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Super Bowl Brownies

Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Blog, Tutorials | 18 comments

Super Bowl Brownies

Super Bowl Brownies

Are you looking for that perfect dessert for your Super Bowl spread? Look no further. I will show you an easy way to turn a plain dessert into these super cute mini Super Bowl brownies.  I am a big fan of mini desserts; especially for parties and gatherings. Ever since I started my baking business, I love watching people at parties and functions. I promise I won’t stare long enough to make you feel uncomfortable.  Mini desserts fly off the table while often larger desserts sit untouched. The even funnier part is to watch a person pick up four mini desserts but they would never pick up one large brownie. It’s amazing the head games we play with ourselves. The other great aspect is the mini desserts can go a long way. One pan of these brownies yields twelve, 3×3 brownies, which doesn’t seem like much for a big party. But you can take those 12 brownies, split them into fourths and now you have 48 Super Bowl brownie bites.

Alright, let’s get started with these Super Bowl brownies. Since brownies can be quite the controversy, I thought I would leave it to your favorite recipe or the box you adore.  If you are using a box recipe, you will need to double it to fit in this size of pan.

Super Bowl Brownies

My favorite pan for baking brownies is Magic Line’s 9×12 inch pan. I love the fact that you get perfectly square edges. Feel free to use a 13×9 pan, you will just have some rounded edges and the measurements will be slightly off.  Grab a box of parchment paper and I will show you an easy way to remove your brownies from the pan.

Super Bowl Brownies

Line your pan with parchment paper. Make sure you have a large enough piece, so that the sides of the parchment paper come above the pan. This will help you remove the brownies easily so that you can cut them into squares. I don’t know about you, but trying to evenly cut brownies while they are still in the pan is impossible for me.

Super Bowl Brownies R3

Fold the parchment paper down on both sides and then on the end. Remove the parchment from the pan and cut out the square area where the corners would be.  This will help you fit the parchment back into the pan without any overlapping. Spray your pan with non stick spray and smooth down the parchment paper.

Super Bowl Brownies

Now let’s just imagine for a minute there are some lovely baked brownies in the pan above. Let the brownies cool completely. All you need to do is run a sharp knife down the edge that does not have parchment. Then use the top tab of parchment to remove the brownies from the pan. Place the brownies on a cutting board. Cut the brownies into 3×3″ squares.  Grab a large knife and a ruler. On the short side of the brownies, make a mark a three inches and at six inches. On the long side of the brownie pan make a mark at the 3, 6 and 9 inch mark.  Now that you have your hash marks, use the large knife to cut all the way across and down.  If brownie goo sticks to your knife wipe it off before cutting you next line.

Super Bowl Brownies

Once your brownies are evenly cut into twelve 3×3 inch squares then you can cut them into fourths. Place each of the mini Super Bowl brownies into cupcake liners. One pan of brownies yields 48 mini Super Bowl brownies.

 Super Bowl Brownies

While your brownies are cooking this is the perfect time to make your buttercream. Use your favorite recipe or you can use ours. To make the grass on the brownies you will need a Wilton Tip No. 233 used for making grass or Ateco No. 133.  If you don’t already own this type of tip they are super easy to find at most craft stores or baking shops in your area.  Hold the decorating bag 90° straight up; the tip should be 1/8 in. above surface as shown. Squeeze bag to form grass. Pull up and away when icing strand is long enough (about 1/2 inch) stop pressure and pull tip away. Grass will be neatly formed only if you stop squeezing before you pull tip away.

Butter Vanilla Buttercream

You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. organic shortening
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Lorann’s Butter Vanilla Extract or Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp. half and half

Directions:

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and salt for about 3 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and half and half. Once the mixture comes together, scrape down the bowl.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Scrape down the bowl again.  Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy. Mix with green gel food coloring.

Super Bowl Brownies

For the footballs, I used chocolate covered espresso beans. Nothing like jacking your guests up on caffeine for a hotly contested game. No. No.  No. The real reason I chose espresso beans is because you can lay them flat without them wobbling.

Super Bowl Brownies

Place the flat side of the espresso bean down on the work surface. Then take a pastry bag with semi-stiff royal icing and pipe the lines on the espresso beans. Set aside and let them dry. ** You don’t have to use royal icing, you could use white chocolate or buttercream. You could set aside a small amount of your buttercream from the recipe above before coloring and use it for the lines.

Super Bowl Brownies

Place your espresso bean footballs on your mini Super Bowl brownies and you are ready to go.

Enjoy!

 

Blended Conference for Food Bloggers

Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Blog, Cookies | 35 comments

Blended Conference for Food Bloggers

I am so excited for this coming Saturday. It is finally here. The Blended Conference for food bloggers in Arizona. Yep, that’s right, a bloggy conference right here in Phoenix.  I have always wanted to go to a bloggers conference but I have not been able to get away. Well, let me be a tad more honest, planes scare me.  Most of the time these conferences seem to be in far off places. I was so excited when Wendy from Around My Family Table and Shawn from I Wash…You Dry announced they were going to start a food bloggers conference locally.

Blended Conference

Heather Gill is the featured speaker at the Blended Conference this year. Heather is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I love her quote about capturing the beauty of food. ”I create and capture the beauty of food. I love the beauty and unusualness in nature and I love to show it in my work.” This is something I have aspired to do when creating the pictures of the baked goods I create.  I can not wait to learn from her on Saturday evening. The other great thing about conferences is swag. I have to say it’s a lot of fun to get free stuff. Speaking of free stuff, some lucky attendee is going to win our food lovers custom cookie set created especially for the Blended Conference.

Blended Conference

I want to say thank you to the talented Amber, from ANCHOR and VINE for giving me permission to use her amazing fun kitchen images.  While I adore the edible version, I needed a more permanent version to hang in my office. I can’t wait for my canvases to arrive. I think they are going to look perfect on my office wall.  After I ordered my prints, it hit me. These images would make the perfect cookie set for the Blended Conference. I am so “grateful” that Amber so graciously allowed me to use her images! I think this set is my favorite one that I have ever made.

Blended Conference

 My favorite thing to whip up in the kitchen is

CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

it’s smell is quite intoxicating.

Bonus: you get a wonderful arm workout

Blended Conference

 Spoons. hmmm. I go through about 20 of them a day.

I am known in my house has the spoon thief.

Do you go through a lot spoons too?

Blended Conference

Don’t you think this is a good motto?

Life can throw many curves at you throughout the day.

Learning to “roll with it” doesn’t come easily.

It takes self-discipline to not let stuff get to you.

You know the stuff I am talking about. The dumb little stuff.

But that dumb little stuff can become a mountain of irritation if you are not careful.

Blended Conference

Spices make everything taste better.

What are your favorite spices? Please leave a comment.

It’s amazing how much you can learn from others in the comments.

I love cinnamon. It adds a warm flavor to so many baked goods.

Blended Conference

Hot Stuff. Oh yes the infamous baking mitt.

Have you ever been busy in the kitchen and went to grab your goods out of the oven

WITHOUT THE MITT?

Oh yes. I have.

Blended Conference

Last but not least the beloved Kitchenaid mixer and the beautiful

apron that always looks lovely hanging in my kitchen.

Every girl wants one. We all have our favorite color.

Mine is Pistachio. I love her. Why? She is a hard worker.

Now the apron. I own quite a few of them. Some how they never

make it on my body.
I have ruined more shirts than I would like to admit.

What is the secret to making sure it gets on the body?

Are there any secrets?

Are you feeling a tad bit left out because you are not going to the Blended Conference? No Stress! They are whipping up something real tasty for 2014. Be prepared for a full 2 day conference open to all food bloggers Nationwide, located right here in sunny Arizona. Plump with luxury accommodations, classes, talented guest speakers, huge sponsors, hands on demonstrations, and so much more.

White Chocolate Pear Cookies

Posted by on Jan 11, 2013 in Blog, Cookies, Recipes | 8 comments

White Chocolate Pear Cookies

White Chocolate Pear Cookies

Pear cookies sounded like the perfect winter treat.  Did you know that pears are a winter fruit? I am a huge fan of creating recipes using ingredients that are currently in season.  I decided I wanted to create a recipe for pear cookies and incorporate other winter type ingredients. Compared to the height of summer, when strawberries, cherries, and melons are all in season, winter fruit can  feel somewhat boring. However a ripe pear is a gorgeous thing. I have shied away from pears in my baking but lately I have been intrigued by this heavy bottomed fruit!

Pear Cookies

I get quite a few questions about how I come up with my recipes. I thought I would show you the thought process I went through to create my pear cookies. It all starts with a pad of paper and a pen. I start jotting down ingredients that I think would pair well with one another. It looks a little bit like this:

Pear Cookies Brainstorming

  1. Pears. What kind of pears should I use? Bosch, Anjou, Bartlett?
  2. Should I marinate the pears? {I will give you one guess, before you scroll down of what I marinated them in?}
  3. Ginger. Fresh or ground?
  4. Cinnamon, yes of course cinnamon
  5. Which sugar should be more dominant in the recipe, white or brown? Should I use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar? White sugar will give a lighter flavor. More brown sugar will give a more caramel flavor.
  6. Should I add nuts? No. A lot of people are allergic these days. Hmmm, maybe I should brown the butter to give it a nutty flavor?

Are you starting to get the idea of how I created these pear cookies? Round 1:  I was going to do a ginger pear cookie but when I baked the cookie it looked rather uninspiring. That is when I decided to add in the Ghirardelli white chocolate.  Ghirardelli’s white chocolate has a very distinctive taste. It almost has caramel overtones to it.  Round 2: added white chocolate chips and decided to do a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar to white sugar.  I wanted to give the cookie a more caramel flavor. Cookie version number two looked exactly how I wanted the cookie to look. But these pear cookies tasted totally different from what I expected. It was really good but way too much of a caramel flavor. It totally overwhelmed the pears. Moving on to Round 3.

White Chocolate Pear Cookies {Recipe}

  • 2 1/4 cups of unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, browned and cooled
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 1 bosc pear, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. Praline Liqueur (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Recipe yields about 24 cookies.  Dice your pear into fine pieces. Place in a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup. Add the Praline Liqueur and cinnamon to the pears. Mix gently with a spoon until all the pears are covered. Set aside. Remember the Praline is optional. If you are not able to find it in your area the cookies will still be wonderful without it. I like adding the Praline liqueur because it is like a caramel extract.

Pear Cookies Marinade

While the pear mixture is marinating, take your unsalted butter out of the fridge.  Measure out 12 tablespoons of unslated butter. Cut the butter into small squares and place in a sauce pan. Begin to brown your butter over medium heat. If you have never made brown butter before pop over to How Sweet It is for step by step instructions.  Once you make brown butter you will be hooked. Now what to do if you get hooked on brown butter. Stop number one: go to Anita’s blog, at Sweet Hope Cookies for another amazing recipe using brown butter.  Once the butter has been properly browned place in a bowl and put it back in the fridge so that it can cool and solidify.

Pear Cookies

If only you could smell the browned butter through the screen?

Whisk flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Once the butter has cooled and become solid again place in a mixing bowl and cream the sugars until blended. About 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Add in dry ingredients in two different parts. Scrape down the bowl between additions. Carefully stir in the white chocolate chips. Then lastly stir in the pear mixture.

Place dough in a large bowl and let it sit for at least 2 hours. I like to let my cookie dough sit over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab two cookie sheets and line them with silicon baking mats or parchment paper. Use a medium-sized cookie scoop and place the dough on the cookie sheet.  I like to give my cookies plenty of room, so I only place cookies on one sheet. Use the palm of your hand to lightly press down the dough so that it makes a small disc.  Bake for 14-15 minutes depending on your oven.  Edges will be lightly browned.

Pear Cookies