It rained & I baked Not your Basic Brownies

Hello! Happy Monday!

How was everyone’s weekend? Were you lucky enough to have both a 4-day weekend AND sunshine? I didn’t have either. Seriously. I’m so totally over the rain.

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Oh. Sorry. Potty mouth. Please forgive me. It’s been raining for a week. And there’s a Tropical Storm in the Atlantic. Yay. More rain. Just what we need.

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I may charge admission to the swimming pool that is my driveway.

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Okay. Enough about that.

Rain makes me want to bake. I don’t know why but it does. So, I made brownies. 🙂

Brownies are delicious.

While they were cooking, I watched some TV and ate some popcorn. I had a feeling I was being watched.

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Do you think he wants some? 🙂

I found a light brownie recipe in my 1,000 Lowfat Recipes cookbook and I adjusted it. Because, you know, that’s what I do. These brownies are rich and dense and dark. They are also screaming for the addition of some peanut butter chips or some milk chocolate chips. Oh my goodness.

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If only I had remembered to put in the peanut butter chips. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to make them again. Aw, shucks! 🙂

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You could also frost them.

Or put ice cream on them.

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Om nom nom!

Not your Basic Brownies
makes 12 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Domino light sugar & stevia blend
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Put the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat an 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray.

2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter, applesauce, yogurt, egg whites, egg, vanilla, and sugars until the sugar is dissolved and the batter is smooth. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt into the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir until all is moist and smooth. Pour into the baking pan and tap on the table to get rid of large air pockets in the batter.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the center of the brownies is firm to the touch.

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Per serving:
Calories 114; Fat 3g; Carbs 22g (sugar 13g); Protein 4g

– jennifer

Race report! plus Bacon-Bourbon Brownies. For real.

Marathon Day! I peeked out the window when I woke up to discover … rain. The weather forecasters were right. I was not happy. They’re never right! 40 degrees + rain = not fun. We held out hope that the rain would let up by the time we got out to the start. We prepped our cute, matching race ensembles the night before – hey, we ARE girls!

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Well, unfortunately, it never stopped raining. Okay, we had no rain from miles 15-20 but, by that point, who cares? We were already soaked, freezing, and miserable. The race folk had worked quickly and pulled together some “Run for Boston” shirts that they were handing out. It was so cold, we wore them the entire race!

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Even though it was raining, people still came out to cheer us on, which was AWESOME! Because we really needed it. And, security was out in full force. We really appreciated that AND the cops were super awesome. They were even cheering us on. I’ve never run a race where the cops were so involved. I wish more were like that!

So, the altitude didn’t kill us but the rain and cold tried to. We weren’t really out for time but we are stoked with our finish. Unofficial time? 4:29:33. We’ll take it!

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Brownies!
And, before I blogged at Cooking with JenS, you could find me at The Connoisseur Chronicles. This recipe is from back then. Brownies. With Bacon and Bourbon. You’re welcome. 🙂

Three words. Bacon. Bourbon. Chocolate. All in one dish. Seriously. Thank you Food and Wine Magazine! Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans. Boy, is that fun to say, or what?! Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans. Mmmm…..what more could a girl ask for? (Okay, the nerd in me wishes pecans were instead named something that started with the letter “b” – alliteration is so much fun!)

This recipe is from the August 2011 issue of the magazine. Yep, I’ve had this magazine for maybe 4 days and I’m already making recipes out of it! It is seriously packed with delicious sounding grub, this recipe topping the list! AND, you know how we LOVE bacon so it HAD to be done! After all, everything’s better with bacon.

The best thing about these brownies – except for the bacon and bourbon, of course, is that they are from scratch. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some seriously awesome brownie mixes available in your local grocery store – hello Ghirardelli! – but brownies from scratch are just so amazing. They tend to be rich, dense and decadent. Basically, they’re everything a brownie SHOULD be! And these definitely meet that criteria. The bacon adds a saltiness that contrasts the chocolate and the pecans add a crunch that compliments the smooth density of the brownie itself. Really, this is HEAVEN in a bite! Okay, more than one bite and I’ve definitely had more than one brownie so far. Don’t judge me.

Now, I wanted the good, salty stuff for this recipe, so I bought some applewood smoked bacon. YUM! Plus, you have to reserve nearly ¼ cup of bacon grease to add to the recipe and turkey bacon just doesn’t produce that. No, don’t be grossed out – it really adds to the richness of the brownie. And no, this is NOT low-fat. It’s a brownie, for goodness sakes!

Let’s talk about the bourbon. If you like to lick the beaters, you will definitely taste the bourbon in the mix. Mmmmm….just enough to add to the flavor but not enough to make you tipsy. I used Bulleit – a delicious frontier bourbon whiskey in an old-school glass bottle recommended to us by my brother-in-law – thanks Monte! Hope you’re not mad I used two shots for other than drinking! Um, and no, don’t ask me why it’s a “bourbon whiskey”. I used to think they were two different things but, apparently not. And, while we’re on that subject, why the heck is scotch a “scotch whiskey?” Seriously, could alcohol BE any more confusing?! Oh wait….don’t answer that. You, of course, can use the bourbon (whiskey) of your choice.

The bottom line is… bacon, bourbon and chocolate are a divine combination that EVERYONE – especially chocoholics – should try. Recipe’s down there. You’re welcome.

Happy drinking (bourbon), cooking and eating!

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Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans
½ cup pecans
½ pound sliced bacon
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350̊. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the paper with vegetable spray. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

2. In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the bacon.

3. In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 tablespoons bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares or rectangles, serve and do a happy dance.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies

So, it’s a rainy holiday Monday and, since I’m stuck inside, what better way to pass the time than by making some cookies?! Thankfully, it was lovely this morning and I was able to get my run in before the cold and rain started. We’ve got a cold front pushing this way and we’re supposed to have a 30 degree difference between temperatures last night and tonight. Phew! I better make sure we’re loaded up on Vitamin C because that’s a cold-inducing temperature change! Of course, we need something sinfully delicious to snack on while those cold breezes blow outside and it seemed the perfect day to make a recipe I recently found on one of my favorite blogs – Sweetpea’s Kitchen.  Reese’s peanut butter cups chopped up and baked in a chocolate chocolate chip brownie cookie?  Are you kidding me?!  It’s no wonder I couldn’t make it past a week without making some!  Seriously, my husband tried one and immediately decided that we (being me and Things 1 and 2) should not eat any and that he would do his duty as man of the house and eat them all up for us.  He also said they tasted like “love and biscuits.”   Ha!  Now, that’s a rave review if I ever heard one. 😀

Now, you may have noticed the words “brownie” and “cookie” in the title.  Yep.  I’ve turned a brownie into a cookie.  It’s quite possibly the most amazing thing ever.  The result is a dense, decadent brownie-like cookie chock full of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness.  Wait,  you haven’t started making these yet?  Seriously, you MUST. MAKE. THESE!  NOW!  Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of milk. 🙂

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cups Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter, 1 1/2 cups semisweet chips and unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until combined.  Add flour mixture; beating well.  Add chocolate mixture and beat until combined.  Stir in remaining 1/2 cups semisweet chips and chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

3. Drop dough by 2 tablespoonfuls, spacing 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are dry and the centers appear cracked, about 9-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes.  Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.