This pan has confused me…..

I received this pan for Christmas.  The label said that it was a muffin pan but I doubt that this would work well for muffins.  I have seen similar pans that were labeled brownie pans so I decided to test it by making brownies.  I live on the edge.

Survey says:

The sides came out nice and chewy and the inside of the brownie was nice and squishy but overall they tasted kind of well-done.  I am thinking that perhaps when using this type of pan, one needs to adjust baking time but I am just not sure by how much it should be adjusted.

If you’ve got some ideas in regards to baking with this type of pan, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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Get yer eatin’ pants on

Growing up, if you had to put on nice pants, then we probably were not going to eat at that restaurant.  This is perhaps one of the reasons why I love places like Smoque so much.  You can go there wearing whatever you want.  You don’t have to do anything special to your hair.  They won’t care.  But you still get to have a sensational eating experience.  Seriously.  The meat is all delicious.  The baked beans are life changing.  I never knew that baked beans could be as good as those baked beans!  If you don’t believe me, ask my dad.  He can go on and on about these life-changing beans.  The peach cobbler is one of the very very few foods that my little sister could eat every day.  Also on that short list: egg rolls.  It’s just great food.

Since moving to Chicago, I have gone to many restaurants that require nice pants, shoes with heels, and well brushed hair.  I have fallen in love with many of them.  But sometimes you wanna go where the only important thing is the food.  The atmosphere?  It smells like food.  The seating?  It’s designed so you can sit really close to other people eating food.  The food?  That’s why you left the couch, right?

Is there such a thing as too much bacon?

It seems as though bacon has become a bit trendy. Not that I am complaining. I enjoy bacon as much as the next gal. Maybe even more. I’ve even blogged about adding unnecessary bacon to cinnamon rolls. (Delicious!) But is there a point in which too much of a good thing really is just too much?

Time Out Chicago wrote about this a couple months ago.  Have we gone too far with bacon?  Is there a “too far” when it comes to bacon?

Not too long ago a couple a bunch of friends of mine and I started discussing this.  But we were not able to come to a consensus in regards to this topic.  Is there a point in which adding bacon to something else is not actually adding something extra to the taste of the food?

I am being completely serious.  With bacon festivals, bacon ice cream and bacon chocolate bars already in existence is there a point-of-no-return for bacon?  Or does it really, as I suspect, make everything better.

And, just in case you were wondering –

Yes, I will be attending Baconfest.  Is there a better way to ring in birthday week 2010?

No, I’ve never had bacon ice cream.

And the Vosges Bacon Bar is weird at first but quite delicious.

Gelato? During the winter? Yes.

So, did you know that there were some Whole Foods that have gelato?  Not just in the frozen food section but also gelato that’s made on site?  Ryan and I found one just before  Christmas that had several types of gelato that were made in house.  I sampled several while deciding on what one I would get in a small cup.  (Please always assume that if there is house made gelato anywhere, I will have to try some).  I settled on a cup of Holidazed.  It is a gelato made with cranberries, oranges and rosemary.  It tastes like Thanksgiving or Christmas!  It is fantastic.  This may pose a problem for me because not every Whole Foods has gelato and now I know that I need this gelato.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……….yum

Chocolate Molten Cakes – aka Chocolate Ridiculousness

I received a couple different cookbooks for Christmas. One of them was Sweetness by Sarah Levy. It really is a great cookbook.  It is very well designed for someone who, like me, wants to become a better baker.  Each recipe has a section on the side that lists anything that you should do before beginning the recipe.  For example, if you need to set your butter out or make sure that your eggs are at room temperature.  That was really useful when I made the Chocolate Molten Cakes.

Now, I have done lots of baking before but just the name alone was kind of intimidating to me.  Chocolate Molten Cakes.  That is something that you can get as a dessert in a fancy restaurant.  This is definitely not something that I would normally attempt.  But Sarah Levy’s writing made it sound fairly simple.

One of the other great aspects of this cookbook is that she lists the shelf life for each finished item.  This might come in handy because apparently these cakes can be frozen just in case you can’t eat them all in a couple days.  This was not, however, a big concern for me.  I thoroughly believe in our ability to finish these on our own.  The only thing that might keep me from eating these one after another is that the finished cakes are very very very rich and the chocolate flavor is very very very intense.  A nice blob of whipped cream and a tall glass of milk are definitely necessary.

There is something important to keep in mind if you do attempt this recipe.  I am not sure what size ramekins she uses but my batch only made 6 even though the recipe says that it yields 8.  But, that just means that it is easier for Ryan and I to finish them off on our own.

Bacon cinnamon rolls…..oh….my…..goodness……

As 2009 quickly came to a close, I decided that there was only one way to ring in 2010.  Food.  Not just any food.  I was determined to have the most delicious breakfast for dinner that I could make (with Ryan’s assistance, of course).  It all started when I saw this recipe.  Bacon cinnamon rolls.  How could that not be insanely delicious?  (p.s. I love CakeSpy’s website.  I read it everyday and I currently own two of her small watercolor paintings)

I knew that the bacon cinnamon rolls were going to be on the menu.  For the rest of the meal, I was thinking of snack-type foods.  For as long as I can remember, breakfast/lunch/snacks on New Years Day have been what we in my family refer to as “grazing.”  Eat a little bit all day.  Take a nap.  Eat some more.  Watch the parade.  Take another nap.  Watch some football.  Eat some more.  Take a nap.

I made a fruit salad that turned out really well.  Apples, grapefruit, oranges, coconut.  Be sure to add the juice from all of the citrus fruits.  After it has had time to rest in the refrigerator for a couple hours, it is incredibly refreshing and delicious.  We had some creamy cheese and a baguette that we had planned on eating with dinner on New Year’s Eve but never got around to eating.  That was ok by me.  Mmmmmmmm.  Cheese.

The bacon cinnamon rolls turned out incredibly delicious.  The next time that I make them (and there will definitely be a next time) I will make them in a cake pan instead of the cookie sheet pan that the biscuit dough container recommended.  The biscuits had way too much space and spread out a lot instead of staying nice and tall.  I might also try them with some different bacon types.  Some applewood smoked bacon might be tasty with the cinnamon rolls.  There could be an entire morning of testing different bacon types.  And what a great morning that would be.