Filbert Fudge Pebbles

No-cook fudge candy hides a crunchy nut in the center. Boxed or bagged, these make good presents, too!
bowls, sifter, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking spatula, dinner knife, plate
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar (spoon in, level)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup (60 mL) instant skim milk powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
1 Tbsp (15 mL) water
¼ tsp (1 mL) vanilla extract
22 filberts (about ¼ cup/60 mL), shells off (also called hazelnuts)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. In a large bowl, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Using a baking spatula, stir in the milk powder (don’t sift this ingredient). Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter, water, and vanilla in the microwave at 50% power until the butter is melted (about 30 seconds). Use the baking spatula to scrape the butter mixture into the icing sugar mixture. Stir until it gets too stiff to mix, then use your hands to squeeze it into a smooth fudge-like “dough.” Use a dinner knife to scrape sticky ingredients off the spatula. The “dough” should be soft but not sticky. No dry icing sugar should be left.
  3. To make a Filbert Fudge Pebble, press the fudge firmly into a measuring teaspoon until the spoon is filled level. Push the fudge out of the spoon with your finger and flatten it slightly. Place a nut into the middle, then squeeze the fudge around the nut to seal it tightly (you should not be able to see the nut) and roll into a ball. Make up to 22 balls, using up all the fudge.
  4. Sift the last 2 Tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder into a bowl. Roll the fudge balls, one or two at a time, in the cocoa to coat them. Hold the fudge balls loosely in your cupped hand and shake off the loose cocoa. Place them on a plate and chill them for 15 minutes to firm up before eating. After chilling once, the pebbles hold their shape perfectly at room temperature. If you plan to give these as gifts, keep them chilled until you box them up.
Makes up to 22 Filbert Fudge Pebbles.

Double-Chocolate Brownies

pastry brush or plastic wrap; 8-inch (20 cm) square glass, ceramic, or metal baking pan; sifter; measuring spoons; bowls; measuring cups; microwavable food cover; heatproof baking spatula; whisk; wooden spoon; soup spoon; dinner knife; if frosting: baking spatula or palette knife
soft butter for baking pan
1 tsp (5 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder for baking pan
3 squares (1 oz/30 g each) unsweetened chocolate
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (160 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125) white sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160 mL) all-purpose flour (spoon in, level)
2 eggs
¼ cup (60 mL) chocolate chips
Classic Brownie or Mint Brownie Frosting, if you like
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Use a pastry brush or a scrunched-up piece of plastic wrap to rub the bottom and sides of the baking pan with butter. Then sift 1 tsp (5 mL) cocoa powder into the pan. Tip the baking pan around to roll the cocoa over the bottom so it sticks to the butter. This will help keep the brownies from sticking to the pan. Set aside.
  3. Put the chocolate squares and the ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter into a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a microwavable food cover, if you have one (it prevents larger amounts of melting butter from splattering). Heat in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute at a time, two or three times, until the chocolate and butter are melted. After each minute, poke the chocolate with a baking spatula to check if it has melted—melted squares of chocolate hold their shape until stirred. Get help removing the hot bowl from the microwave.
  4. Use the baking spatula to stir the chocolate and butter until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Put the brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Use the end of a whisk or the back of a wooden spoon to mash out any lumps in the brown sugar and cocoa powder.
  6. Add the sugar/cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate and butter.
  7. Add the oil and vanilla to the chocolate mixture. Mix well. Set aside to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, put the flour into a bowl. Set aside.
  9. Check that the chocolate mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Use a whisk to mix in the eggs until smooth.
  10. Use a soup spoon to gradually add a few heaping spoonfuls of flour at a time to the chocolate mixture. Mix well with the baking spatula. Use a dinner knife to scrape sticky ingredients from the spatula. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the baking pan, spreading evenly. Clean off the spatula again with the dinner knife.
  11. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until the top is set but the brownies are still soft in the middle. Do not over-bake or the brownies will not be fudgy. Cool completely in the pan before using a baking spatula or palette knife to spread Classic Brownie or Mint Brownie Frosting overtop, if you like. To keep brownies at their moistest, leave them in the pan and slice off squares as you serve them.
.Makes 16 Double-Chocolate Brownies

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