I have been having so much fun making up recipes for this blog! It feel creative and I love the idea of a recipe being my own. I’ve found that creating cooking recipes isn’t as difficult because most dishes are very forgiving as long as you know what flavors go well together and what flavors will or will not overpower the others.
Baking is a totally different story. Baking is very precise. Baking requires an exact amount of each ingredient in order for the whole thing to turn out right. I’ve always followed baking recipes to the letter (of course some additions like nuts to cookies and brownies are fine).
Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself Ratio Baking which is pretty much just how it sounds. There are basic ratios of fat to flour to liquid for most baking recipes. For example, the ratio for a basic muffin batter is 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg, and 1 part fat. Obviously, there are other components to the recipe, but that if you start with this base, you can theoretically create many different kinds of muffins. By ratio, this means a measurement. At first I thought it was 2 cups flour to 1 egg, but it is actually equal weight. So, 1 cup of flour is 5 ounces, so you are looking for 2-1/2 ounces of egg.
I’m not the best at math, by a long shot. The ratios do require some maneuvering (for example, the approximate size of one large egg is .625 ounces so the math doesn’t always add up exactly), but so far, I’ve discovered that this really does work.
For my first recipe that I created for baking, I decided to make brownies. Who doesn’t love a good, gooey, fudgey brownie? And oh boy, these are gooey!
Fun fact: The brownie was invented in Chicago in 1893 at the Palmer House Hotel
. Bertha Palmer, who’s husband owned the hotel, asked the pastry chef to create a dessert for ladies attending the Chicago World’s Fair that year. She wanted something that remained cake-like, but was smaller than a piece of cake, something that could easily be eaten out of a lunch box. The original recipe had an apricot glaze and walnuts, which is still how they are made at the hotel today.
Fun fact, cont’d: The earliest known recipe for the modern-style chocolate brownie was published in a few cookbooks dating back to 1904, including Fannie Farmer
‘s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book
(1906 edition). These recipes were for a cake-like brownie. In 1907, Lowney’s Cook Book
by Maria Willet Howard adapted Fannie Farmer’s recipe by adding an extra egg and an extra square of chocolate, making the brownie fudgier. At the time, they were referred to as “Bangor Brownies” in homage to the hometown of Maria Willet Howard.
This recipe and type of baking took awhile to figure out, but hopefully it will get easier and I will be able to make up some more. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these. But make sure to have a glass of milk handy. They are pretty chocolatey!
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella) *This is my secret ingredient for these brownies. I couldn’t really taste the hazelnut, but it gave the brownies a great texture and flavor that really made them so decadent.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. I supposed you could use an electric mixer, but I found the whisk worked just as well for this recipe and that’s one less gadget you have to get out. 🙂
To the butter mix, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix well, but carefully, puffs of cocoa powder will go flying!
Pour the mix into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
Yummy! Just give me a spoon… I could dig into this right now!
Plop the chocolate hazelnut spread into dollops on top of the batter.
Using a butter knife, swirl the dollops throughout the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I cut mine out of the pan too soon, so they were a bit messy, but they were OH SO GOOD!!!
This is my first baking recipe. Let me know how you like it!