bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Friday, March 20, 2015

Brownie Macaroon Torte w/ Irish Cream Glaze

I found this recipe in my Pillsbury Bake-Off booklet (37th contest) - a booklet that I've had for ages. In fact, one of our favorite meals comes from that booklet, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos, but I had never noticed this recipe.  I'm not sure why because it's pictured on the front page of the booklet.  But this time, when I went to put the book away, I happened to notice the picture, and I just had to look up the recipe, and then I just had to make it.

I'm taking it for a potluck tomorrow, so I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells.

Brownie Macaroon Torte w/ Irish Cream Glaze
12 Servings

  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped or ground
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut
  • 2 T unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 box Brownie Mix (Large Size for 13x9 pan) 
  • 3 T amaretto (or 1-1/2 tsp. almond extract + 1-1/2 tsp. water)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 T Baileys Irish Cream
  • 2 to 3 T toasted coconut (or toasted, slivered almonds)
  1.  In medium bowl, combine filling ingredients; mix well.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.  Grease bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.  In large bowl, combine all brownie ingredients.  Beat with electric mixer at low speed until moistened.  Beat at medium to high speed 1 minute.
  3. Pour brownie batter into greased pan and spread evenly.  Using spatula, make a 1-inch wide circular groove in the batter, about 1 inch from the edge of the pan.  Make a second groove about 1 inch from the first one.  Spoon filling into grooves and press down gently so that it is level with the brownie batter.
  4. Bake at 350° F for 55-60 minutes or until set in center.  Note: the center will raise up, but it settles down after the torte is removed from the oven.  Cool 15 minutes and remove sides of pan.  Cool completely - 1 to 1-1/2 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. In a small bowl, combine Glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over top of cooled torte and garnish with toasted coconut.
To toast almonds: Spread almonds on baking sheet.  Bake at 350° F for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Cool slightly before chopping.
To toast coconut: Spread on baking sheet.  Bake at 350° F for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.

I don't usually buy cake mixes or brownie mixes, but I just happened to have one this time.  I bet my regular brownie recipe can be used in this recipe, so I'll have to try that next time.  See, I'm already saying next time - because this smells so good.  Chocolate, coconut, almond, all kinds of yummy flavors together.  And then the Irish Cream glaze on top.  The original recipe called for a vanilla glaze flavored with amaretto and a chocolate glaze - and then a garnish of slivered almonds.  I bet that's really good, too - but, I decided to just go with the one Irish Cream glaze and toasted coconut, because the slivered almonds I found in my pantry were old and didn't taste good anymore.  Also, that vanilla glaze called for store-bought vanilla frosting, which I have never bought, so I was going to have to make something up anyway.  Baileys and Amaretto - it wasn't a huge stretch.

It's a miracle I didn't just cut into this already.  There's nothing wrong with taking a dessert to a potluck with a wedge or two missing, right?  Or not.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to grab a picture (and a taste) once it's cut.  I have noticed that anything chocolate seems to go quite quickly at potlucks, so we'll see.  I may just have to make another one really soon - especially since this recipe only uses about 1/2 the can of sweetened condensed milk.  I have to find something to do with that other 1/2, don't I?

It was yummy!  I managed to grab a small sliver, and the rest disappeared completely.  I talked to a few people who had some, and they all agreed that it was very good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Southwest Barley and Black Beans (Slow Cooker)

I've made this a couple times so far, and it is really good.  I love all the flavors, and I especially love how easy it is.  Slow cookers are the best!  I usually mix all the ingredients in the slow cooker and refrigerate overnight - or longer - and then start it cooking the next day or whenever needed.  It's great for potlucks or taking food to share.  It would also make a great weeknight meal.

Southwest Barley and Black Beans(Slow Cooker)
adapted from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

  • 2 cups cooked chicken (or turkey), chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley (NOT quick)
  • 1 cup frozen corn, rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (red is prettiest)
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 2 cups chicken (or turkey) broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • salt & pepper
  • juice of a lime
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Mix all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook 4 hours on High, OR 6-8 hours on Low, until barley is cooked and tender.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  3. Serve with desired toppings: cheese, sour cream, additional salsa, cilantro, avocado, and/or tortilla chips.

The original recipe called for less liquid and none of the veggies.  I just had to add some corn because it goes so well with chicken and black beans.  And then I had a pepper I needed to use and some onions and cilantro, and I just had to add those too.  And cilantro goes with all of it!  It looks really pretty too.  This is before I added the broth and salsa:

If you want to keep it really simple (not that this isn't simple) you can skip any or all of the added veggies and just use the chicken, barley, black beans, broth, salsa and seasonings.  Either way it will be good.  The seasonings are great.  I will definitely be making this again - in one way or another. (It depends on what I have in the house, but don't all recipes?)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rum-Glazed Cranberry Scones

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Cupcake Muffin.  Sara was a graduate student at Berkley in California, but now she lives in Boston.  I hope she's surviving the winter they've been experiencing there.  That has to be a huge change from California!

Sara has all kinds of yummy looking recipes on her blog, so of course it was hard to choose.  She has not one, but two recent recipes for fish tacos that look really good.  Some others that caught my eye were:

 I settled on these scones because I just can't resist anything with cranberries.  And, I've never made scones before, so I thought now would be the perfect time.  The rum glaze didn't hurt either.

Rum-Glazed Cranberry Scones
adapted from Cupcake Muffin

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup milk
For the glaze:
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T dark rum
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a few times, and then add the butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like crumbs with a few larger pieces of butter.  Scrape into a large bowl.
  2. In the food processor (no need to rinse), pulse the cranberries, brown sugar, and orange zest until lightly chopped.
  3. Add the cranberries to the flour-butter mixture in the large bowl, and mix with a rubber spatula. Add the milk,  a little at a time, and stir until the dough just comes together (you may need to use your hands, but be careful not to over-mix the dough).
  4. Cover your workspace with a piece of parchment (or flour it really well), and dump the dough onto it. Pat into a thick circle (about 1/2" thick), and cut into wedges, 12 or fewer depending on the size you want.
  5. Transfer to baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes at 400° F, until browned.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly. 
    Alternate method: transfer to freezer; place scones in sealed container when frozen.  When ready to bake, remove scones from freezer, heat oven to 400° F, brush with glaze, and bake.
  6. Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, rum, and vanilla together until smooth. Drizzle scones with the glaze and let sit until the surface of the glaze dries before serving.
    Alternate glaze:  Mix 1 T rum with 1 T powdered sugar. Before baking, brush tops of scones with glaze and sprinkle with some Turbinado sugar.

I followed Sara's recipe the first time I made these, except that I used twice as much powdered sugar in my glaze because it seemed really thin.  It could really go either way - double the powdered sugar or cut the rum and vanilla in half - and it would still be good.  We ended up with a lot of really tasty glaze all over our scones!

The scones were really good, soft on the inside and crunchy on the edges.  The cranberry and orange flavor is so good.  I liked the crunchiness so much that the next time I made them, I separated the wedges, and I raised the oven temperature to 400°.  Perfect!  They're still soft inside, but you get more crunchy edges.

I also read somewhere that freezing your scones for 30 minutes before baking will relax the gluten in the flour and make them flakier and more tender.  So, if 30 minutes is good, longer is OK, too right?  I made up a batch and transferred my parchment to the freezer instead of a baking dish and the oven.  I froze the scones and then put them into a sealed container in the freezer.  Then, whenever I wanted scones, all I had to do was take out however many I wanted to bake, let them sit on the counter while the oven was heating, brush them with a glaze of rum and powdered sugar, sprinkle with some turbinado sugar, and bake.  It's so handy to have scones in the freezer ready to bake at any time.  I will definitely be making these again and keeping some in the freezer so I can have them whenever I want!

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