Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Sweets for the Season

I am slightly unimpressed with the Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake. It was a lot like brownies, and not even the best kind. I am not the best cook in the world, but I am a pretty good taster. Ever know anyone who was an excellent cook, who had such potential, but never picked anything worth making to make? Or used poor quality ingredients when the fresher and more natural ingredients would have made all the difference? I know those types. I am the opposite of those types.

When we first moved here two years ago (stop me- oh-oh-oh stop me- stop me if you think that you've heard this one before) we invited an old friend of George's and his wife and daughter over for dinner. I had not met the wife but once before and we were enjoying getting aquainted as I put the finishing touches on dinner. I made my easy but impressive looking chicken and penne pasta with white wine and sundried tomato sauce and was grating fresh parmesan on when I realized I needed to go get an extra highchair out of the basement for their daughter. We had been talking about whether we liked cooking or baking better and I was explaining how much I love to bake and how the pound cake I had in the oven was phenomenal with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I turned off the oven, but left the poundcake in the oven, and excused myself to get our extra highchair. And when I returned, no more than three minutes later, the kitchen was filled with smoke, George's friend was in the front yard with all three toddlers, his wife was making her way around the house opening windows, and George was in the back yard with a smoking black loaf pan. Right, the pound cake had caught fire. George had used the fire extinguisher which blew gross fire extinguisher foam stuff all over our swanky and ready to eat meal and clean plates, so our guests ended up having to us out to eat! How embarrassing! What had happened, if you will even believe me, is that the knob on the oven turned clockwise as opposed to counter clockwise like the knob on the oven I had been using for two years in our old house in Birmingham. I thought I turned the oven off, but in fact turned it to broil and the top of the cake caught on fire! So although I may not be a very accomplished cook or have a whole lot of know how/ presence of mind in the kitchen, I use the very best ingredients and I know what tastes good. Some other guy may have used some disgusting butter or sugar substitute, frozen strawberries or, heaven forbid, cool whip (which should be banned), but I know what tastes good- even if I can't always achieve that end.

So now that you trust me, maybe not enough to come eat at my house but enough to take a gander at my recipe box, let me share the recipes for my favorite chocolate brownies for fall to make up for the not-so-fabulous brownie like chocolate cake. We went to Eckert's last week and came home with 25 pounds of apples fresh from the tree so my current project is working through apple recipes. I had one on my list but Annie, who always has impeccable taste and execution, beat me to it. I'll get to posting some others later this week or possibly next week. Meanwhile, here's the chocolate ones. The second one is thanks to my good firend Sara. Oh, and bonus points for anyone who can tell me where the song lyrics in parenthesis came from, 'cause it's always so sad to me when things like that are lost.

Cocoa Gingerbread Brownies
1 3/4c. flour
3/4c. sugar
1/4c. brown sugar
2tsp. ginger
1 1/2tsp. cinnamon
1tsp. salt
1/4tsp. ground cloves
12T melted unsalted butter, cooled
1/2c. molasses
1/4c. milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2tsp. baking soda
8oz. chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chunks)
-butter and flour a 9x13 pan
-sift dry ingredients (except soda) together
-combine butter, molasses, milk, and eggs in a medium bowl
-add wet to dry and stir to combine
-in a small bowl mix 1/4c. boiling water with baking soda
-add water to batter and stir to combine
-stir in chocolate chunks
-pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes at 325

Caramel and Chocolate Brownies
1 bag of 40 caramels
1 can evaporated milk, divided
1 German chocolate cake mix
3/4c. melted butter
1c. chopped pecans
1c. chocolate chips
-mix and melt caramels with 1/2c. of the evaporated milk, remove from heat to cool some
-grease and flour a 9x13 pan (okay, I have never quite been able to make this work in such a large pan, so I use a smaller one, but then I have a little too much caramel sauce)
-mix cake mix, butter, pecans, and 1/3c. of the evaporated milk
-press half of the dough into prepared pan, bake for 8 minutes at 350, and remove from oven
-sprinkle chocolate chips over dough
-drop clumps of caramel sauce over chocolate chips
- spread the rest of the dough over the caramel and bake 18-20 minutes at 350


Elizabeth said...

can't wait to try these, abby! Yes, I am one of those people who also thinks cool whip should be banned! I don't mind buying generic, but there's no substitute for the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Abby, I totally agree with you about fresh ingredients and all of that. By the way, you are far too kind in your compliments of my cooking, etc. These brownies look so good. I can't wait to try them myself. I was also wondering if you could be so kind as to give me the recipe for the pasta that you talked about in this post. It sounded wonderful.
-- annie :)

Katherine said...

i wholeheartedly agree on the pasta recipe!

dblyoo said...

i've made the cocoa gingerbread brownies and all i can say is FABULOUS! they are now an autumn must-make :)

dblyoo said...

the song would be "stop me if you think you've heard this one before" by the smiths (thanks google) :). i haven't heard that one but i was listening to a little "how soon is now" the other day and thought of you. it was so good to talk to you the other night!

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