Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Take 5" Brownies

"Take 5" Brownies

Do you know what Take 5 candy bars are? Apparently not many people I've asked know what these candy bars are! There was a lot of hoopla when these candies came out a long time ago (could it be about ten years?). They were made for the person who craves sweet and salty and they quickly become one of my favorite candy bars. I don't see these around too often anymore and mainly see them around Halloween, so I always buy a them whenever I'm lucky to find them.

Two of my favorite things are brownies and Take 5 candy bars. They are things that are simply perfect by themselves and just when you think they can't get any better than they already are, someone out there just had to just combine them! Two perfect things together... is there a word that means greater than perfection? Because in my perfect dessert world, this is it.

You get a sweet and salty, gooey and crunchy center surrounded by fudgy brownie. My only complaint? I want more center, the plain bits of brownie just seemed unfair. My goal for these brownies is to make a homemade version and layering the pretzels, peanut butter, and caramel so that you get a little bit in every bite. Then you don't have to worry yourself about finding Take 5 candy bars. :-)

You can use your favorite boxed brownie mix or your favorite homemade brownie mix and adjust the recipe accordingly. I used a homemade brownie recipe, which is reflected in the recipe below. If you want a thicker brownie, put it in a slightly smaller pan and increase baking just a bit. I used a 9x9 pan for the thicker brownies, so I didn't need as many candy bars. This recipe is pretty forgiving so adjust it to your liking.

I hope you like this recipe as much as I did. And for those of you who haven't heard of Take 5 candy bars, I hope that you give them a try next time you see them around.

Also, stay tuned for a homemade Take 5 version of these brownies where you don't need to buy the candy bars! I'll be attempting the homemade version soon. :-)

"Take 5" Brownies
Adapted from The Noble Pig

Fudgy Saucepan Brownies:
(from Betty Crocker Cookie Book-- you can also use your own recipe or a boxed recipe)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 c.)
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. chopped nuts (optional-- I didn't add any nuts)

You also need:
12 Take Five candy bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 square baking pan.

Heat chocolate chips and butter in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth; remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients except nuts (if using).

Spread about half the batter on the bottom of the baking pan. Then line the candy bars on top of the batter. (I got 12 candy bars to fit in my baking pan.) Last, top the rest of the brownie batter on top of the candy bar layer. Bake 25-35 minutes or until center is set.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dark Chocolate Torte

Dark Chocolate Torte

Happy 1st birthday to T&H! This year has just flown by and I've learned so much and have had such a positive experience sharing my cooking and baking with you all this year.

As a celebratory post, I'm sharing with you one of my all-time favorite recipes. I actually made this recipe to share with my loved ones for Valentine's Day. As I realized that T&H's birthday was soon approaching and the fact that I cannot bring myself to make a birthday cake for my blog (just seems rather silly), I decided to share this recipe as T&H's birthday post instead.

This recipe is not only one of my favorite recipes, it's several family and friends' favorite recipe too. Throughout the years, I've make this for various birthdays and holidays, including a couple times for Valentine's Day. My friend Jessica refers to this recipe as "Chocolate Heaven" and I have a feeling I'll be making this recipe for her birthday next month too.

What makes this recipe more special this year is that it's gluten-free. Every year, I make Joe a personal-sized dessert but was struggling to figure out what to make this year because my gluten-free baking repertoire isn't very large that this point. How great is it to discover that one of my favorite recipes is gluten-free?

This dessert is very easy to make and tastes like a condensed brownie. The inside is incredibly chewy and fudgy, it's seriously one of the best chocolate dishes ever! This recipe is for a 9-inch springform pan, but I've also used this with four or five 4-inch springform pans to give away as well. If you decide to make the smaller tortes, be sure to place them in a larger pan in case the batter rises over the rim of the springform pan. Also, if you make the smaller tortes, be sure to reduce baking time-- I usually put the smaller ones in for about 30 minutes. This time, I accidentally had the timer on my iPad on silent and then got distracted so I overcooked the torte a little bit, so the edges were a little more crumbly than usual, but it still very good. So make sure not to overcook!

If you're in the mood for a deliciously decadent dessert (and gluten-free!), this is a perfect dessert to make for special occasions or just because. I hope that this dessert becomes one of your favorite recipes as it has with me and my loved ones!

Heart shaped for Valentine's Day

Dark Chocolate Torte
Adapted from Bon Appetit (April 2006, page 117)

2 2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (16 oz.), divided
1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
5 large eggs
1 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper. (Use a 9-inch pan if you're making one torte or 4-5 4-inch pans in your making indvidual-sized) Grease the bottom and sides of your pan with butter. Set aside.

Stir 1 2/3 c. chocolate chips and 3/4 c. butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Whisk in cocoa and espresso. Remove from heat and cool about 10 minutes.

While chocolate is cooling, use an electric mixer to beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on high speed until thick, about 6 minutes. Fold in chocolate mixture until well incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s).

Bake torte(s) until dry and cracked on top and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter attached. This should be about 42 minutes for a 9-inch springform pan. If you're making individual 4-inch springform pans, this should be about 30 minutes.

Cool in pan for about 1 hour. (The center will fall, so don't worry when you see it!) After an hour, use a spatula to press down the raised edges to that the top of the cake is level. Cut around pan sides, remove sides. Place a plate atop torte and invert onto plate. Remove pan bottom and peel off parchment paper and cool torte completely.

For the ganache topping, stir the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 c. butter in a small saucepan over low heat just until melted. (Careful not to overheat and burn the chocolate.) Cool ganache for 15 minutes (I didn't do this step). Pour ganache onto the center of the torte and smooth out with a spatula, allowing some of the ganache to drip down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered until the ganache is set, about 1 hour.


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