Need a dessert idea? You can’t go wrong with chocolatey, sea salty, fudgy bite-sized brownies. They’re the ultimate crowd-pleaser and these brownies will leave them wanting more.
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder or very finely ground coffee (optional)
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped, or ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, while whisking constantly, until it’s a pale golden brown and the particles suspended in it are reddish brown. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Then add the cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder and espresso powder. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula after each one. When the mixture looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the vanilla extract and the flour. Stir until you no longer see streaks of flour. Then beat vigorously for 50 strokes with the wooden spoon or spatula.
- At this point, the mixture should be no more than slightly warm (if not, let it cool for a few more minutes). Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips.
- Spread the batter in the lined pan. Bake on the lower rack for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool the brownies in the pan on a baking rack.
- Once the brownies are completely cool, lift the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the brownies into 16 squares.
The holidays are creeping up and it’s an excuse for me to start baking more desserts. Generally I don’t bake too often because it’s just myself and Dan…and it’s usually myself who ends up eating the desserts. So generally if dessert posts show up, then you know we’ve been to a potluck or our co-workers have been well fed.
This year, we’re taking part in the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by our friends at Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. So I’m getting started with testing cookie recipes to share. A few months ago, I made the chocolate crinkle cookies from Hummingbird on High and loved them! So the other day, I put my own spin on these and made a few other types of cookies and brownies. My co-workers (as well as Dan’s) loved this cookie the most! They were surprised by how few ingredients were in them too! These cookies, adapted from Williams Sonoma, have a moist brownie-like texture in the middle but the outside has a thin crunch and a coating of powdered sugar. These cookies definitely taste great and turn out beautifully. They’re perfect for serving to guests or enjoying for yourself!
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter or use parchment paper.
- Put the powdered sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off the mixture and scrape down sides. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
- Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until just blended.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough.
- Roll dough into a ball using your hands and roll the ball in the powdered sugar until covered.
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls 1-2 inches apart.
- Bake until the cookies are cracked and puffed, about 10-12 minutes.
- Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.
- Using a spatula, move the cookies onto the rack and let cool completely.
When I started to beat the butter and sugar together, I realized that the butter was not soft/warm enough and instead of getting creamy, it started becoming crumbly. If this happens, just turn off the mixer and microwave the butter and sugar mixture for 10 seconds, but be sure to not melt the butter. If this does happen, just refrigerate the mixture for about a minute.
There is an inevitable surge of dessert-eating during the holiday season. Potlucks, cookie-swaps, you name it. A key preventing your kitchen from exploding is it keep the recipe simple and easily scale-able. I’ve made about 80 of these whoopie pies (meaning 160 individual cakes!), among other desserts, within the last 2 weeks. Needless to say, I’m glad to be done with baking this holiday season. Now I have time to share what I’ve made with all of you. This recipe doesn’t need much of an introduction. Who doesn’t like the flavors of mint and orange mixed with chocolate? But if you really don’t, omit the peppermint extract and orange zest from the filling to get a classic vanilla buttercream. So if you have time, put on a classic holiday film and get to baking!
– For the Cakes –
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt until combined.
- In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the egg and beat until well combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, or hand mix at this point, and alternately mix in the flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally and mix until smooth.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter about 1-2 inches apart onto the baking sheet.
- Bake in the upper portion of the oven for the first half of the baking time and switch to the lower third of the oven for the second half of the time.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until the tops are puffed and the cakes spring back when touched.
- Transfer to a rack to cool completely before assembling.
– For the Filling –
- Using a stand or hand mixture, beat together the powdered sugar and butter on low until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, peppermint, salt and orange zest and beat on high until smooth, about 3 minutes.
– For the Assembly –
- To assemble, spread a desired amount of filling onto the base of a cake and top with another cake.