1 egg, use 1 egg (not 1/2 egg)

Square pan volume: 2 quarts or 8 cups (12 cupcakes)

  • 9 x 9-inch square pan
  • 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
  • 8 x 8-inch square pan

For any of these, cut the recipe in half and use a 6 x 6-inch square pan.
Note that a bread recipe for a loaf pan can be baked in a square pan.

Round pan volume

  • 9 x 2-inch round (8 cups): Also makes 12 cupcakes. Cut recipe in half and use a 6-inch round pan.
  • 8 x 2-inch round pan (6 cups): Same as 75% of a 9-inch pan recipe.
  • 6 x 2-inch round pan (4 cups): Makes 6 cupcakes.

Source: Includes Cake and Baking Pan Size Conversions – Allrecipes, http://www.thekitchn.com/halving-casseroles-tips-for-re-137981, http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html, http://www.wilton.com/cms-batter-amounts.html, http://www.thekitchn.com/halving-casseroles-tips-for-re-137981

Review: Easy Rice Pudding

IMG_0744Cook’s notes: An article on epicurious gives directions for making rice pudding with leftover rice. The instructions were easy to follow and the results were delicious. I like that it only used a small amount of sweetener. I also appreciate that it doesn’t call for a lot of extra ingredients, such as egg, sweetened condensed milk, bourbon, or cream. It’s simple and delicious.

This pudding was a great way to use up leftover rice from Thai takeout. I used a can of light coconut milk and added a touch of cinnamon. It would be vegan if you used maple syrup instead of honey.

In case you can’t read my handwriting on the index card in the photo, the ingredients were:

  • Leftover rice (about 2 cups)
  • 15 oz. can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes

IMG_0424Cook’s notes: I made some amazing Guinness chocolate stout cupcakes, but you know I hate to leave anyone out when we’re sharing food. This version is perfect for your vegan friends. New Belgium 1554 Black Lager is approved for vegans by barnivore.com. You can also reduce the sugar to just 2/3 cup. These terrific cupcakes do not need frosting.

Much like the “Wacky Cake,” which is made without eggs, milk, or butter, these are one-bowl cupcakes. Use a whisk to combine the batter; no mixer is needed.

I adapted the recipe to use espresso powder and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking.

Dry:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup [or just 2/3 cup] organic sugar
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup vegan black lager or stout (such as New Belgium 1554 Black Lager)

 

Heat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with parchment cups.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Have the liquid ingredients measured and ready to go before you start to pour. Pour the melted oil, vinegar, and beer into the well. Stir well – batter thickens quickly.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

 

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

IMG_0425Cook’s notes: These are a wonderful variation on the Chocolate Guinness Bundt Cake, with no frosting required. (For a vegan version of the cupcakes, see the post on Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes).

Adapted from Pinch My Salt, which notes that you can use any stout or porter instead of Guinness. I adapted the recipe to use a stand mixer and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking. I reduced the amount of sugar and added espresso powder.

Have eggs, yogurt, and stout at room temperature before starting. Yield: 18 cupcakes.

6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt, at room temperature
6 oz. dark stout (I used Guinness), at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers; spray the whole thing, cupcake papers and all, with nonstick spray. Set aside. (Note: I had enough batter for an additional 6 cupcakes).

Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Add stout; beat until well combined.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) in a separate bowl.

Add the cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients in thirds, beating until well mixed after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter, then continue mixing until very well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats... with pumpkin... and pumpkin spice

Rice Krispie Treats… with pumpkin… and pumpkin spice

Cook’s notes: It’s the season for pumpkin spice, and pumpkin everything. I was curious about combining these elements with classic treats. This recipe combines several versions I found online. They were very popular at work.

Yield: 24 rectangular pieces. You could also cut 2-inch squares for bigger treats.

3 Tablespoons butter
1 package (10 oz) miniature marshmallows
1/8 cup pumpkin puree (plain, not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

In microwave-safe bowl, heat butter for 45 seconds on High to melt. Stir in marshmallows.

Heat on High for 45 seconds. Stir.

Heat on High for 45 seconds. Stir well. Marshmallows should be completed melted and smooth. Stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

Allow marshmallow mixture to cool 20 minutes to room temperature.

Stir in cereal until everything is combined and cereal is well coated.

Lightly coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray. Using wax paper or parchment paper, press the cereal mixture into the pan.

Let cool completely, and cut into pieces.


Notes from Kellog’s:

  • 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
  • Diet, reduced calorie, or tub margarine is not recommended.
  • Best if served the same day.
  • Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.
  • To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Review: Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookies like muffin tops

Cookies like muffin tops

The recipe makes exactly 12 cookies. These cookies do take 30 minutes to bake and have a damp, heavy texture similar to muffin tops. One critique I have is that the ingredients are not listed in the order they are used. I ended up mixing the canned pumpkin in with the dry ingredients. This did not harm the cookies at all.

I would make these again: they are gluten free, vegan when made with maple syrup, and quite tasty.

Cooks in the US, note that 180C is about 350F for your oven temperature.

Recipe is from the blog The Big Man’s World.

Review: Coconut No Bake Cookies (Wookie Cookies)

Wookie CookiesThe Minimalist Baker has a terrific recipe for no-bake cookies.

I made these for a Star Wars-themed birthday party and called them “Wookie Cookies”. They were quickly dubbed “Chewbacca Balls” by the other guests.

Either way, one is quite rich. I’d recommend using a teaspoon scoop next time.

This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free. However, these do have nuts, due to the peanut butter. But the cookies are very tasty, no matter what they are called!

Healthy Makeover: Texas Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Healthier cake is still delicious

Healthier cake is still delicious

Cook’s notes: I made this cake for a friend who loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I couldn’t bring myself to make the original Texas Sheet Cake, which has a huge amount of sugar in it. The cake turned out terrific, and several people asked for the recipe.

Note that the cake is vegetarian, due to the yogurt, but the frosting is vegan. You can easily make the cake vegan by using a vegan yogurt.

Serve extra frosting in a bowl on the side for dipping with pretzel sticks. It’s also great spread on graham crackers topped with banana slices.

Texas Sheet Cake – Healthy Makeover

Recipe from “Chocolate Covered Katie,” who says, “yogurt gives the cake moisture and softness without all the added fat, and I’ve cut way back extensively on the sugar as well. The result is a rich and surprisingly healthy chocolate cake with fewer than 60 calories per serving.

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian (but not vegan, due to yogurt)
  • Eggless

1 cup “Cup for Cup” gluten-free flour blend
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar [vegan sugar preferred]
1/2 cup yogurt (plain, fat-free Greek yogurt)
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Peanut butter frosting, see below

Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 13 x 9 jelly roll pan or baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first 5 dry ingredients very well (flour to sugar).

In a separate bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients. Pour wet into dry and stir until just evenly combined, then pour into the greased pan. Bake 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.

Healthy Peanut Butter Frosting

This will make approximately 2 cups of frosting, depending on how much almond milk is used. Recipe is vegan.

2/3 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy style
4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons vanilla almond milk, use more to change desired consistency

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the peanut butter, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons of almond milk. Mix together. Continue to add almond milk in one tablespoon increments until you reach the desired consistency of frosting.

Mixed Berry Sorbet

Berry sorbet with reduced sugar

Berry sorbet with reduced sugar

Cook’s notes: About a minute to make your own dairy-free sorbet.

Yield: About 3.5 cups

1 cup water
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
16 oz. bag frozen mixed berries without added sugar

  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
  4. In about 30-60 seconds, the sound of the motor will change. Four mounds should form.
  5. Stop machine. Do not over mix or melting will occur. Serve immediately.

Adapted from the Vitamix Getting Started Plus guide.


NOTE: This recipe has been written for the Vitamix 5200 with Standard 64-ounce container. If you are using a different machine, you may need to make adjustments to the speed or processing time. Know your blender and don’t overload the machine.

DISCLOSURE: This post is not sponsored by anyone. I paid for any products listed here and liked using them. This is my personal blog, and I am not compensated to create posts.