Ally

Archive for July 2010

I am a woman with no mission. In fact, the very inspiration to attempt this recipe was an idle bottle of Hershey’s Genuine Chocolate Syrup.

Well, that and the other fact of not needing to spend time melting chocolate chips over the stove-top.

Get, set and applause to the easiest brownies recipe I’ve ever attempted (store-bought pre-mixes not considered): Chocolate Syrup Brownies.

I believe brownies smell for themselves and anything with vanilla essence piques one’s tastebuds. Never mind the artificial origin.

One cup of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup later, the mixture turns into a beautiful shade of burgundy-brown. However, once the white flour and cocoa powder mix was encapsulated into the wet batter, an unsettling mud bath developed:

Contrary to the unappealing batter, all it took was 25 minutes of immense trapped heat to set the seemingly simple mixture. (Under 5 ingredients and you got yourself a brownie!)

Well, interestingly enough, I took 2 approaches to arrive at its cooked state: first by paper cups then by a longitudinal Teflon-coated baking tin. The first batch turned out better than expected, even rising with the absence of baking powder and soda! What turned out after the baking tin went into the oven (it sat out for a good 25 minutes in the open) was this:

On dissection, a chocolate baked-mooncake-like-biscotti was born! Truly, when I savoured it the day after, it tasted like a baked mooncake. Dense and deceptively tasty.

Why biscotti? The level it rose was how I expected a biscotti to.

To end this daring first attempt of simple brownies, they made an avid chocolate-loving friend a breakfast she’ll never forget.

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Hello great folks! I’ve been rather lazy of late, not blogging for like 4 years and counting. Well, it ends here because… I now have a reason to do so!

This baking aficionado has finally laid hands on a convection oven. Yes, christened 5 times over, I am on top of the mound of empowerment! Speaking of which, I must say my mom’s ears will hear of better days now, having to tolerate my endless complaints of the 99.99% of recipes I was unable to carry forth with on foodgawker.com.

Sorry mom.

(The $99 contraption and trust me, the glare from the overhead lighting illuminated the interiors. Otherwise, it’s pretty dim in there.)

Well, back to the oven, this $99 contraption may not be the brightest of the lot (considering the lack of built-in lights) nor its depth comparable to a bear’s stomach (2 medium muffin trays fill a rack), but it does allow me to bake all sorts of wonders in small batches. What’s there to fuss about?

Ah, I can never forget the first encounter with this oven (it involves grilling an amazing fillet of a mackerel)… But surely, I don’t want to bore you with the details. So let me narrow my encounters down to the baked delights.

My mom really first tested her baking skills with a Sweetcorn Mochi cupcake. Regretfully, it flopped, literally, all about the cooling rack. In fact, it oiled up so severely the following morning, it knocked the volume out of the cupcake. However, I must say its gluey texture bears semblance to the local muah chee. Despite the awful setback, it was the yummiest failure I’ve ever tasted.

Next, my mom ventured into some delectable Banana Muffins. This time, precise baking ingredients and focus went into the folding and preparation of the concoction. I merely assisted in the incorporation of the dry produce (wholemeal flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda & powder & rolled oats) and bringing the final goods out of the scorching cavity to cool.

Despicable me huh.

Anyway, they were true-to-their-form dense, and every bite sure took residence somewhere in the pits of one’s stomach. Really, 1 muffin is enough to leave you satisfyingly full. I owed it to the wholemeal and rolled oats. Further, they were sufficiently sweet with just TWO tablespoons of sugar! I loved how the sweetness was punctuated with the mashed bananas, without any of those cloyingly refined sweetness. The perfect au naturale and wholesome muffin.

Of course. We couldn’t stop at 2 trays (12 in total) of muffins. They were polished off in no time! (I ate 2 myself.) So this morning, I decided to take on the same recipe, only that my mom did the honours of adding cubed green apples to it. Therein lies my 2nd official bake cycle entry:

Cinnamon, Green Apple & Banana Muffins

Seriously. Anything with cinnamon makes my mouth water. Just the aroma permeating the mid-morning air, is more than sufficient to revive the weary Monday blues.

All that for mixing dry and wet ingredients separately, exactly 7 folds once combined and spooned into 12 white paper cups.

About 20 minutes in and the doughy lumps ascended from the confines of the paper cups, meekly rising with every tick of the oven’s timer. 10 minutes later (who’s counting?), the pale cream-chiffon muffins transformed into uneven peaks, cracking open to greet more heat and unveiling traces of white flour due to my previously rough incorporation (of white flour) into the unbaked mixture.

To add a bronze blush to the top, I let it bake for a further 5 minutes even though it was well cooked through.

The taste test? Let’s say it was edgy sourness juxtaposed with the mildly sweet banana mush enclosed in one compact igloo of partially wholemeal wonder.

Enjoy. ;D

P.S. I believe my next project will be Chocolate Syrup Brownies. Something that involves a cup of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. DE-LISH!