Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies

I made these over FOUR years ago. They were good back then, and they were good yesterday. I made them for family day. I don't know why I thought to make them again. I wouldn't call these brownies really, its more like a bittersweet chocolate cake. A slice is deliciously served along side a pile of fresh blackberries.

Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies
Adapted from: Bake or Break via

1 cup unsalted butter (plus more for preparing pan)
3 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch square glass baking pan and set aside.

Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating. Continue until both are completely melted.

Sift sugar and cocoa powder. Add to the butter/chocolate mixture. Beat in (by hand) the mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in flour and salt.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cream over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture is almost boiling, pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds. Then, stir until smooth.

Pour ganache over cooled brownies and spread evenly.

Allow ganache to firm before cutting brownies. Brownies may be placed in refrigerator to expedite this.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake

I made this cake for my dad's return from Kuwait. He visits his mom every year and in 2003 our whole family went when I was fourteen. It was a beautiful experience to meet some of my dad's family and connect with that part of the world. I always say I would love to visit again, maybe within the next few years. Kuwait has some good shopping, and they even have a Cheesecake Factory now! I'm loving all the chiffon hijabs my dad brought back for us.

This cake is the best when it is served warm. We just discovered "The Greek God's Greek Yogurt" in honey flavor, which is absolutely heavenly with some berries and nuts, but it was also a great pairing with this cake and with more fresh bananas on the side.

Here's the pineapple version of this cake, and try it layered with cheesecake too! I just found a Raspberry Mango Upside Down Cake recipe this morning! Oh the possibilities!

Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake

Caramel Sauce
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat
2) Add brown sugar and lemon juice until it has dissolved, then remove from heat.
3) Stir in cinnamon. Set aside and make the cake.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 bananas, sliced 
1/4 inch thick
1 cup shredded coconut

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan.  
2) Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl
2) In another bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until pale and light
3) Slowly add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes
4) Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute
5) Gradually beat in half the flour, and gently fold in the rest with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that nothing is missed.
Place banana slices evenly on the bottom, adding a second layer after the first.
7) Pour the caramel sauce over the bananas
8) Sprinkle coconut over the caramel sauce

9) Pour cake batter over the coconut
10) Bake 25-35 minutes (or longer if needed, if you used a 9-inch cake pan, and everyone's oven is different) until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
11) Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes in pan and then flip over onto serving platter
12) Leave pan over cake to allow all caramel sauce to drip over the cake

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Blondies or Brownies

Girl's night in is always the most fun. I enjoy seeing my friends smile more than anything! 

I admit, I slipped up (why does this keep happening?) and I didn't add the cocoa to the brownies. At all. Thankfully, they still turned out yummy and even though I have never made blondies before I would imagine they taste something like this! Rescued by the power of peanut butter, these were still delicious even if you don't add the cocoa. And I'm sure they are even better if you do. 

Now I can see why my peanut butter didn't come out looking very swirled on top. There isn't much contrast. But if you add more cocoa, that should do the trick.

Peanut Butter Brownies
Adapted from: Beth Cakes

1/3 cup chocolate chips (plus more for topping)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x9 baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Leave 3-4 inches of foil hanging over two sides so the brownies will easily lift out of the pan once they're done. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, just until melted. Be careful not to over heat.  

Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a bowl. Carefully whisk them together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, eggs, and chocolate, mixing until combined. Add flour mixture in two stages, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Spread brownie batter into the prepared pan.

Microwave peanut butter for 20-30 seconds in a microwave safe container. Drizzle over brownie batter and swirl with a toothpick. Sprinkle top of brownie batter with chocolate chips. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.

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