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One Pot Brownies

  It had been a bad day.  If I remember rightly, there was rain and cold and the dreariness of another schoolwork-filled day.

  Mid-afternoon, I shoved aside algebra and flipped onto my back, staring at the delicately painted ceiling of our family room.  Hands digging into the plush green carpet.

  I let out a sigh.  Mom was pottering about in the kitchen, one of her least favorite places to be.  I began to rack my head for what we had to work with in the pantry, I'd started to get pretty good at throwing together last minute meals.  Sometimes that meant bean dip, or a makeshift pot pie consisting mostly of freezer-burned peas.  Or a kick-ass grilled cheese with a few stray cans of tomato soup.

  As I began thinking about whether or not we had enough sandwich bread to make everyone grilled cheese, mom came and set on the steps in front of me.

  "I think we need brownies. Warm. With ice cream."

  My mom and I are different people, but many times we are very much on the same wavelength.  That was the first time I'd ever had a brownie fresh from the oven, a simple scoop of vanilla on top.  Each bite made every bit of grayness in that day seem like sheer perfection.  Cold ice cream just chilling the steaming hot brownie to an edible temperature, its creaminess alleviating the rich chocolate.  

  A true love was born that afternoon.  I've been obsessed with brownies (good brownies) ever since.  When the craving hits, as it does my mother, really nothing else will do.

  Soon after, I began experimenting.  My mom had a trusty recipe, but she wanted one that would give her more of a crackle-y, shiny meringue finish on top.  But the brownie itself couldn't be too fudge-y, or everyone just felt a little sick afterwards.

  I made lots of brownies at home.  Fudgey, cakey, and crackley.  All were devoured happily.

  Thinking back on those family-oriented afternoon dessert sessions makes me a little nostalgic.  When my mood is low and inspiration is lacking, I often find myself reverting back to one of mankind's basic necessities.  A good chocolate brownie.

  When your apartment is slightly in shambles and your kitchen is only so big, it's hard to take on big baking projects.  I used to laminate pastry dough and make 4 layer cakes.  Now, I do my best to limit dishes and avoid anything requiring an expensive stand mixer.  It saddens me sometimes, but I like to view this part of my life as a challenge.  I'm providing for myself, and anything I produce in this tiny kitchen is a feat in itself.  But it must always be good, and worth my time.

  And this, this crackle-y crusted, just the right amount of fudge-y one-pot brownie, is entirely worth your time.  Served warm or cold, it's sure to please.  And on this day of celebrating women, I'd like to thank my mowm for teaching me to find happiness in the gray, and how to take delight in the little things.  She has always been a great provider, not just to our stomachs, but also to our psyches.

One-Pot Brownies
Yield: one 8x8 inch pan, about 12-16 brownies

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Heaping 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (Hershey Kisses, chocolate chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and set aside.

Set a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Next, add the granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir well with a wire whisk. Then, whisk in the cocoa powder. Remove from heat.

Add the eggs, one and a time, whisking between each addition until the eggs are fully combined. Add the flour and salt, stir well with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully incorporated, but do not beat. Add the chocolate chunks and stir gently to fold them into the batter.

Pour batter into the previously prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. If there's still raw brownie batter on the toothpick, give it a few more minutes. Cool completely, or at least 15 minutes before serving.

Remove parchment paper (with brownies) from the pan. Peel away the parchment paper and cut the brownies into serving size pieces. Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container.

Sources: heavily adapted from Good Life Eats



Blackberry Soufflé for Two

  I can't believe how little I've dabbled in the souffle world.  After my first experience with it in this old blog post, you'd think I'd be trying a new recipe every week or something.  But yeah, no, 4 years have gone by and I totally forgot that souffles/puddings/puds were even a thing.  Mistake, you guys, big mistake.

  It is so completely satisfying to whisk together a few simple ingredients and then watch the concoction just puff up into a fluffy, fruity cloud of goodness.

  The dog days of winter have a lot of people down right now, which I say is 50% weather-induced and 50% post-inauguration depression.  You know.

  I know I've got my fair share of reasons to be down right now, but I've also got a good chunk of stuff keeping me pretty happy.  With V-Day around the corner here, I thought a nice, do-able, but still impressive dessert for two might be just what we need after a really long January.

  So spoon up some sugary fluff, complete with a homemade blackberry smash lining the bottom of your respected ramekins.  You get some tart, sweet, and cloud-y delight to share with your boo; or you get 2 desserts to yourself.  Which, in the case of a dessert that does not hold up well for more than hour and would just be annoying to halve, I think eating both helpings is the only really decent thing to do. <3

Blackberry Souffllé for Two
Yield: 2 small portions

  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 3 tbsp. superfine (caster) sugar, divided
  • 1 heaping cup fresh blackberries, plus extra for garnish (if so desired)
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 egg whites
  • powdered sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven. Grease 2 large ramekins with butter (7-8 ounces in volume) and dust with superfine sugar.
Put the berries and 1 tbsp superfine sugar in a small pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fruit has broken up (help it by crushing with a wooden spoon). Whizz in a blender, then press through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl; discard the pips. Cool slightly, then stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Put 1 tbsp purée into each ramekin. Mix the cornstarch with ½ tbsp cold water, then stir into the remaining purée; set aside.
Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer on slow, then medium speed. When the whites reach soft peaks, scatter over the remaining 2 tbsp sugar; beat until dense and silky.  Fold 1/3 of the egg white into the remaining purée, then gently fold in the rest of the egg white until combined; take care not to overmix. Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling to the top. Smooth the surface with a knife and clean the edges with your thumb wrapped in a piece of kitchen paper, making a slight indent around the edges. 
Cook on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, until well risen.  While baking, feel free to get some blackberries wet and then toss in some sugar to get a "sparkly" garnish effect. Dust completed soufflés with powdered sugar and sugared blackberries, serve at once.
Sources: adapted slightly from waitrose.com


Mini Vanilla Tin Can Cake, and a Blogiversary

  Bad and good boyfriends, up and down hormones, driving across the country, 2 different college campuses, tiny kitchen apartments, bad and good days, this blog has been around for a lot of milestones and life changes.

  5 years ago today I created something that I honestly had no idea could've lasted so long.  Indigo Scones has pushed my creativity, patience, and organizational skills.  And I couldn't be happier with it.

  This year in particular has been quite a feat for Indigo.  I talked a lot in my last post about making some life changes, and pushing myself in new directions.  I can't say that the pieces are really coming together yet, but I can say that I'm pretty happy.  For the first time in months, I can look around at what I'm doing, and be more than okay with it.  Even though I'm still penny pinching and serving a slow-moving stream of tables during this already crazy Wisconsin winter, my day job now includes making some fantastic organic doughnuts for one of the best local businesses I've ever had the pleasure to work for.

  I'm surrounded by supportive people, I work with some amazing new women I can't wait to get to know better, and in my free time I can bake/do whatever I want.

  I made a good friend a rainbow layer cake for her birthday, and even though I ran out of time to fully document its glory, I figured out that the important thing is that it was so well received.  I'd rather walk up to someone I love with a gleaming, lit-up birthday cake and see some happy tears than put it up on instagram searching for some "likes".  I love doing what I do here, but sometimes I get so caught up in the social media and posting and whatnot that I forget that sometimes I just like to put my camera aside and bake my heart out.  The results when I do that more have been so gratifying.  I've been trying to do more of that, which is why you haven't been hearing from me as much.

  But I'll be darned if I let 5 years of blogging slip on past me.  This needs to be commemorated.  While I'm a bit short on time and good health this week, I did find some stamina to throw together this tiny little cake for you.  I've been wanting to try baking a tin can cake for awhile, and I'm so happy with how it came out.  It's beyond adorable, requires no mixer, minimum dishes, and you can have done and decorated within 90 minutes.

  Playing around with slicing it was purely decorative.  You'd best believe that I just ended up savagely digging a fork into this while watching Friends on my laptop.

  So, if you're bored, have a sugar craving, or just want to make someone's day...make a little tin can cake.  I just threw together a quick cream cheese frosting to smear between the layers, but you can use whatever you want!  

  Thanks to everyone who's supported Indigo Scones this far in her career, I can't wait to see where this blog follows me next. <3

Mini Vanilla Tin Can Cake
Yield: one mini 3-layer cake

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ heaping teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 15oz tin can with cooking spray and dust with flour, tapping to shake out any excess.  Trace and cut out a round of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the can.  Spray and flour that as well.
In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until smooth.  Stir in milk.  Pour batter into can.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in can completely, then invert cake and slide it out of the can (this can take a little tapping and shaking to encourage the cake to slide out). Slice the top off to level it, slice it into layers, and frost as desired.
Sources: adapted from The Baker Chick,