Compared to many parts of Canada, our winter in Vancouver has been very mild…..until 2 days ago ! A snow pile just dumped onto us in a matter of hours ! Seriously, I was still jogging in the morning at 9 am, it was cold, but no snow. Three hours later, everywhere was covered in white ! I guess it’s our turn to experience this cold snowy winter ! And what does a baker do when it snows ? Bake of course ! So I made these brownies and also had time to decorate a whole bunch of Valentine’s cookies ! The snow has made me more productive !
I like my chocolate desserts very chocolaty, and I mean VERY……And this brownie is not only chocolaty, but also soft, fudgy and chewy ! Who can say no to that ? Especially if you are making it for your Valentine’s ! Make sure you don’t overbake, in fact, a good brownie is often slightly underbaked. It’s best to serve them warm, reheat in the oven for a few minutes if you need.
Happy Valentine’s Day !
Makes about 10 – 12 brownies For the batter
180 g unsalted butter
180 g semi-sweet chocolate
40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
240 g granulated sugar
5 ml vanilla extract
135 g all-purpose flour
2 g baking powder
2 g salt
10-12 caramel candies
For the caramel sauce
Melt together 30 caramel candies (about 240 g) and 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a non-stick pot over low heat until well blended, stirring frequently
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool for about 5 minutes
Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale
Mix in chocolate mixture
Add flour mixture and mix until blended, the batter can be quite thick
Spoon half the batter into lightly-greased silicone molds, place a caramel candy in the middle, cover with remaining batter and bake for about 20 minutes
Cool slightly, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm
Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?
My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind.
I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with. And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !
Makes about 10-12 balls
For the dough
150 g glutinous rice flour
150 mL warm water
For the syrup
85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
2 slices fresh ginger
250 mL water
For the toppings
50 g unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)