Monday, October 25, 2010

Fudgy Brownies with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

So decadent!

My little brother loves brownies. 

Brownies with Twix bars baked in, brownies with Heath bars, brownies with plain chocolate.

He loves them all, and I always get suckered into making a batch for him whenever I’m visiting Miami.

I was missing his cute little face this week, so I decided that I’d make brownies in his honor.

Oh, by the way---my “little” brother is 22 years old.

I just thought I should mention it. People tend to get mad at me when they either meet or see a picture of him.

They expect to see an adorable 6 year old with untied shoelaces dangling his feet from a chair while playing a Game Boy.

But, no. He’s a grown man.

I just don’t see it yet. He will forever be my little brother. But, I digress.
Ahh. That shiny crunchy top is the BEST part of a brownie.

Anyways, he loves brownies. So, I made them this week using the recipe from the back of the King Arthur flour bag.

Wanna know a secret?

Although these brownies were all kinds of yummy, chocolaty, and fudgy, I ALWAYS prefer a brownie box mix to those prepared from scratch.


I just think they taste as good and are less fuss than measuring flour and butter. Perhaps I’m a sellout? 


So, these are the brownies I made in honor of my little brother. I added my FAVORITE peanut butter frosting to them, and that only made it taste that much better.  =)
Glass of milk and an episode of "Mad Men" goes perfect with these.

**Brownie recipe HERE 
**Peanut Butter Frosting recipe from Food Network HERE

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Mmmm! Homemade pizza. Fresh cheese, fresh sauce, fresh toppings. So good.

I knew I wanted to make pizza this week and even contemplated MAKING MY OWN DOUGH. 

I then thought about it and realized, eh---I’d rather buy dough. I don’t have time to knead stuff and watch it rise.

I went to a local pizzeria by my house to purchase their homemade dough. They were kind of confused and didn’t know what to charge me, so we settled on $5.00. 

It was funny.

I could have gotten regular freezer dough from the supermarket—but I thought my method would be more fun.

It was.

Anyways, I bought the dough, made the sauce, got some toppings, and went to work.

Being as obsessed with cheese as I am, I had to make a stuffed crust pizza.It was a must.

This involved placing a circular ring of mozzarella string cheese around the entire pizza and then folding the crust over it. Yea, boi.

I topped the pie with fresh mozzarella, basil, pepperoni, and then sprinkled it with a blend of parmesan, romano, and asiago cheeses.
This crust is STUFFED with cheese.
15 minutes later the pizza was cooked to perfection. Really tasty!

I cooked it in a pizza pan, but next time I make a pizza I’m going to get a pizza stone so I could lay it directly in the oven. I think it would give it a crispier crust next time around?

I like crispy crusts.

And cheese. :)
The pizza tasted incredibly fresh.

**Pizza sauce recipe HERE

**I didn't use a recipe for the pizza--I just threw the toppings that I wanted on and baked at 500 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until the crust is brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Last week was a cold and rainy nightmare here in DC.

It sucked.

If you know me then you know how much I HATE rain. Yea, I know it’s good for the trees and stuff, but I don’t care. I hate rain.

Unless of course I’m at home. In my bed. Under my covers. Reading Little House on the Prairie. Then I don’t mind it.

You know another time I don’t mind rain? When I’m lounging around in my favorite Semester at Sea sweatshirt with the hole in the elbow, watching a marathon of old school  Beverly Hills, 90210, all while eating a bowl of homemade mac and cheese.

This is what I planned to do this weekend, but most of that didn’t happen.

It was another busy Saturday and Sunday for me with errands to run, Sunday School to teach, hanging out with friends, having to do my hair (which turned out NASTY), and getting ready for the work week. I didn’t get to do my lounging, but I knew somewhere in there I would get my bowl of mac and cheese.

I did. It was Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese to be exact, and it was freaking good!

Buttery noodles, tons of sharp cheddar and Colby jack cheeses, chunks of chicken, a blue cheese and panko mixture. Ahh. It was delicious!

Do you SEE all that goodness?!
I found the recipe on the Food Network Site and knew it would be delicious. Takena, one of my really good friends, makes this Buffalo Chicken Stromboli with ingredients almost similar to the mac and cheese and it reminded me of this. I’ll have to make that too now that I think about it…

Anyways, I made it and was uber duper happy with how it came out.

I brought most of it to my brother’s place because I have no self control and would probably eat the whole pan in a day he likes mac and cheese and I wanted to share it with him. 

So yea, this was the perfect ending to my cold and rainy week. It was no coincidence that the day I made this, Sunday, it was perfect and sunny out.

Mac and cheese makes everything better!

   **Click here for Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe**

Monday, October 4, 2010

Old-School Birthday Cake

My birthday was last week, September 26, and I wanted a birthday cake.
No, you don’t get it.

I didn’t want a gourmet cake with almond or raspberry puree fillings, and I didn’t want a series of adorable cupcakes with toppings like mascarpone frosting and fleur de sels.
I wanted a regular yellow cake with chocolate icing and sprinkles.

Like an 8 year old.
I knew that I didn’t want to buy a cake because mine would probably taste better  there was a recipe I’ve been wanting to try out.
Yellow cake is one of those cakes that I typically don’t ever choose willingly. I much prefer chocolate and other flavored cakes because I find classic yellow cakes to be springy and dry. While looking through recipes, I came across The Fresh Loaf    where she makes yellow cake using a pound cake base. Her frosting wasn't something that I was interested in, but her cake sounded perfect.
This would be my birthday cake!
All week long I’ve been itching to make it, but I was stuck at a conference and had to put it off.
After three days of relentless presentations and chatting up academic snobs, I got to work on my cake on Sunday afternoon. 
I used a foil pan because I couldn't find my real ones. I think they're somewhere in a box...

It could be beginner's luck, but the cake came out perfectly. It was super buttery and dense and moist. I think this is my new go to yellow cake recipe. 
Now, unlike a lot of other chocolate lovers out there, I tend to not enjoy chocolate frosting. I find them to be too sweet, too bitter, and too stiff…all at the same time.
And please, don’t ever throw money away buying store bought chocolate frosting. It’s even worse. Yuck.
Unless of course you like it. Then it’s cool.
Nevertheless, I REALLY wanted chocolate frosting on this cake and thought that perhaps a  chocolate ganache frosting, which only includes chocolate and heavy cream, could be the winner.
It was! 
I will NEVER make any other kind of chocolate frosting again. The ganache tasted great, had the perfect consistency, and was super easy to make. I used semi-sweet chocolate and threw in a couple handfuls of milk chocolate chips in there too. You know, just 'cause.  ;)
After I finished the cake and it was all ready, I pretended that there was a candle on it and proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” to myself. 
I had a GREAT birthday this year, so please don’t feel sorry for me if the aforementioned cake singing sounds pathetic. I just felt it was the appropriate thing to do.
I swear I used a cake leveler. I don't know why the layers came out all jacked up.
That is all. :)