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2012′s 12 Months of Giveaways {Giveaway 2: Bon Appétit} CLOSED

february 2012 cover 300 2012′s 12 Months of Giveaways {Giveaway 2: Bon Appétit} CLOSED

It’s the 12th day of the month, so that means it’s giveaway time. This time around, a one-year subscription to Bon Appétit Magazine is up for grabs.

The February 2012 cover image above features foods from the South: fried chicken, deviled eggs, chicken and dumplings, banana cream pie, and more. All you need to do for a chance to win is comment on this blog post with the answer to the question, “What is your favorite southern-style food?”

If you would like to earn an additional entry, simply “Like” this blog post. The contest will end at 1201 a.m. EST on February 19. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.

Good Luck!!

 ***This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you for entering!***


Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Brownies

IMG 1805 Edited Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Brownies

When I was a kid, I remember asking my mom what was for dinner. Our conversation went something like this:

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“Macaroni and cheese.”
Full of hope, I replied, “From the box?”

Mom made a delicious homemade macaroni and cheese, tender pasta and creamy cheese baked to perfection, yet her kids preferred to eat the cardboard-like macaroni coated with the unnaturally bright orange, powdery cheese mix from the blue box.

IMG 1804 Edited Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Brownies

Brownies are another one of those foods from a box that I enjoy, yet like macaroni and cheese, I thought  it was high time I made them from scratch. Like most of the foods I have taken from buying at the store to making at home, I found homemade brownies are simple to prepare and delicious.

The recipe I used came from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Browniesby Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I took my typical liberties, using regular cocoa powder in place of dark cocoa powder and omitting the teaspoon of espresso powder. I would have loved to use both of these ingredients; I simply didn’t have them on hand.

IMG 1816 Edited Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Brownies

The brownies require 11 ounces of chocolate, and I used Baker’s individually wrapped chocolate squares. I actually had exactly 11 squares on hand, which was a pleasant surprise given my typical need to substitute something due to lack of exactly what was needed.  Given the amount of chocolate in this recipe, the cost savings of these homemade brownies are not significant compared to box-mix brownies.  However, if knowing how to easily pronounce each ingredient in your baked goods is important, homemade brownies are the way to go. As for the taste, the brownies were very chocolatey and perfectly  fudgy.

I really like the variety of delicious toppings brownies willingly accept. My mom makes this marshmallow-peanut butter-Rice Krispie topping that’s delicious, and I don’t know how you can possibly go wrong with melting Andes mints over the tops of hot brownies. I also love caramel toppings and brownies marbled with cream cheese.  While thinking of this post as I drifted off to sleep last night, I thought a raspberry topping, like the raspberry-filled chocolate Ghirardelli square I ate yesterday, would also be delicious.  I topped my homemade brownies with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, just like Mom does when she makes brownies…from a box. Enjoy!

IMG 1806 Edited Warm Up Your Weekend With Homemade Brownies

Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.
  3. While the butter and chocolate melt, whisk together the white and brown sugars in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the melted butter and chocolate over the sugars and whisk until combined. The mixture should be room temperature.
  5. Beat three of the eggs into the chocolate and sugar mixture until combined.
  6. Add the other two eggs and the vanilla and again, whisk until well combined.
  7. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and, using a spatula (not a whisk!), gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Traces of the flour mixture may remain.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and smooth the top.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with just one or two crumbs.
Overbeating the chocolate mixture once all of the eggs and vanilla have been added will result in a cake-like, rather than a fudge-like, brownie.


Honey Cookies for Your Valentine Honey

IMG 1821 Edited Honey Cookies for Your Valentine Honey

For no particular reason, I started to make heart-shaped cookies near Valentine’s Day when I was in college. I cut the cookies from a tube of sugar cookie dough and slathered them with icing bought in small plastic tubs. I shared a few cookies with my roommates, and I ate my fair share of the cookies. I also brought a plate of the cookies to my great-great-aunt Laura’s house, since she she lived in the same city where I went to school.

I was never overwhelmingly close to Aunt Laura. Given she was my grandpa’s aunt, she was always “old” to me, and until I moved to Columbus to go to college, we lived a couple hours’ drive apart. Given I was an able-bodied family member who reduced those couple hours to a couple miles when I moved to attend college, I felt a certain obligation to visit her, but it was an obligation I didn’t really mind. Aunt Laura was a good conversationalist, and to be honest, pretty cool. She graduated from college in 1929(!), taught school, worked at Lazarus, lived in a city, married an older man(!), and lived a life to the ripe old age of 101.

IMG 1860 Edited Honey Cookies for Your Valentine Honey

I’ve long since graduated from college and those tubes and tubs of cookie dough and frosting. This year I made heart-shaped cookies using a recipe in The Complete Cookie by Barry Bluestein. Given Saint Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers and love, I thought a honey cookie to present to your honey would be more fitting than a boring, ol’ sugar cookie. (In addition to other love-related themes, Saint Valentine is also the Patron Saint of epilepsy, fainting, plague and travelers. I don’t know what to make for those. You can read more about Saint Valentine at History.com.)

IMG 1840 Edited Honey Cookies for Your Valentine Honey

I don’t know that chewy is the best description for these honey cookies. They are slightly chewy, but I would describe them as more of a crisp-chew. The dough is incredibly sandy, for lack of better descriptor, and it really takes a while to come together once it is rolled out. I had the most success after I rolled out the cookie dough a few times, and an extra sprinkling of flour really helped cut down on the sticking. The dough needs to sit in the refrigerator ,wrapped tight in a log, for about four hours, so be sure to plan accordingly should you wish to bake a batch.

To decorate, I simply rubbed some sugar on the tops of the honey cookies once they had cooled. I pulsed granulated sugar in my coffee-bean grinder (feel free to use a food processor as that tool is likely more appropriate) to make it super fine. I also colored my sugar at home by rubbing some food color into the sugar. The color, whether liquid or gel, globs onto the sugar, so you really need to rub the color into the sugar. You may want to wear gloves during this step to avoid staining your fingertips. The honey makes the cookies so sweet that icing these lovelies might make them too sweet, but as always, the kitchen is yours!

IMG 1832 Edited Honey Cookies for Your Valentine Honey

Chewy Honey Cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup honey
  1. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about one to two minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the honey and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to beat until just combined.
  5. Form the dough into a log, seal in plastic wrap or wax paper, and refrigerate for four hours.
  6. After four hours, remove half of the dough, and leave the other half refrigerated.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into desired shapes, returning unused scraps of dough to the refrigerator to firm as necessary.
  9. Repeat rolling and cutting until all dough is used.
  10. Place the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
  12. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  13. If desired, dust with sugar once cooled.
¼ teaspoon of cardamom can be added to the cookie batter if desired.