BEST BAKING HACK EVER.

Trust me.

This is SO easy. And SO awesome.

For realsies. This could be the BEST tip I’ve ever shared.

Did I conjure this up myself? I’m not 100% sure…but it’s too good to keep secret.

OK, say you’ve made a batch of Brownies (recipe below) or a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake or even an Hot Milk Sponge Cake (super light and fluffy).

Would you LOVE to drench your creation in a dreamy, creamy, fudge ganache?

Don’t have the time to make frosting from scratch? Or you’re out of powdered sugar? Don’t want to resort to that chemically-laden and overly processed frosting in a can?

No worries.

Here’s the ONLY ingredient you’ll need.

You probably have a package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels around, right? I mean, ‘cos who doesn’t, ya know what I’m sayin’?

SO AMAZING.

In one easy step, you’ll create a  to-die-for topping.

Ready? This is all there is to it…

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Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Take a handful of chocolate chips; I think this is about 1/2 cup.

Sprinkle the chips evenly over just-out-of-the-oven brownies (or cake).

Ya gotta do it while it’s hot enough to melt the chocolate. (See my special seashell table?I can make one for you, too!)

Simply take a butter knife or offset spatula and spread the melted chocolate chips gently over the top.

Look how glossy and shiny and YUMMY chocolaty good that looks.

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Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

DELICIOUS-ness. Guaranteed.

A no-brainer, it’s a success EVERY time.

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Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

It starts out soft and if you’re like me and store any leftovers in the refrigerator, the topping develops into a firm but not too hard coating that serves to protect and preserve each and every moist mouthful.

  • Works great on cookies, too.
  • I’ve never tried milk chocolate/mint chocolate/peanut butter chips, but I assume they’d be good; if you try them, let me know!

Here’s Princess Rosebud’s Brownie recipe. One bowl, super easy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cold coffee (I always use a bit of coffee with chocolate)
1/3 – 1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Option: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix thoroughly oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee. Incorporate cocoa and mix well.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and nuts, if desired. Stir together, but not too vigorously. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes just until the edges pull away from the pan. No one likes dry brownies!

 

What’s FUDGE Got To Do With It?

musical-note-2-clip-art_435934
Sing it loud and proud to the tune of Tina Turner‘s What’s Love Got To Do With It“.

Probably nothing, if you must know, but when we were in Sacramento a couple weeks ago, we stopped for a brief tourist-y couple of hours in Old Sacramento where my tugboat man and I purchased fudge from a candy store, and it wasn’t very good.

You know how when your mouth is watering and you’re anticipating the feel and texture of good fudge doing its slow and sultry dissolve, filling your senses with the magnificence of rich flavorful chocolate??….Well, it didn’t happen, so I knew it was time for me to make a batch.

I’ve been making fudge since I was about six years old — always with my mom and her tried and true recipe, which is Hershey’s tried and true recipe.

All fudge is judged by that recipe and that taste.

There is NONE better.

In fact, I would double dog dare you to a “fudge-off” and surpass the delicious fudge creaminess of this fudge. I know a lot of recipes call for corn syrup but this one does not and I think it’s better.

I feel that I deserve a little extra sweetness and calories because I’ve been working out at the gym really really hard, two times a day for the last week ‘cos hub’s been taking a class in San Diego — something to do with the International Maritime Organization — and he leaves at 7:00 a.m. and returns at 4:00 pm. It’s like in the old days when he worked in San Diego harbor.

I work out at my regular time in the morning and then go back again in the evening just to spend time with my big guy. Since I’m burning twice the calories, I won’t feel too guilty about eating a few pieces of candy.

Join me on my fudge-y journey while I channel my inner Nigella Lawson.

Starting out… Don’t let it bubble over!!!

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When the candy thermometer hits 234 degrees, that’s the time to take it off the heat. Add butter and vanilla. Let it cool down to 110 degrees. Don’t stir too soon!!!

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When it reaches 110 degrees, beat it until it starts to lose its glossy color. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes, so you’ll get a work out.
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Pour into 9×9 pan. Wait for it to set up firm and lovely and oh so creamy.

Fudge5  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

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Don’t you wish you were here??
musical-note-2-clip-art_435934“What’s FUDGE but a sweet old fashioned notion?”musical-note-2-clip-art_435934

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Hershey‘s Fudge
This is the recipe. Follow it EXACTLY. It’s perfect just the way it is.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (I used nonfat ‘cos that’s what we have on hand.)
  • 1/4 cup(1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.

2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.

NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.

Meow

Finishing up three or four posts that aren’t cooperating. They’re not funny enough, they have no point, no denouement, no zing–nada. Instead of a rational thought process, I’ll offer up a scattered smorgasbord of tasty appetizers instead of a whole meal.

Remember these cats?

bandit in a boxOur Bandit used to talk to us that way. After a while, I started answering her back. She’d say, “Meow“, I’d respond, “Meow”. She’d stroll into the kitchen and greet me with a head nod and a brief “Mew”. I’d imitate her head nod and answer her. She tried so hard to communicate with us! If we didn’t go to bed at the same time every night–if we stayed up a bit longer than usual–Bandit marched into the family room with an outraged sense of purpose-maintain eye contact–and kind of growly-meow, walk a few steps toward the bedroom, and then walk back to us. If we didn’t follow her, she’d leave in a huff and wait on the bed and if we didn’t move quick enough, one swipe of her her paw let us know she was pissed. She had the sharpest claws. They spoke volumes.

One day, the captain said something to me and I didn’t hear him. Instead of saying, “What did you say?” I said, “Meow?” He seemed to understand what I meant because he repeated himself. That one meow led to complete conversations in cat language. Angry meows, grunting meows, questioning meows, and mews in agreement. We just have to remember not to do it when anyone else is around. I’m not sure many people would understand. Meow?

We worked out at the gym this morning. Before we left, I asked the hubs to take a couple pictures of me. See the hairband with sparkles and the Hello Kitty slippers? Starfish?

me2 Pictures of me

Late this afternoon I heard a hawk in the eucalyptus tree across the street. It let me get really close for these pics! The colors were magnificent. I wish I took better photos.
hawk2 Hawk in tree
Chocolate cake was requested by my tugboat man; I whipped up an easy one bowl version. It was sooo good! It’s lowfat but really moist. The recipe is below.
choccloseup chocolate cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Gardens

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I use half non-fat milk and half cold coffee)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • egg
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Spread with glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1  cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. water or coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, gradually add confectioners sugar; beat with wire whisk until smooth.