Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mint Brownies

In returning home for Christmas I was so looking forward to doing some holiday baking and documenting my tasty adventures on this here blog.  It simply wasn't meant to be, however, as just a few days after arriving home my computer did not want to cooperate, the screen broke, and I was without it for three weeks.  This may have stopped the planned blogging, but not the baking.  Thankfully the oven didn't break too.

The first dessert I baked was this pan of mint brownies to satisfy my grandmother's chocolate craving.  "Forget See's!" she said as she finished the first brownie.  This along with my grandmother's prediction that I will become a "great baker" were two of the nicest compliments I've received since I've been busying myself in the kitchen. 

There really isn't much to this recipe; but, simplicity can be delicious.  Bake up your favorite brownie recipe (mine comes from the back of the can of Ghirardelli cocoa powder can), and after the pan comes out of the oven, just cover the top with Ande's mints (creme de menthe candies).  The heat on the brownies will help to melt the chocolates; swirl until covered, and place in fridge until top is hard.

Is there anything better than melted chocolate?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Until about a week and a half ago I had not baked anything, or at least completely baked anything on my own!  I am fortunate to have a friend at college who lives in an apartment, and during this quarter I helped her to bake a cake, but using a box mix just ain't the same. 

You can imagine, then, my excitement to go home for Thanksgiving.  This was my first attempt at making pumpkin pie.  It was my first attempt at making any pie not made with a Jell-O mix!   I am pleased with the results, and I must say, for a beginning baker, the Betty Crocker Cookbook is practically the Bible. 

The pie crust was a challenge.  I think I may have "overpulsed" it in the the food processor, causing it to tear when I tried to unfold it into the pie plate.  However, I think I have answered the great debate of what makes a pie crust flaky: shortening!  Betty's recipe called for shortening, and this was a delicious, crumbly crust. 

Admittedly, I used canned pumpkin, so perhaps this wasn't completely from scratch, but who really cares when it tastes great?