Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I cannot believe it has been 10 years. 10 years later, we are still fighting the battle against terrorism. 10 years later, we all still remember exactly where we were and what we were doing that day (and we probably will another 50 years from now). Just like our parents and grandparents remember exactly what they were doing and where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. And 10 years later, our country is still here. They didn't win.
I just want to express my wholehearted gratitude to all of those who lost their lives on 9/11: police officers, firefighters, EMT's and paramedics, civilians, airline passengers, pilots. My heart goes out to all of their families and friends. I also want to thank all of the military troops who have been fighting overseas and at home for the past 10 years. They are making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and safety, and words can't even express the gratitude I have for that. Come home safely.
9/11/01- I will never forget.
On a bit of a lighter note, my friend A- and I had a baking day yesterday. When I lived in Bradenton, A- and I were together just about every day. And I have seen her maybe twice since I moved to Tampa (sad). We both missed each other. We missed baking together (something we did often). We missed stuffing our faces together (something we did even MORE often). So we decided to have Baking Day. Then we thought that we should do this once a month. That way we will see each other more often that every 7 months. Yay!
I made the 45 minute drive from Tampa to Bradenton yesterday morning. We decided on two recipes: Red Velvet Brownies is the first one...I'm keeping the second one a secret until tomorrow. I'm letting the suspense build (and it will give me something to write about tomorrow since I probably won't be baking for another few days at least). A- found this recipe on a blog she reads: Smells Like Home (I may need to add that to my list!). We looked at it and instantly drooled. I'm not kidding. We are both HUGE red velvet anything fans, so putting red velvet into a BROWNIE? Genius!!!
You might want to use COLD butter when buttering the pan, btw...lol
We took a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up the white chocolate for the frosting (the original recipe says not to use white chocolate chips, but we did anyway...Ghirardelli makes the BEST). We're such rebels.
So can I just say that these brownies turned out PERFECTLY? They had a sort of crispy crust on the outside and were nice and chewy on the inside.
And the ICING? A- and I declared it the Best Icing in the World. Ever. (Then later in the day, we discovered the Second Best Icing in the World. Ever. But that's for tomorrow.) Gah! It was the perfect consistency. Fluffy. Whippy. Sweet. Full of butter and white chocolate. Gives me the chills. We couldn't help but have a few "samples" while the brownies were still cooling.
Are you drooling yet? I am.
After we frosted the brownies and were sharing the first one (by this point we were in hyperglycemic shock from all the "samples" we'd had), we decided it was a teensy bit too sweet. The perfect solution: sea salt. We sprinkled a bit on top of the icing and it was PERFECT. I know putting salt on desserts is all trendy and stuff, but we realized there's a REASON it's trendy. It's delicious. I never thought of putting salt with red velvet (chocolate and caramel, yes). But we did and it worked. We just put the salt on that one brownie, but if I make these again, I will give the whole pan a light smattering of sea salt. So I'm adding the salt to our recipe. K? :)
What a fun day! We watched a few episodes of The Cosby Show (oh memories...) while we inhaled our brownies and our other secret dessert. I left sick to my stomach with a smile on my face. A- and I make a good baking team. And she's a much better photographer out of the two of us (even with my blurry crazy-flash Barbie camera). And it was a really fun way to spend the day together. Singing at the top of our lungs (and scaring people, I'm sure), dancing around like crazy ladies to Glee songs (her boyfriend's dog was really confused). Great day. Can't wait until next month's baking day!
Salted Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Icing
adapted from Smells Like Home
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring (one small bottle- we actually used pink and the brownies ended up red anyway)
2 tsp vanilla, divided
1 stick of butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour bottom of 8x8 baking pan (note: cold butter works much better than softened butter, as A- found out! See picture above. LOL).
2. In a small bowl, stir together cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla until it makes a thick paste. You may need to add a little bit of water to get the right consistency. Set aside.
3. In electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in remaining 1 tsp of vanilla. Turn the mixer off and add in cocoa mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined, but don't over mix.
4. Scrape sides of bowl and give batter a few stirs to make sure everything is mixed in. Pour batter into pan and bake 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely and frost with the most delicious icing in the world.
1 stick of butter, room temp
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz white chocolate (we used Ghirardelli chips), melted
1-2 tbsp milk or heavy cream
1. In electric mixer with whisk attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
2. With mixer on low, slowly add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time). Completely mix in sugar and scrape sides of bowl before adding in next 1/2 cup.
3. Once all of the sugar is added, mix on medium for about 30 seconds.
4. Add in melted white chocolate and beat on medium another 30 seconds. With mixer on low, add in heavy cream. Beat until icing comes together. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until icing is fluffy and whippy (is whippy a word? You know what I mean...).
When brownies are completely cooled, ice them and sprinkle with as much or as little sea salt as you'd like.
Lick the bowl. And the beater. And maybe save yourself a little bowl of this icing to eat with a spoon. We won't judge. We did it.