Baking With Butter

The perceptive observer might notice, we hear always use butter in our recipes. It is quite common to find a recipe that calls for shortening, or even margarine. In these recipes we always replace these unsavory items for butter. It is our belief down in Hell that the only reason someone would replace an item as sumptuous as butter with something as dreary as shortening is because they have some unresolved, human related, issues with semi-solid gold.

The Issues

It’s everywhere!

Butter has a fairly low melting point. This makes it rather hard to work with. Even holding butter in your hand for too long will cause it to melt, unless you’re an ice elemental anyways. This also means that while cooking, your baked goods like cookies are going to spread farther and it could cause your cookie to be flatter than intended.

Run for your lives! It’s… FAT!!

Butter is fatty. There is no getting around it. But that is one of the main reasons you’re using butter! You are using it as a source of fat for your baked goods. Which is a vital part of the chemistry of your desserts! Plus, shortening is also fat. That is why it is used in place of butter. The fat in some shortening can be worse than the butter fat.

Try a sip, it’s good!

Butter, on average is going to contain about 20% water. This means that when your baked goods are baking away they are also steaming away. This will produce more glutton in your food. Though this isn’t really a problem unless you want your baked good all crumbly.

The Fix

To start with the easy one, butter is fat get over it. Some fat is good for you and believe it or not it is an essential part of life. Stop whining that it is going to make you fat. We know that the human metabolism isn’t as good as a demons but deal with it and eat in moderation.

Sure, I’ll watch it. Might eat it all though…

We know that it can be hard to work with butter when it keeps melting one you. Sometimes it does come in handy though. For the times that it doesn’t, there are some tricks to make things easier. Try to touch the butter as little as possible. The less heat you put into the butter, the slower it will melt. Cool your hands. You don’t have to shove your hands in ice, something as simple as running them under cold water works too. And even easier, if it gets too hot shove it in the fridge. Try chilling your dough before you bake it. Believe it or not it will cause the butter to melt slower.

Yes butter contains water. But so does milk, coffee vanilla extract and various other ingredients you will be using in your baked goods. If you tried to make a treat without any water at all you would have something similar to sand. Even down here that is horribly unappealing. If your baked goods end up too chewy, you can always reduce one of the other liquids in the mix too.

The Taste

The flavor of butter is wonderful! Of course, just like anything, the taste depends on a vast number of things but overall it is delicious. And this is why we love to use it. Butter tastes so much better then all the other alternatives. And yes we know, you can get shortening in butter flavor or just use butter extract. It just isn’t the same though. The taste of butter is so important that it is one of the main criteria for the quality rating.

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Baking with Vegetables

Now we all know that when you people read the last few lines of the last post, What Makes a Devil’s Food Cake, almost all of you made a little gross face at the thought of baking a cake with beets in it. Sounds disgusting to you. huh? You are wrong. Vegetables, beets included, are delicious in baked goods and they show up there way more than you seem to realise. Quite a few of you know what we are talking about. For those of you who don’t, prepare to be informed.

The Argument

It’s not so much an addiction as…

“But baked goods should be sweet!” You argue. Not true. There are many breads and pies that are not sweet. These can be made with or without vegetables. Think of pizza or a good chicken pot pie. Both are baked, in your oven or someone elses, and both are savory dishes that you more than likely eat quite routinely for dinner. Not just for you humans either, ogres love a good slice of pizza. 

Your thinking of dessert. Here we have to agree, desserts should be sweet. But, there is no reason why we cannot use vegetables to make a sweet dessert. Many have done so before and many will continue to do so. Think about your common baking ingredients. Commonly in cake one would use flour, sugar, egg, extract (usually vanilla), baking soda/powder, butter and salt. Have you ever tried any of these ingredients all by their little lone selves?

Ya, not so sweet

Aside from the sugar, not one of them is considered sweet. All of these even find themselves in savory dishes. So why is adding a vegetable any different from adding an egg?

The Desserts

 

Squash-y goodness!

Pumpkin pie. Be honest here, you just drooled a little. What is the main ingredient? Pumpkin. Have you ever had pumpkin soup? Toasted pumpkin seeds? Neither of these are sweet foods. Somehow pumpkin manages to pull of both.

 

This counts as my serving of veges right?

Carrot Cake. Take a moment to wipe our mouth. This cake is both delicious and sweet. While you might argue with us a little on the pumpkin, there is no way that ou can argue about carrots. They are a vegetable that is found, more often than not, in not so sweet dishes. Yet they can be sweet too.

  

Honey butter here I come!

How about Zucchini bread, or a good sweet cornbread. If you have never had zucchini bread, remedy that. Zucchini bread is absolutely delicious, especially with a nice bit of honey butter. It is a slightly sweet bread and we definitely count it among our collection of desserts. However, if it is not dessert-y enough for you, try zucchini brownies. Again, delicious. And no one can convince any of us down here in hell that a brownie isn’t dessert.

Baking with Chocolate

We all know that chocolate is the most devilish of delights. It is sinful and tasty and we just can’t get enough of it. Despite cocoa’s various health benefits we still count it among the tastiest of temptations.

Choosing the Chocolate

It will just take a minute… or five

Cocoa powder is amazing to bake with. Unlike all of the other forms of chocolate using baking cocoa doesn’t require melting the chocolate. This may not sound important to you ignorant humans but this step does tend to make things more complicated. First off melting the chocolate is requied to fully incorporate the chocolate into your batter. If this step isn’t taken, with say baking chocolate, as you bite into the finished product you will hit chunks of chocolate and areas of non-chocolate. This works if our goal is a chocolate chip muffin, not so much for a chocolate cake.

Hope you like it oily and chunky!

The other problems with melting your chocolate is that you have to wait and let it cool. If you don’t give your chocolate a chance to cool down then it will start to cook your other ingredients early, not allowing them to function properly in your baked goods. Then there is also the problem of melting the chocolate incorrectly and causing the chocolate to separate which does not lead to a tasty outcome. Of course if you let it sit too long, as I am sure many humans are prone to do, the chocolate will become to hard to mix thoroughly and you will have to melt it all over again.

Natural Vs Dutch Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder comes in two forms, natural and dutch. Regardless of which you choose they will still, by themselves, taste bitter. In the batter, a little bit of cocoa will go a long way as it has a very strong and dominant, you might even say demonic, flavor.You also need to know that the cocoa powder will act like a sponge and absorb a lot of liquid. Without sugar or fat the powder is very dry and it will steal moisture from the ingredients around it.

Natural cocoa powder is a reddish brown color. It is made by grounding up cocoa nibs which are the meat of the cocoa bean. The cocoa fat is then removed from the paste in a hydraulic press. The remaining cocoa is then reground and sifted into a fine powder.

Dutch cocoa powder has a much darker color because of the dutching process. Dutch processed cocoa has been treated with an alkali compound. This removes aspects of chocolate’s complex flavor. Some people will say this makes the cocoa more ‘approachable.’ Personally we use natural but we are not going to go through some elaborate trial system just for you.

Our decision

Chocolate is delicious. Don’t think that just because of all this that cocoa powder is the only chocolate you should bake with. Baking chocolate is wonderful and, depending on what you are making, can be a better choice then cocoa powder. In the instance of our hellish brownies we choose powdered though. It packs just the

The only way to go

punch we are looking for in good brownies and since it has very little fat and sugar of its own its makes super fudgy brownies, which are the only way to go. I guess we can forgive you if you prefer a cake-ier brownie, you are only human after all.