Tag Archives: semi-sweet chocolate

What I Don’t Know About Brownies. . . .

What I don’t know or understand about brownies could fill a cookbook. I have no interest in eating one, and I have never received high marks for the ones I’ve made. Looking at a brief comparison of four recipes shows one reason I might be excused for my incompetence:


People can’t even agree on the ratio of butter to flour, even when two of the recipes come from the same chef. And moving between those baked in 8″ square or 9″ x 13″ pans, you still can’t figure out how or why the ratios change.

Probably, you just found your favorite recipe once and stuck to it. Me? I have just avoided making brownies. I do have one post on this site that reviews a packaged brownie mix that turned out very well, but I haven’t made any from scratch since then. So, I can’t answer why I’m putting myself through the torture of making brownies from scratch, again, but here I am. The good news is that my husband will eat them even if he thinks they aren’t premium.

To save myself the further headache of trying to create a new recipe from these 4, I’m just going to take the first recipe in the list and double it for a 9″ x 13″ pan, with a few changes:

  • I bought semi-sweet instead of unsweetened chocolate, mostly because I don’t think straight when I buy chocolate
  • I’m leaving out the baking powder—I don’t like it in banana bread, so why would I use it here?
  • Most of the recipes use pecans, but I’m using walnuts
  • And, of course, I added salt

Surprisingly, these brownies were dubbed “Quite a brownie—chewy, fudgy, and with frosting.” Maybe I should save this recipe.

Fudgy Frosted Brownies

  • Servings: 24 2-inch brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • The brownies are adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook (1995) “Iced Brownies.”
  • The frosting is from Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961) “Creamy Cocoa Icing.”

Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. I used a dark pan and the edges were pretty dark, but not burned. Stewart suggests a glass dish.


2 sticks butter

4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups walnuts, barely chopped

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler, then set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Pour in butter and chocolate and mix until combined. I used a hand mixer.
  4. Continue mixing, adding eggs and vanilla, until well combined. It makes a glossy batter.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick in the center.
  7. Cool in pan, then frost and cut in 24 or more squares.

Creamy Cocoa Icing

2 2/3 cups confectioners sugar (I did not sift mine and it turned out fine)

1/3 cup cocoa

1/3 cup soft butter

4-5 tablespoons milk

Mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. I used a large spoon, but I’m sure a mixer would be quicker.

Links to the compared recipes from the web:

Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Fudge-Topped Brownies

Martha Stewart’s “Iced Brownies” (not available online, see image below)



Chocolate Panna Cotta

I bought the wrong almond milk. I only use the unsweetened on my cereal, but picked up the regular by mistake. What is regular about a product that is sweetened, anyway? I would think that the product with the least interference is the regular product. Well, so, it has to be used up, and you’re always complaining that I don’t make nearly enough chocolate things for my husband (or maybe it’s the voices in my head complaining), so the chocolate panna cotta is in the fridge waiting to set up.

When I made the vanilla version, I made raspberry sauce; not so today, but a variety of sauces would elevate the dessert a little. What kind of sauce would you use? I’m just going to sprinkle some shaved coconut flakes on it. This recipe differs a little from my previous recipe, where I used a little less sugar and half and half instead of heavy cream.

Do you like the image with the cool filter or the warm filter?

Chocolate Panna Cotta

  • Servings: Six 1/2 cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Because the chilling can take so long, this is a good make-ahead dish. If you plan to unmold the panna cotta, spray or brush your custard cups with a light oil first.

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (0.25 oz)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 oz bar semi-sweet chocolate, broken up

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the almond milk set aside.
  2. Mix the cream and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. It’s safe to boil the cream and sugar because the gelatin is not mixed in yet.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until the chocolate is melted. I did not let the mixture cool before the next step and it all came out fine.
  4. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the almond milk and gelatin. You can use a hand mixer or hand blender to get any remaining bits of chocolate blended in. I was not concerned about those little flecks of chocolate in the final version.
  5. Pour into custard cups and walk away for 4-6 hours, at least.
  6. Unmold by tilting the cup onto a plate and garnish with fruit, sauce, whipped cream, or just eat it plain.

This is a very creamy and flavorful panna cotta without being overpoweringly chocolatey.