Sunday, January 27, 2013

BAKED Sunday Mornings: Sunday Night Cake

This cake is called Sunday Night Cake because it is something that you can just throw together for an informal Sunday night gathering.  Nothing fancy and no great hassel.  When I first read the description of the cake and the frosting, I thought it would be like Dorie's Cinnamon Squares, a cinnamon cake with a chocolate frosting.  However, Dorie's cake has a lot more cinnamon punch and a richer chocolate frosting.  This cake is only faintly cinnamon and the flavor of the frosting is a more mild chocolate.  The Baked boys called this frosting a pudding and although I have never made a pudding like this, I can see what they meant.  I don't think I would want to eat it with a spoon, but together with the cake it was really good.  Don't skip the step of putting the frosted cake in the fridge.  My frosting was kind of grainy and strange tasting, but once I put it in the fridge, it was smooth and tasted really good.

I enjoyed this cake, especially in its simplicity.  The cake was tender and moist, with a good, warm flavor with a hint of cinnamon and the frosting balanced it nicely with a hit of chocolate.  My husband (the non-chocolate eater) enjoyed the cake without the frosting too.  One note...I didn't have the right size pan, so I made it in a slightly smaller pan and cooked it a little longer and it was totally fine.

Head over to Baked Sunday Mornings to see what everyone else has done and to get the recipe.  

Update: I have learned that I misread the frosting recipe and I used bittersweet chocolate instead of unsweetened. If worked fine and the frosting was great after a stint in the fridge.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Long-Awaited Brownies

So this is one of those recipes that I make all the time but for some reason never got around to blogging about. I made them last week for Baked Goods Friday, but I forgot to take a picture – the picture is from first semester of my senior year of college. That’s how long I’ve been meaning to blog about these brownies. 

What do I love about these brownies? Um, how about EVERYTHING. First of all, they are made with almost an entire box of butter. You simply can’t go wrong there. Second of all, you get to brown butter. I’ve been able to brown butter successfully for a few years now, but it still feels like a major accomplishment every time. Third of all, there’s the combination of chocolate, caramel-y flavor (the browned butter), and salt, courtesy of the brittle on top. Oh yes, fourth of all, the brittle. It is so good that you may want to make extra to just sit around in your freezer and eat it as a snack. Fifth of all, you can make the brownies in advance and then frost them at your leisure - the perfect way to jazz up an otherwise plain and homely brownie. Sixth of all, if you don’t feel like making brownies (in which case, what is wrong with you, you fool), you can also use the frosting and brittle on a chocolate cake to delightful effect. 

Okay, hopefully that is enough to convince you of the greatness of these brownies. The brownie recipe is here (although feel free to substitute your own favorite brownie recipe); the frosting and brittle recipe is here. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Not Pretty, but Totally Delicious: Four Star Chocolate Pretzel Challah Bread Pudding

Some things are really hard to photograph.  Bread pudding is one of them.  It just looks like a mushy, lumpy mess.  But let me tell you -- this is the best tasting mushy, lumpy mess I have ever tasted.  This is Dorie Greenspan's Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, which I made with an LA specialty, pretzel challah.  Pretzel challah is challah on the inside, but with a soft-pretzel crust on the outside.  Yummy.

Every week, my son's preschool has a fundraiser where you can buy a challah for Shabbat.  Since we love challah and we want to support the school, we signed up.  However, it has meant that our freezer often gets super full of challah because we don't always have Shabbat dinner at home.  This bread pudding came about because I simply could not fit another challah in the freezer and I'm so glad I made it.  It takes about 10 minutes to throw together (if you don't count the time waiting for the bread to become stale) and the only complicated thing about it is that it is baked in a water bath, so you need a pan big enough to hold a 9x13 inch pan.

This was completely delicious and decadent   I loved the combination of the slightly salty pretzel challah with the sweet and chocolatey pudding.  It was a real treat.  If you find yourself with an extra pretzel challah, I highly recommend making this, although I assume it would be delicious with any kind of bread.  You can find the recipe here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

BAKED Sunday Morning: Malted Milk Chocolate Pots de Creme

Well, I have kind of fallen down on my Baked Sunday Mornings participation.  Things have been a little crazy around here and the idea of making a super complicated recipe hasn't be that appealing.  However, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  I love Whoppers, milk chocolate, malt and pudding, so it seemed like this recipe had everything.  To top it off, it was super easy.  It was calling my name.

I wish I could say I was in love with these, since they seemed so promising.  However, mine came out way too salty and it overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the milk chocolate (public service announcement -- you have to use really good milk chocolate, not just a Hershey bar.  I used Scharffen Berger).  It seems that the Baked boys like things much saltier than I do, since this has happened before.  I hope to try them again and cut the salt a bunch.

The other issue I had was totally my fault, in that I took them out of the oven too early.  After 25 minutes they were still pretty jiggly, but I thought they might set in the fridge.  Turns out that was not too be.  They weren't totally watery, but they did not have that custardy texture I was looking for.  I haven't given up hope though, and will be trying these again one day.

Check over at Baked Sunday Mornings for the recipe and to see what everyone else did.

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