happy new year! cheesecake part 一
It seems that each time a big holiday rolls around, I get the urge to blog again. Unfortunately, China has not been the kindest and has blocked wordpress. Yet again. But it’s alright, guys, because here I am, blogging via proxy.
Now, I’m not really a resolution kind of person, but here’s a resolution for this year: blog. often!
Let me admit something now. I baked a package mix the other day. I’m not proud of it, and I still cannot stand the processed packages of dust, but I made one anyway. Why? My brother requested brownies, I felt lazy and there was a package of Betty Crocker brownie mix that would expire if no one ate it. And I would not eat it.
You see, the thing about package mixes is that yes – they’re horrendously easy and can be whipped up in under 10 minutes – but in terms of flavour, they fall flat. Literally. You see, in a packet brownie mix, you can taste the…sugar and chocolate flavouring, but mostly just the sugar which has been added with all the finesse of a tow truck. But when you taste real, baked-from-scratch brownies, you can taste all the levels of flavour: the chocolate, cocoa powder, butter, milk. It’s an amazing amalgamation of flavours and textures that makes you go to dessert heaven.
So I’m a package mix snob. It’s not a big deal. I just believe that some things shouldn’t come in packages. Mashed potatoes for instance. Just add water?! That’s insane. They’re not mashed potatoes if they’re not potatoes or mashed and potatoes are most definitely not powdered. Still, being this snob has made me the butt of jokes before. A certain someone has covered my eyes while in the supermarket, claiming to “save me from the packet mixes”.
Now that I think about it, packet mixes aren’t all that bad. I mean, it’s actually where I began (with the same mix, at that!). So if that package mix on the shelf will get you, my non-baking friend, into the kitchen and stirring up a bowl of love, then by all means, go for it!
These brownies were actually made for another reason – which will be made clear in part 二.
For now, just bear with me here (:
Of course, no post would be complete without some calorie-cutting!
The recipe card on the back of that oh-so-familiar box calls for 2/3 cups of oil. Psh. No way. I used a scant 1/2 cup and made up for it with two dashes of milk and some extra water.
Secondly, bake the brownies in a laaaarge rectangular tray. And I mean LARGE! I chose the biggest one that would fit in my oven, so that I could have a nice, thin brownie. You’ll see why later.
Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C as specified on box.
Line that tray with aluminium foil and grease it too if you want them to be easy to remove. I totally didn’t do this and kind of regretted it later but no worries – you can still get the foil off quite easily.
Pour that sugary madness of a mix into your large bowl and mash madly with a spatula at all of the lumps, cursing at how you cannot sift it because all the sugar would jam your pretty German sifter.
In another bowl, beat 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil together. I always do this first, even when it’s not specified because the eggs emulsify the oil, making it easier to blend! Add in the water and two dashes of milk. Skim or whole, your choice!
Make a crater in your sugar mountain and pour the egg mixture in and stir like a madman with your spatula. This is a packet mix. Nothing can go wrong. Ever. Unless you are my brother and decide to stir in a packet of cream cheese. It just…makes rock solid brownies that can be used to bounce knives en pointe off of.
Pour it into your tray and bake! Mine took about 20 minutes, which is alright, I guess. I like fudgy brownies so I think I kind of overbaked it. Oh well.
Another day, another post.
P.S. for those package snobs (just like me!), I’ll be updating with a low-fat brownie recipe sometime soon. Remind me (;