bourbon swirl brownies

KATTY’S BOURBON SWIRL BROWNIES

For the brownie batter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (I chopped up Valrhona feves)

For the bourbon swirl batter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla

the horses are on the track

“The horses are on the track!”  Giddyup, let’s do this!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ pan with butter.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for about a minute until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and flour till well incorporated. Add 1 egg, bourbon and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.

Next, prepare the brownie batter. Combine 2 eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate with flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with eggs/sugar/vanilla mixture. Pour into buttered pan, reserving 1/2 cup of batter. Pour bourbon swirl batter over brownie batter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter in large dollops over the cheesecake mixture. Use a butter knife to swirl the batters and create a marbled effect.

Bake till top begins to brown at edges and pulls from the side of the pan, about 45-50 minutes. In my kitchen, 46 or 47 seems to be the purr-fect number. Set on a rack to cool.

Would you like one?:)

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PASTA IN A LEMON CREAM SAUCE WITH HOT CAPICOLA, MUSHROOMS AND MICROGREENS
adapted liberally (how else?!) from The New York Times

12 oz. fettucine (I chose fresh spinach & whole wheat fettucine from DiFiore’s Ravioli Shop)
zest of 2 lemons (use a microplane)
juice of 2 lemons (keep separate from zest)
1 cup heavy cream
sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
4 mushrooms (I used baby bellas/cremini), sliced a bit thin
1/4 pound Fiorucci hot capicola , sliced thin, then cut in ribbons (found locally at Price Chopper)
1.5 oz. spicy blend microgreens
Pecorino Romano to serve at the table

Have you played with microgreens? I picked these up at Whole Foods. As you can see, they’re SUPER nutritious! And SUPER delicious! It says so right on the packaging.:)

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Rinse microgreens and set aside. Zest lemon with a microplane.

In a small frying pan, melt a pat of butter on medium to medium-high heat, sauté mushrooms till browned on both sides. When mushrooms are cooked most of the way through, add ribbons of hot capicola to warm them through, then remove from heat.

Meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook fettucine till tender. Drain, then return to the pot.

About 5 minutes before fettucine is done, in a small saucepan, combine lemon zest, cream, thyme (if using), salt to taste (I only added a touch at the table) and black pepper.  Cook on medium heat for two minutes or until cream comes to a boil.

Pour cream mixture over drained fettucine. Add lemon juice. Stir to coat pasta evenly; add mushrooms and capicola. Cook over medium heat, stirring till most of the liquid is absorbed, 1-2 minutes. Toss in most of the microgreens, saving some to garnish the top of each dish.

Happy spring! That’s exactly what this dish tastes like.

 

 

 

 

 

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The cooler weather had me craving pasta. So, I put together a new twist on an old favorite–vodka sauce. Rather than just roasted tomatoes for the sauce, I added a pepper, a handful of mushrooms and some sweet onion.

When I’m making a special sauce, I love to head up to DiFiore Ravioli Shop for fresh pasta. Now that they’re in Rocky Hill as well as Hartford, they’re even closer to home. For my new recipe, I tried their fresh black pepper fettucine.

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The black pepper bite adds an extra kick to a dish that’s already kickin’. Enough talk–let’s get this recipe into action!

ROASTED VEGETABLE VODKA SAUCE WITH HOT CHICKEN SAUSAGE

For the vegetables
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 small bell pepper*
1/2 a sweet onion, sliced and halved
4 mushrooms (I chose cremini a.k.a. baby bella–whatever little shrooms you like)
2-3 garlic cloves
olive oil to coat the bottom of your baking dish
1 teaspoon kosher salt

*I found the world’s most adorable pepper at Price Chopper yesterday–the Enjoya (why yes, thank you, I will) striped pepper.

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For the vodka sauce
1/2 pound hot chicken sausage, cooked/crumbled
1/3 cup vodka
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half the lemon

First, roast the vegetables!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil to coat 9 x 13″ baking dish. Toss all the vegetables in the olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Gently smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife–or use a garlic press–and add to baking dish. Make sure everything’s in an even layer.

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Let ‘em roast for 10 minutes, give ’em a shake, then 15 more minutes of roasting and it’s time to take them out of the oven.

Add 1/3 cup vodka directly to the hot roasting pan. You’ll hear it sizzle. Squeeze half the lemon and add the zest. Now, very carefully, use a potato masher to give the tomatoes a gentle squeeze right in the baking dish. Take it easy so they don’t squirt you.

While the tomatoes are roasting…
Now’s a good time to get a BIG pasta pot boiling so you can cook up the pasta. Fresh pasta cooks in about three minutes. If you use boxed pasta, just remember to allow more time for it to cook. For two people, I cooked just a half pound of pasta, but there’s definitely enough sauce for one or two more servings, depending how hungry you are.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and cook the sausage—squeeze it from the casings and break into small pieces. Once you’ve completely cooked and crumbled the sausage, keep the pan on a low heat, just to simmer. Add the tomatoes, garlic and all the liquid from the baking dish to the sausage. Then add the cream. As it all simmers, the sauce will thicken just a bit.

Spoon over pasta; garnish with fresh parsley and serve with pecorino Romano at the table. Why go out for pasta when you can create your own deliciousness right at home?

1 3/4 cup unsifted flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup Guinness
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (dissolved in the Guinness)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
Combine Guinness and instant espresso powder; stir into batter–batter will be thin.
Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2″ pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Frost.What really makes an Irish Car Bomb out of this cake is the frosting, so let’s get it together!

IRISH CAR BOMB FROSTING
3 oz. Neufchâtel, softened
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Maker’s Mark (originally Jameson’s, but what is not to love about Maker’s?!)
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
good pinch of salt

Cream together butter, cream cheese, Maker’s, Bailey’s and vanilla.Gradually blend in powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. And now, it’s time to frost–then eat!
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Happy St. Pat’s, amici! And happy spring!
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Looking for some comfort on a cold winter’s day? Well, if a creamy, cheesy mac with mushrooms is what you seek, you’ve come to the right place.

With cheddar, Gouda and Gruyère, and three different mushrooms: cremini, oyster and shiitake, topped with plenty of toasty, cheesy breadcrumbs, it’s a warm and hearty combo. Inspired by something I saw Giada do, but made absolutely, purr-fectly my way in Katty’s Kitchen.

MUSHROOM MAC ‘N CHEESE

For the topping
½ cup panko
½ cup shredded cheese (take from the 3½ cups you’ll shred below for the cheese sauce)

Combine and set aside.
When it’s time to add to the top of the casserole, spread them evenly, then add a drizzle of truffle oil.

For the pasta
½ pound double elbows (Sclafani bouble elbows–my favorite goofy typo)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add elbows. Undercook by just a minute–they’ll continue to cook in the oven. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the mushrooms
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot
5 oz. or so of a combination of mushrooms: oyster, cremini
¼ teaspoon salt

In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat; add shallot, mushrooms and salt. Cook about 5-6 minutes till mushrooms soften.
Transfer cooked mushrooms to a small plate; drizzle with truffle oil.

For the cheese sauce
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk at room temperature
10 oz. shredded cheese (3½ cups total): combination of cheddar, Gouda and Gruyère
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼-½ teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper

Melt butter, add the flour. Cook over medium-low heat about two minutes, stirring with a whisk. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, continue to whisk so it doesn’t stick. Simmer about 4-5 minutes to thicken, then add 3 cups shredded cheese. Whisk till fully incorporated. Add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼-½ teaspoon salt.

Combine pasta, mushrooms and cheese sauce. Pour into 9” baking dish. Top with panko/shredded cheese mixture. Drizzle with truffle oil. Bake 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Dinner is served! Enjoy a little country comfort and stay toasty, amici!

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Let’s go camping. Inside. Without bugs. I’ll bring dessert!

We’ll take every camper’s favorite fireside treat–roasted marshmallow sandwiched between graham crackers with some Hershey bar melted inside–and blend it with my recipe for chocolate chip cookies (CCCs for short). No doubt, you’ll find yourself wanting s’more of these. I was torn between using Golden Grahams cereal or straight up graham crackers, so I used both! 🎶 Oh, those Golden Grahams! 🎶

KATTY’S S’MORES CCCs

1 stick butter (salted), softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar*
¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (one whole graham cracker, crushed–I used a cinnamon one, NOM NOM)
1/4 cup Golden Grahams cereal, lightly crushed
½ cup dark chocolate Valrhona feves, finely chopped
2 Hershey bars, chopped coarsely (so you can still see it’s a Hershey bar)
3 mini marshmallows per cookie

*I send my turbinado sugar (a.k.a. Sugar in the Raw) through the food processor so it’s not crunchy. I process the whole box at a time and pour it right back into the box to store.

Put a gentle crush on those Golden Grahams (left). Finely crush the graham cracker (right). Like so. Set aside.

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Cream the butter and the sugars until light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add lightly beaten egg and vanilla; mix till egg is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined: do not overmix. Blend in finely chopped dark chocolate chunks, graham crackers and crushed Golden Grahams.

Refrigerate the dough for at least few hours or overnight. Make it easy on yourself and portion out the dough with your handy scoop beforehand. Much harder to scoop chilled dough–trust me. I used my smaller ice cream scoop to make BIG COOKIES.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. I space the cookies out in rows of three–nine cookies per sheet. We’re going to swap the cookies up the river, down the river exactly halfway through baking.

Tip: have the marshmallows ready to grab from either a plate or paper towel as you are more than likely to wind up with melted chocolate on your fingers as you position the marshmallows and Hershey bar pieces in each cookie.

OK, so into the oven they go, then set a timer for 7 minutes. Take both sheets out of the oven, then quickly press 3 mini marshmallows and 2-3 Hershey bar pieces into each cookie. When you put them back into the oven, switch the position of each sheet from front to back, top to bottom, and let them bake for 7 more minutes. When they’re done baking, remove from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes or so before moving the cookies to a cooling rack.

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Let them cool before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Good luck, by the way–they rarely last that long around heah.😉 Too many cookie monsters.

Hope 2016 is off to a sweet start for you. This kat? I’m living my life like it’s golden.:) You do the same.

buckeye brownies Kattys Kitchen

My friend Amy loved sweet treats as much as she loved good tunes. And this one’s for you, Amy. Inspired by buckeye candies, I’ve taken my favorite brownie recipe and topped it with a light as air, rich as all get out, thick peanut butter layer. I think I love these even more than buckeyes. Amici, just try this and see!

KATTY’S BUCKEYE BROWNIES
adapted from my all-time favorite brownie recipe from Ghirardelli

For the brownies
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (I chopped up Valrhona feves)

Let’s make the brownies first. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter.

Chop the chocolate.

Sift dry ingredients together. Or shake them in a canister if you want to take it easy on yourself.:)

Stir dry ingredients into egg/butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Spread the batter in a buttered 8″ square pan. I line mine with a silicone mat.

Bake for 25 minutes. Could be a bit more or less in your oven–I like mine chewy/fudgy and 25 minutes gets the job done here. Let the brownies cool completely before you frost them. As they do, it’s a fine time to whip up the peanut butter layer.

For the peanut butter layer
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 stick salted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark
2 tablespoons sour cream (you can substitute milk for this and/or the Maker’s Mark
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

It doesn’t get easier than this. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, Maker’s Mark, sour cream and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and salt. Combine slowly, then whip it good! The texture will be almost mousse-like.

Frost the brownies evenly with the peanut butter layer. Because the frosting is so light, I left the brownies in the fridge to chill. Let’s keep in mind these are absolutely fantastic for breakfast.

buckeye brownie breakfast Kattys Kitchen

And now, a dedication and a short story for my 200th post. Maybe once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky, you meet someone like Amy. We felt like forever friends since we met just short of two years ago. We laughed and shared and loved nonstop in that all too brief time. My heart’s been breaking since I learned late last week, she had passed away in her sleep without warning. I know she’d want me to keep smiling, keep baking and to remember the good times, so that’s what I’m here to do with a lesson or two: Life is short, enjoy the ride, love one another.

So glad you were in my orbit, sister. Till we meet again, I’ll do my best to let the good times roll. And it goes a little somethin’ like this, here we go! Keep dancin’! Thank you for making me part of your family. Love you more!

Amy December 2014Amys Luna

Amy n Rocco 2
Amy my favorite strawbig boobs and music

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