Tag Archives: chocolate

Campfire orange brownies made at home

Wood stove 'stufa' orange brownies

Our wood-burning stove – stufa in Italy – earned some huge ‘brownie points’ yesterday when I made a popular camping dessert right here in my living room. Brownies baked in an orange shell – where have these lovelies been all my life? To think of the countless beach fires back in Hawaii…sigh. It makes me sick to realize that campfire orange brownies should’ve been right there on the menu with the s’mores!

Of course you can make life easier by using store-bought brownie mix, but I’ll share my recipe that makes enough batter for 4 extra-large oranges or 6 normal-sized ones.

Recipe (makes 4)

4 very large oranges (mine were approximately 10 ounces each)
2.5 ounces (5 tablespoons) melted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
5/8 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 plus 1/8 cup measurements if you don’t have 5/8th)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
a pinch of baking powder

Combine melted butter and both sugars in a bowl. Add egg and mix well. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir just to combine – do not overmix.

Slice 1/2-inch off the tops of the oranges and carefully scoop insides out into a bowl. Take care to remove as much of the pulp and juice as possible otherwise the brownies will end up soggy and wet. I used the back of a spoon to press out the juices.

Orange brownies unbaked

Divide brownie batter equally between the oranges, filling them half way. Place each orange on a double layer of aluminum foil large enough to enclose it. Bring the corners together and scrunch to seal (see first photo). Place oranges next to the embers and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, checking them after 20 minutes to see how they’re doing. Baking time will vary depending on the quantity and heat of the coals.

Orange brownies in foil

Twenty minutes to half an hour should do the trick for large oranges. I’ve made these twice in the wood oven and baking times were different on both occasions. In a kitchen oven (gas), the brownies took 50 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when tops are baked but the insides slightly runny underneath when doing a toothpick test. You might get a couple of exploded ones! Remove from the fire and serve with your ice cream of choice, caramel sauce optional.

Wood stove orange brownies


Salon du Chocolat Milano was ok…

La Torre Diamante
La Torre Diamonte / Diamond Tower

…but if there’s going to be another one next year, count me out.

Held for the very first time in Milan this past February 13-15, right next to Torre Diamante, it was an opportunity to taste and purchase top-quality international chocolates that we had never heard of. That’s a plus in my book. Still, for the 10€x2 entry fee (discounted early-bird when I purchased online), it was rather pricey for having such a limited amount of exhibitors (the majority being italian of course). A fashion show on the weekend and a number of events were held throughout the 3-day period, none of which we were all that interested in. If we ever do this again, it will have to be at the original Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

Salon du Chocolat stash and vegan chocolate bars
Top 2 rows from Salon du Chocolat. Akesson’s (Madagascar) and Marou (Vietnam) mini-bars.
Bottom row from supermarket – Lindt’s toasted sesame and vegan chocolate from Tuscany.
Below, photos from Salon du Chocolat Milano.

Mark your calendar…for the Salon du Chocolat

Salon du Chocolat

February 2016Salon Du Chocolat is coming to town! Originally started in la Ville Lumière over 2 decades ago, this chocolate event of events is finally making a splash in Italy’s fashion capital. If you’re visiting Milan in mid-February, this might be something worth checking out. If you already live in Italy, online tickets (early bird discount for a limited time only) would make an ideal stocking stuffer. Santa do you hear me?!?

I can’t end this post without – what else – showing what an impulse buy looks like when I hit the chocolate aisle at the supermarket. After all, it is the holiday season, and several of these bars weren’t there the last time I checked. Am I pretty bad or am I not bad enough?

Christmas chocolate stash
Excited to try the Vanini bars!