Believe it or not … this dessert was the result of a “visit” to Bass Pro Shop!
After entering the turnstyles at Bass Pro Shop, amid the racks of duck inspired clothing, anything and everything “antler” and (to my horror) camouflage furniture … imagine my surprise to spot a display full of baking pans! Yes, I found the “Better Baker Bowl Maker Pan”. I stood eyes glued to the television demonstration of this pan, proclaimed as amazing by the salesman on the screen. Have no doubt, I am sure I ooohh’d and ahhh’d in all the right places and by the time I had watched the demo for a second time, I knew the “Better Baker Pan” would take its rightful place among the ranks of baking equipment now occupying my kitchen cabinets.
The information that comes with the pan says that you can use your favorite “store bought” mix, gourmet mix or treasured family recipe in the Better Baker pan. Thick, heavy batter, such as those from store-bought mixes, are the most easy to remove from the pan. Angel Food cake batter is very sticky and is probably the most difficult to get a clean release. If you encounter problems getting a clean release, try reducing the amount of liquid used in boxed mixes, such as water or milk, or decreasing three eggs down to two. To avoid any “release” issues I chose a brownie recipe from the little cookbook that came with the pan.
BLISSFUL BROWNIE BOWLS
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Melt chocolate pieces and butter together over low heat in a large saucepan. Do not overcook this mixture as it will scorch. (I used a large, glass bowl and microwaved the butter and chocolate. I heated for 10-15 second intervals, just until the chocolate started to melt. Stir the chocolate until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. You may have to adjust the heating time to fit the “quirks” of your microwave!)
Remove melted chocolate from the heat. Let cool slightly. Stir in the sugar with a wooden spoon, being careful not to over-mix. (As directed, I used a wooden spoon to incorporate the sugar into the chocolate/butter mixture.)
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Fluff and measure out the flour. Stir the flour into the chocolate mixture. Stir in salt and blend well. (I whisked the eggs in a separate bowl and slowly stirred them into the chocolate mixture. Once all the ingredients have been added, stir to blend well.)
Spray the pan with cooking spray. (The book recommends cooking spray with flour added … so that’s what I used.)
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (took out at about 23 minutes), being careful not to overcook. Remove from the oven and allow brownies to cool in the pan for 3 to 5 minutes. If allowed to cool too long brownies may stick. If not allowed to cool enough, they will split. (Cooling too long not good … cooling not enough not good … what the heck … I split the difference in the suggested cooling time and called it good at 4 minutes with perfect results!)
Fill the bowls with ice cream, pudding, nuts etc. (I chose homemade vanilla bean ice cream with Ina Garten’s chocolate sauce. Recipes follow.)
SIMPLE VANILLA ICE CREAM
adapted from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet
ICE-30BC 2 Quart Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I make sure the milk is very cold.)
1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream (I make sure the cream is very cold.)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the bean and added to the ice cream base (Take the “seedless” vanilla bean pods and add them to a jar of sugar … the result: vanilla sugar.)
In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. This takes 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla extract and the vanilla bean seeds. From this point follow the manufacturers directions for your ice cream machine. This recipe makes 2 quarts, about fourteen 1/2 cup servings.
adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons honey ( I used a wonderful clover honey from Heartland Farms.)
2 tablespoons prepared coffee (used strong c0ffee)
Put the chocolate chips and the cream in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts. Add the honey and the coffee and stir this mixture until smooth. ( I put the chips and cream into a medium size glass measuring cup with a pouring spout and very carefully used the microwave to melt the chocolate. It was great having the finished chocolate sauce in a ready-to-pour container.)