When my friend V turned 40 last spring, she decided to throw a party for a few close friends. A girls’ night, if you will, composed of a half-dozen women from the different parts of her life. We had a great time catching up with some old friends, and making a few new ones. We played games, drank a lot of wine, and everybody brought a dish to share. I volunteered for the cake (well, these cupcakes, to be exact). The recipe name sounds intimidating, but they were rather straightforward to make. The cakes themselves were moist, chocolatey, and delicious. I was more worried about the frosting. Seven minute frosting? What the heck is that? I was nervous, but it was simply a matter of reading the recipe through, having the ingredients all measured out and lined up before I started, and then following one step at a time. Read the rest of this entry ?
Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’
I want to clarify that the previously mentioned problems with the chocolate pound cake weren’t with the recipe itself, rather, it seems that I’m allergic to bundt pans. I got a silicone pan last winter, and have been excited to try it out. An attempt in March to make a cookies-and-cream pound cake failed miserably when I tried to un-pan the cake, resulting in a quick “oh look, let’s make trifle!” moment. So this time, when I decided to make chocolate pound cake, I took every precaution I could think of. Pan greased and floured? Check. Put it on a baking sheet so the cake doesn’t buckle when moving it in and out of the oven? Check. Waiting for the cake to cool completely before trying to release it from the pan? Check.
Nope, it still disintegrated into a crumbly mess. Ok, I’m thinking, maybe it’s the silicone that’s the problem. I borrowed a regular metal (non-stick!) bundt, and tried again. Greased, floured, cooled? Check, check, check. Beautiful cake sliding effortlessly out of the pain? No, no, no. Only the first layer came off. Not awful, I think, I can just carve it flush with the lip of the pan, and no one will know the difference.
That didn’t work so well, either. The only way I was able to get the cake to release from the pan was to cut it into quarters and finagle each piece out individually. Not attractive, to say the least. I think I’m going to give bundts a rest for a while, before I just pick them both up and hurl them out the window.
The good news is that this recipe is tasty – it’s a great dense, chocolately cake. I just can’t make it in a bundt. I’d totally make again, but will opt for loaf pans next time. For the record, credit for everything but the collapse (because that’s my issue, not hers) goes to C. Roberts, contributor to the Bristol (CT) Little League cookbook, circa dunnowhen. Mrs. Waters also included two glazes to drizzle over. Even though I never got to that point (who wants to drizzle glaze over a pile of crumbs?), I’ve included them as well. Read the rest of this entry ?
Back in December I made cream cheese brownies for a coworker’s birthday, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Some people liked them even more than others. The Pregnant Girl ate more than one (I’m not allowed to say exactly how many), and has been hinting that she’d like some more ever since. When she found out that the February theme was brownies and bars, you can just guess what she asked for. I knew I wanted to make them again, but I kept putting it off, until suddenly it was the end of the month, and I only had one workday left. So Thursday night, I went to pull out the recipe that I had used previously………and came up totally empty. No idea where it went. Disappeared into thin air. And of course the fact that I’m amazingly disorganized had absolutely nothing to do with it!
So back to the drawing board. I needed a good, reliable recipe, since I wouldn’t have time to make a trial version first. Aha! Cook’s Illustrated (home of the magazine by the same name, and the America’s Test Kitchen TV show) does all the work for you! They’ll pick a recipe, research the heck out of it, make a zillion versions while tracking the differences in each, and then come up with one final recipe that is the end-all and be-all for that particular item. That said, because of this sometimes their recipes can be a bit labor intensive, or take forever, and you just want to make something fast and easy. But I’ve found time and again that if you’ve got a little bit of extra time, it’s totally worth it. So I pulled out my Baking Illustrated, turned to page 488, and got to work.
The brownies, they were HEAVENLY. Rich and fudgy and oh-my-lord-SO-chocolatey. Slight crackle on the top. The cream cheese swirl was substantial without being overwhelming, and it tasted like little bites of cheesecake melting in your mouth. With other marbled desserts, I’ve often found that the swirl will separate from the main item, causing unsightly ravines. Not so with this brownie – other than one or two isolated spots, the two textures melded perfectly together. Just amazing. This is now officially my go-to recipe for cream cheese brownies. No need to look any further, I’m more than happy to take the extra steps (which are easier and faster than reading the recipe may lead you to believe, and totally worth it.). And The Pregnant Girl? Well, after she got over being mad at us (because we were as mature as schoolchildren, and hid them from her before she got to taste one – don’t ever do that to a pregnant person, trust me), she loved them too. And she ate more than one. Read the rest of this entry ?
I know that traditionally Wednesday night is Prince spaghetti night, but this week in our house, it was Cranky Night. Yes, the capitalization is needed. It was that bad. We were arguing over absolutely nothing at all, and it was getting old fast (Yes moms, everything is fine. The Olympics have thrown off our sleep schedule, is all). I decided to see if I brownies would help. If it worked, excellent. If not, well then we’d still be Cranky, but we’d also have chocolate. Win-win!
It was actually a challenge to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients for. I was running low on lots of things, and there was no way I was leaving the house. As usual, King Arthur Flour came through for me, with their recipe for Fudge Brownies. They looked delicious and fairly easy, and are rated 4.5 stars.
Don’t be intimidated by the stove top portion of the recipe – the whole thing was actually quite simple and fast. The hardest part is at the end, waiting for them to cool before cutting and devouring. I didn’t have quite enough semisweet chips, so I used some dark chocolate chips, as well. I also noticed that I needed an additional seven minute of cooking time before i was at the ‘moist crumb’ stage in the center. Other than these two things, I made the recipe exactly as written.
How were they, you ask? I have discovered my go-to recipe for basic chocolate brownies. Somewhere between cakey and fudgy, with a shiny crackled top and a deep chocolate flavor, these hit the spot. We each had a generous sample, reverted back to normal human beings, and then the remainder were devoured by my coworkers the next morning.