5-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Have you ever wished you could just hold a piece of Nutella in your hands and bite it instead of that awkward licking it off a spoon thing? Well, here’s the answer to those prayers and all you need is a bowl, a spoon and five ingredients. Oh and something to bake the brownies in.

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Nutella brownie recipes have been floating around for a while but after a few run ins with recipes that consumed a jar or more of Nutella and had minimal Nutella taste I was very hesitant to try them. One day I succumbed, but not after making some alterations. First of all, I didn’t see the point in additional butter, second of all a little leavening never hurt anything and third of all Nutella is so sweet that some coarse salt is almost a must have. The result is what I had hoped it would be.

The best part? Because they are so gooey they don’t dry out making them a great make ahead dessert for the holiday season!

So without any further ado I present to you these incredibly gooey undeniably Nutella-y brownies.

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies w Skor Bits

When we were little my brother Murtaza decided that we need to eat peanut butter. It was hardly a staple in our Pakistanis-in-Saudi Arabia household, but my parents promptly obliged by buying an imported jar of the stuff. We tried it and all of us unanimously thought it sucked. My mother then tried the back of the jar cookie recipe for peanut butter cookies, but with no success. Not for a lack of talent mind you, my mother was quite the baker. We just didn’t like peanut butter.

Somehow I went from being that kid to the adult who eats it off a spoon as a snack, whose kids do the same, who doesn’t believe in peanut butter and jelly because it gets in the way of the peanut buttery goodness and who can’t say no to a peanut butter cookie. How did this happen? Beats me.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

When I recently acquired Tara O’Bradys Seven Spoons cookbook I marked a whole variety of things to try, but a late afternoon craving had me turning to her Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies first. Whole Wheat Flour, Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp honey, I didn’t think that these changes off the usual would make such a difference, but suddenly it was like I was eating a cookie that had grown up. It is less cloyingly sweet than previous ones, but has a deeper flavour. I added 1/3 cup of skor bits and while they weren’t noticeable in a warm cookie, they definitely added interest to cooled ones.

As you can see my cookies were slim at best despite the freezing and I blame that on my overfull freezer. I am sure if you follow the freezing instructions yours won’t be so slender. They are in their thin form the perfect candidate for a filling. Strawberry Jam, Dulce de leche, vanilla cream, or perhaps a dollop of Nutella with a little Sea Salt?

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

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A Creamy Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart with a Graham Cracker Crust

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and a Happy early 4th of July to those south of the border! Hope both days are filled with happiness and celebration … and dessert!

My girls and I went strawberry picking a few days ago and now we have baskets and baskets of red to the core strawberries that are just begging to be eaten. While eating them straight up is our favorite way to go I decided to include them in last nights post iftar dessert. I don’t usually have dessert after dinner, but after a long day of fasting a little sugar seems needed!

Strawberry Tart with Creamy Cream Cheese Filling and Graham Cracker Crust

The Graham Cracker crust has a lovely crunch that contrasts with the creamy filling and  the juicy slightly tart strawberries provide the perfect contrast. Learn from my mistakes though and keep this baby in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!

Looking for more strawberry dessert ideas? How about this cake or this tart with one  of my favorite crusts of all time!

A Creamy Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart with a Graham Cracker Crust

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Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl Plus Announcing a Virtual Eid Party – Eid Eats 2015!!!

Ramzan/Ramadan Mubarak to all those who will be commemorating this holy month. For those of you who are wondering what it is, Ramadan is a month on the Islamic (lunar) calendar where Muslims world over fast from sunrise to sunset. During a fast we can not eat or drink anything. The purpose of this fast is to help us subsume our physical needs in favor of spiritual ones and also to develop a deep sense of empathy with those who are less fortunate, for whom ‘fasting’ is not an option.

At the end of the 30 days of Ramadan comes a wonderful celebration of Eid ul Fitr, which as you can imagine, revolves heavily around food! Last year Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies and I hosted Eid Eats! a virtual potluck party for to celebrate Eid ul Fitr and this year we are back with another co-host, the amazing Henna of My Ninja Naan.

EID EATS 2015

So how do you join in? Easy!

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something traditional, something unconventional, whatever you fancy – write a post and have it ready for the 15th of July 2015.

2.) Our posts will also be live July 15th 2015. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

Okay just thinking about Eid Eats is making me hungry. Good thing I have something yummy and filling for you today that would be wonderful for Sehri/Suhoor as well as breakfast any day. Baked in a square tin and sliced it will probably be pretty picnic friendly too!

The yummmy recipe I am sharing with you today originally comes from Asiya of Chocolate & Chillies. With it’s triple whammy of banana, oatmeal, and pecans it is quite substantial and healthy! Or rather it was until I couldn’t help myself and added a teaspoon of nutella on top  of each ramekin *guiltily looking away…*

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl

I baked mine in individual ramekins to make them easier to eat and freeze since I wanted a large-ish portion that would be perfect with a glass of milk for Sehri/Suhoor. The baked oatmeal is fairly dense since I effectively make ‘thicker’ portions than Asiya does. I also halved the recipe, increased the whole wheat flour, and decreased the brown sugar (to make room for the Nutella lol). For my purposes this is wonderful as is. For summer snacks I would omit the Nutella and go back to baking it in bar form like Asiya does.

Enough blathering.. on to the recipe…

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Salty-Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

Quite recently a fellow transplant from Pakistan reached out and commented on how “exhilliratingly high the aroma of vanilla and sugar emanating from my oven makes me (her)”. The entire time these cookies were baking all I could think of was how perfect these would be for her, a fellow lover of butter and sugar. E, I hope you make them and know just how much I appreciate your kind words 🙂

Salty Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

If vanilla has soft beauty then butterscotch packs a sweet punch. It’s tempered by a subtle amount of coffee and a healthy smattering of chopped, toasted pecans. The real piece-de-resistance though is the sweet and salty sugar that these cookies roll around in before making their way on to the baking sheet. I more or less kept the original name (i.e. Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies) for the recipe out of deference to the awesome people at King Arthur Flour, but really these are Crack Cookies.

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You can’t have just one.

Especially when they’re warm.

Fuggedaboutit.

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My Favorite Sugar Cookie – Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

Decorated sugar cookies are so pretty aren’t they? I frequently see them in bakeries and cafes. The pretty colors and designs always make my older girl ooh and aah then beg and plead and most of the time she winds up not liking them. I can’t blame her because neither do I. Then a few years ago I discovered this cookie. This cookie has real bona fide flavor. People like it even without the icing and that says a lot.

My Favorite Sugar Cookie - Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

My Favorite Sugar Cookie - Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

There are two things that make this cookie a little extra special – one the inclusion of cream cheese and the second the few drops of almond extract which give it a fresh undertone without it tasting overtly like almonds. Mind you, I don’t always use the extract especially if I am taking them somewhere that is nut free and they are delicious without.

My Favorite Sugar Cookies - Cream Cheese Roll Out Cookies

My favorite part about making these cookies was decorating them. My royal icing skills were pretty pathetic, but then youtube came to the rescue and now I love it and can’t wait to try different designs and techniques!

For those of you keeping track this is now my 8th out of 10 (hopefully) posts as part of the South Asian Blogger Networks two week blogging challenge! I see more and more of you are coming back here and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU!

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Sweet and Moist Northern-Style Cornbread with Honey Butter

When my brother graduated from college in upstate New York my husband and I drove down to help him pack up and move out. My brother – a fellow foodie – took me to one of his favorite cafes and there I got a cornbread muffin unlike any I had before. Now I went to school in the South (y’know if you y’all consider Virginia to be the South) and I have had many a cornbread, the tender lightly sweetened kind that you would have with something savory like a pot of chilli. But this sweet little thing, now this was a revelation.

Sweet and Moist Northern Style Cornbread

I have made many many many cornmeal based baked goods since, one in particular, i.e Dorie Greenspan’s corniest corn muffins were my personal favorite until a fellow blogger pointed me towards this Serious Eats recipe. I made it once and then I knew, this, this was it. 

Sweet and Moist Northern Style Cornbread

So without further ado, here you go, a sweet moist skillet cornbread that is made even more delicious with a slathering of honey butter with a small dash of sea salt. Bliss.

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The Very BEST Cocoa Brownies and a Blogger Challenge!

Hello friends – how goes the long weekend? Good you say? Let’s make it great by rustling up a pan of these brownies. All it takes is some undecidedly fancy ingredients to get some pretty darn delicious results. Now I have had a go-to brownie recipe for a long time now, it is quick and delicious. With a few notable exceptions other brownie recipes have left me feeling a little ‘meh’ especially the ones that have involved elaborate procedures and recommended that I wait 24 hours before trying a piece – laughable really.

When I came across this one from Cookie + Kate I had a feeling. For one she takes crackly tops seriously, as do I. For another she seems to really get that a brownie, a perfect brownie, should be mostly fudgy but with a little bit of heft. A rich caramelly back note, a touch of coffee and a little extra cocoa powder doesn’t hurt. Also I think the stirring is kinda magical – the last 50 strokes at the end – don’t skip it.

The Very BEST Cocoa Brownies

Speaking of skipping things, I think I may have failed to mention something – the South Asian Bloggers Network. A duo of wonderful women came up with the idea of bringing South Asian bloggers under one banner to help foster the advantages of a community both in terms of blogging support and sponsorship. You can read more about it here.

Well the same duo also came up with a challenge a few weeks ago – a two week blogging challenge, a post on each weekday for two weeks straight making for a total of 10 posts over 14 days. Bring it on I say! Actually moment of truth:  I totally panicked and am now faking a cool bring-it-on-its-no-bigs attitude. What I am genuinely excited about is bringing you a slew of yummies over the next two weeks – as my insta followers now I have been cooking and baking away and now it’s time to get blogging!

The BEST Cocoa Brownies

Hope you enjoy this sweet start to the next two weeks!

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Orange Cake

I know, I know, it’s Spring. Citrus was so last season. I shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of such blasphemous behavior, but you know what guys, this cake is easy and delicious all year round. There is something about beautiful sunny days that makes me want to eat things that feel bright and sunny and this cake does.

Orange Cake

So maybe you make it now and then again in the winter? You know, just to balance things out 😉

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I am not sure whose recipe this is, but all of the women in my family have it in their go to recipe book, the one that is a ‘best of’ of sorts. Also there? My super easy Lemon Velvet. I know, I know, I gots citrus on my mind.

Back to this cake then, I used to make it with a hand mixer and then it occurred to me that since it is made with oil not butter creaming is a little unnecessary so I just let my whisk and arm do a little bit of work and call it a day. The orange zest is my addition, but it goes a long way towards enhancing the orange flavor so please don’t skip it. I do skip making the glaze sometimes and instead warm and pour over some lovely sticky orange marmalade to good effect.

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Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

It’s miserable out here.  On days like this I want to stay inside and eat my body weight in pizza. And this beautiful cinnamon roll cake. Sigh. I miss this cake already.

What’s nice about this cake is that it’s really easy to assemble. My little one woke up right after I cut the dough into strips to roll up and I had to coil them up with one hand while holding her in the other. It seemed tricky at the time (translation: it felt like the beginning of a hot mess). However, the cream cheese frosting (which I kept thick on purpose) covered it up nicely 😉

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake w Cream  Cheese  Frosting

Also, as you can imagine, it smelled absolutely heavenly.

The recipe for the cake is from the fabulous Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a slight change in that I subbed out the glaze she uses for a more cinnabon like cream cheese glaze. I did have a little left over, but I find no one really complains about extra frosting on the side 😉

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake w Cream  Cheese  Frosting

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