Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Double Chocolate Brownies w Pecans
If it’s not clear from the title of this post, I did not make any New Year’s resolutions regarding the limiting of desserts. And if I had, I would have fallen off the wagon this weekend.

These brownies are decadent and sweet and dangerously simple to make. I’m usually a little apprehensive when it comes to baking, with all the precise measurements and accurate baking times, but I have made these twice in the last week (one batch is for a friend, I promise!) and both times they came out perfect.

Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)
  • ½ semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Prepare a 8″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, add oil, sugar and eggs. Beat to combine. In another bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Place in oven for about 13 minutes or until brownies are starting to set, but are still uncooked. Remove from oven and quickly sprinkle chopped pecans and chocolate chips on top. Press toppings lightly into batter with a spoon.

Return to oven for about 8 additional minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms..
I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I like both separately just fine, but together, it’s something I can’t resist. So when I saw these Peanut Butter Blossoms on a cookie advent calendar, two thoughts came to mind:

Thought #1. Those look delicious and I would like to try making them.

Thought #2. I would also like to meet the ambitious baker who has actually completed a cookie advent calendar. Obviously we would bond instantly over our mutual love of holiday baked goods and I could even help test the recipes (everyone knows calories don’t count in December). It’s a win win for both parties.

So, if you know of someone who has completed a cookie advent calendar, please share. Until then, I’ll have to settle for testing recipes on my own.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • About 35 Hershey’s Kisses

Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 375 °F. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat to combine. Then add the egg and beat until completely combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Use your fingers or the back of spoon and lightly push down on each ball to flatten just a little bit and to form a small indentation for the Hershey’s Kiss.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Quickly place an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss in the middle of each cookie and place back in the oven. Bake for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before enjoying.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

After what seemed like a brief Indian summer, the weather has turned its attention to fall. The air is cool, the breeze is brisk, and swirling leaves fall off trees and crunch underfoot.  Scarves and boots have made their seasonal debut and Thanksgiving is just two weeks away.

One of my favorite fall activities is baking. I’m pretty sure that one of the best things in the world is the aroma that fills your home when you’re baking. And the cinnamon spiked scent from this spiced pumpkin bread is irresistible (say that five times fast).

Given this weekend’s forecast and something called the bomb cyclone, this bread will be best enjoyed with some warm chai while curled up on the couch with your thickest socks, coziest blanket, and a great book (or Netflix).

Pumpkin Spice Bread.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ⅓ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 °F and prepare your baking pan. I used two 8” x 4” loaf pans that I sprayed with cooking spray.

Place milk in a small saucepan on low heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and, using the unsharpened side of a knife, carefully scrape the seeds from the inside. Place the seeds and the scraped vanilla bean into the milk and stir. Keep the heat on low while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, stirring occasionally. This will allow the vanilla to infuse the milk. Allow milk to cool before using.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and all of the dry spices (salt cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) in a bowl.

In another bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat to incorporate. Then add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each egg is incorporated thoroughly. Beat in the pumpkin puree.

Next, add in the dry flour and spices to the pumpkin mixture in three additions, alternating with the cooled vanilla-infused milk.

Pour batter into your prepared pan(s), spreading evenly, and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow bread to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans.