April 1st is probably my least favorite day on the internet. Why did anyone ever think pranks were fun? Like running marathons and tequila shots. Just don’t get it. But April 1st is also the beginning of my birthday week and the start of my favorite month. Things happen in April. Trees bloom and ramps grow and people get happier because they’re walking around drinking lemonade and eating fro-yo in the sunshine and how could that not make you happy?
On the note of happiness and birthdays, it’s not surprising I want celebrate with something chocolate and fudgy. While I prefer cake, these Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios would absolutely do the trick. Use whatever is your favorite brownie recipe, then add this salted fudge frosting – kicks them up a notch to be birthday-worthy. Chopped pistachios bring in one of my favorite spring flavors (and colors).
Don’t be gullible…April rules. Just add chocolate.
Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios
- 6 oz dark chocolate chips
- 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips divided in half
- 8 oz butter
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt dark chocolate, half of the semi-sweet chocolate, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Mix in cooled chocolate. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix to combine. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
- Pour into a greased cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.
Salted Fudge Frosting
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg with 1 1/2 cups sugar on low speed, add the cocoa into egg mixture. Add remaining 1 cup sugar, vanilla, butter and sea salt and beat to combine. Spread onto cooled brownies. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
My kid-self might scoff at me for this one, because I used to be obsessed with ketchup. I’d put it on everything, wouldn’t try a piece of chicken without it, and thought it was the best thing ever. (I also don’t like mustard, so that helped with ketchup’s winning title.) Little Nikki would be shocked I ate a burger this weekend with no ketchup on it. Just a big Jersey tomato slice and a good spread of pesto. How grown up of me.
Pesto is totally my favorite condiment now. Is that pretentious? I don’t care. It’s so versatile and fresh. And in the summer, you have no excuse but to make it yourself.
I’m not going to give you an exact recipe for pesto, because I don’t know one and it’s a bit silly to figure it out and write it down. But I promise if you combine the following ingredients in a food processor you’ll get something yummy.
Basic Basil Pesto or Best Condiment Ever
What you’ll need:
- Basil – since I can’t really grow my own, I like to get mine in bunches from the farmer’s market. Stop, stand still, smell it first. Ah.
- Nuts – In this case I used pistachios, but you can also use walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, whatever
- Garlic – I use the kind that’s pre-chopped and kept in jars with olive oil
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
Chop basil, nuts and garlic in food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until it’s at the spreadable consistency you desire. Mix in parmesan.
Put your basil pesto on pasta, sandwiches, eggs, burgers, steak, pizza. Seriously. It’s good on everything. Bon appetit!
want to make some brownies? Yeah, of course you do. here’s a simple recipe that yields a fudgy, nutty brownie…oh so wonderful. I made these for my co-workers that had to go to a meeting on a Sunday night (!). Seriously, after work on a Sunday night you’ll need a brownie like this. To make them, you’ll need:
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2/3 chopped pecans
Melt chocolate and butter in a double broiler.
Remove from heat. Add sugar and vanilla.
Stir in eggs one at a time.
In small batches, mix in flour and salt.
Stir in pecans.
Pour into an 8″x8″ pan. Someone suggested that I line it with parchment paper, but I actually don’t recommend this…it didn’t turn out so well for me.
Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.
Dig in! Sooo gooey and chocolately!