These brownies. Oh, my. Since we've mostly cut back our consumption of refined sugars, we've found our tastes changed. We both still love our dessert, but when we're in the mood for chocolate, we now reach for dark chocolate. There are countless brownie recipes and textures out there—cakey, gooey, dense—and everyone has a favorite. But lately, we're loving these rich, dense, not-to-sweet, dark chocolately (and gluten-free) brownies. And I love that this recipe makes a smaller pan...because if there are brownies at our house, we will eat them.
Here is the (awesome) original recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I followed Summer Harm's gluten-free version of these very closely, and she spells it out well in her post. Here is what I do, plus a few notes:
- I used a combination of raw sugar and coconut sugar. I love the flavor of coconut sugar (think caramel) and the texture of the raw sugar because it maintains a little of its structure even when heated.
- I add mini chocolate chips and either chopped walnuts or toasted & slivered almonds on top. The crunch from the nuts makes for some texture contrast and breaks up the rich, velvety chocolate texture. And the chocolate chips? Well, we like them with just about everything.
- These will be done baking before they look "done." Usually, a toothpick comes out clean even when the top of the brownies still looks wet.
- We cut these pretty small—usually into 16 squares, since I make ours in an 8"x8" pan and they are fairly thick. They're rich, and if you want more, you can always grab a second brownie. ;)
- Please listen to Summer when she says to eat these fresh out of the fridge, chilled. Try it. So good.
I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Jessica's house to see her and her son. I played with her little boy while she chopped veggies for a meal she was bringing to a friend that night. Whereas I prefer to follow a recipe, since I'm nervous that my kitchen experiments won't turn out, Jessica is naturally good at using up all the food in the fridge, coming up with new combinations and just "throwing together" a meal, or following a recipe with modifications, based on what she has on hand.