marmalade-walnut brownies

I love marmalade.  I didn’t use to.  Actually – I thought it was vile.  I’d get upset if I mistakenly selected the jar of marmalade from the fridge and slathered it on my toast.  But my grandmother loved it – and loved making it.  Every year, she would spend a weekend making her marmalade, jarring it up and passing it out.  She even did this while she was in Spain (it’s true – she went out and picked her own oranges that year and made some jam while on vacation).  Now that I am older and wiser and have developed an appreciation for marmalade, I think of my grandmother.  That’s a good thing :0)

This time round however I didn’t think of my grandmother.  I thought of Chloé’s mom, Céline.  Céline gifted me with a jar of her homemade marmalade last year – she had made a particularly good batch and was spreading the love :0)  Since today is Céline’s birthday – I thought it would be appropriate to make these brownies – and use her marmalade.

This recipe is worth making (even if you aren’t a marmalade lover).  Why? 

Because …

1.  My entire kitchen smelled of oranges and chocolate.  Not a bad thing.

2.  The brownies are really dark and gooey. 

3.  The batter tastes AMAZING (yes … I’m admitting to eating more raw batter … I honestly just licked the spoon… I was super curious to see how it would taste).

I played around with the recipe a bit … I wanted to add a little more punch to the flavour – dried cherries and orange zest did the trick. 

marmalade-walnut brownies

ingredients:

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 cup butter, melted

3 eggs

1/2 c. orange marmalade

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. flour, sifted

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Line your rectangular baking pan with parchment paper or foil, spray the liner with non-stick spray; and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar and melted butter. 

Stir in the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Add the marmalade and the vanilla, beat well into the batter.  Fold in the flour mixture until well combined.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and all of the nuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading it out. 

Bake for about 30 minutes – the centre should be set.   FYI you kitchen will start smelling of chocolate orange.  This is when you should attempt to sell your house :0)

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.   Once they have cooled down, you need to dress these babies up a little.

topping

ingredients:

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 c.  dried cherries, chopped

zest of 2 oranges

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and vegetable oil – it should get nice and smooth.

Cool slightly.  Then grab a whisk and dip the end in the melted chocolate.  Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled brownies.  Top the melted chocolate with the dried cherries and the orange zest.

These make for a truly festive treat.  Perfect to chase those winter blues away … or to celebrate a birthday.

Joyeuse anniversaire Céline.  Et merci bien pour la marmelade.

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yessssssssssss… success!!!!

Remember those cupcakes I made?  The ones that didn’t look like the picture?  Yes… now you remember!  They tasted yummy but they just didn’t look they way I hoped they would.  Well… this time I GOT IT RIGHT!!!!!

This is what I used as my template:

and this was my final result…. (I’m so excited!!!)

shortcake / preserves / whipped cream / strawberry / shortcake

Totally comparable to the original.  Like I said… SUCCESS! If I were still living in the UK I would call these… gorgeous (since all food in the UK is gorgeous).

Pretty and elegant.  Perfect for a Stella & Dot party right?  My friend Tonya was hosting a bunch of us ladies last weekend and wanted to serve treats that were dainty and stylish.  I found this recipe in a wedding cookbook and just knew that they would be PERFECT!  They were.  Honestly… people who say that girls don’t eat should have come to this party – mini champagne cupcakes and these mini strawberry shortcakes (don’t be fooled by the word mini – it just meant I made that many more from the recipes) didn’t stand a chance (that’s a compliment to everyone who attended the party).

As you can tell from the picture, these are made in 3 major stages:

1.  making the dough and chilling it

2.  rolling it out, cutting out the rounds, baking them

3.  dressing the shortcake with whipped cream and strawberries

It’s really not overly complicated.  You can start and finish these within a few hours – I’d say a mornings worth of time… and that’s really because you need the chilling and then the baking and cooling times incorporated.  It’s not labour intensive at all.  I swear!  And if I can actually make these look like the picture… then you have to know it’s easy (remember the cupcakes as proof).

shortcake:

3/4 c. butter, room temperature

1/2 c. white sugar

zest of a lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 c. ground hazelnuts*

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

In the bowl of your stand-mixer and using your paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar – your goal is a light and fluffy batter.  I have learned that it’s not a bad thing to let your stand-mixer work for a couple of minutes… you really want the sugar to loosen up the butter (increase the speed from stir to a medium speed too).  Just remember to scrape the sides down from time to time.

Once you get to the light and fluffy stage, return the mixer to a lower speed and stir in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Add the ground hazelnuts and flour, mixing well to form a dough – the batter will gather around the paddle attachment.

Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes.

Once you’re ready to roll out the dough, preheat your oven to 325 F.  Line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour your counter-top and roll out your dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Using a 1 or 1.5-inch round cookie cutter, cut out your perfect rounds.  I made 24 1.5-inch rounds and then another 30 1-inch rounds.  As you place the shaped rounds onto the cookie sheets (1/2 inch space between each cookie – they don’t spread), you can gather the dough together and roll it out again – repeating until you have no dough left.

Bake each cookie sheet for 12 – 15 minutes (depending on size), leave on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

* the original recipe called for ground almonds… I thought that the hazelnuts brought a nicer flavour…. the almonds probably wouldn’t be very evident in the overall cookie.

smaller disks in the background and then the larger disks – all stacked nicely

filling:

1 1/4 c. heavy cream

1 tsp (or more) vanilla extract

1/4 c. powdered sugar

3/4 c. strawberry jam

1 pint strawberries, cleaned and sliced, stems removed

Whip the heavy cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar together until the cream is stiff (it should hold to the whisk attachment of your stand-mixer).

Place the whipped cream in your pastry bag with a large star tip.  Set aside.

To assemble your shortcakes (as per the picture)

place a teaspoon of the strawberry jam on the base of a 1.5-inch round cookie (spread evenly)

Pipe swirls of whipped cream on-top of the strawberry jam

top with a slice of fresh strawberry

Angle a second disk of shortcake on a slight angle.  Dust with powdered sugar and… done!

Repeat with the remaining 1.5-inch disks of shortcake (if you made all of the cookies this size, then continue until all the disks are used).

If you made some smaller disks (1-inch rounds) then assemble as following:  disk / strawberry preserves / swirl of whipped cream / slice of strawberry

Little nibbles of goodness… perfect for a summer party.

Now… if you wanted to make these… for say a winter / holiday party… I would top the little disk with nutella, pipe marshmallow fluff and then top that with a really boozey flambée slice of banana.  YUM. I am so making that for a holiday party!