Category : Cake, Desserts
Thanksgiving is over. Christmas madness is ready to begin. This week has been a little extra crazy in my household, because unfortunately, we had some flooding in our house last Monday. We aren’t in Hurricane zone or anything, Seattle just got more rain than we’re used to, and we discovered that the neighborhood we moved into this summer apparently has a drainage problem. Anyway, the flooring is ruined, some of the walls had to be torn out, and our insurance will cover none of it, so obviously this week calls for chocolate.
Good ol’ at-least-we-have-good-credit, I-didn’t-like-that-wallpaper-anyway chocolate.
So, this month, our Secret Recipe Club assignment was Cyndi’s Recipes. The recipe I went with is one that goes by many names, chocolate cobbler, chocolate pudding cake, or “that one recipe with the cakey part on top any gooey goodness on the bottom”. Cyndi’s version has Splenda and lower fat options, but considering my week, I’m going with the real-deal, carbs-be-damned version. Also, please excuse the photography, our camera is somewhere in the middle of Noah’s ark, to be taken out of the way of the flood waters.
Earlier this year, the hubby and I decided to buy a house. After a lot of trial & tribulation, we put an offer on a short sale in March. If you aren’t big into real estate, let me tell you: short sales are kind of a pain. Mostly in that it takes roughly foreeeeeeever to seal the deal. Anyway, since we put an offer on the house, we’ve been under threat of moving. Not terribly imminently, just enough to make us realize just how much crap there is in the house right now. So we’ve slowly been going through our stuff to try to lighten the load, rediscovering all the crap we have & don’t need, things like that. But my hoarder tendencies aren’t just for camping gear and supplies for craft projects I never even start, it extends to the kitchen as well. I don’t need an intervention, you’re not going to see me on TV any time soon, but we’ll just say my cupboards are never bare. Nor is my freezer. And condiments? I got plenty. So I’ve been trying to cook/bake my way through the backlog of good we have, to make things a liiiiittle bit easier when we finally close on the house and get to move. And then I can fill it with a bunch of FRESH stuff-I-don’t-need.
So, along comes the Secret Recipe Club. This month, I was assigned the lovely Cooking Whims, and while at first I was very tempted to do one of her many lovely, healthy-or-healthyish foods she has (the sweet potato mac & cheese looks wonderful), I took another look at the pantry, and saw how very, very many different baking chips I have in a corner, and decided to do a take on her Peanut Butter Blondies: Pantry-Clearing Peanut Butter Blondies.
We spent last weekend with Doug’s sister and her husband who brought their beautiful four month old daughter to visit. They also brought us a a 1kg bag of dark chocolate buttons. Have you ever seen a kilo of chocolate buttons? It looks a little something like this:
Things have been a little quiet around the blog lately, but for very good reason. For the first time EVER, Shannon and Lucy cooked together. While we met in Edinburgh, and bonded over food at Cadbury World, we hadn’t really started cooking until after Shannon moved back to the States. And with life getting in the way, there hadn’t been a visit until this August. So, naturally, Double the Sugar Con 2011 was quite a feast! Things are back to normal now, so we’ll get back to our regular posting schedule, and share some of the delicacies with you!
Like many things, baked goods are better with booze. Either to accompany them or as part of the recipe, you really can’t go wrong. I particularly like using booze in frostings, they can add a lot of flavor, and has the double benefit of not being able to boil off, so you still feel a little naughty when you’re eating cupcakes with booze frosting (doubly so if you’re having that cupcake for breakfast, don’t worry, I won’t tell). But a close runner up to using booze in frosting is soaking fruit in alcohol. Typically you see wine being used for this purpose, and for this recipe, a nice red or a port would be delicious. But I made these brownies on Independence Day, so to add a dose of Americana, I went with bourbon. Specifically I went with Woodford Reserve, as that’s the bourbon we tend to keep in stock, but really, it’s up to you and your preferences. And of course, you can make this recipe just as easily by omitting the booze.
One small note: when I use fruit to infuse booze, I use fresh fruit, but when I’m infusing the fruit with booze, I use dried fruit. Either way works, really, but starting with a dried fruit means it’s absorbing the alcohol instead of replacing natural juices with alcohol, so I find you tend to keep more of the flavor in the fruit and just add booziness to it. But fresh cherries work just fine too, and if you’re omitting the alcohol, fresh is the better choice. Soaking overnight seems like the best plan.
Also, it bears mentioning that combining bourbon and chocolate in this way might make people fall in love with you. Bake at your own risk.
I don’t normally go for vegan recipes. I can skip the meat, but a lot of times the ingredients used in place of the animal by-products aren’t as healthy as people make them out to be. This recipe, however, is vegan as well as all-natural. There aren’t any chemicals or substitutes or artificial flavors. The obvious ingredients are cocoa and sweetener of your choice. The secret ingredient, however, is after the jump.