super fudgy brownies

There are few things in life better than a chocolaty, fudgy, warm brownie. I’m pretty sure they possess some sort of power that evokes sunshine and fuzzy feelings. You can’t be mad and eat a brownie at the same time. Not possible.

super fudgy browines

super fudgy brownies

These brownies are fudgy, chewy, and the added chocolate coffee glaze really knocks it up on the decadent scale.

That’s one scale I don’t mind going up. 

super fudgy brownies

Make sure you have a glass of milk handy. You’re going to need it.

Fudgy Brownies with Chocolate Coffee Glaze
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  2. 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 eggs, at room temperate
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 tablespoons brewed coffee, at room temperature
  7. 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of flour (plus more for coating the pan)
  8. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour an 8 inch square baking pan, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the butter.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute and then disk until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the sugar, eggs (one at a time), and the vanilla.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and salt.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out with a moist crumb.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Once cool, spread with the chocolate coffee glaze.
Notes
  1. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator.
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/
Coffee Brownie Glaze
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 tablespoons milk
  6. 2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine the chips, milk, coffee, and butter over medium heat, stirring, until the chips and butter are melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from the heat; whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Spread the glaze over the brownies.
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/
 

   

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

How does a buttermilk biscuit sound, with a slab of sweet butter and a fair amount of jam or honey drizzled right on top? Yea, I see you drooling. I’m not going to lie, I’ve paused my writing to contemplate making another batch in the middle of the afternoon. These biscuits have a way of making you do things you wouldn’t normally do.

I began making biscuits regularly when my dad asked for them one Father’s day a couple of years back. Thinking that they would be a pain to throw together, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were quick and easy to make. I’ve been able to tweak and play around with different types of flours since that time.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits really are easy to make, I promise. I think the sheer fact of having to roll out dough and cut it into circles makes people shake in their aprons. But honestly, you can throw these little nuggets of love together in less than 30 minutes. It’s really a matter of learning a couple tricks that can help in making a beautiful biscuit.

First, have a pastry cutter – you can certainly use two butter knives, but I really find it easier having a pastry cutter…it just gives you more evenly crumbly dough. Second, freeze your dough for at least 5-8 minutes after you’ve cut your butter into the flour. Having really cold dough aids in the rolling out process.

This particular biscuit recipe uses cake flour, and let me tell you, they make a huge difference. They give that biscuit the light yet biscuit-like taste that we all love. I think we get in the mind set that cake flour is used for just that, cake. But really, the flour is great for all sorts of baked goods.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

So instead of mercilessly slamming the tube of biscuits on the side of the counter, take the extra twenty minutes to make homemade ones you’ll love so much more.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups of cake flour
  2. 9 Tablespoons of really cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
  3. 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  4. 2 Teaspoons of baking powder
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon of baking soda
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  7. 3/4-1 Cup of low-fat buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a Baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cut your butter with a pastry cutter (or two knives) into your flour mixture until it resembles small crumbly batter.
  5. Place the flour mixture in the freezer for 8-10 minutes, you want a really cold dough.
  6. Slowly stir in the buttermilk and with your hands knead until it comes together.
  7. Carefully pour batter onto flat surface sprinkled with flour and knead only a couple times.
  8. Roll the dough to a 1/2 thick. With a 1-2 inch wide round cutter slowly twist the round into the dough.
  9. Transfer the biscuits to your lined baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes.
  10. Brush melted butter over them when done baking.
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/
   

pecan crusted french toast

We’ve flipped out a couple of pancake recipes (1,2) and waffle recipes (1,2) so it’s about time we got a french toast recipe up in here. Don’t ask what has taken so long. It’s a breakfast mystery. 

So, I finally hit the kitchen and got to work cooking up a french toast recipe that has everything there is to love about this breakfast favorite…crunchy outside, eggy middle, thick bread, and for some extra love, cinnamon coated pecans.

Oh yea. This is why breakfast rocks.

pecan crusted french toast

pecan crusted french toast

This recipe is simple but does include an extra step or two than your normal, run-of-the-mill french toast.

Don’t worry. They are easy steps. I wouldn’t make something you do before noon too difficult. 

The key to getting an evenly cooked, pecan crusted bite is to cook the toast over medium low heat. You want that eggy bread to cook without burning the pecans. 

pecan crusted french toast

French toast? Good. French toast crusted with pecans? Better. Always better.

Cinnamon Pecan Crusted French Toast
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Ingredients
  1. 5 eggs
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 2 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups pecans, finely chopped
  7. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  8. 6 slices thick bread (I used country, but any thick, hearty bread will do)
  9. nonstick cooking spray
  10. maple syrup, for serving
  11. fresh fruit, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a shallow dish, combine the eggs, milk, salt, vanilla, and sugar and whisk until well combined.
  2. Place the pecans and cinnamon in another shallow dish and stir until pecans are fully coated with cinnamon.
  3. Coat a large griddle or skillet with cooking spray and place over medium low heat. Dip the bread, one piece at a time, in the egg mixture on both sides. Allow excess to drip off then place bread in the dish of pecans.
  4. Gently press the pecans onto both sides of the bread. The bread doesn't have to be completely covered, just make sure enough pecans stick to get the crunch you want.
  5. Place on the griddle. Cook the first side of the bread until browned, about 2-3 minutes, applying light pressure with a spatula to help with even cooking.
  6. Flip and repeat with the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve drizzled with maple syrup and fruit, if desired.
Adapted from Love Grown Wild
Adapted from Love Grown Wild
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/
   

mango tomato salad

A couple months ago I met Chris in St. Barts after one of his races. We spent the week swimming in the ocean and eating some of the best food I’ve ever had. Living in Ohio, the chances of eating grilled lobster and sushi on the beach are slim, so I made sure to enjoy every bite.

Though those meals are unforgettable one of my favorite stops was a small deli and juice shop that was down the street from where we were staying. 

Most mornings we would go and pick a few salads from behind their counter and pack them in our cooler to take to the beach for lunch that day. They had so many but my favorite was a delicious mango and tomato salad with a lemon vinaigrette. 

mango tomato salad

I’ve had it on my to-do list to recreate it and I think I finally nailed it. Taking a bite of this instantly takes me back to tropical weather and blue water. Not a bad place to go.

mango tomato salad

I love making light and bright recipes like this to bring to the summer picnics and cookouts that are about to be in full swing. When you show up with a dish this pretty and flavorful, people will be waiting in line to get the recipe from you. 

mango tomato salad

Mango and Tomato Salad
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. juice of two lemons
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  5. pinch of salt and black pepper
  6. 2 ripe mangos
  7. 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved
  8. 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  9. 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
Instructions
  1. To make the vinaigrette, put the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic clove, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk everything together. Let it sit for about 3 minutes and then which again. Remove the garlic clove and set bowl aside.
  2. In a medium sized serving bowl, add the mangos, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and use a wooden spoon to toss until the salad is coated with the vinaigrette.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours and then serve.
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/
   

Strawberry Cucumber Mint JuiceIt’s May and 90 degrees outside. Now, that’s not a complaint, but my body is playing catch up trying to acclimate to the warmer weather, given that it was just in the 40’s a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been drinking like it’s my job…water that is, with maybe some Riesling in the mix. But the point is that I’m kind of sick of chugging water, and have been craving some hydrating juice.

I think we can all agree that juice is quite the craze, and Columbus is killing it with some really great juice shops. But paying 5-7 dollars each trip can really add up, so I’ve concocted my own super hydrating juice that will certainly be a summer staple.

589x392xDSC_0257,28pp_w589_h392,29.jpg.pagespeed.ic.P2tyYqjGtt-Edit-2It has three simple ingredients: cucumber, strawberries, and mint. Sounds refreshing, right? I know that not everyone owns a juicer, but if you do or decide to invest in one, I highly suggest making this juice on a hot summer, or in our case, spring day.

If you’re doing the Bikini Series like us, then this juice would be a great post-workout drink.

So stay hydrated with this juice, and maybe the occasional Riesling.

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Strawberry Cucumber Mint Juice
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 Cups of whole strawberries, stems removed
  2. 1/2 Cup of sliced cucumbers
  3. 1 Tablespoon of mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine everything in a juicer.
  2. Pour into a cold glass and enjoy!
Quirks and Twists http://quirksandtwists.com/