Monday, April 28, 2014

Gooey Messy Brownies

I made these for Musa's first visit to our home. Welcome, baby!

We ate these with Breyer's tiramisu gelato and fresh strawberries. The slight coffee flavor from the gelato, the bittersweet chocolate from the brownies, and summerly sweet berries all paired so well together.

This brownie recipe is called, "The Best Brownies in the World." Which is a pretty big claim! They were delicious, but I'm still on the hunt for the very best. And the blogger said I would be if I want fudgy, cakey brownies, which is exactly what I'm looking for. These on the other hand, are gooey messy brownies. They're great with ice cream or gelato though!

Maybe I should stop using the same bittersweet chocolate (ghiradelli brand) when testing brownie recipes. Because I think maybe what my taste buds are looking for are brownies that are made with dark chocolate and dark cocoa and maybe dark semi-sweet chocolate chips. But I keep getting similar results in flavor and texture with the ghiradelli chocolate. Similar, but I would say Good Housekeeping's brownies were alittle better than these.

I like to store my brownies in a container with a lid as soon as they are cooled. This keeps them moist, chewy, and soft. 

Gooey Messy Brownies
Adapted from: Cravings of a Lunatic via Tasty Eats at Home
Yield: 12 brownies

8 tablespoons of butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs. beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
¼ cup flour¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir well. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring until it’s smooth. Add chocolate chips, flour, cocoa powder, and vanilla salt. Stir until well blended.

Pour into pan and place in oven. I always tap my pan to get out any bubbles and make it even.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, toothpick inserted should come out clean when done. Remove and cool on a rack.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blue Velvet Cake Pops - Baby Shower Favors!

Today I am the proud auntie of Musa, born at 10:45 AM, 7 pounds and 19 3/4 inches long. He already has so many that love him, mA. I brought these to the hospital to share. Ibraheem (18 months now!) doesn't usually like cake, but he devoured one. I think he just liked eating something off a stick. These are my first real cake pops. I have only made them with oreos before. 

Make sure you use chocolate bark that tastes good. I thought I didn't really like cake pops in the past, but actually I just don't like that artificial waxy candy coating. I used Wilton Candy Melts in Light Cocoa flavor, which tastes like real chocolate but this formula hardens beautifully.

I'm thinking I could make these for a friend's baby shower next month. She's expecting a boy and I love that vibrant blue color! These would be cute shower favors.

I was originally inspired by this recipe to make these cake pops. But I read a few blogs and most mentioned to just make a boxed cake mix. Make it easy on yourself since cake pops are time consuming, and you are just going to crumble it up anyway so you don't need a cake that comes out with a gorgeous texture.

Speaking of babies, I also wanted to share the blanket I crocheted for my nephew. Pinterest inspired, and made with love. The center grey color is a basket weave stitch and the edges have a cute shell border.

Four more tips: 1) Be sure to dip the sticks in the chocolate before inserting into the cake balls and then freeze until firm so they are secure. This helps prevent the stick from falling out when you dip them. 

2) Melt the chocolate bark in smaller portions, about 6-8 ounces at a time, since its easier to work with when its hot.

3) Don't add too much frosting to the cake! Less is more. It should still look alittle crumbly, but moist enough to roll. You want these to taste like you're eating fluffy cake when you bite into them, not like a soggy mess.

4) Lastly, don't make the cake pops so big. They get heavy and could fall off the stick when you are dipping them. Alittle larger than a tablespoon should be good.The picture above is a good size, it fits into the mini cupcake liner. The picture below shows a huge cake pop, flattening the mini cupcake liner.

Blue Velvet Cake Pops
Recipe adapted from Bakerella
Yield: about 40 cake pops

1 box blue velvet cake mix (or your favorite cake flavor)
1 can (16 oz.) cream cheese frosting 
24 oz. of chocolate bark (I used 2 packages of Wilton Candy Melts in Light Cocoa flavor)
mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

parchment or wax paper
40 lollipop sticks, optional (you could just do these as cake balls instead of pops)
40 mini cupcake liners, optional
Disposable rubber medical/exam gloves (non-powder)

Bake the cake as directed on box for a 13 X 9 cake. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of cream cheese frosting and while wearing gloves, mix thoroughly with your hands. Mixture should still look alittle crumbly but moist enough to roll into balls. You can add more frosting if needed, but don't add too much. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and freeze for 20-30 minutes until firm.

Melt 8 oz. of chocolate bark in microwave per directions on package. I melt the chocolate bark in three small portions at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot. Dip lollipop stick into chocolate and then insert into cake ball. Freeze for another 10 minutes so that the stick is firmly secure. 

Dip cake pops in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. You could use a spoon to roll cake pop in to tap off extra chocolate. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
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