Sunday, January 18, 2009

EZ Bake Oven Fun

The girls got an EZ Bake Oven for Christmas this year, and mean mommy has only let them use it once! The mix that came with it was DISGUSTING, and the end result was a bunch of "ewwww!"s and me having to clean up the mess. So today, with nothing else to do on a snowy Sunday, I decided to look up recipes that they could use, instead of "cheating" and using a mix. We used a scaled down chocolate chip cookie recipe, and used mini M&M's since the pantry was out of chocolate chips. Except for being a little crusty, they didn't turn out too bad. They also made another batch, left out the M&M's, and rolled the dough in colored sugar and Valentine's heart sprinkles. Em ate a little bit of one of the M&M cookies, and said they were good but "too hard." In the end, all four cookies ended up in the garbage...but they had fun, and that is what counts.

Boredom Baking

I have a feeling there will be more posts titled "Boredom Baking" in the upcoming weeks, as this is the last week that I will be working at the cafe. It stinks, but that is the way the economy goes, I guess. If anyone needs a pastry chef, let me know. =(
I have such a hard time with boredom baking...I think maybe I need to find a hobby. I get bored, get antsy, so I start reading one of my million baking books. Then I get antsy to bake something. And that means baking something that has no actual place to go. I don't actually want to eat it, Ad and the girls want to eat too much of it.
On Friday, I finished my "to do" list at work really early, so when I got home I made some short dough...for no actual purpose, just because I thought I might use it sometime in the near future for something. So last night I decided to make a few cut outs using the dough, and the end result was these cookies. Normally I would decorate them with royal icing, but I decided to use regular buttercream. The girls thought they were cute, especially the ones that I made that had their names. Em also informed me that they tasted much better than normal because they were "nice and soft...not so hard." LOL; I guess she isn't into the royal icing so much. =)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A quest for my perfect brownie...

I have always had problems with making brownies. I don't know why...don't know what it is. They are either too cakey, too blah, or just plain don't turn out right. And it's too bad because even though I'm not a huge chocolate person, I really like a good brownie (well, maybe in that case, it's a good thing I've had brownie troubles.) So this weekend I set out looking for just the right brownie. Although I don't think I've found it yet, I did at least make a couple really good kinds that maybe I'll be able to tweak into what I'm looking for.
My first attempt I used a recipe from Allrecipes, and decided to follow the advice given by many reviewers to decrease the eggs and sugar. The girls helped me whip them up, but after a few minutes in the oven, I knew they weren't going to turn out. The taste was great, but they were greasy and didn't have that nice looking top like a brownie should have. Like I said, they did taste pretty good, though, so the girls weren't disappointed with their work. I might try the recipe out again, and see how it turns out when I use the amount of eggs and sugar that are called for.
My second attempt was from a Taste of Homes baking cookbook. The actual recipe is for a fudgy brownie that is topped with fudge, but the brownie part was the method that I was looking for, so I decided to try it out. Plus, I usually have pretty good results with Taste of Homes recipes. You can find the recipe
here. The brownies turned out really good, and after they set up a little it seemed like more of the chocolate came through. However, I still thought they weren't quite fudgy enough.
I wasn't planning on making anymore after the second attempt, but then I came across a recipe posted on Buff Chickpea's blog. The recipe, called Supernatural Brownies, was along the lines of what I had been looking for, but the amount of chocolate used was double. The that was posted along with the recipe looked fantastic; the brownie itself was fudgy, and the top was light and shiny. You can find the recipe
here. So after having to get more chocolate, butter, and the dark brown sugar that the recipe called for I whipped up a batch of these brownies. These definitely had the chocolate factor I was looking for, but I think next time I make them I need to bake them slightly longer, and line the pan with parchment paper, as they were so fudgy that they were difficult to get out of the pan.
The picture posted is of the fudgy brownies from Taste of Homes (on the left) and the Supernatural Brownies (on the right.)