Chocolate Brownies

Rich, Cakey, Chocolatey Goodness!

I bet you are smiling already. 🙂

This is one thing I have found hard to resist. Even though they are easy to make at home, next time I would rather buy them by the piece just to keep my weight loss goal on track. I found couple of recipes with slight variations in amount of chocolate, cocoa powder and eggs used. The one I used came from my colleague’s mom. She has been baking these brownies for last 50 years, how wonderful is that! I think i did a good justice to her recipe and made them more special by baking them on Valentine’s day.

Chocolate Brownies

Yields – 16 big pieces
Ingredients

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick)unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tb spoon cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Equipment : 9inch Square Baking pan

Method
Preheat the oven to 350F /180 C. Line the baking tray with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter over simmering water. Set it aside.
Remove from the heat and stir in cocoa powder and sugar.
Next whisk in vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time; beating well after each egg addition. Finally fold in the flour and salt, making sure you don’t over mix the batter. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts. You will notice that the metled chocolate becomes hard to work with once eggs and flour are added, but that’s okay.

Transfer this mixture to the baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Pull out and let them cool for at least 40 minuts on a wire rack to get well defined pieces. Well, I dugged in immediately, nothing tastes better than warm chocolate brownie on a perfect rainy evening!

The Secret
The time you take out the brownies out of the oven is very crucial. A few minutes could turn rich moist brownies into hard ones. Test with a toothpick or a skewer inserted into the middle, it should come out sticky with a little batter and a moist clumps clinging to it. If it comes out clean, you have overbaked them.

Sending this to Rasi’s I am the Star

Homemade Granola Bars

Everyone loves oatmeal right? I mean the flavored ones.. I had a bunch of plain oatmeal packets stacked in my pantry and I used to wonder there has to be a better way of having original/old fashioned oatmeal. I saw this recipe by Ina Garten on Food network and I was so happy to discover my new favorite snack – “Granola Bars”. They look like just out of wrapper – healthy and delicious 🙂 Here is a slight modified version of the original recipe –

Ingredients -
5-6 packets of old-fashioned instant oatmeal
1 cup sliced walnuts (or almonds if you like)
1 cup shredded coconut
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried blueberries (or cranberries if you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You can use any flat surfaced baking dish and line it with a parchment paper. No need to butter it additionally.

Mix the oatmeal, walnuts, and coconut together on the baking dish and bake for 10 to 12 minutesuntil lightly browned. Stir it occasionally.

Place the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before cutting into squares.

The yummy healthy granola bars are ready to eat!

Sending this to Breakfast Club – More than Tea & Toast hosted by Ruth’s Deliciously Dairy Free

Banana Walnut Bread

Even though I think about calories, fat, saturated fat and of course, the price I end up buying banana walnut bread at Starbucks. Its taste is so hard to resist. Today I decided to try it myself at home using whole wheat flour instead of maida to make it little healthier. My husband could not tell the difference 🙂 Try this simple recipe.

Whole wheat flour              2 cups
Ripe bananas, mashed       3
Butter (unsalted)                1/2 stick
Egg                                        1
Sugar                                    1/2 cup ( or 3/4 cup )
Baking Soda                         1 tea-spoon
Salt                                        1/4 tea-spoon
Vanilla Essence                    1 tea-spoon
Walnuts, chopped               1/2 cup

Sift together the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk butter with one large well beaten egg and vanilla essence. Add this mixture to dry ingredients. Add mashed bananas and mix it well to form batter. Add chopped walnuts and mix again.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spay. You can also use parchment paper. Pour the batter into this loaf pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes at 375 F.

Banana Walnut Bread

Let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Banana Walnut Bread

Food For Thought

Walnuts are often referred to as “brain food”, not only because of brain-like appearance of their lobes but because of their high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids. They also promote bone health and play an important role in improving cardiovascular health. Banana is a good source of potassium and dietary fiber; provides cardiovascular protection and promotes kidney health.

So don’t feel guilty while enjoying this homemade dessert 😉

Sending this for Bread Baking Day being hosted at Paulchen’s Food Blog with the theme of “Bread With Egg”.

Bread Baking Day #48 (last day of submission April 1, 2012)