Tag Archives: salt

Don’t Forget the Chocolate, Part Deux

4 Dec
The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

Brownies: The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

How about some chocolate cake?  The most important thing to know about chocolate cakes, in my opinion, is that chocolate cake is more chocolate-y when made with water instead of milk.  Huh?  Makes sense, really.  Semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate are way more chocolate-y than milk chocolate.  The dairy tends to mellow out the characteristic bitter chocolate edge.  Now, if you like the bitter edge, you can use water in your chocolate cake.  If you don’t like it so much, use milk instead.

The next most important thing about chocolate cake is that it should be a brownie.  No milk to get in the way of deep, dark chocolate joy.  I love brownies deep, dark and gooey, but you can use the same recipe to make them more cake-y.  So, want to wow folks with a deep, dark chocolate cake?  Make brownies.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have at it in the comments!

At any rate, the third most important thing about a chocolate cake is that if the recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of salt, it’s not enough.  Salt wakes up chocolate, so don’t be stingy.  Must I beat you with my treatise on the use of salt yet again?!

The fourth most important thing about chocolate ca….um, brownies is that they should not have nuts.  Put them in if you wish, I cannot stop you.  Not me, but if you must put in nuts, at least toast them, first.

Now–let’s get on with it.  How to make the perfect chocolate brake (crownie?)

  • 5 oz. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt (or 1/2 t. table salt)
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 6 oz.  unsweetened chocolate, melted in microwave on medium (stir often)
  • 6 oz. melted butter
  • 10 oz. sugar
  • 6 oz. brown sugar (about 1 cup, packed–but please use a scale)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For a fudgy brake:

Do all of this by hand.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.  In another bowl, whisk together the butter and chocolate.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until just combined.  Then, whisk in bourbon and vanilla.  Pour into bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together until well combined.  Pour in a parchment lined 9″ square (or 9″ X 13″ for a thinner brake).  Bake at 325 degrees F, until they are as done as you like them–check the square pan at 40 minutes and the 9″ X 13″ pan at about 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan for half an hour.  Carefully turn the brake out and let it finish cooling on a rack.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  This makes slicing easier.

For a cakey brake (for some reason, I am thinking of Billy Ray Cyrus):

Use the creaming method.  Don’t use melted butter.  Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside.  Cream the salt, butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Cream in the melted and cooled chocolate, bourbon and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just to combine.  Last, add the dry ingredients, mixing just to combine.  Bake the same way as for fudgy brakes.

They don’t need icing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ice them with whatever you want.  I won’t stop you.  A nice way to serve them would warm, cut into wedges with some powdered sugar sifted over and some lightly sweetened soft-whipped cream.  Enjoy:)

Please Pass the Cinnamon-Ginger-Nutmeg Pie

19 Nov
Let the pumpkin flavor shine through.

Let the pumpkin flavor shine through.

I have spent my whole life thinking that I don’t like pumpkin pie.  I recently realized that is just not true.  I actually like the flavor of pumpkin quite well.  I just find the spicing of pumpkin pie to be too assertive, and it masks the flavor of the pumpkin.  Just the wee-est pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a healthy pinch or two of salt, is all that is needed to make the pumpkin the star of your pie and not just filler.

Here is the list of ingredients for a traditional pumpkin pie.  This one was developed by the Eagle Brand people to promote their condensed milk.

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Now, just try this:  you can always add more spices later.

Cut the cinnamon back to 1/4 teaspoon and grate in just a bit of fresh nutmeg with your trusty Microplane.  Use maybe 1/8 teaspoon of ginger–a wee pinch, no need to grab out your 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon.  Increase the salt to 3/4-1 teaspoon.  That might sound like a lot, but you’re going to be cutting this bad boy into 8 slices, and I hardly think 1/8 teaspoon of salt is going to hurt you.  Just drink another glass of water, if you’re concerned.

Please try this.  Like I said, you can add in the extra spices before you bake if you just don’t like the way it tastes.  I’m betting that you will like it, though.  Enjoy!

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