November 18, 2010

A Review: Weeknight Desserts (Quick & Easy Sweet Treats), One-Bowl Cocoa Bars And A Blog Anniversary Giveaway!


In my recently acquired style of not getting a lot of things done on time, I let my blog anniversary slip by too. I completed 3 years of blogging here, about 3 weeks back but couldn’t manage to find the time to post about it! I had planned to announce it on time and everything, but it was fated to be otherwise.

I’m not about to let this blog anniversary pass by without a mention and some sort of celebration, so that’s what I’m doing with this post. This little blog and I have come a long way from when I started out without having an idea where I was going, and wondering if anyone would want to read what I wrote! In these three years, I have discovered a whole new world food-wise and made so many friends whom I hold dear. You all know who you are, and I am lucky to have met you either virtually or for real.

I must also express my thanks to those of you who have written in telling me how much you enjoy my posts, recipes and photographs. My thanks also all of you who visit my blog or follow it regularly but prefer to remain nameless and silent, because you all make this blog happen and motivate me to get up and get going every time I think I’m losing my blogging mojo.

Coming back to my blog anniversary, it has been my practice to celebrate that with giveaways and it’s no different this time either. The giveaway comes at the end of this post. If you would rather not read this post but get down to the business of the giveaway, please scroll down.




Birthdays mean cake or at least something sweet. All of you must know by now that I find chocolate irresistible (except on the rare occasions when I have overindulged in it). I also like brownies very much so I knew I had to try out the “One-Bowl Cocoa Bars” when I saw them in Beatrice Ojakangas’ new book, Weeknight Desserts – Quick & Easy Sweet Treats.

I am a fan of Beatrice Ojakangas recipes because they’re very doable and all those I have tried so far have always worked for me. So I was quite happy when Sellers Publishers sent me a review copy of her “Weeknight Desserts”.




We all know the urge for dessert can strike at any time of the week and it isn’t always possible or easy to find time on a weeknight to cater to that sweet tooth. With her new book, Ms. Ojakangas provides us with just the recipes to make dessert quickly and with ingredients that are usually in one’s kitchen.

A part of the “Good Food At Home” series, you will find recipes in this book to help you make special impromptu desserts, handle last-minute requests for something sweet or bake-sale fare.
As is the case with all the cookbooks in the series, each recipe is marked with icons which indicate the level of simplicity of the recipe, if it requires preparation or can be made ahead, possible ingredient variations and handy tips.

This treasure of a little book has recipes for One Batch Cookies & Bars, Make Ahead Desserts, In-A-Pinch Pies &Cakes, Just Whipped Up Souffl├ęs Pies Custards & Puddings, Fresh Fruit Finishes and You need It Now? Treats!
On the flip side, there are no photographs in it, but personally I didn’t find that a drawback as most of the recipes are for simple and easy to make desserts which don’t need much of visualization.

The best part of making these cocoa brownies (or cocoa bars) is that all the ingredients are put into a bowl and mixed up. Making brownies couldn’t get easier than this.

They are cake-like with just a hint of moist fudginess which is just how I enjoy my brownies the best. The mocha cocoa frosting only makes them better. I added to the effect by drizzling them with melted chocolate!
I can add that I got rave reviews from my friends whom I shared these brownies with. I think this recipe is going to be my new to-go brownie recipe!

I have presented the recipe here as it is in the book. I made my brownies eggless by omitting the egg and adding a tsp of baking powder.



One-Bowl Cocoa Bars
(Adapted from Weeknight Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas)



Ingredients:


113 gm butter (I used 100gm)

1 cup sugar

1 egg (I substituted this with 1 tsp baking powder)

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Powdered sugar (optional)



Method:


Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C). Coat a 13” by 9” pan with cooking spray.

Measure all of the ingredients, in the order given, into a large mixing bowl. With a hand mixer, beat until well blended. Pour into the baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and cut into 24 squares. If desired dust the top of the baked bars with powdered sugar.



Mocha Cocoa Frosting:



Ingredients:


3 tbsp softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 tbsp cold coffee*

1 tsp vanilla extract



Method:

* For cold coffee, you can use unsweetened strong black coffee (coffee decoction) or else dissolve instant coffee in water. I used filter coffee decoction which was refrigerated.
Mix the softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and cold coffee together until smooth. Spread over the cooled brownies.



The Giveaway:


Sellers Publishers have been generous enough to send me an extra copy of Weekend Desserts, which feature the above cocoa bars/ brownies, to giveaway to my readers.

They have also sent me a giveaway copy of Leftover Makeovers – Great New Meals from Last Night’s Dinner by Victoria Shearer.
Victoria Shearer lives in North Carolina and enjoys food and travel, as well as writing. She has contributed to the travel and food sections of newspapers and magazines and is the author of several books including “Quick, Cheap Comfort Food” also in the Good Food at Home series.




The name of this book is self explanatory, and a great addition to anyone’s cookbook collection. Also a book in the Good Food At Home series, Leftover Makeovers is an excellent and useful guide to creatively converting leftovers into new meals, so you can forget about warming leftovers that no one’s particularly enthusiastic about.

The recipes in this book are organized so that each “core” recipe is followed by the recipes which will help you convert the leftovers from the core recipe to a new meal. The recipes and suggestions in the book are divided into the sections such as Headliners - The Star Players: Poultry, Meat, Fish and Seafood;
Supporting Players - Rounding out the Meal: Pasta, Rice, and Vegetables;
Clean-Up Crew - Don't throw it out!: New Beginnings from Old Ingredients;
The Cupboard is Bare!: Throw-together Meals from What's Left in the Pantry/ 'Fridge;
Guide to a successful Makeover - Stocking the Pantry, 'Fridge, and Freezer;
Makeover Tips.

So I’m giving away two books, a copy of Weekend Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas and a copy of Leftover makeovers by Victoria Shearer to two lucky readers of my blog.
I will ship the books worldwide, so this giveaway is open to both Indian and international readers.

If you would like to take a chance on winning one of these books, all you need to do is leave a comment at this post. You do not have to be a blogger to enter. Please leave a mail id or a link to one so I can contact you should you win.

This giveaway is open till the 25th of November, 2010, after which I will randomly pick two lucky winners for the books. Good luck!

Also just a reminder that you have three days left if you were planning to send in an entry to Does My Blog Good in This?


67 comments:

jayasree said...

Happy Bloganniversary, Aparna...Having followed your blog since 3 months or so from the start, its a pleasure to see your growth. You have come great way in terms of photography. Great going Aparna. Wishing you many more happy blogging years ahead.

Both the books sound interesting... Loved those eggless bars. Choco and coffe - an irresistable combo

indianspicemagic said...

Happy anniversary .... Keep rocking as always.

Topher said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Can't wait to try those brownies.

Chris

zekks at yahoo dot com

RARA AVIS said...

Hey Aparna

Congratulations on the third anniversary- love your blog! Hopefully those brownies will taste equally awesome when I make 'em!

Ria Mathew said...

Happy happy blogiversary! I hope you have many many many more! Those bars looks sinful! I am so tempted to make 'em!

Deepa said...

Congratulations. One bowl brownie looks very good and easy too. Today i am going to try this as it is our 9th wedding anniversary. Thanks for sharing with us.

Chhaya said...

Happy 3rd anniversary and many you have many more :) Whats not to love in the cocoa bars: Chocolate , minimal cleanup, chocolate, egg-less, delicious, quick to make ...did I mention chocolate ? :D
Have to make this one !

jodye @ 'scend food said...

These cocoa bars look delicious, and I love the drizzle of icing on top, so pretty!

Torviewtoronto said...

Happy blog anniversary lovely giveaway
delicious brownie and frosting

prasu said...

Lovely Brownies Aparna..............Happy Blog Anniversary.........

Ruth H. said...

Congratulations on three years of fun! Heres to many more recipes, shared stories and yummy times!

Simran said...

Happy Blog Birthday! Weeknight desserts sounds like such a cool idea :)

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Aparna, firstly congratulations on 3 year anniversary, that is seriously big. Secondly, loooooooooooove the brownie recipe and will try it out soon.

Thirdly, hell yeah, I want to be in the giveaway and my id is priya.mitharwal@gmail.com

Ann said...

Happy 3rd anniversary, that indeed is a milestone and an inspiration to some of us "slackers". i hope to see many more elegant posts from you in the future too!

aaluke (at) gmail (dot) com

Asha @ FSK said...

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Aparna!! :))) What a great way to celebrate it! I am not a chocolate person, but just cannot resist brownies...no no, I am not schizo :D

btw, please don't include me for the giveaway. I just wanted to leave you a note on this milestone :)

Nupur said...

Congratulations on your blog birthday and wishing you many more! I'll keep coming back here for your wonderful baked goodies.

The giveaway is a very nice gift :)

Divya Kudua said...

Happy blog anniversary Aparna.Yours is one of the first blog I stumbled upon and needless to say,I've been hooked to it.Love the way you write about a dish/recipe with so many little details thrown in!!Keep rocking!!

Kris Ngoei said...

Happy 3rd blog anniversary! I am sure they are more great posts coming, right here waiting :-)

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

Jayashree said...

Happy 3rd anniversary, Aparna.

suma said...

Happy Blogversary Aparna!! Loved the egg less bars and the books look just too good, not to have them on the my shelf, particularly the dessert book;-)

dick said...

Congrats on the 3rd anniversary.

This recipe looks good. I love reading your recipes to get an idea about Indian food. Have not had it too often but I am finding that it is not difficult. Only problem is that so many of the recipes take a lot of different spices and I am space-limited in my kitchen. I make the ones I can and they always work.

Poohkie said...

Congrats on your blog anniversary. I've been blogging for less than a year & I find it hard sometimes. It takes a LOT of dedication & passion to keep this going for 3 years.

Pinky said...

Hi Aparna

Would love to get the 'Weekend Dessert'.Congrats on completing 3 yrs of blogging.

arundati said...

congratulations aparna.... many more wonderful years of blogging ahead my dear friend

mala said...

congrats on yr successful blogging, you amazing woman! I love brownies, and since they are eggless, shall try them out shortly, and will let you know the outcome.
Mala

k said...

Chanced upon your blog while blog hopping...3 years and so many recipies....congratulations on a job well done!!
I will be definitely coming back time and again!

Rgds
Kavita Pillai

Happy Cook said...

Congragulations on the Blog Anniversary. I never celebrae as it is in summer time here and then during that time I hardly blog.
I wish i had that slice od cake.

Deepa said...

Congratulations on your Bog Anniversary!! Hope to see many more yummilicious recipes from you !!

Deepa

PJ said...

Happy blog anniversary Aparna and wishing you many more to come :).The brownie looks fabulous!And its a fitting way to celebrate with the sweet treat and a give away :)
PJ - seduceurtastebuds@gmail.com

s said...

3 years huh? wow that's awesome!! Here's wishing u many many more wonderful years of blogging.
The one bowl brownie looks absolutely delectable.....almost unbelievable that its just some simple to make....

shweta Sylvia jani said...

1st thing -Did i told you, that i love your blog & thats an amazing recipe for cocoa brownies. Thank you so much : ) <3 you for this recipe :D.
2nd thing-Happy blog Anniversary. May you blog forever & keep us in heavenly culinary world.
3rd- i'l not lie, i want be a part of a give away too. Here is my email id - shweta.rulezio@gmail.com.
Thanks again for the brownie recipe !

Jayasri Ravi said...

That's two interesting things to visit your blog today well, you know me I love your blog, it's great to know you have acheived a lot in three years great going and bring in more for us to try out!, Happy blog anniversary dear..., and the other one is the give away which will be shipped world wide :)
Oops almost forgotten to say kidding last but not least those brownies are fabulous! it's looking nice and chocolatey.....

Nandini said...

Aparna, Happy blog anniversary!! You have a wonderful blog!!

-Nandini

Akila said...

cute brownies dear... my kid always love it and i have bookmarked to try it....

Congrats on your 3rd anniversary... also, great idea of shipping the book worldwide... because i know how much it will cost to post it....

andreagroves said...

Happy belated anniversary! I've enjoyed your blog so much - diverse posts, amazing, almost- right-in-front-of-you pictures, and every recipe of yours that I have tried has turned out wondefully!

That brownie looks SCRUMPTIOUS.

lynne said...

those brownies look delicious!

Twinsy Rachel said...

Happy Blog anniversary.. May u have many more anniversaries to come. have been following ur blog for some time.. Those brownies r quite delectable, n those giveaways r worthy to be kept n wud luv to win :) twinsyabraham@gmail.com

veena Aravind said...

Pleasure to meet you Aparna..been visiting your blog for more than a month..well though you don't know me you have become very close to me as I spend most of my time reading your blogs..understanding recipes..and learning to write..too..I am impressed by everything in your blog. There is so much beyond cooking.Your blog has inspired me to open a blog of my own just embarked the process though!Hope to enjoy this journey..! And congrats!!..for your hard work and A great blog..!!

DEESHA said...

Happy Anniversary Aparna. Here's whishing you many more to come

sweet artichoke said...

Congratulations and happy bloganniversary! I am very much looking forward to the many more beautiful pictures and delicious recipes!
These choco bars look gorgeous!

Aparna S Mallya said...

Congratulations Aparna!!

Char said...

Dear Aparna

Many Many Hearty congratulations.Youre one of the bloggers i dedicatedly follow,i love the fact that you use eggless versions which is Exatly what i need for my kitchen.
Im a new blogger and find it so difficult that Im mostly a lurker,although Ive cooked a lot, ihardly have posted anything.But you are reallly inspiring
I sure as hell would love to win the weeknight desserts:0)
my mail is dr.charisma.s@gmail.com

cumincoriandercardamom said...

Leaving a comment.. would love to win a giveaway

shannon said...

Congratulations on the anniversary.

would love to win!

Madhuli said...

Congratulations Aparna on MDK turning 3!Love your recipes..you are my inspiration for eggless baking!

Bonnie said...

Congratulations on your anniversary!

lata raja said...

Dear MDK, happy birthday. Congratulations Aparna.

Raaga said...

Happy birthday dear MDK! I have always enjoyed reading your blog... and it led me to you :)

I am waiting for my oven!

Suzy said...

Happy Blogiversary! And thank you for such a nice giveaway. Here's to many more years of fun blogging :-)

Priya said...

Happy blog anniversary Aparna..thats a beautiful giveaway..wishing u more and more happy years, cocoa bars looks soooo irresistible..

Madhura said...

Congratulations Aparna. Truly a diverse kitchen.I really admire the way u work out the recipes to bake with the basic ingredients available. Not many people can do this. It's been two years I've been following your blog & I've baked a lot from ur blog since then.
keep up the good work and provide us with many more eggless recipes.
bsmadhura@rediffmail.com

Joanna said...

Happy blogiversary! Those brownies look amazing!

rumana said...

hey aparna..im rumana from bangalore..althou currently am stayin in ur city palakkad...
congratulations on ur successful 3 years...n may u have many more ..love ur recipes n urs is the blog i visit wen i need vegetarian or eggless recipes...
my id is rumanariaz at yahoo dot com
(rumanariaz@yahoo.com)
both books look v intresting
thankx

Clarice said...

Three years is something to be proud of--congratulations! We love brownies at out house--my husband's favorite. Thanks for the giveaway, and I hope you'll have time for more bread baking soon!

Lisa said...

Happy Blogversary!I've always enjoyed your blog, three years is quite an achievement! :)

Judy's Bakery & Test Kitchen said...

Really pretty decorations on the brownie!

Wow, three years! I think about what I've learned in just less than a year and I am amazed. Thanks for sharing your tips!

I would love to win those books. Want me to ship you a brownie if I win? :)

Michelle said...

Congratulations! Your Chocolate Bars looks great...wish I had one right now!

I've been thinking about getting some new cookbooks, so this could not have come at a better time!

Michelle

Ruchira said...

Thanks for all the great recipes! Happy Anniversary and wish you (and all your readers) many more!

Great giveaway books! Pick Me!

Nags said...

yay! i would LOVE to win the first book, it looks so so interesting!

Mehnaz Kapadia said...

Kudos to you Aparna! :)

I am following your blog from quite sometime and i must say your recipes has been an inspiration to me always! Since i had not created a blog, i never contacted you but now since i entered the world of food blogs, i am delighted to message you!

My blog - http://chefnaaz.blogspot.com/

Its just the beginning but i am loving it already! Hope you like it too. Would love to hear from one of my inspirations i.e YOU!

Warm Regards,
Mehnaz Kapadia

And did u mention about the giveaway! I would be honored to get it from you! :)

Sanchita Karmakar said...

Congratulations and a very happy blog anniversary :) Well done!!

Maija Haavisto said...

Heh, all ingredients are just mixed together... sounds like 95% of vegan baking recipes! :-> Why waste time whipping and beating stuff when you can just combine them and bake it.

(My email address is maija@writeme.com.)

bunkycooks said...

Happy belated blogiversary! I just had my one year anniversary yesterday! The giveaway is a great way to celebrate! :)

ameixa seca said...

I´m a reader from Portugal and i would love to have one of these books :)
Congratulations for your blog! I´ve already made one of your suggestions: mango fool.

ameixinhaseca@gmail.com
http://canelamoida.blogspot.com

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Happy anniversary Aparna. Where was I all this days? The books sound fabulous! and finally someone is doing a giveaway worldwide!

Sailaja said...

Belated Blog Anniversary, Aparna. That cocoa bar is hard to resist. Drooling!! :)

Aparna said...

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.