February Baker’s Spotlight

February Baker’s Spotlight

February Baker’s Spotlight

Baker Spotlight #3:  Katy Benne, Manhattan, Kansas

The Bennes get the flour in the bowl several times a week at their little Kansas bungalow.  They’re baking waffles, yeast and sweet breads, pizza, desserts…and for this Spotlight, one of Katy Benne’slifelong favorites—brownies. Her brownies are a signature shared in all her roles as wife, mother of two (ages 3 and 1), Registered Nurse, volunteer, daughter and friend. 

“My baking began when I was young– 4-H baking projects for the county fair, middle school FACS (Family & Consumer Sciences) class, trying recipes from old and new sources print or on-line, and most importantly, sharing precious time in the kitchen with my mom!” 

“Based on my past, I know that even if it’s busy times, it’s just the best decision to let Liam and Jane help.  I am not a teacher by profession so having the ability to bake and to use it as an option to help grow my kids’ minds is such a gift. 

They’re following directions, building fine and gross motor skills, basic math, science and critical thinkingskills.  Then there’s the self-esteem of helping contribute to family meals or a treat for friends.”  It’s quality time at every level

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“Baking for our family offers homemade benefits like lower preservative intake, fresh taste, and exploring new flavors and recipes. The recipe I would like to share with you is a brownie recipe that’s caused me to ditch boxed brownie mixes (unless in a pinch, haha!). This recipe is incredible and was a great find since we have friends and family with dairy intolerances. This dairy-free brownie could probably be modified to be gluten-free as well if needed. My source is Natalie at lifemadesimplebakes.com

Chewy Dairy-Free Brownies

Ingredients

3/4 cup refined coconut, vegetable, or canola oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs + 1 yolk

2/3 cup Dutch-process or natural baking cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon COARSE sea or Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 tsp. espresso powder (optional but I strongly recommend :))

1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate (I use 1/2 of a Bakers 100% cacao bar, but if you have a favorite dairy-free baking chocolate, use that!)

Instructions 

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8x8X2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl (using a hand held mixer) add the oil, sugars, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.

3. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing after each addition, then mix for 30 seconds. Let the mixture rest for 3 minutes, then repeat by mixing for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times. This process ensures that coveted shiny meringue-like crust. 

4. Note: This is a great job for young bakers—let them whisk dry ingredients A LOTJ In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder, and espresso powder (if using). (Note: Next go to mixing by hand so your assistant can slowly scoop and add the dry ingredient mixture along with the chopped chocolate.)  Continue mixing for 30 seconds after the last streak of dry ingredients has disappeared. 

5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven to bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. 

The Natalie’s original recipe can be found here

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