S’mores Brownies~

S'mores Brownies

What’s more synonymous with Summer than S’mores? It’s the simplest of things really; marshmallows…chocolate…graham crackers all gooed up together! ¬†My kids would eat them everyday, if I let them ūüôā ¬†so they were super excited when I told them I was making these!

The bottom is a basic graham cracker crust, that you bake brownies on top of. ¬†Now, I can see this going many different ways…chocolate chips in your brownie batter…caramel somewhere…but today, I am making it per the recipe, which I found on the Food Network website. ¬†(Note: this recipe shows you how to make the Brownies from scratch, but if you have a favorite “shortcut” for your brownies, that should be ok)

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S’mores Brownies:

For the Crust:   6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted ~ 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers ~ 2 tablespoons sugar ~ pinch of salt

For the Brownies:   8 tablespoons unsalted butter ~ 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped ~ 1 cup packed light brown sugar ~ 3/4 cup white sugar ~ 1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt ~ 4 large, cold eggs ~ 1 cup all-purpose flour

Topping:   4 cups large marshmallows

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 8 x 8 inch (square) baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about an inch.

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Crust: ¬†Lightly butter the foil, (including up the sides) with some of the melted butter, using a pastry brush if you have one, or fingers work great too!¬† Mix together the crushed graham cracker crumbs, sugar, pinch of salt and melted butter. ¬†Attempt NOT¬†to eat this immediately. ūüôā ¬†Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, and place in the preheated oven. ¬†Bake about 20 minutes, or at least golden brown all over. ¬†(more so than when you started…as the crumbs are already golden brown!)

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Brownie: ¬†Place butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl and melt on 75% power for two minutes. ¬†Stir and repeat, until melted. ¬†You can also make yourself a double boiler and melt the chocolate that way. ¬†Continue by stirring together the brown and white sugars and vanilla into the melted chocolate. ¬†Add the salt…then the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. ¬†Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. ¬†Pour batter over¬†the graham cracker crust and bake until top is crispy and a toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out mostly clean. ¬†Will be approximately 40-45 minutes total. ¬†Place brownie pan on a surface that won’t burn.

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Move your oven rack up to the highest level, that will keep the Brownies a safe distance from the burners (six inches is good) and preheat the broiler to the low setting.  Line the marshmallows across the top of the brownies, in a fashion you like best.  Place the pan under the broiler and DO NOT LEAVE.  Keep a constant eye on those little babies, and rotate the pan as you like, for even browning.  After about two minutes, or as browned as you like them, remove from oven and let cool on a rack, gently removing brownies from pan by lifting up using the foil liner.  Pull the foil liner down from the marshmallow, to keep from sticking as it cools.  Once cool, cut & enjoy!

fireSee you soon!

Cheers, Shawn

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Orange Brownies…

I always like to find recipes that take something you’ve tried many times before, in this case, chocolate brownies, and switch it up a bit. ¬†One of my favorite holiday cookie recipes does this same thing; taking a traditional sugar cookie and kicking it up with Chai spices…but more on that in a future post!

So, this recipe came from Paula Deen. ¬†I’ve made a few of her recipes over time, that I have enjoyed. ¬†I know, some of you may disapprove of that…but the original recipe wasn’t hers at all! ¬†This is what Paula wrote in a note accompanying the recipe, you can find on the Food Network website here.

“I’ve had the opportunity to make so many new friends in the restaurant. Robin Wilson from Altamonte Springs, Florida, is one of those. Robin recently was one of a hundred finalists in the 39th Pillsbury Bake-off, where she won a side-by-side refrigerator and a trip to San Francisco. As she and her husband were enjoying lunch at The Lady and Sons, she mentioned her Orange Brownies, and she was happy to share the recipe. Thanks, Robin, and good luck to ya in your next bake-off! Get that gold, girl!” ~Paula Deen

The other thing I love about this recipe, is that you can use lemons instead of oranges. ¬†Or even lime! ¬†Imagine a “Margarita” brownie…and you can experiment with different extract flavorings too, like Almond, Cherry, etc. ¬†It’s a great base bar recipe. ¬†So let’s get baking!

Orange Brownies:

1 and 1/2 half cup of all-purpose flour

2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened

4 eggs

2 teaspoons pure orange extract

2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup of confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons of orange juice

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease up a 13 by 9 inch pan, set aside.

Clean & dry your orange.  Carefully zest the orange; be sure not to get any of the white skin, as that will add a bitterness into the brownies.  I zested the entire orange, even though it was more than the recipe calls for.

Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. ¬†In another bowl, add the butter, eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the orange extract; beat until well blended using a hand mixer or with your stand mixer. ¬†Once wet items have been mixed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. ¬†(batter will be thicker than normal Brownie batter…) Spoon batter into the pan and spread evenly across pan. ¬†Bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and the batter has “set”.

To make the glaze, mix the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice & remaining zest together until smooth.

You’ll then gently pierce the entire pan of brownies with a fork. ¬†Pour the glaze over the brownies and cool cake.

These bars are great to take with you to a Barbecue or Picnic. ¬†Because they are so bright & fresh looking, they would even be fun at a baby or wedding shower! ¬†You can also make them Gluten free by changing up the flour. ¬†I should have done it that way…but was hoping most of them would get eaten by my family!

I hope you enjoy a wonderful, relaxing Memorial Day weekend!  I am thankful to my Dad, for his years of service to our country and all the others who did the same, that we remember this weekend!

If you make these, let me know how they were!  Enjoy!

Shawn

Beer for a Year, month five…

Wow, I know I may sound like a broken record player, but where the heck did April go? ¬†I can’t believe its the last day of the month and here I sit at 8:33pm trying to get this post done before May…which is tomorrow…..

Sigh.

Anyway, this month’s “Beer for a Year” choice is Summit’s Great Northern Porter. ¬†The great folks at Summit Brewing say this beer was “originally named after London market workers who popularized this brew, then dubbed our Porter with a nod to the majestic railway stretching from St. Paul to Seattle. Roasted malts offer up coffee notes leading to a slightly sweet, chocolatey finish. This beer won¬†First Place in the “Porters” category at the 1987 Great American Beer Festival¬ģ and¬†Gold, at the 2003 World Beer Championships. They say to pair this beer with soft, creamy cheeses, hearty soups, stews, smoked foods, chocolate”….oh yeah. ¬†That’s where this months post comes in; we are making Beer Brownies!! ¬†Yea¬†for chocolate & beer!

I found this great recipe on a blog called “The Kitchy Kitchen“. ¬†I pretty much followed it as they wrote it, but put in more semi-sweet chocolate chips and less dark chocolate. ¬†Here’s what you’ll need:

3 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, 70% or more

2 tablespoons of instant espresso

8 tablespoons of butter

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup of white sugar

1 cup of brown sugar, loose, not packed

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup of Summit Great Northern Porter

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

(the original recipe had 1 cup of walnuts, halved and toasted lightly…I don’t care for them, so I left them out)

You’ll start by gathering all your items and preheating the oven to 350 degrees. ¬†If you are using the nuts, you can toast those for about 5 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, spices and cocoa powder.

 Meanwhile melt the chocolate, instant espresso and butter in a medium-sized bowl over boiling water.  (homemade double-boiler) Remove from heat, add the beer and vanilla extract then set aside to cool.

  

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until thick and shiny.  Continue beating on low while adding the flour mixture and wet ingredients, alternatively.

  

Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into a buttered and floured 9 x 13″ pan (and sprinkle nuts over top if using them). ¬†Side note; I used two 8 x 8″ pans…

Bake in the preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. ¬†They are done when ¬†toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean. ¬†Let cool, then cut and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you so please! ¬†(you must note the cute plate I used to showcase my brownie slice…my baby girl made that for me!)

These brownies are not overly sweet, have a rich chocolate taste and are best served still slightly warm with either a drizzle of caramel sauce (or if you are feeling really adventuresome, you could reduce the Great Northern Porter and make a wonderful syrup you could drizzle over the top!) or a big scoop of ice cream.  I had one kid who asked for more and another who refused another bite after the first, so they might be best served to those who appreciate a more gourmet brownie!

Summit gave me a special treat for my next beer…stay tuned!

Until next month…which is tomorrow…..ha! ¬†Enjoy!

Cheers,

Shawn