Tag Archives: Brownies

Five-Ingredient Flourless Brownie Bites

Our Backstage Baker is now in San Diego!  Just temporarily, though . . .

He closed “The Collaboration” in February, took a quick break, and then jumped right into his new show “Destiny of Desire.”  Now, he’s out in San Diego at the Old Globe Theater putting it up there. 

“Destiny of Desire” is billed as an “Unapologetic Telenovela in Two Acts.”  Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (I show my age by first knowing him as Buddy Bolden in “Jelly’s Last Jam”) and starring an array of Broadway stars (Bianca Marroquin and Mandy Gonzalez among others) you can read more (and get your tickets!) here.

And even though James is thousands of miles away from his kitchen, he was still able to host the first of many Wine and Unwinds with this to-die-for super-simple recipe.  (It is gluten free but decidedly not vegan.)

Please enjoy!!

 Five Ingredient Flourless Brownie Bites 


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chopped). More for melting and drizzling if desired.

1/2 cup butter

1 cups sugar

3 large eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

1. Line a 24-count mini muffin tin with liners and grease generously. (NOTE: Don’t think you can just grease the tin. The bites will NOT come out. Follow the directions and use the liners!) 

2. In a double boiler (aka a bowl over a pot of boiling water) add the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the chocolate and butter has melted and the mixture is unctuous and smooth.

3. Add the sugar, followed by the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the cocoa powder and mix until you get a thick brownie batter.

4. Evenly distribute the batter amongst 20-24 of the greased mini muffin tins. I actually got 30. It will depend on the size of your mini tins.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crackly on top.

6. Let the brownie bites cool in the pan completely before turning them out.

7. Enjoy!!

The cast did! 😉

Bianca Marroquin (fresh off her Broadway run in CHICAGO and her sold out performance at 54 Below) who plays Fabiola and Julio Agustin who plays Dr. Mendoza

Grossman Family Mocha Brownies

Pic 4

This week one of the INDECENT Co-Producers hosted the Wine and Unwind. Let’s welcome Sarahbeth Grossman and her family recipe for Mocha Brownies into the Backstage Baker Club!!! Sarahbeth was also one of the producers on AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and on ANN.

Grossman Family Mocha Brownies


2/3 cups butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour


Melt butter, coffee and chocolate in a double boiler.  Remove from heat.  Stir in ingredients in the order listed.  Beat at high speed for 30 seconds (batter will turn lighter brown in color.) Pour into greased 9×11 pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.

Butter Cream Frosting:
Melt and heat 4 tablespoons of butter until light brown and frothy (do not burn).  Beat in 3 cups of confectioners sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 3 Tablespoons of cream or milk.  Stir til smooth then spread over cooled brownies.  Cut into squares after frosting sets.

Pic 1
From left to right: musician Matt Darriau, actor Tom Nelis, Baker, co-Producer Sarahbeth Grossman and her Mocha Brownies, actor Max Gordon Moore

Pic 2
Actor Rich Topol who plays Lemml and a Wine and Unwind guest

Pic 3
Tom Nelis, special guest Vivienne Benesch, Producing Artistic Director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in North Carolina and Max Gordon Moore

All the (Milky) Way Cheesecake Brownies

Jersey Boys Tony Good wishes

“Jersey Boys” cast and crew wishing their across the street neighbors good luck on Tony night!

“All the Way” represented at Broadway’s biggest awards show, bringing the Tonys for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actor home to 52nd Street.   Our Backstage Baker was at Radio City in his tux to enjoy the show and party until dawn.  (Okay, maybe not exactly dawn, but there was some party hopping happening!)

And on post-Tony Tuesday, James brought in a celebratory batch of  decadent “All the (Milky) Way Cheesecake Brownies.”  Enjoy!

All the (Milky) Way Brownies 1

All The (Milky) Way Cheesecake Brownies


Brownie Layer

1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

 Cheesecake Layer
16 oz cream cheese, softened (2 packs)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 bag chopped Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites (these are great because you don’t have to unwrap the individual candies.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of  a 9/13 pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper.

1. With a mixer combine melted butter with sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the cocoa and mix well. Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined, do not over mix.

2. Set aside one cup of the brownie batter and smooth the rest into the 9×13 prepared pan

3. With your mixer  (cleaned off), begin making your cheesecake layer by beating cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

4. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.

5. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie mixture and using a spatula, smooth it evenly over the brownie batter.

6. Sprinkle the chopped Milky Way Simple Caramel pieces evenly over cream cheese layer.

7. Using the reserved cup of brownie batter, drop spoonfuls over the top of the candy bar layer, scattering around.

8. Use your spatula or a butter knife to gently swirl the batters. This will combine the cream cheese layer and top brownies layer a bit, which covering the candies in batter. This does not need to be perfect.

9. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares (at least an hour).

I like these cold so I refrigerate after cooled. Any leftovers (if there are any leftovers) should be refrigerated.



Slutty Brownies



These are just the epitome of decadence.  I mean, brownies with a chocolate chip cookie AND an Oreo cookie layer????  I must admit I take issue with them being called “Slutty” Brownies (I mean, why not “Dirty Boy” or “Gigolo” Brownies??)  but that’s what they’re called, so . . .

Anyway, these are so good that the Backstage Baker made these twice — once for a Wine and Unwind and once for a social with the Jersey Boys company (the theaters are across the street from each other.  All Broadway is family!)

Slutty Brownies


Cookie layer:
1½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1½ sticks butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Pinch of salt

1 package of Oreo cookies

Brownie layer:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling coffee
3/4 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
2½ cups sugar
1½ cups flour
Pinch of salt


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13″ brownie pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.
2.  For the cookie layer:  Mix the wet ingredients for the cookie layer (egg, butter, and vanilla) with the sugar until smooth.  Mix the rest of the cookie layer ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Stir into the wet ingredients in small increments into everything is well mixed.  Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the pan and cover the entire bottom surface evenly.
3.  Add a layer of Oreo cookies on top of the chocolate chip cookie layer. As much of the surface should be covered as possible without overlapping cookies.
4.  For the brownie layer:  Whisk the cocoa powder into the boiling coffee until there are no clumps. Add the oil and butter, and again stir until smooth.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla, making sure the mixture before adding is cool enough the eggs will not cook. Once this is all smooth, stir in the sugar.Stir in the flour, salt, and mix until smooth.
5.  Pour the brownie batter all over the Oreos.
Bake for an hour. Allow to cool for two hours before serving.


More than just wine at WINE AND UNWIND


The layers


Susannah Schulman who plays Barb, along with a million other roles


The completed batch


Actor Christopher Gurr enjoying a bite


Layering the cookies


The cookie layer


Michael McKean enjoying a taste.

Red Wine Brownies

Red Wine Brownie1Yup, you read that right — RED WINE in your Brownies.  How’s that for multi-tasking??

Sadly, the Time to Kill cast needed a lot of red wine last Sunday as their closing notice went up the following Tuesday.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to see the show, hurry on down because their last performance will be Sunday, November 17.

Anyone who’s in theater knows full well that it’s call “Show Business”, not “Show Art”  or “Show The Audiences Love it.”  Nope, it’s a business, pure and simple, and if the people aren’t buying tickets, the show can’t be sustained.  Sigh.  It’s always such a shame to see all that hard work end so abruptly but those are the breaks, folks.  No doubt everyone, our Backstage Baker included, will be quickly moving on to other projects.  Let’s send them all our very best mojo!

Now, on to the red wine brownie recipe:

Red Wine Brownies


5 oz. unsweetened chocolate , melted
(or 1 cup cocoa + 4 tbs oil)
1-1/2 stick butter (3/4 cup)
1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. superfine sugar
2 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 bottle (23.5 oz) dark red wine (zin/syrah/merlot/etc)
1/4 cup brandy


1.  In a saucepan, combine wine and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Let cool.

2.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. 

3.  Stir together chocolate and butter. When chocolate mixture is smooth, whisk in remaining sugar, then eggs one at a time. Fold into flour mixture until loosely combined.

4.  Fold in wine syrup and stir until most lumps have disappeared.

5.  Pour into 9×13″ greased and floured brownie pan.

6.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Better undercooked than overcooked.)  When cool, combine superfine sugar with brandy and brush over brownies. 

7.  I then drizzled melted white chocolate over the top for a dramatic effect.  (Of course you did, James!  Because red wine and chocolate simply wasn’t enough!!)

IN A HURRY? Cheat. Use Brownie Mix, but add a cup of good dark chocolate chips or chunks or shavings, replace the water with the red wine syrup, and replace the vegetable oil with good old fashioned butter.

Write, Wine and Unwind

Mark Bittman Brownies

Our peripatetic Backstage Baker has returned to the city!  After enjoying a few days of downtime after “The Master Builder” closed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, James then drove eight hours north to stage manage  “The Romeo and Juliet Project” for the Chautauqua Theater Company.   (I hear it had a cast of 90 and used over 14 rehearsal spaces!)  Now, he’s back in town and already in pre-production for his next Broadway show, “A Time to Kill“.  It starts previews on September 28, so fingers crossed that James will have time for some rehearsal baking . . .

In the meantime, a friend of James’ is working on “The Laramie Project” at Ford’s Theatre.  As part of their Lincoln Legacy Project, Ford’s is presenting an exhibit called “Not Alone: The Power of Response” that recreates the 10,000+ pieces of mail that were received by the Shepard Family after Matthew’s murder.   James had been given a bunch of blank envelopes and needed people to help address them (they wanted as many different handwriting styles as possible.)

It’s a heavy, emotional project.   What better time for a “Write, Wine and Unwind” gathering?

James served summery peach Bellinis and a good red wine along with homemade brownies: “Because of a busy weekend schedule I needed to make something simple. One cookbook I could never live without is Mark Bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING. It is a book that every home baker and chef should have. I opted for his brownie recipe. It is so easy and so delicious.   (Note that the melting chocolate technique is not from the recipe but the way I like to do it.)”

And folks dropped by all afternoon to enjoy the brownies and address envelopes to the Family of Matthew Shepard.

letters photo

Mark Bittman’s Brownie Recipe

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a square baking pan with butter or line it by overlapping 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil crosswise and grease the lining.
2. Combine the stick of butter and the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave them on medium for 10-second intervals, stirring after each interval.   When the chocolate is just about melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Stir in the sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Gently stir in the flour, salt, then the chocolate chips and cherries (if you’re using them.)
4. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack until set. If you used parchment, lift it out to remove the brownies. If not, cut them in squares right in the pan. I then dusted the cooled brownies with powdered sugar.

Store, covered, at room temperature, for no more than a day.