Category Archives: Baking

No. Box. Brownies. EVER!!

Well folks, I’m slagging off again. No excuses, and no, I’m not in custody or treatment. I’m just searching for inspiration. Until the Muse comes upon me with a martini and some thoughts about salad, you’ll have to make due with this. But listen, these brownies are first rate, my absolute best thing. So print out the recipe and prepare for a little extra something around your middle. These babies are best eaten warm and straight from the pan with a fork and a pint of Cherry Garcia. Party on.

Kitchen Slattern

I feel about brownies from a mix much the same as Joan Crawford, at least as rendered by Faye Dunaway, did about cheap closet accessories. I loathe them. Ok, OK, I hear you. You’re scratching your head, your brow is furrowed and you say to yourself in a perplexed way, “But I thought she said use a mix for pie crust.”

“It’s HARDER to bake from scratch,” you whine. “What’s up with this crazy bitch anyway? Why can’t she make up her mind?”

It’s all about cost/benefit. Pie crust is hard to make and can easily go wrong, way way wrong. I have found one mix that almost never fails and tastes pretty good, so I use it.

Brownies, however, are a different story. Why? It is ridiculously easy to make de-licious, fudgy brownies if you use my recipe. They always, ALWAYS come out right and they taste…

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What the hell is self-rising cake flour and, more importantly, where did I get it?

Recipe: Nigella’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Cupcakes gone blond

So today my shining light of a daughter turns 18, which makes me 97, or maybe it just feels that way. Anyhow, with such an auspicious occasion to mark, I wanted to find an appropriate treat to cap the festive birthday dinner — traditionally the birthday girl’s choice, and as always she’s requested mac and cheese with grilled asparagus on the side.

Allegedly purchased by me, but when?

I found this delightfully easy recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes in Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book, and was congratulating myself on coming up with the perfect marriage of the adult (sour cherries, dark chocolate) and the childish (cupcakes) in an incredibly simple recipe (bonus!), when I noticed that it called for self-rising cake flour. Now, this item struck me as just a tad exotic to have on hand, but lo and behold after a bit of frantic rummaging I did find some in the dark recesses of the pantry. It is, to say the least, unusual to find exactly what I need on any given day; however, given my customary frame of mind during a trip to Fairway, it is not surprising that I have in stock things I can’t recall ever buying.

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Embrace the Time Suck

Recipe: Chocolate Crinkles

I know, I know, refrigerator cookies are a pain in the ass. They’re fiddly and time consuming, either of which is usually enough to put me off making them. On the other hand, look at it this way, the chilling period frees you up to do other things, like read an improving book, catch up on your favorite Castle episodes, or have that life saving midday glass of wine to prepare for a bout of bathroom cleaning. (Why approach the toilet bowl without at least a small load on? I guess people do, but I think it’s inadvisable, even reckless.)

Now where did I put that cookie dough? courtesy rachelheldevans.com

Of course there’s always the risk that, having become a little over-relaxed during the chilling period, you’ll forget about having made the dough and discover it moldering behind the extra large Bosco bottle a month or two past its expiration date, but what’s life without the odd surprise?

Now, to make a proper crinkle, you’ve got to refrigerate the dough. Believe me, I’ve tried skipping it and it just does not work, and no, I don’t know why. You’d have to talk to a proper baker, or at least a sober one, to find out. But really what other kind of cookie offers the magical mix of a crunchy exterior with a soft chewy middle? It’s an unbeatable combination, and if you’ve got sufficient lead time, the chocolate crinkle is a real bake sale winner. If you have little kids and a truckload of patience, the rolling and sugar coating step is enough like a Playdough activity to keep them busy for a good hour. Don’t worry, the high temperature of the baking will kill most of the germs from the finger licking — theirs not yours. Though let’s be honest, when was the last time you made cookies without consuming half of the dough? And this is good cookie dough. Real quality product. Or so I have been told. Read the rest of this entry

In praise of the bar

The bar cookie, that is.

Courtesy Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Click photo for recipe!

If you have kids, there are two words that  immediately kill the pleasant glow you experience from the magical combination of your pre-dinner drink, a glass or three of wine and the after-dinner brandy. And no, since you asked, I do not generally imbibe to this extent on a daily basis, but I have dreams just like everyone else. Anyway, the two words that strike fear into the heart of any parent are, as you might have guessed, BAKE SALE, quite often accompanied by that third horseman of the apocalypse, TOMORROW.

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The Science of The Chocolate Chip Cookie

 Reblogged from Baker Bettie:


There is no doubt in my mind that Chocolate Chip Cookies are the ultimate classic baked good and comfort food.  There is just nothing that compares to a warm gooey cookie right out of the oven.  And a few years ago I set out on a mission to develop the most perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.  But this led to the question: What is my idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie?  Well, I am all about contrasts.  So in my mind it needs lots of contrasts of textures and flavors.  And I created that for myself.  A thick, chewy on the inside crunchy on the outside cookie that has hints of caramel and salt with dark chocolate chips and toasted pecans.  (Sorry, but I will most likely not share this recipe.  I worked for a long time on it!!) But anyway, that was the start of my cookie business.  READ MORE.

The Slattern says:

This is Cookie 101, 201 and 303 the seminar all in one post. Everything you ever needed to know about the chocolate chip cookie but were too afraid, or as in my case too dumb, to ask. Have ‘em any way you want and don’t forget to scroll all the way down for Bettie’s recipe for the Slattern’s Kitchen Sink. Bettie RULES.
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