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Monday, January 30, 2012

Waffle Brownies

You should get two things from the above picture. 1: I love frosting! 2: That was made in a waffle iron. (See lower left corner)

Since I've eaten one of these waffle brownies pretty much every night for the last few weeks (Kyle interjected, "Not quite every night"), I figured it's about time I shared them with you. These are seriously the quickest thing to satisfy your baked good chocolate craving. Mix together some simple ingredients, stick the batter in your waffle iron and in two minutes you're done! Of course, I love frosting, so I usually whip up a batch of that too. 

The other great perk about these besides the fast cook time is that the batter keeps in the fridge for a few days.  We've kept some batter in the fridge for a week and it still makes great brownies! This is good for portion control because a waffle sized brownie is a much better single serving than an 8 x 8 inch pan. Also, I actually like the brownies better on the second day. The refrigerated frosting melts slightly and creates the perfect contrast of textures: solid cool frosting, gooey melt, wonderfully crisp brownie with a soft inside. Unfortunately, the batter doesn't freeze very well. But I don't think you'll have much left over!

This is a recipe that I've enjoyed since I was a little kid. Making them was a blast then and still is! If you have kids, I'm sure they'd enjoy this too. They're chocolaty, delicious and fun!

Kyle's made pretty much all of our batches of these lately, so here's some advice from him. "The hardest part is combining the butter-cocoa mixture with the eggs. Also, be sure to use a lot of cooking spray. Otherwise the waffles will end up sticking a lot more to the waffle iron and outside will get overdone."

These can be made with both normal and Belgian waffle makers. Like normal waffles, the crispiness will be different, but they're all delicious! 

Waffle Brownies
Yield: Varies depending on size We get about 15.

8 tablespoons softened butter
7 tablespoons cocoa
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat waffle iron and spray with cooking spray (We use the setting 4 out of 6 on ours. I have no clue what that translates to). Mix butter and cocoa. Mix in eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.  Drop onto waffle iron in desired size. Cook for 1-3 minutes depending on size. The heat setting and time might take some experimenting since waffle irons vary so much. Luckily we've had good ones that were both under-cooked and overcooked, so don't stress. After 2 or 3 rounds, you'll be a pro!

1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
8 tablespoons softened butter
1/3 cup cocoa
2-4 tablespoons milk (or more if desired)

Mix powdered sugar, butter, cocoa and 2 tablespoons milk together. Add more milk to reach your desired consistency. Eat by the spoonful or on top of brownies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy Flaky Pie Crust

I love pies. Good pies. Pies with flaky, buttery, crispy crust. I've finally found the easiest way to make pie crust just like that. 

This is the pie crust developed by Kenji from the Serious Eats  food lab that I mentioned in my pumpkin pie post. I love it so much I figured it deserved a post all it's own. The best part about it is obviously the taste and texture, but the easiness of making it is a close second. If you missed my first post a quick rundown of the process is that you make a butter flour paste with 2/3 of the flour and then quickly cut in the remaining third. This process ensures uniformity and eliminates guesswork so that you can add the same amount of water each time and not wonder if you got it right. I've now made this four times and it's been constantly delicious! 

I have a few tips for making this. If you have a scale use it! If you don't, I highly recommend getting one not just for this recipe but all baking recipes because volume measurements are very inaccurate. Make sure your butter is cold and actually follow the resting times of the dough in the fridge. If you want the dough to be easier to work with, you can sub in shortening for up to 6 tablespoons of butter. I usually do all butter or 4 tablespoons of shortening. If you don't have a food processor a stand mixer could work or you could even blend the butter and sugar by hand. It'll just take longer, and the results won't be quite as good. Be sure to actually make a paste in the beginning, nor just cut in the butter like you would with a normal pie crust recipe. Also, when blind baking these crusts I've found that pie weights on top of tinfoil or parchment work best for me. I tried docking (poking the crust all over with a fork), but I don't know if I didn't do it enough or what but my pie crust was severely malformed. Well on that happy note, have fun baking!

Check out the beautiful flaky layers on the pie crust cookie! (pie crust scraps baked with cinnamon sugar)

Easy Flaky Pie Crust
Science of it here

This makes enough for either one double crust or two single crust pies. In my 7 cup food processor I've had the most success with making half at a time.

12.5 ounces all-purpose flour (If you need to convert to volume a cup of flour is 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons cold water

Put sugar, salt and 2/3 of the flour into a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix. Distribute the butter pats evenly over the surface. Pulse about 25 short times until the dough barely begins to clump and there is no more dry flour. Spread the dough evenly around and sprinkle the remaining flour. Pulse about 5 times until the dough just begins to break up. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle the water over the top. Fold the dough using a spatula until it forms a ball. Divide the ball into two and form two 4 inch discs. Completely wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Use in your favorite pie recipe!

To blind bake:
Line the pie with aluminum foil or parchment and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or pennies. Bake in a preheated 400-425 oven for 25-35 minutes for partial baking (light golden brown to be baked again with filling) or 30-40 minutes for full baking (dark golden brown). Remove the pie weights halfway through.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

Are you celebrating? We're eating peanut butter cups! If you want something a little more homemade, here are a few recipes from the archives

Sunday, January 15, 2012


So these awesome friends of mine will realize how far behind I am at blogging, because this wonderful adventure happened a while ago! Erin and Katie came over and we had a fun girl's night making gnocchi. They turned out really good! It took a little work, so it was nice having three sets of hands to work on everything. We made two sauces to go with them- a brown butter sage sauce and a Parmesan sauce with bacon and walnuts. I'll include the recipe for the second one since that was my favorite!

Erin and Katie expertly rolling out and cutting gnocchi

Browned butter sage sauce

Parmesan, bacon and walnut sauce

A recipe and directions for gnocchi and browned butter sage sauce can be found here on Serious Eats. You could probably use either sauce on pasta if you don't want to go to all the effort of making gnocchi. Do you like cooking with friends?

Parmesan, Bacon and Walnut Sauce
adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces finely chopped bacon (the original recipe called for pancetta)
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Cook the bacon in a 12 inch skillet with the oil until browned and crisp about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine broth, cream, yolks, Parmesan, and pepper in a bowl to make a smooth mixture. After the bacon is crisp, add the walnuts and cook for a minute more until fragrant. Remove the skillet from heat and whisk constantly while adding the broth mixture. Return to heat and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes until somewhat thickened. Serve with gnocchi or pasta.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Apple, Spinach and Feta Salad

So where have I been? Well, I was enjoying relaxing during the holidays and didn't feel like blogging much. Then the new semester of school started and it's been a crazy whirlwind of TA prep, starting class and trying to get research done, but I'm back now!

Since January is the time of eating healthy, I thought I'd share this awesome salad I've found recently. The recipe is over at Annie's Eats. We've made it twice in one week! One time was on it's own and the other time topped with grilled chicken breast. It was delicious both ways! The only thing we changed is halving the feta since I don't like a ton. This salad has a spinach base topped with sliced apples, buttered almonds, and feta. Although that all sounds good, my favorite part was actually the dressing. It has sesame seed, sweet onion, and apple cider and white wine vinegar awesomeness going for it. I think I'll make it for other salads in the future. 

How are your eating resolutions coming? I didn't actually make any because the thing I need to change most is not having as much dessert and you know how much a fan of that I am.