Friday, June 29, 2012

Bittersweet Chocolate Glazed Espresso Brownie Bites

Finally, something chocolate.

These bittersweet chocolate glazed brownies are made with espresso, and are so gooey and chocolatey that you only need one bite to satisfy your cravings. The best part is you can make the batter in one pan, making for minimal clean-up.

These little squares are incredibly fudgy and have a deep, rich flavor.

And because they're made with espresso, you can eat them for breakfast. Right?

I would definitely say these are a very sophisticated and "grown up" take on everyone's favorite brownie.

Bittersweet Chocolate Glazed Espresso Brownie Bites adapted from Huffington Post

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cold large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle. Line 9x13x2in baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on short sides, then butter foil.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium sauce pan over low-medium heat, stirring until smooth. Be careful not to overheat or burn the chocolate. Remove pan from stove, then stir in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt with a large spoon. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth and mixture leaves side of pan. Add flour and stir until just combined.
  3. Transfer batter to 9x13 baking pan and bake until a tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs adhering, 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring, just until smooth. Remove from heat, then pour glaze over pan of warm brownies and spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Let stand at room temperature until glaze is set, about 3 hours. Remove brownies from pan using foil as an aid and cut into 1-inch bites with a thin blade knife, cleaning knife as necessary to maintain a clean edge. Garnish with espresso beans if desired.
Make ahead: Brownie layer can be made 3 days ahead (without glaze) and kept chilled in 1 piece wrapped well in foil. Bring to room temperature before glazing, about 2 hours. Glazed and cut brownie bites can be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.

Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting

I had a request to make a birthday cake this week for a woman who loves lemons. 

This lemon cake recipe was an absolutely perfect choice. The cake was tender, moist, and tangy. And, drizzing lemon syrup over the cake before frosting ensured that it didn't dry out.

I was hesitant to use the accompanying whipped frosting after reading the reviews, so I settled for a simple lemon buttercream instead. The frosting was almost too sweet for my taste, but was still light enough to not be too overpowering.

Candied lemons make this treat really special. After simmering thinly sliced lemons in syrup for half an hour, they are entirely edible and packed with tart lemony flavor.

This bright, sunny cake is a delicious and light way to celebrate a summer birthday.

We served the cake with some espresso brownie bites. What a wonderful combo! 

Happy birthday Marilyn!

Lemon Cake and Candied Lemons Recipe via Martha Stewart
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.
  4. While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.
  5. Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting, substituting 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.
Lemon Frosting Recipe via Food & Wine
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk (optional, I did not use)
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I only had milk, but I would suggest sticking with the cream)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar at low speed. Beat in the cream, vanilla and salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Beat in the lemon zest and juice.
  2. Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. Let stand 1 hour; serve.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Apricot and Blueberry Tart

Last week, I made lemon & blueberry muffins that were a big hit at my dad's office. I still had tons of blueberries left over, so when I stumbled upon this apricot and blueberry tart recipe on Huffington Post the other day, I was excited to try out another tasty combo.

Stone fruits are in season right now, so I had no problem finding gorgeous and reasonably priced apricots at the Ferry Building Farmers' Market.

This tart has a little bit of everything with a not-too-sweet crispy almond crust and silky vanilla pastry cream, but the delicious fruit is the real star of the recipe.

Although this recipe is a little more involved, both the tart shell and the pastry cream could be made ahead of time, so all you would need to do is assemble and bake. Perfect for summer entertaining.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Simple Salad {Caprese}

We all know avocado makes everything taste better.
Fresh ingredients make for an unbeatable summer staple.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

My family is big on blueberries. We nearly always have some waiting to be added to cereal or greek yogurt for breakfast, but I knew that I wanted to use them for something a little different. When I saw this recipe for blueberry muffins on carnal dish, one of my favorite blogs, I knew we had a winner.

The brightness of the lemon zest in this recipe brings out the sweet juices of the blueberries, and the crunchy topping adds a perfect texture contrast to the soft muffin. These muffins are a delightful complement to your morning latte!

Miette {Ferry Building Marketplace}

We've had a string of sunny days here in San Francisco, so I took the opportunity to get outside and explore. I made my way down to the ferry building (they have a farmers' market Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays), and strolled around looking at all of the fresh goods and fun local stores.

I stopped by one of my favorites, Miette Patisserie.

The little french pastry shop is absolutely adorable with its pretty pastel colors and petit sweets.

Traditional macarons are always a crisp light treat.

I have yet to taste one, but I've been dying to try their cakes. Especially the Strawberry Tomboy, which is only available during strawberry season.

These chocolate wafers (known to be a favorite of Cupcakes and Cashmere) made their way home with me. Although simple, they have a deep chocolatey flavor that almost has a hint of caramel.

Miette also has a cookbook called Miette: Recipes from San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop. Pretty appropriate, no? I think I might have to check this one out (hint hint to my friends my birthday is coming up :) )!

If you're in the area, I would definitely suggest stopping by this sweet shop!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BLT {plus}

A BLT may seem like your everyday conventional sandwich, but use the freshest ingredients and add a rich avocado and fried egg, and you've got a simple updated alternative to a traditional favorite.

Crusty sourdough bread + Thomas Keller's choice in bacon + farmers' market tomato, lettuce, avocado and fried egg...

This simple sandwich is a savory combination of flavors and textures, with the creamy avocado, crispy bacon, and sweet tomato. And, I'll always go for anything with a runny yolk. Does it get any better than that?

If you're on the search for San Francisco's Best BLT, check out the Chowhound suggestions!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars

After a nine-month hiatus, I'm back to baking. Since I'm a little rusty in the kitchen, I thought I would start with the simple stuff. And what better way to kick off a summer of baking than with my all-time favorite combo, chocolate and peanut butter?

This recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip blondie bars is the perfect hybrid between cookie and brownie. Chewy and delicious with just a hint of peanut butter, they are a snap to make.

Keep reading for the recipe.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hello again!

I've just graduated. Besides being completely ridiculous and unbelievable because I am in no way ready to be a real person, it also means no more classes, essays, or long hours in the library, so I have some free time to return to blogging.

I'm very excited to see where this summer takes me! Looking forward to many sweet days to come.

XO, Lindsay