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A tribute to a legend: Katharine Hepburn Brownies

A tribute to a legend: Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Admitted – I wasn’t sure I had the energy to partake in this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie. I just got back from NYC, which is always a whirlwind, and I’m more exhausted than I ever thought possible. However, I rose to the occasion because:

1. I LOVE Katharine Hepburn. Ever seen Philadelphia Story? You know, C.K. Dexter Haven (aka Cary Grant – swoon!)? My, she was yar? No? Add to your Netflix queue pronto.  It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. EVER.

2. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for oh, I don’t know, 5 years now and it’s about time I got off my butt and made it. The recipe, with a few added Dorie Greenspan tweaks (cinnamon, espresso powder – both of which I added – and nuts – which I left out), is supposedly a Katharine Hepburn family recipe.

So there you have it.

These brownies have everything that makes brownies fab – dark chocolate, a bit of espresso powder to intensify flavor and a dash of cinnamon for kick. They are chewy and dark and wonderful. And so easy to make. I could eat the whole plateful right now.  In fact, I just might…. **running off to pop Philadelphia Story in the dvd player**

Thanks to Lisa at Surviving Oz for the great pick (recipe after the jump)!

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

Edit: Ok, apparently there is a Katherine vs Katharine controversy. My bad! I had no idea. Post has been updated to switch Katherine to Katharine. Apologies to Ms. Hepburn. 🙂

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Mango, curry and chocolate. Why not?

Mango, curry and chocolate. Why not?

 

 

 

5 Weeks. 9 Pounds to lose. Starting…after the mango bread is gone.

Since I started posting with Tuesdays With Dorie, I’ve gained some weight. Ok, let’s be honest here – a LOT of weight. So I took a couple of weeks off from TWD – thinking that would cut it. Well, it hasn’t. So the “official diet” starts right after the mango bread is gone.  And anyway, I had a mango sitting in the fruit bowl that was starting to shrivel so I couldn’t  have NOT made this week’s recipe, right?

 

A couple of substitutions…

I know many of you make changes to the TWD recipes and I wanted to prove I could play with the big girls this week, so I looked over the recipe and thought of what I would do differently. Hmmm…what goes with mangoes… Curry!  Since my ground ginger is smelling especially rank (I noticed that it came from Wild Oats – the last time I visited a Wild Oats was when I lived in Cincinnati… eight years ago…), the curry powder went into the bowl in place of the ginger. This turned out really well, but I think maybe upping the amount to 2t would make it even better. 

Next up – in honor of National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15), I replaced the raisins with chocolate chips. Ok, that is not really the reason for the substitution – I found out about the holiday after the fact. Truth is, I don’t like raisins in my bread. Or cookies. I just don’t. Put them in a savory dish and I’m THERE. But I don’t like them in my desserts. I believe we have covered this in previous posts. So chocolate chips go in for the raisins . I don’t know how much – I didn’t measure. Another aside – I know I could never be a cookbook author since I belong to the  “oh just throw a little of this and that in the bowl and kinda do this and voila!” camp of cooking.

Alright. Mango and curry and chocolate – now we are talking! If you’ve ever had the Vosges Naga bar, you’ll know I’m not totally off my rocker here. Alright, if you are gonna call me out, I am well aware that the Naga uses coconut, not mango, but I figure it’s similar. And I’m trying to pull off soft of an Indian flavor here. Are you feeling it?

Verdict?

The result? Day one it was good. Not outstanding, but a damn fine bread. Day two? Yep. This is good stuff people! I toasted it and slathered on some homemade butter and it became instant dessert. Yum!

So thanks to Kelly over at Baking with the Boys for selecting this recipe! The recipe will be posted over there. My only subs were curry for the ginger and chocolate chips for the raisins.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Delete raisins. Add cinnamon, salt and some chocolate chips!

Delete raisins. Add cinnamon, salt and some chocolate chips!

Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle selected this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie dish. I figured this was one I could FOR SURE pull off. Not much to screw up here. “To the kitchen!” I proclaimed.

Raisins in my chocolate? 

I glanced at the recipe and decided to forego the dried fruit. Yes, I am one of those odd people who cannot stand Oatmeal Raisin cookies. Don’t  know why really cause I like them in other capacities. But raisins do not make an appearance in my desserts. Well, generally.  Yer outta here raisins!

You know what would be nice?

Maybe a little cinnamon.Cause I like cinnamon with my chocolate (well, and chile pepper, but I didn’t want to go THERE). So I added 1/2 t cinnamon to the custard. In retrospect, maybe some chocolate chips mixed in with the bread would have been nice too – just for a little burst of chocolate here and there. Oh and I added some salt cause it seemed weird that there wasn’t any. 

So alright, what could I possibly have screwed up?

The bread pudding is baked in a water bath. That is all fine and good unless you accidentally slosh the pan when you put it in the oven. Curse you pizza stone for making a tight squeeze between my oven racks!!

The verdict

Overall, I thought this was pretty good. Nice flavor without being too sweet. But I think without the dried fruit it was a little boring. Again, those chocolate chips or a drizzling of chocolate sauce might be nice!

One final thought…

Next day leftovers out of the fridge trump eating it right out of the oven!

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pantryraid_twd_bananacreampWell well well… It’s been awhile, but here we are. Another Tuesday’s With Dorie Post. This week’s recipe – Banana Cream Pie was chosen by Amy of Sing For Your Supper. I was interested cause I’ve made Ina’s Banana Cream Pie (shoot, at least I think it was Ina’s – and it was fabulous!) and wanted to see how this one compares.

Hmmm…

Something tells me this is going to be a negative post.

This is the second time I’ve made a pie/tart for TWD and it’s the second failure in that department – the first being the French Pear Tart. I am starting to feel that it is not me. The same thing happened with the custard in this pie that happened with the French Pear Tart – the custard came together too fast and it was WAY too thick and goopy. The directions said to let the custard come to a boil (a boil? really?) and then let boil for another minute. The custard thickened way before it came to a boil, but I kept going. “Must follow directions,” I thought. When I checked the P&Q on the TWD site, many other people had the same problem. Of course, some people were smart enough to realize they should thin out the custard with more cream. Yeah, I’m not that bright. So boo on the custard. 

Second – the crust. Strangely salty. I thought maybe a sweet dough might be better for this pie anyway. 

Overall, I thought the whole thing was kinda meh… A lot of work for kind of boring results. The crust wasn’t great, the filling too thick and goopy, the bananas kinda boring. I gotta say, it’s Ina’s (or Emeril’s or Gale Gand’s – honestly, I have no clue whose it was) Banana Cream Pie – 1, Dorie’s – 0. I’m not sure I’ll be making another pie or tart from the Baking book. Fool me once, Ms. Greenspan, shame on you. Fool me twice and shame on me.

Ouch, that was harsh.

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Victoria

Victoria  

Victoria would have approved the Chocolate Armagnac Cake

 I wasn’t going to make this week’s TWD recipe, but I’m having a really tough week and I thought it would get my mind off things. Between job problems and family problems, you could say that all around things aren’t going very well. But the real topper to all of this is that we had to put our beloved cat, Victoria, to sleep on Friday. 

She was in the advance stages of kidney failure. It was so far gone that any treatment would have only prolonged her life a few weeks, maybe months. In retrospect, we believe her kidney problems have been going on for at least 5 years but just never showed up on any of the tests that we ran. Through changes to her diet, we were lucky enough to slow down the progression of the disease. But on Friday, our luck ran out. So we made the decision that all pet owners dread – one that we didn’t think we were going to have to make for a few more years at least. 

I originally began this post detailing the events of the day. While it proved to be therapeutic for me, I don’t think it celebrated her life. So I scrapped it and instead am only writing about the good memories. I dedicate this post today to the memory of all pets. Please feel free to share your stories.

Miss Victoria was my husband’s cat and always treated me with apprehension as I was “the other woman”. Prim and proper, she pranced around showing everyone how beautiful she was, enticing people to pet her. And she’d allow it for maybe a second and then, with a quick turn of her head, a hiss and a show of teeth and petting time was abruptly over. In later years, she got a little bit better – allowing people other than my husband to get close to her. 

She was ever the gourmand as well. Cat food was so…pedestrian. Only the idiot boy cat (her brother) would eat food from a can. Her favorites were pork – which could mean anything from carnitas to pulled pork to pork tenderloin (garnering her the nickname Little Pork Chop from my husband’s mother) – and tomato based sauces. She was also quite the connoisseur of top-shelf ice cream. 

Today, I missed her immensely as I made dinner. I expected her to come by for a bite of pot roast as I shredded it to make  leftover hash. Ugh. It’s just not right…

Anyway, to get my mind off things, I made the Chocolate Armagnac Cake for TWD. I had all the ingrediants on hand (even the prunes – I love prunes. And if you don’t – you should make Chicken Marbella – that classic 80’s dish from The Silver Palate – cause I’m sure it will convert you), so I didn’t have to face going to the store. And yeah, maybe it was therapeutic for a bit. And I’m sure Miss Vick would have approved as it is a most “upper-crust” dessert which is totally her style  🙂

 

Proof that yes, I did make the cake. And it was darn tasty. I am starting to get the hang of this for sure.

Proof that yes, I did make the cake. And I will certainly make it again...and again...

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Mmmm...cinnamon, chocolate and toffee together!

Mmmm...cinnamon, chocolate and toffee together!

Two weeks in a row!

Yeah, that’s right. I baked Tuesdays with Dorie goodies two weeks in a row AND I made the obligatory balls of cookie dough sitting in the freezer for my husband’s dessert. We, um, don’t actually BAKE cookies at our house. Too time consuming! Instead, I freeze the dough into little balls and we eat them frozen. Cause after all, licking the batter from the bowl was always my favorite part (salmonella be damned!)

What possibly caused me to be a TWD overachiever? Well, just the name alone (Caramel Crunch Bars – p.112-113 for those of you who have the book) sucked me in this week. But one look at the recipe and I figured this was right up my alley – few ingrediants, not too many steps, stick it in a pan the size of one that I ACTUALLY OWN (see previous TWD posts),  pop the thing in the oven, slap on some accoutrements and voila! Dessert is served!

And I was right!

Holy cats! So easy and sooo good. I love cinnamon. And chocolate. Together. And add some toffee bits in there too. Oh and some espresso powder for good measure. Yeah, that would be good… But nothing more. That would push it over the edge. Perfect…

Now I just have to stop eating them. I figure I need a week off. This is becoming really bad for my diet…

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