A short(ish. ok, not quite…) life update.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, so here are some updates of what’s been going on:

1. I FINALLY got the brownies right! I don’t know whether it was the oven temp (remember, it was 20 degrees too hot!), the overmixing, my crappy skills or a combination of all of the above… but I finally got them right when I made them for Greg’s uncles birthday. They were just as chocolatey, gooey, and fudgey as I always wanted! I just wish I had more time to bake again.

2. I got my first *big girl* pay slip yesterday! The money only comes through tomorrow, yet I never thought a white sheet of paper could ever mean so much to me. I have the odd inclination to frame it, but know I would never do it (no, really, I promise I wouldn’t).

3. My friend is getting married on Sunday, which is REALLY exciting. It’s a crazy busy week though with the kitchen tea last week, bachelorette this week, shabbos kallah and then the wedding on Sunday. But hey, nothing wrong with keeping busy – especially when it’s for such a great cause!

4. On the note of weddings, I actually have 4 weddings scheduled in the next 3 weeks. 2 of them are in jhb, and unfortunately we couldn’t afford to fly up for either of them. The one wedding is today actually, so I’m kinda bleak to be sitting in my office in Cape Town when I could be in jhb celebrating with them. It’s hard, but that’s life I guess. I it’s a good thing, Jews clearly like to get married (and get engaged, and have babies – so much of this stuff going on!)

5. My mom is turning 50 this week (which really isn’t as old as she thinks it is.) and on Saturday night we got a party bus for her and all her friends. It was really fun! I never realised how cute my parents were, or how funny they were, or where on earth they found all these friends that I’d never seen or heard of… seems there is much I don’t know.

6. Greg has finally sorted himself out for work next year, which means we could finally book to go on holiday! (One of his options wouldn’t give him leave over December). So we’re in the process of looking. It’s crazy trying to find a place with under a month to go to Christmas… but we’re keeping our hopes up for the time being ūüėõ I may only have been a working girl for a few months, but I already feel I could use a holiday!

7. I cannot WAIT for Lady Gaga next Monday! Granted, it will be straight after a mad weekend of wedding madness, but hey. I can sleep on Tuesday night ūüėõ

So that’s my life at the moment. ūüôā

The time has come…

Alright, so we got an oven thermometer the other night from Greg’s parents. Which now means we have to check our oven.

This is make or break for me.

If it’s not the oven, it means it has to be me, which is a considerably heartbreaking fact.

I don’t want it to be me.

Hopefully there will be an update soon. Eeeek. Fingers crossed!

An update on my budding baking career

If you follow my dear little blog you will be sure to have read about my brownie baking mishaps (read: fails). After finding what I thought was the problem (overmixing the batter resulting in excess gluten resulting in cakey brownies), and ultimately overcooking my brownies last Thursday… I was determined to try one last time straight after work on Friday, right before shabbos came in.

I mixed the oil, sugar and cocoa like the recipe instructed.

I mixed in each egg until incorporated, as instructed.

I ever so slowly mixed in the flour and baking powder until just combined.

I even undercooked the brownies by 10 minutes.

And they were still a cakey mess.

 

Upon more googling:

 

I decided that it can’t be me. Can it? So the next step is to test the oven (I need to sign blame to someone, and I’m getting kinda sick of i being ME all the time!). Upon further googling, I read that I needed to get hold of an oven thermometer. We’ve located one, and I’m hoping to test it this week.

Please God this will be the end of my brownie baking disasters.

Otherwise I’m switching to muffins.

Another failed brownie attempt.

My last brownie attempt really had me questioning the¬†legitimacy¬†of my oven. I figured it couldn’t always be me, right!? Hence, blaming the oven. A little bit of research though on Dr. Google showed me where I may have been going wrong. I love baking brownies because you just¬†gooi it in a bowl, mix, viola! No. Wrong.

Dr Google made me realise that I could be over-mixing my brownies (something about mixing the flour too much, produces extra gluten, which makes it rise more, resulting in failed, cakey brownies). Upon closer inspection of the recipe, I actually saw I was meant to mixed everything… and only mix in the flour¬†at the end.¬†This would then make sense as to why my flour was “producing excess gluten” because it had been added to the mixture so much earlier. Stupid. (I really need to follow directions more closely.)

So here I was this evening, with a new spring in my step and hope in my little heart to attempt to make brownies without.over.mixing. My friend was over keeping me company, and I was every so careful when adding and mixing all my ingredients. In the oven, they smelled better than ever! Open the oven, stick in the toothpick – they feel fudgey – yay!

NO! After letting them cool I tried to slice them. I have never needed so much effort to slice a brownie. Damnit. Overcooked. And then it hit me… usually, I follow my friends advice of doubling the recipe and hence extending the baking time. This time I didn’t double it… but stupidly used the same baking time I always do.

Overcooked brownies.

My poor little heart is broken.

Is it me? Or the oven?

This going to be a bit of a sad and pitiful post, because the subject of it makes me kinda sad. I have written before about my unsuccesses (totally just made up a word) with baking, as well as my search for the perfect brownie. I really like making brownies, because you practically just throw the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up with a spoon.

I got them right once. But only once (ironically, the first time). With the same damn recipe! It could be that I’m just too fussy with my brownies. I like them cripsy on the outside, but dense and chewy on the inside. And I haven’t been able to get it right since then. It really makes me sad with each unsuccessful attempt. And then I’m left with an entire container filled with brownies, and Greg and I have to find people to feed them to. Today I sent him with half the brownie tray to take to work.

I’m beginning to think it is the oven’s fault. How can a human possibly mess up mixing a set amount of ingredients in a bowl! But can it really be my oven? I mean, it cooks my food ok? But just my baking sometimes comes out a bit wonky (usually just the brownies). Every time I check them midway through baking, I go back to Greg moping that they’re “too cakey”. A friend in matric taking Consumer Studies even sent me her fail proof recipe. Oh wait – it was the same as mine!

That’s it, I’m actually going to google “oven defects”.

(and if you have any tips, advice, or a fail proof recipe – please send it over)

What I Have Learned on Pinterest.

In my just-over-a-month of Pinterest perusal I have come to see, learn, love and pin many things. But the one thing that really became clear to me was an observation about Americans.

They love 3 things:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Eggless Cookie Dough

Eggless Cookie dough (i.e it’s safe to eat, as is!)

2. Peanut Butter.

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cups

3. Oeros.

Oreo Truffle Cupcakes

Oreo Truffle Cupcakes

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

In no specific order, and in any possible combination.

Peanut Butter wrapped Oreo in a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oreo peanut butter chocolate chip cookie brownies

Seriously, all you have to do is type in “peanut butter oreo chocolate chip” and you’ll find plenty gluttonous options! Or of course, you could stick to any one (or two) of the above and see what you can find.

An accurate observation, if I do say so myself.

Brownie Diaries

After being bitten by the “baking bug”, I suddenly had the constant need to bake.

My first choice was cupcakes. Especially the decorating part (who in their right mind can resist a pretty cupcake??). But as scooping mixture into muffin trays became time consuming, and I completely sucked at making icing, I turned to the one bowl wonder that is – brownies.

The standard brownie recipe I got from Greg’s cousin (which is also straight out of the Yeshiva College cookbook) has worked for some, but sadly not for me. For some reason, even when undercooking it, I couldnt seem to get that gooey brownie good-ness.

Image

What I did try after a few tried (a la Pinterest, of course), was to swirl in some peanut butter with the mixture before baking. Looked good. Tasted good. Yet still wasnt the brownie I was looking for.

Image

Then I kinda got really adventurous. Queue the . (super delicious. Even when sticks to the baking sheet, and you decide to eat it anyway – baking sheet included)

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Tonight I finally found the brownie with that perfect consistancy. Cripsy on the outside, soft snd chewy on the inside. (Apologies for the Blackberry quality image. It really doesnt do the taste of it any justice!)

Amazing Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Here is the recipe, from my friend Kay.

  • 3/4 cup of oil
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

Mix together the sugar, cocoa and oil, once mixed add the eggs. Finish by adding flour and baking powder. Bake for 45 minutes.

She said she usually does 1.5 x the recipe into a disposable foil dish. After baking, she suggests turning the oven off and leaving them inside for another 5-10 min. Then you take them out, let them cool, and enjoy the chewy choclatey good-ness of this delicious brownie.