brownie

All posts tagged brownie

The Beauty or The Beast: dainty tarts vs. spooky brownies

Published December 9, 2013 by The Feminist

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These two baking extravaganzas couldn’t be more different from one another. One is savory, the other is sweet. One is light, the other is rich and heavy. One is a beauty, the other is a beast.

If you love baking as much as I do, there is one rule you will always have to stick to: flavour. Flavour is the key to producing good food (and on a more melancholic note: the key to a happy soul), because no matter how pretty a dish might look, it will always be the flavour that leaves a lasting impression.

These two dishes are both absolutely delicious! They are packed full of flavour, blend together the most amazing aromas and are a wonderful experience in terms of texture  and stickiness.

Their outer look on the other hand… well… that’s a different story. The fresh fig and camembert tart looks refined, pretty and feminine. The pumpkin cheesecake brownies look butchy , sloppy and masculine.

Which recipe you decide on replicating is entirely up to you, but just remember that they are each so magnificently scrumptious I would consider it a sin if you didn’t give both dishes a go. (Just sayin’)

Fresh fig and camembert Tart

This is the perfect savory tart in every possible way. The pastry is crispy and light…The rich and salty depth of the camembert is in perfect harmony with the sweet and soothing figs… The crunch of the walnut and the aroma of the honey compliments the fragrant notes of thyme so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes…

PS: if this tart does indeed produce a waterfall of tears, I have one quick message: Get a grip, tart-loving people! (And eat it before it gets cold!  😉

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Puff pastry
  • 4 fresh figs, cut into approx. 0,5 cm slices
  • Camembert, cut into thin slices
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 walnuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Cut out a circle out of your puff pastry. (A big one if you’re starving, or smaller ones if you would like to turn this dish into an appetizer)
  3. Prick the dough all over with a fork and layer the figs and camembert on the pastry but leaving about 1cm space along the edge.
  4. Gently fold over the edges to make sure the filling doesn’t leak out whilst in the oven.
  5. Drizzle over the honey and sprinkle on the thyme and crushed walnuts. Transfer the tart onto your baking tray.
  6. Bake into the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Pumpkin cheesecake brownies

These ugly goodies are devilishly delicious! I made them when my BFF and I were holding a Harry Potter movie marathon ( please don’t judge me!) and we needed a wizardly dessert to create the perfect magical ending to a wonderful evening. These brownies certainly did the trick! The flavour of this spooky brownie is so rich and intense, I can guarantee that after treating yourself to a large slice, you will have no problem whatsoever annihilating some creepy dementors or Death Eaters.

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Ingredients

For the pumpkin puree:

  • One butternut, cut into small chunks
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp honey

For the brownie:

  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 100gr butter
  • 120gr caster sugar
  • 55gr plain flour
  • 2 eggs

For the pumpkin cheesecake:

  • 250gr pumpkin puree
  • 200gr cream cheese
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Make the pumpkin puree by cooking the pumpkin in hot water. Drain and mix with the spices and honey until you get a smooth paste. Leave to cool. (Preferably overnight)
  3. Make the brownie. Melt the chocolate au bain marie. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated. Gently stir through the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour ¾ of the brownie batter in your tin and spread out evenly. Set aside the leftover batter.
  5. Make the cheesecakes mixture by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour the batter on top of the brownie. Now drop dollops of the leftover brownie batter into the cheesecake to create a cow/marble effect.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Blissful Baking: Cheesecake Brownie with Berry Mousse

Published November 16, 2013 by The Feminist

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Two classic desserts melted into a one-in-a-million flavour bomb.

That’s how I would describe this splendid recipe for comforting goodness. Add to that a wobbling layer of boozy and creamy berry mousse and you would almost start to think you’ve died and gone to heaven. A foodie heaven. Populated with Nigella- lookalike angels who keep conjuring up the most luscious desserts the Almighty Sky has to offer. A heaven where everyone is allowed to eat the entire cake -because calories no longer count when you’re dead- and where there is always a bowl of leftover batter for you to dip your finger in.

It is hard to remain grounded when you’ve just baked something as extraordinary as this. The depth and richness of the fudgy brownie forms a blissful and romantic union with the zingy and smooth cheesecake. And the sharpness of the berry mousse coats both individually outstanding layers in a veil of unprecedented aromatic balance.

No matter how you twist or turn, there aren’t enough poetic verses on this planet to describe this insanely scrumptious brownie. So I will leave it at that and give you a couple more pictures instead. Let the pictures do the talking.

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Ingredients:
This recipe is based on a Hummingbird Bakery Classic, but -as usual- I couldn’t help myself and changed some stuff to make everything more me. 😉

For the brownie:
• 150gr dark chocolate
• 75gr plain flour
• 2 eggs
• 175gr caster sugar
• 150gr butter

For the cheesecake:
• 300gr cream cheese
• 2tbsp whipping cream
• 100gr caster sugar
• 1 egg

For the Berry mousse:
• 2 leaves of gelatin
• 100gr blueberries
• 125gr raspberries
• 4tbsp cassis liqueur
• 150ml whipping cream
• 3 tsp icing sugar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a spring form tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie: Melt the dark chocolate au bain marie. Whisk the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour and gently fold in the melted chocolate. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking tin.
3. For the cheesecake: mix all the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated. Pour the mixture on top of the brownie.
4. Bake into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
5. Beat the cream together with the icing sugar until you get stiff peaks. Put the berries in an electric mixer and mix to get a lovely coulis. Sieve the coulis so you’re left with a smooth and glossy red sauce. Stir the coulis through the whipped cream. Gently heat the cassis liqueur and add the soaked gelatin leaves. Let the leaves dissolve in the liqueur. Add the mixture to the whipped cream and pour the berry mousse on top of your cold cheesecake brownie. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Pssst, wanna hear a little secret: these are the best brownies in the World… and they are fat-free!

Published August 1, 2013 by The Feminist

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You’re not dreaming, I promise.

Go ahead, pinch yourself.

See? This is not a dream but a beautiful reality. I’m usually reluctant to state that a recipe is deserving of the “simply the best”-stamp, let alone shout its superiority from the rooftops, so when I say these brownies are the best, I truly truly truly mean it.

And what could be better than the best brownies on the planet? Oh wait! The best fat-free brownies, maybe?

These scrumptious, moist and fudgy brownies are totally fat- and gluten-free: No butter. No oil. No flour. Just perfection.

And perfection in this case comes in the form of an avocado. Yes, I’m not joking, an avocado. Instead of the usual butter ( which turns a regular brownie into one of the deadliest desserts to be ever created) I used the equally unctuous, creamy and rich –but far more healthy- alternative: our good friend the avocado.

ganze und halbe avocado isoliert auf weiss

I know that there are a lot of people out there who hate avocados. They think it’s gross and they would start squealing like a little pig who got stuck with his tail under the wheels of a tractor, as soon as they spot an avocado in the supermarket. To those people I say: Fear not, avocado pussies! Because you cannot – I repeat- you cannot taste the avocado in these brownies at all.

That’s the beauty of this recipe. A lot of healthy alternatives to world famous desserts range between “meh” and “that’s doable if you’re really hungry” on the dessert appreciation scale, and they can never ever reach up to the traditional all-butter-and-sugar version of the dessert. But this recipe? This is it! It makes all other brownie recipes superfluous. I’m never going back to the butter-brownie ever again! Okay, this recipe still contains sugar, but it has no flour and no fat, which in my book means guilt-free scoffing as much as you like!

Before I forget, I made this recipe even more special by sprinkling some coarse sea salt and a pinch of chilli powder over the top before I put the brownies in the oven. This added yet another dimension to an already brilliant brownie.

Ps: the food snobs among you will of course know that an avocado indeed contains fat, but in contrast to butter (i.e. saturated fat), these fats are heart healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help speed up your metabolic rate. Oh and by the way, it also contains lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3. Case closed, I’d say?

Gluten-free avocado brownies

Ingredients (makes 8 brownies)

• 75 gr dark chocolate
• 85gr avocado, mashed
• 50gr ground almonds
• 125gr caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 tsp cocoa powder

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a muffin tin with good quality olive oil.
2. Beat together the sugar and eggs until you get a pale and fluffy batter.
3. Melt the chocolate au bain marie.
4. Add the ground almonds and cocoa powder to the egg mixture and gently fold it in.
5. Stir in the melted chocolate and finely add the mashed advocado.
6. Stir well until all the ingredients are incorporated.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and fill them almost all the way up to the rim (the brownies will rise a bit but will then fall back again(remember: it’s a brownie not a cupcake. It’s supposed to remain flat and dense)
8. (optional) sprinkle some coarse sea salt and chilli powder over each brownie and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
9. Let them cool completely before removing them from the tin.

Proper Blokes’ Cake: Chocolate and Belgian Beer Brownie with Salted Peanut Crumble

Published June 9, 2013 by The Feminist

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Baking is often only associated with women. The mum in the kitchen baking cupcakes for her children, a girls night in with lots of brownies and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, Blair Waldorf eating macaroons in her bathtub,… Basically everything that involves sugar, chocolate or frosting is considered to be “Ladies Only” territory. I guess men prefer savory snacks because it is often deemed more masculine and butchy, whereas sweet desserts are looked upon as too dainty, too soft, too feminine.
I can’t really blame them, though. It is a behaviour pattern as old as food itself. Women eat sweet and men eat salty. It is practically a biological and evolutionary distinction!
However, I like to think out of the box. Behavioural patterns are there to be broken once and awhile. Just like Jamie Oliver who once created a “proper blokes’ pasta dish”, I decided it was about time to bake the ultimate blokes’ cake. This cake is based on a combo all men tend to love: beer and salty nuts. Adding these ingredients to a cake batter, however, creates a whole other dimension. Suddenly the beer turns the cake into a succulent brownie, while the salted peanuts provide that lovely crunch. Just when you think that things can’t get any better than this, I even conjured up the most amazing beer toffee sauce to go with it!
This is possibly the best cake to bake on Father’s Day: gutsy, blokey and full of hearty flavours. And I can assure you that all us ladies will love it as well!

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Chocolate and Belgian Beer brownies with salted peanut crumble


Ingredients:
For the brownie:
• 125gr butter or soy spread
• 1.25 dl Belgian dark ale
• 40gr cocoa powder
• 200gr caster sugar
• 1 egg
• 0,7 dl milk
• 140gr plain flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ¼ tsp baking powder
For the peanut crumble:
• 15gr butter
• 25gr plain flour
• 15gr caster sugar
• 35gr roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
For the beer toffee sauce
• 1,5dl dark ale
• 7 tbsp muscovado sugar
• 1 tbsp runny honey
• Splash of double cream
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie, pour the beer into a saucepan and add the butter. Gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
3. Mix together the egg and milk and pour the liquid into the contents of the pan.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir in the chocolate-beer mixture from the pan.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin.
6. For the crumble, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and peanuts. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of the brownie batter and bake into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
7. Allow to cool completely before cutting it into squares.
8. To make the beer toffee sauce, heat the beer gently into a saucepan until it comes to the boil. Add the muscovado sugar and honey and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on a low heat until the liquid had reduced and flavour has intensified. Add a splash of cream to tone down the richness of the sauce. Pour the sauce into a small can and serve with the lovely brownies.

Deliciously Decadent: Grasshopper Cheesecake Brownie

Published May 4, 2013 by The Feminist

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“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Mae West was so right when she said these words. In fact, I think she had this magnificent Grasshopper Cheesecake Brownie in mind when she came up with her world famous one-liner.

This is a brownie… And a cheesecake… And a grasshopper pie… All rolled into one deliciously decadent treat. It is in-your-face grandeur and home-made comfort at the same time. It is heaven on a plate.

Everyone loves the incredibly intense chocolaty flavour of brownies (if you don’t, there is definitely something wrong with you…) Everyone loves the fresh and tangy palate-cleaving creaminess of the cheesecake (If you don’t, you may want to see a doctor…) And everyone loves the extraterrestrial green of the minty grasshopper pie. (If you don’t, frankly, you might want to book a room in the Cuckoo’s nest. )

Still not convinced? (Shame on you!) Then just try it out for yourself and you will realize that this is indeed baking perfection.

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Grasshopper Cheesecake Brownie

Ingredients:

For the brownie:
• 2 eggs
• 250gr caster sugar
• 60gr plain flour
• 50gr cocoa powder
• 125gr butter, melted

For the grasshopper cheesecake:
• 2 eggs
• 300gr cream cheese
• 70gr caster sugar
• 2 tbsp mint syrup
• 100gr white chocolate, melted
• Green food colouring

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie, put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and the cocoa powder and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Pour in the melted butter and mix through. Spoon the mixture in the cake tin.
3. For the grasshopper cheesecake, put the cream cheese, mint syrup and sugar in a bowl and mix on low speed until smooth. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until everything is combined and your batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in the food colouring until you get a nice green hue. (grasshopper worthy 😉 )Pour the cheesecake mixture on to the brownie .
4. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges.
5. Leave to cool completely and refrigerate for at least one hour (this will intensify the flavours even more!)

Let the Groove Get In: Courgette and Walnut blondie with white chocolate and lemon frosting

Published April 20, 2013 by The Feminist

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For those who still think that courgettes can only be used in savory dishes like Mediterranean stews and creamy soups: think again! Just like our humble Mister Carrot, a courgette works perfectly in a heavenly sweet cake! It adds a wonderful moisture to the cake and gives that little extra kick of flavour … sigh… Who would have thought such an “ordinary” squash could be so versatile?

I opted for a courgette and walnut blondie this time. Imagine that moreish moisture of the courgettes doing the Cha-Cha with nutritiously nutty walnuts, dancing the rumba with the sensually sweet white chocolate and performing an energetic jive with a zingy zesty lemon!

If this cake were a dance routine, it would be bigger and better than all the grand finales of all the Step Up movies together!

Courgette and walnut blondie with white chocolate and lemon frosting

Ingredients:

For the blondie:
• 150gr courgette, grated
• 150gr caster sugar
• 150gr plain flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 150ml sunflower oil
• 2 eggs
• Zest of one lemon
• 50gr white chocolate, chopped
• 50gr walnuts, chopped

For the frosting:
• 100gr white chocolate
• 25gr natural yoghurt
• Juice of half a lemon
• 50gr icing sugar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 24×14 cm cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Mix together the eggs, oil and sugar until they are all combined.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger and add to the egg mixture in two batches.
4. Lastly, add the grated courgette, chopped walnuts and chocolate and lemon zest, mixing them in thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake into the oven for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
6. For the frosting, melt the white chocolate in a pan over simmering water.
7. Mix the icing sugar together with the yoghurt and the lemon juice and stir in the melted chocolate.
8. Cover the top of the blondie generously with frosting and decorate with some walnuts.
9. Cut into little (or giant 😉 ) blondies, depending on how hungry you are.

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Me against the marshmallow: the most delicious battle imaginable! S’more Brownies

Published March 18, 2013 by The Feminist

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It was a hard battle, ladies and gentlemen! I had just baked the most ooey gooey brownie goodness in my entire life and all I had to do next was simply cut it in squares and eat it. Sounds easy, right? Well, I can tell you one thing: it was easier said than done! From the second I put my knife in the marshmallow layer I knew something wasn’t right. I should have known that once I was going to start cutting the marshmallows, they were going to stick to my knife, my fingers and practically everything else! For a brief moment my kitchen literally turned into a battlefield! (Imagine the stress I was under! ) But like any brave warrior I overcame my fear and fought back! And I totally kicked the marshmallow’s ass!

Do you want to know what my master plan was? Scissors. Yes, ordinary scissors! (Life can be so simple sometimes! 😉 )

Battles aside, however, these S’more brownies were the most amazing chocolaty gooey treats on the planet! The intense flavour of the brownies worked so well with the buttery sweet biscuit layer and the gooey palate-sticking marshmallows turned the dessert into a true comfort food showstopper!

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S’more brownies

Ingredients:

For the base:
• 200gr digestive biscuits
• 125gr unsalted butter

For the brownie:
• 115gr unsalted butter
• 120gr dark chocolate
• 190gr muscovado sugar
• 130gr caster sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 4 eggs
• 140gr plain flour

For the topping:
• 400gr large white marshmallows

Method:

1. Line one 20×30 cm baking tray with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. To make the biscuit base, blitz the biscuits in a blender into crumbs and melt the butter I a small pan. Pour the melted butter into a bowl with the biscuit crumbs and stir through. Set aside.
3. To make the brownies, place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted.
4. In another bowl add the sugar and salt and pour the melted chocolate into the bowl. Stir to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a shiny batter.
6. Sift in the flour.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray and sprinkle the biscuit crumb mixture over the top.
8. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out mostly clean.
9. Place the marshmallows in a row on top of the baked brownie and place bake in the oven for 3 minutes to soften the marshmallows. Then carefully toast the marshmallow under the grill.