Tip on Double-Boiling

“It could be curtains or dishes or a [beat] double-boiler!” This was my one solo line in the 7th grade Exploratory Music course’s short recital. Anyone know the name of the show tune it comes from?

Does anybody have a double-boiler hanging out in their cupboards anymore? I have an old scratched one I’m a bit afraid to use, so I modify my approach. I use a small saucepan with a Pyrex glass dish set on top. Just keep the glass dish from touching the boiling water below and you’re good to double-boil your heart out.

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Creme de Menthe Brownies

For some reason I had no idea Creme de Menthe was alcohol (yes, I made it to age 32 before learning such a thing), so I naively picked up mint extract instead. Fortunately for me, I know how to make icings, so my mint mixture turned out just fine once I added a bit of green tint to it. I also opted to use two boxes of brownie mix to make things easier. Recipe from Paula Deen Celebrates!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

4 oz (4 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 C (2 sticks) butter
4 large eggs
2 C granulated sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 C all-purpose flour

Filling:
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
2 C sifted confectioners’ sugar
4 T green creme de menthe

Icing:
6 oz (1 C) semisweet chocolate chips
6 T (3/4 stick) butter

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water. Cool slightly.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until blended, then add the sugar and continue whisking until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture, the salt, vanilla, and flour. Beat with the whisk until all of the ingredients are thoroughly blended.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool in pan.
5. Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well blended. Stir in the creme de menthe. Blend well. Spread over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate in the original baking pan until the filling is firm.
6. Make the icing: Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Pur the warm glaze over the filling .Tilt the pan to ice the filling evenly. Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
7. To cut the brownies, remove the pan from the refrigerator and allow the brownies to come to room temperature so the chocolate will not crack. Cut into 48 brownies. Remove the brownies from the pan and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Elsewhere

In the last couple of weeks I have knocked out a few recipes that I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I’m linking them here for future reference.

Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Chana Masala was great. I’m on my own for eating chickpeas in this house, though, so I’ll probably only repeat it when I have specific plans to share. I’d also like to give this one a shot sometime.

We all liked Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta. A pound of spaghetti is a lot, though, so, again, unless we have someone to share with, I’ll probably make a half batch next time.

I was particularly bummed to miss the L’Abri conference in Rochester this year. Margie Haack did a session about cooking with cast iron. I got a skillet for Christmas this year and have been a little obsessed with it. Margie is planning to put all the recipes from the session on her blog. And I plan to try each one. So far we’ve had the cornbread (I loved it, but Jason thought it was a bit too buttery on the edges — huh?) and the oatmeal pancakes (they weren’t our favorite the first day, but we had some leftover that I put in the toaster the next day, and those were so yummy that I am thinking I’ll make them Simon’s regular breakfast). I can’t wait to try the Fragrant Moroccan Beef.

I have the ingredients to make Del Marie’s Lebanese Red Lentil and Rice Soup (Makhlouta). And, by the way, Del Marie is a creamery that my friend Daphne and her friend Annemarie are starting in Omaha. Very cool. They have lots of great recipes and other good stuff on their site.

Applesauce Muffins

This recipe comes from Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld. I made only minor modifications. I skipped the topping, mainly because I’m trying to cut back on the sugar that Simon eats — baby steps.

Ingredients:

Topping

  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, melted

Batter

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat; I also added 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons of wheat germ)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash or carrot puree
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (I wonder if you could substitute another 1/4 cup applesauce — I bet you could)
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.
  2. To make the topping, stir together the oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the margarine.
  3. To make the batter, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir. In a second bowl, mix the applesauce with the milk, vegetable puree, sugar, oil, and egg with a wooden spoon. Add the flour mix slowly, stirring just until moistened. Do not overmix — the batter is supposed to be lumpy.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake until the topping is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffins, 18 to 20 minutes.