Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies

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If you haven’t been here long, you probably don’t know that I’m a Texan. If you have been here for a while, you’re probably tired of me making references to the fact that I’m a Texan. Not the kind that wears cowboy boots with skirts and rides to work on a horse named sugar, but a Texan no less.

I can’t help it, I’m a Texan. It’s a pride unlike any other.

You won’t find better Tex-mex anywhere, steaks seem just a bit bigger, beautiful bluebonnets transform regular hills into waves of blue, seeing cows from the side of the road is perfectly normal, margaritas are a staple, BBQ is an art form, the night sky isn’t more beautiful anywhere else, and pecans run rampant across this great state.

Texas, I made you brownies. Brownies you wouldn’t mind calling home. They have rum and pecans in them, you’d be proud!

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Do yourself a favor: if you hate rum or aren’t crazy about the strong flavor of rum in your baked goods, don’t make these. There’s a half cup of rum in these, they are not for sissies. If you don’t like pecans, you can sub for any other nut just be sure to toast them or the flavor will get lost. If you don’t like browned butter, you’re in the wrong place ;-) BUT, you can just as easily use regular melted butter in place of browned. If you don’t like chocolate… we can’t be friends anymore*. If you want to smother these brownies in vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a drizzle of dark rum for good measure… I think we can be the best of friends.

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Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies
yields 12-16 brownies

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, cut into 16 small pieces
175g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
190g (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
75g (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ pan with foil or parchment paper, taking care to leave an overhang on at least two sides for easy removal later. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally until all the butter has melted. After several minutes, the butter will begin to bubble and this is your sign to really pay attention to your butter. The milk solids will separate: stir it frequently at this point, so that the milk solids do not settle at the bottom of the pan and burn (there is no saving burned butter, trust me). Continue stirring as your butter changes from a light brown to a medium brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, toss in your chopped chocolate and pour the browned butter over it (swirl the bowl a bit to make sure all the chocolate pieces are submerged in butter). Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Using a whisk, mix the chocolate and butter together vigorously until it is satiny and combined. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. When both eggs are in, give it a good vigorous whisking for about 10 seconds. Add the rum and mix well.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together over your chocolate mixture. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until almost combined and then toss in pecans and fold until combined. Pour batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mins, begin checking early to ensure your brownies don’t overbake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan until room temperature. Remove the brownies from the pan using the overhang, cut and enjoy!

Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

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Honey Nut Scones – TWD

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Happy Belated Halloween!!

Did you dress up? Did you throw a nifty party that only cool people could go to? Did you steal your kids’ candy? Did you buy a giant bag of different chocolates (because you know that’s what the kids REALLY want)? Did you turn off your porch light early so you could keep the rest of the chocolate for yourself? Are you most likely going to eat candy for breakfast?

If so, we could be great friends.

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But just in case you frown upon chocolate bars for breakfast, I made you scones. It has good for you things in it like whole wheat flour, nuts and honey. Have one of these babies warm out of the oven with a glass of milk (for calcium) or orange juice (for vitamin C) or tea (cus it’s warm and yummy and what goes better with warm scones than tea??)

And don’t forget to drench your scone in more honey. If your immediate thought after reading that was something along the lines of “Duh, Jeannette… way ahead of you,” then we could be besties. For serious.

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Scones are notorious for being fussy. You can’t overwork the dough or you’re guaranteed tough scones, and the dough is very easily overworked. The best advice that I have ever read regarding making scones (aside from work quickly) is this “Use your hands.” You hands are your best tool here: they are softer and gentler than any rubber spatula or wooden spoon could be; which means they will be gentler on your scone dough and agitate the dough less resulting in fluffy scones. Just be sure to have a napkin handy to turn on the faucet to wash your hands. Unless you think random bits of dough hanging out on your faucet handle-thingies (omg, what the heck are they called?!) is a decorative statement… in which case, I’d have to give you the look -_-

The only change I made to the original recipe was to use pecans instead of walnuts and I made 8 medium scones instead of 12 small-ish scones. That was a direct result of my laziness in not wanting to divide the scone dough so I just patted it into a larger circle and baked for about 2 minutes more. Next time I’ll brush with some cream and sprinkle some raw sugar on it for extra texture. There are a lot of good scone making tips here. Ya learn something new everyday :)

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Honey-Nut Scones
from Baking: from My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

1 large egg
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup cold whole milk (I used 2%)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Stir the egg, honey and milk together.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Drop in butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between — and that’s just right.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork (or by hand) just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don’t overdo it. Stir in chopped walnuts.

Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that’s about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, the wrapped airtight. Don’t defrost before baking — just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake the scones for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are deeply golden and firmish to the touch. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for the scones to cool to room temperature. Enjoy : )

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Head on over to the LYL page to see everyone that baked scones and Far Brenton with us this week. You can find the recipe for Far Brenton (which I sadly didn’t get a chance to make) on Nicole’s blog, Cookies on Friday.

Tuesdays with Dorie is sadly coming to an end. I joined a bit late in the game but I have learned so many things and made so many great friends through this experience. I’d like to thank you all for making this something to remember.

Thick, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m a thick and chewy cookie kinda gal. I’ve tried crispy and crunchy, thin and chewy, thick and cakey, undercooked, overcooked… any which way you can try a cookie, I’ve tried them that way.

Definitely a thick and chewy girl. Wait, I’m not saying that I’M thick and chewy. And although that’s debatable, I was talking about the cookies.

So when I saw these gems on Jessica’s blog I had stars in my eyes.

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Stars in my eyes people. I’m talking serious cookies here.

These are super easy to whip up and you’re likely to have all the ingredients on hand. There’s no pesky refrigeration time for the cookie dough and no bringing the butter to room temperature. The cookies come out thick, chewy, melty and delicious and…

Like I said, STARS.

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Thick, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from here
makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons of butter, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or sub for more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 heaping cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

Add butter and peanut butter to a large microwave safe bowl, and heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Give the mixture a good whisk until combined and smooth. Let cool completely (pop into the fridge if you’re as impatient as me. Ps: I couldn’t wait for it to cool COMPLETELY, I proceeded with a slightly warm mixture and still yielded great cookies).

In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and salt until combined and set aside.

In the bowl of the cooled butter/peanut butter mix, add sugars and whisk vigorously until they are combined and no lumps remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until combined. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms (I used a rubber spatula and folded in the flour mixture in three parts until just combined). Fold in chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into a ball the size of a golfball (I weighed my dough and divided by 18 to ensure equal sized pieces; mine were about 54 grams each). Place on prepared baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Do not over bake. Let cool. Or not, your choice. ;)

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Chocolate Spice Quickies

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Baking in my kitchen can go 1 of 3 ways.

Hover Mode: I check the book a million and three times to make sure I’m proceeding as written, that I have added EVERYTHING I need to, and that I am making no mistakes. Slightly obsessive, slow paced, afraid.

Middle Mode: I read the recipe all the way through carefully at least once (hopefully without distractions) and retain most of the info and check back every so often to make sure I’m proceeding correctly. Cool, calm, collected.

Pro Mode: I read through the recipe once, maybe twice and proceed as I’m pretty damn sure I should. Careless, fast(er) paced, confident.

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I made these cookies utilizing Pro Mode. I don’t know WHAT was going on in my head but for some reason I felt like a pro and I proceeded as such.
And I made every single mistake that I could possibly think of. Seriously.

I made the dough for these cookies COMPLETELY out of order. I mixed the flour and dry ingredients, tossed in the egg or butter (I’m not sure which order anymore) and once I decided to check what the next step was, all that escaped my mouth was “crap!” But I decided that I wasn’t going to be deterred and pressed on hoping for at least edible cookies.

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Well, I’ve just eaten 3 and the raw dough end pieces (you know, those funky shaped ends) so I’d say they are freaking tasty.. They are soft, bespeckled and delicious.

They are fab plain, but toss in a small scoop of vanilla (or toasted marshmallow. Recipe coming soon) ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches and you’re in heaven. (Or just toss them in a bowl with some ice cream to make it easier). Either way, tastyyy.

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A special thanks to a fellow Texan, Jessica for choosing this recipe. Head on over to her beautiful blog, My Baking Heart for the recipe (or click here to go directly to it). I will be making these again!!

Single Lady Pancake

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If I could have a lifetime supply of anything in the entire world, it would be pancakes.

And shoes.

And money.

And glitter.

And pink. Yes, just pink.

I’m veering from the point.

Which is pancakes. I could eat them for every meal. Every day. All sizes, shapes, flavors, topped with maple syrup, fruit or whatever is within reach of my grubby little hands.

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Pancakes.

When I came across this recipe, I scoffed at the idea of one pancake. ONE. Singular. Sad. But It was simple enough so that if I wanted another one, I could easily mix it together so I decided to give it a shot.

And holy pancake nirvana, was this good. And filling. I only needed one.

Yes, ONE. Singular. Happiness.

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Single Lady Pancake
but totally for the married, committed and dating as well :)
Adapted from JoytheBaker

makes one large pancake

Ingredients:
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry purpose flour (or sub for AP flour)
1 Tablespoon dried oats (quick cooking or regular)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk (you can sub regular or soy milk)
splash of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of peanut butter (optional)
small handful semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini-chips)
toasted pecans*

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Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and peanut butter (if using). Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Heat a small frying pan with a teaspoon of oil (or cooking spray, or if you have a great non-stick pan you don’t need anything). Pour in the pancake batter and spread some with the back of a spoon. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form and pop on the surface of the pancake.

Flip. It’s ok if it doesn’t flip perfectly… which it probably won’t. It’s not you, it’s the pancake. It’s sassy.

Cook until golden brown. Remove from pan and onto a plate. Top with toasted pecans and maple syrup. Or whichever way makes you “mmmm” with delight.

*to quicky toast your pecans, just “saute” them in your hot skillet before you make the pancake. Let them get toasty and warm for about 3-4 minutes, set aside.

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Buttercrunch Toffee

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My nail polish is chipping and I just got my manicure two days ago. Not awesome.

My hair is frizzy with fly-aways. So not awesome.

My tummy hurts because I ate much too much toffee. Not even close to awesome.

This toffee… incredibly awesome.

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You should make it, eat too much with your chipped fingernail polished hands so I won’t be alone in this. Everyone needs a support system.

This toffee is SO easy to make. One pot, one baking sheet and you have yourself some golden delicious toffee to crumble up and eat, top your favorite ice cream or pack up in a pretty box and give it as a gift. Yum in a box!!

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Buttercrunch Toffee
Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup pecand (almonds or hazelnuts work too)
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use your favorite kind)

Directions:
To Prep the pecans: Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, and bake them at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring them halfway through so they toast evenly. Let them cool, and chop them finely.

1. Set aside half of the chopped nuts. Place the other half on an ungreased baking sheet (or a 9″ cake pan), and gather the nuts into an 8-inch circle. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the water, butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar over medium heat. (Don’t overstir!) Cook the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees F. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla until just combined.

3. Pour the mixture onto your circle of nuts.

4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee, and set aside for 2 minutes while the chocolate melts. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the toffee.

5. Scatter the remaining half of your nuts over the chocolate. Let the toffee cool completely.

And add it to some ice cream. Come back tomorrow for some amazingly delicious ice cream!!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Biscotti – TWD

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Don’t be like me.

I am the girl who basically has to chanta reminder over and over in her head so she doesn’t forget to buy eggs.

I am the girl who doesn’t do anything but air dry her hair. Sometimes… I don’t even condition it. I’m lazy.

I’m the girl who is so scattered it takes all day to handle a few simple chores. I’m easily distracted. To the extent which I don’t think you could ever fully appreciate.

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I am the girl who decides to decorate her lovely biscotti with white chocolate drizzle then takes them outside (for natural light, of course) to photograph and forgets that it’s almost 100 degrees outside. So all of my chocolate melts. Then promptly finds its way on to my fingers, camera, nose, shorts, and glasses.

Do yourself a favor, don’t be like me. Unless you don’t mind licking chocolate off of your camera outside your apartment door for all your neighbors to see.

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Melty chocolate aside, these biscotti were phenom. They are chocolate overload and I love every second of it. I used part black cocoa, part rouge cocoa powder, hazelnuts, dried cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips and boy, oh boy were these awesome.

Normally I’d pawn biscotti off to my mom but she is a self-proclaimed chocolate hater (kind of like someone else I know, ahem) so these were all for me. Ok, maybe half of them are for me… the rest have to go before I turn into a biscotti myself!!

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For the recipe, head on over to Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes. (Click here for the recipe)

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