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Jul 12, 2011 06:08 AM

What are you baking these days? July 2011, Part 2 [old]

(Note: A new What are you baking thread has been started at: If you have a comment on one of the entries below, go ahead and add it, but if you've got a new baking project to talk about, please jump to the new thread. -- The Chowhound Team)

Hi all, happy to see that the advent of wicked hot weather where a lot of us are certainly hasn't stopped us from baking our little hearts out! it's not even the 15th and we're over 250 posts on the first July thread.
Lots of great recipes shared and discussed recently - I STILL haven't made my brioche aux fruits, I hope that il dottore souschef will give me a little extension again...this weekend just got some of my mom's chocolate chip squares and the Taste of Home sour cream sour cherry pie done (I don't recommend the recipe, incidentally - it has way too much flour and sugar in it, and the pie is more like a non-terrific clafoutis in a crust).
So...what are YOU baking these days?

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  1. I made my third batch of Mounds brownies. I'm getting better 'n better with my technique for the coconut part. If you spoon it out with a tablespoon evenly over half the batter, it really works like a charm. The thing with these is it leaves you with half a can of sweetened condensed milk, which I know I could use in coffee...or somehow find another use for it, but I end up just making another batch. Even my mom, who is not big on brownies, loves them and says, "They taste JUST LIKE a Mounds!"

    I did NOT bake a cherry crisp; however.

    24 Replies
    1. re: kattyeyes

      Recipe please? There is nothing I love more than a Mounds bar!

      1. re: biondanonima

        Understood--there's something about dark chocolate 'n coconut. My pleasure to share:

        adapted from my all-time favorite brownie recipe from Ghirardelli

        For the brownies
        2 eggs
        1/2 cup sugar
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
        3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
        2/3 cup unsifted flour
        1/4 teaspoon baking powder
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (I chopped up Valrhona feves)

        For the Mounds layer
        1 cup unsweetened coconut
        1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

        Stir 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk into 1 cup of coconut in a small bowl.
        Combine thoroughly; set aside.
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
        Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter.

        I save an empty Ghirardelli can to shake all the dry ingredients together ’cause I find sifting to be a chore. So shake or sift–however you roll!

        Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Spread half the batter in a buttered 8″ square pan.

        As evenly as you can, spoon the coconut mixture over the bottom brownie batter layer. As mentioned above, the trick is to portion it out by spoonfuls rather than with your spatula.

        Smooth the coconut layer out as evenly as possible. Now, cover the coconut layer completely with the remaining brownie batter.

        Bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting and enjoying! Last time I made these, I finally tried the line the pan with foil trick--made it super-simple to lift the brownies and cut them perfectly.

        Pics are guess where if that sweetens the deal. Just ate my last one. The best four are saved for delivery to my favorite taster. :)


        1. re: kattyeyes

          Um, WOW. I assume that they tend toward the fudgy side, too, since they look to be quite thick? I'm drooling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. re: biondanonima

            More fudgy than cakey, yes. :) I added more baking time to the base Ghirardelli recipe for the extra filling. If you prefer them cakey, you can bake them in a 9" square pan instead.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Oh, I wanted to ask about the Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Choc stuff as well. I've seen lots of posts regarding this product and the brownie recipe that comes with it, but I am hesitant to buy something that I would only use for brownies. Is it possible to sub a combo of cocoa and chocolate? Or are do you find other uses for the sweet ground choc?

              1. re: biondanonima

                One more thing! I learned here (thank you, Caitlin McGrath), Ghirardelli's Sweet Ground Chocolate is also the same as their Double Chocolate, just in case you can't find one or the other. But to answer your question:

                I also use Ghirardelli product for hot cocoa (1/2 regular, 1/2 white mocha is my favorite--"the black and white"). There's also a chocolate frosting recipe on the container...and one for frozen hot cocoa on the Double Chocolate one.

                I used to drink the cocoa more often, now use it pretty much exclusively for these brownies. If you have a brownie recipe you like, you might tweak it (I cut back the sugar 1/4 cup) and try it that way...adding extra baking time for the extra filling. Theirs is my go-to brownie recipe, so I always have a can in the house...and an empty can for sifting purposes. :)

          2. re: kattyeyes

            mmmmm these sound soooo good. I have a box of those Ghiradelli brownies from Costco, I wonder if I can Macgyver your recipe. I have 5 individual bags of the mix left.... this would be such a good twist if I could... well it's worth a try. Love coconut and dark chocolate!
            I make a cookie that my family just loves its from Bakers Coconut package, and its a simple macaroon, sometimes I dip the bottoms in dark melted chocolate. Now I'm wondering how to combine the two. The coconut macaroons are a little crunchy and then gooey in the center.
            How was the coconut part, did the coconut cook nicely?

            And by the way, I'm enjoying your blog! Beautiful shots, recipes and writing. I wish i had the confidence to do one....

            1. re: chef chicklet

              I was sorely tempted by that big box of mix the other day when I was in Costco, as I've heard nothing but raves about Ghirardelli brownie mixes and they're hard to find in regular stores around here. I resisted, but if you make these successfully with the mix, I must know about it so that I can indulge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              1. re: chef chicklet

                I don't see why not! The coconut part is pretty close to a Mounds bar in consistency...maybe slightly less chewy, but not much. Definitely not crunchy because they're buried in the brownie, you see. I wonder if you could make the macaroon layer across the top to try to get the crunchy outside you seek? Just not sure how quickly it cooks when exposed. As a middle layer, it works like a charm.

                Thank you for your very kind feedback. I'm familiar with your posts and ideas and know you'd be a natural in the blogosphere. Why you don't already know that, too, is a mystery to me! :)

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  I think I have an idea how to this,where the brownie and coconut become layered but as one....they won't be really like a mounds bar, where the center is creamy with coconut. I'm hoping what I'm thinking about doing will work... I'll post later!
                  (thanks kattyeyes for the vote of confidence, I do pull back, and then marvel at others and I have no idea why!)

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Looking forward to your results! Anytime, you are most welcome. :) I am so craving a chocolate-coconut treat RIGHT NOW. Catch ya later!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I think the recipe i have for the coconut macaroons suits the brownie ( the mix is actually very good but use your own) I did the first experiment yesterday by baking them each separately. Later when they'd cooled, I took a bite of each and of course I was not at all disappointed. Thrilled with the combination of both at once, just excellent. The coconut cookie is a little golden and crispy, deeper inside its moist and sugary. The brownie, has extra chips and is super moist with a slightly light shiny crunch to the top ( you know it cracks). A mounds bar is coconut mixed with a creamy fondant that if you want to, you can fill inside your brownie with piping tools after you make the brownie.
                      But if you're like me and love that crunchy coconut texture, you can only get that by baking them separate.
                      Bake the brownies and if you cover with the coconut you'll loose that lovely little crunch that bursts into a beautifully moist brownie. To top this all off they both bake at different temperatures and times, so you can't bake one and not ruin the other.
                      For the sake of science, I bit the macaroon and then the brownie. I got what you and I both think is stellar. The chocolate brownie was moist, just enough small dark chocolate chips and the coconut macaroon, moist yet a little crunchy was just beautiful! Putting the two together without losing any of these qualities and textures will be tricky, but I think I might have a solution. For sure like you said, the coconut definitely needs to go on top. I did use an 8x8 glass baking dish forh the brownies, middle rack center oven, and they were not what I'd call cakey.
                      To be continued...

          3. re: kattyeyes

            Those would go over big with M's family. Thanks. I love coconut and I love chocolate, but for some reason I do not like them together.
            Half a can of condensed milk? Little teeny amount of dulce de leche, maybe?

            1. re: buttertart

              You mean in addition or instead, the dulce de leche? Honestly, I looked up a recipe for Mounds bars and borrowed the filling idea from there. Some folks put vanilla in, but as is, it tastes just like a Mounds with the SCM and unsweetened coconut, so I don't mess with it! DDL is to SCM as brown butter is to butter, right?

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Yes indeed, I was thinking that you could just simmer the little bit over low heat and get some DDL for future delectation.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Did you hear the bell? NOMMMMMMMMMM!

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    With that little it shouldn't take very long. Go for it!

              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                HEE HEE, thanks! I made a half batch of magic bars yesterday with the rest of the SCM. I think regular "fluffy" coconut rather than the unsweetened (kinda dry) might be a better idea for my next try. They're still pretty good, tho'--doesn't hurt I chunked up dark Valrhona feves for the chocolate.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Btw, I just checked out your blog (and commented) ... love it!

                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                    Thank you and straight back atcha--your triple almond scones are far prettier than mine. I always make the rustic/drop version 'cause I'm a lazy baker (do you see a pattern here?). :)

                    THOUGH, and this is for buttertart's benefit: I finally bought into the "line the pan with foil and butter it" technique. It really makes a difference for anything to be cut into bars as long as you don't botch the foil as I did the first time I tried.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      It's the only way to fly, except I usually use parchment these days - half a sheet for a 13x9, cut about 3" in diagonally on the corners, PAM up the pan (to make it stick), bang in the parchment, smooth around the corners, re-Pam if you're afraid it will stick, Bob's your uncle.

              2. re: kattyeyes

                Poundcakes. All sorts of flavors. The new dessicated citrus powders are wonderful for flavoring. I have also been looking at a recipe in Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours for a plum cake. I am thinking of converting it to a fig cake.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  kattyeyes, I would like to try these, but I have the Trader Joe's unsweetened cocoa powder and I would need to use that. Wondering how to adjust the sugar there. Ideas?


                2. Buttertart, the elevated title of "il dottore" was not necessary for you to get your extension. We will (once again, as for the St. Honoré) remove the date limit, so your extension has no bounds. I do hope, though, that you complete it before the end of this decade :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: souschef

                    Thanking you kindly. I will, I promise!

                  2. It's TOO HOT to bake anything these days!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChiliDude

                      No such thing. If I could bake for a bunch of years in an essentially unairconditioned apartment kitchen you can do it too!

                    2. Bread of the morning, still in its pan. Oven off for the rest of the day.

                      14 Replies
                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          I don't know where this recipe came from - I thought Hertzberg, but I may be wrong.

                          I used:
                          12 1/2 ounces all purpose flour
                          2 3/4 ounces rye flour
                          2 tablespoons grain mix of your choice (like Bob's Red Mill multi grain mix)
                          1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
                          1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoons red star yeast
                          10 1/4 ounces water
                          polenta, for pan & peel

                          Mix all dry ingredients
                          Mix in water with wooden spoon.
                          Allow to rise at room temperature overnight.

                          Preheat the oven to 450, with a cast iron casserole in it, open.

                          Shape a boule (it will be super wet - don't worry too much about it) & sit it on a cornmeal covered peel for about 40 minutes. Or longer.

                          Sprinkle some cornmeal in the bottom of the very hot casserole, unceremoniously dump the poor dough in, dock (carefully so you don't burn yourself), put the top on, and stick it in the oven for 40 minutes. I've been taking the cover off at 40 minutes, turning the heat down to 350 & leaving it in an additional 5 minutes uncovered.

                          This bread is not much to write home about fresh, but toasted it's lovely. And it makes wonderful croutons.

                          1. re: THewat

                            Thank you. Who knew there were so many variations on the whole NKB in a Dutch oven theme. I keep wanting to try a sourdough version.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              Kattyeyes, check out Tartine Bread if you haven't. And please post if you do it.

                              1. re: THewat

                                Ah, this? OK, saving for a rainy day! I can't promise it will be soon, but I'm very interested, so thank you for the suggestion:

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  I didn't realize there was anything from the book on the web - that's great!

                                  If you can also get your hands on the book, you might enjoy it - it has that recipe in greater depth & then a bunch of variations, as well as semolina & whole-wheat breads & then a bunch of things that are cooked without the dutch oven.

                        2. re: THewat

                          Looks good!
                          I cranked the oven up to 475 and baked a Lahey loaf yesterday even though it was around 90 and I have no AC. Next I'm thinking of trying the rhubarb almond bars on this site. Has anyone made those?

                          1. re: NYCkaren

                            I'm in the country a couple hours north of New York - it feels like there's no air here this evening. To find AC around here I think I'd have to go to a public building.

                            What do you like about the Lahey loaf?

                            1. re: NYCkaren

                              I baked something similar last week -- they were rhubarb almond bars from Rustic Fruit Desserts cookbook, but I used sour cherries (instead of rhubarb) which are happily in the midst of their very short season. It was fabulous. Almonds in the crust. Not too sweet.

                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                Those sound fabulous. I am going to get that book from the library, NYchow. Exciting. Just found the full title and immediately looked up pandowdies.

                                apple pandowdy --
                                Chiefly New England . a deep-dish apple pie or cobbler, usually sweetened with molasses.

                                1. re: twilight goddess

                                  Another winner from Rustic Fruit Desserts cookbook IMHO is the one right next to rhubarb almond bars: lemon blueberry bundt cake. That is one excellent cake! I love the combination of flavors of lemon and blueberries, and this cake came out perfectly both times I made it (w/ blueberries in season now!). It is slightly rich w/ 2 sticks of butter, but very delicious. I plan to explore more as the fruit seasons change. Let us know your adventures in this cookbook, please!

                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    I've placed a hold on this book at my library, should come in tomorrow. My local asian market had plums for 69 cents/lb this week (practically free!), and I bought too many. I'm sure I'll find a recipe to use in there.

                                    1. re: sarahjay

                                      as for plums, you might want to check out Dorie Greenspan's plum cake (from Baking from my home to yours)


                            2. I somehow always end up in a baking mood in really hot weather... why is this?

                              I just made a savory tart with caramelized onions, gruyere and cherry tomatoes. It was so delicious but the 1.5 hours of cooking time in Sunday's heat was unbearable. Definitely a keeper though. I also make a blueberry crumb bar that another poster suggested- also on a very hot day.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lhb78

                                lhb -- The tart sounds amazing. Recipe, perhaps? I made those blueberry crumb bars and found them just delightful -- would you agree?