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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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).

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*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:

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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.

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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.

External Content: Libby’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie

200 calories

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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!

Baking: ‘Murican Chocolate Chip Cookies

TRUMPTRUMPTRUMP

My aunt texted over a recipe to help me Make America Great Again. I’m not sure how baking cookies is supposed to do that but, ya know, details amirite?

If you make these without nuts, the nutrition facts are as follows for 1/24 of the recipe: 247 calories, 33g carbs, 13g fat, 2g protein, 124mg sodium, and 23g sugar.

Calories in the whole batch: 5,939. God help you if you add nuts.

Baking: Spritz Butter Cookies

65 calories

Serving size depends upon cookie size. Preparation time about 25 minutes

Approximately 63 calories for 1/84 of the recipe. Calories if you eat the whole batch: 5,256.

Additional Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Carbs 6g, Fat 4g, Protein 1g, Sodium 5mg, Sugar 1g

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My aunt makes tastier cookies than I do (see above), but my taste in guns is better.

Materials

  • Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cups/Spoons, Fork, Hand-Mixer, Spritz Press (Optional), Cookie Tray, Oven, Wax Paper (Optional)
  • 4 Sticks Butter or Margarine
    + 32 Tbsp butter: 3,200 calories. Don’t eat sticks of butter, folks.
  • 1 Cup Sugar
    + White Sugar: 320 calories per cup.
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg (Supposedly optional, I haven’t tried. You can also try using egg replacer.)
  • 1-1/2 to 2+ Tsp Vanilla Extract (24 calories for 2 Tsp)
  • 1/4 Tsp Almond Extract (Optional)
  • 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
    + Great Value All-Purpose Flour: 1,600 calories for 4 cups.

Preparation

Step 1. Beat butter in a mixing bowl with a hand-mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.

Step 2.  Add sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined.

Step 3. Beat in the egg/egg replacer and vanilla extract until combined.

Step 4. Start adding flour and beat in as much as you can. Anything that your hand-mixer can’t deal with, mix in by hand.

Step 5. If you have a spritz press, load the unchilled dough into it and drop the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you’re ghetto like me, just roll them into balls and flatten them.

Step 6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are firm (not brown).

Step 7. Transfer onto a cooling rack (or onto a dish cloth). If you want to frost them, use a powdered sugar icing.

Variants

Chocolate Spritz: Replace about 1/2 cup of flour with an equal amount of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Nutty Spritz: Reduce sugar from base recipe to 2/3 cup and reduce flour by about 1/4 cup. Stir in finely-ground toasted almonds or hazelnuts after you mix in the flour.