Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Outrageous Brownies

How did I get so lucky - two Barefoot Blogger desert recipes in one month. If you like chocolate you should like this recipe. It is very rich and has a deep chocolate taste. I did leave out the nuts since my wife doesn't like them. I also cut the recipe in half and used a 13x9 pan. Who make a 13x18 pan of brownies??

The website shows this a being a dificult recipe. Well I am not really sure what makes it difficult. The only thing a little out of the ordinary is that you need to melt stuff in a double boiler - not too difficult and you could use the microwave for that step. I did have to double check to make sure I was making everything correctly since you have a big bowl of chocolate and add this little tiny bit of flour but it was correct. The trick with brownies is to cook them until they are just done and they will be nice and moist.

These came out excellent. The one complaint I did have was that the salt was a little much - I would cut that in half next time. I have seen that as a complaint on a lot of Barefoot Contessa recipes but with brownies it is a little hard to know how much to actually put in. Thanks to Eva at I'm Boring for this recipe - I'm always up for a desert recipe.

Outrageous Brownies
Makes 20 large brownies

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups diced walnut pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
  2. Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Lemon Cake

And now for this months second Mother's day post. Lemon cake was this months Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipe and it looked really good so I decided to try it out for a Mother's day desert. I can tell you one thing - don't make this if you don't like lemon. The cake has a lot of lemon zest and lemon juice in it. Then after the cake is cooked you brush it with a lemon sugar wash. I think the wash makes the cake extra moist too. To top it all off you pour a lemon glaze over the top.

I was a little concerned that not everyone would like lemon as much as I do but it wasn't a problem. Everyone cleaned their plate. Served with a few berries this was a very nice desert. Thanks (and congrats for winning this months BRC) to McKenzie of Kenzie's Kitchen for this months recipe.

Lemon Cake
Makes 2 loaves

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons - Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.
  2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture's until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter) 1 at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  3. Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  4. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.
  5. To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to use, defrost and glaze.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Backtracking: Herb Baked Eggs

Wow - a bunch of new things over at the Barefoot Bloggers this month. First it has been a year since the Barefoot Bloggers have been active and Tara did a wonderful roundup post of a lot of favorite recipes. Check it out here - I'm in there. Another new feature is backtracking. On occasion she is going to allow us to skip one of the monthly recipes and do any of the older recipes in its place. Well the first recipe for this month is for Tuna Salad. Thanks to Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails for the choice. The Tuna Salad looks fantastic but I know it is something that only I would be eating. It has basically raw tuna, wasabi, avocado, and all sorts of things Lara would not eat. Waaaay too much work for just me. I feel a little guilty for not making the tuna but I am going to have to use the new backtracking feature to make the Herb Baked Eggs.

One of the recipes featured in the roundup was the Herb Baked Eggs. It was the favorite of BMK over at Reservations not Required and she made it look fantastic. It was Mother's day this week so that seem like the perfect occasion to make a special breakfast.

The recipe was pretty simple. You need some oven-proof shallow dishes and the whole thing is made under the broiler. I think I would have to count the recipe as a success. My one complaint was that the eggs came out a little runny. That's not a problem for me but it is for my wife and a lot of other people. The eggs on the ends were starting to get hard yolks while the middle still had runny whites. I do see now that a lot of the comments mention the same issue. A combination of baking and broiling might be the solution or some comments say just to bake at 350 for 15 minutes. I will have to play around with that next time.

Other than the done-ness issue - these were wonderful. The fresh herbs and cheese made these smell and taste fantastic. I need to get more of an herb garden going since they are so expensive to buy when all you need is a half teaspoon.

It looks like the recipe was originally picked by Tara at Smells like Home. Thanks Tara for the pick and for all the hard work this past year - I have really enjoyed it.

Herb Baked Eggs
Serves 2

  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving
  1. Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
  2. Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)
  3. Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.