Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nutella Brownies

I thought I was all done with the Nutella recipes for a while when I spotted this one as I was just browsing on the internet. Really, who could pass up something that looks like this?! Icing on top of rich, chocolaty Nutella? Not me, no way. As a coincidence, the same kids I made the Nutella Bites for were over visiting my kids again. So I made these brownies for them. They must think all we eat is Nutella in this family. They loved these so much one of them insisted on the recipe. I sent some of the brownies home with them along with the recipe and a jar of Nutella, partly just to save myself from making more of brownies (and eating them).

Nutella Brownies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a medium bowl combine all-purpose flour, cocoa (sift this in to get rid of lumps), baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter and stir in sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.

To the butter-sugar mixture add eggs, one at a time. Beat until blended. Add cocoa mixture and mix on slow speed, just until blended.

Heat Nutella and peanut butter in the microwave in 20 second intervals until it reaches a runny consistency. Stir this mixture into the batter.

Pour the batter into a glass 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Cool completely before cutting.

Icing- Mix just enough milk and 1 cup of confectioner's sugar until smooth but not runny, drizzling it over the brownies, then with chocolate chips, if desired.

"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."
- Artistotle

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie

When my husband was in Virginia recently, he was kind enough to stop by the Virginia Farm Market in Winchester and pick me up some fresh peaches. I love peaches, but I can't eat a 1/2 a peck before they go bad. So my oldest daughter and I decided to make a peach pie. I found a great recipe in Southern Living magazine that sounded different than the usual. Brown sugar and peaches together? Yum. And it was good. I used a frozen crust instead of the homemade one the recipe suggests, but I included the ingredients anyway for anyone who is more ambitious than I am!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie


1 1/3 cups cold butter
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water

8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (about 4 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cut 1 1/3 cups butter into small cubes, and chill 15 minutes. Stir together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup ice water with a fork, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press and shape dough into 2 flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425ยบ. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around a rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Press dough into pie plate.

Roll remaining dough disk to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.

Peel peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices in half. Stir together brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a bowl; add peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon peach mixture into piecrust in pie plate, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy.)

Carefully place remaining piecrust over filling; press edges of crusts together to seal. Cut off excess crust, and reserve. Crimp edges of pie. If desired, reroll excess crust to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch leaves using a knife. Brush top of pie with beaten egg; top with leaves. Brush leaves with egg; sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.

Freeze pie 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a jelly-roll pan in oven 10 minutes. Place pie on hot jelly-roll pan.

Bake at 425° on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly (juices will bubble through top). Transfer to a wire rack; cool 2 hours before serving.

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother's orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”
-Melissa Fay Greene, ‘Praying for Sheetrock’

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mini Nutella Bites

Here in Pittsburgh we have a part of town that is called "The Strip". Now, I know what you are thinking, but it's not really like that. It's a strip of road that runs from downtown to one of the local communities. It has wholesale produce vendors, Italian goods, a seafood market, a Chinese grocery store and many other fascinating places. One of my favorite is Mon Ami, which is a chocolate/candy store with exotic chocolates from around the world. When my brother was home in June, we took him there. As the kids were ordering gelato, I started a conversation with the owner. She mentioned a recent trip to Florida and a lovely dessert she had called Nutella bites. Well, you know me and chocolate, I had to ask for the recipe! Wouldn't you know that nice lady emailed me the recipe right the next day? She kept telling me how good they are. And she could not be more right. I made a double batch and they were literally gone within 30 minutes. These are super easy. Just be sure you make enough!

Mini Nutella Bites

1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ounce chopped chocolate or chopped nuts to put on top before baking


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease mini cupcake/muffin pan
(12). Put the nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full ) and sprinkle with the chocolate or nuts. Bake for about 10 minutes.

You can also serve with some fruit and whipped topping for company

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

-John Wooden

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

To all those who serve or have served to give us freedom and independence, thank you! Happy 4th everyone.