August 02, 2005

Blue-Ribbon Recipes from Blue-Ribbon Kids

Courtesy of the junior Agriculture Society members in the family:

Daniel's First-Prize Fudge
which won in both the kids' and in the adults' sections last week
(from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Thirteenth Edition, by Marion Cunningham, where it's known as "Million-Dollar Fudge" and described as "A very fast, very easy method, resulting in a fine, creamy fudge" -- the cook and the judges here agreed!). Daniel, by the way, has agreed to help mass-produce his fudge for Christmas gifts. Glad to have that sorted out already.
12 oz. semisweet chocolate bits, or squares, in small pieces
1 cup marshmallow cream [Marshmallow Fluff]
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts [Daniel prefers pecans]

Oil a jelly-roll pan or a 9 x 9-inch pan. Combine the chocolate and the marshmallow cream in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the sugar, butter, and milk in a 3-quart heavy pot, stirring to combine well. Gradually bring to a boil over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Dip a pastry brush in cold water adn wash down the sides of the pot. Continue to boil, sitrring constantly without touching the sides of the pot [not as difficult or dire as it sounds], for 5 minutes, then pour the mixture over the chocolate mixture and add the salt and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the nuts. Spread on the cookie sheet or pan and let stand until firm. Cut into squares and store airtight. Makes 2 pounds.

Laura's First-Prize Brownies
entered and won in 2003
(from Brownies: Over One Hundred Scrumptious Recipes for More Kinds of Brownies Than You Ever Dreamed of by Linda Burum, where the recipe can be found as "My Favorite Fudgy Brownie")
I've read enough wonky cooking articles to know that fudgy brownies usually use melted butter rather creamed butter, which is more common for cake-style brownies, but this recipe calls for considerable creaming. Ten or so minutes of creaming may seem nuts for brownies, but give it a shot first and make and taste them first before deciding to skip that part. Laura and I think it's worth it; as Laura says, it's not as if you're mixing them by hand (so there!).
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. almond extract [I think this qualifies as the secret ingredient]
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
2/3-1 cup nuts or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F for metal pan, 350F for glass, and line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper, lightly buttered (you can skip the parchment paper part if you don't have any).

In microwave, melt chocolate [medium level for one minute, then one minute more]. Add butter in 6 chunks, stirring until all is incorporated. Mix well, and let cool to room temperature.

In electric mixture, beat eggs, salt, vanilla, and almond extract until thick and light in color. Add sugar and beat 8 more minutes or until eggs reach the consistency of soft-peaked whipped cream. Thoroughly blend in chocolate mixture and then fold in flour and nuts or chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in center of oven for approximately 35 mnintues or until a toothpick inserted 1-1/2" from the edge -- NOT in the center -- comes out clean and top is dry. Cool brownies in pan on rack at least 6 hours before cutting into 30-36 squares.

Okay, that last bit about cooling the brownies in the pan for 6 hours is highly unrealistic and not to be recommended unless a fair entry is involved, especially if everyone is sitting around waiting for brownies. Most of my best brownie memories (yes, I have brownie memories) involve eating them shortly after taking them out of the oven. Six hours indeed...

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