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Mel Bakes and Stuff HAS A NEW HOME!

Hello Everybody!

While not totally complete in content, Mel Bakes has moved to it's new home over at WordPress, and it's new domain name!

For more Mel Bakes fun, please go to!

Unfortunately, it will not allow me to transfer the subscribers over from blogger, so if you want to remain subscribed, you must resubscribe via the box on the main page of

Thank you everybody, and I will see you all there!

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Buttermilk Brownies

I am a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I tend to get obscenely stubborn and stick with the same things for long periods of time, refusing any kind of change. This includes but is not limited to, my favorite sneakers/hoodie/bands, etc. More to the point, this includes my all time favorite brownie recipe. When I was 7, I had a cooking class birthday party, and my family fell so in love with the brownie recipe we got at the thing that we haven't changed recipes since. That was age 7. Which means it's been nearly 16 years. Yikes. Occasionally I'll come across a brownie recipe and think to myself, "well I cooooould test this out, but the recipe I have is so foolproof, why bother?" My family's brownies are fudgy but not TOO fudgy, crumbly but not too much so.

But tonight I felt inspired to break the cycle of repetitive choclating, and experimented with a recipe I've had kicking around in my kitchen for awhile. I am VERY pleased. These brownies are SUPER choclatey and cakey, but not too rich (not that there would necessarily be a problem with that, but not everybody feels the need to have chocolate injected into their arteries via an IV drip like I do). The ingredients are extremely basic, but the results will stop your heart, I swear. So here we go: buttermilk brownies!

You Will Need:

- 2 cups of all-purpose flour

- 2 cups sugar

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 1/4 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup water

- 1 cup butter

- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

- 2 eggs

- 1/2 cup buttermilk (NOTE: I rarely use actual buttermilk, because it's not something I typically keep in my fridge. So what I do is sour up some regular milk by taking 1/2 cup of milk and mixing in a few squirts of lemon juice. Let that sit for a couple of minutes before you add it into the mix)

- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

- 1/4 cup of butter

- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

- 3 tablespoons buttermilk

- 2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 13.5x9.5x1 inch baking pan (Okay, I think everywhere else in the world they have 15x10x1 inch baking pans, but I swear to god that absolutely noooothing I own is normal, so here I am with an oddly dimensioned baking pan for my brownies. Huzzah!)

2) Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.

3) In a medium sized pot, combined the water, butter, and cocoa, constantly stirring until the mixture just begins to boil.

4) Remove the pot from the heat and add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for about a minute until the batter thins out. It will be VERY thin.

Pour the batter unto the baking pan and make sure it was spread evenly. Bake for 30 minute or until a toothpick comes out clean

While the brownies are baking, whip up the frosting. Bring a pot with the cocoa powder, buttermilk, and butter to a boil, and quickly remove it from the heat. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then beat with an electric mixer until it's super smooth and creamy. If you like nuts, chop some up and throw them in. Or, if you're me, throw in the quarter of a bag of hazlenuts that have been in the pantry since the last ill fated attempt at french macarons.

When the brownies are done and still warm, pour the warm frosting over the brownies and spread evenly with a spatula. Let everything cool down and cut into this happiness.

This brownie is cakey, and the buttermilk adds in this creamy consistency that makes you feel like you've died and gone to heaven. I could get more vulgar here in my discussion of just how much I adore chocolate, but I think I'll keep it at this: the best kinds of chocolate render men wholly unnecessary.


Cinematic Bruschetta

Wow, the last time I wrote was in February. Admittedly, my desire for beginning a food blog was very ill timed. I got into the swing of things the semester before I left on a cross country road trip, where the breakfast was half a bagel and a tiny scoopful of cereal, and the lunch was two meat, one cheese every single day. After 65 days of that, I have to admit it's very refreshing to be back writing again. That being said, I begin in a grad program in two weeks where my kitchen access will be questionable, but I'll do my best to make it work.

Now, onto tonight's project. I have an utterly wonderful visitor here with me, and I decided to introduce him to one of my favorite movies of all time: Julie and Julia. Within the first ten minutes, the movie was paused and we were in the kitchen whipping up a snack with my mother; this movie (yes, it's still on as I write this) has the innate ability to make you starving no matter what hour of the day or night. Julie makes bruschetta within the first few scenes, and this crew was immediately inspired. It was quick, it was delicious, it was taste-o-vision!

What you'll need:

- 3 ripe plum tomatoes

- baguette or italian bread

- olive oil, for glugging and for brushing

- parmesan cheese

- a TEENSY smidgen of a spoonful of balsamic vinegar

- salt and pepper, to taste

- 2 cloves of garlic

- basil, to taste (I used a LOT of basil, fresh out of my mother's garden, and it makes all the difference in the world)

 FIRST, slice the bread to your desired thickness. Or, do what I did, and make the boyfriend slice the bread to desired thickness. Brush the tops of the bread with olive oil, and dip the oiled bread in parmesan cheese. Bake the bread for approx ten minutes at 350 degrees.

In a bowl, chop up the tomatoes, the garlic, and chiffonade the basil. Toss in a few glugs of olive oil, and the tiny spoonful of balsamic (balsamic will overpower absolutely everything if you put in too much, so be careful!). Add your salt and pepper to taste, and let the bowl of goodness sit so the flavors can get to know each other a little bit better.

Plop back down in front of your favorite food related film, and enjoy!