Oreo Walnut Brownies of Failure


Last Saturday I decided to throw together a last-minute batch of brownies for Leandro to take to a cookout with “the guys.”  Both because I was in the mood to bake, and because I’m practicing being a good Armenian housewife.

I’ve been using the Epicurious Cocoa Brownies recipe forever, but have never actually followed their recommended procedure (which is to melt the sugar, butter, salt, and cocoa together in a saucepan before adding the other ingredients). I’ve always just done the wet + dry method.  So this time, I set out to follow the recipe instructions and see whether they come out any better than they usually do.

The answer was “no” and a bunch of swear words.


“We are men, our comments are like Twitter bots…we just munch saying ‘yum.'”
– Leandro


See here, plus:
1 extra egg
3/4 cup walnuts
1 cup pulverized Oreo crumbs (like when you put Oreos in a food processor)

The afternoon started off well – I did a good job pouring the sugar.  Into the pot it all goes.

This was not. Coming. Together.  The cocoa was solidifying into chunks that floated in melted butter.  I don’t think sifting it would have helped.  This procedure is a giant fail.


This is the vomitous base of my brownies, transferred to a glass bowl in the hopes that the extra stirring room would help it come together.


It worked (kinda), but this still looks pretty horrid.  At least it’s mixed enough that I can add eggs.

“All this chocolate sure smells nice.  Would be a shame if someone were to poop in the kitchen.”

By this time, I was frustrated and worried enough about the outcome of these brownies that I no longer cared to follow the Epicurious recipe exactly.  So I added 3 eggs, then the flour, and then some walnuts and a cup of pulverized Oreo crumbs.  The result was horrifically, cloyingly sweet.  Oops.


Oh, well.  Into the oven it went.

They were extremely sweet and rich, but certainly not bad at all.  At least the crackly top came out nice.


Verdict: Possibly suitable for 5-year-olds due to the extreme sugar content, but no 5-year-old’s mother would want their kid to eat this.  Probably would not make this again.  (Definitely not using this procedure.)

Oreo Walnut Brownies of Failure

Man Bars

Made these last Monday.  Saw them on Pinterest and I had to do it.

man bars close up
help how do i food photography
toasting walnuts
Tip: toast the walnuts. Who likes non-toasted walnuts? NO ONE.

No, I do not know why they’re called “man bars.”  The recipe comes from South Your Mouth, a southern food blogger who claims copyright on all her shit.  Since I get enough DMCA takedown emails at work, I will just link to the recipe and give you my pretty pictures:


Highlights of the ingredients list:
Graham cracker crumbs
Sweetened condensed milk
Chocolate chips
Chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar

filling the pan
The mixture actually tasted better before cooking it.


paper stuck to man bars
Another tip: grease the paper. Or you will be getting some extra fiber today.
cutting the man bars
Cut and sugared bars of man – paper mostly all removed.  (Kidding.  It was all removed.  Mostly.)

She didn’t name the recipe, but she has a few theories about why they’re called “man bars:”

  1. because men must like them
  2. because “they’re so easy, even a man could make them”
  3. because “if you have these, you won’t need a man!”

(Apparently it’s not 2015 in the south yet.)

Man Bars

Banana Walnut Frozen “Yog-Cream” with Chocolate Cheesecake Swirl (Crappy)

Welcome to my first crappy food post.  This was adapted from Alton Brown’s Banana Ice Cream, which looked like a good way to use up frozen yellow light sabers…until I put in too many bananas and made too many bad substitutions.

“Is it a smoothie?”
– Mom

About 6-7 frozen bananas
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 c light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c half-and-half
1/2 c nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
2/3 c walnuts

For the cheesecake swirl:
3 tbsp cream cheese
3 tbsp sour cream
2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder

Make sure the core of your ice cream maker is in the freezer.  (This is the ice cream version of “preheat your oven to 350.”)  Take your bananas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the counter.

Once the bananas look good and disgusting, assemble your ingredients and take a photo.

Clockwise, from left: bananas, bad greek yogurt, lemon juice, half-and-half, blueberries, cheddar & jalapeno chips, chocolate chips, more bananas
bananas processing
Let’s look inside!

Dump those bananas in a food processor with the lemon juice and vanilla.  Pulse a few times, then open the lid and add in the corn syrup.  Spin some more, then open up and dump in the half-and-half and yogurt.  Don’t pour them in gradually like Alton Brown suggests because who has the time or patience for that crap.

**For the record: I didn’t see that the yogurt was non-fat!!

At this point, the food processor will start leaking because you put way too much in it.  Good job.

Pour the goop into a 1-quart Pyrex bowl – and since you just made ice cream, you’ve already learned that the machine can only take a quart of liquid!  So you’ll fill that Pyrex up to the 1-quart line.  Chill it in the fridge for 2 hours.

>> What to do with the rest of the mixture?  Make crappy cristally ice cream.  Just put the leftover puree into a tupperware, pop it in the freezer, and stir every hour until it freezes.

When you’re ready to churn, assemble your robot and gradually pour in the ice cream mixture.  Let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and while it’s working, toast the walnuts over medium/medium-high heat for 5 minutes (then set them aside).  Do not skip toasting or you will be ruining an already bad dessert.

mixing ice cream

cheesecake swirl
Cheesecake swirl mantra: you must try three different stirring implements before finding a spoon that sort-of works











Your ice cream should still be churning, so it’s time to assemble the cheesecake swirl.  Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and cocoa powder in a small bowl until very smooth.

Once the ice cream is ready, fold in all but 2-3 tbsp of the walnuts before you release it from cryofreeze.  Dump it into an oh-so-cute tupperware (look how nice it fits) and then schlop on globs of the cheesecake mixture all around the top.  Use a butter knife to swirl the globs so that it makes a pretty fudge swirl.  Decorate the top with the remaining walnuts, and put it in the freezer to harden for 3 hours or so.

finished banana ice cream
Ok, so I folded instead of swirled. I screwed it up even more. Do not follow my example.

Verdict: half-and-half plus nonfat yogurt do not an ice cream make.  They make creamy banana sorbet.  Not sure if the walnuts and cheesecake swirl offer any redemption.


Banana Walnut Frozen “Yog-Cream” with Chocolate Cheesecake Swirl (Crappy)