Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Whoo! It’s been a while!

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

I was out of town for my birthday… eating my way through Toronto. As I do when I travel.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

But I’m coming back… with brownies. (And cake–two cakes! But that’s for another post.)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Let’s talk about these brownies. I was so furious at the Miette cookbook when I went to cut these brownies the next day and found that they went completely to crumbles the minute you put your knife in them.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

But then I typed up the recipe for this blog post… and realized that it advised you to cut them while still warm, only about 20 minutes. Well, guess I learned my lesson!

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Luckily, you can make a pan of messed-up brownies into adorable brownie crumble by popping them into “nut party cups” that you have lying in your cupcake liner shelf. (What–you don’t have a cupcake liner shelf?)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

And, whether you read the directions properly or not, these brownies have a deep, rich chocolate flavor. I’m sure it’s probably due to the fact that there are four bars of melted 70% cacao chocolate in there, but still–it’s so good. (That dash of espresso powder just adds that extra oomph to chocolate desserts, no!?)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Really, this recipe is par for the course with the Miette cookbook: all their recipes turn out lovely flavors, but the directions drive me crazy and often produce not-quite-right treats. Imperfect, fussy recipes… pretty incredible flavors. Worth the fuss? I still can’t decide! It’s just a good thing this book is so darn pretty.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

As always, a huge thank you to the lovely ladies at Anthropologie Milwaukee! It was great to hang out with you (and be tempted by the brand-new stock and displays!). Also, did you see there’s a new table in the dressing room!? It’s blue. And so cute. The food styling geek in me is pretty excited for a new string of photo shoots!

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Mini Brownie Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Happy birthday… to my blog!


Have you ever made yourself a cake? I’m not talking a sad, I’m-making-only-one-pathetic-but-beautifully-decorated-cupcake-because-I’m-oh-so-depressed-about-my-crazy-friend’s-wedding-and-confused-about-my-hot-Irish-cop-love-interest-ala-Kristin-Wiig-in-Bridesmaids kind of cake.


I’m talking a smile-on-my-face, accomplishment-celebrating, yes-I-am-a-totally-awesome-person-so-I’m-making-myself-a-cake-and-I-might-just-eat-it-all-by-myself-because-I-deserve-it kind of cake.


A year ago I decided that I wanted to share my love of baking with more than just my poor coworkers and friends, who were stuck listening to me describe my creations in person. In September, I concocted some pretty cupcakes, valiantly attempted macro-style photos of them with my cell phone camera, and wrote a little missive about lemons and lavender on a super-secret blog that no one knew about.


Then I kind of forgot about it… Until I made some peppermint brownie cookies. They were so good that forcing my friends to listen to me rave about the combination of dark chocolate and crushed peppermint before they tasted it themselves seemed cruel, so I pulled up my super-secret little blog and wrote a post, complete with fuzzy faux-macro cell phone photography.


Then, on December 31, almost exactly a year ago, I spent most of the day in my PJ’s and made the most wonderful salty oatmeal cookies for a New Year’s Party. Before I got fancied up, I took pictures of them on my coffee table. And I wrote about it on my super-secret little blog. And I realized I really liked doing this weird thing where I wrote about food on the internet.


So I took a deep breath, steeled myself for the credit card bill, and invested in a fancy camera as a post-Christmas present (it was totally worth it, for the record).


For the first few months of the year I baked every weekend (nothing new), took the prettiest pictures I possibly could, and wrote little online love letters to my baking in an attempt to share them with more people than just my Milwaukee friends. And eventually I started a Twitter account for it, and a Facebook page, and got some recipes onto Tastespotting–and all of a sudden people who weren’t my mom or my friends started coming to this little site (hello to you, new internet pals!). And I even started baking for Anthropologie, which is wild and dreamy and so much fun and still feels unreal.


Weird things happen when you blog. You start collecting mismatched plates and napkins you use for no other purpose than to put cookies on for “food styling.” You start occasionally calling yourself a “blogger” instead of your real-life professional title when introducing yourself. You make yourself blog calling cards–a.k.a. business cards. You buy yourself a Pro account on Flickr because without one, you don’t have enough space every month to upload all the photos you need to. You start looking at the world a little differently–noticing the different qualities of light, wishing you had your camera with you in random places, getting way too involved in Top Chef Just Desserts, and critiquing plating techniques at unsuspecting restaurants.


And you make yourself tiny little celebratory cakes. Out of fudgey, cakey, dense, chocolatey brownies. With creamy vanilla bean frosting. And you sit on your couch with your flour-loving cats while it snows big fluffy flakes outside, and you have yourself a happy little start to the New Year.


But the weirdest and most wonderful part of this whole blogging thing is unexpected. Instead of being shuffled to the side, only discussed in comments and Facebook posts and tweets, things start to happen outside of your computer. When you put your dorky hobby out into the internet world, people in the real world actually start to talk to you about it. Your mom texts you when she sees a new post. People you barely know compliment your photography. You start to tell your friends about something you made this weekend, and they politely interrupt you to say, “Yeah, I already saw that on your blog… Did you bring me any?” And people you don’t know call you by the name of your website. As in: “Oh! You’re Chelsea Bakes!” And you just smile and nod and giggle to yourself, because, of course, your name isn’t actually Chelsea Bakes.


And then you stop your giggling because, well, now it kind of is. And that’s just fine by you. Continue reading

Malted Blondies


When you’ve just had what might have been the best week of your life, what in the world could you possibly bake?


Something that has only unusually wonderful things in it. Deep brown sugar. Chocolate chips. Sinkingly crunchy walnuts.


And of course: things that are malted. Malt powder, of course. But also malted milk balls, freshly made no less, from City Market in Milwaukee.


And to get more specific, a mix of milk chocolate and “ultimate” malted milk balls. What is ultimate? Just look at that picture. That’s what they are. That. Right there. I know: wow.


By the way, did you notice that backdrop this time around? It’s a beautiful hand-printed tea towel by my friend Kim Weiss! The bird goes pretty well with malted blondies, no?


As I snack on these, I’m becoming somewhat disturbed by the fact that I don’t really need a lot of excuses to bake myself something decadent. A rough day could mean ridiculous cookies, just as an amazing week could mean these crazy malted blondie bars. I probably shouldn’t bother analyzing this and instead just keep baking, justified reasons or not. Continue reading

Browned Butter Brownies

Let’s keep this one simple.


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


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.


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.


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