Whenever neighbors/friends/teachers discover my blog or my instagram account, I always get the question, “Who taught you to cook?” Immediately I think of my Grandma. Ironically, when I asked my grandmother this same question, she admitted that she first began to cook in college. If you ever tasted a meal made by her though, you would think that she has been cooking since the time she was able to stand on two feet.
Eating at grandma’s house was always (and still is!) one of my favorite parts of the week. Knocking at the door, aromas of whatever’s roasting filling the air, my grandma never fails to greet us, no matter how full her hands are. Not only is her cooking out-of-this-world, but my grandmother is the “hostess with the mostest.” I don’t know anyone else who sets up appetizers of assorted olives, crackers, artisanal cheese, and summer sausage for a casual family dinner. She always seems to be a million places at once: taking everyone’s drink order, mashing the potatoes, steaming the vegetables, and setting the table, all at ONCE! All the while with a delightful smile on her face.
My fondest memories of cooking with my grandma are pinching the pierogi dough together the days before Christmas. Being of Ukranian descent, every holiday my grandmother prepares the full-fledged Christmas meal of meat roll ups, pickled herring, rye bread with beat relish, and of course the star of the show, pierogis. The week before the big day, my grandma works non stop assembling pierogi after pierogi. When all is said and done she has made nearly 100 pierogis, half cheese and potato and half sauerkraut. It may seem like an unimaginable amount for a family to eat, but these pierogis disappear within seconds when everyone is gathered around the dining table.
Because of my grandmother’s cooking and baking expertise, her talents have inspired me to create this dessert. My favorite dessert she makes is a dark chocolate cake with cherries and a creamy chocolate frosting. My mouth is salivating just thinking about this sweet treat. Of course I had to add my own twist on this classic combination so I added my favorite Chocolate Nuttzo to give these brownies the decadence that ressembles that of my grandmother’s cake. I also added chocolate chips because chocolate. That’s enough of a reason.
Thanks grandma for all of your culinary advice and inspiration. Who knows where I would be in this cooking world without you.
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ cup chocolate Nuttzo butter
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ tbsp vanilla paste
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour*
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped frozen sweet cherries, divided
- chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, combine almond milk, chocolate nuttzo, and maple syrup and microwave for 30-45 seconds, staring every 20 seconds or so.
- Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk mixture until it is smooth. Add in vanilla paste and cornstarch and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cacao powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Stir in half of the cherries and the optional (but not really optional) chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into 12 muffin cavities and top with additional ½ cup of chopped cherries.
- Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean,
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before moving to a rack to cool completely.
Brownie cups are best within the first two days at room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a month.