Peanut Butter Crumble Brownies

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Things I’ve consistently been craving during this thing called pregnancy: fruit, pizza, and peanut butter.

I mean…not together…ever…and I eat other things as well, but those are the things I keep wanting.  There’s been all the fresh fruit I can get my hands on (Sean always asks me if I’m working on my “night-fruit”, a la Liz Lemon and her “night-cheese”), many pb&j’s, and pizza from our favorite local spot with the best happy hour deal. I’ve been throwing in a lot of kale as well…because balance, right? Truth: a year ago I would not have eaten raw kale salads without the saddest of faces, but lately I’ve been making it at home and ordering a mountain of it when we go to our favorite pizza place.

Anyway, needless to say with peanut butter being one of my main squeezes, my yearly addiction to those damn Reese’s eggs is in extra full-force this year. They taunt me with their perfect peanut-butter-to-chocolate ratio. If you find yourself with a bag, or seven, of those sweet-sweet eggs  and you want to do something with them other than shove them straight into your face (ahem, like me…) you should totes chop a few up and thrown them into some brownie batter. That way, you can pawn them off on your friends, family, coworkers, or any other willing passerby. These brownies not only include those magical eggs, but also a peanut butter crumble on top…because extra peanut buttery goodness is always a good thing.

Peanut Butter Crumble Brownies

Adapted from this (super-old) recipe.

Honestly, you could use any brownie recipe you like here…I wouldn’t even be mad at ya if you used your favorite mix. Just use something good and be sure to make the crumble topping!

for the Peanut Butter Crumble:

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (smooth is fine, too)

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

4 tablespoons flour

tiny grating of nutmeg

for the Brownie Batter:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 heaping cup of chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs or peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides. Secure the overhang with metal binder clips.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter powdered sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix together with a fork until a fairly dry crumble forms. Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the butter, chocolate, and cocoa and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. When the mixture is still warm, but not super hot, whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs. After adding the eggs the mixture will be smooth and glossy. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combine, then fold in the chopped peanut butter eggs (or peanut butter chips) and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter evenly with the peanut butter crumble and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.

 

Super Easy Coconut & Walnut Fudge

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Hey! I have this totally festive and celebratory fudge for you all! It’s so damn simple, I mean, literally 2 ingredients, plus mix-ins for flava.

Why is this fudge festive AND celebratory? Well, 2 reasons…

1. It’s the holidays, y’all! I’m sure you already knew that…that’s where the festive comes in. 2. Sean loves holiday fudge and we have a major reason to celebrate him, as he just landed a new job is a far-off and distant city–Portland, Oregon!

So, we are totes moving in a few weeks. We found out the officially-official news just last week and are in a whirlwind of packing and purging and holiday planning. We are super excited since this position (with his current company) is a total step up and will bring us SO MUCH CLOSER to our beloved family and friends…like, a day-trip in the car away, instead of a 3-day driving marathon. Also, I hear Portland is a pretty cool place, so it will be totally exciting to explore a new city.

And even though things may be a little more than hectic around here, I’ve still gotta get my holiday-treat on, so easy is the name of the game and this fudge is exactly that. No stirring of boiling sugar and chocolate and hoping/praying for a smooth, grain-less result. We’re just melting with a side of stirring, then we’re done. Not a grainy bite of candy in site, just creamy-dreamy chocolate and coconut + walnut goodness. BOOM, easiest holiday treat ever!

PS, I’ve never been to Portland and won’t make it  there before our move in January, so any recommendations or affirmations would be greatly appreciated. I AM SO EXCITED!!

Super Easy Coconut & Walnut Fudge

Adapted from Heather Baird for Betty Crocker

This recipe can be made in the microwave or on the stove top. For microwave instructions, click the link above. 

1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 bag (12oz.) chocolate chips, I like semisweet

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 cup toasted coconut

Prepare an 8x8inch baking pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment, leaving a few inches of overhang on two sides for easy removal. Secure the parchment with binder clips.

Fashion a double boiler out of a heat proof bowl fitted over a saucepan with a few inches of simmering water, taking care that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Add the condensed milk and chocolate chips and stir until the chips are melted, the mixture is well combined, and smooth. Remove the bowl from the top of the sauce pan and stir in the vanilla, followed by the walnuts and coconut, until well combined. Scrape the fudge mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Allow the fudge to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic and placing in the refrigerator to set for several hours. Once set, cut the fudge into cubes and serve (or gift)!

 

 

Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

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So, I know this should probably be a post about pie, which I love, or pumpkin pie…which I HATE. I know…I’m a jerk. I like pumpkin things, but never pumpkin pie.

I’m not sorry.

Anyway, let’s talk cake.

This cake is super simple in both assembly and flavor–the batter takes minutes to make and there’s zero special equipment required. Don’t get it twisted though, because even if this is just a chocolate-on-chocolate situation, it is so, so good in it’s simplicity. The cake is dark and rich, but not so much that it doesn’t benefit from a glazing of glossy ganache. The crumb is fine and very moist, my favorite. And, I know ganache sounds fancy, but it’s so not…two ingredients, mixed together. DONE. I’m pretty sure this is my new go-to cake. It’s so easy, a little rustic, but pretty. It’s a gem.

 

Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Makes 1, 8-inch, round cake.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Use your favorite cocoa powder for this cake. I prefer Valrhona because it is rich and dark with intense chocolate flavor.  

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2/3 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray an 8-inch, round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and vinegar, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla into the milk and vinegar mixture and pour into the flour mixture. Mix gently with a spatula until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before glazing with ganache.

Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces chopped, semisweet chocolate (or chips)

Heat the cream until scalded, when little bubbles form around the edges, add the chocolate, remove from the heat, and cover. Let the chocolate and cream rest for about 5 minutes, until the cream has melted the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour warm ganache over the top of the cake. Let the ganache set 10 minutes before serving.