When the temperature dips below 65 degrees in Texas it’s basically 30 below zero and when it’s that cold it’s hard to come up with indoor after school activities for the kids. For my next bake I decided to attempt the perfect brownie with the kids help to keep them occupied for at least a few minutes. Below is the recipe with my don’ts that I did and a few tips I picked up along the way.
Ingredients For Brownies
1/2 cup of butter melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Ingredients for Chocolate Whipped Cream
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions for Brownies
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 inch brownie pan
In medium bowl beat eggs on low setting until eggs are light yellow (about 5 minutes)
Add melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Continue to mix until well combined
Add cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until combined (about 2 minutes)
Spread into prepared pan
Sprinkle with chocolate chips
Bake for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean)
Directions for Chocolate Whipped Cream
Blend all ingredients with mixer on medium setting until mixture has a mousse like consistency
Top warm brownie with whipped cream
Don’ts that I did and a few tips and tricks
Don’t be afraid to beat your eggs. The perfect brownie starts with eggs that have been well beaten.
If you’re an edge person or a middle gooey person these brownies have something for everyone. Don’t over bake your brownies to get that perfect edge. It will happen if you follow the instructions. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than a hard overcooked brownie.
The brownies are amazing with or without the whipped cream. I preferred them without, but the kids liked them with. Feel free to skip that step and maybe add a little vanilla ice cream instead. YUM!
Cut the brownies when they are warm, but don’t be discouraged if your cuts aren’t perfect. Brownies are surprisingly hard to cut. It helps to wipe your knife in between each cut, but isn’t necessary.
Store brownies in tupperware and heat them up for about 10 seconds in the microwave if you enjoy them later. They are also delicious at room temperature.
For my next bake I decided to make my kids most favorite breakfast dessert… DOUGHNUTS!
My first thought when I decided to make doughnuts was to make easy baked cake doughnuts. There are TONS of recipes out there and they all seem pretty simple, but I decided if I was going to learn how to make doughnuts I would do it the conventional (fried) way. That makes this technically not a bake, but a fried.
The scariest part of this recipe was not the frying, it was the yeast and the proving. I’ve watched too many baking shows to know that proving can go really wrong really fast. The directions on the yeast packet even gave me a little anxiety. I felt completely out of my element, but I powered through and quickly figured out that making these doughnuts was not as hard as I thought it would be. Below is the recipe for Glazed Doughnuts and Chocolate Covered Doughnuts along with Powered Sugared Doughnut Holes. I’ve also included a few tips and tricks and my don’ts that I did.
The Ingredients for Doughnuts
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon of sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
4 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 teaspoons of melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for Frying
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small microwavable bowl add 1 cup of milk and heat until warm (about 40 seconds). Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the sugar milk mixture until frothy (about 10 minutes).
In a medium bowl whisk together flour and salt.
In a large bowl whisk together remaining sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Pour in yeast mixture. Stir until well combined. Next add the rest of the dry ingredients stirring with mixing spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic (about 5 minutes).
Form into a tight ball then place in oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot in the kitchen until it doubles in size (about an hour).
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough then transfer to a slightly floured baking surface and roll into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Using a doughnut cutter to punch out doughnuts and doughnut holes. Re knead scraps and punch out more doughnuts and doughnut holes. Place onto baking sheet and let rise for another forty minutes.
Whisk glaze ingredients until well combined.
Pour chocolate chips into bowl. Heat cream over medium heat for about 2 minutes until very warm. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for about 1 minute. Whisk chocolate and cream together.
Frying the Doughnuts
Line large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large dutch oven heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees over medium heat. Cook doughnuts in batches until golden brown (about 1 minute on each side). Transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain and cool slightly. Add doughnut holes to oil moving turning frequently to ensure each part of the doughnut hole is fried. Transfer to paper towels for draining.
Dip doughnuts into glaze while still warm and place on cooling rack.
Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts
Dip doughnuts into frosting and add sprinkles (optional).
Place doughnut holes into a bowl with a lid, add 1/2 cup of powered sugar and shake.
2. Don’t be afraid of the yeast. The instructions say to let yeast get frothy once it’s added to the milk. I was afraid my yeast wasn’t frothy enough the first round and ended up throwing out my first batch. I think I expected a frothy explosion and when that didn’t happen I assumed I did something wrong. My next batch of yeast did the same as the first and the doughnuts turned out great. The lesson is… Don’t throw out your yeast just because it’s not as frothy as you think it should be.
3. Proving is way more fun and rewarding than I ever thought it would be. This was the part that made me not want to make conventional fried doughnuts. I’ve watched so many shows where bakes have been under proved and over proved that I was almost too afraid to even attempt these. The truth is proving is still scary, but it’s not hard and the feeling you get when your dough has doubled in size is worth the fear. I will add that you should treat your dough like a baby. Check the temperature, carry it gently in its bowl, make sure it’s warm enough and it will do exactly what it’s supposed to do. Once you lift the towel and see the tiny ball of dough has grown into a much larger “ready to be rolled into 24 doughnuts sized dough” you’ll be glad you did.
4. Keep watching the oil temperature. My last few doughnuts cooked much faster than the first few because the oil got too hot. 350 degrees is the perfect temp for these so try and keep at that as best as you can.
5. The doughnuts are best enjoyed warm. If you’re eating them the day after take the time to pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds and they’ll taste just like they did when you first made them. Have Fun and Enjoy!
Have you ever had Pumpkin Bread? I was a newby until my son had his school Thanksgiving Lunch last week. The one thing about his school lunch that he could not stop talking about was the PUMPKIN CAKE! I later found out that it’s really called pumpkin bread. We’ll call it both because it’s sweet like a cake, but looks and cuts like a loaf of bread. When Clark (my oldest) asked if I could learn how to bake pumpkin cake for our Thanksgiving, I couldn’t say no. Despite the bar being set super high I think we knocked this one out of the park. Below is the recipe with a few tips.
Pumpkin Cake Bread with Brown Sugar Topping
Brown Sugar Topping– 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 all purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin Bread– 1 15oz can of pure pumpkin puree, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon salt
Maple Syrup Glaze– 1/2 cup powder sugar, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Brown Sugar Topping Instructions-in a small bowl mix all ingredient, store in refrigerator while making pumpkin cake bread.
Pumpkin (Cake) Bread Instructions– Preheat oven to 325F and butter the sides of a 9×5 loaf pan. Line with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Set aside. In a separate larger bowl using an electric mixer; mix together oil and pumpkin puree until combined. Mix in half of the dry ingredients and add the milk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour in pan and spread evenly. Remove brown sugar topping, break up with a fork and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
Maple Syrup Glaze– Mix together sugar and maple syrup. Pour glaze over loaf while the loaf is still hot. Let the bread cool for 20 minutes before serving. VIOLA! Pumpkin Cake Bread!
Tips, Tricks and a few Don’ts that I did– 1. Whatever you do, DO NOT forget to line the pan with parchment paper. I skipped it thinking it wouldn’t matter since I “buttered” my pan, but it’s a loaf… with a topping. Dumb Dumb move by me because the parchment is what helps get the loaf out of the pan. Otherwise you have to dump it… LITERALLY. I ended up making a giant mess, but learned a valuable lesson. 2. The brown sugar topping is probably the best part for the kids to help. My boys usually get bored with baking, but once I gave them some forks to break up the sugar and sprinkle on the loaf they were in HEAVEN. 3. Don’t be scared. It sounds really hard, but this is by far the easiest bake I’ve made. And maybe even the tastiest. 4. The bread will last for 10 days if stored in the fridge. Wrap it in foil or store in plastic containers and reheat for 10-20 seconds in the microwave. I promise it tastes freshly baked even out of the microwave. 5. ENJOY!
Hello! My name is Mae and I am not a baker, but I am becoming one. This blog is dedicated to my new passion in baking. Before I start diving into all things sweet here’s a little more about me.
I live in Austin Texas and work full time. I’m a mom of 2 boys ages 10 and 5. When I’m not working or chasing boys you’ll find me in the gym or outside enjoying Austin’s beautiful weather. I’m into reading, art, photography, trying new restaurants and recently BAKING.
I am by far not very experienced in the kitchen. I recently started baking as a way to spend my time with my oldest son. I find myself googling most of the directions or ingredients in recipes just to get a handle on what I’m doing. I’m constantly learning new things about baking and can get a little overwhelmed and stressed in the kitchen.
So why did I decide to keep baking and then also blog about it?
Because I baked a cake. Yep. It took one cake from scratch and I was hooked. Not only did the cake taste amazing, but I had an amazing time making it. I found out that I was actually a pretty decent baker and wanted to share my baking adventures. All of it. The good bakes and bad bakes. The perfect pies and over baked cakes and everything in between. I’ll also share all of my recipes including tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way.
I hope you enjoy this blog and maybe some day enjoy one of my bakes. Until then, let’s bake! -Mae