Archive for the 'Brownies, Blondies, and Bars' Category

04
Aug
09

Dulce de Leche Brownies and Creme Brulee

Another week, another opportunity to find a recipe I truly love for its taste and simplicity.  I found just the thing last week with a new attempt at America’s favorite brownies.  Most people know that brownies generally fall into two categories: 1) fudgy and dense, or 2) light and cake-like.  The main difference stems on how the batter is put together.  Does the recipe call for melted butter + chocolate for a fudgy texture, or for cocoa powder and perhaps some extra flour or even baking powder to make it seem more like a chocolate flavored cake?  The recipe I followed generously compromised between both methods, resulting in a texture that almost everyone can enjoy.

But there’s got to be more to it than that, right?  Plain, simple brownies (while often delicious) seemed a bit boring for me at the time.  So why not give it an extra kick with some homemade dulce de leche?  For the unitiated, dulce de leche is a caramel-like sauce (with the consistency of peanut butter) that is particularly popular in places like Argentina and Brazil.  While it looks and tastes very similar to caramel, it is actually a product of the Maillard reaction (which is also the basis behind toast) instead of caramelization.  Ok ok, sounds really nerdy, but it’s actually very simple (and cheap) to make!  Sure, you CAN buy some pre-made dulce de leche in a can at some specialty marts, but why bother when all you need is a can of condensed milk (generally less than $1).

The best part is that this entire recipe doesn’t require much work or much money, yet tastes so good!  The only thing I’d recommend is using some good chocolate, and since it only requires 2 ounces, I don’t feel like that’s asking for too much 🙂

dulce de leche brownies

dulce de leche brownies

vanilla bean creme brulee

vanilla bean creme brulee

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24
Jun
09

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge Krispy Treats

Phew, I just returned from Korea, and as expected, I’m suffering from jet lag 😦  I didn’t spot nearly as many bakeries or patisseries in Korea as I have in other Asian countries (especially Taiwan, where there’s a bakery on every corner), but at least I did get to snag a bite of Beard Papa’s before I left 🙂

Anyway, having been away from an oven for so long, I decided to make it up by making something extremely rich and decadent.  So when I laid eyes on a recipe for chocolate & peanut butter fudge rice krispy treats, I jumped to the occasion!  As Joy the Baker states in her blog, “these bars are so rich, so over the top” that they’re almost too much… even for me.  Oh well, exactly what I wanted!

Strangely, with all the time I spend making sweets, I never bothered to make rice krispy treats before.  I don’t know why… they’re easy to make and delicious to eat!  But I guess I considered it TOO easy… without considering to add layers of peanut butter and chocolate fudge 🙂  This recipe is simple, quick (no actual baking involved) and probably serves 30 even though it comes in a 9×13 dish.  Even though these are delicious, even I couldn’t eat more than a small piece before feeling guilty…

P.S.  I dedicate this post to Sandra, whose birthday I was not able to celebrate with a cake because I was flying over the ocean at the time.  I’ll make it up to you some day!  Happy birthday!

Chocolate & PB Fudge Krispy Treats

Chocolate & PB Fudge Krispy Treats

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08
Jun
09

Lots and lots of brownies

Whew!  It’s been a long time since I updated this blog.  I was in Peru hiking the Incan trail to Machu Picchu, and there were no ovens there 🙂  We did have some excellent food there, all in the $3-$10 price range… not as cheap and delicious and Taiwan’s street food, but not bad at all.  One of my friends even had Peru’s specialty, grilled guinea pig, but I had to pass…  I did eat llama though!

Anyway, no rest for the weary, as I wanted to prepare a dessert for a potluck the week I returned.  I initially settled on some s’mores brownies that I saw on Joy the Baker, but they ended up a bit gooier and messier than I expected.  I did appreciate only needing to use and clean one bowl, but the amount of cocoa powder was ridonkulous (1 full cup?  I hardly use half that much in entire cakes).  I personally find brownies that are made with melted high quality chocolate tastier than just using straight up cocoa powder, but perhaps it also depends on the quality of your cocoa powder.  Still, if I had to make either of these batches again, I’d choose Dorie’s chipster brownies in a flash 🙂  I’ve included the chipster brownie recipe again for ease of reading.

Smores brownies

S'mores brownies

chipster brownies

chipster brownies

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04
Apr
09

Lemon Bars and Pound Cakes

Sorry for the slow updates!  Last week, I spent several days getting ready for the bake sale at Vox Populi.  Vox Culture is an NPO that my church has formed that allows local artists and musicians to gather together and perform/promote their talents.  Since all funds we make go to charity, I volunteered to help out and provide food.  With the help of my fellow churchgoers, we prepared enough food to raise nearly $300 just from the food alone!

Here’s what we made:
50 blondies
40 chocolate chip cookies
100 red velvet cupcake truffles
16 brownie cookies
30 mini cheesecake tarts

Pictures of the event can be found on the Vox Culture website.

white chocolate pound cake with strawberry coulis

white chocolate pound cake with strawberry coulis

meyer lemon bars

meyer lemon bars

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11
Feb
09

raspberry cheesecake brownies

Even though I just made a pound cake yesterday, I couldn’t ignore the chocolate cravings haunting me this morning!  I juggled the idea of making a chocolate souffle or a molten lava cake, but realized I misplaced my ramekins.  Then Richard informed that I forgot to give him some cheesecake two weeks ago, so I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by baking some cheesecake brownies.

Okay, so it seems I couldn’t resist the urge to bake again this week.  That’s two weeks in a row I broke my NY resolution… oh well, I’m just doing my part to stimulate the economy.

Raspberry cheesecake brownies

Raspberry cheesecake brownies

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07
Dec
08

Vox Pop

My church (Access) occasionally sponsors events where local artists and musicians can come and show off their wares.  Not only does this promote local talent growth, but part of the funds go to charity as well.  For this event (Vox Pop), we decided to complement the local artists with our very own bake sale, with all funds going to SEARCH, a homeless shelter that we volunteer at.

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04
Dec
08

Thanksgiving feast

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  After making six different dishes that week for various potlucks and dinners, I feel a bit relieved.  Although it’s been a week since then, I figured I’d post a few recipes that tided me over during the holiday (I hate turkey!).

Group shot

Group shot

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