Tag Archive | "brownies"

Try Lavender in Your Brownies

“I love these brownies!” Sharon Shipley writes in “The Lavender Cookbook” (Running Press, $18.95). “They’re moist, chewy, and so quick and easy to prepare. Why bother making brownies from a box, when these take only a few extra minutes and taste so much better? Serve them with vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge sauce — or just plain with a glass of cold milk. What could be better?”

If you are cooking with lavender, make sure you get the variety that is meant for the kitchen. Ask your lavender farmer or the person handling the bulk bins at stores like Central Market, Whole Foods or Green Fields for guidance. Shipley prefers the dried “Provence” culinary buds because they have “a low camphor level, a nice floral note, and a gentle lavender flavor. Other varieties of lavender can taste perfumey, buttery and medicinal.” The culinary variety will also have more gray in the color.

Chocolate Lavender Brownies

1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds
3 cups sugar, divided use
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or powdered instant coffee
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Place the lavender in a spice grinder with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Pulse until the lavender is finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, salt, espresso or coffee powder, and the remaining sugar. Mix well.

Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for 1 minute at a time until melted. Let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter mixture. Using a wood spoon, mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts, if using. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.

Makes 24 brownies.

From “The Lavender Cookbook” by Sharon Shipley

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Chefs’ Corner: Raw Walnut Brownies


For many of us, cracking and shelling nuts is a holiday tradition that takes us back to our childhood. Here’s a treat that uses the flavor of fresh, raw walnuts in a brownie that’s anything but traditional.

Local raw food expert Christa M. Emrick shares her recipe for Raw Walnut Brownies, which go together quickly in a food processor and are rich enough to make anyone forget baked brownies. The sweetness here comes from the dates.

Try to find dried cherries without sugar added; they are often available in the bulk departments of grocers like Whole Foods and Sun Harvest.

For more on Emrick’s raw food classes and recipes, click here.

Raw Walnut Brownies

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
Dash of salt
7 – 10 pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries or raisins

Place the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until coarsely chopped.

Remove 1/4 cup of the walnuts and set aside.

Add the salt to the walnuts in the food processor and process until finely ground.

Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together.

Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and process until evenly distributed.

Add the water, dried fruit, and reserved walnuts, and process briefly, just to mix.

Pack the mixture firmly into a square container.

Cut into small pieces. Be aware: The brownies are very rich in flavor.

Note: Stored in a sealed container, brownies will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.

Makes 8 brownies or 4 servings.

From Christa Emrick

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Mother’s Brownies

Mother's Brownies

These brownies were created by Mary Singleton, Frances Strange’s mother, an excellent baker who worked with Don Strange of Texas in part by recipes and making the desserts for the Steak Nite each Wednesday in Waring.

“If you like your brownies soft and cakelike, but ultimately chocolate-y, then you’ll love this recipe, which Mother developed in the commissary kitchen years ago,” Frances Strange writes in “Don Strange of Texas” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95). “It’s become the ‘official’ Don Strange of Texas brownie. They’re served at party-planning conferences and other meetings, at parties, and often at Steak Nite, when guests have one or two before their steaks, heeding the advice ‘Life is short — eat dessert first!'”

Mother’s Brownies

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cup ssugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, tapping out all excess flour; set aside. Toss together the cocoa and baking soda in a large bowl, blending well. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the canola oil. Add the boiling water and whisk until well blended and thik. Stir in the sugar, eggs and remaining canola oil. Stir until smooth. Add the flour, vanilla and salt, stirring to mix well.

Turn the batter out into prepared baking pan and bake until a wooden toothpick insert into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack before slicing into 2-inch squares.

Makes 24 brownies.

From “Don Strange of Texas” by Frances Strange with Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Daily Dish: Olive Oil Brownies, Anyone?

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf, will observe Father’s Day on Saturday, offering tours and treats featuring this healthful, delicious fruit with an ancient history. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., come down to the ranch to see thousands of olive trees and learn about the varieties that grow well in Texas. Tours are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sandy Oaks nursery offers 20 varieties of olive trees for sale, for those who want to grow their own.

Dad can have a glass of sangria, kids can have pizza snacks and everyone can sample olive leaf tea. Taste olive oil and specially made treats made with olive oil, such as olive oil brownies. Check out the shop for everything from extra virgin olive oil, fig balsamic vinegar and to Sandy Oaks’ made-on-site lotions, healing salves, salt scrub and aromatic oil.

From now through Saturday, anyone who purchases more than $40 worth of merchandise in the gift shop will receive a gift of either truffles or olive oil brownies.

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard (, owned by Saundra C. Winokur, is located at 25195 Mathis Road, off U.S. Highway 37 about 20 minutes south of San Antonio. Take the Hardy Road Exit and turn east (left, if coming from San Antonio.) Go to Mathis Road, turn left, and Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard is on your left about a third of a mile up Mathis Road. Look for the big iron gate.

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