Today, we introduce Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker but I suspect she needs no introduction whatsoever. Her blog is consistently voted one of the most popular in the world and American Food Bloggers has her at #16 on their list of best American food bloggers. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So how did a woman with a smile as big as all outdoors get so popular? She worked hard. It helps that she inherited the baking gene from her grandmother and Michelle loves to bake. It also helps that she loves to write. She admits that her blog originated during the gloomy Pittsburgh winter of 2007 where she thought a blog would be a creative outlet and one that would challenge her to create better recipes.
There are many reasons why I like Brown Eyed Baker. First, her site is really well laid out and easy to navigate. I know when I go there looking for something, I can find it by a quick search or a browse through her recipe index
Another reason I think so much of her is the quality of her recipes. I’ve never made one that had an oops or didn’t turn out. Seriously. I have made a number of blogger recipes that let’s say didn’t work out the way the photo showed. Not with Michelle’s recipes. She says she tests (and tastes) every recipe and my experience is that she’s not fibbing.
Finally, every single photo that Michelle takes makes me wish I could eat it, live with it or smile. She has a natural talent with food styling and every other styling too. I don’t often (okay, never) use the word food porn because I think it cheapens the work we do but in Brown Eyed Baker’s case, the phrase really fits.
In a previous life, Michelle began her work life as a marketing intern and in just over 5 years had been promoted to senior marketing analyst. When she created her blog, she was streets ahead of many of us where blog promotion is concerned. She also boosts her popularity by connecting with other bloggers (food and others) whenever she has a question and is always one of the first to offer advice if someone asks.
My second-favorite recipe from Brown Eyed Baker are her Chocolate Chip Chunky Pecan Pie Bars. I know everyone has a favorite recipe and these are mine. Or hers. These bars are sort of like pecan pies and sort of like a chocolate chip cookie in a bar and all the way delicious.
My all-time favorite is her Fresh Blueberry Pie. Why? We can’t get canned pie filling in Australia – not like what’s available in the US. Our pie filling is apple and there’s no thickener or sugar so making pies always has to be from fresh fruit or berries. I made this for Thanksgiving a few years ago and when I went to get a piece for myself, it was all gone. I made another one and ate the whole thing along with the dinner leftovers. I wear that pie proudly on my backside.
I didn’t get permission to post a recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker so I’m going to post my recipe for White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies that is based upon Michelle’s recipe.
- 3¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup white chocolate, chopped (or use white choc chips)
- 1¼ cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- Heat oven to 180C; 350F and grease baking sheets or line sheets with baking paper.
- Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a large bown and mix together or sift. (I sifted)
- Beat the butter and the sugars until creamy
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
- Add vanilla extract and beat again - scrape down the side too
- On low speed add the flour mixture a cup at a time and mix well.
- Stir in the chocolate and nuts - you don't want to break these down.
- Drop by spoonful (or ice cream scoop) on baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, depending upon how chewy you want your cookies. Check your oven, you might need more or less time.
- If you like your cookies chewy, keep them in an air tight container.
When she’s not cooking or baking, Michelle loves ice hockey (she has skates!), fantasy football and spending time with her husband and two golden retrievers, Einstein and Duke. One of them must be very smart. You can follow Michelle on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.