Monday, August 24, 2009

Dark Fudgy Brownies without the Guilt!

Low fat, heart healthy, fudge brownies? Is that possible? Oh, yes it is. I found a yummy recipe at the Eating Well website. I've mentioned this great site in past blogs. I visited it recently to look for a new dessert to take to a friends cookout and found these gems. They are as dark and dense as they look. Extremely moist, fudgy texture and full of dark chocolatey goodness. Yes, they take a little more effort than brownies from a box, but I'm telling you, the extra effort is well worth it. Your reward will be both a treat for your tastebuds as well as not fearing the scales the next day.

As for any changes in the recipe, just a few. First, I used all semi-sweet chips because I had them in the cupboard . For the cocoa powder I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (ummm, dark chocolate). I also cut the pan into sixteen portions as twenty seemed a bit to skimpy. By the way, they are great with a glass of dry red wine!

Dark Fudgy Brownies
16 portions

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup blended with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, letting it overhang on two opposing sides. Coat with cooking spray. Sift flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together into a small bowl.

Combine 3 ounces chocolate and oil in a heavy medium saucepan; place over the lowest heat, stirring, until just melted and smooth, being very careful the chocolate does not overheat. Remove from the heat and stir in granulated sugar, corn syrup mixture, vanilla and salt until the sugar dissolves. Vigorously stir in egg until smoothly incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts and the remaining chocolate just until well blended. Turn out the batter into the pan, spreading evenly.

Bake the brownies until almost firm in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out with some moist batter clinging to it, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 1/2 hours.

Using the overhanging foil as handles, carefully lift the brownie slab from the pan. Peel the foil from the bottom; set the slab right-side up on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, trim off any dry edges (snack for the chef). Mark and then cut the slab into 16 portions. Wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts. Arrange on a nice plate and dust with more powdered sugar. Enjoy with friends.

See, that wasn't that bad was it? Not as easy as; open box, dump and mix, but the taste difference, well, you tell me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer days driftin' away.........

I'm back!

Thanks for checking in on me while I enjoyed a bit of a summer hiatus. My work and garden have kept me busy and off the computer. What a great summer it has been here, weatherwise that is. Barely a week in total of 90+ temps, beautiful cool nights and sunny days. The lettuce held out a week or two longer and the summer veggies came on late, but they are oh, so delicious!

I put in my first patty pan squash plant that I picked up for 50cents. We have been eating (and sharing) our squash harvest for weeks. I cut them into rough chunks, add some halved tomatoes, toss with some olive oil, s & p and roast over the grill in a grill pan till barely soft and the tomatoes sweeten. Then I serve as a side, or toss into warm pasta with fresh chopped basil and chunks of goat cheese. Yum! What do you do with patty pans? I'd love to hear. Also, somehow lovely dill decided to invade my garden. The result was loads of refrigerator sweet dill pickles and salmon spread. Not bad for a freebie herb. I went light on the tomatoes this year. They take up so much room in my little space and we have a great little farmers' market just down the street every week where I can pick up what we need. One great treasure has been the Rosa Bianco Italian Eggplant. My first attempt at eggplant and what a treat. No bitterness and a smaller fruit, great when there are just 2 of us.

As the summer wains, the basil becomes woody and the squash leaves melt into the soil, I'm getting ready to replant the lettuce and harvest the over abundance of swiss chard. Chard recipes, anyone? High school football begins next week and that means leaf raking will be just around the corner. Having enjoyed a lovely summer I am looking forward to my favorite season, fall.

In the cooking department, I have pictures and blogs waiting to be published. I made a lovely watermelon sorbet, received a fun box of goodies from the Emeril line that I am playing with and have a report on the Demy, a cool kitchen gadget that I was able to preview. All this will be upcoming soon. In the personal department, I am getting ready to start an exciting job with a wonderful company, not sharing details yet, but I will be melding my love of food, horticulture and sales, all in one job! Again, details to come.

As for my obsession. Well, satisfaction was a long time coming. The object of my desire?

Yes, this wonderful secret concoction of herbs, fruits and gin that make up the exquisite Pimm's No 1.

I was first introduced to this libation at The Greenhouse Tavern this past spring. (If you have yet to get there, what are you waiting for? This place is the bomb! He has one of the hottest gigs around and is being written up and down. The food is over-the-top good and they utilize local products. GHT is also the only certified green restaurant in the state!) Their Pimm's Cup cast it's spell on me and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I search and searched for this elusive liqueur in my immediate area, the usual response was one of puzzlement and then looking at me like I had a third eyeball. My "obsession" post referred to my waiting for a Pimm's delivery from an online site. That was a disaster. After tracking the shipment online for days, every day showing that it was scheduled to arrive at the house, the box was finally shipped back to the seller, the wrong zip code was on the package. The seller emailed that they would gladly reship the goods if I payed the shipping cost, again, which was almost the cost of the bottle! I turned down the generous (?) offer and my cost of just the Pimm's was refunded. So, now I was down the shipping fee and still no Pimm's. I emailed Amelia, Chef's Widow, the other half of The Greenhouse Tavern's Chef Jonathon Sawyer, to see where in Cleveland I could find the Pimm's. She was so great to send me the location, and off to the big city I went, procuring 2 bottles. I could barely wait to get them home.

Sadly, the bottles have come and gone, and I must venture back for more. As for my Pimm's Cup recipe of choice? Here's my rendition:

Pimm's No.1 Cup

Place a generous amount of ice in a highball glass. Add 2 oz Pimm's No.1, 4 oz of limonata or Trader Joe's French Market Lemonade, 2 slices of English cucumber, several sprigs of fresh mint (I have lime mint in the garden) and top off with club soda. Relax and enjoy!

Would love to hear your Pimm's stories! Here are some garden pics! Enjoy the last of summer!

BTW, yes, I have also been knitting up a storm! Talk about obsessed!