DISH: Seitan Piccata at Candle 79. “Most of the time – though not always – we like to eat vegan [...]strong>
I’ve been stumbling across a number of sites recently that do just this sort of thing: Come up with new and interesting ways to present commonplace foods. My favorite happens to be the brownie-in-an-eggshell concept.
But bakers need to be prepared to put a little more effort in than just pouring the batter into a pan, and your batter will have to be completely free of chunks, for reasons that should become obvious shortly.
Here’s how you do it, courtesy Boing Boing:
- Poke a hole in the shell of a raw egg — use a corkscrew for a sharp, even hole that shouldn’t crack the shell.
- Let the insides of the egg drip out (this will take some time) and gently wash the insides out.
- Let everything dry. Meanwhile, make your brownie mix! (And leave out the chocolate chips.)
- Stand the shell up in a muffin tin, or even in the egg carton it came in from the store.
- Tipple the brownie batter into the hole you’ve created. Tip: Use a piping bag with a narrow nozzle, or a funnel (though it may take a long time).
- Don’t fill the egg the whole way! 2/3 should be sufficient, as your brownie will grow inside the egg.
- Cook as per usual.
This will take some practice; your first batch may simply explode your eggs. Naysayers may bemoan the lack of crispy edges on your final brownies, but the fun of cracking into the eggshell and coming up with cake-tacular chocolate perfection should make up for any grumbling.
If not, take away their brownie!
The writer of the Boing Boing post refers to making Jell-O in eggshells as well — that could be quite amusing if done right, and is probably much easier than brownies, due to the viscosity factor of batter vs. liquid. Chocolate is another option, allowing you to make your own chocolate eggs come Easter.
Finally, always remember food safety: Not every fun container could, or should, come in contact with high heat and food items.
Terra cotta flowerpots must be designed for food use — the ones you may buy at the local Home Depot, for example — are not meant to be combined with consumables, according to the NDSU.
Happy baking, happy cracking, and happy eating!
We all want to do something in the holiday season, and by “do something,” I mean beyond just “buying stuff and writing up a bunch of cards.” Whether we act on it throughout the rest of the year or not, come December our philanthropic impulses get a real workout — and everyone wants to find a way to give back.
Sarah Morgan, who started up a terrific women-based Meetup.com group this fall, had her own way of giving back: By holding a Christmas Cookie Bake Off with 9 women in her New York City apartment on Friday night, baking batch after batch of deliciousness … all to give away.
“I was once fortunate enough to meet a woman named Mabel who was living in an elderly care facility during my time as a volunteer in high school,” Sarah me wrote about her inspiration. “Mabel told me that her fondest memory of her younger years was baking cookies with her children during the holidays. She looked away for a moment and said that she would give just about anything to be able to bake a big batch of cookies again.”
Well, Sarah went right home, made some cookies that night and took them to Mabel, who was so appreciative that Sarah was inspired. She began making a running list of groups and individuals in distress or need who might not have access to kitchen facilities — who might appreciate some holiday cookies. (And really, whether we have a kitchen or not, who doesn’t appreciate cookies?) Each year, she’s expanded that list to include residents in shelters, elder care facilities and shelters catering to individuals going through foreclosures; she has added in the toy drive recipients she already works with and so forth. One batch of 200 cookies would be going all the way to a YWCA shelter in Montana!
Sarah doesn’t let the fact that she has a “small, outdated” kitchen that’s “in the middle of a renovation.” Even when we had to get up from the kitchen table to make room to open her stove to check on the cookies’ done-ness, it just felt like a real New York experience — not an inconvenience. For several hours we creamed butter (letting it soften on the warming stove), tossed in liberal amounts of chocolate chips, colored sprinkles and coconut flakes green, sipped a little wine and even enlisted her 3-year-old son Jack into the process (he got his own personal pile of chocolate chips to snack on). The cookie list included chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter (with a chocolate kiss in the center) and raspberry-coconut “thumbprints.” Dishes were washed, windows were opened and pizza was consumed. A good, sweet time was had by all (one participant even brought in pre-made cookies and cupcakes, which she iced and decorated — with a little help — at the event).
Early on, Sarah had a revelation about making cookies for charities, or really anyone who just needs a little sweetness in their lives: “Sometimes when cash or toys or donations on a large scale are not available, sometimes a small gesture can move mountains,” she wrote.
Exactly what’s needed this time — or any time — of year. A little mountain moving, courtesy of the cookie.
And as a special bonus, here’s one of the cookie recipes we made!
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
- Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn out on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookiesheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.
– courtesy Sarah Morgan
We all know what this holiday season is about: Cookies! (Okay, there are other things.) Like: Shopping! (I’ll think of some more soon.) Anyway, since there’s still enough time to get all of those amazing cooking gizmos for your friends and loved ones, we’re presenting a useful shopping list for all of the foodies or just plain food-eaters in your life. Which should cover …. everyone!
No-Drip Honey Dispenser
Sticky drips in honey jars and bears make it hard to get at that nectar goodness. So what about dispensing … from the bottom? ($15.99) [Chefs]
Cake Pop and Donut Hole Maker
Cupcakes are so 2000s. But make-your-own cake pops and donut holes will have your hipster friends and children delighting together! (Currently Unavailable, but could come back!) [Amazon]
Leaning Tower of TEAsa Tea Set
Put a little Italian into your tea making (you decide if it’s cool or kitsch) with this stacking tea set that resembles that tipsy tower in Pisa. ($54) [Fredflare]
Pancake Floor Pillow
Yeah, you could shell out hundreds for a single flapjack to stack yourself on, or you could examine the design carefully and make some of your own. You decide. But these are fun. ($600-$750) [Unica Home]
Put your fresh spices inside a little ball that resembles a colander/tea infuser and let them season your soups, sauces, stews … you name it. I imagine it would be great for spicing up your holiday punches and cider, too! ($28) [MoMa]
Retro I Love Lucy Hostess Apron
Just adorable and it looks like something Lucy would wear (while making a huge mess in the kitchen). I just wish it came in a dress version! ($32) [Etsy]
Pictured: Bacon Candy. Just like Grandma always had. Sort of. ($5.95) [Archie McPhee]
More great shopping ideas next week!
This Thanksgiving, my family — all Brits — celebrated the holiday at a dinner with close friends. Our hosts and everyone else invited are carnivores, so I was asked to bring a vegetarian-friendly dish.
After hours spent Googling and strategizing with whomever would listen, I decided on “Tzimmes,” a traditional Jewish side dish of marinated sweet carrots and prunes, and an array of roasted vegetables. Being typical Jews, we worried that there would not be enough food, so we went a little crazy. We also prepared sweet potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, squash, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and zucchini.