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    Entries in childhood (12)

    Monday
    Mar182013

    Pudding Cake

    Dessert. Old school.

    A lot of the "pudding" that I ate as a kid was not the typical custardy stuff that most people think of. Pudding is a bit of an all purpose word for dessert in some parts of the world, and most of the ones I ate were usually baked, and looked kinda like big sweet dumplings served with a caramel-like sauce.

    And then there was the chocolate version. 

    Granted, my mom was a fan of all things boxed and so hers was a little more instant than this one. Hers also advertised that no bowl was needed. The packets were emptied and mixed right in the baking dish.

    No dishes! I'm in.

    Chocolate Pudding Cake

    Cake

    • 1 c flour
    • 5 tbsp cocoa
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 3/4 c brown sugar
    • 1/2 c milk
    • 1/2  butter, melted
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tsp vanilla

    Pudding

    • 3/4 c brown sugar
    • 5 tbsp cocoa
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1-1/2 c boiling water
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Preheat the oven. Do it now. 350 degrees. (yes, I forgot this time)

    Since we're doing this with no bowls, get out a baking pan. My mom used to make the boxed stuff in a corningware casserole dish, so that's what I'm doing. A glass pan would also work nicely.

    Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and cinnamon.

    Sifting removes lumps not only from cocoa,

    but also from baking powder.

    Now, the sugar.

    Mix, mix, mix.

    Okay, so far, I've used the baking pan, and one dry measure, and a measuring spoon. Things used to measure dry stuff can be rinsed and put away and therefore don't count as dishes.

    Measure out half a cup of milk, and then drop in blobs of butter until the liquid level rises to 1 cup. This means you've added half a cup of butter.

    Microwave this for about 30 seconds until the butter is just about melted. It should finish melting as you stir it. You want it warm, but not hot, since you're going to add the egg to this. And the vanilla.

    I actually measured this time.

    Beat the liquid until the egg is nicely mixed in, then pour it into the dry stuff.

    Stir, stir, stir.

    You'll have a lovely dark, glossy, brownie-like batter.

    Okay, so since we mixed the liquid in the measuring cup, you're going to have to either get a bowl or wash the cup. I washed the cup, because all that's going into it now is dry stuff, which means I can just rinse it and put it away, and therefore it is washed only once and counts only as one dish.

    You have no idea how often I rationalize shit like this.

    Now, for the pudding part. More brown sugar, more cocoa, and more cinnamon. Mixed all together in the measuring cup

    and then sprinkled over top of the batter.

    DO NOT MIX.

    A cup and a half of boiling water, with a teaspoon of vanilla in it (wait, does this mean I have to wash it again?? dammit) gets poured over the back of the mixing spoon.

    This does two things: one, it removes momentum from the flow of the water so that it sprinkles gently over the batter and topping, and two, it rinses the spoon off.

    DO NOT MIX.

    I know it looks weird, and I know you want to mix it, and I know you don't believe me that this is going to work.

    Ha, totally did.

    30 minutes later it comes out of the oven looking like a pan of rich, dark brownies, with hot fudge sauce bubbling all around them.

    Freaky.

    Tasty.

    Chocolatey.

    Do you think I should try the caramel version?

    Thursday
    Mar072013

    No Bake Cookies

    In my house that term referred specifically to these cookies.  Growing up, I never realized ‘no bake cookies’ was actually a family of cookie, like drop cookies or cookie bars.  I just assumed it was the name of these chocolate and oat cookies, as chocolate chip cookies is to, well… chocolate chip cookies.  Not until I started cooking on my own did I realize that there is a huge variety of no bake cookies and that the term actually referred to the method in which they are made.  For me, no bake cookies will always be these.  Most recipes for these call for peanut butter, but since Seeley already made a peanut butter no bake cookie, and since the ones I grew up on didn’t use it, these are just chocolate. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 cups sugar
    • ½ cup milk
    • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 3-3 ½ cups oats
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    Measure 3 cups of oats into a large mixing bowl and set it aside.

    Put the sugar and salt into a fairly large saucepan.  Sift in the cocoa powder. 

    Yes, you really do need to sift it.  Cocoa powder is always lumpy.  Technically you should sift it before you measure, but even I’m too lazy for that.  Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, break up all the lumps and shake them through the sieve. 

    See, nice and lump free. 

    Now, so that it doesn’t clump back up when you add the milk, whisk it into the sugar. 

    Then pour in the milk.

    Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the pan. 

    Turn the heat to low and stir everything together. 

    Once the butter has melted, you can turn the heat up to medium. 

    Continue stirring until it comes to a boil. 

    Cover it for 2 minutes.  Wash your spoon or get a clean one.  It needs to be free of crystals. 

    I know, this is looking a lot like making fudge.  Well, truth be told, it basically is.  ‘Cookies’ is probably a misnomer for these.  They might be more aptly called oatmeal fudge patties, or chocolate oatmeal candy, but let’s be honest, those don’t sound very appealing.  But just like fudge, if you don’t get rid of the crystals, these will end up with a grainy texture. 

    So when the 2 minutes are up, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the mixture over the oats, and again like fudge, don’t scrape the pan. 

    Stir until all the oats are well coated.  If it’s too runny, ad more oats ¼ cup at a time.  You’re looking for something like this. 

    Scoop out a tablespoon or so and plop it onto a sheet of parchment or foil. 

    Repeat until you’ve basically scraped your bowl clean.  They should hold their shape nicely and not have puddles around them.  If they run, they need more oats. 

    They aren’t the prettiest things ever, but boy are they tasty.  I actually only made a half recipe because they’re addictive, and I’m afraid I might eat them all either way. 

    What are your favorite no bake cookies?