28.12.13

Dulce de Leche Brownies

What’s your kind of comfort food?

One of the favorite things I love to eat with bread is condensed milk. It is pure indulgence. I don’t know if that makes me weird or if there are also other people who share the same weirdness with me… anyway… This is not about condensed milk. This is something even better than that.

Have you ever tried dulce de leche? Oh my gosh. It’s probably the best thing in this world… next to… Hmm, I don’t really know what is better than dulce de leche.

I have been making my own dulce de leche for over a year now. In the Philippines, where I live, it’s so hard look for the canned variety.

Making dulce de leche from scratch is very easy. Really! All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk (label peeled off) and a can of boiling water. The milk has to be submerged in the water (water should reach about 3/4 the can) and boiled for over 3-4 hours.

My favorite way to bake with dulce de leche is pairing it with anything chocolate. And today, I’ll be sharing with you a gooey and fudgy brownie recipe laced with dulce de leche.

Very sinful and delicious, I tell you. :)

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Chocolate Dulce de Leche Brownies 
4 oz baking chocolate, chopped (mix of unsweetened and semi-sweet)
1 stick salted butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 can dulce de leche, slightly warmed
 

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 in or 11x8 in pan and line with foil with enough overhang. Lightly grease foil with butter. 
Melt chocolate and butter together over pan of simmering water. Let cool for a few minutes then whisk in sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time followed by vanilla extract. 
Fold in flour and salt until no streaks of flour remain. 
Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop dollops of dulce de leche on top of batter. Run a sharp knife along the batter to make swirls. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center is almost set. 
Let brownies cool in the pan and carefully turn them out of the pan and let cool completely. 
Cut the brownies into squares and serve. 
Best served with ice cream and extra dulce de leche drizzle.


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Learn how to make dulce de leche here.

27.12.13

Pretzel Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, everyone!

How's your Christmas holiday coming along? I hope you're having a blast!

Well, as for me... I spent Christmas eve with at my Lola's house in Alabang. And as always, I was in charge of the cupcakes. Sadly, the cupcakes kinda got ruined during the commute from my house in San Juan to Alabang. If you live in Manila you know how far that is even without traffic.
 
Anyway... Christmas has been kinda so-so for the past few years. I haven't spent it with my family because of work commitments. Last year, I had to spend it in Manila because we had to run payroll for our client. This year, I had to work today and tomorrow in case an urgent training request comes up. But I am going home for New Year's eve.

New Year's eve celebration is always more festive than Christmas. I don't really know why, but it does not mean that we are taking the birth of Jesus lightly. Definitely not.

I hope it's not too late to share one of my new favorite cookie recipes. If you haven't completed your gift list yet, now is the perfect time to make these!

This will not disappoint, I promise. :)

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Pretzel Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from
Sally's Baking Addiction
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 tbsp (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pretzels (chocolate-coated, salted or plain)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add flour mixture and mix on low speed until a few streaks of flour is left.

With a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in pretzels, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips. Do not overmix.

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, scoop onto prepared baking sheet. Top with pretzels/butterscotch/chocolate chips for garnish.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden. The cookies may seem unbaked at this point, but they will continue to cook in the pan.

Let cool completely.

Notes:
* Dough can be chilled for up to 5 days.
* Keep dough cold/chilled while the batches are baking.
* Eggs and butter should be at room temperature.

 

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Enjoy the rest of the holiday! :)

4.12.13

Snickers Brownies

Hello, December! Please be good to me. ;)

It’s 22 days before Christmas, but I am not really looking forward to it that much. I have so much baking to do for Christmas, you see. Don’t get me wrong, I love baking and I am thrilled that my cupcakes and cookies are going to be part of other people’s Christmas spread.

I won’t be going home for Christmas since the family usually keeps it simple; we go all out for New Year, though.

Anyway, that’s still three weeks away. In other news, I just turned 28 last Sunday! It’s not so bad. Haha!

I chose to spend my birthday in solitude. I went home to Urdaneta and spend the weekend at the resort owned by my Dad’s clan. I haven’t been home in a long time. I would normally drop by for lunch or dinner when my friends and I go out of town and it’s along the way.

It felt so different to be traveling alone. I haven’t done so in such a long time. It was even more surreal to be spending my birthday at the resort. The last time I celebrated there was 10 years ago. It was like a homecoming of some sort.

You know the feeling of being alone but not lonely? Yes, that’s exactly how I felt last weekend. It was a good feeling – being able to relax and reflect on the last 27 years of my life.

It was a quiet birthday, and I could not have asked for anything more.

So, what’s the best thing to do on the first day of my 28th year?

Bake, of course! I wanted to bake something nice. Hmm, truth be told, I was just looking for an excuse to make something… anything. Hahaha.

I wanted to make Nutella Swirl Mini Cheesecakes, but I ran out of cream cheese. Oh, what are the odds? Rummaging through my fridge, I realized I had too much chocolates, it fills the last shelf! I actually had 3 bags of Snickers waiting to be devoured, so I thought, why not make Snickers Brownies?

Talk about perfect!

 
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Snickers Brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 eggs; lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 Fun Size Snickers Candy Bars; cut into fourths

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 in baking pan with foil with enough overhang on the sides. Lightly grease with butter. Set aside.

In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter until butter is melted.

Whisk until chocolate is melted and stir in sugar. Add in eggs, vanilla extract and salt.

Gradually fold in flour and stir just until combined.

Spread half of the brownie batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of chopped Snickers and then spread the rest of the brownie batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F. Do not overbake.

Set on wire rack and let cool in the pan completely before cutting into bars. 



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