Summer Brownies and Sangria!

Hi All!
Sorry for the hiatus, but it has been an eventful start to the summer, filled with hiking in the Poconos, some amazing theatre in NYC and then me geting used to not having my boyfriend around for the Summer!  (Damn those summer-stock theatre gigs that take him away from me!)

So what do you do when you feel like you might be turning into that lonely cat lady you promised your high school best-friend that you would never be?  You bake brownies–the kind that go really well with a dark red sangria–and take them to a showing of Puss N’ Boots in the park with your friends!

Most people call me crazy, but in baking I always prefer cocoa to baking chocolate, I find the flavor to be so rich and dark, I love it!  Try these brownies and see if I don’t convert you, I dare you!

Delicious Cocoa Brownies!!

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup dark dutch cocoa powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon flaky salt
1/2 teaspoon pure mexican vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup cake flour

Combine butter, sugar and cocoa in double boiler and stir over simmering water until fully combined, it may look a little less than smooth, but don’t give up on it, it will smooth out as we go along.  You want the cocoa mixture to cool down a little bit before the next steps, this might be a good time to start your oven pre-heating to 325 degrees and lining you 8 x 8 square inch pan with parchment paper, and I am going to say, from experience, pay attention to the corners, it is tough to get the brownies out otherwise.

Once the cocoa mixture is cooled to a warm but not hot temperature add in the vanilla and  add in the eggs one at a time, be energetic while stirring in the eggs–think of it as your arm workout for the day.  Once the eggs are incorporated and the batter looks thick and shiny then add flour and give a good 40-50 good whisks before you retire that ol’ son of a gun.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool, cut into bite sie pieces, consume, yum!

Then, again, I suggest you pair this with a nice dark red sangria, sweetened only with a little simple syrup, please don’t go for the fruit juice, just trust me, don’t do it.

3/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water_
2 bottles red wine
3/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
2 oranges, sliced into thin rounds
2 green apples, cored and sliced thin
2 lemons, sliced into thin rounds

Boil water + pour over sugar to dissolve. Cool. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or up to 2 days. Serve over ice.

Tell me you enjoy!  Ok–off to business law, missing my roommate and baking!  Have a good summer!

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Have you ever come home from a long day at work, every part of you aches, the thought of making dinner makes you cringe and all you want to do is sit on the couch, with a tub of ice cream, and watch watch episode after episode of Buffy until the day starts to fade away?

Oh good, it is nice to know I am not the only one.

And let me tell you, a big bowl of vanilla ice cream, topped with one of these little morsels totally makes your day fade into something delightful and yummy and those aches and pains just disappear.   Continue reading

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