01 09 10

search you little tarte

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Doctor is In

Several years ago a book came out called The Cake Mix Doctor.  At the time, it was a huge sensation.  It had dozens of recipes that used cake mixes as a base, and then you could add all kinds of things to make the cakes more like scratch baking.  I wasn't much of a baker in those days so I thought that my ship had arrived with the publication of this book.

The funny thing about The Cake Mix Doctor was that my mother, who really wasn't a baker, had been doing the same thing for years.  I remember her throwing a bag of chocolate chips and some pudding mix into a chocolate cake mix and coming out with a double chocolate cake that could rot your teeth.  Who knew my mother was on to something long before the book came out.

The point of all this is that I finally learned to bake from scratch, and I never really looked at the book again.  Then I had a daughter who loves to bring brownies to school.  The problem with my daughter is that she tells me she wants to bring brownies to school at 10:00 p.m. the night before.  This means that we do a lot of late night baking in our house.  I am here to tell you that there is no way I'm melting chocolate in a double boiler and whipping butter at 10:00 at night.  So, I slid down the slippery path of brownie mix.

I started with one box of brownie mix and before I knew it I had graduated to the 8-pack of brownie mix from Costco.  They carry the Ghirardelli mix, and Charlie informs me that it's the "cadillac" of brownie mix.  Next thing, I was embracing the brownie mix and "doctoring" it up on my own.

The great thing about brownie mix is that, while I would never use it to make "serious brownies," the end product is pretty good.  Not fabulous but pretty good and sometimes, like at 10:00 at night, pretty good is downright fabulous.

Nadine's Doctored Up Brownies

Ingredients: (for the basic recipe)

1 box brownie mix of your choice (I like the Ghiraradelli)
vegetable oil

Prepare mix according to package instructions substituting coffee for the same amount of water.  Combine well and bake according to package instructions.

Variations On the Theme:

For Peppermint Patty Brownies:  Prepare as above adding 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract.  Pour half of the batter into a prepared pan and then layer peppermint patties over the brownie mix.  Cover the candy with the remaining brownie mix, making sure to completely cover the peppermints.  Bake as directed on the package.

Candy Cane Brownies.  Add all but 2 tablespoons of the crushed candy canes to the batter.  Pour batter into a prepared pan and cover top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of crushed candy cane.  Bake as directed on the package.

Peanut Butter or Nutella Brownies:  Prepare as above.  Pour batter into a prepared pan and then dollop tablespoonfuls of peanut butter or Nutella onto the top of the brownie mix.  Swirl into the brownie mix using a knife.  Bake as directed.

Or try adding a cup of chocolate chips to the mix.  Or a cup of nuts.  Or a cup of Rice Krispies.  Or, my personal favorite, try topping the the brownies with mini M&M's.

Be creative and have fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment