Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coconut Swirl Brownies

Coconut is interesting; most people seem pretty lukewarm towards it, if they don't outright hate it. Few people seem to really love it; some of my friends do, but the majority dislike coconut.

Melted butter and chocolate..
These brownies are cakey, fudgy, and nicely chewy with just the right amount of coconut in them. Not too rich and not overly sweet.

Dollops of coconut mix
One thing about living in Finland that irks me is that we don't have a lot of basic ingredients that recipes I make call for, like OREOs, chocolate/peanut butter/any chips, cream of tartar, unsweetened chocolate, vanilla extract (I make my own, though), that fake butter stuff they drizzle on your popcorn at the movies, etc.

Also, all the measurements in recipes have to be converted: Fahrenheit to Celsius, ounces to grams and our butter doesn't come in handy tablespoons either. 

I adapted this recipe slightly from the original; since we don't have unsweetened chocolate, I used all semisweet and cut down on the sugar by 1/4 cup.

I also doubled the amount of coconut mixture, since we have a lot of shredded coconut at home right now. In my opinion, the coconut wasn't overpowering even though the amount was increased: if you like coconut, go ahead and double it.

Done! Notice how non-stick this pan was.
Ah, this pan. I bought this so called "non-stick" 8x8 pan for about $6 at Meijer's when I was in America a month ago, along with another supposedly non-stick Bundt pan (which was also insanely cheap..).

Neither of them are very non-stick, but they serve their purposes well enough. I'm just a rabid bargain hunter: I buy practically all my clothes on sale, too, and I usually stock up on cooking supplies and cookbooks whenever I'm in the states.. 

Everything in Finland is insanely expensive, and I mean everything. The few places that sell peanut butter, for example. One jar that in the US costs 2-3 dollars costs over 6 dollars here. A pint of Ben And Jerry's costs closer to 8 dollars. Maybe it's just our high standard of living?

Either way, shopping here makes me cringe a little inside. 


Coconut Swirl Brownies
originally from Martha Stewart

Makes 9 large or 16 small

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 large egg white
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).

Stir together 1 tablespoon of sugar, the condensed milk, coconut, egg white, and 1/4 teaspoon of the vanilla in a bowl.

Put butter and both chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 

Whisk remaining 3/4 cup sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs; whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well combined.

Pour one-third of the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Drop dollops of the coconut mixture (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining coconut mixture on top.

Gently swirl coconut mixture into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out with a few crumbs, but is not wet, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

When you're 18, you're either bogged down with studies or out partying it up every chance you get.. or something in-between, usually.

When you're 18, you don't have a food blog. Maybe in a decade or two.. but not now; in normal cases, of course.

How does anyone find your little, newly created and completely unknown food blog, anyways?

I've had my sights set on this Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread for a while, and finally got around to trying it today.

It's scrumptious.

It comes out of the pan golden, crispy, and so very tasty. Somehow, it's much more appealing (visually, at least) than just a normal pizza, and it's worth the slight extra effort it takes to shape the individual bites.

It's also much more fun to eat.


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
Barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp (55 g) butter
  • 2 lbs pizza dough
  • 6 oz (170 g) mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (about 50)
  • 50 slices pepperoni
  • Marinara sauce, warmed, for serving
1. Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.

2. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan with garlic butter.

3. Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten. Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.

4. Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.

5. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan.

6. Repeat until all of the dough is used.

7. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.

8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is very brown.

9. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

10. Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.