Tag Archives: chocolate

AP Stats almost killed me, but I drowned my sorrows in these brownies.

18 Jun

Once in a while a recipe makes a serious impression on me. Recipes get stuck in my head all the time, and I usually make them, feel satisfied and move on. This time though, I made these brownies within days of finding the recipe even though it was during AP testing week. No really, I took my AP Statistics exam, came home, and made brownies without skipping a beat. The super sweet taste was a nice way to wake up my haggard brain and let me momentarily forget the sense of failure associated with that horrible, horrible exam. My parents, sister, and I devoured them in two or three days, and I’ve been craving them ever since.

The best part about these brownies is that it requires no cracking of eggs, careful measuring of leaveners or melting of chocolate. I usually love intricate recipes as I’m quite methodical when I step into my kitchen, but this is the perfect recipe for those days that my brain is reduced to mush. Make them for someone studying for an exam, someone who passed an exam they spent months stressing over, or even better: make them for someone who feels like they failed an exam they spent months stressing over. It will make them feel better for a short while. I know I did.

One box of chocolate cake mix, one can of evaporated milk, one stick of butter and…..

One package of caramels. My stroke of genius was getting my favourites, Reisens, which are chocolate caramels covered in chocolate. These replaced the caramels and chocolate chips in the original recipe, and streamlined the process. Now that’s only 4 ingredients. You could always add more, like coconut (which I did), chopped nuts, dried fruit, M&M’s, oats, or maybe ramen if you are a college student.

Combine the cake mix and milk in a bowl. Next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I think I’ll use half the amount of evaporated milk and use regular milk for the rest.  I might even leave out the evaporated milk from the brownie completely and use all regular milk to reduce the sweetness.

Next, melt some butter in a bowl.

Add this to the cake mix and milk and combine. Side note: It’s particularly helpful having a sous chef (aka older sister) to help you slowly pour melted butter so that you can get a good action shot. Thanks Em! 🙂

The mixture will be thick like cookie dough, not like brownie batter. You’ll want to combine the main ingredients before you add the special ingredients of your choosing.

Once it’s combined, cut the dough in half and press half into a greased baking dish. I made sure to make a lip around te edge for that melted caramel-y goodness that was soon to be added. Put this in the oven to get all good and cooked.

While that’s cooking, put a bowl of the caramels and some more evaporated milk on a pot of boiling water. You need to use evaporated milk here to get the correct texture. I used the double boiler method, but you may be able to get away with microwaving this if you are extremely careful, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then, when your caramel is completely melted, take it off the heat and try not to eat spoonfuls of it…

Your bottom half of the brownie is nice and firm and cooked now, and ready for some caramel love.

See how that edge prevents the caramel from touching the sides? this helps make the cutting and cleaning process much easier! On a clean surface (like a cutting board) you’ll need to roll out the other half of the dough into a shape roughly the size and shape of your dish.

Carefully place it on top of the caramel. If any gaps remain, just se any leftover dough from your mixing bowl to patch up the holes.

Once it’s cooked you come to the hardest part: The waiting. You need to let this cool to room temperature and then put it in a fridge so that the caramel can become chewy rather than runny. I highly recommend licking the caramel bowl/spoon to help make it through these difficult hours. Yes, HOURS. 😦

Once the brownies have cooled, or your patience has reached its end, carefully cut the brownies and share with people you love.

Just make sure you REALLY love those people, because you may end p wishing you hadn’t shared at all. 😉

 

The original recipe came from Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) and you can find it here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/05/knock-you-naked-brownies/

Here’s my version with tweaks:

Post-AP Stats Caramel Brownies

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • ⅓ cups Evaporated Milk (or, if you don’t like sugar, try regular milk)
  • ½ cups Evaporated Milk (don’t substitute regular milk here!)
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 package Chocolate Caramels (or regular caramels + chocolate chips)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix cake mix, 1/3 cup milk, and melted butter. Stir until combined. Mixture will be as thick as cookie dough.

Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.

In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base.

Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square the same size at the pan. Set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of These Cupcakes

11 Feb

So one of  my friends, Camille, turned 18 on Tuesday and my other friend Marisa and I made her cupcakes. Camille is a vegan, so I found a recipe that would be both animal friendly and also promised to be “better than any regular cupcake that I have ever tasted” as one commenter put it. I decided to quickly make the cupcakes before Marisa came over so that they would have enough to cool so we could decorate them together. I was super surprised at how fast they were to make that I totally forgot to take pictures of the process.

I’m still amazed that it only took me five minutes to make the batter. I just used a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix it, and after I filled the paper liners I was able to hand-wash everything since I didn’t have to worry about raw eggs. Not only did these cupcakes keep my kitchen clean and took no time whatsoever, they tasted amazing. They were light and fluffy like a box-mix but super yummy like homemade.  Oh, and the coolest part? When you add in the vinegar it reacts to the baking soda and changes the colour of the batter. That’s right, you get to have a mini science experiment with your cupcakes that results in a slightly red colouring that’s really pretty.

I was able to make 12 regular cupcakes and 6 minis (or babies as we dubbed them). I ended up using the last of the cupcakes liners I got for my 17th birthday from Bake It Pretty. I definitely need to buy some more, their colours stayed bright after baking which made me happy. 🙂

Here’s the link to the green ones: http://www.bakeitpretty.com/item_14/Carnival-Stripe-Baking-Cups.htm

I don’t think Bake It Pretty sells the gold minis anymore, but I found them here: http://www.globalsugarart.com/product.php?id=22339&name=Assorted%20Mini%20Gold%20Spiral%20Baking%20Cupcake%20Liner%20(Pkg/120)

So I had to try one of the cupcakes so I broke it in half and saw the pretty reddish tint on the inside.

Pretend you don’t notice that this is a different liner. I only had 9 pretty ones left, so I had to use grocery store ones…

Anyway, Marisa arrived and we got to work frosting and sprinkling (yes, sprinkling) the cupcakes. I found out from Peta’s “accidentally Vegan” list that Duncan Hine’s Homestyle frosting is totally vegan. I was so glad I didn’t need to bother with making frosting!

They were seriously the most amazing cupcakes ever. Simple, clean, delicious, and most importantly animal-friendly. 🙂

This is seriously fool-proof and very rewarding so you should go make some before you go to bed. Or while sleepwalking. Or quickly before school. Whatever suits you!

Here’s the recipe:

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/vegan-chocolate-cake/Detail.aspx

I added in the vinegar last because I wanted to see the reaction, and plus I had horrible images of it bubbling over.

Happy Baking!

And so it begins…

6 Feb

I’ve been baking with my mum since I was barely tall enough to see over the kitchen counter. Only recently have I really gotten passionate about baking to the point where I check a dozen different baking blogs multiple times per day, and have a long list of recipes that I’m dying to try. When I bring treats to share at school I practically get mauled. It seems like when people see me with a tray of cookies or a box of cupcakes everyone I know in a one mile radius is automatically notified. Another thing that seems to be happening more frequently, is people asking me for a recipe. This is the main reason for my blog: to share recipes and pictures with my friends and fellow bakers out there.

The first recipe I’ll share is one I made two weeks ago during my final exams. I made the dough ahead of time, and kept it in the refrigerator so that I could take out the perfect amount each day. I ended up giving most of them away to my teachers (who were in serious need of a pick-me-up) and a dozen or so went to various friends (who were also in need of a pick-me-up.) I always find it strange how people seem to forget to show teachers appreciation during first semester finals. I mean, who do you think is grading all those tests, listening to all those presentations, and reading all those essays? At the end of the week when we get to relax without homework, teachers are stuck with piles of things to score, and final grades to update.

Anyway, as soon as I saw the recipe posted on Bakerella’s website, I knew I had to make them, and I knew they’d be the perfect treat for my deserving teachers. They are Chocolate Crackle Cookies!

I started off melting the chocolate (Ghirardelli semi-sweet) in a double boiler.

I love how it comes in a gold package. It reminds me of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. I really love that movie!

In a separate bowl I mixed the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. The cocoa powder I use is also Ghirardelli, specifically “Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa”. I definitely don’t recommend using Hershey’s or store-brand cocoa because you need to do this recipe right! Besides, I have a thing against Hershey’s, but I’ll save that for another day.

When the chocolate is completely melted, set it aside to cool. While that glorious chocolate is melting, put the butter and brown sugar in a mixer.

Mix the butter and sugar until combined.

Then it’s time to add the vanilla and eggs. Once that’s combined it’s time to pour in that glorious chocolate…

After the chocolate is added, mix until combined. Feel free to lick the bowl for any last remnants of chocolate. I know I did!

With the mixer on low, alternate between the dry mixture and the milk until combined.

Divide your dough into fourths, wrap with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge for 2 hours. Use this time to study for tests or to clean the kitchen. Or, you know, to watch a few episodes of Modern Family. You know you want to.

Take your first batch of dough and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes to make sure it’s super cold. While you do this put powdered sugar into one bowl, and regular granulated sugar into another. Then the magic begins. Divide the dough into 12 equal(ish) squares.

Take one chunk at a time and quickly roll between your hands. You will get a thin layer of chocolate all over your hands as it starts to melt, but if you wash your hands between every few cookies you should be fine. Once you have one ball rolled, first roll it in the granulated sugar.

Then roll it in the powdered sugar. After a few cookies, I found that I got better results if I flattened the cookie slightly, covered it in the powdered sugar lightly, and put extra on the top side. You’ll find a technique that works for you after a few cookies.

I baked six cookies at a time for 12 minutes. While 6 were in the oven I had plenty of time to get the other six ready. I was so excited at how pretty they turned out!

I think the best part was the underside. The sugar had caramelized on the bottom and formed a thin, sugary shell.

Then again, the tops were pretty awesome too.

Then, I used some pretty boxes leftover from Christmas and some polka dot tissue paper to package the cookies. All my teachers seemed to really appreciate them, and everyone who tasted them said they were amazing.

So here’s the link to the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/favorite-chocolate-crackle-cookies

and the link to Bakerella’s gorgeous post that made me want to make them: http://www.bakerella.com/chocolate-crackles/

Happy Baking! 🙂