Monday, July 22, 2013

Ombre Brownies

 This is my girl:

And I love her lots.  She's in cosmetology school and she is learning how to make people pretty, which reminds me I need to get her to wax my eyebrows soon.  Anyway, one of the current hottest trends in hair color, she tells me, is a technique called "ombre."  Ombre is dark at the roots, or the top of the head, then it gets lighter at the ends, or the bottom of the hair.  So do these brownies.

At the top is a dark chocolate ganache layer of frosting.  Then there is a milk chocolate brownie layer.  And the bottom is a blondie base.   Three layers of sweet goodness.  Dark to light.

Here are my notes:

-I cut part of my batch into very tiny squares, just enough for a bite.  I thought they were kind of elegant like that.

-I put nuts in the blondie layer of my first batch.  Not sure why I didn't write it in the recipe, but just stir in about 3/4 of a cup of chopped ones if you'd like.

-Don't overbake them.  Bake just until wet crumbs attach to a toothpick, then let them cool completely before frosting.

The photobomber showed up again.

Ombre Brownies

1 cup butter, divided
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, divided
3 large eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla , divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place 1/2 cup butter in a medium heavy saucepan and heat over low heat until melted.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 1 cup brown sugar until mixed.  Stir in 1 egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until mixed.  Stir in 1 cup flour.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  

In another medium heavy saucepan, place the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the milk chocolate chips over low heat until melted, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.   Stir in remaining brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Stir remaining two eggs in 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Whisk the baking powder and remaining flour together, then stir into chocolate mixture. Carefully spread batter over the blondie layer in the pan, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs adhering, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely on wire rack.

Place the dark chocolate chips in a small heavy saucepan along with the heavy cream and heat over low heat.  Whisk until melted and smooth.  Beat in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Frost brownies with ganache, then cut into squares.

PS.  I don't know why the font is uneven and two different colors.  It's probably something to do with my new computer, but  I do see it.  One day I will work out all the kinks.  *Sigh*

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Mid-Summer Recap While I Get My Laundry Caught Up

I've been completely gone for a while, so I thought I'd do a quick little mid-summer recap, you know, since I haven't cooked in like, weeks.  My summer travels started with a trip to compete in the Dole Cook-Off at the end of June.  I had an amazing time  and met some amazing people.  I didn't win, but it was truly a wonderful experience.  (I feel like I am sounding cheesy, but I am sincere.)  The Dole people were fantastic to work with and put on quite an event.  We cooked in the middle of a huge mall, with passersby watching our every move and begging for a taste of our entries.  The Dole staff even provided me with a "sous chef" to help me during the cook-off.  Her name is is Sara but some people call her Betty.  Check out her blog for the reason why.

Go there.  She does cooking videos.  Funny ones.  Which are the the best kind.

Here is where you can find my Dole recipe.

These two gorgeous women pictured with me were my fellow competitors and I am proud to now call them friends.  Ally on the right won the competition with her beautiful, creative veal dish.  She is also a dedicated blogger, and actually posts a lot, unlike me.  If you like bloggers who post a lot, you will want to visit her blog.

Do it.  She is all Bohemian and stuff.   You will love her.  You can find her winning Dole recipe here.

There were also several other talented bloggers there and I really want you to check them out.   Susan from Doughmesstic has an amazing baking blog.  (I guess I am going to run the word amazing into the ground in this post?  In my defense, I haven't had a lot of sleep in the last few days and synonyms for "amazing" and "wonderful"are not exactly flooding my brain.)  I want to eat the screen when I click over there.

I think I am most excited, though, about Priscilla's blog at and Liz's blog at because they both specialize in healthy recipes, and let me be honest here--I'm thinking I reeeeeally need to spend a lot of time on their sites because in case you haven't noticed, Mississippi Kitchen is not exactly low fat.

Neither am I these days.

Go on.  Take a bite out of their blogs.  But make sure to come back and visit me from time to time.  I will have the high fat stuff.

The whole event was hosted by celebrity chef Ben Ford, who was completely down to earth and just an all around nice guy.  (It's so nice to meet celebrities who are not full of themselves.)  And his food.  Gosh.  I wish we would have had time to eat at his restaurant, Ford's Filling Station, but it's at the top of the list to visit when I make it back to LA.

Just two days after we got home from Dole, hubby and I set out to drive across the country to Las Vegas to visit my dad.  Then we went home the long way through Utah and over some REALLY SCARY cliffs through Zion National park, and then we went over some other MAJOR SCARY FRIGHTENING cliffs in Mesa Verde National Park that made the first cliffs look like tiny newborn baby cliffs.  (Neither of us like heights which makes perfect sense that we would subject ourselves to extremely high cliff driving.)  All of that trauma that was so we could see where the Pueblo Indian cliff dwellers lived in 1200 AD or something, and by we I mean my husband who loves all things historical.  I had nothing to do with planning this part of the vacay, because looking at the ancient ruins of some cliff dwellers has always been a very low priority on my bucket list.


However, I will say that while we were on a tour of one of the excavation sites, our guide enlightened us to what the ancient people's diet consisted of and I had a lightbulb moment about a couple of new recipe ideas.  However, I felt like all eyes were on me as I was typing "ahhh-MAIZing corn salad" into my iPhone note app while she continued on with an explanation of their foraging techniques.   I sensed people though I was being a tad disrespectful, so I put my phone away immediately and gave my full attention to the tour guide.

But it's not like I was texting, people!  I was taking notes!  Geesh.

Did I mention that we stood on four states at one time?  And it was only a ten mile drive out of the way and six bucks.  To stand on a gold plate for 5 seconds.  That's practically a bargain.

But the piece de resistance was driving through Monument Valley.   You know,  Monument Valley where they made a lot of the old western movies?  What?  You didn't know that?!  Well, neither did I but can assure you I do now.  I know it very well in fact, because the entire drive through took about three hours.

Yes, that was my husband's idea too.

All in all it really has been a great summer, and it's not over yet.  I may even cook something when I get our laundry caught up.  Look for me soon.

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