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Archive for the ‘Brownies & Bars’ Category

Lately, I have regressed into the toddler-like fascination of classification.  I like the idea of the little Le Creuset pinch bowls, sorting out all of the autumnal spices of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  I also like the idea of colorful stacking prep bowls to sort out my wet and dry ingredients.  Sometimes, I think that is the sign of a truly dedicated baker–I have the equipment and bowls to show my seriousness to the craft!

In cooking, this is referred to mis en place, but I tend to think of this an exercise of mindfulness.  No matter how adorable, I do not need the bowls to get through the recipe.  In fact, I tend to keep only an annotated list of ingredients when I am baking because I am familiar with the various baking techniques.  However, the idea of putting everything in prep bowls is an act of visualization or progression–I can see the flow of ingredients right until I pop the cookies into the oven.

This brings me to these blondies from the guys of the Brooklyn bakery, Baked.  While not all of their retro-inspired recipes work out for me (*cough cough* Peanut Butter with Milk Chocolate chunks), I like thinking about all of my favorite childhood treats such as malt.  That’s right–I named that childhood staple Horlicks, which I had virtually every morning before heading off to school!  Plus, I can exercise my categorization skills because they get rusty after two weeks of not stepping into the kitchen :P

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Lately, I have got coffee in the head.  I think I got it after spending eight-hour days on campus for the past month.  I suddenly began to crave for a pick-me-up, and my tea obsession was not doing it.

I started missing coffee, which I used to make by the pot everyday.  Coffee used to be my desk-side friend during boring class lectures and my steadfast partner during late night papers.

Then, I went cold turkey for reasons that are not clear in my mind.   I would like to think that it was for health reasons.  Coffee is, after all, a stimulant.  My mother would like to think that she won that battle.  By that, I mean she kept nagging at me for weeks–something about drinking too much coffee would make my boobs grow too big.  Fear not, coffee lovers!  I checked with a doctor and Google and found that there are no scientific studies to confirm this correlation ;)

With all this coffee in my head, I started thinking about these coffee crunch bars from Molly Wizenberg…

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How do you convince yourself that brownies made from cocoa powder would be awesome, especially after having made the oh-so-decadent-but-worth-every-bite Baked Brownie with nearly a pound of bittersweet chocolate?  I tried, I tried.  Honest.  I just wasn’t convinced!  However, it made me curious about the idea of putting cocoa powder center stage. Cocoa powder tends to lurk in the background of chocolate recipes.  In fact, until I made this brownies, I wasn’t really sure what my cocoa powder tasted like or even if the brand of cocoa powder mattered.

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Lately, I find myself anxious at the thought of the start of the new semester.  Part of it is because of the newness of the classes.  The other part is the idea of being stuck in class for hours.  Although I seem like a very studious student, I get my share of the fidgets.  While my peers are texting to their friends or snoozing through class, I am furiously scribbling down my baking plans.   That’s all fine to me because I am being productive as a multi-tasker!  That is, of course, until someone asks me for my notes, and I have to quickly move from O-O to erasing all my baking plans for the next month or so off my lecture notes…

Anyway, I have meant to make brownies for a while since I have amassed a few recipes that I would like to test.  However, my plans keep getting pushed back because I really need people to help me eat them since my Asian parents cannot handle brownies in general and my friends have been largely out-of-town.  (Psst, I am still hiring tummies to feed!)  Now that they are all back, time to bake and distribute!

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