Sunday, August 5, 2012

A wedding post, which is also recipe #4.

   My Brandon and I are getting married. We're not sure when. We've been engaged since January and just haven't been able to afford to get married yet. We were hoping for this summer, but I'm not sure if it's going down. I just know I want it to be warm. Maybe a weekend in early September? We could go camping or something. I hope so. I love my boys and I want to have the same last name as my son. It seems silly to a lot of people, but that matters a lot to me. I've had a couple last names over the course of my life, and I want my forever name. Oh, by the way, my names changed due to parents getting married or divorced, not because I've been married. I've never been married and I'm only going to do it once.
   We don't really need to set a serious date for various reasons. There are only a very small handful of people that we are having at our wedding. I don't have a relationship with my father or Brandon's parents, so they are not invited. If they want to make an effort to be involved in some way, I'm going to let them figure it out. I'm including parts of my family by letting them throw us a reception after the fact, that way they can be part of the celebration, but we can have the ceremony the way we want it without excluding anyone from sharing our happiness.
   Now, I'm sure everyone is sick to death about hearing about our wedding, but I like to talk about it, so I'm going to talk about it here too. We've been refining our wedding plans the last few months, and I'm really excited. We are really non-traditional people, and I really think our ideal wedding, which is also extremely budget friendly, is a representation of who we are as a family. It's awesome.
   Of course, there will be food. So much food. Delicious, once-on-the-lips-forever-on-the-hips comfort food that is going to require a week of cardio to burn off. Unless you're like me, and you revel in having curves. I'm super petite, and I have a fast metabolism, so I am one of those lucky people that can eat and eat and eat and it all goes perfectly to my butt and chest. I get to indulge without having to work it off. It's kind of a blessing and a curse, because when I have always wanted to be a chubby, jolly old woman when I have grand kids. Hopefully my metabolism slows down. I don't want to be unhealthy or fat, but the pudgy old grandmother that makes the best turkey noodle soup and makes blue jello filled with red Swedish fish every time the grandbabies come over.
   Anyway, we went through a lot of discussion and thought about what food we'd be serving, and we FINALLY completely agreed on all of it. We jumped back and forth a lot. Fried chicken? Pulled pork? Barbecue? Salad? Corn? Cole slaw? Potatoes? Veggie skewers? Watermelon? Strawberries? The list was vast. It just keeps going from there.
   Of course, the most important discussion was the cake. We discussed just buying a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, and making one from a recipe I found that incorporated the flavors we agreed on. We discussed having actual cake, cupcakes and cookies. Still, none of it was quite right. Until I thought about Brandon.
   My Brandon loves brownies. He doesn't like chocolate or sweets, but he LOVES chewy, fudgy, dense brownies. The kind with the crackly top. He adores them. He will eat an entire pan by himself before I have time to cut myself one. He's not a huge fan of cake or anything with frosting, or ice cream, but that man can eat brownies for days.
   I happen to be a mint fanatic. I love peppermint, winter-mint, spearmint... it is easily my favorite flavor of all time. And let's face it, people, chocolate and mint belong together. They are lovers. They have a beautiful relationship where they compliment each other and love one another and my mouth. Cooper loves mint as much as I do, and in fact mint chocolates are the ONLY food EVER that he outright refuses to share. So we have to add mint to the brownies. Since Brandon doesn't like frosting, I'm thinking we need a mousse or a fluffy pie filling that will hold it's shape. The original cake I wanted to make had mint white chocolate mousse as a filling. I've made white chocolate mousse before, and the recipe I wanted to use just doesn't have the punch of mint to hold up against the intense chocolate brownies. So instead of making a traditional mousse I'm going to top it with an easier version. Let's cut out some of the work and bump up that minty flavor.
   Of course I'll be serving these from my truck, because mint brownies are just too amazing not to share. Traditional wedding cakes cost so much and just aren't as pretty or as tasty as I want them to be, and they are so stuffy and formal. So here is the recipe for our wedding dessert:
Grasshopper brownies
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter
  2. 12 ounces very dark chocolate, though I wouldn't suggest unsweetened, chopped or in chips
  3. 1/2 T instant espresso
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 cup brown sugar
  6. 1 T vanilla
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. 1 1/2 t salt
  10. 1/2 t baking powder
  11. 1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  12. 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and be lazy like me and coat a 9x13 pan with Pam for baking. Greasing and flouring is too much work on my wedding day. Just saying.

Over low heat melt chocolate, butter and espresso, mixing until well blended and completely melted. Then move it to a mixing bowl and mix in the sugars and vanilla until mixed in with no lumps, the batter will be gritty and that's good.

Add eggs and mix in really well.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to chocolate mixture until just combined, and then fold in the nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-35 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted, it should come out not quite clean. And the sides of the brownies will have that edge that's a different texture and pull slightly from the pan.

Let cool and top with minty goodness.

Mint and white chocolate grasshopper topping:
  1. 1 13 ounce jar of Jet-Puffed
  2. 1/2 cup half and half
  3. 3 T creme de menthe (more if you're like me and want to be kicked in the face with mint, I just add it to taste, not gonna lie.)
  4. 2 T creme de cacao
  5. 1 cup heavy cream
  6. 6 ounces white chocolate
  7. few drops of green food coloring
Melt marshmallow fluff and white chocolate into half and half over low heat. Once totally melted and mixed, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the two cremes and mix in completely.

Whisk the heavy cream to stiff peaks with food coloring and fold into the marshmallow mixture until totally incorporated, but be sure to do it gently so it stays fluffy.

Pour and spread on top of brownies and chill for a few hours to set up. Meanwhile get all pretty and prepared to be married! 

   I don't think I can stress enough how much I love food texture, and while the walnuts in the brownies add a nice crunch, I want something really crisp on top that is also chocolaty and delicious... if there is any advise out there, let me know. I'll probably top these with dollops of whipped cream, as well.
   It occurs to me that this is my second post in a row that involves booze. We're not lushes here, I promise. These flavors are just undeniable. Trust me when I say, you want to eat these if you like chocolate and brownies.
   My best friend will be attending the wedding and she HATES mint. So my next post will be about the dessert I'll be making for just for her for the wedding: a personal rainbow chip cake. That one will be on the truck to, just to represent my sister from another mister. Wow. I just said that. How lame am I? Ha.
   Anyway, I'm off to procrastinate doing dishes. I'm so sick of doing dishes.

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