Not Made from Scratch

I didn’t have time to make anything from scratch this weekend, what with getting ready for the apocalypse. Turns out, I needn’t have bothered. What a disappointment that turned out to be.

Anyway, I cheated and made some brownies from a box.

Bad cell phone camera photo

If you have to go with a boxed brownie, you can’t go wrong with the Ghirardelli varieties. The finished product is richer, moister, and denser than those made using the mixes by Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. Probably because the quality of the chocolate is far superior to what is used in those varieties. I used the walnut flavor this time around, and there were nice sized walnut pieces in the mix; other varieties I’ve made, like the triple chocolate, have real chocolate chips!

Although the mix is probably about $2 more than other varieties, it’s totally worth it. The same can be said for all of the Ghirardelli products, including the chips, baking bars, and cocoa powder. They are my products of choice anytime I bake something that calls for chocolate (which is often).

Since I cheated with the brownies I did whip up a milk chocolate ganache to spread over them. Ganache is super easy to make, and it can be used in a variety of ways—from a drizzle for cakes and brownies, or as a filling for sandwich cookies.

Here’s what you need:

½ cup of heavy cream

4 ounces chopped chocolate (I used a milk chocolate baking bar for this recipe, but you can use white, dark, semi-sweet, etc. You could use chocolate chips as well, if you don’t feel like dirtying a knife).

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added this because I like vanilla. You could even add liquor or other flavorings, if you wanted to. Or, just leave it out).

Here’s what you do:

  1. Chop chocolate and place in a small bowl
  2. Bring cream to a boil
  3. Pour over chocolate and let stand a few minutes
  4. Whisk together until smooth
  5. Let thicken and cool for about 30 minutes
  6. Spread or drizzle over baked goods

I’ll be bringing these to work tomorrow, to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday and the fact that none of us got left behind. Knowing our office, these sweet treats will be gone before lunchtime.


  1. And they were yummy!

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