Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inaugural Post

Well, here it is, the inaugural post. I'm sure there are a few questions to start out, the first being: what's up with the corn pone. Corn pone is a little bit of an inside joke that began one Easter while watching my favorite Easter movie, The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town, with the family. Mind you, we were not sitting around watching it together, rather it was on while mom was cooking and Frakah (my sister, as she is called by nephew) and I were playing with the nephew. One of my favorite arts of this movie is when the Easter Bunny and the kids from Kidville do nice things for the scary Gadzooks, including buying him a nice Easter suit. This is, of course, presented in song/montage form, and one of the lines in the song mentions putting honey on your corn pone. Well, the family was all tuned in for that part and we all kinda turned to each other and asked "what is corn pone?!" And a family inside joke was born and for awhile we made many jokes about what corn pone could be. One thing is hobo food, because there's also a hobo in the Easter movie. My family seems to have a little thing for hobos.... (see Chocolate Flies, a story I made up about a hobo striking it rich with chocolate flies- ah, perhaps another time I will share that story here)

Okay, so why a blog? As a means to share what I bake with people who may not be around to actually taste it. It may just provide added torture for those who already know I bake awesome things but are not here to taste it, but oh well. I just want to share what I'm baking with a slightly wider audience. You see, people who know me very well, or who are friends with me on Faceook and read my statues updates, know that I love to bake and I bake fairly often. I am always looking at magazines, cookbooks, and other cooking blogs to find recipes I would like to try. This blog can serve as a document of my baking. i can share what I've done, what I liked, and what I didn't. Most of the time I like, but I forget and much later try to remember without much luck and no recipe. No more, I tell you!

So what shall I share as my first baking entry? I believe I will start with some nice ice cream sandwiches I made last weekend. I was hankering for some chocolate ice cream sandwiches and did much searching for the perfect combination of recipes. I saw a recipe for Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream on a blog I found through foodgawker, and that was my starting point. Next I needed to find a cookie to sandwich the ice cream between. I really wanted a chocolate cookie with Bailey's Irish Cream in it, but did not find anything acceptable. What I did find was a recipe for bourbon brownies (recipe below) wherein the notes gave a list of any alcohol that could be used instead of bourbon. Enter: Bailey's Irish Cream. I had my sandwiching mechanisms.

The ice cream was incredibly easy to make. What was difficult was resisting eating it straight from the machine. I managed a little taste before assuring myself that the end product would be worth the wait (and wait I did). Once the ice cream was churned, I poured it into a 13x9 baking dish lined with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.

The brownies were also easy to make, but hard to resist. The recipe was a little different from what I'm used to- I usually melt the chocolate and butter together, then stir in the sugar, eggs, etc. Not so here, as you will see in the recipe below. Instead, you cream brown sugar and butter together as you would for cookies or a cake. I cannot say entirely how these turned out differently from my usual brownies because I baked them in a cookie sheet to make for a thin base for the ice cream.

When I was finally ready to prepare the ice cream sandwiches, I took a biscuit cutter and cut out two brownie circles (2.5 inches, I think) and then cut out a circle of ice cream from the pan and piled it atop one of the brownies, then placed the other on top. I then wrapped each sandwich individually with wax paper and stuck it straight in the freezer. I could only manage to make five sandwiches at a time since the ice cream melted quickly.

The end result was delicious and very, very chocolaty. I used my standby, Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate. I use it for anything that calls for melted chocolate, as it has produced the best tasting brownies and super-duper chocolate cookies for me in the past. The ice cream was creamy and chocolaty and yummmmm. The brownie had that definite Bailey's flavor, but paired rather nicely with the ice cream. I took some to work, and one of the girls called them "decadent." When it comes to chocolate, I will take decadent any day.

Bailey's Brownies (as adapted from The Ultimate Brownie Book, by Bruce Weinstein)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp.
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp. (of course I forgot that part, made no difference for me)
1/2 cup Bailey's

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a cookie sheet.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Place the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir constantly until half the chocolate is melted, then remove from heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow to cool for five minutes.

4. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed. Beat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, allowing the first to be thoroughly incorporated before adding the second. Beat for one minute, then add the Bailey's and melted chocolate, beating until the batter is smooth and pale (and irresistible-looking).

5. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Do not beat. Batter will be thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it gently to the corners.

6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Ste the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

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