Experiments in Cookery

Dear Erin,

As we begin our third (!) year, I’m not going to make any rash resolutions about doing more of X and less of Y here on the blog, because, let’s face it, the kids are probably going to remain the most consistent source of material to write about, and neither of us has much time to read, watch movies, cook, or craft. Little Mister, for example, has been pushing the button on his Fisher Price zoo to make the bird noise and singing along with it, if by “singing” you understand I mean groaning like Frankenstein’s monster and then grinning at me.

standing grinning

On the other hand, to a certain extent I have given the lie to the above statement this week. I have finished a book, I’ve gotten a little knitting done, I’ve even managed to watch the last twenty minutes of a one-hour piece on Hampton Court. I only started that thing two weeks ago. I also – and this is truly rare – did some experimenting in the kitchen.

smore brownie 3

S’more brownies.

When I was little, I used to love creating new foods. I would come home from school and, often, I’d have a bowl of cereal, but sometimes I was in the mood to try something new. And there were some weird concoctions that came out of that mood, believe me. Probably the most normal – and that’s stretching the term – was a piece of American cheese melted on to a piece of toast, and then a banana sliced on top. It was better than it sounds.

Charles hasn’t been a huge fan of me experimenting with anything he eats, for some reason. So for quite awhile now, I’ve been a follow-the-recipe kind of gal. It makes for a much more even level of success.

But that recent history sort of flew out the window on Tuesday. The life group was coming over, and I needed to make something sweet. I was in the mood for brownies but not just boring, normal brownies. Looking at my recipe cards I found one I had made before from Bakingdom with some success, and while I didn’t want to make those again, there was an intriguing little note at the end that suggested variations. I’m not sure where I got the suggestions – probably out of my own head.

One of the suggestions was “marshmallow and graham crackers,” and that sounded about right to me on Tuesday. The problem was, I couldn’t find anything online that matched what was in my head. So I decided to just try to make what I wanted and rely on my experience to guide me and help me avoid pitfalls. (It works with knitting. Sometimes.)

I made a graham cracker crust, divided it among 12 greased muffin tins, pressed them down and baked them. When they had cooled, I made this batter and cooked them for 10 minutes until they were pretty well set but still gooey in the middle. Pulled them out and placed one marshmallow in the middle of each, then cooked them for another 10 minutes.

The marshmallows swelled and then deflated and disappeared, leaving me with basically a crater in the middle of each brownie. Not what I was hoping for. For a s’more you need a toasty marshmallow, not melted marshmallow goo (as tasty as that is). So I tried another tactic: I put another marshmallow in each crater and stuck the brownies under the broiler until they were toasty.

The end result wasn’t perfect – I wish the second marshmallows filled the craters better as they look a little strange to me, and the graham cracker crust ended up being a little too crunchy (LM woke up crying right before I was going to pull them out, so I just turned off the oven and left them in there. They cooked a bit too long.). But overall, they came out pretty darn well for an experiment. (Although you might be forgiven for thinking my judgment is suspect, considering what I told you about my banana-cheese sandwich concoction above.) Gooey and sweet and chocolatey and rich. Kind of s’more-ish, but better because the graham cracker flavor (always my least favorite part of a s’more) was minimized. One was plenty, even for me. There was really only one problem.

Charles didn’t like them.

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