Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Third Build a Brownie Contest Winner!!!

It's not every day that you have the opportunity (the joy, really!) to pair two beloved desserts and create a single, mouth-watering treat. But, thanks to Holly and her delectable Build a Brownie Contest submission, we now get to experience the bliss of cheesecake and brownies in a single bite. Here's Holly's submission (and her picture to the left):

"I would love a cheesecake brownie! An almond flavored cheesecake batter swirled into your delicious brownie batter, and dotted with mini chocolate chips would be incredible!!!"

We asked Holly a few questions and here are her responses:

How did you come up with the idea for your brownie?
I just love the combination of brownies and cheesecake. I have a recipe for cheesecake-topped brownies that I haven't made in probably 10 years. Every now and then I might see a cheesecake brownie in a bakery and I am reminded how much I enjoy them. When this contest began, a cheesecake brownie immediately came to mind because it was a flavor of brownie that Simply Divine Brownies didn't already make. I chose the almond flavor simply because I love the flavor, especially in cheesecake.

Why do you plan to do with your brownies?
I plan to share my brownies with some friends and family. I am currently a culinary arts student, and I love to cook and bake and try to create recipes. I am lucky enough to have many people in my life who are very supportive of my passion and excited that I was one of the winners in this contest.

Why do you love brownies?
To me, brownies are pretty much the perfect treat. They are moist and rich and chocolatey. They can be made so many different ways, which is what I love about Simply Divine Brownies! But no matter what kind of brownie I choose, it always tastes best with a glass of cold milk.

Thanks again for your submission Holly. We couldn't stop "sampling" these brownies at the shop - and they left the most wonderful aroma in the air!


April Kitchen Conundrum Winner!

So, what is that odd, self-rigged tool that we featured in the April Kitchen Conundrum Contest? It's a whisk (which we modified by cutting the end off), and in the Simply Divine kitchen we use it to drizzle dark chocolate over our frosted and topped brownies. We started with a fork, moved to a bamboo skewer and finally settled on this contraption, as it gives even coverage and leaves wispy threads of delicious chocolate without the “extreme” clumping that results from other tools.

The lucky winner, who correctly guessed the tool and it's use, is Margot. Margot received a dozen brownies and a new whisk! We also sent her our two new brownie flavors: smoked sea salt and caramel and strawberry cheesecake, along with our turtle brownie, our crème de menthe and peppermint brownies, our cappuccino brownie, and our macaroon brownie.

When we passed the good news on to Margot, we asked her to tell us why she loves brownies - this is what she had to say:
"Why do I love brownies? Mainly because I LOVE chocolate. They're the perfect vehicle to transport one of my favorite ingredients to my stomach. Soft, a bit chewy, warm, moist... They're incredibly comforting. I like to sit down with a warm brownie and a tall glass of milk to forget all the things that are stressing me out at any given point in time. What I love about Simply Divine is not only are your brownies incredibly delicious, but they give me inspiration in my own kitchen for flavor combinations. It's exciting to see what creative ways you jazz up a simple crowd pleaser like a brownie. I hope to visit the store again when I'm back in Maine this summer!"
Congratulations, Margo! We can't wait to see you this summer!

Ciao, Brownie Lovers!

Hi Everyone! As you've probably noticed, there has been a slow down in blog posts since April. The reason? I recently took a dream vacation to Italy, and between the preparations, the packing and planning, and squaring things away at the Brownie Shop in anticipation of my absence, I'm afraid I wasn't able to spend as much time the blog as I would have liked. But to reward you for your patience, I promise lots of pictures, treats, and fabulous chocolate news in the coming weeks!

For now, here is a picture of the town in Tuscany where I stayed. I was lucky enough to take a series of cooking classes while I was here and I learned to make the most delicious food - including three different types of homemade pasta. I think I'll be dreaming of Italian cuisine for weeks to come! More details (and delicious recipes) will be posted soon!
I hope you're all well and enjoying the beautiful first days of summer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother's Day

All of us at the Brownie Shop are busy preparing special orders for Mother's Day. Some of you may already know this, but the Simply Divine Brownie Company was actually named in homage to my mother, who loved to exclaim "That's simply divine," when she came across something (a dessert, a dress, a novel) that particularly tickled her fancy. Although I lost my mother over a decade ago, I like to think that she's been a big part of my journey here at Simply Divine. Owning a small business is full of challenging hurdles, but I'm so proud of what I've been able to accomplishm in the 5 years since I started this company, and I'm sure my mom would be proud, too.

Life is sweet, every twist and turn. I'm thankful I was able to experience so much of the journey with my mom by my side. Even though she isn't here with me today, I like to think that if she was, she would take one look at the Brownie Shop, sample a bite of the Pink Lady Brownie, and exclaim, in her exuberant way, "Why isn't this just simply divine!"

As Mother's Day approaches, I hope you're all able to steal a moment of time to think about your mother and the special place she holds in your life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Girls Night Out

We all need to take a bit of time to pamper ourselves - that is exactly what our guests did when they gathered at Simply Divine Brownies for our "Girls Night Out," where they decorated brownies, indulged in chocolate covered strawberries and learned how to make (and enjoy) three new appetizers. And after a busy night of eating and sipping champagne, everyone was treated to a chair massage and a professional Tarot Card reading. Enjoy our photos of the evening and the recipe for one of the appetizers we whipped up - Curried Chicken in Endive.

Curried Chicken in Endive (appetizers for 8)
This is perfect for an appetizer, but I also use just the chicken salad for a luncheon or picnic. The medley of flavors is outstanding and will have people proclaiming it "this is the best chicken salad I have ever put in my mouth!" I promise.

18 ounces of Perdue’s Honey Roasted Carved Chicken Breast, cut in bite-sized pieces.
(available in deli section of grocery stores)
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
3 scallions with dark green removed, chopped
1 cup of golden raisins
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
Belgian endive leaves, separated and washed

Mix all the ingredients, except for the endive, together in a bowl. Cover and chill for at least one hour. Just before serving, scoop into endive leaves.

We hope you join us for the next "Girls Night Out" at the Simply Divine Brownie shop - have a great day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Kitchen Conundrum

Every baker knows that you occasionally have to improvise in the kitchen to get the job done when the proper baking utensil isn't at your disposal - or in this case, doesn't exist! If you missed the March Kitchen Conundrum, here's the assignment at hand: each month we feature a tool that is essential to the creation of one (or more) or our delectable brownies. If you correctly guess the tool, it's use, and the brownie flavor(s) it's used to create, you will be entered into a random drawing. The winner of the drawing will win the featured tool and a whole bunch of brownies. Goodness, that's wordy, but I think you get the point!

So take a look at the picture and answer the questions below in the comments section of this post. And pay attention, because this month's featured tool is actually used in the creation of 6 of our brownies - but you only have to identify three of the brownies correctly to be eligible for the prize. And since we're asking you to to identify more than one brownie, we're also giving the winner more than one brownie. That's right - the winner of the challenge receive the tool and a dozen brownies.

Here are the questions you need to answer in the comments section of this post:
1. What is the tool? (Remember, we've altered this tool to serve our purpose, so it may look a little funny in the picture - but that's part of the challenge!)
2. What is the tool used for?
3. What brownies is the tool used to create? (We use this tool to help create 6 brownies - you just need to correctly guess 3 of the 6)
4. What's your email address? (So that we can contact you if you win!)

We'll select a winner at random on April 26th. Click here to search our brownie varieties to sleuth out which brownies the tool is used to create. Good luck - this is a tough one!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meet the Pink Lady

It's a beautiful morning here in Maine - and I hope it's equally as gorgeous wherever you are! To add to the joy of this sunny day, I'm pleased to announce the second winner of our Build a Brownie contest, which is....the Pink Lady brownie, submitted by chocolate lover Emily! Since all of us at the Brownie Shop wear pink every day (from our baker's hats to our aprons) this seems like a particularly fitting brownie to add to our roster of delectable creations:) Here's Emily's submission (and her picture below):

"How about a strawberry cheesecake brownie! Brownie base, a cream cheese second layer, swirled with strawberry preserves."

We asked Emily a few questions and here are her responses:

How did you come up with the idea for your brownie?
I looked at your existing brownie flavors and thought that neither cheesecake nor strawberries were represented yet. I would have suggested cherry cheesecake, but you already highlight cherries in three of your recipes, so strawberry it was! My friend, Patricia, loves cheesecake brownies and I have baked them for her several times. Without her, I doubt I would have tried them and discovered how delicious they are.

Why do you plan to do with your brownies?
My daughter, Victoria, is turning 1 on April 29. We're hosting a block party for family and friends to celebrate and now we have an extra goodie to give out in addition to birthday cake!

Why do you love brownies?
I've had a lifelong love of brownies. They are my ultimate comfort food. When I can't find time to bake the recipe my mom always uses (from an older edition of The Joy of Cooking), I order yours. Cocoa's IncrEdible Creations and Appily Ever After are my favorite varieties.

I have to admit, we were all blown away by the outcome of this brownie - it is absolutely delicious. I'm afraid I even asked our head baker, Shannon, to whip up a few extra batches because all of us at the shop can't stop indulging. I hope Emily enjoys her Pink Lady brownies as much as we did (and continue to do)!