Always a big fan of the uber-talented David Lebovitz, I knew as soon as I read about these brownies I’d have to make them.  Typically I look at a recipe, via a photo of the finished product, before I attempt to make it, but in this case, is was the ingredients that caught my eye.

The Dulce de Leche (see recipe here) is basically caramelized sweetened condensed milk.  While available in the store, it’s so easy to make at home (and much cheaper), I’m not quite sure why anyone would actually buy this stuff instead of making it themselves.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

8 tbsp butter, cut into tbsp-size pieces
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (0.75oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 cup (7oz) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (5oz) flour
1 cup (3.5oz) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the baking pan with two sheets of foil placed perpendicular, with the edges overhanging the sides, so that they make a cross.  These will be used as handles to lift the brownies out of the pan.  Spray foil-lined pan with cooking spray.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts.
  4. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly.
  6. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Storage:These brownies actually become better the second day, and will keep well for up to 3 days.

Makes 12 brownies



I will never buy Nutella again…

…now that I know how easy, simple, and cheap it is to make at home.  Seriously, this stuff is so easy to make, there’s really no reason to actually buy a jar of it.

I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes, including one from the über-talented David Lebovitz.  I went through a lot of hazelnuts!  They were all good, but none actually made me think I was eating from a jar of Nutella.

Finally, I stumbled across a recipe from Megan Gordon at The Kitchn.  Looked simple enough, but unlike a lot of the recipes I tried it didn’t have any milk, or milk products in it.

Strange thing about this recipe is that it’s not only the simplest I’ve tried, but the best tasting.

Homemade Nutella

1 cup hazelnuts, peeled
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2-4 tbsp canola oil

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.  Peel the hazelnuts using the directions found here.
  • Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until brown and aromatic, for 12-18 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.
  • Place the hazelnuts in your food processor and blend continuously until they turn into a smooth butter, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 tbsp of the oil.  Blend until smooth, adding 1 tbsp of oil at a time, as needed, until it’s smooth, creamy, and of spreading consistency.

If stored in the refrigerator, the Nutella is good 2 weeks for a long time…I’ve had some in my fridge for 4+ months (I make big batches of it when I find hazelnuts on sale)


  • Canola oil can go rancid, so while technically there is nothing in the Nutella that would go bad, why risk spending a night praying to the porcelain goddess?  Just keep it in the fridge, but don’t be afraid to take it on a picnic either.
  • Every time I’ve made this I’ve needed a different amount of oil.  I chalk it up to the differences in the amount of oil in the hazelnuts.


Modified source:


Peeling hazelnuts is was pain in the butt.  Toast them in the oven, then while still hot, rub them with a kitchen towel.  Never got all of the skins off, and usually made a mess of the place.

No more!  There is an easier and foolproof way!

Enter Jamie Lothridge, of My Baking Addiction, who blogs about an easier, much easier, and more foolproof way to peel hazelnuts.  Originally thought of by Alice Medrich who showed Julie Child (yes, the Julie Child) how to easy it is to remove the skins off of hazelnuts.

When I first read this, I was like “No <bleeping> way!“, as I’ve gotten aggravated more than a couple of times trying to peel hazelnuts.  I actually ran to the store (well, ok, I drove), got some hazelnuts to give this a go.

Yeap, it’s as easy as it sounds, and works as reported!

Easy way to peel hazelnuts

2 cups boiling water
3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hazelnuts

  1. In a medium saucepan with high sides, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the water – the water will foam up.
  2. Add the nuts to the boiling water and boil for about 3 minutes. The water will turn black – don’t be alarmed. While the hazelnuts are boiling, prepare a medium bowl of ice cold water. After three minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove one test nut, placing the nut into the prepared bowl of ice water. Use your fingers to remove the skin, if the skin doesn’t come off easily, boil the nuts 1-2 minutes longer and try another test nut.
  3. When a test skin rubs right off, add the rest of the nuts to the ice water and peel them with ease.
  4. Place peeled nuts into a kitchen towel or paper towels and dry them thoroughly.
  5. If desired, toast the peeled and dried hazelnuts at 350° for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.



Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

So the Dulce de Leche I made recently kept taunting me every time I opened the refrigerator, just daring me to open a jar, get a spoon, and start eating.  My will power, surprisingly enough, held that idea in check, but I knew it was only a matter of time, so I figured I outta do something with Dulce de Leche.

There’s no shortage of yummy things to make with Dulce de Leche, but when the Kuhn Rikon Push Pan I’d ordered arrived, I knew it had to be a cheesecake.  The Kuhn Rikon Push Pan has a silicon ring at the base which claims to eliminate the need wrap the pan in double foil when using a water bath.

The Dulce de Leche isn’t a super strong flavor, so I jacked up the flavor with some peanut butter, and topped the cheesecake with a chocolate ganache, as peanut butter/Dulce de Leche and chocolate are like the yin and yang of sweets.  With the sweetness of the Dulce de Leche and the peanut butter, I was able to tune back the amount of sugar typically used in a cheesecake. [continued after the jump...]


Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Dulce de lech is basically caramelized sweetened condensed milk.  The concept of making Dulce de lech is pretty simple: cook sweetened condensed milk over low heat until it turns into caramel.

If you can use caramel in a recipe, you can easily substitute Dulce de lech in it’s place.

I originally made some a few years back by placing the unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in a pot, covering them with water, then baking at a low heat for a couple of hours.  Not very practical in the summer, and not super cost efficient either, not to mention the idea of cooking something in a can meant for storage.

Enter a post I stumbled across from, where they use a Crockpot (slow cooker) to make the Dulce de lech.  No heating up the entire house in July, nor the energy bill from keeping the stove on for a couple of hours.

Downside: I made nine jars, which I’ll be using in *something* soon, as they keep taunting me every time I open the fridge.  I really want to show them, by getting a spoon and eating some right out of the jar, but I’ve kept my willpower in check…so far…

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

4 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk – NOT evaporated milk!
6 (8oz/1cup) canning jars with lids and rings

  1. Wash jars and lids, and sanitize in dishwasher (this is what I used) or boiling water.
  2. After the jars dry, add the condensed milk to about ½ inch from the top rim.
  3. Wipe jar edges clean, and put lids and screw rings on. Tighten firmly, but not aggressively.
  4. Place jars as evenly spaced on the top of a kitchen towel, used as a buffer, on bottom of slow cooker. Fill pot with water to cover the tops of the jars by at least 1/2″.
  5. Cook on low heat for 7-9 hours, depending on how firm/thick you want it (I cooked it for 9 hours).  Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.

Source: From Scratch Club


King Arthur Flour's Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

King Arthur Flour’s Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

If you read the post I did last year on sourdough bread, and thought it was good, wait until you try this sourdough recipe!

Think sourdough bread, but with an amp’d up sourdough taste.  If you can imagine the best sourdough bread you’ve ever had, this is better.  Yeah, it’s that good.

There’s no yeast added to the dough.  All of the leavening comes from within the sourdough starter.

Downside to no added yeast is that it takes a lot longer for the loaves to rise, but the taste is worth it.  Make sure you plan accordingly to allow for the extra long rising time (I usually make this on a weekend).

Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups to 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a smooth dough
5 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt

  • Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute.
  • Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: 2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Knead to form a smooth dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out, and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone’s timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.
  • Gently divide the dough in half.
  • Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
  • Make two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
  • Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.


  • As you can see from the rising time it’ll be anywhere from 20-27 hours after you start making this before it will go into the oven.  Plan accordingly.

Source: King Arthur Flour