Tag Archives: chocolate

Valentine’s Fudgy Brownies

Cupcakes for Breakfast: fudgy brownies made with love

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?

fudgy pecan brownies

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.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: fudgy chocolate brownies for valentine's day

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.

super fudgy pecan brownies

Valentine’s Fudgy Brownies

Adapted from Magnolia Bakery
  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12×18 jelly roll pan/deep cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle pecans (and whatever other toppings you’d like) evenly over the batter.
  6. 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.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: love these fudgy brownies

Chocolate High

meltedchocolate

It’s only Wednesday. It’s 70 degrees in January. We’re going to have torrential rain tonight and maybe snow tomorrow. That email you’ve been waiting for still hasn’t come. Maybe you had too much to drink last night. Ran out of coffee this morning. Something is just off.

Here’s what you do. In a double boiler, melt some chocolate and butter together. You don’t have to be a good cook or baker to do this. No excuses. Stand over the stove, you can stir it if you want, but that’s not really the point here. Just smell. Put your head directly over the pot. You look ridiculous, don’t you? Let the chocolate take you over. Even looking at it all melty and silky seduces you. You’re in no rush. Let the smell travel from your nose down to every bit of you. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

On Girls this week, Hannah tried coke for work and had a really fun time dancing and expressing herself. I kind of hope this chocolate high will work for me and you like that.

.

Now that you’ve had your own solo dance party, I guess you might want to do something with this crazy powerful chocolate. I suggest Alejandra’s Mexican Chocolate cake or these double chocolate salted brownie cookies. Both are easy recipes and make some seriously fudgy treats. It’s because of all your concentration in melting the chocolate.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: salted double chocolate chip cookies

Double Chocolate Salted Brownie Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini ones)
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sea salt for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler, melt 5 ounces of semisweet chocolate and the dark chocolate with the butter. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together chocolate mixture and sugar on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix until fully combined. Beat in vanilla. Add flour and salt, and beat until just incorporated. Stir in remaining 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough balls on baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt on top of each dough ball.
  5. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are set and centers are still a bit soft, 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

double chocolate salted brownie cookies

I don’t care. I love it.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Cupcakes for Breakfast: crunchy peanut butter chocolate cake

I’m just going to give you the moral of this story up front: baking for boys can be all sorts of fun, but baking for your friends is better. That’s kind of the moral of my life though.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: crunchy peanut butter chocolate cake

So, here’s what I propose. Make a really good chocolate cake. I’m still a huge fan of Martha Stewart’s one bowl chocolate cake, but I know we can’t all be Martha, so if you must use your favorite Duncan Hines box I promise I won’t tell and I promise no one will care. Put on a pot of coffee and while it brews, make this crunchy peanut butter frosting. Slab it all over the cake – if it’s messy, so what? You’re just going to start eating it now anyway. Lick the extra frosting off your fingers. Invite a good friend over. Gossip about the boys. Bite of rich, moist, crunchy cake. Laugh. Sip of coffee. Inappropriate joke. Repeat. Pack up pieces of cake for your friends to eat for lunch the next day. Extend the cake love.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: crunchy peanut butter chocolate cake

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

For any kind of chocolate cake – but I like Martha’s best.

 

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Beat the cream cheese and the butter together.
  2. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and continue to mix well.
  3. Slowly add the sugar (sift it if you’re not lazy like me) and beat until incorporated.

crunchy peanut butter frosting and coffee

Sweet Tarts

Fruute sweet tarts

Start your week off with something sweet, like this adorable little tarts from Fruute. They’re just so beautiful – and I love that some of them even have a little macaron on top! If you’re in LA, I guess you could actually order these minis for a party, but for those of us who aren’t, I’m just going to pretend I have a tray of these to get me through a rough Monday.

In the Kitchen with Friends

The first friendship I formed in college was a result of bonding over pink bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. That didn’t last too long though. One of our other roommates, Emma was pretty annoyed that I decorated my corner of the room with all things pink. It bothered me that she would sing while we studied. I don’t think either of us were convinced that we’d end up being friends.

But Emma and I found common ground in the kitchen. Our very very small (two people in there was a crunch) dorm room kitchen. In that kitchen where we realized we enjoyed each others company and our bold personalities could actually work together. Our friendship really began by making messes in the kitchen. We invented wafflefluff. We attempted to flambé bananas with Malibu Rum. We became friends over the stove. This was the first time I really realized that friends and food go together.

I’ve said often that the one thing they don’t teach you when you graduate college is that after, you have to learn how to make friends all over again. Sure you’re always going to have girlfriends from high school and college, but they don’t always live close. And when you’re out of school, you’re out of situations where you naturally make friends…so you have to work at it. I went on a lot of girl dates my first year or two out of college. I still do now. And it seems weird, but if you meet a girl that you think you might get along with you have to put yourself out there and just be like, “hi I’m Nikki, want to be friends?” It’s so strange. It’s like playing in the sandbox all over again. But that little bit of courage to pick up friends pays off – that’s how I met so many of my good friends today.

making Julia Child's chocolate souflee with friends

Some of my favorite moments of last year involved not only eating with good friends, but cooking with them too. We made pasta, funnel cake, cookies, chili, lovely cheese plates, sangria, pizza, fig chutney, guacamole, a patriotic fruit tart, and Julia Child’s chocolate soufflé.

The soufflé night was one of my favorites. Over two years ago I met Emily and Rachel at a bar. I don’t remember much about that evening except that it was sweltering hot, and as we tried to chat in front of a fan I thought they were sweet and fun. I held out my hand and introduced myself. Many brunches, books, boy stories, cheese, real marathons, figurative marathons, and glasses of wine later and we have a real girl-grown friendship. How cool is that?

Emily left yesterday and is off on what will absolutely be a life-changing adventure. But before she left we all made chocolate soufflé together. One girl stirs the melting chocolate, another beats the egg whites, another butters the ramekins. It’s not an easy recipe, but it’s much easier when you’re not alone. While we wait and the room fills with sweet chocolate smells, we go back to the wine, the boy stories, the new adventures. Oh, and then we eat. It’s simple, it’s chocolate, it’s friendship.

baking chocolate soufflé with friends

Not sure I can say completely why the kitchen is better with friends in it. Mostly it’s a big bowl of sappy feelings. But also, it’s creating something and sharing it together. It’s not materialistic or judgmental. It’s turning a brick of chocolate into a rich fluffy cloud. It’s celebrating how far we’ve come from that first bar or dorm room and how far we’ll go next.

I can only hope 2013 holds more moments in the kitchen with friends like this. We may even talk about pink monogrammed bedding (because seriously, it’s not like I’ve moved on from that!), but it will be over piled-high dishes, flour spills, “more wine?”s, and food that tastes like memories.

“Remember, no one’s more important than people. In other words, friendship is the most important thing–not career or housework, or one’s fatigue–and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

-Julia Child, My Life in France