No bite brownies

So these happened and they don’t taste good. What’s annoying is they smell like chocolate pudding and they ought to taste good, but they’re foul. This was my first time baking with Carbquik and protein powder. Learning curve!

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I’m trying to make a low-fat, low-carb treat that’s acceptable to people on phase 1 of the Dr. Poon Metabolic lifestyle and I’m going back to the drawing board. When a brownie tastes bad fresh out of the oven you’re doomed.

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Cookieducken

Cookie! Cookie! baking hot
In the oven of my lot
With spatula in hand do I
Dare craft thy fearful deliciousness

My sister sent me a link called “love in pan”; a triple-threat of chocolate chip cookie dough, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and brownies. I am fundamentally opposed to using pre-made cookie dough but making everything from scratch would sort of the defeat the purpose of this near-instant cookie-thing, so I gave it a whirl.

Everybody in the grocery store was judging me as I filled my basket. It was awful.

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F.

2. Make brownie batter and set aside.

3. Slice chilled cookie dough and place into muffin tin (or if you’re like me and don’t own a muffin tin, use a cupcake tin).

4. Add the peanut butter cups upsidedown.

5. Cover with brownie batter.

6. Bake at least 18 min. (Mine were still raw at 18, baked another 5, then cooled 5 min in pan.)

Yikes. Are they supposed to look like inverted mushrooms? I pried them out of the pan and ate one.

Verdict: They were good, but eating more than one is probably hazardous to one’s health. I think you are supposed to either use a bigger pan, or less dough and batter.  Boyfriend assures me they are delicious. These were gigantic.

Playlist: 80’s

 

Pumpkin brownies

Autumn is the best time of year. Good things happen when the leaves turn; including my birthday, Halloween, and the ripening of that most wondrous squash: the pumpkin.

As soon as I saw this recipe on the Globe & Mail today I had to try it.

Good to know before you start: This recipe needs pure pumpkin, which is not pumpkin pie filling. Look for a label that says either “100% pure pumpkin” or “pumpkin purée”, and  it should not contain any herbs or spices.

Time required: 3 hours

Yields: about 30 pieces

Cost per slice: $1.83

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $55.00

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 9″ x 13″
  • parchment paper
  • digital scale
  • Oster blender
  • KitchenAid mixer

Ingredients:

BASE

  • 2 C flour
  • ½ C icing sugar
  • 1 C unsalted butter, (cold and cubed)
  • 1 TSP fine sea salt

FILLING

  • 3 eggs
  • 482 grams canned pumpkin (one 14 oz can)
  • ¾ C dark brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ C corn syrup
  • ½ C heavy cream
  • 2 TSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TSP pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TSP ground cinnamon
  • ½ TSP allspice
  • ½ TSP ground ginger
  • ¼ TSP fine sea salt

TOPPING

  • 2 TBSP butter, softened
  • 2 TBSP (28.6 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ C icing sugar
  • 1 TBSP milk

Instructions:

1.Pre-heat oven to 177°C / 350°F. Line baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl mix: flour, icing sugar, butter and salt. I used a pastry blender, then switched to doing it by hand. The mixture should be crumbly, don’t form it into a ball.

3. Pat into pan.

4. Bake 25 min, and place on cooling rack.

5. Beat eggs in blender.

6. Weigh out the amount of pumpkin you need and add to egg. Don’t forget to adjust for the weight of the container.

7. Then add: brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and salt. Blend until well mixed, scrape sides, then blend a little longer.

Did you know brown sugar could float? Neither did I.

8. Pour liquid over base and bake for 40 min, then place on cooling rack.

9. Meanwhile make your frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in icing sugar and milk.

10. The recipe suggested drizzling the frosting over the pan, which I tried, but the amount of icing nearly covered the entire surface anyway so I spread it evenly instead.

11. Chill at least 2 hours, and cut into squares.

Verdict:

In this town, we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song!

These were really good. Boyfriend says, “They are awesome baby. I could eat the whole pan.”

Playlist: The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack

Patty’s peanut butter & white Belgian chocolate brownies

“Mmmm-mmmm!” said Boyfriend, after he ate one of my new brownies; warm from the oven and made with peanut butter and white Belgian chocolate.

I wanted to use up my remaining white Callebaut chocolate, and combine it with peanut butter to make a delicious brownie. I envisioned a layer of peanut butter in the middle but that didn’t work out as expected. It was good, but not what I had planned, so I’ll make this again with a few modifications.

The only brownies that have ever made my heart sing are the gooey cheesecake brownies. I had high hopes for my peanut butter and white chocolate creation.

Good to know before you start: I didn’t use enough flour and I lost track of time while it was baking. The batter had too much liquid, and I’m not sure how long it actually baked, but it was over 30 min. When it came out of the oven it was bubbling at the edges and still liquid, I let it set for 2 hours and prayed it would firm up. I suspect the terrible humidity here is affecting my baking because my chocolate supply (which is stored in a sealed container in the dark) had softened so much I didn’t need to cut it. 0_0

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 25

Cost per brownie: $1.40

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $35.00 (add $15.00 for premium vanilla and chocolate)

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 8″ x 8″
  • tinfoil

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white Belgian chocolate (equivalent to 8 squares)
  • ¾ C smooth peanut butter
  • 1¼ C butter, room temp
  • 1¼ C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 2 TSP vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ½ C flour

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 177°C / 350°F. Line baking 8″ x 8″ pan with tinfoil and grease.

2. Use serrated blade to chop chocolate, set in sauce pan but do not turn on.

3. In the microwave, melt butter.

4. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt into melted butter; then microwave for 30 seconds and stir until thoroughly combined. Let the mixture cool 5 min.

5. Meanwhile, heat the chocolate on low heat, stirring often until melted.

6. Stir peanut butter into chocolate and remove from heat. Set aside.

7. In the brownie bowl, add eggs one at a time.

8. Add vanilla.

9. When everything is combined add flour.

10. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.

11. Spread peanut butter mixture on brownie.

12. Pour remaining batter on top. (The chocolate layer refused to stay above the peanut butter, it started sinking and looked awful so I thought what the hell and stirred it up.)

13. Bake 30+ min.

14. Cool 2 hours and slice.

Interestingly the bottom of the brownie has a slight crust, while the centre and top are very chewy. No idea what’s up with that. These look kind of ugly!

Verdict: Needs work. I’m going to take my brownie recipe back to the drawing board, I’m still not really satisfied with it, and that needs to get worked out before I start adding funky stuff like white chocolate and peanut butter. I’ll make this again with a few changes.

I’m not heartbroken over this, wasn’t sure if it would be a grand slam or not. Boyfriend loved this so I’ll consider it a success. This one isn’t going onto my recipe index until it’s perfected.

Playlist: Naruto soundtrack

Patty’s maple bacon brownies

Today, in a gesture of overwhelming self-sacrifice, I am making a dessert with bacon for Boyfriend. He doesn’t know it yet. I’m meeting him at a bar later to celebrate something, and I will be arriving with bacon brownies.

Why is this a gesture of self-sacrifice?

Well dear reader: I don’t like bacon.

Some people, when they find out, assume:

  1. I am allergic
  2. I have a religious restriction
  3. I am insane

But they are wrong. I just don’t like it. I love pulled pork and ham, but bacon does nothing for me. Boyfriend’s parents almost crashed the car when they found out.

“But how?” they gasped. “How can anybody dislike bacon?!”

Well, if you are curious why I don’t eat bacon you’ll have to make it to the end of this post.

Good to know before you start: I assume that regular bacon from the grocery store will work, but since we are celebrating a special occasion, I went to the butcher shop and got a pound of premium bacon.

I used Nova Scotia maple syrup from Maple Berry Farms in Fenwick. If you do not have real maple syrup, well…. I feel sorry for you. I picked up this bottle on my trip home in the spring.

Kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan 8″ x 8″
  • 2 cookie trays

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bacon
  • 2 TBSP real maple syrup
  • 1¼ C unsalted butter
  • 1¼ C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 2 TSP vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C flour

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 177°C / 350°F. Line cookie trays and baking pan with tinfoil, do not grease.

2. Place bacon on tray and baste with maple syrup. Cook until it is a) not raw, and b) not burnt.

When you decide it’s done, place it on plates lined with paper towel and blot it well, on both sides. Meanwhile…

3. In microwave on High, melt the butter. This will take around 2 min, stirring every 30 seconds.

4. Stir in sugar, cocoa and salt. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir. Let the mixture sit 5 min.

5. Add the eggs one at a time.

6. Add vanilla.

7. When everything is combined add flour.

8. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.

9. Layer in the bacon strips. I cut the bacon into small pieces so it will (hopefully) be easier to cut the brownies later.

10. Pour remaining batter on top. Bake 25 min.

11. Cool brownies completely in pan before slicing.

12. Enjoy?

Verdict: Yes, it must be love! I fully expect to be worshiped forever after making this. The flavour I can only describe as a brownie that tastes chocolatey yet smokey.

Boyfriend adored this. I did not.

Bacon, ugh. I just do not like it; it smells weird, it feels weird, it’s fatty and gross and just ugh – no thanks! That said, Boyfriend loves bacon with an intensity that borders on eroticism. I don’t understand.

Prior to making this I had no idea how to cook bacon. I figured this site would have a decent explanation, so I baked it in the oven. But 10 minutes wasn’t doing it, so I consulted my friend M and sent him pictures of the partially cooked bacon, and he guided me through to cooking it to completion. (Thanks buddy!)

I am guessing the size of this bacon was the problem? Oh well!

I brought the pan of brownies to the bar, and Boyfriend and K got to try them. They said it was great. J and E, however, almost vomited. It seems to be very taste-specific. I didn’t care for them.

I think it would have been different with small strips of bacon cooked to a crispy texture. I told Boyfriend if he would like to have this again, he can cook the bacon. I cooked 13 strips and only used 4.

Playlist: Cobra Starship – Good Girls Gone Bad

Charred apple crumb squares

Few desserts really include a synonym for “burnt” in their name, and sadly, this isn’t one of them.  Foiled by my own hubris, burnt apple crumble. :[

This recipe is the last one that I plan to post from Good Housekeeping Brownies: favourite recipes for Blondies, Bars & Brownies, which as always is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Good to know before you start: I did this recipe backwards.  You are supposed to cook the apple filling before baking the crust on its own.

It doesn’t matter if the apples brown.

I have read that 4 pounds of apples equals about 8-9 medium sized apples. I used 8 and that was not enough by far.  You’ll see why soon enough.

Time required: 3 hours

Yields: 24 pieces

Cost per square: $1.63

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $39.00

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 14½” x 10½”
  • tin foil
  • plastic wrap
  • apple peeler & corer
  • pastry blender

Crumb topping:

  • 1 C flour
  • ½ C butter (1 stick), softened
  • ½ C dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 TSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract

Crust:

  • 3 C flour
  • ⅓ C granulated white sugar
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • ¾ C cold butter (one and a half sticks)

Apple filling:

  • 4 lbs of tart apples
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • ¾ C dark seedless raisins
  • ½ C dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ TSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP powdered cornstarch
  • 2 lemons (need 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice)

Instructions:

Step 1 – Prepare topping: in a medium bowl combine all the ingredients with your hands.

I added the vanilla after the first 4 were combined.  Just pick it up and squish it through your hands, working all the ingredients into each other.

Ugh I hate touching stuff with my hands. That is why I fail at gardening.

Squash it into a ball-type shape, cover in plastic wrap, and chill.

Step 2 – Preheat oven to 191°C / 375°F.  Line baking pan with tin foil.  Grease foil.

Step 3 – In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and white sugar.  Use pastry blender to cut in butter.

Keep doing this tedious task until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Step 4 – Press mixture into prepared pan by hand and bake 20 min.  It’s normal for crust to crack.  Meanwhile!

Step 5 – Prepare apple filling; peel and core the apples, and cut each slice into thirds.  In a large skillet on Medium heat, cook: apples, raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Stir often, this should take 25 min.  It’s done when the apples are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Step 6 – Mix the cornstarch and lemon juice, and stir that into the apple mix to thicken it up.

Step 7 – “Use spoon to spread the filling over hot crust”. Oh dear. How did the apples burn in the one minute it took to add the lemon juice? Oh my God. This is dreadful.

Step 8 – Why don’t I have enough apples!? I tried spreading it evenly, but it became obvious there wasn’t enough filling. I smoothed it back over to the side, figuring the naked part on the end will be a casualty of this experiment.

Step 9 – Take topping out of fridge, break into crumbs (??) and spread onto filling. Hmmmm. I’m betting it is not supposed to look like this.

Step 10 – Bake 40 minutes until topping is golden.

Cool completely in pan (1-2 hours) on wire rack.

Dear God… what kind of horror is this?

Step 11 – To serve, lift dessert out of pan, peel foil off. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut crosswise into 6 squares if you are feeling adventurous.

Verdict: The topping is burnt, and the filling is very burnt, in a not-so-subtle flavour I like to call “charred”. Who knew a dessert that smelled so good in the making could go so wrong? I had high hopes for this, you know, until it went to hell and all.

I think this definitely has potential, it would probably be really good if it hadn’t burned and if I understood how to crumble the topping to make it look presentable.

The disappointment of slaving over something that smells like apple pie, and ruining it, reminds me of this passage:

“I hope I never smell the smell of apples again!” said Fili. “My tub was full of it. To smell apples everlastingly when you can scarcely move and are cold and sick with hunger is maddening. I could eat anything in the wide world now, for hours on end – but not an apple.” – The Hobbit

Playlist: Sailor Moon Japanese soundtrack

Gooey cheesecake brownies

A rich chocolate brownie with a cream cheese topping.  #winning.

I made these for spite.  I was planning to avoid cheesecake-type desserts for awhile but my resolve shattered after flipping through my cook book.  I had intended to make these brownies last month but didn’t get around to it, so last night just seemed like as good a time as any.

This recipe is also from Good Housekeeping Brownies: favourite recipes for Blondies, Bars & Brownies, which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Mine don’t look quite as nice as the book, but they tasty really good, and that’s mostly what counts!

Time required: (3 hours: 1 hr prep, 1 hr baking, 1 hr cooling)

Yields: 36 pieces

Cost per brownie: $1.05

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: between $27.00 and $38.00 depending on what type of vanilla extract you like, I am using pure Tahitian vanilla extract at the moment.

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • baking pan: 9″ x 13″
  • tin foil
  • KitchenAid mixer!

Brownie ingredients:

  • 1¼ C flour
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ¾ C butter (one and a half sticks, room temp)
  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate (6 squares)
  • 2 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temp

Topping ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (1 block)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 C icing sugar
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

Instructions:

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 177°C / 350°F.  Line baking pan with tinfoil and grease.

Step 2 – Prepare brownie: whisk together flour and salt.

Step 3 – In a sauce pan melt the baking chocolate, and stir in the butter until smooth.

Step 4 – Remove from heat, stir in sugar and vanilla.

Step 5 – Beat in eggs until just combined.

Step 6 – Stir in flour mixture, then spread into prepared pan.

Step 7 – Prepare topping: beat cream cheese.  Add the eggs, icing sugar, and vanilla.

I wasn’t paying attention at this point because one of my parental units called and I got distracted, so I didn’t blend the cream cheese as well as I should have before adding the rest of the ingredients. Oops.

Step 8 – “Use a metal spatula to spread topping gently over the brownie.”

Hmmm. I didn’t have to use a spatula at all, my topping was very runny and poured easily from the pan onto the brownie.  Hurrah, one less dish to clean!

I tilted the baking pan and it spread out on its own. Hope that is okay…

Step 9 – Bake 55 minutes, a toothpick inserted will come out cleanly when done.  Cool completely in pan, on wire rack. Looks good so far, and smells amazing.

Step 10 – Use tinfoil to lift brownie from pan, and slice lengthwise into 6 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces.

Verdict: Wow – I’m in heaven. These are pretty good.

I will definitely make this again but will change three things:

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in a big glass bowl instead of on the stove, because stirring dry ingredients into my small sauce pans sucks.

2. Avoid answering the phone while preparing the topping.

3. Lower the baking time by 5 minutes.  My oven runs 2 degrees cold, and you would think that by following recipe times exactly my results would always be good – but not so!

It seems every time I used the exact time listed in a cook book it’s overdone.  The bottom of the brownie was slightly crispy, and the topping was a wee bit overdone.  Still tastes good, but next time will be flawless.

Playlist: Schubert – Der Erlkönig