Monday, August 26, 2013

Fudgy S'mores Brownies

Marshmallow... chocolate.... graham cracker... what's not to love about s'mores?  They are the perfect combination for summer.

But sometimes you don't have a campfire, or other open flame to roast your mallows.

Or sometimes you do.... but then you accidentally drop a flaming marshmallow on your 15-year old niece's foot, and decide that maybe this whole s'more thing is a more dangerous business than you realized.

(Yes, that really happened - ask my father-in-law!)

Or.... maybe you just want something a little easier and less messy.  Who knows?

But if you fall into any of those categories, these brownies are for you.  I happen to be in the fudgy brownie camp (vs. the cakey brownie) and these definitely fit the bill.  The graham and marshmallow make them even more rich and delicious.

My father-in-law was here this weekend, helping Mr. Vittles hang drywall upstairs, so I wanted to make something nice.  I figured this way he could enjoy a s'more without the possibility of giving anyone a second-degree burn!

Fudgy S'mores Brownies

  • 10 T. (1 1/4 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/4 C. sugar
  • 3/4 C. plus 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C. marshmallows (use the mini ones, or cut large ones into smaller pieces with a clean pair of kitchen shears)
  • 1/2 C. graham crackers, broken into small pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and position rack to lower third of oven.  Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Lightly grease with cooking spray, and set aside.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for one minute, then remove and stir.  Microwave an additional minute and a half, in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and no lumps remain.  (Mixture will be grainy).  Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and set the mixture aside until it cools slightly.

Then add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.  When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well-blended, add the flour and stir until no streaks remain.  Then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.  Stir in graham crackers and marshmallows, and spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 22 to 27 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.  Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.  Cut into squares and serve.

Brownie Recipe adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe (who adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted from Bittersweet)  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cilantro and Sesame Thai Chicken Marinade

So the Mini is officially on the move (as of the Saturday after the Fourth of July) and let me tell you - she is one curious little monkey.  No walking yet, but she's quite the speedy crawler.  We have finally been forced to adopt a more minimalist decor, and switch out our awesome driftwood coffee table for a soft storage ottoman.  

But I'm not complaining; in fact, I am loving this age.  The Mini has so much personality, and it's fun to see the world through the eyes of a 9-month-old.  

She is also a lot more portable.  In mid-July, we visited my mother & father-in-law's river cottage in Canada and the Mini really impressed us.  She went on her first boat ride, and her first float in the water.  

I won't lie, the 7 some-odd hour ride back home was a little rough, but otherwise it was a great trip.

On the home front, I have actually been cooking more on weeknights, though it is mostly my tried & true recipes that don't require as much concentration (it's a little tougher when you have to keep one eye on the food and the other on a mobile munchkin).  

These days I am also making more food for her, as she is transitioning from baby food to table food.  But since you probably don't need a recipe for steaming broccoli or boiling whole-wheat farfalle, I will instead share with you this chicken marinade.  

I had loads of cilantro left over from the quinoa salad, and our jalapeno plants are doing well, so this seemed like a smart use of ingredients.  I like it because the sesame oil and rice vinegar give it a nice flavor, and it has a little heat to it without being too spicy.

Cilantro and Sesame Thai Chicken Marinade
  • 1/2 C. fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs & seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T. + 1 t. soy sauce
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs. thin-sliced or pounded chicken breasts

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse all marinade ingredients until pureed.  
Place chicken in a shallow dish and coat evenly with cilantro puree.  Let sit one hour, then grill or broil chicken until cooked through.

Recipe Adapted from Food and Wine


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