Friday, March 26, 2010

March Kitchen Conundrum Winner!

So, what is that strange looking tool that we featured in the March Kitchen Conundrum Contest? It's a ricer, and in the Simply Divine Kitchen we use it to rice mashed potatoes. Many of you are probably thinking - mashed potatoes and brownies - how do these two things go together?!?!?! Well, we use the mashed potatoes in the topping for our Need'Him or Her Brownie.

If you're a Mainer, you're probably familiar with Needhams, the delicious inspiration for this brownie. Needhams are a classic Maine staple (the "unofficial candy of Maine") which have been around for as long as I can remember. Needhams used to be sold in grocery stores here (in little orange candy sleeves - remember!) along side the likes of Snickers, Skittles and Milky Ways, but I think the heyday of Needhams has since passed. Not to worry, our Need'Him or Her Brownie pays homage to this classic candy in a sinfully decadent way. The brownie is comprised of our traditional brownie base, stacked high with Needham candy bar filling (that's where the potato comes into play), and then the whole brownie is dunked in dark chocolate...decadent, I know, but isn't that the point!

We use the potato in the Needham candy bar filling because it lends a creamy texture to this coconut-based concoction. And the ricer is a great tool for mashing potatoes because it never leaves them starchy, sticky or pasty like mixers tend to do…no lumps, either.

One person (Scott from Maine) correctly guessed the purpose of the ricer and the brownie for which it is used, so he'll receive a half dozen of Need'Him or Her Brownies plus the ricer! Congratulations Scott!

Stay tuned for April's Kitchen Conundrum...

Folks, We Have A Winner (3, Actually!)

A big thanks to everyone who participated in our Build a Brownie Contest - reading your posts was like flipping through the pages of an innovative cookbook - fun and inspiring! Due to the great response, we decided to randomnly select three winners (instead of just one). Over the next three weeks, we will post an in-depth look at each of these winners. First up, we have Matt and his dream concoction - Opposites Attract. Here's Matt's contest entry (and his picture below!):

"Since smoke salt caramels are our President's favorite candy, he (well, everyone) would love a brownie base topped with a caramel layer and sprinkled with a little smoke salt. Delicious."

I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for the sweet/salty combo, so Matt's vision for this brownie had me excited from the word go! We asked Matt a few questions about brownies, and here's what he had to say:

How did you come up with the idea for your brownie?
I came up with the idea for these smoked salt caramel brownies while I was browsing the already long list of delicious suggestions on the content page. After seeing a few that used caramel and a few that called for some salty element, all I could think of was President Obama. I've made that random connection ever since a friend of mine got a box of salted caramels during last year's election season and shared both the caramels and the fun fact that smoked salt caramels are Obama's favorite candy. The combination of sweet and salty and the excitement of a historical election made for an extremely memorable flavor - one that would be perfect featured in a rich, chocolately brownie.

What do you plan to do with your brownies?
To celebrate the creation of Opposites Attract, I want to gather my friends here at college and share the flavors our President loves so much. My friend, a Maine native, who told me about Simply Divine's contest and my other friend who first shared those salted caramels and that factoid with me will both be there, of course. In the spirit of the brownies, maybe we'll all sit around with tall glasses of milk and debate the merits of conservative and liberal policy. Or maybe we'll just talk about how much we love brownies.

Why do you love brownies?
There are many reasons to love brownies. I like that brownies are all about their intense chocolate flavor that can also be used as a delicious canvas for other flavors - which is what Simply Divine's contest was all about.

To read more about Matt's thoughts on brownies, visit his very own baking blog:

And to get your tastebuds revved up, here are some pictures of Opposites Attract in it's initial stages of creation:

First comes the batter...

...then the caramel. This requires constant stirring, so that it doesn't sugar out...

...and here our head baker, Shannon, tests the fudgy brownie base...

...and last, but not least, a healthy sprinkle of gourmet sea salt.

Matt's brownies are in the mail and we can't wait to hear what he thinks of them! And don't forget to check in next week for a look at our second Build a Brownie Contest winner: Almond Cheesecake and White Chocolate Chip...this is going to be good!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The March Kitchen Conundrum

Have you ever noticed how silly looking some of the utensils we use in the kitchen are? At the Brownie Shop, we often find ourselves wielding strange looking contraptions to create our brownies and we thought it would be fun to share these tools with an interesting way!

So here's the deal: every month we will be posting a photo of a kitchen tool that we simply cannot live without at Simply Divine Brownies. Each tool has a specific function related to creating just one of our heavenly brownies. We want you to answer the three questions below in the comments section of this posting, along with your email address, and on Friday, March 26, we will draw a lucky winner from the comments to receive the featured kitchen tool as well as half a dozen of the brownies the tool is used to make.

Here are the questions you need to answer in the comments section:
1. What is the tool?
2. What is it used for?
3. For which brownie is this tool an absolute necessity?
4. What's your email address?

Click here to search our brownie varieties to sleuth out the brownie created with the featured tool. Happy hunting and good luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Food for Thought

Click here to enter our Build a Brownie CONTEST!!!
Wow, what can I say? You have truly inspired all of us at the Brownie Shop with your creative, delicious and innovative submissions for the Build a Brownie Contest. Mint chocolate chip cookie dough, marzipan, mexican cinnamon, banana chocolate chunk, chocolate covered potato chip, pumpkin cheesecake, pistachio...the list of wonderful flavor submissions goes on and on...

As you know, we'll be randomnly selecting a winner this Friday, March 12th, but I can't help but think that more than one of these flavors will end up in our test kitchen in the coming months. We'll keep you posted! And if you are in the mood to salivate, I encourage you to head over to the comments section of the Contest Blog Entry to see what other chocoholics across the country consider to be the brownie of their dreams.

And don't forget to forward the contest on to any friends who might be interested in devouring a pan of their very own brownies!

Have a delicious day everyone!

A Jig of Creme de Menthe

Click here to enter our Build a Brownie CONTEST!
To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I've thrown together a delicious recipe for Grasshopper Pie using our Not So Plane Jane Sweet Conclusions. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare, but requires several hours of chilling time. It serves 8, so invite over 7 of your closest friends and enjoy!

  • 1 bag Not So Plane Jane Sweet Conclusions
  • 1 bag large marshmallows (32 marshmallows total)
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup Creme de Menthe
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • Dark chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Place 1 bag of Not So Plane Jane Sweet Conclusions in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 25 seconds or until soft. Place Sweet Conclusions in a food processor and process until crumbs are fine. Press crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate

In a saucepan over medium heat, add marshmallows and half & half. Stir constantly until marshmallows are melted. Add Creme de Menthe and transfer mixture to bowl. Chill mixture in the fridge until it has thickened.

In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff. Add sugar and continue to beat. Fold heavy cream into chilled marshmallow mixture. Fill pie crust with mixture!

Drizzle with melted sweet dark chocolate and chill for several hours before serving.