Friday, December 10, 2010

Foodie Friday: Popcorn isn't just for eating anymore

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
Before Jason left for his deployment, I asked him what food items he wanted to have one last time. Having just gorged himself on our Thanksgiving feast, his only request was one of our longtime favorites, artichoke puffs.

I didn't cook anything else of consequence until last night, when I tried out the 1,000 Vegan Recipes version of corn and potato chowder. It didn't photograph terribly well, but it tasted delicious. I know it's the kind of thing Jason would love--potatoes, corn, and creaminess? sign him up!--so I'll definitely be making it again once he's home. Ok, I'll probably make it again just for myself, too.

My other culinary creation last night was a batch of very special brownies for Jason. I used the double chocolate brownie recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes as a base, and modified it slightly to include my secret ingredient: candy canes! They turned out to be the perfect combination of mint and chocolate, and the insides are studded with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips and crunchy candy cane bits.

Candy Cane Brownies

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Smart Balance organic whipped buttery spread)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. mint extract
2/3 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 mint-flavored candy canes, 2 crushed and 1 broken or cut into sections

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan (I used vegetable shortening for this step). Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, cream sugar and margarine. Stir in water and extracts. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and crushed candy canes. Transfer batter to baking pan and spread evenly. Arrange candy cane sections on top of batter. Bake for 40 minutes and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

I covered the brownie pan with foil overnight, and this morning I divided the brownies into four big pieces and sealed them in plastic wrap, then put them in plastic containers filled with fresh, unbuttered popcorn for cushion and to prevent the brownies from going stale. I slipped a love note and a small plastic fork into each container and then secured the lids with packing tape--a good idea considering that cargo delivered to an aircraft carrier is often dropped from helicopters, and boxes can easily burst open upon impact. I padded the inside of the shipping box with packing paper and wrapped it up like a tape mummy--my sailorhusband will get his treat in one piece!


Jessica (Bayjb) said...

Oh my gosh those artichoke puffs look amazing! Artichoke is fast becoming one of my favorite foods.

Jamie said...

Oohh, I never thought about packing baked goods in popcorn- I've used a slice of bread before, but gluten free bread definitely doesn't take care of business like wheat bread does.