Tag: Brownies

Chipotle Pecan Brownies and “The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York”

Chipotle Pecan Brownies and "The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York" // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Chipotle Pecan Brownies and "The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York" // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chipotle Pecan Brownies and "The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York" // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chipotle Pecan Brownies and "The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York" // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Welp, it’s officially time to start making holiday treats and going gift shopping. Last night Jonah and I went to the Holiday Ale Fest, and it really got me into the holiday spirit. In thinking of holiday gifts, I want to tell you about this little book that I think would make a great present: The Unofficial GIRLS Guide to New York.

Now, before we jump in here, let me clarify that this book is the GIRLS guide, as in the TV show. Which I love. The past 2 seasons, my friend Erica has come over every week to watch it with us. The characters are fantastic (I think Shoshana is my favorite), the storyline is ever-entertaining, and it certainly captures certain aspects of being a twenty-something in a big city and not having any idea of what you’re doing with your life. Which I may or may not be able to relate to.

So when my aunt and uncle (of Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook fame) told me they were writing a GIRLS book, I was incredibly excited. Jonah and I rattled off interviews they could do, recipes, etc. But they had already thought of everything. This book is half fan-girl material, half guidebook, with some great recipes sprinkled throughout. Since receiving it in the mail, I’ve loved flipping through it, reading the stories of all the locations – not only because they make up the backdrop for this great show, but also because it’s New York, and there are so many interesting tidbits about all of these places. I’m just sad the book wasn’t out in time for our trip to New York!

I wanted to give you a little sneak preview by letting you in on one of the recipes. I decided to whip up “Agave’s Chipotle Pecan Brownies” a couple weeks ago, and dang were they good. More cake-y and less fudgy, the chipotle brings a really nice smoky and spicy flavor to these sweets. These would be a great unique treat to whip up for a holiday party! The recipe comes from Oberlin’s Agave Burrito Bar & Tequileria (Oberlin is where Marnie, Hannah, Jessa, and Elijah went to college, and where Marnie meets Charlie at the Oberlin College Galactic Safe Sex Ball 2007, which you can read more about in the book). I made half the recipe, and still had a 9×13 pan full of these bad boys, so I’ll give you the halved version, plus the full amounts in parentheses.

Chipotle Pecan Brownies


6 oz semisweet chocolate (12 oz)
1 cup plus 2 Tbl unsalted butter, room temperature (2 1/4 cups)
1 3/4 cups sugar (3 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1 Tbl)
4 eggs (8 eggs)
1 1/4 cups flour (2 1/2 cups)
3/4 tsp cinnamon (1 1/2 tsp)
3/4 tsp chipotle powder (1 1/2 tsp)
4 oz pecans, crumbled to your desired consistency (8 oz)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish/pan (or 2 if you’re using the amounts in parentheses).

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. While the chocolate is melting, cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the vanilla, mix again, and then add the eggs. Mix to combine – it should be “creamy and lemon colored.” With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in a little bit of the chocolate. Let the mixer stir this small amount in, then slowly pour in the rest of the chocolate and mix until it’s just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, and chipotle powder, then stir to combine. Remove the bowl of chocolate from your mixer base, and gently fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate batter until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and scatter the pecans over the top. Bake for 25 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. The brownies should be just set in the center of the pan. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for an hour before cutting. Serve them up and enjoy!

Restaurant Review: The Sugar Cube

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Not too long ago, The Sugar Cube was a little pink and brown cart, sitting outside Lardo’s eastside location. It was good, but you couldn’t do too much in the space of that cart. It was smaller than most that you see around Portland, and I certainly can’t imagine trying to frost a cake in there.

Now, The Sugar Cube has taken over a small, bright space on NE Alberta. (Warning: my grainy, dark iPhone pictures don’t quite do it justice.) There aren’t a lot of seats, but it seems to be enough, and coming here on a weekday morning to meet a friend for coffee and pastries, when it’s relatively quiet, makes you feel like you’re in on a very delicious secret. I was more than excited when my friend Elaine suggested it for coffee and pastries.

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
The Sugar Cube // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The best part of their new shop is that the kitchen is twice the size of the front room, meaning pastry master Kir Johnson now has the space to make sugar sing. And boy, does it hit some high notes. I was there for breakfast, so I didn’t get any chocolatey or dessert-y treats, but I did indulge in the spiced buttermilk cornbread.

More like a slice of spice cake, but with the perfect notes of cornbread, it was doused with a unique salty molasses butter, which balanced out the sweetness perfectly with some more spice and salt. Elaine had the savory strata with mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and both goat and cheddar cheese. Delectable. And of course I brought Jonah home a couple of jammers – one was oat filled with strawberry rhubarb jam, and the other was poppyseed filled with a lemon curd.

Next time, I’m going for the sweets no matter what time of day it is. The ultimate brownies with olive oil and sea salt look too good to pass up.

Simple Brownies with Almond

Simple Brownies

Simple Brownies

My co-worker Kelly, who I’ve written about before, has a commune dinner every Monday night. He lives near a bunch of his friends and all of them and their kids (and their pets) all convene for dinner every week. A few weeks ago, Jonah and started joining in. It’s really nice to have that sense of community, which I think can be hard to find when you’re in your 20s and you don’t live near your family.

Going over to Kelly’s on Mondays is so calming. Every member of this group is so kind and funny. They have been having these meals for I’m not sure how many years, but they weren’t even phased when Jonah and I started showing up every week, and have been so incredibly welcoming, pulling up chairs to the table and always making sure we have a drink in our hand. It immediately feels like we’re a part of this family, with the two little boys running around the house and the dogs barking outside. And they feed us delicious food, so I can’t complain.

The first night we went, instead of just grabbing a bottle of wine and heading over (which I was later scolded for not doing), I decided to whip up a batch of brownies. There’s a relatively quick recipe in An Everlasting Meal, so I pulled it out and made a couple of adjustments (mainly replacing half a teaspoon of the vanilla extract with almond extract), and they turned out to be a huge hit. The almond was a really nice and unique flavor with the chocolate.

Simple Almond Brownies


4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks butter
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
a handful (or 2) of chocolate chips, or walnuts


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch baking dish or pan. In a double boiler on the stove (or a heat proof bowl or a pot over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring so it’s all nice and smooth. Remove the bowl or pot from heat and let it cool. Once it is cool, add the eggs, beating after each addition. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond, stir, and then add the flouring, stirring until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips (or walnuts, if you’re using them) on top. You can put on as many as you like or as few. Bake for about 30 minutes, but do the clean knife/toothpick check at 20. Mine took roughly 35 minutes. Enjoy!