Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hazelnut Coffee Brownies

I was out of my regular baking oil tonight, but I still wanted to make some brownies. As I looked through my pantry, I came across some hazelnut oil. So, I thought, “Why not?” Chocolate and hazelnut going well together, coffee and hazelnut go well together, and chocolate and coffee go well together, so all three should blend nicely. They did. I wasn’t sure how much the hazelnut oil would stand out. The hazelnut oil become more prominent as they cool. Oh my goodness, they are so dark, rich, decadent, and gooey!

4 ounces Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Dream
  cup plus 1 tbsp regular hazelnut oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp black cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee extract

·      Preheat the oven to 350°F.
·      Grease and flour a square 8 inch cake pan.
·      In a medium bowl, combine and whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
·      Melt the chocolate with the oil over low heat.
·      Once melted, turn of the burner and add the sugar.
·      Quickly stir in the eggs.
·      Add vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Gently add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
·      Pour into the prepared pan.
·      Bake 23-25 minutes.
·      Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
·      Cut into 16 squares and remove from the pan.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Thoughts: Part 2

 Butter Substitute:

I have used Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks for years as my butter substitute.  For the most part, the difference between it and butter is minimal. Cookies tend to spread a little more and my sugar cookie edges are not quite as crisp, but the taste is the best in my opinion (and I’m pretty picky). For some reason, my local grocery stores have stopped stocking Fleischmann’s. I checked with the manufacturer and they are still producing it.  I decided to give Earth Balance another try. I didn’t care for the taste the first time I tried it. Well, I still don’t like it. It leaves a slight aftertaste in my mouth and seems to coat my tongue in a slight waxy feeling film.  Others close to me agree. I am going to go ask the stores if they can start carrying it again. I am also asking some of my close friends who live in other areas to check their grocery stores to see if they carry it. Earth Balance does not come in an unsalted form, so whatever you make will taste a good bit saltier.

It’s frustrating for me when I find something that is dairy free that I like and works well.  It’s not as we have tons of options. I know we have more options now than before, but it’s still irritating to have a good product disappear. Of course, in this case it hasn’t completely disappeared.

Frustrating Frosting Update:

I finally attempted the meringue buttercream frosting again. I didn’t procrastinate out of fear, but I just hate wasting all those ingredients when what I’m cooking/baking doesn’t turn out. Well, technically, this attempt was a success. Yea! This time I used the Swiss method instead of the Italian, which has no added water. You just melt the sugar over a water bath in the egg whites instead of melting the sugar in water. It took FOREVER for the margarine to incorporate into the egg whites.  The unsuccessful part of this was caused by the margarine I had to use. Since I cannot get the Fleischmann’s margarine that I normally use, I tried the Earth Balance. The final result was soooooo salty that it was NASTY!  The texture was great, but it just tasted salty, not even a little sweet.  It didn’t even help trying it with the cake. If I can get more Fleischmann’s I will try it with that and see how it tastes. If I can’t get the Fleischmann’s, I will try upping the sugar and see how that works.


At the encouragement of family and friends, I am going to try and branch out into custom cakes and other desserts.  I am located in Charlotte, NC, so if you are in the area and are looking for a custom dairy free cake, cupcakes, cookies, and other desserts then let me know. Delivery is an option for those within a reasonable driving distance (delivery free will be added). Unfortunately, I cannot ship cakes or cupcakes.  Shipping is; however, available for cookies and brownies (and other brownie like desserts).  Currently, all items are only dairy free, but I hope to add some gluten free options and possibly even some vegan items.

I will be holding a tasting at the Savory Spice Shop here in Charlotte, NC on October 26, 2013. I will post more info on this tasting at a later date.