Tuesday, July 26, 2011

cream tea!

Hello from the UK! We've just spent two days in England and are currently driving to Scotland!

Of course, I am enjoying loads of crumpets and a lovely cream tea yesterday!

More soon!

Cheerio, loves!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday! Red Velvet Brownies with Buttercream Icing!

Good morning! I'm so excited to share this recipe with you! Sometime over the weekend, I came across a recipe for red velvet brownies with white chocolate buttercream icing and became obsessed with the idea of making them immediately. I had several things going on Saturday, so decided to make them on Sunday. I had most of the ingredients, but needed to run out for a few things, so off I went to the nearest grocery store.

I came home, wrapped a Scarlet Threads apron around me and got baking. The recipe is not too difficult at all and soon I had these delicious brownies cooling on my counter, just waiting to be iced. Side note- do you call it icing or frosting? Just curious!

I didn't take any pre-iced photos, but here are my brownies, in all of their deliciousness!

The recipe! I found it on a new (to me) cooking blog called Smells Like Home and it is just lovely. Tara has some amazing recipes on there, and she's also a fellow New Englander :)

This is her recipe.

For the brownies:

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 oz red food coloring (this is one small bottle or a scant 2 tbsp)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided

1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

For the white chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 oz good-quality white chocolate (not chips), melted – I recommend Callebaut

1 – 2 tbsp heavy cream

To make the brownies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour an 8″x8″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring,

and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste until not lumps of cocoa remain.

Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla.

With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color.

Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined.

Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

You’ll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies.

Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes.

Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.

To make the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,

cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time;

allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup.

Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated.

With the mixer on low, add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.

My changes-

First off, the bottles of food coloring that I bought were tiny and barely 1tbls, so I used the bottle of yellow too! It didn't seem to make them any less red!

I'm also very generous when it comes to vanilla. It's my favorite spice! (does vanilla count as a spice, exactly?)

Also, I don't have an electric stand mixer (oh, the shame!), so I stirred by hand with a wooden spoon. It worked just fine!

Also, my icing was just buttercream, without the white chocolate. I did buy a bar of white chocolate, but when I was melting it in the microwave, I accidentally burnt it! Oooops. So, I just omitted it, because I didn't want to go back to the store for more, and to be honest, I am not a huge fan of white chocolate to begin with! I don't think that the lack of white chocolate made them any less delicious ;)

After a lovely dinner of bacon-wrapped chicken with potatoes, Steve and I enjoyed these-

He loves anything with buttercream and I adore red velvet anything, so we were quite pleased with the results! These will definitely go into my regular rotation!

Did you do any baking this weekend?

Monday, July 18, 2011

poll of the day

Oh hey! I have a blog! It seems it has been a bit forgotten as of late. No good reason why. Sometimes this happens, eh? Summertime and the living is easy? Something like that?

So, today's poll- when going on a long(ish) trip, when do you begin packing and are you terribly organized about it? Do you plan outfits in advance and pack accordingly? Or do you just toss a variety of things into your suitcase and wing it?

I'm not the most organized of packers. I don't really plan outfits in advance, with a few exceptions, so I just pack what I think I'll want to wear. Of course, I never wear everything that I pack! I was home in NH for the 4th of July weekend, so 2.5 days and had about eight outfit combinations and 12 pairs of undies. Seriously :) Maybe I need a method to my madness?

Friday night, Steve and I are leaving for the UK for the week! We fly out of BWI that night, have a stopover in London and then land in Glasgow on Saturday around 2pm local time. We'll be there one night, staying with friends, and then are driving down into England to stay with friends there for two nights before heading back into Scotland to the Highlands! Eventually, ie Thursday, we'll be back in Glasgow for a friend's wedding to end the week.

I'm so excited! It's been a while since I've had a good, real vacation like this and I really need it!

Are you going anywhere fun this summer?

Friday, July 1, 2011

happy happy happy!

Hoping that your weekend is filled with a whole lot of this-

it's all sorts of amazingness!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone