Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Does this post make me look fat?

I knew I was feeling better when the need to start baking became undeniable. I finally couldn't stop myself. I made two batches of Pumpkin Fudge and these incredible Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies. Seriously delish. Then I ate enough to send myself into a diabetic coma and swore off sweets for good.

Yeah. Right.

Then, as I began putting this post together, I remembered a couple of other recipes I had tried weeks ago, but never shared. Blame the funk. (Actually, blame my piss-poor photos.) So, I figured I'd throw them all together and we could all share in one giant sugar-induced coma. You're welcome.

These... these are the Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies. I never intended to make them. It was just a recipe I stumbled across and the combination of chocolate and cinnamon grabbed my by the hiney. I couldn't shake it. THEY HAD TO BE MADE.

Seriously, one of the best brownies I've ever made or eaten. Their consistency alone made me want to weep. Every time I took a bite (and there were many, many bites), I would pause and think to myself this is why I bake. Once in a while, you attempt a recipe and everything turns out so perfectly that it suddenly puts everything into perspective. This is why I bake. This is why, along the journey to figure out what I want to do with my life, baking is edging out photography little by little.

Speaking of photography...

I think, although I haven't tried it (yet), you could easily omit the cinnamon if you're not a fan. Also, I didn't use the ganache in the original recipe. But the addition of more chocolate couldn't possibly be a bad thing. Right? Once I tasted the brownies on their own, I didn't want to mess with them anymore. Okay, that's not true. I never stopped eating them long enough to add the ganache. Okay, that's not true either. I slurped the ganache up through a straw and died. The end.

This is Caramel Chocolate Shortbread. Which really isn't a name at all. It's just a list. Clever, right?

I love shortbread. I love the buttery, crumbly sweetness of it. The caramel on the other hand, while delicious, wasn't cooked long enough and was much too soft. Add a hard layer of chocolate and try to bite down. The caramel comes oozing out the sides and all over your hand. Do not fret. This will not detract from your enjoyment. Promise.

Believe it or not, I'm not a big fan of dark chocolate and even less of bittersweet chocolate. I was afraid to use it in this recipe, however I'm so glad I did. The sweetness of the caramel cuts the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly.

{ By the way, these are what I was referring to by "piss-poor photos." But I have to stop remaking things just to take pictures. It's wasteful and detrimental to my hips, damn it. }

Moving on.

I've never met a banana bread I didn't like. However, I've never met one that I wanted to roll around on the floor with, either. Until now. I love banana bread. Truly. I don't make it too often, because, well, I consume it all much too quickly, feel guilty for days, and swear off the stuff for good. But I will take a few guilt-ridden moments for this one.

And, surprise! It's my boyfriend's recipe. I'm telling you: the man's a genius. However, I added the crumb topping 'cause it sounded to good to resist, so maybe I'm a genius, too. Hot damn, I could have eaten the topping by itself with a spoon in one sitting.

I love this banana bread. It was so perfectly moist (confession: I hate the word "moist") and sweet and buttery. (And please note: when I say something is "perfectly sweet and buttery," I do not mean it was ultra sweet and buttery, but that it was a perfect balance of the two.)

When The Husband came home from Palm Springs last Sunday, he came back with three leftover bananas. (I swear I nearly dropped dead 'cause the boy does not. eat. fruit.) When I saw them, I immediately asked if I could have them to make banana bread. It's all I've been able to think about as they sit there on my kitchen counter becoming more overripe everyday.

Except I'm kind of afraid to make them again. I have a bad habit of overindulging. No, really.

Okay, this may be the eight millionth chocolate chip cookie recipe I've shared, but they just keep getting better. Just when I thought I'd found my favorite to end all recipes... I try another and get swept away.

Another of Alton's recipes. This one uses a different method (muffin vs. creaming) and I can't help myself. I have an insatiable desire to try every chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. Okay, not really, but I can't promise this will be my last.

I remember growing up, my mom once told me that she never used salt in cookie recipes. She said it was unnecessary. Mom, SHAME ON YOU. Salt is absolutely 100% necessary and worth it. The combination of sweet and salty, especially in this recipe, is magical. MAGICAL! Who doesn't love a good sweet and salty combo? Throw chocolate chips into the mix with a soft, chewy center... I'm in heaven. HEAVEN!

Suddenly I feel the need to use a lot of capital letters and exclamation points. It must be the sugar.

I think I may have unknowingly saved the best for last. Pumpkin Fudge. It's one of those things I always look for when I find myself in a specialty candy shop. Do they sell fresh fudge? IS THERE PUMPKIN???

Love, love, love pumpkin fudge. When I realized it was Fall, I immediately started fantasizing about pumpkin. I love pumpkin sweets and I'll probably bombard you with recipes for the next few months. I just hope our weather soon begins reflecting the season, because damn it's been hot lately.

Here are the complete recipes:
Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Caramel Shortbread
Banana Bread
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Fudge

Go forth. Bake. Let's all be fat and happy together, okay?


  1. Okay so I've been following your blog for a few weeks now and this is my absolute favorite post. Those brownies look amazing!!! And I'm also in need of the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Once I find it, I'll allow myself to have children.

  2. OKAY! Thank you so much for posting this. I can't wait to try them all. And shut up about not taking good pictures! They look awesome! I'm really glad you're feeling better and into your baking again!!!-L

  3. I am totally inspired. And it is cool here and I have been in a baking mood, so watch out. And I need the extra fat to get me through the winter. So there.And the secret to not eating all the banana (or apple or pumpkin) bread is to do as you did and make muffins. Then throw them in the freezer as soon as possible. This has two delightful effects:1) it slows you down on the eating, because you must thaw them first and2) after a few days you'll forget they are in there until one day when you are desperate for a snack and are frantically searching the entire when suddenly you remember THERE'S BANANA BREAD IN THE FREEZER.It's a beautiful moment, that.

  4. I seriously think you are trying to kill us all. With desire and envy and drool.I could NEVER bake anything that turned out edible, nevermind gorgeous and delicious. Oh my god! I wouldn't be able to choose. I'd have to eat all.I'm so glad we're not neighbors and you don't invite me around for tea. I gain weight just thinking about it.You're amazing - both the baking AND the photos. And yes, the one looks like Santa is coming - but hey with all those treats, it's like he did come to town!!!

  5. I'm stuck at work with no snacky goodness....no chocolate, no caramel, no pumpkin fudge, no I want those banana bread muffins now....and I'm drooling over your photos. I will never make it until time to leave. Must rummage through co-workers desks.....somebody has to have something right??

  6. I NEED these. All of these. Right now. Most especially, though, I need the cinnamon chocolate brownies and you are my new favorite person for posting all these fab recipes. Let us go forth and BAKE!

  7. Oh My God! I'm in love with this wonderful yummy post! And the pictures are great. The saliva is dripping from my mouth. Seriously. Ok, too much information.P.S. I mentioned you in my post today. I hope you don't mind :)

  8. Caramel Chocolate Shortbread!! Ohhhhhhhhhh. I need them. I need them now (especially since I am watching The Biggest Loser).

  9. I think I'm drooling! All of these look amazing. Your photos, as always, are wonderful! The Christmas look isn't too much for me. I love that bokeh!

  10. have you ever sprinkled salt (kosher or sea salt) on top of your choc. chip cookies before putting them in the oven? divine. sinful. chocolate chip cookies and milk should be our national dish.

  11. Cinnamon chocolate brownies.Hmmm. Looks like I gotta get Miss Carol to do some baking this weekend.

  12. I'm always looking for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe and I'm doing a happy dance for this one. Looks yum! And yes, salt is completely necessary! Yur killin' me with these absolutely yummy recipes. Thanks for the extra pounds.

  13. VERY, very happy to see some baking posts again. All these recipes look fabulous! I'm literally drooling over my keyboard. This is not only due to the delicious photos, but I started weight watchers last week (partly due to your recommendation a little while back) and have really been cutting back on the sweets. It's HARD!

  14. Sorry - the Santa's Coming to Town comment on your background is too, too much. Dude. You slay me.