Thursday, 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 Soufflés 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)
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)
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:
3 tbsp softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp cold coffee*
1 tsp vanilla extract
* 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.
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.
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.