Sunday, August 10, 2008

A New Chocolate Fix ~ Macadamia Fudge Squares

Happy DAY! Happy Day! Baking in the Kitchen and it is RAINING outside. No watering flowers when I can be baking.
Fluffy wants to know where her chocolate fix is and is feeling totally gipped! Especially since she decided to come upstairs and talk to us again after rudely being whisked off to the vets this morning. Can you believe Fluffy's doctor said she should think about a kitty diet? I mean, there is a lot to be accounted for in the fluff department. Fur fluff, I mean. =D Yep, she is not suppose to graze with unlimited kitty food anymore but feeding her a minuscule amount of 1 cup of kitty food a day sounds more like starvation. She doesn't like people food nor does she like soft kitty food. Okay, she likes vanilla ice cream but that is a once a week treat.

Me, on the otherhand? I found this recipe for Macadamia Fudge Squares in a cookbook called Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins, and More. Oh what happy dancing and joy, joy! My sister, Rachel, and myself both LOVE Macadamia nuts and I just found out so does hubby. Oh, Darn! More sharing. . .

Actually sharing is a great idea since this recipe makes a WHOLE jellyroll pan amount of brownies. I want a chocolate fix. . .and sharing keeps me from being a piggy and trying to eat WAYYY more then my chocolate fix calls for. The brownies melt in your mouth, even with the large chunks of macadamia nuts. The chocolate icing was more of a combination of chocolates I had left over from other desserts. You know, .5 ounces of Valhrona milk chocolate, 1 ounce of Hershey's milk chocolate, 2 ounces of Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chips. . .am I at 5 ounces yet? Nope! Digging, digging, oh here's somemore. . .Callebaut milk chocolate. All little bits here and there that are in separate sandwich size Ziploc bags. Yay! We get to throw away excess baggies. Chocolate amounts not large enough for any one dessert are now being used up for a great cause!

I get all the ingredients prepped and we are ready to bake. Chopping the Macadamia nuts has been a trial because I just HAD to taste test. We can't have poor quality nuts in our brownies, right? Yep, that one tasted great. . .maybe we had better try another one. It could have been a fluke. Yep, the next three were all up to par. Okay, back away from the nuts. . .

The rest of the ingredients make it into the brownies without anymore hand-to-mouth incidents. Now that is self-control. I did say this was a chocolate fix and we DO have small amounts of chocolate all over the place here.

Oh, the aroma drifting from the oven the last 10 minutes of baking. I am sliding the kitchen window open so that the aroma can mingle outside with the scent from my huge, white lilies and beautiful red honeysuckle flowers. Now, combine those three aromas and what a flower that would be!

Here is the recipe so where ever you live, you can enjoy just how tasty these brownies truly are:

Macadamia Fudge Squares
(adapted from Great coffee cakes, stickey buns, muffins, and more)
Makes 4 dozen 2-inch squares
Pan: 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1-inch jelly roll pan
Pan Prep: Line with foil/butter
Oven Temp: 375°F
Baking Time: 13 to 15 minutes
Difficulty: *

This pretty bar cookie is another play on a brownie. Dark brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon are perfect partners for the robust flavor of the chocolate. The top is generously sprinkled with macadamia nuts and has a chocolate webbed finish that’s guaranteed to catch your eye.

1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (lightly packed) very fresh dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped, salted macadamia nuts
1 small recipe Midnight Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil.

2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, slowly melt the butter and the chocolate. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and, using a whisk, blend the brown sugar into the mixture, stirring until melted. Gradually mix in the granulated sugar. Stir in the eggs and the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not over mix.

4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, smoothing it with the back of a tablespoon. Sprinkle the surface with the macadamia nuts and press them gently into the batter.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the top is set and the bar begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake. The squares should remain slightly moist on the inside. (Note: If the batter rises in the pan during baking, prick the bubbles gently with a fork to release the air.) Remove from the oven and let stand until almost cool.

5. While the bar is cooling, make the glaze. To web the bar, dip a small whisk into the glaze and squiggle it across the pan. If the glaze becomes too thick, thin it with a little very hot water. Let stand until the glaze is set.

6. Carefully lift the bar from the pan by grasping the foil on both sides and place it on a large cutting board. Pull down the sides of the foil and cut into 2-inch squares using a thin-bladed, sharp knife.

Storage: Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 5 days. These cookies may be frozen.

Midnight Chocolate Glaze

Makes enough for one 10-inch Bundt cake or 9 x 13 x 2-inch coffee cake, or 16 to 18 muffins. Here is a glaze that has a beautiful, glossy shine and wonderful, rich chocolate flavor. While I think the best results are achieved if the glaze is applied when it is made, it can be made ahead and either refrigerated or frozen. The glaze will keep its sheen for up to eight hours, depending on your room temperature and weather conditions. When I tested the recipe, it was impossible not to lick my fingers when scraping the pot clean.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, finely chopped
1/4 cup strained powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft

1. Place the water in a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the granulated sugar and corn syrup, but do not stir. Cover and bring to a slow boil on medium-low heat. After 1 minute, check to see if any sugar crystals remain. If so, gently stir the mixture. Continue to cook the syrup uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes. (Large bubbles will form on the surface.)

2. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the syrup. Push the chocolate gently into the syrup, but do not stir. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate is melted, then stir gently with a small whisk.

3. When smooth, stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then blend in the vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Stir gently with the whisk until smooth, then blend in the butter. If the glaze is not pourable, add 3 or 4 teaspoons of very hot water until the desired consistency is reached.

Note: This glaze is best used immediately.Storage: Leftover glaze can be refrigerated for several weeks. This glaze may be frozen. To use, reheat, adding very hot water to thin the glaze as needed.

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