Archive | August, 2011

Got (butter)milk?

31 Aug

If you’re like me, you often go shopping for your recipe ingredients without checking if you firstly already have some of the stuff at home or just without a list, nje. I always do this and annoy myself each time, more than the last time. It’s a horrible habit that I am trying to work through. I really am.

The one thing I always seem to forget to buy when I’m out shopping for my ingredients is buttermilk. Actually, 9 times out of 10, I can’t blame myself. Buttermilk is, for some bizarre and ridiculous reason unknown to me, hard to find in some of the major “supermarkets” around my neighborhood. And mind you, my neighborhood is rather far from any other neighborhood with shops. Well, far enough.

So here is my solution for all my fellow forgetters and outskirts-dwellers.

Side Note: When a recipe calls for buttermilk, obey it. Don’t you dare think you can substitute this calling for regular full-cream milk, or even worse 2% milk. Ah neva!! Buttermilk makes everything that much better (I’m quite sure I’ve mentioned this in my other posts…that’s how hectic I am over buttermilk). It just makes recipes creamier and richer and really when you are eating baked goods, that is what you are going for, right? Right. 
Better yet, when you see a recipe that calls just for milk. Bounce that, and use buttermilk instead! That’s just me though …. use it, don’t use it.

(Disclaimer: Be weary when it comes to cookies and other eats that you may not want to be too creamy.)

Ok, now where was I? Yes. So. It’s 9pm and the shops are closed (yes in the 3rd world, I mean), and you need buttermilk but you only have plain milk. Skim, nogal. Do not panic. All you need to do is pour the amount of regular milk equivalent into a small bowl, take a lemon, cut it in half, and juice it. Take the juice from the lemon, mix it with the milk with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes and voila …. there you go … you have your (ghetto) buttermilk! LOL. Depending on how much buttermilk you need, you’ll have to use your own discretion on how much lemon juice you need (and if you are lazy, which I know most of you are, because I am too sometimes, you can just use store-bought lemon juice in a bottle. I feel like a Judas for encouraging such. Oh well, nobody’s perfect). You’ll see when the milk is getting buttermilk-like by the little bubbles and the thicker lining it will eventually leave on the sides of the bowl when you swirl the mixture around.

I learnt this little trick from none other than my momma. The expert chef.

You can thank me (and her) later … 🙂


Cream Cheese Brownies

31 Aug

I am shocked to say, but of late, I’ve kind of gotten tired of baking cupcakes. Well not tired, per se, but just bored with it. I know, this doesn’t make any sense. I think this is probably a result of the fact that for a long time that is ALL I used to bake for my customers and never got time to really go into anything else. Anyway, recently, I’ve fallen back in love with baking my original favorite thing to bake, cookies. And now, even more exciting, BROWNIES!


Brownies are incredibly fun to make and they give me the real feeling of “baking from scratch.” The whole concept of melting the chocolate with the butter, is the reason for this I believe. The whole process of making brownies is so methodical and so old-fashioned and it brings me so much calm and peace when I make them. I know that sounds exceptionally weird and somewhat creepy but all my true bakers/cooks out there know what I mean. Some meals/foods are just down-right therapeutic to make and for me, those therapeautic eats are brownies!!

I finally got an order this week for something other than red velvet cupcakes, which was really, just simply, a delight, to be frank! At last, people are delving into the other corners of my menu! A corporate client decided to order my Cream Cheese Brownies for their weekly meeting. These, if I should say so myself, are AMAZE and seriously, this concept of ordering freshly baked goods for team meetings makes me wanna work for this company!!!

Love making these brownies (and eating them of course….surprisingly I only had one). Cream cheese and anything is always a great combination, in my opinion. It’s like the other peanut butter for me (get it, like that commercial “The other white meat”. No?) I can put it on anything, that cream cheese.

These are always so fun to make and more than anything I love the marble look that results when you mix the cream cheese batter and the chocolate batter. Beautiful and delicious and creamy and everything else in between.

My Cream Cheese Brownies

• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• 4 ounces cream cheese, room-temperature
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 4 large eggs


Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper aka Wax Paper for us in the Sub-Sahara, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Butter paper, and set pan aside.
 In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Place 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter and chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl set in a saucepan of gently simmering water (be careful with this. Make sure there’s enough water in the pan and that your bowl is stove-safe before it explodes and shatters and possibly singes your face. No bueno.
Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan.
Add 1 1/4 cups sugar; mix to combine. Add 3 eggs, and mix to combine.
Add flour and cocoa mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix).

Prepare cream-cheese mixture: Whisk cream cheese with 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter. Whisk in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Alternately spoon chocolate batter and cream-cheese mixture into pan; with the tip of a paring knife, swirl to marble.

Horribe horrible quality of a picture right now, I know. That’s why I bake, and why I’m not a photographer. Please dont judge me. Thanks, Bye.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes.
 Using paper overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on paper). On a cutting board, using a dampened serrated knife, cut into 16 squares.

Now, enjoy these little delights with a cup of warm milk, a cup of coffee, or even better, warmed with ice cream over them!! Anyway you have them, they will be the 🙂