by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been wanting to test a recipe of this type for a while, and the ice cream sundae gave me a chance. These brownies bake up dark and cakey but not overly sweet, just right for that ice cream and hot fudge! I used a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend from Westwind Milling, but I’m confident you could substitute in any GF flour blend. There’s a secret ingredient here too, making these brownies higher in protein than most.

Gluten Free Brownies, Makes 9 large brownies

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T. butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. GF flour blend
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, well-rinsed
  • 1 c. good-quality chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. mini chips for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8″ square pan. Combine all the ingredients but the chips in a food processor.


Process for about a minute on low until completely combined.


Stir in the chips.



Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the center is set. Sprinkle the top of the hot brownies with the mini chips if you’re using them.



Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.


One year ago: Fresh Ginger Carrot Muffins




by Heather Harris Brady

We just finished a spot of traveling recently and this was one of the best things I ate the whole time. As soon as I got home I set out to recreate it so I could share it with you. This recipe is based on a dessert from Hello Betty in Oceanside CA. Two huge scoops of ice cream on top of a spiced brownie afloat in a dish of hot fudge. They sprinkle the top with pumpkin seed brittle, which is delicious. If you’d like to go that route here’s my recipe for the brittle.

I’m breaking this recipe into two parts, and sharing a new brownie recipe on Thursday. But if you need to make it like NOW, here’s my go-to brownie recipe and the hot fudge. Just sprinkle the top with cinnamon after they’re baked. If I could send along the beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean to enjoy with this dessert I would!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, Makes about one quart

  • 1 c. dulce de leche (or one can sweetened condensed milk, poured in a pan and baked at 325 for 35-45 minutes until caramelized)
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 eggs, beat well and set aside
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla

Additional dessert ingredients:

  • Brownies (one per serving, see above)
  • Hot Fudge

Combine the cream and milk over medium heat.



Stir together the sugar and cornstarch, then whisk it into the milk. When it starts to thicken slightly, whisk 1/2 c. of the hot milk into the eggs, then whisk the warmed eggs into the pan.


Heat to bubbling, then whisk in the dulce de leche.


When you’ve stirred the dulce in completely, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a shallow metal pan and put into the refrigerator to cool completely (or speed things up by putting it in the freezer).

Set up your ice cream freezer and pour in the custard base.



Freeze according to the directions for your machine. If possible let the ice cream ripen in the freezer for an hour or two before serving so it will firm up.



Option: Put 1/2 c. pecan halves in a bowl with 1 T. butter. Microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. Microwave for another 15 seconds. Toss with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Chop the pecans and fold them into the ice cream right when it finishes churning or keep them out for a garnish.

To assemble the desserts:

Put a brownie in a bowl or in the center of a dessert plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle liberally with hot fudge sauce.


Top with a large scoop of ice cream and garnish with the toasted pecans.

One year ago: New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Thyme


by Heather Harris Brady

These little sandwiches are one of my mother-in-law’s go-to recipes. They are great for picnics and any meal when you need to get food on the table fast. It also scales up well for things like open houses and graduation parties. I thought I’d feature it now as they are an ideal way to use the upcoming leftover Easter ham. While we usually have them with ham and swiss, they would work with anything.

My mother-in-law makes them all up in advance and rolls them in tubes of aluminum foil (three buns per roll). Then they can wait in the fridge until you need them.

Silver Dollar Sandwiches, Makes about 24 mini sandwiches

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 pkg. fast-rising yeast
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 4-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 8 oz. cheese, cut into 24 cubes
  • 1 lb. ham slices

Warm the milk and water to lukewarm, then stir in the yeast and sugar. Stir in the flour and let rise until doubled in bulk.


Punch down and knead for five minutes, adding up to another cup of flour if necessary to achieve a smooth, soft but not sticky dough.


Grease baking pans and divide the dough into balls just smaller than a golf ball. Let rise until doubled.



Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.


Move the rolls to a rack to cool. Split the buns in half.



Add a slice of ham and a cube of cheese to each one.


Roll in sets of three in aluminum foil if you are going to heat them in the oven. Otherwise wrap in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.

To reheat: Preheat the oven to 375 and heat through (about 10 minutes). Otherwise microwave unwrapped sandwiches on a plate for about 45 seconds. Serve hot and melty.


One year ago: Oatmeal Pancakes with Sauteed Apples


by Heatber Harris Brady

Once when I was very young, maybe six, we visited an Italian family just before the Easter holiday. A huge pane di pasqua, Italian Easter bread, held court on the center of the kitchen table with long rows of colored Easter eggs in the braid. It was the most beautiful pastry I’d ever seen and I’ve never forgotten it although I’ve never come across it in the wild again.

This year I decided to look into this memory. From what I can see the bread itself is a rich, sweetened dough flavored either with orange or lemon zest and anise. One embeds the dyed raw eggs into the dough before baking and then sometimes its glazed and sprinkled with nonpareils.

While I’m still in love with the concept I’m lukewarm on the idea of baking raw eggshells and egg dye into the bread. So I decided to come up with my own recipe, make individual large-roll nests, then glaze and top them with mini chocolate eggs. They’ll be a nice decoration for the dinner table and the eggs will still give the kids a thrill.

Italian Easter Breads, Makes about a dozen

2 c. milk
1/3 c. butter
1 pkg. fast-rising yeast
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
5 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
One small boiled potato
Zest of two oranges
2 t. almond extract

Scald the milk. Stir in the butter and sugar. When the milk is lukewarm stir in the yeast. Mash the potato into the eggs and stir it into the milk, then stir in the flour.



Let rise until doubled in bulk.


Punch the dough down and knead in the zest and almond extract.


Knead until soft and smooth. Break off balls just slightly larger than a golf ball.

Divide each ball into thirds and roll it out into a long snake, then braid them together. Bring the braid into a circle and stretch it a bit to make the nest shape in the middle. You have to be pretty extreme here because the dough is going to puff up a lot and you’ll lose the shape.

Preheat the oven to 375. When the rolls have doubled bake them for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Brush them with butter while they’re hot.


If you want to glaze them you can use royal icing or an orange glaze. For an orange glaze, stir together 2 T. softened butter, 2 c. confectioners sugar and the juice of two oranges. Adjust the consistency with more or less sugar as need be.


Drizzle the rolls with the glaze and put a few chocolate eggs in the center before serving.


by Heather Harris Brady

I’m cheating a little bit this week because it’s spring break and there’s a lot going on around here! So, old recipe but new look! For the filling I used white chocolate couverture, but you can use ganache or jam for the filling with royal icing for the decorations. However, the white chocolate sets up really fast so you can stack them in boxes quickly.


Macarons, Italian Method, Makes about 36

200 g almond flour

200 g powdered sugar

[Variation: Add 3 T. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder for chocolate macarons]

200 g granulated sugar

50 g water

1/2 t. vinegar

150 g egg whites, divided into two 75 g portions

1/2 recipe chocolate ganache, or other filling of your choice

It’s easier if you premeasure everything and have it ready. Combine the almond flour [cocoa if you're using it] and powdered sugar in a bowl. Mix well, I use an immersion blender. Add 75 g of egg whites and stir it into a thick paste.



Combine the water, vinegar and granulated sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. Let it boil while you put the other 75 g of egg whites in a mixer bowl.


Beat the whites until they hold stiff peaks. Turn the mixer down to stir if your sugar syrup is not quite at the soft ball stage. When the syrup comes to temperature, turn the mixer to high and pour the sugar syrup in a steady stream. Try to avoid the whisk if you can.

macaronsit1_little-house-dunes   macaronsit4_little-house-dunes

Continue beating on high until the mixer bowl is no longer hot. The resulting italian meringue will be very stiff. Fold the almond paste into the meringue.


Take some strong strokes at first to knock a little air out and then keep folding for about another 20 strokes. It’s perfect when you can drop some of the macaronage back into the bowl and it will hold its shape for 15 seconds before starting to slump back in. When you get close to 20 strokes just evaluate it one stroke at a time until you’re there.

If you decide to color them fold the color in now, just make sure to use heat-safe colors or your lovely macarons will turn brown quickly on the bottoms!


Grease your cookie sheets and line them with parchment paper, or use a silpat. Pipe 1-1/2″ egg-shaped mounds. They won’t spread a lot so you can keep them fairly close. Drop each pan onto the counter three times to get any air bubbles out.

Preheat the oven to 300 and let the sheets sit out for about 15 minutes. The macarons will form a bit of skin on top.


Bake for 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may want to change racks halfway through the baking time.


After the cookies have cooled fill them and decorate the tops.



One year ago: Pavlovas


by Heather Harris Brady

This idea comes from the most recent issue of Cooking Light. It inspired me to throw together this quick side dish. Once you get your pan hot it all comes together in under five minutes. If you added some cooked brown rice it would make a fantastic pilaf or a filling for vegetarian wraps.

Charred Asparagus, Serves Four

3/4 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cleaned with tops cut and set aside

1/3 c. crumbled pecans

Juice of one lemon

1 T. butter

1/3 c. shaved parmesan

Find a heavy pan and add 1 T. olive oil. Get it SMOKIN’ hot then throw in the asparagus stalks.


After they are charred on nearly all sides add the tops.


Continue stirring and add the pecans, then the butter. Turn off the heat.


Toss the asparagus and pecans with the parmesan and the lemon juice.




One year ago: Pavlovas



by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve had a fascination with these since I acquired the little volume of Monica Sheridan’s Irish Cooking years ago. In it she talks about how her family would make these oatcakes, prop them in front of the peat fire to dry and eat them hot with lots of fresh butter. Alas peat fires are just not practical in these parts, especially now when the peat is frozen solid just like everything else – ahem. Anyway, I fiddled around and came up with my own recipe for oatcakes. They’re probably better cooked over a peat fire, but these are pretty good too.

Oatcakes, Makes about 35 2-1/2″ crackers

  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats, soaked in 3/4 c. water for one  hour
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • Sea salt for topping


Add the remaining ingredients to the soaked rolled oats.


Stir it well and knead it for 6-8 turns. The hydration of your flour might be different than mine. Just adjust the flour and water as needed to achieve a soft workable dough. If it looks like the picture below it will be fine.


Preheat the oven to 425 and roll the dough out as thinly as possible (1/16″ or 1/32″ if you can do it).


Cut it into rounds. They might not be perfect because oatmeal is flaky. . .I decided to find it rustic and charming.


Generously oil a baking sheet with more olive oil. Put the crackers on the sheet, then flip them over so they have a little oil on each side. Poke them all over with a fork and give them a sprinkle of sea salt.


Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, flipping once with 3-4 minutes of baking time left.


Cool on a baking rack and store in an airtight tin. These have a nice complexity of flavor that would hold up well to cocktails and draft beers, but they’re good on their own too!


One year ago: Corned Beef Hash


by Heather Harris Brady

I bought a large bag of key limes a while back, because I’ve actually never made a key lime pie before and the kids love key lime yogurt. When I started researching key lime pie it seems like most of them are made with lots of sugar (from sweetened condensed milk) or uncooked egg whites.

So I came up with my own somewhat lighter version of this classic pie. Of course you can buy a crust but if you make your own you can add brown sugar which goes nicely with the lime filling. You should plan on making it a day or two ahead of serving, because the lime flavor develops over time.

Key Lime Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

  • One large bag of key limes, or 1 c. key lime juice and 2 T. lime zest
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. plain greek  yogurt
  • 1/3 c. cold water
  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 pint heavy cream whipped with 1 T. sugar and 1 t. vanilla, plus additional for garnish if desired
  • One graham cracker crust (purchase or make your own with one sleeve of graham crackers, ground + 3 T. melted butter and 1/4 c. brown sugar)

Juice and zest the limes if you didn’t just buy the juice. Put the gelatin in the cold water to soak.


Make the crust if you didn’t purchase one. Crush the grahams and mix them in a pie plate with the melted butter and brown sugar.


Mold the mixture up the sides of the pie plate.


Beat the eggs well with the lime juice and put it over low-medium heat, whisk in the sugar and continue whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the gelatin.


Cool slightly and whisk in the yogurt.

Beat the whipping cream until you get stiff peaks, beating in the sugar and vanilla.


Fold the cream into the key lime mixture.


Pour it into your crust.


Lightly cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least four hours and up to two days before serving. Cut into slices and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.


One year ago: Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies


by Heather Harris Brady

If you’re not blessed with hours to spend in the kitchen today you can still throw together a nice little St. Patrick’s Day dinner with this sauce and a quick stop at a deli. It’s great on its own with grilled bread for dipping, on sandwiches or a baked potato for a vegetarian option. This is a variation of my cheese fondue. I used a bottle of local Loch Ale by Arcadia Ales but any type of ale would work.

Cheddar Ale Sauce, Makes about two cups

  • One bottle dark ale
  • 1/2 lb. sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 c. diced onion
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • One bay leaf

Saute the onion in 1 T. of butter until soft, then add your bay leaf.


Add the milk and the cheese cubes. Stir until the cheese starts to melt.


Stir the cornstarch into one cup of the ale. Use a bright pink glass just to jazz things up.


Stir the ale into the pan.


It will be foamy at first but keep stirring constantly over low heat. In a few minutes it will all come together into a silky smooth sauce.


Serve hot with bread for dipping or – make the world’s best corned beef sandwich like so!

I caramelized some onions and simmered them in the rest of the ale. Then I put them on one side of the bun, with the corned beef and sauce on the other side.


It went off to work today with my Irish husband.


Refrigerate any leftover sauce.

One year ago: Cream Scones


by Heather Harris Brady

I made this cake for a very compelling reason: I had two servings of my favorite salted caramel double pecan ice cream left and couple of blackish-brown bananas hiding in the fruit bowl. They all played very well together, but this cake is moist, delicious and you can whip it up in five minutes – so there’s lots of reasons to love it.

You can use prepared dulce de leche, but it’s easy to cook up a batch of your own while the cake is baking.

Dulce de Leche Banana Cake, Makes one 8″ square cake

  • 3 T. soft butter
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • One egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. milk

Dulce de Leche Topping: One can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350. Pour the condensed milk into a loaf pan and put it in the oven. Cream the butter with the sugar.


Add the egg and banana.


Stir in the baking powder and half the flour.


Then stir in the milk, followed by the second cup of flour. Beat thoroughly until you have a nice creamy batter.


Bake in a lightly greased 8” square pan for 20-25 minutes, until the center is firm.


Check the condensed milk. It should be bubbling away and turning a nice caramel color. Stir it and remove your fresh batch of dulce de leche from the oven.  Let the cake and topping cool to warm. Then top the cake with the dulce de leche and a sprinkle of sea salt if you like.


This cake is best eaten the day it’s made, when it’s supersoft and velvety but if you have a few pieces left over just warm them in the microwave for a few seconds. Store lightly covered at room temperature.


One year ago: Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

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