Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cookie-Dough Brownies

Are they cookies that look like brownies? Or are they brownies that look like cookies? It's the best of both worlds in one awesome dessert!
This recipe has been on our to-post list for almost four years - oh, the golden grad-school years! In those days, we typically celebrated our colleagues' birthdays by baking something for the whole research team. We had done cookies, and we had done brownies...it was time to try something different! We thought - why not combine the two? Consequently, our fellow researchers unknowingly became our research subjects (aka guinea pigs). Fear not - we taste-tested our "prototype" before releasing it to the hungry masses!
Ingredients for cookie dough:
1 cup flour (I'll typically do half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
5 TBSP granulated sugar
5 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Ingredients for brownie:
4 oz. (1/2 cup) chocolate chips (again, I prefer dark chocolate)
2/3 cup butter
2 cups sugar (I typically do half regular sugar, half brown sugar)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Chocolate glaze:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 TBSP butter or canola oil 
Mixing the batters
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9 pan.
For the brownie batter: melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave-safe dish for 2-3 minutes on 40% power. Beat in the sugar and eggs. Stir in flour and baking powder. Spread into the greased baking pan.
For the cookie dough: Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk butter, sugar, and vanilla together until creamy, then add the egg and mix. Pour dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons into the brownie batter, pressing down slightly so it sets in the batter.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until brownies set and the edges look a little dry. Let cool 10-15 minutes.
Glazing the goodness
Melt the chocolate and butter or oil together in the microwave as described above for the brownie batter. A second round of heating may be necessary to melt all the chocolate chips. Once all the chocolate is melted, pour over the cooled brownies and spread evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours so the chocolate glaze will set.
When it's time for a dessert or snack, slice and enjoy!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The first time I had Brussels sprouts was probably only 3 years ago. I had never even heard of them back in India and after I came to the US, I was a little weary of trying them because of all the negativity around the taste and smell of Brussels sprouts. Then one day as I was browsing through some food blog, I came across a Brussels sprouts recipe and the picture looked so good! I decided to look up different ways that people like to cook them, combined a few ideas and ended up with one of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe. I’m sharing this recipe here in hopes of converting some Brussels sprouts avoiders to seekers (or tolerators ;-P )
1-2 lbs Brussel sprouts
Feta cheese crumbled
Walnuts - chopped
Vinaigrette (This vinaigrette would be good for about 2 pounds, but extra vinaigrette can be used as salad dressing)
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Garlic (optional)

To make the vinaigrette, mix all the ingredients and whisk until combined (adjust honey, mustard, salt, pepper to taste). You can make a bigger batch and store it in the refrigerator. It tastes great as a salad dressing or drizzled on roasted vegetables. I typically take it out of the refrigerator about a half hour or so before using it so that the oil comes back to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking with parchment paper or silicone mat (not necessary, but the Brussels sprouts will come off easily and also makes cleanup easier).

Wash the Brussels sprouts. Trim the stems and remove the outermost leaves. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise. Toss the sprouts with about half the vinaigrette and make sure they are coated well (add some more if required).

Arrange the sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet, and bake for approximately 15-20 min until brown on the bottom. Flip them and bake for another 10-15 min until the other side is browned. You may need to turn the pan a couple times to get them browned evenly. The crispy leaves on the outside taste great so don’t worry if you feel like a few are over-browned.

Remove from oven and add more vinaigrette to taste. Toss in feta cheese and walnuts, and serve warm as a side.