Brownies to Blow You Away

We had planned a while back to get together with the musketeers this past week-end. It just happened that it fell right before all this Hurricane Sandy craziness. Well, I was so excited to finally have a week-end where I didn’t have to work that I went a little nuts. I cooked and baked to my heart’s content, and even then, I think I still have more in me. I figured, I may as well make an excess of food in case we’re stuck without power and sitting around in the dark. At least we’ll have good food to eat!

I have had a serious craving for anything chocolate lately. I’ve been dreaming about making brownies or chocolate chip cookies but just haven’t had the time to. This was my perfect opportunity! I decided to make brownies because who doesn’t love fresh baked brownies on a chilly fall day? That paired with a steaming cup of cider or tea is so luxuriant!

I had gotten the Magnolia cookbook from my very good friends a couple years back and have made their brownie recipe a couple times (with a couple of modifications of my own) and I must say that these are the most delicious, fudgy, from-scratch brownies that I have come across. Don’t be daunted by making brownies from scratch, they are worth any extra effort (which is really none at all.) I hope you all stay safe in the hurricane and have plenty of sweets to munch on!

Fudge Brownies (adapted from Magnolia Bakery)

1 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C unsweetened chocolate (I used Callebaut)
1 C unsalted butter
3 C sugar
6 eggs at room temperature
2 T vanilla extract
3/4 C chopped walnuts

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12×18 jelly roll pan and set aside.

2. in a medium saucepan, melt chocolate with butter over low heat, stirring to incorporate and melt evenly until smooth. Take off heat and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

3. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Add sugar and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and mix eggs in one at a time until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add walnuts and mix. Pour into the jelly roll pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs (you don’t want to overbake).

5. Take out and let cool to room temperature before cutting. Enjoy!


Aflutter With Anticipation

I know that I haven’t posted in a very long while and I do apoligize.  Things just tend to happen and you get swept away in a tide of neverending things to do.  I do hope this marks the end of my busy period so that I can get back to crafing!  That being said, moving on!

I was inspired in my online musings by a number of images of butterflies.  When I was planning the felt owl mobile that I made for my nephew, I came across a lot of images of butterfly mobiles.  I thought to myself “What a great gift!”  I saw many different interpretations on butterfly mobile execution and had an idea in my mind of what I would want mine to look like.

I thought this would be a perfect gift for one of my friends who is expecting her first child in October.  She is not finding out the baby’s gender, so it will be a big surprise!  I thought a lot about how I wanted this mobile to read.  I designed it to be hung from the ceiling over the crib.  I wanted this to have different levels, so I made the butterflies follow a spiral pattern and planned two colors to try and accentuate the spiral.

I‘m pretty happy with how this turned out.  This was time consuming because I had to individually knot each butterfly in place, so I don’t know that I would be making this again anytime soon.  An unexpected surprise once I hung this up to take photos, was that the butterflies actually moved in the wind every time there was a breeze, or the AC turned on, so it had a nice added effect of motion, which I thought was a nice touch, given the subject matter.