#21, Apple Cake with Sugar Cinnamon Topping, p. 31

“Allysa loves to get up really early when she has guests visiting for the weekend and make this coffee cake… It’s out of the oven before everyone else wakes up for breakfast.” (p. 31)

Monsieur le Patissier de Chezbonneau was away on a humanitarian trip in the beautiful country of Sri Lanka during the past week – thus no baking. A side benefit of visiting a tropical country such as Sri Lanka, is the opportunity to pick up locally grown spices. We came back with Sri Lankan cinnamon that we picked up on a cinnamon island and a dozen huge, fresh vanilla pods. Needless to say, these ingredients will soon find their way into our baking.

I did manage to whip up a quick recipe this morning using Sri Lankan vanilla. Recipe below. Story to develop as the day wears on and the Social Studies department forms an opinion of the treat that landed in their team room this morning.



DETOUR (short): I cannot always find the ingredients listed in the Magnolia cookbook. The recipe called for a 20 oz. can of sliced apples as a way of reducing prep time in the early morning, but I couldn’t find any at Carrefour. It didn’t really bother me since I didn’t like the idea of canned apples anyway. So, I bought some Golden Delicious apples and used 4 of them in my cake. ALSO: The recipe calls for baking this cake in a tube pan. I haven’t yet been able to find out what a tube pan is, so I used a springform bundt pan with a tube through its middle. When cooled, it released almost perfectly.

How ’bout them apples?

Apple tools.

Since I didn’t have pre-pared apples, I used an apple slicer/corer and a small paring knife to get the job done. It was relatively quick and easy and left me with nice, juicy chunks of apple to fill the cake. One of the Social Studies teachers commented to me in the hallway how light and fluffy this cake was. I agreed.

#20, Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing

This cakey brownie will delight chocolate lovers from coast to coast., p. 84


“Round up the usual suspects.”


I published this blog earlier in the day and had no time to elaborate on the story behind these brownies. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I often signal mistakes I’ve made or high learning curves I’ve failed to achieve by the word DETOUR. Well, I had a major detour on this desert. But, as it turns out, the detour led to something unexpectedly wonderful – or so say my discerning French III students.

The melt.

Things started off well. This was the second time in as many days that I melted chocolate with my version of a double boiler. All’s well.

The shmooze.

After melting the chocolate, I needed to 1) cream the butter and sugar (three minutes), 2) add the melted/cooled chocolate, 3) add the dry ingredients – all in our wonderful Kitchen Aid stand mixer that we received as a wedding present 16+ years ago! It’s finally getting a real workout. Again, all is going well up to this point.

To top it all off.

Ahah! This photo is misleading. The brownie underneath the cream cheese icing is already cooked. BUT IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COOKED YET. I was supposed to spread the icing on top of the uncooked brownie mixture, then bake it all together. Should have been left with a kind of cheesecake layer on top of the brownie. But NOOOOOOOO. I had a great brownie with a liquidy cheesecake icing on top.

I had this epiphany at 6:45 AM. I needed to be at school at 7:30 for a meeting and ready to roll for the first three blocks of the day. My school work was in order. But………. Would I risk a patissorial intervention with only 30 minutes to work with. I consulted the TRUE COOK of the house, my wife. She supported the following: 1) place it all back in a preheated oven for 10 minutes, 2) followed by 3 minutes of low-level broil from above. (Note: patissorial = adjective; anything having to do with a patisserie)

The Midas touch.

The photo above was the result; but the photo doesn’t communicate the reality too well. What really came out? SOMETHING AMAZING! A rich, chocolate, slightly chewy, cakey brownie with a crème brulée topping. The creme cheese remained reasonably thick but still fluid enough to flow; the top was the thinnest layer of golden sugar glass. That’s my take on it. Please read the comments below to see my students’ take on it.

If YOU would like to leave a comment, please do.

Merci à tous

#19 Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Butterscotch Chips and Pecans (Walnuts), p. 78

These are really dense, really fudgy brownies. (p. 78)

Recipe not available online.

This is gonna be a chocolate blast off. 1.25 pounds of chocolate in one pan of brownies.

I wonder if any of my French III followers will take a peek this morning to see what goodies have been prepared for them. Yep. I promised them I would make something for them to enjoy while taking a listening test.

This might just qualify for “the fewest ingredients” award for the recipes I’ve made so far. If you reduced this to a pure chocolate brownie without nuts or butterscotch, it certainly would be. I’ve never made brownies before. I was surprised by how little flour was used in relation to the other ingredients, but I was equally excited. Why? All that chocolate! And the description by the authors! I have always loved dense, chewy, chocolaty brownies. I really don’t like cake-like brownies. Well, I now know how to make my favorite kind. I just did it!!

Look at that chocolaty BLOB! Wuhoo! Dude! Yo! I’m having a hard time processing this. (I thought only French cheese could make me feel this way.)

OK. OK. Look even closer at this black hole of YUM!

The black hole of Chocolaty Yum.
Star date 2014. “Number One. Chart a course for the black hole of Chocolaty Yum. Engage!”

The recipe was built for an 8×8 inch pan. I doubled the recipe and put in a larger, shallow cake pan, as this was destined for a group of 16 teenagers. I “knew” this was gonna turn out great with only one looming question of fear. Would this stick to the pan? The directions called for the pan to be greased and floured. It did. I think everything is gonna be A-O-K.


Time to get this to those who matter.

See ya later!