Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in Desserts (63)

Thursday
May032012

Fudgy Salted Caramel Brownies

So.

Can we talk for a moment about things that are sweet? And salty? At the same time?!

Because if I ruled the world, I think that all food in life would encompass these two qualities.

I kinda sorta maybe definitely love food that is both sweet and salty at the same time. It's like a crazy tastebud overload, brining the best of both worlds together. Just take my pretzel crusted brownies. Or salted chocolate glazed blondies. Or cranberry topped brie. Or roasted grape & goat cheese bites, carmelized potato & parsnip tart, peanut butter & jelly bars. Just to name a few.

So when I found a recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies in an issue of Cooking Light, I of course tore it out and added it to my recipe binder. I was just waiting for the right time to make them. When I found out that it was Lindsay's birthday, I thought a sweet & salty, yet lightened up, brownie would make a great treat to send out to her. So make them I did.

These seriously came together in a snap. They were so easy. No mixer, no beating. Just a big bowl and a wooden spoon. Even the caramel topping was incredibly simple. I highly recommend that you make these. Immediately.

Fudgy Salted Caramel Brownies
*Adapted from Cooking Light, circa September 2011
for the brownies
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
cooking spray

for the caramel topping
1/4 C butter
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fat-free evaporated milk*
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp kosher or other coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9" or 8x8" pan with foil, leaving some overhang so that the entire thing can be lifted out of the pan after baking and coat with cooking spray. Note: for thicker brownies, use the smaller pan. I only had a 13x9" pan on hand, so mine were very thin...but I liked them that way!

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl, stirring to incorporate. In another small bowl, mix the butter, eggs and vanilla. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour into pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes for a 13x9" pan, or 19 minutes for an 8x8" pan, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in pan.

Once cooled, make the caramel topping!

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add sugar and evaporated milk and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and confectioners sugar until smooth. Pour over the brownies. Sprinkle with kosher or other coarse salt. Let set, cut into squares and eat many of them.

*Ok it sucks to open a whole can of evaporated milk to only use 1 1/2 Tbsp. So you should probably find something else to use with it quickly after. Or throw the rest away, like I ended up doing. Sorry environment.

So there you have it. A little sweet and salty treat for you! Hope you enjoy!

Do you like sweet and salty things?

Monday
Apr232012

Secret Recipe Club: Individual Lemon Berry Trifles

Ugh Monday totes snuck up on me this week. I had such a great and productive weekend but I swear productive =fly by.

The only thing getting me going today is the fact the it's Secret Recipe Club reveal day...yay!
I really love being a part of this series because it introduces me to new blogs, I've made new blog friends, and it's always so exciting to see who had my blog on a given month and which recipe they chose to make. Each month, The Secret Recipe Club, founded by the lovely Amanda, pairs a blogger with another blog. The blogger then chooses one recipe to cook or bake and reveals it as a surprise on a designated day. So fun!

 

This month I was given Big Bear's Wife as my blog from which to choose a recipe. I was thrilled because Angie is also the hostess for our group, Group C! She is always lovely and so helpful...and her blog is absolutely delicious. When I came across her recipe for a strawberry and blueberry trifle, I couldn't get it out of my head. With all of the gorgeous weather we've been having so early in the year (save for yesterday and today), all I can do is daydream about summertime, laying by the pool, attending barbecues with friends and family...and dining on fresh, light desserts, like berry trifles.

 

While Angie had made one large trifle, I didn't really have an occasion for that, so instead, I made some individual trifles for Shaun and me to have this week! I love having things pre-portioned for easy access and keeping a limit on over eating. I simply covered them tightly with plastic wrap and they will be ready to go for a post-dinner treat tonight!

 

 

Individual Lemon Berry Trifles

*Adapted from Big Bear’s Wife

Makes 4 small trifles

1 box angel food cake mix

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 C strawberries

1 C blueberries

½ tub fat-free Cool Whip

Prepare cake according to package directions, stirring in the juice and zest (about 1 Tbsp) of one lemon before baking. Let cool completely and cut into cubes. If you are in a pinch, simply purchase a premade angel food cake and cut into cubes, which will work just as nicely.

In four small glasses, layer some angel food cake cubes, then Cool Whip, then strawberries, then cake, then Cool Whip, then blueberries. (Or in any order you prefer!) Serve chilled with a long spoon.

You will have lots of cake leftover. I simply cut the entire thing into cubes and froze what I didn't use for a future recipe!

 

So there you have it. 

This recipe really couldn't be any simpler and you'd be hard-pressed to find a healthier dessert! 

So what do you think?

What simple, healthy desserts are you loving lately?

Are you getting any summery cravings as of late?

Tuesday
Apr032012

White Chocolate Pretzel Easter Bark

In case you missed it, we're giving away a box of gourmet candy bars...enter the giveaway now!

We're just a few days away from Easter and I'm basking in this beautiful Spring weather and daydreaming about the long weekend ahead. You know I love any opportunity to make some themed eats and so this weekend I whipped up a little Easter bark to celebrate.

The idea for this came to me on a whim. For some reason Easter and white chocolate always seem to go together and luckily enough, I had a large jar of white chocolate chips just itching to be used. After a little digging through my baking supplies, I also had some sweetened coconut. And so my Easter bark was born!

 

This was so easy to make and the result is nothing short of cute, fun and delicious to boot. It's got that sweet and salty yumminess going on, while the coconut adds just a little bit of extra flavor. Oh and the little Cadbury eggs? How cute are they?! Like little eggs lying in the grass, just waiting to be plucked.

 

White Chocolate Pretzel Easter Bark
4 C pretzels
4 Tbsp+ butter, melted
3 1/2 C white chocolate chips
1 C shredded sweetened coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
5 mini bags Cadbury chocolate mini eggs
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13x9" pan with two sheets of foil, one sheet laid out each way so that extra droops over the sides. Spray generously with cooking spray.

Finely chop the pretzels in a food processor, or place them in a zip top baggie and smash with a rolling pin.  Mix in the melted butter.*

Spread into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool. Meanwhile, mix the coconut and food coloring until it looks like 'green grass' and set aside. You can also dump the chocolate eggs into a separate bowl and set aside.

Melt half of the white chocolate and very carefully spread over half of the pretzel crust. Now. I didn't use a lot of butter and so my crust wasn't set. I spread it as best I could, quickly and carefully, working to not pull up the pretzel mixture as I went along. Top immediately with half of the coconut and half of the chocolate eggs, lightly pressing it all into the warm chocolate to set.

Repeat with the other half.

Let cool completely in the refrigerator. When cooled, remove from the baking pan using the foil handles.

Carefully cut into pieces of bark while still on the foil. A lot of the pretzel crust will not have stuck to the chocolate. That's ok! Some of it did and that will be enough. Enjoy immediately or freeze for Sunday!

*If you want a crust that will stick together a bit better, use more butter. I wanted to keep butter usage down, so I ended up with not so much a 'crust' as a whole lot of pretzel bits, a lot of which still stuck to the melted chocolate. It's still delicious and doesn't have to be perfect! The pretzels will fall off and they will be messy. But that's what the foil is for!

 

So there you have it. A fun, easy treat for Easter that can be made in advance and one that everyone will love!

I know I had planned to do a little Delirium discussion today, but Easter bark prevailed. Tomorrow we will talk Delirum!

Questions of the Day:

Do you celebrate Easter or Passover?

What are your favorite seasonal eats? I can't wait for a nice Reester egg!