Tuesday, May 26, 2009

for the TWD bakers!

I went to see a movie this weekend and saw this preview! Can't wait!!
(see post below for the recipe of the week post-Chipster Topped Brownies!)

TWD: Chipster-Topped Brownies

Wow, I almost forgot today is Tues, not Monday! Posting 'late' for me--though it's still morning here in CT, usually I have this thing done the night before, ready to post at midnight...talk about a flashback to getting a paper done the day it's due!

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie baking recipe was chosen by Beth of Supplicious --Chipster-Topped Brownies....Reading this recipe I knew it was a recipe I would have tried anyway as it combines two of my very (VERY) favorite baked items--brownies and chocolate chip bar cookies...it has a brownie bottom and, as the name suggests, chocolate chip cookie dough on top!

The recipe came together rather easily, and I must add I am proud of myself that I even included the walnuts in the brownie batter, as called for (as for me, walnuts are not necessary...I love my brownies pure and simple and un-cluttered). I told myself "If I have them, I'll use them...I'm not going to buy them just for this"....I must say I love my pantry now that I am involved in our TWD club--it means that now I have a constant stash of chocolate (though never the kind I need--I still had to go out and get unsweetened) and a decent stash of various nut products---some unopened, others half-gone, stored in various zip lock bags. I found pecans...almonds (slivered almonds as well as sliced..) peanuts, and I found a bag of 'finely' chopped walnuts. The recipe called for 'roughly chopped' (or something similar) I believe--but I LOVE that I had the finer diced version as it meant the walnuts would not be dominating the bites of brownie.

It's basically making 2 recipes--as you have to make the brownie batter, then start over and make the chocolate chip cookie dough. (Note to self: buy extra bowl for KitchenAid mixer so I have a spare to use straight away rather than washing/drying/etc and then starting over...)

I was so tempted to stop when I saw the brownie batter in the pan...I do so love brownies! Here is the cookie dough plopped on top (I almost left like this thinking it would just melt evenly in the oven..but I didn't want to chance it, so got out the offset spatula and did as told):

The glitches I had here came with the baking time...I baked it just about 50 min and found I had a fabulous looking outer crust--nice and golden. But....the knife test came out smeared in cookie dough (and some brownie...unless it was melted chocolate chips?)

So I threw foil over the top and baked another 5 minutes--still had the issue...baked 5 more and then worried that the brownies would be terribly overdone, so I bailed and took it out, as I knew the majority of the pan was done, it was just that middle that seemed to keep it's gooey texture.

I love the new 'trick' I learned (not new at all to veteran bakers, but to me it's a godsend). The last time I baked brownies--the.best.ever--I discovered the parchment paper liner technique allowing you to lift them out easily (especially for a 'corner' lover like myself! When you cut them in the pan -vs-lifting out on handy parchment and cutting out of the pan, many times the corners won't really come undone all the way and get left behind. But with parchment--it all stays intact!

Here is what I mean...look at that tasty corner, just waiting for me! Parchment paper rules.

After it cooled to room temp I cut them all up--and found the very middle had a 'middle earth' area that was still undone. The top was great, the bottom part of the brownie was great, but the top half of the brownie and the bottom half of the cookie dough was still unset! ??? I just did away with those few pieces and had plenty to go around!

Here are the throw-away pieces from the very center of the pan.

You can see the divot in the middle that I made when I was testing for doneness...

And here is a close-up of a still unfinished dough:

So Dear Husband came around, asking how everything was going and I summed it up with the following: "two worlds are colliding in here....brownies and pan cookies....either it will be a match made in heaven, or utter chaos" Would you like to hear his reply? "That's what your brother said when we started dating.." (Background=Dear Husband and I have only been together for 6yrs--married for 3, but he and my brother have been the closest of friends since grammar school. So for us to get together was definitely a Seinfeld moment where my brother's "family" and "friends" worlds were all of a sudden colliding before his eyes)

Dear Husband and I share a love for brownies and bar cookies....love, love them. With that said, we did not LOVE this recipe. I liked it a lot, I find myself nibbling on them throughout the day and going back for more, but I keep thinking "these would have been great brownies" or "I should make bar cookies."

So unlike the success of Dear Husband and I combining into a better 'one', for me, when it comes to brownies and pan cookies, they each operate better as a solo gig and never the twain shall meet. For me, neither really 'shines' and they cancel each other out. They're good and all, but I think my expectations were set a bit high...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD: Fresh Mango Bread

Well this week I am back from 2 weeks off of blogging...and must say I was pleasantly surprised by this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Fresh Mango Bread, chosen by Kelly of Baking with the Boys!

Mango is a funny fruit to me. It's one of these fruits I rarely have, but not for any true reason...I like the taste of it and all, and when I do have mango (usually in the form of a tropical drink of some sort, admitedly) I think to myself, "Now why don't I eat mango more?" Same with kiwi, pineapple....the more tropical fruits. Most likely because they are all products of some far off sunny spot, far from the Northeast corner of CT.

Still, for some reason I was not so sure I would like this bread--the raisin, the fruit....I must admit now I am really not very sophistique when it comes to my baked sweets...I had my doubts...Yet I am pleased to announce my horizons have been broadened...because this bread, something I thought was more in line of a dish my mom would have loved truly grew on me! (uh-oh, does this mean I'm a grown-up?)

Oh--and speaking of growing...it did just that in the oven...grew and grew and when I checked on it 60 minutes in it had spilled over the top and onto the baking sheet (thank you Dorie for telling us to put it on a sheet! I know it was to prevent burning--but in my case it saved me from a mess in my oven!)

I was so upset my camera's battery needed to recharge...I have no snaps of the bread taking over the cookie sheet, spilling over the top of the bread pan! It did look pretty cool...(ok, so maybe I'm not so grown up?!)

I charged it up in time to show the cut away photo above....the only photo I have as its 8:40pm on a Monday and I must get this posted for Tues!

Notes overall--mine was finished in about 70-75 min...and still it was a bit done more than I expected. After checking on it an hour (when I saw the blob had emerged to take over my oven) it was already pretty brown...but the flavor is amazing!

Dear Husband was not convinced it was up his alley on Sunday night (I made it Sun afternoon). He is not a 'raisin' fan and suggested next time maybe omit the raisins...but he liked it, didn't love it. Then Monday night --just 2 minutes ago actually--he was eating it while I typed this and JUST said, "I think it's even better today." And I got all excited saying how thats EXACTLY what Dorie had mentioned in the footnotes of the recipe! We loved this recipe-- and nary a bittersweet chocolate chip in sight! Now that's a week to remember.