Monday, September 14, 2015

Italian Herb Focaccia

I love a good bread. Whether for the prefect sandwich or as an accompaniment for a delicious pasta dinner or some other amazing meal, there's something about a great piece of bread. I like it with a crunchy crust and soft center or a buttery, flaky texture throughout or a nice, chewy and perfectly fluffed piece, like this amazingly easy focaccia bread. This loaf is perfectly seasoned with salt and Italian herbs, and bakes up super quick after two easy rises. I didn't need a lot of ingredients or time to make this bread and I can't believe it took me so long to tackle this recipe. I've wanted to make focaccia for along time--it's one of my favorite indulgences to pick up from the bakery or our farm stand (which sells for a local baker), but I don't due it very often. That's why I have Secret Recipe Club to challenge me to try recipes on my list of must-makes!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chocolate Applesauce Muffins

Sometimes you need chocolate. And sometimes it's breakfast so you need something that's passes as real food because apparently chocolate and ice cream aren't appropriate breakfast foods. Remind me I need to talk to whoever is in charge of deciding the appropriateness of ice cream consumption (answer: always). But if I make muffins (breakfast food!) and they happen to be chocolate (yay!), then that's acceptable. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just look for ways to bend them so I get my delicious treats whenever I want. Fortunately, these chocolate muffins aren't completely horrible for you because they are made with applesauce to replace some of the fat, but still keep them moist and delicious. Nope, these muffins don't taste like apple, they are all chocolate all the way and perfect for a morning pick me up, or for a great afternoon snack. Thank goodness I have the Secret Recipe Club to convince me to try new things!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Inside Out Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Do we need to go into all the reasons why peanut butter and chocolate are the most amazing combination? I think that's fairly well-documented here. And if you're new here, a quick glance at the recipe index will show you I'm serious about this rich, sweet and salty combo. Seriously, I will try alltherecipes that include these two lovely flavors. Which is why I needed to try these brownies with the peanut butter goodness on the outside of a fudgy brownie, including a peanut butter shortbread crust and a sweet peanut butter candy coating on top. These are glass of milk brownies because you'll need one to help wash down these rich and dense brownies that hit all the right notes on both flavor and texture. I honestly can't remember why I made these the first time (I think they were birthday baking and then I didn't see the birthday girl, so we ate them all?), and then second time I felt bad about eating them all, plus I didn't take a picture so I made them again, but I still can't remember if we shared them with anyone. Bottom line: these brownies are so good you'll want to share but then they will cast a spell on you that you'll forget who you wanted to share them with and eat the whole pan. Twice.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Blondies

My lovely, sweet and beautiful niece Elyse turns 13 today (blink.blink.). It's insane to think about the time that has passed but I'm so excited to see her take on life as an awesome teenager. Not sure what to make her for birthday baking, I decided 13 warrants a bit of sophistication. Instead of candy or chocolate overloaded sweets, I went for a classy combination of white chocolate and dried cranberries in a moderately sweet blondie with a crunchy edge and a slightly chewy center. This version is delicious and celebratory in a subtle way. Plus, in a pinch, you can toss a scoop of ice cream and maybe some caramel sauce on top and make a lovely blondie sundae.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Brioche French Toast

I adore French toast--it's definitely one of my favorite breakfast foods. But I rarely make it at home because it doesn't ever turn out the way I want it to: perfectly fluffy inside and a touch of crisp outside with a sweet, cinnamon finish. Mine is usually soggy and the cinnamon clumps together so only the first few pieces get the spice, which is always spotty and heavy. But last week I was in Aldi (of all places) and spotted a beautiful loaf of chocolate chip brioche. For real. Aldi. As soon as I saw it, I thought--French Toast! I hemmed and hawed for a second and then took it as a sign that yes, I need to master this dish. Dave and I were thrilled with the result--it was exactly the type of challenge I needed. Fluffy? Yes. Sweet and subtle with cinnamon and nutmeg? Yes. Grilled to a perfect exterior crisp with no soggy interior? Yes. Now I just a have to stalk Aldi for brioche in order to make it again!