Friday, March 9, 2012

Brownie Bites

About a month ago, Ryan and I traveled down for a weekend getaway to see his mom in Southern California. When we landed early Saturday morning at Ontario airport, it was grey and drizzly. At first, I didn't believe the captain (the Southwest one, not mine). Or maybe it's that I didn't want to believe him, but he was right. It was soggy! It definitely cleared up as the day carried on (but oh so windy), but that didn't stop us from exploring. We wandered around Hollywood (I had never been!), went to the Grove (but didn't see Mario Lopez, sad!), Santa Monica Pier and even Venice. We went down to San Diego that Sunday for lunch in Escondito at Stone World Bistro & Gardens and then Ryan's friend came over for dinner that night too. Mmm, corned beef and cabbage. I'll admit, I have a mild obsession with the cabbage that is cooked with this meat. I could just eat that by itself. Okay, getting off track again, as per usual. It was a great trip and it's always great to spend time with Kris! Now, before I get into the brownie bites, which I know you are waiting for, here are a few pictures from the trip!

view from the end of the Santa Monica Pier

View from atop the ferris wheel on the pier. we were up there for awhile!

cool shot I took with my phone in Venice!

Okay, now to brownie bites. Since we were going down to see Kris and it was almost Valentines Day, I wanted to make her something a extra little special. Everyone deserves something a little extra special on Valentines Day! I was trying to think of something that could travel well on the plane and not get smooshed (yes, I said smooshed). You never know what can happen in those overhead bins. I also wanted something that was traditional and chocolatey, but something that was different. I know I just contradicted myself, but you know what I mean. Something traditional, but with a new age twist on it. It must have been my lucky day because the day I decided to make something, my morning Martha Stewart cookie email was the best one yet - brownie bites!  You take a traditional brownie recipe and bake it like you normally would. Once it's cooled, you roll up the cooked brownies into little balls and then roll them around in whatever you like - powdered sugar, granulated sugar, chopped nuts, cocoa powder. The possibilities are endless! The best part is that they look like little truffles. So cute, so good and the perfect size to just pop in your mouth. Just be careful when eating the ones rolled in cocoa powder. I found this to be a bit bitter at first, but then once you bit into it, it was yummy and the cocoa powder blended in just fine. Just a word of advice. You don't have to listen if you don't want to. Just don't choke on the cocoa powder, okay?

the line up

butter + sugar + chocolate

swirling flour


rolling station = almond meal, granulated sugar, dark cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

close up of the finished brownie bites!
Brownie Bites (courtesy of

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar, colored sugar, cocoa, or crushed toffee bits, for decoration
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit the bottom and press it onto the buttered surface. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, and chocolate. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. If the chocolate is not softened, continue to microwave at 10-second intervals, removing before it's completely melted.

Beat eggs and vanilla into the melted chocolate with a wooden spoon. Beat in flour and salt. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Turn the brownie cake out onto a baking sheet, flip over onto a work surface and peel off wax paper. Form into 1-inch balls, and roll them in the coating of your choice.

These brownie bites are not just for Valentines Day. These would make a great gift for any holiday or just anytime! Although these are super easy to make, the best part is that you don't need a stand or hand mixer for this recipe - all you need is a big bowl and wooden spoon. Now that makes for easy clean up!

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