Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jelly Brownies

It’s no secret that I love brownies.  They’re chocolatey, delicious, and easy to make.  Lately I’ve also been on a PB and J kick – is there anything better than a PB and J at the beach? – and I thought I’d try to incorporate the two.  I was anxious about the PB part, since Spaniards really don’t seem to understand it, and I didn’t want to end up eating the whole batch by myself, but I decided to go for it.  I used creamy PB, because that’s what they have here, even though I love crunchy.  I also used raspberry jelly, which I thought made the whole thing a little bit classier than say, strawberry would have done.

Overall, I don’t know that it’s my favorite brownie recipe.  I think I really am more of a classic chocolate person.  The PB and J part might have been unnecessary overkill, and I think I overcooked them just a tad, which is never good.  So err on the side of undercooked.  I should know that by now.  However, ff you love PB and J, you will like these.  Stay tuned for a recipe where I try just PB.  Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic, and I want to try it.

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jelly Brownies

Ingredients:

Brownies:

  • 4 ounces dark baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • scant cup sugar {the jelly’s going to be sweet enough}
  • 3 eggs, room temperature {Possibly my favorite part about Europe is room temp eggs at the grocery store.  It sounds a little funky, but also means you can bake as soon as you get home from the store without worrying about congealed egg whites in your finished product.}
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (All-purpose would be fine, but I wanted to add a little extra protein and fiber.  With the peanut butter and jelly, you really can’t tell that it’s whole wheat}

PB&J topping:

  • 1/2 cup raspberry jelly
  • 1/3 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F {175°C}.  Prepare your 8×8 or 9×9 pan, either with butter or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar with melted butter and chocolate mixture.
  3. Add eggs and cocoa powder and stir well.
  4. Finally mix in the flour, stirring just enough to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into your pan, making sure to spread it into the edges.  You want a nice base for the PB&J topping.
  6. Melt your topping butter in the microwave.  Watch it because it shouldn’t take very long at all.
  7. Mix in the peanut butter, jelly, and powdered sugar.
  8. Drop the topping onto the brownie base and spread it around.
  9. Bake about 30 minutes and remove from oven to cool completely.  If they’re still a little gooey it’s okay – they will keep cooking as they cool, and overcooked brownies are much worse than undercooked ones.
  10. Slice and enjoy 🙂

{Sorry in advance for the picture quality in this post.  Unsurprisingly, apparently standing in the middle of the kitchen holding bowls of things into the light where they photograph better yields blurrier photos than leaving them on the counter.  I thought blurry and visible was better than dark and clear.  Also, I just updated my computer, and Apple seems to have “upgraded” iPhoto with Photos.  So far I hate it, and it doesn’t seem to be “talking” correctly with my watermark program.  So please forgive the fact that for now, my watermark is in the wrong spot on all the photos, and sideways.  I really need to sit down and figure that out, but I wanted to get this recipe up, and the man standing below my window playing “Tequila” on an accordion is trying my patience right now.  Has anyone else had any problems adjusting to Photos?}

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Sugar, melted butter and chocolate.

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With the eggs.

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And the cocoa powder.

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All the ingredients combined.

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Topping. Using the glass measuring cup made it really easy to measure and stir without dirtying a bunch of extra measuring cups and spoons.

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Different view.

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Brownies and topping pre-oven.

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Spread around. I also trimmed my parchment paper so it wouldn’t catch on anything in the oven. I know it’s oven-safe, but I don’t like it up against the heating element.

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All done! It’s hard to see the topping, but if you look carefully, it’s there.

*What’s your favorite brownie recipe?  Do you have a favorite twist on a classic?

La Cantina de Frida Taquería: Restaurant Review

Hi you guys!  Sorry, again, for being out of touch for awhile.  These past few weeks have been truly hectic, and on Friday I ended up moving apartments.  I’ve spent a lot of this long weekend unpacking, which isn’t the most fun, but I’ve also made it to the beach yesterday and today, and it is gorgeous.  To help redeem myself, I thought I’d review the Mexican restaurant I went to on Friday night.  I went with a friend to celebrate our move.  We were going to just stop in for drinks, but drinks turned into dinner, and it was so good.  It’s been so long since I’ve had Mexican food, and this was especially timely with Cinco de Mayo coming up! 

We’d both heard mixed reviews about this place, namely that it was impossible to get in without a reservation, and that it was crazy expensive.  We walked right in and they sat us at the bar, which was perfect.  And honestly, the place never got that full.  There’s no set menu, instead you pick your courses off of a blackboard.  When we went it was 18/person.  I’m not sure if that drinks were included or not, which I know is something I should know, but it was that kind of night.  Basic margaritas were 5 on the drink menu, so at most, it was 23 total, plus any extra margaritas you might want, which I thought was reasonable.  They also had a lot of beer and tequila to try, but I was happy with my frozen margarita.

The ceviche I had was really good, and so were the nachos, and my burrito.  My friend enjoyed her quesadilla, but the best part of the meal was undoubtedly the tequilamisu – a homemade tiramisu with tequila instead of rum.  If you have the chance to try it, you have to.

All in all it was a very successful Mexican food adventure.  When I googled it today, I learned the place is not actually called Frida Kahlo, but Frida’s vibe is certainly there.  I spotted her picture in a few places, and I read somewhere that the restaurant was designed to look like her home, but honestly, I don’t know how much I believe that part.  Either way, it’s a worthwhile pit stop in Palma.

Do you have plans to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant?

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View from the bar – can you see Frida?

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My ceviche and the nachos in the background. Sorry it’s a little blurry.

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Quesadilla in the distance.

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My burrito! I went with vegetarian, and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything! So good!

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Frozen margarita with a flower petal.

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The star of the show. Tequilamisu.

Eastern European Poppyseed Cake

Hi again.  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but I went away for Easter break.  I had 8 days off of work, plus weekends, and took the time to fly over to Italy for a while.  It was so nice, and I’ll share all my pictures.  I have plenty.  I got back last week, and I’ve been busy unpacking and getting re-settled.  An unexpected game of musical apartments is also keeping me on my feet.  The other day I made a poppyseed cake that my family usually eats at Easter, and while I still missed my family, the poppyseed is delicious!!  I found the recipe here, and tweaked it just a bit.  I’ve been trying to post it all week, but the pictures wouldn’t load.  Today I got a migraine at work, and they were nice enough to send me home because I looked so awful.  Now that I’m feeling a lot better, I finally have the time and the bandwidth to share this with you guys!!

It was surprisingly easy, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.  I was super-apprehensive because this was the first time I hadn’t boughten {consider this my formal entry of the word boughten into the English language} it at a very specific bakery.  If you like poppyseeds, I think you’ll love this recipe.  Let’s just all hope we don’t get drug tested for opium in the next few days!

Poppyseed Cake:

Ingredients:

Poppyseed Filling:

  • 1/2 pound poppyseeds {More is better than less.  The poppyseeds are the star of this recipe.}
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup hot milk

Dough:

  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2+ cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated.  {Original recipe calls for 1 but I could tell that my dough needed 2.}

Directions:

  1. Grind your poppyseeds in a food processor if you’re going to.  I didn’t and everything turned out fine, so I say save the electricity.
  2. Mix your poppyseeds with the hot milk, melted butter, and 3/4 cup sugar.  Cover and refrigerate.  You should probably use a bigger vessel than I did, just in case it expands.  So anything larger than a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup should work just fine.
  3. Mix the yeast with the warm water and 2 tbsp sugar.  Let stand until foamy.
  4. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in butter using a knife or pastry cutter; your mixture sure look like large crumbs when you’re done.
  5. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the flour/butter mixture and add the egg yolks.  Stir it together and you should have a soft dough.
  6. Knead dough on a floured surface about 5 minutes, until springy and smooth.  If it’s too sticky, knead in a little flour at a time.
  7. Cut the dough in half.  Roll out each half into a rectangle 12x16in.
  8. Spread half poppyseed filling in each rectangle, leaving an inch on all sides.
  9. Fold the 1-inch border over on each side, and press down.
  10. Roll up the shorter side of each rectangle, like a jelly roll.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Place rolls, seam side down, on the baking sheet and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  13. Preheat your oven to 350°F {176°C}
  14. Brush the rolls with the egg white.
  15. Cut diagonal slits in the rolls.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, until dark golden brown on top.
  17. Remove from oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.
  18. Slice when cool and enjoy.
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Combine the poppyseeds, hot milk, melted butter, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate.

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Cut the butter into the flour and salt.

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Dissolve the yeast in the yeast and warm water… let sit until foamy.

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Add the yeast and eggs to the flour and stir.

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It’s starting to come together, into a soft dough.

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After kneading.

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Roll out one half into a 12x16in rectangle. I didn’t use a ruler.

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Fill with half of the poppyseed filling, leaving a 1 inch border all around.

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Fold the border over on all sides.

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Roll up like a jelly roll.

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Let both rolls rest on the cookie sheet in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until just about doubled in size.

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Create horizontal slits for steam to escape, and because they’re pretty. Brush with egg whites.

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Bake until dark golden brown. Cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.

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Ready to be sliced.

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Delicious!!!  Please ignore the sloppy photography… I was too busy devouring the poppyseed cakes.

Have you ever had a poppyseed cake?  What foods remind you of your family and special celebrations like Easter or Passover?

Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownies

Hey guys, it’s Wednesday!!  We’re halfway through with this week.  Even so, last night didn’t feel like just Tuesday.  The week already felt like it was dragging on forever, and I knew that I would be needing some chocolate.  I have always made my brownies with butter.  Normally I’m a huge proponent of butter in everything.  This is what happens when one of your parents is from the Dairy State.  Everything really does taste better with butter on top.  Pancakes, pasta, and tomato soup all taste better with butter.  I’ve also been known to add cheese to my boxed macaroni and cheese, but that’s for another time.  We don’t butter bacon like Homer Simpson, but I bet it would be good!  In this case, however, I thought I would mix up my brownies.  I feel like I’m in the olive oil capital of the world sometimes, so what better place to make olive oil brownies??  I found some recipes online, but the ratios just seemed off to me, so I came up with my own.  I ended up making the perfect brownie to eat on the couch while watching Simpsons reruns dubbed over in Español.  Whatever gets you through, right?

Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownies:

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coffee
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  For most of you, that should be around 176 °C. 
  2. Prepare your 8×8 pan.  I find a sheet of parchment paper to be the most efficient.  Easy clean-up.
  3. Add olive oil to the chocolate.  Measure from the top of the chocolate before you added any oil.  {Or use a separate liquid measuring cup, but if you measure them together, you have one less thing to clean.}
  4. Pour chocolate and oil into a large bowl.  {In my case, still a large pot.  Mixing bowls just aren’t on the priority list when you’re eventually going to move with only the 50lbs of things that can fit in a suitcase.}
  5. Mix in sugar.
  6. Add eggs and coffee, mixing well.
  7. Add cocoa powder and stir until well combined.
  8. Add flours and stir carefully to avoid flour flying all over your countertop.  {Not that I ever have this problem or anything.}  Try not to overmix.
  9. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Remember to reach the corners.
  10. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs.  Remember, underbaking is so much better than overbaking. {*I actually baked at 200°C (about 400°F) for about 20 minutes, and then panicked that they were overcooked and pulled them out.  But I really don’t think my oven has been working properly lately, and I should really invest in an oven thermometer.  Every brownie recipe I’ve seen for an 8×8 pan calls for 350°F (176°C) for 30 minutes, so I would use that as your guideline.}
  11. For those of you with self control, let cool completely on a wire rack before topping with sea salt and cutting.
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Melt the chocolate.

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Measure the olive oil.

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Pour into your mixing vessel.

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Stir to combine. The oil wants to sit on top of the chocolate, but we don’t want that.

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Add your eggs and coffee and mix well.

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Add cocoa powder.

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And flour.

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Mix in the flour, but don’t overmix. You shouldn’t actually see flour when you’re done, but my totally mixed-in flour picture was too blurry to post.

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Get your batter into you pan. It’s not the prettiest looking, but it is delicious!

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Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool. You can see I didn’t have a lot of patience to wait around or take pictures before I dug in.

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Cut a nice piece and enjoy! A glass of milk is perfect with this brownie.

These were seriously good.  I could have eaten the whole tray last night, so the fact that I had any self-restraint is incredible.  They’re richer than your regular brownie, and really good!  I’ll be bringing the rest into work tomorrow so I don’t eat them all.

Have you ever tried making brownies with olive oil?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Has your week felt as long as mine has, and do brownies make everything better for you too?

Update: I went ahead and calculated calories and nutritional info.  If you use MyFitnessPal, they’re already in there under Sea Salt Olive Oil Brownie.  The brand name is “Sophisticated Jersey Girl,” so they should be even easier to find.  For everyone else, here is the breakdown.  I assumed an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, and being realistic, that it would probably make 9 servings.  So here you go.  Per serving, or 1/9 of the batter/pan.

Calories: 345.7 {the app made me choose a whole number.  I rounded up to 346}

Fat (g): 10.9

Carbs (g): 50.1

Sugars (g): 38.5

Fiber (g): 1.8

Protein (g): 3.7

So there you go.  Not as bad for you as I feared when I started to calculate the info.  First I add everything up, and then divide it by servings.  Feel free to dig in guilt free because you know what you’re eating.

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Avocado Chocolate Chunk Blondies

That’s a mouthful to say!  Happy Friday!  Glad we all made it through the week, in more or less one piece.  Wednesday I used my day off, among other things, to try a new blondie recipe.  I’ve been on my brownie game lately, but I’ve also been struggling with eating right since I finished the marathon.  I’m not entirely surprised.  Now that I don’t have to go to the gym for training, it’s harder to convince myself that that’s where I should be.  Or alternately, I eat half a pan of brownies and then try to spin it away.  As a side note, do anyone else’s feet go numb if they’re on the elliptical for more than ten minutes?

I found a fabulous recipe that called for melted butter, and therefore I wouldn’t need a mixer.  Perfect.  I tweaked it, adding some avocado and whole wheat, and this is what I came up with.  The butter is definitely still in there, but the avocado and the whole wheat flour make it a little bit healthier.  I brought a bunch into work yesterday, just so I wouldn’t eat them all, and by the end of the day they were all gone.

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Avocado Brownies:

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup mashed very ripe avocado {about 1 medium sized-avocado}
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, or approx. 176°C.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish.  {I lined mine with parchment paper for easy blondie-removal and clean-up.}
  3. Combine melted butter, avocado, and brown and white sugars.
  4. Add the eggs, and vanilla if you have it.
  5. Mix in salt and flour.
  6. Add chocolate chunks.  Try not to over-mix.
  7. Press into prepared baking dish, and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  I can’t give you an exact time, because my oven seems to be acting weird.  The recipe I drew my inspiration from suggested 20-25 minutes, but mine we in for a whole hour and weren’t completely set.  Again, probably my oven error.  It’s best to shoot for under-cooked and add time from there.
  8. In theory, you should let your blondies cool on a wire rack before cutting, if you can resist the temptation!  I couldn’t.
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Combine butter, avocado, and sugars.

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After you’ve added the eggs, mix in the flours.

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Stir in the chocolate chunks. You might want more uniform chunks than I had.

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Get your batter into your prepared pan.

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Press into position. Extra points if you can spot the avocado that didn’t get quite mashed up.

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Into the oven it goes!

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All done!

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I couldn’t wait for it to cool.

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Completely unrelated, late night I ran into Spain’s Queen Sofía. {She’s the woman in the direct middle of the picture, facing away from us.}

What’s your favorite blondie recipe?