flourless chocolate cookie

I was wondering what to do with all my leftover egg whites from a disastrous attempt at pastry cream, and I fortuitously happened upon François Payard's Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookie recipe in New York Magazine. Seeing that there were but six ingredients, I couldn't resist trying it out.

You add a dash of salt into a lot of confectioner's sugar and a little unsweetened cocoa powder, add the egg whites, and struggle to transform it from a goopy gloppy mess into a smooth mixture. Next time I'll use the mixer.

I know François' recipe includes walnuts, but the Husband and Kids are decidedly anti-nuts, so I made one tray without, one tray with (I am pro-nuts.)


banishing the blues with brown sugar cookies

Today is a gray, rainy, dreary day. On days like today, I usually do one of the following things: light candles, turn on all the lights in the house, or bake cookies. Today was so dismal, I did all three. I've always wanted to try a cookie recipe calling for browned butter, and I found a perfect one in The Best of America's Test Kitchen, 2008.

The aroma of golden brown butter is sure to brighten anyone's day, though I was getting a bit worried about the darkening flecks at the bottom of the pan. I didn't leave the pan on for much longer after they turned brown, as brown can go to black and burnt in a heartbeat.


aspen oatmeal bars

I had to make some cookies for a meeting this past Thursday. This recipe, from Maida Heatter's Cookies, caught my eye primarily because of its short list of ingredients and its one pot simplicity. (I abhor clean-up tasks.)

Though the original recipe didn't call for this step, I lined my Fat Daddio's (gotta love that brand name!) pan with foil for ease of extraction. You first turn the pan upside-down and wrap the foil around the outside to form the shape. Then, turn it right-side up and insert the shaped foil into the pan.

Observe the dent in the butter. Note to self: strap camera around wrist before attempting aerial photography.


ben's chili bowl

One of the great joys of travel is experiencing local foods. In DC, this meant a stop at Ben's Chili Bowl in the U Street Corridor.

Who can resist a good dog smothered with chili?

Plus, Obama (and Mayor Adrian Fenty) ate here!

The line out the door didn't dissuade us from having lunch at this fine establishment.

The pressing question is: did the hot dog bark?

The Chili Half-Smoke certainly did. (It tasted much better than it looked.)


We are out of town and I can't whip up anything special.
The silicone molds will have to wait until next year.


best {?} brownies

One of my favorite bloggers, Deb at smitten kitchen, posted Alice Medrich's Brownie recipe. While I love Maida Heatter's Palm Beach Brownies, I'm always on the lookout for a better brownie. This just might be it.

Valrhona Cocoa Powder is a must.

I'm not as discriminating with vanilla extract. Costco's Kirkland brand is just fine.

Yesterday, I learned that a plastic knife cuts brownies perfectly. Why was I not told this thirty years ago?

Scrumpdelicious- the Kids have crowned these brownies their all-time favorite. Tell me if they're yours!

Best {?} Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (the size you see pictured yielded 25)

Printable Recipe

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (2 3/8 ounces, 66 grams) all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Butter the foil.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside briefly until the mixture is warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time; stir until fully incorporated. Add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 minutes.
Let cool in pan, then lift up the ends the foil and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.


a day of firsts

The year's first snow day called out for some baking.
For my inaugural post, the Daughter chose meringues, which ironically are made without butter. I bit my tongue and acquiesced to her request.

The Daughter piped out the meringues.

Snowy peaks topped with crushed candy canes.
Crunch, chewy, perfect.

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