Feeling Naughty over Slutty Brownies

I first heard about these brownies a few weeks ago when a very pregnant Jessica Simpson raved about them on The Tonight Show. She talked about how these decadent brownies were, like, the best thing ever. Slutty Brownies are essentially a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough topped with Oreos (I used double-stuffed) topped with brownie batter, and then it’s all baked together.

And why are they called “Slutty” brownies? She said it was because of how rich and over-the-top they are, and probably because you feel a little naughty after eating one, but I’d rather call them Poncho Brownies because after I eat one, all I wanted to do is cover up. But damn, they really are worth it.

You’ll find a ton of recipes and interpretations of Slutty Brownies if you Google it, and most call for using store-bought cookie dough and brownie mix. This is totally fine, but me being me I like to make it all myself. Well, not the Oreos, but the rest. You get the point.

The recipes I used were the standard Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (a classic and always a hit) and a standard chocolate brownie recipe from Gourmet Magazine/Epicurious that I halved.

This was actually my second attempt at making Slutty Brownies – the first was a comedy of errors with everything that could go wrong actually going wrong (I used pan that was too small so the batter never baked, somehow punctured a hole in the bottom of the aluminum baking pan and would up with a major spill and smoke billowing from the oven, and I slightly burned by finger). With a new brownie recipe, bigger pan and a calm head, this time things turned out much better.

Slutty Brownie fail

Here’s the recipe:

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The Most Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are classic, something we all grew up eating and my family was no exception. They’re the cookie my mom would whip up for bake sales and make as a “cake” for my birthday parties with frosting. There was even a year in junior high when all I ate for lunch each day was a chocolate chip cookie and carton of chocolate milk (sorry, mom, that’s what I was really doing with my lunch money).

And don’t even get me started on chocolate chip cookie dough! I’d eat the individually frozen dough balls from Market Days right out of the freezer as an after school snack, and in high school my friends and I would share a roll of store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough and eat it with spoons.

While ubiquitous, to me chocolate chip cookies are also conventional. And although I wouldn’t call myself cutting edge in pretty much anything (I mean, come on, look at my shoes), I don’t usually make this cookie because there’s no challenge to it.

This takes me to a few years back when a recipe from The New York Times was making the rounds in the blogosphere. I wasn’t interested. After all, they’re just chocolate chip cookies, right?

Luckily, my friend Jenn paid attention and began making these cookies, which turned out to be absolutely freaking delicious. I’d even go so far as to call them a game-changer.

Whenever we’d talk about these cookies – and, oddly enough, they came up in conversation quite often – I always referred to this recipe as “aged chocolate chip cookies,” because that was really the trick, letting the batter rest (or age) in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours. But I never made them myself. They were her thing, not to mention waiting for the dough to age required patience and planning, two things that don’t really suit me.

I finally had a wake up call a few weeks ago after visiting Jenn in San Francisco. The first thing she gave me when I got off the BART was one of her aged chocolate chip cookies. It had been a while since I’d had one and I forgot just how freaking good these cookies were. That’s when I made the decision: I need to start making these myself – they’re just too good not to have on a regular basis. Or semi-regular basis, given this is the time of year for fruitless resolutions.

And did I mention these cookies are huge? But don’t try to make them smaller – it’s part of their charm. Also, the ingredients are kind of specific but once you have them, just think of all the cookies you can make!

So here’s my advice: make a batch. Freeze them for portion control. And then eat them whenever you need a delicious bite of comfort food or as a reward for making it through spin class. That’s my plan, anyways.

Happy New Year!

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Strawberry-Rhubard Buckle

Happy 4th of July! Always a fun weekend of friends, family, festivities and of course, fabulous food. The past few years I’ve celebrated by making a cherry-themed dessert; usually this is when I first see sour cherries at the farmers’ market and can’t wait to play with them. This year, the growing season is a bit behind schedule so while there weren’t any sour cherries to be found, the rhubarb was still going strong.

I’ve actually baked with rhubarb more this year than I ever have before. It’s been a recurring item in my CSA (community supported agriculture from Harvest Moon Farms) for three weeks running, not to mention the two weeks prior that I bought rhubarb at the market.

With all that rhubarb, I’ve almost run out of things to do with it. I made a rhubarb cake-pie, rhubarb tart and roasted rhubarb, and then finally this week a strawberry rhubarb buckle.

I used my favorite white peach and blueberry buckle recipe as a base but used strawberries, rhubarb and ginger as the main ingredients. Strawberries and rhubarb are classic combination, and the two types of ginger (ground and crystallized) add a bit of a kick to the buckle and help soften both the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the batter. If you’re not a ginger fan, go ahead and cut back the amounts a bit, but I’d still recommend leaving some in for a fun contrast in flavors.

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Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

Even if your favorite team isn’t in the Super Bowl this year (that’s right, Bears, I’m talking about you), it’s still fun to get together with friends to watch the big game – and the big commercials!

Always a great calorie fest with everything from guacamole to Lou Malnati’s pizzas, I try to have some fun with what I bring to the Super Bowl table. Last year it was these delicious Savory French Toast Bites and the year before it was the Homemade Hostess Cupcakes, which are always a huge hit. This year it’s Bourbon Caramel Popcorn, which I first made just over a month ago for a New Years Eve party and knew instantly it would need to make a game day reappearance.

The recipe is actually quite simple, it just takes a few steps to make individual parts before it all comes together. But in the end, you have a crunchy, sweet and salty treat with the subtle flavor of bourbon. Try it and you’ll see how addicting this popcorn is!

Tell me what you made for your game day celebration or your favorite snack to enjoy as you watch the new commercials!

Here’s the recipe for Bourbon Caramel Popcorn:

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Cake Balls Just Keep Flying!

It twas the season of cake balls, and all through the festivities, not another dessert was to be found, not even cupcakes or small candy mounds.

Ahhhh, cake balls, which my sister and I recently dubbed the cupcake of 2011 as it’s become my most requested dessert and recipe. Friends and family are making them like crazy – they’re putting them on sticks and making pretty displays, and experimenting with fun new flavors and recipes.

This season alone they were highlights of Thanksgiving dinner, our Hanukkah celebration, Festivus and even New Years Eve. I blogged a while ago about the method, but thought now was a good time to revisit it along with two of my favorite cake recipes.

Just remember, cake balls are really all about the method so use your favorite cake and have fun being creative with the decorations and presentation!

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