She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Chocolatey Brownie Goodness

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 3 Comments »

IMG_7559

I am so happy to be hanging out in Boston, where the weather is cool and I get to use premo kitchen stuff (my family has lived in this house for about 50 years, so we have collected some impressive cooking utensils), that I have been baking up a storm!  Today, I am going over to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner, and then we are all seeing John Oliver, the Daily Show correspondent, perform live ::squeals with delight::.  And their daughter, my cousin, is a girl after my own heart.  That is, she is a total chocoholic, and has discriminating taste.  (At age 5, my dad was watching her, he bought her an ice cream at Carvel, which was right next to the grocery store where they had just done some errands.  She commented, “It’s okay, but not as good as Brigham’s.”  So, they drove to the next town and my dad bought her Brigham’s, which is a New England ice cream chain that does have really, really good stuff).

My cousin is now 13, and her taste has only improved.  So, I decided to whip up some brownies with a chocolate glaze.  Everyone thinks their brownies are the best, and I have read so many cookbooks saying they have the “world’s best brownie recipe” it makes your head spin.  The fact of the matter is that all brownies are a little different, and we all have different tastes, so let’s all just get along and quit with the competition.  This is the recipe I use, and I have to say, it’s mighty fine.

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter/spray a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Melt 5 squares of unsweetened chocolate (I always use Baker’s, because the original Baker’s Chocolate Factory was in Dorchester, MA, the section of Boston where I grew up) on the stove (NOT the microwave).  Make sure you stir constantly while you do this, because burned chocolate is really gross.  Let stand while you mix together 2 sticks of butter and 1 3/4 cups of sugar (I use brown because it gives the brownies a warmer, homier flavor, but white is fine also).  Add 5 eggs, mixing well after each.  Use the yolks for this one – it makes the brownies chewy.  Add in about 1 – 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  Then, stir in the chocolate, and mix it good.  Lastly, add 3/4 to one cup flour.  When I put on a glaze, I think it needs the full cup, but without the glaze, a little less flour makes the brownies extra fudgy.  My biggest secret is putting in about a teaspoon of cinnamon with the flour.  It makes the brownies have a certain flavor that feels like a warm sweater on a crisp fall day.  Other people like to add nuts, coffee, marshmallows or banana at this stage.  I usually don’t, but feel free to try and tell me how  it goes, I bet any of those things would be super delicious.

Bake them for 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool (if you can wait that long!)

For the glaze, I put on a basic chocolate ganache (semi-sweet chocolate chips melted with cream), because I made these for a 13 year old chocolate fanatic, who my family clearly likes to indulge.  In the past, I have been known to put on caramel (brown sugar with butter or cream, melted together).  For college late night bake sales aimed at people coming home drunk, I would whip up buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little milk), and then pick out the marshmallows from lucky charms and put them on top.  I’m a maverick.

The best part about making these was that my dad’s cats supervised me while I made them.  Nothing like a little feline companionship to make you feel extra mushy when you bake!

Petey - one of my helpers!

Petey - one of my helpers!


Blueberry Peach Custard Pie

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 2 Comments »

Raspberry Custard Pie

Apologies for my absence. Summer time is not prime baking season, and where it has been HOT, I have not turned on my oven in some time. However, since it finally cooled down to a more reasonable temperature, yesterday I decided to make a pie. Pie is a great thing to bake with stuff you have lying around the house, and is very flexible in terms of what ingredients you use.

The first and hardest thing about making a pie is the crust. To make a 9-inch crust, take 1 1/2 cups flour, and 6 tablespoons of butter (cut into little pieces), and combine them with a mixer until it resembles course cornmeal. (You can also use a food processor for this). Then, add a few tablespoons (4-5ish) of VERY cold milk (skim OK) (I like to let it sit in a glass of ice and then add it), just so the dough holds together. Roll the dough on a very well floured surface (it will be extremely sticky) so it will fit a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. TIP: Don’t handle the dough a lot. Roll it out once and that’s it. The more you handle it, the less flaky and good it will be.

For my pie, I used one peach and about a cup of blueberries. You can use whatever fruit you want, in whatever combination you think will taste good, for a pie. It’s a good way to get rid of ripening fruit in the house. Also, use fruit at it’s ripest (like, about to go bad), because that is it’s sweetest. For this pie, just cover the crust over with fruit, enough so you can’t see the crust on the bottom, but only use 1 layer of fruit.

I made a light custard to go on the top of the fruit using ingredients my parents had lying around the house (pie is this kind of baked good – no exotic ingredients required). Some people, many of whom I deeply love and respect, really like super dense, heavy custards. This is the more traditional way of making them. But I don’t make custards like that. It’s a taste issue, and I prefer my custards to be light and airy. I also delete a lot of calories and fat by making custards this way.

To make the custard, put 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites (if you want it denser, 4 whole eggs), 1/4 cup maple syrup (I LOVE LOVE LOVE the flavor of maple syrup, but if you don’t, use brown sugar or honey), 1 cup vanilla yogurt or 1 cup plain yogurt plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract (low or nonfat yogurt is okay), 1/2 a teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt into a food processor or blender. Whip it up until it is frothy. Pour it over the fruit in the pie (try not to over spill, or you will have an oven cleaning mess).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the custard thickens and the outer crust just starts to brown.

I look pictures, but of course forgot to bring my camera cord on my trip to boston, but the pie pretty much looked like this picture I found on the internet. It is really tasty and light, and not too heavily calorie loaded. It is a messy, messy project, so be prepared to wash a lot of dishes. I think it’s worth it. My 90 year old neighbor also really liked it, and she loves sweets more than anybody I know.