Triple Chocolate Mini Brownie Cups

My friend Arvi told me that she got her hands on my favorite Brownies Unlimited chocolate chip brownies.  I was drooling with jealousy but there is nowhere in this country will I be able to find something that good.  Then I remembered the wise words from Looney Tunes.  To paraphrase the “If you can’t beat them, join them.” line, “If you can’t find it, make it.”

So I did.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my Triple Chocolate Mini Brownie Cups.  In a very blurry photo taken at 4:30 AM.  Next time, I will do better with my baked good photos.  For now, this is the best I can do with what little energy I have.

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As we were pulling in the parking lot of Costco, I started telling my husband the story of famous bakers who studied in really good schools.  I told him that they spent thousands and thousands of dollars to learn baking techniques.  I told him that since I don’t have the time, and the money obviously, to go to culinary school, I will just experiment and keep on trying until I learn what I need to bake goodies.  He said, “But before you experiment too much, think of how much you will spend too because it can get expensive.”  So I went back to the “But culinary school will be way, way, way more expensive.”  So yes, I came home with a big bag of organic sugar and chocolate chips to last me until the holiday season.  Ladies, that is how you negotiate.  Or if that does not work, you can always go back to the “I am pregnant.”, “I just gave birth.”, “I take care of your kids.” tactic.

So why Triple Chocolate?  The brownie has a thin layer of ganache on top and decorated with chocolate chips.  Without the chocolate chips then it is just Double Chocolate.  Haha.  I know.  I am so good with naming baked goodies like that.  In fact, sometimes I feel like I can work for Margarita Fores and name her dishes.  Left-over adobo can become Twice Cooked Adobo and the Ilonggo “Laswa” can become Tropical Vegetables in Clear Shrimp Soup.  Seriously, she should hire me so I can eat all the dishes she cooks for free.

Oh and I baked these brownies in mini cups for the very important reason of not having a 9 inch pan.  So yes, I have to think of ways to negotiate with my husband to get me that pan tomorrow.

The recipe I used for this brownie is a combination of all the recipes I got when I solicited for a recipe so a big thank you for those who replied.  You’ll get a box of brownies from me.

So what is the verdict?  Well, my husband finished three pieces.  He actually likes it better without the chocolate chips but for a chocolate lover like me, anything extra chocolate in there is good.

So how do I like it?  It is good but I want the ganache to taste less dark and I want the brownies to be more gooey?  So next time, I will look for a better ganache recipe and maybe try cooking the brownies in a pan properly and cook it in less time for that gooey texture.

I know this is a long post for such a mini dessert but the brownies I just ate makes me write like I am high.

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Instant Pot Masoor Dal

You know how in love I am with my Instant Pot, right?  It makes cooking lentils a lot easier for me because I get scared with the simple pressure cooker pot.  My imagination always makes me think that it will blow up and blow me up too in the process.

Dal, or dishes made of lentils, are the easiest to cook for Indians, I think.  They eat this almost every day.

I tried my luck in cooking this and made Masoor Dal which is brown lentils.  I followed this recipe from And Then She Said blog because I found it the easiest.

How did it turn out?

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I think it turned out very good.  I am still waiting for the verdict of my taste-tester who I am sure would tell me that I should have added more salt (but I hate salty food!).

The only thing I did differently is that I pressure cooked the dal for 5 more minutes because the 18 minutes the blogger wrote in the instruction was not enough to make all the grains soft.

Highly Recommended

Panda Express’ Pepper Chicken

I am not ashamed to admit that I like fast food and I crave them all the time.  You just don’t know what I would give to eat Jollibee spaghetti, chicken joy, palabok, and tuna pie now.

We watched Mamma Mia and I had to stop myself from singing along with the songs.  By doing that, I used up all my energy so I needed food.  When I am hungry, the easiest way to make me happy is to give me rice.  So we went to Panda Express.  It has been years since I last ate from Panda Express because I don’t usually go to malls but I still think their food is good.

So I tried to make their version of Pepper Chicken.

This is the recipe I followed.

That site has a lot of recipes that follow Panda Express’ menu.  I will try to make Orange Chicken next.

So here are the changes I made:

  1.  Skipped the onions because I did not have onions so I added more celery
  2.  Changed the ginger powder to real ginger but I took them out when I cooked the chicken
  3. Used vinegar and cayenne pepper instead of chili vinegar
  4. Used dark soy sauce instead of light soy sauce (like Kikkoman) that this recipe calls for so I only used 3/5 of what the recipe calls for
  5. I used a little bit of ground pepper because I did not have pepper grinder

Although what I cooked was nowhere near what Panda Express’ Pepper Chicken taste like, I still think it turned out good.  The chicken was tender and the taste was good.  Of course, this dish is best served with rice.

Highly Recommended

Chicken Macaroni Salad with Apples

Mama made this every time there was an occasion.  Even then, I was not a fan of apples.  I guess my taste in fruits is really local – santol, rambutan, indian mango – but never apples, cherries, or oranges.  The only time I liked apples was when Mama made her Chicken Macaroni Salad with Apples.

Mama did not leave a recipe so I just tried to remember what she did and what ingredients she used.  I still do not have the heart to read her notebooks so I don’t know if they are there written there or not.  So I had to ask my sister if one ingredient is there and she confirmed.

This salad is very easy to prepare.  Just mix the following:  cooked macaroni, shredded chicken, and chopped apples.  I added celery because I love celery.  Mama never added it before because it was not easy to find in our city.  Mama also had this version where she put pineapples and raisins instead of apples.  I loved that version, too.

For the dressing, add:  real mayonnaise (Hellman’s) and chopped or shredded cheese (I used Velveeta in lieu of Eden Cheese).  And here’s the secret ingredient, add sweetened condensed milk.

I like my salad to have a mix of the sour from the mayonnaise, salty from the cheese, and sweet from the milk.

I love it.  I can eat it all day long.  And it’s the only way I get to enjoy eating apples.

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Chocolate Brownies

I am not a fan of chocolate anything – chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies.  But I was going to visit a friend with two kids so I figured I would bake chocolate brownies since kids normally like anything chocolate.

I got my recipe from my favorite food blogger RecipeTin Eats.

She had an instruction on the timing if I want my brownies to be moist.  I followed it but something did not turn out right.  Maybe it’s because I really don’t like chocolate so whatever recipe I would follow, I might not like it, too.

The good thing though is that the son of my friend loved it.  He ate 3 slices one after the other.  So I guess it is still a success.

Here are some changes I made:

  1.  I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chocolate instead of dark chocolate chips.  I don’t know if there is a difference when it comes to taste.
  2. I added semi-sweet chocolates on top of the brownies.
  3. I did not have parchment paper so I put butter without dusting it with flour.  Maybe this is why my brownies turned out crumbly.  I should really buy parchment paper.

 

Highly Recommended (1)