Monday, May 20, 2013

Sourdough Surprises: Graham-Crusted Brownies

There is one thing I absolutely don't like about May anymore: All I do is eat. Somehow I managed to have my birthday right about the same time as Mother's Day – and who created this “Eat What You Want” day that my friends have to remind me of, on May 11th, right when I'm trying to behave myself?

Instead, once the local bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes were gone from my birthday, I used this month's Sourdough Surprises challenge to do my Mother's Day baking in one swoop.

I found a different recipe this month, as I didn't want a 13”x9” pan of brownies lying around this time of year. I looked around for how I could jazz it up, and found a nearly empty box of graham cracker crumbs in the pantry. Reminded of a few variations of s'mores brownies that I've read about, I decided to top my brownies with the crumbs. I did realize (right after coming home from the store) that the recipe called for cake flour, so I had to make another adjustment.

My version of the recipe:
Graham-Crusted Brownies
Adapted from

  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup ripe sourdough starter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a 9" pan.
  • Microwave chocolate and oil in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat together brown sugar, egg, sourdough starter and vanilla, then stir in cooled chocolate mixture.
  • Stir in flour mixture until just blended.
  • Spread in prepared pan. Top with graham cracker crumbs
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edge begins to pull away from pan.
  • Cool completely before cutting and serving.

They didn't need quite the 30-35 minutes in the oven that the recipe called for. My only complaint is that they turned out a bit more like cake than brownies:

Still, by using unsweetened chocolate, they had a very rich and satisfying chocolate taste. I do plan on making more of a graham streusel if I do this again, and probably omitting the baking soda so that they don't come out so cakey.
Yes, I will be saving this recipe. They're pretty darn good. And all things considered, they're not that bad for you – 1/12 of the recipe is only about 160 calories.
So even though it's May, I can still have my cake and my brownies too. And then I can go back to my regularly scheduled baking.

Check out our other delicious brownies!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shine Supper Club: Cooked Carrots

When I was little, my mother would always ask what vegetable I wanted with dinner. Like she needed to ask - “cooked carrots” was always my response. Plain cooked carrots. Not that I minded glazed carrots (although, to this day, I'm not fond of raw carrots), but just boiled carrots with a little bit of salt. It's the simple things in life that keeps kids happy.

I'm all grown up now, and although I do still live at home, I do most of the cooking now (when I'm not working much, at least). When I found out the Shine Supper Club was doing childhood dishes for the month of May (my birthday month even!), I knew I had to do a grown up version of my favorite side dish growing up.

Lemon Pepper Boiled Carrots
Serves 4

1lb baby carrots
1tsp salt
Enough water to cover carrots
2 tblsp butter
2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning or to taste (or lemon zest and black pepper to taste)

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add carrots and boil 10-15 minutes, to desired doneness. Drain and return pot to heat.
  2. Melt butter in pot with lemon pepper seasoning. Toss to coat and serve.

I served this with some white rice and Spicy Maple Mustard glazed chicken (so good I had to scrape off a little of the extra!). The glaze, if interested...

Spicy Maple Mustard Sauce
Adapted from
Makes 1/4 cup

1 tblsp Maple Syrup
3 tblsp Horseradish Mustard
1/2 tsp paprika

Simply mix in a small bowl. Makes a great dip as well as a sauce for all kinds of meat!

Of course, this wasn't how I ate my carrots growing up – as I've said before, my mom is a lazy cook, and only after telling her what I'd added to the carrots did she find out about the lemon pepper seasoning I had in the pantry. Still, it was a tasty reminder of the way things were back then – and Mom even loved them too.

The simple things in life keep adults happy too.