Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. I’m back, with internet, and a brand new look. What do you think? I still have a bunch of tweaks and updates to make – but really, I just felt it was time. What better day than Valentine’s to remember that life is sweet and life is colorful, right?
Also because it’s Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t not share something chocolate. I’ve been making a lot of chocolate recipes recently, and like I described in this post, I’m getting so much joy in the process of melting chocolate. It’s weird, I know. But like I said before. Better chocolate than cocaine.
Even this morning, I woke up an hour earlier to make chocolate mousse for a little VDay party I’m having tonight – the smell of the chocolate melting works just as well as a cup of coffee. Seriously, try it.
Ok, on to these brownies that I’ve been making you stare at. I made a huge batch of them a few weeks ago for a Superbowl party and were a big hit. They’re much thinner than the brownies I usually make, but they’re very dense and fudge-like. I love the crunch of the chopped pecans on top, but you could add any of your favorite toppings to them and they’d be great.
This makes a lot of brownies, so be sure to share. Wrap them up in wax paper and twine and gift them to someone special. They’ll be thinking of you the whole day after. Spread the love.
Valentine’s Fudgy Brownies
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12×18 jelly roll pan/deep cookie sheet.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer chocolate mix to a bowl of an electric mixer, and beat in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle pecans (and whatever other toppings you’d like) evenly over the batter.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in he center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool before cutting and serving.
Ok, I think this will count as my one Valentine’s Day post for the week. Both of these things are just so fun yet sophisticated. Now, can I get a bag just to store matching macarons in? Too much?
macarons // clutch
On Christmas Eve, my brothers and I crowd around our granite kitchen counter at home in New Jersey and make pasta. (They weren’t going to do it this year, but thank goodness I was there to make sure it happened.) My mom learned how to make pasta from my Italian Great Grandmother Alma Pinciotti and my mom taught us three. Family, food, tradition, holiday. All the right ingredients to do something great here.
Pasta from the store just isn’t the same as homemade. When you make it yourself, you can taste both the rough and delicate work you put into making it. It’s so fresh that it melts in your mouth. It’s tastes special and it’s one of my favorite things to eat. Even better with my brother’s tomato sauce that’s been simmering all day long. So, let’s make some pasta.
Now wasn’t that fun? Now aren’t you hungry? Thanks to my brothers for indulging in my documenting of this process. Those are my older brother’s hands you see in these pictures. Kneading is a workout. I am lucky to have strong co-chefs. If you couldn’t figure it out from the photos, here’s a basic recipe.
- 4 cups all purpose flour + extra flour for hands and surfaces
- 5 eggs
- pinch of salt
Make a well in a mound of your flour on a countertop or cutting board. Crack eggs into well. Sprinkle with salt. With a fork, begin whisking the eggs and slowly incorporating the flour into the wet mixture. Form into two balls. (add a little water if you need to to help it form). Keep your hands and surfaces dusted with flour at all times. Knead balls for 5-10 mintes. Cut balls into 6 parts. Roll to the size of a pancake and bring to the pasta machine. Roll out the dough at a #2 setting. Then twice more through the machine at #4 or #5 settings. When dough is the right size for you, roll up the long pieces into logs. Slice with a knife. Unroll each piece. Boil water. Cook for 3 minutes. Toss with your favorite sauce or just butter, olive oil, and parm.
Happy Friday and happy Christmas weekend! Even if you’re not celebrating Christmas, this weekend is a great excuse to bake up a storm, put on your coziest sweater, and curl up with your family by the fire. I know I can’t wait for all of these things.
It’s going to be a busy weekend in the Pinciotti-Rappaport house so I might not be back until after Christmas. (But you can follow along with all the baking, cooking and decorating on instagram!) So happy holidays to you and your family! xo
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Is it Christmas yet? I just can’t wait to be home in New Jersey with my whole family. Christmas for us absolutely revolves around the food – and I’m looking forward to sharing with you our fantastic spread for Christmas Eve. But something that’s maybe even better than our big Christmas Eve dinner is what we Christmas morning. Mostly it’s leftovers – meatballs, antipasti, great cheeses – incorporated into my dad’s eggs. Often it’s just leftover chocolate bourbon pound cake and mimosas. Sometimes we think a little further ahead and soak blueberry french toast over night to bake in the morning. Just thinking about all these things makes me feel warm and fuzzy and full of love for my awesome family.
My point is (besides bragging about my great Christmas food), whatever you eat on Christmas morning (or any morning you share with loved ones) make it something special. Since this whole cupcake for breakfast thing is catching on (seriously, keep sending me your photos–I love it!) I made a cupcake specifically for Christmas morning.
This cinnamon roll cupcake has a simple vanilla base, with a cinnamon, pecan, brown sugar filling. The tops are brushed in strong coffee and they’re lightly iced in a sweet vanilla cream cheese icing. They might just possibly make an appearance at our Christmas morning table too.
What’s your go-to Christmas morning treat? Leftover cookies? (We do that too!)
Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Pre-heat oven to 350°
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light an fluffy (about two minutes), scraping down the sides occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour and mix mixtures to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.
- Spoon about a table of the batter into each cup. Sprinkle the cinnamon mix on top of the batter. And then spoon the remaining batter on top.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck inside. Cool cupcakes on a wire baking rack.
for the frosting
Make about a cup of really strong coffee and let cool. With a kitchen brush, brush cupcake tops with coffee a few times, allowing the coffee to soak in between brushings.
- 1 8 oz-package cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
- Using a small spatula, frost the tops of the cupcakes.