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Friday, July 6, 2012

Apron Anxiety

It's always interesting when food bloggers reach national  prominence.  Some of them rise to the top by just being great writers who cook appealing and approachable food, a la Orangette or Pioneer Woman, both of whom seem to be universally loved in the food blogging community.  And then there are the ones who irk most food bloggers, like Julie Powell.

I can't decide how I feel about Alyssa Shelasky, a/k/a Apron Anxiety, who has a sassy personality and a girlfriend's gift of flowing gab but who is also well-connected and sometimes feels as if she is name dropping.  A former writer for People Magazine who finagled a meeting with a Top Chefs contestant on whom she had a crush, she transplanted her life from NYC to Washington, D.C. (a place she labeled provincial) to she could live with him.

If D.C. is provincial, I can't imagine what she'd think of Alaska.

When she has too much time between freelance assignments, Alyssa teaches herself to cook.  The blog is a mishmash of fun photos (mostly not taken by her), coy storytelling in which she omits nearly everything about her personal life (as if she were saving it for the book) and the occasional recipe.  It's fun, but you wouldn't learn a lot about cooking from it.

The book gives the juicy details of her "relationchef" (relationship with a chef)--his name is Spike, and I have to confess that I don't have cable so don't have a clue who he is.  There are also more details about learning to cook, and I'm not going to lie--it's a fast, fun read, but I really wondered whether she would have received a book deal if she hadn't had her connections.  It's what I would call a good airplane read, but she's like the friend of your spouse that you're glad you only have to see once a year.  She wears out her welcome.


I will credit her blog, though, for leading me to the recipe for Fat Witch's white chocolate raspberry brownies, which are the perfect blend of fruit and chocolate.  They are sticky, and the white chocolate chips drifted to the bottom and stuck, but they are completely delicious.

Any idea how to keep chips suspended in batter as the brownies bake? 

White Chocolate-Raspberry Brownies
Adapted from Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding
14 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup milk chocolate, chopped or in chip form
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup raspberry preserves, heated slightly to make it spreadable

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9 by 9 baking pan either by buttering it or thoroughly spritzing it with a baking spray with flour.

Using a double boiler or a small metal bowl over simmering water, melt the butter, milk and bittersweet chocolate.  Set aside the mixture to cool.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl, then whisk in the butter/chocolate combination.
Sift together the flour and salt into the mixing bowl, when stir thoroughly to combine.  Add the white chocolate chips and then stir again.

Pour half the batter into the pan, then do your best to spread the preserves over the batter--mine wanted to clump.  Then add the other half of the batter, smooth it so it's even and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a baking rack.  Makes 12 good-size brownies.

40 comments:

  1. I have always understood that to get something to suspend in batter it must be placed at the proper time in the baking process, usually around a third to half way through cooking. I can not be certain though, because I hardly ever have to do it.

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  2. Mmm this flavor combination sounds out of this world! I haven't checked out the blogger you're talking about, but you're probably right about connections landing her the book deal.

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    1. She's now the editor or head writer for New York Magazine's food blog--I like her writing, but the book is a bit of a soap opera.

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  3. If you lightly coat the chips with flour they will not sink anywhere near as badly. Got that of another blog a while ago and it works. Pretty new to yours but enjoying it. Thanks.

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    1. Gary, thanks for visiting! I've done that with blueberries but never tried it for chocolate.

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  4. Oh My! These brownies sound absolutely sinful! I just gained 5 pounds looking at your photo...lol

    I think Gary is right about coating batter add-ins with a little flour to hold them in suspension in the batter. I did that with blueberries recently and it worked pretty well!

    I haven't read this food blog ..so many blogs, so little time...but it sounds entertaining ...sort of like reading a novel?

    Have a great weekend! Can you send some cool Alaska air this way? It has been way to hot and humid here in NYC this summer!

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  5. I am so unhip. I haven't heard of Apron Anxiety. However, I am a Top Chef fanatic so I do know who Spike is. I guess he is kinda' cute but as I recall with an attitude. Cool idea on the brownies, though. (I have a love/hate relationship with the Pioneer Woman, I guess because she lives only one county over---my does that sound folksy or what?) But, I do know her brother Mikey. That is my claim to fame in the bloggers' world.

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  6. It's official, you're the brownie queen!!!

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  7. White Chocolate and raspberries...Great combo of flavors for a brownie!! I have never heard of Apron Anxiety... I will have to check it out and see if she's how you described. :) Have a wonderful weekend!

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  8. I must admit to having never heard of her ... I do have cable but I hardly even watch it! Raspberry and white chocolate does sound like a perfect combo!

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  9. Chocolate and raspberries ... oh joy! There goes my diet!
    I've never heard of Apron Anxiety, famous as you say she is. But I guess it's only people like those who get noticed and become famous ... figures why I'm still sitting here with my laptop on my lap (what else?) in front of the tv and drooling over brownies :)
    I'm no expert but maybe if you could just sprinkle the white choc chips on the top just before baking, let it get submerged a little and then put it in the oven? or layer it in between? I've done the "toss fruits in flour" but not with chocs so not sure how that'll turn out. Hope it works out next time.

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  10. Oddly I've never heard of her. But this recipe is slamming good.

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  11. I'm sorry but I only knew Pioneer Woman and didn't know about Apron Anxiety (but looks like I wasn't the only one). I usually see classic brownies on blogs, so it's nice to see different variations. Looks delicious!

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  12. I am not sure who she is but seems like her writing is interesting. Lovely brownies and looking at the ingredients, this must be really rich, so I probably will have a small piece of it.

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  13. Never heard of Apron Anxiety, just outta curiosity I'll go check her out, AFTER I make these wonderful brownies

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  14. Interesting... I didn't know Julie Powell irks most food bloggers LOL!... why is that? ... just wondering.... and ditto what Gary said... lightly flouring your chocolate chips... it seems it works for blueberries too! :) Hopefully works for you! ;) Those brownies sound great! :) (by the way... let me know if you have any more issues with the comments thing on my blog ;) ... )

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  15. I usually flour the chocolates to prevent them from sinking.
    The brownie looks heavenly.

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  16. Oh, I'm a sucker for any dessert with white chocolate...and adding raspberries makes these even more divine! Thanks for the scoop on the book and the blog...the curious side of me must check them out!

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  17. I like the header of her blog, " desire to cook without burning down the house" and she seemed interesting person from her posts. Your adaptation of the brownie recipe and actual brownies look absolutely wonderful.

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  18. I appreciate the post...and I get what you're saying. BUT I'm actually dying to visit Alaska :) And yes, those Fat Witch brownies are beyond. Thanks again for reading my story, the support means a lot. All my best, Alyssa

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  19. Oh dear. I wonder what she thinks of people residing Down Under. However the brownie recipe looks fabulous and there's a great list of ingredients so these must be really delicious. How's the weather in Alaska? Are you having abnormally hot weather like the rest of the USA? xx

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  20. The brownies sound wonderful! I'll have to check them out. As for the blogger you mentioned, I probably won't check her out. I prefer bloggers who are kind and interesting, and wasn't a fan of Julie Powell.

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  21. I have never heard of her to be honest! Your brownies sound fab, not sure how to keep the choc chips suspended though!

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  22. Haven't heard of Apron Anxiety, but since I'm a huge Top Chef fan I do know who Spike is! Interesting! Just checked out her blog and she's not my kind of blogger, but it does take all kinds and I'm always happy to see bloggers becomes successful. So more power to her! Your descriptions of those brownies (especially the part about the chocolate drifting to the bottom) make them sound specially delicious!!! Sticky brownies are always good in my book!

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  23. I have never heard of her before. Might have to keep an eye out for her now :)

    I toss chocolate chips in flour before putting then in any kind of batter, and that helps to keep them from going to the bottom. Good luck1

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  24. Not familiar with Apron Anxiety, though I am a huge fan of Top Chef and am familiar with Spike's Eatery here in D.C. (I've lived here for 25 years and though I love it here, wouldn't exactly describe it as provincial!) Everyone's advice about flouring the chips is exactly what I'd suggest. These brownies look wickedly good!!! : )

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  25. I need to get more familiar with apron anxiety my friend :D
    I mean look at this delicious recipe!
    A quick tip is to flour the chips before folding into the batter so they stay up nice and high :D
    Yum!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  26. I wasnt aware of apron anxiety...will have to check out ger blog to form an opinion...

    That being said, i like the sound of these brownies! The addition of raspberries sounds delightful!!! Ths is going into my " to make" list...hehehe

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  27. I'm one of those food bloggers... who really has no idea about famous food bloggers. It's like the dorky kid in school who just doesn't get it. LOL. However, I will say over time I have grown to love Joy the Baker and Smitten Kitchen who are both, apparently, very well loved. So thank you for introducing me to Apron Anxiety. I will certainly take a gander and see how I feel about her site. I will say that recipe is uber fantastic.

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  28. I live in DC and don't find it provincial... at all... but enough about that.... mmmmmmm, brownies! :D

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  29. That only cracks me up because I don't have cable and have no idea who he is either!!

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  30. Oh, I've just lost the long comment I typed up! Arrgh! Just wanted to say well done for picking the recipe despite your ambiguous feelings! We all know someone (or two) like Alyssa!

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  31. I'm not familiar with Apron Anxiety, but these brownies look delicious!

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  32. A new-to-me blogger too. Thanks for the introduction - sounds like an interesting read. Love the raspberries in the brownies.

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  33. Count me in for these brownies, they are totally decadent!

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  34. These brownies look so fantastic!

    I have not heard of Apron Anxiety, but I think you are absolutely right that some people just happen to know the right people. I think this is true for many professions!

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  35. Hmm. I haven't heard of her although I certainly have heard of Spike and seen him on Top Chef. In any event, if she led you to a recipe that includes my beloved white chocolate than she can't be all bad! :)

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  36. this looks wonderful lovely combination

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