Baking: Leche Flan

300 calories

I recently learned this recipe from my Puerto Rican great aunt.  She’s completely nuts and yells at you if you’re standing idle in the kitchen while she’s cooking, but her culinary skills are on point.

20170611_175240

Makes 1 large or several small custards.  Preparation time about an hour and forty-five minutes.

Approximately 292 calories for 1/12 recipe.  Calories in the whole batch: 3,500.

Additional Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Carbs 41g, Fat 9g, Protein 10g, Sodium 120g, Sugar 41g

Tools

Measuring Cups/Spoons, Aluminum Pot, Wooden Spoon, Mixing Bowls, Whisk or Fork, Strainer, Bake-Safe Bowl, and an Oven.

Materials/Preparation

Flan has two main components.  The first is the custard, the second is the layer of caramelized sugar.  They must be prepared separately.

To make the caramelized sugar topping:

  • 1 Cup Granulated White Sugar (774 Calories)
  • About 1/2 Cup Water

Pour the sugar and 1/4 cup water into a high-walled, aluminum pot.  Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and allow the sugar to brown.  You can stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or add more water if you need to.  Once the sugar has changed color, pour it in the bowl in which you intend to bake the flan.

Protip: Caramelized sugar is a pain to clean.  Boil some water in the dirtied pot to get the residue off the bottom.

Now you can make the custard.  You need:

  • 2 Cans Evaporated Milk
    + Coburn Farms Evaporated Milk: 960 calories for 24 oz.
  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
    + Coburn Farms Sweetened Condensed Milk: 1,300 calories for 14 oz.
  • 6 Eggs (70 calories each.)
  • 1-2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat them with a fork.  Place a strainer over a mixing bowl and pour the egg slime into it to remove the fetus nubs (or whatever those stringy bits are).  Add the milk, vanilla, and a dash of salt.  Combine well and pour into the bake-safe, caramel-coated bowl.

20170611_175517

Bake the flan for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Flip the contents of the bowl onto a plate and allow to cool.  Serve warm, or refrigerate for a few hours and serve cold.  Don’t forget to drizzle the slices with the sugar syrup.

Baking: Vegan Chocolate

681 calories

20170509_163045

You learn a lot about the food you eat when you make it yourself. In particular, you get a sense for the constituent parts of any dish (rather than viewing it as a whole).  That tasty cake you’re eating?  It’s just flour, oil, and sugar.  That muffin, loaf of bread, or cookie?  Same thing.  In fact, almost everything we eat is the same handful of ingredients arranged in slightly different ways.  Food is not actually more than the sum of its parts, is what I’m saying.

The takeaway is this: if you cook, you become more conscious about food.  Really conscious.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I’m not one to shy away from cold, harsh truths.  I honestly think, as obvious as it may seem, that the apparent “diversity” of food is an illusion is a reality most people miss–especially if all you eat is processed junk (soy and corn, corn and soy, more soy and corn).

Chocolate is a great example of this.  I’ve always wondered why it’s so high in calories.  I mean, it’s just cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar.  But, what is cocoa butter, fundamentally?

20170509_164008
Solid at room temperature, but oil nonetheless.

It’s oil.  You’re eating sugar and cocoa powder suspended in oil.

Well, let’s make some chocolate!

Nutrition Information (Entire Base Recipe)

Calories (681), Carbs (54g), Fat (58g), Protein (8g), Sodium (0g), Sugar (29g)

Ingredients: Cocoa butter (4 Tbsp), cocoa powder (1/2 Cup), confectioner’s sugar (1/4 Cup).

Preparation: Heat the cocoa butter in a saucepan until it melts.  Add the other stuff.  Stir.  Pour into container of some kind.  Let harden in fridge.  Done.

That’s really all there is to it.  Chocolate has this reputation of being a finicky luxury item.  Maybe it is if you want like, silky smooth tempered milk chocolate.  I’m not so refined, which is good because I’m also extremely sloppy and lazy.

Now, me being completely unable to follow even the simplest of instructions, here’s how I actually made the chocolates.  I dumped a random amount of cocoa butter into the pot, eyeballed the sugar, and threw in enough Hershey’s cocoa powder until the turned dark brown.  Then I stirred and added more crap until the chocolate was kinda thick.  Then I poured the goop into silicone moulds I bought off Amazon for five bucks and let it set in the fridge.  Some of the moulds had coconut shavings in them (because I can).

20170509_163203
*Yawn*

Anti-climatic, right?  Exactly my point.  Also, now that I’ve made chocolate, I don’t want to eat it.  Especially because I hate Hershey’s.  Ugh, this is like the Injera Incident all over again.

Miscellanea: The Wall

But, who’s gonna pay for it?

A while back, I said you should only ever make something as expensive as blonde brownies if The Donald Himself is coming to town.

What’s that you say?  He won the election?  In that case, I better keep my promise.  Let no one say I’m not a man of my word.

Since this is the day of Trump’s inauguration as God Emperor, I present you with something sweet to balance out the post-election saltiness: a wall of blonde brownies to commemorate the occasion:

resized_20170107_213535
Ten feet higher!

President Trump, as a concerned citizen, I demand that you have the White House redecorated.  I really think it needs to be the Gold House.

Also, abolish the TSA.

resized_20170107_213830
What these really need is some edible gold leaf gilding.

And by the way, these brownies are incredible.  Tremendous.  Make a batch.  They’re gonna be great, they’re gonna be classy, they’re gonna be beautiful.  I’ve eaten many, many brownies and, you know–these are great brownies, believe me.

Get the recipe.

Baking: Filled Jalapeño & Cheez Pretzels

400 calories

Not much to say about this one.  I’m experiencing some of the worst back pain of my life right now.  I thought another baking experiment that got me up and moving might help.  The answer is no, it did not help, and I’m currently on the floor trying to straighten my back out.  Also, I ran out of pretzel salt and didn’t realize it until I was already making the dough.

Anyway, I refer you back to this pretzel recipe, with the following modifications:

  • When you go to roll the pretzels into tubes, flatten them.  Add a little thinly-sliced vegan cheese and then fold the dough over horizontally.  Roll them back up into cylinders, ensuring they’re well-sealed.
  • Add vegan cheese (preferably shredded) and pickled jalapeños as toppings.
20170117_234908
A Swiss Army Knife is The Ultimate Weapon

I know they’re sloppy.  I was so distracted I didn’t turn the oven heat high enough.  Then at some point I just said screw it and made this thing.

20170117_234950
I present to you: The Pretzel Turd

My back is seriously wrecked.  It feels as twisted as a…well, a pretzel.

External Content: Libby’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie

200 calories

20161224_171406.jpg
The un-blended blobs of cornstarch add character.

Recipe here: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/146204/libbys-vegan-pumpkin-pie/?recipeFoodType=breakfast-brunch~desserts~vegan

I used 4 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed with egg replacer instead of the tapioca flour, and Truvia Baking Blend instead of regular sugar, but everything else is the same. If you need a vegan pumpkin pie, this recipe is pretty authentic compared to the tofu-based one I tried last year.

It’s not a pretty pie, but considering it’s just going to be eaten, I don’t care!