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.