With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Friday, October 26, 2012

Avocado Brownies


When in need of a change, there are a few typical routes someone can go about.

A new haircut. 
A furniture rearrange.
A spontaneous trip.

Lately I've been craving something new, something exciting, a change of pace.  And since a spontaneous adventure is out of the question at the moment, a furniture rearrange seems like too much work with too little to go on, and a new haircut just won't fit the bill, I needed to find another way.

Then I stumbled on these.


Avocados and chocolate.  Chocolate and avocados.  Think I've lost it on this one?  You might just be surprised.

I know I was.  Coming from an self-proclaimed "I'll take a cookie over a brownie any day of the week" person, I couldn't get enough of these.  The chocolate completely masks the avocado flavor and all you're left with is a rich and dense brownie that seems to stay that way for days (if they last that long).

And throwing avocados into them instead of butter was just enough of a kick for me to change up my pace, at least for the day.

On a completely unrelated note, this photo reminds me of growing up SO much.  If the words slimed, gak, floam, and this theme song don't mean anything to you.... you may have just missed out.

But back in the present day, you could definitely ice these brownies.  I chose to leave them just as is though... and maybe was content with eating one with some ice cream.... for breakfast one weekend no less.

And.it.was.great.


I never claimed to be a breakfast role model.

But I think you'll love these just the same.

Give 'em a try!


Avocado Brownies
Servings: 9 extra large or 16 medium brownies

Ingredients:
- 2 large ripe avocados, mashed (about a cup)
- 8 oz dark chocolate, melted (I used 4 oz bittersweet/ 4 oz semisweet but try your own combo!)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped (again I used 2 oz bittersweet/ 2 oz semisweet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square pan with baking spray.  In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl store together the mashed avocado and melted chocolate.  Stir in the sugar until well combined.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract and oil until well combined and smooth.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and no streaks remain.  Don't over mix this part.  Lastly fold in the chopped chocolate until distributed.  Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth top.  Bake for 28-32 minutes (checking at beginning of time) until middle is set and cake tester comes out with only a few crumbs.  Let cool completely.  Cut, serve, and decide whether or not you'll tell people what makes them so special.  Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: How Sweet Eats







Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Time to Celebrate


It's hard to believe it's that time of year again.  

Yesterday, the 18th, was my birthday.

My 23rd birthday.

Truth be told I feel a lot of things about it.  I feel incredibly old.  I feel incredibly young.  Most of all I feel incredibly fortunate.  I loved 22 and I'm hoping that 23 will be just as great.

Somehow though, I think it will. I'm hoping that if I can continue to think big while also relishing in the  little things (even a part of the time), then I'm well on my way.

So grab a fork and a virtual slice of birthday cake and help me celebrate.  

You only turn 23 once and I love that you're here to share it with me.

I'll be back with a killer recipe next week, but for now...


Cheers!


Love, Mary



Monday, October 8, 2012

Two Ingredient Strawberry Fudge



When I first started baking, and I mean FIRST started baking, I would choose any recipe regardless of its level of difficulty.  I had no reference of experience to base what I could or couldn't do and even with the most complex recipes, I figured "Hey if I screw up, I'm new at this. No big deal."

Sure, I did have my fair share of screw ups in those days, but for the most part, things went well (a big part of why I'm still here enjoying this now).  The first time I attempted fudge I had no idea whether it was difficult or not to make at home, tried a recipe (coincidentally had it work great), and thought fudge was easy every single time.

Not.always.the.case.

If you'd like to know my opinion on temperamental fudge making now, ask me about the red velvet fudge I've failed at about three times now.  One day I'll get it.  I'm determined.

When you do get fudge right though, it is one of the simplest and most enjoyable candies to make.  And you'll be hard pressed to find a more fool-proof recipe than this one.  

Sure it takes a few shortcuts to get there and some might turn their noses up at using canned frosting to make it, but I say, whether you're a beginner baker or not sometimes easy fudge you know is going to work every single time is exactly what you need.

If you've never tackled fudge before I recommend starting with something like this.  You never know what you'll end up being able to conquer from there.

Easy to share.  Easier to enjoy.

And as for life over here, if anyone knows the secret to a good red velvet fudge... you know where to find me.


Two Ingredient Strawberry Fudge
Servings: 1 9x9 inch pan

Ingredients:
- 1 (16oz) can of strawberry frosting
- 1 (12oz) bag of white chocolate chips

Directions:
Spray a 9x9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray.  Line with wax or parchment paper. (important! the fudge is a pain to get out otherwise. this makes everything much easier.)  In the microwave melt chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, and stir until smooth.  Stir in the can of frosting until combined.  Spread into prepared pan and smooth, using knife to create decorative design if desired.  Let set in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Cut into small pieces and enjoy. (This is very sweet so keep that in mind with portion size!)

Recipe adapted from: Cookies and Cups

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Classic Shortbread



 Remember the time that I thought this fall would be an absolute breeze?

And that I'd have so much time for baking and blogging that I wouldn't even know what to do with myself?

Remember?

I do.  Fondly.

Unfortunately that is 100% NOT the case.

So here we are with another easy, in your face, cookie recipe.  (Not that anyone is complaining yet.)











These cookies are not for the faint of heart.  Buttery to the point of ridiculousness, large and unapologetic, sweet, creamy and melt in your mouth wonderful.

Perfect for when time is short, things are stressed, and simple indulgence is the answer to everything.

Not that it's never not.

Triple negative?  I'll have to get back to you on that one.

But until then, enjoy.


Classic Shortbread
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Servings: 8 large cookies

Ingredients:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sticks (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
In a bowl whisk together flour and salt.  Put butter in a separate bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in powdered sugar gradually until mixed in thoroughly and beat until creamy.  Add flour mixture and mix on low until combined.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Using a piece of plastic wrap press dough into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan and smooth down.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Cut a 2 inch circle in the center of the dough.  Cut dough in 8 wedges out from the circle.  Using a fork, prick dough all over (in circular pattern if desired).  Bake until golden and firm (about 1 hour) and place on wire rack to cool.  Re-cut lines if need be.  Let cool completely in pan before serving.


Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart's Cookies