random brownies

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Putting together a bunch of wee packages of gifts and homemade candy and stuff, I find that I still have a bunch of baking-related ingredients on hand and want to rid myself of them. First I had the urge to make cinnamon rolls for the first time in about eight years (underway); I was in the midst of making candy for the first time since probably 2001 (?). Then I thought I should use some other stuff and made a random batch of brownies – no clue how they have turned out or how they taste since I don’t eat this stuff… this is why I work. Not for professional pride or a paycheck… but to feed fellow workers with sugar. Haha. Not really, but yeah, when I have taste tasters, I am always more willing and inspired to make things to test.

Meanwhile my house is heavily fragrant with cinnamon and vanilla. My hands, even after washing them a million times, carry the faint aroma of vanilla caramel.

Try your hand at brownies:

1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 175C/350F

Mix melted butter and the two sugars.

Add in eggs, one at a time.

Add vegetable oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then add them to the wet mix in a few intervals. Don’t overstir.

Bake in a greased 8″x 8″ square pan for 25-30 minutes. I also added in some holiday red and green chocolate chips I had on hand. You can add nuts or sprinkles or chocolate chips or whatever strikes your fancy. Obviously – they’re your brownies.

Experimental gluten-free brownies

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My gluten-free baking efforts are a bit hit or miss, but it does not stop me from trying. Up today – gluten-free brownies made with coconut flour. I am skeptical but I guess on Tuesday when I feed these to people, I will find out for sure.

Gluten-free, paleo brownies

Gluten-free, paleo brownies

Here’s what to do for your own gluten-free coconut flour brownies:
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 300F/150C; grease a small square glass baking dish.
  2. Mix together all ingredients. I beat the eggs a bit first, added the butter and vanilla and then added the other ingredients and ended up with a thick, paste-like batter
  3. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Cool for 30 minutes before cutting or removing from the pan. Cut, serve (or store for up to a few days in an airtight container).

A too-rich baked bite: Snickers candy brownie bites

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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.

Brownies

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.

everything eventually passes – baking log on the last day of january

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