ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just Here for the Food (a shout-out)

Like you, I check food blogs for recipes. I browse, I find, I take. I almost never go back and leave comments. Like you. Which is totally fine.

I don't blog for the purpose of getting comments. Though of course I always love the ones I get. Nice to know I'm not floating around by myself in cyberspace. But more, it's exciting to know I'm not the only one loving these foods. It's the shared experience of you've-made-and-eaten-that-too, yum, right?

Which is why it is just as fun to get feedback through the grapevine. My readership has doubled this year so most of you probably don't know me personally. You may not think of me as a real person, just a recipe source. Like I said, totally fine. But just so you know...

Thanks, Jennifer M. (Katy's mom) - Katy shared some of your enthusiasm with me over the weekend and I love it! You've got to tell me what you've made and how you liked it.

And thanks Donna and Lynn (Donna's friend). I'm glad, Donna, the apple pie bars never had the chance to cool in the pan. And Lynn, your family will love the muffins.

Finally, thanks, Jeremy B - did you know Tona called me to tell me about your Twitter message? You have no idea how it boosted my spirits to keep the bar high going into December. And I want to know which half a dozen things you've made. "Best food blog (you've) ever read?" High, high praise indeed and I thank you.

I am thrilled when friends and strangers alike come "just for the food."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tyrone's Corn Fritters

In The Backyardigans "News Flash", Tyrone and Pablo are corn farmers. They are so in love with corn that they impersonate aliens in their own field to try to get their corn on the news. And as usual, the music is rockin'. We sing it all the time. At the end of the episode, Uniqua's tummy growls and Tyrone invites everyone back to his house for a snack of corn fritters."Mom, what are corn fritters?" Ginger asked last time we watched it.
"They're kind of like doughnuts made with corn."
"Can we make them sometime?"
"Uh-huh, I'll have to look up a recipe."
"Can we make them today?"

Now how can I turn down a picky-eater 3-year-old's request to explore culinary frontiers? Especially when they are doughy and deep-fried.

So I found a highly rated recipe on, and read a bunch of the comments for pointers on adjusting it. Grabbed a can of corn from the basement, and voila! Pretty much that easy. And really, really, totally good. Light and crispy on the outside, sweet and a little savory on the inside. Dip them in chipotle ranch, maple syrup, honey, salsa, tartar sauce, seriously whatever you like! One reviewer suggested subbing scallions and crab meat into the batter instead of corn to make crab fritters. Just might have to try that.

And just to follow up, Ginger liked them. In her typically dichotomous style, she said, "It's a little bit yucky but it's the MOST good."

Tyrone's Corn Fritters
3 cups oil for frying
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 to 4 T granulated sugar (I used 4, which is 1/4 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 T shortening, melted
1 (12 to 15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained

1. Heat oil in heavy pot or deep fryer to 365F.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. In a large measuring cup whisk egg and milk; whisk in melted shortening. Stir into flour mixture. Mix in the corn kernels.

3. Drop fritter batter by spoonfuls (I used my 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop) into the hot oil, and fry until golden. Drain on paper towels. (I sprinkled them lightly with seasoned salt as soon as they came out.) Makes about 20Recipe adapted from

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Soft Rolls...just in time for Thanksgiving!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? I am. First time. I sat down and mapped out the menu and immediately realized the difficulties of doing this with one oven. But it will work out.

Ed's one requirement for the meal is soft rolls. Which is good, because I happen to have just tried this recipe and it's wonderful - buttery, rich, pull-apart tender, ever-so-slightly sweet. I have only made the pan roll recipe, but the variations that follow look promising as well. And the fact that the dough makes itself in the bread machine while I am busy doing other things, and only has one short additional rise, makes this a PERFECT Thanksgiving recipe. Gobble, gobble!
Butter-Rich Roll and Bread Dough
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup dry milk

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Egg Glaze:
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons water

Measure all ingredients into bread pan in order suggested by your manufacturer. When cycle is finished remove dough from pan and shape according to recipe directions. Cover dough, let stand as recipe directs.

Egg glaze: beat together egg and water. Brush generously over shaped loaves or rolls prior to baking. Bake as directed in each recipe until golden brown.

Pan Rolls:
Prepare Butter-Rich Roll and Bread Dough. On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a ball. Divide dough into equal quarters. Cut each quarter into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place on lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet. Brush with egg glaze if desired. Cover dough, let stand 20 to 30 minutes or until dough rises. Bake at 375 degrees F 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 32 rolls.

Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls:
Prepare Butter-Rich roll recipe. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into an 8 x 9-inch rectangle. Spread surface with 1/4 cup butter, thinly sliced. Sprinkle each rectangle surface with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Then sprinkle 1/3 cup raisins over dough. Start with 8 inch side and roll dough jelly-roll style, pinch seam to seal. With seam side down, cut in 8 one-inch pieces. Place on a greased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Cover lightly with damp towel, allow to rise in warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 20 minutes. Makes 16 rolls.

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Loaf:
Prepare Butter-Rich Roll and Bread Dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll a quarter of the dough into an 8 x 5-inch rectangle. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine. Brush over dough. Sprinkle dough with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Then sprinkle 1/3 cup of raisins over dough. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jellyroll style. Seal ends by pinching edges of dough together with fingertips. Place dough in a greased 5 1/2 x 3 inch loaf pan or on a large baking sheet. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 or 40 minutes or until golden brown. When loaf is cool, glaze with a mixture of 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Makes 4 loaves.

*Optional - add 1/4 cup of brown sugar also to cinnamon sugar mix.

*You can make bread sticks, bread loaf or cloverleaf rolls also. Sprinkle salt or sesame seeds on after the egg glaze.

Recipe from

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

What I don't get is why I didn't used to like cheesecake. When I was younger cheese turned into cake seemed wrong. But now it seems...Oh. So. Right.

I think this is the biggest cheesecake I've made (in my NEW 10-inch springform!) Definitely the most successful. It is divine! One person I served this to said it was better than the Cheesecake Factory. I understand he was being polite and possibly exaggerating, but I'd say he wasn't far off. Only it served up a little messy because I didn't have wax paper between each slice (how do they do that?) But I did try a new trick: slicing with dental floss, and that did a pretty good job.

Anyway. This cheesecake is fabulous. If you like cheesecake (who doesn't?) and lemon (who doesn't?), make it. Love the toasty marshmallow meringue and definitely serve it up with fresh raspberries if available. Wowzah.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups crushed shortbread cookies (about 24 Lorna Doones)
6 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened (that's 40 ounces or 5 (8-oz.) bars)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 T vanilla
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp pure lemon extract
1/2 tsp lemon oil, if available
Zezt of 1 lemon, finely minced

Finishing Touches:
Store-bought lemon curd
1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow creme
Mint leaves

1. Preheat oven to 325. For crust, mix all ingredients and press into bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with foil to ensure no leakage of batter into water or water into cake. Set a roasting pan filled halfway with water in the oven.

2. For cheesecake filling, in a mixer bowl, blend cream cheese with sugar and flour. Add condensed milk and blend well. Then add eggs, egg yolks, whipping cream, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon extract and lemon oil and blend well on low speed, making sure no cream cheese is stuck at the bottom well of mixing bowl. Fold in lemon zest.

3. Spoon filling into prepared pan. Place cheesecake gently in water bath. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until cheesecake is just set. Turn off oven, open oven door, and let cool in oven at least 1 hour. Refrigerate cheesecake overnight.

4. To garnish cheesecake, the next day or once the cake is well-chilled at least 8 hours adn 1 1/2 hours before you want to serve it, unmold cake and cover with half of the lemon curd. Then add marshmallow creme in dollops.

5. Preheat oven to 425 and position oven rack to upper third position. Place cake in oven briefly to brown top (you can also use Broil setting but watch it carefully - I broiled and it took less than 2 minutes.)

6. Serve cake, offering remaining lemon curd, whisked so that it is smooth. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a few mint leaves.Recipe adapted from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mini Frittatas

I understand these are borderline baking. They are actually gluten-and-other-baking-stuff-free, but they were made in muffin tins so I'm posting them.

Made these for a brunch recently and they were fabulous little single-servings of ham-and-eggs. Totally easy and so delicious. Although the original recipe did not call for any seasoning, not even salt and pepper, so I amended that. Mrs. Dash is my favorite seasoning on eggs, along with a bit of seasoned salt, but do whatever you like best. So cute and easy!

Mini Frittatas
6 slices deli ham
1 T vegetable oil
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (that is pretty small)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Mrs. Dash and seasoned salt, to taste
8 large eggs
6 T milk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Mist a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each slice of ham in half and press one piece into each cup.

2. Warm oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook potato, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and Mrs. Dash, and divide among muffin cups.

3. In a large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk and a bit more seasoned salt and Mrs. Dash. Pour egg mixture into muffin cups so each one is about half full (I made mine a bit fuller; the mixture sinks in.) Bake until eggs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let stand on a wire cooking rack for 5 minutes. Remove frittatas from muffin tin and serve warm, or let cool completely and serve at room temperature.

We served them with fresh biscuits, cream-cheese-stuffed strawberries, fruit salad and virgin mimosas (OJ and ginger ale.)

Recipe from All You, April 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze

I admit, I don't totally "get" scones. Not a biscuit, not a cake. Often kinda dry and crumbly. What do I do with it?

But I'm glad that didn't stop me when my friend Shanna suggested we try these on our most recent baking day/playdate. Carrot cake is so rich and indulgent (and don't forget cream-cheesey) that it was hard to imagine this not turning out well. This is like a mini carrot cake that is just light enough you could offer it for brunch. But also much more of a treat than your typical scone. So maybe a birthday brunch, or other special holiday.

The batter has carrots, golden raisins, orange zest and cinnamon. The glaze is made with cream cheese and lemon zest. And do not forget the crunchy toasted coconut topping. Despite the hard-crust looking exterior, these scones are moist and cakey inside. A total delight for the senses!
Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 T orange zest, finely minced
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup firm unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins or minced, dried pineapple

Cream Cheese Glaze:
1/2 cup or 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Finishing Touches:
3/4 cup toasted coconut
Orange zest, optional
Cinnamon, optional

A note about preparation: You'll use your food processor a lot for this recipe. First grind up your walnuts, then do step 1 & 2. Then shred your carrots (no need to clean the bowl, maybe just wipe with a paper towel) for step 3. Then wash or wipe very well to make the glaze.

1. Preheat oven to 400. Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper. Arrange oven rack to upper third position.

2. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest, and walnuts and blend briefly. Add butter adn pulse to make a coarse, grainy mixture. Turn out into a large bowl and make a well in the center. In a large measuring cup lightly mix the buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Pour into well and stir with a fork to make a soft batter.

3. Fold in carrots and raisins. Let rest 5 minutes.

4. Pat or press out dough to 3/4-inch thickness on a floured work surface. Cut into 3-inch rounds. Place on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool scones on a wire rack. (If your coconut isn't toasted yet, sprinkle it on the scone pan parchment and place back in oven, toasting for 2-3 minutes at a time, checking until golden. Allow to cool.)
6. Meanwhile, to make the glaze, place cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor. Process to make a smooth glaze. When scones are completely cooled, spread generously with cream cheese glaze. Top with toasted coconut (and orange zest and cinnamon, if desired. I just did coconut.) Makes 12 to 14 large scones or 24 miniatures
Recipe from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chocolate Turtle Cake

I do not even need to explain why I would make this cake. I saw it, I made it. It has all my favorite things and it also happens to be probably the BEST chocolate cake I've ever made. I'm using the cake recipe for any future chocolate cake needs.

And the caramel-pecan stuff is superb. I learned that it starts out thick and very slowly (as caramel should) spreads and drips. So, ideally put the final topping on about 1 hour before serving. Spread it around on top and leave it alone to do its thing. AMAZING. DECADENT. EYE-CLOSING, LIP-LICKING. All that and more.

Chocolate Turtle Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee or instant espresso, optional
10 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ganache Icing:

1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 T light corn syrup

Caramel-Pecan Filling:
2 cups pecans, divided
1 pound soft caramels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt

1. Make the cake: Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, then dust with cocoa powder and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the boiling water, chocolate, cocoa powder, and instant espresso together until smooth.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.

3. Reduce the speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, and the remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrap the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through baking.

5. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

6. Make the ganache right away, or while cakes are baking, because it has to chill for about 2 hours, too. In a medium saucepan, cook 1/2 cup heavy cream, chocolate and corn syrup over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and refrigerate until thickened but still spreadable, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, refrigerate mixture overnight until set. Let sit at room temperature until softened and spreadable, about 1 hour.)

7. Make the caramel: Finely chop 1 1/2 cups pecans. Heat caramels, 1/2 cup cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup caramel mixture for topping. Stir chopped pecans into remaining caramel mixture.

8. To assemble cake: Place 1 cake round on cake serving platter. Spread half of pecan-caramel mixture in even layer over top, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Place second cake layer on top and repeat with remaining pecan-caramel mixture.Top with third layer. Spread chocolate icing (ganache) over top and sides of cake and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes (it will be thin but there is enough.) Spread reserved caramel mixture over top of cake, allowing caramel to drip over sides. Garnish with remaining pecans. Slice and serve.Recipe from Cook's Country, October 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Garlic-Slathered Stretch Bread (a.k.a. "Pizza Dippers")

Hello. This looks good, right? And it smells and tastes even better.

I've got this cookbook, A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. Amazing book. The pictures are mouthwatering. The recipes are creative, well written and a balance between classic and unusual ideas. The whole thing should be a home run. But instead it seems to be luck-of-the-draw. I have made nineteen recipes to date from it - 6 were AMAZING, 5 were DISAPPOINTING and 8 were only SO-SO (usually tasting fine but not really being worth the effort or work required, which is often A LOT.) Despite the stats, I keep going back to it because it just calls to me. You've got to see this book. It's really one of my favorites.

So. I recently re-went-through it and made a note of the thirty-something (love that show!) recipes I want to try, and I started with this one. I knew it would be hard to be disappointed by bread slathered with garlic. I thought I'd make it as a dinner side to go with spaghetti and salad. But when it filled the house with Italian garlicky aromas, I thought, forget the spaghetti. We sliced it, served it with bowls of marinara, and called it "Pizza Dippers." Voila, dinner is done!
Did I mention these were so so so so so good? So good! And don't be put off by the mayonnaise. I hate the stuff, but it's just an agent for the so-much garlic, and you can't taste it. Just saying.

Garlic-Slathered Stretch Bread
(whole recipe takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours)
2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 3/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
4 cups bread flour

Garlic Slather:
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (I at least doubled this)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.

2. In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Briskly whisk in salt, sugar, and most of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hook on lowest speed 5 to 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until dough is resilient but not tough. *Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixing bowl with a large clear plastic bag.* (I don't like this technique but Goldman swears by it. Instead, I put dough in a sprayed bowl, cover loosely with lid and dish towel, and place in cold oven to avoid drafts.)

3. Let dough rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 3 hours (I cut the time in half and did 2 1/4 hours.)

4. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; gently deflate. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise. Meanwhile make Garlic Slather. Using a mortar and pestle (which I don't have but I used my muddler and it worked great), mash garlic and salt to a fine paste. Remove to a bowl. Fold in mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, seasoning and oil.

5. Divide dough in half. Stretch each to a long oval, about 18 x 6 inches. Place on prepared baking sheet, evenly spacing apart. Using back of a spoon, spread filling all over top of each bread. Top each with mozzarella cheese. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours until puffy.

6. Preheat oven to 400. Bake until nicely golden on top and topping is sizzling, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool at least slightly, then cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Serve with warm marinara sauce, if desired.
Recipe from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Okay, it's November. Pumpkin month. I'm so glad Martha decided to throw these sugary treats into her Thanksgiving issue because they were just the thing I needed to make for the school Election Day bake sale. And just as the name says, they really do taste like pumpkin muffins. You and your family will love them.

Funny thing, though. You know how a recipe usually makes less than it claims to? (Like a cookie recipe that claims to make 4 dozen and really makes 2.) Well this one claims to make 12 muffins. I doubled it so I could have some for the bake sale and some for our family, and I came out with 3 dozen. Go figure.

And while we are speaking of pumpkin, and you're in the mood for that spicy harvest flavor, here are some other great pumpkin recipes from the VGP archives:

Wow, looking back, there are some dang good recipes on here! If I do say so myself. Here's another:Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
10 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (from a 15 oz. can)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs

Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.

2. Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture and beat to combine.

3. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with melted butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack. (Store in airtight container up to 1 day.) Makes somewhere between 12 and 18 muffins.

Recipe from Everyday Food, November 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marmalade Nut Brownies

I really like these. I hadn't made brownies in a way long time, and I was excited to try a slight twist on the ultimate classic. As you can see, they are the perfect texture between cakey and fudgey. But just wait until you take a bite.

As you can tell from the title, one of the secret ingredients in here is marmalade. Orange marmalade. Because you don't know what to do with the leftover from the Orange Marmalade Ricotta Cupcakes you just made. Orange marmalade is like jelly but with big pieces of sweet orange peel floating around, so these brownies are effervescent with just the right hint of citrus.

But they have something else. No way can you guess it from looking, but if you took a bite, you might look at me, thinking, unsure, and ask, "Is there heat?" There is. Just a little, from 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I LOVE spicy chocolate! These brownies are SO fun and good! Not wacky, not over-the-top, but just different enough to stand apart from, and above, all the rest.
Marmalade Nut Brownies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of pan. Grease foil; set aside. In large bowl stir together sugar and melted butter. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in marmalade and vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

2. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake about 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Use the foil to lift the brownies from pan. Cut into 36 pieces.

Recipe from The Ultimate Cookie Book
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