NaBloPoMo: Post 2

Ever since I moved to San Francisco, and I have told people that I graduated from the CIA with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, I have been asked what my specialty is/what my favorite thing to bake is. I have almost a different answer every time because I like to bake just about anything and don’t really have a “specialty”. I do, however, have a few favorite recipes that I like to turn to, and since this post is a part of the NaBloPoMo, and the theme this month is fan, I bring you a list of my favorite things to bake, and their recipes:

  1. Better Than Brownie Cookies. They are a great chocolaty cookie recipe that I found on another blog a couple of years ago and I like baking them every so often. I have come up with different variations of the recipe such as using butterscotch or peanut butter chips instead of the second cup of chocolate chips. I think, like brownies, these cookies allow you to have a very creative license. Last night I dreamed about making them with a sprinkle of sea salt on them. (Yes, I dream about dessert!)
  2. Pie Pops. Also found on a blog a couple of years ago. Every time I make them or bring them up in conversation, people get pretty excited about them. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s a mini pie on a stick.
  3. Chocolate chip cookies. I have always liked using the recipe from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag for as long as I have been making chocolate chip cookies (which is a long time). I also like adding different things to them. This recipe has oatmeal and bananas in it.
  4. Ice Cream. I have yet to buy an ice cream machine/attachment for my KitchenAid (though my birthday is coming up in November; hint, hint, nudge, nudge) but I love making ice cream. I love that this is also one of those things you can get really creative with. By the way, while it’s not on my favorite list, it is National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day!
  5. Brownies/Blondies. So easy and so chewy and good. Love to make brownies in a smaller pan than what is called for. Usually, brownies are baked in a 9×13 pan and I bake them in a 9×9 or an 8×8. This makes them more fudgy and gooey and that’s what you want in a brownie, right? I know it’s kinda weird, but I also only like the middle-no edges for me!

So there it is. The top five things I like to bake. My turn to ask: what’s your favorite thing to bake/what’s your specialty? (you can answer in the comments)

dulce de leche brownies

Last night’s baking adventure kinda took all day because of making the dulce de leche. It’s really simple, just have to simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours, but still, that’s three hours you have to wait to get this awesome, tasty caramel. Of course, you could just pour it on some ice cream, or dip some apples into it. But I made dulce de leche brownies. I used the recipe for brownies that I’ve been using since I got the kid’s cookbook. (when I was around 12). They are really gooey, fudgy brownies to begin with, and the addition of dulce de leche just made that that much gooier and fudgier. Since I just folded in the duce de leche (there wasn’t enough to spread out an even layer) the brownies just look like brownies. Next time, I will make two cans, instead of one, and make  brownie-dulce de leche layers. Also, I could’ve tried baking regular brownies, and then just pouring on the dulce de leche; that would have been the easiest, but messiest way to go, I think. Ah, so many options. I guess I am going to have to make these again some time. Anyway, here is the brownie recipe, and I found out about making dulce de leche from this blog, Not Without Salt. They have links to learn more about dulce de leche, and also links to recipes to use the dulce de leche. I really like the pictures they took, too.

Fudge Brownies
3/4 c cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup oil
3/4 c water
2 c sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c flour

put cocoa, baking soda, and 1/3 cup oil into a bowl. mix well. boil water. measure 1/2 cup of boiling water and add to bowl. mix till mixture thickens. add sugar and vanilla to bowl and mix well. add remaining 1/3 cup of oil, eggs, and salt to bowl. mix well. add flour to bowl and mix well. pour cake mixture into 13×11 cake pan. bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.

for the dulce de leche brownies, I baked them for a little longer (perhaps a little too long, the edges were a little over done, and they were really chewy.) for regular, even fudgier brownies, I like to bake them in a smaller pan, either 8×8 or 9×9, whichever I have around.