changes

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chocolate-orange shortbread cookies - only at the BRAND NEW site!

Well, hey there, friends.  If Facebook hasn’t already told you, we (“I” just doesn’t sound right for some reason; I prefer to delude myself that I have a staff) over here at the WordPress branch of Any Afternoon have picked up and gone.  Don’t be too sad, though, because we’ve got fancier new digs now.  That’s right, Any Afternoon has its own corner of the Internets.  This little blog is now located at http://www.any-afternoon.com (specifically, here), along with a whole bunch of other cool stuff, and we’d appreciate it very much if you’d follow us there and update your RSS feeds.

So if you’d like to check out the newest chocolate-orange shortbread cookies or look through a few art galleries, I suggest you head on over.  Never fear – the new blog includes all of the old posts, with a few notable exceptions (which will still reside on this site, just in case).  Please give it a look-see, let me know what you think…and look out for the chocolate-peanut butter swirl brownies that I’ve got coming up.

Love and thanks,

Alli

a preview - coming soon

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dark chocolate brownies with graham cracker-pretzel crust

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I really try to provide interesting content on this blog in addition to decent-quality photos and recipes that aren’t too intimidating, but I may have to sacrifice that piece for today.  Apparently CNN’s Los Angeles bureau is clamoring for this recipe, and who am I to deny the employees of my favorite news station?

start here - butter, pretzel and graham cracker crumbs, sugar, flour

looks like cat food; tastes amazing

So I’ll be brief.  This is another manifestation of the “why not?” culinary mentality, where my mind suggests both a pretzel and a graham cracker crust to stabilize a rich dark chocolate brownie and I can’t say no to either.  Beware the gooiness of the brownie layer – I’ve adjusted the recipe below to include a bit more flour to the original – but go to town.

while the crust bakes, mix up the brownie layer

in the end, it should look something like this

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Graham Cracker-Pretzel Crust

For crust:

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

2/3 cup finely crushed pretzels

2/3 cup flour

For brownies:

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 sticks butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 13×9″ pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 1″ overhang.  Spray foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugars and salt into melted butter until smooth.  With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in graham cracker and pretzel crumbs, then flour.  Press into bottom pan.  Bake 10 minutes; set aside.

Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)  Gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition; whisk in vanilla.  Gradually stir in flour mixture..

Pour batter on top of crust.  Using a spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool completely, then chill before cutting.

cookie dough truffles

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I’m usually pretty good about respecting people’s tastes, but this is one issue on which I will not budge:  The cookie dough is the best part of making cookies, period, and if you claim otherwise I probably won’t believe you.

People do tend to get touchy about the whole raw egg thing, though, probably rightfully so,* so may I please offer the solution we’ve all been waiting for.  These are quick, easy, and salmonella-free (a good endorsement, if a bit off-putting), and with only some of the guilt that would come along with eating regular cookie dough.

* I can’t help it if I put food above food safety.

Plus, they don’t require you to turn on your oven, so now – as I sit here in a strapless dress in deference to today’s 85-degree weather – is the perfect time to make them.  Where there is cookie dough, there is no time to waste.

Cookie Dough Truffles

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more, if you’d like)

Cocoa powder, for dusting

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Slowly add flour on low speed, alternating with condensed milk, beating well after each addition.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Dust or roll in cocoa powder.  Freeze at least 3 hours; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.