Year of Brownies
Blog Collection

It's almost Chriscandycanebrowniestmas, and of course the brownies this month have to include candy canes! 

These are really good, but a little goes a long way.  I'd suggest cutting them into small squares.  The ganache topping tends to crack when you're cutting, so if you care about presentation, a quick clean chop works best.

Here's the recipe, from Food Network:

If you decide to make these, you should read the comments in the link above; there were some good ideas about tweaks that might make them even better (adding flour and more cream cheese to firm up the filling).

I can't believe another year has gone by, and I'm concluding the Year of Brownies!  This was a good batch of recipes, but I still think that Year of Cupcakes was my favorite.  This year's recipes included some high points (the banana split brownies) and some low points (caramel nut brownie cups).  I learned a lot about what makes brownies stick to the pan (and not).  In my opinion, the best method is plain old aluminum foil in the bottom, particularly if you plan to pre-slice the brownies.  Martha always tells you to butter, then parchment, then butter, but that's too much work for too little return.

Stay tuned; I'll be announcing what next year's goodies will be soon (probably next week).
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 4 (Last: Rosemary O'Neill · 12/22/10 9:21 AM)
So this month's brownie was changed; my original plan was for a pumpkin cheesecake swirl, but we just had pumpkin cheesecake at Thanksgiving, so I decided to switch it up.  Ted found this recipe in our latest issue of Coastal Living, and he and Finn are bigtime pistachio fans.

Here's a link to the recipe online:

I would say that these are good if you like "stuff" in your brownies (which I really don't, unless it's more chocolate).  The nuts seemed a bit mushy, not crunchy for some reason, but maybe that's just what happens to pistachios when they're cooked.  The brownie part was very fudgy and delicious, though.

I can't believe the Year of Brownies is almost over!  This has been a good one; now I'm trying to come up with a good idea for 2011...suggestions are welcome!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 2 (Last: Lori · 12/1/10 12:43 PM)
This month's brownie (for the Year of Brownies) is really different!  I normally don't like fruit mixed with chocolate, but this one won me over.  I do like cherry preserves...

Cherry Fudge Brownies - Bon Appetit June 1999

I did leave off the sauce, because it seemed like gilding the lily, but after tasting it, perhaps a sauce would be good.

The recipe is super-easy.  No cautions for this one.  It's a pretty standard brownie base, plus the cherries and chocolate chips.  However, be forewarned that the brownies are very thin, with chewy edges.  The "fudge" in the recipe title is somewhat misleading.  If you like deeper brownies, I suppose you could try using a smaller pan and cooking a tiny bit longer.

My mom is here visiting and her verdict was "good, but maybe could use a hint of almond flavor."  I agree that a drizzle of almond icing could be tasty, but I also liked them just the way they are.  Next time I might add the sauce to see if that adds a new dimension.
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 1 (Last: Lori · 10/23/10 12:50 PM)
The Year of Brownies continues, and since it's September I'm already dreaming of what the baking theme will be next year!  Any suggestions are welcome

Every once in a while, a brownie comes along and unexpectedly sweeps you off your feet.  This month's brownie came from a cookbook called, "Incredibly Easy Cookies," given to me by a friend.  With a title like that, you'd anticipate unassuming, simple bake sale recipes.  However, this is the second one I've tried, and the second one to get rave reviews.  Moral of the story? Sometimes simple is good!

One note from me: my store didn't carry the Reese's peanut butter and milk chocolate chips, so I bought a bag of Reese's chips and a bag of milk chocolate chips and used half of each.  It worked out just fine.
Here's the recipe...


3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups (11-oz package) Reese's peanut butter and milk chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together cocoa and baking soda in large bowl; stir in 1/3 cup melted butter.  Add boiling water, stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, egs, and remaining 1/3 cup melted butter; stir until smooth.  Add flour vanilla and salt; blend thoroughly.  Stir in chips. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.
Copyright 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: LittleOddMe · 10/2/10 4:21 AM)
The year of brownies continues, this month with another cheesecake-related brownie.  It's from Martha Stewart, circa 1996 (yes, I've had it printed out and hanging around for that long):

Martha Stewart's Banana Split Brownie - click here for recipe

The recipe is fairly easy for a "Martha," but it does involve two different batters, so plan on dirtying a lot of your equipment   I'd also add one tip about the very careful when you read the recipe, because I got confused as to how many full eggs vs yolk were going into the batters.  Make sure you read the whole recipe first (which is always a good practice anyway).

They have been pronounced excellent by my in-house brownie tasting team, although Catie is now requesting "chocolate brownies."  She wants ones that have no embellishment.  Of course her brother Finn wants "extra stuff brownies."  He wants as many nuts and doodads as I can fit in the batter.  Oh well

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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 2 (Last: Tina · 9/2/10 10:00 AM)
This is a great basic brownie.  No-nonsense and unpretentious, just like Ms. Hepburn herself.


I added the walnuts, but you don't have to.  I think they'd be just a good without.  They have a very thin crispy layer on top, with a gooey, crumbly texture inside.  The edges are nice and chewy.  In short, a good go-to recipe when you want brownies fast. 

You'll also notice that the recipe has ingredients you already have in your pantry...perfect for that midnight craving.  This is another one you make in the saucepan, so make sure the butter/chocolate mixture cools a bit before adding the eggs (or you'll have scrambled egg brownies).

Here's the recipe: Katharine Hepburn's brownies (from Epicurious)

My final assessment - it's going in the recipe file for future batches.  Finn says, "they're delicious!"
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 0

We are at the halfway point in the Year of Brownies and coincidentally these are the best yet.  They are Coconut-Pecan-Crusted Brownies, originally published in Gourmet (RIP) Magazine in December 1996.  I've linked above to the recipe on Epicurious so that you too can enjoy them!

These are the kind of brownies that are so good, you may need to smoke a cigarette after you have one.  The texture of the topping is lightly crispy, sweet and salty, and the underlying brownie is moist, chewy at the edges, and chocolatey.  In short, the perfect brownie.

I've never made a topping like this's like a streusel, except with coconut and pecans in it.  It's also ridiculously easy to make....I normally have most of the ingredients on hand in the pantry, so we might be seeing this one often (assuming my Zumba exercise video really does burn 1000 calories per hour).

One tip...don't ignore the recipe's advice to butter and flour the pan well.  It is pretty sticky, so you don't want to let it sit.  But who are we kidding---you're going to scarf it all down immediately anyway.

Now go forth and bake!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 1 (Last: Sandy Wallace · 6/15/10 10:14 AM)

I'm sad to announce that this month's brownie was a giant failure.  It was a major pain to make, and resulted in a brownie that was just plain weird and yucky (my opinion).  Here's the recipe:

Full disclosure...this was the first time I ever tried to make my own caramel, and I definitely would recommend reading up on technique before attempting this recipe, which blithely says "stir until golden."  HAHAHAHAHA.  I put the sugar in the dry pot, stirred with a fork (as recipe recommends) for 40 minutes (you read that right), got suspicious, read a few articles (on my iPad, while stirring), and realized that YOU DON'T STIR CARAMEL.  D'oh.

I stopped stirring, and it almost immediately turned liquid.  My big problem with the final result is that the caramel is so hard, it's like a Sugar Daddy, and so you can't enjoy the brownie at all.  It's also very very nutty, like a Squirrel Nut Zipper (some people like those, but I do not).

Bottom line, I recommend against making this one, but if you feel you must, do some caramel research first, or just substitute Dulce de Leche and get 'er done.

There's always next month!
Sent from my iPhone
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 2 (Last: Lori · 5/3/10 2:18 PM)
Here it is the end of the month, and I almost didn't get to do my Brownie of the Month!  Just under the deadline, I made Chocolate Brownie Cake last night.  It was supposed to be Chocolate Mint Brownie Cake, but somehow, Ciaran doesn't like mint (go figure), so I made a slight adjustment.

This recipe requires a couple of extra steps, because it's got a layer of brownies, topped with a layer of white chocolate frosting, topped by a layer of chocolate ganache, but the reviews seem to indicate it's worth it.  There is a touch of cinnamon in the recipe, but I felt that it was pretty pronounced in the final product.  So if you aren't fond of cinnamon chocolate, you can leave it out. 

I would call this one "a keeper."  It would be a festive dessert (especially if you made it minty) for Christmas-time.  I could picture crushed candy canes as a decorative addition...

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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 2 (Last: Lori · 4/1/10 8:48 AM)

These little beauties are a conundrum.  If you're absolutely wild, crazy about hazelnuts...this is your treat.  If not, it's a bit over the edge.  Finn ate a significant amount of the batter, so it's a winner with him, but Ted & I both kind of said "meh."  The texture is perfect and chewy/tender, but the hazelnut flavor packs a serious wallop.  Add the dollop of Nutella, and you've got a perfect storm of nutty nuttiness. (Hey, wallop and dollop rhyme...) But I digress.

Here's the recipe, for those of you who are nuts about nuts:

Sent from my iPhone
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 1 (Last: Lori · 2/24/10 8:40 AM)
photoWe've kicked of the "Year of Brownies" in style!  My mom is visiting, which is why I selected Double Chocolate Mocha for the first batch...I come by my chocaholism honestly

This recipe is from Epicurious, via a 2002 Gourmet Magazine (may it rest in peace). 

In the world of brownies, it's all about consistency, and these have a wonderful crispy top with fudgy center.  They're thin, and they require a weird size of pan, but I solved it by putting heavy-duty aluminum foil inside a larger pan and it worked just fine.  I also scaled back the espresso a bit, since there are non-coffee drinkers in this house.

Two thumbs up for this recipe.  Take two and call me in the morning...they're just what the doctor ordered!

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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 6 (Last: Rosemary O'Neill · 1/29/10 7:26 PM)
Some may say it's the year of the apocalypse, the year of social media, the year of economic recovery...but I am hereby officially declaring 2010 the Year of Brownies.  This will be the fourth year I've put together a year's worth of great dessert recipes.  It all started with Martha Stewart's Year of Cakes in 2006.  Then I moved on to Pies, Cupcakes, and this year, Cookies.  I've accumulated a lot of baking equipment, a few pounds, and some really cool kitchen tricks along the way.  So without further ado, here's the official list of brownies we'll be enjoying this year:

January - Double Chocolate Mocha Brownies (Gourmet, 2002)
February - Hazelnut Blondies (Martha Stewart Living, July 2007)
March - Chocolate Mint Brownie Cake (Bon Appetit, April 2003)
April - Caramel Nut Brownie Cups (Gourmet, November 1998)
May - Cheesecake Marbled Brownies (Gourmet, June 2007)
June - Coconut Pecan Crusted Brownies (Gourmet, December 1996)
July - Katharine Hepburn's Brownies (Epicurious, April 2003)
August - Banana Split Brownies (Martha Stewart Living 2009)
September - Marbled Peanut Butter Brownies (Easy Cookies cookbook)
October - Cherry Fudge Brownies (Bon Appetit, June 1999)
November - Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares (Zucchini, Pumpkins & Squash, by Kathleen Desmond Stang)
December - Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Brownies (from Food Network magazine ad)

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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 3 (Last: Croc · 12/30/09 3:55 AM)
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