A too-rich baked bite: Snickers candy brownie bites


I saw a recipe somewhere for brownie bites filled with mini Snickers bars. Mini Snickers (the perfect little squares), as sold in the US, are not available here, so I just cut the mini bars into pieces, without thinking that the melting would cause the final product to stick to the bottom of the mini cupcake pans. I got around this by sticking the pans in the freezer after I could not pry the brownie bites out of the pan intact.

I don’t think I will try this again.


4 ounces (about 115 grams) unsweetened chocolate bars; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Square miniature Snickers; frozen for at least 1 hour

If desired, you can also use a caramel topping (I didn’t):
15 individually wrapped caramel candies
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350F/175C degrees. Lightly spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. You could also grease and flour the wells much as you would for a traditional cake.

Microwave chocolate and butter in a large, microwave-safe bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted. (You could also do this over a double boiler.) Stir until chocolate is melted.

Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour; stir until just combined.

Spoon about 2 teaspoons of brownie batter into each well in the muffin tin. Place a mini Snickers into the center of each and press gently into the batter. Bake brownies in preheated oven for 9-10 minutes, the edges will look set and the middle will not look completely baked. Do not over bake.

Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Remove the brownie bites from the pan (this was challenging without putting the whole pan into the freezer) and prepare the caramel sauce.

Caramel sauce: To make the caramel sauce, place the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments until the caramels begin to melt; stir frequently. Continue warming and stirring the caramels until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Place a few peanuts into the center of each brownie bite and drizzle the caramel sauce over the peanuts.

Raffaello-candy-stuffed cupcakes


The candy of Ferrero (most recently, the coconutty Raffaello candies) makes me think fondly of one of my best friends back in Iceland, an Italian woman who has routinely brought Ferrero candies into our lives. In my case, being the coffee fiend that I am, she introduced the inimitable Pocket Coffee, which features a chocolate housing for a liquid espresso inside. Brilliant.

While Pocket Coffee is not available here in Sweden, Raffaello is everywhere. Taking inspiration from the blog Bake It in a Cake (check out the new book based on these concepts, Bake it in a Cupcake), I decided to pop some Raffaello candy into a basic vanilla cupcake and then frost with a vanilla bean Swiss buttercream icing topped with coconut.

How to do it?

First make the vanilla cupcakes:

Vanilla cupcakes
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups milk

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and milk in alternating turns with the mixer on low. Beat mixture just until combined/smooth.

Fill cupcake liners in your cupcake pan with about one heaping tablespoon of batter. Drop an unwrapped Raffaello candy in and gently press it into the batter. Put another heaping tablespoon on top of the candy to cover it. It does not matter if the candy is completely covered because you will be frosting the cupcake.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes until the cupcakes have begun to turn a light golden brown and the cupcake top springs back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool (ten minutes) before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (liquid)
Some vanilla bean powder or vanilla beans scraped from one vanilla pod

Mix the egg white and the sugar over a double boiler. The sugar should be completely dissolved when you remove it from heat. Pour the mixture into a large bowl (preferably the mixing bowl of a stand mixer — Swiss meringue is mixing intensive, so a stand mixer works best). Whisk on high speed until stiff but still wet peaks form. Continue to beat for about five or six minutes after these peaks form.

Switch to the paddle attachment and turn the speed to medium low. Add the butter in one or two tablespoons at a time. The mixture might start to look lumpy and curdled. Don’t worry. Keep mixing. When things start to come together, beat in the peppermint extract and keep beating for another two minutes. It might take some time to get to the right texture. You will know when it comes together in a solid, fluffy, frosting-like consistency.

I sprinkled on some coconut on the batch I took to work; I sprinkled on some toasted coconut on the batch I offered my friends for Thanksgiving. They are good on their own or with either type of coconut.

the price of pumpkin


Never mind the questionable availability of canned pumpkin, let’s focus for a moment on the wild variations in pumpkin prices depending on where you get it.

A regular 15-ounce can of the stuff will probably cost about 2 USD. In Sweden, if I can find it (usually in the “American section” of the grocery store, the same can is priced at 35 SEK (about 5 USD). It is next to impossible to find in Norway, but I found some the other day priced at an unbelievable and outrageous 59.something NOK (almost 11 USD).

Two flavors that go together: Chocolate and peanut butter bundt cake


Even people who claim not to like peanut butter can sometimes get behind a cake like this. The peanut butter’s intensity is softened by its being whipped with cream cheese and vanilla, and it takes on a soft cake-like texture once baked inside a very moist, dense and dark chocolate exterior.

Last week I made three of these cakes to take to the office and followed up with one more for one of my Thanksgiving guests. I finally managed to take some new pictures to supersede the ones I took years ago when I first attempted this cake – find the chocolate peanut butter bundt cake recipe by clicking the link.