Includes recipe for Valentine Blondie Hack (below).
I’m starting to think the food photographer bloggers should stick to photography of other people’s recipes. From now on, I’m going to put more faith in the bloggers like me who don’t know how to stage or light their recipes, and judge the recipes by my own evaluation of their ingredients and processes. Rant over.
I pin quite a few recipes on a board I call Good Cooking to differentiate it from the board for this site’s recipes, and like most people, I am probably attracted to the ones with quality images. I’m also attracted to the ones called rich pins, where there is a bold title and list of ingredients, like this one which I have not tried (click through to see the whole thing):
You can’t add the code that would create these rich pins in a WordPress.com site, so none of mine look this appealing on Pinterest.
I haven’t actually tried many of the recipes I pin, but I like to get ideas for my own cooking or just increase my knowledge of what’s out there. And I like to think that people will eventually follow my boards, so I’m providing a collection of ideas for other people. Recently, I’ve tried two popular recipes and been really disappointed with the outcomes. I tried this one for what people are calling frosting shots, and made my husband eat it because it’s chocolate:
Aside from the fact that I don’t have any shot glasses, the mixture didn’t resemble the result in the picture at all. It was not fluffy and whipped; it was just a blob of chocolate goo. There is no way it could have been piped as the original was or used as a frosting. It hardened in the refrigerator, but my husband said it was okay and he chipped away at it. I suspect that instead of mixing with a fork, as the blogger said she did, you need to whip it with a mixer or at least a whisk. If it worked for you, let me know if you did anything differently.
Then I saw this beauty for Valentine Blondie Bars and figured it would be a nice gift to send to my granddaughter, but it was disappointing (or it wouldn’t be in this post):
Yes, I knew it had both chocolate chips and M&Ms, but I had hoped that it wouldn’t be as overpowering as if in a chocolate brownie. I was wrong. They were overpoweringly chocolate and way too sweet. I made my husband eat them, even though after two days they were dry and hard, and even he thought they were too sweet. The batter reminded me of what were called butterscotch brownies in my day, and when I use 2 cups of brown sugar in a cookie, I expect butterscotch, not chocolate. So here’s my hack of the recipe that uses less flour and butter and throws out the chocolate chips—if it were just me, I’d throw out the M&Ms, too and just have moist butterscotch brownies.
My Valentine Blondie Hack
This recipe for Butterscotch Brownies comes from my old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961); the original makes an 8″ x 8″ pan, which I have doubled here.
Preheat oven to 350°
Grease a 13″ x 9″ pan with butter.
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
1 cup valentine M&Ms (leave these out if you just want butterscotch brownies)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and brown sugar until well mixed.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
- Mix in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).
- Mix in nuts and half the M&Ms.
- Spread in baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle remaining M&Ms on top, so they don’t sink into the batter. Continue baking for another 10 minutes. Do not overbake these brownies that should be moist and chewy.
Cool briefly and cut into bars while warm. Store in an air-tight container.
I’m sure I’ll still try some recipes with beautiful pins, but I’ll be more realistic about my expectations, just as I’m sure you are about my recipes.