Brooklyn Brownies – Salted Chocolate Chip

I dabbled in cake mix when I was younger. You know, teenagers like to experiment. But I learned my lesson and have been a “from scratch” girl since.

Why so tough on mixes? Typically, they are full of preservatives and down right baffling ingredients. I mean, do polyglycerol esters of fatty acids sound like something you want to consume? You can taste the “mixiness” of it. No, thanks.

Enter Foodstirs

foodstirs_amelie

Foodstirs—founded in 2014 by Sarah Michelle Gellar (yes, of Buffy fame) and friends Galit Laibow and Gia Russo—offers what they call quick-from-scratch mixes. Each mix contains only 6-10 organic and GMO-free ingredients that can be traced to their source. Now, that’s a kind of mix I can get behind.

I decided to try out the exclusive Brooklyn Brownie Mix that recently debuted at Whole Foods in the neighborhood of Williamsburg. This mix makes a chocolate brownie with chocolate chips and salt flakes on top. (Someone thinks we Brooklynites are “salty,” eh?)

Foodstirs Brownies

Brooklyn Brownies, made in Brooklyn!

As promised, the instructions were simple and quick. I needed only 2 eggs, vegetable oil, and a little water to get going. I grabbed my whisk and batter bowl, and set to work.

Ingredients for Foodstirs brownies

Stirring Foodstirs brownies

One change to the instructions, I made cupcake-sized brownies instead of spreading them in a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ pan. That worked great and gave me reasonable single portions.

Of course, I immediately ate two.

They were delicious with none of that “mixiness” I so loathe. I look forward to trying out some of Foodstirs’ other offerings. (I have my eye on you, Chocolate Chippy Cookies.)

Scooped Foodstirs brownies

Find Foodstirs mixes at all Whole Foods Northeast locations or on Foodstirs.com. The Brooklyn Brownie Mix is available exclusively at Williamsburg Whole Foods. Foodstirs also offers foodcrafting kits (buy online or subscribe) such as the Celebration Cupcake Baking Kit, which includes frosting and cake mixes, sprinkles, liners and toppers.

Thank you to Foodstirs for providing mixes for me to sample.

I’m on Snapchat! Add me @cupcakesamelie.

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Minecraft Cupcakes II

A satisfied customer requested Minecraft cupcakes for his birthday the second year in a row. I had made Creepers last year, so this time I tried my hand at Skeleton and Enderman cupcake toppers.

Minecraft Cupcakes

I again used gum paste and the same general method as the 2015 versions. One change, I bought 1 cm graph paper, so I did not have to draw a grid. I simply taped my graph paper beneath parchment. I rolled out and cut 5×5 squares, scoring them lightly for the bases.

Underman Cupcakes - Minecraft

The Enderman toppers were a little tricky, as I needed a 1/2 square on each side of the eyes. I did my best, but did not go to the extent of measuring millimeter by millimeter.

Skeleton Cupcakes - Minecraft

The Skeletons were easier, just a lot more squares! Plus, I had help from the birthday boy’s mom.

Creeper

Happy Birthday, Creeper

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First Birthday Smash Cake

This was a fun project, my first mini-cake made for smashing! I made cupcakes for the guests with toppers to match the theme.

Smash Cake

The one-year-old boy presented with this cake, though, just would not smash it! Let’s see how he does on his 2nd birthday.

Raccoon Cupcakes

Raccoons!

Note to self, perfect cupcake frosting is not the same for smoothly icing a cake.

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Watermelon Cupcakes in the Summertime

Watermelon says summer to me.

Watermelon Cupcake by Amélie

A last minute request for watermelon-flavored cupcakes meant I didn’t have much time to research or shop. Fresh watermelon seemed risky, and I could not find extract, so I used what I could find in a hurry.

Jelly Belly Watermelon Syrup–I bought my bottle at Michael’s—is meant for making snow cones and popsicles, but I gave it a try in my cake batter and frosting. I reduced it to make it more concentrated, but it gave only a faint flavor.

Jelly Belly Watermelon Syrup

I would recommend using Pure Watermelon Extract for those wanting to bake better watermelon cupcakes than I produced! The cupcakes were still good, but they mostly just tasted like vanilla.

At least they looked pretty. I was making Minecraft cupcake toppers with gum paste (stay tuned for Minecraft Cupcakes, Round 2!), so I created some watermelons while I was at it.

Gum Paste Minecraft Watermelons

The Jelly Belly Watermelon Syrup did make a kid-pleasing soda when added to seltzer (approved by a 7-year-old expert).

Summer, summer, summertime…

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Baking in Grandmother’s Kitchen

My grandparents built their house in 1954, and much of the original kitchen remains. I always loved the many built-ins, like the cabinet for the stand mixer. A quick pull up and out, and it’s ready to go.

Glo's 40s Mixer - Hamilton Beach Model G

During a recent trip south, I used the mixer—a Hamilton Beach Model G made in the 1940s—for the first time, to bake cupcakes for my grandmother and other lucky family members. Though we baked together often when I was a child, I was not allowed to operate the dangerous machinery. My grandmother handed it over easily this time, with only a mild warning of possible electric shock. (Wait… What?) Apparently, those pretty metal edges have been known to give a little jolt.

Mixing with 1940s Hamilton Beach Model G Mixer

Creaming butter with white and brown sugar

It was fun to use but different than using my own mixer which locks the bowl into the base and uses a single wide beater, sometimes one with a flex edge that does the scraping mostly itself. (Spoiled by modern conveniences…) This one required much more attention!

I baked chocolate cupcakes, of course. If you know her, you know my grandmother loves chocolate. I made classic vanilla frosting to balance it out.

Chocolate Cupcake By Amelie

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