The Brownies Diaries – Pt. 1

Let’s kick off 2019 – albeit belatedly –  with these magnificent Brownies in part one of The Brownies Diaries! ❤

Fudgy Goooey Brownies. Dark Chocolate Brownies. Gooey Brownies Recipe. The Best Ever Brownies Recipe. The Fudgiest Brownies Recipe. Classic Chocoalte Brownies Recipe. Chocolate Brownies Recipe. Food Photography. #food #recipe #foodphotography #brownies #dessert #dessertrecipes #chocolate

Continue reading “The Brownies Diaries – Pt. 1”

Raspberry Brownies

Gooey, dense Raspberry Brownies to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or ANY other day, really!)? Count us IN! 😀

Raspberry Brownies

Continue reading “Raspberry Brownies”

Friendship, Chocolate & Gilmore Girls

Join us, as my lovely friend Monita and I celebrate our first Friendaversary with gorgeous Chocolate Madeleines, Brookies (Brownie Cookies!) and our shared love for the ‘Gilmore Girls’ in a sweet, virtual get together! 🙂 ❤

GG Chocolate Collab Winola&Monita 2

IMG_9850

Continue reading “Friendship, Chocolate & Gilmore Girls”

Christmas Tree Brownie Pops

Christmas is my favourite time of year! I love putting up the tree, lighting candles around the house, the sweet aroma of baked goodies and traditional kuswar (Mangalorean Christmas confectionery) being made in the kitchen while carols play in the background. The whole nine yards.

IMG_8696

Last Christmas (no, I didn’t give you my heart! 😛 ) I was busy with what felt like a million orders for traditional Rich Fruit Christmas Cake, that I had little time to spare to make any other holiday goodies. I just whipped up a batch of last-minute chocolate fudge and that was that. This year I have tonnes of time on my hands and thanks to my major baking plans, that means tonnes of flour and frosting smeared all over my clothes. (Just how I like it!) No seriously, I ought to invest in a nice apron one of these days!

IMG_8761

In between all the Christmas-prep madness last year, as I was flipping the pages of my favourite magazine BBC GoodFood (I love the Middle East, India and UK versions) I came across this feature wherein a circular cake had been cut into wedges and frosted to look like individual Christmas trees. It was a brilliant idea and they looked stunning and so rare – I was glad for once it wasn’t all about the gingerbread man . So this year, I decided to take inspiration from that feature, thus creating my very own Christmas Tree Brownie Pops and here I am sharing them with you!

IMG_8718

Here’s what you need to make these cute Christmas treats.

For the Brownies:

  • Dark Chocolate – 150 g
  • Butter – 113 g, cold and cubed
  • Cocoa Powder – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 160 g
  • Eggs – 3
  • All Purpose Flour – 95 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Walnuts – 100 g, coarsely chopped

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • Butter – 120 g, softened
  • Icing sugar – 200 g, sifted
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • A few drops of green gel food colouring
  • Sprinkle of your choice
  • Pop sticks

Here’s how you make them:

Step 1: In a bowl, mix together butter and dark chocolate and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow the butter and chocolate to melt, giving it an occasion stir, until it is well-combined and luscious.

Step 2: Take the bowl off the heat and sift in cocoa powder and sugar.

 

Step 3: Beat in one egg at a time, making sure to beat quickly in order to trick the egg into not cooking in the warm chocolate mixture.

 

Step 4: Blend in the flour and the vanilla extract until just incorporated. Then add in the chopped walnuts and give it a final mix.

 

Step 5: Pour the batter into a 9-inch circle baking tin greased and lined with parchment paper. Pop it into the preheated oven and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 – 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached to it.

To make the Vanilla Buttercream: Blend butter, icing sugar, food colouring and vanilla extract until it forms a light and creamy frosting that holds its shape when piped.

The Last Step: Once cooled, cut the brownies into wedges. Then watch the below video wherein I show you how to decorate these pretty Christmas Tree Brownie Pops!  (Psst, this is The Foodscape’s first video; please do show some love. And follow the channel too!) 🙂

These brownie pops are gooey, nutty and just spectacular. The dark chocolate really gives it a wonderful rich flavour, while the walnuts add that crunch and welcome bitterness that I love in my brownies! And the concept of brownies in a Christmas Tree avatar is a complete winner! 😀

IMG_8737

It’s a great idea for an edible gift too, though I would suggest decorating it with royal icing instead of buttercream in that case. You don’t want your frosting decorations all smudged, so the quick-drying properties of royal icing will come to your rescue in such a situation. Oh, and without a doubt, everyone, both young and old, will surely love these. They are colourful, Christmasy and chocolaty, what’s not to love?

IMG_8715

Through this post, I hope I brought a little Christmas cheer to your home! 🙂 Try this recipe out, it is easy-peasy and ready in a jiffy. Happy holiday baking! 😀

IMG_8792

 

 

Crownies

Combination sweet treats have been making waves for quite a while now; and I think they are just awesome! I mean, isn’t it great that you get to fulfill your longing for two baked delights at the same time? 😀

IMG_6884-001

Can’t decide between a croissant and a doughnut? Have a Cronut! Confused between picking up a bag of pretzels or a cupcake on your way home from work? There’s no need to rack your brain when you can indulge in a Pretzel Cupcake! If all your heart wants is a slice of cheesecake AND a slice of red velvet cake – here’s an idea, bake The Foodscape’s Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies! (Oh wait, that recipe doesn’t just combine red velvet cake and cheesecake, but brownies too! Win-win, isn’t it? Or should I say, win-win-win? 😉)

The idea of creating a fusion of two desserts to make one delicious masterpiece is just genius! And quick that I am to learn from the world of baking, here I am integrating two classic coffee-time munchies into one – to make Crownies!

IMG_6888-001

Brownies + Cookies = Crownies! Yes; these Crownies are packed with the goodness of both Dark Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Many call them Brookies, but I like to call them Crownies; look at them – they are more brownie-ish than cookie-ish, aren’t they? But hey, once you take a bite, it doesn’t matter what they are called. Well mostly because you can’t stop eating them! 😛 They are that incredible!

Here’s what you need:

For the Brownie layer:

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – 160 g
  • Unsalted Butter – 113 g
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 150 g
  • Eggs – 3
  • All Purpose Flour – 100 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie layer:

  • All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
  • Unsalted Butter – 1/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips – 1 cup

This is how you make Crownies. 🙂

The Brownie layer:

Step 1: Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a heat-proof bowl; place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water isn’t touching the base of the bowl. Leave it to melt.

IMG_6820-001

Step 2: Take the bowl off the heat and mix in cocoa powder and sugar until well incorporated. Beat in the eggs until the batter is fluffy.

IMG_6825-001

IMG_6831-001

Step 3: Add in the flour and vanilla essence and beat the batter until it is glossy and smooth.

IMG_6833-001

Step 4: Pour the Brownie batter into a greased and lined 10 inch square tin. Smooth out the batter until it is in an even layer. Set aside.

IMG_6838-001

The Cookie Layer

Step 5: In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, butter and cinnamon powder until the mixture is well combined, yet crumbly.

IMG_6843-001

Step 6:  Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat well. Mix in chocolate chips and give the batter a final mix.

IMG_6846-001

IMG_6847-001

The Crownies

Step 7: With your palms, make little rounds of batter, flatten each of them and place them on top of the brownie layer until the surface is covered with a layer of cookie dough.

IMG_6852-001

IMG_6861-001

Step 8: Pop the Crownies into a preheated oven and bake at 165 degrees Celsius for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top of the cookies are crisp and golden brown, but a toothpick inserted all the way into the brownie layer comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Take them out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut yourself a piece and EAT!

IMG_6865-001

These Crownies are the perfect amalgamation of an array of flavours and textures that are sure to make you go “Wow!” The ooey-gooey lusciousness of the Brownie layer with all that chocolaty goodness oozing through, paired with the crisp bite of the Chocolate Chip Cookie layer giving way to the moist cookie with welcome bursts of chocolate – I’d say that’s heaven right there!

IMG_6935-001Though I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, this was Ah-Mazing! And I had to exercise a great deal of self-control to stop myself from gobbling up the entire batch! Mom loved it; she took a very skeptical bite, but my, was she pleased! The boyfriend took a bite, closed his eyes and drifted away to paradise… and it was a good three minutes before he came back to earth and said, “This is so good! I’m so lucky!” (State the obvious, much? 😉)

If you like to hear such wonderful feedback from friends and family about your culinary prowess, I suggest you get into the kitchen and get baking! You’ll surely earn lots of brownie points, and some cookie points too! 😛

IMG_6958-001

TheFoodscape Review: Nestle Toll House Cafe, Muscat

Being a baker, the Nestle Toll House Cookie holds a very special place in my heart. In my journey towards baking the perfectly chewy chocolate-chip cookie, the original Nestle Toll House Cookie has lent me tons of inspiration. Needless to say, the cookie holds unparalleled historical importance.

So you can imagine my joy when one evening as the boyfriend and I drove past the Al Khuwair service road, I spotted the newly opened Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip standing tall in its neon yellow and chocolate glory. I remember letting out a shriek and announcing out loud – like a kid on sugar rush – that the Nestle Toll House Cafe is now in Muscat and that I’ve been waiting to try their stuff out my entire life! (In retrospect, I was exaggerating; but I was excited, okay?!)

Flash forward to last night. After about a month of deciding to visit the Cafe and then changing our plans due to one reason or another, the boyfriend and I finally reached the doorstep of Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip, Muscat. My, was I excited! I could barely contain myself.

download_20150707_130915

The Cafe is super elegant. Playing with hues of yellow and black, the decor is chic and contemporary. It’s the kind of place you would like to hang out with your friends at or chill by yourself with a good book, a cup of coffee and a delicious slice of cake or cookie. But since we wanted to head home at the earliest, we decided to take some baked goodies to go.

download_20150707_130903

We browsed through an array of Cookies (Classic Chocolate-Chip, Triple Chocolate-Chip, Rainbow Chocolate-Chip, Sugar Cookies, Chocolate-Chip with walnuts and others with pecans), Brownies (Cookies ‘n’ Cream, KitKat, Button, Butterfinger and Cream Cheese), Coconut Macaroons and Cookie Sandwiches. The boyfriend settled on the KitKat Brownie while I chose to have the Cookies ‘n’ Cream one and we decided to take two Coconut Macaroons for the parents.

download_20150707_130943

When the cashier handed us the bill, we were shocked – two brownies and two little macaroons cost us RO 6.400 in total! (That’s RO 1.400 per macaroon and RO 1.800 per brownie.) At this point I would like for you to know that none of the prices are mentioned on the name tags of each goody. I have to admit that I found the goodies steeply overpriced. Knowing what goes into baking brownies and selling them, I just couldn’t fathom why the brownies cost so much more than they should have. And coconut macaroons of that puny size are simply not worth RO 1.200! As we walked out of the cafe, we only hoped that each goody tasted so good that the hole in our pockets would seem less deep.

download_20150707_131005

Sadly, this was not the case. The brownies were way too cakey, sickly sweet owing to the added toppings and the base brownie itself felt like the ones made with a store-bought mix. Nothing special or wow-worthy. The coconut macaroons were too sweet and lacked the crispy crunch that macaroons normally have. All in all, a huge disappointment.

download_20150707_131015

The Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip holds a long-standing reputation for being one of the greatest confectioneries in the world producing some absolutely lip-smacking delicacies. I really hope the branch in Muscat does step up to the international standards and that soon we’ll have scrumptious goodies that are of complete value for our money served up at the Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip, Muscat. There is room for a lot of improvement, and being a dessert-freak myself, I certainly hope to see some soon!

Skillet Brownie Cake

IMG_6250

A couple of weeks ago, one of my oldest friends looked at my post on Dark Chocolate Cake Pops and sent me a message asking me to do a post on something super chocolatey that is easy to make with ingredients that don’t require one to go on a drawn out treasure hunt to find them. On a whim, I promised her that I would soon do a post on a Skillet Chocolate Cake. Though I didn’t get around to doing it immediately, I sure didn’t forget.

IMG_6246

IMG_6270

So over the past weekend, on the occasion of The Foodscape’s 1st Anniversary, I baked this chocolicious Brownie Cake in a skillet. Baking this cake was very special – it felt like I was connecting with my roots again. Many of you may not know this, but when I first started baking back when I was only 13, I didn’t own an oven and so I would bake on the gas stove on an open flame. And for this cake, I did just that! 🙂

Wondering how it’s even remotely possible? Well, here’s the deal – all you need is a diffuser to place directly in contact with the flame; a deep, flat bottomed pan with a lid that fits perfectly; and a couple of heavy wooden blocks or slabs. When you’re all stocked up and your cake batter is ready, grease your pan, pour in the batter, switch on the gas on a low flame, place the diffuser over it and then place the pan on the diffuser. Cover it with the lid, and place the wooden slabs on top to make sure that air does not escape from the pan during the baking process. Sweet and simple, isn’t it?

IMG_6072
This is the arrangement to bake directly on the gas stove: Place the diffuser (the thin silver iron plate) on the gas, place the pan over it, cover with the lid and place the wooden slabs on top to make sure air doesn’t escape during the baking process 🙂

So here’s my recipe for this anniversary special Skillet Brownie cake…

Here’s what you need:

  • Semi-sweet Chocolate – 75 g + extra for garnish
  • Unsalted Butter – 60 g
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 tbsp
  • Granulated Sugar – 80 g
  • Eggs – 2, small
  • All Purpose Flour – 50 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Walnuts – 50 g, chopped
  • Maraschino Cherries – 20 g, chopped
  • Your choice of sprinkles – for garnish
  • Strawberries – for granish

Here’s how you make it:

  • Mix together 75 grams of semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a vessel of simmering water – making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water – and allow the chocolate and butter to melt.
  • Once melted, take off the heat. Add cocoa powder and sugar and stir vigorously until well incorporated. Add in the eggs and whip well.
  • Mix the flour into the chocolate mixture until just completely incorporated; then pour in the vanilla essence and the salt.
  • Add in the chopped walnuts and maraschino cherries and give the batter a final mix.
  • Pour the batter into the greased skillet and place on top of a heated diffuser in contact with an open flame. Cover with the lid and press down with wooden blocks. Allow to bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached to it.
  • Once done, take off the heat, frost with melted chocolate, sprinkles and berries.
  • EAT, NOW!

IMG_6285

This cake is truly the ultimate chocolate indulgence. Exceptionally gooey, this brownie cake is rich, luscious, velvety and crumbly all at once. Decadent good quality chocolate combined with the sweetness of maraschino cherries and the walnuts lending it some crunch and bite, this cake is pure heaven to the senses! If you’re a chocolate lover, this will be your favourite go-to recipe for a homemade cake; and for those of you who don’t love chocolate, this will take you to the dark sinful side! I should know, it has me sold!

So what are you waiting for? Get caking and indulge in The Foodscape’s version of Chocolate Paradise 😀

IMG_6263

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

IMG_3313

There are some things in life that just blow your mind and take you by surprise. There are some tasks which turn out exactly the way you didn’t expect them to. There are some times you embark on a cooking mission, ending up with something completely different from what you thought you’d end up with. This was one such time for me.

It was over two years ago when I first stumbled upon the concept of Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies – I was looking through the internet for unique baking recipes when I came across it. I remember thinking they looked spectacular – just beautiful. I also remember thinking they were way beyond my sphere of expertise, and I just gave up without a second thought.

IMG_3351

To be completely honest, these brownies aren’t hard to make at all. They are incredibly easy to put together, and the fact that this recipe isn’t time consuming is a real blessing. If you have all the ingredients at home, you could put these together in less than an hour. So if you’ve got a strong craving for something sweet and a little patience, this is a great dessert or coffee-time treat.

You’ve probably been to many a pastry shoppe or bakery selling Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I’ve been making some mean Red Velvet Cupcakes for a long time now (they are the one thing I never go wrong with). These brownies are the perfect turn on the classic. The same elements, just baked differently. These brownies look way more sophisticated than the cupcakes, like tiny pieces of art adorning a tray at your tea-party or dinner shindig. But taste wise, they are both at par.

While I will put up a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcake soon, here’s how you make these gorgeous Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.

IMG_3356What you need:

For the Red Velvet layer:

  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Dark Chocolate – 2 ounces, coarsely chopped
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Red Food Coloring – 2 tsp
  • All Purpose Flour – 2/3 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp

For the Cheesecake layer:

  • Cream Cheese – 8 ounces
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp

This is how you make it

  • In a bowl, melt the butter and chocolate and mix together until smooth.
  • In another bowl, blend together sugar, two eggs, red food coloring and vanilla extract.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the red mixture. Mix well.
  • Mix in the flour and salt and blend until there are no streaks of flour remaining.
  • In a separate bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  • Grease and line your cake pan with parchment paper. Pour in 3/4 of the red velvet mixture.
  • Drop the cheesecake mixture in dollops and spread to form an even layer.
  • Drop the remaining red velvet batter in little blobs all over and then using a knife swirl it around.
  • Bake at 150 degrees Celsius for 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely.
  • Cut into pieces and serve.

IMG_3378These brownies are so different, so out of the ordinary. They are chocolatey and cheesy and just so unique, they’ll take you on a journey of tastes and textures that you just don’t expect. The red velvet layer is luscious and gooey with more than a tiny hint of chocolate – it is sweet and just melts in your mouth. The cheesecake layer is delicious – it is creamy, rich and tangy and is the perfect complement to the red velvet’s flavors and textures.

This batch of brownies was gobbled up within minutes. I packed a few for my friend and once she started gobbling them up, she couldn’t stop; she ended up leaving just one tiny piece for her little brother. The boyfriend was ecstatic when he tasted them – he loves anything cakey, creamy and cheesy. My mum loved the balance of the brownies too. And I? Well I loved them. I was worried about over-cooking the brownie layer and under-cooking the cheesecake layer, but gladly it was cooked perfectly. They tasted lovely and they looked stunning. They looked like Christmas on a plate!

IMG_3334

IMG_3288