Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hello Dolly - How about a stuffed brownie?

Today is the opening of our high school’s production of “Hello Dolly”.  This was a rather ambitious undertaking by the school drama and chorus departments, with many set changes and technical choreography. I have no doubt it will be terrific, they have been working on it since before Christmas, with the past week being total hell week, well, technically it’s  tech week> This is when they really put it all together, orchestra, actors, set changes, as they say, timing is everything.   I helped as much as I could, painting sets, bringing food to help feed 100+ kids who were sequestered from the moment they left the classroom (about 3:30) until the end of rehearsal (about 11:00 that same night), although my little bout of pneumonia did put a bit of a damper on the amount of help I was able to offer,  but I was there, in spirit.  One other thing I offered was to bring something tasty for them to sell at intermission.  And there, I think I delivered.
These stuffed brownies I thought of when my client sent me a bunch of chocolate bars.  Perugina chocolate bars to be exact.  Bittersweet, dark, milk and some lovely filled ones, dark chocolate filled with caramel, milk chocolate filled with cappuccino and milk chocolate filled with raspberry and asked that I come up with some new recipes to showcase their newest product.  I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Bittersweet, dark chocolate?  Easy.  But what do you do with filled chocolates, except just eat them?  Then I thought, what would happen if I put them in the middle of a brownie.  And how would I do that?  So here it is…

First off, get all the ingredients at the ready.

Next, break the chocolate into proper pieces.

Breaking out the KitchenAid, I beat the eggs, sugar and salt until thick.

Next I melt the chocolate with the butter and extra virgin olive oil in my very very fancy double boiler.  Yes, it’s a metal mixing bowl set on top of a pot of just simmering water.  Did I say olive oil?  Yes, reduce your saturated fat by using at least a mixture of butter and olive oil.

I used a mini muffin pan to make these, and they turned out great.  Fill the mini muffin tin about 1/3 full with the batter, then nestle a piece of filled chocolate (this is the Perugina cappuccino filled chocolate – but equally good with the caramel filled chocolate) then cover with more batter, making sure the whole candy is covered with brownie batter

Mini Muffin Pan Brownies
Now, ready to pop into the oven.

Can you say yum?
So good.

Stuffed Brownies

  • 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) chocolate bars filled with caramel or cappuccino (I used Perugina Premium Milk Chocolate with Cappuccino and Dark Chocolate with Carmel filling, available in many grocery stores or at broken into squares

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 mini muffin pans (or make in batches)
  2. In a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the bittersweet chocolate with the oil and butter, whisking until smooth.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and salt with an electric mixer until thick. Stir in the vanilla and flour. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Using a small ladle (I use a gravy ladle); spoon a layer of batter into the bottom of the muffin pan, about 1/3 of the way up. Nestle a piece of the filled chocolate into the center; then cover with more batter, making sure the chocolate piece is enclosed.
  5. Place the pans in the center of the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted comes out with just a small amount of crumb clinging to it (just make sure you don’t go straight down the center where the melted chocolate is). Allow to cool slightly then remove from the pan.
  6. These are delicious warm, but store well in an airtight container. If you want to warm them up, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for about 15 seconds.
  7. Per Serving (that’s 1) 153 Calories; 9g Fat (4g Sat, 3g Mono, trace Poly); 2g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 38mg Sodium.

LindySez - SoSousMe – If I’m going to eat dessert, I want it to be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dinner Possible - on the lighter side

Here is tonight’s Menu and recipes:

Turkey cutlets, in my opinion,  are a highly under used ingredient.  They are low in calories,  high in flavor, quick cooking and versatile.  These are simply sautéed then topped with sweet and sour glazed peppers.   Eggplant is a sponge when it comes to absorbing oil when fried.  This lighter version takes a little more time, because you bake the eggplant after you bread it, but it come out with all the great flavor but not all the oil.  And anywhere I can cut fat and calories, I do.

Serve these with a nice fruity Merlot, or a Sangiovese.

Turkey Cutlets with Glazed Peppers

  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sweet bell peppers (use a combo of yellow, orange or red), seeded and sliced into fairly thin strips
  • 1/3 cup homemade or reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme

  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the cutlets. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cutlets and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic to the pan, sauté about 30 second; add the peppers and sauté 2 – 4 minutes, or until just soft and starting to brown on the edges. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper along with the thyme; add the broth and cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve the pepper mixture over the cutlets.
  • 2 eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely sliced (chiffonade)
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar marinara sauce, or homemade

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Dip each eggplant slice into the flour, the egg white then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange on a cookie sheet cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Lightly brush the top with olive oil. Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.
  3. Spread a small amount of the marinara evenly over the bottom of a baking dish. Add a layer of eggplant, spoon sauce over, sprinkle with 1/2 of the mozzarella and parmesan. Make another layer finishing with the cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is browned and the casserole is hot and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

LindySez -  All this, in under an hour, and with a glass of wine, under 600 calories???? Yeah, baby, that’s what I’m talking about!  Cheers

Monday, February 8, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups = YUMMY

Can you taste the difference?  Yes, yes you can!

This whole idea started when a friend I “talk” to over the internet made a comment she had never tasted a peanut butter cup, but had heard of them, and wanted to try them.  I thought, what the heck,  bought some, packed them up, and then went to the post office to mail them off to the UK.  Do you know how expensive it is to mail something to the UK?  Well, let me tell you, in my standard 6 x 4 x 6 inch box, it was going to be over $80.00.  Yes, that’s over $80.00. So, needless to say, I wasn’t going to spend $80.00 to  mail $5.00 worth of chocolate covered peanut butter.  The post office does have some standard boxes, that have a specific cost, the theory is, if you can fit whatever you are mailing into this box/envelope, then we will deliver it for X amount of $$.  The box I chose, was about 1 x 3 x 6, I opened up the bag of candies, and stuffed them inside as best I could, got them all in but 2 and sealed it up.  The cost to mail this was still around $13.00 but still, much more reasonable than $80.00.

My friend was thrilled with her gift.  And since I’m not spending that again, I thought I would figure out the best way to recreate this tasty treat so she can have some when  she wants to.  This is my take on the classic peanut butter cup.  It is so easy to make and tastes just delicious.  In doing  research on making them, I found a lot of recipes had added butter and shortening, but I found that you didn’t really need it and they are certainly rich enough on their own, so why add fat or sugar when you don’t need to?  Exactly, there is no reason at all.  Just use the best ingredients you can.

So here they are, in their simplicity.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

  • 4 (3.5 ounce) good quality milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 – 1 cup good quality (preferably all-natural) peanut butter, creamy, chunky or a combination*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar*
  • Pinch salt

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter with the powdered sugar and salt until well blended and firm.
  2. Slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over hot, not boiling water.
  3. Lightly butter the cups of a muffin tin; spoon some chocolate into the bottom (about 1 1/2 teaspoons); using the spoon draw some of the chocolate up the side so there is a slight indentation. Place the tin into the refrigerator to set.
  4. Take about a teaspoon of peanut butter, place in the center of the chocolate, then using your fingers flatten it into a disk (do not go all the way to the edges of the chocolate).
  5. Reheat the chocolate then spoon over the top to cover completely, allowing the chocolate to run around the outside edge of the cup to fully enclose the peanut butter filling. Place in refrigerator to firm.
  6. When ready to unmold, run a knife carefully around the edge of the cup and gently remove.
  7. *LindySez  Note: The amount of peanut butter you need depends on how much filling you want in each cup. Just be sure to keep the ratio the same 1/2 part sugar to 1 part peanut butter.
If you really want to make them look “authentic” then you can use paper inserts and get that crinkled edge around the outside.  But they taste just fine and dandy without.

LindySez: There you go Joanne.  Peanut Butter Cups when ever you want them.  And for you too America.