A year or so ago, perhaps longer now, my husband asked what he thought was an innocent question: "Can we throw away your old baking pans? They're in bad shape." I asked if we'd be replacing the pans and he said yes. I wasn't aware that he meant "can we throw away your old baking pans...right now?" It's been frustrating each time I want to cook something and the recipe calls for a pan that I used to have. Or I thought I did, anyway.
That it's taken over a year to just identify what's gone should tell you something. I'm not a baker. I remember watching a holiday special on the Food Network where Paula Deen and Rachel Ray are cooking together. They begin baking a dessert and it begins to dawn on Paula Deen that Rachel Ray has no clue how to bake. She is surprised and horrified. But while I like Paula better than Rachel, I suddenly felt a surge of camaraderie with her. I can't bake either. Try as I might and fantasize as I do, my sugary confections often fall flat--sometimes literally.
So it's rather comical that I was suddenly possessed with the idea of sharing dessert recipes now that I plan to show this blog to others. What can I possibly share with you? My disasters? OK, I can do that easily.
My mother had a large collection of recipe cards that I have no idea where they came from. It doesn't say clearly on the card. But I've kept many over the years because they looked good. One in particular, for brownie ice cream sandwiches, looked especially delicious. A very important kitchen tip I've learned the hard way is to read your recipe well before you try to cook it. I swear I did this. But there were still many parts that made no sense to me. Lining a pan fully with waxed paper? Are you kidding me? It slips out of place. Immediately freeze something that comes out of the oven? That's just weird. But here it is:
Fudgy Brownies & Cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
mint chocolate chip ice cream
strawberry ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two 8x8-inch baking pans with waxed paper.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted, about 1 1/4 minutes. Stir well to mix.
3. Add sugar, flour and vanilla extract to chocolate mixture and mix well. Let stand to cool slightly. Add eggs and mix well. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking pans.
4. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Freeze pans for 5 minutes. Cut each pan of brownies into 9 squares.
5. Place a brownie on each of 9 individual serving plates. Place a scoop of ice cream on each brownie. Place a brownie on top to make a sandwich and serve immediately.
The Verdict: Disaster.
Oh! Now I know where my mom got those recipes: Shitty Recipes for You Monthly Magazine. As you now know, my pan selection is less than stellar. I borrowed the second pan from my friend and neighbor Deanne, only to learn that I didn't even have a pan. Fine. I'd make the brownies in two batches. I bake the brownies for the suggested time and when I take them out of the oven, I decide to take them out of the pan and cool them on a plate. Except that they rolled lethargically out of the pan in a chocolate tube.
After I pressed them back into a brownie shape, I realized these were nowhere near a brownie consistency. Not even a fudgy brownie. They were more like tightly packed brown sugar. So I poured the rest of the brownie mixture on top of the pressed brownies and baked it all for an additional 20 minutes. I thought that maybe I could cut the brownie in half and put the ice cream in that way, but the result was greasy, thin brownies. At that point I gave up and we ate them like that for dessert.