Cooking With Shelby

Hi, everyone! I’m Shelby and I’m a Library Assistant at the Aurora Public Library District. I’m sure I’ve seen you around our branches! I’ve been married and on my own for about a year and a half now, so I thought I might as well start trying to get my act together and adult.

One of the most important criteria to meet as an adult is to be able to cook for yourself. I don’t mean frozen pizza rolls or grilled cheese sandwiches; I mean the ability to be able to mix individual ingredients together and create something edible (and delicious) out of nothing. What better way to do that than to check out cookbooks from the library to see if I’m even capable of following directions and provide a meal for my husband and myself? I thought that there must be more people out there like myself, who are trying to figure out this whole adult thing, too. I wanted to document my attempt to make recipes straight from the cookbooks we keep on our shelves physically and digitally, complete with pictures of my experiences, both good and bad.

So here’s my first attempt! I found The Ultimate Brownie Book: Thousands of Ways to Make America’s Favorite Treat, Including Blondies, Frosting, and Doctored Brownie Mixes,  and on page sixty was a recipe for simple Fudge Brownies. Because I am an adult, I decided that brownies count as grown-up food, so I decided to make this recipe from scratch, just to test that I could actually follow directions and make something edible.

Here’s what the recipe called for:

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and (with only one small fire mishap; don’t ask) began the recipe!

Step One:

Instead of using cooking spray to grease the pan, I used butter and cocoa powder. In my opinion, butter and flour/cocoa powder works better than aerosol cooking spray when you’re trying to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan.

Step Two:

By using a homemade double boiler (A pot of simmering water underneath a heat-safe glass bowl full of chocolate and butter), I started to melt both kinds of chocolate and the butter. The recipe said to keep it on the heat and stir until only half the chocolate was melted, then to take it off the heat and keep stirring until everything melts together. I set the chocolate aside to cool for ten minutes.

Step Three:

This one was kind of tricky. The recipe called for two whole eggs and one egg yolk. The best way I could figure out to separate an egg yolk from the egg white was to just do it by hand.

Step Four:

I whipped the sugar and the eggs together until the mixture was thick. Then I beat in the vanilla and the chocolate mixture until it was smooth.

Step Five:

I stirred in the salt and the flour until they were just mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t want to work the batter too much, so I used a rubber spatula instead of the mixer. Then I poured the batter into the pan and baked it in the oven for about thirty minutes. My oven is weird, so it took a little longer for the brownies to bake, but I just kept an eye on them.

And they were delicious! My coworkers can attest that I can follow directions pretty well to make something that actually tasted good. They were gone within the day!

Since I am a grown-up now it would probably be in my best interest not to eat so many brownies, so my next Cooking With Shelby post will definitely involve something more substantial. If you would like to place a hold on The Ultimate Brownie Book, just click on the link.

Until next time! I wonder what I’ll make next?