Category: Brownies/Bars

Chewy Gingerbread Bars

We had friends in town from San Francisco for the weekend, and they generally bring ridiculously good weather for some reason. I don’t know how they do it, but they have yet to see the famed Portland rain. Andrew played host and tour guide while I worked, but I was able to sneak out for a glass of wine in at Bar Vivant, a plate of fresh linguine with braised veal sauce and my favorite tiramisu from Piazza Italia, some homemade musubi made with linguica from my friend Chris, and a ridiculously good biscuit sandwich from Bad Habit Room. Not too shabby for a limited amount of time off. I was still ready for the chicken skewer and salad I made tonight though. Sometimes you got to.

Is it bad that I’m posting about gingerbread in March?

I could actually go for one of these right now despite it being unbelievably sunny and warm. These were like a thick, chewy gingerbread cookie. Sort of a gingerbread brownie [blondie?]. I wish I had used the candied ginger per the original recipe for some added oomph. You should too unless you really can’t stand the stuff. I made them for a group that hasn’t been exposed to a whole lot of ginger, candied or otherwise, so I didn’t want to freak them out by how in-your-face that flavor can be. Mission accomplished. It’s the same reason why I didn’t ice them at all either. I dipped them in coffee at least once or twice. They maintained the chew for a few days before ultimately drying out. A scoop of ice cream on one wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Inspiration: The Crepes of Wrath


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup candied ginger, roughly chopped, optional
  • Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
  • White chocolate drizzle, per the original recipe, optional


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 13″x9″ pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I used aluminum and sprayed it with cooking spray to be safe.

Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a mixer. Beat for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and mix to incorporate. The sugar mixture will be shiny and you won’t see any of the yolk streaks anymore. Add in the molasses and almond extract and mix. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the dry ingredients with the wet. Don’t over mix. Fold in the ginger, if using.

Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan. You’re going to need something to assist you unless you don’t mind using your hands [I don’t]. Try to even out the mixture and then sprinkle with the sugar, if using.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick should be clear when you test it in the middle. Make the white chocolate drizzle while it bakes, if using. Allow the bars to cool for a good 30 minutes before cutting and serving.


Cocoa Brownies

Tickets have been purchased. Portland to Bangkok and Bangkok to Portland 20 days later. I. Cannot. Wait. Well, not for the 23 hour flights, but you know what I mean. We narrowed down our original ambitious plan to focusing mostly on Thailand, with maybe a stop into Cambodia or Vietnam. I don’t want to spend more time traveling vs. enjoying the place I’m in. I tried that on my first trip to Europe. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground, but not to experience things.

We’re looking into backpacks and all that. We went carry-on only in Italy for three weeks, so I’m not worried about the packing aspect, but it was still a roller bag. I want to be much more mobile in Thailand. If you have any suggestions, please throw them my way!

I swear this is the last of the butter-laden treats for a bit. I realize I was eating a lot there for awhile, but the BBQ and heat have slowed me down. I’m much more into ice cream [Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss] and sorbet/gelato [Talenti] these days.

These are very straight forward brownies, which is really the only way to go. Others are good, but the good ol’ standby is good and old for a reason. It’s seasoned. It’s lasted when others haven’t. There is something so satisfying by a fudgy bite, especially when you know there is no nonsense involved. Simple ingredients yield the best stuff sometimes. Quality over quantity.

Inspiration: Bon Appètit


  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder [the higher the quality, the better]
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 325º and line an 8×8″ baking pan with foil if you’ve got it. I conveniently ran out RIGHT as I made these, so I sprayed the pan with olive oil and hoped for the best. It worked out okay. I’m okay with imperfect brownies.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Once it’s melted, remove it from the heat, and let it cool while you pull out your other ingredients. In a mediums size bowl, whisk the cocoa, sugar, and salt. Pour in the butter, whisking until it’s blended and smooth. Whisk in the vanilla, and add the eggs one at a time, beating until blended each time. Add the flour and give it a gentle mixing. It should be smooth, but not over-mixed.

Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan. Use a knife [or finger, ahem], to smooth everything out. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out mostly clean , and only a small bit crumby. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack. I stored mine in the fridge for awhile until it cooled completely. Fudgy brownies ftw.

Meyer Lemon Bars

I’ve been so excited about these hints of sunshine and warmer [50° is warm, okay?] weather that I actually put the heater away. I keep an oil heater down in the entry way during the cooler months to take the edge off because it’s two stories lower than the bedroom. I clearly moved it too soon. It always feels 20 degree cooler when you head out the door. I know I’m exaggerating, but c’mon March — you really can’t trust it. You can’t really trust my judgement either. I should have left it alone.

I’m ready for bright, light, and generally warmer weather, but I know not to expect it until closer to July. I haven’t stopped wearing tights and leggings just yet. I’m not ready to unleash my pasty pale legs on the world yet. It also means I can eat all the soup and comfort food I want without any feeling like I’m too late to the party. Sneaking in bits of citrus definitely takes more of the edge of of colder weather. It’s almost like bright pops of sunshine. These lemon bars totally trump the other ones I made last month [sorry Andrew].

They are exactly what I expect from a lemon bar. It’s much more tart than sweet, but not overly so thanks to the Meyer lemon. The best part is the coconut in the shortbread crust. My god, what a difference that makes. It’s such a nice touch. The crust is crumbly, but tastes awesome. That’s what the lemon filling is for anyway. It holds it all together. Processing an entire lemon with sugar takes all the bitterness away. Adding a hint of greek yogurt also added to it, but it probably didn’t help my face any. A week of regular yogurt really isn’t that beneficial when you’re to cut costs, but it sure as hell tastes good.

I want more.

Inspiration: Salad in a Jar


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Meyer lemon peeled, seeds removed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup non fat yogurt


Preheat an oven to 350° and line an 8×8 pan in aluminum foil. In a larger microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in about 50 seconds. Add the flour, powdered sugar, shredded coconut, and a pinch of salt. When everything is moist from the butter, pour it into the prepaid pan and flattened it out. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a food processor, mix together the entire lemon cut into quarters and the cup of sugar. Make sure it is mostly, if not 100%, pureed. Add the tablespoon of flour, yogurt, and eggs. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into the pan with the baked crust. Bake for another 20-25 minutes after it’s turned down to 300°. The lemon filling will be set.

Cool the squares as much as possible before eating. They’re really, really good. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Lemon Blueberry Bars

I’m breaking up with soy. Here I thought dairy was my only problem, but I guess things aren’t ever that simple. The backstory, in case you’re new to the game, is that in my early 20s I was breaking out like a puberty stricken teen when I was eating/drinking dairy. It took me forever to figure it out [denial is a hell of a drug], and once I did, it really cleaned things up. I was pretty hardcore about it for awhile [a year or two], avoiding it it nearly 99.99% of the time. It wasn’t easy. In the last year or so, I’ve cheated a lot realized that dairy and I are okay with each other for the most part in smaller quantities [mmmmm cheese and ice cream and the occasional cappuccino], and if I pay particular attention to fat content [as near to whole as possible] and to avoid processing. The more natural, the better.

These days I usually use coconut milk when it came to liquid dairy substitutes. I prefer the taste. For some crazy reason during the last two weeks I switched back to soy milk for protein in my smoothies. To add insult to injury, I also snacked on shelled edamame at work. Coincidentally enough, I’ve been breaking out like crazy the past two weeks or so. Really bad. The worst its been in years. It took me until Thursday to figure it out. I’m pretty sure I was consuming just as much soy as dairy back in my early 20s, too. Hmmm. So after talking it over with my esthetician [shameless plug], it kind of makes sense. I’m cutting off the soy. I wasn’t particularly enjoying it anyway, so it won’t be any love lost. My face has already calmed down thanks in part to the facial and the lack of soy. Fingers crossed.

Now that I’m back on dairy in moderation, I have declared sweetened condensed milk dangerous. I’ve had very few run ins with it for whatever reason, and every time I end up buying a can, I’m reminded of it’s intensity. It’s thick. It’s creamy. It’s ridiculously sweet. It makes me want Vietnamese coffee, really. It takes a lot of restraint not to just eat it by the spoonful out of the can. Andrew found this dessert awhile back, and when I was given my lovely sack of lemons from Eileen, I was kind of sold. I had already planned on making lemon bars anyway.

They’re really, really sweet, and not at all like traditional lemon bars [not that they’re trying to be]. The graham cracker crust was a wonderful excuse to buy a box. Am I the only one who feels like a kid when I eat them? The blueberries were perfectly sweet, but tart enough to cut through the crazy sweet of the rest of the dessert. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know if I could have really enjoyed it. It was all kinds of sweet on top of sweet. Sometimes that’s what you need. 

Inspiration: Two Peas & Their Pod


  • 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice [two small lemons]
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350° and grab an 8×8″ pan. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, the melted butter, sugar, and all but one teaspoon of the lemon zest. Stir until it’s all combined and kind of sticky [I used my hands]. Press the crust into the pan, and bake it for 10 minutes.

While it’s baking, mix the egg yolks and condensed milk. Add the lemon juice and remaining one teaspoon of zest. Keep whisking it until it starts to thicken. Do. Not. Taste. This. It will be your demise. Fold in the blueberries. Pour it into the baked crust. Bake for 15 minutes until it’s set.

Cool it to room temperature before eating. It’s even better once it’s in the fridge, but good luck holding out. That stuff is good.


These are without a doubt my new favorite brownies, and not just because Sara at Sprouted Kitchen posted them.

I ate them all by myself.

Well, I ate all but one of them. I practically threw one at my sister when she was over just so I could say I didn’t eat them all so she could see what they was all about. It’s not every day that I’m raving about something chocolate. They are the perfect fudgy consistency, sprinkled with sea salt. If you aren’t normally a salt fan, you should still try this. It brings out so much more flavor. The chocolate is only a hint of sweet, which is how I prefer my chocolate. I used Guittard 53% extra dark chocolate chips. I toyed with getting something extra fancy when I was faced with the wall of chocolate at the store, but stopped myself. Splurging on desserts isn’t really my cup of tea.

Yet somehow I keep eating a lot of dessert lately. I might have just finished off the last bits of pistachio gelato, a few chocolate chips, and the remnants of the almond butter. Fancy. I would have had another brownie if they were still around. They were the type that I’d occasionally come by, slice of a sliver from the pan and go about my merry way. The joys of a batch all to myself.

Someday I’ll actually buy cocoa nibs and use them.

Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped if it isn’t chips already
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats processed into flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • course sea salt for topping


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 8″ square pan with aluminum foil [or parchment] so it hangs over the edges so you can remove them later. Lightly grease the foil.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Add the chocolate and stir often until its melted and incorporated. Remove from the heat and add in the sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until they’re mixed in completely. Add in the flour, pinch of salt, and espresso powder, mixing it together for a solid minute. It will become smooth and start pulling away from the sides.

Pour the batter into the pan, sprinkle with course sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the batter is mostly set, and the center doesn’t jiggle when you tap the pan. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before cutting. I placed mine in the fridge for several hours before cutting and eating.

Funfetti Brownies with Pistachios

I was all set to tell you about the weekend [and these awesome brownies], but I wound up in bed by 9pm last night. I had an incredibly fun and crazy weekend, and my bed wooed me from the laptop into its warm embrace. I’m such a sucker. After dropping off my friends at the airport at noon, Andrew and I crashed out on the couches. He slept, and I may or may not have watched four episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t judge!

I was on taxi service Thursday night. Andrew came home from out of town at 5pm, and we were back at 8:30pm for our friends. After a quick drive through the city [complete with fireworks show from the top deck of the Marquam Bridge!], we ended up at Interurban for dinner [a massive roasted pork loin sandwich, creamed spinach, and a cocktail] and Prost for an after dinner beer. I’m savoring all the evenings that I can still be outside on a patio. Success at both spots since the weather was practically perfect the entire time.

Friday morning we headed for brunch at Helser’s on Alberta. It’s a place that gets notoriously packed on the weekends, so Friday morning we had little-to-no wait at all. Plus an outside table. CONFESSION: this was actually my second choice. I wanted to go to Screen Door, but they don’t do brunch on Friday’s. Wah-wah. Helser’s is solid, though, and they have crumpets. I am a sucker for a crumpet. And a bloody mary. But mostly the crumpets. Speaking of, that’s the only photo I took all weekend—my crumpet breakfast sandwich [scrambled eggs, pepper bacon, sliced tomato, fresh cilantro, and chèvre] and fruit. It’s probably 10x more delicious than it looks, and it looks delicious. How often does one get kiwi as a fruit side anyway?

The rest of Friday consisted of coffee, shopping, lots of driving around, boutique shopping, scotch, Pad Khee Mao from Sawasdee, a super fun Timbers game, a post-game drink at Kask [a shot of whiskey and a pickle juice chaser? Wild.], and two slices of pizza at Sizzle Pie.

We might have gotten a slower start on Saturday because we had so much fun on Friday. We parked downtown at my office, and walked over to the Portland Farmer’s Market for a ton of samples and bottles of raw honey and truffle oil. It inspired a cheese board that we’d have later. After a beer or two at the Rogue Hall and sandwiches from East Side Deli [mmmm hot pastrami on rye], a quick tour of Powell’s City of Books was in order. Then a nap because, well, people get tired from all that eating and walking around all day every day. We rallied later with temptations of Italian food at A Cena. It’s the first place I’ve seen in the city that had a bottle of something we actually had on the tour. I went with the special of the day, a cioppino [dungeonous crab legs, clams, mussels, and shrimp in a tomato and wine sauce] with black squid ink pasta. It was kind of odd having the pasta instead of the more traditional bread, but it was every bit as delicious. There would be no room for dessert on this trip out. Eating late + huge portions will do that to a girl. We finished the night with a drink at Departure, the roof top restaurant and bar. The view is really something special as we don’t have another rooftop patio in the city.

Sunday meant going to Mother’s Bistro for lunch [1/2 meatloaf sandwich with roasted potato, leek, and corn chowder], a trip through 2nd Avenue Records and the Burnside Skatepark, wandering down Hawthorne Ave., and shopping at Presents of Mind. We built an epic cheese board [11 various cheeses, baguette, crackers, prosciutto, raw honey, truffle oil, fig spread, peaches, and wine], stuffed it in a picnic basket with a blanket and headed to Peninsula Park to have a picnic in the middle of the rose garden. We ended the night at The Old Gold and The Nite Hawk because why not? Oh, and in case you were wondering, a bread knife [the one that I cut the brownies with] is absolutely capable of slicing off the tip of your finger/fingernail, especially if you’re trying to cut a baguette. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. At least I didn’t need stitches.

That brings us back to yesterday. We had Dutch tacos from Flavour Spot, and tried to send them on their way with Voodoo Doughnuts, but everyone else had the same Labor Day plans. The lines were massive at both locations. Saying goodbye at the airport is never fun. True story. I miss them already. So does Roma.

I made these brownies as a Welcome Home/To Portland gesture. I believe there are only two left downstairs, which is impressive considering how much eating we did. I had the idea to make pistachio brownies ever since the cookies. It came to me while talking to my grandma [Hi, Grammy!] one afternoon. Adding sprinkles was just fun. I seriously went the store just for a bottle of $1.79 sprinkles. Sprinkles to call my very own. That was actually my first sprinkle purchase in all of my life now that I think about it. Can you tell how much I love the people in my life? Sprinkles, people. Pistachios add a nice, soft crunch and some salt just like adding sea salt would. I really, really liked it, especially compared to walnuts. Walnuts are boooooring [but I’ll still eat them, no discrimination here].


Inspiration: Smitten Kitchen


  • 3oz high quality unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick [4oz] unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • sprinkles!


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line an 8×8 pan with foil or parchment. I went with foil because apparently I don’t like to restock my kitchen when I run out of something. Who doesn’t love a challenge?
  2. Spray the foil with cooking spray or rub with extra butter for good measure.
  3. Melt your chocolate into the sugar in your favorite double boiler or microwave method. I did the double boiler thing, but by way of putting the stand mixer bowl on top of the pot with the simmering water. Brilliant, no?
  4. Stir the butter and chocolate together, removing it from the heat when there are only small chunks of butter left.
  5. Allow to cool for a minute or two. Have you ever tried cooking scrambled eggs in brownie mix? Me either.
  6. Whisk in the sugar, eggs one at a time, and the vanilla and salt. It’ll be smooth and delicious by this point. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  7. Fold in the flour and pistachios. You can chop them up first if you want. I didn’t. Rebel.
  8. At this point you can put sprinkles in your batter if you want or just put them on the top. It’s your call. Your destiny is in your hands.
  9. Pour the prepared batter into the pan. Smooth it so it’s even.
  10. Cover the top with a liberal layer of sprinkles. Are they the herpes of the cooking world like glitter is to the art world?
  11. Bake for 25 minutes. Start checking with a tooth pick until the middle comes out clean. My oven took about 27 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool fully before cutting if you can be so patient. Throw them in the fridge for an even faster [and fudgier] brownie.
  13. Devour.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cake

How bad is it that we have have polished off two 8×8 batches of this cake in less than 48 hours?

I’m not even remotely close to exaggerating. And if it’s really so wrong, I don’t want it to be right. It’s just that good. It borders on being the perfect love child of brownies and cake. It’s lighter and crumbier than brownies, but has some dense gooey tendencies. Add in bright green mint chips and it’s absolutely heaven. Who needs Thin Mints?

They’re a spin on Mama Pea’s Double Chocolate-Single Chin Brownies. I am absolutely impressed by the lack of fat in these. Somehow one cup of applesauce makes everything right in the world. Applesauce is a new staple in the house. For just this reason. Baking with it is awesome. I think if I had used whole wheat pastry instead of all-purpose [all I had on hand], it might have yielded a denser, more brownie-like texture, but honestly I don’t care. It’s absolutely perfect as it. We keep attaching it by the little square like little piranhas. Just tonight we killed off over half of it. Not that I ever feel guilty indulging in dessert, this would be the last thing to ever invoke such feelings.

Seriously make this. Make two or three. Save yourself the trouble. I’ll just double it and put it in a 13×9 next time. It’s worthy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go blow my nose for the 32932839024893th time. Thanks, headcold.


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mint chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the applesauce, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Fold in mint chips.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth out with the back of a spoon or knife.
  7. Bake for 20-23 minutes until the edges are set and and a toothpick comes out mostly clear.
  8. Allow to cool completely before digging in.
  9. Watch your mind blow at how decadent, yet not so bad for you, these are.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

So the countdown to San Diego has begun. I feel like there is 2389023829 things to do, but at least the presents are wrapped and I washed all of the laundry.

There is also one of these brownies left. Y’know, the ones I made the other night while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It sits in its little tupperware container on the counter begging to be eaten. I don’t want to leave it out while we’re gone. I can only imagine it would grow legs (and hair, ew) and take over the house. No one wants to come back to a brownie monster. No one.

These babies only have five ingredients by the way. How simple is that? You mix everything together, try to pour it’s thick sludge of a batter into your pan, and bake it. Let it cool all the way. They’ll taste better. They are dense and fudgy. When you eat them warm, you taste more of the peanut butter. I think that’s mostly because I used the “all natural” creamy stuff. Chunky would have been awesome, but the store I went to only had one lone jar left. I wasn’t about to go all over town for peanut butter [not that it would have stopped me any other time. We had muppets to watch!].

Oh! This also utilizes rice flour. This is a first for me. I like it. I really like the it was 29 cents a pound at the store, too. That may or may not have influenced my like for it. It had a little bit of a softer texture. I could definitely tell it wasn’t traditional all-purpose. I couldn’t taste a difference, though. It was great. I’m definitely going to try the rest of it out on something else. Any suggestions?

PS – This recipe is all about using things by weight. I was going to try and take measurements as I went but it was so much easier to just throw things in the bowl when it was on the scale. I could get used to measuring like this.

Inspiration: Stonesoup


  • 5oz (150g) peanut butter
  • 8oz (225g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2oz (50g) cocoa powder
  • 3oz (75g) rice flour


  1. Preheat oven to 320° and line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment. Spray it with cooking spray for good measure.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar.
  3. Add the peanut butter and combine.
  4. Stir in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined.
  5. Pour (spoon) the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. This took some work for me. It was really thick.
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes. 30 worked just fine for me. The top will be solid and a toothpick will still be a little moist.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting and eating. Trust me on this.

Pecan Pie Brownies

It’s almost Thanksgiving. You’re welcome for the reminder. I don’t know if you’d have noticed otherwise. We usually head to my grandma’s for the Turkey Day feast, but she’s been knocked up with pneumonia and bronchitis. Why have one when you can have both, right? Poor thing. We’re switching gears to have it at my mom’s house, and between my mom, sister, and I, we’re taking on the cooking. We usually help, but never do the full thing. I’m pretty psyched for the honor. Family recipes are fun like that. I’m only in charge of rolls, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, but there is only going to be 8 people this year. Somehow I don’t think it’ll be necessary to fill two dining room tables with food (as usual). That’s not going to stop me from making dessert, too. I like variety.

I’m not really a pecan pie fan. Pumpkin pie? Totally. Fruit pies are hit or miss unless it happens to be banana cream or coconut cream. Andrew’s favorite pie happens to be pecan. Being the nice girl that I am, I knew I had to make Jessica’s pecan pie brownies. It’s only a little bit of the pecan pie-ness and a whole lotta brownie. Gooey brownie. Fudge-y brownie. I didn’t scrimp on the good stuff–butter, sugar, chocolate. I mean, if you’re going to be bad, you might as well really make it worth it. The key is to definitely use the fridge to your advantage. These brownies need it to maintain shape or you’re going to have a melty mess on your hands/clothes/counter/fork. It took almost a full 24 hours before I could cut them (nicely) out of the pan. As you can see, they still ended up super mishapen rustic. 99% of the time Andrew and I ate them directly out of the pan. Presentation is overrated.

Inspiration: How Sweet It Is


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Prepare a pan–I used a 9″ cake pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla until smooth and foamy.
  4. In a double boiler (or in a sauce pan on low…I’m lazy), add the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Don’t burn the butter/sugar. That won’t taste good at all.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Whisk in the eggs. Whisk continuously to keep the eggs from cooking. Scrambled egg brownies anyone?
  7. Stir in flour and pour into the prepared pan once the batter is nice and smooth.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. While the brownies bake, prepare the pecan pie filling.
  10. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the brown rice syrup and brown sugar until light and creamy.
  11. Add eggs and vanilla and mix.
  12. Add melted butter and whiskey.
  13. Wait too fold in the pecans until you’ve pulled out the brownies.
  14. Pour the pecan filling over the top of the warm brownies.
  15. Bake for 35 minutes. The pecans should be bubbly and set.
  16. Cool completely, and then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. If you can wait that long.


Salted Fudge Brownies

Why did I wait so long to buy sea salt? Inquiring minds want to know. It makes things like chocolate taste 10x better. I have this tendency to eat tiny bits of it straight from the bag. Is that weird? Probably.

The only minor downfall to getting deliciously fudge-y brownies is waiting while they cool in the fridge for about an hour. That’s one hell of a test of patience. It’s worth it, though, because they turn from cake-like to rich and dense.

Being the genius that I am, I made sure I had all of the ingredients but didn’t make sure I had enough of each ingredient. I’m now out of regular sugar, brown sugar, and chocolate. I was out of eggs, but someone [read: Andrew] made me breakfast sandwiches on Saturday morning, so I think there might be a few left.

Next time? More sea salt.

Inspiration: Jane Deere


  • 6 oz butter [Smart Balance for moi]
  • 2 oz dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Line a 11×7″ baking dish with aluminum foil. Leave enough so it hangs over the edges.
  3. Spray the foil with olive oil [or baking spray or rub it down with butter]
  4. In a small pan, melt the butter and chocolate on low heat until smooth.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the sea salt.
  6. Add the chocolate and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Add the eggs, mixing after each addition.
  8. The mixture should be smooth. Pour it into the prepared pan.
  9. Level it with a knife and sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
  10. Bake 30-35 minutes until the edges are set and the center is still soft.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a bit.
  12. Place them in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting and eating.
  13. Good luck testing your willpower.