As a novice bird watcher, I am easily pleased. Even sparrows, seen close up through my camera’s viewfinder, are beautiful to me. So I really get a kick out of red-bellied woodpeckers when they stop by, drawn by the suet block at our feeder. The color of the bird’s cap is an amazing neon red. The red-bellied aspect of the bird is harder to see, but there is a rusty patch on its lower front. Here are some photos of this elegant bird. (The first two photos are of females, the next two are male, not sure what last one is!)
I was not sure how to segue from red-bellied woodpeckers to Marzipan Fudge Brownies, so I am just going to go for it. Marzipan Fudge Brownies are basically just saucepan brownies, but they are filled with a thin layer of marzipan, and topped with toasted almonds. Marzipan, by the way, is a paste made from ground almonds and sugar. It has the consistency of modeling clay, and is very easy to use.
Marzipan Fudge Brownies
3 ounces unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 sliced almonds
7-8 ounces marzipan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside. Place the sliced almonds in another baking pan and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place chocolate and butter in a saucepan and, using low heat, melt. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool. Stir sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Thoroughly stir in eggs, and then the almond extract. Blend in flour mixture.
Soften marzipan roll–it just takes a bit of kneading. On a piece of parchment or waxed paper, trace around the bottom of your pan, and roll out the marzipan to fit the square. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Evenly spread half of the batter into the greased pan. Lay the rolled-out marzipan on top of the batter. Spread remaining batter over the marzipan layer. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Baking notes: These are fudgy brownies, and I found that baked in an 8-inch pan they were, by my lights, too fudgy, if such a thing is possible. But as they cooled off, they firmed up into a fabulous fudge/brownie sort of thing. So if you like really fudgy, bake in an 8-inch pan, but if you like a moist, but more cake-like brownie, bake in a 9-inch pan. Marzipan can be found near pie fillings in your grocery store.
Seems like we haven’t seen butterflies for a long time, so here is a photo to tide us over until summer. Peace to you. Fran