Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

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Apparently, I’m mini-muffin pan obsessed this week.  But this recipe warranted it’s second use, nay, demanded it.  Three words people – Salted Caramel Brownie.  Oh yeah, you heard me.  I can’t think of a better combination.  Ooey, gooey salted caramel poured lovingly over a warm, fudgy brownie…it’s food porn at it’s best.  Did I mention I made my own homemade caramel for the first time as well?  Could this day get any better?!?  Why yes, it can.  I have brownies to eat!

salted caramel brownie bite

Check out this luscious bite-sized goodness.

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Recipe adapted from here

The Recipe (makes 20-22 yummy brownie bites):

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

Caramel sauce:

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Flaky sea salt

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray mini muffin cups with non stick baking spray.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl using a rubber spatula, mix together melted butter, sugar and salt. Once combined mix in your egg and vanilla extract. Add in cocoa powder and flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl just until all the ingredients have come together. Using a cookie scooper or tablespoon. Fill greased mini muffin cups about 3/4 of the way.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.
  5. Allow brownie bites to cool before removing from the muffin tin.
  6. While the brownies are cooling, make the caramel sauce.  Recipe from here.
    • Bring sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until sugar is a deep amber color, 5-8 minutes. Remove caramel from heat.
    • Add cream and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) and whisk to combine. Let cool slightly in pan.  Add a little more cream if the caramel appears too thick to pour.

    7.  Using a spoon, make a slight depression in the tops of the brownies and pour a small amount (or large amount depending on your mood…) over the brownies.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Sit back and enjoy the sweet chocolate ride…

Easy Baked Doughnut Nuggets (made in a mini-muffin pan, how clever!)

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Easy Baked Doughnut Nuggets (made in a mini-muffin pan, how clever!)

Ok, I won’t lie, if you’re expecting Krispy Kreme-type gooey fried doughnut goodness, you’ve come to the wrong recipe.  These are cake doughnuts.  But the good news is, they’re baked – so you don’t have to hide alone in a dark corner and consume them in total shame 🙂  The flavor is really tasty, and I love the slight crunch to the outside and light, fluffy texture inside.  And a nice bonus not to have to roll out dough and cut into circles.  The original recipe calls for a Cinnamon-Sugar dusting, but I couldn’t imagine a doughnut without a chocolate glaze – so I made some of both.  For science, you know?

baked doughnut nuggets

The Recipe (makes 30 doughnuts in a mini muffin pan):

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I cut mine to 1/4 teaspoon since I always feel nutmeg can be overpowering)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

2/3 cup milk

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Chocolate Glaze Topping:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if using a dark pan).  Grease or spray a mini-muffin pan.

2.  Place the flour, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

3.  Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

4.  Break the egg into the bowl and mix again until thoroughly incorporated.

5.  Add half the flour mixture and mix until smooth.  Add half the milk and mix again.

6.  Add the remaining flour and milk and mix again until smooth.

7.  Using a spoon, fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with batter.

8.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

9.  Remove from oven and transfer doughnuts to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.

10.  While the doughnuts are cooling, make the toppings.

For the Cinnamon Sugar: Place the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine.

For the Chocolate Glaze: Place the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.  Slowly add in the milk and whisk until smooth.  Add in the vanilla and whisk again.  Add a little more milk if the glaze seems too thick.

11.  When the doughnuts are cool, sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar and/or dip in the chocolate glaze.

Inspiration finds me in the strangest places

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Have I mentioned I’m in love with an inanimate object?  A camera, that is, don’t get all weird on me.  I find I look at things differently since I started practicing photography – everything is about composition, how colors relate to each other, the patterns simple objects make.  I needed a late afternoon pick-me-up one day and noticed that cream makes beautiful, billowy swirls in coffee when it’s first poured.  See what I mean?  Totally mundane, but somehow I found beauty in it – and was forced to photograph it 🙂

coffee creamer

Walnut Breakfast Bread with Honey Oatmeal Streusel

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Walnut Breakfast Bread with Honey Oatmeal Streusel

This bread is so good, drool worthy in fact.  Just a hint of sweetness, amazing texture from the walnuts and the oatmeal.  And the streusel is to die for – sweet, crunchy, nutty – you get where I’m going 🙂  Perfect on the go breakfast, or snack – or for that Mother’s Day Brunch you’re planning!  I can tell we’ll be making this a lot in our house.  Good luck trying to keep this around yours for long!

Walnut Breakfast bread with honey oatmeal streusel

Can’t you just taste that crunch?!? Yum, yum…

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bread:

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature.  Plus extra for buttering the pan.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup chopped walnuts

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 if using a dark pan)

2.  Make the honey oatmeal streusel.  Beat the honey and butter with a mixer until smooth.  Add the oatmeal, walnuts and cinnamon and mix on low speed until blended.  Set aside.

3.  Butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.

4.  Place the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to incorporate.  Set aside.

5.  In your mixer, place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.

6.  Break the egg into the butter mixture and beat until combined.

7.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth.  Add the milk and mix again.

8.  Add the walnuts into the batter and mix until they are distributed throughout the batter.

9.  Scrape the batter into the buttered loaf pan.  Sprinkle the streusel over top.

10.  Place in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (mine was honestly closer to 40 minutes).

11.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Tabbouleh

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Tabbouleh

I love Tabbouleh, never had the pleasure of making it from scratch though.  It has such a light, vibrant flavor combination – lemon, parsley, mint.  And super healthy to boot! Perfect, easy peasy side dish for some simple grilled chicken, or by itself with some warm pita.  Mmmm….  I was impressed with how super simple it was to put together too.

tabbouleh

The Recipe (makes 6 servings):

1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur wheat

1 cup cold water

1 ripe medium tomato

3 scallions

2 bunches fresh parsley sprigs

2 teaspoons dried mint (or fresh)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Crumbled Feta (optional)

The Process:

1.  Place bulgur wheat in a sauce pan with the water.  Cook per package (mine was bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes with the lid on).

2.  Rinse the tomato, seed and cut into small chunks.

3.  Finely chop the scallions (don’t forget to use some of the white!), parsley, and fresh mint (if you’re using).

4.  Remove the wheat from the saucepan when finished and place in a large bowl to cool.

5.  Once the bulgur wheat is cool, sprinkle the parsley, mint, tomato, and scallions over the wheat.  Add the oil, lemon juice, and salt and toss to combine.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for  at least 1 hour before serving.

6.  Sprinkle with feta right before serving.  And voila! Amazing, healthy side dish in no time!

Banana Coconut Scones

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In my newbie travels as a blogger, I’ve come across some really amazing blogs (and some not so amazing, but I digress…).  Edibles & Travels is one of my new faves (I envy the peaks on her muffins 😉 ), and she recently posted a recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins.  Had a nice Caribbean-sounding vibe, brought be back to my honeymoon…you get my drift.  So I thought, hey, I have coconut.  I have a borderline overly ripe banana that’s looking lonely!  And thus, these Banana Coconut Scones were born.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be sipping a Rum Punch, my toes in the sand, enjoying a scone – well maybe not really, but a girl can dream, right?!? 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

The Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (plus additional for garnish)

1 ripe banana, mashed

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2.  Place the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter disappears into the flour and it yellows a bit.

4.  Add the honey, milk, and egg to the flour mixture and stir until mixed well.  Add the coconut and mashed banana and mix again until all incorporated.

5.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Sprinkle with a little additional coconut, if desired.

6.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden on top.

7.  Remove the scones and place them on a cooling rack.  They are best when served warm and drizzled with a little honey.  Yum, yum 🙂

Honey Lemon Bars

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Honey Lemon Bars

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon when it comes to baking.  These are amazing, and super simple to put together.  The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.  A perfectly light, warm-weather dessert 🙂

honey lemon bars

 

The Recipe:

Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (my addition, but a little more lemon flavor never hurts in my opinion!!)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The Process:

1.  Heat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass or dark metal pans)

2.  To make the dough, place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until all the butter disappears and the dough starts to hold together a bit.

4.  Place the dough in an 8″x8″ baking pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.

5.  Place in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes to bake.

6.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the honey and lemon juice.  Whisk together until completely blended.  Add the flour and baking powder and whisk again until smooth.

7.  Remove crust from the oven and pour the lemon filling into the pan.

8.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The filling should not move when you slightly shake the pan.  If it does, place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

9.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow 10 minutes for cooling before cutting into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy the lemony goodness!