Archive | August, 2008

you would think there would atleast be some bananas involved.

13 Aug

i just got over a terrifying presentation at work.  it probably wouldn’t be terrifying to any normal person, but for some reason i cannot handle performing in front of a crowd in any capacity.  (it was quite the trick that i survived 10 years of chorus performances.)  and now that i have checked myself over and determined that yes, indeed, my heart is still beating and i am not a puddle of goo on the floor, i realized what better way to utilize this high from public speaking survivalthan to post about one of my latest baking adventures?  thank all that is mighty that it is my lunch break,  (as i would never ever consider blogging while not on a lunch break.) as now i have the opportunity to regale you all with my tales.

so what we have here is monkey bread.  i was pretty confused as to why it is called monkey bread, because it doesn’t really have any monkey-like qualities.  it doesn’t have a tail.  it doesn’t swing from trees.  it isn’t particularly mischievous.  you would at least think there would be bananas involved.  but nope- it is pretty much just a bunch of blobs of dough rolled around in cinnamon sugar and squished into a cake pan.  melted butter on top.  sprinkled brown sugar. baked all together.  ooo shiver.  yum.  alright. we need to focus here. the point is that it is very un-monkey-like, and this concerns me.

i did some research so that i would be able to sleep easier at night.  according to wikipedia, it is also known as hungarian coffee cake and bubbleloaf, the latter of which i personally approve of.  this bread thingamajig seems much more bubbly, than monkey…ey.  other fun fact: it first appeared in american women’s magazines in the 1950’s. 

this particular recipe is so easy your average 12-year-old could make it.  literally.  this recipe is from my little brother’s 6th grade home-ec class, which actually also coincidentallywas the class my across-the-street neighbor growing up taught.  so this is her recipe.  and for the sake of keeping in theme with the rest of my nick/code names for my friends, we will call her mrs. r.  i wanted to make this recipe for two reasons: 1. mrs. r designed and embroidered a very pretty achy bakey themed apron at my mother’s bidding for my birthday, so i wanted to make something that i learned from her as a thanks, and 2. it was my birthday a week ago (hence the apron) and my former roommate made me his own version of monkey bread for my birthday last year, so it seemed appropriate.  the monkey bread was calling to me. or making whatever sound monkeys make to me.

first let’s ogle the cute apron design:

that would be a baking fairy havin’ a grand ole’ time in a measuring cup. love it. very country home and garden, which i like to pretend i am a part of.

now on to the monkey bread:

what you’ll need: 1 can buttermilk biscuits (she says 10 count can, but i could only find 8 count at the store), 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tbls margarine/butter

the directions are written so cute and 6th gradery, i am going to reproduce it like she wrote it:

preheat- oven to 350 degrees f.

grease – a round cake pan.

(here i am a grease monkey. har har har.)

cut– biscuits into quarters. i cut them into 8ths to make it seem like i had more, since stop & shop refused to give me 2 more biscuits in my can.  i would probably cut them even smaller next time.

mix– granulated sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized mixing bowl.

(also, let’s ogle this seriously adorable polka-dotted mixing bowl! i love birthdays! i love m who gave it to me!)

toss– biscuit quarters (8ths) in cinnamon/sugar mixture a few at a time, coating them well.

put– coated biscuits in greased cake pan.

sprinkle– with brown sugar.

melt– margarine/butter in microwave.

pour– melted margarine/butter on top of biscuits.

bake– for 15-20 minutes.

let rest– 2/3 minutes before removing from pan.

the verdict: so yummy, and yet so dangerous.  i ate half of this before realizing that i had pretty much just eaten the equivalent of 4 buttermilk biscuits.. covered in sugar…  yikes.  but hey, it was for my birthday. so no judgements!

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brownies so good they’ll make your friends puke.

1 Aug

i need to preface this entry with the following statement: i probably should not post this recipe.   for starters, a friend spit the brownie out in to the garbage.  more shockingly, this is a new, tentative friend.  who hawks a new, tentative friend’s brownie in to the garbage!?  this kid is lucky i find him oddly entertaining, or else i would have kicked him in the shins for disrespectin’.

usually, these brownies are great.  but this particular time… i might have gotten a little crazy.  when i am sad or upset, i bake.  specifically, i bake brownies.  even more specifically, i bake this particular vegan brownie recipe.  it is a little crumbly at times, a little sticky to the bottomy at others, and you generally have to use a spoon to dig it out… but when you are having a life crisis, these are mere trivialities.  all you want is a hunk of chocolatey bakedness in your mouth and stomach, and you want it that second.  who cares what utensils make that possible.

this particular evening i was overcome with the crazytown feelings.  i started chucking god-only-knows into my brownie mix bowl.  there was a lot of “hell, this might work.  if not, who cares!  i will fight those who care!!”  (although, apparently i didn’t! unless you count a flabbergasted mouth agape look of shock as fighting.) i found some almond extract.. i threw that in there.  i found some vegan chocolate chips… i threw those in there.  hell to the recipe.  i was free wheelin’ it.  i think it was at the almond extract that i went horribly awry.  oh well, whatever… i ate those brownies regardless.  no tossin’ my “brownies” for me.  (har har)  maybe the reason ntf (new tentative friend) threw his brownie out was because he tasted my sorrow?  the soul and sadness i poured into those brownies were just too much for him to bear.  wimp.

what you’ll need: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 cups white sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract

(now to make this extra crazy version: 1 tsp (uh.. i think… i was flailing a bit) almond extract, a bunch of chocolate chips (maybe half the bag?  more distraught dumping), a heap a pish-poshing and careless disregard for your kitchen counters/table)

1.  preheat oven to 350 degrees f.

2. in a large bowl, dump in some flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt… then stir it up.

careless dumpage.

heedless stirring.

3. pour in water, oil, and vanilla. mix until well-blended.

4. wail a bit about the state of affairs in your life.  now get crazy.

aha! the almond extract.  vessel of crazy, and beacon of puke.

dump some of that in there. 

5. now get even more crazy… throw in some chocolate chips.  (make sure they are vegan, this is a vegan recipe after all. we don’t want to get tooooo crazy.)

wail a bit about how if these chocolate chips were m&ms, they would not have melted in your hand just now.

6. spread evenly in a 9×13 baking pan.  more wailage… only have two 8×8 baking pans… this will have to suffice.

7. bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is no longer shiny.  let cool for at least 10  minutes before cutting into squares (or scooping with a spoon?).

they really are incredibly easy to bake.  just don’t put almond extract in there… bad decision on my part.  i’ve used mint extract before and it was really yummy.  i feel like i need other vegan brownie recipes though.  so, calling all vegan brownie recipes!  if you have a good one, please let me know!  i’ll try to reign in the crazy. promise.