Monday, May 19, 2008

Wicked brownie wedges and a hearty chicken stew...

This past weekend, Jeff and I were trying to figure out the last time we baked some goodies to share with the neighbors. We realized it had been too long, so in between errands and lawn work, I prepared two treats - I'll talk about one of them another day, but the first recipe I made was these Rocky Road Brownie Wedges.

Bittersweet chocolate chunks and butter are melted together into a rich, dark puddle of chocolate love. To sweeten the brownies, a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar is used - besides adding depth, the moist brown sugar also brought a light chew to the finished product. A couple eggs and just enough flour to give the brownies structure are the last ingredients needed to create the batter for these decadent one-bowl treats.

Jeff wanted them to be a little more unique, so we went the route of baking them in a 9" springform pan to create the wedges. However, you can just as well make these square for bars - just use an 8" square baking pan and know they will probably be a bit thicker and take a couple minutes longer to bake. Test early for doneness - the toothpick should not have any raw batter, but you want a few moist crumbs clinging to it. At this point, the brownies are removed from the oven and the top is scattered with additional chocolate, bumpy marshmallows and crunchy chopped nuts. If you wanted some showy chocolate on top, save a handful of that additional chocolate and scatter it on top of the nuts. The brownies are returned to the oven just long enough to puff up the marshmallows and soften the chocolate - this allows all of those toppings to stick and not fall off when you slice into them. I actually doubled the recipe and just split them into two pans - we needed quite a few wedges and Jeff also wanted some to have walnuts and some with pecans.

For the cleanest cuts, you may want to chill these in the refrigerator for a short time to firm them up. Quite fudgy with an intense chocolate flavor, one bite of these extravagant wedges hand our taste buds dancing around, anticipating the next forkful. If you are keen on the combination of salty and sweet, Jeff and I thought about (and wished we did a small portion to test out) adding a sprinkling of coarsely crushed pretzels on top instead of the nuts.

We went from the glorious warm shine from the sun over the weekend, to a cloudy day with a slight chill in the air today (there was even some frost to the north of us) - depressing! I had something else planned for dinner, but swapped days with another recipe and made this Chicken, Corn, and Edamame Stew to warm us back up.

This stew had actually called for frozen lima beans, but Jeff has yet to warm up to the idea that they taste remotely good. I usually just replace them with Edamame, as I did tonight - however, I'm not giving up yet and I think they will make an appearance here as soon as when we can get some fresh from the farmers market. The base is a combination of diced onions and bell peppers that are softened and seasoned with fresh thyme. While the original recipe didn't call for it, once I added the two tablespoons of thick tomato paste, I stirred it around in the pot for a minute or two. I really recommend this when using tomato paste as the heat will start to caramelize the paste and ripen its flavor.

To the pot, boneless and skinless chicken meat is added, along with chopped plum tomatoes, vegetable broth and Worcestershire sauce. Feel free to use all thighs, all breast meat or even a combination as we did tonight. Once the chicken has cooked through, the pieces are picked out with corn and the edamame (or lima beans!) being stirred into the simmering liquid. While the vegetables heat through, the chicken meat is shredded into bite-sized pieces and placed back into the stew to warm through. Brimming with vegetables and chicken, this stew, with just enough broth to keep things movin' and groovin', was healthy, hearty and quite tasty!


  1. Will you guys adopt me? Please?

  2. that brownie cake looks so decadent and yummy! I am definitely one of the people who would sprinkle extra chocolate over mine!

  3. You have some lucky neighbours, those brownie slices look fantastic.

  4. Hilary - Hee hee! We do have a spare bedroom!

    Antonio - Thanks!

    Katie - They have been welcoming and are all quite nice... so I'm happy to show our appreciation through a few treats!

  5. Both of those look fantastic! Now that you mentioned pretzels on the top - I bet you could modify that recipe to make a brownie version of the Hershey's Take 5 candy bar! Take 5

  6. I came upon your blog and bookmarked it, it looked so yummy!
    Im going to try some of your recipes and give you credit when my friends rave!