Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies with Fresh Raspberry Mousse

I was hanging out with my mom (Hi mom!) and I told her I wanted to bake something with her so I could feature her as a guest chef. :) So we were thinking of something to bake and she mentioned she had a lot of raspberries. I LOVE dark chocolate raspberry truffles from See's Candies--to die for--so I figured we could do something with raspberries and dark chocolate. We both aren't big cupcake or cake fans so we decided to go with brownies. We did a Google search and found this recipe which we slightly adapted to fit our ingredients on hand. We made a couple heart shaped brownies as well as some in a 8x8 pan to be cut into squares. We were at my mom's house so we used her heart shaped pans, not sure where she got them from. I have 4 of the Wilton 4-Inch Heart Springform Pans back at my house that I've used for a similar recipe in the past. I took this pan of brownies to the office and they loved them. :) I personally think that next time I will make the brownies more chocolatey--because let's face it, who can have TOO much chocolate??


Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

- 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks (we used Ghiradelli dark chocolate (60% cocoa) chunks but you could use semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks as well, just depends on your chocolate preference)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purposeflour
- 1/2 teaspoonbaking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulatedsugar
- 1/3 cup (2/3stick) butter, softened (since this was short notice, we had to cheat and use the microwave to soften the butter--just don't melt it completely.)
- 1 teaspoon vanillaextract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup freshraspberries, mashed (I prepped the raspberries ahead of time and ended up having to drain some of the juice before I added them to the mixture.)

Raspberry Mousse

- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup powderedsugar
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks (we happened to have semi-sweet mini chocolate chips on hand, or else we could have chopped up the chunks we used for the brownie mix)
- 1/2 teaspoonvanilla extract
- 1/4 cup freshraspberries, mashed, drained
- 1/3 cup heavy whippingcream



Chocolate Raspberry Brownies 

1) Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease your baking pans very well. (The entire batter will fit in a 9 inch square pan, or you could split it up into 4 heart shaped pans and an 8x8 pan like me and my mom decided to do. It's important to make sure your pans are well greased so you do not have trouble getting the brownies out.)
Mom says: "We lined our 8x8 pan with foil so it would be easier to remove from the pan and cut into squares. Just make sure to grease your foil really well."

2) Rinse and drain your fresh raspberries.

3) Mash the raspberries using a potato masher or something similar.

4) Microwave 1 cup chunks in small, uncovered, microwave-safebowl on high (100%) power for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 15-secondintervals, stir until smooth; cool to room temperature. 
Mom says: "You have to heat it in no more than 30 second intervals and stir in between to melt the chocolate without overcooking it. It'll get grainy if you overcook it."

5. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

6. Beatgranulated sugar, butter and vanilla extract with your stand mixer or a hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl until creamy.Add the eggs. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

Mom says: "Break the eggs in a separate bowl just in case you happen to get a bad egg so you won't mess up your entire batter."

7. Next beat in melted chocolate. (Depending on how fast you are at getting your ingredients together you might have to stick it in the microwave again for 10 seconds to make sure it is still melted.)

8. Stir in flourmixture little by little until blended.

9. Stir in mashed raspberries. (I drained the mashed raspberries at this time since some of the juice was collecting.)

10. Spread into prepared bakingpan. (I used a rubber spatula and the back of a spoon to spread the batter as it is too thick and sticky to just pour. This was probably the most difficult part of the whole process.)

11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted incenter comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. (Since we used the heart pans as well as the 8x8 we only baked for about 15 minutes and they were completely baked. And honestly we were too eager to eat these bad boys that we didn't let them cool completely before putting on the mousse. We put them on wire racks for like 15 minutes to cool.)

Raspberry Mousse

1. Beat whipping cream in stand mixer or with hand mixer in a small mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to another clean bowl and set aside.

 <-- my mom whipping the cream :)

2. Beatcream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract in stand mixer (we didn't bother to wash after whipping the cream) or using the hand mixer in a separate mixing bowl until creamy. 

3. Fold in mashed raspberries and choppedchocolate morsels.

4. Fold whipped creaminto raspberry cream cheese mixture until blended. 

5. Spread mousse over cooledbrownie and garnish with fresh raspberries. 

6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  (We again were not patient and only refrigerated the small heart pans for about 15 minutes again before we plated the brownies for pictures. But the 8x8 pan stayed in overnight.)

7. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the heart pans and pop out. (If using a 9 inch pan without foil lining, repeat this process. If lined with foil, no need to run a knife around the edges, simply pull the foil out of the pan and fold it down in order to cut the brownies into bars.)


Me and my mommy. :)

Mom says: "You better make sure I look good in the picture! They already know what you look like!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Infused Vodkas for the Superbowl

So this year we are hosting a Superbowl party and my boyfriend Val has been eagerly awaiting such an occasion so he can infuse some vodka for Bloody Marys. Val's passion for Bloody Marys started when we went to a local bar in Japantown for a Niner's party bus over a year ago. He has been stuck on finding/creating the BEST Bloody Mary ever since. When we were in Chicago last year we happened to stumble on a sports bar after Sunday brunch that had a Bloody Mary BAR. Basically it was build your own Bloody Mary complete with 6 different homemade infused vodkas, over 20 different hot sauces, 5 different custom tomato juice blends, and ample toppings--bacon, sausage, cheese cubes, pickles, celery, artichoke hearts, peppers etc. Val wants to recreate this for our Superbowl party but on a smaller scale. Hence our post about infused vodkas. First off, I have to give credit to the boyfriend since he was the one actually prepping and cooking this time. I was just the photographer. :)

We ended up deciding on 2 different flavors--bacon and cucumber. When we looked up instructions online we found a couple tutorials which were really helpful and I'll give credit below for each type of vodka.

Cucumber Infused Vodka -- original tutorial by Shutterbean found here


- 750 ml vodka (we used Stoli vodka)
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled & seeded
- air tight container (we used a tall mason jar from IKEA -- $5 super cheap!)



1. Peel, seed & chop cucumbers and place in a seal-able container large enough to contain it all.

2. Add the vodka on top and seal.

3. Store in a cool, dark place (like your pantry) for 3 days, or up to a week, agitating daily. TIP: Apparently any longer and your vodka will develop a bitter taste.

<-- my boyfriend "agitating" the cucumbers ;)

4. Strain with coffee filters or cheesecloth. Store and serve well chilled.

Note: Apparently this recipe was originally from Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics

Bacon Infused Vodka -- original tutorial and recipe found on 


- 6 slices of bacon (normal thickness is fine)
- 750 ml of vodka (we used Stoli again)
- air tight container (we used a tall mason jar from IKEA -- $5 super cheap!) 


1. Cook the 6 slices of bacon in a frying pan. Don't throw away the grease!

2. Carefully pour the grease in the mason jar. Add the bacon strips standing upright. (Some tutorials chopped the bacon up before hand.)

 3. Pour the vodka over the bacon, making sure to completely immerse the bacon strips. (Ours obviously wasn't covering the bacon so we had to use a long wooden spoon to push down the bacon a bit--see final picture. We might add some more vodka tomorrow once we get to the store.)

4. Seal the jar and put in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks.

5. After the time allotted passes, place the mason jar in the freezer. The vodka will not freeze but the fat from the bacon will solidify. (pictures to come--sounds gross!)

6. Remove the jar from the freezer, remove the bacon strips and strain the solidified fat through a coffee filter or cheese cloth. 

7. Your end result will be a clear, pale yellow vodka that tastes like bacon!

(Cucumber vodka on the left and bacon vodka on the right.)

See how we used these vodkas for Bloody Mary's during our Superbowl party

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's always interesting when my boyfriend and my good friend Richard get together. They are like two little kids, ganging up on me, the mom apparently. Haha. Anywho after the three of us spent a good 24 straight hours together--including a trip to IKEA, Costco and then assembling all the furniture we bought--it seemed like a good time to have something a little sweet. Richard likes peanut butter cookies and I like chocolate so I thought I'd look up a recipe for Peanut Chocolate Butter Chip Cookies. By the time the cookies were just about done in the oven, I could hear the two "kids" asking if they were ready yet and blaming each other for asking. Oh silly boys. :)

When I was looking for a recipe, I first went on Pinterest for a while and then decided just to Google it. The first recipe that popped up was through, you can find it here.


- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I think next time I will reduce the flour by 1/4 cup, the dough was a little flaky and hard to form balls)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 


Preheat oven to 375°. Blend the butter, peanut butter and sugars in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg and mix until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together well. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture while mixing on low. Fold in the chocolate chips with the mixer or by hand with a spoon. Form small 1 inch balls with ragged edges (not completely smooth) and place onto lightly greased baking sheets. For a tutorial on how to shape cookies check out this site. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Here is the picture tutorial on shaping cookies which I love!
From Brown Eyed Baker's blog. Find it here.



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