Archive for November, 2014

Pipe Dream #304: To Avoid Another Incident – Kahlua Fudge Brownies

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I waited ages and ages to make these, partially because I’ve had so many good brownies made with cocoa that I find it difficult to buy unsweetened chocolate for brownie recipes. Luckily, I had some leftover from this cake + a dark chocolate bar from a friend. The time was ripe.

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Unfortunately, the while the original recipe touts these brownies as the ULTIMATE FUDGE brownie, I still thought they weren’t as good as some other brownies I’ve made. They were fudgy, but they weren’t as chocolatey as I would’ve liked. Just not ultimate enough to deserve the title. If you have some extra unsweetened chocolate lying around (because you can’t just eat that stuff for a snack), try these. Add in some Nutella swirl and sea salt or something. Jass et up.

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Note: If you’re going to make these for birthdays of pregnant women, don’t use booze as a flavoring. I did not cook the alcohol out of the frosting. Probably still not enough alcohol to do any damage, but we want to avoid another incident like this, so play it safe, guys. Play it safe. Unless you want to make this other boozy brownie I made once and forgot about: Kicky Fudge Brownies. All bets off.

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Betting,

L

Kahlua Fudge Brownies

Brownies adapted from Serious Eats

4 tablespoons butter

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Cafe D’Oro, Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8″ pan or line with parchment.

Place butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in aa microwave-safe glass measuring cup or bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after every interval until just melted and combined. Let cool slightly.

Whisk sugar, eggs, salt, and booze in a medium bowl until light. Whisk in chocolate mixture until thick and glossy. Whisk flour and cocoa in small bowl, then stir into chocolate mixture until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until just set 20-25 minutes. Avoid overbaking for the fudgiest texture. Let cool completely in pan.

For the frosting:

Mix approximately two tablespoons of Cafe D’Oro or Kahlua into a can of grocery store frosting (I used a whipped cream cheese frosting). Add more or less booze to taste. Spread over cooled brownies and decorate with sprinkles of choice.

Pipe Dream #303: To Cut It Out – Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

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My friend got me this amazing cheater pan which encouraged my belief that I should never have to spend whole days making cinnamon rolls ever again. Why would I wait through two rises, when I can dump batter into a pan and pull these perfectly shaped buns out of the oven 45 minutes later? She wanted us to have a bake day to test this pan and like, spend time together, but I caved. The cinnamon roll pull was strong, and I am weak, and now you know that.

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So I betrayed my friend, going ahead and making this cake in this pan without her by my side. Don’t be like me.

One consolation: this cake weren’t that great (like these pics, heavens). The recipe I adapted from included a heinous amount of butter and sugar (this is coming from me, so you know it is true). So I was determined to cut down on both (I added in some pumpkin to compensate for some of the butter reduction)…and I could tell. It just wasn’t sweet enough, moist enough or fluffy enough. Maybe I’m being critical, but seriously. It was so average.

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Unbelievably, both my dad and my sister’s boyfriend were like, going on about this cake when I saw them a week or two later. I was incredulous, but they insisted it was their favorite thing…and they eat a lot of things that I make.

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So I just don’t understand, but we’ll just add that to the list and not mind it anymore because it’s a low-priority thing to understand. Unlike how it was ever decided that harem pants were a cool thing. That is important to understand. Societal change must occur.

I’ll make a better cake in this pan with my friend and redeem myself in multiple ways next week.

L

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Inspired by Lovin’ in the Oven

For the cake:

3 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cups milk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) real butter, melted

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

For the topping:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 cup chopped pecans, (optional) (always measure the nuts first then chop them)

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a Bundt, 9×13 or cinnamon roll pull apart pan lightly with butter. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together the milk, eggs, pumpkin, melted butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until blended, but don’t overmix. Pour batter into the greased baking pan.

For the topping, mix the softened butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and pecans until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by spoonfuls and use a knife to swirl the topping through the cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Turn the cake out onto a serving platter.

For the glaze, mix the butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup. Add milk, one teaspoon at a time, until the glaze reaches a spreading consistency. Schmear on a slightly cooled cake, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #302: To French Vanilla – Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns

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These are nearly the same as the whole wheat cinnamon buns I tried once. They rely on a biscuit dough instead of a yeast dough as a base, so the prep time is drastically shorter. Granted, the end result is not a yeast bread like a traditional cinnamon roll, but that is hardly a concern if you’re pressed for time and craving butter and cinnamon rolled up in a little cakey bundle.

Since I opted to swap out the whole wheat flour for regular, I added apples, you know, for health reasons.

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JK, guys, JK. Apples are just yummy. Apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven, and, dare I say, a match promulgated by American society? No, that can’t be right. Apples and cinnamon have to be a timeless flavor combo that transcends society. But let me tell you. I recently research the origins of “French vanilla.” I was like, “K, what the heck is ‘French’ vanilla? It seems like a 90s flavor that is no longer in fashion like the 90s powdered coffee drinks that no one drinks anymore. People these days just say ‘Vanilla.'”

Or, if we’re indulging in a bit of baker nerdery–Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla or Tahitian Vanilla Bean, etc.

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Anyway, the point is that French Vanilla really almost IS a flavor that was made popular in 90s marketing. According to wiseGeek:

“The term ‘French vanilla’ technically describes a particular type of custard base for vanilla ice cream. This base is associated with a strong vanilla flavor and odor, a rich golden color, and small flecks of vanilla beans. As a result, companies sometimes market things like candles and body lotions as having this scent, capitalizing on the exoticism of all things French and the association of luxury. While this usage is incorrect, it is extremely common.”

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Look at the spillage happening here. A veritable gold mine of apple chunk.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this history lesson. If not, I have high hopes that you’ll enjoy these cinnamon buns along with your French Vanilla instant cappuccino.

L

Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Here in America’s Test Kitchen

Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough and to grease the pan. Melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) at once, and measure it out as you need it.

1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, for pan

For the filling:
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 medium apples, chopped into small pieces (I ended up using about 1 1/2 of the apples)

For the biscuit dough:
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the icing:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour one tablespoon melted butter into 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan.

To make the filling, combine sugars, spices, and salt in small bowl. Add one tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside. Chop apples into small-ish chunks. I chose to leave the skin on, but you can peel them if you feel like it.

To make the biscuit dough, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to a well-floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

Pat dough with hands into 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough. Using bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form tight log. Pinch seam to seal. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. With hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep filling in place. Place one roll in center of prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter.

Bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen buns from pan. Invert buns onto a plate or wire rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.

Stir butter, powdered sugar milk in large nonreactive bowl until a smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately. The buns are best eaten warm, but they hold up reasonably well for up to 2 hours.


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