Fudgy Chocolate Baked Brownies

Dear chocolate,
I love you, and I miss you so much. These past 12 hours without you have made me completely aware that you are the one for me. My knight in shining armor. My saviour.

*Sigh*

Today is going to be a strictly chocolate day. I’m going to put chocolate spread on my toast, chocolate chips in my pancakes, and drink hot chocolate with dinner. Mmm. I’m also going to devote all my time and love into baking something that has always been close to my heart: Brownies. Fudgy, chewy, and rich chocolate brownies..

Brownies are a classic, and there are few things better than a pan of warm brownies 15 minutes out of the oven.  With their  slightly crackled top and perfectly chewy chocolate center, brownies are a simple pleasure. I am about to indulge. Join me?

This recipe was modified from In the Wabe.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.

2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.

4. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (approx 35 to 40 minutes). Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.

Pass the milk please!

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Energy-Packed Granola Bars

Guess what? I’m going skiing today! Not downhill, or mogul jumping or anything like that, but wholesome cross-country skiing. Excited? I am! It’s just like any other day though. Why? It’s morning, and I’m about to bake. No surprise. The difference with today is that I need to bake something that I can have to snack on while skiing. So, what better than energy-packed granola bars?

Granola bars are great because you can cater them to your own wants and needs. Like cranberries, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and almonds. Or how about peanut butter, cashews, and chocolate? Or coconut, golden raisons, honey and sesame seeds? Holy variety! I’m a vegetarian, and because of this my cupboards are FILLED to the brim with various nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit…the perfect ingredients for granola bars! Today I’m going to go with oats, nuts, seeds, honey and dried fruit.

You’ll never buy granola bars again. These are preservative free, and full of ingredients that you KNOW. Heck, you’re going to make them, so pack them full with ingredients you like!

This recipe was adapted from the Golden Book of Baking.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup of nuts (I used a mix of roasted redskin peanuts, cashews, and roasted almonds)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of sultana raisins, dried cranberries, and dried papaya)
1/2 cup seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds and raw hulled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F, and butter an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter with the honey and raw sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely.


3. Remove from heat and stir in the oats, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just golden.
5. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Sugared Almonds

Ever get a craving for something sweet, but don’t want to stuff your face with chocolate bars? Me neither..no, I’m kidding I do. Late at night when I’m craving something sweet I try to snack on something healthy. My personal favorite? Sugared almonds. They are easy and quick to make, and always jolt me with the little boost I need. They’re filling too!

These almonds are also great on a salad! So make a triple batch, eat 2/3’s of it, and throw the rest on some yummy greens.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp water
3/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water together over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add slivered almonds and stir to coat. Continue to cook until sugar and almonds turn golden.
3. Remove from heat and place almonds on a piece of aluminum foil that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Good Old Fashioned Rice Krispie Squares

When someone says “ooey-gooey” I think of two things. (1) A warm, half-baked brownie (oh my there’s drool everywhere..) and (2) melted marshmallow goodness. Marshmallows are underrated. Sometimes I feel like the food blog community gets too caught up with making daring recipes, that they forget about the simple stuff. Like Mom’s good old rice krispie squares that you used to sell at bakesales, or eat warm right from the pot. So mom, this blog’s for you and your yummy, simple, mouth-watering rice krispie squares. Thanks.

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
1 pkg (250g) mini marshmellows
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups rice krispies

Directions:
1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.


2. Stir in vanilla. Stir in rice krispies cereal until well coated.
3. Using lightly buttered spatula, press into buttered 13 x 9″ pan.
4. Allow mixture to cool. Cut into bars. Best if served same day

As I said – simple, and delicious. Love you mom.

Sexy Red Velvet

Whoaaaa cupcakes! Cupcake fever is NOT over yet. You’d think it would be considering the Olympic Cupcakes I just decorated the crap out of. But no. Nothing says “I love you” like a moist, tasty, red velvet cupcake. Decorated to a tee I might add.

Cupcakes are great because they’re a way to express how you feel about a subject simply by decorating it out. By looking at my designs you can see some of the fun colours, and sayings that remind me of Valentines day.

I must say that I haven’t always been a fan of Valentines day. Of course I liked the seasonal chocolates that came out, but “single Katrina” found this day kind of depressing. Eventually though, I started spending this lovey-dovey day with my girlfriends, and found it rather enjoyable. So whether you’re hitched, dating, or single, mix up some yummy Valentines day treats and share them with your loved ones. Heck, make the treats together!! It’s a blast and will surely be a day to remember. It doesn’t have to be the actual 14th either. I celebrated my Valentines day on the 11th, because the 14th is going to be too busy. But it’s not the DAY that matters, it’s the person/people you spend the day with that do :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes
This Red Velvet cupcake recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker, and yields 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red gel food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Directions:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets colour.

3. Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

4. Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

5. Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

6. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting with buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cream

Directions:
1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
4. Use lots of food colouring to tint your frosting the colour of your choice!

Chunky Chocolate Banana Bread

Ohhh banana bread how I love you. I love your warm, moist centre. I love the chocolate in you, and I love you covered in butter…

…back to reality. Hi! I love banana bread. I love chocolate. I love chocolate FILLED banana bread. Remember Bananas in Pyjamas? I hated that show, but I always thought it would be interesting to mash those singing bananas up and put them in bread. Then they wouldn’t be so annoying!

I also like banana muffins, but for whatever reason, they don’t give me the same satisfaction. Maybe it’s because they don’t slice like the loaf does, or perhaps it’s just because eating a whole LOAF to yourself doesn’t sound as bad as eating 12 muffins…you decide.

The following recipe is something I’ve made 100 times. In fact, I love it so much that I bought bananas specifically to let them ripen. And boy do I hate waiting. You see, the bananas must be well ripened for this bread. That way, their natural sugars can help boost the sweetness AND further moisten the chocolatey goodness.

The best thing about this bread is its moist centre. The sour cream gives the bread an absolutely perfect texture, and  the cinnamon helps balance the rich chocolate.

This recipe has been modified from the Bite me cookbook, and it’s awesome. Sooooo, squash up those bananas, chop up some chocolate, and grab the butter!

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 squares of chopped semi-sweet bakers chocolate

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and coat two loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed until blended.
3. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chunks just until moistened and the flour has disappeared. Spoon batter into prepared pans.


4. Bake for about 70 minutes, until lightly browned on top and cooked through.
5. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Each loaf should yield 8 slices. Enjoy with loads of butter!

Double that chocolate chunk…cookie


Eventually, you’ll begin to notice that I love baking cookies. Why? Because when you don’t have anyone to bake for they are a nice small snack, and they freeze really well if you want to save some for later.

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. They’re filled with butter, and feel so great on the taste buds. So I thought, why not make these bad boys better and put extra chocolate into that batter, add some chocolate chunks with the chips, and add some white chocolate? Sounds good to me, and I followed through. No regrets.

I try to eat my breakfast early everyday for one reason – so I can eat chocolate right after, and not feel guilty about it. I love chocolate. Sometimes, a little too much. These chewy, double chocolate, dream cookies are amazing in every way. There are a few white chocolate chunks mixed in with the semi-sweet chocolate to balance the cookie’s richness.

You’ll notice that my recipe calls for chocolate “chips”. I wrote it out like this so that it would be easy to do the measurements. I chopped up some semisweet bakers chocolate as well as white chocolate blocks to add to the look of the cookie, but chips definitely still do the trick. Umm..pass the milk!

These double chocolate chunk cookies are an original recipe :)

Ingredients:
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips over low heat, stirring until melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature; do not allow the chocolate to become firm.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and melted chocolate until fluffy.

4. Stir in the flour mixture until combined, then stir in the remaining chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.

5. Scoop out the dough by tablespoonfuls, and drop 2 to 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until set (centre will appear soft and moist). Cool for 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheet, and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Chewy n’ Thick Ginger Drops

It’s taken me a long, and very sticky road to become a ginger molasses cookie pro, and it’s because they are my favorite (yes, even more than the ultimate chocolate chip). So far, and surprisingly, the master of these cookies has been Starbucks. Really? YES really! Check them out if you don’t have time to make them yourself. They’re big, they’re soft, and they’re D-licious!

I’ve tried every possible recipe for these cookies and have found a few (more to come) that are similar in taste, but rather different in texture. Cool eh? This recipe in particular is extremely soft, and chewy like a brownie. Uhh…YUM!

My tummy thanks me for trying, and tasting all of these phenomenal recipes, and your tummy will surely be happy as well.

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot milk
extra white sugar (for topping)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and lightly grease baking sheets. Set aside.

2. In the following order combine (with your hands) flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, molasses, butter and egg in a large bowl.

3. Stir the baking soda into the hot milk and add to the flour mixture. Beat until well combined.

4. Scoop out the dough by tablespoons about two inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Add white sugar on the top for garnish.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until dry but still soft. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sometimes I have this problem with allowing the cookies to cool completely. I mean, how can I expect myself to just let the cookies cool when they’re begging me to eat them?