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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Skillet Brownies

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It’s gloomy here today. I’m talking pitch black at 9am kind of gloomy, rain all day kind of gloomy, flash flooding kind of gloomy, tornado watch kind of gloomy. And I’m ok with that.

You see, I’m one of those people that live in Happy Shiny Fun Land and things are always rainbows and butterflies and nothing goes seriously wrong. Chances are we are not going to get washed away in a flood. We’re probably not going to get swept up by a tornado and crash land in Oz either. Although I wouldn’t mind.

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But it’s that kind of day today. Upon waking, I exclaimed that I’m never getting out of bed (aloud, to myself because I’m weird and it made me feel more validated) but then my bladder quickly reminded me why that was not to be. Sadness.

So, I begrudgingly slumped out of bed and began my day. But I quickly realized that all was not lost. Oh, no. I had a tiny skillet and I knew just how to use it. And then there were brownies. Which I teased you with on Instagram.

These are as close to perfection as you can get: fudgy, chocolatey, quick and since they are baked in a cast iron skillet, everyone gets a SLICE of brownie (which includes the gooey center and the crusty edge all in one piece. WIN!!) No trying to shove foil in all the right places in your square pan and accidentally poking your finger through the foil and cutting yourself (true story, folks!). Just you and your pan, the way it was meant to be.

So if your day is washed away like mine, or if you actually live in Happy Shiny Fun Land, make these. Make them now.

And share with someone you love, it’ll make your heart feel all warm and mushy.

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Skillet Brownies
Yields one 10″ skillet of brownies (8-10 servings)

NOTE: I halved the recipe and baked in a 6-inch skillet for 28 minutes and it was divine. Top with some ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. And sprinkles, if you’re fancy.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the sugar and eggs together until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

In an oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron, you can use coated enamel, stainless steel, whatever you have that’s oven-proof) over medium heat, add the butter and cream until it begins to lightly simmer and the butter completely melts. Reduce heat to low and stir in the chocolate for one minute. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture looks satiny and smooth. Let sit another 5 minutes to cool.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into sugar mixture, whisking the entire time until completely blended. Gently fold in the flour with a rubber spatula and stop mixing once the flour just disappears.

Pour batter back into skillet, and using a rubber spatula scrape down sides if needed and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Slice and serve warm from the skillet. Or go family style and hand everyone a spoon and dig in. Enjoy!

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Recipe from Pass the Sushi

Bailey’s Brownies

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I have spent the better part of my time after Thanksgiving worrying, stressing, listing, scratching out and listing again all the things that need to be accomplished before Christmas gets here.

Christmas shopping usually begins on black Friday. Then it’s a mad dash to get everything on our list in the 3 weekends before Christmas, stop at 3 million stores until we have 80% of what we need then decide to “screw it” and buy the rest online (ok that last part might just be me), throw a party for our friends (or friendsmas, as I call it) to get together, wrap gifts, bake enough crap to kill a small horse, box and send everything off, have Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve, leave super late, sleep for a whopping 4 hours, and the get on the road out of town to spend Christmas with the in-laws.

Stressssssss, major.

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During these times I tell myself that pouring a stiff drink would be totally ok, encouraged even. But I never end up reaching for the mini bar we have collecting above our cabinets.

Instead I reach for brownies. And by “reach for” I really mean to say bake some. Because I don’t keep brownies on hand (too dangerous, you understand.) So yes, I stand in the kitchen and bake some damn brownies to calm my nerves.

So on SUPER stressful times like these, I tip some Bailey’s into my brownie batter.

Make some. It’s a good idea. In fact, I encourage it.

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Bailey’s Brownies
adapted from The Craving Chronicles

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil and lightly spritz with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.

Place chocolate and butter in a large microwave-proof bowl and melt in 30 second spurts, stirring in between each interval until completely melted. Set aside to cool a bit. (Alternatively, melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan set over low heat, stirring frequently until melted. Set aside.)

Once the chocolate mixture is warm (not hot!) add eggs, one at a time, whisking constantly to incorporate the eggs. Whisk vigorously for about 10 seconds to incorporate fully. Add sugar, vanilla, and Baileys and whisk until combined.

Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, folding until just combined (the flour JUST disappears).

Pour batter into the prepared pan, give it a quick wiggle to even out the batter. Bake at for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Enjoy and de-stress : )

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Ginger Jazzed Brownies – TWD

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I don’t like to curse. Let’s be real: it happens, but I try to limit it.

Except when it comes to watching my football team.

I’m one of those crazy football fans that you see in tv commercials: jumping, screaming, cursing with the best of them. Don’t hand me a bowl of popcorn while I’m watching my Texans because chances are that it’ll end up all over the floor.

I’m pretty hardcore.

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Don’t mess with me and my Texans. Or me and my brownies.

These brownies intrigued me simply because of the process. It definitely doesn’t follow the normal brownie making pattern. I have made ginger brownies before so I already knew that I would like them. The texture was fudgy and the flavor was rich, slightly chocolatey and gingery. They were pretty tasty, but if I had to make ginger brownies again, I would make my go-to’s.

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Clivia of Bubie’s Little Baker chose these for this week’s TWD post. Head on over to her blog for the recipe. (Or click here)

SMS – Black Bottom Brownies

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Cheesecake? Brownies?

To most people, that is pretty much THE match made in heaven. Me, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, the combination can be life altering but I just don’t think I’ve found THE recipe yet.

I don’t know if it was user error (read: my fault) or what but my cheesecake portion was ruuuuuunny (prior to baking) and it yielded quite a soft cheesecake layer, so soft that it didn’t hold up the chocolate chips scattered on top (they instead, sunk down on top of the brownie layer). The brownie portion had this odd spongey texture. Again, could be totally my fault, but something was just too off and I can’t quite put my finger on it. BUT that didn’t stop my co-workers from nom-ing on them all day long.

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I reduced the sugar in the brownies (2 cups, really?) to 1-1/2 cups since I used semi-sweet chocolate instead. I ALMOST reduced the amount of eggs in the cheesecake (6 eggs, REALLY?!) but decided not to mess with it. Baked for an hour (my oven is hotter than it reads) but the rest I followed to a ‘T’

I guess I’ll just keep searching for that recipe that blows my socks off. Feel free to leave me links or recipes for your tried and true cheesecake brownies.

Hopefully the other SMS bakers had better experiences with this than I did. Head on over to Cynthia’s blog, Bakingtherapist for the recipe.

TWD – Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

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This is officially my second time baking brownies from scratch, and I must say… it’s a LOT easier than I thought it would be! They come together SO easily!!

These brownies have it all. Chocolatey, fudgey goodness. Cheesecakey yumminess. Slight hint of coffee flavor. Beautiful presentation. Its all there.

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I will now indulge a few pointers which I have mentally noted in an effort to make things easier on me…. erm… you:

  • Room temperature cream cheese does NOT mean melted cream cheese. Therefore, do NOT accidentally forget to leave it on the pre-heating oven! Not that I did that or anything…….
  • When a recipe says leave 1/4 of the dough, be a bit more methodical and actually leave enough to get a nice swirl. Again, just in theory…
  • Double the brownie dough. I used an 8.5 x 8.5 inch dish and the brownie layer was SO thin.
  • Do NOT thoughtlessly grab a hot brownie pan until its been thouroughly cooled. NOOooo… it doesn’t matter if its silicone, it’s still hot. Sheesh….
  • And lastly do not get caught up watching Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End whilst making these brownies. And if you do, don’t forget to set your timer several minutes before the ‘done’ time. Check!

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For the recipe, head on over to see Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell. She is aspiring to have a bakery of her own, just like me and her pictures are drool worthy!!

For more of my pics, click here.

TWD – Brownie Buttons!

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If I tell you a little secret will you promise not to hate me, yell at me or write me off? Stone me with month old biscuts? Promise? Ok. Here goes…

I’ve never technically made brownies from anything other than a box.

I know, I KNOW! What kind of self proclaimed baker could I possibly be having not made from scratch brownies?

The argument (in my head, mind you) usually goes something like this:

crap, gotta make brownies”  –  find recipe.

mmm these look good”  –  I hope I don’t ruin these.

just doooo it, chicken”  –  eep. scared. never made brownies.

tick, tock”  –  running out of time! arg!

get on with it!”  –  WHAT? Not enough ______? UGH!!

le sigh. boxed brownies it is”  –  whew. what a relief.

*Sigh* So you see, its all a giant jumble of fear for wasting ingredients and turning out something completely inedible and a lack of time management. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

Well let me tell you, I have changed my ways. Pinky promise. At least on using boxed brownies for everything. They definately taste better homemade AND they instill a sense of pride I never knew I could bestow upon myself!

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See how pretty? I just LOVE the craters in brownies, don’t you?

Dorie’s brownie buttons were originally supposed to be made in a MINI muffin pan BUT I didn’t have one (and I wasn’t about to buy one for $30 at the last minute… I mentioned I’m a procrastinator, right?) so I made then in a regular ole cupcake pan. And darnit, they are still cute as…. well…. buttons!! It yielded 7. I promptly ate the odd one out, I have a quirk about even numbers. Don’t ask.

The only thing I changed was that I used the zest of an entire orange, rather than half. It looked so lonely only half zested and I figured what the heck… orange and chocolate are a match made in heaven anyhow. I also didn’t “dip” my brownies in the melted white chocolate. Instead, I melted a handful of white chocolate chips and piped dots on each brownie. Why you ask? Well they ARE called BUTTONS. Duuuuh. :)

brownie buttons

Let me tell you, these are good! Have you ever eaten those chocolate oranges? They are a bit reminiscent of those. My mom used to buy those for me on her way home from work so, these brownies are quite nostalgic for me.

Tony on the other hand, won’t touch them with a ten foot pole. “Fruit in baked goods is gross” he says. *shakes head* Men :)

For the recipe visit Jayma’s blog Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen

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For more pictures of these lovelies click here.