Mary gets Married!

I have been so busy (and quite a bit lazy) that this blog seems a thing of the past. I thought that sharing my "blogger" friend's wedding weekend would be a perfect way to get back into the swing of things (mind you she got married over a month ago!! I have mentioned her before, just in case you missed it, let me introduce you to Mary of Mary's Kitchen Diaries. We spent almost two years of hearing about each other and being at the same place at the same time, but never talking. Then thanks to our blogs (she much better at it than I am), social network sites and a few mutual friends, we meet and clicked immediately!
The newly-weds, Mr and Mrs Romani

With that being said, I was honored when she invited me to be part of her 3 day wedding weekend! Now, its your turn to experience how Bengali's get married.

Day 1: Henna Party/Mehndi Night

This evening got the festivities started, it was a girls only event with lots of chitchat, food and henna tubes. While the bride got her hands and feet elegantly decorated, her friends passed the henna tubes around and decorated each others hands (and feet in some cases :) ) Mary did an amazing job decorating her home with bright colors and her mom mde some great biryani (a rice and meat dish), kababs and rosogollahs (sweet dish made from Ricotta cheese).

Day 2: Gaye Holud

Holud means turmeric, the yellow-ish spice used in many Indian dishes. You are wondering what this has to do with wedding festivities? The bride and groom get dressed up and all the guests to rub turmeric paste on their faces and feed them sweets. And of course you have an assortment of "misthi" (sweets/dessert items) and the traditional "pitha" (another type of sweet dish, which rice flour as the primary ingredient) and lots of singing and dancing! To top it all off, everyone dresses up in bright colors as the theme colors of the night are usually a combination of yellow, green, red and orange. One of Mary's bridesmaids' posted a picture with the caption "love is colorful". Couldn't have said it better myself.

I've got so caught up in everyone's outfits and all the food, I forgot to take a picture of the really pretty center pieces that the bride made herself (I had to look through everyone’s pictures to find one). They were so creative and pretty, I thought that I was going to bring one home, completely forgot.
Photo Credit: Kum Kum Islam
Day 3: Wedding Ceremony

At last the couple gets to say I do. But not before the groom pays up before entering room. Its an age old tradition called "gate holding" where all the youngsters block the entrance and ask the groom what he thinks his bride is worth. Once they are satisfied they let the groom in, and the ceremony can start.

After the couple said I do, the wonderful emcee's on the evening had quiet a show set up, the theme of the night was twitter. I was about to instagram a picture, when I was told the it would be breaking the code! After dinner and photo session with the lovely couple, there were speeches, dancing and a hilarious video of how Faraz and Mary met, watch it here! Lastly, the bride made the party favors herself. All 600+ of them!

One last picture with my favorite part of any wedding, the cake cutting :)

And that's how Mary got married and I found a great friend to talk to about blogging, cooking, baking, crafting and the most recently discovery, Snowboarding!

Meal Time: Vegetable Quiche

Surprise! Probably didn't expect me back so soon. But I had some free time before it was time to break fast (Ifter time) and thought that I would share this fresh out of the oven recipe with all of you. It is literally "fresh out of the oven". We haven't even eaten it yet, although I have made it before, but just didn't have time to take pictures then.

In other news, I made a new blogger friend, Mary. Do take some time to check out her blog. Still trying to convince her to do a guest post. Hopefully I'll convince her soon enough!

Okay, enough chit chat, let get to the recipe. This is really quick and easy, I timed myself today and it took my 20 minutes to put in the oven and it was in the oven for about 40 mins. I used a ready made pie crust, but if you have the time, go ahead and make your own, I'll let you how it goes if I ever try it myself.

If you happen to be cooking for a fussy crowd, feel free to change or leave out some of the vegetables.

Vegetable Quiche
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 9-inch ready made pie crust, thawed to room temperature
8 oz grape tomatoes, whole
8 oz white mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
12 oz frozen spinach, at room temperature
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup milk (skim works fine)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
a few tablespoons of olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350, with the rack in the middle. Roll out and set the pie crust into a glass pie dish.
2. Heat olive in a medium fry pan on medium high heat. Add chopped onions and bell pepper. Stir occasionally.
3. Once the onion is transparent, add in the mushrooms and spinach. Add spices (salt, black pepper, red pepper and garlic powder). Mix well and cover. Lower the stove to medium.
4. After about 5 mins, uncover and increase heat to dry out any water that the vegetables might have released.
5. Set the vegetable off the stove to cool. In the meanwhile beat together the milk, eggs and cheese in a bowl.
6. Spread the vegetable mixture over the pie crust, then pour the milk mixture over it. Lastly set the tomatoes over the mixture (they will "float").
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 mins until the liquid sets. Cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 mins before serving.


The Blackberry Pie Bars

I'm back. FINALLY! I know it has been too long, I think about sharing recipes here all the time, but every day after spending 8 hours in front of the computer at work, it had to motivate myself to sit down and start typing again. But I seem to have no trouble turning on the TV to catch reruns of "Rules of Engagement" (that has been my addiction since finals ended) or grab my kindle to start reading (I finished all five of the sisterhood of the travelling pants books along with the two movies).

Yet, after feeling guilty for not having a response to "when are you going to be posting again". I decided that it was time to get back to being a do-er. If I can blog through homeworks and presentations, then I should be able to manage to get a few posts out over the summer.

As it is summer, I thought that these pie bars would be the perfect recipe to share. I saw it on Erica's blog (I like to pretend that we are friends) and not only bookmarked it immediately, but texted my husband and made him bring me blackberries on his way home (I love him for always running errands for me). Now you too have an excuse to pick up those berries that are staring you down on your next trip to the grocery store or the local farmer's market. Like all good things, there is always a BUT, in this case your oven will be on for about an hour, so if you happen to live in an apartment like me, then open up the windows and turn on the fan, your going to need the fresh air to keep you cool.

Blackberry Pie Bars
Adapted from Erica Sweet Tooth

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small cubes

for the filling:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3/8 cup (1/4 cup + 2 tblsp) all purpose flour
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
16 oz fresh blackberries

extra tools:
glass or metal 8x8" baking dish
food processor
parchment paper/cooking spray


1. Preheat oven t0 350 degrees and line or grease an 8 x 8" baking dish.
2. Mix together flour and sugar in food processor for 30 secs. Then add in the butter cubes. continue mixing.
3. The mixture will start to come together like a flaky dough, once there set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture in a small bowl.
4. Take the remaining mixture and press it out evenly into prepared pan. I like to flatten it down using back of a measuring cup.
5. Bake the base in a preheated oven for 10-12 mins or until crust is golden brown. Cool crust in pan on a cooling rack.
6. While the crust is cooling, whisk together all the ingredients for the filling except the blackberries.  Once well combined, fold in the blackberries with a spatula.
7. Pour in the filling evenly over the crust, Using your hands, sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Its supposed to be uneven and crumbly.
8. Bake for about 50 mins until the filling is set. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
9. Serving suggestion: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.


Healthy Eating : The "no cut" Salad

The past week was hectic, I had a ton of homework, so much that I didn't even get to enjoy the good weather. Hopefully the Mother Nature stays in a good mood over the long weekend. After spending half of my weekend coding without much success, I still have to burn some midnight oil to get it out of the way before the long weekend (yes, all roads lead to the long weekend!).

In an attempt not to spend any unnecessary time in front of the computer, I am going to be sharing a super quick and easy recipe with you today, its so easy that you don't even need to use a knife! (hence the name)

I had this salad at the Orlando Airport in Florida on the way back from my Harry Potter vacation. Once home, I had to replicate it, and its been a favorite every time I have served it so far.

This salad pairs well with pizza and pasta. With summer coming up, its also a perfect side to take along to all those BBQs and picnics coming up! Hope you get to give it a try soon!

"No Cut" Salad

Mixed Salad Greens
cherry tomatoes
kalamata olives, strained
canned mandarins, strained
feta cheese, crumbled
Dressing of choice
1. Cover the bottom of a wide serving dish with the salad greens.
2. Layer the remaining ingredients on the greens, ending with the feta cheese.
3. Drizzle with a dressing of choice.


The Simple Sponge Cake

With the amount of homework that I have due in the next week, I'm moving back into a cave. But before going I thought that I would leave you with something that I made years ago (so there are no "in process" pictures) because I haven't had much time to bake/cook in the past few days. This recipe is simple to make and easy to decorate, so you don't have to spend to much time in doors and can keep enjoying the sun while still having something home made for brunch on Mothers Day.

Also, this recipe was requested by one of my oldest friends, so here you go Nolwazi (Yes, after hours of thinking I have come to a conclusion that you are the oldest of my friends with whom I am still in touch!)! As I mentioned I made this cake years ago , it was for my farewell party that my closest friends organized for me (I know, weird I made my own cake) when I was leaving Swaziland (a small country in the corner of Africa. Its so small that everybody knows everybody). Its the place that I still call home :)

Over the past three years, all of us have grown up, but fortunately we have not grown apart. We might not see each other everyday, we don't even talk all the time, but I choose to believe that we are still just as close :) We have survived college, graduated and gotten jobs, some married, some engaged and started new chapters in our life, but all thanks to technology we are still in touch. :)

Okay, okay...enough reminiscing, getting to the point, the cake I made is called 'hot milk sponge cake'. This is one of the simplest sponge cake as it has no special needs, and contains a ridiculously small amount of butter, which means no guilt in going for the second piece! The name comes from the fact that the milk is boiled and not added straight out of the fridge.

I filled in between the layers and covered it graciously with whipped cream. I choose to slice up marshmallows and use m n m's (smarties in Africa) to decorate the cake once frosted. I do not have a bag of marshmallows on hand, but I'll come up with a tutorial on how to make the flowers soon. I find this a relatively easy cake to make, and once you cover the icing with decorations, any imperfections are hidden, so if you don't have a steady hand like yours truly, then no problem!

These pictures are from a more recent cake, I used cream cheese frosting instead of whipped cream. Personal opinion whipped cream tastes better, but my husband is a bigger fan of cream cheese icing :)

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
Adapted from New Cook Book, Better Homes & Gardens

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup Whipping cream
Couple of tablespoons of sifted powdered (icing) sugar, to taste

Extra tools
coconut flakes
m n m's

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and grease a 9 inch round pan.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.
3. Beat eggs until they are a pale yellow. Slowly add in sugar, while beating.
4. Once all the sugar has been added, beat in high for 2-3 mins, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
5. Slowly add in the flour mixture, while beating on low, once completely incorporated. Set aside.
6. In a small microwave safe bowl, place milk and butter. Cover and heat in microwave for about 45 seconds, up to a minute depending on the microwave.
7. Pour heated milk and butter in to the flour mixture and beat until well mixed.
8. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes depending on your oven or until toothpick comes out clean.

1. Place a bowl (best to use a stainless steel or glass) in the freezer before you start baking, this way you can make the frosting while the cake is baking.
2. Pour in whipping cream into bowl. Make sure that you use whipping cream straight from the fridge.
3. Beat the whipping cream on high for about 5-7 mins (time may increase depending on your mixer).
4. Check to see if the stiffened cream now forms peaks that remaining standing, if so fold in the powder sugar or continue beating at 1 min intervals.
5. Cover with cling wrap, until cake has cooled.

1. Once the cake has cooled, cover it with the whipping cream, it doesn't have to be perfect, as most of it will be cover with either the marshmallow flowers or coconut flakes.
2. Once the cake is covered in frosting, take handfuls of coconut flakes and holding the dish the cake is on at an angle, sprinkle onto the sides, this will cover up all the kinks in the icing :)
3. Lastly, cut the marshmallows across the length into circle to use as petals and the m n m's as centers. Each flower will be about 5-6 petals, depending on the size of your marshmallows. Spread them around on the top. As many or as little as you wish :)

Note: for the cake in the pictures I made 2 9 inch cakes to layer and whip at least 1 cup of whipping cream.


Meal Time: Easy Peasy Thai Noodles

I'm trying something different this week and going with a "cooking" recipe. Just to make sure that you all don't think that I serve cupcakes with a side of brownies for dinner. I have been a fan of Thai food since my vacation in Thailand a couple of years ago. Thailand has the biggest selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, you could literally spend your whole trip just eating! And if you haven't heard of their tradition of craving fruit,  I suggest you google it, cause you will be amazed! I can't wait to get a chance to go back there again.

After getting married, I was glad to find out that my husband was just a big a fan of Thai food as I was. We are having a great time trying out all the Thai places around the city (if you are ever in a Thai restaurant, try their dessert, Mango Sweet Rice).

Now, one can't eat out ALL the time, so I decided to start trying to recreate some of our favorite dishes with a bit of help from Trader Joe's (they have a great collections of ready made sauces to get you started). Then I decided to venture out and try to make my own sauce from scratch and I think that I was successful, cause I am ready to share this recipe with you :)

The chicken can be swapped out for tofu making this dish vegetarian, unfortunately I have not tried to make it without peanut butter, but I will post more recipe with out peanut butter for those of you who might have allergies. Serve with a salad on the side and you have yourself a meal.

This is a real simple recipe, so go ahead, give it a try and wow someone!

Easy Peasy Thai Noodles
adapted from Taste of Home


2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter (no salt, no sugar added)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3-5 Tbsp sriracha sauce (adjust according to personal tolerance)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

4 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti
2 x 12 oz frozen mixed vegetable packs, thawed to room temperature
2-3 boneless chicken thighs, chopped into cubes
(substitute with cubes of fried tofu to make it vegetarian)
couple of Tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
small bunch of green onions

Yield: 4-6 servings

1. In a small bowl combine all ingrediants for the sauce, whisk together and set aside.

2. Bring water to boil in a deep pot. Boil pasta until al dente. Set aside.
3. Heat up oil in wok or round bottom fry pan on high heat.
4. Turn stove down to medium heat and add in chicken along with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to fry until chicken is brown, about 7-10 mins.

5. Once chicken is almost done, add in vegetables, stir to mix well.
6. When vegetables are half done, about 5-7 mins depending on the vegetables in the mix, pour in sauce. Mix well to coat vegetables and meat with the sauce.

7. When the sauce, vegetables and meat are well mixed, add in pasta and continue stirring to make sure that everything is well coated with the sauce and mixed well.
8. Reduce the stove heat to low and simmer for 3-5 mins before removing from stove. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.

9.  Serve warm with a side salad.

Note: If omitting chicken, then stir fry vegetables directly. If adding in tofu, just add it in at end along with the pasta.


The Quickest, Easiest Cake...EVER

I'm back from the cave, exams are over and I get to finally enjoy the sunshine! While taking a break I tried out this super duper simple recipe. So have you never baked before? Lazy to clean up after baking? Don't bake cause you will end up eating it all? If you have answered yes to one of these questions, this is the perfect cake to get you baking!

Remember those multiple choice choices back in high school with the 'all of the above" option, well this cake has is just that, it has it all! Seriously!

QUICK: It literally take 5 mins to put the cake in the oven, you're done before the oven preheats.
EASY: Clean up is a breeze, all you need is your measuring spoons/cups, a bowl and whisk. 
SIMPLE: No fancy ingredients, so no grocery run for those random items that don't sit in your pantry year round.
HEALTHY: Using low fat yogurt, and having no butter, cuts the calories :)

As a bonus, if your not a fan of frosting, just dust this cake with a bit of powdered sugar and you are set to go!

Now, time to give credit to where it is due, THANK YOU, Semonti for sharing this recipe with me. It has very quickly become my go to recipe when I am short on time. And I plan on coming back to it over the summer with all the fresh fruits at the grocery store!

Enough chit chat, here's the recipe.

Yogurt Cake
Adopted from : Martha Stewart
Softened butter, to grease the pan
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp zested lemon rind
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh fruit of choice and powdered sugar, for decorating

Yield: 1 8 inch round cake


1. Preheat oven to 350*F and grease cake pan.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar into a mixing bowl.
3. Add in all remaining ingredients, and beat with a whisk until everything is well mixed.

4. Using a spatula scrap the bowl and pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 20-25 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool on a cooling rack before decorating.

1. Once the cake is cool and right before serving, dust it with sugar and decorate with sliced fruits.

See, I told you it was easy!


The Honey-Almond Brownie

In case any of you are looking for summer, its in California. With temperatures in the 80s and not a cloud in sight, I just had an amazing weekend catching up with a friends (who have the most amazing view from their apartment, and treated us to a great chocolate cake (it was so good, I forgot to take a picture :(, but I took one of the view!) and family, as well as enjoying some awesome views. Also, managed to start off the hiking season at the same time! On a side note, if you are looking for a movie to watch, put THE CROODS on the list, its HILARIOUS!

Well all nothing lasts forever, so I'm back in Seattle all sun burnt and sleep deprived, but was welcomed back with a great day and awesome views of all its mountain peaks. Back to reality means I just caught up on all my emails and thought that I would leave you with a new recipe before I move into a cave till midterms are over.

As you might have figured out by now, I look for any excuse to bake. This time I needed something that could be packed well to survive the flight. It also had to be chocolate, cause you can't visit a chocolate lover with anything but chocolate. So the grown ups got some honey-almond brownies and the kids got chocolate chip cookies (recipe to come soon!). This brownies a bit softer than your average brownie, also not as dense in chocolate, but the almonds had a crunch that just bring it all together. Some tend to find it on the sweeter side, that might be the case because of the honey. Just like my last brownie recipe this works perfectly in this pan.

Once the brownie has completely cooled, wrap it up in foil, put it in a large ziplock bag and it is ready to travel. Stays well up to 2 weeks if stored in the fridge. For those of you who don't like your brownie cold, not problem! Just heat it up for a few secs in the microwave, depending on the size of your piece and your good to go! And if you want to serve it up immediately, then go ahead, slice it up and dust with a bit of powdered sugar.
This recipe is simple, just has an extra step of beating an egg white and folding it in to the batter. Here's my short cut tip, beat the egg first and set it aside in a bowl, and continue using the mixer without washing it, the little bit of egg white left on the bowl and whisks don't make any difference. Before I forget, thanks Annaya, a friend, who is also the little sister I never had for sharing this recipe and making it for me for years.

The Honey-Almond Brownie

2 oz (60g) unsweetened chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup silvered almonds (if your a huge fan you can increase it up to 1 cup)
1 egg white

Yield: 12-16 pieces

1. Preheat over to 350*F. Wrap a brownie pan in foil.
2. Beat the egg white until stiff, set aside.
3. Place chocolate in a microwave safe dish, melt in the microwave stirring every 30 secs (the first time can be as high as a minute)
4. Beat together butter and sugar until mixture looks pale yellow, add in honey and continue mixing. Pour in melted chocolate and continue to beat.
5. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat well once last time.
6. Scrap the sides of the bowl, then fold in the sifted flour. Once mixed in well, fold in egg white and continue to fold into batter.
7. Add in almonds and give a quick mix. Over mixing will cause the air in the batter to reduce and it will not bake as fluffy.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 mins, depending on your oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool on a cooling rack, then slice and serve with milk, or pack up and take it with :)


The Recursive Cupcake

Warning: another chocolate recipe is on the way...

These cupcakes were made for my lovely husband on his birthday, a few weeks ago. And, he named them, "the recursive cupcake". Yes, the geek in me loved the name and it stuck! As you all know my husband LOVES chocolate, and then he loves peanut butter (I hadn't tasted it till I met him, now I'm hooked!). Every hiking and snowboarding trip has to have a PB and J :)

The cupcakes are a moist, spongy chocolate cake, as a result of separating the eggs and whipping the eggs whites into a meringue before folding into the batter. This recipe is also oil based, which means its perfect for the day your out of butter or have none at room temperature and want to start baking immediately. I frosted them with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting, you can easily adjust the amount of peanut butter just in case that you are not a HUGE fan.

Now for the recursive part, I topped the cupcakes with mini Reese's peanut butter cups, decorated with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles to look like mini cupcakes. If you have the time, you are welcome to make mini cupcake, I chose to be lazy and took the short cut. It still looked good :) (so blowing my own horn right now!)

Just baked another batch of these over the weekend, decorating them with a girly twist for a friend, Happy Belated Birthday, Mina! Hope you enjoyed them!

The inspiration for the chocolate peanut butter combination came from this cupcake that I had when I went to get my haircut at Gene Juanez.

The recursive cupcake
3 eggs, seperated
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup hot water
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 - 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 Icing bag
Small star icing tip
Large round icing tip
Cupcake liners
Chocolate jimmies
Reese's mini peanut butter cups

Yield: 12-18 cupcakes depending on the size of the eggs used.


1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a muffin tin.
2. Separate eggs, whip eggs whites until stiff using a electric mixer. Set aside.
3. Mix hot water and cocoa powder together, let it cool.
4. Sift flour and baking powder together, set aside.
5. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is a pale yellow color.
6. Add oil to egg mixutre and continue beating.
7. Beat in flour and cocoa mixture alternating between the two, until well incorporated.
8. Lastly, fold in egg whites using a spatula(be careful not to over mix)
9. Use a ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins, 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

1. Cream butter until fluffy, scraping bowl frequently to avoid lumps.
2. Add in cream cheese and continue to beat, make sure to keep scraping the bowl.
3. Slowly, add sifted powdered sugar. Once completely incorporated, set about 1/2 cup of frosting aside.
4. Add in the peanut butter to the remainder of the frosting. How much you add depends on your fondness for peanut butter. I used a cup.
5. Once everything is mixed together (i.e. no white streaks left) decorating, your frosting is ready and its time to decorate!

1. Fit icing bag with nozzles and fill the one the small tipped bag with the plain cream cheese icing and the larger tipped bag with peanut butter frosting.
2. Unwrap the same number resses mini cups as cupcakes you are planning to ice. Frost them with the plain icing and sprinkle with jimmies.
3. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with the peanut butter icing and top with the "mini cupcakes".


The Basic Brownie

Almost everyone loves chocolate, but my husband and his best friend are obsessed with chocolate, so whenever his friend is visiting I always bake something like with a double (or triple in this case) of chocolate. Cause according to this duo, 'there is no such thing as too much chocolate'. And I tried, they really can take in just about any amount of chocolate!

I thought that this simple recipe would be a good one to start my blog. It doesn't have any fancy ingredients, just the basics which are almost always in the pantry :)  and can be dressed up for any occasion, or not dressed up, just slice and serve. Also, I have been requested to share this recipe on multiple occasions, so here it goes!

I use both chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, but if your aren't the biggest fan of chocolate, then go ahead and sub it with walnuts. Want to overdose on chocolate, sub the walnuts with chocolate chips :). The nutella frosting, can also be left out and you can serve the brownie plain or with some vanilla ice cream on the side. My secret to getting the texture of the brownie just right (not to soft and fudge like, result of using a 8 x 8 square pan nor to hard and crispy, resulted from using a 9 x 13 rectangular pan) is using this pan. When I was on the hunt for the perfect pan, I couldn't find it in stores, ANYWHERE. Then Amazon saved the day! Also, lining the pan with foil helps with better and more even baking. But if your a fan of the crusty edges, o ahead and line the pan with wax paper instead.

I use a Kitchen Aid for all my baking, but any electric hand mixer will do the trick (I have not tried it in a food processor, if anyone does, please let me know how it goes). Enough chitchat, lets get to the point.

The Basic Brownie
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (i love using the trader joes brand)
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar (either white or brown is fine)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips


1 cup nutella
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar

Sprinkles, for decorating
Icing bag
Wilton 1M tip
Circle cookie cutter

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line baking pan with foil.
3. Sift all dry ingredients, except sugar. Set aside
2. Beat eggs and sugar, until pale in color.
3. Reduce speed and pour in melted butter. Increase speed and mix until incorporated.
4. Reduce speed of mixer and add in sifted dry ingredients, once the batter is mixed evenly, add vanilla essence and beat on high for 1-2 mins.
4. Pour into ready pan and bake for about 20-25 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

1. Beat cream cheese, carefully scraping the edges and bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no lumps left.
2. Once the cream cheese is smooth, sift in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Make sure to beat and incorporate completely before adding a new batch. Also remember to scrap the bowl before and after every addition.
3. Lastly, add the nutella, beat until everything is mixed together into a creamy frosting.

1. Once the brownie has cooled, cut out 6-8 circles, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
2. Set icing bag with decorating tip, then fill with frosting.
3. Frost all the pieces and decorate with sprinkle of choice.