Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies

 

Sometimes you just need brownies.  Well, sometimes I need brownies.  Today I needed brownies.  I wanted something warm, gooey, fudgey, and over-the-top chocolatey.  So after a quick perusing of the interwebs, I found this recipe claiming to be the best brownies ever.  I had all the ingredients on hand (miraculously), and after a few minor tweaks to meet my personal craving, I give you Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies.   These brownies did the job and they did it well.

They are so very delightfully rich and moist and fudgey and everything you want in a brownie.  I love chocolate chips in brownies because, number 1, it’s like an extra shot of chocolate (which is never bad), and, number 2, it lends for a nice texture contrast.  You can leave them out, but you really are missing out.

What’s even better about these brownies?  This recipe makes a baby batch, so it has to be healthier than that pint of Ben & Jerry’s I was going to eat…

Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.  In a medium bowl, mix together oil, sugar and vanilla.  Beat in eggs.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares and serving.

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Rice Pudding

There are two stories I can tell you about this recipe.

First, this was the first recipe I searched for that led me to Simply Recipes, which is by far my favorite recipe website.  Seriously, every recipe I’ve tried has been amazing.

The second story leads to why I was searching for rice pudding recipes in the first place.  I am a “down in the dumps” eater.  When I’m having a bad day, all I want is something warm, comforting, and probably bad for me.

On your average, some-guy-at-work-told-me-I-sucked-today days, my go-to comfort food is those pull apart and bake yourself cookies.  At my old job, I ate a dozen every single night.

Today was not one of those days.  Today was the type of day where the house is a mess, there’s no food in the house so I have to go grocery shopping, I have nothing to cook for dinner, the animals are hungry and bored and won’t leave me alone, Barnes and Noble customer service sucks, here comes another monstrosity of a cold sore about to take over my lip, I spilled sweet and sour sauce all over the place, “Please, Samus, can you stop bringing frozen poop balls into the house because you think they are rocks!!!”, and I yelled so loudly at Zangief for jumping on me that he got scared and ran away… and then I felt like the worst dog mother in the world.

Today, was a serious “I need comfort food” day.  Rice pudding takes a little effort, but it’s totally worth it.  It is the ultimate comfort food.  It’s like giving yourself a hug from the inside.  Cheesy?  Yes… but true.  I like mine warm with raisins.

Rice Pudding
All credit is given to Simply Recipes


2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup uncooked short grain white rice
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins


To Make:
In a medium sized, heavy- bottomed saucepan, brink the milk, rice, and salt to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20- 25 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until well mixed.  Add a half cup of the hot rice mixture to the egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, vigorously whisking to incorporate.


Add egg mixture back into the saucepan of rice and milk and stir, on low heat, for 10 minutes or so, until thickened.  Be careful not to have the mixture come to a boil at this point.  Stir in the vanilla.  Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and cinnamon.


Serve warm or cold.

Chocolate Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

This weekend the Christmas season finally ended for me.  I took down my tree and put away the decorations.  However, I was still left with a box of candy canes and a pantry full of leftover chocolate chips that I did not want to let go to waste.  This recipe helped me put a small dent in my leftover fixings from Christmas baking, and will definitely be on the list of cookies to make for next year.

These cookies are deliciously fudgey, with just the right amount of refreshing peppermint.  They go great with a nice tall glass of milk.

Chocolate Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe posted at Simply Recipes

1 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 3/4 cup all- purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed candy canes

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugars together for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is well incorporated and light in color.  Add in the egg and extracts.  Beat until well incorporated.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well blended.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.  Add to the butter mixture slowly, beating at medium speed until everything is incorporated (do not overmix).  Fold in the white chocolate chips and candy cane pieces.  Take small spoonfuls of the dough and roll into 1 inch sized balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Gently flatten the balls with your hand.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cool flat surface to cool completely.

Yields 3-4 dozen cookies