Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chocolate Lovin'

If you're anything like me (and let's just hope you aren't), sometimes you just need chocolate. And you need it in a hurry. You don't want to mess around with making anything, so maybe you eat a small candy bar, pop a few chocolate chips in your mouth, or eat a spoonful of frosting (What? No one else does that? Awkwardddd).

Well, let me introduce to you the perfect mini dessert to fix your chocolate wants and needs. 3 ingredient brownies...what more could you ask for? Okay, there's a lot of things you could, but you shouldn't. Dip the brownies in a simple ganache and you, my friend, have the ideal snack. The best part is, you probably won't have to go grocery shopping! I know, right? You're welcome.

When I found this recipe the other day I knew I had to try it, and after I tried it I knew I had to share. Enjoy!

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Nutella Brownies
Recipe adapted from I'll Have What She's Having
  • 1/2 cup of Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons of flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix your Nutella with the egg, stirring until smooth. I used a fork for this part, just to whisk up the egg a bit before combining it with the Nutella. Add the flour, and stir until everything is incorporated. The consistency will be strange (at least, it was to me) so don't get worried. It's all good! Literally.

Grease a mini muffin tin and fill the cups about 3/4 full. I used a rounded 1/2 tablespoon, and that was perfect. Bake the brownies for about 10-12 minutes. The original recipe for the brownies calls for dusting them with sugar, but I went a different direction. A chocolate direction. I took the road less traveled, if you will. And it HAS made all the difference. Too much? Yeah, I figured.

Easy Chocolate Ganache
Proportions and recipe adjusted from the lovely Bakerella's recipe
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 oz chocolate chips
Bakerella's recipe calls for heating the butter and cream in a saucepan until just before the boiling stage. You can do that! Or if you're super anxious like me, you can microwave it for about 45 seconds. Just make sure you watch it so that it doesn't boil. Add in the chocolate chips and let it sit for a few seconds, then stir until everything is smooth and glossy and loveable. Dip your mini brownies into the ganache, twisting as you pull up so that the strings of ganache break. And there you go! You can eat immediately or let the ganache harden a little. Up to you. The choice is yours.

And there ya go! See? I told you it was easy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The only frosting recipe you'll ever need

This year, like it was for many others, was a whirlwind year for me. Constant changes and excitement, I feel like the best way to sum up my year comes in one word: transition.

I had to transition from the role of pupil to teacher during my semester of student teaching. That in and of itself was a learning experience in so many ways. I had to transition from college life to the "real world"--complete with all the excitement and disappointment that brings. Shifting from a girlfriend to a fiance, well, I couldn't have asked for a better transition!

And now, in 2011, I'm preparing for another year of transitions. New job, wedding planning, the actual wedding...and more things that I'm sure I just don't know of yet! And I can't wait.

I don't have many resolutions for this year, aside from just remembering the most important part of the wedding (my dress, duh. No, just keedinggg, the marriage!). But one that I plan on keeping is to blog more. For real this time.

So, in order to keep up with my resolution, I'll leave you with this, the only frosting recipe you'll ever need. Trust. Me. If you've never tried Swiss Meringue Buttercream (also referred to as SMBC on some blogs. I don't feel like I've gained to experience to use such acronyms) you must. You have to. Brave through whatever fears you have, and you won't regret it. I promise. It will sound weird, using egg whites and what not, but you just have to trust me. This frosting is so versatile. I've made caramel, chai spice, and peanut butter flavors! And I can't wait to try more.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This recipe is a combination of a million different recipes, but here's the basic recipe that I've found works best. I did, however, use this list of specific ways to improve the frosting. It really helps!
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks of salted butter, cut into pieces
  • any flavors you wish, to taste
Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl. If you have a stand mixer, go ahead and use that bowl. I don't like dirtying more dishes than necessary! Place the bowl over a pot/pan of boiling water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the egg whites constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture until white and glossy. This might take a while, about 3 minutes, but the key is that the mixture must be cool. Seriously, it has to be room temperature before adding the butter. Switch to the paddle attachment on your mixer, add your butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix on medium speed, making sure to mix well after each addition of butter (about 10 seconds). After adding all the butter, turn your mixer on the high setting, and let it go. It will take a while, it will look curdled and nasty, but just let it happen. At about 5 minutes, your frosting will begin to come together. After your frosting is complete, add your vanilla extract and whatever flavors you wish! Set the mixer on low, make sure it's all mixed up, and you're good to go! Frost cupcakes, cakes, spoons that you plan on licking later...what? You don't do that, too? I never said my resolution was to eat better. =) Enjoy!