Spring and Brownies

 

Spring is in full swing here in Texas and I am pleasantly surprised at the very mild weather – usually by this time the gorgeous 70 degree days are gone and the weather starts ascending into the hot summer months. *UPDATE*: since I wrote that sentence two weeks ago, the weather has now started ascending into the hot summer months…

Like Valentines Day, in the Fall/Winter I never look forward to spring. In fact, I really can’t bear the thought of it! But alas, also like Valentines Day (except more so, I am not – no pun intended –  in love with Valentines Day 🙂 ) Spring arrives and I am in love – especially this year with the unbelievably beautiful weather. One of my favorite events that takes place every April (Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival) was a couple of weeks ago, and as always, was quite fun. This year I was especially excited at the addition of classical music (although I must admit, I am not sure that solo piano works too well at  a noisy festival such as this one)  to the other genres of live music presented at the festival every year (it’s about time!). One bad side though, is that they did not have as much to offer in the way of the culinary arts as they normally do – oh well, I guess it’s a trade off?

Speaking of culinary subjects let’s talk brownies. What? Again? Is this all she does is post brownies? Can she not bake anything else?

What can I say? I like – I mean really like – brownies and they are perfectly easy to whip up on a whim. Plus I have a lot of fun making different variations with this favorite recipe of mine. This time though, I didn’t do much to the brownies except add a very delicious buttercream frosting to the top. If you are not a buttercream fan then leave it off – you still have great brownies underneath. But if you do like buttercream… pile it on! I used this recipe here and it really complimented the brownies very well. If you are in need of a fairly quick dessert or have a sweet urge that can’t wait long to be satisfied, then I highly, highly, recommend you make these. Buttercream frosting piled on top of nothing but chocolatey goodness – oh my.

Cottura felice!

Notes

~ For the buttercream frosting recipe, please visit the link above. I did not post the actual recipe as I find the blogger’s comments very helpful.

~ To make these brownies extra springy, try adding a light pastel colored food coloring to the frosting and top with sprinkles – kind of like those sugar cookie bars you see at the top of this post!

~ I cut the frosting recipe in half, and for me it was plenty, but use your own judgment based on how much/how little frosting you like.

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Chocolate Brownies With Buttercream Frosting

For the brownies

1/2 C. ( 1 stick ) butter, melted
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 C. all – purpose flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 in. baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk (or mixer), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

let brownies cool completely before adding frosting.

Barely adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies

Photos © Sempre Dolce

What do you do on the opening day of baseball?

 

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You have a party, of course!

Yes, my entire family and I are big baseball fans… so you can only imagine the excitement that comes with opening day. Of course, one would much rather be at the game, but hey, having a party is fun too and you get better quality food, in my opinion.

The fact that these are red, white, and blue is just merely a coincidence - we weren't trying to match the rangers colors - really!

The fact that these are red, white, and blue is just merely a coincidence – we weren’t trying to match the Rangers colors – really!

 

During the baseball season, we try to make as many games as possible. And going to a game inevitably means that you are going to get food as well. Up until last year, our ballpark (Globe Life Park in Arlington – go Rangers!!) didn’t have much to offer in the way of food other than your normal ballpark fare and a few special dishes. Last year however, the ballpark got some renovations and with them came some food upgrades! ( give me a break, for a foodie this aspect is almost as important as the game 😉 ) One of the upgrades being the most amazing bucket of chips I have ever had! These came from a concession called The Chipper (here is a link – it’s photo #12 – so you get the general idea. Unfortunately they do not look nearly as good in the pictures as they do in person, so if you are wondering why I think these appetizing, I can’t blame you – just trust me though). What The Chipper has to offer is a bucket of fresh fried kettle chips with various toppings and meats. One of the ones we like to get is topped with queso blanco, brisket, pico di gallo, and sour cream. It really isn’t one of those disgusting dishes, it’s just loaded! And, it’s the best deal you are going to get for $11 at a ballpark as the bucket is huge, the chips rich, and easily shared between a party of six. Anyway, now that  you have an idea of one of the dishes, I can get on with the rest of the party!

 

For a baseball party you need baseball fare, right? Right. So for our little celebration, we made our own version of Chippers using 3 varieties of  of chips, a homemade white queso, sour cream, pico, and brisket. We also deviated a little from the ballpark fare and had – remember that luscious chocolate peanut butter cake? – chocolate peanut butter cupcakes! We also had freshly squeezed raspberry lemonade, but it was ruined by my forgetting to add in the sugar – bitter lemon juice anyone?

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Despite the Texas Rangers losing to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday for opening day, it was still fun and the food superb! So take note: next year, if you too are at home for the opening day/night of baseball, I would highly recommend a baseball watching/listening party for sure! Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, it’s an excuse to have a party right?

If you are interested in making these chips as well, here is how:

Copycat Chippers Chips

Kettle or tortilla chips of your choice -we used Kettle brand Salt and Pepper, Terra Potpourri chips, and blue corn tortilla chips

Regular or white queso without sausage – I highly recommend this recipe

Meat of your choice: chicken, brisket, taco meat work well

Pico di gallo

Sour cream

 

Place desired amount of chips in individual bowls and top with any of the above toppings – enjoy!