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Entries in brownies (11)

Monday
Jun242013

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

“To. Die. For.”

“I love this ice cream. I hope you never make it again. I want to eat the whole thing. Incredible!”

“Mmmmm. Mmmmmm!”

“Don’t bother dropping some off for me the next time you make this. I’ll just be waiting outside until you do.”

These are some of the comments I’ve gotten on this ice cream. The best part? It’s super simple to make and you can all make it right in your own homes, with no special ingredients. It’s also egg free.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

It’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and I’m in love with it. You can take her base recipe and go wild from there--you’re only limited by your imagination. I’ll be buying the book, as well. I already know I’ll be reading it cover to cover.

What’s different about these ice creams from Jeni Britton Bauer is that they’re thickened with corn starch. I know, right? Corn starch, a bit of cream cheese, and the usual cream, milk and sugar, and you have this magical concoction that, when churned in your ice cream maker, turn into the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream in the world. The corns starch helps to absorb and hold water, resulting in an ice cream that isn’t icy or gritty. It’s just perfect.

I had this ice cream, “The Darkest Ice Cream in the World,” bookmarked since last summer. I was browsing my bookmarks and decided it was finally time to give this a try--and I’m so happy that I did! My add-ins were chopped, smoked almonds and coarse sea salt. What a wonderful combination! The salt perfectly compliments the sweetness of the ice cream (which isn’t any sweeter than any other ice cream), and the almonds add nice crunch, chew and that element of “Hey, what’s that I’m tasting?”

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

So to make this cream, follow this recipe. Jeni likes to chill the heated ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, submerged in an ice bath. I opted to pour mine into a 2 quart container and chill it overnight because I couldn’t get to it right away. I also doubled the recipe to make 2 quarts because I have a larger ice cream maker.

While your ice cream is churning according to manufacturer's directions, measure out about 1-1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt, and chop about 3/4 cup of smoked almonds. When it’s finished churning, scoop some of the ice cream into a freezer safe container. Layer in some of the coarse salt and some of the chopped smoked almonds, than add another layer of ice cream, and keep going until you’ve added all of the salt, nuts and ice cream. Take a rubber spatula or large spoon and just kind of poke it around in the ice cream so the layers get all messed up and the stuff gets distributed. Freeze for at least four hours or overnight so it cures.

A note about the coarse sea salt. Don’t worry about where to find some. You can find it in nearly any grocery store right next to the other salts. I got this one for less than $2. The Smoked Almonds are from Blue Diamond.

I find that you don’t even need to let this sit out on the counter before scooping. It’s rich and scoopable, and ready to go. Stay tuned for more ice cream recipes based on this idea!

Oh, and this ice cream is fabulous on top of one of these Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies. Trust me. Heaven in a bowl.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

Friday
Dec072012

Whole Wheat Brownies you’ll actually love!

Decadent Whole Wheat Brownies

Who doesn’t love brownies? I guess there may be one or two of you out there. For the rest of you that do love them, keep reading. I’ve made them with finely stone-ground whole wheat pastry flour and your kids/family/friends are never going to tell the difference.

We all want to eat healthier, and I think the easiest way to do that is by making small changes that add up. Once you start making small changes, they have a way of snowballing. Before you know it, good things are happening all over the place!

Decadent Whole Wheat Brownies

This recipe is for Hodgson Mill’s “Have a Grain Holiday” recipe contest. The idea is to chuck the white four for a change and get that whole wheat in there. It’s  not as difficult as it seems. Last year, I did a Whole Wheat Whisky Gingerbread. My daughter still talks about that one--she loved it, whole wheat flour and all!

I’ve taken the white flour out of these brownies and brought in the whole wheat pastry flour as a replacement. Now, does this make these 100% healthy? No, of course not--they’re still brownies. And it’s the holidays, so we all indulge somewhat. The brownies, even with whole wheat flour, are so rich, dark and fudgy, that no one would ever guess the change that was made. Go ahead and try these, you won’t believe how decadent they are!

__________________________________________________________________________

Click here and enter to win one of 50 Baker’s Holiday Gift Packs, including whole wheat flours, baking mixes, and more from Hodgson Mill, valued at $85!

Added bonus: Click here to get a coupon for $1.00 off any 5 pound flour or cornmeal from Hodgson Mill!

__________________________________________________________________________

I also have $25 worth of assorted Hodgson Mill products to give away to one of you! Hodgson Mill uses grains that are of the highest grade, produced domestically wherever available, and purchased in the United States. They use only stoneground milling to ensure, unlike other mills, that their products contain the entire nutritional benefit of the grain. And Hodgson Mill has a commitment to solar and wind power at our mill and an award-winning recycling program.

How could you not love all of that? See below to enter!

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Decadent Whole Wheat Brownies

Decadent Whole Wheat Brownies

Makes a 9"x13" pan

This makes a lot--good for holiday parties, potlucks, etc. The mini chocolate chips I use are Ghirardelli, in a 10 oz bag. You're dividing it into 3 and 7 oz portions in this recipe. In case you’re wondering, these got big thumbs up all around.

To make the Christmas decorations, I simply used candy melts from the candy making section at any craft store. Melt them, pour into a zip top bag and snip a small corner off the bag. SMALL. Make your shapes on parchment paper or foil, and set aside to cool. I stuck them on the brownies using a simple ganache, and I'll include the recipe below. I free handed the decorations, as you can clearly tell, ha! They give the brownies a nice, old-school homey look. Yeah, that's what I'm going with! You can also just dust with a small amount of powdered sugar for that “snowed on” look.

3 (1-oz) squares of unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsp cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
3 tbsp canola oil
3 oz of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 tbsp espresso powder or instant coffee
1 tbsp Raspberry Liqueur, optional
5 eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp salt
7 oz (remaining chips from the bag) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9 x 13" pan with foil, and lightly grease the foil.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the unsweetened chocolate squares, cocoa and oil, the 3 oz of mini chips, the butter, the espresso powder or instant coffee, and raspberry liqueur, if using--and melt over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

While that's all melting, start the next step. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. This is where a stand mixer comes in handy, but a hand mixer will also do the job.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the mixing bowl, along with the flour and salt. Mix until just blended, and then stir in the remaining 7 oz of chocolate chips. Let the batter sit on the counter for 20 minutes before pouring into the greased pan. That's right, 20 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan on your work surface a few times to release air bubbles.

Bake for 25-27 minutes. The top should be shiny and the sides should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let them cool completely before cutting! To cut, lift them out of the pan using the edges of the foil. Cut into squares, decorate if you wish, and store in an airtight container.

Ganache Recipe

1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate
pinch of salt
1 tbsp raspberry liqueur, optional

Put the chocolate in a bowl, add the pinch of salt and liqueur, if using. Set aside.

Set the cream over low-medium heat in a small saucepan. Heat gently until small bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan. Don’t let it boil.

Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for 2-3 minutes, and then using a rubber spatula, gently stir the cream into the chocolate. Doing this gently prevents any air bubbles in the ganache.

To attach the decorations, put the ganache into a plastic zip top bag and seal. Snip off a tiny corner of the bag, and gently add a dollop of ganache to the center of each brownie. Set the decoration right on top of the ganache, and let them sit for a while to set up. Store any leftover ganache in the fridge, and then you can eat it with a spoon. That’s what I’m doing with it!

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To enter the giveaway for $25 of assorted Hodgson Mill products:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what kind of recipe you’d like to make with Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour. Use a valid email address so you can be reached.

Optional Entries:

2. Tweet about this giveaway and leave another comment here telling me that you did.

3. Share this on Facebook and again, leave another comment on this post letting me know.

I’ll choose a winner next Friday, December 14th. The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me or I’ll choose another name. Good luck!

Don’t forget to go and enter to win one of 50 Gift Packs full of assorted Hodgson Mill products!

 Decadent Whole Wheat Brownies



Monday
Apr162012

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

Summertime means lemonade and brownies!

Are they ultimate? Better than ultimate, even? I’m not sure, but in my house, they’re definitely better than ultimate. They’re dark, rich, and fudgy--with a hint of espresso and extra mini semi-sweet chips. Actually, they’re triple chocolate brownies, with unsweetened chocolate, dark cocoa, and mini chips. They also happen to be my new favorite. I’ve made them three times already, and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

These are the brownies that I used in my Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream from a couple weeks ago. I mentioned in the post that I’ve never made brownies like these before, as far as the preparation method. They’re still very simple, but there’s some extra time in there, for mixing--and a little waiting, too. But this is ok, because it gives you time to do other things while you’re waiting! Like dream of the brownies coming out of the oven. Or you stuffing your pie hole with them. We’ll look away, don’t worry.

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

So while looking for a brownie recipe to try a while ago, I looked through my bookmarks and found this one at Gourmeted.com. I imagine I’ve had it bookmarked since it was posted--in 2009! The poster, Dan, got the recipe from About.com, and he had to make some changes to suit what he had on hand. Turns out, I had to do the same thing. I didn’t have exactly the same ingredients that he had to work with, so I made up for that, and then some.

Lemonade and brownies are an old-timey summer classic!

Did you know that if you don’t have unsweetened chocolate, you can use three tablespoons of cocoa plus one tablespoon of oil? You can! Just mix them together and use the same way you’d use a melted one ounce square of unsweetened chocolate. I fall back on this trick all the time! Seems I’m always out of baking chocolate. In the case of these brownies, I had to do this because I only had a couple of squares on hand. And the cocoa, I feel, adds a deep richness to the batter, along with the espresso powder. Also, something happens when you add the mini chips to the warm batter before it sits for the twenty minutes. Some of them start to melt into the batter, which makes it even fudgier.

The second time I made them, I used regular sized chips and added them right before baking. They were still fantastic, but not as good as when I use the minis and add them while the batter is still warm. Plus! And this is a big plus--this recipe makes a 9 x 13 inch pan. Big deal? Yes! In a family of six people, an 8 inch square pan of anything doesn’t last very long. So I get double the amount for the same work. Bonus in my book!

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies

Makes a 9"x13" pan. Yay!

I use a 10 oz bag of Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips in these. You're going to divide it--3 oz melted with the other chocolate, cocoa and butter, and the remaining chips will be stirred into the batter.

3 (1-oz) squares of unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsp cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
3 tbsp canola oil
3 oz of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 tbsp espresso powder or instant coffee
5 eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
7 oz (remaining chips from the bag) mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9 x 13" pan with foil, and lightly grease the foil.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the unsweetened chocolate squares, cocoa and oil, the 3 oz of mini chips, the butter, and the espresso powder or instant coffee. Set aside.

While the chocolate things are doing their thing, get the next step going. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. While not necessary, a stand mixer would do beautifully here--you can do other things while it mixes for you.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the mixing bowl, along with the flour and salt. Mix until just blended, and them stir in the remaining 7 oz of chocolate chips. Let the batter sit on the counter for 20 minutes before pouring into the greased pan. YES. Twenty minutes. I don’t really know why, so don’t ask me--but trust me.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan on your work surface a few times to release air bubbles.

Bake for 27-30 minutes, and maybe even start checking after 25. The top should be shiny and the sides should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let them cool, then lift them out of the pan using the edges of the foil. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

  • Most of the prep time in this recipe is downtime for you. The ten minute mixing and the twenty minute wait time. The rest of the recipe is ridiculously simple, so don’t be scared off.
  • These will be your ultimate summertime brownies, with their fantastic texture and classic shiny tops. Bring them to the beach, cookouts, picnics, parties--you name it. Memorial Day and Independence Day are approaching--do you always get asked to bring a dessert? Bookmark these!
  • Make them for yourself, too! And if it seems like too many, give some away. But once you taste them, you may not want to. Freeze some. You know, for those emergencies when you need something chocolaty and cold. Warm it slightly in the microwave and have it with ice cream for a special treat!

Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies



Wednesday
Mar212012

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

A real mouthful, for sure! Not only to say, but to eat. Just the way I like my ice cream. I went with the Ben & Jerry’s let’s pack a lot of stuff in there so you get chunks in every bite method. I think that’s what I love the most about Ben and Jerry’s. They’re geniuses. This ice cream is a flavor packed mocha with extra dark cocoa and deep, rich coffee. I then added in brownie chunks and large pieces of English toffee that’s enrobed with milk chocolate and chopped pecans. Oh, yes, please!

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

So--what brought this ice cream on was that I was talking to Heather about Scoopapalooza. That’s our ice cream project that we dreamed up two summers ago. Summers full of scoops! This ice cream doesn’t quite follow the “local ingredient” guideline, but it’s still a fabulous scoop, so I’m going to have to add it. If any of you are interested in joining us for this summer’s Scoopapalooza, please, feel free! We’re super laid back about rules and stuff, so don’t worry--we won’t be breathing down your neck or looking over your shoulder. We’re too lazy (busy) for that!

We were talking about making ice cream and I was saying most of my ice cream ideas just didn’t gel last summer…and Heather reminded me that I had just baked fabulous brownies. This ice cream was the result of that conversation.

The brownies are my new favorite recipe. I don’t  have any left to photograph, but I’ll be making them again soon so I can post them here. I guarantee you’re going to want to try these right away. They’re made in a way I’ve never made brownies before, but will now always want to. The English toffee is from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any kind you like. Heath bars would be fine here!

Coffee! Let’s talk a bit about the coffee. I don’t drink instant coffee, but I do keep it on hand for baking. I usually keep espresso powder on hand, but someone finished that up, so while at Trader Joe’s, I grabbed their instant. One day when I had a headache and needed caffeine, Billy grabbed it and made me an iced coffee with it. Holy coffee, it’s fabulous! Like fresh brewed coffee! If you’ve been on the fence about picking some up, you shouldn't be! Even if you just keep it on hand for enhancing chocolate baked goods, you won’t be sorry. But just once, try drinking it. Seriously.

 

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Makes roughly one quart
Adapted from Ben and Jerry's

2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
1 cup milk
3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark was used here)
3 tbsp very good quality instant coffee, DIVIDED (mine is from Trader Joe's)
2 eggs (See note below)
1 1/4 cups brownie chunks (about 1/2 - 1 inch cubes)
1 1/4 cups toffee chunks (don't break them up too small!)

Start by cutting the brownies into chunks. Set aside, and then put the toffee in a quart sized Ziploc bag. Smash it up, but don't make the chunks too small. You want to have nice large pieces to make this a truly chunky ice cream. Place the toffee and brownie chunks in the freezer to chill while you work on the ice cream. (I won't hold it against you if you swipe a few of the chunks for yourself. Because you *know* I did.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa and 2 tbsp of the coffee. Make sure all of the sugar is dissolved before you proceed. Whisk the eggs in a smaller bowl until light yellow in color. Pour the eggs into the cream mixture and blend well.

Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions for freezing. Just as the ice cream is finishing up it's freezing thing, add the remaining 1 tbsp of coffee, and the brownie and toffee chunks. Let those mix in, and then transfer the ice cream to a container to finish freezing. In the freezer, of course. After you've had a few bites. Because it's the law--you have to.

  • NOTE: I recently had a comment calling me out for using raw eggs in ice cream. I have been using the same method that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book does, and that’s to use raw eggs. I use fresh eggs and don’t worry about it. Salmonella is found on the outside of the eggs, so wash them gently first if you like. I wouldn’t serve it to someone who was pregnant or had a compromised immune system. My kids eat these ice creams--and we’ve had no issues. If you’re worried about it, use an Egg Beater type product or pasteurized eggs. Or use a cooked base that you feel comfortable with.
  • This ice cream is everything you want in a chunky ice cream. It’s creamy and velvety, and absolutely loaded with chunks of brownies and toffee. For those times when you want serious chunks in every single bite.

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream



Wednesday
Jan042012

Top 11 for 2011

I won’t get too wordy here, the title is self explanatory. These are the top eleven posts from my blog for the past year, according to Google. Don’t be alarmed if some photos are marked earlier than 2011, it’s just that you guys still really like some of the older posts. That makes me happy!

Thanks for reading along! I’m looking forward to more fun and good food in 2012!

Counting down from 11 to #1…

 

11. Loaded Fries - Think Super Bowl food! These have grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, horseradish cheddar and other good things. 

Loaded Fries

10. It’s not a P-I-T-A to make Pita Bread - Easy, I’m serious. Pig out!

Homemade Pita Bread

9. S’mores Rice Krispies Treats - Makes both little and big kids seriously happy! Is it a Rice Krispie Treat? A S’more? It’s both, sandwiched together.

Rice-Krispies-Smores-Squares

8. Pistachio Praline Cherry Ice Cream - I could eat this every single day.

Pistachio Praline Cherry Ice Cream

7. Bananas Foster Cupcakes - I even flambéed bananas for these!

Bananas Foster Cupcakes

6. Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Wreath - It blew me away how popular this one was!

Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Wreath

5. Fresh Blueberry Pie - Bursting with fresh blueberry goodness. Most of the berries don’t get cooked, so it’s super fresh.

Fresh Blueberry Pie

4. Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Cookies - I cracked the code!

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Cookies

3. Holiday Elfin Shortbread Cookies - Customizable for any holiday.

Holiday Elfin Shortbread Cookies

2. Cosmic Brownies - Who loves Cosmic Brownies? Everyone, it seems!

Cosmic Brownies

1. Woodchuck Draft Cider Sorbet - The most popular post ever in the the history of this blog. Super simple and so refreshing!

Woodchuck Draft Cider Sorbet