Nutella Swirl Brownies

Nutella Swirl BrowniesHey y’all! I’m writing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where my baby sister (who is not a baby—she’s 30) is graduating from Harvard.

Yes, that Harvard. She’s wicked smart.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
I’m so proud of her and could write all about how incredible she is, but I’ve already done that twice. While she and her accomplishments are wonderful, I’m pretty sure you’re here for some Nutella Swirl Brownies.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
I don’t blame you. I’m pretty excited about Nutella Swirl Brownies, too.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
They’re exactly what they sound like: rich, chewy, fudgy brownies swirled with everyone’s favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread.
Nutella Swirl BrowniesNutella Swirl Brownies
The base is my very favorite recipe for Cocoa Brownies. It’s a foolproof no-mixer recipe that bakes up perfectly every time. The resulting brownies have just the right amount of squidge, and they’re only made better by swirling 1/2 cup of creamy Nutella right into the batter.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
Mmhmm.

So, in conclusion, sisters are great, Harvard’s great, graduate degrees are great, but Nutella Swirl Brownies are what’s really important…on this website, anyway.

Nutella Swirl Brownies
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 brownies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process here)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of an 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined.

Transfer batter into prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of Nutella over the top of the batter and use a butter knife to gently swirl it into the batter. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan before inverting to release. Slice into 16 squares.

Store leftover brownies in an airtight container, placing wax paper between layers. They will keep for a few days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.

Nutella Swirl Brownies

Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}This Chocolate Puff Pancake has everything you love about a classic Puff Pancake…plus chocolate.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It’s quick and easy, coming together in 30 seconds in the blender and 18 minutes in the oven.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It puffs dramatically while baking (hence the name), but deflates quickly, leaving behind a rustic, rumpled, shareable pancake.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It has curled edges and custard-like center that I dream about all workweek long.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}And chocolate. Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}I’m not normally a chocolate for breakfast sort of gal, but this? I could get used to this. And that’s serious because I am a confirmed vanilla person.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}I mean, who can resist a barely-sweet chocolate pancake that you can literally fill with confectioner’s sugar, strawberries, whipped cream, and mini chocolate chips?!Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}The delicate pancake pairs so well with the fresh berries, airy cream, and melty chocolate. It’s pretty phenomenal as far as sweet brunches go.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Plus, it’s pretty.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}We all know pretty food tastes better. Or something.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings

4 large eggs
1 cup milk (not skim or fat free)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons butter (unsalted or salted)

Toppings:
confectioner’s sugar
fresh berries
whipped cream
mini chocolate chips

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 425F.

In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender*, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Let batter rest 10 minutes, or until large bubbles dissipate.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Bake 18-19 minutes, until billowy. Do not open the oven door during baking.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately with toppings of choice.Chocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

 No-Bake Peanut Butter PieMemorial Day is coming up and I’ve got your long weekend dessert needs covered.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieNo-Bake Peanut Butter Pie, y’all! It’s a great way to ring in the unofficial start of summer.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieAnd since it doesn’t require cranking the oven, it’s the ideal dessert to make on a searing hot summer day. Lord knows we have plenty of those coming our way. (Even if it currently feels like it will just be cool and rainy forever.)No-Bake Peanut Butter PieThis pie has it all. Seriously. There’s the Oreo crust…No-Bake Peanut Butter Piea puddle of ganache (aka a “black bottom”)…No-Bake Peanut Butter Piecrunchy chopped peanuts and miniature peanut butter cups.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieThen there’s the creamy peanut butter filling…No-Bake Peanut Butter PieNo-Bake Peanut Butter Piewhipped cream…No-Bake Peanut Butter Pieand more chopped peanuts and miniature peanut butter cups. Also, chocolate sprinkles.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieYaaaaaaas.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieYou and your friends won’t be able to get enough of this No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie. Make it for the holiday weekend or your beach trip or any summer birthdays. Heck, make it for all of those occasions.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieIt doesn’t get much better than this.No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Crust:
25 whole Oreos
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ganache Layer:
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
6 miniature peanut butter cups, quartered

Peanut Butter Filling:
3/4 cup heavy cream, cold
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (I used Skippy)
1 8-ounce brick full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish (optional):
miniature peanut butter cups, quartered
salted peanuts, finely chopped
chocolate sprinkles

Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.

Make the ganache. Combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until a smooth even ganache forms (about 45 seconds total). Pour it into the crust and use the back of a spoon to carefully spread it into an even layer on the bottom. Scatter with chopped salted peanuts and quartered miniature peanut butter cups. Refrigerate crust and ganache while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate arge mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar until combined and fluffy. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined. Transfer to chilled pie crust. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Scatter with quartered miniature peanut butter cups, chopped salted peanuts, and/or chocolate sprinkles, if desired.

Slice and serve. Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Blueberry Kolaches

Blueberry KolachesIf the warm weather could just get its act together and show up already, that’d be great. I am so tired of wearing a jacket.Blueberry KolachesWinter tends to linger up here. While the sub-freezing days are long gone, I could do without anything under 70 degrees. It seems like every time we get a nice day, the cold creeps back.Blueberry KolachesIt could absolutely be worse, but…I just want some consistency, you know?Blueberry KolachesAnyway, I may not have any control over the weather outside, but it is decidedly spring at the green market and in my kitchen. I’ve got berries on the brain, as evidenced by last week’s Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and today’s Blueberry Kolaches!Blueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesI’ve made three batches of these traditional Czech pastries this week and I can’t. get. enough.Blueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesBlueberry KolachesThey’re a springtime spin on the Grapefruit Kolaches I made earlier this year. While those were good, I made a few adjustments to the recipe—streamlining is the name of the game these days—and think these kolaches are even better.Blueberry KolachesI mean, it’s pretty hard not to love buttery, pillowy soft pastry, cinnamon crumble (posypka), and fresh blueberry filling ❤Blueberry KolachesYep. Tastes like spring.Blueberry Kolaches

Blueberry Kolaches
makes about 16-18 pastries

1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Blueberry Filling:
1 pint (12 ounces) fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the lemon zest, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

Make the blueberry filling. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until berries start bursting. Cool for a few minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of blueberry filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be barely-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Blueberry Kolaches

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMother’s Day is this weekend and while I won’t be spending the holiday with my mom, I still have “mom food” on the brain. In the case of my mom, that means vanilla and/or fruit, and also things that are both easy and fancy. This Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote absolutely fits that bill.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompotePanna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a soft-set cream-based pudding commonly served with fresh berries or a berry sauce. Most are made with a combination of heavy cream and whole milk, but the version I’m serving up today has a pleasant tang, thanks to the addition of buttermilk. It has the creaminess you expect in a custard, but where custards are set with eggs, panna cotta relies on gelatin.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteI’ve considered panna cotta a “restaurant only” food for years, thinking it was too fancy or time consuming to make at home, or that it required a skill set I didn’t have…Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote…and it’s turned out to be exactly as difficult and time-consuming as making Jell-o. But softer and creamier and with a silky smooth texture.What I’m trying to say is that panna cotta is the ultimate high brow/low brow dessert.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMy Buttermilk Panna Cotta has five ingredients and takes all of five minutes of effort (seven, if you count the time for measuring). The time consuming part is waiting for it to set up—this can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on whether you’re serving it in the mold or inverting it onto a plate. Gelatin gets stronger over time, so if you want to serve free-standing panna cottas, make sure to plan ahead. Otherwise, you can just serve them straight from their molds.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAnd speaking of molds, you can find all different kinds online, but I spent $10 on a dozen 4-ounce mason jars last week and, even if I break every last one tomorrow, I already feel like I have gotten my money’s worth. They’re a perfect combination of form and function, and I love the way they showcase these layers of Buttermilk Panna Cotta and Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAfter all that talk about panna cotta, I bet this compote seems like an afterthought, but I assure you it. is. not. In fact, this sauce is what really makes this dessert sing!Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteThe sweet-tart combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for a reason. Here, it’s amped up with just a touch of sugar and some lime zest before being tossed with olive oil and roasted until saucy. This takes minimal time and effort and makes much more than you’ll need for six panna cottas. I suggest spooning the leftovers over ice cream or plain yogurt, or just eating them directly from the jar…not that I’d know anything about that.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteHappy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating, especially my mom. Thanks for loving me so hard.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
makes six 4-ounce servings

1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 1/4-ounce packet unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (low fat is fine)

For Serving:
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (recipe below)

Gelatin is an animal byproduct. Buttermilk Panna Cotta is not a vegetarian dessert.

Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin granules over the top. Let sit 5-10 minutes, or until gelatin starts to become saturated and surface in wrinkled.

Lightly grease 6 4-ounce molds (I like mason jars) with oil. Set aside.

Pour remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream and sugar into the saucepan. Place pan over low heat. Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until sugar and gelatin have completely dissolved. Do not let boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and buttermilk and whisk for 1 minute, or until fully combined.

Divide mixture among greased molds. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours (or overnight) if you wish to release the panna cottas from their molds. If being served directly from the molds, they only need a 2 hour chill.

Release the panna cottas from their molds. Fill a deep container with a couple of inches of hot water. Place an in-mold panna cotta in the water for 1 minute.

Swipe a damp paper towel over the plate you wish to use for serving the panna cotta. This will make it easy to move the panna cotta for more aesthetically-pleasing plating.

Remove in-mold panna cotta from the hot water. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge to break the suction seal. Invert panna cotta onto prepared plate. Tap/jostle mold as necessary to release panna cotta. Repeat process with remaining panna cottas.

Top with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. Serve immediately.

Panna cottas (still in their molds and without topping) will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After that point, they may become rubbery.

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
makes about 3 cups

1 pound fresh strawberries
1 pound fresh rhubarb, poisonous leaves removed
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt (optional)
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed sheet pan (or jelly roll pan) with parchment.

Trim, hull, and dice strawberries into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut rhubarb into 3/4-inch pieces. Place on prepared pan and top with sugar, optional salt, lime zest, and olive oil. Toss together with clean hands.

Bake mixture for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Compote is ready when strawberries and rhubarb are soft and juices have thickened slightly (they will still be on the thin side).

Let cool before using. Store compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteRoasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote