My husband would say that the anomaly would be that I actually followed a recipe. He may be right. I tend to think of recipes as guidelines – generally to be followed, but also editable based on available ingredients and common sense.
For example, the cookies from last week’s post, the ones that my husband made for the baby shower, the recipe was straightforward enough. No real reason to modify it. However, I remembered adding dried orange peel to an earlier batch of cookies (completely different recipe, and even in that one, the orange peel was optional). I just decided that since I had the ingredient, and the recipe wasn’t anything terribly complicated, that I would add orange peel to these cookies as well. Before my sweet husband took them from my to-do list, I’d already collected ingredients onto the counters.
As he was finished up the batter mixing, he walked in with the orange peel. “Honey, I didn’t see this in the recipe?” Definitely asked like a question. Because as much as I like to play fast and loose with recipes, my husband likes to follow them precisely, I just let it go. I’m not sure if he added it or not. I’m not sure how much just a teaspoon of orange peel would have done for any cookie recipe.
That’s more background than you need for this post, but there it is.
This Friday, I decided to make brownies. I wanted a sweet, but didn’t really want to have to go to a bakery or to the store for ingredients. I figured brownies would be simple enough, and quick, so I went to my favorite food blog (Love and Olive Oil) for a recipe.
The ingredient modification started out mildly enough:
1) We had less cocoa powder than I figured (see previous post on chocolate white chocolate chip cookies). I REALLY didn’t want to go to the store, so I broke into my William-Sonoma hot chocolate flakes. I had no idea how this substitution would work out, but many of the recipes in my earlier search called for chopped chocolate, so I guesstimated an amount based on those.
2) I still had some white chocolate chips left from last week’s cookies, so I tossed those into the batter before I poured it into the pan. Couldn’t hurt, and otherwise, I would have just eaten them by the handful.
3) I think because of the higher content of butter (due to part cocoa/part chocolate instead of all cocoa), the batter ended up runnier and taking longer to cook. The recipe suggests 20-25 minutes at 325 F, I ended up baking them for closer to 40 minutes at that temperature – checking on them every 5 minutes after the recommended time.
4) Too little creamy peanut butter for the frosting. I had plenty of crunchy – but the thought of crunchy frosting just didn’t seem right. We had almond butter still, so I used that. This is the same almond butter that I used in the chewy granola bars from a few weeks ago.
5) Omitted the sea salt because all I had was kosher, and that didn’t seem right for the recipe. This is the only modification that ended up regretting, but there was nothing to do for it at the time. Next time, I would certainly plan to have this on hand. I think it would have made the brownies even better.
As they are now, only a small selection remain. I tried to get friends to come eat them for me, but people are busy. In fairness to them, I didn’t send a picture. That might have made them more of a priority. 🙂