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Simple and sweet brownies a treat

This is a simple column, one devoted to that favorite chocolate treat – the brownie.

There is no one perfect brownie recipe because everyone’s favorite recipe is the perfect recipe. They can be more fudge-like or cake-like and contain nuts or not – and here is my favorite part – it should contain any kind (or multiple kinds) of chocolate that you like.

So this week’s column is loaded with ooey gooey, delicious brownie recipes that run the gamut from super simple to over-the-top, kill-me-with-calories wonderful.

Bourbon Brownie Balls

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 tablespoon water

1 (16.7-ounce) package double fudge brownie mix

Cooking spray

3 tablespoons bourbon

1/3 cup finely chopped walnut pieces, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first four ingredients (including fudge packet from mix), stirring well. Spread into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near edge of pan comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, crumble brownies and place in a food processor. Add bourbon; process until mixture forms a ball (about 30 seconds).

Shape brownie mixture into 24 balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each. Place nuts in a shallow bowl. Roll balls in nuts, pressing gently to coat.

Note: Store balls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Raspberry Cheescake Brownies

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup cocoa, sifted

1/2 cup flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 ounces melted butter

Cheesecake layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup raspberry jam

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons flour

6 ounces fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.

In the bowl of a food processor combine the brown and white sugars and pulse to combine. Remove from the bowl and set aside. Combine the cocoa, flour and salt in a food processor bowl and pulse to combine, then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the vanilla and sugars, and mix to combine. Add in the butter and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix to combine. Set aside the batter.

For cheesecake layer: In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, sugar, jam, egg, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix until the mixture is combined about 3 or 4 minutes.

Pour 3/4 of brownie batter into pan. Gently spoon the cheesecake layer all over the top. Using a spoon or spatula sprinkle remaining brownie batter on top of raspberry cheesecake layer. Gently swirl the cheesecake layer through brownie mixture but don’t over mix. Drop the fresh raspberries all over the top, gently pushing them into the batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Remove the brownies from oven and cool on rack completely before cutting. Serves 6 to 8.

Caramel Brownies

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1 cup oil

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

14 ounces caramels

1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, oil, eggs and milk and mix to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Gently combine the flour mixture to the egg mixture but do not over mix. Gently fold the chocolate chips and half of the pecans. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into a greased pan. Bake for 12 minutes. While the brownies are baking, combine the caramels and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan and heat over a low temperature until the caramels are melted. Pour the caramel mixture over the baked brownies and then sprinkle the remaining pecans over the top. By tablespoons, drop the remaining batter over the top of the caramel mixture. Swirl the top batter with the caramel mixture but don’t over mix. Bake 35 to 40 minutes but don’t over bake; these should be moist. Serves 12 to 14.

– Modified from Cooking Light – Modified from a recipe submitted by Aryal Zayron of Toronto – Modified from Taste of Home, April 2013 Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.