Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Driving home

Originally uploaded by Kitchenphobe

Welcome readers, once again, to the inside of my car.

Yesterday I happened to have my camera on me, as I happened to notice that it isn't quite as dark out anymore while driving home, allowing me to see those last little bits of daylight.

Who else is looking forward to Daylight Savings Time? (Beginning March 14th, at 2 am - if you are curious.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banana Raspberry Breakfast Dessert Monster Bread

You can't eat cheesecake for breakfast.

Okay, well...I have.

But it's not recognized as a well-balanced meal (although any type of fruit adornment certainly takes it in that direction). Sad, isn't it?

You can, however, have this for breakfast. I have. You can also have it as a little dessert item, perhaps with a little dab of whipped cream. I've done that as well. 

Isn't it fun when foods can be repurposed into different mealtimes, based on the amount of sugary topping?

Raspberry Banana Bread...

Bread batter

All baked

Slice of bread


I'm going into typing this thought realizing fully that it probably IS just me...

Is it just me, or do the raspberries look like little mouths? Perhaps the little mouths of little monsters?

Raspberry monster

Yes? No? Just me...I thought so. 

Anyways, make this bread, enjoy it, and rest assured there's no monsters in it. Probably. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hershey's has really good customer service. Want to know how I know?

The holidays, though less than a month past, seem pretty distant now. Bare and drying christmas trees litter the curbsides, the post-holiday sale items are now picked over and all that is left are bags of chocolate with less-desirable fillings and slightly dented candles. Most people have moved on from discussing what they served for the holidays, and are now considering what pink, heart-shaped, or chocolate treat to bestow upon their sweetie*. 

I, however, still have a story to tell.

As you may have read, I decided to make the whimsically-decorated
shortbread cookies for the various holiday gatherings I would be attending. But then I started thinking. (Things always become complicated when I start thinking. Note to self: Don't think.)

Maybe the shortbread cookies
 wouldn't be enough. Maybe they wouldn't provide a varied enough spread of dessert (pondered, despite that the places I was bringing the desserts to would also have other desserts). Maybe I should make something else.

Perusing the internet, I came across several incarnations of a similar recipe (like
this one, and this one) involving a pretzel, a Hershey's Kiss, and an M&M. If you were feeling really crazy, a Hershey's Hug or a Rolo could be substituted.

Boy that sounded easy. And good. In my mind, the holiday crowds were already happily noshing on little pretzel chocolate bites, despite that I had not yet even gone to the store. The salty/sweet joy just seemed that attainable.

With a skip in my step, I headed to the grocery store, picking up the requisite pretzels, M&M's, 
Hershey's Kisses, and Hershey's Hugs ('cause I was feeling just a little bit wild).

According to some reviewers of the recipe, the hardest part was unwrapping the candies. AWESOME. Adam and I turned it into a race. Can you sense the joy? Are you beginning to try to guess where things went awry? 'Cause lets be honest, we all know they did. Especially when I started with
"I have a story to tell."

What are some predicted endings? Every surface in the kitchen gets covered in chocolate? The pretzels catch on fire? The package of candy breaks and M&M's fall all over the floor like those little ball bearings, causing much colorful slippage? 

Read on, my friends.

So I decided to make the Hugs versions first, noticing with delight that the pretzel equivalent of one bag of Hugs fit perfectly on my baking sheet.

Ready for the oven

I perched outside the oven door, watching the little Hugs melt for about 5 minutes, not exactly sure when to take them out, over-melting them slightly. We applied the M&M's, and were done with this batch.

All done!


Ready for the oven as well

We then repeated the same steps with the Hershey's Kisses, filling the sheet with the pretzels, then placing a Kiss on top of each. This tray went into the oven, while I began to watch.

5 minutes passed.

10 minutes passed. Still solid. Still Kiss-shaped.

15 minutes. The Kisses had absolutely not melted one bit. Adam attempted pressing an M&M into the top of one, and it crumbled and flaked dryly.


We exchanged disconcerted looks.

The previous batch sat in the other room, cooling.

I placed the tray back in the oven, "5 more minutes"

5 minutes passed. 

Something, I'm not quite sure what, or how, had gone very wrong.

The Kisses were dry, burned on the tips, and crumbled when pressed. They were pretty much the complete opposite of the smooth melted chocolate I had read would result from this, supposedly in mere minutes. Not 20 of them.


Ooh. Not good.

As I'm sure you could imagine, the house was now filled with the oh-so-appetizing aroma of burned chocolate. Yum.

Adam, the portrait of a supportive boyfriend, will try anything I cook. Oh yes, he did. 

"NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO DON'T EAT IT!!!!" I shrieked, simultaneously fanning the wafting fumes of scorched candy out of our general direction while attempting to grab the sad-looking chocolate out of his hand.

"Maybe it doesn't taste that bad," he popped it into his mouth.

I tried to stop him, dear readers, I tried.

Needless to say, this batch went into the trash.

I began to wonder where I had gone wrong. An overwhelming amount of people, on multiple recipe sites, had had success with this, it seemed so logical and simple, what had happened?

Like a detective, I began to retrace my steps. The recently purchased bag of chocolate was not expired. The Kisses were kept at room temperature, unwrapped, then placed within minutes into the oven. I've grown accustomed to kitchen mishaps, but they can normally be pinned undeniably and with reason on me. 
I didn't grease the cookie sheet. I wok-fried cheese. I baked using wax paper

I could not figure this out.

So I contacted Hershey's, explaining what happened, how befuddled I was, and how disappointing the results were.

Less than a day later, they responded, thanking me for contacting them, saying they understood my frustration of having disappointing recipe results, suggesting I go on their website for
chocolate melting tips, apologizing, and saying that I will be reimbursed for my purchase in 2-4 weeks.   

Really, I was pretty impressed, not only with the speed with which they responded, but to the level that they responded, especially given that I had not said I used a Hershey's recipe specifically. 

Want to see what arrived in the mail, I'd say approximately 2 weeks later?

I wonder what's inside?
Oooh, what's inside?

Oooh! A coupon!

And a note. 
No, thank you!

When I went onto the chocolate melting tips website, they did not have any information about melting chocolate in the oven, which leads me to believe that it is probably not the best way of doing so (although it seems to work for lots of people). If anyone does know what went awry, I am still pretty curious, feel free to share your wisdom!

* any suggestions for

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I promise to talk about food again soon. Just not today.

Um, hi.

It's been awhile, I know. 

If you're wondering why I have been pretty quiet for well, this entire decade so far...my computer was acting up, and I was backing up the overwhelming amounts of images and other files I have (which really, I should have been doing the whole time), and was nervous to upload new files from my camera if one extraneous USB plug might make the delicate balance teeter dangerously and spill pictures of burned cookies and the sky into a technological nether-world.

I'm securing my reputation as a technology genius right here.

So. Speaking of the sky...

Another morning


I KNOW. I go on and on about how I haven't posted recently, and my first triumphant return post of the new year is of the view outside my bathroom window in the early morning. Where is the sweetened condensed milk? Where is the newly acquired parchment paper? The spills? The caked-on burned bits? 

I promise that there is food-related fodder to come. Good stuff, too. 

But for now, aren't the sunrises pretty? Isn't this worth me stumbling around half-asleep to try to capture the lovely pink clouds? 

I think so.