Friday, 22 February 2013

Decadent Red Wine Brownies with Red Wine Ganache


"With great chocolate comes great responsibility," - Larry Boy.....

The cucumber had it right, chocolate can be good, or it can be GREAT!!  I have only made homemade brownies once before....they were a flop - dry, no rich flavor...sawdust in a pan really.  Since then I have stuck with brownie mixes, I love those things for a quick wonderful chocolate brownie fix that doesn't need to be used as fire starter.  NOW, however, I have discovered GREATNESS in a pan!

Red Wine Brownies.....I can not describe to you the wondrousness of these things.  These are a very rich, decadent, smooth brownie (insert I went to go get one and eat as I type here...) Chocolate and WINE - two of my favourite things married together in a pan.  Oh my!!!  One can only eat small amounts of this as to not be overwhelmed by their AWESOMENESS!  I used a Melbec wine from Argentina, but any red wine would be just fine...It doesn't overpower the chocolate, but enhances it and adds a "je ne sais qwaaaaah" about the whole thing....It's beautiful.  So here it is.  Make it for one you love, and for yourself too....

Red Wine Brownies with Red Wine Ganache
-adapted from Simply Scratch

What you need:

- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided
- 4 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate, evenly chopped
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 whole Eggs
- 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Melbec (or any red wine)Wine
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

What you do:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper and grease with either butter or baking spray.

2.  In a medium size sauce pan over low heat; melt the 3/4 cup of butter and the 4 ounces of chopped unsweetened chocolate.

3.  Once the chocolate has melted and is smooth add in the two cups of sugar.  Stir to combine.

4.  Add in the three eggs, whisking after adding each one.

5.  Stir in Vanilla and the half cup of red wine.

6.  In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

7.  Pour the chocolate/sugar mixture into the bowl, stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and set aside.

8.  For the ganache: In a small sauce pan combine the 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons of butter and the 3 tablespoons of red wine.  Heat over low and stir constantly until smooth and silky.

9.  Spread 2/3 of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the wine-ganache over top. Pour remaining 1/3 batter over the ganach and spread with a spatula.

10.  With a sharp knife make a couple zig-zags through the brownies to create a swirl pattern then place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minute.  WATCH CAREFULLY!!

Let cool completely before removing the brownies.
Cut and serve and ENJOY!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread

It's Valentine's WEEK!  My husband surprised me with some beautiful roses and chocolates.  The flowers are so beautiful.  I stop and smell them and admire their beauty every five minutes or so.  Love it!  This week has been so busy with STUFF: swimming lessons, kids' groups, and just the general busyness of life, so baking is sometimes hard for me to fit in my schedule.  I love to bake and I love to give my family homemade treats in their lunches.  Of course, having chocolate as part of the recipe is always a good thing. 

Now I need to tell you about my love/hate relationship with banana bread.  For the last 12 years it has really been a trial......and error.  Sometimes it would turn out lovely, many times it was burnt on the outside and raw in the frustrating.  So I actually gave up on making banana bread as I was an epic failure at it...UNTIL....

I realized something......

It came as a revelation, beam of light kind of thing......YOU DON'T HAVE TO FILL THE PAN SO FULL!!!!   Seriously....I was always using all the batter, filling the baking pan to capacity, and then crying when my bread totally flopped.  NOW, (after the beam of light) I only fill the pan 3/4 full. (use extra batter in muffin tins and bake less time)  It has worked out PERFECTLY since then.  So life changing.  Now I can confidently make banana bread.  And this swirly version is my favorite!

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread
-adapted from Kraft Canada

What you Need:

1 egg
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Original Spread
1-1/3 cups mashed fully ripe bananas (about 3)
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup of chocolate chips, melted

What to do:

1. HEAT oven to 350ºF.
2.  BEAT egg, dressing and bananas in large bowl with whisk until blended. Mix all remaining ingredients except chocolate in medium bowl. Add to banana mixture; stir just until moistened.
3.  POUR half the batter into medium bowl; stir in chocolate. Spoon batters alternately into 8x4-inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray; swirl gently with knife.
4.BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool bread in pan 10 min.; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Then month of LOVE is upon us!!!!!  Yahoo for February.  When its cool to wear red, pink and purple together, and chocolate is everywhere!!!!  I like February....I do....except for the bitter cold and the fact that spring is not coming this month, no matter what I say.  I am grateful that Mother Nature has blessed us with a mild week of weather.  And no snow!  Thankyou Nature!!!!

This month I decided I would jump on theeeee oooool' bandwagon and make sweet chocolate treats.  I got a lovely chocolate banana bread coming up, some sweet cookies.....and I can't wait.......Brownies with WINE in them!  They are for my beloved on Valentines day.....MMMMWah!

Today's offering is THE BEST peanut butter cookie recipe I've ever eaten.  Really!  My family ate them and they don't normally like cookies with peanut butter in them.  It's a principle that they have held to since the beginning of time and they weren't about to change unless they were bribed with chocolate.  So, here is a lovely Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from: How Crazy Cooks
What you Need:
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • ½ cups Brown Sugar
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 whole Large Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of chocolate chips
  • Extra Sugar As Needed For Rolling Dough

What to do:  1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.  Measure peanut butter, sugars, egg, baking soda, vanilla, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined.

3.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Roll 1 generous tablespoon of dough into a ball. Roll each ball in the extra sugar. Place dough balls at least 2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

5.  Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.


Friday, 1 February 2013

Crock-Pot Creations 4 - A Caramel experiment.....

Question:  How does sweetened condensed milk change when submerged into hot water for an extended period of time?

Hypothesis:  I percieve that the mixture will change molecularly (ok not so much) into a new and amazing substance called Caramel!

Procedure:  1.  Peel label off of a can of sweetened condensed milk.  2.  Place can of sweetened condensed milk into Crock Pot.  3.  Pour water over over can until submerged.  4.  Turn Crock-pot on to low setting. 4.  Cook 8 hours.  5.  Remove can from Crock-pot, place into fridge for at least 2 hours.  6.  Open can be amazed!


 I was unsure how this experiment would go....But in the true essence of must still try!  It was exciting as I peeled off the paper of the sweetened condensed milk and plopped it (yes that is a science term...) into my crock-pot full of water.  Set the baby to low and 8 hours later.....put the can with a bit of rust on it....(hmmmm) into the fridge to cool.

The next husband and I with bated anticipation opened the can and BEHOLD what did I see inside the can?   CARAMEL or in fancy terms....Dulce De Leche.  I gingerly put my finger into the can and taste tested.....yep it tasted caramelly!  Wahoo!!!!  My science experiment complete.

Conclusion:  The sweetened condensed milk when cooked in this manner produced a delicious topping for a plethera of desserts....We tried it with homemade ice-cream!