The Great Brownie Disaster of 2016

The Great Brownie Disaster of 2016The Great Brownie Disaster of 2016

Just the other day I was in Barnes and Noble. I had been kicked out of my house because there was a showing. The store smelled wonderful because they were making brownies. It was the most delicious chocolaty smell. It made me desire brownies. The thing is, I can’t eat wheat. So I cannot go up to the cafe at Barnes and Noble and be like, “Give me ALL your brownies!” I would get sick, and I would have to pay a lot of money for all of the brownies.

At one point, I texted a friend and I was like, “The brownies here smell delicious, but I can’t have them. I should leave,” or something pretty close to that.

I did leave. I bought cookies, which are not nearly as satisfying as brownies.

So fast-forward nearly a week. I’m snowed in. I want chocolate. Like, give me some chocolate now. I remembered that I had a box of gluten-free brownie mix in the pantry. Hooray! Yes? Right? Hooray?!

The only downside to this whole thing is that I don’t have eggs. No big deal. There are plenty of things a person can use as egg substitutes. I chose the applesauce and flaxseed route.

To use applesauce, you’re supposedly supposed to use a quarter cup of applesauce in place of an egg. To use flaxseed meal, you’re supposed to use 1 TBSP flaxseed with three tablespoons water and mix until it’s all frothy and thick.

Besides the brownie mix itself, I needed a stick of butter, 2 TBSPS water, and two eggs, or the equivalent thereof.

I mixed all of this together. It looked great. It looked like luscious brownie batter. I was anticipating having brownies. Mmmmmmmmmm…..

Brownies, brownies, brownies!!!

I put this all in the oven, like I was supposed to. I put it in there for forty minutes, like I was supposed to.

When the time came, something awful happened. Something horribly, horribly bad happened. Something so dastardly and abominable happened that I had no choice but to be sad about it.

My brownies were not brownies. My brownies were sludge. The batter had separated. There was a layer of goop at the bottom of the pan and then a layer of oil, which had been the butter, floating on top of that. In fact, it was boiling. There was a crust of hardened muck on the sides of the pan. When I tilted the pan from one direction to the other, everything moved.

Let me tell you something– brownies that have just baked in the oven for forty minutes aren’t supposed to move around in the pan. They stay put. They’re fudgy and freaking delicious.

No, this was like the brownie gremlins from confectionery Hell came and sabotaged my brownies, my only box of brownie mix.

So, alas, it was to be no brownies for me.

I am a good cook. In fact, I am an amazing cook. I come from a family that could cook and bake with their eyes closed. I generally don’t have gigantic cooking and baking failures. I cook and wonderful stuff appears. This was not wonderful.

I have decided that either my mix was bad, which very well could have been, or the mix could not take substitutions, maybe I really needed eggs. Usually one can get away with substitutions of this sort since things are going to be amalgamated together. If this were meringue or another similar egg dish relying on egg for structure, I could not get away with it.

Ultimately, the confectionery gremlins did awful things to my brownies.

The picture at the beginning of this post is the brownie pan. Notice that there is still a lot of goop in it. This is after I scraped the sludge, what I could of it, out of the pan. I don’t know what I made, but it wasn’t brownies. Maybe I could have built a house out of it or something or used it as rocket fuel, but it wasn’t for satisfying brownie cravings.

I did survive though, even though I didn’t eat brownies. I ended up venturing out in the melting snow to get double chocolate gelato, which is decidedly not brownies, but once a person has seen The Great Brownie Disaster of 2016, one doesn’t really feel in the mood for brownies.

Living Out of the Pantry-Pumpkin Puffs

Living Out of the Pantry-Pumpkin PuffsLiving Out of the Pantry-Pumpkin Puffs

Recent events have left me both broke and car-less. If you haven’t read about the loss of my car, read about it here.

Basically, I’m stuck at home. I’m catching rides to necessary appointments. I’m bumming rides to work. I’m contemplating lawyers. To top it all off, I can’t even drive to the store. On a day I have more time, I can certainly walk to the nearest grocery store; it’s not too awfully far away, but I can’t walk there in the evening because I would have a difficult time getting back home in the dark.

As it happened, I was out of sweets. What could I eat that was sweet? I’ve had headaches from the car accident and wanted something with a little sweetness to sweeten the whole situation.

I looked around in my pantry for something to make. As it turns out I had gluten-free pancake mix from Bob’s Red Mill. I also had canned pumpkin. If you don’t know, pumpkin cookies are awfully good.

This is a thrown together recipe, so modification will be necessary to fit your individual preferences.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1&1/2 C Gluten-free pancake mix(or regular it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1/2-1 C Canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 C + Brown Sugar
  • An Egg
  • 1 tsp + Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 Tbsp Butter

Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 C + Powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp(plus or minus) milk
  • Vanilla extract(to taste)

Set your oven to 350 degrees.

Put all your dough ingredients in one bowl and stir it together. The dough as written, will not be too terribly sweet, but if you would like it sweeter, use more sugar. If you would like it less pumpkin-y, use less pumpkin. The pancake batter is a dough in and of itself so you don’t necessarily have to worry about leavenings and other additives you’d generally have to add various doughs.

Plop the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with regular granulated sugar on top, if desired, for a bit of crunch on the top of the puff. Bake for 15 minutes. The dough will spread and poof up, a bit, thus why I called them “puffs.”

If you want them fast, stick them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool.

Put your powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Add just a bit of milk and whisk. Continue adding milk and whisking until it’s the desired consistency. Drizzle over your puffs.

Eat and enjoy.

Use up all those cans of pumpkin you have in your pantry.

mmmm…….

Living Out of the Pantry-Pizza Hummus

Living Out of the Pantry-Pizza HummusI’m a little broke…ok, pretty broke. I’m trying to live on less than $50 a week food wise, and it hasn’t worked out well so far. Until the first of the month, I’m stuck living on what’s in my pantry. Luckily, I have a few things.

I happened to have some chips, but I didn’t have any dip. I thought to myself, “What kind of dip do you make out of junk from your pantry?”

Well, if you happen to have some chickpeas, you make hummus. I thought on various hummus flavors. Curry hummus? Multicultural, but I wasn’t sure how that would turn out. Maybe I’ll try it some other time. Hummus made with mesquite seasoning? Tuna hummus? Pumpkin hummus? As you can tell, I’m essentially thinking of random things in my pantry.

I looked in my pantry and I happened to have a small jar of pimientos, which are red peppers. First, I thought, “I’ll make red pepper hummus.” Then I thought, “No, I’ll make it taste like pizza.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans(it doesn’t necessarily matter what size can you have as long as the seasonings match up to the amount of beans)
  • Pimientos/roasted red peppers
  • Black olives-to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Onion powder
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cheese for the top(if desired)
  1. Rinse the beans. It gets all the gunk off of the beans and takes away some of that “canny” flavor.
  2. Put the beans, black olives, pimientos and seasonings to taste in a blender or food processor. You do not have to have a fancy food processor to make hummus. Your blender will work just fine.
  3. Drizzle olive oil in as well. Only use enough to make your hummus the consistency you want.
  4. Use the puree setting on your blender and pulse. Stop and stir, pulse again. Puree until the consistency is as desired. I left mine a little chunky.
  5. If you want cheese, put the hummus in a bowl and sprinkle cheese on top. Put your hummus in the microwave for a bit to melt the cheese.
  6. Eat it, or put it in the fridge and save it for later. It will probably also freeze.

Hummus is inexpensive to make. So if you’re a little short on case, it can make good eating.