Saturday, October 10, 2009

Homemade Brownie Bliss

While out grocery shopping, I walked a little to slowly through the baking section, giving me the opportunity to spot some walnut brownies with cream cheese frosting. They miraculously jumped into my cart! They were just too addicting, and a few days later, I found myself craving them again. So instead of buying more, I decided to try a homemade version...and they were even better.

I combined a couple of recipes, and ended up with with a fudgy-textured brownie topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting. I prepared this for a tailgate at a friend's house, at which we enjoyed plenty of delicious food, including Broccoli Slaw. This was a unique & healthy side dish that is a wonderful alternative to the regular old potato or pasta salad. I'll definitely be making this dish around my house, and be sure to browse the rest of Erin's blog for more delicious dishes!

Cocoa Brownies
Food Network/Alton Brown

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 16 brownies


Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. My brownies were not even close being done at this point - they needed about 55-60 minutes. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Cooking Light

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted

To prepare the frosting, beat the powdered sugar, chilled cream cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla at medium speed of a mixer just until blended (do not overbeat). Spread frosting over cupcakes, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Got Pumpkin?

For many across the country...the answer could very well be "no". There is an unfortunate pumpkin shortage in some took me three stores to find some...but it was worth it! I've made more than a couple of trips to Starbucks to enjoy a pumpkin latte & pumpkin loaf - but that can get a "little" costly. So I've improvised and made an awesome pumpkin bread and bought some pumpkin creamer...not the same, but it'll do :)

This recipe is not exactly healthy, but it is one of the better pumpkin baked goods that I've made. The recipe makes two loaves, which is perfect considering the hubby and I practically devoured the first one.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Servings: 24
"Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, this bread improves with age, so plan to make it a day ahead if possible."

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.