Thursday, July 30, 2009


I have been working lots and lots of hours, and haven't had much time to cook, bake, or write. The times I have baked I have made a regular version of a recipe and a gluten-free, agave sweetened version at the same time - so I can compare and contrast. I made this recipe for Ina Garten's brownie pudding - it was so good, both versions. I seriously couldn't decide which one I liked better. First is the flour and sugar version. This came out nice and yummy. It was almost like eating brownie dough, but it was cooked...very yummy. It doesn't hold its don't be surprised when you go to slice it and all you can do is spoon it.

Brownie Pudding
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 6
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the butter, and set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together, and set aside.
3. When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Slowly pour in the cooled butter, and mix again just until combined.
4. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish, and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the outside pan to come halfway up the side of the dish; bake for 1 hour. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
5. Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The gluten free version was more sturdy and came out more as an actual brownie and not pudding. Still, it was excellent, and delicious! Follow the same prep instructions, except don't beat the eggs and agave for a long time - they will never fully mix.

Brownie Pudding (Gluten-free, agave sweetened)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup agave nectar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

1/2 cup gluten free flour or baking mix (I used Bobs, or Pamela's brand)

1 tsp. vanilla

I was inspired to write last night after working all day at the bakery...ENJOY!

The Life of a baker:

I scoop, measure, and pour,

Now I know what my hands are meant for,

I sift, stir, and blend,

Will my mixer last until the end?

I scrape, flip, and fold,

Mixing up concoctions that are so bold.

I portion, shape, and chill.

Wait until my guests see their bill.

I heat, rotate, and bake,

This is not your ordinary Patty-cake.

I cool, remove, and store.

Who on earth thought baking was a bore?

I plate, serve, and wait...

What is the verdict, what is my fate?

I sigh, smile, and am thankful,

That my creation is so wonderful!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Agave Ice cream

A life lived without refined sugar is a life half lived. I am on the fence with this one. I have found in my trying to bake with agave instead of refined sugar that yes, some recipes turn out great, and no - some do not turn out so great. I just returned from a 2 week vacation to my island in South Carolina...I really didn't cook or bake too much which is weird. I did however make lots of ice cream with my new ice cream maker. I made different batches - some with sugar, and some with agave. To my surprise the agave ice cream was liked the most. This is a standard, basic, foundational recipe for agave ice can play with it - add mint extract, add fruit, add cookies or brownies, add nuts, top with granola...anything your little heart desires.

Agave Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Agave
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 Eggs
2 Cups heavy cream or half and half

Place milk, agave, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat at a low temperature for 7-10 minutes. Mix in the eggs and stir lightly until slightly thick. When cool, stir in the cream. Chill in fridge until no longer warm. Add this mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions to make deliciously healthy ice cream with Agave! Add in fruit or chocolate for different varieties!