Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stitching and Baking

Since I last posted, Little Guy and I have been enjoying our daily walks and the fine spring weather.  Most of the rain has been falling during the night, so we've spent a lot of time outdoors these last few weeks.  Even in the middle of town, there is still plenty of natural beauty to relish.  

On the cool or windy days we have been preoccupying ourselves with crafts of our choosing.  I've baked a bit and worked on my stitching a bit while Little Guy has been experimenting with oven-bake clay and practicing his writing.  As you can see, I was not able to finish the Golden Girls cross stitch in time for Mother's Day, so I'll just save it for my mom's birthday instead.  

Mister also put in a special request.  He has been playing the Fall Out games on the PlayStation, so he asked me if I could stitch him a Vault Boy.  This is my progress so far:

Last night Mister asked for some brownies, but I didn't have all my usual ingredients on hand, so I had to improvise.  They turned out great!  If you like almonds give them a try, if you don't you can substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Chocolate Almond Brownies

6 T natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T vegetable oil
1/3 C butter, softened (salted is fine)
1 C sugar
2 eggs
~1/3 tsp almond extract (I used the half-teaspoon measure but didn't fill it all the way)
1/2 C + 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
semisweet chocolate pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare an 8-inch square pan by lining it with foil them spraying the foil generously with cooking spray.  

Place the cocoa powder and oil in a medium mixing bowl and stir with a fork until smooth.  Stir in the softened butter.  Microwave the mixture 20-30 seconds until the butter is completely melted. Stir until smooth.  Beat in sugar, eggs, and almond extract.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl then stir. Stir in nuts if using.  Batter will be kind of thick and stiff.

Use a rubber spatula to put all the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until brownies start to pull away from the edges of the pan.  Do Not Overbake.

If using, place chocolate pieces on top of warm brownies.  When melted, smooth out for even coverage. Allow brownies to set.  You can speed them along by placing them in the freezer.

And there you have it.  Scrumptious brownies to enjoy with a nice tall glass of cold milk or a mug of hot coffee.

Have a great day and happy stitching!

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