Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Grease two standard muffin tins or line with paper cups.
In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over oatmeal. Stir to moisten and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir wet mixture into the flour mixture, just until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans. Fill each about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers come out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for five minutes, then remove from pans.
Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and milk to form a glaze. Drizzle over muffins and serve.
We’re at that time of year when late summer and fall do their dance of warm days and cool nights. Fall is my favorite season because I love that crisp coolness in the air – and no matter how much baking I do in the kitchen it never gets too hot. This season, I decided I can’t say goodbye to September (National Bourbon Heritage Month) without baking up a new concoction to mark the occasion.
I recently (and happily) discovered an organic bourbon made right here in Chicago at Koval Distillery. According to their website, Koval is the first craft distillery within Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. You don’t have to be a history major to know that Chicago’s DNA has a strong influence that can be traced back to Prohibition. Wanting to incorporate Koval’s organic bourbon, I decided to update my Bourbon, Bacon & Pecan Brownies recipe, which was one of the top 5 most popular recipes in the Baked Chicago’s Simply Decadent Brownies Cookbook (the Kindle version is available on Amazon for free until October 2).
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon fat and set aside. Let the bacon cool and chop roughly. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large heatproof bowl set on top of a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and butter. Stir constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until frothy (about 1 minute). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture, bourbon and reserved bacon fat. Fold in the flour mixture and pecans, just until combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the chopped bacon on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool the brownies completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 brownies.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
In medium saucepan, stir dark chocolate and 3/4 cup butter over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1 cup of sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let brownies cool completely, about 1 hour.
Prepare frosting by combining evaporated milk, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolk and 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, pecans and coconut. While frosting is still warm, spread on brownies. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 brownies.
Brownie Points: Evaporated milk is milk that’s been cooked down to allow water content to evaporate. The concentrate is canned, and the result is heavier, creamier milk with a slightly toasted or caramelized flavor. If you don’t have evaporated milk in the pantry, make your own! To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it reduces to 1 cup.
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk, divided
3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla, divided
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
These turtle brownies were, in part, inspired by a favorite childhood candy: Kathryn Beich’s Katydids. Kathryn Beich’s (part of the Nestle company in the 1960’s and 1970’s and possibly longer) had operations in Central Illinois near where I grew up. They worked with schools and churches with fundraising programs where you’d order your favorite confections, including Golden Crumbles, Butter Mints and Katydids. I remember selling the candy for school groups in yearly fundraising efforts.
Today, the Kathryn Beich brand is barely visible and no longer part of Nestle. A Google search found some old pictures of those tin cans that required a key to “unlock” the vacuum seal.
For anyone who remembers these cans, can you believe we were actually allowed to open them as kids? The edges were so sharp that you could cut a bitch. Personally, I also loved the caramel filled chocolate bars which amazingly seem to still be available.
While that “technology” may no longer be used, I do remember it definitely locked in the freshness of the candy. The Katydids would melt in your mouth. The crunchy pecans and caramel were bite-sized portions of addiction.
Update on 10/26/13: America’s Test Kitchen has a great suggestion for making caramel in the microwave. For those who may be a bit timid about making caramel from scratch on the stove top (it does require constant monitoring), this might be a better solution. This recipe uses the stove top method for the caramel in the turtle brownies, but you can get similar results following the instructions in this video.
Preheat your oven to 325° F. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking pan with butter or shortening. Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, set over pan of simmering water. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Whisk together in a large bowl this flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Whisk the sugar and eggs on medium speed with electric mixer until pale and fluffy (4 minutes). Add the chocolate mixture, milk and vanilla, mixing until combined. Reduce speed to low and add in the flour mixture, until well combined.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few dry crumbs. Let the brownies cool, about 30 minutes.
Bring 1/3 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Constantly stir until the sugar has dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook until the sugar is a medium amber color (5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat and add the heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add pecans and stir until caramel begins to cool and thicken.
Spread the caramel over brownies. Refrigerate for one hour to help set. Let the turtle brownies stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 brownies.
Is a brownie still a brownie if it has only white chocolate in its recipe? Some might call it a blondie, but isn’t that just a sub-category of the brownie family? Do you really care what you call it as long as it’s delicious and easy to make? No. So with that, I give you this white chocolate pecan brownies recipe to try for yourself. We’ll save the debate over “is white chocolate really chocolate at all?” for another time. Enjoy!
White Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine 6 ounces white chocolate and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring until melted. Remove the white chocolate from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, add eggs and sugar. Stir in white chocolate mixture with a spatula, just until combined. Add in the flour and vanilla, stirring just until smooth. Fold in the pecans.
Spread the pecan brownie batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until top is lightly golden. Immediately sprinkle the remaining 2 ounces of white chocolate over the brownies. As the white chocolate melts, use spatula to spread it over the pecan brownies.
Let the white chocolate pecan brownies cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 brownies.
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces plus 2 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
These marbled pumpkin pecan brownies remind me of the holidays, so I like to stash away a can of pureed pumpkin in the pantry so I can break out a batch in the spring (or whenever spirits need a little lift).
Marbled Pumpkin Pecan Brownies
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with butter or shortening. Melt dark chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water. Stir constantly until melted and smooth.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture.
Divide batter in half between two bowls. Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In the other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans. Transfer half chocolate batter to the prepared baking pan. Then top with half the pumpkin batter. Repeat one more chocolate layer and one pumpkin layer. Using butter knife, gently swirl the two batters to create marbled effect.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set. Let brownies cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows to make 16 marbled pumpkin pecan brownies.
Brownie Points: Canned pumpkin contains only pureed pumpkin or squash with low salt. Use this rather than pumpkin pie filling which has added sugar and spices.
1/2 cup butter
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
This nut mix is special enough for the holidays, but simple enough that you could make it on any Thursday night for the book club. Or would that be the Kindle Club? This recipe has four kinds of nuts, but you can easily include your favorite nut by swapping out an equal amount of your least favorite. But keep the almonds: the crunchy texture is a nice balance to the sugar-and-spice mix. Your mouth will thank you.
Preheat your oven to 300° F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar with salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the cashews, almonds, pecans and pistachios. Add the spiced sugar mix and toss.
Spread out the nuts on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until browned, stirring at least twice. Let the nuts cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping. This sugar and spice nut mix may be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
In medium saucepan, combine condensed milk with dark chocolate and butter. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until shiny and very thick (about 15 to 18 minutes).
Spread the mixture in a shallow dish and let cool for 15 minutes. Arrange 30 paper candy cups on a baking sheet.
In a shallow bowl, mix the pecans and ground cinnamon. Rub your hands with butter. Scoop up rounded teaspoons of the chocolate mixture and roll them into balls. Roll the candy in the pecan mixture and set them in a paper cup. Repeat to form the remaining candies. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
The candies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The candies can also be rolled in shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chopped pistachios or rainbow sprinkles.