Posts Tagged ‘baking recipes’


Whichever you choose, that is exactly what I produced the other evening.  The urge for something sweet came upon me as I was making dinner, so I quickly made a batch of brownies.  I thought I had some walnuts in the freezer, but when I looked I had every type of nut but… so I sprinkled the top with a few leftover chocolate chips I found in the fridge and some shredded coconut hidden in the freezer (I still prefer nuts, though).  Into the oven went the pan while I served dinner.  We were having such great conversation that I forgot all about my brownies until my nose picked up a strange scent —— oooh, burnt chocolate.  I made a quick retrieval and sent them upside-down to a rack to cool.  The edges were pretty crispy, but I sawed them off and savored the slightly smoky taste of the remainder.  Here’s the recipe; should you make it, please don’t let it burn.

1 cup sifted flour
½ cup sifted cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s new Special Dark Cocoa Powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup toasted walnuts – if you have them
    Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Lightly coat the interior of an 8-inch square baking pan with Baker’s Joy or other nonstick vegetable spray.  Set aside.
Combine the sifted flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  When light and fluffy, beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, beating to blend.  Fold in the walnuts (or whatever you like to add to your brownies).
Scrape into the prepared pan and transfer to the preheated oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.  Cut into squares while still warm, but leave in the pan until cool.  Unless you have burned them – in this case, upend them quickly to stop any further cooking.


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I have to be completely up-front – Lisa Yockelson (follow her blog  http://www.bakingstylediary.com) is a client of my son, a literary agent (Unfortunately for coffee klatch bragging rights, I don’t have a son that is a doctor or a lawyer but I’m perfectly happy with what I’ve got!) BUT I would sing her praises no matter.  Just received a copy of her latest baking tome, Baking Style, Art, Craft, Recipes and since I know that Lisa’s recipes always work, I decided to put the new book to the test.  Uncle Nick at Zingone’s (see post, April 20, 2009) had given me a bag of bananas too ripe too sell, so I quickly thumbed through the pages and found “a gentle banana cake.”  And here it is – perfection!  Lisa suggested a cream cheese frosting, but I was hankering for some chocolate so did that instead.  Either way it is an ethereal cake – I won’t give you the recipe, you’ll just have to buy the book.

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I’ve decided that I want to do a lot of cooking for gift giving this coming holiday season so I have begun looking through some of my old cookbooks for “new” old ideas.  In my original Gift Giver’s Cookbook (written with my dear friend Jane Green and published in 1970) I found one of my mom’s most favorite breads for gift giving – Boston brown bread – or, at least her version of it.  I made it for years but then, like many favorite dishes, it fell off my radar and had been forgotten.  One of the reasons might have been my mom’s requirement that it be baked in gold-lined No. 303 cans.  I rarely use commercially canned products so no longer had any cans in which to bake it.  But I went on a scavenger hunt and came up with cans I thought would do but being of a cautious nature (well, sometimes) I also had some small loaf pans on hand when I made my first return batch.  The photo should give you a good idea of my failure to find the right cans – but, since for some reason the bread tastes better baked in the can, I’m going to keep trying to find the correct No. 303 can.  In the meantime, the loaves tasted pretty good, too.  This recipe should be enough to make 6 No. 303 cans or about 5 small loaf pans.


8 ounces dark raisins

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts


Place the raisins in a heat-proof bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water.  Stir in the baking soda and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Combine the sugar, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat on low to lighten.  Raise the speed to medium and beat until blended.

With the motor running, add the eggs, one at time, and beat to blend.  When well-blended, add the flour and salt and beat until well-incorporated.  Then, add the raisins along with their soaking water and beat to blend.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the nuts.

Carefully scoop the mixture into the cans, filling each one about half full.  (If you are using loaf pans, either coat them with Baker’s Joy or butter and flour them).

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the breads begin to pull away from the sides of the cans.

Remove from the oven and place on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing the breads from the cans by running a small, sharp knife around the interior of the cans and then popping the breads out.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or cream cheese or alongside Boston Baked Beans.

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