Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites...

Another edition of baking for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day has come upon us! Sometimes it can be hard to nail down a recipe, but when we saw these Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites in one of the new holiday baking magazines, I knew it wouldn't be long before I made them!

A basic brownie batter forms these chocolate-y bites - to infuse the cherries in, we folded in finely chopped maraschino cherries once the dark batter was combined. While they do bring plenty of flavor on their own, a shot of the juice they come packed in is also added to push it a little higher. The chocolate comes from using a little cocoa powder - thrown in your favorite, be it Dutch-process or natural... natural will be a touch more bitter while Dutch is smoother and delicate.

Once baked and cooled, these little moist buttons are sliced in half to make room for a layer of speckled filling. Made simply by heating cream and sweet white chocolate until melted and smooth, the filling will need to hang out in the refrigerator for just under an hour. This allows it to firm up enough to be whipped, making a light, creamy ganache-like frosting. To tie in with the brownies, an additional tablespoon of the chopped ruby cherries is folded in right before slathering it between the now halved miniature treats - kind of like a small whoopie pie.

If that wasn't enough already, we made another take on the filling, except this time using bold bittersweet chocolate, and letting the mixture chill just long enough so it had some staying power, but was still glossy and slightly runny. This is spooned over each bite-sized gem, allowing it to slowly drip down the sides, creating an irresistible visual treat. So you know exactly what you are getting, thin slices of the cherries are then laid over the pool of chocolate on top.

One or (if you're lucky) two-bite treats, I think these miniature cherry brownies would make a enchanting addition to any holiday tray. Since they are small, you don't need to feel guilty having one (or 3...), but they are also robust enough that one would certainly dampen any sweet craving.

I know I just talked about serving potatoes with pasta... and go figure, I did it again tonight! It is not necessarily a requirement for this Hungarian Gulyas dish, but it screamed, at least to us, to be served over buttered egg noodles.

I should start by saying that this is another one of those recipes I can't say if it ends up being very authentic or not - either tomatoes are always added or it is sacrilege if they are put in, depending on where you are. Here's how we made it though!

After starting out with a mountain of chopped onions that we softened in olive oil, we tossed in chunky cubes of lean beef stew meat. After turning the pieces, giving all the sides contact with the fiery hot bottom of the Dutch oven, we tossed in a couple cloves worth of chopped garlic and a healthy spoonful of earthy sweet Hungarian paprika. You'll probably have caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of your pan now, so to make sure those that flavor isn't lost, warm water is poured in to drag those pieces back into the stew. To give the beef some liquid to stew in, broth, along with distinct caraway seeds (you know, those seeds that are commonly found in rye bread), are stirred in and the mixture is left to simmer until the meat is decidedly tender.

We then tossed in chopped plum tomatoes, red bell peppers and quartered new potatoes - depending on the size of your potatoes, you'll need to continue cooking this mixture until the potatoes become tender, so it could be a little more or a little less time than what we wrote down. A few minutes before the stew was done, I dropped whole-wheat egg noodles into a pot of boiling salted water, let them cook, drained them and tossed the noodles back into the pot with a pat or two of butter. I served this dish by scooping the hearty stew over the slippery noodles - I know it doesn't look all that liquid-y in the picture, but that is a little deceiving as much of it is hiding underneath those noodles!

This stew is a complete "warm you up from the inside out" kind of dish. For a little richness, we did add a dollop of sour cream on top, but it really isn't necessary (I'd do it again though!). Meaty, filling and one recipe I know I'll have on the stove when we drag ourselves in from shoveling the loads of snow I'm sure are just waiting to fall in Minnesota.


  1. I hope you keep up this wonderful trend of combining potatoes and pasta!


  2. First of all, YUM to the brownie bites and Second, Too cute. Love the photos.

  3. Quinn - :-)

    Katrina - Thanks!