Saturday, December 24, 2005

Baking And Birthday Presents

On Thursday I wrote how I do a fair amount of gift baking, usually I make my tried and true chocolate chip cookies. As I said in the post below, they are very popular. Here is a shot of a batch fresh out of the oven.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The funny mat underneath is my Silpat (I learned about it from The Food Whore). It is a nonstick baking surface that Larry gave me for my birthday this year. I love it! The cookies really do just slide off. I can’t wait to make some Shofar cookies for passover next year. I have tried to make them before, but they were a big sticky, albeit tasty mess.

Anyway back to this week.

For the boys’ teachers I asked them what do they want to give this year. Nate wanted to give chocolate chip cookies to his teacher and Jake wanted to give brownies.

So I made a batch of cookies to split between Nate’s teacher and the bus driver and plopped them into some decorative cookie tins. I tried a new chip variation and used a mix of 2/3’s regular semi-sweet morsels and 1/3 carmel and chocolate swirled chips. They were fabulous! For the brownies I like to use Baker’s One Bowl brownie Recipe with, of course, a few modifications.


4 sq. Baker's unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla*
1 c. flour
1 c. chopped nuts, optional**

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwave bowl at high 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

3. Stir sugar into chocolate. Mix in eggs and vanilla *until well blended. Stir in flour and nuts. Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan.***

4. Bake 30-35 minutes**** or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in pan; cut into squares. Makes 24 fudgy brownies.

Note: When using glass baking dish, bake at 325 degrees. For cake-like brownies, stir in 1/2 cup milk with eggs; use 1 1/2 cups flour.

* I add about 1 tablespoon of Chambord (the raspberry liquor, not the castle).
**Nuts, no way! I use chocolate chips.
***I use a 9 x 9 inch pan. this results in a nice thick and gooey brownie.
****Since I use a smaller pan that makes thicker brownies, the baking time gets extended another 5 to 10 minutes.

The Chambord intensifies the chocolate flavor of the brownies. You don’t have to use it, but i highly recommend it.

I baked the first batch of cookies and the brownies Tuesday night so the boys could take them to the last day of school. Wednesday morning I baked another batch of cookies to spilt between our mail carrier and for us. I was just able to finish making them before she showed up with our mail. It was one of the few times I’ve slogged out to the mailbox hoping that we did not have mail. I’ll find out next year how the baking was received.

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