Browned Butter Brownies

Let’s keep this one simple.

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First: I’m a sucker for anything with browned butter. Ten points for this recipe already.

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Second: Bon Appetit was right: These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever had. Fifty more points, because they are indeed that good.

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Third: I don’t even like fudgey brownies. I’m a cakey brownie kind of girl. And yet I just ate four of these in the past twenty minutes. So there you go, brownies, just take one hundred million points and call it a day.

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One hundred million, and sixty, arbitrary, Whose Line is it Anyway-style points for you, Browned Butter Brownies. While you celebrate your win, I’m off to eat one hundred sixty million more calories of brownies. Toodles. Continue reading

Blueberry Muffins

Ready your eyes, friends. These muffins are not pretty. Not even the photos are pretty, because I made these on a dreary cold evening in the Midwest and the light is pretty poor.

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But I am posting them anyway because this is the best muffin recipe I have, and despite their very blue appearance, they were scrumptious. Yes, that’s right, I said it. Scrumptious. I ate three when they were barely cooled. No shame here.

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I leave you with this parting discovery: Frozen blueberries thaw very quickly. Even in your frigid apartment, where only in below-zero Wisconsin weather will you begrudgingly turn on your heat. You might think letting them sit for a couple minutes while you mix in the buttermilk would be just fine, but no: you will have bright blue, marbled muffins. Don’t get me wrong. Your muffins will still be delicious…

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They will just be muppet blue, too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Venus Madeleines

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Gold and butter. Botticelli and madeleines. Perhaps unusual combinations at first… but they go together beautifully.

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These small but decadent, lemony little French cakes, gilded like Venus’ shell in The Birth of Venus, are just as sumptuous (albeit in a smaller dose) as the Renaissance masterpiece itself.

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This little project would probably be too cutesy… if they weren’t gold. Gold is never cutesy. Only awesome.

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If you’re really dorky like me, you’ll even get a kick out of the painterly way you buttered and floured the pan. (Has anyone else figured out that trick? Melt your butter and brush it on, then flour! So much easier than swiping a stick of butter unevenly all over the place.)

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Madeleines are also an excellent secret baking weapon. They are the perfect things to bring to a party, because they are unusual, but are also easy to make. (The French name probably helps with the impressiveness factor.) You don’t even have to wait for butter to come to room temperature, since you melt it. All you need is a madeleine pan.

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And luster dust? Oh my goodness. What gorgeous, fun stuff.

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And, by the way, next time I make these, I’m going all Mediterranean — blood orange flavored instead of lemon! Continue reading

Pearl Sugar Cream Scones

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These are lazy Saturday morning scones.

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I have made this recipe at least twenty times or so over the past few years. They are one of my favorite ways to combine butter, sugar, and flour, probably thanks to the heavy cream and the pretty pearl sugar–little opaque sugar crystals that remind me of snowflakes, if snow could taste sweet. (You can find pearl sugar at IKEA, or substitute sanding sugar. But it won’t be as pretty.)

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In college, these were my go-to, procrastination-assisting baked good. Today, they were my “I have nothing to eat for breakfast or lunch and I’m still sleepy at 11 in the morning and I really just need something easy and warm that will go with my tea” baked good.

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As long as you don’t overmix the dough (the usual scone instruction), these are the easiest kind of gently sweet scone to make. You could add nuts or currants, slather with raspberry jam, or, as I did for lunch, eat them plain and unabashedly, one after another, with a big mug of Earl Grey.

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