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Ultimate Fudge Brownies (pt 1)

I want to introduce you to my ultimate fudge brownie recipe…

Soon. (Don’t hate me! I can explain.)

Tonight I’ve done it with a twist.

I’m always experimenting with ways to simplify life without robbing myself of the rich rewards of a worthwhile labor. It’s not that brownies are labor intensive by any standard, but when you’ve got many little ones who pull your attention in multiple directions, it is best to plan ahead in order to keep your domestic crown perfectly in place no matter when or how you are needed.

Tomorrow is the night I will actually need to bake the brownies, because my daughter wants to bring them to school on Thursday morning; but I wanted to get the mess out of the way so we had little to worry about tomorrow. Because of that, I’m experimenting tonight: dry brownie mix two ways…

Dry mix #1 has an exciting (to me) ingredient in it: powdered butter. Now, don’t turn your nose up at it just yet. Let’s look at the benefits. For starters, if you buy a box brownie mix at the grocery store, it will ask for crap oil which, in my opinion, has no place in a GOOD brownie. (Just don’t lower yourself to that standard, I beg you.) Second, this has enabled me to create a nearly fool proof solution to the lofty goal of buttery, chocolatey brownie instant gratification. Just add eggs, water, and mix. Similar to the box crap on grocery store shelves, no? (No! Better!)

Yes, this is entirely the reason for making the dry mix two ways tonight. Tomorrow night I want to do a side-by-side comparison and decide for myself if this is as good as the product claims. If it is, which is what I hope, then can you imagine how many batches of delicious brownie mix I will be making?! Ahem… purely for simplifying my life as needed, of course. No midnight episodes of chocoholic instant gratification here! (Hah. Believe what you want. I confess, you’re most likely half right.)

So… that leads me to Dry Mix #2. It will contain the regular amount of melted butter as usual. I have no doubt that these will be as decadent and sinful as usual. It’s a wonder I haven’t gone down the dry mix road before now, isn’t it? I cannot wait to report back to you how it goes. Who knows what other avenues it will enable us to explore in the near future?

Stay tuned for an update in the coming days.

Breads · Brunch

The 12 Days of Christmas Bake Along, Day 6: Nuns Puffs

Want to feel like a bad*** in your kitchen?  Do you sometimes have visitors who will be coming for tea in less than an hour and you didnt have time to prepare something?  Wish you could whip up something special at the drop of a hat?

Memorize this:  “Half a cup, one cup, three-quarters cup, four.”

“1/2c, 1c, 3/4c, 4.”  (Say it again about 5 more times in your head.  It’s SO worth committing to memory.)

It’s that simple.  What is it, you may ask?  Pâte à choux!  You know, the fabulous balls of buttery pastry which are used for croquembouche (cream puff towers) and éclairs.  (Pâte= paste/pastry, Choux= cabbages/rosettes.  This is why you will always see the batter piped into small rosettes before baking for cream puffs.)  However, I am not going to make either of those with it today.  Éclairs and cream puffs usually use pâte à choux as a vehicle for fancy fillings.  Today I am going to let it shine on its own.

20171218_1143131992266626.jpgAs Nuns Puffs have gained popularity recently, even taking on different shapes, stories of origin, and even cooking methods, this is the original way I learned, and by far the simplest method to cook them.

All you need in addition to the ingredients is a heavy pan (I use a ceramic coated cast iron pot), a high quality wooden spoon, a muffin tin, and your muscles.  Now, you already know the sequence.  Lets add ingredients to it.

1/2c butter

1c milk

3/4c flour

4 large eggs

This makes one dozen puffs.  I always have to double it for my family (which is what I have done in the pictures, but not in the written recipe).  Oh, and before I forget, I want to share with you something wonderful: this recipe works wonderfully with 1:1GF flours.

Liberally grease (or butter) one 12 cup muffin tin.  Preheat your oven to 375.

Melt butter until it is lightly golden browned and starts to smell nutty.  Add milk and bring to a simmer.  I like to just barely scald it.

20171218_105220875735176.jpg(I adore the look of those foamy bubbles on the edges of the milk as it begins to scald.)

Turn down the heat to its lowest setting.  Dump in the flour and stir vigorously until it forms a semi-tight ball.

20171218_1056371934934236.jpg Just about there!  Now, let it rest for 5 minutes.

Then add your eggs, one at a time.  Mix it thoroughly until fully incorporated before adding each additional egg.  (Sorry!  I got distracted by my newborn and forgot to take a picture of what it looks like after all the eggs are incorporated.)  Now spoon equal amounts into your muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until theyre golden brown and pull away from the edges of your tin.

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I like to serve them with raw honey and a light dusting of ground cinnamon.  For less than 15 minutes of prep time, this is a pleasing presentation for your family on Christmas morning, or any time at all.  Happy baking!