Chocolate, comfort food Comments Off on Brownies
Jan 292011

I told my husband I would make him a treat this weekend – whatever he wanted. He requested brownies. I asked, “cream cheese brownies?” He said, “nope, plain brownies.” Alas, he likes to keep things simple. So I tried to make him plain simple brownies. But couldn’t help myself from dressing them up a bit. He consented to letting me frost them, and I threw in some chocolate chips without asking. Either way, these were easy to whip up and taste good still warm or cooled.

You will need:

1 cup butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 0z bittersweet chocolate
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Making it:

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 13×9 inch pan.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Stir until melted and remove from heat immediately – let cool for 5 minutes.

In stand mixer bowl, beat chocolate mixture, sugars, vanilla, and eggs on medium speed until well combined (about a minute). Scrape sides of bowl well (it gets sticky). Start mixer back on low and gradually add the flour and salt. Scrape sides again and then mix on medium until smooth, about another minute.

Spread batter in prepared pan (sprinkle with chocolate chips, if you like) and bake for 40-45 minutes.

What’s that you say? You want to frost it like I did? Well, here’s how you do it.

You will need:

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened, but not melty)
2 tsp vanilla
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3 to 4 tbsp milk

Making it:

In electric  mixer bowl, beat powdered sugar and butter until blended. Beat in vanilla and chocolate. Gradually beat in milk until frosting is smooth. I prefer a thinner frosting, so I use a lot of milk, but for thicker frosting, use less.

Most people suggest letting the brownies cool before frosting them, but I am impatient and went ahead and frosted immediately. This melted the frosting into the brownie, making the top all warm and chewy, plus, it gave the top a nifty swirly, almost marbled look that is kinda pretty. Do as you wish, though.

This is the same recipe I use for my cream cheese brownies, but without the frosting and with a little cream cheese dessert mixture blended in. I’ll share that recipe another day.

Also, just asked my husband for the verdict on the brownies, he said, “f@!*ing delicious!” Nuff said.

Quinn Caramels (aka Baltimore Caramel Fudge)

Chocolate, Family Recipe, Gluten Free Comments Off on Quinn Caramels (aka Baltimore Caramel Fudge)
Jan 072011

I never met my grandmother, but I have a few small connections to her. One of them is her fudge recipe, and I am proud to be using it to debut this new project. On paper, it’s pretty simple – just a few simple ingredients, melt, mix, and mold. However, in practice there are so many nuances to getting it justright that I will try to capture below. If done right, the end result will be sweet dark chocolate squares that are great snacks for parties. And as an added bonus, they are one of my few desserts that are gluten-free and still seriously delicious.

You’ll need:


9 inch pan, buttered (stick it in the fridge while the fudge cooks)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt


In  a medium saucepan, heat chocolate, sugar, and milk over medium to low heat. Stir continuously, about 20 minutes, as chocolate melts and boils. Boiling makes it crystallize, which makes it that lovely fudge consistency in the end. The continuous stirring keeps it from burning. As it’s bubbling, add a stick of butter to the mixture and stir continuously to incorporate it. At this point, lower the temp a little bit, but keep on stirring (you’ll have nice strong forearms by the end). The mixture will start to thicken and the sides will get a little crusty. The mixture will be thick enough when it’s roughly the consistency of pudding – you’ll want a fair amount of resistance as you stir. Once you’ve reached this stage, remove the pan from heat, add the vanilla and salt, and use a handmixer to beat on high until the mixture begins to stiffen (huh-huh, I said hand, beat, and stiffen).


Then pour into prepared pan.


Allow to cool about 15 minutes and cut into squares. Allow to fully cool and then serve.


Yum. Thanks, Grandma!

PS. If you don’t like super-dark chocolate, as a variation you can switch out 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate with 2 oz of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate.

PPS. Did you know I also <3 rocknroll? Or at least I did about a year and a half ago, and probably will again, soon.

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